There is an overwhelming array of options when it comes to marketing, and for a new business with just a basic website as the only marketing channel, it is easy to become paralysed by indecision. How do you decide, especially when you're not certain where your potential market can be reached? Traditional media? Direct marketing? SEO and online advertising?
For me I really took time to research where my target markets were and what they liked to do e.g. where they worked, what sports they liked and what kind of an income were they likely to have.
My target market is interesting in that I really have two. I have the larger man that my luxury shirts are made for but then I also have their partners that buy their clothes or heavily influence what they wear.
My best result with marketing to date has been the radio. Hope FM does very reasonable prices and their station reaches both my target markets, and that was proven with the sales I received during and after the four weeks. At the moment I'm looking at advertising on 2GB during their drive times as I know for a fact a lot of my target market are trapped in their cars or public transport listening to their 'peeps' as I call them lol.
I also had some success with Google words, that really helped drive traffic to my website. And getting all my friends to 'like' my Facebook business page also helped drive traffic and create some sales.
Hope some of this helps.
Here are a couple of ideas - depending on the products you are promoting.
If you have a higher value consumable product, such as cosmetics, the most cost effective way I have found is sampling using Scoopon or Groupon or a similar service. One company I worked with ended up sending out just over 2,000 full size samples at 60% discount and with the cost of postage still managed to have a surplus - i.e. a free promotion to a very targeted audience. Of course the reason this worked was they were the manufacturer and the cost of goods was just 18% of retail. The key to the campaign was getting the product into consumers hands and then getting repeat sales - and this worked a treat.
Edwina is right in that using community FM radio can be very cost effective. Many radio stations are looking for giveaways to use for competitions. Beware, however, as with radio (and TV) repetition is key to consumer engagement. I have found running a competition weekly for three months - say a Tuesday 9:30 AM slot (once a week) will fully engage the radio stations 9:30 AM audience. Purchasing 'run of station' advertisements is usually a waste of money as you will only get a few good time slots.
Websites are OK, however, in 2013 they are not as valuable as in the past. A well written and regular BLOG on an engaging topic will bring in many more consumers. Of course, if you have an easily reviewed product send it to be reviewed by other Bloggers who are constantly looking for products to review.
I hope this helps,
Here is an excerpt from a recent article I have submitted for Leaders in Heels, I hope it helps a little;
Marketing communications is a critical aspect of a company’s overall marketing mission and a major determinant of its success in a market. (Chitty, Barker, Valos, & Shrimp, 2012) So this marketing thing is pretty important, but your smart and you didn’t need me to tell you that.
So what are the major forms of marketing communications?
Advertising – a form of static, mass communication in form of an image, audio or visual message. Organisations develop their message, produce it on their desired medium (this would be mail outs, TV advert, radio advert, magazine or newspaper print advert, and replicate that same message/image/visual/audio over and over to the consumer. These are considered non-personal because the organisation is simultaneously communicating with multiple receivers (perhaps millions), rather than a specific person or a small group, and they cannot guarantee who exactly will view the advertisement, e.g. a billboard advertisement, while it can be viewed by a higher number of people, there is no guarantee that a certain target demographic will view it or respond to it. This form of marketing is useful for organisations like fast food chains where they target most demographics, thus the mass communication is more useful than direct marketing. Advertising is designed to accomplish communication objectives, such as creating brand awareness and additionally to influence consumer attitudes toward the brand/product/service. It is useful for brand/product awareness but its effectiveness can be fickle and there are not guarantees to be a sale conversion from advertising.
Direct marketing – the use of several types of media to reach consumers and encourage them to purchase or take some form of immediate response, and unlike advertising, it’s an interactive process rather than being a one way for of communication. Database marketing is an integral part of direct marketing because it provides companies with information that allows them to profile their customers and to establish long-term relationships. An example of direct marketing would also be using sponsored advertisements on Facebook’s where organisations can choose the demographics of those the sponsored ad is targeted. This tends to be a more effective method to generate sales conversion as your organisation is typically targeting those they know have a high interest in the product or service and whom have a better chance of buying what it is you are asking them to.
Sales promotions – this refers to all marketing activities that attempt to directly stimulate buyer action or an immediate sale. Examples of Consumer Orientated sales promotions include using price reductions, free samples, contests/sweepstakes, coupons and rebates in an effort to encourage consumers to buy what it is you are selling. Consumer promotions are important as they offer a solution to accomplish goals that advertising by itself cannot achieve. Sales promotions can be extremely valuable, and if designed and delivered correctly, can be a great way to build year-over-year and month-over-month revenue growth.
Sponsorship Marketing – the practice of promoting the interests of a company and its brand by associating the company and its brands with a specific event. This form of marketing can be extremely valuable for some organisations, and less so for others. It’s a matter of finding the right fit for the brand and the event, and essentially what that boils down to is whether or not their target demographic is interested in the event, and therefore will be exposed to the brand by association with the event, and for the event organisers, potential revenue OR assistance with supplies, promotion, equipment, staff etc.
Marketing public relations (MPR) – like advertising, MPR involves non-personal brand exposure, but unlike advertising, it is not paid for. This can be a good and a VERY bad thing. When its good, MPR consists of favourable news items or editorial comments about an organisations product or services that receive free print space or broadcast time because a journalist considers the content newsworthy, however, in order to be credible, the report must remain unbiased and ‘not paid for’ by the company receiving the publicity (despite most glossy magazines who actively ignore this point). However, as the coverage or ‘PR’ is constructed without the interjection of the organisation, if the message or organisation itself if misconstrued or taken out of context, it could potentially be very damaging to the brand, and the public’s perception of it, which could prove extremely costly to rectify.
Personal Selling – this strategy is based on person-to-person communication, where the salesperson informs, educates and persuades prospective buyers to purchase the company’s products or services. One key advantage personal selling has over other promotional methods is that it is a two-way form of communication. Many non-personal forms of promotion, such as a radio advertisement, are inflexible, at least in the short-term, and cannot be easily adjusted to address audience questions.
The interactive nature of personal selling also makes it the most effective promotional method for building relationships with customers, particularly in the business-to-business market. This is especially important for companies that either sell expensive products or sell lower cost but high volume products (i.e., buyer must purchase in large quantities) that rely heavily on customers making repeat purchases. Many people know that sales success often requires the marketer develop and maintain strong relationships with members of the purchasing company, and personal selling can offer a create method to achieve that.
Point-of-Purchase communications – this includes in store displays, posters, signs and other materials that are designed to influence consumer buying decisions at the point of purchase. This form of marketing can be really powerful for those who are selling tangible products that aren’t too bulky and are mass produced. In order for it to be effective, the organisation must first determine where their target market shops, and if its online, that’s ok to, advertise on the websites your target market frequents. If your target shoppers only venture to the stores to go food shopping, place your items there or wherever it is you determine is the places your consumers frequent.
The effectiveness of IMC involves using different types of communication medium and in order for it to be beneficial to your organisation, one must understand the brands marketing environment, target market, their behaviours in order to integrate the assorted communication media to effectively influence the consumers decision making. Hopefully this article has provided you with a quick rundown on the basics of marketing, which might allow you to better understand what is being talked about at the next meeting on marketing.
My advice, go for the mixed bag, select the lollies appropriate for you and your product or service, don’t select only one kind of lolly and make sure you understand your customers tastes before you invest in ANY lolly assortment, make sure they complement one another!
There is indeed an array of options available for new businesses but although my answer might seem quite unusual I will give you my professional opinion about it and I will tell you what I recommend to our clients.
I think that step one in establishing any marketing structure isn't determining channels (or picking a suitable medium) but rather taking the necessary steps to have a short term and a long term strategy, sound research and a detailed understanding of your target market and opportunities.
This can be done first through a business plan and secondly at a more detailed marketing level - through an effective marketing plan. They come in all sorts of formats but there are best practices in the industry which yield the best results.
Once this plan has been researched and written - implementation can start and channels can be decided upon. Social media, print, website (that of course is a priority), networking, direct marketing and others.
Sometimes your branding might have been done already so your marketing plan comes as the other piece of the puzzle to reinforce your brand and your business goals.
I won't keep everyone for too long but there's my advice - invest in a professionally crafted marketing plan then move to everything else.. in the long term you will recover your investment, never run out of ideas and you know where your business is heading.
Best of luck.
The answer is... it depends. Of a great many things, here are but three: 1. who you're trying to reach; 2. what you want them to do once you've reached them; 3. what your budget is.
Do I detect from the tone of your question that you're asking what form of advertising you should employ? Because that's slightly different from marketing, in general. Meaning, advertising is a subgroup of marketing, and you need to have a strategy in place before you start picking the tactics or media you're going to employ. If you know what you wnat to achieve with the budget available, your tactics will pretty much pick thenselves.
If you don't yet know how/where to reach your target market, I suggest you haven't yet fully identified your niche. Or, you're aiming the net too wide. Sharon is dead right to advocate starting with a marketing plan. You've got to do your research and develop your value proposition so as to make media choice synonymous with your business aims.
I look at who the target market is. Where do they congregate? What context they congregating in and does that context align with what I am promoting.
My go-to is always search engine marketing with Google Adwords. It can be a tricky beast to master but at the end of the day, over 75% of us go straight to Google when we are looking for a new product or service. Finding the right keyword and landing page combination will be the making of your business. Along the way you will learn about how people seek products like yours. You will learn what word combinations people use when they are in research mode, tyre kicking mode or ready to take action. Often the results an analytics afforded me by Adwords will shape the product, the marketing message and the execution. It's a general statement but I tell a lot of business owners, if you can't make it on Google - good luck out there.
If you are marketing to consumers. particularly principle grocery buyers who make most of the purchase decisions in the house, email marketing affords fast and measurable traction. There is now an oversupply of permission lists in Australia and although they may not tell you up front, many will work with you on a cost per response basis. Beware of incentivised environments where users get paid or awarded points for responding to the emails. Incentivised environments work in some cases but you need to know what you are doing.
I would start there. I often stop there. It is extraordinarily hard to beat Search Engine Marketing and Email Marketing for ROI.
Your question is one that I faced today with one of my new business coaching clients but the answer is quite simple. Research....
How do you decide, especially when you're not certain where your potential market can be reached?
If you can't identify how your potential market can be reached then you don't know enough about your market and you haven't defined who your market is enough. Quite simply, you shouldn't be advertising or spending any money until you have clarity of your market. This is one of the big mistakes small business owners make.
Traditional media? Direct marketing? SEO and online advertising?
The purpose of a business is to solve someone's problem. Once you know their problem and have a solution to solve it, then you will know where to find them..... that answer will tell you what media type you should be going after.
Know your market, who they are, what they need, their fears and frustrations, their solutions how can you help them and how to reach them.
After that is all about trial and error and lot of tweaking :)