The days of handing out flyers and placing advertisements in the local newspaper are long gone.
The new marketing landscape is much more complex and varied than it was in the past, which means more options for growth hacking than ever before.
With all this taken into account, it can be hard for small businesses to know which marketing methods are the best for their goals, budget, and brand identity. But there are a few that trump all the rest.
Here’s our list of the most influential marketing methods to help you grow your small business.
Also known as content marketing, inbound marketing is the king of contemporary marketing. Unlike traditional advertising (outbound marketing), this method tasks marketers with attracting customers through relevant and helpful content.
For example, old-school marketers might target potential buyers through a print or media ad, whereas inbound marketers use blogs, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media to draw in customers.
Inbound is not only suggested in today’s cutthroat marketing landscape, but necessary: it has the ability to help your brand gain momentum, promote long-term growth, and build trust.
It’s also more effective than traditional marketing because it allows you to tailor brand messaging and content to a specific group of people. As evidence, the majority of all inbound organizations believe their marketing strategy is effective.
Who It’s Best For: Everyone. Inbound marketing is generally more affordable than outbound marketing because it costs nothing to publish original content on your website’s blog or through social media. Inbound marketing is a good choice for budget-conscious small businesses.
Why It Works: Here’s the cold, hard truth: consumers are savvier than ever before, and the majority of buyers do research on a product before purchasing it. In fact, 68 percent of online buyers spend considerable time reading content published by a brand they like. You might as well leverage this captive audience to market your business.
The term “guerrilla marketing” was coined by master-advertiser Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book Guerrilla Advertising, wherein Levinson likened the method to warfare tactics used by armed civilians.
This unconventional marketing tactic relies heavily on high energy, imagination, and novelty. Even though it errs on the traditional side — as it often requires marketers to get out into the world — web-based guerrilla marketing is gaining serious momentum.
Here’s the real selling point of this type of marketing: expert guerilla marketers are able to drum up serious interest without spending big bucks.
Today’s marketers should combine standard guerilla marketing — handing out free products with unique, custom labels and branded stickers in a crowd, for example — with web-based guerilla tactics for the best results.
Who It’s Best For: Guerrilla marketing is perfect for early-stage entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses that want to get the word out about a product. It’s also a powerful strategy for established small businesses that want a unique way to market a new product.
Why It Works: Guerilla marketing plays to the consumer’s natural curiosity and desire to be in-the-know. What’s more, we now know that most decisions are made in the unconscious mind and that repetition can help access the unconscious mind. When a consumer is bombarded with your brand’s logo and colors, it’s more likely to gel in his or her brain.
This type of marketing is relatively straightforward. Companies that use this tactic implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies into a marketing campaign or mission statement in order to connect their brand image with the greater good.
Take, for example, TOMS Shoes’ buy-one-give-one model. This strategy is part of the reason the grassroots brainchild of Founder Blake Mycoskie is now worth over $625 million.
Even brands that don’t make cause marketing a vital principle of their brand can exercise this strategy by running occasional campaigns where a portion of profits is donated to a cause.
For example, a small batch brewery might promote its commitment to producing beer with eco-friendly materials using custom beer labels that tell a story.
Another company might offer a holiday promotion to give back to a local charity with every purchase.
Who It’s Best For: Cause marketing works for any company looking to connect with millennials (they’re more likely to support companies that engage in CSR). It’s also a good way to create a positive brand image, so it can be used to boost a damaged or disengaged brand.
Why It Works: Simply put, consumers feel better about consuming when they know they’re giving back at the same time. The majority of all consumers agree that businesses should play a role in addressing societal issues, and over a third of shoppers prefer to buy from brands they believe are working for a societal or environmental cause.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of investing in some branded videos to help boost sales, now’s the time to do it.
Video marketing is continuously cited as one of this year’s hottest marketing trends, and for good reason. Brands that produce high-quality video content are favored by consumers for a variety of reasons, primarily because the majority of shoppers now search for product videos before making a purchase.
What’s more, over half of all marketing professionals name video marketing as the type of marketing with the best return on investment (ROI).
Who It’s Best For: Because it’s known for its high ROI, video marketing is a good pick for businesses who want to put in a little and get a lot back. It’s also a good option for brands that make products that are not super-straightforward and could benefit from guides and tutorials. But almost all e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores can benefit from video marketing.
Why It Works: Video content increases trust. In other words, consumers are more likely to trust your brand if you’ve put time and effort into producing quality video content. What’s more, videos are engaging. Compared with other kinds of internet marketing, videos are more likely to capture a user’s attention and hold it for a longer period of time.
Mix and Match for the Perfect Marketing Plan
A smart marketing mix doesn’t rely on just one tactic.
It mixes things up, matching the message to the format that’s best for telling the story and engaging the target audience.
So mix it up. And get your message in front of your best customers.
About the Author: Kurt started Blanco in 1996 after working in the label industry for more than 10 years. Kurt has experience with most every known Pressure Sensitive Label application and is very involved in Production and Marketing at Blanco. His wife, Alice, works alongside him. They have 3 adult sons and a couple of pups and a cat. Kurt is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hunting, fishing and hiking.