Are you wasting your marketing dollars on outdated strategies?

Many people who run businesses for a long time acquire routines or habits that may not be the best way to decide the most effective or productive strategies when it comes to marketing. What worked in 1980 or 1990 or even 2000 may not work today.

As we all know, times have changed and, with them, consumer purchases and purchasing preferences. Whether your customer is a common person or another company, decisions about what to buy, how much to pay, where to get it, and how to pay for it have been greatly affected by the internet.

Years ago, if you wanted to buy a used car, you probably would have chosen the classified section of the newspaper and scanned the appropriate listings. The same goes for real estate. If you were looking for work, where did you look? Of course, the search ads in the newspaper.

How about clothes, gifts, jewelry, golf clubs, books, or even shoes? Well, you’d probably head to the mall for a tiring day of browsing, asking a salesperson questions, trying things out, and bringing shopping bags to your car.

How about tax services, medical consultation, planning a night out at a good restaurant, or pet grooming? Entertainment equipment, car insurance, office supplies, or finding a local plumber? We used to collect the yellow pages for all kinds of things we needed. Must you remember those huge books full of tiny letters that list everything under the sun?

But we live in a happy world. Today, practically everyone buys everything online. Not only that, we use our credit cards to pay and receive everything at our homes or businesses for the ultimate in convenience.

So how has that impacted how we reach our markets? Enormously! If you are still placing classified ads in the newspaper or buying expensive yellow pages display ads, you should take a step back and re-evaluate your decisions, which may be a little out of date.

Instead, you should take advantage of all the free “yellow pages” directory listings available online. This may take some time to set up, requiring you to write a few short announcements (also known as paragraphs or “sound bites”) about your business, but it’s well worth it for a couple of reasons. First of all, most people now use the Internet to find contact information for whoever or whatever they want to contact. And it is impossible to know which yellow pages they will use, so you must be included in all of them. But even more importantly, if you have a website, which you should, all those listings that usually include free links to your website will help you with your SEO or search engine optimization. (That means the time you spend putting up free listings will be worth it by boosting your Google search ranking higher in search results if someone is searching for your products or services online.)

I’m sure all the yellow page sales reps won’t appreciate my suggestions here. But they are not the only ones whose printed products have fallen out of favor. I am still predicting the next demise of the printed newspaper and many magazines, much as I still enjoy sitting down to read the printed page when I have a few minutes. It’s probably just an old habit that I’ll have to break before I break. First of all, as we get older, our eyesight worsens, and seeing that fine print on paper is much more difficult than it used to be twenty years ago. Since I spend most of my days staring at my computer monitor, I take advantage of the enlarged type feature which makes it much easier to read. And while I consider the little time I spend reading magazines and newspapers as rare moments of luxury, it is likely that continuing to do so in the future will only be done online or via electronic tablets or electronic reading devices.

This means that if you run a business, your advertising media must change as well. While you may feel that you are still reaching your target audience through a print newspaper ad, which has certainly become much more affordable compared to the fees charged in the past, you may change your mind once you explore the logic. behind Internet advertising. . Online text ads, in addition to banner ads (displaying “billboards” on the Internet) that appear in well-planned thematic searches that you control with pre-placement keyword decisions, are the modern, and perhaps superlative method. , target marketing. In the same way that we used to buy mailing lists to reach a certain segment of the demographic that we were attracting through direct mail, today we can reach the markets we want by appearing within the topic of Internet searches. Of course, this is still fairly new, but it is evolving more as the day goes by, clearly as the future of marketing.

Call me old-fashioned, but I must say that direct mail can still be much more successful in its ability to get into the hands of a prospective customer compared to trying to get the click of a mouse of your customer’s scattered attention in busy results. Google search. page! The advantage here is that drop shipping, if designed effectively, has the power to keep the recipient interested with graphic influences of color, visual images, and font size and selection. In comparison, the online text ad is just that, just text, and it looks just like any other text ad on Google’s page, giving you an edge in attracting more clicks than anyone else. Whether the direct mail article is opened, read, and responded to, or is immediately dismissed without a glance, it remains the challenging factor for marketers around the world. As with investing, there is no magic formula. To give a little guidance, if you are marketing to everyone anywhere, maybe online text ads might make sense due to the large number of people who can possibly see your ad. That’s as long as your location options are in a popular area of ​​interest. If your goal is too small, those numbers can drop considerably. While it is also possible to attract a small market in a small geographic area through online text ads, doing so successfully may require some diversification and support from other types of traditional marketing. At least until the Internet is the only marketing medium, or until Google is brought down from its throne of infallibility on the Internet.

With the proliferation of ways to enjoy the vast entertainment industry that includes radio, television, movies, videos, games, and more, to name a few, investing marketing dollars in the right medium in a target market has become much more difficult. Trying to stretch your budget to appeal to the audience you want to reach can be frustrating with all the options, distractions, and short attention spans of most entertainment seekers. From a marketing standpoint and a 35-year history of experience, my advice would be to save those dollars very carefully before making a hasty decision on where to spend.

While I admit that new places have replaced old ones, some of the old options still reach certain groups who refuse to accept the new technologies of today. Although few and far between, there are some markets that still respond to traditional yellow pages, newspapers, magazines, and other forms of advertising, which may justify maintaining a judicious presence in such media. It’s hard to argue the merits of buying the back cover of phone books when thousands upon thousands will be delivered to countless households, even if they are only seen that once throughout the year. The sheer amount of that marketing reach is staggering. But doing it blindly in the future would be irresponsible, if not utter waste, when there is now talk of “do not deliver” lists being added to “do not call” lists.

And when large-scale newspaper ads sell for a fraction of the cost they once cost, temptation sometimes trumps good judgment just for the momentary thrill of dominating the newspaper page for just pennies. Any answer is considered sauce.

This leads me to conclude that we are in a period of marketing limbo: some strategies are about to disappear, but the door has not yet been slammed shut. The new strategies are a bit intimidating, but the old ones are much less effective. If you can strike a balance between the two until time solves survival of the fittest, marketing budgets will be conserved a bit longer and perhaps retain a semblance of success despite the need to navigate seas of confusion, unease, and obsolescence.

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