You have captured the essence of marketing; customer and message.
Is this you?
You created a flier to announce your product or service, then maybe you decided a tri-fold brochure might be better....wait, that didn't work, so you created a website from a template you found online but no one found you, so you got frustrated and decided that marketing your business was a lot of time and money with no financial rewards? Does this sound like what you might be doing?
If you are a small business owner who never created a budget for marketing your product or service, you probably are spinning your wheels on a variety of tools that you hope drives some customers to you, right? We've all done it, even me! When we have no cash, how can one expect to spend money on professional design or marketing services, right? Well, you must know your marketing plan before you market to customers. There are two critical points you have to do if this is all you do.
#1: Can you define your ideal customer - in detail? Write down who your ideal customer is? Be specific. If you can't answer this question, then why are you spending any money on marketing? Why put more time and energy into something that doesn't give you any return? Understanding FIRST who your ideal client is has to be done before you set off on creating that flier or brochure or even your website. Without knowing who is going to buy from you, only creates frustration because you aren't communicating your message to them. Remember not everyone who breathes will be buying from you. Visualize who this person is. Is it a woman, man, teen? What is their age range, where else would they shop at? Think demographics, specifics and emotional ties. If you are a travel agent, your customer might be parents with 2 kids ages 7–10 years old and who are have been working crazy hours, looking for some time for themselves and stuff for the kids to do in a safe environment, so why not promote a Disney cruise to this customer. By knowing your customer, you can target your marketing tools to them and get results.
#2: Define your marketing message. Do you know what a marketing message is? It is a statement keeping you focused on what you want to communicate to your ideal customer, and the direction of your marketing efforts so that you can apply this to every tool you use to market your product or service. You want it to portray a positive message to your customer and you repeat this message over and over again.
One way to do this is by delivering this marketing message using a tag line that is repeated on all your marketing materials. For example, think "Just Do It" by Nike, we know what that marketing message is and who it's from. Or what about "Got Milk", who did that campaign? Your marketing message might also encompass visual messages, like colors, photos, and words. Your marketing message is one of the key ingredients to your success in your marketing efforts. If you don't have your marketing message, stop reading this and write it down now!
These two simple steps are the first you should be spending your time on. Without knowing this, you waste valuable time and energy on creating a flier, brochure, business card, website or any marketing piece that you are trying to draw customers to you. I encourage you to spend your valuable time on these two steps now, then print it out in big fonts and post it near your computer or on a wall you look at often. Know these two steps inside and out, then go back to your marketing piece and ask yourself if this tool is answering the two questions of 1) is this targeted to my ideal customer and 2) is it expressing my marketing message...if the answer is no, it's time to re-evaluate if that is the best tool to use.
So don't get caught up in the Wow before you know the Why, if you answer the why first, the wow is sure to follow.
Learn more about the author, Diane Bridgwater.
Been there, done that! Your thoughts are painfully accurate, item by item. It can be so hard to define your customer and your message that it becomes easy to just gloss over them.
Thanks for the reminders of what to do and how to do it.
Two excellent points, Diane. One of the recurring themes I see in new business owners is that by narrowing their market focus they fear they're potentially missing out on "other" business. Consequently their message is fuzzy and really doesn't resonate with anyone. It's a difficult but necessary exercise to identify their perfect customer.
You've save a new business owner somewhere some serious heartburn today. Thank you!
Excellent, Diane! Getting focused on your message is key, and that starts with who you are and what you do, and what that can mean for your clients.
I love your clear drive to help clients communicate.
And to all those who are looking for a great design team, look to Diane. She helped me quickly and efficiently design a one page flyer that is really wonderful, and mine was complicated! Thanks for your brilliance and patience!
thanks everyone for reading and rating my article and for your very kind comments – much appreciated!
Very insightful and informative article Diane! Everyone can benefit from the points you talked about.
The "why" before the wow" is imperative! I can't tell you how many people have come to me saying "I need a website" or I need a "brochure". Without a clear, concise message of what they are trying to get across to the consumer in their target markets. Furthermore, defining the customer BEFORE you create your message is essential because you need to know WHO you are talking to!
Amen Diane ... Well done!
Very good points, Diane. It's amazing how many people point, shoot, then aim before the reverse. It's why many can't garner any kind of ROI on their marketing projects. It's frustrating to see the shotgun approach rather than the targeted approaches now available, especially with new targeted multi-channel programs, like the one I offer. (See my current Biznik Promotion.) That's why I feel we are not only in the graphic arts biz. We're consummate teachers. So, keep up the good work and keep teaching.
It's soooo easy to fall into a trap of hastily putting a marketing campaign together before considering these fundamental elements.
What you laid out represents the foundation from which to build a campaign...the right way. The more solopreneurs and other folks read your article, the fewer mistakes folks will make out there, and the fewer dollars will go to waste on those tight marketing budgets!
Thank you for lending your expertise and advising the rest of us!
Great article Diane! I think so many of us get wrapped up in the excitement of a new piece that we forget the critical steps outlined here. Thank you!