Alternative Marketing Tips
THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS THAT DON'T FIT NICELY INTO CATEGORIES.
THIS IS A LIST OF SOME OF THOSE STRATEGIES.
BE SURE TO TALK TO AN EXPERT TO PICK WHICH WILL WORK BEST FOR YOUR BUSINESS.
Press Releases & News Media
Press releases are an older form of marketing but with the right modern strategies can be successful. The idea here is to pre-write whatever announcement or event you want the news to include in their paper/materials and then you send it to them. Now they may get a lot of these so they'll pick and choose which ones to include and which to ignore.
One important thing to consider is the publication itself. If they post about tech, then that would be a great way to market your new software. You may or may not want to send it into a finance journal.
The other thing to consider is the value of the information. If its just announcing that you exist, that's different than announcing a new cutting edge car design that will be built in your neighborhood.
Business Cards, Brochures, & Flyers
These should come as pretty standard for business owners. That said, there are strategies and techniques for each of them to get it right. Different people have different opinions on them as well so doing your research when it comes to best marketing strategies to grow your business could prove frustrating.
I like my business cards to have my photo, name, business, phone, website and email. Some people insist they need a physical address as well. Some people don't like their photo on it. It really depends on your market, industry, and personal preference. This goes the same with your other marketing materials.
Rather than go over every possible hypothetical scenario for marketing materials, let's schedule a time to talk about your business and get you going strong.
Merchandise & Swag
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of most swag. If the swag is cheap, or if it doesn't relate to your business/industry then it's not really helping your brand. That said, if you have a quality piece of swag that is super relevant to your market, it can be a powerful tool. Some examples of this are shaker bottles for protein powder companies. No one knows what power is actually in your bottle but they see you using a specific brand and assume that's what's inside. Or a physical therapist that gives out workout towels, gym dufflebags, or yoga mats.
There are a million ways to do this right and there are double that to do it wrong. Just think it through before you buy a million pens and figure out what is your goal for this marketing effort and how effective do you think it will actually be.
If you've owned a business for any period of time and have a social media account, chances are you've heard about how sales funnels are the silver bullet for all your business marketing and advertising needs. I'll start with: that's a load of crap. They are a powerful tool and another marketing option just like a storefront, an online store, email campaigns, or any other sales tool. In the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, it can be a huge push in the right direction. For most people, its just another service to dump money and time into.
They also work way better in some industries than others. It takes some tweaking and testing to get it just right for your market and industry. If you want to use sales funnels as part of your marketing plan, step in slowly and with the expectation to learn just like any other strategy.
Mailers, Letters, Postcards, & Thank You Notes
When was the last time you got a hand written thank you card in the mail? How about a post card? A form letter? If you think about it, getting a physical, tangible item in the mail has a different effect on you than getting an email or even a text message. When you market in the mail, you need to keep in mind some of the tricks that were learned 50 years ago but are getting lost due to technology.
That said, every business will benefit from sending out Thank you cards even if they don't embrace the entire mail marketing strategy. A thank you note to a supplier or to a customer can make a big difference when they are considering doing business with you. Don't know what to write don't want to write them yourself? No problem. That's where we come in.
Contact List Purchasing
I never recommend purchasing followers or likes on social media. Purchasing lists however? That's a totally different story. So what is a contact list purchase? Glad you asked. There are companies that collect data and information on individuals. This can be from Google, LinkedIn, or their on sources. Then they categorize them and can sell you a copy of those people's contact information. This is valuable because you can now reach a large portion of the target group you've been working at building and would take you forever organically.
Examples of lists you can buy would be people looking for a home or car, business owners in a region, retirees, etc. The value of the list depends significantly on the quality of the leads and therefore the trustworthiness of the company you bought the list from. It can be a gamble sometimes if you don't know what you're doing but if you need contacts, it can be a great way to grow an initial database of contacts.
Webinars & Online Courses
Webinars are a slightly different strategy when it comes to videos. They are usually between 20 minutes and 60 minutes long and are an infomercial about a topic or selling a product. These scripts are CRUCIAL to get right ahead of time and there is a lot of science that goes into the information, how its conveyed and when its conveyed to get the desired result.
On top of the script itself, there are a few ways to create a visual for a webinar. You can do a PowerPoint with text, a video of yourself, an explainer video, etc. The trick is in the word you use and how you put them together to get the sale.
If you want help making your webinars, we won't hold it against you. These are not easy nuts to crack and it can get expensive when they don't get the results you want.
Television, Radio, & Traditional Media
I mentioned press releases above but lets touch on traditional marketing sources as a whole. This includes newspapers, magazines, and nowadays also includes online news media as well. These all have specific readerships and unique advantages and disadvantages.
Similar to the other paid advertising in the digital world, you should do the same market research before jumping into buying ad space in print or in traditional media. For some businesses, industries, and target markets, this could be the best use of your ad budget. For others it could be a complete waste of time. If you need help with research or deciding how to best reach and convert your audience into customers, we're happy to help.
Copy Writing & Sales Storytelling
Feel that smile when I write something silly in the middle of these blurbs on marketing strategies? That's deliberate. See, I want you to feel something so that you want to work with me in the future. We in the copy writing world call this "engagement."
As you can probably guess, I'm the copy writer for Sharper Steel Marketing. My job is to make sure that every word that is on this site is here for a reason and is going to help the visitor in some way. Sometimes my job is to invoke emotion. Other times its to identify a gap in your thinking so you are curious. Often my job is to steer you towards a purpose (like scheduling a call with us to grow your business.)
Without an experienced copy writer, all your marketing can be confusing or just plain ineffective. Having a talented copy writer on your team can change even basic drag-and-drop websites into powerful engines for your business. (Plus we usually write all the social media posts, we write the email campaigns and the newsletters.) If its text, we are in charge (and that's why we try to get paid more than the web developers and web designers.)
Sponsorships, Partnerships, & Local Events
Other ways to be seen especially at the community and local level are through participation and sponsorships of local charities, events, networking mixers, etc. These all increase your local visibility and make sure that your own neighborhood knows who you are and what you do. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages so its important to ask the right questions before swiping your credit card.
Some considerations (from a marketing perspective not necessarily a "give back to the community" mindset) are: how many people will be there, what are their demographic information, are they prospective clients or referrals, are they migrating or permanent residents (think of a conference), are these people you're already connected with, what value can you expect from this group of people, and how much is it going to cost in both time and resources to sponsor and be visible?
Streamline Workflow & Customer Experience
This is the single most overlooked part of marketing and Sharper Steel's claim to fame in the marketing world. Lets say everyone in the world knows who you are and loves your brand but the process for purchasing from you is confusing, painfully long, or just doesn't work. If that's the case you'll have very little effectiveness no matter what strategies you use to market yourself.
Now let's consider the reverse. No one knows who you are but your pipeline is polished and perfect. Now with even a very little amount of promotion, its very easy for prospects to turn into clients. Plus it was so easy and effective, they are more likely to refer you to their friends and thus a business was born.
So I used to get calls all the time from business owners that said they needed more marketing. But as soon as I looked at their operations it was clear that they didn't need more leads, they just needed a better pipeline for their customers. They were losing 100% of their customers before they ever bought anything. No amount of advertising can fix that.
That was when I started cleaning up peoples operations before turning up their marketing. This helped in a variety of ways. They brought in more customers, they got more sales per advertising dollar, they saved a lot of wasted money and my personal favorite, they saved a lot of time because the process was so clean. Who doesn't want all of that? Pretty soon I had other marketing companies bringing me in to clean the operations before they could start their marketing strategies.