Margins Getting Tight? Saving Money AND Increasing Marketing Effectiveness

 

If you are a small to medium sized business you may be looking for ways to grow by developing a more effective marketing program. You also know that the world is changing and what might have been effective even 5 years ago might not do the trick today. That’s why we’ve written this blog! To help you shorten your cycles and to more effectively build a marketing strategy that won’t break the bank.

A traditional marketing department for a small to medium sized business focuses on 2 key areas: advertising and promotion. Each of these areas are ripe for new and more economical ways of reaching your target audience while increasing your ability to measure success! Let’s break them down:

The purpose of all advertising is to create brand awareness. Your first job is to ensure that you get your name out there, that people start to become familiar with you as a brand. After that you need to establish influence and trust. Here are 3 different and effective ways for you to do that:

1. Print Advertising: Currently you may do that through print advertising. According to studies Print advertising is still extremely valuable. You can better target your audience by advertising in trade magazines specific to the customer you are trying to reach.

  • Cost: Medium to High
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2. Digital Advertising: Print advertising provides good results especially with older demographics, but if you are selling to younger customers (think Millennial's), effectiveness could be reduced. You will want to ensure that you have a digital strategy to effectively reach those that do 90% of their research online. Think banner ads and targeted advertising on LinkedIn or Facebook. For B2B, LinkedIn has become the most effective digital platform for us, followed by Google Adwords.

  • Cost: Medium

3. Content/Social: In the last few years, this type of advertising and promotion has taken center stage yet most organizations in the office equipment channel don’t make very good use of it. Younger buyers want to be educated, to be part of a conversation, and nothing delivers this like social and content. Think blogs, podcasts, videos and eGuides. Most people that know me know that I’m a big fan of content and social as a marketing platform. This blog is an example of just that! You are taking the time to read it, to learn something new that you can apply to the benefit of your business. Maybe you’ll go to my website after this, maybe you’ll look for additional blogs from me in the future to help your business even more. That’s called influence, and the value I give to you the more likely that you’ll consider buying whatever it is that I actually sell.

  • Cost: Low to Medium
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What is the right mix? This is a really hard question to answer because it really depends on who you are selling to. A good rule of thumb is that the older your customer (55+) the more print advertising might hold influence. The younger your prospects (25-50) the more likely they are to be influenced by social media and content. At Print Audit, our mix is 70% of our efforts are social/content, 20% is digital, and 10% or less is print advertising. We do surveys with our Premier members to find out what kinds of marketing channels work best and our statistics are pretty much inline with their responses. Of course this is not a recommendation as your business and target audience could be entirely different.

If you are serious about increasing your social and content marketing and advertising efforts, here are some links for inspiration:

If you want any additional help make sure you give us a shout. We love helping businesses to do more and could have the answers you’re looking for! Also, be sure to leave your comments on things that are working for you.

About the author:

West is Vice President of Business Development at Print Audit and Founder of FocusMPS. He has been recognized as one of the top 40 most influential people in the imaging industry and an ENX Difference Maker in 2015 & 17.

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