Advertising was so simple back in the day. Just put together a combo of print ads, TV and radio spots, maybe a sprinkling of direct mail, and you were done. Expensive, and results were hard to judge, unless you had some mechanism to measure direct response (common in direct mail, but not so much in the other media).
Now, it’s simple again. Throw out all the traditional advertising and focus on social media marketing. Get your company on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo. Get yourself a website, mix it all up, and you’re set. Right? Well, not so fast there. You have to have a plan. Yes, the sad news is that you need a social media marketing plan, just as you used to have an advertising or marketing plan. You have to have a strategy and stuff.
And where above, I said it’s simple — well, it’s not. You probably need to incorporate some traditional media in your marketing plan, too. Bummer, huh? Depends on how you look at it.
Lots and lots of people are on social media for business and pleasure alike. So you can reach lots of people there. But to reach the right people, the ones who will buy what you’re selling, social media can either be a shotgun or a laser-guided missile. Not to be too martial, here, but it is a war out there — for your attention, your interest, your dollars.
If you do only social media for business, you’ll be missing a big slice of the pie. Direct mail still works about the same way it always has. If you put together a good deal with an enticing design and copy, you can count on about a 2% response rate, which is good in DM. This is great for businesses cutting a wide swath through a zip code or a target audience.
Figure out who your ideal customer/client is, then choose your print vehicle. Your selection of magazines, newspapers or inserts can home in on a certain demographic or psychographic group you want to do business with.
For example, newspapers tend to attract older readers, so there is an excellent chance your senior-oriented business can get a response from a newspaper ad or advertorial in a special section. Check out the schedules on those with the paper’s rep. A weekly entertainment tabloid like the Pitch or Ink attracts a whole different demographic — younger, more likely to seek out funky new restaurants and new entertainment venues, more likely to be in the market for cool new clothes to wear when they go out.
Radio and TV ads are more expensive, but again, different stations attract different audiences. So if you want classical music listeners (upscale, better incomes, more need for luxury goods or senior products), check the demos of your local classical music station and the cost, and see if you think it’s worth a shot. If your ideal customer is a suburban mom, maybe you want to advertise on a soft rock station.
But let’s look at what businesses are actually doing today. A lot of companies are starting with just a website and wondering, now that I have a Web presence, what do I do to get found on the Internet? Well, you can carefully construct your messages to appeal to your most likely buyers. And you can get to the top, or close to the top, of the Google page rankings when users go there to find a business or service. How? By blogging on your website.
Blogging for business is THE best way to get higher Google page rankings. If you’re at the top of page 1, you have an excellent chance of snagging the user’s attention. The farther down the page, or the farther away from the first page you are, the less your chances. So don’t you want to be at the top? Sure.
Blogging for business is rather odd. It’s not like you can just sit down and dash off random thoughts off the top of your head, like, “What I had for lunch today, and how it tasted.” You have to deliver compelling, useful information, change it regularly, and also incorporate keywords that a user might Google in order to find you.
What would YOU Google to find you? Make a list of those keywords and use a tool like Google Analytics to find out how common and popular those terms are. Choose only words that directly pertain to your business, that people would commonly use to find you. The name of your blog is terrifically important, too. Don’t make it “Rooster Tales” if your business is die-making, for instance. The title should contain keywords, too.
Blogging for business is information, yes, and it’s also a mechanical process of utilizing keywords to get page rankings. If they don’t see you, they can’t find you, and then they can’t buy from you, can they?
Blogging for business is something most company owners either don’t have the time or desire to do. So typically, they will either hire a freelance writer to write their blog posts, or they’ll rope some junior employee into doing it when they have time. Which turns out to be virtually never, since everybody these days is already doing two jobs to save the company money. Or they might hire a blogging company that offers package deals. But beware. Some of them employ foreigners who speak English, but not colloquial English. So when they do your blogging for business, it tends to feel stilted and repetitive. Probably not worth the money, even though the package is pretty cheap.
So if you think blogging for business is the way to go, hire a professional to do a bang-up job for you. Land on the first page of Google, where potential clients/customers will find you, and supplement your blogging efforts with other traditional advertising ingredients mentioned above as needed. Hire someone who can figure out the right mix for your business. Like an experienced freelance writer who knows how to do traditional advertising and social media for business. That’s the way to reach the most potential customers where they are looking for you, whether it’s in print, broadcast or on the Web.