If you’re currently undertaking your own marketing activity, here are nine tips you can easily manage yourself that won’t be costly to implement.
1.Use a strapline. If your company name does not explain your business activity, consider using a strap line e.g. Budweiser, ‘The King of Beers’; Debenhams, ‘The Nation’s Favourite Department Store’. If your business name does explain what you do, use a strap line to reinforce your brand position e.g. The Coventry Building Society, ‘TLC not PLC’. This last one is particularly interesting as it’s an example of a recent strapline change, possibly trying to overcome the current “all banks are bad” sentiment.
2.Register alternative domain names. Consider registering alternative domain names, especially your strap line. Use these domain names for specific marketing campaigns. For example, replace your company web address with an alternative address on an advert. For example, our web address is www.businessvitamins.co.uk but we sometimes use www.energiseyourbusiness.co.uk in certain marketing campaigns. On your domain control panel, forward this alternative web address to your main website address so the prospect still ends up at your desired landing page. Your web analytics will track how many people have used the new address to reach your web site; you can then compare the effectiveness of adverts in different publications.
3.Use your email footer for additional promotion. Include your web address as a hyperlink which could take visitors to your home page, or, to a news page, special offer, case study etc. Include links to your social media profiles such as LinkedIn (include a public profile link), Google+, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube channel, your blog. However, be aware #1. The default Outlook settings will not display images embedded in an email.
Be aware #2! If your recipients are checking in on the move, depending on their settings, hefty images in footers will also take up their data allowances. Be aware #3! If your email footer has numerous links, this is a potential red flag for spam filters.
4.Test your Email marketing. Use split testing to monitor which versions of your emails are the most effective. For example, send half of your emails under one subject header, the other half under an alternative name. Which was opened the most? Use this information to help improve your click through rates for future distributions. Continually test, measure and ‘tweak’ to ensure continuous improvement. You can easily split test the “From” field, the subject line and the content of emails in most email marketing systems.
5.Improve your Media Buying. Consider using a professional media buyer to negotiate the price to be paid for media space. You will save money and it often costs you, the client, nothing. (The agent is paid commission by the media in which space is booked – usually 10%). If you really want to manage your own media buying, place a series booking, i.e. at least three issues at a time in the same publication to receive the best prices. Never pay the rate card price. Never place a one-off booking – it will almost certainly fail to deliver. If the ad sales execs will not discount prices any lower, negotiate better positioning e.g. right-hand facing pages, early pages, placement within appropriate features or supplements, or banner ads within online version of their publication.
6.Print stock. Specify the type of paper you want your collateral to be printed on. It makes a huge difference to the final product. There is matt, silk, gloss, coated, uncoated, textured, the list is almost endless! Paper is measured in gsm or grams per square metre. The higher the number, the thicker the paper. Talk to a professional about printing certain colours on certain papers, especially black or dark colours, to avoid paper cracking on spines and white showing through. Also discuss “finishing”, such as how brochures are bound together.
7.Press Release tracking. Only send out press releases if you are going to track where they are printed and by whom, otherwise you will not know if they are working for you. If you do not want to use a professional cuttings service, investigate how to set up a Google Alert. This will tell you when a given search phrase (as included in your press release) appears online. While this will not capture every detail, it will give you an idea of where your news is appearing.
8.Integration. Try to make sure that any marketing campaign you undertake is made up of two or more integrated elements. Your response rate will be higher. Single media campaigns often fail to convert interested prospects because many people may not have time to take action on the first touch. Others may file for later review but never get to it. Most of us are busy and often manage by focusing on the hottest fires: if you don’t land at the top of the list, you are forgotten. If you have filed an email for action next week and not got around to it, then receive a hard copy mailer in the post covering the same subject matter, it might jolt you into action.
9.And finally… We have to mention the obvious – use social media, but that’s a blog post of its own. But one quick, often overlooked feature; if you do use Twitter for business, make use of “Twitter lists”. Lists can be private or public. You do not have to follow people to add them to a list. Lists are indexed by Google therefore can be used for SEO purposes so name your lists with your target keywords in mind. Lists can help you carry out market research, monitor your competition and manage your followers more efficiently.
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