Creating an integrated marketing strategy for your small business

Mar 17, 2016

Creating an integrated marketing strategy might seem out of reach for a small business, but with the help of software, you can create an effective campaign.

Suzie BlaszkiewiczSenior Analyst

For a small business owner, an integrated marketing strategy might feel out of reach. Integrated marketing involves creating a campaign that integrates web, social media, and email promotion along with videos, press releases, and ad campaigns, all delivering the same universal brand messaging across every channel. For the marketing department of a small business, creating such a robust integrated marketing campaign may seem like a daunting task.

Take two examples of big brands using integrated marketing strategies.

American Express launched a successful integrated marketing campaign with its Small Business Saturday, targeting small business owners, shoppers, and government officials to help promote spending at local businesses during the busiest shopping season of the year, Thanksgiving. It targeted three distinct groups in order to turn Small Business Saturday into a ‘thing’ using social media kits, posters, buttons, and digital assets to promote the idea. And it worked– in 2010, it was officially declared a day in the US.

O2 took similar pains to execute its Be More Dog campaign in the UK, encouraging users to be more adventurous when it came to adopting new technology, coinciding with its launch of 4G. Using TV spots, YouTube videos, and online interactive campaigns to get people to “be more dog”, O2 executed a highly successful campaign and clear brand messaging using multiple marketing channels.

You may not be an American Express or an O2 (and probably don’t have the same budget), but you don’t have to be a big brand in order to create an integrated marketing campaign. In fact, creating an integrated marketing campaign for your small business has become a lot more manageable when you consider the availability of fully integrated marketing software that can help with the process.

Let’s say that you’re a local fitness club trying to start a campaign to get your town more active and, in return, more clients into your gym. Below, I’ll go through how you can create an integrated marketing strategy so that, with the help of cloud software, you can seamlessly deliver a brand message to your customers and clients.

Define your target audience

As with any marketing strategy, you’ll want to define your target audience before you decide on any branding. Adarsh Thampy, CEO of LeadFerry, says that “integrated marketing is often conceptualized with the brand message at the center of it. However, the centerpiece shouldn’t be your brand message. It should be your customer.”

If you’re a local gym, you’ll want to target the town as a collective in order to create a sense of community around the idea of getting fit. While you’ll want to get the entire town on board, you’ll be targeting people already into fitness to act as champions of the initiative, as well as those not currently active and who are looking to increase their levels of physical activity– these will be your new potential clients.

Club management solution ZenPlanner gives in-depth client details.

One place to start is by looking at active clients to get a sense of who your current demographic is. If you’re using club management software, you should already have these client details on file. You can utilize stats about active clients to gain insights into activity and frequency, as well as use this data when advertising to current members for participation to help champion the initiative.

Another good place to look is at past clients with expired memberships or those who’ve used a free trial to check out your facilities. You can use this data to come up with a target demographic of people likely to sign up to your fitness club based on past interactions. You can also use this data to find gaps in your clientele to see who else you could be targeting.

Set your brand messages and create your campaigns

Once your target market(s) have been established, you’ll be able to start developing your brand message. While a lot of this will come down to your own creativity, you’ll need to make sure that your message is transferable across platforms. Your overall campaign message should be the same, but the delivery of your integrated marketing strategy across platforms will have to adapt to the medium that you’re using.

Sticking with the fitness club example, let’s say that the brand message is to make “Anytown, USA the fittest town in the county”. One idea could be to have people sign up on a landing page where they can track their fitness goals on your website, contributing to the overall fitness goals of the city. The end goal will be to get them to enroll in your fitness club. You might even offer a discounted price or free trial membership to incentivize people to sign up.

An example of a simple sign-up landing page from Wistia.

As part of the campaign, you’ll distribute ad campaigns throughout town to inform the general population of the initiative and encourage them to sign up on your website for more details. This can include going out into town, where you can explain the initiative and physically get people to sign up with their email addresses. Then, you can create separate email campaigns for: past members, encouraging them to renew their memberships; existing members, encouraging them to participate; and potential members (captured from your landing page and field efforts), incentivizing them to join your fitness club as part of the town’s fitness challenge.

You’ll also be able to create social media campaigns around the ‘fittest town in the county’, and get people to share their status as they’re progressing towards their goals. This could even include video testimonials of people wanting to participate in the initiative and why, while also giving people the option to create their own testimonials to be featured on your website.

Deploy campaigns

Ad campaigns and field marketing will help get the message across to the town, as well as create buzz around the initiative. Directing people to your landing page (where they can sign up with their own fitness goals) will drive traffic to your website and will help you capture emails for new potential clients.

Aside from physical ads and personnel efforts, this is where software can be a big help. Using a marketing automation tool like HubSpot or Infusionsoft, will give you access to multiple marketing channels including (and depending on which software you’re using) email marketing, social media marketing, contact management, and landing page creation.

HubSpot's social media management tools help you stay connected with whats going on online.

As Thampy notes, “less friction and smooth customer on-boarding should be the primary aim of any integrated campaign. Technology can play a huge role in this. Using marketing automation software that can integrate with your business CRM… can help smooth the on-boarding process. You can define custom workflows with if-this-then-that conditions. Based on user interaction (or lifecycle the user is in), the content/offer presented to your customer can be highly targeted.”

First, you can deploy email marketing campaigns to segmented client lists, including past and present members. You can tailor messages to each group, and automate things like follow-up emails for those that haven’t acted on previous emails. Once you capture emails from your new landing page, you can also create mailing lists to encourage people to sign up to your gym to help them achieve their personal (and the town’s) goals.

This software can also help you create and schedule posts on social media to promote the initiative, posting at regular intervals and encouraging others to share their goals on social media. The key is to encourage users to interact across different platforms while directing them to your website.

Record customer interactions

When people start signing up, you’ll want to make sure that you keep track of customer interactions to provide your potential clients with an experience as seamless as your integrated marketing campaign. This is especially important for small businesses in order to build and maintain reputation, as well as to effectively manage leads and achieve the goal of enrolling new members.

Thampy notes the importance of knowing your customer’s journey, as well as having everyone (not just the marketing team) on-board with the campaign. “Your customer receives an email from your marketing team. They then reach out to customer support requesting more details. Is your customer support team clueless about your marketing message? How about when the handover happens from marketing to sales? Is the transition smooth or do your potential customers have to supply information or listen to the same marketing/sales pitch over and over again?”

Marketing automation solution HubSpot also offers a CRM that can help you keep track of customer interactions.

You’ll want to follow your customer along his or her journey, and in order to do that, you’ll need a way to record customer interactions as they happen. If you’re using a marketing automation tool with a CRM function, you’ll be able to record and keep track of all of your interactions with your customers. This will also make follow-up organization easier.

Track campaign success

While it may be hard to track direct referral signups from ad campaigns, for your digital marketing efforts, software makes it much easier to track the success of your email and social campaigns. With the analytics functions in your marketing automation software, you’ll be able to see open rates on emails, click throughs, and conversions. With social media, you’ll be able to see which posts got the biggest reach, the ideal time for posting, as well as which posts have the most likes and shares.

HubSpot Analytics showing subscriber and lead metrics.

In general, tracking tools will give you insights into which campaigns garnered the most opens, likes, and sign-ups so that when it’s time to follow up, you can use the same messaging that was most successful the first time around.

The effort is worth the return

Creating a successful integrated marketing strategy requires more effort than siloed marketing techniques, but the results are impactful when the messaging is coherent, consistent, and complementary.

Defining your audience, setting the brand message, and creating marketing material for various channels is essential to cementing the campaign.

The key when creating this branding is to remember the customer at the center of the process. As Thampy notes, “what matters more for the consumer is how easily he’s on-boarded once the interaction with your brand has started.” With the help of marketing automation software, executing, following-up with, and tracking the success of your digital efforts allows for a scalable integrated marketing strategy for your small business that puts the consumer first.

Have you used software for your integrated marketing strategy? Tell us your story in the comments below.

To find out more about how marketing software can make creating campaigns quicker and easier, sign up to our marketing software newsletter and we’ll send you regular updates explaining how you can choose the right software to master these techniques.

About the author

Suzie Blaszkiewicz

Senior Analyst