Many business owners are unsure of the best ways to promote their business, and are divided over print or online promotions and online and offline marketing. In reality, neither has benefits over the other if you’re purely looking at media channels.
The best ways to promote your business is to find out where your customers are. It will have no benefit to your business to invest heavily in a digital campaign if your customers consume the majority of their media offline – by reading magazines/newspapers or listening to the radio; and vice versa. The best marketing ideas are aimed at where your customers actually are.
Often it is the integration of activities, the combined efforts of both online and offline marketing, that produces the best results. Research conducted by Royal Mail (September 2015) shows that door to door can deliver online responses – which could be a visit to your website or a follow on social media – in addition to offline responses – calling to make a purchase or visiting a store. It is the integrated effect that has the most impact. Check out our tips for marketing your business locally.
Consider that the average adult receives 147 emails per day. Ensuring stand-out in that marketplace is going to be difficult unless the recipient already has an affinity with your brand. And that when the email arrives, it is at a time that they are ready to make a purchasing decision, and the subject line is directly relevant to them. Using digital as a marketing channel means facing the challenges that marketers were experiencing 30 years ago – trying to achieve stand out in a crowded marketplace.
It has long been known that we need to be exposed to something at least seven times before we act upon it and by understand who are our customers and their behaviours we can reach them through appropriate media – that is media that they will see.
Online and print – or more accurately offline (think radio, word of mouth, and TV to consider the whole spectrum) can’t be thought of as separate channels that achieve the same results. Each has it’s own merits depending on your target audience.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) releases annual data on internet usage in the UK and internet users. The last report (May 2015) still showed that 11% of adults (5.9million) had NEVER USED the internet. Predictably, 99% of adults aged between 16 and 24 consistently showed the highest rates of use of the internet. Internet usage is lower is adults aged 75 and over but only half of those adults who have never used the internet are aged 75 and over. Marketing offline therefore, is the only way to reach a large amount of customers.
Clearly, even if your business has a mature audience online activity can not be ignored but you will need to understand their offline media consumption also. Online and offline marketing need to work together to maximize your customer base.
It is worth giving consideration to the channel used to communicate with your target audience in relation to your brand position also. Your brand is what your customers call to mind when they think of you, so it's very important to include in your marketing. Check out out tips for increasing brand recognition here.
Some of the best ways to promote your business online include using a plethora of "channels" – social, advertising (PPC & Brand), SEO, website, blogging, vlogging, forums, communities, intermediary websites. You will need to understand the way that your target audience interacts with the internet in order to reach them effectively and efficiently. Customers are changing in response to the masses of information and advertising they encounter every day online. They've become "prosumers" actively engaged with products and services and seeking solutions for themselves. Find out what you can do to target prosumers here.