Marketing is not what it used to be. Reaching your target customers used to be a laborious affair. It could be done by advertising in niche magazines, but then only a few people would see the advert. It could be done by advertising on television or radio after specific programs, which would reach more people but was expensive and would essentially mean spending money reaching a lot of people who would never be interested. Today, the internet makes it possible to connect with your targets much more precisely. Not only does it present a different set of communication tools, it has also inspired new ways of thinking about marketing strategy.
Whereas once adverts were limited to posters or flyers, text or video (which cost a small fortune to produce), today they can take multiple forms and it’s easy to link them together. This makes brand building a lot easier and, in particular, means that you can target your brand building at particular demographics. Because social media platforms have become very good at collecting and organizing demographic information about their customers, many now offer filters which you can use to target very precise sections of the population. While this costs money, it generates a much higher response rate and means customers tend to feel positive towards you because they feel understood from the moment they see the advert. In some cases you can use filtering like this to target people specifically looking for products or services like yours.
In the early days of internet-based marketing the main focus was on mailing lists. These can still be useful once you have connected with customers, but when it comes to outreach what really matters is how you use social media. The best platform for you will depend on what you’re selling and the nature of your brand.
- YouTube – with a greater reach than any other platform, this has a high level of brand engagement and is particularly good for reaching men under 40. Use it if you can represent your products or services effectively in short videos.
- Facebook – with a wide-ranging user base, Facebook is a good place to reach users aged between 25 and 55 and is used by more women than men. It offers some of the best filtering of any platform and is a good all-rounder.
- Pinterest – great for promoting products that look good in still images such as clothes, art and items of home décor.
- Instagram – if you want to reach under-30s, this is the number one place to do it. It reaches a higher proportion of women than men.
- LinkedIn – this is the best place to reach professionals and people with higher level academic qualifications.
- Twitter – this platform doesn’t offer a great selection of marketing tools, but its efficient threading means it can be a good place to promote products or services with a topical connection.
One of the great things about social media is that it enables you to network through the customers you already have in order to reach more people like them. If you take the right approach you can get your customers to do your marketing for you. The trick is to provide materials that they’ll want to share. These could be useful, such as how-to guides; emotionally appealing, such as jokes or images of cute animals; or otherwise appealing, like competitions. You can also offer the chance to enter prize draws in exchange for sharing materials, or special discounts when friends sign up.
What do all these changes mean for your marketing strategy? They don’t just provide an opportunity for you to restructure it – they make doing so a necessity if you’re to keep up with the competition. Fortunately there are some useful guides online such as those featuring Valentino Vaschetto which can help you to adjust your approach – Valentino Vaschetto has worked in this area for several years in his role as president of Pinnacle Dream Media. Don’t try to take on too many new things at once but take the time to get to know them in detail and make sure the approach you develop is one you can sustain. Remember that marketing is about more than just advertising and that your work on outreach needs to fit within your wider strategy.
Perhaps most importantly of all, you need to keep in mind that the internet hasn’t stopped changing marketing. To enjoy long-term success you’re going to need to keep up with a constantly changing picture.