Marketing a new small business product or service in a highly fragmented media world has become trickier than ever. Relying only on slow-moving, old-school methods such as direct mail and print ads is a thing of the past. Today, success belongs to those who compile the most effective media mixture.
The media mix you choose could be the difference between cheers and yawns, says Dan Adams, whose firm Advanced Industrial Marketing conducts training workshops worldwide. The first step for any business owner is simply to understand the different online (digital) and offline (traditional) options.
Compared to traditional media, online marketing makes it easier for you to track results and generate low-cost leads, notes Adams. But most importantly, digital marketing makes you “findable” on the Internet. In most transactions today – and especially business-to-business – the prospect finds the supplier, not the other way around. And that’s usually through an online search.
14-Course Marketing Menu for Small Business
Here are today’s top 14 most effective marketing methods, including seven digital and seven traditional:
1. Online Ads
You can run pay per click (PPC) ads with search engines or contextual ads displayed next to related articles.
2. News Release
Done well, this is incredibly powerful for directing Google searchers to your website. Send out news releases full of content that will appeal to readers (and editors) of online magazines, journals, and blogs. Include both a link to your website and the keywords your prospects will likely use in their Google searches.
3. E-mail Marketing
This is especially useful when you have hundreds or thousands of prospects in your target market. There’s stiff competition for attention, so consider getting help from a specialist here. It’s definitely a science.
4. Online Presentation
Delivering slideshow and video content through your website is a great way to attract attention and persuade prospects that your solution is simply wonderful. Done well, this is also one of the most powerful ways for you to build credibility.
5. Social Media
This is still emerging as an effective medium, but it’s already proving helpful when local businesses take the time to build long-term, meaningful conversations with prospects.
This is great way to connect with hard-to-reach prospects, especially professionals and business executives. As with e-mail marketing, there’s a science to this, so consider working with a firm that specializes in setting up and hosting webinars.
7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This is everything you do to rank high in Google searches, and it should also be the glue that holds your online product launch campaign together. It all starts with understanding the keywords your prospects will use… which should start during customer interviews in the front end of product development.
Seven Traditional Media Tools
1. Print Ads
This method is becoming less popular relative to online media but is still helpful for keeping your business or brand familiar and for popularizing product launch keywords for online searches.
2. Press Kit
This collection of pre-packaged materials—sent to members of the media—builds credibility with editors and journal writers. It helps them tell interesting stories about you and your product.
3. Print Article
Articles and trade or technical papers in journals now end up online as well, so fill your article full of well-planned keywords and web links to draw prospects to your website.
4. Direct Mail
This can still be an effective product launch tool, especially as your competitors switch their focus to digital inboxes. Studies show many Internet users have a printed publication in their hands while they are searching online.
5. Trade Speech
A well-delivered presentation conveys lots of complex information to a captive audience. Consider professional help to avoid “death by PowerPoint,” rehearse hard, and try using tag-team delivery.
6. Trade Show
These remain highly influential, but they are also time consuming and costly. Make sure your staff is trained and your lead follow-up is strong, or you’ll waste time and money faster here than anywhere else.
7. Sales Visit
If you sell B2B, this is still the most effective—and expensive—product launch approach. Use a disciplined lead nurturing program to make each sales call count. And spend the time and money on great sales tools and sales training to make your sales force look good.
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About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.