What if there was something you could do to make marketing for your business easier? Marketing planning and implementation doesn’t have to be a cumbersome process. There are ways to make it easy, through planning, organization, reporting and partnerships with marketing professionals. Just as there are different professionals who work on homes – contractors, electricians, plumbers, painters, etc. – there is a diverse group of marketers available to help consult on and implement your overall strategy. Choosing experts to handle each task can help you maximize your return and stay committed to your overall strategy. So who are some of the potential partners who can assist you with marketing planning and implementation?
- Strategists: Help you develop a budget, plan and calendar by incorporating initiatives with goals of increasing sales and achieving a sustainable competitive advantage.
- Designers: graphic artists who develop the creative and bring your marketing ideas to life. Designers should understand your industry, audience, goals, and objectives to deliver a product relevant to your customer’s needs.
- Direct Mail Vendors: many direct response marketers provide a turn-key service, making it cost-effective and easy for you. These professionals provide tested direct mail designs, obtain prospect mailing lists, and handle printing and mailing of your direct mail marketing projects. Some direct mail vendors are industry specific and can provide samples and benchmarking data (how often they “get the phone to ring”) that appeal to your target consumer.
- Digital Marketing Specialists: in a constantly evolving digital marketplace, creating a content rich website and incorporating search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media, blog development, video integration and responsive design is no small undertaking. Partnering with a digital marketing specialist will help you integrate online initiatives into your overall marketing strategy, drive traffic, update and maintain your site, plus grow and change with the evolving landscape which is critical to your overall marketing success.
- Professional Video Production: if your budget permits, working with a professional production company on a regular or consultative basis will help you incorporate professional video into your online strategy, public relations campaign and in-office POS.
- Marketing Analysts: working with a marketing analyst to track your return on investment (ROI) is a critical component of your marketing plan. Assessing your results on at least a quarterly basis is the best way to compare your marketing ROI against industry benchmarks and adjust your plan accordingly.
When choosing a marketing partner (or partners), open communication is key to creating a successful working relationship. When looking for a new vendor partner, consider the following questions:
- Does the prospective vendor communicate their capabilities in a clear, precise and easy to understand format?
- Are the prospective vendor’s costs comparable to the industry standard? Did you shop around?
- Will the prospective vendor be able to provide solutions for your growing business?
You don’t have to go it alone. Working with marketing professionals, especially those who understand your industry, will help you achieve your goals and objectives, stay within your budget and assess the efficacy of your initiatives.
Consult YHN Marketing can help and/or recommend industry partners. Interested in learning more? Please contact marketing at marketing@ConsultYHN.com.
Want to know more of what not to do with your online presence? Here’s the remainder of our list of 10 do’s and 10 don’ts to keep your online activities on the right track in 2013.
Don’t: Hide your contact information away in an obscure spot or buried page.
Do: Present your contact information (address, phone number, email address) and other critical details noticeably on your website. No need to go overboard and plaster it in 60 point type everywhere either – that does not send the message you are looking for, does it? Make certain it is in one primary spot, then use the footer or text-based references to sprinkle it throughout the site. The same thing applies to listings, social media profiles, and any other online space that you have created. Be sure to check for accuracy and consistency across your entire online presence, it will help search engines recognize and elevate your business in local search rankings.
Don’t: Disregard the fact that happy customers are your best promoters.
Do: Share positive reviews and comments from some of your best customers. It is up to you how elaborately you want to do this – whether written or via video clips. Video can be impromptu personal video camera quality, or professionally shot and edited, however you choose and whichever your budget allows. Use them on your website, social media pages, and/or company blog to establish credibility for your practice. This process ensures you are paying attention to feedback from your customers and provides a “voice” of your patients for others to gauge. That voice needs to be authentic and real, not prescribed and contrived – consumers can tell the difference.
Don’t: Assume you are immune to criticism, or take your reputation for granted.
Do: Create a plan for monitoring and managing your online reputation. Set up notifications, like Google Alerts, to be aware of what consumers are saying about you online. Also, follow up on any negative comments in a timely and professional manner. Do not engage in an online debate with an unhappy customer, take your actions offline and address them immediately. Be certain to recognize and thank customers who leave positive feedback.
Don’t: Go unlisted online, or fail to extend your presence.
Do: Claim business listings on Google+ Local, Yelp, and other business directories. The term ‘free directory listings’ applies to local search engines, internet yellow pages, local vertical search engines, special directories (like free 800 listings), and consumer review websites that focus on local businesses rather than products,. By claiming your business listings in these places, you can ensure your information is current and accurate. Plus, by updating and optimizing your listings, you increase the chances that consumers will find you as they search online.
Don’t: Ignore or underestimate your online marketing campaigns.
Do: Just like in traditional direct marketing you must create smart, effective ads with strong calls to action (CTAs). In this market an online ad can be part of your customers’ research and possibly the first impression of your business, so make it a strong one. As in offline marketing, you need to actively monitor your campaign performance to see what works. Monitor campaigns frequently to assess the source for the most leads and adjust your efforts in real time. The key benefit of online marketing is the ability to make on-the-fly adjustments. Be sure to keep any online incentives, offers, or specials listed in your ads (or on your website/social media pages) up to date.
In today’s marketing world, multi-media integration has the potential to be broader, deeper and more powerful than ever before. Instead of looking for “the next shiny object,” or “the silver bullet” (which don’t exist, by the way), think about how you can build a strong marketing presence by leveraging several media outlets – that have been tested and proven – and making them work together.
The cheese does NOT stand alone
Direct mail and print are integral staples in our Associates’ marketing strategies (because they work!) and integrating
Although direct mail has dipped since 2008, it’s still relevant and it works! What to expect in today’s marketplace: a .25-1% response rate to a prospect list.
these and other initiatives will strengthen the reach and depth of your marketing strategy. Different media have different strengths and weaknesses; woven together, they help one another succeed. Consider the cumulative effect of marketing; instead of looking for one magic solution (still doesn’t exist), and focus on maximizing the mediums you do use.
We’ve found through reporting, that for Associates within the Consult YHN network, direct mail is still the #1 response medium, followed by print (newspaper) at #2. The integration of digital is also important as your next generation of customers turns 65. Paying attention to what is working currently will help you help more of the hearing impaired population now and planning for the future will ensure you can continue to help the younger Boomers. So plan for your marketing strategies to work together – direct mail, print and digital – through targeting your current and future audiences, communicating with them properly and scheduling frequent outreaches with them.
Opening the digital doorway
Your next generation of consumers is the fastest growing segment of online users!
Your current target audience of the 65+ can still be reached by direct mail and print, but if integration is a key component of any strong marketing strategy, where does digital fit in? Because the 55-64 market is the fastest growing segment of online users – and your future target audience – it’s important to allocate funds, plan a strategy and get comfortable with the digital environment. It will be important to target your next wave of consumers with both print (direct mail and newspaper) and digital.
Why? Because with print, it’s a tangible, targetable and easily measurable medium; you can’t accidentally “delete” it. For those customers who have already gone paperless (e.g. bill paying, appointment reminders), they’ll appreciate that you are communicating with them via their preferred medium. By using both mediums, you’ll cover more ground in less time and keep the revenue streaming in consistently.
Need to find a direct mailer that’s right for you? Want to learn more about digital marketing? Contact marketing at marketing@ConsultYHN.com.
Source: Direct Marketing