There are 2.4 billion Internet users and, according to a 2012 Local Consumer Review Survey, 85 percent of them search for local businesses online. Additionally, 71 percent of consumers look online for videos involving said businesses.
Think about how easily accessible information is these days, and think about how difficult it used to be. Someone can be at a trade show and see a great demonstration from TASER International, shoot a quick video from their iPhone, and upload it to their Facebook or Twitter account in a matter of seconds. This is great for businesses who want the exposure, as today’s digital age can turn anyone into a brand advocate who can drive traffic to your business.
Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” video, which has more than 19 million views, is a great example of how video marketing can go viral. (3) When you think of funny, cutting-edge marketing, Kmart isn’t the first company that comes to mind, but it certainly made headway with this viral video. It has kids, adults, seniors, a great message, and an obvious double entendre, which makes it very memorable.
While not everyone has a large marketing team or budget like Kmart, there are still ways to make excellent videos at a low cost and without a lot of editing. With an iPhone, tripod, off-camera microphone, and inexpensive video lighting, you can make your own video that looks like it was made by a true professional, and only for around $90.
If you aren’t confident enough to produce your own videos as mentioned, there are copious amounts of businesses in the world dedicated to making videos. One of the less-expensive alternatives would be the site Slightly, which helps you make your video and also optimize it for mobility and SEO. Sites such as Go!Animate help you make your video by offering templates and animation through its website. There are also video companies that will take over the entire process for you. All you need is a budget and help with the creative process.
The typical ads that pop up when we’re trying to do some online research are pretty annoying, right? Well, the sad truth is, they’re actually working. With many ads, you have to click through them to get to where you’re going, so you see and acknowledge the ad, whether it’s a positive or negative reaction. To get more positive attention, get more creative. Create ads you would look at and use. So many folks are streaming their music online, so why not have your ad flash up on Pandora Music’s homepage? The music streaming service has more than 200 million registered users. Online music streaming is growing at an astounding rate, as it took Pandora six years to reach its first 100 million users. It only took a bit over a year to get another 100 million users to join between 2011 and 2012.
Facebook is another successful example of where to place online ads. It’s easy to use and connects to your personal and business accounts. With a budget of $350 you can advertise for new page “Like”s. Set parameters based on who the page wants “Like”s from – targeting based on everything from geography to interest is available. Facebook charges based on clicks, not “Like”s, so you’ll be charged a small fee depending on how many people click your ad on the page. If your price is $0.56 per click, you’ll reach your budget limit of click-through ad traffic after 625 unique visitors click on your ad. Not all of these are guaranteed to turn into page “Like”s, but the ad will help you reach your goal to get your name out to the masses.
PPC (pay-per-click) statistics are a great example of how online advertising works, and it’s only getting better. Within one year, the click-through rate for the first search result on a page jumped from 4.8 percent to 11 percent, notes Search Laboratory. In the world of PPC, that jump is huge.
Print advertising comes in all shapes and sizes, from signs, to magazine ads, to bumper stickers, to good old-fashioned letters in the mail. According to the USPS, 78 percent of households either read or scan marketing pieces in their mail, which makes investing in a small business postage meter a worthy consideration. That’s a much higher number than those who open email marketing messages. Again, the message is in front of us, so we’re forced to look at it, even if just for a moment before we throw it in the garbage. To mitigate that reaction, get creative. Your ad should be something you want to read yourself.
A great example of print advertising done right is by Austin Head in Phoenix, who is running for Phoenix City Council. Recently, signs have been popping up on street corners and buildings that say, “I Heart (with a heart symbol) Head.” Mr. Head is running for Phoenix City Council for the first time, along with others who may have better-known names, all of who post signs, go on the news, etc. Driving or walking, there are tons of signs that say, “Vote for Bob Smith,” and “Susie Sunday for Office,” many of which get ignored. Then amongst it all, there’s a sign that says, “I Heart Head,” that makes you stop and think, “Wow, I need to see what this is about.” Head’s website is on the bottom of the sign. What’s the first thing to do? Get on your readily-accessible mobile device and see what this guy is all about. Will this win him the election? Who knows? But one thing’s for sure, everyone in the Phoenix metro area knows who Austin Head is, and that he’s running for office.
Another great example of print advertising is mail advertising by Geico. Oftentimes, we want to be reached on an emotional or personal level, and Geico has this idea down pat. They send letters via USPS that tell their former customers how much they miss them, and that they will do anything to have them back as customers. This approach makes the recipient think about how much their current insurance carrier truly cares about them and that Geico remembers them — whether they actually do or not.
This year, there are almost as many mobile phones as there are people in the world, with a population of 7.1 billion and mobile subscriptions at 6.8 billion. By the end of 2013, mobile subscriptions will surpass the world’s population, notes Cisco. Mobile phone sales have surpassed PC sales in the last year, and the trend is only continuing. In a recent case study, Groupon showed 45 percent of its sales were from mobile devices, not computers. This percentage was up from 14 percent in 2011. More than 30 percent of smartphone owners research products on their phones when they’re outside of the home, according to Internet Retailer. If you’re not up to speed with your mobile optimization and marketing of your business, guess what? You’re behind the times.
As a small business owner or entrepreneur, human contact is important. Get out there, and make a connection with a real person. Head to a local networking event with business cards in hand and a smile on your face. Use the well-known line, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” or skim a nametag and say. “Wow your profession sounds interesting. Do you mind telling me exactly what you do?” Even if you don’t become fast friends or see a potential business partner in the person you’re talking to, at least they’ll remember you engaging them in conversation and can keep you in mind for future business references in their own networks.
If you can’t get somewhere in person, join groups online that make sense for your business. There are local networking groups, alumni groups, special interest groups, and expertise groups. For example, the MIT Enterprise Forum is for MIT Alumni and their acquaintances, and there are local chapters all over the United States.
Nicole Gaskell is a freelancer and blogger who loves all things outdoors and martial arts related. She has a passion for writing and learning about all subjects. and recently turned a hobby for martial arts and helping others into what is now her own self-defense business.