Imagine the scenario, you want to create a winning marketing campaign to give your business a boost but don’t know where to begin. Here, we’ve put together a quick fire guide to make sure you have everything you need to get started.
- Understand your audience
First things first, before you can make a marketing plan you need to specify exactly who your audience is and what their needs are. Distinguish between different audience types or personas and mould everything you do around them. Think about what media they consume, where they live, what they like to do in their spare time, etc. Try and be specific and don’t generalise or stereotype too much – if you can survey your existing customers to get a feel for the sector break down, all the better!
- Create a SWOT analysis
Before you think of your ideas, why not analyse your business using a SWOT diagram. Split a piece of paper into 4 quarters and analyse your business under the following headers:
Once you have written everything down you can shape your plan to maximise your strengths and minimise your weaknesses. Think about your competitors too, recognise their weaknesses and take advantage of them – turn them into a strength for you!
- Idea generation
This can sometimes be the hardest part but why not try out a few different techniques to collate and generate ideas. There are lots of suggestions out there so see which one works best for you and your business. You could try a change of scenery, work with someone you don’t normally work with to get a fresh perspective, or try a good old fashioned mind map – inspiration may hit you when you least expect it so keep a notebook on hand or jot down ideas on your phone.
- Have some brand guidelines
It’s important to keep your marketing consistent across all channels. If you don’t already have some brand guidelines in place then start with the basics; colour palette, font, tone of voice and go from there. Having all branding in line across print and web will make sure your business is recognisable to your audience no matter where they see you pop up!
- Remember the objective
It’s easy to get too absorbed in the details and forget the goals of the mission. To avoid this, set some objectives and make sure you can measure the results. The objective may seem obvious to you but writing it down in black and white will make it even clearer and it will be easy to refer back whenever you need it. Ask yourself ‘Why are you marketing?’ This will help you look at the objectives rather than listing out separate tasks.
- Make a plan
Simplicity is key when you are first creating a plan. If you don’t know where to start get a large piece of paper or white board and just get your ideas down. Keeping them in your head won’t get you anywhere, as soon as you put pen to paper you will see the links between different elements and the plan will soon start to form.
- Use an editorial calendar
Once you have the bare bones of your plan, start to think about what types of media you want to use to get your message to the masses. Create a marketing plan template to which you can add some meaty content to the campaign. You may find it a good idea to use a spreadsheet and split your plan into different media channels (i.e. email, magazine advertising, social media, etc.) and then set different elements into date order. This will give you an ‘at-a-glance’ view of what you have coming up over the next few weeks and by saving your marketing plan on google sheets you will be able to grant access to the rest of your team too. Just set up a google account, if you don’t already have one, and invite users to view or edit the document. Remember, communication is key in all small business marketing.
Top tip: If you have a long plan spanning over several weeks or months, review it regularly to add in any changes or learnings along the way.
- Use both online and offline media
The best campaigns use a mix of online and print marketing. You may have a vast age range or different tastes to accommodate for therefore your audience may consume media in different ways. The greater variety of angles and touch points you have with your audience, the better.
- Take advantage of social media
When using social media, it’s not always possible to be attached to a computer so, to make sure your posts are hitting your audience at specific times of day, take advantage of tools such as Tweet Deck or Hootsuite to schedule your posts. They will help you save valuable time and the beauty of these tools is that you can sit down and schedule posts for the whole week in one go. Your time will not only be used much more efficiently but you will then have more opportunity to create reactive content. Having most things planned in advance will enable you to react to a competitor promotion, breaking news story or get involved with online discussions as and when they arise.
- Review and Learn
This may seem like an obvious one but it’s something that can take a back seat when you are caught up in the day-to-day running of your business. It can be difficult to set some time aside and really review your marketing campaign but, if you do, it will help you evaluate what did and didn’t work so that you’re informed for the future.
We hope that points you in the right direction but if you have any top tips of your own, don’t forget to share them with us on twitter @instantprint or comment below!