Marketing communication is about letting your customers know what your offering is, at the right time and in the right place. You need to create a buzz about your products and services. It’s also about listening to your customers to gain feedback and improve your offering.
This post is the third of three that make up the Geeksy small business marketing system; and is also available as a downloadable template, ready to complete for your business:
Before you complete this template, it is important that you first complete both the marketing intelligence and the marketing planning templates.
In order for your marketing communications to be effective, you need to work out how much a new customer is worth to you, and the cost you can support to attract those customers. These two metrics are fundamentally important. They will help you decide which marketing communication activities will deliver you a return on investment.
Once you have worked out these metrics, you must decide how you will use branding and promotional techniques to deliver your vision and objectives from the marketing planning questionnaire.
The two most important metrics to any marketing communication activity are:
- Over the lifetime of an average customer, how much is that customer worth?
- On average, how much does it cost to acquire a new customer?
These two metrics will show you which marketing communication activities actually deliver you a return on investment.
If you take the cost of a marketing communication activity and divide it by the number of new customers it generates then this gives you the cost to acquire a new customer for that particular piece of communication. You can then weigh this figure against the lifetime value of a customer to see if an activity is worth pursuing.
Until you have actual data, these metrics will be somewhat guesswork, but you should seek to gain a better and better understanding of these numbers – they are fundamental to your marketing success.
- What is the average value of a customer over five years (often known as the ‘lifetime’ value of a customer)? Calculate the gross profit that an average customer contributes to your business over five years. If you have less than five years of trading behind you, use the data that you have so far, to devise an estimate for this figure.
- Over time, update this number to gain a better and better understanding of the ‘lifetime value’ of your average customer.
- On average, how much does it cost to acquire a new customer? Total the amount you have spent on acquiring customers so far, make sure you include a cost for the time you and your employees have spent on sales and marketing activities. Divide this figure by the number of new customers you have successfully acquired, this is your average cost to acquire a new customer.
- Based on the lifetime value of a customer, what’s the highest cost you can support to acquire new customers? From the lifetime value of a customer, you must decide what the maximum cost you can support to acquire a new customer is. Using this figure, you can decide which marketing communication techniques are viable.
For each of the branding techniques below, describe how you will use them to communicate your message – or indeed, whether you will use them at all! It is very important that your branding is consistent across all media – is yours?
- Business Naming Strategy. Your business name is a fundamental part of your marketing communication strategy. What does your name say about you? We’ve written a blog post on the subject of naming a business; you can check it out here www.geeksy.co.uk/how-to-name-a-business.
- Logo. Do you have a logo? Does your logo help to communicate your message? Does it present the right image?
- Business Card. Do you have business cards? Do your business cards help to communicate your message?
- Stationery. Do you have business stationery such as letterheads and compliments slip? If you do, are they consistent with your other items of branding?
- Domain Name. Your domain name is the address at which your website resides or will reside. What does your domain say about your business? How does your domain name help to communicate your message?
- Choice of Address. Where do you trade from? It is important that your address is communicated consistently – particularly for local search engine optimisation (SEO). What does your address say about you?
- Telephone Number. It is also important for local SEO that your telephone number is communicated consistently. What telephone number do you place on marketing communications? What does it say about your business?
It is important that your branding is consistent, but your branding is unlikely to generate business directly. This is where promotion comes in. Decide how you are going to use the following promotional techniques in your marketing communication.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are the techniques that we have found that work well for small businesses.
- Your website. A website can vary from a simple online brochure, to a complex web application. What’s your strategy for your website? How will it help you market your products?
- Search engine optimisation (SEO). Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your position in the natural, unpaid search results. It can be an effective tool, but it’s not the right approach for every business. How will you use SEO to promote your business?
- Social networking. Social networking websites such as the ‘big four’ (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+) are a great way to communicate with your market. How will you use social networking to promote your business?
- Offline networking. Formal networking events take many different forms, from aggressive referral circles to unstructured gatherings. How will you use networking to deliver your marketing message?
- Public Relations. Public relations, or PR, is exactly what it sounds like – managing relations with your public! It is the process of actively taking an interest in your reputation. How will you use PR?
- Blogging. Blogging is the process of creating useful content for your customers in order to attract them to your website and create a positive association with your brand. How will you use blogging?
- Email marketing. Email marketing is the practice of using emails to communicate your marketing message. How will you use email marketing?
- Video marketing. Similar to blogging, video marketing is the process of using videos to communicate your message. How will you use video marketing?
- Photography. How will you use photography in your marketing communications?
- Pay per click advertising. Advertising online can be effective using the pay-per-click method (PPC), whereby you only pay for actual visits to your website. How will you use PPC?
- Direct mail. Sending printed items of branding directly to potential customers is called direct mail. How will you use direct mail to reach your customers?
- Other promotional techniques. What promotional techniques not listed here, will you use to promote your business?
If you would like to download this post as a template ready to complete for your business, you can do so here:
Marketing Communication Template
Once you’ve done this you’ve completed the Geeksy small business marketing system!