You’ve probably heard the adage, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” A metaphor describing the power of innovation, the phrase is misleading. Without good marketing efforts, innovation doesn’t lead to more sales. This is especially true in today’s society, where we are bombarded with advertising. Fortunately, there are tried and true, highly effective marketing mediums. These are our top six favorites.
Classic Internet Advertising
Who have you Googled today? Internet advertising gives you access to a huge audience of more than two billion global users. You have the luxury of being able to focus this audience by specific demographic characteristics. It’s super easy to track your metrics and can also be much cheaper than other forms of advertising. Here are the most popular forms:
- Banners and Buttons
- Search Engine and Directory Listings
Relationship selling is focused on developing long term relationship with customers, based on their preferences and individual needs. Remember, it costs you five times as much to develop new customers as it does to keep your old ones. People like to buy from who they know and trust. In order to sustain this relationship, you must have a quality, consistent product. Customers often won’t search the market if they know exactly what they will get from their current provider. Furthermore, to avoid losing any current customers, quickly resolve any complaints without hassle. Even if you lose a little money now by giving a refund or allowing a skipped payment, you make more in the long term by retaining that customer. Don’t let your pride chase away that person, even if they are in the wrong.
Social Networking Sites
Promoting and engaging your social networks is a critical part of marketing for many companies these days. Adding a staff member or two to develop and manage your social media accounts, with collaboration from your marketing team, is an extremely cheap way to advertise, with huge potential gains thanks to the vast memberships of these sites. If you go this route, however, you must make sure that whoever is in charge interacts with followers regularly, and only ever speaks positively and respectfully, no matter the circumstance. Such a direct connection with customers can be a two-edged sword, as daily updates can become daily PR headaches if you have the wrong person at the helm.
Direct Response Mail
Direct response continues to be a great way to build new customers. Companies, such as Star Direct Mail, specialize in attention-grabbing brochures, flyers, and other promotions. Some of these companies also create individual marketing campaigns for you, as well as research your customer base demographics. Furthermore, direct mail marketing is a fairly cost-effective ways to promote your business, and usually companies will offer rush jobs if needed.
Content marketing trades something of value, usually knowledge, for the possibility of gaining a new customer. Articles, blogs, videos, and podcasts are examples. The goal is to get people to spend 15 or 20 minutes with your promotional material, as opposed to five seconds reading an ad. Also there may be more types of content marketing than you realize. Content marketing is not simply writing up a review of your product. Oftentimes it actually involves offering high-quality information more broadly about a topic related to your business, and only casually discussing your brand or actual product. The selling point here is actually the ability of quality information to drive traffic to your website.
Does ambushing customers when they least expect it work? Yes, if it is done well. IBM used guerrilla advertising in 2001 by painting “People love Linux” logos all over the sidewalks in Chicago and San Francisco. You also see this sometimes in commercials that don’t appear to have any relevance to the product being advertised. As a way to extend this marketing past the event itself, be sure to professionally record it and promote it on the internet.
Public Relations Marketing
Public relations marketing uses the power of third party credibility to spread a promotional message. It is seen most often in the form of press releases, news articles and online buzz. The success of Harry Potter and PSY’s Gangham Style can be largely attributed to this medium. The catch is that your content must be so good that it becomes contagious, spreading from one friend to another. The goal is to influence peoples feelings or opinion about what you are selling.
From our cell phones to our email, companies are constantly searching for the best ways to get exposure for their product. We look for innovative ways to do it better, faster and cheaper. Popular marketing mediums are popular for a reason–they work. Don’t be afraid to give them a whirl.
About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica is a full-time freelance writer. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. For wonderful direct mail advertising, be sure to check out Star Direct Mail, who also researches your target audience and designs marketing campaigns.