It’s Time To Think Differently About Marketing Your Business
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Remember the days when advertising was simple? There used to be a select number of ways for people to be able to find your business outside of referrals. The main advertising methods were: Radio, Billboards, Television, Direct Mail and Phone Books. The greatest part about these methods of advertising in the early years were that they had limited capacity and reach due to technology not being as advanced. There were only a select number of stations to listen to or watch. Everyone listened to the same shows or radio spots. Let’s quickly analyze what’s been going on with these types of advertising in the past 5 years:
Radio – This type of medium relies upon the frequency of hearing your message. On top of the hundreds of channels you have the ability to select during your morning commute already, thanks to technology, more and more individuals are using their smart phones to create their only playlists or listen to podcasts in their vehicles. In fact, the amount of people listening to terrestrial radio is declining (down 2% from last year) and people are opting for commercial-free radio Companies like Sirius Satellite radio have contracts with auto companies to include a service for their first year of owning the vehicle. Sirius Radio’s marketing strategy is to give consumers the product just to the point where they can’t live without it and can’t picture going back to terrestrial radio. This gains them marketshare but even further fragments the marketplace with an additional 200+ channels to listen and potentially advertise on. But even on terrestrial and satellite radio, it’s almost impossible to figure out what channel to advertise on, at what time, to reach the right demographic.
Television – This would be the same answer as radio except for a few exceptions. The best thing about television is that it still has an enormous draw. Radio doesn’t have “must see/listen to shows” to attract it’s viewership. Millions of people still want to see what’s happening on the latest episode of “The Walking Dead”, “Modern Family” or “The Blacklist.” The biggest drawback for television advertising are the popular shows are the most expensive to advertise on. Only 18% of all TV ads generate a positive ROI. Not to mention the use of DVR by every digital cable company have essentially eliminated the watching of commercials. 90% of people who have the capacity to skip TV ads, do. Quite frankly in 2015, the largest reason why television advertising are starting to decline are the rising cost of cable service and the ease of eliminating cable from your home completely and relying on services such as Hulu, HBOGO and network websites themselves.
Billboards – Rinse. Lather. Repeat. This methodology still holds true as a decent way to advertise your business but the cost can outway the advantages. The impressions and branding you reach by having your customers drive down the highway seeing your name two or three times a day can be great exposure. The drawbacks are that they have very low exposure time and the cost for billboard advertising has increased dramatically and isn’t used often in the budget for small-medium size businesses.
Direct Mail – Remember the days when you were a kid and you got your first magazine or letter in the mail? By the time you graduate college and receive your first student loan payment, mortgage payment or electric bill, the “coolness” of mail starts to deteriorate. Now as an adult, you almost never open up the ValPak or Coupon magazines you receive in the mail. Direct Mail has been coined the “original spam” mail, except you have to physically throw it out instead of clicking a button. It is almost never used by small to medium size businesses due to the cost and ROI. A DECENT return is 2-4%.
Phone Books – Since the early 1900’s, phone books dominated as the premiere way to connect ready to buy consumers and the respective companies servicing that area. As the internet and technology has evolved, websites such has Google, Yahoo and Bing have taken the thrown as the dominant way to reach buyers and sellers by sheer volume of traffic and queries. Telco companies have desperately tried to keep up through re-energizing the printed directories as well as creating Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) to bridge the gap between traditional phone directory usage and the online world.
They say a year on in the internet business is like a dog year…equivalent to seven years in a regular person’s life. In other words. It’s evolving faster and faster.
– Vinton Cerf (technology guru)
So in 2015 how has technology changed how a business owner should market themselves? In just a matter of a few years, we’ve changed how we look for companies. More and more people have mobile and tablet devices near their fingertips and high speed internet is the cultural norm. As you can see from the image above that smart phone and tablet device has taken over as the premiere way of searching, relaying information and commenting on what is going on in the world. The ease of access to smart devices have totally changed how consumers search everyday.
How does a small to medium size business capture that marketplace? The answer truly is connecting traditional marketing principles with new media tools, technology and strategies. to develop the best marketing strategy. The goal of today’s marketer and business owner is to create an experience for the end-user. When a company develops a positive experience it creates a “stickiness” factor that can be relayed and shared among the masses. In essence, you’re trying to create an emotional reaction where they have want to keep coming back to you because of their great experience. Let’s look at some cost-effective ways outside of Pay Per Click (PPC) to gain market share, increase your end-user experience and re-energize your customer base:
Website Marketing. A website is the front line of defense for anything you do as a company. It is your first impression. Smart business owners invest into their first impression because you can never get that back. At the very least, your website should be designed to have customers easily find out about your business, your products and services, and how to contact you on every page. If they can’t find your website, then you probably should hire a company that can optimize it for major search engines.
Text Marketing. 91% of smartphone owners have their phone within an arms reach 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The average response time to an email is 90 minutes. The average response time to a text message is 90 SECONDS. Mobile coupons get ten times the redemption rate of traditional coupons. Companies like RedBox have generated hundreds of millions in cashflow solely based on their text-marketing campaigns. Develop a subscriber base of people opting into your text campaign and keep them coming back for more. Offer exclusive deals for your subscriber base and generate the “stickiness” factor.
People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”
– Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
Social Media Presence. Social media is not designed to generate much new business for you. Business owners should know the power of social media is to connect with those who know and love your business (and why not have them share it with others in the process). It’s an opportunity to listen to what people love about you or what their concerns have been through recent transactions. People will say online what they are afraid to say in person. Building and being aware of your reputation online is one of the best things an entrepreneur should know.
Professional Video Marketing. It is crucial for business owners to start creating and incorporating videos as part of their marketing strategy. Video content can reach your audience and gain an emotional reaction faster than any other medium. Video Content will be the dominant marketing piece through social media in the near future. By 2017 74% of all traffic on the internet will be in video form.
Reputation Management. The ease of writing a positive review on websites such as Yelp, Google, Yahoo, Dexknows.com or Yellowpages.com give the consumers the ability to hear other people’s great experiences with your company. The same can be said about negative reviews. 88% of consumers have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business (vs. 85% in 2013). 78% of online Americans aged 18-64 agree that online reviews help them decide whether or not to purchase a product or service. According to Google, business listings that had at least 3+ star reviews took 41 out of 47 clicks. Whenever I’ve met with companies talking about their online reputation, I’ve always said “You’re going to manage your reviews, or your reviews are going manage you.”
Digital Display/Behavioral Re-Targeting/Contextual Re-Targeting. Ever do a search for something and then a couple days later you start seeing ads for that search all over the internet following you around like a bad habit? Digital Display advertising can actually increase search traffic and conversions for individuals who participate in PPC or SEO. It is also the perfect “billboard” advertising for your business. You can target via keyword, demographic, location and more. The most important feature with digital display is you are marketing to people who have already searched for your product/service before or have been to your website before. The wasted impressions for uninterested consumers is limited due to the fact that they reached out for that query in the first place.
Phone Books. As the decline of directories will continue into the future, directory companies are taking a stand and reinventing their product and lowering their entry point. The highest disposable income consumers range between 40-65 and have yet to fully grasp the internet like millennials. Learn your key-target demographic. Who makes/spends the money and how do I go after THEM? The goal is to always connect ready to buy consumers with local businesses. By placing effective ads in local directories you have the capability to gain high disposable income clients at a much lower cost per lead (CPL) than you ever could in past years and certainly online. Internet Yellow Pages have become best friends with search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing and continue to rank high among website traffic and results page. This isn’t the sexiest of mediums, but by finding the best CPL is crucial in any business and Phone Books still provide that opportunity. As advertisers leave printed directories, it opens the door for your business to capture more of that market share.
The best concept of new technology marketing is that they can be integrated better than traditional marketing ever could be. 92% of consumers feel they have confidence in the information they read online than any other source. Be the company that once a query is searched on major search engines, you’re repeatedly found, chosen, talked about shared by potential customers. Generate the best customer experience and “stickiness” so customers want to write reviews about your business. Make yourself the obvious choice by dominating the internet landscape and finding the best CPL for your business.