Debbie’s Marketing Tips: Practical. Obvious. Usually Ignored.

by Debra Andrews | January 6, 2015

Here they come… email after email after email with clever, out-of-the box tips and advice to get your new business year off to an explosive start.  Not me.  Nuh-uh!  No siree.  I’m offering you practical and almost snooze-worthy tips that will have your marketing crawling out of the gate at a snail’s pace.  Surely I must be kidding, right?  Why should you read more? Here’s why:  My marketing tips aren’t creative, pretty or what you might call “the fun stuff.”  They aren’t going to give you a one time pop and flood of new business. Instead, I’m getting straight down to brass tacks and offering tips that will help you build a strong foundation for a consistent, long-term and effective marketing program.

So, grab a Red Bull, and let’s get ready to rock 2015:

Update Your LinkedIn Profile:  If you’re like most professionals, you’ve likely connected with a few hundred business colleagues across your region.  Does your profile reflect your professionalism, business passions, interest in community service and finely honed skills?  Does your picture reflect how snappy you really are, or is it more or less a mediocre iPhone mug shot?  Invest time in your profile because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

I just worked with Scott Smith of Anthem Corporation of America on his new profile.  First, we changed his headline from a basic work title to wording that showcases who he really is as a professional. We also re-wrote his summary, the most important portion of any professional’s LinkedIn profile.  Remember, it’s not meant to be a resume or a boring job description.  Your profile should be “alive” and give the visitor a sense of who you are, how you are different and why they should connect and possibly do business with you. Scott knows we need to get that professional head shot done sooner rather than later, but we have definitely taken solid steps towards a more eye-catching and impressive online presence.

Clean Up Your Contacts:  I know!  I know!  This one is extremely tedious.  Most professionals never enter contacts in Outlook or their firm’s centralized CRM, and they never give them to their marketing department. Not you!  Scoop up the business cards, round up the email signatures and bribe your administrative assistant or office manager with a really good lunch or gift card.  Do whatever it takes to get your contacts in order!  In all honesty, your marketing department and/or firm administrator will be delighted and thankful to have updated email information, as they likely cringe at the high undeliverable rate that’s shown after every e-mail blast.

If you have previously entered contacts either in Outlook or your firm’s CRM, revisit the list and strike out bad data.  Firms spend an enormous amount of money on Inbound Marketing and marketing automation software.  Bad email addresses can defeat the purpose and shut down return on investment.  Don’t you want your clients, prospects and referral sources getting your firm’s latest news and content?

Adjust your Attitude:  Many apologies in advance if this sounds abrasive.  The reality is that most professionals, other than those in the marketing department, don’t feel responsible for marketing.  In today’s modern marketing era, almost everyone can and should wear a marketing hat.  Companies that embrace an enterprise-wide approach to marketing will always come out ahead.  Their staffs will have a better understanding of the customer and a more keen awareness of the operation’s capacity for on-time delivery. They’ll be able to conduct more timely and effective follow-up after communications and campaigns while leveraging their extensive social networks to the fullest extent possible.  What marketing role should you play in 2015 to drive your company towards its goals?  Set an intention and develop a plan.  It doesn’t have to be formal, but should be specific in terms of actions and timing.

These un-sexy recommendations won’t cost a penny and are guaranteed to set the stage for greater overall marketing effectiveness.  Unfortunately, all three are typically dismissed as unimportant or “not my job” and put on the back burner year after year.   So what do you say?  Take a few hours and get them done!  You will be proud when visitors land on a LinkedIn profile that captures their attention and makes them want to give you a call.  You will enjoy getting messages from clients thanking you for timely articles or e-newsletters. And you will feel empowered knowing that your active marketing efforts are helping to advance your firm’s growth agenda.

If the Red Bull didn’t wake you up, these prospects certainly should!

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