For many small businesses and startups, allocating your marketing resources is a difficult task. After all, there are so many different types of marketing you could sink your time and money into. Which types should they invest in? Which will work well for their business model?
If you find yourself asking these questions, this blog is for you. We, here at GreenStar Marketing, have compiled a brief list of eight types of marketing every business should be doing. As you read through the list, we encourage you to rethink your current strategies, experiment with new ones, and not be afraid to try something different!
The Two Main Marketing Methods
Before we dive into types of marketing, let’s review the two main marketing methods: outbound and inbound marketing.
What is Outbound Marketing?
Let’s start with outbound marketing. Known as “interruptive” or “push” marketing, outbound marketing is when a company actively reaches out to potential – and sometimes current – customers to promote their products and services. Some examples of outbound marketing include direct mailers, digital ads, TV commercials, and trade shows.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing is non-interruptive. Effective inbound marketing attracts customers to a company, and that company’s offerings, organically – without paying for advertising space or digital clicks. Some ways of doing this are through composing informative blogs, answering Frequently Asked Questions on your website, and creating professional videos about a company’s brand and products. In short, inbound marketing aims to form a connection with potential customers by providing them with content they want to consume.
In recent years, more marketers are dialing back on outbound marketing and increasing inbound marketing. It’s more affordable, less intrusive, and more effective in the long-term. The ROI calculates itself. And while outbound marketing still has a solid place in any healthy marketing strategy, it shouldn’t be the number one priority.
Types of Marketing Every Company Should Have
If you’re looking for ways to improve your brand and increase your bottom line, your marketing strategy must include these types of marketing, to various degrees.
Wait, you may be thinking, isn’t advertising a form of outbound marketing? And you’d be right. From digital YouTube ads to printed subway billboards, advertising is still an effective way to reach potential customers. But only if you do it wisely and do it well because consumers aren’t afraid of muting, blocking, or even skipping your ads.
So, be sure your advertisements address the right kind of customer and are in locations those customers frequent. If your preferred customers spend more time on LinkedIn than other social media platforms, advertise there. If your preferred customers read a lot of print media, put an ad in a leading industry magazine. How you choose to advertise will depend on who you’re trying to reach and how you’re trying to reach them.
Most companies, however, choose to advertise online through platforms like Google Ads. At a more granular level, it’s called search engine marketing (SEM). This allows them to target, and even follow, people who have already shown interest in their products and brands. The customers’ search history will follow them across the web, keeping a company’s name and products at the forefront of their minds.
However, since so many businesses are advertising virtually, taking out digital ads isn’t as cost-effective as you’d think. Most ads are Pay-per-Click (PPC), meaning every time that ad shows up on someone’s screen, you’re paying for it. In fact, on average, a small-to-medium business can expect to spend anywhere from $9 to $10,000 a month on PPC advertising!
Recommendation: Advertise thoughtfully, considering your “ideal customer,” and avoid overspending on ads that may not give a good return. Use platforms like Google Ads as a supplement to your content strategy – not as a replacement for it.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing is the cornerstone of any inbound marketing strategy. It focuses on producing original content that potential customers want to consume – usually via the internet. Think blogs, podcasts, how-to guides, research reports, eBooks, and the like.
A lot of people make the mistake of equating content marketing with SEO marketing. While they do work together, they are completely different disciplines. Content marketing has to do with content generation. SEO marketing deals with making that content easier to discover online by picking the right keywords, optimizing H1 tags, updating meta descriptions, and so on. But we’ll get into that more later.
Content marketing assets draw people to your site organically, giving you the chance to engage with them. And if your content is particularly good, other brands will link back to it as a reference in their content. For example, Hubspot – a marketing software company – puts out a State of Marketing Trends Report every year. Their research is so thorough that even their competitors link back it in their work, giving them even more visibility than before.
How? Because the more your content is shared, the more it’s linked back to or referenced by other brands, the higher your site will climb in search engine rankings. After all, if more people are talking about it and clicking on it, the more sites like Google will show that content to other like-minded users. And, slowly but surely, your organic search traffic will increase.
Recommendation: Your content should be a top priority. It should be absolutely top-notch, from your website to your whitepapers. One of the simplest ways to get started with content marketing is to establish a blog! There you can answer common consumer questions, address market trends, and keep your customers up to date on your latest innovations.
3. Social Media Marketing
Falling in both the inbound and outbound marketing categories, social media marketing is a relatively recent addition to your marketing toolkit. But it’s a type of marketing you can’t afford to neglect, especially since over 72% of United States citizens use some form of social media daily.
At its core, social media marketing is used to distribute content – in the form of free posts or pre-paid ads – to social media users. This can cover anything from photos to text posts to videos. Social media marketing is highly interactive and is usually used to interact with your target audiences in a more laid-back, conversational way.
But, like all marketing, your social media strategy shouldn’t be a thoughtless hodge-podge of various pictures and posts. It should be clear, concise, consistent, and visually appealing no matter what platforms you choose to use.
Speaking of different platforms, be sure you’re posting your content on platforms that fit your business model, whether you’re Business to Consumer (B2C) or Business to Business (B2B). For instance, B2C companies see a lot of success on platforms like TikTok and Instagram while B2B companies choose to use LinkedIn or Twitter to promote their products. Some platforms are successful for both B2B and B2C companies.
The cost of social media marketing varies depending on how much you’re willing to spend on views, clicks, and other metrics, as well as on what platform you’re using.
Recommendation: Take the time to understand what buyer personas are on what social media platform. This will help you not waste time on sites that won’t be profitable, and tailor your posts to the right kind of audience. And remember – your strategy might differ per platform.
4. Call-to-Action (CTA) Marketing
CTA marketing is less a type of marketing and more of a marketing practice that is present throughout any good marketing strategy. CTAs are prompts that encourage whoever reads them to take specific action. Some examples include: “Find out how we can save you money,” “Discover more about our product,” “Sign up for our newsletter,” “Subscribe to our channel,” and “Download our free eBook.”
These calls to action are everywhere. From your website’s homepage to your customer-facing emails. An effective call to action should lead the reader to engage with your company in a more meaningful way, like following your social media pages, downloading your assets, or signing up for a newsletter.
CTA marketing is critical to a successful inbound marketing strategy, as it draws potential leads further down the sales funnel. For CTAs to be effective, you need to conduct a bit of market research beforehand. And that involves using A/B testing, where two or more versions of a CTA are shown to users at random over a set period of time. The CTA that does the best is the one you should use to get the lead conversions you want.
CTAs are some of the most affordable marketing you’ll do.
Recommendation: Include CTAs in important places – your website, blog, etc. – but be sure not to overdo it. You’ll also want to update your CTAs when new campaigns are launched, or you want to target a new type of customer.
5. Direct Marketing
Contrary to popular belief, direct marketing can be part of an inbound and outbound marketing strategy. It simply means marketing to a potential customer one-on-one, whether it’s over the phone, over email, or via text campaigns.
In inbound campaigns, direct marketing is used after a lead engages with an asset. If someone signs up for text notifications, they get a personalized welcome message. If someone downloads an eBook, they receive a personalized welcome email.
Direct marketing for outbound campaigns usually means reaching out to a “cold” lead – a lead that hasn’t interacted with your company but could be interested in its product. This can be over the phone or via email and is often sent by a salesperson on pre-selected dates.
Since direct marketing is often digital in nature, it doesn’t tend to be expensive, either. It simply requires your team’s time and energy, asking them to think through their strategy and generate an engaging prompt for a one-on-one conversation.
Recommendations: Timing is everything when it comes to direct marketing! For inbound campaigns, sending a follow-up after a customer interaction is expected and – usually – welcome. After that, we’d recommend following up with that lead, at most, once a week. With outbound marketing, keep your tone invitational and limit cold-calling and emailing to once a week. You don’t want potential customers writing you off as spam or thinking you’re too aggressive because you’re sending them 2-3 emails a day.
6. Marketing Automation
Much like CTA marketing, marketing automation is more of a good marketing practice than a marketing strategy in and of itself. Typically, marketing automation is when software programs run specific marketing tasks, and even workflows, without human intervention. Many B2C and B2B businesses use automation for their email marketing, social media posting, and even some advertising campaigns. They also use it to streamline internal processes too, such as handing off warm leads to sales or notifying the customer success team when a customer makes a purchase.
Marketing automation allows companies to nurture leads in a highly personalized way, guiding them down the sales funnel step by step, touchpoint by touchpoint. It can provide better experiences for existing customers too since it allows companies to provide white-glove service on a massive scale.
Automating your marketing processes also saves you time and money. According to a recent study by Nucleus Research, marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead! Especially when paired with an effective CRM tool.
The cost of marketing automation depends on how expensive your software is. Companies can expect to spend anywhere from $35 to $250 a month.
Recommendation: Take advantage of the benefits of marketing automation if you haven’t already! Streamlining processes like email marketing, lead conversion notifications, and more will not only keep your workflows simple, but also give you insights into what processes and strategies are effective and which aren’t.
7. Public Relations
Like it or not, public relations is a type of marketing every business needs. Public relations (PR) is a set of strategies that manages how company information is presented to the public and maintains a positive brand identity on the company’s behalf. Some examples of PR opportunities include interviews with journalists, social media announcements, and press releases.
While most of us think PR is only useful after a disastrous event, it can also be used to highlight the positive things a company is doing for the community and for the world. For instance, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s largest snowboarding manufacturer – Burton – donated 500,000 respirator masks to health facilities in the United States and even began manufacturing medical face shields. Their story, along with those of other businesses helping fight the fight against COVID, was covered in hundreds of articles across multiple verticals.
While they didn’t pay for the exposure, Burton was responsible for how they handled it. They had to make sure they answered all the media’s questions correctly, showed them the right facilities, etc. It’s a perfect example of positive PR brought about by a company’s philanthropic decision-making.
If you’re a smaller business, your first forays into PR will probably be pay-to-play. This is when a company pays certain media outlets to cover a product release or announcement on their site or in their magazine. As you grow, you’ll eventually need pay-to-play PR less and less, as your business will begin being a trusted name in the space.
Recommendation: If you’re looking to bring awareness to your brand and establish credibility, you need to have a solid PR strategy in place for both positive and negative news. Make sure you have a dedicated PR person on staff or are partnering with a reputable PR firm so they can help you get started.
8. Event Marketing
Last, but certainly not least, we have event marketing. Event marketing is a way to promote your products and services by planning and executing a specific event. It can be as small as hosting an online webinar or in-person roundtable, to attending a thousand-person tradeshow as an exhibitor or a sponsor.
Investing in event marketing is beneficial for many reasons. Events generate new business, help companies engage with their customers one-on-one, build brand awareness, and even educate corporate staff members on the latest industry trends. That’s why over 95% of marketers believe in-person events has a positive impact on their company’s goals.
Event marketing campaigns are generated on an event-by-event basis. It begins with promoting your event, or event attendance, prior to the event with landing pages and promotions on your blog, social pages, and email newsletters. After all, how are you going to attract new customers and reconnect with old ones if they don’t know you’re at the event? During the event, you can offer limited-time coupons, free swag like t-shirts, notebooks, and socks, product brochures, and more to drum up interest. Afterward, you can send out event summaries, thank you emails, and even free promotional materials that people might have missed.
Recommendation: Events are wonderful ways to establish connections with your target audience and current customers. If you’re not hosting or attending any events, now’s the time to get into that habit! But please keep in mind that preparing for and promoting events can be expensive. The cost can range to hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of dollars per event.
So, be sure you have a firm budget in place and have a list of specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART) goals set for any event – i.e. “Get 50 unique prospects for this product by the end of the event.” Vague goals like “get more leads and promote our brand” will guarantee that you’ll end an event with little-to-no ROI.
Types of Marketing: High Risk, High Reward
If you’re looking to catch more eyes, to be a little daring with your marketing, you can also consider adding these two types of marketing to your repertoire.
This type of marketing is more common for B2B businesses looking to land a large partner or client. Account-based marketing is the act of marketing to one client (or account) and one client only so you can win their business. Some examples are an extensive, personalized proposal, bulk discounts on products, etc.
Account-based marketing is considered high-risk high-reward because of its narrow scope. After all, if the account gets away, you’ll have lost a lot of time and resources and not have much to show for it. On the other hand, if the account signs on, you’ll see a nice bump in your bottom line.
Recommendation: Use this type of marketing only when a potential account passes a certain financial threshold or meets specific criteria. And when you start marketing to them, be fully invested. Your client will be able to tell if your heart’s not in it.
If you’re looking to catch the public’s eye in a fun and clever way, guerilla marketing might be for you. And while it’s especially helpful for B2C companies, it can also benefit B2B companies too! Guerilla marketing is a type of marketing that drives publicity through unconventional methods designed to elicit delight, surprise, or even shock.
Guerilla marketing is often confused with experiential marketing and for good reason. Guerilla marketing can have bystanders participate in the marketing ploy, whether intentionally like Bounty’s messy installation in New York, or unintentionally like Frontline’s full-floor interactive ad. And who could forget Domino’s Pizza taking to the streets of all fifty states to fill in potholes? But audience participation is not a requirement for guerilla marketing practices as a whole. Experiential marketing always invites the audience to interact with a brand or business in a hands-on, real-world way, like M&M’s Flavor Rooms or Misereor’s charity donation billboards. It not only shows what the company offers to customers but also what the company cares about.
While guerilla marketing does get people talking about your brand, and often garners free publicity, it can be risky. If it doesn’t grab the right amount of attention, it could be lost in the shuffle. But if it draws too much attention it might result in backlash.
Recommendation: Don’t be afraid to take risks! While guerilla marketing isn’t an everyday marketing practice, if you’ve got a wonderful idea for an indoor or outdoor campaign, take the steps to make it happen. But be resourceful and be cautious, making sure you’re not going against any guidelines or ordinances.
GreenStar: All Types of Marketing in One Organization
If you’re looking at this list and feeling a little overwhelmed, never fear! GreenStar Marketing can help. From advertising to automation, we’ve got the know-how you need to design and implement effective marketing strategies, choose the right marketing tools, and increase your conversions overall. So what are you waiting for? Talk with one of our experts today!