I have worked in Marketing for almost 20 years now and my beady eye is always on the lookout for great campaigns and ideas. However, it’s so much easier to spot scary marketing. It just makes me sigh and my heart sinks when I see a piece of bad print, a poorly constructed website or shocking social media.
Here are my top tips for getting the basics right
1 – Plan
You may have a fantastic idea or product that you want to market, but many people jump in feet first without having a plan in place. Think about the 7 Ps’ – Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Processes, Physical Evidence (there is some really useful information here https://www.professionalacademy.com/blogs-and-advice/marketing-theories—the-marketing-mix—from-4-p-s-to-7-p-s)
Do you have a business plan? Great. Do you have a marketing plan? Think about how you are going to sell your product or service, who your customer is, how they will find out about what you are selling. By taking a bit of time to plan things out can really help you understand what direction you should take.
2 – Brand
Getting the brand right is so important. There is nothing worse than seeing a ‘clip art’ logo, inconsistent design work or just no design at all with documents created in publisher. A good brand reflects your business. It tells people whether you are professional, if your product or service is good value or quality. It shows you have taken care and attention in making your brand and business work, rather than knocking something together yourself.
It doesn’t have to be expensive and once it’s done you can use it for years to come – if you’ve got it right the first time around.
3 – Website
A good website is like a shop window to your business. Get this wrong and people will leave as soon as they visit. I won’t be cruel and pick anyone out, but often the worst websites I see are ones that have been built in-house. “My friend can build websites” or “I watched a YouTube video” are things I’ve often heard. Again, websites don’t need to cost the earth (trust me you don’t need to pay 5K for a basic brochure website!) There are some free sites you can use, but they can be time-consuming and if you run into difficulties there is no one technical for you to get help off. You’re on your own. It can all get a bit messy – and does it actually work? It may look pretty, but can it be found on Google, can people read it on a mobile phone, do people actually look at it?
4 – Social Media
Social media is a fantastic platform to get messages across, tell people about your brand and bring your business to life.
When using social media, think about what you want people to know about your business. I see a real mix of how people use social media. Some people go all out in telling their personal story on their business pages, which is fine and it’s great to add personality into a brand, but do we want to know what they ate for breakfast? Then, in contrast, some people are so professional and salesy it just puts you off and no one will ever read your posts. Getting the right balance is key. Think about the tone of voice – are you professional, are you friendly, are you a bit crazy and kooky?
I have also seen people getting a bit #hashtag happy. #literally #using #a #hashtag #in #every #word #they #type #in #a #post. Aggggghhhhhhh don’t do it! There is no point and it is not effective. The point of a hashtag is to make the word searchable #a #in #they are not something that people are going to search for in social media, so you don’t need to use them. Be a bit more clever with them, for example in a post about marketing I may use things like #marketing #socialmedia #Instagram etc, which would help people find my post.
5 – Print
Another pet hate of mine is poor printing. If you want to be a professional business, your printed materials should be too. There are many online, cheaper printers, but I would recommend talking to your local printer, who often give excellent rates and can print better quality. They will let you know about different types of paper you can use, if the artwork is right and if any images are poor quality (another massive pet hate of mine – make sure you use good quality images for print – not one you copy off the internet!) They will often do the design work for you for free too!
If all else fails delegate and pay a professional! I am rubbish at maths so use an accountant. If I need legal advice I will call my solicitor – it’s the same with marketing. If you don’t know what you’re doing there are loads of marketing professionals out there who can help, investing and bit of time and effort into your marketing can really reap rewards!
Click here to find out more about Acorn Marketing (Cumbria) Ltd could help with your marketing.