The world and technology are changing, fast, but even though its a new year some basics don’t change.
Avoid Marketing Favourites
It is wonderful that you like [insert your favourite social network/ communication method here] and even better than you’ve had success communicating with your audience there. However, that does not mean they are there all the time, or will be in 6 months.
If you have a clear message, then you can broadly share it simply across pretty much all platforms. A new product or service would merit a news/blog post on your website which would have a picture attached to it (ideally a ‘featured image’), then share a link to that on Facebook, Twitter and perhaps further away.
However it’s easy to miss something on a website or social media with such a firehose of a feed, so if it’s especially important include it in your email newsletter. Though no need to copy all the text in there, otherwise it will be too long, just link back to the website.
Regular and Steady Wins the Race
Think like a human, what do we like to see when we encounter an organisation? Or perhaps easier, what don’t we like to see? A website where the last update was 6 months ago, a social network where it still says ‘This is my first tweet’.
We (and hence search engines) reward regular steady content. Having a month where you blitz is nice, but marketing is more like treading water. You need to keep your head consistently above water through steady energy.
Don’t over-commit, remembering regularilty is the key, but a good minimum would be:
- 1 news/blog item per month on your website (it can be anything, from an event report to new product, team member, or your professional thoughts on something in the industry – about 300 words is right, so this post is far too long and could have been broken in two to be more effective)
- 1 newsletter a quarter (anything less and we tend to forget you exist, but keep it short and simple, your news is less important than an email from their boss or family member)
- 1 social media update per week, which can be much more informal (remember, updating social media doesn’t replace updating your website – and it doesn’t count for search engines if embedded on your website)
Every now and again check your homepage and see if you can update it, maybe swap around some images, rewrite the intro text. Do the same with key service pages, they can be all too easy to miss.
Communication is two-way
Blasting your message into the ether will yield some results, but not as much as inviting a conversation. Thanks to techolology, you have a closer connection with the organisations you interact with daily but it’s also a mindset.
So when you share a post, don’t disable comments, rather embrace them. Negative feedback may come, but the professional solution is to engage positively and take the conversation offline if needed. Like the hotel manager who responds to complaints on TripAdvisor is really showing potential customers they care.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time communicating, but if someone replies to your email newsletter, will you get it? Do you know how to access a social media reply?
And what is more human than communicating? We want and expect to be heard in 2018; even moreso we actually want to help the organisations we engage with do a better job in serving us. So reply and listen.
Plan, Use Tools and Get On With It
Of course no-one is really a fan of marketing, it feels like you’re spending time away from what you love, or managing the business. But marketing does drive ‘sales’ (of products/ services or awareness) and if you don’t then someone else will get that attention.
This does not mean you need to find that unicorn of time every day, because you can:
- schedule news/blog items
- schedule social media posts (including of links to the above)
- schedule email newsletters
- ask someone else to contribute, be they on your team or a friend
The best place to start is with a plan. Keep it simple, months down the site and ‘marketing channels’ across the top. And have a place you can keep title ideas so you don’t have writer’s block when you do find time.
Simple planning spreadsheet: freshSPRING Marketing Template
Take half an hour every quarter to plan things out, especially ensuring that you’re not doing too much in a given month (note: in the spreadsheet above, each month has 4 rows for up to 1 item a week).
And finally, don’t forget to have a little fun, express some creativity. This is communicating you/ your organisation, it has a personality and that passion shouldn’t be lost – marketing isn’t drudgery, it’s expression!