In this session of the eMarketing Playbook, I’m going to give you an overview and breakdown of the two major phases of a well-structured marketing campaign. With this information, you should save both your time and money by avoiding the most common mistakes most small business owners make in their marketing efforts.
By far, the worst marketing strategy is the one where you simply click the “Boost Post” button on one of your Facebook or Instagram posts. While you’re only spending $20 on the post, there isn’t any strategic thinking that goes into this action, especially when your only call-to-action sends prospective clients to a half-baked website where they will surely abandon the sales process.
Though most new businesses believe they should focus their attention on social media marketing more than on their website, this mentality is entirely ineffective. Not only are all monetary transactions done on your website, but this is also where you gain ownership of your customer relationships. On any social network, the network makes all of the rules and controls who sees what, when, and where. But once a customer is on your site, you are in control.
Equally important is that you can influence your Google ranking in their search results by taking advantage of the complete creative and technical control you have on your website. From this perspective, your website is literally the “Capital of your Digital Empire” that ties all of your online efforts together.
With this in mind, let’s look at the two major phases of an eMarketing Campaign:
Phase I is where we create a brand around your product or service. To accomplish this, we must identify our target demographic, create a clear and concise main message, establish a unique company name, design a simple logo, secure a short domain name and professional email, and order some high-quality business cards.
Phase II is all about marketing your products or services by developing valuable content and distributing it to your potential clients and customers through any medium where they might be reached. This includes posting articles, graphics, videos, and podcasts on relevant social networks, your website, and your email list. To be most effective, this content must always include calls to action that invite prospective clients to take the next step in your business relationship.
Now that we’ve got a feel for the big picture, let’s get into the specifics.
When it comes to your Target Demographic, “Everybody” is NOT your customer. While it may seem like specifically identifying who you created your product or service for is limiting your potential sales, it is actually more fruitful. Not only does it allow you to more accurately reach these people and speak in a tone that resonates with them, but it also makes them feel special that you created something specifically with them in mind, as opposed to a product that is “for everybody.”
An accurately defined target demographic is the foundation for our marketing efforts as it dictates where, when, how, and in what style we communicate with our prospective customers.
The more specific you can define your target demographic without explicitly being racist/sexist/ageist or classist, the better. Just because someone isn’t listed in our target demographic doesn’t mean we will refuse to do business with them. It simply says that we don’t think they would be most interested in our offerings.
For example, if I owned a steakhouse, vegetarians would not be listed in my target demographic. That is not to say that they wouldn’t be welcomed and served a salad if they came in. It only means that I would be advertising steaks, not salads, on my billboards. It’s a “target” demographic, not an “exclusively” demographic.
Once we have our target demographic properly defined, we can move on to creating our main message. Simply put, the main message is four to seven words that clearly and concisely answer the question: “So, what does your company do?”
An effective main message will motivate your target demographic to learn more about your offerings, whereas a vague main message will simply be ignored. For example, while “Turning your dreams into reality” sounds pretty, it doesn’t effectively communicate what any company tangibly does. A good main message will say what you do and who your target demographic is. For location-based businesses, the main message will include the location of your target demographic. Lastly, the best main message will include a few specific examples.
Once you have established what you do (with a clear main message) and who you do it for (with a specific target demographic), it is time to give your company a name. The trick to a great business name is choosing something unique and, at the same time, vague enough that it can grow with your business over time. Unlike the main message, a company name shouldn’t describe what our company does as most companies evolve, often expanding their offerings. Apple’s original name was “Apple Computers, Inc.” This worked well until they started selling more phones than computers and eventually had to change their name to just “Apple, Inc.”
When it comes to being unique, many of the world’s most famous company names are either completely unrelated to their product or simply people’s names. While using most any variation of a personal name for your company is fine, I strongly recommend not using the word “design” in your company name. It is incredibly overused in a variety of different industries and often times the first choice of amateurs and hobbyists.
With your company name established, it’s time to create a logo that is simple enough to be displayed in the smallest of spaces, unique enough it can be recognized quickly, and timeless enough that you don’t have to redesign it every few years. For extra credit, try hiding a subliminal message in the negative space like FedEx did with their giant arrow.
Can’t see the hidden arrow? Now, you’ll never be able to unsee it.
Next up, you’ll need to buy a short, easy-to-spell domain name for your website and professional email. As the most common domains have already been taken, I recommend adding an area code or state code to your domain to differentiate it and keep it short at the same time. While your domain is important, most people will reach your website by clicking a link in the Google Search Results or on Social Media, so don’t worry too much if your perfect domain is already taken.
The last step in Phase One is getting some premium business cards. While handing out business cards may seem like a dated practice, high-end cards are a quick and effective way to show the quality of work and attention to detail that your company provides during any in-person interaction.
Once you have a brand established around your product or service, it’s time to move on to Phase Two of the eMarketing Playbook and start marketing! While most small business owners associate marketing with manipulative sales tactics or cheesy gimmicks, the most effective way to attract interest in your product or service is to help people solve their problems.
Regardless of your industry, simply sharing your expertise will attract more qualified leads than any promotion ever would. Sure, some people might take your information and try to do it themselves, but the majority of people will recognize your expertise and then choose to work with you.
Let’s go through the process of Providing Value play-by-play:
First, we need to create valuable content. This doesn’t mean fancy content full of special effects and epic soundtracks. It means the content is full of information that will be useful and interesting to our target demographic. Depending on the subject, this valuable content can come in the form of written articles, visual graphics, video tutorials, audio podcasts, or all of the above.
For example, if you run a service-based company, like a landscaper, you could start by recording a video on your phone where you demonstrate how you replace a sprinkler head or the proper way to plant a tree. Likewise, if yours is a product-based company, like a health food store, you could create quick, easy, and delicious recipes that include the foods you sell.
Second, we absolutely need to include two clear calls to action within our content. The primary call to action should invite first-time visitors unfamiliar with you and your product or service to learn more. The secondary call to action is for returning visitors ready to take the next step in your business relationship.
In Step Three, you will create and populate a website with all your amazing content! In addition to making sure that your site follows the brand aesthetic that you established in Phase One, you must also ensure the site:
- is formatted to work on all screen sizes (from a watch to a big screen tv)
- loads fast (Google Lighthouse Score > 90
- is secure (A-rated)
- and works with touch, tap, and click devices
In Step Four, we start sharing our valuable content on social media, always remembering to include calls-to-action that invites potential customers to our website to find even more valuable content. Rather than simply boosting posts for $20, it is essential to run ads directed at our target demographic and then track these ads’ analytics and conversion rates to see which are the most effective.
In Step Five, it’s time to start sending regular, automated emails that are chock full of the same valuable content on our website and social media posts. While some might think that this is repetitive and overkill, it is essential to remember that no one is paying super-close attention to all of your marketing efforts, so we must repeat ourselves. On average, a potential customer must see a brand EIGHT times before they recognize it.
Now, I know I breezed through each of these steps when a college course could be taught on each of these topics! But my goal here is to provide a simple overview for your marketing efforts. Even so, if this playbook still seems overwhelming, you don’t have to go it alone.
Here are four potential options that I recommend:
Option 1: For the do-it-yourselfer, you could take classes! I personally teach all of these topics through a 900-hour hands-on course at Davis Technical College.
Option 2: Hire a student from a reputable institution. This is an excellent option for someone who has a modest budget and a long timeline. As the old saying goes, there is good, fast, and cheap, but you can only have two of them. While students produce high-quality work at affordable prices, but they do not do it quickly!
Option 3: Hire an experienced freelancer. This option will most likely produce your most significant return on investment as freelancers can produce outstanding work for a fraction of the cost of an agency. Even so, finding freelancers with a proven track record can sometimes be a challenge. Your best bet here is to ask your colleagues for referrals.
Option 4: Hire a design agency. This is by far the most expensive option, but the quality of work should be outstanding. Of greatest benefit here is that you can write the checks and turn everything else over to them if you’re interested in a more hands-off approach.
No matter which option you choose, following this eMarketing Playbook is guaranteed to put you in a favorable position with your target audience.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!
For more information about my eMarketing Playbook or to get a quote for my freelance services, visit bravo-delapaz.com