Why Integrated Marketing Communications Are Essential For Small Businesses

How Can Integrated Marketing Communications Help Me, Small Business Owner?

Integrated marketing communication is essential for small business owners because they, even more than large corporations, cannot afford to waste money or waste money on a single isolated marketing effort.

For example, as a small business owner, it can be tempting to focus on one aspect of marketing – a new website, direct mail campaign, radio ads, or as a manufacturer, simply letting your partners do the marketing for you. However, what if that piece of marketing doesn’t work?

ANSWER: Your entire marketing effort fails.

Instead, wouldn’t it be great to have an integrated marketing plan that takes the best parts of online marketing, such as websites, email newsletters, search engine optimization, and pay-per-click advertising, and uses it to perform your traditional offline efforts? like direct mail, advertising, and public relations even more effective.

For example, this can be as simple as making sure your website has the same keywords as your radio advertising and that your posters in minor league games also have the same message. To internalize a message, a person must be exposed to it several times. If you hit them three times with three different messages, it is almost the same as being exposed only once. Worse still, it could be confusing and disorienting, resulting in a negative experience with your brand.

Integrated Marketing Communications addresses this problem by creating a plan with a consistent message and then delivering it through as many means as possible, online and offline.

What are the components of an integrated marketing plan?

An Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) plan should be based on all available communication disciplines, including online, offline, and interpersonal.

Online marketing channels include any e-marketing campaign or program, from search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click, affiliates, email, banner to the latest web related channels for webinars, blogs, RSS , podcast and Internet TV. Offline marketing channels are traditional print (newspapers, magazines), mail order, public relations, billboards, radio and television. Interpersonal marketing includes participation in community groups, networking organizations, your handshake, how you dress, and even how you answer the phone or return calls.

While it is not necessary to include all communication disciplines for every campaign, it is important that any integrated marketer is well versed in the various components so that they can select the most appropriate ones for a specific client’s budget and demands.

Is it better to go with an agency or buy individual services myself?

While both have benefits, an agency can be a benefit if you don’t already have a network of trusted service providers, including printers, promotional product companies, trade show planners, etc. who are familiar with your business. Often times, an agency can get things done for a client faster, more efficiently, and with better quality for the same or lower price. Also, as a business owner, you need to consider how much time you can spend searching for the best price and reading reviews to ensure that the best price does not give you the worst services.

However, the cost of each component should not be your primary concern when evaluating an integrated marketing plan. Instead, look at the expenses and benefits of the entire plan working together. For example, building a website can cost $ 2,000 and then you can spend $ 10,000 on pay-per-click advertising over the next year, but if the website content doesn’t match your direct mail message or your people Customer service can’t answer questions about the website, so you wasted a lot of money.

Instead, don’t look at the website as a single entity. Make sure it is perfectly integrated into your marketing strategy:

* Promote it at all times. This includes not only pay-per-click ads, but also on business cards, on radio ads, even putting a sticker on your products so customers know they can download copies of the product manuals there and print them on their receipts. to instruct customers to do so. download coupons on the website.

* Develop an email newsletter to provide your customers and prospects with news and information that they can use, not just a brochure to sell your products.

* Create a blog and allow people to subscribe. This will build trust and familiarity between your customers and your company. Don’t limit blog posts to just the president, sometimes a post from a project manager or even the receptionist can keep the blog interesting and eye-catching.

* Create a contest, but make sure the message is consistent with your integrated marketing strategy. Get people to visit your website to get in.

* If you run an ad promoting a specific service, make sure your customers can find more information about it quickly and easily. Maybe even put a graphic at the top of your page that says “Attention 99.5 listeners, click here for more information on gutter cleaning”

These are just a few examples of how you can integrate your marketing plan and maximize the initial investment you made when creating a website.

Isn’t it an integrated marketing communication like any other marketing plan?

A marketing plan can be just a marketing plan for a website or a marketing plan for an advertising campaign, but an integrated marketing communications plan involves all aspects of marketing across the business. This means that all aspects of the business are integrated into a single cohesive plan.

After all, you could have a great website marketing plan, impressive ad campaign, and award-winning PR agency, but if a client reads a press release or hears your ad and decides to visit your website, they can’t find more information about your PR or advertising message What’s the point of spending the money in the first place?