Last night, I had the opportunity to speak to a first year Marketing class at BCIT.
The instructor (also my friend) asked me to spend the first part of my allotted time describing how I came up with the branding for my business. She remembered a conversation we had last year, when I described how I changed my business name after my business advisor recommended that I narrow down- and study- my target market. She also explained to the class that, since their text book focused primarily on large corporations, she thought it would be helpful to have a real person come in to talk to them about marketing for small to medium sized businesses.
Branding – Small Business
I spent some time describing the process that I went through as I developed the Full Serve brand.
Disclosure: branding is not my area of expertise. If I had the budget, I would have hired someone and I recommend this to my clients as well.
I feel so fortunate to have been a participant in Langara’s Self Employment program, which provided support from a business advisor, as well as instructors and guest speakers with a wide range of expertise (law, insurance, internet, communications, etc). Here are the notes I made yesterday about the process I went through:
- Identify a very specific target market.
- Talk to them.
- Study them.
- What do they need? What kind of problems are they having?
- Bridge the gap.
- What do they like? What do you have in common?
- Be authentic. Find a way for your brand to reflect who you are.
Marketing – Small Business
The instructor also asked me to describe my short and long term marketing plans for my first year of business. My notes:
Short Term (before and during launch of business and onwards)
- Establish online presence (website, LinkedIn, Facebook page, Twitter).
- Brand awareness (targeted Google and Facebook ads)
- Networking (tell everyone you know: friends, family , colleagues; attend networking events; add announcement and links to your email signature)
- Business Cards
- Join associations (this didn’t work out for me because I didn’t have the time to make use of my memberships).
Long Term (3 months in)
- Stickers (affordable way to customize stationery (i.e. seal envelopes, packages, etc)
- Promotional products (given to clients, referrers, giveaways at conferences, etc)
- Guest posts and articles (offer to write in exchange for business name in byline)
- Speaking engagements/workshops
- Print ads (I have delayed this because I am already working at full capacity, but will definitely consider this in the future).
Social Media Case Studies
We then looked at some of the work I’ve done for a local business, a nonprofit, and an association to see how each had different needs and how the different parts work together. I recommended that students join LinkedIn. I also recommended that if they want a career in Marketing that they should get a blog and a Twitter account. Finally, I recommended 2 books:
I had a wonderful time meeting the class and I also was impressed by the downtown BCIT campus, what a great location!