The economy is dragging and budgets are tight these days for small businesses.
(profound, I know…)
While it’s an obvious statement, it’s also a reality that business owners deal with every day. Staying afloat requires good, consistent marketing, and good, consistent marketing requires good, consistent money – money that sometimes really needs to go towards your rent or to your payroll. So if you are able to find some room in your budget to use on marketing, it’s vital that you find something that is going to be an effective resource.
For a long stretch of time, print advertising was always at the top of the list, but in today’s world, magazine and newspaper ads are no longer the answer.
Let me first be clear that I am not saying that print ads are worthless. There are sure to be some industries that may still benefit from a well placed 4.875×4.875″. What I am saying is that there are often better ways to spend that money that will not only give you more effective results but results that will last longer as well.
Times have changed for print advertising. It used to be that brand recognition was the golden key to gaining customers, and magazines and newspapers were the places to do it; now, not only is print media losing their audience, but consumers are also so overloaded daily with brands trying to get their attention that they have become desensitized to traditional marketing altogether.
The proof of this is in the success of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Businesses are finding out more and more that consumers are responding drastically better to interaction with a brand, whether that be a direct conversation through Facebook, an interactive video on their website or sharing information that is valuable to them through Twitter. People want to feel like they have a tangible connection with a brand, and the popularity of these sites now gives them ample opportunity to do that. Consumers are beginning to expect that kind of interaction from your company.
A Better Solution
The average cost of a 1/3 page color ad around Bryan-College Station is roughly around $1200 per month. With that same amount of money, you could instead hire a part time employee to spend 15-20 hours per week managing your business’ social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc.). This could be their task list for every week:
- Check each profile and generate conversations with customers and other business around town
- Respond quickly to any questions thrown your way
- Post photos and videos of content relative to your industry and that is interesting to your customers
- Run contests and polls that encourages direct interaction with your business
- Ask for constructive criticism for your business and dialogue with people on how you are making positive changes (people love to be listened to)
The underlying goal here is to take advantage of these pipelines and to build relationships with your customers. This will not only get some great buzz going around, but it will cultivate very powerful brand loyalty from the people that interact with you.
I promise you, it’s more worth the money than a slight glance at your ad as they are flipping the page.