Customers are the bread and butter of your business. Marketing is what brings them in. It stands to reason that as a business owner, you need to learn how to market effectively.
The question is, “What is effective marketing?”
It is marketing that gets you results. This can be any type of marketing that works for you, like networking or newspaper ads. If it brings you customers, it is effective. But how do you know what's effective?
Your first instinct may be to market online. After all, when people need a service, over 90% of them search for it online. It is important for you to have an online presence for your business, but, don't discount traditional forms of marketing. They are still effective, and can be even more valuable than an online presence.
Let's take a look at how to effectively market your business both online and traditionally. We'll give you suggestions on what you should do – and what you shouldn't waste your time on.
There are numerous options to market your business online. You can use:
- Content Marketing
- Social Media
- Video Marketing
These are just some of the more popular options. How do you know which one to choose?
Don't be tempted to jump in and try everything. After all, you may not need most of these options. Think about your business. Now think about your brand. What story does it tell? How do your customers view you? How do you want your customers to view you?
Use the answers to those questions to cherry pick online marketing options. Pick options that are realistically going to work for you. You're investing your time and money, so make sure it's in a method that is going to bring you customers.
Let's say you run a pet-sitting business. Local SEO may be perfect for your business, because people in your area can find you through a search online. Blogging may also be an option. You can share your knowledge of pets and prove yourself an expert in that field. You may even use social media to connect with pet lovers in your area. These last two options can give your business a personal touch, and help build your brand and customer base at the same time.
In order to keep from being overwhelmed, start with no more than three types of online marketing. Put them into effect, then monitor them over the course of a few weeks or months to see how well each one is doing. Then, cut out whichever option isn't working for you.
Don't invest in something that is not working. Remember, you want to effectively market. In order to do that, you need to rely on what works. When you find what works, stick with it.
One thing you want to stay away from is mass emailing. These emails are impersonal and often ignored, or marked as spam. With mass emails, you're playing a numbers game. It's highly unlikely you will find customers like this. Remember, more does not always equal better.
Offline and Traditional Marketing
Offline marketing is any type of marketing that isn't online. This include traditional types of marketing, such as:
- Newspaper ads
- Radio commercials
- Television commercials
- Postcard mailings
- Branded Vehicle Signs
- Business Cards
These methods are still highly effective, although they can be a bit expensive. But think about the return on investment, versus the initial up front cost.
Unlike online marketing, most of these methods are targeted to a specific area. If your business is based on local prospects, this is probably the most cost effective way to market. Of course, some of these methods may be financially out of your reach. Television ads are a bit expensive. So are radio commercials. But they are options. The rest of the methods mentioned can be quite affordable. There are also non-traditional offline hybrid methods, epitomized by esigns.com magnetic signs, which essentially turn your vehicle into a mobile advertisement.
To find an effective way to market traditionally, you would follow the same principles as online marketing. Try two or three methods. Flyers are a great way to advertise. Networking is virtually free of charge, and puts you directly in front of people who actually need your services. Postcard mailings can also be effective. So can coupons. Branded vehicle signs are a great way to advertise. You're telling people about your business wherever you travel.
Once you have your methods, stick with them. Don't be afraid to try something new though. Owning a business is a learning experience, especially if you're a new business owner. You may have read a lot of advice on starting a business that you plan to implicate, but nothing is as effective as you being out in the trenches learning for yourself. If you think you can bring in new customers through a billboard, try it for a month and see. If it doesn't work, then you know not to use that method anymore.
It may take you some time to find out what marketing methods are effective, but stick with it. Don't give up. Once you find out what works, you'll have a steady stream of customers. Then you can take the next steps in growing and expanding your business.