Here’s the thing. As business people and marketers, we LIVE for grand plans. We love plans. We like knowing what’s happening, when, for how much, why and how we’re going to use/measure/analyze it. Crazy!
But sometimes, we have to remember the art behind marketing, branding, communicating. It’s a game of trial-and-error, test and default. Sure, there are some things that can’t go unplanned: budgets, strategy, team responsibilities. But when it comes to pure creativity and the softer, subjective matters, it’s totally okay to just let things breathe for a bit first.
These days, it’s not just discovering the campaign slogan and printing a million flyers or setting a dozen storefront displays. With digital, and the ability to change certain things on the fly, it’s okay to dive in headfirst! You’ll learn from watching the world interact with your brand/product/idea -- and get the chance for some testing to boot.
Now, don´t panic. Even if you don´t know what inbound marketing is, chances are your non-profit is already partaking in it. And when done right, it can be the most effective method for an NGO to enlist donors, supporters and volunteers.
Inbound marketing depends heavily on content. Thus, it adapts beautifully to the non-profit universe, where stories are compelling, moving and rich.
The following are some key elements of an effective inbound marketing campaign, and examples of NGOs that have applied them successfully:
This post is the continuation of our previous post “Online Marketing On A Tight Budget - How To Prioritize Your Marketing Efforts”. Please read the previous post first, so that this post will make more sense to you.
Our previous article summarized the Top 5 Internet marketing tools and services to consider when promoting your business online. Let’s recap what they are:
At Bloominari, we mostly work with local small businesses which are either brand new to the Internet marketing world, or have used some digital marketing tools but don’t quite know exactly how to best use them to generate leads and grow their business.
Our marketing team is constantly talking to small business owners who are usually too busy managing their own company and don’t have the time, expert knowledge or know-how for how to market and promote their products and services in the most efficient way. That’s where our team of experts come into play and help our clients to focus on their business, while we focus on marketing it.
Let’s assume you have a new or existing company called “Baby Cubs” and you want to promote and market your business online. For illustration purposes, let’s assume you have a limited marketing budget of $5,000 USD to get started. How should you spend it?
First, let us recommend that you divide your marketing efforts into two stages.
Based on the example of the “Baby Cubs” company, we recommend that you invest your first $5000 dollars on Stage 1. Then, once your company starts (or continues) earning money you could move to Stage 2 and invest an additional $3,000-5000.
First thing we ask our client is “Do you have a company website?”, if the answer is yes, it’s a good sign they understand the value of having an online presence. If they don’t have one, we discuss the importance of having one built and they key elements it must have in order to be used as a powerful marketing tool for the rest of their digital marketing strategy. Learn more about the importance of the website on our first post.
Recommended allocation of your marketing budget to build your professional small business website:
If your Baby Cubs company already had a website, then you could invest the website design budget on the rest of your marketing strategy.
In the same way that physical store owners try to get people through their door to bring in sales, you also have to drive virtual web users (Internet traffic) to your website, which is your company’s digital headquarters online.
Running a small business is no easy feat. It requires tenacity and ambition, but above all, a willingness to adapt and learn.
Here are some of the biggest questions small business owners have.
Answer = A well designed and thought out brand is essential to business. No matter how big, small, young, old, or well known your business are, a brand will not only help create business familiarity among customers, but will allow you to stand out among your competition.
A brand creates an identity for your business; what you do and why you do it should both be transparent in your brand. Even a simple, yet eye catching logo, thoughtful brand messaging, and well designed support materials can help your brand pop.
Marketing expert, Stuart Britt, once said “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does”. If you are selling a product or service, but are not investing the time or money into marketing it, how will people know you exist? Unless you already own a well-known business, you need to actively create brand awareness. Setting even a small marketing budget will go a long way in reaching more customers and building a brand.
Constructing a creative and strategic marketing plan will allow you stand out within your industry. If your ads and marketing materials are well designed, well thought out, and placed strategically, customers will take notice.
For example, say you own an office supply company, Supplies ‘R’ Us. Your main competitor, Office Plus, has half of the market share. To set yourself apart from Office Plus, you decide to run a Supplies ‘R’ Us social media campaign, specifically targeting your ideal customers. More and more customers start seeing your ads on social media sites. As a result, Office Plus customers start shopping at Supplies ‘R’ Us, and you begin to gain a larger share of the market.
If you’ve ever clicked a link, then noticed a string of text at the end of it that begins with a ? and ends with a jumble of text — maybe something that looks like www.examplepage.com/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=organicsocialmedia — you’ve stumbled across a campaign URL!
But what is a campaign URL, exactly, and why should you use one?
Online marketing is all about sending visitors to your website from various traffic sources and encouraging those visitors to take action.
The action will be different depending on your small business; some examples include calling your brick-and-mortar location, signing up for your email list, downloading a special coupon or eBook.
If you’re a small business or a new company starting out, chances are you have a pretty limited budget for marketing your brand, products, and services. Yet, the fact that you’ve at least thought about doing marketing to promote your business, means you understand the importance and value of using marketing services and tools to help boost your company - so congratulations on taking that first key step!
Now that you understand the need to market your company, it’s time to decide how to spend your money in the most efficient and strategic way to increase your odds of attracting new leads and clients. In today’s complex Internet marketing world, there are hundreds of different ways to promote your company and solutions, thousands of tools to help you do it yourself, and thousands of marketing agencies to help you along the way.
Yet, the question of where to start and how to allocate your money still remains. To help you, we’ll share with you what our marketing strategy team shares with our existing clients when faced with this question.
Before we jump into exactly what services you should consider, it’s important to note that not every business will need the same services as every business is different, has different goals, different target markets, budgets, etc. Thus, the following list of services is not meant to help every company, but only those who’d benefit from marketing their products or services to a target audience that can be defined through online marketing services with a wide range of people.
Note: Items are listed in order of importance, with number one being the most important. Depending on your exact marketing budget, you may or may not have enough money to invest in all five services listed. When that is the case, we suggest that you invest in the most important ones first.
Take a look at these great tips and statistics on the importance of not only doing online marketing but on focusing on inbound marketing techniques to allow users to find your company naturally online.
Every small business wishes that it had unlimited resources to do whatever it desires in order to grow. Whether a company wishes to create a new product, build things faster, make bigger marketing campaigns, attend more trade shows, or develop a bigger brand, the reality is that everyone’s resources of time and money are always limited.
With this in mind, the constant question businesses ask themselves is: How can we stretch every minute of our time and every penny of our dollars to still show the same power, products quality, brand equity, leadership, expertise, and trusted perception as our main competitors who probably have larger budgets, bigger teams, maybe more experience and been around for longer?
Want to learn how a small business can be perceived to be greater than it really is?
The short answer is: Use the power of today’s digital marketing age, quality design, technology, and branding techniques to make everyone believe that your company is one of the “big players” in your industry. Let’s take a deeper look at how this can be achieved.