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Are you wasting your marketing dollars on outdated strategies?

Many people who run businesses for a long time become routine or have 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, along with them, the purchases and purchasing preferences of consumers. Whether your customer is an ordinary person or another business, 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 picked up the classifieds section of the newspaper and scanned the corresponding listings. The same applied to real estate. If you were looking for a job, where did you look? Of course, the classified ads in the newspaper.

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

What about tax services, medical advice, planning a night out at a good restaurant, or pet sitting? Entertainment equipment, car insurance, office supplies, or finding a local plumber? We used to pick up the yellow pages for all sorts of things we needed. Remember those huge books filled with fine print that list everything under the sun?

But we live in a brave new world. Nowadays, practically everyone buys everything online. Not only that, we use our credit cards to pay and receive everything in our homes or businesses for maximum convenience.

So how has that impacted the way we reach our markets? Enormously! If you still place classified ads in the newspaper or buy expensive display ads in the yellow pages, you need to take a step back and reevaluate your decisions, which may be a bit outdated.

Instead, you should take advantage of all the free “yellow pages” listing directories available online. It 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 they’re 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 it must appear in all of them. But 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 pay off handsomely by boosting your Google search ranking higher in search results if someone is looking for your products or services online.)

I’m sure all you yellow pages sales reps won’t appreciate my suggestions here. But they are not the only ones whose print products have fallen out of favour. I am still predicting the coming demise of the print newspaper and many magazines, just as much as I enjoy sitting down to read the printed page when I have a few minutes. It’s probably just an old habit I’ll have to break before it breaks me. First of all, as we get older, our eyesight gets worse, and seeing that tiny guy on paper is a lot harder 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 do spend reading actual magazines and newspapers to be a rare luxury moment, continuing to do so in the future will likely only take place online or via electronic tablets or e-reading devices.

This means that if you run a business, your means of advertising must also change. While you may feel that you are still reaching the target audience you are looking for through an advertisement in a print newspaper, which has certainly become much more affordable compared to the rates charged in the past, you may change your mind once you explore the logic behind Internet advertising. . Online text ads, as well as banner ads (displaying “billboards” on the Internet), which appear on properly planned topical searches that you control with pre-placement keyword decisions, are the modern and perhaps superlative method of destination marketing. In the same way that we used to buy mailing lists to reach a certain demographic that we appealed to through direct mail, today we can reach the markets that we want by appearing within the topic of Internet searches. Granted, this is still pretty new, but it’s evolving more as each day goes by, clearly 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 client compared to trying to get the click of a mouse from your client’s scattered attention in the busy results. Google search. page! The advantage here is that direct mail, if designed effectively, has the power to keep the recipient engaged with graphic influences of color, visual imagery, and font size and selection. By comparison, the online text ad is just that, just text, and it looks just like any other Google on-page text ad, giving you no more advantage in attracting a click than any other. Whether the direct mail piece is opened, read, and responded to, or immediately dismissed without looking at it, remains a challenging factor for marketers everywhere. As with investing, there is no magic formula. To give a little guidance, if you’re marketing to everyone everywhere, perhaps online text ads might make sense because of the sheer number of people likely to 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 go down considerably. While it’s 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 toppled from its throne of Internet infallibility.

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 singular medium in a specific market has become much more difficult. . Trying to stretch your budget to attract 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, my advice would be to save those dollars very carefully before making a rash decision on where to spend.

While I admit that the new places have replaced the old, some of the old options still reach certain holdouts who refuse to accept today’s new technologies. Though 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 within such media. It’s hard to argue the merits of buying the back cover of telephone directories when thousands upon thousands will be delivered to countless households, even if they are viewed only once throughout the year. The sheer numbers of that marketing reach are staggering. But to do so blindly in the future would be irresponsible, if not outright wasteful, when there is now talk of adding “do not deliver” lists to “do not call” lists.

And when big-ticket newspaper ads sell for a fraction of what they once cost, temptation sometimes trumps better judgment just for the momentary thrill of dominating the newspaper page for pennies. Any response is considered serious.

This leads me to conclude that we are in a period of marketing limbo: some strategies are coming out, but the door hasn’t slammed shut yet. 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 tells survival of the fittest, marketing budgets will hold on a bit longer and perhaps maintain a semblance of success despite needing to navigate seas of confusion, unease and obsolescence.

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