No one has to tell you the goal of marketing is to make a profit – spend your budget, and get enough of a return back to make the company a profit. There are many marketing channels and millions of unique media open to your business, so what do you choose?
This post isn’t long enough to be a marketing 101 course about determining your target market, so let’s cover one traditional mass medium and 2 forms of targeted, new media that your small business budget is able to afford.
The Shotgun Approach
Mass media are described often as “the shotgun approach” or “spray-and-pray media.” The truth is that most mass media are poor for direct response, and they’re much better for branding. There is one, however, from my experience, which gets a message out to lots of potential customers, has a direct response mechanism built in, and is affordable. That is the B2C trade show.
No matter what business you’re in, there are likely several B2C shows that are right up your alley. If you have anything to do with home improvement, there are multiple home shows and interior design shows per year in larger cities. If you’re into technology, there are many tech-focused shows each year. You get the idea – lots.
Plan on paying somewhere around $500-$1200 for a booth in one of these shows. Invest in a well-designed, fabric back drop to draw attention and help brand, and prepare what you’ll share with attendees who are interested.
You might be laughing and saying, “Trade shows are the oldest medium there is. They aren’t innovative or edgy.” You’re probably right, but this argument has 2 things going for it: 1. Your competitors are likely not there because they’ll be thinking the same thing, and 2. Many of these shows get tens of thousands of attendees. Where else are you going to have the opportunity to get exposure by thousands of people per day? Enough said.
No matter which medium you go with, you’re going to pay for eyeballs. If the medium is impressed upon a large group of people, it’s going to cost more. If few people see it, it will cost less.
Following this line of reasoning, what if you could laser target your exact customers and pay only for those impressions that are legitimate potential customers? Let me introduce you to inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing are the media where you are making yourself available to someone who is already in the market for it. While most traditional methods of marketing are disruptive and are trying to interrupt you from what you are doing, inbound pitches you what you’re already seeking out.
I’m quite partial to Internet marketing, and my two favorite channels are pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO). The ads you see in the sidebar when you do a search online are triggered based on your search query, and they only pay when you click on the ad. This makes for very targeted ads. They may be paying between $.15 and $15 for that click, based on how many competitors are also trying to show up for that key word, but you’ve qualified yourself with a specific search and a click, so it’s more likely to bring them business.
When search engines show you the results you searched for, they use certain criteria to decide which sites to show you. With around 40% of people clicking the first result, it can be very lucrative to be in the top spot for an often-searched keyword. This is where SEO comes in. Either bringing someone in-house to do SEO or hiring an agency can help get your business to a favorable position for certain relevant keywords. Once you’re there, searchers who already have the intent to find your product or service will come upon your business.
Although PPC pays off only as long as you’re paying, SEO has an investment quality to it so once you achieve rankings, they stay consistent for some time with little maintenance.
So there you have it – 3 very different marketing channels that can bring high ROI for your small business!
AJ Wilcox is a marketing manager who loves data and lead analysis. He’s had excellent results both on and offline and shares his experiences whenever possible. He enjoys competitive running and exotic cars, and lives with his wife and 2 kids in Utah.