Five tips for building a plan for 2016
As we near the end of 2015, we inevitably start reflecting upon the year and looking forward to the possibilities that 2016 holds. I’m sure by now you have developed at least a few marketing strategies for the first quarter (if not the entire year), but my question to you is: Do you have real marketing campaigns planned for the New Year?
Successful long-term marketing plans contain individual campaigns that will run during strategic times of the year. To clarify, a marketing campaign is a massive, targeted effort used to convey a certain message to your target audience, for a defined time period, with a specific goal in mind. As you are developing and executing your 2016 campaigns, use these five fundamentals to help them become as successful and profitable as possible for you and your company.
1. Define your goal. Before you start any marketing effort, you need to clearly define the intended outcome. I’m sure you’ve set revenue goals for your company, and these campaign goals are very similar. They should be well-defined, easy to track, relevant, realistic and have a specific time frame. You need to ask yourself: What is the purpose of this campaign? Is it to acquire 10 new clients per week, to generate $80,000 in new system sales, or to increase your average ticket by $100?
Whatever it is for you, identify the goal and attach a deadline to it. Then, everything you do regarding the campaign is focused on this goal.
2. Know your ideal client. It’s crucial to know exactly whom you are trying to reach; otherwise you are throwing your marketing dollars away. If you don’t truly understand your ideal client, how can you speak to him with your campaign’s message? An example of defining your client is: homeowners with an income over a certain amount, with homes built before 2000, in a certain area of town (or ZIP code), and you have previously serviced their heating unit. Then, your offer can communicate specifically to that client, which is important to the success of any campaign.
People want to feel as if you are speaking directly to them and their issues with a specific message, not trying to generalize and be all things to all people.
3. Have an irresistible offer. Once you gain a clear understanding of your target client, you can craft an impactful message that includes an “irresistible offer.” This is a deal that your client finds so valuable they are motivated to act upon it before the defined expiration date. Your irresistible offer should include a sense of urgency (a deadline), offer a solid guarantee which removes any sense of risk, and must speak to something that fulfills a relevant need or want. Your offer also can solve a problem your client is currently experiencing or alleviate a fear he might be having.
For instance, if he has an older heating system, he might be concerned it will break down in the middle of winter and his family will be cold. Or he might be worried that he is paying too much on his home’s utility bill because the system is inefficient. You can craft your campaign and offer to address these concerns.
4. Define the campaign. When you have decided upon your goal, ideal client and irresistible offer, it’s time to define a budget for the campaign, a time frame and a plan for execution. Map out what media channels will work best for you and your budget, and assign who will be responsible for the project itself. Make sure everyone involved in the campaign understands his or her responsibilities, deadlines and goals.
Someone needs to be accountable for tracking the results, approving ads, and keeping up the social media and public relations aspects of the campaign. Write your press releases in advance, have media contact information ready, get your mailing list cleaned up and work on ad design.
5. Execute, monitor and modify. After all the systems are in place for your campaign, it’s time to execute! Don’t be afraid to get creative, use some unconventional strategies and take advantage of every opportunity for free local public relations. I’ll mention more about that in a minute. Also, one of the most important (yet often overlooked) aspects of the execution phase is to ensure everyone in the company is aware of the campaign, especially CSRs and frontline team members. This could be part of a meeting, where team members have an opportunity to ask questions or give input regarding the campaign.
This is necessary because clients might ask your technicians and salespeople about the promotion, and it’s crucial for them to understand the offer and details of the campaign. You don’t want your team members to feel out of the loop, and you don’t want your clients to think your team members don’t know what’s going on with the company.
Be sure to have a system for tracking your results, whether it’s a phone number, a code or a link. Not only will this help you determine the overall profitability of the campaign, it will allow you to know what is working (and what isn’t) in real time. Then, you can either modify as you go, or you will at least know what to do differently next time you run the promotion. Remember, the more information you have about the results, the better.
At my company, a recent successful campaign we ran was our “Spot the Pink Truck” promotion surrounding our pink breast cancer awareness vehicle. We got tons of free local press and had members of the community posting selfies with the pink truck on our Facebook page. It created great positive PR for the company. Always be thinking about what you can do to create a campaign that will generate some extra buzz in your community, too.
There are unlimited possibilities regarding what you can do at your company to develop a great marketing campaign. As you are coming up with one of your own, always keep your eye on how it fits into your larger overall marketing plan. My Titanium Club members are consistently producing new, innovative marketing ideas, and it’s inspiring to see how a creative approach, mixed with tactical planning and execution, can make a real difference in our companies. Make 2016 your most profitable year yet, using these five fundamentals to develop a strategic marketing campaign.
This article was originally titled “Profitable marketing campaigns” in the December 2015 print edition of Plumbing & Mechanical.