Have you found yourself searching “where to start marketing your business”? It's crazy to think that ten years ago, the hottest marketing strategies were TV and billboards advertisements. Although these tactics still work, times have changed rapidly, and the hot methods that once were on top are not the go-to anymore.
What is Marketing?
It’s important to recognize marketing and sales are not the same. Marketing is the act of creating awareness by promoting products and services. Sales are more transactional and motivated by committing to a product or service. There are two essential sub-categories we need to understand. These are outbound marketing and inbound marketing methods.
Outbound Marketing (Conventional)
Outbound marketing has been around for a long time and focuses on interpreting the customer’s daily life. It has a place in modern marketing plans depending on your customer and the available budget. Some of the most popular outbound marketing types are:
When we refer to the radio, we talk about the advertisements you hear between songs. These advertisements are not exclusive to traditional radio stations. Radio advertising can also include podcasts and free streaming platforms like Spotify. This form of marketing can be beneficial when building brand awareness or promoting specific events as it has a substantial reach. Some research suggests that 91% of adults listen to the radio each week.
We’ve all seen traditional television ads. There is a reason new generations have created streaming services and the ability to fast-forward cable tv: Nobody likes television ads. However, when done well, tv ads can be worth the high price point. They're a great way to tell a story, build brand recognition, and reach a large audience. Unfortunately, in many cases they're just too expensive for small businesses starting out.
Print can include anything from newspaper and magazine ads to brochures and mailouts. This marketing method can be a significantly more affordable way to reach a larger audience and single out a specific demographic target. For example, it would make way more sense for a clothing retailer to advertise in a fashion magazine than in a fishing magazine.
Inbound Marketing (Digital)
Inbound marketing focuses on entertainment, surprise, charm, and adding value. Inbound marketing is commonly referred to as digital marketing, but it doesn’t always have to be. Some of the most well-known inbound marketing strategies are:
Social media marketing
Not to be confused with paid ads on social media platforms, social media marketing is about organic content posted on social platforms. Social media is excellent for the low price point and low cost of entry. It can help businesses engage directly with their customer and build a loyal following.
Pro Tip: Choose just two or three platforms to avoid being overwhelmed. Take some time to research which platforms your audience is on.
Search engine optimized content
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) uses keywords and tools to drive more traffic to your website. This means writing quality content for your website and platforms is a great method for generating traffic to your website. All it costs is time. In the beginning, optimizing your content for business purposes is essential. However, it can take longer to see results when compared to other paid marketing methods.
Email Marketing is still one of the best-performing methods when looking at return on investments (ROI). The reasoning is that you're speaking directly to the customer through their inbox, which they already consented to, unlike outbound marketing which is unexpected and interruptive.
What About paid ads?
There's still an ongoing debate about whether paid ads are considered outbound or inbound marketing. Paid ads have qualities of both inbound and outbound marketing types. They're affordable and have specific targeting capabilities, unlike conventional paid ads. However, they're still interruptive at times. One of the best aspects of paid ads for new businesses and established companies is that you can set minimum and maximum bids to stay on budget. The tricky part is knowing when to run the proper ad; and how to properly split test to boost your conversion rate/engagement each time.
But where do you start?
We wish we could give you a clear answer on how to start marketing your business. A single blog post with all the answers would be great. Every business is unique, and every customer base is different. What works for your business may not work for another. Before paying for advertising, consider what you can do for low cost to no cost, aka “organic content” and social media marketing. From there, you need to ask yourself three questions:
- Who is my customer?
- Where can I find them?
- What is my budget?
The answers to this question will help you to start creating a marketing plan and choosing which strategies to use.
How much time does this take?
Marketing is one of those processes where you “put in what you get out.” To market your business to get the most effective results takes time. Freeing up time as a business owner will not only benefit your day-to-day life but will forever benefit your organization’s future.