What is the Best Way to Market My Business?
As part of my job, I speak to a lot of small to medium sized business owners on a daily basis and I am often astounded by their attitudes towards marketing. For most business owners, marketing is simply advertising in Yellow Pages or local newspapers. Yes, it may have worked over 10 years ago, but now we are entering the ‘techy world’ where there is increased use of Tablets, Smart Phones, Desktop Computers and Laptops. The world of information is just a click away… And if you - the business owner, especially the small business owner - do not keep up with this new technology revolution, you will be wiped out like the dinosaurs.
I am not saying that you need to be a ‘techno geek’ or know everything there is to know about digital marketing. Simply being open to change your attitude towards modern forms of marketing, will help you to compete in this fierce market. We are entering into an amazing time where many small to medium sized businesses have the ability to shine and stand out from their fellow competitors.
James Caan from Dragon Den points this out in his book (Start Your Business in 7 Days), he says that marketing is as important as the product or service you are selling. However, some business owners are so obsessed with getting their service and product right that they neglect the most vital part – marketing! Customers won’t come knocking on your door if they don’t know you or trust you.
So, what would be the best way right now for you to market your business? Well first of all, businesses can save a lot of money by just simply NOT advertising in the Yellow Pages or local papers. Most traditional marketing tools, which include yellow papers, local papers and printed directories, still cost a lot of money. And lets face it, the readership of these forms of media is rapidly decreasing. You only need to look at the size of the Yellow Pages today compared to three years ago to know that is a fact. Your money would be better spent investing into a good online marketing campaign where the possibilities are endless.
Here are 4 top marketing tips to help you on your way
1. Throw those old forms of marketing in to the bin!
Get rid of the old fashioned way of thinking. You need to know what works today, not what worked for your parents or grandparents. Even the smallest business can advertise itself to the millions online for less than the cost of a one-off trade journal advert.
2. Content marketing
You may or may not be familiar with this but it can be very effective for your business. Briefly, this is how Content marketing works:
You build and market a website and fill it with free information that has real value to your potential prospects, whilst offering them the opportunity to purchase goods or services which are linked to the information that you give away.
For instance, people will read this blog and share it with their friends. Then, some of those people will see the quality of information and contact the company. A particular offer might catch their eye and make them take some form of action. For example, after reading this post you may feel you want to take us up on the offer of a free marketing audit, where we will provide an audit of you entire marketing strategy for free. This is content marketing.
3. Email marketing
It’s cost effective and one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. All business, including very niche businesses, would benefit immensely from email marketing. If you have built your contact lists over the years, including your existing and past customers, get permission from them to keep them updated on your business. You can send them monthly newsletters with interesting industry information. You may also like to send them special offers from time to time. Encourage repeat business by offering ‘freebies’, such as free delivery or 10% off their next purchase. Make your offers time sensitive to encourage people to take prompt action when they receive your email.
4. Take your internet marketing seriously
Most businesses now days have a website, but when I ask some people why they have a website, the answer is quite often - because everyone has one.
These businesses are blissfully unaware that they could be receiving high quality enquiries, leads, phone calls and sales from interested prospects. If only they had a professionally designed website that has been search engine optimised by a proven SEO expert. When a website is professionally optimised, your business will be out there amongst all the big names, rather than hiding in the corner, hoping for the best.
Something else you need to be aware of – the cowboys! There are lots of good, professional digital marketing companies out there, however, be aware there are some not so good ones too. Do your homework, check out a few companies before making your decision.
Most importantly stay open to new ideas when it comes to marketing your business. You may not like all of them, you may not use all of them - but at the very least you will be aware of what is available to you.
photo credit: ~~≈≡D via photopin cc