No matter how large or small your company or firm is, it is important that you have a clear marketing strategy to follow to ensure that you take advantage of – in most cases – limited budgets and resources.
Even before you start developing your strategy, the starting point should be a clear vision and set of objectives that you want to convey to colleagues and customers.
One common mistake businesses often make is forgetting the importance of this clear vision for their own colleagues.
Based on my experience, getting them to buy into what you are doing makes it a lot easier to get customers to believe and understand it. From your vision you can then detail what you want your marketing strategy to be.
Another common mistake is firms developing a strategy not based on size and scale. For example, some larger firms may say that they want brand awareness on a national scale, and for smaller firms it may be that simply driving new business or retaining their existing clients is key.
However, these are not mutually exclusive – you can still build brand awareness with a potential or existing customer base using the same principals, but just on a local scale.
What do you need?
I’m going to cover this off based on what I deem to be priorities – again regardless of whether your business is small or large:
1] A good website – this is your window to the wider world and therefore you need to ensure it is informative, up-to-date and intuitive. Make it easy to navigate and well signposted. Moreover, fill it with quality, educational content which customers will find useful.
My next blog will talk about the ever-growing importance of quality editorial-led content to building loyalty to your brand. By doing this, search engines will utilise this alongside keyword searches, overall recognition of the brand and so on, meaning you start to appear in organic searches around the content you produce – in effect, free advertising.
2] Develop an email strategy – email is still one of the most targeted and measurable media around, which means it is incredibly effective and one of the cheapest to deliver. Make your emails as short and to the point as possible, particularly if you are looking to promote a specific product.
Email does give you the opportunity to say a little more than in a press ad, so you can start to deliver any educational content. Or better still, fill it with a teaser which then links through to your website.
3] Embrace social media – I know we are still wary about social media, but done correctly it is relatively low risk and cost effective. I would avoid the likes of Facebook and Twitter, where the professional side of any business can be called into question by any slight error or judgement or wrong word.
Stick to LinkedIn which again provides you with a platform for delivering quality content to those customers in particular that you value.
I have not touched on the mainstream media and although these can be effective locally and nationally, it can also be expensive. If there is one lesson to be learned from today, it should be that an effective marketing strategy does not have to be expensive.
Note: These are my personal views and not those of Lloyds Banking Group