Increase Sales Through Effective Marketing Communications

As a small business owner, one of the most complex challenges I have faced has been conveying my organization’s message in a manner that has the power to attract customers.

I have found that one of the most critical mediums a small business owner has to convey who they are is through writing. Yet, many owners do not know how to craft the right words to embody their brand or image. Furthermore, failing to craft the right brand or image may cost you the ability to attract the right customers.

Certainly with the integration of social media, the channels in which you can communicate your value proposition or brand with a potential customer are endless. However, if you are like me, you may wonder where and how to start creating the written words that convey who you are to build your customer base and increase sales.

Admittedly my writing skills can be improved upon. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to take a business writing course to brush up on my skills. However, I recognize that business writing or marketing communication is critical to my organization’s success. Think about it: as a potential customer if you visit my website and see a grammatical error, you would get turned off; or if I wanted to market a service to you but, I failed to catch you at “hello” with a great tagline, I just lost you as a potential customer

Wikipedia describes marketing communications as the following: Marketing Communications are messages and related media used to communicate with a market. Marketing communications is the “promotion” part of the “Marketing Mix” or the “four Ps”: price, place, promotion, and product.

Recently, I met a business writing professional, Justin Cerone with Business Writing Solutions, who took the time to educate me on marketing communication – more specifically business writing. It turns out that Justin turned his passion for writing into a business. Since my writing skills are average, I took the time to learn more about Justin’s services. I am glad I did because I learned that having a command of effective writing can make a difference in marketing and selling your service to customers.

I was so impressed with Justin that I asked him to create and present a writing course for myself and other small businesses that may benefit from his expertise. If you are like me, you need all the help you can get to increase sales through effective marketing communication. Justin agreed to conduct the webinar in November of 2010. I look forward to attending this event so that I can improve my business writing skills and learn how to sale more with by appealing to my customers with effective marketing communication. Feel free to visit my website to learn more. In the meantime see you in the clouds!

Integrated Marketing Communications – 5 Primary Communication Tools

Communication is always one of the most important and vital strategic areas of an organization’s success. You can have the best or most innovative products or services, but if your internal and external communications are weak, then the demand for your products or services raises a personal flag of concern. When communicating the value of your products or services, you want to focus on how they will benefit your clients.

When planning your strategy for Integrated Marketing Communication or IMC, you want to have dialogue with your customers by inviting interaction through the coordinated efforts of content, timing and delivery of your products or services. By ensuring direction, clarity, consistency, timing and appearance of your messages, conveyed to your targeted audience, these factors will help avoid any confusion about the benefits of your brand, through the connection of instant product recognition.

When looking at your marketing mix, you’re examining price, distribution, advertising and promotion, along with customer service. Integrated marketing communication is part of that marketing mix included in your marketing plan. IMC strategies define your target audience, establishes objectives and budgets, analyzes any social, competitive, cultural or technological issues, and conducts research to evaluate the effectiveness of your promotional strategies.

If companies are ethically planning, communicating, and following industry guidelines, they will most likely earn the trust of their customers and target audience. There are five basic tools of integrated marketing communication:

1. Advertising:
This tool can get your messages to large audiences efficiently through such avenues as radio, TV, Magazines, Newspapers (ROP), Internet, Billboards and other mobile technological communication devices. This method can efficiently reach a large number of consumers, although the costs may be somewhat expensive.

2. Sales Promotion:
This tool is used through coupons, contests, samples, premiums, demonstrations, displays or incentives. It is used to accelerate short-term sales, by building brand awareness and encouraging repeat buying.

3. Public Relations:
This integrated marketing communications tool is initiated through public appearances, news/press releases or event sponsorships, to build trust and goodwill by presenting the product, company or person in a positive light.

4. Direct Marketing:
This tool will utilized email, mail, catalogs, encourage direct responses to radio and TV, in order to reach targeted audiences to increase sales and test new products and alternate marketing tactics.

5. Personal Selling:
Setting sales appointments and meetings, home parties, making presentations and any type of one-to-one communication, to reach your customers and strengthen your relationship with your clients, initiate this IMC tool.

Decisions linking the overall objectives and strategies during the marketing planning phases help to evaluate and fine-tune the specific activities of integrated marketing communication. Before selecting an IMC tool, marketing, product and brand managers must look at social, competitive, legal, regulatory, ethics, cultural and technological considerations. One thing you want to avoid when activating the tools of integrated marketing communication is reaching inappropriate audiences and causing controversy. That could be damaging when trying to build brand awareness and encourage consumer spending with your company. When marketing managers examine the beliefs, emotions and behavior of their targeted audience towards their brand, they can influence their beliefs to achieve product awareness, by attracting attention to their promotional campaigns.

Here’s How You Can Create Your Marketing Communications Effectively

When we talk about delivering your message to your prospective customers and convincing them to buy from you we are talking about marketing communications. To communicate effectively you need to know to whom you are speaking and understand what motivates your prospective customers. A great way to begin developing your marketing communications is by answering a series of questions. So let’s get started.

The main question you are answering is: who is your target market? The answer to this question forms the basis of all the “market communications” you will produce. You need to think through who you want to reach with your product or service. In order to fully identify your target market you need to think about your customer on several different levels.

First start by identifying the demographic information of your ideal customer. What is their:

  • age,
  • marital status,
  • gender, and
  • geographic information?

Once this is defined you then need to develop the psychological profile of your ideal customer. Ask questions such as:

  • What motivates your customer to act? Is it security, peace of mind, status, recognition, etc.
  • What makes your ideal customer happy?
  • What does the average day in the life of your customer look like?
  • What does your ideal customer do in their free time? Are they interested in sports, movies, exercise, reading, etc.
  • What struggles does your customer face on a daily basis?
  • Where will you find your customer spending their time online?

By creating the picture of your ideal customer you will understand their wants, needs and problems. You will also understand what they expect or need from the products and services they purchase. With this knowledge you are able to craft your marketing communications materials. Your messaging will be targeted to the people you are serving. Your messaging will identify why your product or service is important to them by indicating the need it fills or the problem it solves. Targeting your message in this manner enables you to connect with your customer on an emotional level that will solidify your relationship with them.

Throughout your marketing communications it is extremely important to maintain consistency in your materials. This applies to the look, feel and tone of your marketing communications. You need to think of your marketing communications moving on a continual timeline. By maintaining consistency in your presentation your customers will become familiar with your marketing material. This allows them to concentrate on the value messages you are delivering rather than looking at a new marketing format.

By focusing on your target market, maintaining consistency in your marketing presentation and packaging information that is valuable to your customers you will have a formula for continually growing your customer base.