We've made it to June—a month observed by entrepreneurs and small business owners as Do-It-Yourself Marketing Month
. In honor of that, here are a few tips for some easy DIY steps to help your PR and marketing:
1. Friends close, enemies closer
Perhaps the word “enemies” goes a bit too far—but you should identify your competitors. In marketing, this will help you to consider what they're doing that appears to be working or failing (both in their business activities and in the marketing efforts). It provides you a chance to serve your market better or differently. Never close your eyes to who else is in your space, but don't obsess about it, either.
2. Budget brutal
How can you plan an attack if you haven't prepared for the pennies and the pounds that it may entail? Take time to set out a marketing budget. Most of us in the industry suggest at least 15 percent of your sales budget should specifically go into marketing and PR—much more in certain cases. Setting a budget helps you define whether your marketing will encompass above the line advertising, printed matter, media relations work, or lots of old-fashioned “pressing the flesh.”
3. And your point is?
You can't begin your marketing until you've considered your key messaging. This might be as simple as defining the following:
• Who are we?
• What do we stand for?
• Where are we trying to go?
• What do people perceive us to be?
This relatively straightforward analysis can be done in DIY form or by engaging a market research company. The results will help your marketing substantially.
4. Online or out of the race
There's a good reason telephone books have become doorstops in many business cases: We know modern savvy consumers shop for business services by searching the Internet.
An online presence is essential. There are DIY facilities available for this, or you can take the guidance of a dedicated company that will help you create a brand presence online.
5. Content marketing: Take off the dark glasses
Being online with a website is one thing, but the picture is not complete unless people have a chance of finding you. Without some effective content marketing, being there on a website is like blinking behind dark glasses. You know you're doing it, but no one else does.
Some of the simplest DIY approaches to content marketing lie in making sure you're regularly updating your site—through blogs, news feeds, anything to keep the search engines aware that you're an open shop and continually moving.
If your budget is slightly more flush, talk to a PR agency about copywriting and content marketing work to help you.
6. Socially savvy
You don't necessarily want to know when the person down the road is having a cup of tea or watching his toddler cut its teeth, but updates by yourself and others on social media do encourage traffic and relationships. DIY is very easy to achieve initially. Take a look at what you think Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube could be doing for you.
7. Network with intent
Many of us loathe networking, but the eyeball-to-eyeball factor in marketing is important. Look at what's happening in terms of business networking events in your region or industry. You never know whom you might meet.
8. PR power—with the who, what, where, why, when
They say there's a book in every one of us. I'm pretty sure there's a story within every company, too. Media relations and the process of getting stories to journalists is a really effective way to boost your PR and marketing. When creating a press release, consider the who, what, where, why, or when of your story. Think also about a good photo to help tell the story. You can always phone a PR consultant for further advice if you're stumped.
9. Evolve and evaluate
Static marketing plans—and those that aren't frequently assessed for effectiveness—can be more of a detriment than an asset. Keep looking at new ways to tell your story and to reach your audience.
Deborah Watson is founder and managing director of PR and event management agency Lexia, as well as a strategic communications consultant. To learn more, connect with Deborah on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter, or read her blog, where a version of this story originally appeared.