Marketing in the 20th century was primarily done three ways: In person, via phone or by mass communication (television/radio spots, newspaper/magazine ads and direct mail). All of these are still valid components to consider today when developing your marketing plan. Add to these the 21st century goodies: websites, social media, email marketing, pay-per-click, etc. As you can see, there’s lot of marketing choices these days but please make sure your foundation is in place before you get too far down the path.
What makes a solid marketing foundation? I suggest it’s all the items that you own and fully control. Do you own your social media channels? Can you dictate exactly how your brand is presented and the breath of exposure you get on social media? No, you are always one “terms of service” change from potentially losing all the momentum you’ve built.
So what are central components of a strong marketing foundation?
- A domain name you own and control. You’ll want to secure both the .com and .net version of your domain. Buy each domain for two years or longer (because Google likes that!)
- A high quality logo for your business that’s easily recognizable and represents your brand well.
- A professionally designed website that’s graphically appealing, easily navigated and converts (makes browsers become customers). It also must auto re-size for easy reading on a cellphone. You website is the center of all your marketing efforts.
- An email marketing program where you constantly capture email addresses of prospective customers to add to your list of regular customer who receive your company’s monthly, branded email newsletter. Remember, they came to your website so there must be an interest in your product or service. Every email you send moves them closer to buying or using your service again (or trying it for the first time).
The items listed above all have one thing in common. You are in control! You set the rules and decide how things will work. Can your business survive with only these four tools in your marketing toolbox? Probably. Can you excel and grow using only these tools? Probably not. You’ll need social media to create the “digital word of mouth” for your company and drive your website activity and rankings. Broadcast/print advertising will get your message to the masses fast while pay-per-click places your ad on page one of Google search.
Build your foundation and make sure it’s stable. Then focus your attention on the supporting elements like social media and mass advertising. It’s called marketing strategy for a reason. It takes careful planning and consistent monitoring to insure your marketing effectiveness.
PS: Let’s not forget the oldest form of marketing in the world: person to person. Make sure you get from behind that desk and out in front of people whenever the opportunity permits (maybe even create a few networking opportunities at your office!) There are hundreds of business networking events across Atlanta every month. Here’s a list of the most popular ones: www.joelslist.com. See you there!