Whether you are an up-and-comer in the print industry or are fast approaching your 50th anniversary in business, you can’t help but notice the conversations surrounding you about the Web, social media, email marketing, etc., and how all these elements tie together. Rather than get caught up in what or how you should be using each of these tools, I suggest that you start by taking a look at how all your marketing—from online to printed materials—ties together, and then ask yourself, “What is my message?”
Your message, or brand, is how people perceive your business. Your brand is also the driver of activity for large clients, one-time customers, and those individuals “just looking.” A consistent look and feel throughout print, Web, email, and online marketing drives individuals to your company. And you can’t consider one aspect of these marketing tools without considering them all.
Social media: How it works
Communicating through social media can be an effective way to drive traffic to your homepage. One of the most well known players in social media is Facebook, which is also the most challenging one. Why? Your clients don’t go to Facebook looking for companies with which to do business. They typically use Facebook to connect with old friends, new friends, relatives, high school classmates, and everyone in between. If you do anything that looks like you are trying to force your brand on them, they’ll run and hide, or worse: You and your business will be “Unfriended.” Stay social with Facebook.
Using LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to be more direct with your marketing message. LinkedIn drives people back to your website, allows for job postings, and keeps those that you are connected with up-to-date on the professional projects on which you’re working. The key here is to share information on your products, services, and areas of expertise in the same manner as your website and printed materials that you may hand out to prospects. Remember, online social sites are searchable by Google and other search engines.
Social media sites are to be used as a marketing channel, not a direct sales channel. When considering a marketing channel, you need to always consider your brand. From your direct mail piece to your website, you want everything to convey the same look and feel as well as a similar tone to the language you use. This is referred to as building the brand.
When it comes to electronic marketing and connecting with your website, put quality and consistency over quantity. Of course, you hope that customers open every email and consume them with ferocity, which may or may not happen. The most important consideration for email marketing is a compelling subject line that ideally drives people back to your site and/or social media sites. Use electronic marketing for the following:
E-newsletter: Your e-newsletter should have short stories, tips, tidbits, photos, quick reference lists, and any other eye-grabbing content. Include links back to your website, targeting your most popular products and services.
Promotions: Promotions are essentially special buys you feature by way of email. These usually work best if the offers are available only by email to further encourage your clients to open them up and read your messages.
New products and services: These are pretty self explanatory. If you are in growth mode, you might want to combine new products into one email. And don’t stretch your definition of new products as an excuse to send out marketing materials.
Defining your brand is a full-time job. You must devote time and energy to getting the word out about your company; find the right words and images, then be methodical about building a brand that is consistent throughout print, your website, social media, and electronic marketing. This consistency will lead to a higher awareness and an increase in revenue. Please don’t get caught up in the individual components, but consider the picture in it’s entirety for true success with integrated print and online media.