In this brave new world of communication, it can be easy to put all your marketing muscle into the newest "shinies" like Google+, Vine or Twitter. These are all powerful, cost-effective tools; however, you shouldn't focus solely on what's new. Some of the old-school methods are just as compelling, and effective, as they always have been.
For an even stronger punch, try combining the two—modern technologies and old-school marketing tricks—to arm yourself with seriously killer marketing tools.
1. Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth remains the most trusted form of marketing available. People trust their friends and family in ways they'll never trust even the most brilliant advertising campaign. Reward your loyal customers for bringing new people into the "family" and encourage your staff to spread the news among their contacts.
Killer Marketing Opportunity: Exponentially increase your referral reach by incorporating a referral program into your email marketing lists and social media efforts.
2. Personal Connections
This can't be the first time you've heard that people find the modern world impersonal. Whether they're being given a case number by a customer service rep who can't be bothered to learn their name, or placing an order with no human contact, customers miss feeling like a person. Creating even a small personal connection will make you memorable in the best possible way.
Killer Marketing Opportunity: Use contact tracking software to remember birthdays of your clients and reach out with a personalized note via social media.
We're not talking about direct, unsolicited mass mailing postcards here. Those are expensive for you, annoying for the recipient and bad for trees. Instead, we're talking about a personalized postcard you send to a customer to thank him for a recent order, tell him about an upcoming event he might be interested in, or some other similar message that indicates a real connection.
Killer Marketing Opportunity: Use online printing services to produce a limited run of a truly beautiful postcard. Prestamp them and keep on hand to send out as a standard step in your order process.
4. Face Time
Local networking is still the number-one way to get solid customers who stick with you year after year. Social media is great for maintaining a tenuous connection, but it pales in comparison to the power of sitting next to each other at a local meetup, chamber of commerce meeting, industry conference or fan convention. Sure, it's a bigger time footprint than updating your Facebook page, but it's worth the extra effort.
Killer Marketing Opportunity: Find fun meetups and conferences in your area that aren't for your industry, but are for industries that need your services. If you sell accounting software, the local Accounting Software Association meeting will be light on good leads ... but you may be the only one of your kind at the local Small Business Association get-together.
TV is effective, but out of the price range of many small businesses. Print works, but is often too diluted. Radio has historically been, and remains, among the top values for a small-to-medium business's advertising dollars. Don't limit yourself to ad spots, either. Most local radio shows—the ones that will reach people in your immediate area—are hungry for guests.
Killer Marketing Opportunity: Combine the power of radio with the power of modern communication by getting on podcasts about your industry, or making your own podcast with advice about your expertise.
How do you blend old-school and new-school marketing tactics? Share with the community in the comments below.
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Jason has contributed over 2,000 blog and magazine articles to publications local, regional and national. He speaks regularly at writing and business conferences. You can find out more about Jason at his website.