Marketing a business is one of those things that can put the fear into any business owner.
Simultaneously scientific and creative, it’s also surprisingly time-consuming and in many cases, expensive. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s always changing.
Gone are the days where you could pay for a half-page ad in the local rag (at eye-watering rates, mind!) and be done for the month. In an ever-globalised and digital world, the marketing game has stepped up considerably, with new and more creative ways of reaching a potential new audience.
It’s one of those areas where the possibilities (i.e. the time and money you can spend) are almost limitless. But for the vast majority of us with a modest marketing budget and not enough time to spare, here are some of the ways you can embrace modern marketing techniques for your business.
Social media marketing
We know this one’s not massively ‘new’ as such, but there are newer ways of making things much easier. Many businesses get overwhelmed by the sheer scale of work that can be done on social media, with little obvious payback. If you can’t decide between the myriad of options, just pick one or two to concentrate on. Customers aren’t expecting 24/7 posts and one regular and up-to-date social media channel is far better than five neglected ones.
To save you from even more hard work, you can use a programme like Buffer or Hootsuite to automate your posts. You simply set up all your posts for the week on a schedule, and they will publish them on your behalf at the times you choose.
Mention product placement and it conjures up not-so-subtle appearances of Coca Cola in cheesy 80s action films. The modern-day version, however, is over on YouTube or Instagram, in the hands of the thousands of regular folks documenting their lives, hobbies or skills. The most successful of all of these channels have a reach of millions and companies are queuing to have their product associated with these ‘influencers’.
Try hunting down some of the most popular YouTube or Instagram accounts in your local area or your field of expertise. A couple of freebies given to the right people could mean your brand is seen by masses of people, and all at a relatively low cost.
Using photos wisely
Now we’re no longer limited to 24 shots on a roll of Kodak film(and the 3-day waiting time at Boots for 23 useless, blurry, overexposed photos), there is simply no excuse for not using photos as part of your digital marketing campaigns.
They don’t have to be Instagram-worthy specially staged shots (though it certainly doesn’t hurt). And even office-based business can get in on the action. Whether it’s a shot of your new office furniture, a candid snap of the team hard at work or Friday night drinks in the pub, it’s not always about showing off your wares, but about showing the outside world what your business is like at its heart – its values and its people as well as your product.