For small businesses that don't have unlimited promotional budgets, putting together a marketing strategy can be quite daunting.
Having been operating since 1993, it's fair to say we have some experience in this area, so here are our top five tips.
Jumping in and putting together an advert, or posting sporadically on social media without having any form of message or purpose is a definite no-no. Generally, the aim of a marketing strategy is to gain more customers or to grow a business, so before you do anything you need to work out what makes your company stand out.
Either work with a marketing expert or get together a trusted team of staff to have an honest chat about your company. Are you the only business in the UK supplying a type of product; does your company have a long-history; or do you have a particular service that a competitor doesn't offer?
This message should be woven through all your marketing activity to bring structure to your strategy.
So, you now know what you want to say, but who do you want to say it to? It's now time to determine your target demographic.
To do this, it can be beneficial to carry out some market research to establish how your potential customers or clients view news and advertising, as this can help you choose what marketing platforms to focus on.
Your target audience and your thread should be in your mind whenever you start a new piece of marketing, and doing this work at the start will help you determine objectives and set targets.
Marketing is a completely different arena now to when PMW was founded. We now offer 10 core marketing services, all of which have many branches to them; unless you have a bottomless pit of money, don't try and cover every platform. It's best to do something well or not attempt it at all.
Your marketing strategy could fall flat if you try and stretch your budget to do a little bit of everything, whereas focusing on two or three options, and doing them well, can bring more lucrative results.
This is where you pull together all your research and work out where you are going to focus your budget; it's perhaps the trickiest bit. If your research indicates your target market is mainly online focused, think about a digital campaign. This could encompass:
Or, maybe they prefer to do business face-to-face, so trade shows may be the way forward, or maybe you could benefit by a PR campaign to build your brand awareness. Perhaps potential customers would respond to printed adverts, so lifestyle ads in a glossy magazine might be the route to take.
It's highly likely that to achieve your desired results you will need to do a combination of two or three marketing elements.
Whether you want to grow sales, improve your social media engagement, or increase the number of clients using your service, ensure you monitor the results to guarantee your objectives are being achieved.
With any marketing campaign it can take at least six months to see any results, so don't assume you will be inundated with calls after placing one advert. Plan for the long-term and don't be afraid to evaluate and change things as you go.