Brand promotion is one of those chores that is ceaseless and never ending.
No matter how often you do it, you have to keep doing it in order to feel good. Sounds like a bad drug trip, right? Indeed! But brand promotion has to be done, otherwise you’re going to run afoul of the “out of sight, out of mind” whitewash that happens only too quickly in our insta-society these days.
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Speaking of “insta” – we’ll just go out on a limb here and guess that you’ve spent a considerable amount of time working up your social media presence and that you rely on it – perhaps even exclusively – for your brand promotion efforts. Perhaps you have set up a Shop Now on your Pinterest or Instagram, or maybe you have a FB response bot organized. Or any number of other, incredibly convenient, super easy to get going with, social media platform responses and CTAs.
We’re not here to make you feel bad about your efforts.
Quite the opposite, my friend. If you’ve got a large following on social, by all means, milk it until the cow dies. Just be ready for that to happen, since sooner or later, it’s bound to go that way. There is just no getting around it.
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If you’ve built your brand promotion around the fact that you derive your main source of traffic – ie customers or prospective customers – from a single social media source, this is not going to work to your advantage in the medium to long range. It simply can’t. Why not? Because you don’t own your traffic and your prospects in this scenario, and you are completely at the mercy – the whims, even – of said social media platform or platforms.
Let’s take a quick look at some numbers:
If you’re not familiar with MarketingCharts.com, you should be. This chart is a recent release and it is going to help us take a look at just how fickle teens are as a group, and we’re going to see that when we look at the swing in the social media platforms they favor over the past couple of years.
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Keep in mind, this is over 15 quarters, not 15 years. This stuff moves quickly, and it’s very hard to stay ahead of, when it comes to the power curve.
So now you feel really bad, eh? Hint: if not, you should. If you spent a ton of time and money courting teens on Instagram, without even realizing the demographic had shifted to the cooler, hipper, Snapchat, and then you found out – like right now – you’d probably start trying to figure out how you could market on Snapchat, right?
Eggs, meet basket. No really, we mean it.
Which isn’t a terrible idea, but then you’d also have to account for the fact that teens appear to be swinging back to Instagram, so this would indicate you needed to double your budget for brand promotion so you could cover both of the “important” social media platforms, no?
We spend a lot of time around here talking about the fact that you need to own your own customers. You should be able to communicate with them in an effective, relatively inexpensive manner, and you should be able to do it on your own schedule.
And since they are your own customers, you should be able to send them marketing materials, brand promotion materials, that don’t require a third party approval EVERY FREAKING TIME (as long as you honor the terms and restrictions that you knew about when you signed up to use the technology) you want to speak to your customers and prospects.
There are a lot of reasons that you should not rely too much on social media for your brand promotion.
Among the most important:
- Algorithm changes can cost you the bulk of your organic traffic literally overnight.
- Costs of advertising can vary wildly from one campaign to another.
- ***Regulations and restrictions are making it harder to identify and target your demographic as efficiently.
- Results are so variable at the moment, it’s hard to know what campaigns are working and which ones are duds.
- If there’s a shift in platforms, you could be left in the cold, especially given the cost of advertising on multiple platforms as a small business.
What are some alternatives?
Spreading your marketing and advertising budget over multiple campaign types and delivery methods is a wise way to minimize your risk and maximize your return. Some of the ones that are reliable, if old fashioned, include:
- Television or radio
- Print advertising in local publications, or in specialty publications
- Mobile advertising and marketing (advertise on other people’s apps, don’t build an app!!!!)
- Direct mail
- Mailer insertions (someone else’s email list and your ad)
Breaking it down further, if you are a local business and you have no ads in local print, radio or television spots, you are really doing yourself and your prospects a disservice.
So many people listen to local radio on their commute, it’s insane. Especially talk radio and sports programming. Those free guide type of publications that hotels, restaurants, etc stock because they advertise in them? Well, there’s a reason why they advertise in there…
Direct mail is always going to get results, you just have to be willing to spend a ton of money on printing to send. Email marketing is fantastic, it always has been, and next to lock screen notifications on mobile, it’s still the most effective type of advertising out there.
Which brings us to mobile, especially ads and promos that are able to deliver directly to the lock screen of a user’s smartphone or other mobile device. These are where the magic happens at the moment. Independent of platform, phone type, operating system or installed apps, anything that gets you on the lock screen has a very good chance of being noticed and acted upon.
Think about it. People look at their phones at least 100 times each day… they can’t help it. Putting your business, your brand promotion, and your advertising dollars towards something that is agnostic as it relates to what is popular and trendy is the smartest way to stretch your ad dollars and build for future changes at the same time.
If you haven’t looked at mobile advertising, now would be a GREAT time to start.
*** Let us be clear here – there are plenty of regulations and restrictions in the land of targeted advertising that should exist, especially those that prevent people and companies from discriminating against any group or class of people based on things that aren’t relevant to making sales, or that exclude a class or group from purchasing things.