Marketing and PR can be difficult propositions for small businesses, where funds are often tight and need to be stretched as much as possible.
However, by following a basic process, you can maximise the effectiveness of any PR campaign you embark upon – and gain extra ROI by making your campaign wide-ranging in terms of its reach, but focused in terms of its message.
Know your audience
Before you put your business success at risk, know who your message is targeted at.
One of the worst things you can do is adopt the wrong tone of voice – an injection of humour into an otherwise serious campaign can be deadly if it’s inappropriate, and likewise a dry, formal style can turn off an audience keen to be entertained.
Look at what your contemporaries are doing in their campaigns, and if they’re proving successful, do something ‘the same but different’ – similar in style, perhaps, but with enough unique identity to allow your brand to stand alone.
Know your message
As well as choosing your tone of voice, you need to know exactly what you are saying.
Decide on your message – and let your audience be your guide in doing so, as people respond differently to ‘cheap’ than they do to ‘good value’, and other similar pairs of concepts need suitably careful consideration.
While you may be using a broad range of different marketing methods, your chances of success will be greatly enhanced if they all complement one another – if they are all driving home the same message.
Marketers like to talk about unique selling points or ‘USPs’. If you don’t have one, and not all businesses do, you need sit down and think what yours is. If you can come up with a strong USP it will make your marketing much more effective and you can even use it to help ensure you attract high quality customers.
Make some noise
Once your campaign begins to take shape, it’s time to make your voice heard.
Use all of the channels at your disposal – write feature articles for trade publications and the local press; use other local media outlets, such as radio stations, for extra coverage; plan public appearances to create extra word-of-mouth buzz; and make sure your website and social media accounts are updated to reflect any real-world promotional activities.
Combining multiple marketing channels into a single overall campaign is a great way to enhance the total level of awareness generated among your target audience – allowing your promotional activities to become more than just the sum of their parts.
Keep at it
Marketing campaigns take time to gain traction – think of any major advertising campaign, and the ones that come to mind first have probably been running for weeks, months or even years.
While a catchy slogan or jingle can stick in people’s minds immediately, it still takes time for that to develop into increased sales and positive return on investment.
Be realistic about what your budget can achieve, and how long you can maintain the marketing before you begin to see a return – and once you’ve embarked on your advertising adventure, hold your nerve until your forecasts begin to emerge into reality.
Last updated - 3rd April, 2013