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One key part of being a great marketer is understanding how people think and knowing why they act the way they do. 10 principals.
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Which Social Network Should You Advertise On? Social media advertising is a great tactic to use to supplement your print advertising.
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Monday, 27 April 2015 14:15

Let's Talk Print & Marketing

Written by

Lets Talk Print

"Clients are beginning to associate the tactile experience of print with luxury. Digital is cheap, fast, and easy. Who want's to be identified with any of those things?" MARY-FRANCES BURT, Creative Director, Burt&Burt

"Print communications have potential to bring a more unique, engaging and memorable experience to the audience than digital communications. Personally, I prefer the printed page for certain information because of the flexibility in presentation, the tactile qualities, the construction and the protability...I find digital presentations too repetitious and boring after a short period." PHILIP MCCORMICK, Owner, Design Works

" Print still has an impact on communication. In a fast paced digital world where things change every minute, the tactile presence of a printed piece feels more permanent and special." SUE TAUBE, Art Dirctor, Taube/Violane, Inc.

Consumers Still Trust Traditional Media Over Online Ads % of North American consumers who trust the following forms of advertising:

  • NEWSPAPER ADS - 63%
  • MAGAZINE ADS - 62%
  • TV ADS - 61%
  • RADIO ADS - 58%
  • BILLBOARDS - 55%
  • SEARCH ADVERTISING - 44%
  • ONLINE VIDEO ADS - 44%
  • SOCIAL MEDIA ADS - 39%
  • MOBILE DISPLAY ADS - 35%
  • ONLINE BANNER ADS - 33%

Click HERE »» to Discover Ten Top Reasons to Print

Source: The Modern Media Mix / Written By: Domtar / GDUSA 2014 Print Design Survey

 

When it comes to spending time marketing on social networks -- whether you're marketing your company or marketing yourself -- you're constantly deciding where to spend your time, and how much time to spend. How much time should we spend on each network for it to be worth it?

It turns out that LinkedIn is one of the most powerful (yet often underutilized) social networks today. With a reported 313 million members, 40% of whom log in daily, LinkedIn is not a network to write off. It's an extremely powerful and fast-growing professional networking tool.

To make sure we're all using it to its full potential, Ethos3 pulled together some very useful, very tweetable quotes in the infographic below.

Tips That'll Help You Master LinkedIn

Source: Hubspot / Written By: Lindsay Kolowich

 

Businesses continue to integrate social media into their marketing efforts at an impressive rate and many report that they have used social media to get more brand interactions, contacts, and new customers.

As companies continue to rely on social media sites to reach their business goals, it is important that they pay attention to the way social media demographics are growing and changing. Who is using social media? Which social networks do people use -- and how do they use them?

Search Engine Journal created the infographic, featured below, to help you answer all of these questions and more. Take a look at the infographic to discover a number of facts and statistics that you should know about how social media usage is changing.

Growth Of Social Media [Infographics]

Key Takeaways

General Social Media
    > Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are the top three social media sites used by marketers.
    > 93% of marketers use social media for business.
    > 72% of all internet users also used social media as of May 2013.
    > 71% of users use a mobile device to access social networks.

Facebook
    > There are now more than 1.15 billion Facebook users.
    > 70% of marketers have used Facebook to successfully gain new customers.
    > One million web pages are accessed using a Facebook login.
    > 47% of Americans say Facebook is their #1 influencer of purchases.
    > 23% of Facebook users login at least five time a day.

Twitter
    > 215 million people use Twitter every month.
    > Twitter is currently the fastest growing social network with a 44% growth from June 2012 to March 2013.
    > 34% of marketers have used Twitter to successfully generate leads.

Google+
    > There are 1 billion registered users on Google+.
    > 70% of brands have a presence on Google+.
    > The +1 button from Google+ is used 5 million times per day.

Source: Hubspot / Written By: Sam Kusinitz

Mastering LinkedIn

With more than 259 million users, LinkedIn is the most popular social network for professionals as well as one of the top social networks overall. Are you using it to its fullest potential?

While new social networks are sprouting up constantly, LinkedIn is a powerful platform that often gets underutilized or put on the back burner.

But the truth is, LinkedIn can be extremely powerful -- especially when you're aware of all the little hidden tricks that don't get nearly enough exposure as they deserve. To help you master LinkedIn, below is our ultimate list of 35 awesome tricks you may have been overlooking.

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Presence

1) Customize your public profile URL.

Make your profile look more professional (and easier to share) by claiming your LinkedIn vanity URL. Instead of a URL with a million confusing numbers at the end, it will look nice and clean. Customize your URL by going here and clicking Customize your public profile URL down on the right-hand side.

2) Create a profile badge for your personal website.

If you have your own personal website or blog, you can promote your personal LinkedIn presence and help grow your professional network by adding a Profile Badge that links to your public LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has a few different badge designs to select from, and you can configure your own here.

3) Make your blog/website links sexier.

Instead of using the default "Personal Website"-type anchor text links in your LinkedIn profile, you can change the anchor text to make those links more appealing to people who view your profile. So if you want to increase clicks on the website links you display on your profile, change those links' anchor text to something more attention-grabbing than the standard options LinkedIn provides.

For example, if you want to include a link to your blog, rather than choosing LinkedIn's standard "Blog" anchor text, customize it to include keywords that indicate what your blog is about. Each profile can display up to three website links like this, and they can be customized by editing your profile, clicking the pencil icon next to your website links, and selecting Other in the drop-down menu.

4) Search engine optimize your profile.

You can also optimize your profile to get found by people searching LinkedIn for key terms you want to get found by. Add these keywords to various sections of your profile such as your headline or in your summary.

5) Show work samples.

Did you know LinkedIn allows you to add a variety of media such as videos, images, documents, links, and presentations to the Summary, Education, and Experience sections of your LinkedIn profile? This enables you to showcase different projects, provide samples of your work, and better optimize your LinkedIn profile. Learn more about adding, removing, and rearranging work samples here.

6) Add, remove, and rearrange entire sections of your profile.

LinkedIn also enables users to reorder the sections of your profile in any way you prefer. When in edit mode, simply hover your mouse over the double-sided arrow next to the Edit link for each section. Your mouse will turn into a four-arrowed icon, at which point you can click, then drag and drop to another position on your profile.

You can also customize your profile with sections that apply only to you. Find a full list of sections to add to and remove from your profile here.

7) Take advantage of Saved Searches.

LinkedIn allows users to save up to ten job searches and three people searches. After conducting a search, clicking the Save This Search option on the right allows you to save a search and easily run it again later. You can also choose to receive weekly or monthly reminders (+ daily for job searches) via email once new members in the network or jobs match your saved search criteria.

8) Quickly turn your LinkedIn profile into a resume.

Job seeking is one of the most common -- and beneficial -- uses of LinkedIn. Were you aware that LinkedIn enables you to turn your profile into a resume-friendly format in seconds with its Resume Builder tool? Just choose a resume template, edit it, and export it as a PDF that you can print, email, and share.

9) Find a job through LinkedIn's job board.

Now that you've generated that awesome new resume from LinkedIn's Resume Builder tool, you can use it -- and LinkedIn's Job board -- to help you land an awesome new position. LinkedIn allows you to search for jobs by industry and location. It even suggests jobs you might be interested in based on the information in your LinkedIn profile. Save some job searches like we suggested in number 7 to get alerted when new jobs pop up, too!

10) Get endorsed.

Back in 2012, LinkedIn launched a feature called Endorsements, which enables users to endorse their connections for skills they’ve listed in the Skill & Expertise section of their profile -- or recommend one they haven’t yet listed. These endorsements then show up on your profile within that same Skills & Expertise section, as you can see in the screenshot below.

Okay, so you can't guarantee your connections will endorse you for those skills, but because it's so easy for your LinkedIn contacts to do (all they have to do is click on the + sign next to a particular skill on your profile), you'll find that many of them will do it anyway. Just make sure your profile is complete and you've listed the skills you want your contacts to endorse you for. It will definitely give your profile a bit of a credibility boost. You can also remove endorsements if you find people are endorsing you for skills that aren't very applicable.

Source: Hubspot / Written By: Pamela Vaughan

IR Codes Beating Out QR Codes

The number of mobile action codes--such as Quick Response (QR) codes, image recognition (IR) and invisible watermarks applied to photographs, brand logos and icons -- appearing in the top 100 circulating U.S. magazines continues to grow dramatically, reports mobile engagement services company, Nellymoser.

The company's annual Mobile Activation Study records instances in which a printed magazine page is capable of being activated by a mobile device, such as a smart phone or tablet. In addition to a steady growth in the mobile activated space, 2013 also saw a rise in the range of technologies used to deliver activations.

Findings:

MOBILE ACTION CODES APPEARING IN MAGS JUMP 55%
 
    Compared to a total of 8,448 mobile activated magazine pages (advertising and editorial content) in 2012, 2013 saw the number of mobile experiences in the top 100 magazines rise to 13,088  -- a 55% growth.
 
EDITORAL CONTENT TAKES OFF AS A DRIVER OF ACTION CODE USE, ESPECIALLY IMAGE RECOGNITION (IR)
 
    Editorial content mobile activations increased 246% from 2012 to 2013 (from 1,486 in 2012 to 7,972 in 2013). As reported in the study, "This is due primarily to editorial’s embrace of technologies that are unobtrusive to the overall look of the page’s layout— including image recognition (IR) and digital watermarking—in addition to augmented reality (AR) experiences."

IMAGE RECOGNITION (IR) USE SURPASSES QR CODES IN A BIG WAY
 
    The primary activation type overall was Image Recognition (IR), followed by QR—taking second place for the first time in the scope of the study, and watermarking in third.​

    Image Recognition (IR), which includes Augmented Reality (AR), comprised 6.1% of all triggers in 2012; in 2013, there were 7,916 pages that were activated using the technology, representing 60% of all triggers (advertising and editorial) -- a ten-fold increase. Image-based activations do not require any change in the image itself or the pre-production process, as other mobile action codes do.

    Compared to a total of 5,780 in 2012, the number of QR codes deployed in 2013 fell to 3,123 -- marking a reduction from 68% in 2012 to 24% in 2013.

    Digital watermarks reached 12% of total market share, an increase from 6% in 2012.

 ADVERTISERS REMAIN HEAVY USERS OF QR CODES

    Advertisers remain heavy users of QR code campaigns -- the trigger comprised 60% of all advertising activations. The study states, "QR is a common choice for single page ad campaigns as its distinctive appearance makes it highly noticeable, and its long tenure in the market makes it recognizable to the reader. In addition, the likelihood of readers already having an app that scans QR codes on their devices is greater than that of newer technologies, making it a more attractive choice to advertisers."
 
TYPES OF MAGAZINES DEPLOYING MOBILE ACTIVATION
 
    The most mobile activation represented segments were Fashion & Style (3,893) and Lifestyle & Leisure (3,196) followed by Home & Gardening (855), Home & Cooking (816), Entertainment & TV (750), and Fashion & Beauty (704).

THE USER EXPERIENCE, IMPROVING?

    Post-scan experiences (what happens after the reader activates content with their phone) appear to be improving, states Nellymoser, with a focus on providing more value to consumers -- though the majority of scans still take the consumer to a web site landing page.

-----------------------------------------------

About: The list of investigated magazines was selected based on circulation statistics released by the Magazine Publishers Association (MPA) and included monthly, weekly, and biweekly publications. Freely distributed and membership-based publications were excluded. Regional titles, as well as those not readily available on newsstands were also omitted.

Tens of thousands of pages were examined in search of mobile programs or activations, whether triggered by QR code, Microsoft Tag, digital watermarking, image recognition (IR), SMS code, or any other activation triggers. This study not only measures the presence of mobile activation in magazines, but also what it delivers to the reader, how it connects, and what the overall user experience looks like.

Source: Nellymoser, Mobile Activation Study Jan-Dec, 2013, accessed Feb. 19, 2014.

Do It Outdoors

People are overwhelmed with the sheer amount of branded information and advertising that bombards their lives every day. The number of messages easily runs into hundreds per day, leading people to filter out as much of it as possible. Online advertisement; can be blocked with software or by opting out, television by watching recorded shows, Netflix, iTunes and the growing list of no ad options, and radio by listening to subscription music-only channels. But outdoor advertising, such as billboards, and sidewalk signs cannot be turned off. They work twenty-four-seven.

...

The Best Platform for Small Business

It is therefore one of the best platforms for advertisers and marketers, especially for small business. As the costs for electronic media escalate, out-of-home advertising remains very affordable; without sacrificing the advertisements quality and impact. When advertisers, marketers, and advertising agencies compare the cost and reach of different types of media, outdoor advertising really stands out. The average cost to reach a thousand consumers with outdoor advertising is about $1.59 which is 80 percent less than television, 60 percent less than newspapers, and half the cost of radio. It stands to reason out-of-home (OOH) advertising is now one of the fastest growing ad mediums behind online. With recent data from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America confirming a long-term trend of 5 per cent compounded revenue growth for the medium, in quarter one of 2013.

Cost, however, is just one of the attractions of outdoor printed media advertising. Strategic placement of advertisements will further enhance its effectiveness to target and persuade potential consumers. An advertisement near the point-of-sale can obviously serve as a last minute purchase reminder to consumers and potential consumers. Out-of-home advertising can also complement other media to make advertisements and campaigns more effective.

Of course, a wide range of audience in outdoor advertising is no guarantee that a business or a company's sales will soar. The most critical success factor is the message itself. It has to make an impact and make it fast. For example, on billboards, the consumer might be going by at 60 miles per hour so it is incredibly important that consumers be able to immediately comprehend the message.

Another great advantage of out-of-home advertising is that advertisers can familiarize people with the packaging of a product. It is a very good vehicle for emphasizing what the product looks like so consumers will be able to recognize it immediately when they go to the store. It is also especially useful for helping launch a new and unfamiliar product and is a good value for businesses with limited marketing funds.

...

Outdoor Advertising has Variety

Outdoor advertising can take several forms, though most are of the sign variety. The following outdoor options are most common:

Billboards... Traditionally, these were large sign structures on which sheets of paper were adhered. Today, paper has been replaced by plastic and vinyl, yet the essence of the medium remains unchanged. They are usually placed along highways and other high traffic areas.

Sidewalk Signs... These are designed to stand freely on sidewalks. Often they are used to promote retail specials in shopping areas or used as directional signs. For more casual environments, chalkboard type signs can be used which can be easily changed and updated.

Buildings and Grounds... Building owners and tenants use signs, frequently lighted, as branding for their company. In retail and restaurant locations, outdoor equipment such as patio umbrellas can also display the business’ brand name.

Promotional Flags and Banners... Flags and banners promoting a business can be placed along entryways or high traffic areas to gain attention for your business. While traditionally flown flags can be used, flexible flags are      becoming increasingly popular with small businesses. These can be made of cloth (like traditional flags), vinyl or a polyester fabric.

Inflatables... Giant inflatable animals, characters, products and structures (such as entryways) can be purchased or rented, and can be very effective in gaining attention for special events and promotions.

Trucks and Vehicles... They are moving billboards. With expanded graphic capabilities such as vehicle wraps, trucks and cars bring a business’ brand and message to places where signs are often banned.

The key to it all is quite simple; make it fun and surprising, you'll be sure to attract some attention and new customers too.

Source: DisplayBay & AllAbout4

Get Some Social Savvy - It's Not Magic

It also won’t make your marketing program successful, and it certainly won’t drive revenue either. That is — if it’s not integrated into an existing business ecosystem that, ahem, works.

What social media can do is amplify almost any area of your business: customer acquisition, customer marketing, support, PR, HR, business intelligence, sales, and most other business areas you can think of. But mapping social activities to business goals doesn’t happen magically. And while social can certainly help these areas, it’s not going to fix what’s already broke.

Social media is not magic

For example, if your customer care is terrible, hanging out your shingle on Twitter specifically for customer service is not going to solve your organizational problem. In fact, it might expose more faults than it mitigates. If your marketing strategy is nothing more than a program designed to offer tired discounts, then posting those tired discounts on Facebook is not going to make them any more special or exciting.

Another myth is that just by developing and maintaining an engaged community, companies can drive revenue. Think of an engaged community as the supports of your bridge. In order to reach your goals you must build upon that foundation. An engaged community alone will not get you to your goal.

Often there is a BIG disconnect in businesses between the idea and the desired result, as if having a huge amount of Facebook fans will magically put dollars in the bank.

Social media is not a one (or two) trick pony

To be fair, social media can be confusing because it’s often playing several roles simultaneously. It’s kind of like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time because you have to keep the steady drumbeat of content and community management while creating campaigns and programs specifically aimed at meeting a goal.

When people talk about “doing” social media, most often they’re referring to the functions of community management. In essence, community management is the deliberate development of a relationship between a brand and its customers and prospects on a social media channel. At its most basic level, the goals of community management are to:

  1. Increase audience size
  2. Drive socially-visible engagement actions
  3. Grow trust, loyalty, and even love (or at least affection) for a brand

Can’t buy me love

Sure you can buy Facebook fans and spend lots of money on advertising, but that only buys you exposure, not loyalty or affection. Like any solid relationship, it will take time, persistence, charm, and a deep understanding of your audience for all that effort to pay off.

It also takes a community manager who not only knows your business inside and out, but also has a deep understanding of the technology and tools at their disposal and how specific types of content drive specific engagement “love metrics.”

Community management is hard. It takes time, resources, and a bit of trial and error to get it just right. You also can’t immediately measure business results.

So why do it?

  • When you’re building your community, you’re laying the groundwork for a referral engine
  • You’re staying top of mind and putting money in the bank against mistakes or bad publicity (“brand insurance”)
  • You’re creating a channel where you can quickly and easily communicate news and announcements
  • You’re adding value to your business by delivering relevant information to your audience
  • You’re cultivating a space where customers can quickly and easily get their questions answered and their problems resolved — and your business gets to show off how responsive you are to your customers’ needs
  • You’re creating a forum where you can learn about your customers preferences and needs
  • You’re developing a network that connects with millions of other networks
  • Most importantly, you’re creating the conditions to let your customers do your marketing for you

There’s no amount of marketing you can do or money you can spend that will equal the recommendation of friend.

Effective, well-supported community management is a long-tail investment. You may not see the “return” on it for months or even a year, but like any good thing, it’s worth investing in and waiting on because of its potential power. The trick is to nail the community management piece down and then layer in specific business drivers appropriate for the channel.

Source: Constant Contact

B2B Informantion Seeker Rely on Print

According to American Business Media’s “Value of B-to-B” report, B2B information seekers continue to rely on print as a source for industry related content and publishers report that print remains a key source of revenue, nearly a third say they expect to cut their print ad budgets in the next 12 months.
 
Key findings from the report, which aims to quantifying the role of the B2B information and media industry in the buyer-seller relationship:

  • Print magazines and websites are the top B2B media for reaching decision makers with industry related content:

Q: How often do you use the following information sources for industry-related content?
Print – 96%
Websites – 96%
Manufacturer product info – 93%
E-newsletters – 92%
Trade Shows – 80%
Print newsletters – 76%
Digital replicas of print newsletters – 69%
Mobile optimized web sites – 56%
Social media – 54%
Mobile apps – 51%

  • B2B users are not making either/or decisions in their use of media. Three-quarters (74%) of respondents say they rely on both digital and traditional media to learn tips/best practices and to gain valuable information they can use in their work.
  • Nearly 7 out of 10 (68%) say they spend more time with industry-related print publications than with mainstream business or consumer print publications.
  • Websites (73%), e-newsletters (67%), and print magazines (45%) are the most common B2B content sources accessed on a weekly basis.
  • Websites (65%), manufacturer product info (62%), and print magazines (48%) are the top 3 resources for decision-makers researching work-related purchases.
  • Nearly all (95%) of B2B media users think that websites will remain important to their jobs, or grow in relevance, over the next five years. The majority (61%) thinks that print magazines will stay constant or grow in importance over the next five years.
  • Compared to other information sources, B2B publishers say print advertising generates the largest share of revenue.
  • While publishers report that print remains a key source of revenue, 32% say they expect to cut their print ad budgets.
  • Search engine, mobile, and e-newsletter ads are among the budget areas B2B marketers expect to increase in the next 12 months (45%, 43%, 41% increases respectively).
  • As stated by ABM “these data points reveal a disconnect between marketers and end-users: marketers are moving away from print media, but our research suggests readers are not, at least not at the pace advertising is leaving print.”
  • Nearly 9 in 10 respondents rank trade events as the top tactic for creating awareness and generating leads.
  • Many who use smartphone for business would engage with industry content more if publishers:
    • Offered an optimized version of their website – 75%
    • Offered a digital version of their magazine at no additional cost – 73%
    • Enhanced their digital magazines with interactivity (e.g.. video, audio) – 63%
  • Media consumers who use mobile devices are more enthusiastic about all forms of B2B media, including print and events, compared with non-mobile users. 87 percent of the heavy mobile group engages with the trade press in print, online, or digitally once per day; only 47% of non-mobiles do so.

About: Three separate surveys were conducted online by Readex Research between March 11 - April 12, 2013). The polls were created by ABM with advisement from research sponsor Adobe Systems, marketer organizations ANA and IBSA, and several partner media companies. Respondents: 6,682 media end-users (readers, event attendees, etc.) responded to the user poll. 111 publishing professionals and 74 marketers responded to the publishing and advertising polls. Results were cross-tabulated in 11 vertical categories, with the most responses in the retail, building construction, utilities, and healthcare verticals.

Source: Print in The Mix

Mobile Stats

All it takes is one look around the office or the coffee shop and you’ll see face after face buried in their smartphone or tablet.

Mobile device usage is sky-rocketing. But how many people actually own smartphones? What percentage of email is opened on mobile?

Here are 3 mobile stats that you need:

1.) 133.7 million people in the U.S. currently own a smartphone.

According to comScore’s latest report on the U.S. smartphone market, 133.7 million people owned smartphones as of February 2013. Not only is that number huge, but it’s growing. That number is up 8 percent since November 2012 alone, and it now represents 57 percent of the entire mobile phone market.

A few years ago, it was rare to find someone with a phone that could access email: now it’s the norm.

2.) 43 percent of email is opened on a mobile device.

Not only do many people now own smartphones, but many of are using these devices to check their email. In March 2013, 43 percent of all email was opened on a mobile device, according to Litmus. But that number alone doesn’t tell the whole story. For some comparison, mobile opens were at just 10 percent in 2011 — that’s an incredible 330 percent change. And while mobile opens are skyrocketing, desktop opens are going in the exact opposite direction — down 44 percent over the same time period.

3.) 58 percent of marketers say that mobile will affect their email marketing in the next 12 months.

What’s the top item that will affect email over the next year according to marketers in surveyed in MarketingSherpa’s 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark report? ... Mobile.

58 percent of marketers indicated that smartphones and tablets will have the greatest impact on email over the next year, even ahead of social media. How will it affect their emails? Instead of designing emails for large screens, marketers will need to design emails for fingers and thumbs.
What does this mean for you?

All of these stats make it very clear that email is no longer limited to desktops or laptops. This means that you need to create emails that look great no matter where they will be read — on a desktop, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. In the email marketing world, we call these mobile-friendly emails.

Sound complicated?

It’s not. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think and you don’t even need any fancy tech skills. Here are 5 Simple Tips for Mobile-Friendly Emails.

Source: Constant Contact - Fresh Insights

Market Your Small Business

Famed author Mark Twain once said, “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”

But advertising can be expensive, and in a tight economy, many small businesses cut their marketing budgets first because of cash flow concerns. However, when times are tough, it’s even more important to keep your business brand front and center.

During an economic downturn, clients, customers, and consumers have less money to spend. This means that when they’re ready to buy, you want your brand to be at the top of their list. Social media is undoubtedly one of the most effective and affordable ways to engage your customers and keep your brand top-of-mind, but it’s not the only way. Here are ten tried and true marketing strategies that can help you market your business on a shoestring budget.

1. Craft an elevator pitch
You should be marketing all the time — wherever you are. Therefore, you need a compelling elevator pitch. Research shows the average attention span of an adult is about 6 to 8 seconds. That’s all the time you have to grab someone’s attention. If you successfully engage them, then you only have a little over a minute to really sell them on your product or service. Invest the time to craft a killer elevator pitch. The return on your investment will pay huge dividends in terms of creating business opportunities.

2. Leverage your community
You don’t have to think big when it comes to your marketing efforts. Think locally. What’s going on in your community? Sponsor a Little League team or a 5k charity walk/run. Print bookmarks and leave them at the local library. Get to know your ideal customer and think about how and where they spend their time. Then search for opportunities to get in front of your customer with your marketing message.

3. Collaborate
Put together a group of synergistic, non-competitive businesses in your area and agree to cross-promote. You can use coupons, fliers, reciprocal website links, bundled promotions or social media platforms.(Okay, I had to add a little bit of social media to the mix.) By collaborating with each other, you can expand your customer base because you’ll be reaching new people.

4. Network
I’m a huge fan of networking. I don’t think there is any better way to build a business than to get out there, shake some hands, and get to know people. Networking requires a time commitment and it doesn’t provide instant gratification, but a strong network is one of the greatest assets any business person can have.

5. Give a speech
A lot of people hate public speaking. However, there are many organizations looking for qualified, subject-matter experts who can present to their groups. Take a deep breath and volunteer. You don’t have to be a pro as long as the information you share is helpful to the audience. And the upside — the more you do it the easier it gets. Plus, it positions you as a credible authority in your field.

6. Create buzz
I started my corporate career in the field of public relations and the business has changed significantly because of technology. Today, a small business owner can accomplish a lot without hiring a professional firm. Subscribe to Help a Reporter Out  www.helpareporter.com. You can respond to reporters’ queries that are looking for story ideas and resources. Some are small media opportunities, but others are major media outlets that use this service too.

7. Ask for referrals
Don’t be shy about asking for customer referrals. The majority of people say they are willing to provide a referral if asked, but very few take the initiative to do it on their own. Referrals make it easier to get in the door with new customers. If you aren’t asking for them, you are missing opportunities.

8. Build relationships
It is a lot less expensive to keep a customer than it is to get a new one. That’s why establishing strong relationships with your customer base is crucial. One of the ways you can do that is by launching an email campaign. Make your communications informative and helpful — something your customers will look forward to receiving. Social media campaigns are another way to keep the communication channel open (and there I go again.)

9. Offer coupons
Coupons are a good way for many businesses to attract new customers. Research shows that people will go out of their way to use a coupon, proving that this method is successful in expanding your customer base. Coupons can also generate return visits. For example, if you give a customer a coupon for a discount to use on future business, there’s a high probability they’ll be back.

10. Give it away
If someone has the opportunity to experience your product or service, chances are they will want to purchase more. Don’t be afraid to give someone a free trial or a sample. In today’s economy, people are more comfortable purchasing something they have been able to experience first.

These ten, inexpensive marketing strategies will help you engage customers, build relationships, and ultimately keep your brand top-of-mind. It’s not always about the money you have to spend on marketing, it’s about the time and effort you put into it and above all, the relevance it has for your customers.

Source: Constant Contact - Fresh Insights

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