We allocate approximately 2 percent of the annual profits of my firm, Peppercomm, to self-promotion.
We've done so from day one because I believe Peppercomm is Peppercomm's most important client. No matter how good you are, customers will come and go. So it's incumbent on you, the entrepreneur, to keep your name front and center at all times.
We spend our rather meager budget on trade media advertising, paid social content, and leveraging Outbrain, a native advertising specialist, to push our content to relevant sites where prospects congregate.
I'm pleased to say it's worked. Forty percent of our prospects say they found us through the industry ad campaign and Outbrain drove 508 new visitors to our website. The campaign is responsible for a 67 percent increase in overall traffic to our site since New Year's Day.
Impressive, no? Not really.
In fact, after a discussion with an expert on new ways small businesses can outflank larger competitors on a minimal spend, I suspect we could do far better.
My instructor was Joey Molko, a longtime Viacom veteran who is currently CCO of Mirriad (www.mirriad.com), a technology company that says it's reshaping the future of video advertising.
Molko, a client of mine, passed along five way cool branding and marketing tips that we Davids can use to outflank, if not strike down, the Goliaths in our industries:
1.) Target. Target. Target. Entrepreneurs have more options today than ever before to spread their message. Target your marketing spend by demographics, region and platform and not by a particular publication or outlet. You can easily pinpoint multiple platforms your audience(s) reads every day.
2.) Follow your audience. Do research to determine where your audience(s) hangs out, and where they look for original content. Odds are good you'll need a mix of digital, social and traditional channels to strike gold.
3.) Go native. If your audience can skip, block or avoid your message they probably will. So consider more native advertising (paid media that matches the user experience in which it is placed). Think advertorial. And in-video advertising models and technologies which can place your product or business directly in-video as part of the content itself. Think product placement 3.0. These forms of paid media can help ensure key audiences see and interact with your brand.
4.) Don't fake it. Every audience in every sector can smell bullsh*t a mile away. Small businesses can work with specialist firms such as Nativo, Rubicon Project and Mirriad to not only conduct a sniff test but also help you select where and how you want your message to be seen.
5.) Big results on a small budget. There's no need to even contemplate a Super Bowl-level spend or other pricey, marketing options. Integrate your messages seamlessly across multiple, cross-channel and cost-effective platforms in non-invasive ways your audience(s) will accept and you'll achieve a far bigger bang for your buck.
I hate to say it, and I most certainly am not second-guessing our crack agency marketing team but, based upon Molko's recommendations, I'm re-thinking our entire agency marketing effort.