In a tough economy, businesses must find cheaper, more efficient ways to market themselves

It’s no question that the marketplace out there is grim. With South Africa entering its first technical recession since 2009, the competition for the consumer’s shrinking purse is heating up.  When revenues start dipping, marketing budgets are often the first to be cut – logical, yes, but also usually to the detriment of the business. If your business is not in front of the consumer, you cease to be top of mind. In a space like that, the competitor who markets even a little bit can be king.

Genevieve Considine, General Manager at ADreach, reveals some insights on how businesses can reach customers effectively without breaking the bank.

Digital advertising can drive low-cost leads

Platforms like Google and Facebook offer brilliant, affordable platforms for advertising businesses, from Google Search ads (ads that come up when people search for your services, or related) to Google Display ads (those annoying, but effective ads you see on websites). Similarly Facebook offers an advertising service, but this is usually a bit more expensive than Google. The important thing about advertising on digital platforms is that they are accessible for all sizes of businesses, with a range of budgets. The problem is that for these campaigns to be effective, you need some level of technical know-how. Campaigns seem simple enough to set up but the real performance is driven by understanding the technical nuances of these platforms – something that is quite time-consuming for most business owners or marketing managers to grapple with, especially as the platforms are continually evolving. For this reason most businesses use agencies with the technical expertise to set up digital campaigns.

Outdoor media seems expensive but doesn’t need to be

There is a perception in the market that billboards are incredibly expensive – which is true – but that doesn’t mean that your business can’t have a presence on outdoor media. Street Pole Ads (SPAs) are smaller-format outdoor media that are present on street poles throughout the country, sold at a fraction of the price of billboards. What’s great about them is that they are bought as three-in-a-row, so you can get your message across over three poles. They can also be used quite strategically – for example as directional signage near your store or branch, or in areas of high traffic to maximise the “eyeballs” you’ll get. Joburg traffic never looked so inviting!

Street Pole Ads work particularly well as an integrated campaign with digital – just think – your consumer sits in traffic, and sees your brand/price special/product launch. They then later Google you, and your company comes up as #1 in their search results. They are later scrolling through their Facebook feed and see your ad again. Three touchpoints, one consumer, and nowhere near the price of a radio or TV advert. Another advantage is that businesses don’t need the expertise of an agency to plan and buy Street Pole Ads. ADreach, for instance, will plan your campaign strategy for you, and even do your artwork design for the ads if you need.

Integrate your marketing efforts

Marketing campaigns of any size always pack more of a punch when the different efforts and channels are integrated – in other words the messaging and creative align and support and reinforce each other. For example, if a retail brand is running an in-store special as a digital campaign, instead of doing Street Pole Ads with different messaging or creative, a better use of that budget is to run creative that reinforces the digital campaign, through, for example reiterating the special with directional signage. Using multiple channels ensures multiple touchpoints with the consumer, but in order to drive recall the messaging needs to be consistent.

Look after your existing customers

It’s no secret that your existing customer base is your easiest “sell”. They need no introduction to your brand, they understand your product or service, and hopefully you know something about them too! By upping your customer service game, whether it is by remembering birthdays, being one step ahead of your customers’ needs, and always being helpful and friendly, you can ensure your business stands out in the clutter. The use of a good customer relationship management (CRM) system helps businesses understand their customers better and maintain regular, meaningful communications with them.

At ADreach we always want our campaigns to work as hard as they can for clients, which is why we are big proponents of the above approach – it is simple, doesn’t break the bank, and highly effective.

In summary:

  • Make sure there is awareness of your brand/product/service in the market (Street Pole Ads)
  • If someone is looking for you, or your service, make sure they can find you (Google Search ads, and a good website)
  • Integrate your marketing efforts (ensure your outdoor campaign reinforces your digital campaign, for example)
  • Look after your customers so you can ensure repeat business