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Your strategy is the long-term game plan! It’s an appreciation of what success looks like for your organisation and clearly defines the understanding of how you are going to achieve it.
Intelligent marketing campaigns can successfully propel a launch and raise the profile of a project, event or product. I support and promote individuals, organisations and events. I develop communication strategies, marketing collateral and front campaigns.
My objective from the outset of any commission is to design creative, intelligible material that evokes response – specifically tailored and at an intended target audience.
Above – some of my very early promotional publications, designed for North Devon Plus – re-defining holiday destinations and entertainment – celebrating and showcasing local food culture.
The commission included:
- Market / competitor and customer research
- Brand refresh including the development of a new logotype
- Art direction
- Typography / graphic design / layout
- Print management
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- Objective / key performance indicator settings
- Message development / campaign strategies
- Digital and social media strategies
- Campaign and brand visualisation
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Ten Effective marketing strategies for small businesses just starting out
MARKETING STRATEGY 1: Corporate Identity and Branding
What it is / who are you? It is crucial to have a company name, logo, colour palette, imagery and other graphic elements that help to communicate your strategic positioning to your customers. All of these pieces should work together to evoke a very specifically considered voice, tone and feeling. For example, branding that communicates safety should look and feel distinctively different from one that evokes a sense of luxury.
If you are just starting out, you are in the best position to pick a strategic name. Think about what you want to communicate, consider how marks, symbols and metaphors could be used adjacent to your brand name. Also consider who is doing the same (or similar) and what are they called?
If you already have a name, you will need to develop your visual identity (logo, colours, business cards etc). Once this is complete you will need to compile a Brand Manual – this will set out the rules of how your brand is applied, used and what voice it has. Thereafter get publishing yourself using simple tools like Powerpoint / Keynote / Adobe InDesign.
MARKETING STRATEGY 2: Website
Of all the marketing tools for small business, a website is the most fundamental and critical piece. A website gives you a platform to direct customers for more information, grab free traffic via search engines, drive people from social media and compose valuable content that qualifies your ‘offer’.
MARKETING STRATEGY 3: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/ Local Searches
Search engine optimization involves targeting your website and content so that it reaches your audience when they look for you via search engines. There are many factors that influence your search engine ranking (how close to the top of listings it is) including keywords, content quality, links to and from your site, mobile-friendliness, security and user experience.
Local search optimization is an added layer for those targeting smaller geographic areas (for example: Graphic Designers in Taunton or Graphic Designers in Somerset). You still need to do all the SEO activities that national companies do, but with the added steps of claiming and optimizing your listings.
MARKETING STRATEGY 4: Expertise and Keywords
Once you have your brand identity and website in place, it’s time to start generating content that qualifies your expertise, solves problems for your customers, and builds trust with your audience. Great content means credibility for you and added value for potential customers.
The first thing you must do before you begin writing is to research customer key questions. Use keyword planning to develop a priority list of keywords that your audience is using in their on-line searches. Thereafter generate content which answers your customer questions.
MARKETING STRATEGY 5: Building and Developing a Contact List
A contact list is a crucial component of modern digital marketing. The people who sign up for your newsletters are expressing their interest in you! Of all the visitors coming to your site, they are the most likely to actually purchase your products or services. Once you have a list, you have people waiting to hear from you. They want you to keep them up-to-date with what you’re working on. They want you to answer their questions – and, when the time is right, you can reach out to them with special offers or promotions.
MARKETING STRATEGY 6: Creating Leads
In order for your contact list to be successful, it helps if you offer something of value to your potential subscribers. Offer a specific discount or a free consultation in exchange for an email address / contact details.
MARKETING STRATEGY 7: Navigating Social Media
Social Media can be a very good source of web traffic and free exposure for your business. When someone visits your website from a social media link, they’ll see a valuable brand, with expert content, and gladly give you their details to learn more.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin are well known platforms – others include SnapChat, Pinterest and WhatsApp.
MARKETING STRATEGY 8: Enlisting Social Media
At this point, you have not had to invest too much financially in your marketing strategies. But once you have an established website and social media accounts, it’s time to get your wallet out and add a paid advertising layer. Paid media is exactly as titled – you pay money, and someone else services your information and advertising for you.
You will often discover that certain sources of traffic already work better than others, thereafter you can invest additional budget in those specific channels. For example, if you are still relying on free traffic, but you notice that the bulk of your website traffic is coming from Facebook – it’s a clear indication that you should consider a paid campaign with Facebook.
MARKETING STRATEGY 9: Building Links
It is important to have links on other websites which point back to your website (backlinks). Backlinks are very important for two reasons: they send traffic to your site and Google uses them as a signal for how high to rank your website in its search results. There are a number of ways to generate backlinks – the easiest is to use social networks like LinkedIn and Pinterest – simply post pictures and texts linked back to your website.
MARKETING STRATEGY 10: Partnerships and Referrals
This is the last marketing strategy and one that varies widely in how it’s executed. It can also be more time intensive than the others, but very rewarding. Essentially, you identify other businesses and organizations that are somehow related to or complement your own offer. You then come up with mutually beneficial ways to partner and help each other.
So, where do you start? At the top! Do them in order and start at the beginning – it may take you a month to develop your branding, then another to get the website where you want it to be. You might spend a couple of weeks on your keyword strategy and then a couple of months writing good content. The point isn’t to get all of this stuff done quickly. It’s to tackle each element methodically and in order so that at the end of a set time, you are able to take your small business and develop it further.
If you need and help along the way drop me a line – good luck.
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© Carl Middleton – 2019
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