How to Conduct a 4-Step Audit of Your Marketing Materials

 

Most small businesses cannot afford to consult a marketing professional at every turn. Still, conducting a periodic audit of your marketing materials is a great way to ensure your brand has a memorable presence in the marketplace. This simple four-step process will allow you to ensure your materials measure up to the task.

Before you begin, review your business objectives. Consider your mission and vision, and review long- and short-term goals. Have these at hand for easy reference as you conduct your audit. Ultimately, it’s these objectives your marketing materials are intended to support. Also have in front of you your marketing plan and any information about how and when the materials are used. Be clear about all of this going into the audit.

Check for Consistency

Read through all the materials once to get a fresh overview of how they work together. Consistency is key. Look for consistency in two different ways: a) are the materials consistent among themselves; and b) are all materials consistent with the brand? Starting with the first question, review the materials to make sure that the design, style, language and images all tell a consistent story. For example, the color scheme should be consistent from your website to your business cards to any flyers you distribute.

If you are reviewing multiple campaigns, do they connect to each other, and what do they have in common? What they should have in common is a consistent representation of the brand. And by brand, we don’t just mean the design and logo. This brings us to the second point. Your brand includes not only the logo and design, but also the content. The content should be consistent with the brand identity and clearly convey the brand promise.

Keep Materials Current

Keeping your target audience in mind, ask yourself if the colors and messaging feels current or outdated. Today’s customers are savvy and culturally literate. They know outdated when they see it. As in the fashion world, trends dominate the marketing landscape. Keep up with them. Ideally, your company should be on the leading edge, setting trends instead of following them. No matter what you decide, having an understanding of current marketing trends will keep you from appearing passé or just plain tired. Just imagine how the burgundy and navy design combinations favored by the corporations of the 1990s would play with audiences today.

Make Your Messages Memorable

Your materials need to have an impact that lasts. Any American who was a child in the ‘80s is sure to remember Wendy’s famous “Where’s The Beef?” campaign—it’s unforgettable. So, too, is the new Häagen-Dazs Marketing Campaign for their limoncello Gelato. At once unbelievably irritating and completely unforgettable, this campaign is the epitome of “sticky” campaigns.

As Häagen Dazs demonstrates, a campaign needn’t be enjoyable to wedge itself into the collective memory. Just be sure it’s consistent with your brand and doesn’t turn off your target audience.

Inspire Action

Your brand must touch the customer personally, or they won’t buy. Your marketing materials are your opportunity to make contact with your customers. Brain research tells us that motor imagery (the visualization of taking an action) has a measurable impact on actual behavior, improving practice and increasing motivation. It stands to reason that if you can get customers to imagine using your product or service, you’re one step closer to a sale.

Irritating or not, the Gelato campaign achieves this goal by presenting the viewer with a host of attractive mouths repeating the product’s name in an overtly sexy tone. It’s likely many people who watch the video even end up repeating the name of the ice cream themselves. And once the viewer’s imagination is primed, the tagline “even the name tastes good” reinforces the association between the product’s name and deliciousness.

Of course, companies don’t just rely on catchy slogans or brilliant marketing ideas. If you want to know whether your materials inspire action, keep statistics on their effectiveness. Testing your materials by tracking their effectiveness (via sales data and social media response) may or may not give you a perfectly accurate picture of what customers will do in response to future efforts, but it will provide invaluable information you can use to target your content more effectively. As you go through your materials, be sure look at your sales compared with the date and scope of release for each piece of marketing. Check social media responses to the piece; are reactions positive? Negative? Non-existent? Being proactive about data collection and management is likely to give you a much better grasp of your materials’ impact.

Conducting your audit will not guarantee success. Often you will be left, at best, with an educated guess about what will capture the attention of your target audience and motivate them to buy. Being thorough in your analysis will allow you to be as educated as you can.

Whatever you do, don’t take your foot off the pedal. Once your materials are released, be vigilant about tracking their effectiveness in every location and medium, and be ready to shift course if the situation calls for it. With these measures, and a little luck, your marketing materials will translate to better and bigger sales.

Janis Bookout is a freelance writer and branding facilitator from Austin, Texas, with experience in social media. She has written manuals, curricula, web content, and blogs. Janis has more than ten years of experience in the field of personal and professional development, training others in accountability, team management, leadership and brand implementation. She is also a professional artist and co-founder of a teaching software company, and is a regular contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com.

Effective Strategies For Bigger Social Media Exposure

 

Social Media is an important part of any Business. Social Media is the future. It is the biggest component of the Internet by which a Business can reach millions of people. With so many companies competing for the spotlight you need to have some clever techniques for staying at the top and get the maximum social media exposure possible. Social Media Exposure

1. Find the right time

There are two ways to find the right time. One is to use your own experience, and the other is to use different tools. Experience is the key in most cases. The only disadvantage is that experience is built over time. You will probably run some trial and error methods for a few months before you find success.

From my experiences, for Facebook and most other social media sites, the best time to share would be when most of your friends are online. When your friends are online, they would easily see your updates and if they comment you would be available to reply to them as well. Another advantage is that people tend to be online on multiple social media sites at once. Statistically, that gives you a great opportunity to convert.

In case of Facebook pages, the most clever way to share is to first understand the locations of your fans. For example, if you’re in the US and the majority of fans are Asian, you need to keep in mind the time difference. It doesn’t help when you post an update when the majority of the Asians are asleep at night. If you have fans from all over the world, then you need to schedule your posts in a cycle. We will come onto that a little later.

People visit social media sites predominately in the morning and late evening after returning home from work. These are key times when your prospects will be online. So, keeping in mind your time zones, you need to concentrate your sharing around these times.

There are plenty of tools available, especially for Twitter, which allow you to see when most of your followers are online. One such tool is Tweriod.

2. Never Reveal Too Much – Be Descriptive Yet Short

People like way too many things and follow way too many people on Facebook and Twitter. So, naturally when they login to their accounts, they are bombarded with hundreds of updates per minute. Within those hundreds of updates your updates needs to stand out.

On Twitter, there is a 140 character limit. You need to be more descriptive and to the point so that your potential customers click on that link. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ don’t have that limitation. Writing too much when you update can kill the suspense and curiosity in your reader.

You should write in such a way that it presents an opportunity for your readers to learn something new. Saying more with fewer words is the key to getting that click we all want.

3. Understand Your Own and Your Reader’s Psychology

Before trying to figure out the psychology of your readers and what they love, you should understand your own psychology.

For example, have you ever thought what kind of articles you read and why do you read them. What makes you come and read them in the first place? Was it the catchy title that everyone brags about? Was it something new? Was it your own curiosity? Was it something that’s closely related to your personal life? Just think about it.

Have you ever noticed how your readers interact with others in the social media environment. Have you ever noticed the type of updates they comment on and what they write in their comments. Reading others comments can give you an outlook of what he/she likes and he/she expects to read in the coming future.

This is applicable for any niche that you may be in.

4. Connect Your Social Media Accounts

Connecting your social media accounts is important because it helps spread your word quickly and simultaneously. Bloggers, webmasters, and business houses are very active on social media sites. Have you ever thought why?

It’s because their potential customers are lazy. Normal people come online to relax, take a break from their daily routine and chat with their friends. They don’t come online to buy something so that you can get a commission out of it. It’s a hard fact. In order to make a sale, you need to change your reader’s mindset from “Do I need it ?” to “I can’t live without it”. This is something which Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs did with revolutionary products like IPod, IMac and Iphone.

But in order to this, you first need to get their attention. Now, the good thing is that people remain online on multiples sites like Facebook and Google+ at once. This is your chance to show them what you have to offer. Chances are they may not click your link at first glance, but when they see your updates on multiple sites, they may have a second thought and click your link to see what you have to offer. That’s why connecting your social media accounts is important.

5. Schedule Your Updates for Bigger Social Media Exposure

To run a successful business, you need diversified income and that can only happen when you have a diversified audience. The problem with having a diversified audience is that it’s difficult to reach all of them, or most of them, because of different time zones and other factors.

Scheduling your updates is the key to this. The best way to achieve is this take your best 15-20 posts and schedule them in a timely manner with suitable intervals into multiple cycles that runs for 24 hours. Next day, you take another 15-20 of your posts and do the same thing with them.

This is a great way to get some pretty big social media exposure because if someone misses one of your posts or all your posts in a cycle, then he/she can easily find it in another cycle because the cycle runs multiple times in day.

6. Advertisements

Along with social media, the art of advertisements has also changed.

On Facebook, if you have a fan page, then you can advertise your fan page or your posts. Both of them are pretty great for increasing your likes in my experience. Recently, I spent about $40 on Facebook Advertising for two of my posts from my facebook fan page. It helped me get hundreds of likes and a great amount of traffic as well. Here’s a screenshot of one of them.

social media exposure

For $30, it reached 16k people

If you have a budget you can easily get this started.  It gets attention fast and a lot and it’s very effective.

Conclusion

All of the tips have to be implemented simultaneously to get some decent traffic to your blog. These things takes months to develop and you can’t stop when you start getting social media traffic . You need to constantly work them for continued growth.

 

Lahaul Seth is an engineering student who loves to write articles on blogging tips, seo, internet marketing, social media. He is also a programmer and an addicted web developer. He is the Founder and Administrator of Lion Blogger.

Sun Tsu: Is Business Like War?

 

I recently received a call from a young designer who I met when she was in art school. I reviewed her portfolio and several years later at a local graphic design group meeting, she reintroduced herself and thanked me for being kind and helpful in that review. She became an avid reader of my articles on the design business and while telling me on that phone call about a job from hell, she said she needed to “borrow (my) bastardness.

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