Make sure you’re spending your marketing dollars on the right channels for the right audience.
When deciding whether or not to use traditional marketing or digital marketing techniques, Linda Popky, a strategic marketing expert and the author of Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters, advised understanding what will resonate with your audience and prospects. “If your audience is Millennials, you’re going to need different channels than if you are targeting Baby Boomers or senior citizens,” she said.
Although digital and social media marketing can be high impact, it’s important to make sure you are investing wisely, Popky said. It’s common for small business owners to “waste money on Facebook or Google AdWords campaigns that are not getting to the right people, or driving them to take action,” she said.
For small businesses that rely on foot traffic like shops and service providers, some “old school” techniques still have merit. Because printed marketing pieces are nearly extinct, “a well-thought out mail piece may get more attention than email blasts that get caught in spam filters or ignored,” Popky said. She cites “handwritten notes to key customers” as another effective method because it’s also now rarely used.
However, some traditional marketing methods have disappeared and just aren’t relevant anymore. Take Yellow Pages and other printed directories, for example. “There was a time when advertising in the local Yellow Pages was required for small businesses; now we just Google what we need and check [online] reviews before choosing a service provider,” Popky said.
Glossy, four-color brochures and newsletters have, for the most part, also become extinct and replaced by far more affordable, updatable digital counterparts. “Today, we use websites to promote our products, and we create attractive, downloadable PDF files that can be printed by the user,” Popky said.
Trade shows, also once marketing staples, are less significant than they once used to be, according to Popky. Not as heavily attended by decision-makers as they once were, “They divert your time and attention from marketing tactics that are more likely to work,” Popky said.
When determining whether a marketing tactic is worthwhile, whether it’s traditional or digital, Popky advised small business owners ask themselves the following: “Who are my key customers/prospects and where do they go to find answers to the problems I solve?” Then, “the tactics you should use to reach them will become clear.”