When it comes to life, people have different ways they choose to experience it. Some people prefer to jump in and see what happens, others prefer to create a plan before proceeding, and some people like to combine the two. No matter people’s preferences- when it comes to business, it’s always great to have some type of strategy before moving forward on any initiative, especially when it comes to your marketing. We wanted to get you started on the right path if you’re not doing so already, so below we’ve shared an overview of how to hit your marketing goals by creating a strategy first.
- Determine your goal
- If you don’t know the goal you’re trying to reach, you most likely will never reach it. Whether it is to increase brand awareness, double last quarter’s sales or retain more customers this month, you need to identify the goal you’re ultimately trying to accomplish.
- Create a plan
- Once you have determined your goal, the next thing to do is figure out how you’re going to accomplish it. At this point, you should map out an overall plan detailing your target market, what your messaging will say, promotional platforms to use, and how you will convey your brand’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) consistently and clearly.
- Decide on the marketing platforms you’re going to use
- When deciding which marketing platforms to use, you have to consider your resource level from the following perspectives: financially, support, and time. A budget, no matter how small, must be set. The size of your team and time you have available will determine how long it will take you to execute your marketing goals. There are a variety of marketing platforms to choose from: Advertising, Social Media, Partnerships, Direct Marketing, Promotions, (and the list goes on) so there is always some type of marketing your business can do no matter its’ level.
- Establish a timeline
- A lot of businesses don’t understand how imperative this step is when creating its marketing strategy. When you start to note dates down on paper, it gives you a benchmark to work again to ensure you’re staying on track with the execution of your activities. As you cross deliverables off your list, you’ll begin to see the progress that is being made, even if you’re not seeing results right away.
- While this is the most logical step of marketing strategy, this is where we find most businesses fall. They put a lot of time and energy into creating a great strategy, and then they drop the ball when it comes to execution. Many great marketing plans have sat on the bookshelf collecting dust because a business simply didn’t have time to execute it or make it a priority to execute their marketing plan. Basically they had the winning lotto ticket in their hands, but never cashed it in!
So if you are looking to develop your marketing strategy for second quarter, consider all of these options. While you may have been getting by OK so far with the current marketing activities that you are (or are not) doing, imagine if you actually established a goal to hit, a plan how to get there, and then executed it! You’ll find that you’ll get to that pot of gold at the end of rainbow much quicker and with fewer detours! And if the concept of developing a marketing strategy sounds great to you, but you don’t have enough time or interest to do it yourself, contact us at email@example.com so we can discuss how we can help you.
Check out this business plan competition being held by the Harlem Business Alliance! The deadline is March 18th so apply ASAP!
*This offer ends February 6, 2013
Earlier this year our fall interns Dashaun and Kim attended a workshop on social media titled “Social Week Small Business Seminar” presented by The City of New York, The Tomorrow Project, Silverback Social and Vanguarde Consulting Group, and decided to do a recap for our Sunny Day Marketing community as a parting gift. Check it out below!
SDM INTERN INSIDER
- Dashaun thought, “… I loved how Chris Dessi broke down the use of social media especially what time you should post on Facebook and twitter… I took away a lot of valuable information from this workshop.”
- Kim thought, “Wow, I didn’t know the average age of Twitter and Facebook is 37* – more businesses should realize that their target market and audience is DEFINITELY active on social media networks!”
INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL MEDIA
“Social Media is taking over the business world step by step”- it’s everywhere and chances are if you’re not doing it, you’re going to lack experience while others are booming. Now is the time to connect and share with EVERYONE. Don’t let your business fall behind by ignoring the explosion of social media that has come in the late 2000’s. Whether you like it or not, social media is happening to your brand. It’s a simple concept – evolve or die. This doesn’t mean put your business on every social network as possible, but it does mean utilizing the networks that can help you best. Facebook and Twitter and a few others are a must-have, and other networks can be used based on your product or service field. You may say, “I already have a Facebook profile for my business and a Twitter account but it’s not doing much for me”. Well, there’s a simple answer to this.
USING SOCIAL MEDIA EFFECTIVELY
The key to using social media effectively is to stop pushing, and to start listening. Know your customer and don’t push out a million promotions towards them. No one likes to be haggled and quite frankly, all your stupendous promotions may come off as too good to be true if all you advertise is your deals. Instead you should engage with your target audience Start talking about how your business started, rather than immediately pushing out what your benefits are. You have to remember that your brand is based on the consumers’ perspectives, not your perspective. So help yourself by creating a positive brand image. This can all take a great start on how well you engage your customers/fans on social media. Once you get the buzz going about your business, go ahead and offer those great promotions you want everyone to know about. People expect to get discounts and they use social media to help them make purchase decisions. It’s a two-way street and you can position yourself at the better end. Offer discounts like “Get 10% off your next purchase when you retweet our last post” or “Get 10% off by liking our Facebook page”. People will then spread the word about your business, a.k.a free advertisement, and you’ll even get their business. It’s a win-win situation!
TIMING: WHEN NOT TO POST
Another thing you may run into is posting the correct type of information, but getting little to no hits at times. Consider the timing of your posts. This is crucial if you know that your target audience is more apt to be on social media in the morning. The same goes for afternoon, night, or late night. Generally it is best to post outside of business hours, and let’s even say school hours if your target audience involves kids or the younger generation. Keep this little saying in mind: Post during coffee and/or cocktail hour. These are the times where people are most likely to be doing a little browsing on their social media networks. Also, don’t forget the weekend when people have downtime to do even more browsing. Don’t underestimate the age group of social media; the average age of Twitter and Facebook users is 37!
WHAT SHOULD I POST?
Now that you know what time to post, you should know what to post. Posts that end in a question have 15% higher engagement. Tweets with 100 characters or less also receive about 15% higher engagement than longer ones. Increase more engagement by adding one or two hashtags. Maximize engagement by tweeting between 1 and 5 times daily. Remember to use action words/phrases like “retweet this”, “like”, “submit”, etc. This provokes the user to engage and reciprocate. On your Facebook page, make sure its personal. Use a cover image that represents your story and evokes emotion; not just your brand image or logo. Make sure your posting times are spaced out, and try to avoid overlapping of your posts. People are less likely to read what you’re posting if their newsfeed/mentions are being flooded.
VIDEOS GONE VIRAL
Don’t forget videos! Videos are a great way to engage people as most people are visualizers rather than verbalizers. Those who like to read, do. Those who don’t may read a portion of what you have to say and then ignore the rest. Using videos is a great way to remedy this issue and get some buzz about your brand in a fun way. Make a simple video testimonial by asking a satisfied customer a few questions on camera and having them agree to letting you use it on your website and social media pages. Not familiar with editing videos? There are simple online software’s that can help. Check out Animoto for example, or Final Cut Pro. Some Windows computers should also have a Window’s video editing software already installed.
WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA DOES FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Overall, marketing is about creating value beyond the point of purchase. By being more connected to the community you can increase your prospective clientele, gain more loyal customers, and increase your brand awareness. Social media is booming and as any good businessman knows you must keep up with the market trends.Your brand has to be accessible, responsive, and relevant. Turn your fans into customers and your customers into fans. Engage your audience. Let social media help you!
While we believe Marketing is one of the most important functions that a business most have, we also recognize that there are other areas that are important for long term success. Check out the links below to articles on some of the areas your business should be succeeding in.
Human Resources: http://www.nyreport.com/node/83561
This month, our founder Nicole McGarrell had the pleasure of being featured in Crème magazine as a Hot Shot!
Check out her interview here and find out her thoughts on marketing strategy, advice on starting a business, and her definition of a Hot Shot!
In this newsletter, we have a lot of great items for you- from a video interview with local small business owner Grace Odogbili, of Dining With Grace, an innovative catering service in Brooklyn, to an article on holiday consumer trends, to our upcoming monthly marketing workshops. As well, just having experienced the severe Hurricane Sandy, we have included a link in the right panel to resources to help your business if it was impacted by the storm in any way! Click here to read!
This past week, the Tri-State area and other states along the East Coast were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy! For those of you that have businesses in NYC, the following information has been released and available in its entirety on the NYC Business Solutions website homepage.
Hurricane Sandy Business Recovery Information
Dear NYC Business Owners:
New York City, including the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), is coordinating a set of services to assist small businesses in recovering from Hurricane Sandy. Below is an outline of available programs and relevant contact information.
New York City Business Assistance Programs
An emergency loan for businesses will be available, patterned after similar programs deployed in past emergencies. Loans will be capped at $10,000. Please click this link to contact an NYC Business Solutions Account Manager or call 311 and ask for NYC Business Emergency Loan.
An emergency sales tax letter from New York City Industrial Development Authority (IDA) will be available allowing businesses to avoid payment of New York City and New York State sales taxes on materials purchased for rebuilding. IDA will also waive all fees and, while following State law, look to streamline its normal procedure. This program is expected to offer economic benefits to reconstruction projects costing $500,000 or more. Please contact Shin Mitsugi at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on this program.
Short-term “swing” office space at Brooklyn Army Terminal available free of charge for the next 30 days. NYCEDC has approximately 40,000 square feet of warehouse space at the Terminal that can be used for this purpose. Please click this link to contact an NYC Business Solutions Account Manager or call 311 and ask for NYC Business Solutions.
The SBS Business Outreach Team and Emergency Response Unit’s Large Scale Response Team will be deployed after the storm to help all impacted small businesses. This team is currently on-call for any storm-related business inquiries and is closely coordinating with the NYC Office of Emergency Management. Please click this link to contact an NYC Business Solutions Account Manager or call 311 and ask for NYC Business Solutions.
Federal Aid Programs for Disaster Recovery
Click here for information from the Federal Small Business Administration on disaster recovery assistance.
NYC Business Solutions is a set of free services offered by the Department of Small Business Services to help businesses start, operate, and expand in New York City. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, running a small business or a large corporation, NYC Business Solutions can work for you – for free.