Reach and frequency of messaging is key to successful communication. You need to reach the right number of people often enough with your message in order to generate sufficient leads to deliver your job growth forecast.
Of course, in most cases to achieve your objective you will need more that just one person to actually receive your message. Therefore, you need to reach a minimum number of people with your message to deliver the results you are looking for. How many? Well, when you account for the number who will a) ignore your message, b) receive it and reject it, and c) will receive it and actually act on it, the number of people your message must reach is likely higher than you might think.
Here is something that may surprise you. The data I have read suggests you need to tell somebody something a minimum of 9-times (and up to 20-times) before they will remember it. Conceptually, it is the same as having to do something for 2X-days before it becomes a personal habit.
If you think about it, the need for frequency shouldn’t be surprising. The average person is exposed to xx messages each and every day. The probability of them actually focusing specifically on your message on any given day is disappointingly small. In sports terms, you need a lot of shots on goal to score.
Reach and frequency are two important considerations because they are the levers where you will need to make trade-offs in order to effectively communicate your message with a limited promotional budget. Simply speaking, reach and frequency costs money.
Here are some things I have learned along the way that will help you ensure the highest return on your promotional investment. Most of this is experientially informed rather than quantitatively supported.
- Avoid running “one off” advertisements. Very few (close to zero) people will actually see and take the time to respond to an advertisement that you run just once. It doesn’t matter that the sales person for an industry trade journal called you with a 50% off deal just before publication. Half off on placing an advertisement one time is a “suckers buy”. Invest your money in something that can deliver frequency, not just reach.
- Revisit and tighten the definition of your target audience. Communicating to fewer people with a higher frequency will increase your odds of success. But, of course, you still need to ensure the revised number of people is high enough to deliver your lead objective.
- Make certain your “call to action” is obvious and compelling. Always good advice, but with a limited budget you need to be absolutely certain your conversion percentage is higher than normal. Benchmark success models so you know what really works, and reapply the best of the best approaches. Consider A/B testing of the better options to determine which works best. And, monitor your conversion performance closely. If it starts slipping be prepared to switch quickly so you don’t lose money.
- Leverage more than one communication channel. Not all people get their information the same way. To increase your odds of getting “eyes on your message”, use a mix of approaches.
- Harness your community ambassadors. Every community has people who are passionate about living and working there. Create a venue to share information and enroll them in passing it along to their personal and/or professional network. Be sure to give them the message you want shared. If you want them to tweet it, then give them a Twitter friendly version of the message. If you want them to email it, provide message copy in a format that can be cut and pasted into a personal email.
- Measure, Measure, Measure. You can’t afford to waste money investing in tactics that are not productive. It is important you think through success measures in advance and use them to evaluate performance. If a tactic is not working either fix it or stop doing it. If you can’t afford to adequately resource a tactic don’t initiate it, it can only fail. Don’t move forward with a program that requires a miracle to be effective. You need to be brutally objective. If you haven’t already, then use the free HubSpot marketing grader [http://marketing.grader.com] tool to evaluate how well your website is performing from a technical perspective. If your website does not score at least an 80, then you should focus the majority of your attention on fixing it. Having a website that can be found and is technically fine tuned is probably the best use of a limited budget.
Branding your community on a limited budget is very challenging, but certainly not impossible. There is an axiom that suggests branding is a trade-off between time and money. If you have plenty of money to invest, branding can be accomplished in a shorter time frame; if you don’t have much money, expect it to take longer. The irony is that with a small budget your building skills need to be even sharper because you have a lower tolerance for failure.
Hopefully the tips I have provided will help you. Please explore the rest of the blog. There are over 300 posts and I am certain at least a few will be useful to you. What additional tips on how to stretch your budget would you offer based on your experience?
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