Two years ago, in this publication, I listed 7.5 ways to advertise and market your company for success, which you can read by visiting bit.ly/grunk. Those strategies have not changed, but your budget allocations should. Today, digital marketing solutions have nearly replaced the Yellow Pages and smart owners have shifted gears.
Market share is no longer a sustainable strategy by itself, therefore successful companies remain committed to their marketing and advertising budgets. If growing your company is still part of your strategic plan, then spending 5-7 percent of your annual revenues to brand your company and reach your target audience, should be budgeted.
Below are ways to reach potential clients in 2013.
1. Word of mouth – With Facebook and Twitter, we can now use social media to share good experiences with quality contractors openly and inexpensively. While the social sites are growing in popularity, I personally feel that clients use them for social interaction only, not to purchase goods and services. Neighbors showing neighbors a beautiful paver project is still no.1.
2. Print media – It’s still under attack from the mobile technology trend, but a large part of the population wants to see and touch your message. If your target audience includes the baby boomers, you should still include print as part of your advertising efforts. Postcards, inserts and coupon offers still attract customers and can reach a large number of readers with the same message. You should only expect a 1-2 percent response rate from your direct mail efforts.
3. Your website – A comprehensive, easy to navigate smartly managed site is the best way to market your products and services. Designing, updating and educating customers via the web will give you an edge on your competition. If you want to measure the competition, check out their website. You might be surprised by what you find.
4. Electronic “inbound” marketing – Search engine presence, QR codes, and other online tactics are all options we have to drive clients to our websites. If you know what search engine optimization (SEO) is and can measure the click-throughs to your site, then your inbound marketing efforts are working.
5. Community efforts – Green peace for troops, local sports team sponsorships, church bulletins and charitable endeavors are great ways to get your company name out in the community. Remember the goal is to have your company name in front of potential clients seven times. The truth is, we can’t read minds, so we need to make positive impressions every chance we can.
6. Radio and T.V. advertising – I need to include this every year because the local HVAC service company in our hometown earns 68 percent of his new customers from television advertising. Radio and T.V. advertising is expensive and difficult to measure, but reaches a very large audience within a short time frame. Mass media is a wonderful tool when used in conjunction with the other parts of your spider web.
In closing, times have changed and so should your marketing and advertising strategies and budgets. How many of you are reading this publication on your computer or smart phone? I challenge you to take a broader, more open minded look at your marketing and advertising ideas in the future.
The author is president of Buckeye Ecocare in Ohio.