Marketing Focus – Understanding your marketing options
There are 5 main marketing elements which can be used to promote yourself. Businesses should be using a combination of techniques to make the most of the power of each.
- This is used to:
- Create awareness of your company
- Persuade people to buy from you by promoting products and services
- Reinforce your existence by consistently repeating key messages
- The key points to advertising are:
- It is paid for and can be costly
- You choose where to appear and what message is promoted
- What can go wrong?
- For a small company it is important to get a return on investment from advertising therefore it should not be for brand awareness only. All advertising should have a strong call to action so people are motivated to do something as a result.
- It is hard to monitor what results advertising are generating. You need to put things in place to improve this such as codes, special offers, coupons and dedicated email addresses to be able to check what media is working.
Short-term promotional offers such as buy one get one free, special offers etc. This can be used to boost sales in quiet periods, clear stock or push new products or services.
- This is soft sell promotion which creates a positive impression of your company and brand amongst your “publics” or the local community.
- It’s good because it is a lower cost method of promoting your company than advertising, however it is more difficult to control your message as you aren’t paying for it.
- Examples of PR are writing press releases and articles for the press, supporting charities, running community events and spreading the word of your successes to a wider audience
- “The advertising process by which a company communicates directly with a customer or prospect in order to stimulate an action; usually by mail, telephone, couponed advertisement or leaflet.” The key is the action!
- Direct marketing is smart marketing which is trying to elicit a response from your target market, be it filling in a form, registering for a competition or buying a product as part of a special offer.
- Its key elements are:
- Targeting – correctly identifying your target market and then finding a way to reach them through buying databases, advertising in targeted publications, or piggy-backing appropriate communication methods such as email newsletters.
- Control & Testing – This is a highly measurable medium as there is a clear call to action. This can enable testing of copy, artwork and offer with control groups to improve responses and you should be monitoring your ROI on each campaign.
- Continuity – Don’t forget about people once they have contacted you or become a client, direct marketing is perfect for communicating with your database and encouraging further purchases.
- Direct Marketing is commonly used via:
- Direct advertising
- Direct Mail is not as well developed here and can be expensive, but it is a good targeted way to reach people
- All marketing for small businesses should be direct, as it should be targeted and have a strong call to action to generate results
- Using a sales person to go direct to a potential customer and target their message dependent on their requirements
- This is very effective and works well for small businesses if the business owner is good at selling
- Beware of hard selling, this can put some clients off
- These are the options open to you as a small business and the best way is to use a combination of techniques with a clear objective in mind. The more methods you use, the more powerful each method becomes as they all support each other.
- Take time to plan and allocate a certain budget to the task, sporadic, panicked promotion rarely works and it’s hard to find the money when times are hard. If you can allocate a small monthly amount and be consistent then this will work a lot better in the long run
Good luck with getting business through proactive marketing and public relations! We offer a free brainstorming session for any company looking for ideas and inspiration on how they can effectively market their business. Please let us know if you’d like to take advantage of this offer.