Marketing Tips From the Field

I’ve had the opportunity to work with organizations of all shapes and sizes. Below are some tips I’ve learned along the way.

 

In marketing, as in most things, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

 

Content Marketing

As its name implies the content itself is the vehicle. The thing you do or make. Talk, write, blog about it. There are many forms of content marketing, from YouTube videos and audio-only podcasts to white papers or photo blogs, the message is successful if it resonates and connects with the desired audiences.

There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to creating compelling content. Emotion and originality provide a foundation upon which words and imagery act as building blocks to create meaningful content. Storytelling makes content stick. We learn by stories and through stories, we convey meaningful information. The success of the content can be measured by a call to action.


Branding

Start by evaluating all aspects of the brand and the various online and offline touchpoints from each department; think stationery, email templates, direct mail, invoices, etc.  Develop and adhere to company-wide brand guidelines and have the official logo in various print and web formats readily available to ensure proper usage and placement. Pre-select engaging and unique images (original images are a plus), and give your purpose a recognizable style across websites, social media, print materials, and giveaways.


Communications

Your website is today’s most valuable tool to reach and interact with audiences. Make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for, and have your call to action front and center. Clearly and visually tell the story in a friendly, personal, and conversational tone.

From answering the phones and email etiquette to naming conventions, communications are everything and anything between sender and receiver. From small actions can make a big difference, especially now in the tag-tweet-poke era. Online and print materials should work in concert and enhance the user experience.

 


Blog

Probably the most common marketing tool is having a blog (such as this one) and archiving/showing your work, sharing tips, voicing your opinion, etc. Like old fashioned ‘private’ journals, except open for the world to see how you think.

 


Events

From national walk-a-thons to elite gala’s, events can highlight the organization’s achievements, spur networking among members, or fundraise for a cause.

Plan the event well in advance from a design and branding perspective to consolidate production costs. Integrate the right technology for the website, registration, and event information depending on the specific needs. The event experience starts well before the event, it peaks during the event, and should carry-on after the event to increase current and future engagement.

Develop all print collateral such as ads, flyers, banners, coupons, wayfinding signage, as well as all digital assets on the website or landing pages, web ads and takeovers, etc. , with compelling images. Photography is of utmost importance, hire a professional photographer to capture and convey the desired emotion.

  • Create a yearly/quarterly/monthly theme strategy to save money on printing and web costs by reusing some common elements, and consolidating printing and distribution expenses.
  • Use brochures, flyers, and handouts for BTL tactics.
  • Go all in on website and email.


Multimedia

A lot has changed in the past couple of decades. From live video feeds to interactive virtual reality videos, technology brings the audience closer than ever before. High-quality video is in our pockets, and the next big challenge has yet to go viral.

Digital versions of all communications can save thousands in printing and can add interactive features. They also bring advanced tagging and usage tools that can help identify interest areas.


Search Engine Optimization

The website must be SEO friendly, with the proper headline and body tags, include all meta and alt information, properly sizing files and clear naming conventions, etc. Creating a publishing calendar and tagging all links with tracking codes helps evaluate performance via Google Analytics, and Social Media Insights.

 


 

Social Media

It’s like the new ‘plaza or mall’ where people hang out and meet up, except virtually. And whether you like it or not, it will only continue to grow. Some industry leaders say we will inevitably spend more time interacting virtually than physically, and we may already be there if you’re reading this post.

Some social media tactics include:

  • Create a publishing calendar and stick with it. Plan and leave some room for play.
  • Create a custom FB PAGE. But don’t stop there! Engage audiences with rich content and provide an environment for open communication with polls, a reward for referrals, promotions, specials, etc.
  • A small budget can go a LONG way if you have the time to think creatively.
  • Invest in quality rather than quantity.

 


Video

Yes, they are fun, but a well-produced, captivating, and informative video doesn’t write, shoot and edit itself. There are narratives to be written and lights to be cast. From the creative brief, to properly planning A/B roll needs, and editing, the final video should convey the message, emotion, and action.

 


Design

All content must be well designed, and in some cases, the design itself is sometimes the main content. From social media posts to marketing collateral, the company’s design ethos carries emotion and meaning. It conveys values such as care, quality, and craftsmanship. Make it easy for employees to follow the design guidance and create current and approved one-pager guidelines that explain how to use the logo, and include logo formats (white/black/color and vector). Create a repository of assets: images, colors, brand elements, etc. to keep a consistent brand experience.

 


Gamification

Why not engage audiences with some competitive entertainment? We all love to play, and everyone can be a winner! People are on social media to interact, comment, and share other’s posts. Go on and give it a spin, try something fun, then adjust and repeat.

 


SEO

Creating original, compelling content is not only a useful marketing tool, but it also improves SEO by having more content for search engines to crawl. However, there are many variables in search engine algorithms such as site structure and meta information, originality of the content, the frequency of updates, the website’s usability, and more.

First, make an internal SEO audit and improve ALL meta information. Create or improve the site map, use descriptive page names and make content accessible. Finally implement advanced Google Analytics for tracking all inbound links (emails, social media, partners, etc.) and monitor users activity on the website. Find entry and exit points to improve sales.


Permission-Based Marketing

The concept introduced by Seth Godin builds on the idea of giving the consumer the option to accept to receive content in exchange for something. For example, clients can sign up for a weekly recipe from the local meat market or juice bar, to receive a white paper or free consultation from a local business.

 


 

TLDR; it is the strategic blend of the tactics that help achieve your specific marketing goals. What works in one scenario may not work in another.