Effective Marketing Strategies

Small, non-franchise business owners require business marketing strategies that work and that are cost effective. In the case of the franchise owner, most marketing ploys come from corporate headquarters and are already pre-packaged and pre-approved. They are also, in many cases, very expensive and "cookie cutter" in composition. To do anything outside those approved parameters could constitute a legal violation and even raise the possibility of losing the franchise altogether. With rising costs in every sector of commerce life, it becomes a necessity for the independent owner to not only be an expert in the area of chosen service, but now be at least savvy if not a guru in the ever changing world of effective marketing strategies.

How does the owner of a small, newly established coffee shop for instance, a lifelong dream that finally comes to fruition, market the best coffee and pastries in town? With competition from the big players' shadows perpetually hanging over this new, tiny but feisty player in the game, what sort of advertising will make a big entry splash into the local coffee shop market to drive initial customers into the store? In this owner's case, the wise decision was made early in the development stage to reserve a sizable amount of first year expense outlay for what is hoped to be effective marketing strategies. The advertising plan must be within budget and in order to be so must be produced by the owner. While this owner's marketing plan will be a drop in the proverbial ocean in comparison to a large conglomerate's business marketing strategies that must change with every new challenge from competitors, many of the same principles remain identical.

First and foremost, effective marketing strategies are solidly relationship focused. This small business owner decided early on that every effort would be made to personalize every customer's visit. In this case, meeting each new customer meant a smile and an introduction of his name, which in turn led to a name given back. A list was made of all names and a corresponding physical description which was memorized in the evening of the same day while it was still fresh. Instead of being just a face in long lines at the monster coffee franchises, a name greeting for most customers became a trademark for this owner. In large corporations, relationship building has become the foundation for business marketing strategies also. One can remember the television ad from 15 years ago where a manager in a large corporation admits to losing customers because all business was being conducted by fax, and subsequently passes out airline tickets to all sales staff to go and meet with those former customers face to face to reestablish those lost relationships.

Experts in the field of 21st century marketing emphatically insist that effective marketing strategies include a mix of media offerings to be optimally successful in driving new business. In large corporations, these media offerings would include internet advertising, emails, pod casting, print media, event occurrences and broadcast ads. But in each case, if the marketing is not personalized, effectiveness is cut by up to 66%. Generic ads, global emails or internet promotions that all potential customers receive are generally discarded quickly or never opened. According to some sources, when personalized information is used seven times in a print or internet communication, effectiveness in response increases three fold.

A fundamental error that small business owners make in formulating business marketing strategies is to omit setting specific goals for evaluating the effectiveness of publicity campaigns. Often a nebulous, dreamy vision of a lobby full of anxious customers with fists full of dollars to spend quickly and repeatedly is the only thought in mind. Goals must be specific and measurable in order to gain a sense of real success or failure. A measurable goal for promotional campaigns can then be shared by all employees, making it a truly collective effort. It is a business axiom that when goals are shared, understood and accepted by all in an organization, as well as a mission statement, a higher degree of success will follow.

In the case of the coffee shop owner who is about to open for the first time, the demand to have business marketing strategies that are truly effectual and economical are centered around a media mix that would be cost effective with a keen eye on remembering that relationships are key to success. The owner began several weeks before opening to visit all the businesses in a half mile radius with free samples of coffee in tow and coupons for baked goods and other products. In addition, the handshake and procuring of names was already in place, making for a warm welcome on opening day. To add to the media mix, the marketing budget allowed the purchase of a software program that would reproduce the owner's exact handwriting, allowing for attractive invitations to be sent to hundreds of residents with a half-mile radius of the store's location. Finally, roads were dotted with ground sign posters in several directions to announce the store's opening. The owner had accomplished a media mix of personal production.

Effective marketing strategies begin with common sense. "Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge;but he that hateth reproof is brutish." (Proverbs 12:1) The question must be asked repeatedly, "What does personal knowledge teach?" The media approaches that are most effective with family and friends are the approaches that will be effectual for grabbing the heart of targeted customers. In addition, maintaining good customer data is essential in understanding habits, preferences and trends.

Effective Internet Marketing

Establishing an effective internet marketing strategy is a step by step process that requires following all of the steps, in the right order, then properly measuring and testing the results. Unlike traditional advertising modes and methods, the internet allows individuals to make the decision about what they want to see and hear and when they want to see and hear it. It is incumbent upon the marketer to develop strong campaigns that can pull people into their marketing message. Unless the marketer is a huge company with deep pockets and a presence in the brick and mortar world, the marketer must create an environment that is inviting, enticing, and magnetic in order to attract the kind of attention that makes money. Graphic conceptualization and pithy phrasing is dominant in the offline world of advertising. By contrast, word smithing a well put-together article within an organized, highly searchable website is the dominating force in online marketing. "They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things." (Proverbs 28:4-5)

Looking at traditional companies that advertise a product will provide some information about what effective marketing steps are: 1) Come up with an idea for a product. 2) Conduct a few surveys about the efficacy of the product. 3) Develop a business plan and/or financing proposal. 4) Make a capital investment. 5) Make the product available in the marketplace. 6) Sell the idea to investors for even more capital. This is pretty much how it goes for most newly developed businesses. But in applying effective internet marketing techniques, these steps happen in a different order. Selling the idea to investors is replaced by selling the idea directly to the consumer. Prior to a product being promoted, preceding a capital investment, even in advance of an idea for a product, the marketing begins. Before thinking that this makes no sense, consider this. There are hundreds of internet marketers, and at least 6 internet millionaires, that are recognized to have used the concept of selling the idea first (to consumers) as the best way to sustain effective internet marketing.

The way this works is that consumers select keywords to search on the internet. These keywords are in consumer topic areas and in their fields of interest. A online marketer would research the keywords that are most often typed into browsers in order to ascertain what people have interest in. This research is quite simple and straighforward, albeit time consuming. One can easily search using any keyword suggestion tool. With a tool like this a person could get an estimate of the daily search volume of specific search terms and also generate related keyword phrases. The information culled from this very useful tool tells the marketer what people are searching for. Any effective internet marketing campaign must include this step. Once a person knows what people are looking for, developing content is the next step. Using the keywords that people are searching for, articles, blogs, and forums can easily be constructed. Within this framework, a marketer has a captive audience. There will, of course, be rules and regulations to follow. Terms and conditions aside, a person can quickly generate a following in a topic area. That is, the marketer becomes an authority.

Now that people have put some level of trust in the authority, people will be willing to buy. The question then becomes, "What will they buy?" The easy answer is; whatever the authority is selling. To be more accurate, consumers will buy what they were looking for in the first place. It would be up to the marketer, at that point, to offer the consumers what they want. As a internet marketer reads and responds to various questions and concerns, discovery of what people are looking for, wanting, hoping for, not satisfied with is imminent. Consequently, a product or service idea will uncover itself; leaving very little margin for error. What great news for anyone attempting effective internet marketing! The most important next step is to measure the level of interest and make incremental improvements. Test as many variables as possible. Test everything dozens of times, then test again in order to determine what variant brings about the best conversion rates. Success in this arena is really only measured by how many readers are converted to prospects, then to buyers.

Developing effective internet marketing is very simple in structure. It's all about the search. As a marketer is developing a following via personal authority, exploring and implementing one way links to complementary resources will increase search authority in the search engines. Search authority is what brings a website to the top of search results. Learning about the internet marketing world as well as the difference between key words and key phrases, which one way links are acceptable, and when to move on to the next step are the keys to the most effective internet marketing campaigns. When large, well funded companies are successful on the internet, it's generally is not because of their internet efforts, but a product of their offline stature. If a person finds themselves responsible for web advertising, it is vital to understand what the online steps are, how to implement them, and what to measure, and how to measure those things. Having a virtually captive audience, any shrewd business person will be able to capitalize by finding just the right product or service to put in place. Patience is needed to move through each step. Focus and concentration on what words entice and which repel, what types of products or services make an impact, and which don't, and fusing effective internet marketing techniques with real world problem solving will lead to a sure increase in profits





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