You’ve gone through your marketing assessment, created your strategy, developed your positioning and messaging and then what? Now’s it’s time to get down to brass tacks and create your plan. Too often we see customers focusing only on the plan and forgetting the rest of the steps. That’s like deciding to fly without a plane! If you haven’t gone through all of the previous steps before now go back and get started! Or, if you need help – reach out!
Start by listing your marketing goals. What are you hoping to achieve? Do you want to raise awareness? Are you hoping to increase sales? Write down a short list, try to keep it to three or under in order to stay focused. Make your goals measurable so you’ll know when or if you’ve achieved them.
Develop your marketing communications strategies and tactics
You’ve got goals now you’ve got to develop the details to get there. This section is the heart and soul of your marketing plan. A good marketing plan covers all stages of the sales cycle from awareness to consideration to purchase, service and loyalty. Some marketing tactics, such as many forms of advertising (including keyword), blogs and public relations are great for reaching prospects. Warm prospects, or those who already know about you and your offerings, respond best to direct email, awareness campaigns, loyalty programs even in person events. Your best prospects are those who are close to a sale. The best way to reach them is with very specific messaging, presentations, or calls to discuss options.
To complete your tactics section, outline your primary marketing activities, then include a variety of tactics you’ll use to reach prospects at any point in your sales cycle. For example, you might combine social media advertising with print advertising and online keyword searches to reach cold prospects but use email to contact your warm prospects.
To identify your ideal marketing mix, find out which media your target audience turns to for information on the type of product or service you sell. The marketing tactics you choose must reach your prospects when they’ll be most receptive to your message.
Whew! You’ve done all of the upfront legwork and now it’s time to make it real – to create your brand and develop your assets! What should your website look like? Should you change your logo? Do you have a logo? What colors should you use? How do you make sure that everything is consistent and people start recognizing you and your brand? How will you make sure that each asset has your own flare and builds the case for your product? – Through remarkable and consistent graphic design.
Between your website, to your emails, to your tradeshow booth – it’s easy to just create things as you go instead of thinking about how each will translate into a consistent, branded piece of content. There are so many different ways to reach customers, from traditional mail, to social media and websites. Prospective customers generally have to see your offerings at least twice before engaging. You need consistency and that unique, totally you, factor that is recognizable whenever they see YOU. People are bombarded with over 3500 advertisements a day. What will you say that stands out from the crowd? Graphic design is the visual language for all of your marketing strategy. Without a strong brand identity across all of the different materials you use to reach your prospects, you risk losing customers.
Design isn’t just about making something pretty. It’s about getting your point across, making an impact, and having your customers feel and understand what you’re trying to get across. So how do you design a website that looks how you hope your customers will feel, and how do you make sure your social media presence, your mailpieces and your advertisements match? What colors and fonts best capture your company’s identity? What the heck should your logo be, and how do you make sure that it’s always used properly?