I suppose the broad answer to this question depends on the sector you operate in, as there are numbers of niche or targeted platforms to promote your wares. But I will answer the question within the context it is framed.
The best form of advertising for me (somebody providing expertise) is word of mouth. This is in the form of leads from within my own network and from using social media platforms such as the usual suspects: Facebook, Twitter et al but also business platforms such as this one and LinkedIn.
I am just very clear on the services and value I can add over some of my bigger competitors. It resonates with some whilst others prefer the perceived protection of working with larger agencies/consultancies.
The key for me is keeping up to date with my networks. Even if I know they don't have any need for my services at this point, I still make sure I am in their minds and not with a sales message.
Aside from that, I am not talking from a strong base yet, as my site is still in build phase, but on other business, I have ensured my site is current, ran a blog on the site to create frequency of content and tweeted regularly about news from myself and the sector.
I always take advantage of the free/special offers from the various media owners. Google adwords coupons, LinkedIn ads trials, even Bing network.
The key thing for me is that I speak at several trade events which support my position of knowledge. This is probably my second best source of leads behind my own network
If this is intended to be a poll, then primary methods:
Local Search SEO
If this is a question looking for marketing ideas... then what others are doing has nothing to do with what you should be doing. Your marketing should be based around your own marketing plan, not anyone else's.
Kind of a broad question.
If I were responding to a client I would say it all depends on WHAT you represent, WHAT you want to say, and HOW you want the public to perceive you.
I personally have taken all my clients off SEM marketing, I simply feel that unless they have a product or service that has a short, let's say 2 month shelf life, then SEM simply isn't the solution. It might be a short term fix, but it quick becomes into an addiction that they MUST pay to maintain their page #1 position on Google... and that simply isn't the case.
Word of mouth (WoM) is a classic, and by far is still the best type of publicity available to companies. In my agency, we even use somewhat covert publicity to ignite within the general public this effect. It isn't classified as a form of publicity, but we have used it for small national companies, up to international giants such as Fox, Warner, etc.
WoM is a great way to seed offline a thought in the general public, and watch that crossover and spread virtually through the nets quickly.
Other than that, as I said before, it depends on exactly WHAT your target is. Want to be shouting 70% off your brand? Then go aggressive and bullish. Want to be more subtle and spread slowly but surely, then you have to approach the project from another angle completely.
Me personally? I find SEO, WoM, and Networking KEY to achieving what I do.
I help in the Startup scene here, I offer a few hours of my time to help teams should they wish. I am constantly active within the Expat community, and the various online groups and organisations that go with that. I consult for companies both national looking to expand globally, and international brands looking to adapt to the national market here.
That answer the question?
We use PPC and paid advertising on specific sites that are relevant to our niche.
In addition there is SE and SM marketing where we might participate in forums relevant to our niche as well as have a presence on social media e.g. linkedin, facebook, twitter.
We do some email marketing.
Our services arm mainly grew thru recommendations from clients. Our product arm qdPM Extended also grew thru feedback from users.
Frequent posting of useful, relevant content on LinkedIn and Twitter is free advertising, though it does require daily upkeep.
It will depend on the product or service to be marketed.
1)In the instances the product to be marketed is of High value,exclusive in nature,premium brands or services requiring references or relationship building etc,the strategy should not be plain vanilla selling,rather not selling at all but projecting an "EXPERT" image through a combination of quality content through a combination of credible medium like LINKEDIN, BLOG&ARTICLE DIRECTORIES
2)In other cases you can look at mass reaching the customers through a combination of 'Mass reach'online Social&other Media while clearly keeping in mind the customer profile for the product/services and linking it to the relevant online media they engage
IF I were going to be lazy..as well as highly effective..I'd use an Seo service like mine to gain 1st page rankings on Google..it works extremely well to drive traffic to your sites...also Google plus posts do the same thing..IF you want to take client acquisition to a more aggressive level...get involved in forums specific to your niche and post as often as possible..but do not spam! IF you want to slay your competition...do BOTH Forum posting and Seo together..and you will certainly get found online!
My online marketing consists of organic listing on google (SEO), google plus, Facebook page, Twitter and email marketing (email address lists are available to purchase through several companies.
although most of my work comes from word of mouth. Always ask current clients to recommend your services!
1. Social media site like linked in and facebook
2. Website ads
3 Google ads
5 By joining various business networks
SEO for long term , PPC for short term
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A short answer as more information is required to give better detailed answer .
I think, it will depend on how you want to get results and fast you want to achieve them. Advertising comes in somewhat different boxes or let's say, various method. One may resort to traditional way but as of the current trend, social media now counts a large percent that may affect your business. Exposing your business and aiming to have a wider range that will extend to your possible customers/clients is not an easy game. That is why, narrowing down the factors into the most important ones would be a great help. With your question, I would prefer to share my answer that leads to 3 pointers. First, consider what your business really is, or what you have to offer to your customers. Second, take the shoes of your customers, or more like act and think like your customer so you will be able to at least construct the probable things they wish to acquire from your business. It is about knowing what could be the expectations they have from your business. And lastly, the intensity of your desire to aim for success. Attitude and passion for your business is very, very important. So never give up, take risk in which you will not limit yourself from exploring new things to try that may benefit your business. Fuel yourself with burning desire to be ahead of the line in today's business competition. =)