PrintPeople often ask me ‘should I have a blog?’, ‘how often should I post on social media?’, ‘do I really need a website?’, or ‘how can I get people to read my newsletter?’  There is no single answer to any of these – it depends on your organisation and your potential target audience.  However, this is a list of the various marketing materials and their impact and what they should include to get you thinking about where you are now and what you might want to add or subtract from your marketing activity.

A website

There is no ‘rule’ that says you must have a website, but there are reasons why it’s a good thing.  Most people expect a professional organisation or adviser to have something online to help people find them and check out what is on offer.  There are many kinds of website, but a simple brochure site is like having a brochure that people can access instantly to find out if you’ve got what they want.

The important thing about everything on your website is that it is focused on your potential customer.  This means that it isn’t about what you do, it’s about what they get.   It needs to reflect your professional image and be congruent with any other material you produce.

Social media

There is a danger that you could just jump on the bandwagon of ‘me too’ activity, so work out your social media strategy with care.  Find out where your target audience hang out and get involved with them there.

Focus on sharing information rather than selling at your audience, but there’s nothing wrong with the occasional offer or promotion as long as that isn’t all you do.

Engage, get into conversation and be generous with your advice.  People appreciate it and you are demonstrating just how knowledgeable and useful you are!

A blog

Another opportunity to share your knowledge and a source to use for social media posts and your newsletter if you decide to  create one.

Blog material should be focused on your main areas of expertise.  If you don’t know where to start create a set of tips around something you do or answer a question you’re often asked.

Make sure you include keywords as your blog may be the very item that people find when searching on the keywords they need information about.

A newsletter

Newsletters are so easy to get wrong!  Be honest, do YOU read newsletters that you receive that are all about the sender’s achievements, awards, new hires or new office?  Probably not.  People will only read the second issue if the first one has been useful, interesting and entertaining.

You can use a blog as your lead article as the people who read your blog are not usually the same ones that get your newsletter.  Always lead with value and then add your offers and promotions.

Email campaigns

One email rarely works; an email campaign needs a minimum of three messages – I’ve known people who have email campaigns with 17 messages!

The secret is to write a series of messages all about the same subject, but from different perspectives.  This means that if someone opens all of them they are getting a consistent message, but if someone only opens one of the series they are still getting the same information as everyone else.

You need a great ‘open me’ subject line and a strong call to action.  Send them on different days of the week so you don’t always catch recipients on their busiest day.

Direct sales letter

This isn’t just an email on paper – but a carefully crafted letter that engages the reader and offers the kind of benefits that will encourage them to read on – and either check out your website or read any enclosed information.

If you say you’re going to call them, give a date and stick to it.  The money is in the follow up!

Flyers and brochures

Ensure you have consistent branding with your business card and website so people recognise your brand.  Think carefully about the type of document you create – card or paper, one side or two, what the purpose of the document is – and then get professional help to make sure it looks good, gets attention and has a high retention factor (as in it doesn’t just get scrunched up and thrown in the recycling sack).

Avoid being too general, make sure there is a specific point to each piece of marketing material and a reason for people to keep it.

So now what?

You don’t need to do all of these – you just need to decide which ones will work best for you to achieve what you want.