“I don’t know where to begin with my marketing effort.”
“Marketing just costs too much money.”
Have you ever had any of these thoughts? If you have, you are not alone.I have heard these (and similar) statements from business owners more times than I can count. Marketing, as a word, can bring up scary thoughts and feelings, and I think the reason is because marketing, in its truest form, can lead down many paths and demands creativity.
With so many different marketing strategies and methods, how can you determine which method is right for you? Can you run marketing campaigns on a budget? Which marketing methods will render the greatest return for your investment?
I’m going to walk you through 6 of my favorite proven marketing methods and give you the tips you need to get started implementing them today!
Social media marketing
Social media marketing is, in many ways, an extension of lead generation marketing, but goes one step further.
Instead of only sending out promotions to customers, your customers are connecting with you socially, which means they want to know more about your business and those people in it. This is the perfect place for your business to show its personality.
While social media marketing is very effective and can render great results, I should caution you. Quality results will take time and effort. Don’t’ expect that you will start a business page and have 10,000 followers the next day.
You will have to intentionally build relationships with your customers through social media. Demographics are always shifting and you will have to stay on top of the trends. Additionally, social media marketing demands creative posts that don’t always ask your customers to give you money. However, if done right, social media marketing can be one of the greatest marketing tools for your organization in the long run.
- Creates and maintains relationships with your customers
- Simple to actively communicate promotions and news
- Allows you to interact with, and get feedback, from your customers
- Gives a “personality” to your business with which your customers can interact
- Unlikely to render immediate results (this is a marathon, not a sprint)
- Requires consistent attention and activity
- Needs social and interactive posts in addition to just running promotions
Email blasts: lead generation email marketing
Chances are you are probably subscribed to an email list receiving updates on specials, newsletters, or other valuable information from your favorite companies. Lead generation email marketing is great place to start new marketing efforts because it is simple to set up immediately.
Because this strategy is tailored to fit businesses with several contacts, the results can render a high volume of success.
Whether you run a small consumer business, provide a service, or own a restaurant, email marketing is amazing because it allows you to communicate with all of your customers at once with promotions and news.
Just remember, as it is in all marketing efforts, quality content is key. You must give the customer something worth reading and worth responding to.
- Great for businesses with 100+ customer contacts
- Most useful for businesses offering consumer goods and services with frequent repeat customers
- Communication on a mass scale
- Easy to setup and run promotions
- Difficult to customize messaging for individual customers
- Lower response rate because of volume of distribution
Physical mail marketing
It wasn’t long ago that physical mail marketing was looked down on by experts, but reports are now coming in that show a return of this time-tested method.
Why is that?
It’s because few businesses are using it anymore, which means that now is the time for you to start sending mail to your customers again.
The strategy is simple enough. Make something beautiful that catches your customers’ eyes without having to open an envelope, make sure it communicates a great promotion, product, or service, and send out this personalized piece of mail. Just make sure you run a trackable promotion so that you can test the results.
Physical mail marketing is a great alternative to lead generation email marketing at some cases. Getting personalized mail is less common in today’s digital world, and just receiving the mail communicates a more personalized appreciation for your customers. So, when you have a smaller contact lists, you might want to consider this marketing method.
One tip I love sharing with my clients when using physical mail marketing is to (when it is possible) personally write their addresses on the mail – don’t use a printed label. This simple action will catch the customers’ eyes even more and encourage them to read your special promotion.
- Fewer businesses use this method so you have more notoriety
- Great for businesses with fewer than 100 customer contacts
- Incredible noticeability when designed and addressed properly
- Postage payments and print costs are higher than email
- Requires more time than digital efforts
- More difficult to accurately track results.
One of the more common marketing strategies, content marketing is taking the world by storm. Why?
The simplest answer is because it allows marketing professionals and business owners to engage with their customers on multiple levels through several different channels.
Content marketing is a method of consistently distributing information that educates, informs, and/or entertains the consumers.
Content marketing can come in the form of blogs, video production, podcasts, or several other channels. The trick to this method is to have high quality content that your customers care to see, read, or hear. Your audience will scrutinize your work, so make sure that it is original, accurate, and relevant to them – otherwise, they will find someone else who will provide those things in their content.
If successful, content marketing can be one of the most successful marketing strategies you use.
- Allows you to consistently communicate new information to your customers
- Great for all businesses regardless of size
- Rewards audiences with content that educates, informs, and entertains
- Requires consistent activity (daily, weekly, etc.)
- Time consumption for creation of original, accurate, and relevant content
This phrase has been used for decades and it still reigns as true. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. This is the foundation on which referral marketing is built.
The concept is simple – make customers happy and they will talk about you.
However, that really isn’t enough for referral marketing because of this marketing law. Marketing is about what you do, not just what you say.
For referral marketing to work properly, you need 2 major components. First, you have to ask your customers to refer you. The reality is that they will only naturally talk about you if you are uniquely and significantly better at providing your product or service than your competitors. To include more customers in the conversation, simply request that your customers talk about you.
Second, to give them even more incentive to refer their peers to you, offer them something in return. Apartments are generally great at this by offering a certain amount off of rent for every referred client who signs a new lease.
Referral marketing allows you to take advantage of the relationships that your customers have with other people. However, take caution here. Because you are using their relationships to build your business, you need to always perform at the highest level possible because word of mouth works both ways.
If a referred customer has a bad experience, you could lose the original customer who referred you in the first place.
- Gains access to customers’ pre-existing relationships
- Only costs the reward set in place for each referral
- Word-of-Mouth is the greatest form of advertising
- No guarantee of customer referrals without incentive rewards
- A bad experience could lose new customer and the customer who gave the referral
Generally referred to as PPC, pay-per-click marketing belongs to the search engine marketing family.
PPC is exactly what it sounds. You set up an advertisement through search engines and social media that points back to your website or other content. The wonderful thing about PPC is that you are in full control of the daily budget that you use and you are only charged when people click on your ad.
Additionally, you can have even more control by identifying the demographics, industries, and location of customers that will see your ads first.
Let’s look at this example
If you own a lawn grooming service, you can collect keywords and phrases in your PPC campaigns that you know customers will be searching for when looking for a lawn grooming service.
Then, run those keywords in your Pay-per-click ad during the peak season when customer traffic is at its highest.
PPC is an amazing form of marketing to use throughout your busy times of year because you can capitalize on those products and services that people are most interested by including the keywords and phrases for those popular solutions.
However, while this seems great, I will give you a word of caution. PPC campaigns, if used improperly, can appear as pushy and illegitimate to your customers. If abused, your ads can cost a lot and be translated as attempting to “buy customers”.
Be sure to control the budget by defining the parameters of what customers and keywords you are targeting. This is not just a best practice for better customer relations. You’ll also get more qualified customers clicking on your PPC ads.
- Great budgetary control
- Very useful during peak seasons of business
- Adjustable content with real-time changes taking place within hours of changes
- Prime placement on search engines and social media equalizing small and big businesses
- Trackable results through management consoles
- Can be seen as pushy or illegitimate when setup improperly
- Higher potential for “unqualified” customers
- Less practical during “slow times” of business
You have a business, so start marketing
Whether you have “Marketing” in your title or not, you and everyone in your company performs marketing functions every time they interact with a customer. From promotional marketing strategies to methods that build and maintain relationships with your customers, you have an opportunity to expand your marketing efforts and build great success.
What’s your favorite marketing method?