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Social media and marketing expert Kim Morrison has some ideas for your business' 2019 marketing strategy

By Kim Morrison

Happy New Year! How are you doing with planning your marketing for 2019? Have you finished your plan yet? If not, or your just going to do the same old things it might be time to take a fresh look at what you’re doing. These five steps might help you take a fresh look:

Step #1: Audit what you did in 2018

What exactly did you do and why? Did you get the results you either wanted or expected? Social media changed a lot in 2018, particularly Facebook with your posts being shown to far fewer of your followers.

Kim Morrison (6299455)
Kim Morrison (6299455)

Go into your analytics data, either on the platform you’re using or Google analytics, and compare the last few months of 2018 with the same period in 2017. You might see trends that aren't obvious when you simply compare December 2018 against November 2018.

It might be time to look at advertising on whichever social media platform that your target audience hangs out on.

Step #2: Review your marketing message

Have your marketing messages worked? Are you using storytelling techniques? I’ve written about storytelling before as a great way to get your message across but key to getting the message right is to really identify your ideal customer.

Peter Drucker, often described as the most enduring marketing guru of them all, said “the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

Getting your head around the conversation your customer is having and entering into that will help you hone your message. You need to talk about them and not about your product or service. It’s important to understand how what you’re offering provides a solution to their problem. Even subtle improvements to your messaging can take you from "sort of worked" to "wow, we had great results."

The guaranteed way to fail is to market to everyone rather than

Improving your storytelling and messaging techniques could be a big goal for 2019.

Step #3: Consider doing more with video

Video grew hugely in 2018 and is set to continue that growth rate in 2019. The future looks to be moving towards placing video at the centre of marketing.

People are more likely to watch a short video than read a lot of text. However, it is worth testing this out for your particular audience.

YouTube is still the second largest social media platform after Facebook. Look at the inclusion of vloggers, such as Joe Sugg, in mainstream television to recognise the importance of video.

Even LinkedIn now has the option to include video posts.

Step #4: Which social platform have you overlooked?

With Facebook becoming a crowded place for marketers, it might be time to explore alternatives you've never considered in the past.

Instagram has grown significantly and in September 2018 reached 1 billion active monthly users! It also added many new features, such as IGTV, a new shopping channel and many other interactive features.

LinkedIn also relaunched many features with updated Personal Profiles and Company Pages and the introduction of video captions, articles quotes, translations and more.

Of course, it is all about whether that is the right platform for your audience so please do your research first.

Step #5: Talk about your ideas and plans with other marketers

The best ideas almost always come from interacting with your peers from different companies.

Compare notes. Ask what worked for them and why. Maybe the right conversation could spark some useful ideas.

As there’s been very little social media news over the holiday period, I thought I’d suggest a less known marketing technique that you might like to try … Guerrilla Marketing.

Today, people are swamped with marketing messages. Everywhere we go both online and off, we get a massive dose of aggressive marketing. One way to cut through all of this noise and get your message to your market is to think outside the box and develop bold, creative new ideas for getting your marketing to the masses. The expression 'guerrilla marketing' is used to refer to these tactics.

What Is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerilla marketing means marketing that is unconventional. Jay Conrad Levinson, who coined the term, calls it, “The achievement of conventional goals (e.g. profit) using unconventional methods such as investing energy and ideas instead of money.”

It is intended to achieve maximum results for as little cost as possible. This makes it a great alternative for small businesses that are operating on a shoestring budget. A small business can't pump the advertising money a big company has into a massive campaign, so it has to leverage its creativity.

The Risks of Guerrilla Marketing

This unconventional approach isn't appropriate for all niches or industries. Part of the point of guerrilla marketing is to ruffle feathers, surprise people, and shake things up. In industries where security is a major issue, such as finance or insurance, it's not such a good idea. Instead of subverting the paradigm, you could show your company to be untrustworthy.

However, for most businesses in retail, it's a great way to pique curiosity and get people interested.

Guerrilla Tactics

There is no standard for guerrilla marketing since it thrives on creativity. But common methods include creating urban art, turning unused space into art, or making ads that are optical illusions. Some companies set up funny scenarios that are straight out of a hidden camera television show. For example, they might have live people in their window displays.

Other ideas include leaving interesting post-it notes or branded merchandise in public places such as cafes and bars. Humorous or eye-catching stickers can be printed cheaply and put in unexpected places. You can create flyers to hang around town that are in an interesting shape or particularly eye catching. Business cards can be made in wildly creative styles.

Free stuff is often part of guerrilla marketing. The offer of something valuable for free is always an attention grabber. Talk to other businesses and put together a package of free stuff to give away to potential customers.

Finally, a common guerrilla marketing tactic is to throw a party. There's no promotion involved here. Just invite your customers to come and have a good time, thus building a stronger connection with your business.

The idea is to get media attention, so let people know. An effective strategy to boost your guerrilla marketing is to issue a press release each time you employ one of these tactics.

If you're going to try guerrilla marketing, remember that the goal is to surprise and engage, not to insult, offend, annoy, or upset people. It should be done in a spirit of fun.

So have fun with your marketing and best wishes for your success in 2019.

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