There are a number of ways in which you can market your company but there does seem to be an on-going debate between traditional offline marketing and utilising online marketing to capture that new audience.
Your marketing practice also allows you to build brand recognition over time, giving you the tools to retain a client base as well as aiming to attract new custom.
Offline marketing encompasses a number of different avenues, from traditional print advertising to radio and television adverts and networking. It can be a lot easier for a person with a traditional mindset to see the facts and figures related to offline advertising as opposed to online and can also be an effective tool to keep your brand in the limelight.
Print Advertising: This is seen as one of the most traditional ways of attracting new customers. You can purchase adverts in newspapers and magazine’s on a local or national scale, depending on your budgets, and also have the ability to target readers of specific publications related to your industry. Although it can be an expensive operation, especially for a start-up business, if seen in a well known and trusted publication, you should see a return on your investment.
Direct Mail: Once you have collected a database of information of both customers and potential customers you have the chance to send them direct mail. Direct mail allows you to target individuals with specific messages that are tailored to them, whilst also keeping your company image in their minds on a semi-regular basis, offering discount codes and latest offers. The drawbacks include the cost of mailing potentially thousands of clients and the fact that it can be seen as spam mail and instantly dismissed by the recipient.
Networking & Conferencing: You can’t beat a bit of traditional networking and getting to know people. If you put your name and image to a local or industry networking event or conference you can guarantee that you’re name will be seen by fellow businesses, local suppliers and potential clients and other start-up businesses. With networking it is more about the long haul and getting your name recognised on a long term basis. By being a guest speaker at a conference you can become a well known name in your field.
Business Cards & Brochures: With your business cards, leaflets and brochures you have a chance to make an instant impact with your design, logo and company branding. You should look for start-up business packages that supply you with stationary branding and bespoke brochures that can be sent to prospective clients and give you a familiarity and chance to leave an impression when in a business meeting.
As much as results from marketing has its roots traditionally in the offline type in recent years the focus has started to shift towards online marketing and making the most of a world where more and more people from all demographics and locations are using the internet.
There are again, a number of different ways in which you can capture a new audience online, from creating a website, blogging, using paid advertising on search engines and utilising the many different social media platforms available, and there are a number of benefits:
Cheaper than Offline: By using online marketing a start-up business can stretch their marketing resources much further than if they solely went down the traditional offline route. Website design and search engine optimisation is not cheap if you want to have long term and in-depth campaigns provided by specialists, but it is instantly more rewarding and takes less of your budget than a traditional marketing campaign. There is also a lot you can do online yourself for free or with a low budget, especially when it comes to social media.
Wider Variety of Options: With the internet expanding in capability and users you have a much wider set of options to use in order to entice new customers. From website to blogs, videos to paid advertising, you can test out different ideas and tweak your approach as it is live to ensure the very best outcome for your business. It can be a lot more hands on than offline marketing but there is so much more control in the process.
Track Real Time Results: When marketing online you have more scope for analysis than offline as you are able to see what type of people are replying to your ads, or interacting with you on social media. Quite quickly you can build up a profile of your perfect customer in this way. You also have the ability to put in place tracking codes to determine real time results as they occur, seeing a real return on investment that might not always be apparent at first with offline marketing.
Build Better Customer Care: This goes back to a previous post about generating new clients but it is worth saying again; being online allows you to have real time access to your clients and potential clients. You can hone your customer service skills on a daily basis, react to any praise or criticism instantly and build up a rapport with your audience, something that is just not possible with offline marketing.
Instant Conversions: Online marketing can produce instant conversions from potential clients. Whereas an advert in a newspaper might take some time to design, develop, edit and then to be printed, published and sold, an online advert can be up in a matter of hours. In this respect you could develop a number of campaigns and reach new leads and conversions before a print advert has even left your desk.
Online marketing provides start-up businesses with an exciting challenge and a way of reaching people all over the world in an instance. In reality your marketing stance will reflect the size of your business, the budget you are working with and the type of people you are trying to attract as customers. Test out different methods, track and analyse your results and very often you will find a compromise between a few different strands of marketing that work for you.
Take the time to read through our guides for start-up businesses. There is plenty of advice and help available so don’t be frightened to take the plunge.
Our Free Download section is also full of templates including a Marketing Plan Template which will help you get started.