When you think about your organization’s marketing, how much planning goes into it? Do you do it with purpose, or is it something that you do when you have time? I know….time! But in reality, most downtowns are very good at event marketing, but often lack a message or strategy for marketing their organization as a whole. Whether through lack of knowing where to start, too many other projects, or a lack of budget…marketing Main Street tends to be put on the back burner. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
We have created a tool to help you be more proactive in your marketing efforts. First, it is important to think about what the brand of your organization is. So…what is your brand? Merriam-Webster defines brand as “a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer”. However, it is more than that, your brand isn’t just your product, website, or messaging…it is EVERYTHING about your organization!
For example if I asked you what is this?
How many of you said Kleenex? Well….technically this is facial tissue. However, Kleenex has such strong branding that no matter what brand…they are universally known as Kleenex…what a problem to have! So what goes into making your brand as an organization? When we say everything, we mean everything! Such as:
That’s why it is critical to be objective and have a good idea of what your brand is before you start marketing. This will make your marketing efforts more genuine. So, the first step in your marketing plan should be to create a brand statement if you don’t already have one. Unlike a mission statement which is the purpose of your organization, a brand statement is what your brand is (or what you want it to be) such as the center for arts, dining & entertainment.
Knowing your history, not just of your organization but of your community will be helpful in crafting this as well. You will also want to know your customers. Now, how many of you just said our customer is everyone? Be honest! The truth is while downtowns are for everyone, each community has a typical shopper or visitor. Being honest about those demographics will be helpful in your communications and help you attract more of those customers!
Once you have your brand statement, you will want to start looking at the assets you have to communicate. Which social media channels are you on, what’s the most engaging posts on those channels? Looking at what’s been successful will help you have more success in the future. As you’re looking at the assets, you want to look at your community involvement, speaking engagements, and any place that people may identify you or your organization.
Next, it’s time to start planning. Think about topics you are an expert in. If you are struggling with this step, look at some other downtowns for inspiration. Topics such as business development, property maintenance and others are ones that most Main Street directors can talk about for days on end…so let’s create content in that direction.
When planning you want to set some goals. Is the idea to increase traffic, get more followers on social media, raise money, or increase awareness? What are you trying to do. Now that we have some topics, and some goals, it’s time to start planning.
We suggest Quarterly Themes, Monthly Topics, and Weekly/Daily posts or touches. This will help you build momentum and gain traction as you attain your goals.
With any of your marketing efforts, it’s important to ask for help whenever you need it. Whether it is creating a new logo or identify for your organization, a new website, or even creating and helping you implement a full marketing plan. While most organizations have a firm in their district, don’t be afraid to reach outside your community for this assistance as well. Usually budget will prevent this, but when you can expand your search you get a firm that doesn’t suffer from the “forest for the trees” that is very difficult to avoid when looking with local firms.
Regardless of whether you work with a local firm or someone from outside your area, having completed our marketing planning worksheet will help you make the most of your marketing efforts. To receive your free copy, complete the form on the right and your worksheet will be emailed to you and you can get to planning your next marketing success!