We often get asked where the best place is to spend their marketing efforts and dollars. Social media? Email marketing? Paid ads? Direct mail? The answer is, there is no one answer. As a matter of fact, it’s critical to use a variety of marketing efforts to reach your target audience and get the best results out of your efforts.
Where does your target audience reside?
There are a few considerations when deciding where you should spend your marketing dollars. First and foremost, you need to know where your target audience resides. Are the people you’re trying to reach more likely to be on social media, getting their information by email, or by print or direct mail? Chances are, it’s a combination of several platforms, so why choose only one? People consume information in different ways, so finding tactics that fit all the learning styles makes sense. Some people would prefer reading content online, while others want something tangible in hand to read. Other people are more visual and would benefit from marketing that incorporates images or videos. Variety is key to make sure you’re not excluding potential customers in your marketing.
What’s the cost vs. ROI?
The next consideration is cost and getting the most out of your money spent or return on investment (ROI). Using social media helps you build brand awareness, increase your customer base, and connect with current and past customers to build better relationships. In fact, one study revealed 90% of marketers say social media is important to their business. Unless you pay for ads, social media is free (except for your time!). Email marketing can be affordable as well, with options for free platforms like Mailchimp or reasonably priced options like Constant Contact. You have more control over your marketing message with an email, as you can segment your lists to more customize your marketing to your intended audience. The typical ROI on email marketing is 30%. Direct mail, while more of an initial investment than social media or email marketing, actually has one of the highest returns on investment of all marketing tactics, right behind social media and email marketing, at 29% ROI. That might not seem very high, but when you consider that paid search has an ROI of 23% and online display at 16%, that number looks a lot more attractive!
Measure results to help guide your efforts
Which brings us to the last consideration: being able to measure results. Social media platforms provide analytics to see how well your efforts are performing. Email marketing platforms also offer insights such as delivery rate, open rate, and click-through rate. Direct mail provides very specific demographics since the recipient list is predetermined, making measurement of results easier.
These are just three examples of marketing tactics available, but it helps drive home the point: small business owners would be wise to incorporate several strategies into their marketing efforts. If you’re not sure which tactics are right for your small business, engage the help of a marketing professional to help determine what will work for you.
Make sure your various efforts are working together
Let’s say you decided that the perfect trifecta of marketing tactics you’re going to focus on are social media, email marketing, and direct mail. While they’re obviously three different platforms, they should all work together towards the goal of website visits, making the phone ring, or getting someone to reach out for more information. So how do you ensure that all three are working together? Here are a few quick tips:
- Link to your social media channels in your email marketing
- Encourage people to sign up for your email list on your social channels
- Mention your social channels in your direct mail pieces
- Tell your social media followers what you’re featuring in for your latest direct mail piece
Always give people multiple ways not only to hear from you (your marketing efforts) but how they can contact you and stay engaged with your brand. People may want to be on a mailing list but not want emails. They may love emails but choose not to follow you on social. They may enjoy your social media messages but aren’t big into physical mail. You can see why having your various marketing efforts work together and cross-reference each other can only help your marketing efforts.
The key to strong, effective marketing is to choose a few reliable tactics that you know you can execute well, measure, and get the best ROI from. Depending on your industry and target audience, what those tactics are may vary widely. If you’ve been doing a fair amount of marketing up to this point, go back and see what results you’ve garnered from different efforts. If you haven’t started yet, it might be a good idea to start with a marketing strategy to help guide your decisions. It’s important to use a variety of marketing tactics to reach your prospects. Know where they reside, understanding your ROI, working synergistically between your efforts and measure for the best results.
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