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.

10 Tips for Creating an Engaging Business Blog

Business blogging is a powerful tool which when used correctly, can impact your marketing significantly. Here are 10 recommendations on creating a successful business blog:

  1. Set Goals
    Have complete knowledge about your content marketing, social media and blogging goals. Make sure the goals are specific, measurable and achievable.
  2. Define Your Target Audience
    Defining your target audience personas will help you create valuable content based on their content interests. Be consistent and appeal to their pain points.
  3. Plan with a Content Calendar
    Great blog posts don’t spring up out of the blue without proper planning. An established content calendar helps ensure regular, streamlined content flow through the year.
  4. Create a Content Marketing Plan
    Increase your visibility by creating content. If your content is good, increased visibility will translate into views and leads. Promote your blog through cross promotion initiatives on social media, your website and online paid advertising. Also incorporate social sharing buttons on your blog pages for increased distribution and engagement.
  5. Assign Adequate Resources
    A successful blog needs resources: to generate quality content, for creative work (images, design, formatting etc.), to work on the editing and marketing your content.
  6. Work on Content Optimization
    Your blog is a major contributor to your search rankings. Optimize your content by using relevant non-brand keywords. Integrate your blog’s URL into your company site URL which helps in branding and further search optimization. Also, make it easy for people to access your blog from your website and vice versa. Lastly, structuring your content into short paragraphs will help visitors read your content.
  7. Brand Your Blog
    Ensure your blog is consistent with your brand identity, including brand colors, logo, font etc.
  8. Connect Your Blog to Relevant Product/Service Pages
    Make it easy for blog readers to find your products linking your blog pages to the right products/services with a persuasive call-to-action and hyperlink.
  9. Include visuals
    Balance the presence of text on your blog with adequate visuals including photos, video and presentations.
  10. Measure Performance
    Track your blog’s effectiveness by measuring important performance metrics including the amount of traffic, leads and sales generated. Also measure the extent to which your blog is helping you cut costs in search and customer service.

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.

Don’t Be a Troll (On or Offline)

Keep it classy and don’t be a troll. Here is a simple definition to help:

A troll is someone who posts a deliberately provocative message (normally to media) with the intention of causing disruption and generally a negative impact.

The Newsroom put it better – watch below.

4 Common Mistakes with Retargeting Ads

Retargeted ads offer so much potential. When a consumer goes to look at a brand or publisher’s content, they’re making the first step in developing a relationship with the company. Retargeted ads, when done right, should still create that brand recognition, but it should also go a step further and encourage brand loyalty, advocacy, and community.

Here are 4 common issues with retargeted ads:

1. Being Static

Repetition can either increase or decrease brand awareness and overall result.  You don’t want to be static and repetitive, but rather memorable and engaging. Every time you have someone look at the same image it’s going to lose it’s impact – especially when it’s already a fairly standard-looking image. Today especially, people are used to a constant flow of new information. Each interaction so be valuable.

2. Lacking Amazing Content

People don’t like ads (or content) that don’t provide value or are engaging. The burden for advertisers is to create content that is just as, if not more, interesting as the competing content on the page. This means the content should be unique, visual, and useful to your audience – even if its usefulness is just that it’s entertaining.

3. No Interaction 

Give your audience the chance to get creative in your ad experience, and make sure that that content is shareable on their social channels. Often companies will create these experiences as standalone pages, but there’s no reason why creative content can’t live within ad units around the web.

4. Not Being Human-Focused 

Every ad needs to have a human element – something your audience can see and relate to. Chances are, your audience isn’t going to relate to the model you place on every website. People can relate to their friends though. And they can relate to stories from people that could be their friends. This is where user-generated content comes in. Using retargeting to connect with the users most likely to engage with your company is great. However, you’re not going to promote any kind of longterm relationship or engagement with a boring (and ignorable) ad.

Creating a Social Media Posting Plan

  1. Consider your brand

Start by thinking about your brand, what makes your business unique and the personality you want to convey to your customers and followers. It’s best to stay consistent in your messaging so that your posts feel personal and authentic.

  1. Set goals

What are your reasons for creating the page? You can use your page to do many things, such as find new customers, build you brand and relationships with current customers, promote events and special offers, communicate with internal teams and much more. Whatever your goals are, it’s helpful to be detailed and specific so you can devise an actionable plan for reaching these goals.

  1. Know your customer

Once you have a few goals in mind, think about your customer and what kind of things they want to see from you. What will get them excited? What will keep them engaged?

  1. Create a posting calendar

Create a calendar and a plan. Decide how often and what type of content you want to post each day. Plan it out and write it down – I recommend spreadsheeting it out in Excel. Remember; do not to post all you content at once to avoid overwhelming your followers.

Types of Marketing Emails

  1. New Marketing Offers
  2. Form Submission/Thank-you emails
  3. Product/Service Information emails
  4. Digital Magazines or Newsletters
  5. Co-marketing emails
  6. Internal updates
  7. Lead Nurturing emails with complimentary content (e.g. eBooks)
  8. Dedicated sends (e.g. monthly welcome email,  email subscriber lists)
  9. Email Confirmations
  10. Event Invitations

LinkedIn Company Page Checklist

Your Company Page on LinkedIn is a powerful way to reach millions of professionals online. With over 100 million professionals on LinkedIn, this tool can help exposure your company and brand to an ideal target market. These professionals are following more than 1.9 million companies on LinkedIn and are purchasing professionals, current clients, job seekers, interested observers, and most importantly, potential customers. Professionals follow companies to stay updated with new developments, compare products and services and track potential opportunities. LinkedIn regularly informs members of Company Pages changes via email and/or network updates.  When LinkedIn members want to know more about your company they can look at your Company Page, which is conveniently linked to your profile.

Use this check list to ensure it’s ready for visitors:

  • The Company Name
  • Assign Admins
  • Upload Company Logo & Profile Photo
  • Describe the Company
  • List the Company’s Specialties in Showcase Pages
  •  Add the Company Twitter and Blog RSS Feeds
  • Show the Company Type, Size, Website Link
  • Select Industry, Operating Status, Year Founded
  • Highlight Locations
  • Place a Careers Listing

Here are 3 quick tips to get you started:

  1. Promote Your Products or Services – Create showcase pages to showcase the voice of your company and brand These pages provide you with the opportunity to promote who you are and what you do.
  2. Monitor Traffic and Audience Analytics on LinkedIn – Analytics is a rich resource, which adds insights and value. Here, you can track page views and unique visitors for your overview, careers and products and services pages.
  3. Invite Connections to Follow Your Company on LinkedIn – After your Company Page is set up, invite followers. You can add a follow button to your website, blog and email signature. You can also post a link to the company’s page to your updates or status feed asking for followers. Another option is to navigate to your company page’s services/products tab and click share to promote to individuals, groups, or connections.

16 Webinar Tips For Your Business

Webinars are a great tool for your business to utilize. This digital platform can help build your reputation as a thought leader within your industry. Webinars can assist with lead generation, nurturing and the ability to share your expertise.

Here are 16 tips to help you plan and launch a successful webinar:

  1. Choose an interesting and engaging topic.
  2. Target a large, broad audience.
  3. Establish a reputation as a reliable thought leader.
  4. Set a goal for registrations.
  5. Pick the right prize.
  6. Consider giveaways.
  7. Schedule, schedule, schedule.
  8. Create an interactive, engaging and instructed landing page.
  9. Follow up with registrants.
  10. Make sure your reminder emails add value.
  11. Use social media to increase registrants and as a live day-of feed.
  12. Leverage your presenters as an advertising platform.
  13. Use the webinar to create a variety of content pieces (especially blogs).
  14. Embrace paid media (offline and online).
  15. Forge partnerships with other brands and thought leaders.
  16. Leverage your home page.

9 Tips to Update Your Facebook Page

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If you haven’t reviewed or updated your Facebook Page recently, it’s time! Reviewing and updating your Facebook Page should be a scheduled re-occurrence. Here are 9 tips to help make sure your Facebook Page is optimized.

1.       Utilize Your Page Cover Image

This prime location provides you with an opportunity to get creative with your cover image. You can display your web address, add a call to action, or add something that draws attention to your tabs. Make sure to take advantage of this. A helpful hint is to not let the text on the cover photo exceed 20% of the cover image area.

2.       Assess Your Profile Image

Your profile image is the first thing a user sees when they look at your company page and your posts. The logo will help reinforce your brand, and be simple, clear and easily identifiable. It should not be a picture of the business owner and if possible a square-designed image should be used.  A helpful hint is that your profile image should be uploaded at a size of 180 x 180 pixels (Facebook downsizes it to 160 x 160 pixels).

3.       Review Your Tab Thumbnails

Your tab thumbnails appear below your cover image and lead to the apps on your Page. Optimize your tab thumbnails to capture your visitor’s attention. Do this by using simple fonts and use a shorten call to action.

4.       Use Facebook Apps

Facebook apps are a great ways to boost engagement on your Page. Apps offer your visitors incentives and an interactive platform, which can boost your engagement rates. They are mostly used for running contests and offering deals and should have a sign up list for eNewsletters. Helpful hint: be sure your contest and deal meets Facebook’s promotion guidelines.  

5.       Maximize Your About Short Description

Your Facebook Page utilizes a brief description of approximately 155 characters that displays below the cover image and the profile image at the top of your Page. Maximize your short description by providing a concise, informative statement, with your website URL.

6.       Complete The Entire About Section

Be sure to complete the Company Overview, Description, General Information and Mission sections. The About area(s) are indexed by search engines and should contain relevant keywords. Also, be sure to include your address in the General Information to optimize for local search.

7.       Categorize Your Business Correctly

If you’re a local business with a physical brick-and-mortar location, this is very important. You want customers to come and visit your place, so be sure to optimize your category and Check-in option.

8.       Check Your Notification Settings

It is recommended that companies and Page managers review your settings, managers and notification settings occasionally. Responding to comments, posts and messages I recommend keeping all notifications on. This is the key to good online customer service. If your community is engaging with you, be sure you respond to them!

9.       Activate Replies to Comments

This is a helpful hint as it’s a new Facebook feature (released in March 2013). When this feature is enabled, it allows Pages to offer their community the ability to reply to a specific comment in a thread resulting in better interaction around a comment.