marketing trends

marketing plan steps

R Marketing Plan Steps for a Successful New Year

marketing plan steps

It's a new year and that means you should be doing your marketing planning NOW. With last year fresh on your mind and the promise of this year ahead, this is the perfect time. Plus, most businesses are slower at the beginning of the year giving you more opportunity to reflect and plan. Not to mention trying to play catch-up later in the year can really limit your options for business growth. So, with all systems go, R tips can help you successfully map out your marketing plan steps.

Marketing Plan Steps to Include

Throwing it against the wall to see what sticks is as bad of an idea for spaghetti as it is your marketing. You must be strategic, or much like the spaghetti, you’ll just have a mess. Instead, R marketing plan steps include:

  • Know who you are – We’re talking about your brand as it’s the foundation from which you will build your plan. Be able to answer these questions clearly: What do you do? What are your products/services? Who is your target audience? What is your promise to customers (value proposition)? What sets you apart (your positioning)?
  • Identify what you want to do – With your brand identity firmly cemented you can begin identifying marketing objectives. Drive leads, convert more leads to customers, increase awareness, upsell or cross sell customers, launch a new product or service, and/or increase customer satisfaction are common ones, but here’s the key: you have to make it quantifiable to be able to measure success. Here’s another key: you can’t do everything, pick two or three to focus on.
  • Take stock – This is an often-overlooked step but before you begin any new marketing campaigns, it’s important to take stock of what you’ve already done or are doing currently. Look at your social media, content marketing, SEO, ads, and public relations activities with the goal not only to avoid duplication of effort but also to see what you might improve. Also, make sure to perform a competitive analysis to get a good handle on your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Determine how you’ll get there – Now for the fun! What tools will you use to achieve your marketing goals? There are endless options available, but this is where a solid understanding of your target audience(s) comes in as quite simply, you need to be where they are. What’s more, keep in mind those tools may change throughout the sales cycle. For example, social media may pull in leads while email helps you to nurture them. Your content will likely also need to change throughout the sales cycle so you’ll need to flesh out what message to promote when.
  • Find out how you did – We talked about the importance of quantifiable goals above and this is where that really comes into play. Google Analytics and Search Console are ideal to measure website traffic; where it’s coming from, visit length, and conversions. You can measure social media through the individual properties (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and can measure email metrics through your platform too. Or, tools like Hubspot can bring it all together. For PR, media impressions are key.

More on Measuring Your Goals

Not only is it important to measure the results of your marketing plan based on your goals, but you need to do it on an ongoing basis! So many businesses neglect this step. A marketing plan isn’t something you can set and forget. Success depends on your ability to optimize throughout the year as you learn more about what works and what doesn’t. 

Leave it To the Experts

This can be overwhelming - we get it! Not everyone has a dedicated marketing department to take this on and for many of our clients, marketing is not their area of expertise. You want your marketing dollars to pay off, but not at the expense of what you need to be focusing on – running your business! That’s where we come in!

R goal is to help clients in industries such as restaurant, hospitality, retail, health and wellness, business, non-profit and more to achieve theirs through:

  • Marketing Strategy and Campaign Creation
  • Public Relations
  • Social Media 
  • Event Management
  • Content Marketing
  • Creative Services
  • Analytics

For R help your marketing plan, click HERE to schedule a FREE Discovery Call today!

marketing plan steps


cause marketing campaigns

Give (& Get) with R Cause Marketing Campaigns

Cause marketing isn’t a new thing. It’s actually been around since Marriott Corporation partnered with the March of Dimes in the 1970s. But it may be more important today than ever. Not because causes are more important now, rather it’s more important for brands to support them. Why? Brands need a way to cut through the noise and connect with consumers on a more purposeful level. Doing good for others certainly fits that bill. Here are tips to get you started.

What is a Cause Marketing Campaign?

Cause marketing in and of itself is a cooperative effort between a for-profit brand and a non-profit for the mutual benefit of both. The benefits include increased connection with consumers and increased awareness of the cause as well as profit. A cause marketing campaign is the implementation of that effort with the goal to increase sales for the brand while also increasing money contributed to the non-profit.

Keep in mind that cause marketing campaigns don’t have to focus on just national or global causes. They can and should focus on local causes as well.

The Impact of Cause Marketing 

So how much impact can cause marketing really have for brands? Quite a bit actually. In fact, a Mintel study shows that 73% of Americans say a company’s charitable giving affects their purchase decisions. Not only that, 50% of Americans say that they would switch to a company that supports a cause they believe in and that stat rises to 61% for Millennials (aged 24-41).

But it’s not just that consumers think it’s nice for brands to support causes. It’s increasingly becoming an expectation. That same Mintel study found that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe it is a company’s responsibility to give back (65%), while around half expect brands to improve the local community (53%). 

Cause marketing has even become so important there’s an actual day devoted to it–Giving Tuesday. It’s a day that not only encourages all people to do good by donating to causes that are important to them, many brands partner with those nonprofits to match a certain percentage of donations they receive that day. It’s hugely impactful for consumers, nonprofits, and brands alike! 

How to Do Cause Marketing

So, how do you create a successful cause marketing campaign? Start right here:

  • Authenticity: We encourage all R clients to give back with a cause that speaks to their mission because, above all, your campaign must be authentic to resonate with consumers. Ask yourself, is there a non-profit that aligns with your goals as an organization?
  • Audience: Next, consider the target audience for your brand. Are there causes that are more likely to speak to them and/or that they may already support? Ideally, the cause that you choose will align with your mission and the interests of your target audience.
  • Collaboration: Most non-profits are thrilled for any support, but collaboration can maximize the effectiveness of your campaign as it can give you insight on what’s worked and what hasn’t in the past. Not to mention to help you get the message right!
  • Timing: Not only when to launch but also the duration of the campaign. Typically up to 2 weeks gives you enough time to generate excitement and to hold your consumer’s attention. Then consider if there a certain time of year in which your cause is more urgent?
  • Branding: Go beyond simply putting a non-profit’s logo on your marketing materials. Think about a cohesive strategy across all your platforms. Create a hashtag and content to share as well as perhaps even a logo and/or specific design for the campaign. The idea is for the campaign to stand out while complementing your brand and keeping consumers engaged.
  • Call to Action: Consumers need to be able to quickly understand the ‘why’ for the campaign and what you want them to do. So, make sure there is a clear call to action at each touchpoint. This will also help you quantify the success of the campaign later. 
  • Share the Results: Another connection builder with consumers is to share the results of the campaign as well as its impact on the cause. And thank them for their contributions! This creates trust that you did what you said you would, and who doesn’t like appreciation?

Cause Marketing Campaigns in Action

Here are some favorite cause marketing campaigns from R clients:

This year’s Giving Tuesday is coming up on December 1 which means now is the perfect time to create your cause marketing campaign. We’d love to help—click HERE to schedule a FREE Discovery Call today!


nashville influencers

20 Top Nashville Influencers (and what makes them so important to brands)

Image by Style Blueprint

Merriam-Webster defines an influencer as someone who inspires or guides the actions of others, or more specifically, as someone who is able to generate interest in something by posting about it on social media. Brands have taken notice and influencer marketing is now a key component of social media strategy. How do they help and who are the top Nashville influencers? Find out here.

The Influence of Influencers

According to We Are Social, 3.484 billion people actively use social media (that’s 45 percent of the world’s population if you’re counting!). What we can pretty much all attest to is that we’re sick of being marketed at from every direction, no matter how targeted it may be. Enter influencers.

Early on, influencers were primarily celebrities. Anyone ever bought anything a Kardashian plugged? You don’t have to admit it, The Guardian shares the proof. But celebrity endorsements can be hard to come by, and can cost you big. 

Luckily, there are plenty of “regular people” who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on specific topics or specific categories through regular social media posts. They’re seen more as trusted friends and peers and are able to generate an engaged following that pays close attention to their recommendations. While they may not have the millions of followers, these influencers can potentially drive an average of 16x higher engagement rates than celebrities , according to The Realtime Report.

Top Nashville Influencers

If you’re a lifestyle brand in Nashville looking to connect with consumers and establish trust, influencer marketing may be just the way to go. Here are our top 20 Nashville influencers (in no particular order):

Nashville native Hunter Premo is the daughter of one of the city’s most sought-after makeup artists. But she’s more into fashion, sharing her boho style – and her life – with tens of thousands of followers.

After competing in Miss America as well as The Amazing Race (and gaining a following from that), Ervin is an influencer on topics that range from marriage and kids to fashion and female empowerment.

Born out of a desire to share her love of Nashville’s culinary scene, Davis’ Instagram has now become the place to inspire foodies or anyone exploring local restaurants to try.

This influencer and blogger shares her tips on food, fashion, and family plus offers tons of “swipe up” retail codes and life hacks.  

The Happily Grey founder posts beautifully curated pictures from her life as a fashionista, businesswoman, wife, new mom, and dog lover.  

Tomiko provides all kinds of travel tips and she also works to help brands shift the culture on diversity in tourism.

This yoga instructor and doula posts fitness and beauty tips as well as body-positive messages and book recommendations.

Husband to Hunter Premo, this photographer/videographer is an influencer in his own right on topics that include adventure, style, and chivalry for the modern gentleman.

She’s a trainer to local celebrities with a feed that shares workout tips, healthy recipes, and videos from her weekly Saturday night dance party with husband Sean.

This photographer came to Nashville by way of Austin and posts snaps of everything from walks in the park with her pups to front yard hangs and the beauty of everyday life here.

This power duo of Michelle and Dan came to Nashville by way of New England and we are all the more hungry for their food photos for it! Their posts and snaps of recipes, top lists of fab food finds, happy hours and more are not to be missed! 

Holly is a nurse practitioner who loves exploring some of the hottest restaurants and dishes in Nashville. She also shares some of her own dishes on her feed.

Josh’s blog reviews the best restaurants in Nashville and offers fun insights into the dining scene while all the mouth-watering finds are shared on Insta.

Ashley is a girl mom (and a dog mom) with a lifestyle blog that dishes on food, the latest fashion trends, parenting tips and life in Nashville where she’s lived for 10 years.

Blair overcame hunger herself and now shares her foodie experiences across Nashville and beyond.

This native Nashvillian blogs about food and lifestyle as she brings us along on her epic travel adventures near and far.

She’s your go-to girl for all things Nashville sharing delicious food as well as local clothing and cool snaps of our awesome city! 

Brittany is a creator, influencer and stylist who delivers daily inspiration for luxe plus fashion on Instagram and YouTube. 

Melissa is a digital strategy expert who brings authentic storytelling back to social media. In her spare time she shares the best plus size fashion trends and tips.

Chef Laura Lee has a background in health-related cooking and shares healthy, delicious recipes, meal plans and insights into her. 

For R help with influencer marketing, click HERE to schedule a FREE Discovery Call today!

Image by Nashville Lifestyles


5 ways to pivot your business message

5 Ways To Pivot Your Business Message Right Now!

 

As we enter a new “normal” in terms of our business world during the time of COVID-19, the word “pivot” has been thrown around as a big buzzword, particularly when it comes to businesses. For us as word-weavers, we want to help, as when you pivot internally and not externally things can go south. Meaning, if your messages are mixed, inconsistent or flimsy (which is easy to do considering the world has turned upside down in the past 90 days), your people may be lost as to what you really are offering and thus move onto another pasture, if you know what we mean. We R here to help with our 5 ways to pivot your business message to communicate your new normal.

  1. Google your business and your top employees and see what has been written and what may be changing for you for the foreseeable future. If you are, for the foreseeable future, going to offer curbside pick-up, see if that is in your current online search messaging, and if not, hire a great SEO company to make it happen (we have friends we can point you to if you need it). People are online now more than ever and most people want to come back to you, but if they see the words “closed,” “temporarily closed,” “laid off,” “furloughed,” or whatever else has come up for you and others in the past month, they may be shy to buy, purchase, or stop by for a visit if you plan on reopening anytime soon. Make a checklist of where you need to re-message your message and get going on that ASAP.
  2. Update your social media but know the who, the what, and the when before you do so. 
  3. Meet people where they are—get masks, sanitizer, and so on for your establishment (we even have a client offering sneeze stations, no joke), and anticipate varying levels of comfort for guests. Some people are not going to want to get out of their cars for the foreseeable future even when governments open up, so be prepared for those who are ready to come in and those who want to be met out.
  4. Offer NEW purchasing options. You may want to update your websites (we are happy to help) and offer some additional items for sale. We have restaurant clients that are upping their merch and dry goods on their websites and we have online retailers offering free shipping as a long term goal!
  5. As always be kind! This seems obvious but when you look at a Yelp review that slams you for whatever choice you may be making, as the world opens back up, be sure to answer when you have cooled off—a quick tweet, Yelp response, or what have you, can have a lasting effect. 

If you need more tips, tricks, or help, schedule a FREE Discovery Call Today!


ways to help small businesses

10 + Ways To Help Small Businesses Right Now!

We are the behind the curtain folks, the weavers of words, the people that help share passion and spread good news! I am writing this as, like many of you and like most of the world, I want to save all the restaurants, bars, and small businesses we can from the hardships being immediately faced. I feel like every morning I wake up and see someone else I care about posting about making a hard decision with their business, and it seems that although we are practicing things like “social distancing”—a phrase I never have used in my life as both an extrovert and a lover of people—we are also in the midst of times where supporting and giving services is needed more than ever. As communications pros, we can be a beacon of hope during these strange and difficult times—we are the messengers to the media, we are the media, we move the needle from fear to fearless by being courageous and creative innovators in a time of great need! So I ask, HOW can we help—now? I’ve listed some of R teams ideas below on ways to help small businesses, and support clients, media friends, and most of all each other. Let us know what you’d add, too, we are here to bounce ideas, support and share! Let’s do this!

  1. Pick up the phone. Get off email and CALL your people—they need you. They’re reading the news and social media and seeing their friends close down and make difficult decisions—offer creative solutions that can help them weather this storm (an abbreviated but awesome take-out menu, clever delivery options, etc). Read this again, CALL and connect, it makes a world of difference—trust me.
  2. Source ideas with other professionals. If you are like me, you have been writing crisis communication plans, scraping all the content you planned for this month and next and next and gearing up for a daily swipe of your ideas—you need some creative support! Call, text, and email fellow communications pros! This is the time to give extra hours, time, and talents to each other to support the world of small businesses. THIS is our time to really support each other and get over any fear that someone will take your client or idea. In this case, we all need to save this sinking ship for EVERYONE and we are the answers. 
  3. Be a marketing genius. During the Great Depression, furniture stores offered free incentives called “Depression glass” (like a plate or a teacup) and people went wild shopping for furniture just to get the free glasses, even when they didn’t have much. Today a tiny Depression tea glass is worth $25-$75 (some more), and these were given out for free to our grandmothers. Who came up with that idea? A MARKETING GENIUS, that’s who. Us marketing pros are the people behind the curtain and we get to show off our most genius ideas—often in the most desperate times. Just this week alone I have seen café owners delivering goods, celebrities reading storybooks online, museums offering free tours, and even Disney taking viewers on virtual rides. The internet is blowing up and our ideas are just waiting to take off and find value with our clients. So do what you need to be risky and wise and get someone to sign up for something they never thought they would—it WILL work!
  4. Be calm + confident, be collected, and know this too shall pass. If we hold our visions our clients will too, and we are the ones who help document and execute those visions. So it is up to us to be calm in the storm when they need to freak out because their business is taking turns they never imagined. Be confident. Know you were hired because you are smart, talented and clients can count on you to share their message—that’s you!
  5. Be mindful of your words instead of “hard times” change that up for “things are constantly changing” instead of “closing” change that up for “we will open as soon as we can.” Words have power and now more than ever WE are responsible for encouraging clients and media to lessen the drastic language and fear and see things as a work in progress. As the truth is this is actually a golden opportunity to be creative with businesses, and those that know how to pivot and stay calm will be the ones on top after the storm blows over.
  6. Be generous with your time. We need to write more blog posts, edit more press releases and help more than we probably ever have before—now is the time to get our boots dirty. It’s hard work, but so worth it! 
  7. Shop, shop, shop. Buy all the things—get merch, get gift cards, and practice what you are preachin’ sister!
  8. Make your pitches short and sweet and with all information in digestible deets—who, what, where, and website links—and nothing else! We don't want to make more work for our media friends who are getting more emails than ever right now. 
  9. Share other people’s creative work—not just your clients. Ask and offer fellow comm friends ways you can lend a helping hand! Giving truly makes the world of difference in stressful situations.
  10. BE KIND yourself included, take a bath, do an online yoga class, pour a glass of wine at the end of the day, whatever gets you to zen. You can’t save the world if you aren’t taking care of you and from there sprinkle out the good witch vibes and let people know they have had the power to change and shift and grow within them the whole time. (‘nuff said).

From friends in the comm worlds:

“Entertain and engage! This is the time to show your audience your brand value through digital marketing by giving them what they need the most right now. Something to do. You literally have a captive audience, so don’t waste that opportunity with your average content. Find creative ways to entertain and engage your audience. A great way to do that is through mixed media: video, graphics, motion graphics, email campaigns, etc. Create giveaways, quizzes, and games! The more your audience feels supported by your brand during this time, the more brand loyalty they will reciprocate when things go back to normal.” Sarah Wlliams (digital marketing guru)

Have something to add? Please share!

 


public relations checklist

A Public Relations Checklist + Trends For 2020

So the year of 2019 is about to go by and here we are R-eflecting on all the fun openings, book launches, new businesses we supported, and clients and media we related to. PR at it’s finest but what have we learned from this year that we will bring into next? Here is our ultimate PR checklist—we are always happy to set-up a free consultation if you have more needs, wants or R-equests!

R words of advice for 2020 as far as public relations goes is:

  1. Stop sending press releases for things that are not immediate release or going to earn attention as “news.” There is a time and a place for all communication but press releases—unless it is breaking news—are a thing of the past. Customized-meets-personalized pitching is where things are headed, which means short, sweet, and to the point.
  2. Start investing in video—things are moving towards fewer written words, not more. I started blogging in 2010 and began doing vlogs shortly thereafter, as well as short videos that convey a message. YouTube is still going strong as an avenue to share and post videos + iPhones have made it super easy too!
  3. Speaking of short and sweet, keep your communications to media appropriate and short and sweet—not mass distributed. No one likes a mass email, especially someone who gets 100s of emails a day. This is one of the perks to hiring a publicist—we have ways to get the message to contacts without being pesky.
  4. Start posting in your social media stories NOW. General posts are moving towards a thing of the past, so have your social team post those stories and make them personal!
  5. Know what is a trend and what is an end! Avocado toast was so five years ago—things move particularly fast in the food and fashion worlds, so ask your PR team to help advise before making a product launch or new menu.


6. Invest in EVENT-focused outreach. Start sharing your brand with a party or collaboration. Being a solo-standing brand is becoming a thing of the past.

7. Do use professional photos in all situations. No more dark photos of parking lots—have your marketing/pr team help you put your best photo-foot forward.

8. Do sign up and/or post on Linkedin NOW. Trends revive and Linkedin is one of them, especially for B to B businesses.

9. Do sign up and/or start posting on Tik Tok NOW. This video streaming platform will be taking over Instagram in 2020, just you watch and see!

10. As far as social media goes, know your platform when sharing on digital media. As we say to clients, each social media channel is its own neighborhood, and not all work the same way—think art district (Instagram), up and coming (Tik Tok), hipster (Snapchat), old historic (Linkedin/Twitter), mom ‘n’ pop (Facebook). A good PR team will help you navigate this so you can maximize your efforts in all places or just focus on one neighborhood doing really well!


Onwards towards a new year and a R-fresh of your brand!

Emily + RPR

***Schedule a free discovery meeting with us today at https://www.rprfirm.com/schedule/