Many business owners are asking themselves, “Where do I need to advertise in order to reach my target clientele?”. While there are a lot of options available, the answer is not so straightforward. There are a lot of variables that go into promoting your business and ROI should be at the top of that list. After all, if you are not getting a return on your investment, you are just throwing money away!
Let’s take a look at the most common forms of business promotion. As we do, we’ll examine the pros and cons to each, and determine what kind of return you can expect on your investment.
The good old phone book. I say “old” because it is a very outdated form of advertising which gets very little exposure these days. I am not sure exactly how much a phonebook advert costs nowadays, but I am confident in saying that you can expect little to no ROI on your promotional dollar here.
However, let’s not dismiss it entirely. They still do exist and SOME companies are paying for advertising space there. Let’s look at who would be likely to search through a phonebook for products and services. Hotel occupants perhaps, the elderly maybe?
So, who would be a good fit to advertise here? Perhaps a taxi company could get some fares from out of town visitors. Restaurants may also get some visitors looking them up. Let’s not forget, however, that even though phonebooks are available in most hotels, people visiting new place do often have mobile phones which they can easily use to find what they are looking for.
Direct Mail Advertising
Paper mailings used to be a huge advertising method. These days, people tend to easily dismiss paper mail unless it is in the form of a bill or personal matter. however, there is still a time and place in which mail adverts can work.
Take local restaurants for example, if you get some coupons for a local restaurant, you may be inclined to keep a hold of them. These can be valuable next time you want to go out to eat. What does that mean for the restaurant owner? More customers!
People still do collect coupons, and local grocery stores are likely to get the most attention out of this.
Services offered locally can also have some decent response. Don’t expect a huge ROI, but if you position your service correctly, you can make some decent money. For example, if you offer HVAC services and run a before winter special to clean and inspect peoples heating systems for efficiency and safety, you could very well alert people of an important service that they didn’t even know they needed.
Do you think they are going to take the time to shop around if they do decide that they need this service? It is highly unlikely.
Another approach would be to put out a cheap mailer to let people know who you are and what you do in the time of the year they would be most likely to need your services. For example, a landscaper could mail something out in the springtime. It is always good to attach a special offer or discount to maximize the chance of someone calling you.
The bottom line is that, although mailers can be somewhat effective, most people will tend to place the ad’s they feel are worth keeping in a pile. This pile is likely to get lost or forgotten about. When a person does decide they need a particular service, they are most likely to pull out their phone and type in something along the lines of: Kids Dentist Spokane.
When they do, they will find our favorite Pediatric Dentist in Spokane in the#1 organic and local positions:
Yes, we do manage their online marketing. However, the point here is not to toot our own horn, rather to show you, the business owner, the value of being found online. This is where people go to find the services they are looking for.
Granted, if they are holding a mailer in their hand that offers a special, they may be inclined to call. Still, it is too easy to hop online and call the competition as well. People tend to shop around.
In fact, this just happened to me last month. I received 3 fliers from different area dentists. I needed a dental exam, so I called on the flyers. I then proceeded to look at who was showing up in Google. After calling those in the top results, I went with one I found in Google.
Now, this could go either way. However, it is all to common for any service that costs any amount of money to be researched online before a decision is made. So, it’s important to look at the costs involved when considering direct mail marketing. Most importantly, position yourself as the best.
Optimal Mail Marketing Method: Want to know the secret of dominating the competition with this method? It’s really quite simple. If you decide that paper mailers are right for you, why not be sure you are found online as well? This way you maximize your potential to convert the consumer into a customer!
Classifieds are around and have been used effectively in newspapers and free classified printed publications. While viewed much more than phonebooks, they have lost a lot of value since the internet and mobile devices have become commonplace in society.
If you are selling a home or a vehicle, this could be a good way to go. However, don’t expect a huge response. Remember, that people tend to search online before resorting to offline methods. It’s too much of a hassle for them as opposed to the convenience of looking it up online.
On the other hand, most classifieds are available online and some exclusively online. Therefore, as long as you are not spending a large portion of your advertising budget, you should be ok with placing a few classified ads. However, it may not be the best fit more most businesses.
The thing to remember here: Monitor the results. Know where your leads are coming from. If you get no leads from a paid classified ad, then it is obviously not worth paying for. You can never go wrong with free classified advertising platforms like craigslist.com, though.
Radio / Television Advertising
Yes, people do still listen to the radio and they watch TV. However, with boxes that allow you to skip commercials and video streaming from services like Netflix, local television advertisements are much less effective than they used to be.
The radio is less popular than it once was as well. Modern technology has brought about portable music devices or all shapes and sizes. CD players are common in vehicles nowadays and USB ports are getting more common.
If you have an exciting or amazing event, you might get some attention from media advertising, but it is getting harder and harder to get a return on your money spend with T.V. and radio adverts.
Bottom line: Media advertising should be used as a secondary method of advertising.
When someone hears a radio advert, they are likely to look it up online. People are getting accustomed to finding out more about a company by looking at their website. So, if you can’t be found online, especially when they search for your specific business name, you are losing out on a lot of potential leads.
When you are driving down the road, what billboards to you commonly see? Around here it’s hotels, emergency rooms, casinos, or some sort of public announcement. Heck, even the state lottery is up there. So, unless you are appealing to travelers, gamblers, or emergency services, this may not be the best form of business promotion.
Marketing on the internet has many different directions. The most commonly known of which is Search Engine Marketing (SEM). This is where your website is ranked in the highest possible position for key phrases which buyers of your services are most likely to type into the search bar.
Now, there are several different ways to get your website on page one:
The easiest of which is Pay Per Click. This is where you pay Google each time someone clicks on your ad, which directs a person to your webpage.
The downfall to this is that you pay whether the person clicking on your ad converts to a customer or not. This can get quite expensive depending on your niche. You can expect to pay anywhere from $0.02 per click all the way up to $100+ per click for the extremely high competition key terms.
So, if you decide to go with this option, watch your ROI! Determine how much revenue you are bringing in compared to the amount you are spending.
Organic Rankings –
This is also referred to as “free traffic”. With plenty of time and effort, you could technically get your site ranked very well for many search phrases. However, this is not optimal for most business owners.
While it is not free to get your site to the first page of the organic listings (it’ll cost you time or money), you are not paying per click or per lead. This means that you could attract clients for many years to come! You could even expand your efforts and rank for other key terms to bring in more targeted traffic.
This is an asset that you own and can bring you a steady flow of business forever, if done correctly.
The bottom line is that organic rankings will provide you with a much higher ROI than any form of paid advertising. Not to mention that local businesses can be found in Google’s local results as well with no additional investment (see this in the screenshot above).
Additionally, your site can be found in Google carousel, which is the images on the top of the page available in some areas, giving you 3 places to be found on a single page!
Social Media –
Everyone knows that social media is great for marketing! However, it really goes hand in hand with having a good website. You want to have a place to send people, right? This is the perfect way to announce your business and show off your web site, which increases brand recognition.
For this very reason, a basic social media campaign can go a long way to help Google and visitors trust your site and your business. However, it should not be your primary form of promotion.
How To Proceed
First of all, you need a website that is capable of ranking. Google has very strict guideline about what a good site is and how it should be structured. We Can help you with that.
Let’s not forget about conversion factors. What is going to make a visitor want to contact you? We know what works best and are willing o help you with that as well.
Next, you need to get that site ranked in the search engines. If you have plenty of time and know what you are doing, you could do this yourself. However, it is easier today more than ever to displease Google and get your site penalized, which means you will not be able to rank for anything.
We stay on top of Google’s guidelines and know how to best rank your site while following the rules.