You can start smart by considering the identity of your audience, your own brand message, and the strategy in which you want to deliver it.
Know Thine Customer!
Seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised by how much advertising is incorrectly targeted to the wrong audience.
Before you even begin writing those ads, creating that brochure or developing web content, find out the answers to some critical questions.
Who is your customer?
Are they male or female?
Do they have kids or are they childless by choice?
What do they do for a living?
What drives them to purchase?
Is it economics? (And who isn’t driven by price these days?)
Is it fear of failure? (Look at some classic 1960s ads to see what Mad Ave determined was the driver behind purchases made by women—the desire to be a perfect wife and mother by way of a clean oven, a sparkling toilet and the perfect oven in which to cook their roast beef dinner.)
Most importantly, what is your target’s problem and how are you going to solve it for them?
Put yourself in their position. See life from their perspective. The better you know your target, the more easily you’ll be able to craft your marketing message.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Know Thine Self!
Your USP is what distinguishes you from the competition. It is the characteristic of your brand that makes you stand out in the marketplace.
It is the reason, for example, that someone will choose to purchase your foot fungus powder over the other 378 brands of foot fungus powder on the market.
To determine your USP, ask yourself the following:
What can my company offer my target that no one else can?
Are our services new?
Do we offer products/services that are an improvement over what the competition is currently offering?
Are our services somehow more convenient to use either in contracting or in fulfillment?
Do we specialize in an area that others don’t offer?
Is the quality of our service better than the competition?
Know What's Catchy!
Viral marketing is just like that cold you had last week that you got from your kid, who got it from his classmate, who passed it on to her teacher, and on and on and on. It's a phenomenon that works exceptionally well with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and other social networking platforms.
When you create a message that’s fun, fascinating, provocative or amusing, your core audience is more likely to pass it on to their friends, who will forward it to their family, who will send it on to co-workers, etc., etc., etc.
From the original Hotmail viral campaign (those clickable email sig files attached to every email sent from a Hotmail account--“Get your free email at Hotmail”) to more complex, professionally produced videos, like the John West Salmon Bear Fight ads (with more than 1,182,953 views on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVS1UfCfxlU) viral marketing works.
If you can create a great viral marketing strategy, your target audience will be doing the marketing for you, and you won’t even have to put them on your payroll.
How’s that for smart?
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Photo credit: Salvatore Vuono-- http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659