Now more than ever, consumers research products and services online before purchasing. Even in brick-and-mortar stores, 82 percent of smartphone users look up reviews or information about the product they are about to buy. So it makes sense that 99 percent of businesses plan to increase their digital marketing investment next year. Marketing messages must be online to reach those customers who actively seek information in digital spaces.
But digital marketing isn't the be-all and end-all of marketing and advertising.
While digital marketing tools need to be part of all stages of the buyer's journey, so do traditional marketing tactics. Such outbound marketing can be used for both the awareness and decisions stages of a consumer's journey. Digital and traditional marketing must play well together – after all, if your consumer isn't looking for you, they'll never find you without a mix of both.
When putting together your company's marketing plan, don't give up on traditional marketing. You'll leave leads on the table. The right mix of traditional and digital, placed in the right media and targeted to the right people, can make a world of difference in the way consumers find and interact with your brand. Even better, as the marketing world has turned its focus to digital advertising, many traditional channels have become cheaper, meaning they're more accessible than ever for small businesses with limited budgets.
What's old can be new again
The more places consumers see your ads, the more likely they are to remember your message. But people are getting pounded with messages, and every business is vying for the strongest message on the right platform. Unfortunately, this means that the average consumer sees up to 10,000 advertising and marketing messages each day. With all the noise on digital and ads following consumers' every move, your buyers are uncomfortable.
Traditional marketing is an overlooked medium. This means that if you give it a shot, you're more likely to stand out. With technological integration into these channels, you can find smart, interesting ways to reach consumers through both traditional and innovative marketing strategies – all without breaking the bank.
Here are my five favorite strategies to harness the power of traditional marketing with new innovations.
1. Billboards and geotargeting
Billboards are still one of the top ways to advertise in specific markets, reaching more than 90 percent of the population. For a long time, the high price tag of billboards prohibited smaller business from utilizing them, but the newer digital styles of billboards offer much lower rates (as little as a third of the cost) for virtually the same exposure. To get even more bang for your buck, pair billboards with geotargeted ads to hit the drivers' smartphones with a banner ad after they pass for an extra-strong marketing message.
2. Magazines and digital content
Don't believe that print is dead. The magazine industry is still holding on to its loyal consumers. Because magazines are often geared toward niche audiences, they are prime for reaching specific target markets. Publications focused on special interests such as business, travel, antique cars, diving and investing are excellent media for hyperfocused consumer sections. Consumers turn to magazines for their niche point of view, so brands that partner with magazines often get a boost in trust with the readership. When considering advertising, native advertising, sponsored content or event sponsorships with magazines, make sure to inquire about methods to reach the magazine's digital audiences as well, whether that's through its social media, website or digital editions.
3. Newspapers and online ads
Local publications are getting thinner and thinner, but depending on the audience, there's still a group of people who like to enjoy a cup of morning joe and read the paper. Have you looked at the advertising lately? Some of my advertising clients are home builders, so local newspapers are right up the alley of the target market. The home section of the newspaper used to be competitive – meaning it was expensive and jampacked with other builders. Now, the paper might have two or three advertisers, and the prices have gone way down.
This is great for small businesses with smaller budgets. Not only do you pay less, but you can also get a much larger ad for your money. Most newspapers have online components, and you can always negotiate added value for some banner ads or social media posts on their channels.
4. Television and video ads
It's true that many younger consumers are cutting the cable cord, but marketers don't have to make the choice between cable and streaming, especially because TV advertising has become much cheaper. Lots of consumers still watch the news, for example. Find out what your target audience likes and run a commercial that tells your story. You can run a decent schedule for about $5,000 a month. Producing a TV spot might cost around $10,000 to $25,000, but it's a great investment because you can reuse the content you create for other digital channels.
If cable TV isn't where you want to be (or is still too cost-prohibitive), most cable stations have apps, video channels or even YouTube channels that you can buys ads on, often at lower price points. Make video ads of different lengths – such as six seconds, 15 seconds and 30 seconds – that can be repurposed for social media, digital streaming and your website.
5. Radio and streaming ads
People still have favorite radio stations, and you can get more exposure for your ads when you buy both broadcast and online spots. Hit people during their morning drive when they are looking for traffic reports and local news. Most radio stations will produce your spot for free if you have a tight budget. If it's a great spot, buy additional placement on Pandora, Spotify and YouTube. You can also use the spot to reach people through popular podcasts.
As more and more businesses turn their eyes to digital advertising, they leave more room to play in traditional channels. As long as you uniquely tell your story and find ways to reuse your content to get more value out of your buys, you'll have a strong strategy. So stop believing that traditional advertising tactics are going the way of the dinosaur. By combining these methods with new, digital opportunities, your company will stand out and be seen.
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