“The Best Marketing Doesn’t Feel Like Marketing.”
Here’s a strong statement that I make without hesitation: If you don’t market your business, you won’t have a business.
You may think that you’re the exception to the rule, but I promise you, you’re not. In today’s blog, we will look at thirteen ways that exist to market your business, and I’ll give you my advice on them. Some are great. Some? Not so much.
Before we look at these thirteen marketing options, let’s begin with two of my foundational principles about marketing. First, marketing is an investment -it is not an expense. If you do not understand this principle, I cannot help you. You can stop reading now. Second, the content of your marketing must focus on the one receiving the information, not the one sending it. Just because that statement is simple does not mean that it is not profound.
But content is a topic for another post. Today, let’s look at thirteen modern methods of marketing and how, or if, they can help you.
1. In-Person Marketing: In-person, or face-to-face, marketing has been around since the caveman era. Whether you realize it or not, when you own a business you are marketing in person every single day. When you boil it all down to the basics it is vital to understand that people choose to do business with those they know, like, and trust. As a businessperson, you should commit that to memory: Know, Like, and Trust. Everything you do and say should enhance those three aspects. One thing I have found effective is to call clients on their birthdays. Complex? Quite the contrary. This tactic is both simple and effective, and it proves your determination to bring a personal touch to your business with them.
2. Business Cards: Anyone running a successful business today knows the importance of business cards. What significant elements should be included? Keep it simple: Your name, what you do, and what’s distinctive about you and your business. Your marketing message should always be about the receiver, not the sender. If your card looks like that of everyone else in your field, then your card is a waste. Make sure yours stands out, again, with the specifics of what you do.
3. Print Ads: The measure for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of a print ad is cost-per-thousand. If you’re considering newspaper or magazine ad placement, know the circulation and calculate your cost per thousand. Be aware of the changing demographics in print media. Remember when Readers’ Digest was king? Not anymore. I strongly recommend that if you’re using print ads, always include the price of the thing or product you are selling. That’s key.
4. Direct Mail: This is not as easy as it sounds. There are many facets to it, such as size, color, content, the reliability of the mailing list, and cost. Direct mail requires much study and organization. Here is an article from Forbes discussing direct mail and how it is still an important marketing trend for business today.
5. TV and Radio: This can be one of the most expensive marketing methods. These mediums can be very effective, but they also require a good bit of data about your target audience’s listening or watching habits. Again, beware of changing demographics, as with print.
6. Yellow Pages: Yes, they are still around. Cost will be a big factor, and the cardinal rule for Yellow Page ads is “WIIFM?” What’s In It For Me? By the way, I’m not a fan of Yellow Pages anymore, because social media has effectively replaced this ad method.
7. Billboards: One word: No.
8. Giveaways: I’m a big fan of giveaways. Giving items away for free can be a constant reminder of you and your service long after most other forms of marketing have been forgotten. Have your giveaways mass produced at the lowest price. Effective giveaways are calendars, key chains, pens and engraved items. Check out this article from Forbes on the effectiveness of giveaways.
9. Web Site: Every business in this age needs a Your site doesn’t have to be overly complicated or expensive. People don’t usually choose a business solely on their website, though they may eliminate a business for having a very poor one or none at all. Make sure you achieve Search Engine Optimization by using keywords and phrases. Do some research on that for your industry. Don’t forget to also include geographic identifiers. If you are not capable of doing this, hire someone who is; the cost will be very worthwhile.
10. Social Media: We are talking primarily about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the growing presence of LinkedIn. Some small business owners thought social media would be the magic pill that trumps all other forms of marketing. That has proven not to be true. Social media marketing takes as much planning and professionalism as traditional marketing forms. Keeping in mind the principle that marketing is an investment rather than an expense, I highly recommend that you look into hiring someone to manage your social media marketing for you. An article on Entrepreneur.com describes in detail what to look for when seeking to hire a marketing manager.
11. Email Marketing: This is a huge undertaking if done correctly. It is interruptive, much like the telemarketing phone call at suppertime. If you are interrupting, you better have something so unusual, so catchy and so unique that your message will be read.
12. Banner Ads on Private Web Sites: Again, one word: Don’t. No, better:
13. Pay-Per-Click: This form of digital advertising is far superior to the one listed above. Google usually is thought of in this regard, but it is not the only one. This can be highly effective for small businesses and is worth the effort to research. It is part art and part science. “PPC” ads relate to content as well as location. Maximize both. You set a price that you are willing to pay for clicks. It takes experimentation, but you can refine both the art and the science of your PPC marketing.
To be effective, your marketing must be dynamic, disruptive, emotional, unique, and allow your audience to know, like and trust you. And remember that the cost to acquire a new client or customer exponentially exceeds the cost of keeping the one you already have.