Marketing is an art that only few people truly have mastered. The rest of us will probably be excellent on some of its aspects. Since the discipline is so vast, it would be worth realising early on, which aspect is most useful.
Usually marketing is divided in Inbound and Outbound. Outbound marketing focuses on ‘pushing products or messages out’ and into the market; it makes use of traditional media, such as the tv, radio, posters etc. It tends to be expensive and requires a substantial investment.
Inbound (sometimes also called content) marketing, on the other hand, is ‘pulling customers in’ to buy the products. Most popular methods are blogging, using social media, newsletters or ebooks. Among them, participation in social media may have the most profound impact on the customer base, even though it is considered to be time consuming.
When someone is just starting a business s/he does not have the money to compete with larger and established companies in marketing wars. There is definitely no money to buy advertising space during the Superball. There are no funds to pay for a radio show or an interview in prime time tv. In these cases, other avenues should be sought; so, Content Marketing is highly recommended.
Content Marketing goes hand-in-hand with lean methodology. It is low cost, it promotes direct contact with the customer and it gives the capability for customer development online.
The flourishing culture based on social media is the vehicle mostly used in this type of marketing. Here I will recount them briefly, along with their qualities for specific business:
The King of Content Marketing is blogging. The blog is normally connected with the website and provides in-depth insights to the business. It should be updated regularly, whether it is twice a week, once a month or once every three months. This regular activity on topics of interest will establish the author as an ‘authority’ in the field. Therefore it is advisable to use blogging to promote all types of businesses.
I always thought that twitter is the number one medium for the dissemination of knowledge of any kind. You can easily build authority with its help, and lead your tribe to new pastures. Surprisingly, though, it is not very effective in selling products directly. It should be used mostly for the accumulation of referrals and leads.If you want to learn more about how to build a strong presence on twitter read my articles on Why Should We Use Twitter for Business and How to Get Thousands of Followers on Twitter.
It would be naive to use facebook only for personal reasons. It is a very effective tool to reach large numbers of people in a meaningful way. I found it very useful especially for businesses that aim at young mothers. If you want to know more about how to gain thousands of followers, read my articles How to Get more Facebook Likes for your Page, the Lean Way and “How to Get Thousands of Facebook Likes”. Is This the Lean Way of Starting a Business?
I cannot say I am a big fun of this medium but I recognise its importance in the greater scheme of things. It has the advantage of distributing people in circles; thus grouping them according to specific interests or businesses. Furthermore, there is no limitation in how much you should write.
This is one of the latest fads that is gaining momentum rapidly. Since it is based on the distribution of photos, it appeals to people who are ‘visual’. I suspect that it will become increasingly more important in all types of businesses.
This type of media is perfect for B2B. The most active part will not be your profile, though. You should emphasize on building relationships in the several groups that may interest you. These forums are lively and the breeding ground for successful partnerships.
It is debatable whether YouTube is part of the social media family or not. I decided to include it here, though, because of the impact it has in all aspects of life and businesses.
There are a lot more social media platforms out there, most of which are worthwhile pursuing. If only we had enough time in this world to engage with more people in more meaningful ways!
If you are a newbie, start with one that appeals to you the most and move towards the rest slowly but steadily. In the beginning, you may find the process gruelling but I can promise you that it gets better (and certainly more enjoyable) as time passes by.
For more information on lean startup methodology, you could take a look at my other blog posts.
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