Marketing Champagne on a Main Street Budget

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of Kylie Jenner, your community were the beneficiary of a billion dollars? Imagine the improvements that could be made, the campaigns created and the opportunities for future growth. Alas, we can’t all be the Kardashians. But, we can use our network and our communities to increase awareness, without breaking the bank. By using resources already at your disposal and a few extra tools, you can enhance your marketing efforts so that they look like a million, or dare we say a billion, dollars.

What Have You Been Saying?

For starters, when was the last time you took stock of your communication materials? I’m not talking about the stockpile of swag you keep in the back closet. I mean reviewing your footprint, specifically your digital one. Have you scrolled through your Instagram account lately? What about your blog posts—have you read them? Your eblasts or enews— have you forgotten what they look like? How about your website—have you avoided content updates like the plague? Whether time or money constrains you, it’s time to take a look at what you’ve been saying to the world, or at least your target market. In your review, do you notice inconsistencies? Does your tone of voice change between one platform and another? Have you neglected any channels? If you answer yes to any of these questions, that’s totally okay. In fact, with the amount of work on your plate, it would be more shocking if you were able to keep everything perfectly in order. Here’s the deal, write down what you find— the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Let’s Focus on the Things You Can Change

When you complete your review and have a list, go through and determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (aka SWOT). You’ll find some highlights and probably some questionable choices. Again, that’s the point of this exercise. Once you’ve separated things out, pick three to five items that you can change. Yes, less than five. There’s no reason to try to tackle the whole list—no one, especially you, has time for that. From experience, the areas most often in need of improvement include photo quality, message consistency and a general lack of attention. All three of which can be solved without too much pain or suffering.

Photo Quality

Have you seen the photos on some of these influencers’ social profiles? S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G! Are they masters of Photoshop? Really, really good with filters? Or blessed with natural light at all times of the day? Well one thing’s for sure, good light is a rarity so that’s definitely a no. However, even without Photoshop chops you can create and take impressive photos with a smartphone and a few apps. Basic filters available via your camera or social platforms can do wonders, but there are a variety of free and low-cost photo/video apps in the world that can take your photos to the next level. The smart people over at Buffer actually wrote an entire article dedicated to the 26 Best Social Media Apps to Help You Create Epic Social Media Content. And if that’s too many to choose from, give CANVA a try. It’s one of the favorites among the social-savvy set.

Message Consistency

While reviewing your materials, did you notice a theme? Could you always tell that the marketing was for your Main Street? The goal here is to see a theme and for every piece of collateral, print or digital, to feel like it came from the same place. The best way to get to a cohesive message is to start with a few main details: 1. Describe your Main Street. Feel free to humanize it—i.e. fun-loving, history buff, anything but square. 2. Who is your target market? Similarly, give he/ she/them a story so that you feel like you know them (which you do, obviously). 3. Define the one thing you want your target market to know about your Main Street. 4. Does this one thing correlate with your marketing objectives? These answers should be used as guidelines for your marketing. You can use them to create a content strategy, ensuring that social posts are conveying the same message as blog posts and that each element of your communication toolkit is working together to achieve the same goal.

Lack of Attention

Want to know a secret? You don’t have to do it all. Seriously. If you have less than zero time to get things done, why are you trying to do the most? The most successful organizations, know that less is more. If you aren’t super witty and your Main Street doesn’t have a constant stream of information, why are you tweeting? If your target market isn’t tweens, why are you snapping? Essentially, pare your platforms down to the ones where you can succeed and that connect with your target market the best. Then execute on the content strategy you developed for message consistency. By having a plan and limiting your efforts you’ll find that you are more effective and more efficient with your time. #Goals.

Go forth and communicate

Be realistic. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your Main Street. Creating measurable change takes time. However, by taking manageable steps you can begin to move the needle.