Being in business in the 21st century comes with loads of opportunities for marketing your business, both online and offline. In today’s post, Marketing Methods For Small Business Owners, we will take a look at networking, direct and indirect marketing, and the use of print media, radio advertising, and social media. Marketing your products or services doesn’t have to be complicated, and can lead to enormous benefits in terms of attracting and retaining customers, and getting the word out about your brand.
Business networking involves interacting with other like-minded people in order to connect, exchange knowledge and information and ideas, and generally establish professional relationships that can be leveraged for a mutual benefit. Networking can happen online through LinkedIn and other groups, or offline via meetings, conferences, trade shows and other events. The benefits of networking can be enormous, and include opportunities for referrals, leads, partnerships and new connections. While networking is not direct marketing, it can be a form of indirect marketing in that it leads to opportunities for new prospects.
Direct marketing can be done via email, online ads, fliers, promotional letters, coupons, videos, pop-up ads and social media. It involves marketing directly to a targeted group, as opposed to mass-marketing campaigns, and aims to entice people to directly respond to an offer of some sort. With direct marketing, you can track responses, making it very measurable and enabling you to fine-tune your campaigns. It is also more affordable than a mass-marketing campaign, and can result in faster responses.
Indirect marketing is a way of reaching current and potential prospects through blog posts and other web content, videos, e-books, e-newsletters, and social media engagement. It is more about engaging, sharing information, building communities, and attracting people to your business rather than direct selling. This method is usually slower than direct marketing when it comes to gaining tangible results, but it is pretty good market research, providing you with some very valuable insight and understanding into the wants, needs, desires and complaints of your customers.
Print media refers to any kind of printed material with a marketing purpose – for example brochures, pamphlets, newspaper and magazine ads, printed inserts, and posters. While it can be expensive to produce, print media provides something tangible for people to hold and read – and many people still prefer reading printed material over screens. It can also lend your brand some credibility in that people can see you are willing to invest time and money intocreating tangible material.
Radio advertising can be done through most commercial radio stations for a relatively inexpensive outlay. Even though radio has been around a long time and is in a way considered old-fashioned, it still remains popular. Advertising on the radio is a lot quicker, less expensive, and less complex than advertising through TV. It is also very measurable according to the responses you receive.
Social media is a form of networking and sharing information online. Social media sites can be used to link to your website, promote your business, make special offers, and engage with your audience. Research also shows that using social media can increase both brand recognition and brand loyalty. It can also provide the opportunity to do some research into your target market’s needs and desires. To get the most out of social media, it’s important to have a proper strategy in place, and for this to fit in with your overall marketing plan.
All of these methods provide benefits for business owners, either for marketing or for relationship building, two things which should never be mutually exclusive when it comes to your business. For best results, consider using a variety of different methods and take note of which ones work best in connecting with your target audience.
Wondering about the options for marketing your business? There are numerous online and offline ways to promote your business, including networking, direct and indirect marketing, radio advertising, printed material and social media.
- Networking – while networking is not marketing per se, it can provide business owners with opportunities for leads, referrals and gaining new prospects.
- Direct marketing – this form of marketing targets a very specific audience through campaigns. Responses can be tracked, making it a very measurable form of marketing.
- Indirect marketing – this involves communicating and connecting with others rather than campaigning directly. It can be useful for building relationships and communities and attracting interest in your brand.
- Print media – many people prefer reading from tangible printed material than from a screen, which makes print media still relevant in the marketing world today.
- Radio advertising – radio is still popular and can provide a great opportunity for advertising that is less complex and expensive than television.
- Social media – provides many opportunities for building networks and engaging with your audience, and for marketing your brand and products or services.
Ideally, it makes sense to utilise a variety of the above methods in your strategies. For more information on this topic, see our full article.