Marketing is a powerful tool which can make or break your business prospects. It is essential that marketing techniques are well thought out and constructed, so that you have a strategy that will reach your customers. Here I would like to discuss mixed media marketing, using a combination of offline and online techniques to market your business.
With the business world changing at an almost alarming rate, it is essential that you keep up with the current trends, to engage people with your business and turn them into loyal customers. I will divulge a few insider hints and tips that will help you to create a holistic marketing campaign, with mixed media. You will learn how to track customer response to your marketing campaign online, whilst still using offline strategies; that will help your strategy to snow ball.
1 – Know your customer
Any marketing campaign should start with market research, which will help you to understand your customer’s demographics, and in turn their likes and needs.
If you already have an established customer base, one way to get this information is to survey existing customers, asking them about their likes/dislikes, what social media platforms they use most often, and if they are present on any internet forums.
As an enticement to take part in the survey, perhaps offer a % discount to anyone that fills in the survey. Try to keep the questions simple, and a maximum of 2 pages, with a clear disclosure of how many questions are left before the end of the survey. This should help avoid losing visitors part way through, who may fear a never-ending list of questions.
If however you don’t already have an established customer-base, you have two options:
a) Employ a market research company to find this information out for you (potentially less hassle, but could be somewhat costly).
b) Carry out the research yourself. Find somewhere that your would-be customers gather, and get permission from the business premises to survey those present, offering a gift voucher for your store in return for completing the survey, or perhaps entry to a contest with a decent prize. For example, if you sell sportswear, try to get such an agreement with your local gym. The prize could then be a year’s membership to the gym for the respondents’ friend or family member – a good prize, and one the gym will find agreeable as the winner may turn into a life-long customer for them too!
2 – Where is your customer’s main source of media- Print or Digital?
In the current age, your clients will usually fall into one of two camps – old school and new school. These have nothing to do with age, but the way that they like to engage with media. Old school clients will gain their main media contact through print journalism – mainly magazines and newspapers.
If the market research you carried out in #1 means you have deemed that your clients are likely to fall into this camp, then focus on print advertising, business cards and in store tasters to start the engagement process. If your main client group is not in the old school camp, think of some imaginative ways to reach customers on the ground.
3 – Drive traffic to your site with URLs
Where ever you advertise your business offline, use a URL which will give your new customers a link to your website. Keep the same home page for all customers, but modify the URL link, so that it differs from each source it came from. Have a specific URL for every newspaper, magazine, business card or poster so that the URL link to your site can be tracked. You can use the Google custom URL builder for this purpose, and set-up filters in your Google Analytics account to track the results.
Using custom, trackable URLs can be a great way to understand which offline marketing channel has driven traffic to your site. If an offline method is not bringing in much traffic then it can be dropped, saving you money. It is also wise to re-think your client demographic and where they might be reached on a regular basis.
4 – Make Online Media Work
Now you have started to increase the traffic to your site through offline media, it is time to start using online tools to increase traffic further and target the new school customer set. This set uses the internet as their main source of media. Don’t be daunted; there are a number of ways to give your company an online presence to reach them.
By using PPC advertising with Google or Bing, you can advertise your site online, both on Google and also on selected websites that match your customer demographics. For some expense, this should increase your traffic flow.
SEO and social media are also excellent ways of engaging with new-school customers. Find out what forums and social networks your customers frequent and get active on those channels. Don’t be spammy, and don’t try to aggressively promote yourself! Instead, be helpful and give advice. Joining forums and answering industry related questions, answering tweets from users asking for help with related topics, plus sharing related news on both your own and other peoples websites are all great ways to give your company a friendly, but professional online presence.
Be helpful to your customers and their social circles, they will remember this and respect you for your efforts. This respect will in time turn into trust, and people are usually happier buying from those they trust.
5 – Entertain
Now comes the fun bit; entertain your customers. Start a customer friendly social media campaign which will engage your customers and their friends. You will need a Facebook page, a Twitter account and perhaps your premises registered on FourSquare – a great medium for advertising your products and services locally on mobile devices! Be entertaining and warm with your social message, remember one bad recommendation will be spread by seven, but a good one will go twice as far!
If you are following the advice from #4, you will be connecting with people and gaining their trust. As well as interacting with people on a professional level, giving advice and solving problems, making people laugh or smile is also a great tactic. If people feel that you are ‘on their side’ from a professional point of view, AND you are able to make them smile on occasion, then your relationship with your customers will grow and grow.
This section is the cherry on the top of your marketing campaign. Bring the process full circle by joining all the pieces together. Give out a URL in-store to customers with a link to a recommendation page. If the customer recommends your business to a friend via social media, give them a QR code. The QR code will entitle them to a discount, free product or service in-store, which will make them come back to see you again. This strategy can snowball, creating loyal customers and growing your client base at the same time.
There you have it, a basic, holistic approach to mixed media marketing, using on and offline strategies to develop a great marketing model. I hope you enjoy implementing the above suggestions and reaping the benefits they provide!