Fortunately, the more business people I speak to, the more my own perspective on the ‘recession’ is supported. Maybe it’s the circles I network and socialise in, but there are a lot of glass-half-full companies out there who are taking their business by the horns and charging ahead with promotion, taking advantage of this time to outshine everyone else (and making the most of offers, discounts, payment plans and opportunities to do it more cost-effectively).
The difference now however is that businesses are putting ROI from their marketing at the top of their priorities - more than ever before - which begs the question, “how should you spend your marketing budget?”
I’m often asked what will generate the biggest return. Of course the answer is that an integrated approach with a good all-round sprinkling of the promotional mix will always bring the bigger gains, but at the moment, people don’t want that answer – they want a more phased approach to marketing.
So, for now, I’ll start with online marketing, websites, SEO, blogging – the whole e-marketing smorgasbord – which is, without doubt, one of the wisest areas to focus on for promotion.
“The Internet works for your business is a number of ways. It makes financial sense because it offers enormous flexibility…”
With online advertising, you can continually monitor and change your message accordingly to suit the needs of your marketplace or the developments in your business.
Of course, you should have a functional, good-looking site for your advertising to link to. Your branding and message should be clear and follow your advertising message seamlessly. When visitors arrive at your site they should know instantly what you do, why they should choose you and what to do next.
Equally, a content managed website is a must, again, because of the flexibility it allows you. Search Engine Optimisation takes a great deal of effort because of the ever-moving goalposts but there are many things you can do yourself to increase your chances of being found on the web. Changing and updating website content regularly is one. Monitor your stats; find out what people are searching for; align your website with your findings and you’re well on your way to making your site Google friendly. Refreshing your website copy regularly is inexpensive and effective providing you or your copywriter understand simple optimisation techniques.
Blogging and online PR also have the power to put you in front of the people you want, without spending a fortune. Writing articles, opinions or advice on your site - and other websites - gives you the opportunity to tell the world what you know, positioning yourself as the expert and proving your knowledge.
We all know that e-mail marketing is a lot cheaper and easier to manage, produce and analyse than printed mailers but it carries some risk. The safest and most sensible way to use it is for word-of-mouth campaigns and relationship building. Your contacts are your sales people…if you look after them. Their contacts have more contacts who have more contacts…and so on. The network of potential customers at your disposal is huge. Make sure you give your recipients something to tell others about. Don’t spam them with unrelated news, stories and products. Keep your database interested, intrigued and eager to receive your next communication with highly targeted content, suited to the needs of the reader as much as you can.
Online marketing can work for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you are going to improve or introduce one activity to your marketing plan, let it be this.
If you need professional advice on websites, e-marketing or promotion of your business, please contact the friendly team at www.bigbirdmarketing.co.uk.
BigBird Marketing is a marketing and design agency near Milton Keynes, Luton and London with an experienced creative team specialising in marketing promotion, web design, branding & graphic design, telemarketing, events, copywriting and online marketing.