Cutting Corners Can Hamper Growth. Why you need to Invest in Your Marketing.

When owning or running a business, you want people to purchase what you’re producing! Many small business owners underestimate the power of a good marketing plan. Time and again, marketing is cut it out of the budget completely or a family member/intern is tasked to “take care of it with minimal spend going toward talent and advertising.” Understanding YOUR target market is crucial when creating your Website, social media voice, company logo, location of ads, etc. Handing this off to someone without experience is incredibly risky when you are trying to make a name for yourself.

You need a solid game plan if you are stepping into the ring of digital Marketing. Think of this as the ABC’s of your plan of attack. Consumers and/or businesses need to be Aware you have a Website and social media pages, in addition to a Budget so you can properly get your message out there and create targeted Content to convert “clicks” into “customers”. A website will not automatically generate income, a Facebook page will not automatically acquire followers, and banner ads need to reach the audience you are looking to attract by directing them to landing pages designed to KEEP their attention with.

We constantly remind our clients that in order to see results, they must stick to the marketing plan and budget that was put in place specifically for them. In general, companies should expect to spend 8-10% of their annual gross revenue on marketing and advertising. Even though digital marketing has sped up the time it takes to see results, companies should not expect miracles to happen overnight. It is important to give the marketing process time to resonate with their intended audience.

Learning to love your data…

Setting up analytics on your website provides intelligence on what is working, when it is working and with how many people—very important when you are spending hard-earned money. Reviewing your analytics regularly makes it easier to make informed decisions about your campaigns. You can change your target audience, your artwork and your messaging as often as you like, and analytics will provide you with the insight needed to do this with more success. Even with all of these tools available why are so many business owners still not investing in their brand?

But where do we start?

There are so many places to put marketing dollars that it can be overwhelming. Branding, PR, advertising, a new Website, SEO, events, social media, email, CRM systems…knowing how much to do and spend is crucial. Without a thought-out plan, ads won’t perform as well. The same is true with mailings, social media, etc. It takes more time to come up with messaging on the spot, or for random social media posts, than putting everything down on paper and in a schedule.

Fear of commitment?

Launch meetings are used by agencies to educate business owners on why and how marketing budgets are vital and also to set expectations for the company. Amy Zucchi-Justice, Founder & Managing Director of The Karlyn Group explains; “We build in a research/set up period to make sure we are all on the same page from the beginning. We have met with many businesses that aren’t serious about their marketing. They haven’t spent money on marketing at all, and as a result, do not grow, or remain in business for long.” Why would you want to skimp on your brand? A poorly designed website can lose customers before they even leave the home page. A website without the right user experience is throwing money out the window. There are similar disasters with a bad logo, an unclear mission statement and ads that simply direct traffic to a generic home page.

We aren’t sure if it is the fear of spending money, or just the lack of knowledge on the importance of hiring an expert. There are so many options when hiring a marketing expert that don’t involve committing to a full-time employee with benefits, which will help you save considerably. Companies can work with a consultant, a freelancer or an agency and pay per project, per hour or on a monthly retainer. There are solutions for every business owner, and you can control your spend month to month if need be. To find out more about pricing, contact us here. A consultant can create your entire marketing strategy and run it, or just provide the blue print for you to run on your own. They can create content for blogs and articles, or just post for you on your social media pages.

Getting organized is a good start.

A marketing plan will help you to bring everything together in one document that you can follow and adjust as needed. It will keep you on track and hold you accountable to your commitments. It should include a timeline of marketing activities and budget so you can plan for the year. Your plan should include:

  • Target market and secondary market
  • Mission statements and taglines for campaigns
  • Website build/update schedule with site map
  • Campaign timelines for email, social, mailings, newsletters
  • Follow up/drip campaigns
  • Social media calendar
  • Event schedule and possible speaking engagements
  • A budget assigned to activities

Marketing requires patience and dedication. It goes beyond social media and should contain a multi-tiered approach that works together. With access to data and analytics available at your fingertips, companies should make it a priority to review them monthly to make better marketing decisions. Hiring the right marketing help is very important when so much is at stake. Investing in your business should be a priority.

The Karlyn Group works with small to medium size companies that want to take their marketing to the next level. Our team can put together a plan and strategy that meets your goals and unique needs. The Karlyn Group is part of your team—we become part of your team. Contact us with any questions you may have.

Logos & Branding Matter. Here’s Why!

flat design vector illusration concept of branding

The look and feel of your company’s brand, logo, and marketing pieces are important.

The construction industry, while known for designing and building as a profession, can often fall short when it comes to their own branding. Often times companies won’t have a fully designed logo, but simply use clip art and some standard type-face on a paper.

Nowadays, your potential clients are paying attention and judging you for your appearance. Logos are using really nice, clean, modern typefaces and less “classic.” If you’ve had the same logo for three generations, you may want to simply modernize it while retaining some of the original elements, or you may want to redesign it. It’s good to review and update the logo and branding materials every five to 10 years. Above all, your branding should be tasteful, attractive, and help your company stand out from the crowd. Continue reading “Logos & Branding Matter. Here’s Why!”

Post-event Marketing: How to Convert Attendees into Clients

Group of Multiethnic People Having a Coffee Break

In our last article, we discussed participating in and/or hosting your own events or user groups as a means of marketing. In terms of post-event marketing, there are several different tools, depending on whether you were the host or a participant.

When you host an event yourself, you have access to the participant list. Possible next steps with the attendee list would be to: Continue reading “Post-event Marketing: How to Convert Attendees into Clients”

Event Participation = Marketing Opportunity

There are many types of industry-specific events each year. Getting involved with such an event is a great tactic to help boost your brand, sales, clientele and more.

With so many events, what is the best way to manage it all? How do you choose which ones are best for you and your marketing strategy?

There are conferences, networking events, trade shows, etc. Some are national, some are regional, some are local…it is crucial to find the right kind to attend. In order to make sure that your participation is a productive tool for you and your company, you should: Continue reading “Event Participation = Marketing Opportunity”

3 Systems that Help Convert a Lead into a Customer

Many of the email and marketing systems available today can do a lot of marketing work for you. These systems have features such as forms to capture leads, automatic replies, and even customized follow-ups. These sophisticated, integrated tools are changing the way businesses prioritize their marketing efforts. By knowing what stage of the buying process your customers are in, your sales team can focus on the lower-hanging fruit and your marketing team can focus on everyone else. Continue reading “3 Systems that Help Convert a Lead into a Customer”

Tips to Convert an Online Lead into a Sale

lead generation sign illustration design over a binary background

Lead generation means taking leads—potential clients and customers—and nurturing them in the right way so that you can convert them into actual clients and customers.

In the past, we’ve talked about having unique landing pages on your website that tie in with your social media outlets; somebody who gives their information on your website is a hotter lead than someone you make a cold call to. Arguably, the person who volunteers their information to you could be a better lead than a referral, because they clearly want something from you—and they have already taken the time and made a leap of faith to give you their information. Continue reading “Tips to Convert an Online Lead into a Sale”

Building a Brand: Online Advertising Tips

Online Marketing Strategy Branding Commerce Advertising Concept

Online advertising can be a very powerful tool for the construction industry. Companies such as Google and Facebook provide a lot of information about how to utilize their online advertising services. However, as these services have expanded and diversified, they have also become a bit complex. Continue reading “Building a Brand: Online Advertising Tips”

Which Social Media is the Right Social Media?

Kiev, Ukraine – August 26, 2013 – A collection of well-known social media brands printed on paper and placed on plastic signs. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and Tumblr logos.

In just a short time, social media sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) have evolved to become crucial tools used by professionals to market their services, build their collaborative networks, and achieve their goals. Thoughtful, strategic use of social media enables construction businesses to highlight their successful projects, showcase their services, and promote their expertise.

At first, the variety of social media options can seem intimidating, but once you familiarize yourself with a few of them, you’ll understand which can be of most help to you. Continue reading “Which Social Media is the Right Social Media?”

Laying the Groundwork for the Right Website

Concept of construction cranes building a website isolated on white background

Professionals in the construction industry are experts at turning ideas into plans and plans into buildings—as well as other projects that are beautiful, useful, and durable. But the old rules about marketing your skills and services have been upended, and it is no longer optional to recognize the role that websites, social media, and smart technology now play in finding your next customers—or in helping your next customers find you.

Does your company have a website?

Continue reading “Laying the Groundwork for the Right Website”

Hyperlocal Marketing – Just Hype?

When trying to determine the best marketing strategy for the growth of a company, it’s easy for a business owner to become disillusioned by the “mythology” of corporate marketing. You tentatively adopt a strategy, “do it,” and are not sure if it works, and, if it does, you have no idea why. There are so many jargon-heavy terms floating around, it can be hard to parse through what works, and what is just a red herring.

red herring

Larger, online-based companies have adopted the term “hyper-local” to refer to the complicated algorithms and expensive analytics that help them target the customers they want with mobile and online ads. It’s important to remember that for You, the small business owner, “hyper-local” marketing is just plain…Marketing! You are already targeting the right customers at the right time by being in touch with your audience through customer service and sales.

But First, Take a Step Back

How do you communicate your brand to your audience-It’s still necessary, however, to develop a solid understanding of the relationship between your brick-and-mortar or e-commerce space and its online footprint. It’s always important to ask yourself the big questions before deciding where to dedicate your time when building your strategy:

  • What is your brand?
  • What is your brand’s voice?
  • Who is your audience?
  • How do you communicate your brand to your audience?
  • How does this communication turn your audience into customers?

And, in the internet age, importantly:

Where are your customers searching for your product or service online?

(Of course, if you have troubles answering these questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!)

Never Ignore Your Website

It’s easy to misunderstand the importance of a business website when online review sites such as Yelp or Google Business seem to build customers for you. Your website should not be just a sales channel for your product or service, but should work alongside your existing online presence (read: your Yelp reviews!) to be an extension of your company’s brand into the virtual space. Once you’ve created a strong business website, consider the way people are entering it.

  • If people are being funneled through backdoor channels (such as the aforementioned Yelp reviews) are they staying?
  • How well is your website doing in Google search rankings?
  • If you are spending money for online ads, are people clicking on them?
  • Are you using mechanisms like special offers for conversions?

Your Website- Not just a place to put your logo online.

The goal is to be specific with your audience. If you are not sending the right person to the right page, be ready to deal with a high bounce rate. Try utilizing unique landing pages with customized copy when doing local campaigns, so you can geo-target potential customer bases for events or conferences. Once they’re on your site, get them to stay with the key to all successful online marketing strategies: content!

Share what you do with your customers, and your website will become a dynamic part of your marketing strategy, not just a place to put your logo online.

The Right Focus on the Right Channel

Once you’ve built a strong website and begun to establish your online presence, it’s time to start experimenting. Set up Google analytics and test different channels until you start to understand the DNA of your local customers. When you figure out which channel your audience is using to communicate, you can know better where to allocate your resources. Take advantage of all social media outlets, but, depending on your industry, be sure to find the right blend.

Understand the DNA of your local customers

  • Don’t waste money on Facebook ads being seen by random audiences.
  • Don’t direct people to a webpage that’s not targeted to them.
  • Don’t spend hours on your Twitter account if your customers are talking about you on Yelp.
  • Don’t have an Instagram account just…because you feel like you have to have one.
  • Don’t spend money (& time!) to find customers instead of spending money for customers to find you!

The beauty of online is that you can switch things quickly if you see it’s not working.

Join the Conversation & Develop Your Voice  

If you are doing a good job, allow your audience to speak for your business. Your continued great online reviews give strength to your online presence.

Allow your audience to speak for your business

If you don’t like what your customers have to say, however, join the conversation! If you engage your “haters,” you still have an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one. When you delight your customers, word of mouth will spread quickly. When it does, be ready with a solid website and brand presence! The combination of your active efforts as well as the inactive work done by your adoring audience will build the best representation of your business online.

Let your “hyper-local” marketing efforts go global and turn curious converts into lifetime customers.