Choosing the Best Marketing Techniques for Your Business

Piecing together a marketing plan and a marketing campaign represents a daunting prospect for a number of businesses. With so many ideas on the market as to what makes marketing a ‘success’, businesses often end up trying to adopt too many strategies and ultimately a marketing campaign ends up failing.

So many voices say that some techniques are a ‘must have’ whilst opposing voices say those same techniques are a waste of time and money. It’s no wonder that businesses don’t know which way to turn for advice. At present it is estimated that there are over 100 different marketing techniques available to businesses. But, how does one go about choosing the right ones for their requirements?

Some points to consider:

First and foremost, it is vital to understand the purpose of marketing. Setting out clear goals and the results you expect from your marketing strategy and marketing campaigns will guide you to choosing the right techniques for you. There are hundreds of thousands of books, websites and other sources on marketing, but if you take the time to break them down, you will find that there are usually four key themes associated with the purposes of marketing.

These include:

· Brand Awareness – This is where your target audience is able to discover more about you as a company, learning about your products and services

· Lead Generation – Encouraging your target audience to gather information from you or request a sales call with you, therefore developing a pre-sales rapport.

· Brand Consideration – Your target audience is looking at purchasing from you, or at the very least has placed you on a shortlist of possibilities alongside your rivals

· Direct sales – Persuading your target audience to buy directly from you

For instance, you may well use search engine advertising as a means of generating leads, however, this may not work for direct sales, particularly if your target audience does not buy using those methods.

The Target Audience

Uncovering what techniques work for your business, leads into the next thing to think about. What techniques does your particular audience tend to engage with and ultimately, what do they respond to? What’s key here is how well you’ve identified the audience you’re targeting. In some instances an audience will not purchase from a business until they understand them (i.e their awareness of the brand and relationship building). Should your audience engage in this way, look at using different marketing tactics across different themes. For example, to create brand awareness utilise public speaking, for lead generation try SEO or a free offer and finally for direct sales try e-mail marketing.

Marketing Products VS Marketing Services

If your business sells products and not services, then you need to adopt a blend of marketing techniques. Too many businesses make the mistake of thinking they can sell products and services using the same marketing techniques for each. This often ends in disaster as consumers purchase services very differently to how they would buy products; it is therefore imperative that you have two distinct and unique marketing campaigns to promote products and services as separate entities.”

Overall the key things to consider are: knowing your audience, your time and financial availability, your goals and the ability to evaluate your results. With these things in place you will ultimately discover the marketing techniques that work for you and deliver the most productive results.

Your Strongest Marketing Asset

Today, a corporate web site is one of the most important marketing tools a small business has; and for many it is just as essential as having a phone number or business cards. Typically, companies rely on a variety of marketing “assets” like e-mailing lists, customer databases, and marketing materials to help them promote and build their businesses. But of all the marketing assets a business may have, its web site can be the strongest marketing asset of all, especially when it is part of a strategic, coordinated marketing plan.A web site often includes the elements found in a marketing plan; from lead generation to advertising to online payments to customer service. With Web 2.0 interactivity now commonplace, companies can also add video, news feeds, online tutorials, and social networking integration to their sites to further extend the site’s capability and meet their customers’ ever-changing needs and expectations.An Online AdvantageHere are 7 reasons your web site could (or should!) be the strongest marketing asset available to your small business today:1. Everything is in one place – web forms for lead capture, company videos, industry news feeds, links to resources and partners, online tutorials, customer service, events calendar, photo gallery, testimonials, marketing materials, etc., can all be included on your site.2. Integrates with other marketing – direct mail campaigns can reference online coupons or downloads on your site, email campaigns can lead to targeted landing pages, opt-in subscriptions can help build marketing email lists, social networking strategies can be integrated with the web site, etc.3. Builds credibility with users – an outdated, unattractive web site sends all the wrong messages to your visitors, but an updated, user-friendly site is an asset that and can instantly make you more credible and trustworthy, regardless of the size of your business.4. Results can be tracked and measured – by using web analytics tools, you can track visitors, conversions, search engine terms and keywords, entry and exit pages, traffic stats, and a multitude of additional information.5. Information can be changed and updated – unlike printed materials where you have to order hundreds (or thousands) of brochures or postcards that may quickly become outdated, your web site can be changed whenever information changes.6. Local reach, global reach – and everything in-between. Depending on how you optimize and promote your site, you can target customers regardless of geographic location.7. Works for you 24/7 – your site is available for visitors to do research or purchase products and services at their own convenience, at any time, regardless of your business hours.Show It Off!If you are not currently using your web site as a marketing asset for your business, here are some tips to help you combine your site with your overall marketing strategy:* Showcase your advertising and marketing online; e.g., re-use commercials, radio spots, print advertisements, coupons, flyers, etc., on your web site to extend their reach beyond initial audiences, and also stretch your investment at the same time.
* Include your web address on everything – advertisements, business cards, vehicle lettering, name badges, logos, printed materials, etc., to drive traffic to your web site and help build your brand.
* Update your web site on a regular basis – do something at least monthly to update the information, add new content, improve search engine positions, promote the site, build inbound links, etc. A stale, outdated site is not useful to your visitors, and is not much of an asset to your business, either.
* Take it seriously! Consumers today are already online, and every touch point where you intersect with your customers and potential customers should ultimately lead them back to a great user experience on your web site!

What Does The Elliott Wave Theory Tell Us About Market Direction?

In early January, we put subscribers on high alert to a possible high and the start of a multi-month decline. Based on every single labeling we could find of the big 10-month advance off March’s lows, it became clear that the advance was in a very terminal stage with an important high pending. Since then, price has reversed violently lower, taking out support and key levels in the process. This weakness only adds to the setup for continued downside pressure, since again, there is no good way to label the 10-month advance in a way that allows it to continue. Instead, from a larger degree perspective, recent weakness fits as the start of a larger down move that will ultimately correct the 10-month advance before it’s done.While there is a heavy debate on the topic among Elliotticians, we are confident that the current decline will only correct the recent 10-month advance. Others believe that the current decline is the start of an even bigger down move, one that will retrace the entire 10-month decline and then some as a larger bear market off the 2007 highs plays out. We are receptive to this more bearish concept, but right now, it’s not the best explanation of price movement. It comes down to one very important question: Is the 10-month advance off the March 2009 lows an impulse? If the answer is yes, then the only conclusion is that the current decline will be a correction of the 2009 advance. By every measure, we believe that the big advance was impulsive. Not only does it count out as an impulse, it looks, feels, and smells like an impulse. It was historically quick, one-directional, and strong. That doesn’t sound like a corrective move to me. The good news is that it doesn’t matter too much right now. If the decline is to be a correction as we contend, it will take on overall corrective form as the move progresses. If the decline is the start of something more important, it will prove impulsive. As is, given the clearly impulsive look of the 10-month advance, we anticipate the former. This topic will be visited frequently in the weeks and months ahead.