By Eric Gordon
Entrepreneurs have access to more marketing channels than ever before. Thanks to technology, small firms have access to global markets. Meanwhile, technology can also help you reach local clientele. Still, traditional offline tactics still have much to offer.
As your new venture takes shape, you will need to choose the marketing tactics that will best support your goals. Get started by making a plan and assessing the value to your business of the various online and offline tactics.
Set up a marketing plan according to your business
A marketing plan will guide you and your team as you attempt to connect your brand and its products and services with appropriate customers. Get started by reviewing your business and your target market. What do you do, who is it intended for? Let the answers guide, you. It’s pretty simple, if done right.
Generally speaking, online marketing tactics work well for online businesses. However, they can also benefit a traditional ‘brick-and-mortar’ operation. For the most part, businesses can benefit from a marketing plan that includes both online and offline channels. It really depends on the type of products and services you provide. If you’re developing an app, you’re mostly online. If you’re opening a clothing store, you can’t ignore offline.
Billions of people use the internet every day, literally, making it a perfect place for you to reach your target market. No borders, just the open market of digital economy. Be sure to consider every online marketing opportunity, especially the ones showcased here, as you make your plans. And do make detailed plans before you start anything. Search for yourself, learn about the basics of running a business in a digital setting, ask peers from startups for advice. The more you prepare, the less risk there will be.
Search Engine Optimization
Digital marketers use the science of search engine optimization (SEO) to rise above the noise and attract their fair share of qualified internet traffic. The process usually involves activities such as integrating keywords and phrases within high-quality website content, nurturing social signals and encouraging authoritative backlinks.
By using SEO, you can precisely match your brand with the people who have the problems that your business and products can solve. However, SEO is an ongoing process and requires time and effort before it begins delivering results.
You can accelerate the results you get from digital marketing by investing in paid advertising. Pay-per-click platforms such as those provided by Google, Bing and Yahoo allow you to configure advertising campaigns based on a particular set of keywords and demographics. Additionally, you can choose how much you want to pay for each ad.
Sometimes, PPC can become expensive, especially when you become determined to win a top position. While such ‘ego-based bidding’ can inflate your PPC expense, some keywords come with a high starting price. Your marketing budget should help you choose the PPC keywords that you can afford.
Although reaching people via email requires patience and skill, the practice continues to deliver results for many marketers and their firms. You can overcome challenges such as crowded inboxes and spam filters by using specialized management tools to optimize your campaigns.
After building your recipient list, you can segment your audience to supply custom messages that match the needs and behaviors of each group of people. Such targeting increases the likelihood of recipients opening your email and responding to its message.
Social Media and Ads
Social media offers many organic opportunities to engage audiences and convert sales. However, rather than using sites such as Facebook, Instagram to pitch sales, you should use the sites to engage users on a personal level. Such social interaction includes posting valuable content that both informs and entertains. Post engaging, original content. If you want it to reach a larger audience, pay to promote your post.
You can also leverage the advertising platforms provided by social networks to expand your reach or target particular demographics with custom messages. In the end, your goal on social media is to establish the authority and humanity of your brand. Doing this will refer a stream of qualified users to your website where they can get learn more and become a customer.
Online content can establish your role as an industry leader and earn the trust of your market. Additionally, when you present actionable information such as how-to articles, listicles and infographics, you grab the attention of your audience and inspire sharing, and sharing content promotes your brand.
You can also leverage other content marketing strategies such as guest blogging and celebrity endorsements to attract the attention you need to grow your audience. Although consumer-oriented businesses can succeed with content marketing, the online strategy is particularly effective for B2B companies. Offer a guest post to a blog relevant to your startup or brand, then offer that blog a post on your own website and social networks. Additionally, reach out to influencers – people with many online followers – to present your startup in their own posts.
In spite of the popularity of the digital world, you can still use some of the following traditional marketing channels to build your business.
Magazines and newspaper advertising still can contribute to your success. You can choose from publications oriented to the general public, particular professions and demographics to get the attention of the people who match the persona of your ideal customer.
In addition to periodicals, print marketing includes options such as banners and brochures that promote everything from special events to product specials. Although you can produce many of these materials on your own, you can choose a professional printer to expand your options and capabilities.
Television and Radio
Unlike many digital marketing channels, radio and television advertising gives you little control over who receives your marketing messages. Consequently, you pay the same price regardless of the size of any particular broadcast audience.
Nowadays, radio and television stations often offer online streaming as well as recorded content, making them a sort of hybrid solution that reaches an astounding number of people.
For the most part, a ‘cold call’ consists of an uninvited contact made via telephone to a business customer or consumer. During such a call, a sales or marketing representative introduces their brand and offers an introductory deal.
If you operate a small company, you can still enjoy the benefits of telemarketing by hiring the services of a third-party firm. Such organizations hire professional telemarketers and often deliver superior results for less than the cost of building an in-house cold-calling team.
Unconventional tactics such as the use of graffiti, sidewalk art and wall art fall under the category of guerrilla marketing. Using the tactic can get vital attention for a brand that has a limited amount of advertising money.
Such tactics might seem as though they have nothing to do with marketing and often cause a stir as people rush to photograph and share a guerrilla event. Regardless of whether you draw a brand-related picture on a street or post small stickers conspicuously around town, you can get a surprising amount of traction this way.
Find the right balance.
As you consider whether to use online or offline marketing tactics, you might discover that you can use some of each type. For example, you can use printed brochures to promote a website and social media advertisements to promote your local store.
Finding the right combination for your business probably will involve the creation of a marketing budget. From there, you can create a mix of strategies that will build awareness of your brand and generate sales. As time passes, you analyze your results to optimize your marketing plan to get maximum ROI.
Eric Gordon is an independent business development and marketing specialist for SMEs. He loves sharing his insights and experience to assist business owners in growing their revenues. You can find Eric on Twitter @ericdavidgordon.