You want to improve your business. You want to do what’s best for your customers. You also need to make a profit in order to survive. Your first step is to identify the issues that are hurting you and your small business. Then you should look at your resources. What is out there for your small business to promote your product and/or service? You need to research both offline and online marketing resources. Every marketing campaign should be different from any other marketing campaign. You need to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Issue #1 – Your marketing campaign is going “nowhere.”
This issue is very familiar to most marketing professionals. There are at least one or two issues you need to address if you feel the customers are not seeing you and not purchasing your product/service. The first issue is that you may be concentrating too much on an online marketing campaign. The second issue is making your business known as you battle against your competitors for a shrinking customer base. Social Media and other online marketing avenues are good for getting the word out, but you should also consider doing some traditional marketing as well. Physical items such as pens, magnets and business cards are good takeaways that you can use to promote your business offline as you go about your work. A good balance between online and offline marketing should help you resolve this issue.
Issue #2 – You’re not sure if your product and/or service is being promoted correctly.
Solving this issue won’t be easy. Building customer relationships is critical and necessary to understand how your product and/or service are being used. Online marketing tools such as SalesForce and ExactTarget monitor sales and collect other data to help you see how your product and/or service is doing in the marketplace. With offline marketing, you can see the physical sales of your product and/or service and your customers’ physical reaction to your product and/or service. Using both online and offline marketing strategies to bring your customers in to your store and/or online business could help resolve this issue.
Issue #3-You’re running out of time to have your product and/or service out in the marketplace.
In today’s marketplace timing is everything. You need your product and/or service in front of your target audience now. Online marketing tools can help you time your product’s release to create the maximum impact. It is good, however, to have offline marketing tools in place to solidify the message you want to convey to your target audience. For instance: A new line of jeans can be marketed online to attract customers but having visual ads in your local newspaper about where to get them at your local store will enhance your marketing strategy. Combining both online social media ads to draw customers in timely way to your store and having print ads to enforce and direct customers to your store is a good way of to get your business name out there and gain customers.
Issue #4-You need low cost options because your business is tied up in capital.
Cost is definitely a big consideration especially for a small business that is just starting up and needs its capital to invest in products and other expenses. Online marketing tools can alleviate those costs by letting you explore their free products before committing to premium products. Social Media sites like Facebook also offer free options for businesses to promote their products/services online. Traditional or offline marketing tools often are expensive to use, but are more professional than online marketing tools in that you can target a specific audience with visual and auditory messages. Special concerts are an example of when you probably should do a combination of both online and offline marketing. Yes, printed materials can be expensive. Yes, radio ads can also be expensive. Yet, when you are focusing on a particular audience you make the audience feel special when you make the effort to do both online and offline marketing. By doing this, you will see good results and solidify your customer base.
Issue #5-You need to know your return on investment(ROI)
Return on investment can be difficult to track with traditional marketing as you are pushing your message out to a wide group of people instead of pulling people to your website. It can be done. You should remember that most traditional marketing focuses on brand awareness and isn’t targeted to a specific audience. It can also be used to attract customers to a special event. You track ROI by noting how many people bought tickets to your event and/or how many people responded to your print advertisement. Online marketing tools are good when you need to know how many people are being drawn to your website and how many are actually purchasing product there. A good combination of both online and offline marketing resources can help you determine return on investment so you can make good business decisions.
Issue #6-You’re not reaching the right target audience
Knowing your target audience is a critical component to your marketing campaign. Senior citizens are known for their inability to connect with social media and prefer traditional methods of communication. However you must factor in that not all senior citizens are disconnected to social media. Some do actually prefer electronic communication. Young people are known for their excessive use of social media in their everyday communication. However some young people actually consider it a rare treat to receive something in the mail. Combining the traditional print and electronic media can actually help your business be seen by your target audience.
Issue #7-You want to take your business worldwide
Both traditional and online marketing campaigns have components that will allow you to take your business worldwide. You must figure out costs of transmitting your message worldwide via television and radio. It is a very effective medium for large companies and subsidiaries of worldwide companies to make this investment. The downside is the cost and regulations you will need to adhere to in the countries you want to promote your product in. Online marketing is already worldwide, as people around the world use the Internet on a daily basis. You may want to opt for premium marketing services that target your specific audience.
Issue#8-You want your customers to remember your business in a tangible way
This issue is easily resolved by studying what other organizations have done and by attending one or two workshops and conferences with your promotional products. Customers need something tangible to remember your business. This could be a pen that has your company’s name, address and phone number or a tote bag that they can carry with them that has your company’s logo on it. You may even want to provide awards or prizes to your customers when they visit your website. Promoting your organization can be as easy as passing out business cards or as elaborate as having customized key rings.
We’ve talked a lot about how your small business can solve common issues that can drag them down. There are many other issues that small businesses face that we haven’t mentioned here. You know them. Having a good marketing strategy that takes into consideration the many traditional and online marketing resources available will succeed. Every small business is different. Using a combination of both online and offline resources can only enhance your business and support your community.