For nearly a decade, digital marketing has kept the focus of marketing and advertising agencies as the new go-to for businesses to increase their bottom lines. While online marketing, including SEO, PPC, and affiliate marketing, have been tremendously useful strategies for companies who have shifted their marketing spend to them, the landscape of competition in most industries has begun to change. Many of the digital marketing strategies that once shined for small businesses are losing their lustre, and the returns for dollars spent has started to drop.
Saturation has diminished the effectiveness of digital marketing strategies for new and growing businesses. This has led to a shift in how companies think about their marketing plans. More and more, traditional forms of advertising, such as television and radio, vanity phone numbers, direct mail, and email marketing are taking centre stage, again.
If you have a small to medium-sized business and are frustrated with the poor performance of your digital marketing efforts, take a look at the following list of traditional marketing strategies that not only still work but may be the better investment in your local marketing.
Television and Radio
Since the advent of search engines, and their growing place at the core of how consumers interact with businesses today, it has been natural to assume that traditional media, such as television and radio, have lost relevance. The data, however, runs contrary to this notion. In fact, the reach of TV and radio has grown despite the appearance of search engines, and continue to be an effective marketing strategy in local markets.
Small businesses with a focus on their local market should take a serious look at television and radio ads. Not only do they increase brand awareness in the local community, but they also have a long and proven record of effectiveness and high response rates.
Direct Mail Campaigns
100 million people, nearly a third of all Americans, made at least one catalogue purchase in the U.S. in 2016. It is an astonishing figure that demonstrates direct mail continues to be an effective strategy for reaching a targeted audience. While most business owners think of direct mail as a marketing strategy of the past, the reality is that it still works, and well.
Direct mail, according to research, is particularly useful in local marketing campaigns where businesses seek to promote themselves to their community. Several types of vendors provide direct mail services. These range from online printing services to local print shops. They can target audiences by zip code, and “drop” mailers to as large or as small of an audience as a business wants.
While roadways have changed over the years, one thing about them has not: they are still a fantastic place to catch a person’s attention, particularly where traffic slows, or even stops. Billboards have remained a constant mode of advertising, and there is no sign they are about to disappear.
In our distracted digital world of small screens and intrusive ads, billboards stand (quite literally) apart from other forms of promotion. Millions of Americans spend hours upon hours commuting every day, which means roadways have tremendous visibility and potential for reaching consumers.
More recently, the billboard community has explored expanding the capabilities of their real-estate’s value by integrating new interactive technologies into their service. These help to better catch motorists’ attention, as well as increase response rates. These monoliths of marketing appear to be adapting to the changing nature of marketing.
Vanity Phone Numbers
The goal of local businesses, in most cases, is to drive more phone calls to their phone number. Most new businesses owners content themselves with the random ten-digit phone number assigned to them by their telephone service provider. This is a mistake.
What was the last phone number you committed to memory? Your home phone? A parent? A spouse? What was the last business phone number you committed to memory? We’re willing to bet you can’t think of one; or, if you can, that it’s a vanity 800 number like 1-800-MEDICARE.
Custom or vanity phone numbers are a proven marketing strategy that is especially effective with traditional marketing strategies such as Television and radio, print ads, billboards, car decals, etc. In fact, study after study has shown that vanity phone numbers can increase marketing response rates by an average of 40%.
The irony of digital marketing is that much of it still depends on the relationships a business owner forges with their customers and other businesses. More than ever, a successful marketing strategy must include networking and pressing palms with people in the community. This can take many forms, and will always be beneficial to a local business’ visibility within their community.
Local networking is not all about meeting other business owners, either. The goal is to increase your business’ exposure in the community, so it is essential to consider attending events outside of what might be viewed as a networking event. Charity runs, volunteering, and community organising events are excellent places to do good and promote your brand. When developing a local marking strategy, look for variety and try new things.
Be Sure Your Phone System is Ready
We mentioned before that the goal of a local business marketing plan must be to get the phone to ring more. With this in mind, it is of the utmost importance for a business to have a robust phone system that is prepared to ensure a quality experience for customers. Nothing beats the flexibility of a hosted PBX platform, particularly if call volumes frequently exceed the ability of staff to answer. Your marketing efforts will have been in vain if your phone system is not prepared to perform.
With the trend in digital marketing to shift toward local, it is no surprise that traditional marketing strategies are experiencing a “comeback” of sorts. They never really disappeared; businesses quietly began to forget about them in favour of the buzz around digital marketing. A digital marketing strategy is still important to invest in, but it is also a good idea to diversify how your business is reaching new customers and to consider using some more traditional tactics to do so.