One of the most vital steps for a small business is to put together an integrated marketing plan. It is often times referred to as Integrated Marketing Communications, or IMC. IMC is an integration of advertising, PR, social media and other communications into a cohesive whole all sharing the same unified message.
Instead of dividing marketing communications into separate groups that don’t communicate, businesses succeed by integrating marketing disciplines under one umbrella, and integrating them so as to communicate the one message and have them share the same strategy. One of the most famous examples of IMC is the Nike footwear company. Their integrated approach includes traditional advertising (billboard, magazine, and television); sponsoring sporting events and players such as the Superbowl and Tiger Woods; and engaging in online marketing initiatives by allowing consumers to customize their Nike shoes.
The key to creating a successful IMC campaign is to communicate effectively with your businesses’ prospective customer. In order to communicate effectively you need to understand who your customer is and hit on every possible touch point in this prospective customer using a variety of marketing disciplines. No one advertisement or press release will do this. You need an integrated strategy.
But what are your customers ‘touch points’? Take some time out to think about your market. Only a certain percentage of the population is ever likely to purchase your product or service. If you gear your marketing strategy toward this niche you will be more productive and save both time and money. As you are no doubt aware there are substantial differences between small and large businesses. One of these differences is that for most small businesses their marketing budget is limited. But does this mean a small business can’t compete with the larger organisations? Absolutely not. All this means is that small businesses have to be more creative.
One way to make the most out of your marketing as a small business is by tracking your marketing campaigns so as to gauge its relative effectiveness. You can do this by coding ads, using multiple tollfree numbers and asking prospective clients where they heard about you. If your strategy is not working this allows you to swiftly replace it or adopt a better or more suitable method.
A good way of keeping your strategy on track is to hold yourself accountable for contacting and tracking a certain number of customers per day. This figure is entirely up to you. The more ambitious you are, the more you will see your company grow.
Another important area to look at is all of the inactive client files you have in your database. Remember it is easier to sell to a person who has dealt with your company previously. They know and trust that your company will provide the service they are looking for. When marketing it is also important to bear in mind the 80/20 rule: 80% of your business will stem from only 20% of your customers. That is why it is important to focus on that 20%… what is that 20% looking for and how can you cater to their needs?
Never assume that if you provide a service once for a customer they will return of their own accord. Look at the old files in your database and ask yourself “Why have I never heard back from them?”
Analyse the potential reasons. Was the pricing too high? Did they have an unresolved complaint? Did they feel your business didn’t care? This can assist you in your marketing strategy and also help you grow and improve your customer relations. If you take on board any of the points mentioned in this newsletter you can guarantee an increase in your profit in no time at all. In an area with only a small pool of clients you need to be aggressive in following through on a solid IMC and keeping your existing clients satisfied. All it takes is a little bit of effort and your profit will double overnight. It’s that simple!