Offline Marketing Vs Online Business Marketing

This article is really to give you an understanding of the offline business marketing world and how it has now transformed to the online business marketing world. Come with me on a short journey from back in history to modern day and into the future.
Offline Business Marketing:
The world of offline business marketing is soon to be become redundant. Since advertising first began, smart business owners were always on the lookout for that something new that was going to give them the edge over their competitors.
In the beginning there was word of mouth advertising. A vendor sold a product or service to a customer who then went out and spread the word to his personal circle of influence. Word of Mouth Advertising in those days had only two possible endings. One, a positive referral was made that resulted in more customers and more sales. Secondly, a negative referral was made and that resulted in less customers and less sales.
Obviously, knowing the importance of their only advertising medium, good vendors looked after their customers especially well and were rewarded in return. As in today's modern business, those that didn't look after their customers suffered the penalty that followed.
Clever vendors then moved on to Poster advertising. Posters were placed strategically around the areas promoting their products and services. Now they had two modes of advertising. Those that didn't look after their customers so well, were now able to exploit the Poster advertising strategy. The better the Poster, the better the results of bringing in customers and making more sales.
And so the world of advertising and marketing began. Now since those days we have had a host of other marketing and advertising strategies come and go. Some lasted longer than others, while some were so brief they blew out with the next gust of wind.
I won't go in to all the mediums that we have seen over the many years. The important thing to note is this, THERE WERE CHANGES. Those that moved with the changes were able to stay ahead of their competitors, those that didn't took so long to pick up the change that they lost fortunes in their business or lost their businesses completely.
Today's world still has a great deal of off line marketing and advertising. Television, radio, newspapers and magazines would have to be the main form of media used. And in the main, successful for those businesses who have the thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars to pour in to their advertising.
Large multinational corporations have had offline marketing campaigns that ran in to the millions of dollars and obviously their return on investment had to remain high for such colmitments to continue.
What about the small and medium enterprises? What do they pay in advertising and marketing? What is their return on investment? Well let me tell you, they are the business models that are struggling and close to collapse.
Why? Because they are continually paying for advertising and marketing campaigns that are useless.
Here's an example:
If you are a small or medium business, ring your local newspaper and ask to place an ad in the Classifieds Section. What will you get? You will get a consultant on the other end of the phone who will ask what Category you wished to be placed in, how many lines or lines and columns you wish to include.
You will be asked to read your ad content and they will check the spelling, and how you want it to look. You agree and that's it. Do you get to look and preview your ad? You can look and make one minor change, that's it. You then pay for what you get.
There is no consultation about your marketing strategy, your target market, your product or anything that will help give you an edge over your competitor. The consultants are not marketing specialists, they are telephone specialists who fill in a form.
Your ad comes out in the newspaper and you don't like it. Bad Luck, that's what you get.
Cross that over to "The Yellow Pages" advertisements. Depending on the size of the ad, which also means the amount of money you are going to spend with them, dictates the amount of help you receive. Now understand this, the average consultant in "The Yellow Pages" is not a marketing specialist. They specialize in "selling advertising space".
So the question that begs to be asked is," Why would you go to someone who is not a specialist marketing agent to do your marketing?" That's like asking a dental receptionist to do your filling or an extraction. It doesn't work.
Small and Medium enterprises generally have no idea what they are doing in relation to marketing their business, product and service. They have no idea of how to structure a successful marketing campaign to bring their business more customers. Business owners need to go to a specialist who is an expert in that field, someone who knows what they are doing. Someone who is going to build a marketing strategy that is successful in achieving the objectives set by the business owner.
Traditional advertising through "The Yellow Pages", Newspapers and other print media will soon be of little value. The distribution is localised and viewing is random. Any return on investment is based on luck rather than a measured strategic marketing campaign.
People are sick and tired of advertisements being pushed in front of their faces. It is said that an average of 2000 advertisements are placed in front of us every single day. Ask yourself how many you can remember from yesterday through newspapers, magazines, billboards, t.v, radio etc. The answer, probably half a dozen, maybe if you're good.
So, what is happening to your business ad? Nothing.
Online Business Marketing:
Why? One word, internet. The internet has now changed the world of advertising and marketing forever. The trend towards the internet is moving faster than any other medium in history. The younger age groups, Generation X and Generation Y are using the internet multiple times daily. It is now their chosen form of networking and communicating. We now have phones that communicate on the internet.
Guess what? Now the Baby boomers are getting in on the act as well. Just have a look at Social Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. The older generations are now using the internet to communicate with their families around the world. Add Skype and other similar programs that allow F*R*E*E phone and video calls around the world. Any business that is not on the internet now, and not on the internet in the next year or so is seriously in big trouble.
What do you think the modern generation do when they are looking for a product or service? They don't run for the Yellow Pages that's for sure. They run to their computer or laptop and do a Google Search, that's what they do.
What doe this mean for your business? You need to be marketing your business, products and services on the internet.
How do you do this? You need a Website. The Website is your online virtual shop, office or whatever your business front is. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. It is open for business while you are sleeping, on holiday, in your shop or where ever you wish to be. It never closes unless you or your landlord close it down. (Yes, even on the internet we have landlords that you have to pay rent to on a monthly basis)
Your business is open for customers to browse, leave their details for followup, or purchase a product or service. And they do all this without you having to be there, how fantastic is that? That is the power of the internet.
How do people find you? Imagine a highway, any highway. Imagine your Website is a store front on that highway. Now imagine we incorporate strategies that were once the powerhouse strategies of offline marketing. Imagine the Word of Mouth which in internet terms is Social Networking, Poster Marketing which we call Article Marketing, Television Advertising we call Video Marketing, Radio Advertising we call Podcasting.
Just as in your offline marketing, we use all these strategies to drive targeted traffic to your Website. Traffic are potential clients. The difference to offline marketing is that online, only people that are looking for you will find you. That means they WANT what you have. They will get to choose between you and your competitors who they find online. When they choose you, they have already got their credit cards out and sitting in front of them. That prospect is now a customer.
You now have the opportunity to get directly in front of thousands if not tens of thousands of potential customers. To win their business you will first need to be online, and second have a marketing campaign that is successful enough to get you in front of them.
Whether you are a local or international organization, small or medium enterprise or multinational, your marketing campaign will have to incorporate your target market. Your campaign will have to target your distribution and servicing area, so if you only do local stuff that is cool, if you distribute and service internationally then that is cool as well. The internet allows you to advertise globally and locally.
How do the costs compare? In our experience an internet campaign could set you back a few thousand dollars to set it up at the start. Most good providers will have a payment plan to suit most people. There are on-going monthly fees anywhere from about $10.00US depending on the sort of campaign package you need.
So let's say it costs you $5000.00US to set up your Website and implement a marketing strategy. Add an average of around just say $100 a month. The monthly fee is equivalent to paying rent for your building and costs associated to that.
Compare those costs to an average Full Page ad in a certain directory which could set you back tens of thousands of dollars per year, add in your newspapers ads which you place weekly, as well as any other limited advertisements. The cost to you is enormous in comparison to an online Website presence.
I hope that you have been able to see the benefits and the obvious need to have an online business presence.
I hope this article has been of value to you. I look forward to being with you on the next article where we will share Marketing Strategies that could save your business literally thousands of dollars. You don't want to miss that.
Here's a tip for you, it doesn't matter what industry you are in, what product or service you provide. Your business is about marketing. If you fail to market your business properly, your business will fail.

Small Business Marketing Plan - Increase Your Business Profit Without Breaking Your Marketing Budget

Most small business owners fail when it comes to their small business marketing plans. They've got excellent technical skills in their line of work, but that just doesn't translate to having effective marketing skills.
As a result, profitability of many small businesses has been declining over the years. Ever increasing competition is making it more challenging in many ways. For those businesses that aren't losing money, most are not producing the profit they could be if they knew how to market themselves properly.
These business owners usually just copy what they see other businesses doing, or they follow the advice of some media sales person. The problem is they copy the wrong types of businesses, and the media sales people typically only know as much about effective marketing as the business owner does.
Without the right kind of marketing system in place, the success of any business is by pure chance. To help remedy this situation, below are seven things a small business can do to increase profits while spending less on marketing.
1. Use the power of free stuff
Everyone likes getting free stuff and you can use that to your advantage. If your business lends itself to giving away free samples of your product, do that. It helps get people hooked on it. Business profits have boomed on this marketing model.
As Chris Anderson author of the book titled, "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" says, "You can make make money giving things away."  In his book he talks about how businesses are giving away products and services they used to charge for, and in return, a percentage of their customers are buying something else. As a result, they are making more money than ever.
When you give something away, you often activate a universal law called the "Law of Reciprocity." It says that when people get something free, they feel obligated to do something for you. Obviously it doesn't work every time, but it does work enough of the time.
But there is another way to give away free stuff that can greatly benefit your business. When you do it right you get something very valuable in return: customer contact info...which leads us to the next tip.
2. Start capturing customer contact info and use it
One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is not tapping their current customer base. They let customers visit their business (online or offline) all day long without ever trying to capture their contact info so they can continue to market products or services to them.
You likely know how expensive it can be to get a new customer. But you can market to your current customers for little or no cost. Capturing and using customer contact info can mean the difference between a profitable business and one that barely gets by.
Your business has more customer value in it than a customer can possibly digest in a short visit so if you aren't continually marketing to your customers, you are throwing money away!
You can make customer contact capture easier simply by using the power of free from tip number one. Simply start a monthly drawing to give away something free and print some registration slips visitors can fill out. Also have people register online on your website.
Tell customers they only have to register once for all drawings and you will contact them monthly via email to let them know who won. Of course you will always include an offer for a product or service!
What do you give away? Anything with a perceived value makes a great free item. Free items do not have to be expensive. Buy something on sale at WalMart or at eBay and offer it. You can also offer free informational reports that help people solve their problems. People are always looking for ways to solve problems they are having.
Of course, once you capture this information you have to do something with it. If you're too busy to take on any more work, then the next tip will help you out.
3. Use automated tools to keep in touch with customers
Once you have a customer list, I recommend you send a minimum of 25 "messages" a year to it. A message could be an email, direct mail piece, fax, or phone call.
If you don't use an automated tool to do the work for you, you'll likely be too busy to get the job done. When you automate, your messages go out regardless of how busy you get (the more messages that go out, the busier you'll get).
One tool you can use is an email autoresponder, which is a web-based system that sends out emails when someone signs up. It sends out emails at intervals you set up. You can also set it up to send an email on a specific day, such as a holiday.
The great thing about an autoresponder tool is that you enter your messages in the autoresponder one time, then it automatically sends emails to your list. You can also broadcast messages any time you want.
Using this tool, keeping in touch with your customers is easy and it will help keep the competition from creeping in and stealing your customers because they've forgotten about you and the services you provide.
4. Stop marketing like you're a big business.
Marketing a small business like it's a big business is something almost every small business owner does. They just copy the marketing they see being done at large companies with big brands. This kind of marketing is called "brand identity," "brand building," or "image" marketing.
This is a HUGE waste of advertising money for a small business. You simply don't have the resources you need to support a successful branding campaign.
Brand advertising typically has no "call to action," (they don't ask you to do anything). They just give you features of the product or service, or they entertain you without asking you to do anything.
Brand advertising is usually benefit free. The viewer has to determine if there is a benefit to them. It may contain a list of features and the user will have to assign their own benefit to each feature. It is usually focused on the product or provider of the product instead if the customer.
A successful marketing campaign for a small business is created around direct response marketing techniques.
5. Use old fashioned direct response techniques in new ways
The kind of marketing plan that works for a small business is direct response marketing. It doesn't require a huge marketing budget to use effectively. It can be used for all types of products and services.
And the good news is that you don't even have to hire an advertising agency to do it since it doesn't require creativity. All you have to do is learn the basic structure of direct response marketing and you can easily increase the sales your business makes.
Direct response sales copy always asks the reader or viewer to take some sort of action i.e. "Call in the next 5 minutes, and we'll include a free set of Ginzu steak knives!".
It may ask for the sale directly if a full "sales presentation" was done (one-step advertising), or it may ask them to request more information (two-step advertising). It will at a minimum, ask the reader to take some form of "traceable" action so you know if it is working or not.
There should always be a headline for written advertisements! Never put your company logo at the top of a direct response advertisement. That's brand advertising.
Whenever you create an advertisement in any form always look at them from the customer point of view. Look it and ask "Who gives a crap?" about everything in it. Do you think the customer cares about your logo. No! They care about what you can do for them. Put in benefits and not features. Let the customer know what's in it for them. A successful direct response ad for a small business includes several things:
  • An offer to buy something
  • Sufficient information for the consumer to make a decision to act now (or directions on how to get more info)
  • An explicit "call to action" sooner rather than later
  • A clear way to respond such as a telephone number or web page
  • A means of tracking the response.
Direct response advertising is not just used for mail campaigns. You use it in all forms of media: print, web, mail, and broadcast. Take a look at all the advertising you are currently doing no matter where it is and start making the change now.
6. Use the Internet to advertise for free
Even though websites as we know them have existed since around the early 90s, only 49%* of small businesses currently have a website *9/08, Barlow Research. It's surprising how many businesses do not understand how powerful this marketing tool is. If you don't have a website, get one because there is no better source of free advertising!
The Internet has hundreds of "Web 2.0" websites where you post "content" for free. The content can be text, videos, or audios you create and it can lead people to your business. Plus, it helps establish you as an expert in your field. is one such place you can post content. There was no charge to post this article. All I had to do is write it, post it, and then you found it.
You can put links in the "author resource" section, to drive traffic to a page on your website. The articles you post in EzineArticles can rank extremely well in Google search results with a little help from you.
You also want to get your business listed in places like Google Local if you do local business. Once again this is absolutely free.
Once you learn how to do use the Internet for promotion you'll have a head start on the future of advertising and you get customers for free!
7. Outsource routine marketing tasks so you can work on the growing your business
One of the biggest problems small business owners have is that they get so consumed by working IN their business, they don't have time to work ON their business. So no growth can occur.
When it comes to marketing yourself on the Internet, there are ways to use "virtual assistants" to do most of the work for you. A virtual assistant is someone you hire on a full or part-time basis who does the work for you.
But a virtual assistant is not a direct employee so you don't provide benefits or have the normal hassles of an employee. They are usually located somewhere in the world that has low-cost wages so they are very affordable. That's the beauty of the Internet and the communication it provides.
Virtual assistants aren't just confined to small business marketing plan tasks though. They can do almost anything for you: reservations, schedule appointments, answer phones, customer service, send flowers, buy a present for your spouse, find someone to fix your car, website development, accounting, software development, writing, graphics, or anything you need.
There are lots of resources on the Internet that can help you find a virtual assistant.
Create Your Small Business Marketing Plan Now!
Use these seven marketing tips to start building your small business marketing plan right now. If you procrastinate, your busy life will get in the way of business growth. Even if you only take a little of the advice you've been given, you'll find it can have a big impact on the profitability of your business.