The Unsexy Side of Marketing
These days, everyone wants to build an app. Everyone is publishing their own e-book. Everyone is pinning their hearts out on Pinterest. They all want to be first on the latest, greatest marketing bandwagon with the hottest buzz.
And while these are all valid and effective tactics, that’s no reason to abandon the proven standbys. Sometimes the less glamorous road is the most efficient and effective pathway to reach and connect with your particular target audience.
Let’s take a look at a few of these tried-and-true methods and how you can put them to work to help you reach your business growth goals:
A company blog is an excellent way to engage your customers on a personal level and to provide some very relevant information to your target audience. Your target audience will be much more likely to find you if you are writing about topics that interest them. Just be sure to follow these pointers:
- Blog about topics that interest your target audience. You could provide how-to articles, inspirational round-ups, updates of your company, a contest or event you are hosting, etc.
- Blog with consistency. Each post can and should be varied, but they should always reflect the values of the company.
- The blog should be personal and authentic. If it achieves both of these, then the general public and (most importantly) customers will trust your company.
- Always link within the content of each post to one other post on your site. But only do this if it fits within the context of the article. Remember, you always have the "Related Articles" section at the end in which you can point readers to more. A link within your content, however, weighs a bit heavier as far as SEO is concerned.
- Do not forget an RSS feed and newsletter sign-up form. Make these easy to find and any forms short with as little information required as possible.
Another way to use blogging is to write for other blogs that are related to your company but that are not competitors. For instance, a landscaping business could submit guest posts to "green" blogs, home and garden blogs, other landscaping blogs that are not affiliated with another landscaping company, and any other blog that has readers within your target audience description. You will just want to make sure that blogs allow you to place a keyword phrase embedded with your link either in the content of the article or in the "About the Author" section. Not only does guest blogging build up your company as an expert in your field, but it also increases your page rank on search engines.
Facebook and Twitter
Facebook and Twitter aren't the new kids on the block they used to be, but fact is, most of your customers probably still use them day in and day out.
Keep posting on these networks regularly, but make sure that updates are written on an individual basis. Avoiding mass updates will give the perception that your company is relatable and values individuals.
Your updates can be your latest blog post, a countdown to a company event, discounts or coupons, a drawing or contest for a drawing. Do not update about how you are feeling today, rants on the latest political news, your opinion of competitors, or anything else that could annoy or distract your customers from their relationship with your company. Before posting an update, ask yourself if this is something that you as a customer would want to see from a company you love.
Add yourself to as many applicable online directories as possible. Online directories increase your popularity on search engines. This means that it is more likely for you to be discovered through general search entries.
Google Maps is not generally considered a directory, but it may be the most important place to get your company listed. If you have a “headquarters,” post its location on Google Maps. Mark it as headquarters. Then, if there are satellite sites, include those as well.
Direct mail marketing
Direct mail does not necessarily mean via the postal service. Direct mail marketing can also mean email. These emails should be as personal as possible, so consider using customers' names in the subject and throughout the content of the email.
For postal mailers, include a flyer or use postcards. Both print mail and emails can contain a mixture of new developments in the company, things to be looking forward to, promotions and coupons, and any other sort of relational news. Try to avoid including too many statistical reports or numbers. These turn people off, and they will promptly throw away your letter or delete your email.
Keep direct mailers short and simple. Here are a few points to consider when planning for a direct mail marketing campaign:
- Postcards are still incredibly effective so long as they’re clean, unique, and have memorable graphics, along with the other important pieces of information below.
- Include just a snatch of information, enough to make them curious.
- Tell them what you want them to do with a strong, actionable call to action (i.e. buttons that say Purchase, phrases such as "Visit our website or scan our QR code to find out more").
- Provide irresistible incentives, such as limited time offers for free items with a purchase, a discount, or a chance to win a drawing for a prize.
- Include a URL, Twitter name, QR code, purchase button, or another source for them to find out more information.
- Be sure that you cater to your recipients. Consider age, race, ethnicity, gender, sex, and religious orientation.
Both online and off, the yellow pages is a valuable marketing avenue. If your business relies on both local and online customers, purchase ad space in both your local yellow pages as well as for the online yellow pages. This will not only improve your chances of being found when prospects complete an online search but also when they are looking through the local phone book for businesses who offer your services or products. Just be sure that your ad is large enough to be seen next to other marketing giants in your industry. Also, be sure to advertise yourself as unique. What niche services do you offer that your competitors do not? Are you family owned and operated? Do you give individualized attention to each customer? Creating a unique angle on your ad will make you stand out to your target audience.
Remember that while adapting to new ideas and technologies is essential, it doesn’t necessarily render the old methods invalid. Your job is to find the right combination to reach and resonate with your target market so that you can build your own community of fans and followers. No matter how they come into your circle, their loyalty and their advocacy of your brand is a result that will stand the test of time.