Learn how you can increase your small business sales this year by reading our top 3 small business marketing tips for your store.
With so many marketing opportunities it can be difficult to determine the right business marketing mix. Each company is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. Instead you need to identify your target consumer and then hone in on marketing opportunities that connect you with those consumers. You also need to be able to measure each element of your marketing strategy so you can gauge your success and make improvements as you go.
Depending on your company, your goals and your consumer the ideal marketing campaign will include a number of different marketing channels and approaches, such as:
- Traditional marketing (print, radio, TV and branded promotional materials)
- Content marketing (blogging, website content, press releases)
- Event marketing (tradeshows and event sponsorship)
- Social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)
- Video marketing (YouTube).
Direct mail, email marketing and pay-per-click campaigns are also important to most marketing strategies, so let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each:
1. Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail is a great way to reach a target consumer located in a certain geographic area. Direct mail works very well for location-based businesses like medical and dental offices as well as retail stores.
Studies show that the conversion rate for direct mail is 1.20% (compared to 0.03% for email and 0.22% for paid search) and for existing customers, it’s even higher — 94% of Canadians will open mail that is from an organization they know.
The only disadvantage of direct mail is that most businesses will need the help of a graphic artist or marketing agency to help design the mail piece —if it doesn’t stand out your mailer may end up in the recycling box with the rest of the “junk” mail.
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing campaigns are an affordable method of reaching a targeted list of current and potential consumers and email marketing is a great way to stay top-of-mind with consumers at various points in the buying cycle.
Most email marketing programs allow you to set up personalized, automatic campaigns which can minimize the amount of time needed to manage this marketing channel. It’s also very easy to track how well your campaign has done, which means that you can gauge your return on investment and make changes to improve your campaign over time.
The only problem with email marketing is that most people have become desensitized to it and a number of email programs have stringent filters. To make sure your email doesn’t end up in your recipients’ junk box you’ll need to carefully word your email and send it out using reputable software. And of course with Canada’s strict anti-spam legislation you’ll need to have permission to contact people by email.
3. Pay-per-click Marketing
To date pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns have been a cost-effective way to advertise to a specific, targeted market over the Internet. The advantage to a PPC campaign is that your ad displays only to your target audience and you pay only when that audience clicks on your advertisement. You also have total control of the budget (you set the amount you want to spend per day and once the budget is met your ad no longer displays).
However, with the prevalence of ad blockers and Google’s recent design changes (ads are no longer being viewed on the right-hand side of the browser) it will become more and more difficult to get a good return on investment for your PPC dollar.
The right marketing mix may include some or all of the abovementioned approaches. The key is to tailor your marketing campaign to the unique needs and goals of your business, focusing on the marketing channels that will help you connect with your target market.