Tag Archives: target audience

Don’t Do Marketing & PR… Until you can answer these 5 questions

CHuntly

Marketing & Public Relations (AKA PR) should be an important part of your outreach strategy. After all, PR is defined as interacting with your public, and you need to do that to communicate your brand message to your audience. If you’re not trying to communicate with your audience, you are relying too heavily on the “if you build it they will come” strategy. In a world of social media and other online channels as well as all of the visual and informational bombardment on a day-to-day basis face-to-face, there is too much noise in the marketplace to wait for someone to notice you. You need to initiate the connection.

It can be tempting to jump on the first opportunity you see to get your brand “out there” without thinking too much beyond that you just want people to see you. However, just because it is the latest and greatest idea doesn’t mean it is the right one for your business.

You have a lot of options available to you when it comes to marketing and PR. The challenge for you as a small business owner is to pick the right options that will give you the highest return on your investment (of time AND money!).

Here are a few things you need to get straight before you jump on that latest and greatest idea you came across:

  1. What do you do? Be able to identify in detail what product or service you are selling.
  2. Who would be interested in what you have to offer? When you can answer this question, you will have identified your target audience.
  3. Why would your target audience want what you have to offer? This is an important step often skipped by entrepreneurs who are launching a business. You need to be able to articulate – in writing and when you are speaking to people – what makes your product/service so great. Along the same lines, identify what sets you apart from your competitors.
  4. Where does your target audience congregate? Do a bit of research to find out where they get their information from, what organizations they belong to, their social media habits, and what their buying habits are.
  5. What are your goals? Once you have identified who you are and who would be interested in what you have to offer, you need to set goals so you can identify what a successful marketing & PR campaign would look like for you. Is it sign ups? Website traffic? Awareness?

Once you have answered these five questions, you can sit down and use the information to decide what kind of marketing & PR strategy you should run. Your audience and your goals will dictate what channels you use to reach out and your product/service offering and differentiators will help you determine what type of content and messaging to use on each channel.

While it means you need to invest more time in the beginning to help set yourself on the right track, it is worth it in the long-term.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace

Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/email/Website

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How To Get Product Reviews

CHuntly

Are you ready to introduce your incredible product to the world? A great way to get the word out is via product reviews. While similar to an influencer strategy, there are few added audience tactics as well as a bit of a different approach in some cases.

Product reviews help you generate brand awareness, but they also help with SEO through the link back to your site included within the review. Links back to your site also help with general website traffic. If someone is interested in what they see, they will investigate more.

Here are 6 steps to a great product review strategy:

Step 1: Set a realistic timeline

It is unrealistic to throw together an outreach strategy like this in a day or two. It takes preparation and research. If you are launching a new business entirely, you will want to include this in your planning a few months in advance. If you get product reviews pre-launch, it can even drive interest for the official launch.

Step 2: Identify your target audience

If you are in business, whether you sell to other businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C), you should know who your target audience is. You should be able to articulate who your ideal customer is according to purchase behaviour and demographics (age, gender, income, etc).

Step 3: Build your list of product reviewers

Once you know who will buy your product, you can start creating a list of product reviewers. While you could find general product review sites, these might not reach your intended target audience. To get the most return on your efforts, find niche review blogs and other businesses who might be interested in promoting your product.

You can either use a database like Cision to point you in the right direction or you can do your own research. In many cases, great blogs aren’t listed on databases because it can be hard for them to keep up with new bloggers. To search on Google you would enter terms like [Product X] review, [Product X] blog, product reviews, etc. (replace [Product X] with your type of product). You will have to do research for either option because you should get to know each product reviewer on your list before asking them for a review. You need to make sure it’s a good fit for your audience.

Step 4: Develop your pitch

Keep it short and to the point. In most cases, one short paragraph is all you need. You should identify yourself, identify your product, and ask if you can send them one to try out and review. Keep it personable – remember you are speaking to another person.

Step 5: Execute

You are ready to reach out! Make sure you have product in stock! When contacting each individual on your list, be sure to tailor the pitch to them. Don’t just insert their name and send the same thing to everyone. Mention a review of a similar product, or one that you really liked. Something to show you are genuinely interested in what they have to say.

Once a reviewer has agree to do a review, make sure you provide the information they will need:

  • Relevant links – social, website, product page, etc
  • Pricing info
  • Information on where to get the product
  • Hashtags

Track and share each product review on your social and other digital channels (ie. Set up an “in the media” page on your website).

Step 6: Involve your customers

The last aspect of your product review strategy is your customers! Start a loyalty program or run a contest that allows them to be your brand ambassadors. A happy customer will gladly talk about your product for you.

It takes a little bit of elbow grease, but with work you can make a product review strategy work for you.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace

Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/email/Website

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Is Fear of Failure Holding You Back?

CHuntly

You have your fabulous business idea, you have your goals written out, and you have written a killer business plan. The next step can be the most daunting one when it comes to launching any business – you have to tell people about what it is you do.

Once you start marketing your business one of three things can happen:

  1. You are an “instant” hit – it looks like you are going to meet or surpass your goals.
  2. Nothing – no one seems interested in buying what you are selling, or perhaps you aren’t reaching them in the right ways.
  3. Your audience vocally doesn’t like what you are offering – this is pretty rare unless you have completely misread your audience.

Often, for an entrepreneur, the fear of failure can hold you back from putting together the best marketing strategy you can. You are afraid that if you put yourself out there completely you won’t be received well. The best way to get over your fears is strategic planning and focus.

I know what you are thinking…  I read this blog for THAT?! As simple as it might seem, the one thing that gets pushed aside is great planning. You may have a lot of great ideas for a marketing plan, but is it a full strategy? And do you have a plan to keep yourself on track?

Here are 5 things to consider to help get over the entrepreneurial fear hump and get your marketing strategy in order:

  1. Have you considered your target audience’s needs and behaviours? Your audience should always dictate how you market your business. For example, if you are targeting an audience that isn’t very tech-savvy, that Twitter Q&A you have planned is the wrong place to invest. You may want to consider more traditional tactics like direct mail or event-based marketing.
  2. Do your selected tactics fit within your overall business goals? It’s easy to get caught up with what your competitors are doing or the latest and greatest technology that is on the market, however you should take a step back and consider those goals and objectives in your business plan. If your goal is to become an industry leader in your field but you hadn’t considered a strong content marketing or PR plan, then you should reconsider your planning.
  3. Focus is your best friend. It is easy to look at all of the things you have to do and find smaller, less important tasks that you “just have to” complete first. While cleaning out your junk drawer in your desk can probably wait as well, I am talking about all of the things that can derail a great strategy. For example, you have set out to market your business on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but you heard about how neat Snapchat is and you thought you would “just set up” an account. Before you know it, you have spent half a day on something that you hadn’t planned on.
  4. Are you evaluating your strategy on a regular basis? Changing your original strategy isn’t a bad thing as long as it comes from a strategic evaluation of what is working and what isn’t. If you aren’t getting the traction you expected from Facebook, maybe you should consider a different social channel or focusing your time and resources into a different strategy altogether. It’s important to track the success of your efforts so you can look at your success over time and tweak your strategy as necessary.
  5. Are you trying to be an island? This is a huge cause of entrepreneurial fear (and failure). You may be the biggest champion of your own idea, however, sometimes it’s good to bring a third party in to look at your strategy with an unbiased eye. You don’t have to hire someone to do your entire strategy and execution for you (your budget might not allow for that!) but you can work with a consultant or coach to make sure you are on the right track. Your hesitation in starting your marketing outreach could stem from not feeling confident in your strategy and this will help with that.

As a business owner you should always give yourself enough space to take a step back, take a deep breath, and get back to the basics of what makes your business a business – your idea, your goals and objectives, your brand story, and your target audience. As long as you have a good foundation in the basics, you can approach everything else with confidence.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace

Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/email/Website

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Make a meaningful relationship with your customers online.

Kelly headshot (2)

 Your main goal for Social Media Marketing isn’t really about sales, it’s about relationship building with your customers and target audience.  Building this relationship will then drive sales and growth.

 A major advantage that small business’ have over larger ones, is that you are able to give your brand a personality that should fit the community you work in.  You have the ability to talk about topics that are important to your community.

 Social Media has changed the way that business MUST operate, it has given your consumers more of a voice in your brand and what you do.  One doesn’t need to look hard online to see this in action, one example that comes to mind is Doritos and their rainbow coloured chips that they made to support the LGBT, there were a lot of people who supported the move, and those that didn’t.  The ones that don’t support something you are doing will tend to be more verbal on your pages about it, but the beautiful part about this is that your community will generally come to defend you, and that only happens if you can create a meaningful relationship with them.

 Now, you are probably asking, how do I start that meaningful relationship? There are a few ways to go about this.  Twitter and Facebook have great tools to use to find out what people are interested in in your community, apart from reading a local paper (which is a great way to stay informed about your community) you can try surveying your current followers and get their opinions on issues and your industry.  If you start to talk about their interests, they will be more likely to like, comment and share your content which will lead to more followers.

 Another way is to build your email marketing list.  Use social posts to ask people to sign up to it, and let them know what kind of content will be in your emails.  Also ask them to sign up when they buy something from you. It’s important to not make your emails too salesy, instead, again, cover topics that affect your community AND your industry.  When you provide content that solves a problem of your customers, you are more likely to have repeat customers and build a better relationship with them.

 Digital Customer Service is becoming huge.  Most customers that now have a problem with your service or product won’t tend to phone you, they will come and talk to you online though a post to your page or directly chat with you.  The quicker you respond and address their issue, the stronger relationship you build.  Make sure you have some sort of policy in place for acceptable response time, most businesses a generally within 24 hours, and yes, even on weekends.  So whether you do your social media yourself or have a vendor that does it for you, make sure that your expectations are communicated to them.

 The last thing you can do to build the relationship is have some sort of rewards program that offers some benefit to your repeat customers, because the worst thing you can do as a business, is not appreciate loyalty, just look at the big phone companies like Rogers and Bell, do you feel that you are being rewarded for being a customer for years?

 As more and more networks pop up, catching your customers attention and building a trusting relationship is going to become harder and harder, be sure to stay adaptive to your business and customer needs and think outside the box, bland doesn’t sell.

 

Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Business owners through social media for over three years. Her team now offers services ranging from training sessions for small business owners and their teams, to full-service social media account management. Visit teachmesocial.ca to learn more about our service offerings or to contact us today for a no obligation consultation, including an audit of your existing social media channels.

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How Brand Personality Shapes Marketing Strategy

CHuntly

There are a lot of factors that go into your overall marketing strategy – resources available is always a big determining factor. But one thing that often gets brushed aside for budget discussions is brand personality.

Once you have your budget in mind, it’s easy to look at industry competitors to get ideas, but you have to decide what the best approach is for your business. Maybe that huge tech-based campaign just isn’t right for you, even though it worked for someone else. You have to be able to deliver on the brand story you put out there.

While the basics of marketing planning will always remain the same, the delivery has to be unique to you. So, what are the basics of a marketing strategy?

  • What product or service do you have to offer?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • How will you sell to them?
  • Why will they buy from you?

That last point is what will help you determine your brand personality. You have to figure out who you are as a brand and what makes you different before putting together your strategy. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you modern or traditional?
  • Are you young or more mature?
  • Do you embrace technology or do you live by a more old school code?
  • Are you spontaneous and easy going or are you cautious and strategic?

The goal is to figure out where you lie in the spectrum of things and that will determine how you reach your customers and what type of messaging you will use to do it. For example, if you are a young, tech-savvy company, you will likely create your strategy based on the latest and greatest digital and technology trends. You might use a more laid back, conversational tone in your communication. On the other hand, if you are a more mature and traditional company, you might rely on a more corporate feel and formal tone with a focus on traditional face-to-face outreach and direct marketing channels.

Figure out who you are as a brand, and let that guide your marketing strategy, not what worked for someone else.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace

Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/email/Website

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How to Build a PR Campaign

CHuntly

Now you know all about PR and what it can do for your business, it’s time to put together a fabulous campaign so you can start seeing great results. But where do you start?

Here are nine steps to building a great PR campaign:

  1. Set goals: What do you want to achieve?

What does success look like to you? Once you decide what the end game is, then you can decide how to get there. There is no point in putting together a strategy if you don’t know what you want to accomplish. In fact, you will find that your strategy will lack direction, which means you could end up doing things that aren’t right for your brand.

  1. Decide on your budget

This always seems to be the toughest thing for any business to do, especially small businesses or start-ups. There are a couple of things you should do before setting your budget. First, conduct a bit of research to determine industry best practices. If you plan to hire a third party to help you put your strategy together and execute, that also has to factor in. The two most important things to realize are that you won’t get anything for free and you need to be honest with yourself. Even if it’s time spent knocking on doors and you want to do it yourself, that is time spent away from your regular business operation – time is money. When you factor in a third party (like an agency), they usually base their fees on an hourly estimate. The cheapest is not always the best option, but neither is the most expensive. Find an agency that will work with your budget. You have to make sure that you are honest with how much you can spend and work within those parameters. If you are working with an agency, it’s frustrating for both parties if you say there is no budget and then you complain when you see the proposed quote that it is too high.

  1. Decide on your timeframe

Depending on what your campaign’s objectives are you can determine when you would like to start/finish your campaign. Make sure you are giving yourself enough time to get all the prep work done at the beginning!

  1. Identify your target audience

Is this campaign meant to target a niche audience? Perhaps there is an audience that you think your brand would be perfect for, but you haven’t really had the opportunity to tap into it yet. Decide who you want to reach and then make sure you learn everything you can about them – where do they go online? Who influences their decision-making? How do they like to learn about new brands? Etc.

  1. What is your story?

Determine what story you are telling. That means finding the unique sweet spot that will make your brand stand out from the rest of your competitors. You need to be able to identify why this is important for your target audience.

  1. What channels do you want to utilize?

With so many options available to you, you need to reign yourself in a bit. Don’t spread your budget and time too thin by trying to target too many channels at once. Once you have identified your target audience, then it should become clear as to what channels you can and should use. Keep in mind that your channels may be determined partially by your budget!

  1. Research

At this point in your planning, you need to research different aspects of your strategic choices. If you are having an event, what other events are on the same day in your city/industry that would conflict? Have any of your competitors done similar things? Did it work for them? How can you make your idea unique? What are the costs associated with what you would like to do? Educate yourself on what you need to know before putting your strategy into action.

  1. Create a critical path

A critical path is just a fancy name for a timeline. Work backwards from your end goal and note major milestones you would like to hit in your campaign. Then flesh it out by putting in tasks and who is responsible to get each task done. The best way to track this is to set up a chart. I like to work in weekly increments. I identify the date, the task, and who is responsible in the first three columns. Always add one last column for “status” so you can get the satisfaction of writing “complete” when you have finished a task – it just feels good.

  1. Hit the ground running

Once you feel comfortable with your critical path, you are good to go. It’s time to set your strategy in motion. Don’t be afraid to track results along to way to see if you need to tweak your approach as you go!

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making it unique to you.

Connect with Candace

Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/email/Website

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