In adding a new capability to my firm’s services this year, one of the biggest tasks I have ahead of me is creating a buzz for this new venture while balancing any investments with potential returns. I’m not naïve to the state of our economy right now – I hear the constant reports of doom and gloom that seem to permeate the airwaves these days, and my newest real estate project seems especially vulnerable to any sudden turn or drop on this economic rollercoaster. While I’m an unapologetic optimist, I’m also a businesswoman, so the debate between investing in marketing and promotions and holding on to my cash is a very real one.
So my approach in moving forward this year will be investing in inexpensive promotional activities that offer a key value for the money being spent.
1. Online marketing
For one thing, most of my efforts will be focused on online marketing. The days of ignoring online marketing are definitely gone, and there are many businesses that wouldn’t survive, were it not for the money brought in by traffic to their websites. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is especially unique, because it allows you to pay only for potential consumers or clients who have actually received your message. Facebook has incorporated some unique PPC advertising methods that I plan on doing a little more research on. The added bonus for this is that it boosts your online presence and could even result in a higher appearance in Google’s organic rankings. Researching Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and seeing how I can drive new traffic to my site will definitely be near the top of my list.
2. Promotional gifts
Promotional gifts are not usually my cup of tea – the idea of spending money on an obscene amount of trinkets and handing them out to any and everybody and then seeing them strewn across the parking lot of an expo on your way to your car after an event is not fun. (Sorry for the rant, personal experience). But using gifts to maintain relationships with my best clients, that may be in the market for this newest service stream, could be well worth the bottle of wine and postcard.
3. Word of mouth
But the best type of marketing, I think, might just be the oldest: word of mouth. It’s low cost, meets business objectives, and is the most compelling way to bring in new customers. Think about it: we’re bombarded with countless messages every day – print ads, radio ads, TV commercials, salesmen, spokespeople – and most of us don’t put much stock into what we hear from any of those mediums until we experience it ourselves. But word of mouth marketing is genuine, because the only way to effectively use it marketing is to deliver a kick-butt product or service. Putting my clients first and developing a continuous referral program where they’re encouraged to talk about my awesome service is something I’ll be putting a lot of energy and effort into.
The timing may be a little scary, but I’m focusing on the quality of my promotions rather than the quantity, and putting myself in the best possible position, even if the worst-case scenario should come true.
This article was previously published on February 7, 2012.