A lot has changed in marketing in this digital age. Never before has there been a way to make personal and direct contact with prospects and customers alike for so little cost. Digital marketing has increased promotional opportunities, and customers have a greater role in choosing how they like to be communicated with.
If you started a business more than ten years ago, your promotion options were based in more traditional methods. Websites were around, but print media played a much greater role. One of the most important decisions was advertising either in the local paper, on the radio or in the yellow pages. There was a reasonable financial investment, and it was important to make the right decision for return on investment.
What a relief for many businesses when more effective online options for promotion became available. Those who were early to adopt online promotion could reap the rewards and not pay a lot for it. Google Adwords were cheaper, and these were the days where everyone on Facebook saw your posts without boosting! Small businesses were using the online advantage. Recently you might have noticed an increase in paid services on what were free forums, and the cost is getting higher. It would appear that the online promotion space is now harder to gain advantage without spending money.
The small business freebie and cheapie Internet glory days are almost over. It is much harder to have Internet success without some spend in search engine optimisation, Google or Facebook Advertising and boosting posts. The other big cost for businesses is time. It takes time to manage social media, update websites, find or create content for blogs, research keywords and measure marketing efforts.
The old marketing dilemma has returned only to a new medium: where should my digital spend be? Small businesses have to carve up their time and money across email marketing, social media, website build and maintenance, search engine optimisation and online advertising to remain competitive. That’s not to mention their offline marketing as well!
With so many options available to businesses it can be challenging to refine your marketing and promotion choices. The best way to ensure you make the right decisions for your business is to be strategic. That is, know what you are trying to achieve and what resources (both in time and money) you have to commit. Then gather the right information to help you determine the best online and offline promotional choices for your business.
Here are three tips:
- Set a time and money budget for online and offline marketing.
- Ask advice from a strategic marketing consultant before you commit funds.
- Measure the results from your marketing and promotional activities both online and offline, and continually refine your efforts as you find what works.
Technology has created some amazing opportunities for reaching and servicing more customers, as well as enhanced our communication methods. Customers are in control and have a lot more choices about the way they want to hear from us do business with us. As businesses the more we can meet expectations of how businesses want to receive promotion from us, the better.