We work with thousands of small, medium and large businesses nationwide to help them with their performing arts program book advertising needs.
Lots of these businesses have their marketing nailed down pat and do a great job. But quite of few of them that I see, still struggle with a solid marketing plan.
A tell-tale sign of this is seeing all different kinds of messaging in some program book ads. I can tell you this, because we’ve been there as well, until we started to make a dedicated and consistent effort with our marketing.
If you are a small business owner, you know how tough it is to make your business a household name.
On top of this, it gets to be very confusing with all the “next great” marketing and advertising ideas out there.
But marketing your business does not have to be difficult, and there is a way to be a marketing rock star for whatever line of business you’re in.
For the last two years, here at Onstage Publications, we have made it a priority to figure out our marketing plan. We also made the decision to finally put a budget together for our marketing.
Before this, our marketing was all over the place. We would place an ad or two in some of our industry magazines or go to a trade show here and there.
Other than our tried-and-true method of cold calling, this was about it.
We had no consistency in our marketing other than cold calling day in and day out. Even with this, however, we were finding our name wasn’t very well known within our industry.
It wasn’t until we got serious about our marketing plan that we started to see some results. We still have work to do, because good marketing is always an ongoing job, but we actually have clients calling us rather than the other way around.
Below is a step by step process of what we’re doing and can be implemented by any type of business, large or small.
STEP 1: MAKE A DEDICATED EFFORT AND BE CONSISTENT
The key that we found with our marketing is that a dedicated effort needs to be made and the effort needs to be consistent. If you’re not willing to do these two things, I truly believe your marketing will never work.
STEP 2: FIGURE OUT YOUR STRATEGY, IDEAL CLIENT, AND CORE MARKETING MESSAGE
After committing to a dedicated and consistent effort, we tackled the standard marketing exercises:
- We figured out what our strategy as a company was going to be moving forward
- We identified our ideal client. This resulted in us actually firing some of our existing clients.
- We figured out our core marketing message.
STEP 3: ADVERTISE AND MARKET YOUR BUSINESS CONSISTENTLY
Knowing that our budget was not the size of Coke’s or GE’s, we sat down and figured out our marketing and advertising plan that was conducive to our budget.
Below is all the advertising and marketing that we do. Once again, going back to the two keys, we do this with a dedicated effort and we do it consistently:
- Website with call to actions
- Content Marketing (blogging and podcasting)
- Monthly Newsletter
- Monthly Direct Mailings
- Trade Publication Advertising
- Telephone Sales
Our website redesign took a couple months, but the time and investment that we made has paid for itself.
On our website, we knew we wanted a blog. The trick with this is to always keep it fresh. In the past, our blog was sporadically updated. But now we write a new blog every week.
Keeping our blog fresh does two things for us. It keeps us ranked well on all of the major search engines but most importantly (at least in my mind) it shows we are “in business.” How many times have you gone to a website, you go to the blog page and see the last update was three years ago? In my mind this is a bit of a turn off for me.
But, as much work as the blogs are for us, they actually take care of our next step of our marketing plan. At the beginning of every month we email our monthly newsletter. We take the last four weekly blogs which then are put into our newsletter. We simply repurpose our content without any additional effort, it’s that simple!
We also do a monthly direct mail piece that has a call to action on it. We do this consistently every month. Same post card, same message, every month.
With the trade publication advertising, we do a very similar thing as our post cards. We run an ad with a call to action that is the same design, and same message that goes in every issue of all the trade magazines in our industry.
We do some experimentation marketing and advertising to see what may stick. We have a small portion of our budget dedicated to this knowing that some things will work and some things will not.
Finally, to keep all of these other marketing pieces top of mind, we still cold call.
This is somewhat of a lost art in my mind. Everybody thinks that with the way digital is today, they can simply shoot off cold emails and get results. This is far from the truth. So much so that I like to scroll through my junk mail every once and awhile to read some of these, just to get a chuckle. By the way I have to go to my junk mail because this is where they always go, not to my inbox.
Cold calling is not easy and it takes practice and expertise, but it is well worth the effort. Plus when I actually talk with some of my prospects, I get to hear firsthand how all of our other marketing efforts are working. Good selling!