By Blake Stimac
Starting your own business is a challenging venture unto itself, but marketing it can be a whole different beast. It doesn’t stop at just creating a stunning website, you’ll need to know what type of marketing techniques you’ll want to use to promote your business, as there are several.
That’s where we come in! Below we’ll detail some different approaches that you can use in order to promote your business:
Inbound marketing vs outbound marketing
Inbound marketing and outbound marketing can be (somewhat) summed up by the directions they lead. While outbound marketing pushes a brand or products on a consumer, inbound marketing pulls the consumer in. Outbound marketing is also considered to be an older and more traditional method, where as inbound marketing is newer and has become increasingly more popular.
Outbound marketing can be seen by ads in the newspaper, direct mail, telemarketing, etc. that attempts to push a consumer to purchase their products, where its counterpart is quite the opposite. The inbound marketing technique is to create and publish content that your target audience will find valuable to draw them to your brand. Other inbound marketing techniques include sending newsletters to your subscribers, sharing content on social media channels and more. See? Push, pull.
As inbound marketing may be the more popular of the two methods in this day and age, some businesses may find outbound tactics successful in some instances. Take a local business that’s trying to get its name out to the city or town it operates in. Posting an ad in the newspaper or sending out a letter to residents that live in close vicinity may work in its favor. Of course, we’d also suggest that said business also embraces some inbound tactics, to cover their bases on the online and social front as well.
While content marketing is essentially a sub-category of inbound marketing, the latter couldn’t exist without the former. Content marketing has become an increasingly popular technique and it likely won’t slow down anytime soon. It’s defined as a type of marketing focused on creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience online. However, this method isn’t about pushing your business itself but providing relevant and valuable content to your target audience in anticipation of their needs for it. Obviously, the ROI might be a bit more difficult to evaluate but the efficiency of this technique has already been proven.
Producing valuable content for your audience will help build and nurture your community. Said content can come in the form of videos, blogs, podcasts, infographics etc. and is usually shared on social media networks. By providing this valuable and shareable content, your target market can, in turn, help your business by spreading the word and sharing it (and your brand). In addition, the relationship you create with your audience will last longer than if they had just seen an ad of yours – Keep in mind that if your content is good enough, people will remember you.
To sum it up: Content marketing is less direct but creates a lasting impression.
Want to keep your customers in the know about upcoming sales and new products? If so, then email marketing is a great place to start!
By adding an application like Get Subscribers to your website, you can offer your customers the option to sign up for your newsletter. Option is the keyword here. Unlike cold emailing and other outbound marketing techniques, your customers are giving their permission for you to email them about your business.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to email marketing is your frequency. The last thing you’ll want to do is spam your subscribers. This will more than likely cause people to ignore your emails and eventually, unsubscribe. Find a sweet spot and be sure to track the open and click rates in your analytics tool that’s built right into Wix Shoutout.
Make social networks work for you
While it’s important that you entice existing and potential customers to visit your website, you should also engage with them elsewhere, and social networks are perfect for this!
In addition to publishing content that your community will enjoy and engage with, you also want to engage back! Reply to comments, ask questions, and hear your community’s feedback. Grooming and nurturing your community builds trust and creates loyal customers.
As we mentioned above, social networks can and should be used for content marketing and community management. This doesn’t change the fact that social advertising remains to be one the most efficient and direct marketing tools for SMBs. Using the promotion tools of Facebook, YouTube and other platforms is worth the investment for many reasons:
It’s very targeted: You speak with an audience with interests and demographic parameters that are relevant to your business’ needs.
It fits all budgets: Any small business can decide how much money they want to spend according to their budget – from the local pizzeria to big tech companies.
You get what you pay for: Usually, you’ll pay either per impression (views of your ad) or clicks on your call to action. Every penny is spent wisely.
With all that, you can enjoy rich analytics tools to constantly optimize your content in order to improve your social strategy.
Search engine marketing
If you have a website, proper SEO and sharing on social media can be great to get your business name out there. However, some businesses may want to look into paid advertising to show up on search engines like Google, Bing and more.
This approach usually consists of bidding for a specific search phrase so that your website will appear when someone searches for that specific phrase. When your website shows up in the non-organic search results and someone clicks it, you are required to pay the bid price you set when creating your ad.
The more you’re willing to pay per click, the more often your website will likely appear when someone searches your desired keyphrase.
If your business is a brick and mortar store, you’ll definitely want to look into local advertising along with your online presence. Luckily, there are several different ways to do this.
A great first step is to submit your business to local directories. For example, enlisting on Google My Business will land you on Google Maps almost immediately. Other services like Yahoo Local, Yelp, and Craigslist will also help your local presence online.
As we mentioned earlier, outbound marketing also has an important role while advertising locally. You can run advertisements in your local newspapers, magazines and radio stations, and even place a bumper sticker or sign on your own car to literally advertise on the go.
Guerilla marketing is usually a low-cost and usually highly-effective strategy when applied correctly. It’s unconventional nature lends itself to be “out there” in ways traditional strategies are not. It can be used in a variety of ways, which can make defining it difficult. However, one thing with this strategy remains the same: it’s usually done outside or in other public places to ensure maximum exposure.
There’s usually an imaginative “wow-factor” to take people by surprise and generate buzz. One of the most simple (and common) guerilla marketing tactics is either posting or passing out flyers or products for your brand or even using street art. However, there are several other (more extreme) ways guerilla marketing techniques get attention.
While guerilla marketing is said to be primarily a method for small businesses, it hasn’t stopped big brands that are already known to use it. Take a look at National Geographic’s ad for Shark Week, showing a shark literally chomping on you as you enter a bus.
Want to really create a lasting effect with your ads? Prank advertising has been a very popular method of grabbing and keeping attention. There’s little to explain when it comes to this technique, as we’re sure you’ve been at the butt end of a prank or two yourself.
Many prank ads are designed to shock or scare, only to offer a sigh of relief when the “victim” realizes that it is indeed a trick. Take LG’s “So Real It’s Scary” ad for example. The company used a prank to showcase how lifelike it’s IPS monitors are, by making people in an elevator believe that the floor is literally falling beneath them!
Another great way to promote your business is to partner up with another business for cross-promotion in some form or another. The partnership should be created with a business that shares both your company values and has a similar audience, but is not a direct competitor.
There are a handful of ways that your business can work with another, such as co-producing content to share online or offering discounts at business ‘A’ if they are members at Business ‘B’ and vice versa. Partnership marketing benefits both businesses allowing each other access to a wider audience they previously may not have reached.
Having trouble finding the perfect partnership? Then maybe a little outreach marketing will do you well!