Maximizing your marketing time and money is more important than ever. The right balance of: In-person + In-print + Internet = Income!
Used to be, most small- and mid-sized businesses had only a handful of marketing options. A yellow pages ad here, a radio spot there, a brochure and a business card. Up the ante a bit and buy some space in a magazine or put up a booth at an industry trade show.
But now – the marketing options are overwhelming! Many agree that print advertising doesn’t work like it used to, television is often too expensive and then there’s the internet! Where to begin??
More than ever, marketing requires a strategy that allows marketing dollars – and time – to be spent most effectively. The goal is to find the right mix of activities that fits the budget, and time availability, of the business owner or representative; in other words, “Getting the most bang for your buck.”
Business owners, especially those in the Business-to-Business (B2B) arena, have to get in front of people plus have a strong internet presence. Based on my own experiences as a small business owner and consultant, the actions listed below yield results. The infographic illustrates a blend of both in-person and online activities and shows how they interconnect to lead to the ultimate goal: a customer.
Networking: attend different group events to see if it’s a “fit” but make personal connections with members as well. A one-time visit rarely pays off – plan on investing 1-3 years minimum, per group, to build a strong network of potential referral sources and strategic alliances (closely aligned businesses that support one another with referrals).
Referrals come from business customers, and colleagues and contacts made via networking groups.
Speaking: instead of getting in front of one person, get in front of 20 or 50. Broadcast your expertise.
Website Content: called Content Marketing, the words and visuals on your company website brand your business to visitors; incorporating your selected keywords provides Search Engine Optimization (SEO) opportunities – so you get found online!
Blogging: a well-written, well-structured blog provides relevant content and engages your target audience, increases your “expert” status and accelerates trust in your business. Posting consistently (fresh content) is manna for the search engines.
Guest Blogging for publications that are read by your target audience allows your content to gain increased exposure thus extending your “reach.” Plus, readers may sign up to receive your blog directly.
Social Media: promoting blog posts, newsworthy items and business updates on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google + increases your business’ exposure. In particular, LinkedIn provides numerous types of opportunities for online networking and to “get found” by those in search of your products or services. Be sure to optimize your LinkedIn profile and add connections that you feel would offermutual referral benefits. Spend time “armchair networking” and reap the benefits.
Email Promotion: building an email list is a “must-do” business activity. Your list should include existing and past clients, colleagues, friends and family and, of course, subscribers to your blog! Having content – a new blog or article — to email to those on your list is a great way to stay in touch. Being “top of mind” at least once a week is an indispensible part of your marketing strategy. Of course, ask for permission from anyone that has not been added to your email list via your site’s opt-in software.
There are many other methods of marketing communication – from making a phone call, sending a personal email or handwritten note to publishing an article or hosting a webcast. Budget permitting, a well-designed collateral piece, targeted ad campaign or event sponsorship can all be effective.
But your customer-winning combination could be a budget-conscious and time-aware mix of good old-fashioned shoe leather and new-fangled internet marketing.