Most successful, small businesses start the same way: they have a great idea, a great product, and a great group of people with an indomitable work ethic that don’t stop until they succeed. This drives the product into its local market like a hot knife through butter. However, when the business grows to the point of expanding past its local market, and onto the national stage – these same factors alone won’t always get the job done. In a national marketplace, your small business will be competing with thousands of others, just like you attempting to sell products that are very similar. It’s up to you to define your message well, and make sure it actually gets heard. In this article, we’ll take a look at the art of breaking through the barrage of marketing messages consumers face every day – so your message actually gets heard.
Consumers are Beyond Products
You may have the best product in your industry, or even just an okay product for your industry. The point is, in a certain sense – your product is almost a secondary factor in making sales. In today’s crowded, hyper-saturated world of marketing, people simply can’t listen to companies talk about the superior features and abilities of their products – this kind of language gets tuned out, and quickly. Instead, for the modern consumer to even begin to pay attention to marketing and advertising, there needs to be hook that’s clever in a way that seems totally unrelated to the product. Because it’s unlike most things people hear on television, the radio, read in their email or mailbox – it is exactly what will perk their ears, and end the “tune-out” they put in place when the ads came on. These are marketing messages like K-mart’s “ship my pants” campaign, or Volvo’s Jean Claude Van Damme commercial. If you want to play in the big leagues, you’re going to have to get more creative than talking about the “quality of your lawn care products” for example.
Marketing Mediums Matter
There’s an old terminology in marketing called the “captive audience”, and it rings true more than ever in today’s world of advanced digital marketing. You see, people will stop listening to advertising whenever they can, however they can – it’s human nature. So TV’s are muted, magazine pages are skipped and emails are filtered. On the other hand things like radio advertising, highway billboards, and direct mail printing are different. You don’t necessarily mute the ads of your radio program in the car, because you’re not going anywhere else anyway. You look at the highway billboard, because you’re stuck in traffic anyway. You read your direct mail ads in your mailbox, because you need to make sure they’re not bills. These captive audience marketing mediums are like little insurance policies that help your message get heard – one way or another. Sure, you can invest in other mediums, but why not start with a captive audience?
Launching Your First National Marketing Campaign
If you have the budget to start advertising your business nationally, you’re probably wondering where to start? There are so many different markets, and you’re budget can’t possibly cover all of them. Consider choosing a city with as many of the same demographics as yours: similar size, similar driving economic forces, tourist visitation, etc. Now that you’ve chosen your city, you need to make a big splash fast. You can’t afford to dabble in getting your brand out there – you need to become a household name quickly. Consider launching a city-wide direct mail campaign using the USPS’s Every Door Direct Mail program (EDDM). EDDM lets you save a huge percentage on your mailing costs by sending your direct mail piece to literally every address in a zip code. There are some rules and regulations – as well as registrations that need to be followed to a tee in order to participate in EDDM, and this can be challenging. It’s helpful to work with a printer who specializes in EDDM. They can help you get everything rolling to launch your first campaign. If your message has the right kind of hook, EDDM campaigns will likely to get you some buzz citywide. Furthermore, if your offer is enticing, you’ll generate revenue – and create new customers that will potential retain for years to come.
Retaining Customers: Consistent Branding
Just as the creativity and uniqueness of your marketing message was instrumental in binging in your customers – it’s just as essential in retaining them. Getting customers who’ve tried something once to buy again isn’t always easy. Depending on how much they liked the product, you may have to convince them to give it a second chance. Don’t insult your existing customers by dropping all of the clever and ingenuitive messaging you worked so hard for in your prior campaigns altogether. They’ll feel like they were duped by the marketing wizards, only to left with a product they were only so-so excited about. You likely have your customer’s email address now – the real one, not the fake one they give out to get online coupons. Send some useful and entertaining information, that’s merely peppered with your next product offering. This will engage your customers, showing them you’re a resource for them – someone who’s funny, and informed – someone to be listened to. When it’s time to purchase, they’ll come back again.