8 step marketing strategy for dummies

Holloway’s guide to writing PLAIN ENGLISH MARKETING STRATEGIES

 
Managers who prefer simple, pragmatic thinking will enjoy it. If your marketing strategy is to produce effective advertising, it should be brief, and address the real issues.

The 8 steps are actually 8 questions. Put each question at the top of a new page, make it your heading, and then under your heading write the answers.
 
1) Where are we now?
A brief point-by-point summary of the problem affecting your company, that you want to solve through marketing (e.g. people interested in your product but not buying)
2) Where do we want to be?
Now list bullet points on what you want the company to look like – what your sales will be like, what your customers will think of you, who will buy from you.
3) How do we get there?
What are the steps that you have to take to reach your goal? When you have answered questions 1-2, the answers for this page will be obvious
4) Who do we want to talk to?
A sentence or two describing your target audience/s.
5) What do we want to say to them?
A sentence or two on the messages you want to deliver to them.
6) How do we tell them?
Now that you’re ready to talk about media (e.g. newspaper, magazine, TV, radio, direct mail etc.). Media is the ‘how to tell them’.
7) How will we know if it worked?
List the ways you will measure the effectiveness of your advertising.
8) What will we do if it doesn’t work?
List the actions you will take if the ad doesn’t work. Too many advertisers either give up, or worse still they keep repeating failing ads.
 

Three successful small-budget ad ideas:

 
1. Make your newspaper ad a bit smaller and spend the extra money on these ideas to boost your results.
  • Use some of the money you save to run 3 or 4 tiny ads scattered through the same edition of the paper. If your main ad in the paper is about your plumbing business, word the scatter ads like this… "Sick of plumbers who never turn up? See Page 13.  John Smith Plumbers". This idea works best if each of your tiny scatter ads has a different short message.
  • Run low-cost blackboard ‘ads’. A simple blackboard and a stick of chalk are very effective advertising tools. People find reading them irresistible. If your business is on a high-traffic road, put your blackboard on the footpath. If not, fix a blackboard to each of your service vehicles. Use the messages from your tiny scatter ads on your blackboards. E.g.… "Is your bed uncomfortable? Call us" OR "Want better results from your next car service? Call us".
  • Take six SHORT radio spots that ‘point’ to your newspaper ad on the day it runs. Three of your spots should be on breakfast, and the other three on drive time and stick to just one station. If you are in the auto-service business three of your ads might say… "If you were unhappy last time you got YOUR car serviced…look for John’s Auto Service page 9 in tonight’s Bay Times." And the other three spots might say something like… "If you weren’t happy with your last car service, it may be because they didn’t give it a sixteen-point safety check. See John’s Auto Service ad page 9, in tonight’s Bay Times".

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2. Send a low cost flyer on coloured photocopy paper to local letterboxes. 
  • If you get the message right the results can be spectacular.
  • The beauty of flyers that don’t cost you much is that they send two VERY clear messages to your customer. The first thing your customer will think when they pick up your low cost flyer is that you must have something important to say (because you haven’t bothered with a glossy, colour brochure). The second thing they will think is that your price must be good (because you haven’t spent lots on your brochure).
  • The key to getting low cost flyers to work is to get your message right. Don’t get too fancy, just pretend your flyer is a newspaper ad. Write a headline that tells your whole selling story, and give your customer lots to read about your product or service, and give them photos to look at too. For more tips click here to order our regular marketing tips via email newsletter.
  • It doesn’t matter how ‘professional’ your business is, low cost flyers still won’t harm your image. If you receive a simple, single page flyer with a photograph of an accountant, and the following headline you would almost certainly read on… "Did you pay too much tax last year? Try this simple calculation, or phone me and I’ll do the numbers for you while you wait." Would you think any less of such an accountant? Of course not, quite the opposite!
 
3. Make your own ‘trailer bill – board’ and tow it around town on the day of your special in-store promotion.
  • Too many people give up on the idea of billboards because of the cost of making them and screen-printing, or sign writing, the message. The secret is a ‘do-it-yourself’ trailer billboard. Just make up a simple tent-shaped frame that sits on your trailer. And then paint your billboard onto fabric, and staple it to the frame. Get a class of school children to paint your billboard and sponsor them a trip to McDonalds – a very low cost way to get more people to your in-store promotion.
 

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How to troubleshoot when your first marketing attempt doesn't work!
 
1. First check the message in your headline! Everything else in the ad is of secondary importance to your message. Check if your message makes sense, and if it does, is it likely to make people want to buy?
2. Second, ask if there is another message that works better when you say it to your customers? Often there is another message that works better than the one you’ve used.
3. Is there a strong call to action in your ad? At the bottom of this ad we offer three different ways for customers to respond. Until we put that ‘call to action’ at the bottom of our ads they just wouldn’t work.
4. Have you explained the important benefits in your copy? Ads that don’t make it clear how the customer will benefit, are rarely effective.
5. Hunt carefully for things in your ad that might have put customers off. We have found that when we fill our ads with advice they work. But when our message is all about how good we are at what we do, our ads don’t work.
6. Show your ad to your friends, staff and customers and get their comments. Often they’ll tell you things that they didn’t notice BEFORE the ad ran. That’s because you’re now asking them "why DIDN’T it work?” Don’t rush into following the advice of these people, but the process of talking to them about their opinions will help you clarify your own.
7. Try again! Write the ad again. If the copy, photographs and captions are good, just rewrite your headline.
8. Then, whether that second try works or not, try again, again! The successful book "How to win friends and influence people" was launched with an ad that failed miserably. So the advertiser rewrote the headline and tried again. And then again, until they started getting results.
9. Don’t expect perfection from your advertising people. A good ad person is like a scientist. They start your work knowing the techniques to use, but they still have to find a way to apply those techniques to your message. A good ad person is a very rare find. Let them try things, even if you think they’ll fail. And when they do fail, remember that scientists succeed by trying things until they find one that works.
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