While today’s business owners need to market online, they shouldn’t ignore traditional marketing methods.
The reality is that an effective marketing campaign uses the tool that best reaches the target market. For many businesses owners, especially those in rural communities, that tool continues to be one of the traditional marketing venues.
An example of such a venue is the local newspaper. In small communities, the local paper serves as an important link to many of the citizens. If a business owner is focused on a message appealing to people in the community, the local paper can be the best marketing tool to use. It often is a cost-effective means of getting a message of interest to the population of the area.
Similarly, local radio stations and local access television stations also can represent an effective marketing channel. Rates can be very reasonable. It all depends on who your target market is.
Paid advertising isn’t the only way for business owners to reach potential customers, however. Sending news releases to the local media sources can be a no-cost way of increasing the business’s visibility.
- Here are some ways to help ensure the media uses the release:
- Make sure that what is in the release truly is news and not just promotion.
- Keep the release short; that means usually a page, and no more than two pages.
- The release should be relevant, timely, interesting, informative and even entertaining.
- Provide information on how to contact the business. Include the business’s Web address if it has a website.
- Get to know the local media sources. Ask them what they are looking for in a news release.
- Double-check the release for accuracy, spelling and grammar.
The press release must have a purpose. You need to understand the outcomes you desire. The expectation need not be large; it may simply be a piece of news that reminds people of your business.
Becoming the “local expert” is another marketing opportunity.
If you are in an area where people have similar questions, there might be an opportunity for you to develop a regular news column where those questions can be answered. If you get the same question two or three times, you probably can guess that there are many more with that same question. So work with your local media to become the local expert whom they can turn to for answers and who maybe contributes a regular column.
When deciding to market products or services, business owners must consider all marketing methods available and select the tools that focus on the message they want to send and the audience they want to reach.
Also be sure to evaluate any marketing campaign you try. You need to find out what works for you. Business owners often think that this is a difficult task. However, it can be as simple as asking one question: ‘What brought you into my store today?”
Finally, don’t assume that what marketing tool works today will work tomorrow. Even when you have a solid marketing plan, keep trying new techniques, key points, and even things like color and style.
Marketing is key to your business success. Work hard to keep your effort strong.
- About the Author
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Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.