Developing an integrated marketing plan
Okay, sometimes I don’t sleep all that great. Maybe this is a business owner’s curse or blessing, as we defensively view it. Ideas come in the night, then they grow vocal cords and chide you with, “Why not, you dummy?” and before you know it, you’re in your den with coffee at an hour the owls have called it a night.
Happened last night. So, in case you were wondering…
The infomercial business is absolutely booming. The industry has moved from cheap and over-promised products to billion-dollar respected enterprises like Guthy-Renker, top-tier publishers like Boardroom and even high-dollar political fundraisers. (That last one nearly circles back to “cheap and over-promised.” I actually prefer Ginsu knives. Sorry.)
And at an average of $165,000 per hour of infomercial off-time investment, they must extract every known grain of sales volume. The top-performing direct-response models are as instructional as they are effective.
These performers have successfully shifted from their old unidirectional media flow that went from TV to phone into a multi-pronged integrated approach which has multiplied sales. The great thing is the pattern is nearly identical to what we’re recommending for contractors now.
Top direct-response marketing campaigns now strategically direct prospects from TV to:
- Phone (still accounting for nearly 70% of sales);
- Smartphone/text for mobile compatibility and discounts;
- Social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube);
- Separate promotion-only landing pages; and
- Web with separate discount code entries gained from TV.
You will notice the proliferation of the digital component. Hear me: This is, at the same time, inconsistency, confusion and opportunity among contractors.
See, contractor marketing had previously also performed unidirectionally from ad to phone (most sickeningly from the Yellow Pages). Yet, many are slow or very behind in integrated multi-media, causing inconsistency, confusion, and opportunity.
Any non-integrated plan today is begging for brand and lead dilution. We see it all the time: A company has a nice website, which bears no resemblance to their manufacturer-supplied print ads and is incongruent with their “Buy Now!” radio ads. In today’s fractured media world, inconsistency of message kills results.
Advice: Pick one theme, one look, and for each promotion, one message. Pound that in across the media and watch the results. (These are called sister promotions and you’re advised to use this approach in all of your marketing. This is a shift partly due to an overly distracted public, additional media choices, and short-term memory and focus loss. This is not theory.)
Contractors and much of small business America are understandably confused by continually changing media choices. The infomercial world has created a billion-dollar strong path to follow, but yours need only be a minor imitation.
The problem with contractor marketing is that every time somebody says they “should” be in this or that media, they pile on different messages (see above) instead of thinking strategically.
Today’s marketing is too complex, and my constant bleating about strategy is becoming a must-do instead of a nice-to-have.
Advice: Start simply, instead of trying to do everything at once. So, let’s look at today’s hottest topics in order:
- Web content;
- Social media; and
- Customer reviews.
Those three topics cause more confusion than nearly all traditional media combined, yet are so ripe for the taking that it’s mind-boggling. (Why? Because others are confused!)
If these three are not being done well and integrated with offline media, do not buy or even look at another online marketing opportunity. Get these 3 right first. If they confuse you, you’re not alone.
The opportunity now is gold plated largely because of the former two items. If you create a less confusing, consistent marketing message across traditional and Internet media, you will be miles ahead of the competition. How? Once again, let’s start simply.
6 Things you can do right now
Here are six things you can do right now to achieve integration, simplification, and results:
1. Repurpose your best offline promotions into your online promotions. They should have the same theme, voice, message and offer, if any. No confusion for you, CSRs, techs or customers.
2. Integrate print promotions with online coupons or deeper offers. (These are simple to do and make you look instantly more relevant.)
3. Invite your website visitor to receive your offline newsletter, which is an instant lead-capture. And the inverse is also true…
4. Make your newsletter point to your website with continuation articles, more advice and valuable promotions.
5. Add “Click to Call” on your website. (Don’t install Instant Chat unless you have the staff to monitor it constantly.) Yet, if a prospect is browsing your site, an instant connection is gratifying for all.
Tip: If for some reason your phone number and contact email is not on every page of your site, change that today!
6. Strike the right balance and let your social pages be 70% entertaining and 30% promotional. Social sites should have the same theme, messaging, look and voice of your main website.
Use the proven model from billion-dollar marketers. Rethink your marketing path from “ad to phone” to the entire world of integrated messages. This will drive traffic, calls and profits right past the competition straight to you.