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.

4 Ways to Make Social Media Marketing Easy

A few years ago businesses weren’t exactly convinced that they should be spending time on social media. In 2015 there’s no denying that social media must be considered part of your marketing strategy. Getting started on social media may seem complicated, difficult or confusing, however these 5 tips should help make it more manageable.

  1. Be Simple

Don’t sign up for every social media account. You should research and be selective on which accounts you start. This way you can focus your time and effort creating a strong social media presence on a channel that resonates with your company. The more accounts you have to manage, the more your time will be divided, and the more likely it is you’ll do a poor job across the board. You might also want to reserve your brand name on the major social networking sites, even if you don’t plan to use it. Choose 2 or 3 sites where you feel you’ll get the largest return on your investment. Be sure to select the networks where your customers spend the most time or where they engage the most.

  1. Schedule

You don’t need to spend hours everyday on social media. Be efficient and schedule content in advance. Commit to a few hours a week (actually put it in your calendar) to draft new content and source valuable content to share. Leverage tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule updates to multiple profiles in one place.

  1. Integrate

If you want to see results, then you need to integrate. Make sure you’ve integrated your social media plan with your marketing strategy. This means integrating into your brand, messaging, campaigns, cross-channel marketing, advertising, content strategy and much more. Finally, link your profiles to your website, digital properties, customer relationship management (CRM) system. You can also cross purpose content across platforms.

  1. Monitor

Monitor brand, industry and competitor mentioned. Social media provides a unique opportunity to stay connected to content and opinions that are important to your target audience. Be sure to monitor any reviews or mentioned of your business. Paying attention will provide you with opportunities to join into the conversation, provide a point of view and hopefully some value. Use monitoring tools to track any mention of your company, brand social media handles as well as keywords related to your target audience. Monitoring will also provide you with the ability to adjust your strategy and implement improvements.

If you plan out your approach to social media it will be less daunting. Stick with it and you will see results from your effort.

10 Mistakes of Social Media Marketing

Lack of planning, overextending yourself and failing to engage your audience can effect your digital marketing and social media efforts. Social media has been around for a few years, but in that time marketers and researchers have made some pretty interesting findings.

Before, sites such as MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook merely connected you with friends online. Now, businesses have taken advantage of social networks, integrating social media into their strategies. This approach has yielded impressive results, but along with those successes have come growing pains of how to best use social media for business and marketing. Here are 10 mistakes of social media marketing.

1. Not Having A Plan

Any business looking into social media must establish a plan. Determine the goals and objectives for yourself and for each site. Are you trying to get 10% more followers each month? How many people would you like to interact with each week? Having a plan is a must.

2. Not Being Active

Activity matters, size doesn’t. It’s better to have an intimate group of engaged followers who continually interact with you than having thousands of passive followers who don’t. More followers and more traffic do not equal more money; you need the right people to engage with your business. 

3. Not Dedicating Time To All Of Your Pages

Each social media account should get a fair share of your attention. If you have time for a couple social media pages then use them to the fullest extend. Don’t start accounts on social media sites if you can’t maintain them.

4. Talking About Your Business In Every Post

Vary your posts so you’re not always talking about your business. Sometimes you have to think of your business as if it were a person. Don’t be like those people who constantly talk about how awesome they are. The more you force content, the less valuable and engaging your page will be.

5. Making Grammar & Spelling Mistakes

There is nothing engaging or attractive about spelling and grammar mistakes. Double-check and proofread your material before you send it out onto the Internet. Not only will errors make you look unprofessional, but they could also harm your credibility.

6. Not Analyzing & Tracking Analytics (Or Stats) 

Statistics are important in every marketing campaign. All social media networks offer analytics and reports to track page views, post reads, shares, activities, and more. Through these valuable data you can see which posts draw the best audience response so you can offer more value to them.

7. Having No Personality 

Social media gives your business the opportunity have a strong, unique, personable voice. Be open, insightful, witty – whatever your business brand should embody and deliver it.

8. Not Engaging Your Audience

Ask questions. Get feedback. Start discussions. Social media gives you something no other marketing channel offers: the opportunity to connect directly with your audience. Not only does this strengthen customer relationships, but it also brings more activity to your business.

9. Being Defensive Or Negative With Comments

The Internet includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Unfortunately, not everyone online is going to be nice or agree with your business. Be calm, professional and handle negative comments graciously. Remember, everything said online is public.

10. Giving Up

Building your social media presence takes time. Don’t give up. Stay active. Be patient. Your efforts will pay off; just give them time.

5 Ways To Be Engaging Leaders On LinkedIn

Most professionals do not have a LinkedIn marketing or social-selling strategy, let alone an online sales strategy that’s aligned to revenue objectives. If you want to be a sales and marketing leader you need to create a plan that will activate your LinkedIn connections. Think of LinkedIn as a professional social media network that you can use to connect, engage, drive demand and create lead opportunities.

Yet, strategy is the biggest difference between a sales or marketing team that drives demand and enjoys consistent revenue opportunities and one that just has a presence and lots of connections it does not engage with.

How you thought about these tactics?

  • After you make a connection, how do you follow up or build on that connection? Your goal should be to develop them into a lead.
  • Do you think about the content you are sharing or posting? The content should position and differentiate yourself.
  • What discussions are you creating? Will these discussions or conversations nurture your connection (or prospect) and provide value for to your business relationship? They should.
  • Have you thought about how to introduce your company and their content to your connection and move them from LinkedIn to your website?

Here are 5 strategies that sales and marketing leaders need to think about to be engaging on LinkedIn.

  1. Social Media Presence

First, review your LinkedIn profile. Did you consider your LinkedIn profile as a strategic tool? Your profile shouldn’t be a cover letter and a resume. You should be considering how to position yourselves as an expert in your field. The information on your profile should be interesting to your target connections, market and industries.

To convey your worth, find out what kind of value your prospects are looking for and optimize your LinkedIn profile to provide value to them. Your profile should be piquing interest and starting conversations with key decision-makers that lead to revenue opportunities.

  1. Thought Leadership

Don’t just use LinkedIn as a publishing platform. It is a good medium to push out content, but the content you are posting should be pulling your prospects in. You need to plan out what type of content you can provide that will convince decision-makers to contact you. The best way is to figure out the pain points that your target connections (and their companies) may be facing and what content you can provide that would position you as a thought leader. The goal is to have your connections take action.

  1. Targeted Connection Prospecting

Review your LinkedIn connections to see how many of them are “long-shots” or who could provide introductions or recommendations. Your connection prospecting strategy should define who your main and secondary prospects and influencers are, and it should include a plan to get them to respond to your communications. The goal should be to retain their attention, so you can provide value, develop the lead (or referral) and convert the lead into a client.

  1. Engagement

It’s not about how many connections you make or followers you have on LinkedIn or any other social media platforms. More accurately, it’s about how many people you reach and engage with. Engagement and providing value should be at the forefront of your LinkedIn strategy.

The best way to engage in social media is to create a community. In LinkedIn, you can create actual groups that you manage. Remember buyers are looking for quick access to trusted experts and relevant content that helps them with their business issues. Your custom, niche LinkedIn community is an effective way to give your buyers what they are looking for.

  1. Lead Generation and Engagement

Most of the prospects you connect with on social media (and LinkedIn) platforms don’t realize what value you could provide or why they need you. It’s best to develop a lead nurturing strategy for move your connections through a defined lead generation process. Nurturing these connections will provide them with value and will encourage them to reach out for additional information.

What you need:

  • A strategy to use your content (blogs, social media posts, case studies, whitepapers, third-party research, etc.) to support your business objectives.
  • Content that will engage and provide value. Think about the pain points that will address your target audience and connections’ needs.
  • A plan for how you will nurture your connections, prospects, leads and clients. How will you move them into your pipeline and get them to engage with you?

By developing an integrated marketing strategy you will be able to create a funnel that will provide value and lead opportunities in the future.

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).

Have You Tried Twitter Ads? Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should

Twitter has become a great tool for markets and companies. This social media platform is sometimes overlooked when developing a social media and/or digital strategy. Most companies focus on Facebook, but this post will focus on Twitter and how Twitter ads can help leverage and expand Twitter’s ease of use and viral outreach. Twitter ads can help you offer timely, relevant and useful information targeted at a geographic specific area (even as close as a postal code).

Here are 4 reasons why you should consider Twitter ads as a tactic in your digital marketing arsenal:

  1. It’s easy to set up, use, target and monitor
  2. You can target specific areas (cities, towns, postal codes, new office locations, target markets/locations, etc.)
  3. You only pay for results that you set and manage (budget, followers, engagements, retweets, comments)
  4. Drive Mobile Foot Traffic (with geo-targeting and messaging)

Twitter’s geo-targeting features have enabled businesses to tailor their marketing strategy and increase their local presence. By providing users with thoughtful, helpful, useful content you will increase engagement and your online exposure.

5 Ways to Develop Your Social Media Marketing Goals

To get your social media marketing on track, here are five steps to develop effective, actionable objectives for your program.

  1. Define specific and actionable goals.
  2. Get buy-in from senior management.
  3. Use metrics related to your business goals.
  4. Make your social media activity trackable.
  5. Incorporate your social media marketing into your overall plan.

4 Social Media Tactics Your Company Should Implement

If social media isn’t a critical element in your online marketing strategy, it should be. Having a presence on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn can add significant value to your company and brand. Although, you cannot have a social media account that simply broadcasts news. To attract and retain customers while building a strong online brand, your business will need to be active on social media. Brands must provide valuable information and engage with their followers. Here are 4 tactics your company should be doing on social media:

  1. Engagement and Customer Service

Your goal should be to engage with your customers. Fostering a healthy online relationship means that you need to listen to what your customers are saying about you. This also gives you an opportunity to provide high quality customer service. Responding to customer questions and resolving issues over social media can show that you care. Tools like Hootsuite can help you monitor your brand over social media. Remember people will expect responses on your regular schedule, so be sure to set the tone early.

  1. Market Research 

Use social media as a marketing research tool. For example, if you are launching a new product, you can ask your fans and followers what their opinion is on various details. Social media can help you accumulate real, valuable market research at no cost. Engaging with your customers for their opinions can help build trust and credibility.

  1. Study Your Competitors

Social media allows you an opportunity to learn about your competitors. It’s good to know what your competitors are doing, because this can help you to differentiate and learn. Not only that, it will help keep you on the top of your game. Be sure to use this information to update your business and marketing strategy. Keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer.

  1. Present Yourself As An Industry Expert

Content marketing can help you differentiate yourself and establish you as an industry expert. By sharing information like tips, advice and by answering questions about your industry, you can position yourself as an expert and valuable resource. Build a content sharing strategy and plan where you can provide valuable insight.

Grow Your Small Business Social Media Audience – 5 Tips

The world of social media is constantly changing. Luckily, I think it is for the better. Here are 5 tips to help get you started off on the right foot.

Tip #1: Be consistent

Creating content through your blog and social media profiles regularly will allow you to steadily grow your audience and followers. Content generation will also increase your organic SEO. Also, having a consistent voice will help you to increase your brand power and awareness online.

Tip #2: Provide value

This is just common sense. Simply put, if you’re not providing value, then you no one will care. Consider giving back to the social media community by providing content that your audience will value. eBooks, infographics, whitepapers, PDF reports, useful graphics or templates are some of the ways you can give valuable content to grow your social media followers.

Tip #3: Consider K.I.S.S-ing your content

If you haven’t heard of the Keep It Significant and Shareable (or K.I.S.S.) idea, then you are missing out. By creating and sharing engaging content interest will generate and hopefully your audience will remember you for a long time. You can also build your trust by linking out to credible, authority sources.

Tip #4: Optimize your profiles

You cannot grow your online presence with out having a valuable, consistent profile. It needs to be developed with a purpose. Before you can grow your social media audience, you need to tell who you are and what your business is all about. Hopefully you can demonstrate and display your value proposition. A good way to start is to optimize your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn with the relevant information. Adding personal, humanizing touches will help you to secure your place in the social media community as a relevant, engaging brand.

Tip #5: Be visual

Leverage visual content as much as you can. Infographics are a huge trend right now. So are good, high quality images. By leveraging shareable images, your company should be able to engage your audience  and build a loyal following on the internet.

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.