Knowing what works and what doesn’t when it comes to marketing your business is essential.
Too many companies just jump on the bandwagon without really having a clear idea about how they can get the most from their marketing budget.
I thought it would be worth us looking at some of the most popular marketing methods.
We need to ask ourselves whether these options are the right options for our businesses and whether we’re missing out on others.
Attending Professional Meetings
When you set up a business bank account, you’ll be hit with a barrage of advice. Part of this advice will usually involve joining a local business group where people in business can meet up and network.
This could be a professional group, like Rotary Club or Chamber of Commerce. It could also be a civic association. The point of these groups is to network and learn about your business, and generate leads that might end in sales.
For some businesses, joining a network will be less valuable than others. For example, if you are a business that sells to other businesses, getting to the centre of a local network is a priority.
You want to get your name out and let people know that you’re a real, trustworthy person. If you’re setting up a business, it’s also probably a good place to try to develop your first leads.
Unless you like eating roast beef every weekend just for fun, joining a network may be less valuable for established businesses.
This is because they usually have a network in place. Plus, if they sell directly to customers then precious marketing resources are better spent elsewhere.
Pay For Membership In Places That Attract Your Target Customers
In order to make sure that your business appears legitimate to any potential customers, it’s a good idea if you can get published on a target site.
Perhaps there are players in the industry who list all of their trusted affiliates on their websites. If you’ve just set up an accountancy firm, for example, it might be a good idea to pay the host website to add your name to their list of trusted people.
This way you get an added layer of legitimacy, and you also advertise in a place that your customers are likely to be.
Make sure that when the link is added to the host website that your contact details are up to date and that the link to your website really works.
Blogging isn’t just about what you ate for breakfast or what clothes you should wear to a party. It’s a serious marketing tool with serious potential.
If you’re new to an industry, you want to do all you can to demonstrate your expertise in a particular field. If you do it right and write about some interesting or new developments, you can generate a lot of professional traffic to your site.
You can also write articles and have them disseminated to the places online where your target audience is most likely to be. Newswire services will take your article, and for a fee, insert it on selected partner websites that attract your customer base.
And just a final note on blogging, it also helps to improve your visibility online. Google’s search algorithms love original, bespoke content.
They take it into account when figuring out where on the page your website should appear. Don’t forget, if you don’t have time to blog yourself, there are plenty of professionals you can hire to write blogs on your behalf.
Become A Public Speaker
To be successful in the world – no matter what you’re doing – you have to create a sort of tribe. By that, I mean a loyal following of people who will support you in your enterprise. We often think about this when we refer to fans of a particular band or member of a religion, but we rarely generalise it to business.
But that is essentially what you have to do in the business world: create a loyal following or tribe. One way to do this is the old-fashioned way. Get up behind the pulpit and proclaim to the world story. When people see the whole person in action, it develops a sense of trust.
They understand that this really is something in which you have genuine expertise. Your whole person is oriented around your product and committed to its success. In turn, you’re committed to their satisfaction.
If you can, take advantage of any public speaking events that are relevant to your business. You could volunteer your time at industry conferences, conventions, schools, libraries and universities. Think about who your target audience is and where they will be.
Don’t forget, there is a huge demand for education material online. Online video is becoming an increasingly important channel for marketing. If you have permission, upload your public speaking onto YouTube to increase your audience and your presence.
If what you have produced is helpful and relevant, you’ll attract many thousands of views. Just don’t forget to give it a catchy title!
Produce An Explainer Video
Given the importance of online marketing, it is no surprise that more and more companies are turning to video to get their message out. But within a video is a large variation.
Most adverts are designed to generate desire in the viewer to get them to buy the product. But as we all become less materialistic and more philosophical in our outlook, what consumers respond to is changing.
Now they want to know how they benefit in a practical way from a service. Therefore, advertising is slowly changing.
Having a professionally created, animated video production to show what your business does is going global. And it’s not hard to see why.
For one, animated explainer videos look professional and fun.
Two, they reduce the costs involved in understanding what a particular company’s product actually is. (There’s a reason they’re used so extensively in the software industry).
Three, they’re yet another way of getting high-quality marketing content out there on the internet.
And finally, they’re a great way of increasing conversions.
When a customer can understand exactly how you will meet their needs, they’ll be far more willing to hand over money for the service.
If what you sell isn’t immediately obvious, or difficult to explain, then a cute explainer video can break down barriers and drive sales.
Launch A Contest
Competitions can be very effective at generating interest in your business, but you’ve got to be a little inventive. Don’t just launch a competition on Facebook and Twitter that says enter your email address to enter the competition. Make it interesting and make it local.
Perhaps you run a maths software company and you want to expand your geekiness into the world. Release a really tricky math problem onto social media. Tricky math problems will get people discussing the solution and argue with each other about how to solve the problem.
Also, think about what prize you want to offer. Often the type of people who want to solve a tricky math problem want a particular type of prize at the end of it.
Just remember, the whole objective is to create a buzz around your company in your target audience.
Hammer Home Your Unique Selling Point
For startups, the idea is practically all you have. It’s an idea that could potentially revolutionise the way we live our lives. But for most businesses, what we do differently is often not all that obvious.
Having a clear and concise value proposition, however, is essential. It lets people know exactly why they should choose you over one of your competitors.
Again, this is where an explainer video could come in handy. But there are other ways you can get the message out.
You could appeal to local newspapers and radios to cover your unique product if you have a homegrown business.
Also, try to get third parties to link back to your website once you’ve had coverage or endorsement.
Be More Trump
I’m not suggesting for a moment that you start hurling insults or voice radical political opinions. But I am suggesting you take a leaf out of Donald Trump’s marketing book. Over and over again, Trump publicises his own successes.
He reports the results of the polls in the states where he is winning to generate the impression that he is unstoppable. This, in itself, creates more momentum as people become confident that he really will win.
In other words, he compounds his success though his previous success. You can do the same for your business. If your business has been successful, say, has won “startup of the year,” publicise it. Put it on all your email footers and broadcast it at the top of your website.
Let the public know that you’re a serious contender in the industry. This way you’re more likely to engender trust and procure business. You don’t have to be arrogant. You just have to be bold and clear.