Marketing 101: Idea Generator
We all need to market our business to get new clients and grow our revenue. So coming up with new ideas is vital to the success of this. Yes you can use the ideas that everyone else is using in their pet business but wouldn’t you rather create unique ideas that stand out from the crowd. Ideas that will stop people when they are scrolling through their social media and notice you and your business.
Being unique isn’t as hard as you think and coming up with new ideas is something you should be working on all of the time. It’s not hard – you just need to be smart.
Make it your business not to follow the crowd and JUST use the same marketing ideas everyone else is using. Instead be creative, be unique and most importantly be you!
What Makes A Good Idea?
It’s hard to really quantify what makes a good idea. Something only becomes a good idea when you get good results from it. There are however some fundamental principles that you should consider when coming up with marketing ideas to make sure that they give you the biggest return on your investment.
#1. What is Your ROI
I see so many people excited by likes and shares on Facebook or hits to their website without having a clear goal of how they are going to turn this activity into customers. I agree there are times when we need to boost our Facebook Pages and a funny meme or article will do that for you. But you should consider the long-term goal as well.
For me these ‘fluffy’ pieces of content (funny articles, shared news articles, inspirational quotes etc.) all serve the purpose of increasing brand awareness. I know that it’s unlikely that people will buy from these – but they will see me and if my branding is on point they will remember me. It’s just the first stage in the funnel of turning them into a customer.
Tip: When you are coming up with an idea decide what the purpose of it is. Are you creating an Ebook to collect email addresses to promote to your services to that list? Are you running a competition to get your name out there? Are you entertaining your audience to get more shares amongst your followers friends/family?
Then decide what the next stage will be. You have the shares – now can you re target those people with FB ads? You have the email list now can you promote to it?
#2. Understand your target market
You need to be clear on who you are targeting and understand what they like and what they want. A survey can be a great way to find out what interests your followers and potential customers so you can come up with content ideas to fulfil those needs.
There is no point creating content that you like – unless of course your customers will like it.
Tip: Create an ideal customer profile and stick it on your wall. Who is the perfect customer you want to attract more of? Then get into the mind of that person and create content for them. Whether that is blog posts, ebooks, FB content – it should all be aimed at them.
#3. Be Unique and Creative
There is nothing wrong with being inspired by what other brands are doing (I’ll talk about this later) but don’t just copy without putting your own personality and spin on it. It doesn’t work! You need to be your brand 100% and copying what someone else is doing (and usually not doing it as well as they did) isn’t good.
Instead seek to be inspired by everything around you. Use the techniques I describe later in this training to collect ideas and turn them into your own.
Tip: Try to consistently come up with new ideas every day and make a note of them. You don’t have to implement them straight away (or even at all) but it is a good practice to get into the habit of.
#4. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Some things you will create will be awesome and you will have amazing results. Then you will do something similar, or even the same, another time and it will be a complete flop.
Don’t be afraid to try things out.
You could come up with an idea that doesn’t work very well but when you tweak it slightly it’s an amazing success.
You need to be prepared for trial and error.
Tip: If you are unsure if it’s a good idea you have 2 options. Try it out and see for yourself OR ask someone for their opinion.
Be careful who you ask though! There are a lot of negative people around!
Tips For Inspiration
#1. Follow Brands
Many of the big brands will have huge budgets for creating content for their website and social media channels. They can however be a huge source of inspiration when it comes to creating ideas of your own.
Some of my best ideas for posts on Facebook have come from following brands, seeing what they do and putting my own spin on it. Don’t be put off by their fancy graphics and videos – very often you can create something good of your own without the expense.
Tip: Look at the pages you think your ideal customers would follow and see what people are engaging with.
- What quotes do they share?
- What articles are they commenting on? Look at the subjects and see how you can relate that to pets.
- What videos are they watching?
#2. Read Books
Books are a great source of inspiration when you are trying to come up with ideas. Whenever you read a marketing book be sure to write down any ideas that spring to mind as you are reading it.
Blog titles ideas, concepts for your website, email newsletter ideas, graphic ideas, FB ad ideas.
In particular, when you read case studies there are often things that other (non-pet related) companies have done that could work just as well for you.
Don’t feel that every idea must come from something pet related. By looking at other industries you will find new and interesting ideas that aren’t being used in the pet industry yet.
Tip: Don’t read a marketing book without making actionable notes from it. I like to use an ideas notebook for this – but you could write in/highlight the book if you wanted to.
#3. Get out and about
There are ideas all around us. You see signs in shops, restaurants, gas stations all the time advertising products. You read magazines and newspapers that are full of ads and stories.
You also watch TV and go to the movies. All places where there will be inspiration for new ideas.
Tip: Your mobile phone camera is your best friend for collecting ideas on the go. Snap a picture of the sign, promo, advert and then at the end of the week go through your phone and transfer the ideas in your ideas book. When you are stuck for inspiration you have a book full of things you thought were cool and can start to adapt them to work for your business.
Note – if you don’t write this stuff down you WILL forget!
#4. Look at what you enjoy
I know that we are not necessarily our ideal customers but we are pet lovers and some of the content we create is to generate awareness to our services in the pet lovers’ community.
It’s therefore important that you consider what articles, graphics, videos etc. that you like and share yourself.
Remember not every piece of content is created for a sale. Some is created for engagement and brand awareness. It’s good to create fun and entertaining content as well as educational.
Tip: If you find posts on FB you like and are not ready to share them you can use the save feature on FB and come back to them later.
I find it beneficial to sit down and brainstorm ideas when I am putting my content plan together.
If you want to read more about the technique of mind mapping visit >> www.mindmapping.com
There are lots of paid programmes you can use online if you want to. I am a big fan of writing things down and find I am more creative away from the PC – but an online method might suit you better.
How I Brainstorm Ideas.
I start by deciding on my overall themes each month and then I dig down deeper to come up with the specific content ideas.
If I decide I want to do a concentrated effort to get more Dog Walking Clients I would do the following:
Grab a piece of paper and write dog walking in the middle of it.
Decide on the channels you are going to promote dog walking on and write them in each corner.
Assuming Blogging is one of them (which is should be!) I would then list under blogging all the ideas that I had for subjects
i.e Why hire a dog walker? What happens on a dog walk? Where can I walk my dog in X town? What to take on a dog walk in X town? And so on.
Assuming Facebook is a channel you use I would then list ideas of what to promote on FB.
i.e. Share my blog posts, create images of reasons to hire a dog walker, share inspirational quotes about dogs, create videos of dogs being walked, run a FB ad for dog walking services, ask people to share places their dogs love to go for a walk. And so on.
The more ideas you come up with in each section the better. Then I would go through and transfer my ideas into my content plan. You might not use all of them, you might come up with more as you transfer them over and some might change when you come to implement them.
What it means though is you have a plan and any time you want to do more dog walking promotion you can re-use the content you have already created.
Tip: I recommend you are promoting your services all the time. Don’t wait until you need dog walking clients to start looking for them. It needs to be an ongoing process.
My Routine and Top Tips
- I write things down in a notebook so I have all my ideas in one place. This way when I need some fresh content I have a book of ideas I can read through and there is always something there I can use.
- I am constantly writing blog post titles down for use later. Use your notes section on your phone if you are not near your notebook and then transfer them all into one place later.
- I screenshot/take photos of ideas I see when I am out and about or on my phone. These are then transferred to my ideas book.
- I analyse things and do more of what works. You don’t need to constantly have new ideas. Dive into Google Analytics and your Social Media Analytics – what are your most popular posts? Do more of that!
- I use my ideas! It might sound obvious to say but I plan my content out and use the ideas that I have collected as part of that plan. Some ideas I will have implemented straight away but there will be others that I won’t have.
Note: If you don’t want to use a notebook then use an online document instead.