Thursday, September 30, 2010

Integrated Marketing

In today’s economy, you cannot afford to rely only on offline or online marketing. The more you connect your marketing strategies and the more you repurpose your message for both online and offline, the better. The key is to ensure that your message is consistent and reinforces your brand. Doing so will help bring your community together.

Consider these four tips on how you can establish those foundations for leveraging all of your marketing efforts. You can integrate online into your offline advertising, events, workshops, trade shows and public speaking.

First things first, fill the room with your target market. Ensuring you have the basics in place like a great marketing action plan to fill your events and stay on task consistently is a necessity. A solution can be utilizing a software product for managing your marketing activities such as, Simple Marketing Pro.

With a successful action plan, will deliver a packed event. Now you have a room filled with your ideal clients; how will you engage them and drive them to your online community? Here are four simple tips to expand your imagination.

1. Text messaging is the next marketing frontier. At your next speaking engagement, tell the audience to send a text message with their email address to receive a fabulous resource you have to offer. Using a service that allows you to capture those cell phone numbers for future marketing is a big plus. A service like Monster Follow-up allows you to collect the email address as well and makes this process easy. Keep in mind that 97% of text messages are opened compared to the average email open rate that continues to fall and today hovers somewhere between 20-40%.

2. Use social media at your events to increase your visibility. Create a conference site where you can utilize crowd sourcing allowing participants to share their views with their followers. Live social media feeds with your conference #hashtag is one option. Another is videotaping the participant’s views during the conference and uploading to your conference page throughout the event.

3. At your next trade show, stand out from the competition. One way is to use a 2D barcode, which is a black and white checkerboard tag to drive booth visitors to a specific webpage? Like this one that drives traffic to a mobile page that encourages opt-in for a free report. Or you could drive them to a quick demo video of your product.

4. Your strategies have to go both directions. Make it easy for your local community to find you online. Develop a strong presence in local social media activities, by utilizing services like Yelp, Foursquare and Google Places and then send a request to your cheerleaders and ask them to post a review. Be sure to check out the just launched Facebook Places to help give your business a local presence as well. These strategies can help regardless of whether you have a storefront or not so, businesses operating out of their home should not dismiss these opportunities.

As a bonus learn from Amazon’s recent report of breaking the 1 billion in mobile sales and make it easy for your prospects to purchase using their mobile devices. Another great use of the barcode, with one quick click they could land on your mobile page for quick purchase.

Open your mind and look for opportunities to use your offline marketing strategies to direct prospects to interact with you online. A Forrester Research study predicts that interactive marketing budgets, as a share of overall budgets, will increase from 13 to 21% by 2014. As a small business owner, you can be ahead of the curve by implementing these type of strategies today.

Donna Amos is the founder and president of Solopreneur Solutions, LLC. Donna helps solopreneurs convert and close more sales without breaking out in a sweat at the thought of asking.