When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an actress, singer, basketball player – Your typical triple threat. My brother and I would practice these tiny basketball productions he called “plays” to help me hone my craft. Every day, I was one step closer to the next sports musical, which I would be uniquely qualified to play the lead in. There was only one thing left to do: wait to be discovered. I figured one day, a bigshot movie producer might just happen to walk down Taylor Street in Little Chute, and say “Kid, I’m going to make you a star.” Spoiler Alert: I did not end up becoming a singing basketball musical star.
While I had a very specific niche carved out and had a solid commitment to the work, hoping to be discovered was not a solid strategy for sharing my gifts with the world.
I’ve seen this same thing with many small business owners. They are some of the hardest-working people out there. They use this hard work to support a unique idea. They find that the product/service speaks for itself. Sometimes, this strategy is good enough to get them started, but when growth starts to flatten out, it is crucial to be purposeful in keeping the marketing pipeline full.
If you are considering advertising, here are some things that will help to create a successful campaign.
Know your audience. You really want to paint an extremely clear picture of who your customer is. Creating this picture involves not only defining demographic qualities like age/gender, but also understanding where to reach them and how they make their decisions. There are so many methods and tools available to help answer some of these questions for your target market. For example, if you ever wondered which social media platform your target market prefers, here’s a great resource: http://www.pewinternet.org/
Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Imagine trying to create an ad that would appeal to both Gwyneth Paltrow and your Auntie Carol who loves Costco and coupons. By compromising specific messaging that would appeal to both women, you might create an ad too watered down to catch they eye of either. By incorporating what you know about your target market in your ad through your words, images, and offering, you can increase your chances of cutting through the buzz and standing out.
Know what do you want. If your top marketing goal is to increase profitability, your advertising strategy might be completely different than if your goal is to increase market share. Whether you are investing in strengthening your brand, or getting current customers to try new products, knowing your specific goal will drive the creation, placement, and trackability of your advertising campaign.
Define your budget. Knowing what you intend to spend on advertising will help with decision-making. It provides a framework for measuring ROI later on. It also helps you to determine the number of impressions you will need to hit your revenue goals. Think about what strategies you need to consider for sources of additional revenue.
Know what makes you special. I buy musical equipment (gifts for my husband) from a company called Sweetwater. They are not the cheapest, and they don’t have a brick-and-mortar store where he can try out the equipment. But they have maybe the best customer service I’ve ever experience from any company! They actually call me ON THE PHONE –gasp!- after an item has been delivered and talk to me about how it works and feels. They know this is their strength and they use it to frame their tone and verbiage in marketing emails I receive, and ads that magically appear to the right of my Facebook page. By knowing what makes you different and special, you can create your messaging to be completely on point.
Track Everything you Can. There is no need to start from a blank slate every time you want to advertise. Continued A/B testing is a great way to help you inch closer to finding the perfect platform/artwork/messaging.
Once you incorporate all of these things, you can not only increase your chance of being discovered, you can be the perfect triple threat, and get in front of the right person, with the right offer, at the right time.
Lisa Thomson is a marketing professional with Women in Networking. She has been consulting companies for Direct Marketing for over 10 years. What makes her passionate about marketing is that it embodies the perfect combination of art and science, and how the right combination of words and images have a real measurable effect on people. To advertise with WIN, please contact Lisa at Marketing@mnwin.org or 612-991-3275, or stay for dessert after our 5/18 luncheon to meet Lisa and learn more about the options we have available.