All too often we second-guess ourselves; we think other people have information we lack or know more than we do, or even understand our business better than we do. We often think we need to learn more about this, that, or the other thing—especially things like the Internet and advertising, and there IS always lots to learn. But you probably know more than you think you do, and I encourage you to think of yourself as an expert!
The art of where and how to advertise your business is constantly evolving and at a frightening pace. Part research, part experience, plus a little bit of luck finding the right mix of print, broadcast, and digital is a constant challenge. The thing to remember is that you are the best person to know who your customers are; that is why you are an expert in advertising. From there, it’s a matter of figuring out where to reach those customers and what message to send in each advertising channel.
Print is dying, networking is terrific (but time-consuming), broadcast can be very expensive, so digital is the likely focus of much of your marketing plan. The latest entry into the digital category is social media, but it makes advertising challenges larger (and more exciting). However, it is an evolving segment that can’t be ignored.
The numbers are staggering. According to the Digital Marketing Ramblings website as of October, 2013 Facebook has 1.26 billion users, Twitter has 500 million, LinkedIn has 238 million, Pinterest has 70 million, and Google+ has 343 million. The problem with these sites is that the vast majority of their users are not the people you want to reach. So, how do you use e-media to target your likely customer in a way that is both effective and cost efficient.
Like other forms of advertising, with e-media you have to decide want you want to get out of it. Do you want to use it to communicate with existing customers? Then Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ may be strong channels. Looking to generate leads for new customers? Try Pinterest and Facebook, especially if you have great photos to show. Want to get the word out about your latest products and projects—use blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. To increase your visibility and drive people to your website, consider articles/blogs, Facebook and Pinterest.
Now, increase your expertise in social media by finding out where your customers are online. This is targeted marketing 101. Blasting your media out on social networks is a waste of time if your customers go to industry specific sites or blogs for their information. The best way to do this? Ask your current customers where they go online for information.
While social media is one solution, it is not THE solution. Most experts agree that if you are going to use social media, either go big or go home. A strong presence is essential. Have everything in place to back up your social media page(s) and accounts and, know what you want to accomplish and have a solid plan to do it. Make sure you have created a strong website before you start implementing a social media plan, because you will want to use these tools to push customers to your webpage where you can provide in-depth information. This is critical because the customers you find online will expect you to have a solid, information-packed webpage for them to use.
Original content is one of the best drivers for an aggressive digital presence. According to Lisa Fahoury, marketing expert and chief creative officer of Fahoury Ink, “By providing a steady stream of quality content created by you, you demonstrate your expertise more powerfully than any ad ever could and turn more prospects into customers by showcasing your knowledge in useful pieces that interest your clients, such as blog posts, informational white papers, tip sheets, and email newsletters. By educating prospects with informative materials, you drive traffic to your site, while positioning your company as a helpful thought leader, rather than an aggressive sales machine.” Here again, YOU are the expert and sharing your expertise is a powerful tool.
Because we understand this, we encourage our readers to contribute to our newsletters so that your content will definitely reach industry members. You may submit information as an article or in a Question & Answer Format. If you are interested, simple send your articles or questions to Mary-Carel Verden at email@example.com.
Todays competitive marketplace means if you don’t toot your own horn, know one else will. Digital media is an efficient and cost effective way to raise your visibility. It is a valuable addition to your marketing toolbox as long as you consider it a multi-pronged approach. Remember, YOU are the expert. Use that expertise to find your customers and move your business forward by sharing information in a variety of channels.