Archive for the ‘Traditional Marketing for Small Business’ Category
Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Budgets aside, there is such a thing as not doing enough to promote your business. You could always be doing more. If you find yourself wondering why you aren’t getting more results for your efforts, there are a few reasons why that might be the case. For instance,
- Maybe you’re spending too much time doing all the wrong things. Perhaps you should redirect your efforts into other channels.
- Or you could be not doing enough of all the right things. Maybe you should write to your blog more often, or spend a little more time on social media.
- It could be that you aren’t talking to the right people. Are the people you talking to not interested in your product or services? Are they the right market for what you have to offer?
- Perhaps your message is slightly off kilter. You could be mis-communicating something, or not communicating powerfully enough.
Sometimes all it takes a little tweak here and there to get your marketing message on track. Other times, you might have to overhaul the entire campaign.
Whether you are seeking to promote your business through traditional marketing channels or online marketing channels, it wouldn’t hurt to evaluate your practices to see where you can make improvements. That often takes a third eye – someone not associated with your business who can see things more objectively. Why not ask a trained small business consultant to look at your business and see where you can make the right adjustments?
Sunday, May 20th, 2012
Marketing has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Over those years the format and approach has changed, and to a certain extent, has become quite scientific. Marketing professionals will poor over statistics and demographics in an attempt to deliver the best marketing plan possible. The arrival of the Internet has opened a lot of new possibilities, however, some of those old marketing tactics still work, even on the Internet. Compare these non-Internet marketing tactics to what is now available on the Internet.
- Paid Advertising – newspapers, billboards, television, radio. Paid advertising has been around for a long time. The online equivalent is pay-per-click advertising, banners, and video. However, there are some businesses that are finding that a combination of traditional offline marketing and online marketing still works. People do still read newspapers, they still look at billboards, and if your URL is easy to follow, they’ll look it up. Pay-per-click takes newspaper advertising one step further – you only pay if a person clicks through whereas in a newspaper, you pay one charge no matter how many views that ad gets.
- Social Marketing – traditional bricks and mortar business had a tough time of it when it came to being good community citizens. If the community took a dislike to a business, then it was doomed. To prevent this, many business owners become involved in local social activities. Sponsoring sporting events, schools or charities made good sense – you were out there shaking hands and making friends with the world. Online, social media marketing has a similar approach. You still make friends, shake hands (like, follow), and socialize to gain a good reputation.
- Newsletters – newsletters and print media in the form of catalogs or brochures/flyers were once very popular. What many businesses don’t realize is that they are still popular. E-mail marketing is still one of the most successful forms of marketing, and where paper based marketing material once considered junk mail, e-mail marketing is not so badly tarnished.
- Coupons/special discounts – many families live for coupons, they even trade them (and come to blows over them). Coupons still work online, in fact, their delivery is easier, more targeted, and can be better controlled online. Special discounts can fly around social media outlets like Twitter in an instant delivering a lot of traffic (digital or foot) and plenty of sales.
Those four traditional marketing tactics have worked well in the offline world for a long time. The online world has simply taken them, fine tuned them a little, then profited from them. Ironically, the cost of online marketing is probably a fraction now of what traditional offline marketing used to be.
Friday, February 10th, 2012
As a marketing consultant, there are times when I wonder if Internet has some magical hypnotic effect on small business owners. For these online businesses, everything has to be online except perhaps for the delivery of physical products. When it comes to marketing, many of the good old-fashioned strategies still work. Traditional marketing has a proven track record for non-Internet-based businesses, however, they don’t own these strategies and the rules that apply to those small businesses also apply to online businesses.
Where the online business may differ is in its reach. Online businesses may focus on local, state, national or international customers. As your reach broadens, the old-fashioned strategies may become less effective – let’s face it, having a paper-based catalog drop around the world could be expensive. For a local Internet business, it can still be very effective and shouldn’t be ignored.
If you are doing business internationally, traditional marketing strategies are limited. Some of those strategies can be modernized – a good example is the use of coupons. Traditionally, these were paper-based, however, the trend now is to use digital coupons, and they can be used internationally to good effect.
For smaller businesses that concentrate on smaller geographical areas, marketing such as billboards, paper-based newspapers (and magazines), and sponsorship of local community groups such as sporting and cultural events can deliver good results. What is important to consider in these situations is how you can attract potential customers to your website(s). Your second consideration is attraction – what sort of bait are you going to use to encourage people to turn on their computers and to look up your website. Find the right combination of contact and attraction, and you’ll be well on your way to building a strong business.
Sunday, December 18th, 2011
Just when you thought you had seen and heard it all, Amazon takes on a brave move to take business away from small business owners. This has caused small business owners to complain to the Retail Industry Leaders Association about the unfair competition.
Amazon has released a free app for iphone and smart phone users so that consumers can then go into any brick and mortar business, find something they are interested in, scan the bar code and see if Amazon has it at a lower cost.
This is the reason that small business owners are so mad. This is not really comparison shopping, it is more of a search for Amazon by users of the app. If the shopper finds what they are looking for, instead of buying it in the store, they will go home and order it online, get a discount for using the app and avoid paying sales tax.
And, to top it off, the new app comes out just before Christmas when all shoppers are trying to get in last minute purchases as cheaply as possible. Many business owners see it as an unfair advantage to Amazon. It could hurt an already shaky economy for small businesses.
The price checker app will check multiple items simply by scanning the bar code, taking a picture or speaking out loud what the product is. Of course, the product has to be an exact match. You can’t compare a Sony Playstation to a Nintendo. But, it is still easy to see why business owners are hopping mad. If a lot of shoppers use this new price checker, all they are going to do is visit several stores, compare the prices in the store to what Amazon is offering, and then a potential sale is lost.
It’s not that business owners don’t want Amazon to have any customers, it’s the fact that it is an unfair advantage. Brick and mortar businesses have to have prices a little higher because of sales tax. Amazon customers do not have to pay sales tax.
All in all, Amazon is not on the friendly list where small business owners are concerned. But, hopefully, most shoppers will want it now no matter the cost and still buy it while they have their hands on a product instead of having to wait for it to come in the mail. Especially here at Christmas when the mail service will be way behind and a chance of a present might not arrive in time.
Monday, October 31st, 2011
Google has announced that it will soon add 100 new channels to its video website YouTube. These channels are being produced by some top-tier entertainers including Jay-Z, Ashton Kutcher, Shaquille O’Neal, and CSI creator Antony Zuiker.
There is really nothing surprising here. Google is on track to take over the world – or at least to unseat Howard Stern as the “king of all media.”
OK, all kidding aside, this looks like an opportunity for advertisers. These channels will need sponsors and who do you think they are going to go after? You, of course.
This is no time for cynicism. Many of these shows will be perfect places to advertise your business. For instance, if you sell medical products directly to consumers – particularly sports athletes – then Shaquille O’Neal’s channel could prove to be a profitable advertising medium. I hope you can see where I’m going with this.
YouTube channels have the potential to reach a larger audience than most TV and cable programs considering that it’s a global delivery system. Advertising will likely cost less per viewer than traditional TV advertising. So it looks like a win-win for advertisers and channel producers. I think the future of TV advertising could very well go by way of radio advertising in the late 20th century. It will develop into a small niche of its own.
Thursday, August 18th, 2011
Regular readers of the Small Business Mavericks Internet Marketing Blog know that I am a big and vocal proponent of online marketing. Blogs, articles, e-zines, social media … I love it all.
But you’ll never hear me tell you that you should abandon every form of traditional marketing. That just isn’t the case.
Business cards. Yep, you need them. When you go to that off line networking event, you need something physical to hand out to people so that they’ll remember who you are.
TV, radio, brochures. Yes, they’re useful. They all have their place.
Even outdoor advertising has its place in your marketing arsenal. But what about that old mainstay known as the Yellow Pages? Is it necessary?
Today, 80%-90% of consumers begin their search for new products and services online. Most people will look for a phone number and address online. If they don’t find the particular business they are looking for, then they’ll call up the one they can find. That pretty much kills the Yellow Pages, doesn’t it?
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars for Internet marketing. Get you a basic website, make sure your physical address and phone number are on it, claim your business in Google Places and Bing and Yahoo! Local, then do some modest Internet marketing. But do it in conjunction with traditional marketing tactics that still work.
Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
If you look at the top 20 keywords that Google makes money on with its AdWords service, you’ll find that 4 out of the top 5 are all about money. Here are the top 5 keywords on which Google is earning its gold:
Education, technology, and computers also have multiple places within the top 20. I can understand technology and computers, but education? I think education is in the top 20 right now because the economy is down, and when the economy takes a hit people typically go back to school for updating their skills and training for new professions. That’s why you’ll see education and training in Google’s top 20 income earners.
Money. Like sex, it sells. And that’s why I think it’s Google’s top earning keyword category. When money talks, people Google.
So what can you learn about this for your online marketing knowledge? Not that you should target those keywords in some way to attract new eyeballs to your content. Rather, understand the human motivation behind these keyword placements. Insurance companies are willing to pay top dollar for ad placements because they realize that they have a product that most people deem a necessity. Life and medical insurance sell, and everyone needs them.
With mortgage and loan salvation being a hot topic right now for a lot of people, it’s easy to see why these are hot keywords at the moment.
If you understand the motivation behind what makes something popular, then you can duplicate it for your own marketing plan. Maybe not perfectly. Some things just don’t translate well. For instance, how do you turn a necessity for insurance products into a marketing plan for shaving cream?
Nevertheless, understanding what motivates consumers, buyers, and advertisers will help you create better marketing collateral for your business – online and off line.
Friday, July 15th, 2011
Some people call it “integrative marketing.” I think that’s a good phrase, but regardless of what you call it, small businesses struggling in a down economy should spend a little time thinking about how they market themselves. Cutting marketing out of your budget altogether shouldn’t be an option, but you have to pay attention to where your dollars are going.
Online marketing has traditionally been less expensive than offline marketing, and in many ways it is. But if it doesn’t produce any results, it could be more expensive.
That’s why you should look carefully at where every marketing dollar is going and one way to do that is to sync up your online and offline marketing efforts. What does that mean? It means that your message across all marketing channels should be consistent. You might target different segments of your market through each channel, but your message ought to be same.
For instance, if you sell yellow widgets at discount prices, then try to keep the focus of your online and offline marketing collateral on selling the benefits of your proposition. Don’t focus on yellow widgets in one medium and discount prices on another. Rather, focus on the best benefits in every medium through which you advertise.
Marketing is basically the same in the 21st century, with a little bit of a twist. Consumers are tired of being interrupted. They want to feel like they have more control over what they see. So pull them in, don’t push.
Saturday, July 9th, 2011
If you’ve ever wanted to start your own holiday, Chick-Fil-A can teach you how. The fast food restaurant inspired hundreds of thousands of people to dress up like a cow and get a free chicken sandwich. That’s pretty impressive.
When it comes to marketing – traditional or internet – it’s OK to get wacky.
Wacky sells. It inspires. It builds buzz, and that’s what you want in your marketing plan.
Starting your own brand holiday is a great way to build buzz for your product or service. Hallmark has created several holidays just so they can sell more greeting cards. So what kind of holiday could you create to sell more of your product? And how can you tie that in to your local area or get your customers to get involved? Giving away free or discounted products is one way, but it’s not the only way.
Here are some holiday ideas for different types of small businesses:
- Save A Sheep Day – Sell clothing? Have your customers show up at your store for a party wearing only polyester, or any clothing not made of cotton, and let them shop for free or at a discount.
- Landfill Appreciation Day – For grocery stores, have your customers show up with their own non-plastic shopping bags. You know those little jobbers they’ve started selling now made of cloth material that you can use over and over again? Customers who show up without one can get one for free.
- Nutjob Sunday – If you own an automotive shop and you are normally closed on Sundays, open the doors one Sunday for a couple of hours and offer free tune ups or tire rotations during that time.
- Midnight Pillow Talk – For local linen stores, have a midnight sale on Saturday night. Give away free pillows with purchases of $50 or more.
I hope you see the vast potential in this type of marketing. With the right approach, you can probably get some free media exposure. All you have to do is think a little creatively. Create your own holiday. It’s an awesome marketing technique.