Ira M. Gostin: Marketing your business out of a pandemic (Voices)
Special to the NNBW
With the reopening of our economy slowly in progress, business owners are asking themselves “where do I start on my marketing?” There is no one-size fits all answer, but there are some must-do tasks to get started.
Identify what you were doing and assess what worked with actual results and discard what didn’t. But realize that times are different than they were last year, so you might give certain tactics a second look.
One of those areas is Facebook. According to some studies, Facebook has experienced a 50% to 70% growth in market since the beginning of the pandemic. This includes a broadening of audience to include more millennials and Gen Zers.
I have been skeptical on over-reliance on Facebook, but this may be a better opportunity than in the past.
Instagram stories are reportedly up over 200%, and YouTube is the second most visited website in the world. Regardless of the growth of social platforms during the pandemic, basic principles still apply.
You have to carefully identify who your customer base is and establish this is the correct audience for your business.
You must use multi-faceted campaigns to have impact into your target audience. Marketers use the phrase “touch points” to describe every time your message or story “touches” a prospect. Your campaign must have multiple touch points in multiple mediums for it to be effective.
You have to be authentic in your approach. Overly “salesey” campaigns, cheesy approaches or anything that comes across as insincere will be ignored.
Telling your story is the greatest tool a business has in establishing marketing. It’s what sets you apart; it brings the personality of your business or company to life and through the telling of the story, highlights your competitive advantage.
By creating a story, you will also create your marketing message, which is at the heart of your company’s story.
But don’t trade in your authenticity for a sales attitude. The number one tool in sales is simply asking the question, “How can I help you?”
At the core of these five words is an offer of your skillset to elevate someone else’s business. In my consulting practice, we use the phrase “move the needle,” and how we do it is through a strategically designed marketing and communications plan. But at its core, we always start with this question: “How can we help you?”
So as you start to look out the window and envision our free marketplace come back to life, here are some specific tips to help you get started:
- Start with your internal customer/client list. These are already warm leads and they already know you. Sure, you could do a mailer or a postcard, but working your list with a phone call and asking how you can help will be so much more effective in closing deals.
- Identify your social media preferences and determine which platform is the best place to tell your story. Your posts should be specific and tell your story in bite-size pieces. Again you are asking, how you can help them.
- If you need a creative approach, hire a professional! Homegrown design rarely works and will just frustrate you with a lack of return.
- Lastly, be bold and don’t be afraid in the telling of your story. Sincere offers of help and personal engagement will spearhead your efforts to share your expertise with your customers and clients and help your business move the needle.
Ira M. Gostin, MBA, APR, is a Reno resident and strategic consultant specializing in communications, marketing and stakeholder engagement for industrial and mining companies.
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