Can you think of a brand where their marketing strategy doesn’t always seem like it’s on the same page — where it seems like throwing darts to see what hits? For me, the Geico commercials come to mind: there are the ones with the gecko. The ones with the banjo players. And let’s not forget “Hump Day.” They’re memorable ads, and no doubt effective — why else would Geico keep rolling them out? — but does this sort of “purposely disorganized” messaging work for every company? Well, for Geico, trying to reach the broad, diverse audience of “anyone with a car,” a billion dollar, all-things-to-everyone strategy is perfect, but for smaller businesses targeting a much more specific set of buyer personas, your best value is to focus your messaging to get the most out of your budget. There’s a reason we talk about marketing plans and content strategy — you want to make sure that you’re cohesive, on topic, and consistent across the board in order to get the best results. How can you get your marketing plan organized and on target?
1. Clearly define your brand.
Assume factors like price and product selection are equal. What other qualities would make a prospect choose you over a competitor? The answer to this question is the basis for your brand. Marketing guru Seth Godin further defines it as a “set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships” — so you need to decide just what expectations you’ll set, and what stories you’ll tell. For a B2B company, a cohesive and direct strategy is essential to ensuring that your brand, and your products or services are memorable to your audience of prospects and customers.
2. Plan your content.
Calendars are a critical component of every content marketing plan. At the very least, you need an editorial calendar of general topics for your blogs and a daily schedule of post types (industrial news, the economy, technical developments, and so on) for your social media — they’ll help you balance the different types of content you distribute, ensure that you don’t promote yourself too heavily on social media, and inspire you with ideas when it’s time to actually sit down and write (or develop other forms of content).
3. Use a scheduling tool.
Regular content distribution doesn’t mean logging into Twitter every 45 minutes to make a post. Platforms and applications like Buffer or Hootsuite let you schedule content throughout the day (and night) while devoting a set block of time to curating and creating your content for the day (or longer, though make sure you’re sharing timely information).
4. Make sure you monitor.
No matter your brand definition, one identity that you want to avoid taking on is the one that doesn’t respond and interact on social media. Make sure you’re monitoring your retweets, shares, mentions, and other “shout-outs” across your networks. Either ensure that you’re getting notifications of those events, or look into a platform like Hubspot that gives you “one-stop” access to all of your social interactions.
5. Own your messaging.
It’s hard to lose the script when you’re embodying a brand and messaging that you actually believe in. Draw on your experience to share and create content that you know is useful and interesting to your target audience. View your marketing as a natural extension of the service and quality that you’ve always provided. Don’t resort to sales-y tactics that you know would repel you.
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