Tag Archives: advertising

Creating Combined Marketing Campaigns – 2015 Best Marketing Strategies

Combined campaigns example with website landing page and direct mail postcardsWhat market segment or demographic does your largest customer group belong to? Is there a specific industry you have a strong track record with that would benefit from your expertise? Do you want to continue to serve this market and reach other prospects in this segment?

Once you identify your ideal customer the next step is to determine where you can find them.  Are they newspaper or magazine readers? Or are they on Instagram and have never seen a Yellow Page book? Chances are you have a mix of ages, interests or income in your target market groups. This is where creating combined marketing campaigns come in.

Taking the time in the beginning when creating combined marketing campaigns  will provide a multi-channel and cross-platform reach that can catch both the smart phone users and yellow page turners. Encouraging connections through multiple marketing channels builds the relationship between the brand and the consumer.

Creating Combined Marketing Campaigns:

In our effort to reach out to our specific target markets we decided to combine a direct mail campaign with social media and internet marketing to help us reach a larger segment of our specified groups. On our snail mail postcards we provided a custom URL for each market. Prior to mailing we created landing pages on our website associated with each target market. When the postcard recipient typed in the custom URL the landing page offered samples, testimonials and examples of services in their industry that would be helpful to them. Social media posts were created with hashtags and keyword phrases included on our website to help us come up when these prospects make a search inquiry for our services.

Internet advertising campaign created:

  1. To reach the prospects that we did not have mailing addresses for
  2. To get in front of those who received the postcard but did not respond yet

Each ad was similar in design to the postcard that was mailed. The ad linked directly to the custom URL designated for the specific target group. The ads took them to our website landing pages  with the information we wanted to share with them. The landing pages were also similar in design to the postcards and Facebook ad designs that were part of the campaign.

Example of a combined marketing campaign :

One of our target markets is the Michigan construction industry. Connection Group has assisted customers in the Michigan construction industry  with website creation and marketing management for nearly 20 years.  We provide marketing and website design services to builders, remodelers, construction trades and construction product manufacturers. We have the experience, we have the reviews, and we know we can help more  meet their business goals.

Combining Direct Mail and In-Bound Marketing

  • Design an oversized postcard targeting the construction industry
  • Create a unique URL to include on the postcard
  • Create  a construction industry landing page the URL will direct the visitor to
  • Add a call to action

Media Behaviors of this group

  • More likely to be on Facebook than Instagram
  • More apt to be searching Google than watching tv

Conclusion:

  • Prospect mailing list was created
  • Printed postcards – easily viewable by the recipient and inexpensive to produce
  • Unique URL and landing page will help us to track visitors and determine the effectiveness of the direct mail component.
  • Facebook and Google Adwords search would be the best use of our (very limited!) internet advertising dollars.

The above solutions were chosen to fit within our marketing and advertising budget to market to the construction industry. Other marketing segments we provide marketing services for are small to mid-size businesses and professional speakers. Fortunately these groups can be reached on the same media platforms as the construction industry. Pretty strategic marketing right there, right? This approach reduces our need for researching other platforms and keeps our media spend within budget.

If we choose to increase our marketing budget for let’s say the professional speaker market we know media behaviors of this group show they are internet savvy and social. With those traits in mind we could become an affiliate member of the National Speakers Association Michigan or National Speakers Association since we work with Professional Speakers across the country, We could purchase advertisements in their publications, be a vendor at one of their trade shows or sponsor an event. We would not purchase billboards, tv or radio advertising for this group – but we may want to look at YouTube for display or video advertisements .

Long standing businesses who are discovering that traditional advertising and marketing isn’t working anymore will find their sweet spot by creating combined marketing campaigns. Television may still work for some of your customers, combine it with a YouTube video or adwords campaign and see how many new customers result. As in the dawn of the advertising age, knowing your customers interests and needs will help you be where they are and form authentic relationships.

Not sure where to begin? Connect with us today for a consultation and assistance creating combined marketing campaigns that connect with your target market.

10 Internet Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Internet marketing strategies

Internet marketing is not an option, it is a necessity for every small business to grow. We love working with start up companies, we love the passion and the excitement new entrepreneurs bring with each bright venture. It is also hard for us to meet some of these fresh start up small businesses who are following their dreams but haven’t done the due diligence of research. We are often contacted first to design and develop a small business website. One of our specialities here of course. However in our first website consultation we talk to our prospective customers about how they are going to market their new business and if they have considered internet marketing. Unfortunately many small business owners believe having a website is an internet marketing strategy. It is a component but it is not a complete strategy to drive traffic, phone calls and orders in and of itself.

Following is a list of some of the internet marketing strategies small businesses implement. Not all of these internet marketing concepts are necessary for every single business. If you are not sure about which will fit best with your internet marketing goals post a question in the comment sections and I will be happy to help. I will need to know what your product or service is and what your internet marketing goals are. Do you want to increase page views, do you want to make more sales, do you want more downloads, etc.

10 Internet Marketing Strategies for small business

  1. Web Presence – First and foremost is to have a fully functioning quality website. A website that communicates quickly what your product or service is key in keeping your visitor engaged in staying on your website long enough to determine if they want to work with you. List your services or products, make it easy to locate contact information whether it is an online form and most definitely provide an email contact and phone number on all your pages. Don’t skimp on your website design. If your website looks cheap your company will bear the burden of this perception.
  2. Content Marketing – Content marketing includes articles, blog posts, press releases, e-books, all types of photos including product photos, staff photos, stock photos for your blog posts, and videos. Don’t ever worry that you are offering too much information on your website. Note you will naturally be adding relevant keywords to your content (see SEO below) and you will be answering every visitors question each time they come to your site. Sharing your wisdom and expertise adds credibility and trust for your customer and bodes higher search results than websites that don’t get updated frequently and have less content
  3. SEO/SEM – Search engine marketing helps bring your website up in search results within search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. The use of relevant keywords holds high importance in SEO for small business websites. To use Connection Group as an example, as a graphic design and marketing company in the Lansing Michigan area we want customers who are seeking graphic design and marketing in the Lansing, Michigan to find us. The best way to be visible in search engines is to make sure we have those keywords (graphic design, marketing, Lansing, Michigan) on our website in various places.  There are many components of SEO and many bad practices by disreputable SEO firms to avoid. Please post in comments if you have questions.
  4. Local Search Marketing – Local search incorporates the rules and tactics for standard SEO and integrates maps, such as Google maps. When a customer searches your product or services a map with local companies who fit the query come up. Your company and similar companies in your industry will have listing that include contact information such as address, phone number, and can include website and there will be a symbol on the map indicating your exact business location.
  5. Social Media Marketing – Everybody groan and get it over with. I know social media for small businesses is an internet strategy that challenges the best of us but it all comes down to your goals and your audience. Some of our customers rock Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and others report increased sales rates from the traffic they received from LinkedIn. The most challenging part of social media as an internet marketing strategy for small businesses  is setting the frequency of posts and determining return on investment. To start, I recommend securing social media profiles with your business name in all of the main social media channels. The next step is to evaluate which social media channels your customers spend the most time in, when they are there and what they want to hear from you.  Piece of cake right?
  6. Email Marketing – Email marketing lists are considered by many to be the most valuable database in many small businesses portfolio. Email marketing lists are built from customers and prospects who have expressed an interest in your product or service. Whether you gained them through a give away, a promise to keep them updated on new product releases, or discounts, these people have opted in to receive communication from you. Unlike a phone call, or face to face meeting, emails can be sent 24/7 and the recipient can choose when they will look at them and how they will respond. Small businesses should consider using an established email marketing software such as Mailchimp to help ensure your campaigns reach your customers in-box without getting caught in spam filters.
  7. Landing Pages – A landing page is a page on your website that is designed to capture visitors contact information. Landing pages contain a lead capture form (conversion form) also known as an online inquiry form. Created for a specific audience they can be a very successful internet marketing strategy. Good landing pages are simple and focus on one message to achieve the goal of capturing the lead content. Consider using landing pages with email campaigns targeted to previous customers, use of landing pages with online advertising allow ease of tracking and optimizing for each ad, and lastly landing pages can be used for giveaways and free downloads of e-books, original graphics, etc.
  8. Mobile Compatibility – Mobile marketing statistics so far for 2014 show some industries are seeing nearly 50% of visits to their websites from mobile users. This of course will vary with demographics and your actual product or service but it is high across the board – high enough not to ignore. Most small businesses are investing in responsive website design rather than going with a desktop website and a separate mobile website. Maintaining two separate websites is just crazy unless that’s all you have to do all day. Responsive sites provide the best of both worlds. Those visiting your site on a smart phone, tablet or desktop computer get the same information, it is all just scaled for the screen size they are using. Questions? Let’s talk.
  9. Online directory listings – Make sure your business is listed and complete your information and be sure there is accurate contact information in all main online directories such as Google, Bing, Yelp and YP. Consumers who do not know your company name but are searching for your product or service can view your listing and contact you. Most directories have free listings and others offer more options at a cost. There are many other service listings like Yext, etc. and also industry specific directories you will want to explore.
  10. Google Adwords and Social Media Paid Advertising – Google Adwords can help bring you to the top of searches page by paying for top placement. Internet advertising is sold on a cost per click (CPC) or cost per  impression. You build ads using keywords for your product or service depending on your budget and how many others in your industry are advertising the same keywords and setting similar budgets your ad will come up in when people search for your product or service. Due diligence must be paid to each online adverting campaign to make sure you are getting in the top rankings and that you are taking advantage of each opportunity. As you work to improve organic search engine results for your website by adding content, etc. Although not for the faint at heart or for those who are not very ‘techie’, Google adwords and some social media advertising can be a good addition to your internet marketing strategy.

So which of the 10 internet marketing strategies above does your company need the most to increase inbound marketing results? Do you think you need to start working on all or them, or only 1 − 4, or are you completely overwhelmed and want to go back to door to door sales and forget all this crazy internet stuff? Connect with us, we can help with all of the services listed, we know the ropes and we can help get results.

Stay connected!

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What is the difference between Marketing, Public Relations, Advertising and Sales?

advertising, communication, pr, newspaper with mouseMany people confuse these terms and this sure makes for a difficult job for marketing firms. Connection Group is a brand marketing firm, our focus is considerably different than let’s say a Marketing Research firm. Connection Group assists with marketing plans, promotions, design, advertising and general public relations with a focus on development and promotion of your brand in print and web communication.  There are PR firms that outsource design and communication items to us and in turn, there are public relations and research items that are better suited for firms who specialize in those modalities.

Because many of our local Lansing marketing firms and design agencies handle a variety of task and because there are so many different elements that can be broken into niche areas (Marketing Research, Brand Marketing, Promotions, Event Marketing, etc.) it is clear why there is so much confusion. Let’s take a look at each category and attempt to clarify the main goals of each.

Marketing

Marketing is the umbrella term for the process of creating, communicating and delivering products or services to customers.  Target marketing is achieved through research studies that help determine buying habits or lifestyle practices of people and companies. Research ranges from such options as geo-targeting, surveys, focus groups, web analytics, phone tracking and many more in-depth and long-term studies. Contrary to popular belief by some specialist, marketing is not just about research and statistics. Research is one step in the marketing plan. Most people learn that marketing consists of four major considerations: product, price, place and promotion. To Connection Group, marketing is as much about the action taken upon review of data as the number crunching, and charts and graphs reviews. Brand Marketing, which we specialize in, starts with the background research, leads to the plan, and formulation of the promotional campaign. Depending on the size of the company, and the size of the marketing budget, the marketing plan will include an outline for Sales objectives, Advertising media, Communication materials, Public Relations projects and review suggestions.

Sales

Sales is a component of marketing but marketers are not sales staff. Sales is typically handled by a separate department that can include sales managers, sales representatives or account representatives depending on the company industry and size of the business. It is marketing’s job to provide tracking, statistics, materials and messages that support the company brand and give the sales force a sustainable strategic advantage to meet the customers needs. Do not expect your marketing department to plan sales strategy, create sales appointments or contact prospects or customers – hire a sales person for this.

Advertising and public relations are considered marketing promotions

Advertising

Advertising can involve a number of activities to communicate to a target audience. Most advertising is paid media such as radio, television, email, newspaper, magazine, the internet, and other print publications, etc.  Advertising focuses on communicating a message to the market and typically carries a theme that communicates the company brand. The chosen media is determined by the marketing  research which has identified the most successful way of reaching the target audience within the financial budget set for advertising.

Public Relations

Public Relations support the marketing effort and is often a component of the marketing plan. PR is a method companies use to convey a positive image to their market and the community. Press releases, speaking at public forums, and community involvement are methods used by businesses to establish the company name and communicate the brand image. Public Relations is considerably less cost than advertising, however the efforts can take time and may not attract the attention by media that is desired. Addressing the public on issues of importance can also be risky with any controversial subject that can be misconstrued by competition, the media or the public view.

Considerations when outsourcing these services

Some marketing departments and marketing firms may offer all of these services in house, some may outsource a portion of the services and some may supply only the data or the marketing plan recommended for your company and you will be responsible for identifying who will implement each task. Don’t assume every marketing firm is going to provide Public Relations services or media placement, and don’t expect your marketers to be graphic designers or sales people. Identify what your goals are and communicate this when interviewing firms. Knowing what items you will be handling in house; social media updates, e-newsletters, press releases, etc will help determine the level of services you desire. Some firms handle everything, some marketing firms hand you a plan and blow you a kiss good bye. Connection Group can work on a per project basis and also provides monthly marketing maintenance for companies. Give us a call today for a complimentary consultation, in person or an online marketing consultation. We can let you know if what your company needs is a newly designed website with more content to enhance SEO, a full blown PR campaign, or just a good sales representative with clear communication materials to reach your target audience.

 

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