Needless to say, there are multiple marketing tools that you can implement on the Internet to make your services known to your targeted audience and successfully grow your business. Using tools in certain ways creates a tactic, and adding several tactics together would result in a strategy.
Examples of marketing tools include but are not limited to business cards, brochures, flyers, direct mail, newspaper ads, magazines, journals, TV and radio ads, Yellow Pages, online advertising sites such as Yelp or Angie’s List, business website or websites, social media business pages, email, text messages on mobile devices, video and video platforms such as YouTube, search engine advertising platforms such as Google Adwords, street signs, or other people’s websites that sell advertising space. As you have probably noticed already, not all of these tools are online or Internet marketing tools, however we mention them here because you can include your website’s URL or Facebook business page in your direct mail piece as well as in your radio or newspaper ad.
Business cards have been around for quite some time now. If you go to any marketing event, people will ask you for a business card and will give you their cards in order to expand their network of business connections.
In the past, business cards used to show the name of the person, their work or business title, work or home address, and telephone number. Then in some cases a fax number was added as well. With the emergence of the Internet, email addresses became a routine part of business cards in addition to the other components. Then website URLs were added and today, you may or may not see a physical address, but you are quite likely to see a website, email address, phone number, and one or more URLs to social media business pages such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google Plus! This is a perfect example of capturing several marketing tools into one delivery medium, in this case the business card.
Can a business card that combines so much information be viewed as a marketing strategy? Well, not really. It is a part of a strategy if it is only one out of many components you implement in your daily advertising. The business card is simply a tool that displays all of your contact information, but tells very little about what you actually do. If you offer a service that is unfamiliar to many people, no matter how much it can benefit them, you will need a marketing tool that explains your service in greater detail. A business card, however, is a great marketing start when you can’t carry your computer around. The website and social information on your card will prompt people to type your website URL and find out more about your business through your online marketing.
Flyers and Brochures
These tools provide for a more detailed outlining of the nature of your products, services, or both. There is enough space to include pictures, testimonials, and short paragraphs to help people better understand how exactly you can help them improve their lives or their businesses. Flyers and brochures can also be used in direct mail, in addition to the letter you would enclose with a specific business offer. With brochures, you can get really creative and make your business look more attractive by using good quality pictures, paper and font, creating a positive impression about your overall business approach, starting with your marketing.
Try to resist the common temptation to get carried away with the pictures. Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, make sure that your written content includes a special sentence that will grab your readers’ attention and make them want to learn more about your services.
A business website is a marketing tool that can easily deliver information about your business starting from A and ending at Z. There is a limitless amount of space that you can use on a website, depending on the complexity of your services or products.
A website also offers countless options for expression in terms of design. Design intricacy is only limited by budget considerations. It is important to remember, however, that people with busy schedules will be unlikely to have the time to browse through endless navigation loops on any website. Therefore, you may want to consider making your website easy to navigate, with less hidden pages, and clear links from page to page with easy to follow yet high quality content.
What is high quality content, you may ask? If we go by the definition of the more iconic representatives of the marketing world, it is any content that will make people stay on your website and want to come back soon. While we completely understand that a statement like this one can be interpreted very broadly, the disclaimer here is that high quality content is information written in such a way that it will make it easy for your new visitors to learn about your business in the most clear and efficient way possible. To accommodate people’s different levels of familiarity with your niche, consider linking the name of each of your services to a separate page that explains the service linked to it in greater detail. That way, those who already know your business and are actively seeking your help will know what exactly you offer, and those who have a vaguer understanding will be given the opportunity to kern more about each service and its benefits.
Video has quickly become one of the most powerful marketing tools. It can include written text, pictures, sound in the form of music, noise or voice, moving images, or all of the above at the same time. A video that uses several communication components is a strategy in itself. On a website containing text, images and videos, a visitor is most likely to click on the video first. This has been found to be true during many marketing studies in the last 10 years. A video can influence people on several emotional levels, which is why it has been employed so heavily by the marketing teams of major corporations for decades now.
Business Pages on Social Media
Many businesses use social media for advertising purposes. Social platforms such as Blogger, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer paid advertising or a free option through a special business page. Google Plus also has the free business page option, and Google has made billions per year with its paid advertising platform, Google Adwords (not a social platform).
Social business pages are best used to communicate with clients or customers on a more personable level, encouraging people to recommend a particular business to their loved ones based on the good relationship they have established with a business owner. Social media is the most popular online activity and if you haven’t created a business page on any social platform yet, we strongly recommend that you do so as a growing number of the US population likes to make buying decisions based on other people’s recommendations. Social media are excellent places for finding such recommendations.
Implementing These Tools into Strategies
You have figured out by now that the marketing tools discussed so far (as well as those that we just mentioned but didn’t discuss in detail) will bring maximum benefit to your business if combined in different ways. For example it is very effective to have a website with social icons that offer your visitors to look at your social business pages where they can ask questions and communicate with your existing customers or a designated staff member who is able to answer specific questions about your products and services. If you have a business-related video uploaded onto YouTube, you’ll do yourself a great favor in terms of two-directional traffic if you have your website address included in the video, and a link to the video on your website. You can also embed the video on your site, which is more effective if you want your website visitors to watch the video because they see a catchy thumbnail as opposed to just a link.
In addition, you can incorporate offline marketing such as business cards and direct mail that contains links to your online property. Using multiple tools to create a strategy is vital when you want to inform more people about your business. Each web platform has its followers and by being on more than one platform, you will be reaching out to more potential clients. There are professionals that specialize in providing great marketing mix for local businesses and not all of them will cost you an arm and a leg!
In the next post, we will go into more depth on specific marketing strategy examples, so stay tuned!