Create a Marketing Plan For Your Transportation Project
Look at any successful communications plan, and you’re likely to see a combination of strong media relations and a marketing communications or advertising plan. A marketing plan allows you to control both the content and the placement of the message. This may include a mix of online and offline, print and broadcast, social media and traditional media.
Marketing doesn’t mean you’re trying to sell something. It means you are creating awareness to your stakeholders and the general public on the value and importance of your transportation construction project. What you want is their buy-in—you want to create an awareness of your project, and generate interest and support. You will need to sort through your options, and determine which mediums work best for your audience and your project. Traditional print advertising and local news coverage are still very powerful influences, as are billboards, radio and TV ads. But you’ll want to pair them with an informative website and online marketing strategy. Banner ads—which you can link to your website—are a fast and focused way of keeping constituents up-to-date. Eblasts (scheduled e-mails to your contact list) offer another opportunity to engage and inform.
Why You Need a Web Presence
You might wonder why you need a website. Well, the reasons are many. Nowadays, Google is the first stop many people make when they want to learn more about something. You want to make sure they can find you. And when they do, you want to make sure they’re getting accurate, up-to-date information about your project—so you may want to post status reports, photos or even a live video feed from your work site. You also want to give people an opportunity to sign up for more information—they can enter their email address to get newsletters, Eblasts, etc. Finally, you want to give them a way to contact you directly with questions. In many ways, a website is like a modern-day business card—it includes all your important info, and people will share it with others who might be interested in your work.
Smart Social Media
Social media—Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram—can add a powerful punch to your marketing program and help you target demographics that are less responsive to traditional marketing in a nonthreatening way. But the payoff is directly proportionate to how much time and thought you put into it. Social media works when you create and sustain a relationship with your constituents. That requires frequent updates and value-added content that actually means something to your audience. It isn’t about just getting a profile and a photo online it’s about giving insight into your brand and projects, and illustrating how you can make a positive, personal impact for your followers/fans/friends. Before you dive in, consider whether you have the time and resources to make the most of social media. Poorly executed social media marketing can actually create a negative impact on your marketing efforts.
There is no point investing in marketing communications if they don’t work, and the only way to find out is to track them. Your public affairs partner should come prepared with a way to report on the performance of your marketing plan—maybe it’s a daily snapshot, or a monthly recap, a quarterly review or all three. But you need to be kept informed. You should pay attention to how often e-mails are opened and links are clicked, how many impressions your banner ads are getting, how many commuters pass your billboards each day, and how many new e-mail addresses have been captured via your website. All of this information will show you how successful your marketing impact has been, and where there is room for improvement.
A marketing plan is a powerful component of many communications plans. With so many marketing channels to choose from, you will want to direct your marketing budget where you stand the strongest chance of reaching your target audiences. Regardless of the type of marketing you focus on, you will want a website to serve as a “virtual business card” for your project. Seek out an experienced public affairs partner like Seventh Point Transportation PR, who is fluent in online and offline marketing and knows how to accurately track performance—so you can be certain your marketing investment is paying off.