So you want to know more about marketing? First things first, who am I and why should I be writing about this topic?
I have no formal training in marketing, I am no high flying marketing guru. We don't have a massive marketing budget so there are no doubt a lot of avenues still to be tried. The business brand is not yet globally recognised and is nowhere near to becoming a "love mark" just yet.
That said, Templeman Twells Web Design opened it's doors in July 2007 and has continued to grow, despite being based in a small country town and despite the popular opinion that a business in such a town cannot survive unless people shop local. A very limited marketing budget has forced me to find the most efficient and cost effective way of marketing for us, and with new clients always not far away, our marketing strategy is achieving our goals and is therefore effective.
So this post isn't about telling you what you should or shouldn't do (except for one little bit towards the end :D), because I don't have all the answers and I don't know your business. This post is about marketing. Our marketing. What works for us and what has proved time and time again to be the most cost effective and efficient. It's a brief overview but hopefully it will give some insight into how your business can also make the most of it's marketing budget.
Here's the Golden Rule: Know your target market.
It's a simple thing but something that so many people seem to forget. When you know who your target market is, read on...
Face to Face Marketing - "You mean you actually leave your office and SPEAK to people? In real life???" It's something that businesses don't seem to do any more and in my opinion, as younger business owners come onto the scene it is something that could well be a dying art. This is by far our most effective type of marketing, both in terms of cost and conversions.
You don't convert to sales without trust. In any form of marketing. And nothing builds trust better than personally knowing your potential customers. They can see who you are, what you do, what you value and a whole range of other things which are only possible through personal contact.
This takes time. Your time. And it usually takes multiple visits before the trust is built, however the results are not just a high conversion rate, but increased loyalty, accountability and you can gain some new friends in the process. Know who your target market is, then go to them and get to know them.
Your Website - In the good old days (says me with all my 31 years of life experience) a business owner would make their shop front look as attractive as possible, with the right products on display, the right banners in the windows, their opening times and they would do all this in a style which was appropriate to their target market.
Your website is your shop front now, yet people run and jump for "free" or very cheap websites which look terrible and don't even appear in search engine results. It's like opening a shop in a dark corner of a huge city and then wondering why you don't get any business.
Know who your target market is then invest in a website which will they will not only find, but find attractive. THEN you will start to build trust, and THEN you will see a conversion to sales.
Social Media - The buzz word around town. Everyone knows about it and every second person seems to be an expert in it. We are no expert, but what we do works for us.
First, know your target market - sensing a theme here? - then find out which social media stream they are using. Is it Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn? Is it all of them, or just one? Then find out how your target market use those streams. Are they most active in groups, do they respond well to offers and discounts, do they crave interaction or the feeling of ownership?
Social Media can consume your time faster than a competitive eater who has been starved for a week... Your time is your money, so don't waste it. Find out who they are, what they use, how they use it then meet them where they are at. THAT builds trust which then leads to conversions.
Email Marketing - Where to start. This gets back to having that attractive shop front. You can send an email out from your computer to 1000 people but 3 things need to be noted.
- Your email is not nearly as professional as some others your recipients are receiving - possibly even from your target market.
- If you send an email to 1000 recipients it will probably be flagged as spam either by your hosting provider or by the recipients email client. Either way they may not even get to the recipient.
- You have no way of tracking who is reading it, which their favourite parts of it are, who is forwarding it to friends, which links they are clicking on or anything like that.
I know I said this post isn't about telling you what you should or shouldn't do, but... don't send mass mail outs via your email. It isn't going to help you.
So what's the alternative? There are companies who specialise in sending mass mail outs. They have teams of people working on ways to make your emails look professional and arrive at their destination. They have grouping functionality, statistics on every newsletter you send, multiple email templates and a whole lot of other things.
We have integrated a Pay As You Go mass mail system. Each time you send there is a small cost. Why would we choose this instead of a free system? Because that cost supports the ongoing development of the product, ensuring you always have the best system available. Additionally, the system we have chosen is extremely easy to use.
Sending to 1000 people in your target market will cost you $26. You know they are in your target market because they have chosen to subscribe to your newsletter - they actively want to know what you have to offer!
Now compare $26 with the cost of printing 1000 flyers and distributing those to 1000 people who may or may not be in your target market... Is sending a professional looking email with full statistics to 1000 people in your target market worth $26? The following picture is inside the recycle bin of our local post office as I deposited someones marketing material into it (of who I was not in the target market for). You can't tell in the picture so well but it was over half full. Money well spent on print marketing?
This is a snapshot of some of the marketing techniques we use and why. The main point is to know your target market then try different marketing techniques to find out which work and which don't. There are a lot more options available to you today than ever before, options which may well be a lot cheaper and a lot more effective giving your business a real competitive edge.
What marketing techniques do you use and how do you track the success of them?