Strategizing Your Promotional Marketing Mix

In business or marketing strategy, you have probably heard of the “4 P’s” of marketing (Product, Price, Place and Promotion). The promotional aspect can also be described as the “Promotional Mix” and it determines what actions to take to reach your target audience. If you find yourself asking “How do I know what works?” the answer begins with your target audience. This blog post will help you to strategize your marketing plan and I’ve even included estimated costs.

Marketing Tactics

  1. Business Name

Your business and brand name is crucial to your success. ($1,000 – $8,000)

  1. Logo

Your logo should represent your company and your brand. This is a must-have and quality does count. An affordable solution is 99Designs. If design and creativity isn’t your strong suit then you should invest in an engaging logo. ($500 – $10,000)

  1. Slogan

This may be optional, but this short description can explain your unique value proposition to the market. ($500 – $5,000)

  1. Website

Developing a website can be almost free (e.g. from WordPress or another free online template) or a substantial investment. It all depends on your ability to build a website, develop a strategy, content, etc. It will cost less if you can write it yourself and supply the photography, but if you don’t want to build a website, you should hire someone who does. You can also save money by being involved in the planning and content selection. ($5,000 – $50,000)

  1. Content Marketing Schedule

Unless you’re ready to draft a content marketing plan you should probably enlist some help. Providing valuable content will help move your targets through a track-able process.

  1. Email Marketing

This will help you provide value and disseminate you content. Free templates can be set up with any number of online eNewsletter programs. ($50  – $20,000)

  1. Social Media

Set up your social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) and ensure they are consistent with your branding and messaging. You should be able to do this yourself, but make sure you’re on the right networks – correctly.

  1. Blogging

Writing a blog is free and easy to do once you’ve planned your content strategy. Creating a blog will help you keep your website content fresh.

  1. Signage

Signage will let the market place know that you exist and help people easily you’re your location(s). ($500 – $50,000+)

  1. Directories and Classified Ads

Whether online or in a newspaper, these should be a cost-effective method to list your company in it’s target industry. People searching for specific items can locate your ad by category. ($25+/each)

  1. Community Newsletters

If your goal is to reach a specific community, than community papers may provide you with a cost-effective tactic, however readership varies. ($50 – $500/ad/size)

  1. Outdoor Advertising

This tactic will increase your local presence. Outdoor advertising covers a variety of media, including lawn signs, bus benches (0 – $200/month), shopping mall signs, billboards and building sponsorships. ($5,000 – $50,000+)

  1. Videos

Videos are an extremely important, especially within your content marketing strategy. They can be used in a variety of mediums including both digital and traditional marketing tactics.  ($2,000  – $50,000)

  1. Search Engine Optimization (and Outsourced Content Creation)

Your company and it’s digital assets need to rank highly. Enlisting the services of an expert will save you time, which will allow you to get back to business. ($1,000 – $5,000/month)

  1. Radio

This brand awareness tactic will increase your presence with commuter traffic, especially in rural communities. ($3,000 – $10,000/month)

  1. Television (TV)

Advertising on local (or national) television can greatly increase your brand awareness and increase recognition. (Estimate $1,000 – $10,000/month + production – you need a solid 30 second spot)

  1. Newspapers

Newspaper (local or national) can help build local, immediate attention and over a period of time can increase brand visibility. ($2,000+/month – depending on ad size)

  1. Promotional Products

These are branded items that you send (or give) away to gain (and retain) attention. In Calgary I recommend Level2, however there any many choices in every city.

  1. Direct Mail

Targeted, local direct mail can be effective if there is a valuable offer or create that stands out. This can also be applied to eNewsletters or digital marketing. ($0.5 – $3/ household is consistent depending on the creative you are mailing)

  1. Digital

There are many new online advertising channels to consider. Start with Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which is essentially your online search traffic that should relate to your company, product or service. Then look at display advertising, which is the online version of billboard advertising, layered in with retargeted and behaviour ads. Next think about social media advertising (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). If you’re confused by the above let me know and I can help. While marketing budgets may vary they are also affordable and track-able. ($25/day+)

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A CRM system, emails and phone calls will help you manage current relationships, increase referrals and attract new prospects to be clients. If you don’t have a sales process or strategy you will not generate new business. ($25/month+)

  1. Recommendations, Success Stories and Celebrity Endorsements

Some of these are free or earned and others are not – however all will help you increase credibility within your market place. Always be aware of the risk.

Build Your Promotional Marketing Mix

Choose your promotional marketing tactic based on your target audience. This includes the volume, type, and geography of the target customers you are trying to reach. Depending on your marketing strategy (or objectives), choose the method that is the most direct and provides the most value. Your target prospects need to engage with your market for it to be a success. Forecast and plan your marketing budgets to ensure that you allow enough budget to carry your campaign throughout completion. Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Just be sure to measure the results of your marketing.

15 Tips on How to Create a Successful eCommerce Website

Every website needs visitors and customers. Websites are specifically designed to serve customers. An effectively designed eCommerce website experiences high conversion rate and brings the desired profit for a business. However not all the web designers understand how to make the eCommerce websites conversion-friendly. Below are 15 tips to help you build a successful eCommerce website.

  1. Identify your prospects 
  2. Have simple navigation 
  3. Use high resolution product images (or stock photos)
  4. Include valuable product details
  5. Employ simple, clear and visually engaging call to actions (CTAs)
  6. Feature product and/or service videos 
  7. Have 24/7 visibility into your shopping cart 
  8. Offer free shipping as an option
  9. Avoid distractions 
  10. Leverage landing pages to feature valuable content, products and services  
  11. Offer special discounts or sales clearly
  12. Display your contact information easily and visibly
  13. Consider multiple transaction options
  14. Feature an effective and useful Site Search: Advanced
  15. Keep the site simple, engaging and focused on providing value 

Building an eCommerce website could be a challenging task, but the tips given above offer great help even to a newbie web designer. Try to improve the usability and shop-ability of eCommerce website that you are designing. Keep in mind that building a website is a never-ending process. You’ll need to keep updating your website on a continually ongoing basis.

7 Tips to Create (or Optimize) a Great LinkedIn Business Page

Simply put, LinkedIn is a professional social media platform that has been steadily growing in popularity and use, especially for search, business networking, hiring, referrals, leads and even financing. If you haven’t made a business LinkedIn business page, you’re missing out. If you have already have a business LinkedIn page for your business you should review it and optimize it.

Luckily you can probably use these recommendations on your other social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) as well. Here are 7 tips to help you create (or optimize) a great LinkedIn business page.

  1. Branding

Make sure your branding is aligned with your company and overall marketing strategy. If someone is discovering you first through your LinkedIn page, they should be able to know and understand what your company is about. Make sure your images are sized correctly, not distorted and speak to your target audience. Also, include links to your company website.

  1. Showcase your products & services

On the Products & Services page, testimonials and recommendations are highlighted prominently. This will have a direct impact on the number of Linked members who’ll end up visiting your website. Encourage customers to recommend your products and services here as well.

  1. Make your page engaging

Optimize your LinkedIn company page content so it speaks not only about what you company does, but also what your customers will be searching for. Include keywords or buzzwords and make sure that the content provides value to readers.

If your business operation spans multiple locations, you may want to list all of them. LinkedIn allows visitors’ location as a search criterion to narrow down results. You can add up to five different locations to your page. Also, consider including a short video (30 seconds) summarizing your company and it’s offerings. A well-made and appropriately branded video can encourage many to “follow” or engage with your company.

  1. Use advertisements to drive traffic (and page views)

The advertising options provided by LinkedIn are definitely worth checking out. InMail, Display Advertising and Sponsored Posts will help you build a large follower base effectively and affordably. The advertisement can be targeted by job title, location, and many other options.

  1. Use and measure analytics (a.k.a. Insights)

LinkedIn Insights will help you track the success of your page and improve it This includes impressions per post, user engagement, follower demographics, audience insights, etc. It also connects to promoting your page (#4) and will help you optimize your targeted posts and determine return-on-investment (ROI).

  1. Add LinkedIn buttons to your site and collateral

Social plugins are a great way to quickly share your content on various social media platforms. In addition to getting your content shared, you could also drive visitors from your website toward your LinkedIn business page. You can select recommend, follow, endorse, or share buttons on your site to drive traffic to your business page. Think about where you will place them on your website and choose the best one to achieve your objective. You should also place your LinkedIn logo (vector image) on your digital assets (website) as well as your marketing collateral (brochures, PowerPoints, business cards, etc.). That being said you should do this for all of your social networks.

  1. Update regularly and be social

Your objective is (or should be) to engage you audience and give your brand as much positive awareness as you can. Keep your page and audience updated regularly. Post information, comments, and tips on a regular basis. When you share information, keep in mind the professional demographic. You can even consider creating a LinkedIn group for your company (internal and/or external).

It’s Time to Launch your Mobile & Tablet-Friendly Website!

ImageWhether you’ve gone mobile or are just gearing up for the mobile leap, we’ve got 10 quick tips to you take the much needed plunge. Google notes that by 2013, more people will use their mobile phones than PCs to get online and since 2010, mobile searches have grown by 4 times! Customers expect your mobile website to be just as useful as your desktop site and bad mobile sites can cost you customers by pushing them to your competitors. Adobe has also mentioned that customers prefer to make purchases on mobile websites rather than apps!

These are also helpful hints to customize email for mobile use!

Hubspot reports that:

  • Nearly 10% consumers use a mobile phone or tablet to read emails
  • 39% of respondents said they open emails from trusted brands on their mobile phones
  • 49% respondents said that they have signed up for emails from 1 to 10 brands
  • Main reasons customers signed up for emails are offers/sales (61%) and discounts (59%) followed by being a regular customer (42%) and linking the brand (40%).

Keep It Quick

  • Make sure it loads fast
  • Compress your images (or eliminate some)
  • Prioritise your information
  • Keep content simple & to the point

Make the Layout Responsive

  • Aid discussion online
  • Add product details
  • Keep forms short
  • Make sure phone numbers are click to call & emails redirect to send an email

Be Thumb Friendly

  • Simplify Navigation
  • Use a clear website hierarchy and minimize scrolling
  • Keep links to 7 or less per page

Go Local

  • Include maps (Google), addresses & locations

Make it Seamless

  • Keep key site features & product/service information consistent with your desktop website

Use Mobile Re-Directs

  • Make sure your website redirects to your mobile website when searched on a mobile device (don’t worry your developer will do this)
  • Use large centered buttons

 Design for Visibility

  • Remember mobile screens are usually dim and users may be in low light
  • Use a contrast between foreground & text
  • The ideal font size is 12
  • Use negative space appropriately
  • Reduce zooming

Make it Accessible

  • Make sure your mobile site can be used on all devices
  • Find alternative to flash!
  • Implement vertical and horizontal use

Live & Learn

  • Ask your desktop users what they are looking for and what they would like to see on the mobile set
  • Always test before launch
  • Definitely use web analytics

Final Checks & Reminders