Marketing is crucial to the growth and success of any business. Of course, marketing has changed a lot over the years, and it’s become an increasingly large business in itself. From the days where marketing was restricted to radio, television and print advertising to the modern world of digital marketing, a lot has changed.
The way you market your business can directly affect your bottom line. This is why companies invest so much money into researching their audience, understanding customer needs and developing strategies to increase their exposure. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and importance of marketing, and talk about all the different types of marketing you could use to promote your business.
What is marketing?
Marketing is any activity that promotes your business to potential customers. However, it’s not as simple as putting up a poster and hoping people will visit your store. Online marketing is becoming more important and businesses are learning to use targeted marketing strategies to reach clients. That means understanding your market, knowing what your target audience wants and where to reach them.
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Benefits of marketing
There are many benefits of marketing, they can be summarised into three main groups.
Generating interest in your business from potential customers by driving phone calls, the website traffic and foot traffic, you increase the chances of closing a sale.
2. Creating revenue
Generating revenue for your business is the motivation behind many marketing efforts. In theory, it’s simple. If your marketing efforts create leads and you have the systems in place to turn those leads into sales, you can turn those leads into revenue.
3. Building brand recognition
Marketing can be used to improve your profile within your chosen industry. Building brand awareness increases customer confidence and motivates more people to choose you over your competitors.
B2B vs B2C marketing
B2B marketing stands for ‘business to business’, while B2C stands for ‘business to customer’. While a B2B company markets its products and services to other businesses, a B2C company markets directly to customers.
For example, Here at Square, we provide business solutions, which makes us a B2B company. McDonald’s sells to the general public, making them a B2C company. There are, of course, crossovers that provide services to both businesses and direct to customers, such as tech, software companies, banks and other professional service companies.
Marketing may look different for each one, let’s explore the differences.
1. B2B marketing
B2B marketing often involves selling a larger or more expensive product. Think, a software program or a fleet of vehicles. As a result, the target audience that a B2B company needs to reach are usually business owners and managers. Generally, they’re going to do a lot more research and explore their options before purchasing, therefore B2B companies strategies may not chase a ‘quick sale’.
B2B companies still use several forms of marketing to boost brand awareness and build trust in their brand, but the actual process of marketing a product or service is more hands-on. Rather than relying on inbound marketing such as enquiries from Facebook ads, a B2B company is more likely to be pitching a product or service that its target customer doesn’t even know they’re looking for.
2. B2C marketing
In B2C marketing customers are more likely to buy after seeing an ad and are often quicker to make a decision whether to purchase or not. Investing in SEO, blogs and content marketing can be beneficial for your business because these methods can help you target customers that already have a high intention to buy. For example, a customer may look for running shoes online, and then click on a sportswear company’s ad to buy directly. This doesn’t necessarily happen as often in B2B marketing and there is more consideration involved in the purchasing process
Traditional vs digital marketing
Traditional marketing and digital marketing are quite different in practice, but the goal is always the same. All forms of marketing aim to promote your business to a target audience. Here’s how they can differ, and how each can help your business.
1. Traditional marketing
Traditional marketing refers to advertising forms such as print media, radio, television, catalogues, brochures and even promotional material. Although there is a large shift towards digital marketing, traditional marketing methods are still important in your strategy.
For example, if you look at a betting agency. They could be very active on social media, but also understand the power of television advertising. Their target audience is heavily interested in sport, so they can build brand recognition by advertising regularly during live sports broadcasts.
One of the downsides of traditional marketing is that audiences are gradually declining, except perhaps on television. Fewer people are reading newspapers and magazines than they used to. But, this can also be positive, particularly if your business has a niche market that subscribes to specific publications or actively reads newspapers.
2. Digital marketing
Digital marketing refers to activity that promotes your business in the online world. Think social media, Google ads, YouTube ads, and using content marketing, blogs and SEO to rank higher on search engine results pages.
Marketing is meeting your customers where they already are, and this is why digital marketing is so effective. Your customers are already online, searching for products and services, browsing social media feeds and sharing with others. So, it makes sense to develop a strong online presence and establish a community of customers who are already online.
Types of marketing
When formulating a small business marketing strategy, it’s helpful to understand all of the options available to you. Successful businesses may use several different marketing types because the more that you can relate to your customers the more brand awareness you can build.
1. Online marketing
The term ‘online marketing’ refers to any marketing activity that takes place online. From ads on search engines and websites to social media advertising. Any activity to promote your business in an online forum is considered to be a form of online marketing.
2. Search engine optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) involves optimising your website to rank well on search engines such as Google. It involves identifying keywords and popular search terms that your customers are likely to search for and tailoring your website and content to rank well for those words. For example, a bakery in Sydney will want to rank at the top of search engine results for terms like ‘bakeries in Sydney’.
2. Blog marketing
Blog marketing is specifically the art of generating business through longer form blog posts. Blogs can also be optimised for SEO purposes, often targeting particular search terms or questions that a potential customer may ask. If the article ranks well on a search engine more customers will visit your website. For example, an insulation retailer may write a blog that answers the question, ‘How to reduce energy costs in the home’, because this appeals to their target audience.
3. Social media marketing
Companies create all sorts of social media marketing activity. Social media marketing can be broken into paid and unpaid (or organic) categories. Some social media platforms allow paid advertising, allowing you to target a certain demographic or audience with ads. However, most of your business activity on social media is a form of organic social media marketing, everyday posts are designed to engage your customers and attract interest from your audience.
4. Print marketing
Print marketing can sometimes get lost among the modern obsession with digital marketing, but it’s still a very valuable form of advertising. Print marketing can occur in newspapers or magazines, and if your target audience reads these publications, it can be a worthwhile investment. For example, a financial services company may choose to advertise in magazines about business and wealth creation.
5. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a relatively new player in the marketing world, but it is rapidly growing. Businesses can pay influencers who have a large following on social networks to promote their products. This can be either through direct payment or offering the influencer a percentage for each sale made through an affiliate link they direct customers to. So, when your favourite Instagram stars recommend a product, they’re likely getting some benefit from the company for that promotion.
6. Video marketing
Video marketing is becoming more and more popular, and many marketing experts swear by using video content in their mix. It’s a great way to capture people’s attention, and also gives people a visual association with your brand. You can create your own videos to share on social media, but you can also host videos on your website. For example, ‘How-to’ videos appear readily in search engine results and are a great way to drive traffic to your site.
7. Word of mouth
It’s possibly the oldest form of marketing and it never goes away! Word of mouth marketing is best achieved by being great at what you do, providing exceptional service and affordable prices. People often ask for recommendations from friends and family, and these types of referrals are quite literally priceless because this type of marketing is totally free!
8. Content marketing
Content marketing is similar to blog marketing in the sense that you use written content to capture an audience and drive traffic to your website. However, blogs and articles aren’t the only forms of content out there. Anything you post online, such as video, images, even memes and Tik Tok videos are considered a form of content marketing. The idea is to create regular content that benefits or interests your audience.
9. Email marketing
Email marketing has been around for a long time and is still very effective. Businesses are always looking for ways to gather the email addresses of their audience in order to build an email marketing list. This includes registered account holders who provide an email address or asking customers to join a mailing list. From there, you can connect easily with the customers who want to receive regular information about deals, special offers, or even monthly newsletters.
4 Ps of marketing
This principle has been around since the 1970s, and while small business marketing has changed dramatically since then, the theory remains the same. The 4 Ps of marketing is a system used when planning how to bring products or services to market.
The first item is the product itself (or service). Market research can be used to ask a few key questions. Firstly, you need to know if there is a target audience for the product. Then, you need to drill down further into whether there are other products like it on the market. What features does the product need? The product should also solve a customers’ need.
Several factors go into deciding how much you’ll price your product. Firstly, what are customers willing to pay? What price do you need to sell it for in order to make a profit? Does your product need to be at a certain price in order to attract market attention? These are all questions you should ask when planning your product or service.
This is where we get more into the marketing side of things. Promotion refers to the way you will promote your product to your target audience. Which forms of marketing will be most successful? Most importantly, which type of marketing will deliver the highest return on investment? (ROI).
Finally, we look at where you’re going to sell the product. Is it online only? Or does it appeal to a certain demographic, therefore you’ll sell it in shops at particular geographic locations? This is where your market research is crucial because the data collected in the planning process should inform you of the best place to sell it.
Importance of marketing automation
Marketing can become expensive and some businesses may invest in hiring marketing professionals. But there are many marketing activities you can create yourself with a little know-how and the right tools.
Square Marketing helps you automate time-consuming marketing tasks, meaning you can spend less time chasing new leads, and more time running your business. From your Square Dashboard, you can easily run email marketing campaigns. Rather than spending hours trying to generate new leads, Square makes it easy to find more customers without the expense of costly digital marketing campaigns.