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word of mouth Archives - Syneka Marketing

Setting Effective Marketing Budgets

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | No Comments

As the new financial year approaches, it is timely to consider how you can set a marketing budget that will achieve your goals over the next twelve months.

Budgets are a measurement tool that ensure you can adequately manage revenue and expenditure. Similarly, you also need to identify how you will measure the impact of your marketing activities.

Setting a marketing budget may seem like guesswork, but with the right information you can set a realistic budget.

  1. Firstly, ensure you have clearly defined goals for the next twelve months. A business plan should be guiding the development of your business, supported by a marketing plan that shows how to achieve these outcomes. These plans should identify the actions that will be undertaken each year.
  2. Secondly, you need to consider how you will achieve these outcomes. While your strategic plans should identify potential actions, these need to be reviewed to ensure that they are relevant and achievable. A marketing audit can assist by providing a health check on your marketing activities.

Consider how customers find your businesses and interact with your products or services. Are you leveraging these marketing tools as effectively as possible? For example, are you integrating these activities to save time while extending your reach?

Instant time savings can be created through integrating your website updates with social media, providing a consistent approach while also providing ongoing activity. Offline materials can be streamlined through a consistent identity guide that determines the visual elements of collateral like brochures and leaflets.

Consider the budgeted amounts for each of these materials and their value in attracting and retaining customers.  Do these marketing activities assist in not only obtaining customers, but also other goals, such as differentiating your products or services?  For example, speaking at conferences or providing editorial content may not generate immediate sales, but can build longer ongoing credibility and demonstrate expertise.

Also don’t forget that word of mouth referrals are a form of marketing. What actions can you undertake to encourage recommendations? Asking people to refer your products and services is always a good start and may prompt someone to take action.

Knowing how you measure your marketing activities will assist in setting effective budgets that will guide the financial performance of your business.

 

Marketing and Budgets – the two can co-exist!

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Government | 4 Comments

Marketing, unfortunately, has a perception of being largely esoteric and unmeasurable and as such is often viewed as a cost centre.

It is imperative that metrics are developed for marketing activities. Consideration needs to be given to short-term initiatives, like sales campaigns, as well as activities that generate a return over a longer term, such as hosting events or attending exhibitions.

What should I set for my budget?

Research studies and surveys tend to indicate that a business will allocate around 5% to 10% of its revenue to marketing activities. These figures are a guide and would depend on the level of competition, the attributes of your products and services and the potential target markets.

Understanding how customers reach you, lets you prioritise how you invest in marketing.

Understanding how customers reach you, lets you prioritise how you invest in marketing.

Consider how customers reach you

When setting a marketing budget you should begin by understanding how customers currently reach you.

If your website is a critical entry point, then consider how you can bolster traffic to your site, through search engine optimisation and online advertisements. Key metrics, include the conversion ratio, between visitors and people that make online purchases or an enquiry. If the conversion rate is low, you need to explore how people navigate through your website, whether the sales process is easy to undertake and whether the offer is compelling.

If you operate a retail presence, you need to ensure that your store encourages customers to enter, and that sales staff are able to encourage purchases. Measure how many people visit your store and how many become customers. If the conversion rate is low, you could undertake sales training for staff, or potentially revitalise stock, or the store layout.

If you rely heavily on word of mouth recommendations, explore initiatives that can bolster referrals. Would a regular newsletter remind people of your services? Or could you undertake refer a friend initiative or other competitions? Provide a method of acknowledging key customers and the support they have provided.

Understanding how customers are reaching you, allows you to prioritise your marketing budget so you can consider where you can best allocate your resources.

Ensure you can measure outcomes

You also need to consider the outcomes you want to achieve, and then the activities that are likely to generate this return.

For example, conference presentations can be useful in reinforcing expertise, but are likely to generate return over the longer term. How many enquiries would you want from this activity and how do you capture the details of prospective customers?

Other initiatives such as promotions and specials are likely to result in shorter-term gains. You should consider the required number of customers you need to ensure that these specials remain economical.

If you utilise brochures and off-line marketing, then it is important to be able to measure the success rate of these tools.

There is an incorrect assumption that off-line advertising is less measurable than online. While it may be easier to automate online metrics, through the use of Google Analytics and website tracking, you can also measure off-line advertising.

Investing in a unique telephone number can allow to measure enquiries, or alternatively you could include a unique website address that lets you track responses. Referral and discount codes can also provide a method of tracking the effectiveness of off-line advertising.

Be aware of other costs

While budgets are primarily concerned with financial expenditure, it is imperative that you consider the people that are required to undertake the identified activities. Does your staff have the right mix of skills and are the right people allocated to these tasks?

Training may be required to provide the skills required, or you may need to introduce external expertise to complement these initiatives. Furthermore, you need to ensure that staff have sufficient time to undertake the required tasks, particularly if they are not part of their core duties.

There is an opportunity cost when requiring staff to perform activities outside of their core duties. it is important to consider how this will be managed, or whether external support would be required.

You also need to consider whether equipment or supplies are required to perform the required activities. For example, trade shows will require marketing materials and it is imperative that printing costs are factored into this activity.

Marketing can be measured - enabling you evaluate performance and results.

Marketing can be measured – enabling you evaluate performance and results.

Marketing can be measurable

Marketing, when it is undertaken effectively, can be measured, enabling the ability to set targets and to evaluate performance. Start by considering how customers reach you and the activities that can be undertaken to increase effectiveness within these channels.

Also consider, staff time and the other resources that are required for implementation, so that you can have an accurate understanding of the value you are receiving from your marketing activities.

Member Renewals: Make it Clear… and Interesting

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | No Comments

Achieving a high rate of membership renewals should be a goal for any membership organisation. Membership renewal letters should be considered a key marketing tool and not just a tax invoice.

The following advice led to an organisation being able to increase its membership renewals to 98%:

  • An attention grabbing headline stating a clear benefit for renewing now.
  • An opening paragraph which instilled a sense of urgency and interest in renewing.
  • A series of benefit statements, listed in bullet point format, that gave compelling reasons why the member should renew.
  • An offer for early renewal (not a huge offer, but something of value to ‘early birds’). This was in the form of a ‘PS’ at the bottom of the page.
  • A call to action at the end of the letter, making it easy for the person to renew.
  • A brochure outlining a member-get-member program, and a reward for introducing a new member (leverage word of mouth marketing and encourage members to recruit their peers)

The result? The organisation gained more renewals before their deadline than ever before. They gained a huge number of new member applications.

Third Sector Magazine: Activate your community through social media

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News | No Comments

Third Sector Magazine has published our advice on engaging communities through social media. Alex will be discussing social media as a speaker at the Third Sector Expo on Monday the 15th of April, for details please visit www.thirdsectorevents.com.au.

The website Humanities 21 which is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools

The website Humanities 21 which is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools

Activate your community through social media

Is your organisation considering social media, but not sure where to start? Or has it recently created a Facebook page and Twitter feed only to be underwhelmed by the results? Syneka Marketing provides seven tips to help your organisation strengthen its social media presence and re-engage its communities online.

Know where to start

Social media is the collective name for a range of tools that enhance interactivity and discussion, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Each of these tools has a slightly different purpose and audience, but they are all designed to encourage participation.

Know what you want to achieve

Success begins with strategy and this is no different for social media. Decide the specific outcomes you want to achieve from your social media efforts, such as:

  • Raising awareness
  • Encouraging volunteers
  • Increasing donations.

Once you know what you want to achieve, you can consider the messages and tools that can be used to promote these objectives.

Develop a social media policy

Social media policies help to identify the people who will have access to social media accounts and will be authorised to provide official announcements. Other individuals can respond to comments and interact, as well as support the authorised spokespeople.

Policies should enable board members, staff and volunteers to support the organisation’s social media presence.

Each social media tool has its own audience and key strengths.

Each social media tool has its own audience and key strengths.

Engage and interact

When creating a new social media account, encourage your members or supporters to follow your organisation. In addition, promote your social media presence through your website, newsletter and other communication tools. Undertaking initial promotion will ensure that you can build a network of followers that will assist in promoting your organisation. Follow similar organisations and encourage them to follow you.

Handle negativity

Negative comments should hopefully be kept to a minimum, but it’s important to have clear guidelines to manage any adverse commentary.

Make a clear distinction between negative and offensive comments and respond accordingly. Aim to engage directly with someone that has written a negative comment and suggest that you would like to follow up further. Try and engage the person through offline forms of contact, such as the telephone, so that you can discuss their concerns directly. Attempting to resolve the issue outside of the public realm will enable a more in-depth discussion.

If a comment is deemed to be offensive, it should be removed immediately as per your media and communications policy.

Integrate online tools

One of the great aspects of the web and social media is that messages can be integrated. You can automatically post updates from your website through to Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools. Integration ensures a consistent message while saving time by replicating content across your networks.

Integrating social media means you’ll have more time to foster and develop your community by providing a base level of communications.

Share content

Re-tweeting or sharing posts on Facebook indicates that the person supports your organisation and messages. The sharing of content is the online equivalent of word of mouth advertising and is a great way to extend your organisation’s networks.

Social media, like a website, needs to be kept up-to-date. An inactive presence is worse than having no presence, as the first question someone will ask is whether the organisation still exists.

The Membership Growth Toolkit is the ultimate resource for successful Member Recruitment, Retention, Renewals/Reactivation and Revenue earning, designed specifically for anyone in the not-for-profit sector.

Membership Mastery Melbourne 2013 Workshop

By | Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Presentations, Resources | No Comments

Membership Mastery is a joint workshop organised by Kevin Cahalane from Membership Growth and Syneka Marketing. Kevin outlined processes for membership retention and recruitment, including the need for comprehensive database membership and customer service.

Kevin Cahalane presenting at the Membership Mastery Workshop

Kevin Cahalane presenting at the Membership Mastery Workshop

I discussed membership marketing and the need to adopt a consistent approach that is reinforced through key messages:

The recruitment and retention of members should be considered an important marketing goal for any membership based organisation. Membership provides an independent revenue stream and opportunities for ongoing growth.

A marketing plan should articulate the strengths of your organisation and the key messages that will appeal to potential members. An organisation’s strengths provides a competitive advantage and should be adapted as tangible membership benefits.

Every organisation competitors, whether through competing causes or other alternatives to the expense or time required for membership. Understanding tangible benefits creates a value proposition to prospective members.

The value proposition should be articulated as key messages that are reflected across all communication tools. Prospective and current members need consistent messages to reinforce the value of their membership. The importance of membership should be conveyed to existing members to encourage renewals. Prospective members should be encouraged to realise the value and benefits they would receive from membership.

Alex Makin discussing marketing and membership at the Membership Mastery 2013 Workshop

Alex Makin discussing marketing and membership at the Membership Mastery 2013 Workshop

Websites provide the potential for a comprehensive and instantaneous membership resource, but need to be updated to demonstrate their importance. If access to a membership section is considered a benefit, then it needs to include ongoing value added content.

Websites are often the first point of entry for prospective members and someone will question whether the organisation still exists if there is only outdated content. Similarly, social media needs to be maintained to foster online communities. Content can be integrated between and a website and social media, providing a base level of communications and freeing up time to engage communities.

Social media can be an effective tool in membership engagement, but there is a need for policies and clear guidelines. Social media guidelines should be published on your website and in areas such as the about section on Facebook to ensure that members are clear on acceptable usage.

You should designate spokespeople who make official announcements, but board members, staff, members and volunteers should be encouraged to interact and respond to conversations. The authorised spokespeople should be empowered to manage difficult situations and encourage offline discussions to manage negativity.

Online engagement enables the ability to strengthen membership retention. Stronger levels of engagement increases the likelihood of word of mouth recommendations and extend the organisation’s reach.

Ongoing communication with consistent messages will reinforce the organisation’s value proposition and the ability to appeal to current and prospective members.

Managing Volunteers - Take the Next Step

Managing Volunteers – Take the Next Step

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Presentations, Resources | No Comments

Many not-for-profit organisations rely on volunteers for service delivery and to assist with administration and other functions.

Managing Volunteers – Take the Next Step, was a full day conference hosted by the Shire of Yarra Ranges and Eastern Volunteers. The conference discussed several topics relevant to volunteer management national standards, the steps required to prepare an organisation for volunteers, as well as marketing and promoting an organisation.

I presented a session for the afternoon workshop, discussing the Essentials of Social Media and Marketing.  The presentation discussed the need for a strategic marketing approach, to identify aims and to understand what would attract volunteers to assist with the organisation.

Organisations need consistent messages to demonstrate the volunteer experiences that are created through their involvement.  Messages need to be communicated using a range of marketing tools to reach prospective volunteers through multiple communication channels.

Social media is one of the tools that can be used to reach prospective volunteers and should be considered as a part of a cohesive marketing campaign.  Social media should be integrated with website content, providing the seamless ability to update websites, as well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites

It is important to utilise the strengths of each tool and one advantage of social media is the ability to share content.  The intent should not necessarily be to develop viral content, but to ensure your target audience is able to distribute content and share their views on being involved with the organisation.  Stories can be very effective and assist in providing content that can be shared.  The sharing of content is the online equivalent of word of mouth recommendations and can help reach the connections of people already involved with the organisation.

Successful volunteer recruitment will use a mix of tools to reach prospective volunteers, supported by consistent messages and a cohesive marketing approach. Marketing encompasses more than promotional tools, such as brochures or flyers, but every form of interaction that someone has with an organisation.

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