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Making the Most of Your Marketing Toolkit

We frequently work with the Maryland Small Business Development Center to facilitate training courses for entrepreneurs.  Their most common complaint? “I don’t have enough time.” Perhaps that’s why the workshop titled, “Making the Most of your Marketing Toolkit” always has the highest attendance rate.  We’re all looking for ways to get more done with limited resources.

But what about your audience? What do they want? Studies show that your audience is exposed to nearly 10,000 ads per day. They have no shortage of options and are constantly bombarded with new ones.  This means being efficient with your marketing resources is not only important, it’s necessary to the survival of your company.  For this reason, I always urge my workshop students: “Instead of focusing on giving more, focus on giving clarity.

#1: Plan. Start with a Blueprint

Speaking to an audience member at her workshop

First, create clear and measurable business goals. Your business goals will drive your marketing goals, which in turn will dictate how you spend your energy, time, and budget. Your business and marketing goals should be attainable and easy to measure.

Example of a Bad Blueprint:

  • Business Goal: Increase company profit
  • Marketing Goal: Become the #1 brand in our industry
  • Social Goal: Gain more likes per post
  • Marketing Tactic: Post as often as possible

There is no effective way to measure or even meet the above goals.  Even if you’re trying your hardest, you’ll be unsure if your efforts are paying off.  Instead, think more specifically about what you want to accomplish.  Here’s a better example from a local restaurant that was looking to increase attendance.

Example of a Good Blueprint:

  • Business Goal: Increase traffic during lunch hours
  • Marketing Goal: Develop 34 unique lunch specials
  • Social Goal: Post attractive food pic 30-60 min prior to lunch 3x week
  • Marketing Tactic: Create caption that encourages people to “tag” friends to increase reach

In this example, the client could make the most of their marketing efforts because they had a clear focus.

#2: Target. Hit the Nail on the Head

If you’re targeting everyone, you’re targeting no one. Targeting a truly specific audience will help you make direct connections with the right decision makers and influencers. Build a profile for your target audience members by asking yourself some questions:

  • When you came up with your idea for your business, product, service, who did you think it would help? What problems does your product solve?
  • Does this audience currently purchase products similar to yours or from businesses similar to yours?
  • What are your demographics (age, location, gender, income, education, marital status, occupation)?
  • What things do your buyers have in common?

When you have a clear picture of your target audience, you’re able to be more direct with your messaging, more efficient with your budget, and produce more results with less effort.

#3: Re-Purpose. Don’t Sit on Your Assets

Instead of constantly looking for new resources, repurpose the ones you already have. You might be sitting on a goldmine and not even realize it. I always recommend this content ratio:

  • 55% Original Content: This is content developed or repurposed by people within your organization (original posts, pictures, designs, blogs, reports, portfolio items, events, etc.)
  • 25% Curated Content: This is content repurposed from outside sources (industry stats, articles, gifs, memes, etc.)
  • 20% Shared Content: This is content created by coworkers, followers, or partners that you can share or engage with (retweets, comments, etc.)

To start utilizing this ratio, you’ll need to do a content audit to figure out what you already have in-house. Do you have website copy, videos, brochures, reports, or presentations?  Even a good “elevator speech” can be a starting point. Take your existing long-form pieces of content and break it into bite-sized chunks.  From there, you can build an entire month (or year’s) worth of marketing content by creating multiple iterations and variations.

#4: Cater. Beware of the Swiss Army

Although re-purposing content is a powerful piece in your marketing tool box, it can be dangerous if you go too far. A “one-size-fits-all” approach can lead to stagnant marketing. Make sure that you’re truly re-purposing instead of re-using content by keeping in mind the unique audience, channel, and medium and making changes to fit those unique circumstances.

#5: De-Clutter. Organize Your Toolbox

Computer screen at the marketing workshop

Once you’ve evaluated all the assets at your disposal, organize your content into buckets and develop a plan of attack. Your three buckets should be:

  • Evergreen: This content is relevant at any time. This includes information about your core services and products and general marketing messages.
  • Deadline-driven: This content is relevant for a limited time. It includes specials, sales offers, and seasonal information.
  • Real-time: This content is relevant only in real time, such as live events and social media trends or conversations.

Once you’ve examined each type of content and how it relates to what content you already have, it’s time to start organizing. If you find yourself spending more time creating your to-list list than actually doing, it’s time to take advantage of an organizational tool like Trello or Google Calendar. Using those tools, you can plan and schedule your marketing messages in advance to better use your time.

Start with these 5 tips for making the most of your marketing toolkit and see the results.  Hopefully you’ll have a more time back in your day, and your customers will have more clarity.

Need a little extra guidance? Contact our team for a free in-depth look at how you can increase your marketing efficiency and effectiveness.

Dave M. Schleigh

by Dave Schleigh, Founder & President

Dave is a graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), with a degree in Physical Geography and minor in writing. After college, he went to work for the City of Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) where he was the Art Director. In 2005, Dave partnered with friend and entrepreneur Rich Daughtridge to launch a new marketing firm, HighRock Studios. Together, they assembled a talented team of creatives, marketers, and problem-solvers to work as an extension of our client’s team. In the following years, Dave co-founded several ventures including Warehouse Cinemas, Warehouse Tap Room, Leitersburg Cinemas, Waynesboro Theatre, and LeftBrain Technology.

Now president of HighRock, Dave still enjoys helping to craft creative and innovative solutions that elevate our customers businesses, as well as ensuring that HighRock is as a great place to work for employees. Dave resides in Howard County, Maryland with his wife Jaci and daughter Evelyn.

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