Social Media and the New Marketing: The Most Powerful and Effective Tool-Set for Small Business Advertising (Part-One: Introducing the “New Marketing”)

Sure, everyone knows that “social media” is the wave of the future. But the real question is: The future of what? Is it the future of how we communicate with one another? How we share ideas? How we market our products? The short answer is yes, it is certainly could be all of those things, but for small businesses, it must be considered one thing and one thing only—the wave of the future for the most powerful, effective, and successful sets of methods and strategies for developing “home-grown” advertising and marketing campaigns. Without spending thousands of dollars hiring a professional marketing company, you can, with the right tools and skills, develop top-class and cost-effective advertising and marketing strategies for your waste water management business on your own!

“Push” versus “Pull” Marketing Strategies
In general, promoting your products or services involves, in one way or another, communicating with prospective leads, prospects or customers. There are two broad categories of promotional or marketing strategies: “Push Marketing” and “Pull Marketing.” The primary difference between “push” and “pull” marketing resides in how you approach your prospective consumers. The origin of these two terms refers to the supply chain and how the demand for the product is promoted and generated.
In push marketing, the idea is to promote products by pushing them onto people. A good example of push marketing is the sales displays at your grocery store or the ads you display at as many strategic venues as you can. A good example of a pull strategy, on the other hand, is to create a blog on your company website and proceed to post content that you know your customer base is interested in finding out about. One can “push” the product onto consumers in the hope of creating demand for your product or service, or you can “pull” the customer to you with the hope of generating demand for your product. Let’s take a closer look at both of these marketing strategies.
“Push” tactics are varied but they can nevertheless be classified into one of six strategies:
1. Print, which includes advertisements in newspapers, magazine, newsletters, brochures, press releases, flyers, billboards, telephone book ads, etc.
2. Broadcast, this includes T.V. commercials, radio spots, infomercials etc.
3. Direct Mail, which includes fliers, postcards, brochures, letters, catalogs, etc.
4. Telemarketing, including cold-calling messages over the phone.
5. Emailing marketing includes sending advertisements, including “email bombs” through your email program of choice.
6. Trade shows include companies setting up booths and displaying their wares, their products and services, sometimes demonstrating how they work or what they can do.
These tactics are called “push” because they illustrate the work a company who offers a service or product has to do or perform in order get information and knowledge of their product or service to the customer. Push marketing attempts to initiate a conversation about a product or service by spreading word of its existence through a variety of the traditional marketing and media methods. In fact, when most non-marketers think of the word “marketing,” it is “push marketing” techniques that everybody thinks of because it embodies the classic definition of what marketing and advertising is all about. Whether a marketer places advertisements on television or the newspaper, in a telephone book, or with flyers and postcard reminders, these traditional methods are still highly regarded by many industry professionals, but they are increasingly becoming at least ineffective in today’s consumer world or, worse, becoming obsolete!

Information Overload
The thing is, consumers have been inundated with thousands, millions of ads trying to sell them something, and they have learned to turn off immediately. Think of how “disruptive” even “intrusive” television commercials are when you are trying to watch and enjoy your favorite TV program. In the consumer world, buying behavior has changed. People are sick and tired of being sold to. They’ve learned how to tune out the constant barrage of promotional messages they encounter every single day from every corner of the ambient environment. Modern technology is even helping, with no-calling lists in some states becoming a legal matter, to spam filtering of our emails, to other devices that help us avoid being sold to by someone we could care less about and whose products or services we likewise could care less about.
Consumers are looking for a new kind of purchasing experience, one that educates and informs instead of pushing and yelling. The fact is, the old school tactics are only costing you more and more while delivering to your needs less and less. So, brand new cutting-edge marketing and advertising techniques and strategies have been developing all over the Internet. A prediction is that the “new marketing” can be successfully carried over and practiced with great success in industries like the liquid waste management industry.

The “New Marketing”
Pull marketing, or what is called “content marketing”, takes the opposite approach to the old way of marketing and advertising practices. The goal of pull marketing is to get the customers to come to you, hence the term “pull,” where marketers or business owners attempt to pull customers in, entice them by offering things they like and need. Pull marketing attempts to gain your audience’s attention naturally and “pull” them toward your company. Instead of your brand taking the action by putting an ad or promotion in front of the customer, the goal of pull marketing is to generate interest by posting great content on your webpage so that your audience will seek out your company and your brand, for example. It is also called “content marketing” because you are using “content”—information, knowledge, entertainment, advice, relevant thoughts and ideas about your industry—to increase “demand.” The “supply” is certainly out there waiting for you to get in touch with them. It is also called “inbound” as opposed to “outbound” marketing. Outbound is sending information and advertisement “out” through traditional media outlets, while the new marketing is bringing your consumers to you; or, rather you are attracting them to your website. In other words, you are bringing them “in” and are not sending anything “out” per se.
It is still about supply and demand, but in the case of pull marketing you bring the demand to you rather than push out and try to find the demand. Once you create the demand and the supply channels they will, if you are successful, almost look after themselves. Pull tactics succeed when you make it easy and desirable for customers to find you. Your prospects are definitely out there looking for you but, can they see you? Are you giving them what they want? One of the best ways to be seen is to incorporate pull or content marketing as part of your business advertising procedures, and to offer great content on your webpage, or through your blog, or by posting on Facebook or Twitter, or on your YouTube channel, or through Instagram, etc. that informs, entertains, or does some combination of both. The ultimate goal of pull marketing is to make your brand resonate with the customer and build an emotional connection, thereby increasing brand loyalty. As every advertiser or marketer knows, “brand loyalty” is the gold standard. When consumers not only use your services, but actually become loyal to your brand, you have developed “permanent” customers that will not only use your product, but also promote it and share your information with others. Generally speaking, traditional advertising only entertains or, at best, informs. Using killer content to drive your prospects to you and to generate leads, does all that. But, much more, pull marketing or content marketing goes that important step further and educates, even coaches customers, transforming them into “loyal” customers that in effect, become advocates for your business. If they are loyal to your brand, they will use it and only it. They won’t be fickle consumers anymore just picking liquid waste services on bottom line costs calculations, etc. When that happens, your customers will “stick with you through thick and thin” as they say, and will not switch to another company just because they are cheaper, etc.

Giving Customers What They Want: Informative, Educational, and Entertaining Content
So, for example, rather than spending lots of money on advertising, and breaking your neck trying to reach potential leads through blindly casting as huge a net as possible in the hopes of reaching someone interested in your products or services, which usually ends up only sending out messages to unwilling, unreceptive people; or creating campaigns or experiences that ignore user wants and needs by just talking “at” them through intrusive ads that tend to annoy them rather than intrigue them, the savvy small business owner of a business in the liquid waste industry, learns the basics of creating successful “pull” marketing strategies, including, but not limited to: creating content that engages your target audience(s); developing user experiences that leave lasting impressions; and providing customer service that “wows” people. In other words, successful and effective pull marketing consists of great content, great memorable experiences and fantastic customer service. Pull marketing allows your most qualified prospects to come to you. In a real way, what could be easier than that?
Instead of sending out hundreds of flyers as part of an advertising strategy for your company, a liquid waste management, portable toilet, or septic tank service could develop a blog geared to educating the visitors to your site all about the ownership, upkeep, and servicing of septic tanks, for example. In this way, you funnel your advertising budget into tactics and strategies less expensive, and use the remaining money for other business uses. Using keywords that relate to the geographic area where your company is located, information local people would seek out for themselves when they need their septic tank serviced and go to Google and search “septic tank service” companies, for example, is a great way to “bring them in.” The more and better the content you post through your social media outlets, and the more searchable “keywords” are located throughout your content, the higher will be your Google or search engine ranking and profile, and your company will immediately appear when someone in need does a Google search for, say “local septic tank installers,” or “the best affordable local portable toilet rental businesses,” or whatever. You get the idea. (This tactic is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is easy to learn and do. You can find out much more about SEO in Part Two of this editorial in next month’s issue of American Liquid Waste Magazine.)
A blog, for instance, would be especially effective if it linked to a social networking page about the company itself so readers could receive periodic reminders about the business and share that information with others. Everyone loves to share information over the Internet. It’s just human nature. In a way, posting great content that your prospects and lead like and want to share with their friends is like personal referral or “word of mouth” advertising kicked into overdrive. It is the difference between a loyal customer and a new prospect telling a few others that they should use your services or, likes what you have to say, and simply hitting the “send” key and thereby allowing your customers to forward the content you have created to everyone in their email list. And, these days, everyone has dozens; if not hundreds of “friends” they can send your blog content or “White Paper” or Video clip to. Some company’s Facebook Pages have hundreds of “likes,” and popular Twitter accounts likewise have dozens, hundreds, even thousands of “followers.” Having a YouTube channel takes little technical know-how. No one needs to have to know how to “code” or know “HTML” for example. The latest technology is all preformatted. You just put in the content and the program basically does the rest! Today’s pull or content marketing can happen on so many different free or relatively non-costly platforms that can wield unlimited possibilities for “home-grown” marketers; i.e., doing all marketing and advertising “in-house.” Content Marketing and Pull tactics are rapidly growing in popularity. The various forms of content media include, but are certainly not limited to: blog posts, Facebook pages, LinkedIn accounts, YouTube channels and videos, eBooks, writing informative White Papers, Webinars, etc., as well as numerous other social media venues, channels and techniques.

Social Media: The Perfect Platform for the “New Marketing” Tactics and Strategies
The number of people who use major social media networks like Facebook and Twitter is staggering, while the cost of maintaining such a social media presence is minimal. For the cost of a computer and perhaps an hour or two day of employee time, any company can have a strong social media presence that reaches thousands of potential customers or more every day. This would constitute the foundation of a very successful, cost-effective marketing strategy for your liquid waste business. Look at the statistics:

• Number of people who use Facebook: 500 million
• Number of Twitter users who follow eight or more other Twitter accounts: 56 million
• Number of registered Foursquare users: 7.5 million
• Number of unique visitors to Yelp per year: 78 million
• Number of LinkedIn users: 12 million
• Number of YouTube users: 325 million
Source: Internal Telecommunication Union

And all of these channels and venues are still growing at an exponential rate! It is time for you to take advantage of it!

Successful websites start and end with great content. The first step to successful “pull” marketing is to identify your audience, in the case of companies in the liquid waste industry that is relatively easy. It’s nothing more than your customer base; i.e., those clients that need septic tank service, or want to rent portable toilets, or need to haul non-hazardous waste to appropriate dumpsites, etc. Once you have your target audience directly in mind the next step in pull marketing is to create targeted content; unique, relevant content that speaks directly to your target audience. This targeted content will make a bigger impact on your visitors as it speaks directly to their needs. For example, let’s assume that your target audience consists primarily of septic tank owners. With this knowledge in hand, a good example of engaging, targeted content would be perhaps great content that provides tips for how to best maintain one’s septic tank in the form of articles, business newsletters, video tutorials, and helpful infographics, for example. (Look for “Part Two of Social Media and the New Marketing” in next month’s issue of American Liquid Waste Magazine titled “Strategic Tips on How Best to Use the New Marketing.”)

Story by Mark Joseph Manion

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