Ever heard someone tell you that an idea is unmarketable?
Pick up a trade magazine or attend a meeting and everyone seems to have a marketing solution for you. From your paint supplier to your software provider everyone seems to have a low cost solution.
Here’s the thing, there is no such thing as the “most effective” way to market anything. It’s like saying one size fits all in bicycle shorts. Right… that’s a mental image you didn’t want on a Monday.
Right now Social Media is the hot topic, but it’s only a piece of the larger puzzle that is your overall marketing strategy. You can’t do one thing without the other and all forms of your business communication must support each other.
So what do you do? How do you sort through the noise and develop a successful marketing campaign.
All marketing plans must first start with your brand.
Brand isn’t a logo or a location. It’s the emotional connection you offer. What makes you special, unique and exclusive to your market/consumers. Every body shop can repair a car. Every body shop can paint a car. Every body shop says they have satisfied customers.
Find what makes you special, your Beacon. Then follow it!
Let’s face it Starbucks does not make the best coffee in the world and it’s not the cheapest? Why do we flock there for a $5.00 cup of Joe? They found their Beacon points and how to make us feel good and social about coffee from 5 am to 11pm 7 days a week.
Next what’s your budget for the year?
Everyone has one. Sometimes it’s only $500 for the year and sometimes it’s larger but set one now and stick to your guns. There is always going to be a shinny offer that promises you big returns, but you’ll need your budget for unexpected expenses that always seem to pop-up for shop owners.
Now that you know your Beacon points and How Much you have to spend, your ready to Plan!
Before you an start building your communication plan you need to understand there are 3 categories of communication.
- Advertising- brief and repeated communication with an audience that may or may not have an interest in your brand (Radio, TV, Newspaper)
- Marketing- Direct Information that targets a specific group. They have expressed an interest in your brand and take steps to learn more (Website, Brochure, Video)
- Public Relations- Influencing the influencers of a market. The process of turning key people into market megaphones and lead generators (Agent visits, Business Referral Programs).
You need some activity in each of the categories.
I always recommend that you make a chart and fill in the columns. The best part is there are endless low to no cost options for you to add in the categories and some of your ideas will fit all three.
Now Social Media plays an important role in all of the communication categories and that’s what makes it such a powerful tool and why everyone is talking about it. But it doesn’t stand alone in any marketing plan. It also has to work with any other communication mediums you use, which makes it hard to impossible for a 3rd party to manage it for you.
Remember, the only one that will care about your business the way you do is YOU and marketing is your voice to the customer, take it seriously and enjoy the benefits.