The lazy days of summer are made for barbeques, fireworks, trips to the beach or lake, and other vacation festivities. It’s also a perfect time to take a good look at your marketing and get a head start on some of those projects that have been on the backburner or seem a little more difficult to focus on in busier seasons. With that in mind, here are a few tips for you to consider:
Tip # 1 - It Starts with a Plan: The old adage “Plan your work and work your plan” may be cliché but is often the difference between success and failure to execute your marketing goals. Start by defining very specific and measurable goals. Try to set short term and long term goals that are reasonable and achievable. Next, develop a strategy that details the tactics, resources, budget, and schedule. For instance, if you’re thinking about your website, assign a staff member to become familiar with the different content management systems (CMS) and hosting services, such as Word Press and Media Temple. Determine what internal and external resources are required for design, photography, copy writing, etc. Plan for 2-3 month to complete the entire project.
Tip # 2 - Take Inventory: Make a list of all of your marketing materials; business cards, letterhead, brochures, etc. Is everything consistent, up-to-date, and how you envision them? Does your brand need a facelift or a complete overhaul? Also, include all touch points with the public from your phone answering message to your office lobby, they're all part of the brand image. You may not need to change everything all at once. In fact, it’s best to make changes in phases. Determine what the priorities and goals are for each component. The best place to start is often with the logo. Minor design refinements can produce major changes. The main thing to keep in mind is that you can’t do everything at once. Focus on those areas and activities that matter the most and will have bottom line impact.
Tip # 3 - Make it Personal: Effective marketing communication should always do at least 3 things:
Be truly engaging
Tell a story
Whether you’ve just launched your firm or have been in business for 25 years, there’s a story that’s waiting to be told. One of the best ways to be authentic is to make sure the photos on your website are up-to-date and are not stock photos when possible, to truly represent your firm – candid while professional is ideal. Invest in a professional photographer to come to the office for a day and provide them with a specific list of the photos that you require.
Tip # 4 - The Right Mix: Determine where you have a particular strength where other firms do not. For example, maybe there is an associate in the firm who has a special subject matter expertise AND is exceptional at presenting to large groups. Identify some potential conferences in your market and pitch them with your panel or workshop idea. Then, once you’ve confirmed your participation; announce through your social network, write a press release and send it to reporters who might be interested in covering the event. If possible, record the event and transcribe it into a white paper that can be posted to your website and sent to prospects and clients. Make the most of the opportunity!
Tip # 5 - Push the Needle: Because marketing is often a repeated activity, it presents a great opportunity for continuous process improvement. Make sure to regularly monitor your progress towards your goals. You should view all marketing initiatives as works in progress and always be looking for small adjustments that can push the needle forward to success.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Now go and have a great summer and check off a few “to-do’s” from your marketing list.
Bill McGuire is principal of W.M.McGuire, LLC, an integrated marketing firm that specializes in supporting the independent Registered Investment Advisor community. W.M.McGuire’s mission is to help businesses grow by applying common-sense marketing with a keen eye towards your budgets, deadlines and results. For more information visit www.wmmcguire.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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