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Marketing communications

Marketing is the most important activity for a new company just starting. Without marketing, no one will know the kind of products or services the company has to offer. Marketing means communicating to the customers about the product or service of the company. In order to the company becoming successful, both the product and the marketing need to be in good order.

Customer profiling

To succeed, a company needs to have a clear vision of their customers and the customers’ needs. When you know your customer, it is easier to think of the things they want.

There are many different types of customers and they may want different things. By profiling a few typical customers, you can ”see” what your future customer will be like, and think of things especially they will want.

Profiling a customer

To make a customer profile, you can use, for example, the following questions:

  • Name, age, family relations, place of residence/neighbourhood
  • Field of study/work
  • Hobbies
  • Clothing & style
  • Magazines, TV-shows, foods, favorite color, hairstyle, music, movies, idols, passions, dreams, interests, the circle of friends
  • Spending money

By answering these questions, you’ll get an idea of what your customers are like, how you will get in contact with them, and what they are interested in.

Practical operation

When you know your customer and your product is in order, it is time to start marketing it in order to promote sales. This may mean many different things, but advertising and communicating about the product/service is the first and usually the most important one of practical operations done in marketing.

Advertising may mean, for example:

  • Taking part in an event in which you sell or promote your products.
  • Creating contacts with potential buyers in different functions and by contacting them.
  • Using the internet and social media to your advantage to talk about your product/service.
  • Contacting the local newspaper or, for example, a popular blog that can write about your company.
  • Cooperating with operators whose products/services your product can complement.
  • Making a transporting contract with a restaurant if you run a courier service, for example.
  • Reflecting upon who might know when people move house and could need services, if, for example, you run a moving company/offer interior design services, and propose cooperation (real estate agents, for instance).

Apply a similar way of thinking to promote the products and services of your own company.

Sales pitch and elevator pitch

Presentation skills and interaction with people are important parts of marketing. When doing business, there will appear different kinds of situations to present your company, and it pays to plan and practise your presentations beforehand.

Personal sales situation with a customer

It is worthwhile to plan a short sales pitch that highlights the most important features of your product to be used in sales situations. You need to memorize the pitch and it has to be so tempting that it makes the customer want to buy/try out the product you are offering them.

A sales situation is often also noisy and the customer has only a short while to listen to your sales talk. Therefore a good pitch takes only about 15-30 seconds.

The most important facts to mention in a sales pitch:

  • A clear description of what the product or service is
  • The distinct advantage the product offers the customer
  • Pricing

Presenting company activity to collaborators

Possibilities for various collaborators or outside financing my arise with continuing the business after the JA company program or with the expansion of activities. There are different ways to obtain them but primarily it is important to be active, take part in events, and get to know other entrepreneurs and operators at least in your own area. Getting collaborative partners or outside funding can also occur through organized events that you may attend.

For these occasions, it is good to compose a sales pitch different from the company presentation you give to the customers. Investors or collaborators may not want to buy the actual product themselves but instead, they want to hear who buys your product, why will your company succeed, how it differs from the rest, and what your plans are for expanding the business. It is important to explain why it is precisely your company that the investor should invest in or the collaborator should start working together with.

Print marketing

Print marketing refers to the various printed and written communication done by companies.

Although a great deal of marketing happens online, various kinds of printed material are often needed. Printed materials include:

  • Business cards
  • Price lists on display at sales events
  • Brochures handed out either directly to possible customers during events
  • Instructions for use or product descriptions when selling
  • Posters or roll-ups for trade fairs, for example.

Printed matters

There are four general ways of making printed matters. Read the descriptions and decide which works best in your own JA company.

  1. Design and print the printed matters yourself
    You can design and print the printed matters yourself. An easy way of making, for example, a price list, a brochure, or business cards is to use the pre-existing Microsoft Office bases that can be edited using Word or Powerpoint programs.

    Write ’brochure/business card’ in the search engine, and you will find dozens of models. You can also design a brochure and other models by yourself from scratch.
  2. Order the material from a local printing house
    Find out about the local printing houses and their price lists. This enables you to see beforehand for instance the paper used in ads, or request an offer for exactly the kind of cards you want. Furthermore, a printing house will let you know what form they need you to deliver the material in. They may have specific requirements for the material to be printed, so always find out in advance of the form they need you to deliver the material in for them and make sure that you are using the correct programs.
  3. Use an online service
    There are services available online with which you can design and order various kinds of printed matters – Vistaprintand Easyprint to name a few. Usually, the execution is easy and the products are inexpensive. Bear in mind that if you use a pre-existing base or model, some other company may have a rather similar-looking brochure or business card.
  4. Order from an advertising agency
    Printed matters can also be ordered from an advertising agency that designs and completes the products for your company. This is usually the most expensive option, so remember to plan carefully how your company spends money. It may also be possible to use the services of another JA company for the execution. Before placing an order, always ask to know the final price of the order as well as the possible pricing of the printing work.

 

How can I easily create advertising materials and graphics for my company?

Canva is a free graphics service that functions via a website. On the site, there are numerous ready-to-use models for brochures, socal media images, and other graphics, making it one of the easiest ways to create impressive materials for your company. The Canva website: www.canva.com.

Social media

Nowadays it is advantageous for a company to be active on social media. However, standing out from the crowd presents a challenge because the amount of information online is massive.

Social media enables telling about company activities and sharing experiences. The varied social media services include, for example,  FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest, TicToc and LinkedIn.

Selecting channels, it pays to think of which are the channels the customer target group visits. Young people feel at home on different channels than older people do, so it is worthwhile to select the right channels and messages according to the target group.

It is no use for creating several social media accounts just for the sake of having them available. Concentrate on those that are the most important ones for your target group and be active on them.

Website and online store

A website is like a company business card. Build the site in a way that lets the customer who has not heard about your company before finding the information they need quickly and easily. On the homepage, it is useful to state what it is that the company does, where its products/services are sold, and where additional information can be found if needed.

On the site, it is also good to have additional information about the products, contact information (at least a phone number and an e-mail address) as well as the story of the JA company in question, and a short description of its activities so that the visitor knows where they have arrived.

Nowadays it is not enough to just set up an online store and adds the products, as it is usually more challenging to make it stand out and have people take notice. It is also good to figure out for example the costs and arrangements of mailing goods as well as to think of how to manage customer service of the online store. Customers today value easy and well-defined online store service.

Tools for creating a website

 

What does my site look like on mobile devices?
www.responsinator.com/  – type in your site address and see for yourself.

Which system was used to build a certain site?
builtwith.com/
 – See which system was used to build a certain site. If you come across an interesting site, you can go see which system was used to build it.

Is a certain domain already taken?
domain.fi – check if the address ending in .fi is available.
whois.net – check whether the address ending in .com/.net/.org is taken or available.

Personal domain

A personal internet address, i.e. domain means that a company reserves a certain www-address for their own use, like, for example, nuoriyrittajyys.fi or microsoft.com.

The domain enables the company internet pages to be available in the given address, and in addition to this, the owner can create e-mail addresses that end with the company address.

A company internet address (domain) also conveys a clear message to the customer that they are in the right place, and it gives a credible impression of the company activity.

How much is a domain?

The cost for a domain consist of two parts:

Domain registration fee

In Finland, the registration of domains ending in .fi is administered by Viestintävirasto, the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA), which charges money for domains either directly from whoever reserves it or from a middleman, i.e. a service provider. Foreign domains are to be paid to the middleman handling the registration.
The registration fee of a domain is approximately 10-25€/year.

Domain hosting services
Hosting services mean that you rent server capacity from a company specialized in managing domains. so you practically buy the right to use an online computer on which you can build your own website and get an e-mail address to use at the same time.

The service provider usually also takes care of making backup files of the information stored as well as saving the e-mails. The maintenance for small websites and a few e-mails costs about 10-30€/year (Attn! when using a finished system meant for creating a website, the cost of the system will be added into the said cost).

Prices vary according to the features needed. Generally speaking, when you start needing advanced features, it is pretty certain you already know about different domains and service providers and are capable of selecting the best option for your company.

E-mail

E-mail is an important communication channel. The JA company may use the school e-mail, your own personal e-mail, or you can create a new e-mail for your company, like, for example, [email protected] or [email protected]

Different kinds of domains

Companies tend to use an e-mail that combines [email protected]

  • An e-mail equipped with the company domain also tells the receiver in an easy way the website address of the company.
  • A private domain gives a more reliable impression of the company than a free address, that is often associated with a personal address, would. In addition to this, it is more pleasant to give out a company address whenever it is about company business.
  • Choosing free e-mail addresses by your own name, for example, [email protected]

A JA company may not necessarily need their own domain, but getting one is relatively inexpensive, so do give it a thought as well.

Photos

When executing marketing material, images are often needed, either photographs of your own products or just overall good photos, for example for brochures, website, or posters. A permission to use a photo is always needed from the photographer and the possible people in the photo. One simply cannot just take pictures from other people’s sites without a permission.

Image banks

Photographs can be obtained from image banks, where pictures can be searched by the desired search terms. There are both chargeable and free of charge image banks available.

There is usually more selection and the quality of the photographs is better in the chargeable image banks. The price of the photos varies from one euro to twenty euros per photo.

There are some free online image banks whose photos you can use freely. On these sites, the pictures are usually licensed with the  Creative Commons Zero -license, which means that the photos can be used freely in all legal purposes both in private and in commercial use. With the license, the photos may even be modified and altered, in ways like adding texts into them or changing the colors in the photos. However, it is not always permitted to use the photos in a company logo, though.

Videos

Using videos in marketing and communication is an effective and a growing means of marketing. Video marketing requires some planning and prior preparations, but, on the other hand, a good enough video can be made using a mobile phone and, for example, the Windows video editing software or the Apple iMovie software. The biggest tasks in making a video are planning, filming, and editing.

Nowadays it is common to see technically very simple social media videos shot with a cell phone being used in marketing. These include, for instance, short video clips on Snapchat or on Instagram, or live-streaming on various channels. These are good, low-barrier ways of producing video content while reaching the target group online.

Companies use social media for their benefit effectively as a sales channel, too, bringing forth their products or services, or their personal life as an entrepreneur. So think about the possibility of your company starting to produce light video content with the aid of Instagram stories, for example.

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