Smart business owners already know that the most important aspect of their business—other than the product or service—is effectively promoting that business. However, many spend countless hours researching and preparing for success yet often leave advertising and marketing to the last minute, giving it the least amount of thought. This is a big disconnect.
The quality and quantity of marketing can make or break your business. In our crowded and exceedingly technology-driven world, I’d like to shout out loud to you: Be different! How can you set yourself aside from all the others? Usually, the answer lies in your own unique story—so tell it.
Plan, plan, plan
Your outreach campaign demands proper consideration and should be constantly evaluated and updated. A marketing plan starts (and continues) with the difficult question: How and where should I spend my budget?
Remember the bigger picture and while it seems a sexy option, please don’t get trapped in the “all eggs in one basket” theory. Instead, look at all avenues available to you. Diversify your marketing and show up everywhere your customers might go. Decide what it is you’re going to be advertising and who your target demographic will be. Think and go local, keep marketing diversified, involve yourself in community-based marketing, supplement marketing with all forms so they complement each other. For example, if you’re planning a branding campaign, the budget needs to be sustainable over a long period of time.
The goal of branding is to establish a significant presence in the market area that will attract and retain customers making you easily identifiable and unique to the public. This takes money and time, so plan your budget accordingly. A fantastic local example of this is Clover Stornetta Farms. Its unique “Clo the cow” ads have found a lasting place in the hearts of Bay Area residents. While Clover’s brand recognition wasn’t achieved overnight, by thinking out of the box and maintaining a continuous campaign, it’s really hit it out of the ballpark. Now, no local can see or hear the Clover name without thinking of those cute, funny and healthy cows whose milk we love.
Be where your clients are
When thinking local, it’s useful to consider one aspect of your business and concentrate your efforts on getting the word out about it. This can range from a variety of options, like a new product or service, a call to action or seasonal sales and events. Again, consider all your options and choose avenues that complement each other and reach your target audience.
Perhaps your clients are avid readers. Catch their attention in magazines and newspapers. If you think they might attend a local event like the Sonoma County Fair, then make sure they feel your presence at that event and others like it. The bottom line is you need to be where your clients are.
It’s not enough to just reach out. You must reach your target market in the right place and in the right way. Keep it simple. Don’t confuse your audience with multiple messages or a split agenda; keep their focus on one main point. Our speedy online world demands that your message be highly creative, quick and to the point.
The power of community involvement
Talk about a win-win.Show your support for your community, give back to those who need it and share your story with a ready-made audience. Pick a charity or group that’s important to you and your industry or business and sponsor local events, trade shows, participate in donations and other events. This benefits everyone and ties you and your message to the folks you’re trying to reach.
Marketing your business is an ongoing process that should always be number one on your mind and have your full attention. Revisit your plan quarterly, be as aggressive as you can afford to be and keep thinking outside the box, and test and examine the results of your efforts and be open to adapt your plan accordingly.
Tom Jackson is general manager of Veale Outdoor Advertising and has been an ad man for more than 25 years. Originally from Indiana, he’s lived in Santa Rosa since 1988 and, when’s he not helping clients fulfill their marketing goals, Tom enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, family, friends and playing golf. Learn more about his creative work at www.vealeoutdooradvertising.com or call (707) 575-3752.
Located at 1410 Neotomas Ave. in Santa Rosa,NorthBay biz magazine is a monthly business-to-business publication covering Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. This year, the magazine is celebrating 43 years of continuous operation. It originally hit the stands in 1975, when it was called Sonoma Business, and only covered Sonoma County. Norm and Joni Rosinski and John Dennis, acquired it in 2000 and changed its name to cover an expanded market. Today, the magazine is part of Amaturo Sonoma Media Group. More here..