April 2017 - TAB Corporate

6 Tips for Attracting Customers Through Offline Marketing

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All businesses large and small must have a vibrant online presence these days, including social media and content marketing. But your business can benefit as well from a variety of offline marketing efforts—tactics and maneuvers that don’t cost a lot of money, but help keep brand awareness high within your business community.

Here are six tips for luring customers to your business and boosting awareness of your brand that complement your online marketing strategy:

1. Scatter your business cards far and wide. Even in our digital era, printed business cards are useful for keeping your business top-of-mind. The trick is distributing them with greater frequency and in locations that might not appear at first blush as promising venues.

Planning to dine out at a prestigious local restaurant this week? Leave a business card along with your tip. Ask your employees to pin a business card up on bulletin boards located in the various businesses they frequent. Be sure to generously distribute them at any tradeshows you attend.

2. Get actively involved in tradeshows and associations. Business still thrives on relationships. Whether you’re promoting a product or simply attending, tradeshows are a great place to forge new partnerships, attract prospective customers and just generally get more people aware of your brand.

Many trade associations distribute publications offering industry updates and insights. Contact the editors of these publications and see if they’re looking for short, insightful articles about new trends and activities (most are). Then try your hand at writing an article, submitting it and (if it’s accepted) politely insist on including your byline and title.

3. Build a reputation as an industry thought leader. With a few publications and/or speaking engagements under your belt, you’re well on the way to becoming a thought leader in your particular industry. Granted, as a CEO or business owner, you don’t have a lot of free time—but landing one or two speaking gigs at a high-profile industry event is worth its weight in marketing gold.

This works even on a more modest scale. Always “be on the lookout for offline opportunities such as local radios and seminars,” advises content marketer Christopher Jan Benitez. “You can also offer a free consultation day at your office or leave bits of useful information in flyers, posters, and your branded merchandise.”

4. Explore giving your product away for free. It’s not a business practice that should be adopted on a daily basis, but anytime you find an opportunity to offer your product as a top prize in a community contest—or donate your services for a worthy cause—you’re generating goodwill within the community and increasing awareness of your brand.

Additionally, look into cross-promotional opportunities with businesses that complement your own. It’s another way of getting prospective customers to think about your business differently, and to establish a presence in an unexpected way.

5. Leverage your expertise to appear on local media. Local and regional media—print, TV, radio, electronic—needs a constant infusion of new stories. As you build your reputation, reach out to local columnists, news anchors and others you admire, offering your expertise to give a local slant to national or international business news.

Building such a relationship doesn’t happen overnight; it requires persistence and an ability to frame yourself as a credible and persuasive source. The good news is—once you’re in, requests for appearances will likely multiply, expanding the range of awareness of both you and your company.

6. Track your company’s events in photographs and video. Images remain a very powerful marketing tool. So while guest speaking engagements, community activities and other events happen offline (that is, in real life), sharing photos and videos of them are often wildly popular on social media. “Real-life photos [and video] from the offline world show the personality of your company and increase online user engagement,” notes marketing strategist Jayson DeMers.

Given the right amount of effort and persistence, offline activities can spur greater momentum for your overall marketing strategies.

Want more advice on sales and marketing or general advice from other business owners like you? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

The CEO’s Role in Marketing

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How active should a CEO be in directing and/or promoting marketing efforts within his or her organization? Larger companies generally have a chief marketing officer at the helm to strategize and oversee marketing campaigns, inbound and outbound marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, etc. Small and mid-sized businesses might have one or two individuals who report to the CEO on marketing efforts.

Whatever the situation, there’s definitely a place for active participation from the company’s leader. Here are suggestions on what the CEO can do to help refine marketing efforts and ensure greater success in this area:

Make sure marketing and sales activities are aligned. In some organizations, a lack of cross-communications between sales and marketing can lead to friction between departments that should be working closely together—and a subsequent drop in leads, conversions and closings. As CEO, you can emphasize the importance of alignment by inviting the sales team to provide input on “how better to frame a branding message that genuinely connects with prospects.” This can include involving sales “in the actual creation of [marketing] materials, thus reflecting their own experience in the field.”

In the same respect, a CEO who understands how sales leads are generated can do more to see that the marketing budget gets spent on the most effective sales channels—and require both sales and marketing to produce metrics that justify every major expenditure of time and money.

Know your product inside and out. When it comes to your company’s product or service line, how deep does your knowledge go?

Some CEOs brought in as “hired guns” may feel their role as figurehead or “chief inspiration officer” is more important than in-depth product knowledge. But a leader who knows the company’s offerings inside and out is better equipped to understand where marketing efforts fall short—and why customer response may sometimes be lacking. Then he or she can ensure there’s a greater focus on refining the product line (based in part on customer response) and adjusting the branding message to go along with these refinements.

Push marketing to clearly differentiate your business from the competition. In most cases, winning sales depends on having a clear message that details how your product offering differs from the competition. As company leader, you can mandate (or at least strongly advocate) a greater emphasis on research and development, strategic innovation and customer input in order to achieve market-leader status.

Push your marketing team to define key differentiating factors. Work with the marketing team to ensure “they are conscientious about determining what the unique attributes are,” says marketing expert Renee Yeager, and that they “are continually reevaluating to make sure it is still the best for the current market.”

Build a great marketing team. To get the most effective marketing results, you need to have a talented and creative team in place. A CEO who places a high value on such recruitment efforts will get his or her message across to HR or others charged with hiring new personnel: Marketing matters in our organization and we want to recruit those men and women who excel at it.

In the same respect, if there’s a CMO at the helm, give this individual your full support. “Firms with better marketing outcomes tend to have CMOs with greater continuity (on average nearly a year longer),” contends veteran marketing officer Kimberly A. Whitler. Savvy CEOs understand that “high levels of CMO turnover are not good for business results.”

Every CEO copes with a multitude of priorities, but those who put marketing at or near the top of the list can make a significant difference in the quality and effectiveness of efforts in this key area.

Want more advice on marketing or general advice from other business owners like you? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!