All small businesses need to watch their budget, that’s not saying anything new, but to grow and thrive they also need to invest in marketing.
The big question is – what type of marketing to spend their budget on? How do you know where it will be most effective and provide the greatest return?
Answering this question is far from simple. To know where the budget will be best allocated, small businesses need to broadly understand the different approaches to marketing in order to make an informed and educated decision on what will best suit their particular business.
But for many businesses a digital and traditional approach to marketing are clearly complementary strategies. Being able to define the business vision and communicating that to potential customers still works well for some businesses in print format. Yet interacting directly with an audience online through digital tools such as websites and social media also has its advantages.
I recently spoke to experts from both the traditional marketing and digital marketing fields to find out their views on the benefits of each approach….
The Traditional Viewpoint
Ginette Gower, Founder of The Marketing Voice UK, understands the increasing emphasis on digital marketing methods, “It’s absolutely correct that companies have a digital marketing strategy as this can have a much greater reach than some traditional marketing methods; but it’s also important that businesses include face-to-face client and prospect engagement.
Building relationships face-to-face with your audience enables businesses to communicate their passion and vision in a way that is more powerful than via a digital approach. Whether through workshops, presentations, events or networking, this is a powerful way to communicate”.
Ginette has the experience to elicit that passion and vision from the business owners or senior executives. She builds a rapport with clients and prospects and has used her business story-telling skills to help numerous businesses grow and succeed.
She injects personality and important insights into the in-depth articles she writes for clients. They are published in highly regarded magazines such as the Business Voice quarterly magazine from the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Of course, magazines also have online versions so there is an additional benefit that a magazine article can increase online presence and potentially gain a valuable backlink for a website. A clear way where the traditional complements the digital approach to marketing – just with a bit more personality.
The Digital Viewpoint
Vicky White, Founder & Digital Marketing Expert from Vicky White Communications also gave us her view on how digital marketing overlaps with a more traditional approach, but from the digital perspective.
Vicky combines both online & offline marketing to work in harmony, as she explains, “for instance, a LinkedIn marketing campaign can be combined very successfully with attending networking events and building face-to-face relationships with people connected through LinkedIn.
It’s important, not to just connect with others on LinkedIn but to also ensure you continue to engage with them. This might be through regular posts by sharing news updates, podcasts or top tips articles. Or could be a direct message suggesting a follow up coffee after the event or simply just to check in to see if you can help each other in any way.
I’ve also found that GDPR has had a major effect on the email marketing aspect of digital marketing and some businesses have had to look outside this particular Marketing channel to reach their customers. Some of the methods being used to ensure GDPR compliance include traditional direct mail marketing, such as hand-written postcards through the letterbox – a nice touch in a digital world”.
However, the whole area of social media marketing is a completely different approach. It enables regular connections and conversations with customers and prospects not just with occasional insights and news but with constant “touch points” that ensure a brand, it’s products and opinions remain at the forefront of customers’ attention.
Combining text content with other sorts of digital content such as video, graphics and podcasts can have a limitless reach, that will also remain visible and ‘found’ online for the foreseeable future.
The Common Ground
As with traditional marketing, digital marketing also makes use of well-researched and well-written content. The audience may be different and the methods of reaching that audience are certainly different; but content is an essential part of all marketing.
In the digital realm press releases are distributed to online press portals, featured on websites and published on social channels. In the traditional realm they are submitted to newspapers and magazines but their purpose is still the same – to disseminate something noteworthy to a relevant audience.
And whether the content originates from a traditional or digital marketing campaign, it always forms a useful element in the search engine optimisation (SEO) aspects of digital marketing.