So your market share (be it for-profit or nonprofit) appears stagnant, but your competitors’ numbers are seemingly increasing. Why?
It’s always a good idea to address this issue at the start of the year. But how? Start by looking at all your marketing and public relations efforts and honestly assessing their effectiveness. Then compare what your competition has done to achieve success. Did they spend more than you did? How did they spend their marketing dollars and focus? You can subsequently eliminate or add in some new approaches while following trends and changing practices. I call this reflective process a “marketing audit.”
For some specifics, start with basic e-mail marketing. Data indicate that e-mail is still an effective tool but needs to be segmented better to achieve maximum results. Your e-newsletters or client alerts can be customized by demographics or interests by simple adaptations of content. To do this well, scrutinize your lists and client knowledge carefully. For example, a general law firm newsletter may not be of interest to a construction client. Make it relevant to the specialized group. This approach is more work initially, but the content can be leveraged for use on your website or for submission to newspapers and publications.
Another area for review that is often overlooked: The trend in 2018 will be continued expansion of content marketing for both digital and traditional content integration. Your print ads, mailers, publications and mobile-friendly website digital focus need to be consistent, changed with great frequency and of high quality.
A newer concept of dynamic content is also being explored. For example, a campaign for your product or service can offer different discounts to different target groups. You likely already segment your websites by specialties or services. The next step is tying in different content on each section.
In addition to advancing your specific client goals, content marketing in the digital realm promotes search engine optimization (SEO.) The goal of SEO is for your website to appear higher up on Google and other searches. This can be achieved through a variety of approaches, including changes to your content with tagged items, frequent contributions on other websites and blogs, use of social media, media coverage and “pay to play” ads (Google AdWords, etc.). The correct mix of these integrated items depends on your budget and staff.
Public relations steps in
A major area of focus for your business strategy should be to continue building your organizational awareness via public relations activities. As Bonnie Heneson, CEO of Heneson Communications, notes, “There are many new outlets to get one’s messages across with the many online and digital sources.” She adds, “Digital outlets allow you to truly target your message to the correct audience.”
However, as Ray Weiss, president of Weiss PR, cautions, “Newsrooms are likely to continue shrinking in 2018 so there may be more generalist and fewer specialty niche journalists. This translates into increased pressure on reporters to link their stories to trending news in order to score more clicks and shares.”
Organizations need to stay on top of their areas, be creative and first out with the news, and work with PR professionals consistently for this narrowing window of media coverage. Ray also suggests that organizations should not rely completely on earned media but instead should support the initiatives already discussed, such as use of branded and sponsored content, online newsrooms, blogs and social media posts.
The final advice for increasing your organizational or personal brand recognition and market share in 2018? Emphasize networking and supernetworking (the combination of traditional networking and a social media presence). Have a great year.
Glenda LeGendre is principal of Strategic Marketing and Communications and can be reached at email@example.com.