There’s been so much buzz lately about mobile search, QR codes and new ways to promote your brand via social media that it’s easy to forget about some tried and true – even “old fashioned” marketing tools. But here are five traditional marketing communications tools that research shows should be at or near the top of your 2013 marketing plan.
Why? They work, driving traffic, sales, and brand awareness.
- Regular press releases. The lowly press release has come into its own in recent years. No longer a disposable “insider” document read only by a few marketers and journalists, it’s become a staple of company branding, reputation, and sales support marketing – not to mention SEO. You’ll find more details on how the press release has evolved – and how to use it to best advantage in 2013 – in other recent blog posts like Press Releases By The Numbers, How to Write Press Releases That Deliver Better Results, and 5 Steps to Take AFTER Your Next Press Release. The fact is that regular press releases – at least monthly, although many firms find that semi-weekly (twice a month) press releases work best.
- Targeted advertising. Advertising was the #1 channel for marketers in decades past, and it’s still a vital lead generation tool for most companies. But now, prospective customers are even easier to segment into groups by interest, relationship status, age, gender, and geographic location (for work and home, in most cases). That’s because with social media advertising on sites like Facebook, the prospect provides their own segmentation, and opts in to certain kinds of advertising. This may be the real value of social media advertising – not just the sheer size of the market, but the willingness of the prospect to volunteer information about themselves to improve targeting. And don’t forget about mobile advertising opportunities, starting with SMS text messaging and mobile-friendly banners on your mobile-friendly website.
- Case studies. A case study is a 1-2 page document that tells a story – usually following the problem/solution/result format – about how the featured client used a product or service. In survey after survey, case studies consistently rank near the top in terms of credibility among business buyers, so if you’re a B2B company, this is a tool you can’t afford to overlook. The real trick is to create a “similar situation sell” that lets your prospect see themselves in the case study. Use quotes, images, and facts to create resonance with prospects based on their empathy and interest in the profiled customer. Use case studies in blog posts, social media, webinars, press kits, sales kits, and on websites and microsites.
- Testimonials. The difference between a testimonial and a case study is the length. Creating and using a process for consistently requesting testimonials from customers (LinkedIn and Facebook pages are great for this) should be part of almost every marketing plan. Make them as specific as possible – the what, why, and how of your work for the customer is more credible and persuasive than a generic “Love you guys – great to work with!” How do you get great testimonials? Write them yourself, and submit to the customer for approval. Tip: Don’t bury testimonials on a webpage devoted to them. Spread them out throughout your site.
- Surveys. One constant in the changing marketing landscape is that we all want to know what our peers and competitors are thinking and doing. It’s fast, simple, and inexpensive to use a range of online survey tools, so there’s no excuse not to conduct several mini research projects today. Include blog readers, Twitter followers, LinkedIn and Facebook colleagues, conference and webinar attendees, customers, newsletter subscribers, and trade show attendees – and keep your surveys short. Your response rate will go up the shorter and quicker the survey is, so keep it to less than 10 questions. When the survey is complete, share it in as many places as possible – press releases, blog posts, social media sites, and SlideShare are just the starting points. Tip: Avoid any survey tool that requires respondents to run or download an app.
If all of these “old-fashioned” tools aren’t part of your current marketing plan, consider adding them into your 2013 marketing plan – they’re cost effective and proven.