Regardless of what company you are running, there are some ground rules when it comes to marketing and advertising your company that apply to every industry. Like many business owners, initially, when I was just starting out, my marketing funds were extremely limited— but, I did what I could to successfully promote my company. The truth is, when you are a small fish, and you don’t invest in anything that is going to make a wave, no one will notice you. The saying, “out of sight, out of mind” is true, especially in those beginning months and years of your business. So, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for years, refresh yourself on these 10 best practices for marketing your company.
1. Determine your audience. The first step that must be taken before starting any advertising initiative, or campaign, is to define who your target audience is and find out where they congregate, both digitally and in real life.
2. Establish where your target demographic is. Once you establish what websites your demographic frequents, social media platforms that they are on, and mutual interests that they have, it is time to create a strategy to target each.
3. Create an integrated strategy for each channel that you are targeting. The first reality to understand is that you can’t play your advertising and marketing strategy “by ear.” You must take the time to detail out your strategy so that it parallels with your in-house objectives. Yes, this is especially true for social media!
4. Your social media strategy should never be an after-thought. The reality is that Upstate New York, as well as other small to mid-size markets, generally don’t see a true value in social media. However, you should and this is why:
a. Social media platforms attract 75% of all internet users.
b. Social media platforms enable you to showcase your business in a different light, but it is imperative that you understand that realms that each social media platform plays and how to tailor your communication strategy to be most effective for each.
c. You have the opportunity to humanize your brand through original content posts and strategic partnerships with local and like-minded companies.
d. Forget television ads, YouTube’s 18-49 age group has a far greater reach than cable.
e. Respect the power of social media, one wrong post could potentially destroy your business/career.
f. Social media analytics are trackable and social media advertising is one of the most effect low-cost forms of advertising out there.
5. Don’t forget to integrate yourself into the community. If you are a brick-and-mortar location, you have a physical address and you service real, tangible people. Your advertising/marketing strategy should as well. It’s not enough to be present online— you should be doing real things in your local communities as well.
6. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan out your quarterly advertising and marketing strategy. The average successful digital campaign runs for about 1-month, with several months of detailed planning behind it. There’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into creating an event, running a successful social media campaign, etc. What differentiates between a good initiative and great one always comes down to the small details.
7. Invest in yourself. Typically, when you don’t have much capital, or you’re expecting to lose funding, the very first thing to go is marketing, when it really should really be your last. If you cut off your marketing funds, and you’re struggling for business, how do you expect to get more business?
8. Be mindful of your brand. Now that you are a small business owner, you must remember that you are constantly representing your brand. You owe it to yourself and your company to always act in the best interest of both.
9. Be consistent. With many advertising/marketing campaigns, companies will push out one big initiative and then do nothing for the rest of the year. It’s all about creating a brand reputation on a consistent, frequent basis. As soon as you fall into your demographics’ radar, you can fall out.
10. Be real. Nobody likes a phony. People can see through overly promotional messages, lack of genuinely and ill-prepared activiations. Be true both yourself and your company, and do your best to promote those values with every opportunity that you get.
When it comes to launching or maintaining a successful company, it all comes down to what you put into it. It is undoubtedly a tremendous amount of work, however, the rewards are priceless. If you are interested in learning more about launching your own franchise company, give us a call at 1-855-GYM-GUYZ.