One of the biggest mistakes I see made by small businesses today is the lack of consistency in their messaging. I hear the following phrase time and again, “Oh this isn’t a part of a marketing campaign. It’s just a flyer.” But as a small business, you must understand that everything you do, produce and even say is part of a marketing campaign. It is your campaign to build awareness for your brand, your products, and what sets you apart. And as a small business, the most important element to your success is consistency in your messaging. Without consistency, you will never be able to create a lasting impression in the marketplace.

So, this concept of producing a lot of one off marketing pieces like brochures, business cards, social media posts, or even varying the way you talk about your company creates confusion for your customers and potential customers. You may think that these items aren’t part of a marketing campaign because you aren’t creating them all at one time. But every way your customers or potential customers interact with your brand should be part of your overall marketing strategy for your company. And therefore, part of your ongoing marketing campaign.

You know that as a small business you don’t have the marketing dollars to spend like large multinational companies do. So, you don’t have as many opportunities to get your message out there. Therefore, it makes sense for you to be more consistent. But those large companies follow this practice too. How many of you have heard the line, “It’s the Real Thing”? Everyone right? And you all know that they are talking about Coca Cola. But did you know that the Coca-Cola company has used that line and the song it is a part of to market their brand for over 45 years? Of course, companies like Coco-Cola, Nike, and McDonald’s, can afford to change their marketing all the time. But they know that changing their message constantly is a waste of that money so they simply don’t do it.

But achieving this consistency, especially when you are doing marketing on your own, can seem very difficult. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some basic tips to make it easier.

  • Use the same message points over and over. In the post Don’t Hold Back Your Social Media you answered the question “What are you trying to say?” by drafting your Central Story and your Message Outline. You should be using these in everything you do. Be consistent so people begin to remember you message.
  • Resist the urge to get tired of your message. If you are starting to grow tired of your message. If you feel like you are saying and using it repeatedly. DON’T STOP! That means you are just beginning to make an impact. Because your customers and potential customers haven’t heard your message that much and they need to.
  • Repetition creates familiarity. In Fortune is in the Follow Through! Tina talked about the KLT (Know, Like, Trust) Factor. Well this applies to marketing as well. If your customers and potential customers hear and see your messaging repeatedly they begin to know it. They feel comfortable with it. They like it. And they begin to trust that it is true because it is familiar to them. Therefore, you should use it in everything you do.
  • Rinse & Repeat! It is so important I’m going to say it again. Consistency is key and repetition is an asset. Don’t veer off course, stay true to your message points, always.
  • Review what you already have before creating something new. Don’t get into creating a lot of one off marketing items. You waste time and money and can often confuse your customers and potential customers. Look at the materials you have already produced and see if they will fit your current needs. If you created them using your consistent messaging then most of the time you will be able to use them to meet your current needs.
  • Fight the urge to produce every great idea someone has. You want to reward people’s enthusiasm. You want to encourage them to participate in the company’s growth. These are things you can do without allowing them to take you off course with every “chicken” they see. Not sure what I’m talking about read Don’t Get Distracted By Chickens to learn how to ensure you don’t distracted from your plan.
  • Make sure everyone in the company knows the message. Talk to your employees and your partners. Make sure they know your company’s Central Story and message points. If they need practice help them practice with those messages and how they can use them in their daily roles.
  • Make sure everyone understands why consistency is important. Once you feel that everyone is comfortable with the message and how they can deliver it make sure they understand why consistency is important. Talk about this a lot. And guess what, be consistent in what you say to them. If people understand why they are doing something they will be more comfortable doing it.
  • Trust that it will work. Trusting that this will work can be hard. But you should give it time. You must build that KLT Factor with your audience. And that isn’t done overnight. So, take a deep breath and know you are in it for the long haul.

To sum it up, the key to making sure as a small business, that EVERYTHING you do is part of your overall marketing campaign is CONSISTENCY. Which also seems to be the theme of this post. That was intentional because by now you should know it’s important, be familiar or like that idea, and trust that it is true.

By: Amy Matthews, CEO, AMI LC