Bull s-eye! Planning and Delivering a Winning Marketing Campaign

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1 Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Management Conference Little Rock, Arkansas 2 September 2009 Bull s-eye! Planning and Delivering a Winning Marketing Campaign Heather Henderson Bull s-eye profit targets with a winning marketing campaign. Six essential marketing skills will help you craft attention-getting messages, cost effectively deliver them via print, web, and other outlets, and measure the return. These six basic steps will serve you in any marketing situation. Consider them some basic tools in your marketing toolbox: 1. Identify the target audience. 2. Craft a multimedia message. 3. Deliver the message via print, web, and other outlets. 4. Make the message viral. 5. Measure the return on investment. 6. Reward the customer.

2 1. Identify the target audience Where do the supply and demand meet? Possibly the most important part of creating a winning marketing campaign is determining what to market. What do you have to offer that your audience might want to buy? A Strength- Weaknesses-Opportunity-Threat analysis (SWOT) can help you plan your campaign. Position yourself strategically to be attractive to your target market. If you can t articulate why you are worth hiring (or buying from), how can your customers? Market segments Who s buying? What exactly are they buying? How much are they paying? Where are they? How do you reach them? In order to build a strategic campaign, you need information. Although some of these questions can be very difficult for a genealogist to answer, there are generic reports such as consumer spending reports and average household income reports which can help. United States Department of Labor: The Conference Board: Zip Code Statistics: U.S. Census Bureau American Fact Finder & American Community Survey: How to identify your segments In order to maximize results, the next step is sorting out the vital few from the trivial many. (Pareto s Principle also known as the 80/20 rule.) Some of this will come from good planning when defining your product offering and market segments. Some of it will come from trial and error as you review your market segments, implement, and measure your campaigns. In order to minimize the error in trial and error, try consumer surveys. This does not have to be a huge investment. Ask friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc. for feedback on your services, products, and marketing ideas. Ask about price, what features they value, and whether your message (if they didn t know you) would have been enough to make them act. To make their feedback actionable, compare their circumstances to your demographic and financial research.

3 Skill Building: SWOT Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats

4 Skill Building: Your Target Audience How Much Why Where When What Who

5 2. Craft a multimedia message Selecting and using key words Especially for Internet campaigns, selecting and using the right key words for your market segments is critical. Even for print campaigns, key word research is critical. Fortunately, Google has developed free tools to help. Incorporate and emphasize popular key words in all your messages. Select action and emotion words to convey energy and value. Google AdWords Traffic Estimator: Branding When crafting your message, branding is a critical aspect to remember. Although technically a brand is a name, symbol, term, or phrase ( tagline ) used to identify your offering(s), in reality your brand is whatever your customers believe that name, symbol, term or phrase represents. Strong brands are consistently represented with fixed style guidelines, building beliefs associated with a product. Call to Action What do you want your target market to do? The chances of them actually doing it increase dramatically when you tell them specifically what to do and how to do it. Always include call to action messages such as Visit or Call for more information, so the consumer knows exactly what they are supposed to do now that they have been engaged. Graphic Design You don t have to be a graphic designer to create a visually compelling campaign, and you don t need expensive software. Use whatever you re comfortable with. Here are a few rules of thumb to remember: At maximum, use only two different fonts. More is distracting and worse, looks amateur. Use white space (blank areas) to create balance. Use images which appeal to your target market and communicate your message, but don t use cute clip art. It s dated. Take your own digital photos (remember to use good lighting) or use stock photography such as found at Consider the rule of thirds when designing copy, image, and white space.

6 Skill Building: Key Words & Call to Action

7 3. Deliver the message Print Media One of the most cost effective marketing tools you will have is your business card. Make it a miniature billboard, well branded, and compelling. Other cost effective tools include: Pass-along cards: Print as business cards and give to friends, family, etc. Average cost: $30 & up. Half sheet or full sheet flyers: These can be printed in full color, a single color, or black and white. Grayscale design can be very attractive and cost effective. Average cost for 500: $40-$500. Trifold brochures: Describe your service or product in greater detail. The back panel should contain contact information or be designed for mailing. Average cost for 500: black & white from about $100; color $300 & up. Newsletters: Some people still love mail. Black and white: from about 16 + postage. Postcards, birthday cards, holiday cards, thank you cards, etc.: Average cost varies by product. Promotional items such as pens, calendars, etc: Average cost varies by product. Your Website Your website does not have to be fancy; in fact, a well-designed single page website can be more effective than a poorly-designed site with many pages. At a minimum include your brand, your services (and/or products), and contact information. Engineer your landing page(s) (the page where a visitor ends up after clicking on a link or typing your web address) to maximize the message(s) you have crafted including your call to action. For optimum results, static websites require frequent maintenance. If you are not comfortable creating a website and don t have a budget to hire someone, consider using a blog. Blogs (such as can be made to function the same way a website does by incorporating postings about your background and qualifications, your services (and/or products), and contact information. Blogs are actually a fantastic marketing tool because they benefit from RSS feeds, which notify search engines of new posts. Keeping blog content fresh and relevant while offering your services is a great low-budget marketing strategy. Search Engine Optimization Search engine optimization (SEO) is an Internet buzz word you may be curious about. Essentially, it means strategically writing the copy of your website to make your page highly visible to search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. The trick (and it is tricky) is to hit a sweet spot with key word density in the page content, page title, and organic search

8 popularity based on the key words your target market is using. If your keyword density is too high, you will be penalized for stuffing; too low and you won t be ranked. The secret is to analyze the top performing sites then hit a similar ratio of keyword density. SEOTools: Internet Advertising Pay-per-click advertising is something to consider if you are willing to dedicate a budget to internet advertising. Based on my own personal experience, I allocated $100/month for payper-click advertising with a return of about 1 order per 25 visits, or about 4% which equaled about a 20% return on my investment. (I also know that I had a lot of lookie-lou s checking out the competition/web design it s just part of business. Your competition will click your advertisement to check you out, so monitor and budget for it.) That budget and return was sufficient for my needs, personally, but I also emphasized other marketing outlets. Your needs and results (conversion rate) will vary depending on your sales goals, availability, target market(s), website stickiness, and other factors. Use Google AdWords Traffic Estimator to help you develop your own budget: Then use Google AdWords to launch your campaign with Google: To advertise on Bing, use Microsoft AdCenter: Guerilla Marketing Guerilla marketing has come to mean any non-traditional marketing effort. Be creative. Here are some ideas to get you started. Always, always, always brand. Leave business cards everywhere. The library, the grocery store, the gym, you name it. Give pass-along cards and gifts that are attractive, humorous and/or otherwise memorable. Hold a contest for free services. Sponsor a lecture or event that will reach your target audience. Brand t-shirts, your vehicle, your pens, your bag, etc. Make yourself your own billboard.

9 4. Make the message viral Viral messages are those that your target market likes well enough to share with others. There are two approaches to creating a viral message. First, you can make it so irresistibly informational, clever, humorous, beautiful, etc. that the consumer feels compelled to share it. Examples of this are pass along cards, YouTube videos, informational/instructional blogs, interesting newsletters, etc. Second, you can ask and/or encourage the message to be passed along with a call to action such as Please share this special offer with your friends. You might also consider offering a reward for referrals such as a small gift, or free or reducedrate service. Skill Building: Make it viral Who is your target audience? Who What do you want them to do? What Where will your audience find it? Where Why is this compelling? How Much Why How much will this cost and what is the expected return?

10 5. Measure the return on investment Promotional Codes Use promotional codes to track the return on your advertising investment. There will be some things you can t measure, but specific promotional codes with special offers help. For example, Mention this card and receive a free 15 minute consultation on your Dutch [or whatever key words your target market values] ancestry. This accomplishes three things: first, it helps monitor the success of your campaign; second, it reinforces your well-crafted message; and third, it is a call to action which walks the customer through the next step. Google Analytics If you have a website, Google Analytics is an essential measurement tool. It will help you track where your audience is coming from virtually (from which pages in cyberspace) and geographically (from which zip codes) so that you can adjust your marketing campaign as needed to reach your target audience. Measure stickiness by evaluating the click-through rates and flow. Make sure your visitors are seeing and using your call to action. Monitor it weekly. Google AdWords Google AdWords also provides essential reports for monitoring the success of pay-per-click Internet advertising campaigns. Monitor it daily. Skill Building: Measure the return 1. Benchmark What is your current performance? What is your standard of measurement? Dollars? Average sale value? Number of inquiries? Number of sales? Number of repeat customers? Whatever your standard is, quantify your current performance. 2. Set a goal What do you expect this campaign to do? Define success according you the standard of measurement you defined in step #1 (total dollar sales, average sale value, number of inquiries, number of sales, etc.). 3. Measure performance & adjust as needed Use whatever standard of measurement you set is step #2.

11 6. Reward the customer The customer wants to feel good about their purchase. Always thank them for their business. Consider a customer rewards program offering incentives such as reduced rate services in the future for repeat business or for referrals. Send birthday and/or Christmas cards (always branded!) with a short, handwritten note of appreciation. Skill Building: Reward the Customer Which customers will you reward and for what? Who What will you reward them with? What How will you deliver the reward? How Why is this compelling? How Much Why How much will this cost and what is the expected return?

12 Putting it together Your Marketing Plan You should have a comprehensive marketing plan. It s a road map of where you want to take your business and how you plan to get there. It goes hand in hand with your business plan. Key sections of your marketing plan include the Executive Summary including company goals, SWOT, market research including market segments, competition research, and marketing strategies. Feel free to set actual dollar or percentage goals for your expected ROI. That gives you a measurement standard, and you can adjust it as needed. Marketing Mix The 4 P s which make up your marketing mix (and which should be included in your marketing plan) are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. By defining each of these areas you have a better understanding of the building blocks of your business. Then if you re not meeting your goals, it s easier to tweak things. Budgeting As a rule of thumb, you should plan to invest 5%-10% of your gross revenue into marketing and driving new sales. Build this into your budget for operating costs, which in turn should drive your price point, which in turn affects your marketing strategy. It seems a circular reference, but you have to start somewhere. As you continue to measure the ROI of your campaigns, you will be able to adjust your budget accordingly. Your Toolbox Based on what you have learned you now have six key marketing skills and several tools in your marketing toolbox. Maintain them. Grow them. These six basic steps will serve you in any marketing situation. 1. Identify the target audience. 2. Craft a multimedia message. 3. Deliver the message via print, web, and other outlets. 4. Make the message viral. 5. Measure the return on investment. 6. Reward the customer.

13 Notes

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