As a business owner, or soon to be business owner, you may fall into one of two camps when it comes to marketing. Some businesses believe wholeheartedly in the power of marketing campaigns, utilising every tool available to them to get the word out. Others however believe that their business, service or product sells itself, and are happy for customers to come to them the natural way. They may be unsure of the benefits of marketing campaigns, or feel less and less confident as marketing becomes more sophisticated and digitised.
There is however a third camp, which is the one that you should ideally be in. You need to know when and how to best invest your time and money into marketing, and when you might be going into overkill or using ineffective methods. For example:
Going ‘viral’ is the holy grail of the social networking marketing campaign – where the online community naturally shares your information. However, so many companies are trying to engineer viral situations and that looks forced. Customers and clients can quickly see through ‘clever’ marketing campaigns designed to ignite a response, and businesses need to make sure that they are maintaining their integrity and reputation, even when in cyberspace.
Press releases are designed to pique the interest of the media, in the hope that your business, service or product will be covered favourably in a feature. However, sending out boring, repetitive press releases is likely to have the opposite effect, and turn editors off. Make sure that you only try to engage the press if you have a genuine story to tell – or they’ll quickly discount any future communication that you try to send.
Media advertising campaigns vary greatly in cost, depending on the medium. TV ads, for example, are out of reach of all but the biggest businesses. Print, billboard and radio campaigns are, however, still viable options for many small businesses, but it’s important to take professional advice on presenting an excellent advertising product. As much as you might fancy yourself as a copywriter, scriptwriter or designer, an amateur ad campaign will reflect badly on your business, and have the opposite effect to the one you want.
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of advertising, especially as, nowadays, that encompasses the internet. Review sites, feedback sites and forums are all rife with recommendations – and disgruntled customers – so treat your customer base with great care. If something does go wrong, see it as an opportunity to put your customer service skills to the test. As long as you are covered by the relevant insurances then there are very few situations that can’t be turned around to your benefit. And if you don’t yet have this in place then Hiscox offer public liability insurance that your customers and clients can trust (public liability insurance explained further here). Provided that you’re covered from a legal and ethical view point, a resolved complaint can actually work in your favour as a positive example of your customer care.
If you’re not confident that you know what you’re doing when it comes to business marketing, why not invest in some expert help to ensure that you’re using the most effective methods of reaching customers? It’s likely to be money well spent.