I specialise in Reputation Marketing – and I have to admit that, whilst I passed an exam in Marketing many years ago, I don’t cover the whole marketing spectrum.  However, most small business owners consider marketing is about making yourself visible.

This might be with your website, print ads, radio interviews, social media, blogs, newsletters, press releases, magazine articles, flyers, exhibition stands, conference presentations and brochures.  Not all of these work for everyone – so your first step to a good marketing plan is to work out what your target audience is most likely to respond to.

Some of these media cost money, some take time and effort, so you need to put your budget for both of these in place beforehand.  It’s no good planning an in-depth blogging and social media campaign if you are too busy to invest that time – unless you’re able to outsource this to someone who understands your business and your audience and can deliver content in your voice.

The Voice

This is important – your business has a voice.  If it’s just you – it probably is a version of you, but the bigger the organisation gets the harder it gets to maintain a personal approach.  Your organisation’s voice and style needs to be reflected in every piece of marketing that goes out.

When it IS just you that’s easier, because you almost certainly walk the talk.  The challenge is when other people come on board – they need to understand what’s OK and what’s not.  Even if they’re not your spokesperson, people meet new people all the time, socially and in business networking.  They need to represent you as you want to be seen.

If someone says to them “Where do you work?” what do you want them to say about your organisation?  Can you be sure they won’t say something negative?  We’ve all heard people talking about their bosses in less than favourable terms.

The Style

There’s an argument that what works on Facebook or Twitter won’t cut it in an industry journal, which is a more formal environment.  However, I believe that you shouldn’t be someone you aren’t in any environment.

Using business language, whether informal or more formal is still important.  There’s nothing worse than a business that publishes text speak, bad language, poor English (or any other language) or less than respectful content.

If you’re in a fun and funky business that doesn’t mean your marketing should sound like a rapper or use bad English and lots of slang.  If you’re a serious organisation it doesn’t mean that you have to come over as a faceless corporate.

The Message

Consistency is the key.  Even when you’re promoting different aspects of your business, you need to stay focused on your core message.  In reality all your material should look as though it belongs together.

Be clear, be concise and be to the point.

If you get all this right your marketing will work well to raise your profile and reach the people who want what you’re offering.