Every good marketing plan should have a section on ongoing promotion and publicity, which outlines ways of reaching your target market. These tools can do many of the same things paid advertising is supposed to do, at a fraction of the cost. With an on-going publicity strategy, you can enhance your image and bring in new business.
Your first step: examine your marketing plan. Does it outline a carefully selected target market and identify its needs? Does it list your products and services that will meet those needs? Your marketing plan should describe how you will make it easy for your potential customers to buy what you sell. And, it should describe how these people will learn that your business exists – i.e. your promotion.
Next, take a look at your business itself. Do you know who you are? Are you using your image as a consistent marketing tool? In a world of intense competition, credibility and trust are crucial. This stands true for corporations, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. Establish a company message you believe in and repeat it over and over in your promotional materials.
Fortunately, consistent promotion is a state of mind – once you start promoting your message, you’ll find opportunities everywhere you turn. By reinforcing your image and repeating publicity, you’ll begin to see dividends accrue for your organization. As your company’s stories appear in the media, your clients and prospects will perceive you as more credible. You are positioning yourself as the expert. As you send out materials such as newsletters and ezines, you build a relationship with people over time. They feel like you are a friend, not a pushy salesperson.
If you’re not sure where to start or where to go next, a professional agency can help you refine your existing strategy and create marketing tools to meet your specific goals.
Here are some marketing tools to consider:
1. Newsletter: A newsletter can establish you as an authority. It makes a great direct mail piece that will give you ongoing contact with your customers and prospects. A dynamic and interesting newsletter can mean new business. Formatting tips: Provide a lot of useful information in easy-to-read paragraphs. Use short words. Make sentences brief. Illustrate your ideas with cartoons, photos, and graphics.
2. Brochures: Brochures can convey extensive information about your business. The best brochures include graphic images – use photos, graphs, illustrations, and diagrams. But, make sure you also include written copy about your organization and the services that you offer. Offer your brochures to current customers to pass along. Hand them out at events and trade shows.
3. Press releases: Make sure your press releases are well written and news worthy. Your release should reinforce and build upon your business identity. If you are submitting it to a newspaper, include an appealing photograph. Tell a story about a client you have helped, or discuss new technology your company is implementing.
4. Special events: Events raise awareness of your business and they provide a service to the community. Try creating or sponsoring an event that will be of interest to your target audience. As people begin to associate your organization with the event, you derive publicity, goodwill, and new leads. Another option is for a business to partner with a non-profit organization as fund-raising co-sponsors. Try offering seminars and workshops that feature you as the expert.
5. Ezine: Publishing an ezine will help position your business as an expert in your field. In addition, you will be providing tips to your customers that will help them. It sets you apart from your competitors and instills confidence and trust in your readers, making it easier for them to do business with you.