Where To Spend Your Advertising Budget?
Recently I came across this chart in .Net magazine about affiliate marketing (I’m not affiliated with .Net by the way).
The chart shows a breakdown of the most effective techniques currently used by affiliate marketers. Interesting to see that organic search is so dominant with all the talk of pay per clicks. That said, it might be the PPC’s that are generating the best return on investment.
Particularly interesting is the comparison between paid search and offline (print) adverts. Take a closer look and maybe you’ll pick up a couple of ideas for your own marketing campaign..
Print Ads versus Pay-Per-Click
Offline magazines, publications and flyers are really lagging behind paid search. It seems if you’re selling a product online it’s best to advertise it online. Who would have thunk it? The online advantage being the instant response the visitor gets by clicking a paid search ad and the ability to compare and contrast services and products in a short timeframe. Not to mention the ability to buy a product then and there, from the comfort of home.
Ask yourself, how many times have you seen an advert in a magazine and thought “I’m going to check out their website”; and then you instantly jump up, fire up old reliable and connect to the Internet just to look at the advertisers website? Personally I’ve never done it and if it happens I doubt its often.
And how many times have you actually cut out and filled in the little form in a newspaper ad, stuck it in an envelope, wrote the advertisers address on the envelope, bought a stamp, licked it, stuck it on the envelope, and then went to the nearest post box and posted the blasted thing? Just to get their brochure? I’ve never done it anyway. Why should I when I can usually just click on an ad or search result online to find out more?
Compare and Contrast Marketing ROI
If you’re a small business with a tight budget try the following: ring a national newspaper advertising office and enquire how much for a small advert to run for a month in the classifieds. Now compare this to running a paid search campaign for the same period online; a campaign that can be adjusted and fine-tuned to your market. It’s a no-brainer.
I’m not saying forget print advertisers altogether. Depending on your product 2.99% ROI might be a nice chunk of change, but if you’re on a small budget maybe that’s not the way to go. You might be better off spending time improving your website search position for related keywords for organic search and running a focused paid search campaign.
Again, effective affiliate marketing figures are:
SEO – Search Engine Optimization for Organic search = 43.17%
Offline magazines/ publications/ flyers 2.99%
Banner advertising 10.89%
Product feeds 4.75%
Paid search 22.16%
Small Business marketing avenues have evolved greatly with the development of on-line social forums and blogs. Small business promotional campaigns are no longer restricted to distributing printed business cards, brochures, flyers, mailshot and maybe even the odd classifieds advert. Now even the smallest business can rub shoulders with their industry giants on a global scale through intelligent use of their websites, blogs and forums.
This article offers advice about forums as marketing tools for those who have little or no experience of using forums.
What Is A Web / Internet Forum?
Internet Forums – also know as Web Forums – enable forum members to discuss news and topics of mutual interest with each other. The action of a member generated information being added to a ‘thread’ is called posting. Forum membership is usually free. Applicants are prompted to provide a username and password on the register page. They will use these details in future to login to the forum, enabling them to start new topics, make posts and update their membership profile.
Social Aspects Of Internet Forums
Internet Forums can be great sources of information and advice on any subject you care to imagine. Forums offer informal social outlets for people. As a sole trader I found web forums particularly useful when suffering from midweek ‘cabin fever’ due to my self enforced isolation.
Web Forums For Business Marketing And Promotion
Forums can also be used to promote and market your business. It’s usually best to take a subtle approach when marketing your business through forums as other members will quickly identify and weed out blatant self-promoters who show little interest in really participating in the discussions. Rather than listing off your latest special offer every chance you get it’s best to just signature your posts with a link to your URL (website address). There’s a good possibility that forum visitors will click your link if they found your contribution useful and genuine.
Share your knowledge freely on the forum and offer genuinely helpful advice when you can. This has several benefits:
You’ll get great satisfaction from helping someone out of a pickle.
You’ll find other members willing to assist you when you request advice or information.
You may eventually be identified as an expert in your field. This can generate leads or referrals for your business and can prove to be a powerful marketing tool.
You may even strike up some friendships!
Some Advice About Forums
Find a forum you like and visit if for a few days or weeks before joining. This will give you a feel for the way the members prefer to handle themselves. Remember, some forums are more formal than others.
Bullies – Forums offer great hangouts for bullies. If you’re a ‘Newbie’ to a forum you’ll soon come across one of these spineless wonders. Do not rise to their bait, rise above it.
Closely related to bullies but potentially far more damaging to your profile or business efforts is the resident expert! You may decide to join a forum that is not directly related to your industry or has a membership from a broad range of disciplines. This is the forum that is likely to generate the most leads for you, but beware of the resident expert in your discipline. There’s a good chance that every letter of the advice you offer will be scrutinized and questioned by your opponent on the forum. Such attempts by the resident expert to hold his status as expert could turn out to be quite an unpleasant experience for both parties (while the rest of the forum read on, enjoying the fireworks!:)).
Be prepared to hold your ground, backup your advice and remain polite even when your opponent gets personal.
People new to using forums (Newbies), in their eagerness to participate, sometimes post a reply to an old thread that is long out of date and the discussion well and truly over. This is not a crime punishable by death (yet) but probably best to stick with the current threads (last few days or so, depends on the forum). Check the date of the last post in a thread to judge if it’s still active or not.
Whatever happens, don’t get too serious, don’t take it too personal and be as helpful as you can. Before long you may begin to enjoy the benefits of marketing and promoting your business through Web Forums.
There’s a lot more to establishing your business than being an expert in making or doing whatever it is you make or do.
A problem common to many small business owners is that you usually carry the burden of being the bookkeeper, PR, research department, production manager, skilled labour, marketing and sales, delivery, cook, sweeper and chief bottle washer.
One of the most important aspects of establishing your business for the long term is learning how to develop and nurture good sales leads. A few ‘good clients’ are worth more and are more enjoyable to work with than many ‘bad clients’. So when you put your efforts into generating new sales leads it’s worth deciding who you want to work with first and then how you’re going reach them.
Brian Carroll’s “Start with a Lead: Eight critical success factors for lead generation” is a free e-book and A MUST READ for anyone starting out or looking to mature their business development. Brian has broken down the process of lead generation and clearly illustrated in diagram the eight critical success factors for lead generation (page 22).
For someone like myself, coming from a web design perspective, this e-book really opened my eyes to lead generation. Since reading it (and re-reading it) I’ve identified marketing and sales mistakes I’ve made in the past, now never to be repeated. It’s also helped me combine the fragments of positive lead generation I had instinctively used; giving me more focus and control over my business.
Go to Brian’s blog to download “Start with a Lead: Eight critical success factors for lead generation”. I’m already beginning to see positive results from putting Brian Carroll’s lead generation ideas into action, I think you will too.
Recently I’ve been looking more towards techniques for improving client relationships and increasing business opportunities. This kind of activity is important to any business – B&B, restaurant, Web services etc… – that hopes to understand their clients better, to offer more focused services and to grow. Because I’m pretty busy I don’t have a lot of time to read through blog post after blog post. Who does?
Anyway, I’ve come across some interesting marketing/sales blogs which offer podcasts as an alternative to (or complimentary to) the traditional text content blog post. This allows me to listen to informative marketing podcasts while work on graphics and design. Great for maximizing your use of time.
Here’s a couple of useful blogs that make their thoughts on marketing, sales and nurturing customer relations via podcast:
I’ll add more to the list as I come across them.
marketing and sales