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5 Top MUST-KNOW Items for Do-It-Yourself Marketing

— Do-It-Yourself Marketing – Your 5 Top MUST KNOW Items

Since this marketing blog is aimed at entrepreneurs and businesspeople, I’m going to assume that many of us, including me, use the Do-It-Yourself marketing method. Maybe you use the D-I-Y method because it’s fun and you love marketing, but maybe you use it because it’s cheap and you’re trying to get your business to grow without spending your last bucks on advertising?

This is part 2 of my series on Do-It-Yourself Marketing – if you want to read Part 1 first (with the 5 reasons that you shouldn’t do your own marketing)(not that I agree with all of them), click here.         (note branding of Old Spice on right – more about this later)

Here are the top 5 issues that I have discovered that we, as Do-It-Yourself Marketing people – need to understand and work through:

#1 Unique Selling Proposition (USP)(sometimes called a Positioning Statement)

USP for Do-It-Yourself marketing

USP: Volvo is safe.

A USP states the one most important meaningful difference between your brand and your competitors. Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business unique in a world of homogeneous competitors, you can’t target your sales efforts successfully. Example: M&M’s USP is “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” This clearly states that their difference is because of the coating. Southwest Airlines states “We are the low-fare airline.” We get it.

Pinpointing your USP takes some soul-searching and creativity. One way to start is to analyze how other companies (particularly your competitors) use their USPs to their advantage. If you analyze what they they say, not just their product or service characteristics, you can learn a lot about how they distinguish themselves from their competitors. For example, Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, always used to say he sold hope, not makeup. Some airlines sell friendly service, while others sell on-time service. Neiman Marcus sells luxury, while Wal-Mart sells bargains.

Each of these is an example of a company that has found a “peg” on which to hang its marketing strategy – one of the four P’s: product characteristics, price structure, placement strategy (location or distribution), or promotional strategy. To learn about USP’s, read more from this Entrepreneur Magazine article. 

#2 Branding Strategy

Branding is SO much more than just stating what your business does – it’s about the emotions of why people buy your particular brand – how they perceive you. You need forget what your business DOES and figure out what emotions drive people to actually purchase your product or service. Old Spice really nailed it with “Old Spice Smells Like a Man;” they’re making us equate Old Spice with being manly/sexy.

Another example: Recently I did quite a bit of work to get a women’s gym concept ready to franchise. This involved studying their branding so that their new franchisees will understand how they should market the business.

Here’s what Pink Iron does:  they specialize in tough workouts that change every day, and they have workout classes almost every hour throughout the week.

First consider their competition: women can join the YMCA and get a good workout, or they can just buy some equipment to keep in their garages.  However, for most of us exercise is boring and lonely, and that’s why it’s so hard to keep at it. When you go into Pink Iron, however, you’ll find lots of other women and you’ll get and give encouragement, so you’ll tend to come in more often and thereby achieve your fitness goals. So what’s their branding? They are all about friendship! By stressing the social side of their business, they find and retain their members – it’s a place to meet fitness-minded friends.

#3 Customer Persona

Do-It-Yourself Marketing customer persona

Jessica/Ashley Customer Persona

When I am doing business counseling I’ll ask a new business owner, “Who is your customer?” When they answer, “Everyone,” I know we have a lot of work to do. Well, maybe everyone does buy a coat or a gym membership, but you can’t afford to throw your advertising out there to the entire world.

SO, identify a composite of your most likely customer, give your customer a name and aim at him/her directly.  Pink Iron (mentioned above) is easier than some to write – I’d say their customer persona is Jessica (or Ashley – the most popular names in 1986), a 27-year-old single woman who has a job in the marketing and customer relations department of a medium-sized company. She dines with friends several times a week and wants to stay in shape but doesn’t have much time (or money) to do so. She lives in a city other than where she went to school and many of her old friends are getting married, so she needs to find new friends, and she enjoys stopping at Pink Iron to exercise after work and meet up with other women. She has a small tattoo. She sleeps with her phone near her pillow. She has a sense of entitlement yet is achievement-oriented. She is somewhat narcissistic, but that works in favor of the gym.

See? The advantage of having a persona is that you can visualize that person and aim your marketing directly at her with a tone that will really connect.

#4 Web Design

Web design has changed dramatically in the past 2 years – it’s not just about design, colors, fonts, and calls to action any more; it’s about connection: turning a casual visitor into a return visitor, and then into a buyer. It’s not about a quick sale (unless you have an incredibly low price). It’s about getting attention, building trust. It’s about getting search engines to find you, which means using keywords and phrases, optimizing your page headings and graphics, and producing content, which means blogging. It’s about your meta descriptions, you site map, and getting people to share it. (This is one area that most Do-It-Yourself Marketing bogs down – it’s worth hiring a pro.)

Most of all, it’s about YOUR CUSTOMER and connecting to her or him – who is that person and why is that person going to buy from you?…. which leads back to #1, #2, and #3.

#5 Ad Selection

  • When you know your USP (#1 above), you’ll know how to make your service or product stand out from the crowd.
  • When you know your branding strategy, you’ll know the message and graphics you’ll need to convey the emotion of your brand, and you’ll make them very consistent across your web, social media, and paid advertising.
  • When you know your customer’s persona, you’ll know which venue to reach your customer. For example, to market to Jessica, she can be reached through mobile marketing with a personal message and through social media like Facebook. If we’re seeking someone a little more serious about fitness, using a fitness magazine will reach her.
  • You need to consider all ad venues available to you, use as many as you can that fit the demographics of your client, and carefully keep track of what does the best – I have made a list of them for you on my page called “ALL ADVERTISING CATEGORIES.”

In my next post I have worked out a TO-DO list to help make you a do-it-yourself marketing expert, so please subscribe to be sure you remember to come back! Thanks for reading, and please leave comments and suggestions.

To Read Part 1:  5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Do-It-Yourself Marketing

You’ll also want to read:

Personal Branding – When YOU Are Your Brand
Branding – Treat Your Clients Like Your Pets (you’ll smile at this one)

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