As an entrepreneur, you can work all day long on developing the next killer product, balancing your budget, and securing data, but if you don’t have a marketing plan in place, you’re likely to find your business dead in the water in no time. Any entrepreneur that is looking for genuine success needs to take a hands-on, diversified approach to their marketing efforts.
This doesn’t mean a small business owner needs to make all of the decisions themselves. If you can find a marketing guru that you trust who is up to date on best practices, get them involved. However, when it comes to marketing your business, it’s important that you have a hand on the wheel. You are the most intimately acquainted with your products, services, mission, and message. You are the one with the vision, voice, and purpose behind what your company stands for.
With that said, it’s also important that a small business owner has at least a decent grasp of what marketing strategies work best. Here are a few key marketing elements, both online and offline, that you’re going to want to consider as you go about building your company’s marketing strategy in the modern entrepreneurial landscape.
Offline Marketing Strategies
While it’s easy to write off traditional marketing efforts as antiquated and costly, they often provide a memorable, tangible experience that can be perfect for reaching and retaining new customers.
The idea of setting up a booth at a convention or trade show is a tried and true method for gaining exposure and face-to-face time with both potential and existing clients. While typical trade shows used to center around sales, many modern companies have shifted their focus towards brand awareness and directing customers toward online options. If you want to attend conventions as a part of your marketing efforts, make sure to gather data — like if a customer is new or what their likelihood of purchasing from your brand is — in order to measure the ROI from each event.
Direct mail is another traditional marketing method that has serious potential in the modern marketing world. While using email (more on that further down) can often be a more affordable option, carefully crafted direct mail campaigns can also deliver powerful results, including an incredible ROI. Determine if direct mail makes sense with your target audience in mind, then consider your options.
Another oldie but goodie, radio ads can be an excellent way to spread awareness, especially in local markets. While it’s less customer-specific than many other choices, radio is an excellent way to broadcast your message to a large number of people simultaneously. This makes it one of the most cost-effective marketing options available.
Online Marketing Strategies
There are many ways to market your company online. However, it’s important to choose what you wish to utilize carefully and then commit yourself to your strategy in order to stand out from the noise.
While Google Ads have not necessarily been known for garnering a healthy click-through rate, they can be excellent tools for creating brand awareness. However, if you go this route, make sure to provide quality ads in the most effective sizes, as you have little control over which size ad will be displayed in any particular scenario.
Of course, the poster child of online marketing these days is social media. Creating profiles on applicable social media channels allows companies to cultivate a brand image and voice, provide quality customer service in a timely manner, and utilize cutting-edge marketing techniques like videos. Make sure to choose social platforms that lend themselves to your specific industry and marketing objectives, as each one has its own strengths and focuses.
Email has been around since the dawn of the internet age, and yet it remains a force to be reckoned with, especially in online marketing. A good email list of opt-in subscribers is invaluable, as it gives you an group of customers that are willing and ready to hear your message. In addition, email automation can provide excellent ways to promote specials and generate sales.
Finally, it’s always wise to start a company blog. There’s little doubt that content is king. If you can create quality content (especially if it’s done with SEO best practices in mind) you’re likely to boost your search engine rankings and draw potential customers to your website.
A Few Final Words of Wisdom
As a final encouragement, here are a few marketing tips you’re going to want to keep in mind, regardless of which specific offline and online tools you choose to utilize.
First, there’s branding. Branding is a key to marketing success. It’s important that you take the time to create a genuine voice and personality for your brand. Make it different and unique, then stick to it across all marketing channels.
Second, make sure to always be willing to adapt and learn. In other words, never sit still. If you go through the effort to set up a good marketing strategy, it’s critical that you avoid a “set it and forget it” attitude. Always be on the lookout for new marketing trends, or you’ll be behind the times in a matter of years or even months.
Third, whether you’re attending conventions, setting up a company blog, posting on social media, or utilizing any of the other strategies listed above, remember not to commit to too many things at once. It’s important that each marketing team chooses the tools best suited for its own company’s particular situation and needs. Once that’s done, maximize those tools to the best of your ability.
In summary, build a solid brand identity, always be ready to adapt to change, and resist the urge to dabble in too many marketing areas. This will enable you to create and execute a solid marketing strategy with the right mix of online and offline tools. If you can do this with purpose and energy, chances are you’ll see results before you know it.