Ten years ago if you wanted to market your business you would contact the telephone company and pay anywhere from $300 to $900 a month for a display ad in the yellow pages. You might also contact the newspaper to run a small ad which would cost at least a couple hundred dollars a week.
Telemarketing and Direct mail were fairly inexpensive and very cost-effective, so a lot of small business owners went that route (yours truly, for one) and if you had the time or could afford an outside Sales Manager, you went out to meet with your prospects face-to-face.
Of course there were also magazine ads, which again were pretty expensive. Radio ads were fairly reasonable, so might run one of those, and if you were really serious (and had a lot of $$$) you could run a television ad.
Have I missed anything?
Fast forward to the present, and newspaper advertising has just about disappeared, magazine display ads are not as important and with the price of postage skyrocketing, direct mail marketing is a bit expensive. Furthermore, telemarketing is considered pesky and television ads (and radio) are still available but may be cost-prohibitive.
Recently, at the LeadingRE 2012 Conference, Imprev conducted a survey asking Real Estate Agents what 5 most effective marketing products they are using today compared to (10 years ago) and their response was – Email Marketing (51%), followed by an Agent website (50%), Virtual Tours (42%), printed Postcards (36%) and Facebook (32%).
The Imprev survey also asked Realtors what marketing product they would most like to own and they chose the iPad Presentation App, followed by an automated eMarketing Campaign, Single Property Website, a personal blog and video.
When asked about their current favorite technology, Realtors top choice was a Smartphone, followed by the iPad/Tablet, a Laptop, and finally a PC.
Why the change? What has so drastically changed how small business owners market their businesses?
The answer is simple, these days, over most people getting ready to purchase start online, either from a PC, or smart phone. And, generally they just type in a keyword to the search engine and the information is delivered back to the User within seconds. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Direct Marketing using printed postcards is still a very effective tool. If you can get a picture in a prospect’s hand, you can create interest. If that postcard has a QR code that will take the reader right to a website (or video presentation) for more information – you have a much better chance creating interest in your products and services.
Perhaps the most important aspect of internet marketing today is Local Marketing. If you set up your Local Marketing using keywords and getting reviews, you have the best chance of generating prospects that are ready to buy right now. Starting at Google Places and Bing Business Portal, small business owners are not only getting found on Users PC’s, they are also getting found on Smart Phones and Tablets.
And, then there is Social Networking!
Ten years ago nobody guessed that an Internet social media site like Facebook would be such a powerful marketing tool. However, today small business owners reach out to the world community with their products and services.
At Facebook a small business owner can set up a personal business page to share industry information, introduce new products, announce events and even share with their Facebook friends interesting tidbits of what is going on in their businesses. A huge benefit to Facebook in my mind is the fact that it will drive traffic to your website.
LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter are also important for marketing your business today.
At LinkedIn not only can you set up a business profile (that actually gets viewed), but you can also ask your connections to write a review, answer questions related to your expertise and set up a Business page and invite your LinkedIn Contacts to join in the discussions.
It is my opinion that Twitter CAN be used as a global billboard, or it can be used as a local billboard. It all depends on the demographics of your target market and who your followers are.
It is important to note that in order for these social networks to work for you, you must show up and engage your prospects in them! That being said with a little investment in time, and if you learn how to automate and syndicate your efforts, Social Networking should be in your marketing arsenal today!
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