As you formulate your business plan, one thing to consider is how you should spend the money you allocate to marketing. There are various types of marketing campaigns you can implement, from TV and radio ads, to online marketing, to utilizing organizations who staff marketing specialits.
In my experience as a business owner, there are two different forms of marketing: direct marketing and indirect marketing. Here I will discuss the different types of campaigns you can launch, marketing organizations available for small businesses, and how to make sure that no matter what campaigns you implement, that your dollars will be spent efficiently.
Indirect marketing is a form of marketing that does not directly go to your target audience, but goes to a partner, vendor, or associate of the audience. Through this method, you are showcasing your products or services through a source that your audience trusts. If you are going to implement an indirect marketing campaign, some strategies utilized will include the following:
- Referral Marketing/Word Of Mouth: This is where your customers go out and tell their partners, associates, and other colleagues how wonderful your business is. This can generate a stream of new leads without putting forth much effort (time, energy, and capital) to generate them. A type of referral marketing campaign could be a “Give $10, Get $10” where your customers share a code with their network for $10 off if someone in their network uses the code.
- Center Of Influence Network: This is where you work with partners, professionals, and associations that either represent, currently service, or are partnered with your target audience. You would work out an agreement for them to forward you leads and referrals directly, or perhaps you could run various forms of ad placements on their marketing mediums that allow you to communicate your message to the end-user.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is the process of increasing inbound leads through search engines to your website. To do this, you’ll have to be strategic and technical about the content on your website and how it appears to both users and search engines. Another component of this could include things like video marketing, podcasts, blogs, and other tools that a potential client may search for to find your website or information about your product.
Direct marketing is all about having some form of business communication that goes directly to yoru target audience. If you are going to implement a direct marketing campaign, you might try:
- Direct mail campaigns
- Television ads
- Radio ads
- Billboard ads
- Print/magazine ads
- Telemarketing/call centers
- Email marketing campaigns
- Internet marketing via blog, vlog, podcast
There are a variety of different marketing firms, agencies, and organizations that assist with bringing in more traffic, potential customers, and potential leads to your company.
- PR firms: These firms focus on media and will promote your business via online and offline publications, networking events, speaking engagements, and other means.
- Call centers: These are firms that store individuals in a room to make outbound calls to prospective clients in an attempt to generate new leads. Many of these can be stored internally, or outsourced either domestically or offshore.
- TV/radio ad buyers: If you are going to advertise via television or radio (locally or nationally) you would need to buy airtime from a media buying agency.
- Other marketing firms: There are many other firms that might help in a variety of ways, such as manage a bulk mail campaign, email campaign, SEO strategy or incorporate some of the other above operations such as call centers into the overall strategy.
If you choose a marketing firm to work with, make sure you formulate a marketing plan for your business first. Decide how you’re going to allocate your marketing dollars, what mediums you will use, and what campaigns you will implement, as well as your goals for those campaigns.