Posted by Stanley Malyszka, Marketing Manager, fi360, Inc. on June 25, 2015
Where should I spend my time and money? That’s the million dollar marketing question. The quick answer to this question is Golden Rule Number 1, “Know thy customer” and Golden Rule Number 3, “Quality is better than quantity.” You should spend your time and money on marketing that will provide the greatest return on your investment (ROI). However, you may be just beginning your marketing efforts or may have never tracked previous efforts. So, you may not know which marketing channels will be best. This means a lot of the marketing you do to begin will be trial and error until you can get the metrics you need to make an informed decision. But, if you “Know thy customer,” you should have a good idea of where your customers can be reached which should help form the initial direction of your marketing.
The second part of the equation is to understand what marketing channels exist and the benefits of each. I will call these marketing vehicles, The Need to Knows of Marketing. These are some of the most important, most efficient, and most cost-effective marketing channels. In each subsequent post in this series I will break out each one of the Need to Knows in detail and provide tips on the best ways to utilize each. For now, let’s begin with just a brief overview of each.
Social Media Marketing
Tweet this. Like that. Share this. Post that. We’ve all heard the phrase, “If you’re not on social media, then you need to be.” But is this really true? Yes! You do need to be on social media but probably not in the way you think. Social media is a great way (and free, sans paid ads) to connect with your customers and prospective customers on a consistent basis. But, you do not need to be on every single social media platform and tweeting every five seconds to have success on social media. Remember Golden Rule 3? Social media is about focused, targeted messaging and quality is always better than quantity.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Wonder how certain companies get to the top of a search on Google or Bing? That’s SEO. They’ve optimized their sites and brand to rank as the most relevant option for that specific search term in Google or Bing’s eyes. The algorithms are constantly being tweaked, so only the search engines know for sure what will work and what won’t, but there are basics you should know and follow without having to spend big bucks on an SEO consultant.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to market is through SEM. What’s SEM you ask? Well, when you enter a search on Google or Bing, the result that usually is at the top or on the right side with the word “Ad” next to it is SEM. Companies pay search engines to have their company page pop in results for specific keywords.
Remarketing or Retargeting
Remarketing, also known as Retargeting, is an extremely easy and cost-effective way to nurture leads once they’ve hit your site. Have you ever gone to a site, say Amazon, then leave and go to say, ESPN, and an ad pops up for the Amazon product you were just viewing? That’s remarketing.
Content marketing is the hottest type of marketing right now and for a good reason. It’s lower-cost compared to traditional marketing and generates leads who already know something about you and you know something about them. Content Marketing involves you offering free “content” in exchange for a potential customer’s information. You’ve probably gone to a website where they’ve offered to give you a copy of a book, for example, that would normally cost $20, but they’re giving it to you for free just for filling out a form with your name and email address. There you go. That’s content marketing. Once a prospect fills out that form, you know what they are interested in and they know that you are an authority on the subject.
This one’s pretty straightforward and probably an activity you already do. There’s always ways to improve, however, and we will cover best practices for increasing response rates, avoiding spam filter triggers, and adhering to CAN-SPAM.
Direct Mail Marketing
NO!!! It’s not dead!!! There’s a reason why you still get 100 different credit card offers in the mail each day. It’s because it’s still effective and has a great return on investment, especially with the advent of Every Door Direct by the USPS. If you follow Golden Rules 1 and 2, then you’ve got a real winner here.
You’re best marketing tool is your current customers. They choose to pay you, which means they must like what you have to offer. So why not incent them to talk about your business for you? A prospective customer is going to believe their word over your word every day of the week.
Grass Roots Marketing/Networking
Ahh, the oldest form of marketing. Actually, I don't know that for sure but there’s nothing better than talking with your customers and prospects face to face. Get out there. Find out where your prospective customers are (Golden Rule 1) and try to engage them on a personal level. They’re way more likely to remember a face and a voice vs. an online ad or email.
The more you understand these marketing channels, the further along you’ll be to marketing and growing your business. The best part is that none of these activities will cost you a fortune or thousands of hours to do.
So be sure to keep any eye out for the next installment in this series where we will focus on Social Media Marketing.