Five Tips for Updating Your Small Business Marketing Materials
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Your mission is the driving force of your company. It guides how you develop products or services, what materials you use, and the office culture you create. It should also guide the way you market your small business.
Here are five tips for incorporating your mission into your small business marketing materials:
1. Evaluate all of your marketing materials. The first step to incorporating your message into your marketing materials is assessing which marketing materials you’re using. Break your collateral down into manageable sections, and assess which are used internally and which are used externally.
Examples of external marketing materials include websites, blogs, email campaigns, press releases, videos, product or service announcements, white papers, e-books, product brochures, and, in some instances, case studies. Internal marketing materials include competitive cheat sheets, technical data sheets, and business results sheets.
2. Develop an editorial process. Develop and implement a process for updating each piece of collateral. If you’re updating your website, for example, put in place a team that includes a writer or writers, an editor, a search engine optimization (SEO) expert, and a Web developer.
Think about other people you may need to add, such as project managers who can ensure deadlines are met or a production team to help with your website. You also may want to involve key members of your sales team to help ensure that your marketing materials convey the intended message to potential clients and customers.
Similar processes should also be developed for creating or editing hard copy marketing materials.
3. Assess the updated materials. Often, product- or service-related collateral talks too much about your company and not enough about the outcomes clients may achieve using your product or service. Ensure that your materials do enough to convey why prospects should care about your product or service. In all collateral, look for an opportunity to demonstrate how your products are used in the marketplace, the results they generate, and how your unique mission has helped you create a product or service that is superior to the competition.
Because the goal of updating your marketing materials is to ensure they reflect your company’s mission, check to see if your core values and story are shining through in all of the updated materials. To use an example from a previous blog post (Small Business Marketing: Fine-Tuning Your Company Mission), if your cabinet company uses only reclaimed wood because your mission is to encourage green living by making it affordable for consumers, all of your marketing materials should reflect that mission.
4. Analyze your return on investment (ROI). The marketing materials that provide you with the best ROI can be dependent on your industry, and you should focus on areas that are the most valuable to your company. If, for example, you run a restaurant and you see an uptick in customers after placing flyers on doors throughout the neighborhood, you may want to focus on updating those materials first. On the other hand, if you run a tech start-up, you may benefit from an updated email newsletter—and not a new telesales script.
Keep in mind the tools that your sales team needs to be successful, too. Say your sales team brings in the bulk of customers to your medical devices company by visiting prospects at various doctors’ offices and hospitals. Instead of updating a website that may only bring in a few clients a year (and thus have little ROI), focus on updating product sheets, case studies, images of specific configurations of your product, “how-to” videos, and other tools that can be used by your sales team.
5. Develop a communication plan surrounding your marketing materials. Keeping your whole team in the loop on your marketing efforts and messaging changes can help ensure that both the mission and the message are consistent among all teams (sales, customer service, development, etc.). For example, you may want to educate your sales team on your editorial calendar so they can inform their prospects of helpful new articles or white papers coming soon.
In addition, be sure that your marketing and sales teams are communicating regularly on the performance of all marketing materials, including the website. This will allow your marketing team to tweak the materials to better support your sales staff.
By aligning your collateral with your big story and bringing your sales team into the process, you can create compelling stories that resonate with your prospects. Marketing is not about the volume of collateral—it’s about the quality and relevance of it.
Content is everywhere in many forms, from videos to websites to whitepapers. To stand out, your content needs to be remarkable, insightful, and authentic. Incorporating your unique mission and message can help set you apart from your competition.
Ian Smith is the author of “Fulfilling the Potential of Your Business: Big Company Thinking for the Mighty Small Business,” which won the Small Business Book Awards for Management in 2012. His blog, the Smith Report, focuses on ways to scale businesses. In 2010 he founded the Portfolio Partnership to help CEOs fulﬁll the potential of their businesses. As an ex-CFO, investment banker, venture capitalist, and CEO, Mr. Smith has realized more than $400 million for shareholders over the past 25 years. Still competitive, Ian is ranked in the top 20 in the world at 400m on the track for his age.
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