Marketing Magic for Small Business

Why Small Business Needs Online Marketing

Whether your business generates a modest sum, or if profits are coming on like gangbusters, there is always room for improvement. Marketing exists in one of those nebulous areas of business where it is difficult for the average small business owner to quantify the results, and outside marketing teams can often do a dreadful job justifying their continued presence. It does not have to be this way however; read on as we illuminate the different and excitingly new forms that marketing can take in the internet age, and hopefully clear up some misconceptions about the costs as well. It is okay to be turned off by the idea of marketing, especially if you are one of those people who are better with numbers. Take a look at the graph below, it is the basis for understanding the rest of this month’s article

Graph 4This  image provides a small sampling of the information that one would see before going ahead on a marketing plan. Of course, we would have to work with you to fill out variables that are specific to your company, but you can rest assured that marketing with Pixel Lab Designs does not follow the all too common, arcane and obfuscated patterns of some marketing companies.

 

 

 

Editor’s Note: If you haven’t done so already, then please take the time to read our blog on search engine optimization. These topics are closely linked. Our optimization blog contains vital information for preparing your business’s marketing strategy.

For better or worse, the internet has changed the face of advertising as we know it. That is not to say that traditional advertising means such as TV, radio, newspapers, and billboards are dead, but there is less of an impact in some cases. Traditional advertising does have some benefits over other forms of advertising that are sometimes overlooked however. For example, whoever administrates the advertising medium will have detailed logs on demographic information. While this information is broader in scope, it is also more relevant at more times, and guarantees that advertisements will be seen by people in the local area. Unlike internet advertising, advertising on TV and radio is especially difficult to ignore because it takes place during regularly scheduled content, thus return on investment (ROI) is usually higher. For small and medium enterprises however, traditional advertising can be the bane of their existence. On top of demographics being fairly broad and potentially unsuitable for niche businesses, traditional advertising space can be expensive to buy, and expensive to produce. Small businesses will often neglect production costs in favor of better advertising space, and you have surely seen the results. Untrained actors, ridiculous premises, and bad computer graphics are all hallmarks of local advertisements, and can even be endearing in some ways. Those are the exceptions, not the mean however. Too often, potentially memorable local commercials are brought down by tinny audio and a muddy picture, and one ends up with something looking like this: (embed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bMKj4c79Ro).

 

Internet marketing occupies the strange area between traditional marketing and “new” marketing. While it has been around long enough for advertising agencies and businesses to begin taking it seriously, there is still a minor amount of disdain for the metaphorical new kid on the block. Advertisers tend to not like banner ads because of their startlingly low return rate, and consumers tend to hate any type of internet advertising out of some misguided belief that content should exist without worrying about who is paying for it. Regardless, there are some benefits of internet marketing that cannot be found in traditional venues. Thanks to the large variety of websites on the internet, there are countless options to choose from in selecting a target demographic. By utilizing Google Adwords, this process becomes even easier as advertisements you make are pushed to viewers in the local area and who are part of the selected demographic.

Adwords highlighted

 

(Adwords promotes relevant search results by placing them in prime locations on the search results page)

 

As you can see, not all internet marketing is without the potential for returns, but you must take into account the limitations of such a medium. We’ve already established that banner ads have some of the lowest interaction rates, and therefore lowest ROI rates among advertising methods, so we will focus on Google Adwords for the moment. The bold blue part of the search result, or title tag, typically only displays 50-60 characters, and the black description, or “meta description,” only shows 160 characters max. That is not a lot to work with! But, when you consider the price point for these ads, and the large amount of people who will potentially view them, then the limitations seem more reasonable. As a brief note, one other method of advertising that has recently come into vogue is sponsored content. Sponsored content typically appears on news sites with small text marking it as paid content, and is usually written by staff at either company. It’s a fairly new idea, and there has been a lot of pushback from consumers, but it can be done well in some cases, so it is something to consider.

 

Social media marketing is a form of internet marketing that focuses on utilizing the tools provided by social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, to directly interact with and market to highly customizable demographics. Twitter is, in some ways, a dying social media network, but the ease with which you can obtain detailed demographics reports from ads run there cannot be overlooked. When you place an ad on Twitter, there are options to create a general ad based on the subject matter, or to specify the ad around broadcasted events, such as baseball games. Whatever option you choose, the end result is more or less the same. You receive an “after action report” so to say, from which you can glean important details about the audience marketed to, and then can utilize said data for creating future target audiences on Facebook. Facebook is similar, but has the added benefit of being able to customize the target audience by interests, liked pages, age, and gender. To clarify for those unlikely to undertake such a task on their own, we will create ads that are tailored to the demographics of people who already like your Facebook page, and create an additional ad from the data gleaned through a Twitter promotion. That is the beauty of Facebook, there are nearly limitless options for creating audiences, which translates to more targeted viewers, which means more returns for you!

 

Of course, social media marketing is not without its issues. Think about how often you have seen an ad on Facebook. Now think about how many times you’ve actually clicked on one. Ouch, right? That’s why you have to give, to get. A free gift with purchase, a discount code that only activates after clicking the ad, something must be offered in order to draw in customers. This, understandably, turns a lot of business owners off of the idea of social media marketing, but it shouldn’t. You should consider social media marketing in the same way that you consider any other form of marketing. There are always upfront costs associated with crafting an ad, and offering something on social media can sometimes even be cheaper than following traditional methods!

 

As an aside, there are many other ways to market on social media that are not covered in this blog. For example, you may have seen a brash, young man or woman riding around on something that looks like recently:

(F.Dorla® Self Balancing Scooter)

scooter

If you have, then you’ve probably wondered where these broken necks waiting to happen came from. The short answer is China, but the actual answer is a bit more complicated. These days, many companies import electronics from China to resell at a much higher price in the United States. These “self balancing scooters” can be bought on any Chinese important site for as low as $178 dollars per unit, and often retail for $399. Not a small chunk of change there! To get their products known by the general population however, a few enterprising import businesses sent out free samples of their products to people with a large amount of followers on Instagram. A few pictures and videos later, and the initial hit that they took by sending out free product has been remedied 50 times over!

 

Without going into too much detail, that’s about all that the average small business owner needs to know regarding the variety of advertising streams available to them today. There are other options, which can be assessed on a case by case basis, but most marketing will fall under these three headings. Did you know that Google can monitor demographics information based on the people who visit it? How about that Google allows the owners of said web page to view those detailed demographics reports? By monitoring the demographics of those who visit your website, we will be able to generate target audiences that are most viable to your business, thus ensuring that no money is wasted in determining optimal audiences. Whether business is great, or in a bit of a downward slump, the time to start marketing is now! Contact Pixel Lab Designs on the web, or by phone at (757) 717-4217 to schedule a consultation today!

Brad Cole, Pixel Lab Designs

Sources

 

  1. blog.marketo.com How to Measure the ROI of Marketing Programs – Marketo Author: Jon Miller (Blog Post) Retrieved: http://blog.marketo.com/2013/03/how-to-measure-the-roi-of-your-marketing-programs.html
  2. marketing-schools.org Traditional Marketing Author: Unlisted (Encyclopedia) Retrieved From: http://www.marketing-schools.org/types-of-marketing/traditional-marketing.html
  3. en.wikipedia.org Digital Marketing Author: Unlisted (Encyclopedia) Retrieved From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_marketing


2 Comments

  1. Great Post! Thanks for this. Can I email you and ask for couple of question? 😀

  2. Eric Hanger wrote:

    bookmarked!!, I like your web site!

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