Author: Cassie Gasaway
Spoiler alert: Marketing isn’t manufactured. There’s no set formula of what you should and shouldn’t do. Every business and location is different. Therefore, companies should use different marketing strategies, techniques and platforms.
Don’t compare your marketing techniques to someone else’s. Instead, make them unique to your business. Weigh these factors to find the best strategies for your business.
Create helpful instructional videos or videos that inform customers about your events and share them across your social media platforms. Photo Credit: X10 Archery
Marketing Options and Overview
Before we dive in, let’s recap what marketing is and how to do it.
Marketing connects your business and products to the consumer, bringing your business plan full circle. Effective marketing explains who you are, describes what you do and directs customers to your location. It also helps you reach your target audience, boost your customer base and increase your bottom line.
Popular marketing platforms and techniques include:
- word-of-mouth advertising
- TV commercials
- outdoor billboards
- direct-mail campaigns
- email marketing
- radio ads
- newspaper ads
- magazine ads
- SEO/keyword marketing
- video content
- website ads and pages
- discounts or coupons
- referral programs
- social media ads or posts
- press segments or listings
- flyers or signs
- phone calls or text messaging
Marketing is anything you do to recruit customers or promote your business, services or products. To find the right fit for your business, you must evaluate your options by comparing their pros and cons and checking to ensure they’re accessible, effective and budget-friendly.
Consider advertising with a sign or billboard. Photo Credit: Shooters Archery
Factors to Consider
- What are you trying to accomplish?
When you established a marketing plan, what was your goal? Were you trying to increase profitability, generate more sales, build brand awareness, reach new audiences, expand market share or increase customer engagement? Different marketing strategies will have different results. You want to pick platforms and techniques that help you accomplish your goal(s). For example, if you want to increase brand awareness or recruit new customers, you might start a referral program or send “About Our Business” postcards to local addresses that showcase general business information and your top offerings. If you want to increase sales, you might write a “Must-Have Products” article, offer a discount or ask an influencer to demo a product. Thinking about your goal will help you narrow your options.
- Is it accessible?
Most towns allow people to hang flyers on light posts, but not all towns have billboards for advertising. Inventory your options to determine which ones are viable. Alternatively, even if something is an option, that doesn’t mean it’s accessible. Some techniques have challenging setup processes or learning curves that require training, which might make the option a burden. For example, suppose you struggle to learn search engine optimization (SEO) best practices and don’t have anyone to ask for assistance. In that case, it’s likely not a good, accessible option for your business — unless you hire someone who can help or take classes and vow to learn. That leads us to the next consideration.
- What does it cost?
Most marketing techniques have a cost, whether it’s time, money or both. Word-of-mouth marketing is essentially free, but you must spend time encouraging people to share their experiences and tell their friends to use your business. Ads cost money, but they don’t require much time to create. Research the options to know what they’ll cost, either mentally or financially. Determine if there’s a fee to obtain and use the service. If so, can you afford it? Will the payment be worth the return on investment? Do the math on monthly payments and annual plans so you understand the financial commitment. Don’t overlook early termination fees if you plan to test a technique. You can also hire someone to oversee a marketing effort if you don’t have the time or skills to do it yourself. The ATA includes several marketing agencies in the MyATA service provider program. Learn more at www.archerytrade.org/myata-service-providers.
- Who will oversee the process?
Someone will need to implement and track your marketing efforts and techniques. Will you volunteer, designate a staff member, hire a reputable marketing company or use a marketing intern? Ensure the responsible party has knowledge about the platform you choose. Short on time? Use the ATA’s marketing internship program guide to help you find, hire and manage a marketing intern. ATA members can download the document for free as part of their member benefits. Visit the ATA’s resource website at resources.archerytrade.org and log in with your ATA member credentials.
- What are the pros and cons?
Think about the advantages and trade-offs for each platform. For example, Facebook might censor your content if you post about weapons or dead animals, but according to Sprout Social, 73% of U.S. Facebook users log in daily. That’s a trade-off to consider compared with your own website, where you can post whatever content you want, but you have only a fraction of the audience. There are drawbacks to both options, so you need to prioritize what’s important.
- Will new or current customers see it?
Think about your customers. What type of media do they consume? Where do they spend a lot of time? How do they like to communicate? What products do they need for their age or ability? Strive to meet new and current customers where they’re at. If they’re younger, they’re likely on social media. If they’re older, they’re more likely to watch TV or check the mail. Pick options that make sense for your target audience.
- Does it work?
If you’ve used the strategy or platform in the past, you might know if it resonates well with community members. If you’ve tried a method, but aren’t sure about its effectiveness, read the “Marketing Matters” article in last month’s issue of Archery Business. The piece outlined a five-step plan to learn how to evaluate a marketing plan or strategy. If you haven’t used a technique you’re considering, ask around to see if other local businesses might share their experiences. If no one can vouch for the strategy, use the platform on a trial-and-error basis. After all, marketing is ever-changing.
Try to advertise on multiple platforms to reach more people. Photo Credit: Inside Archery
Diversify Your Efforts
Use the process to cull your options, but don’t cut them all. You’ve likely heard the phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” That concept applies here. If you funnel all your marketing energy into one effort and it falls short, your marketing plan (as a whole) will likely fall short. However, if you diversify your options, your entire plan won’t derail if one effort doesn’t work. Using three or four options creates a stronger holistic plan.
You also don’t want to do too much, too quickly, or you risk getting overwhelmed. After you find your top three options, plan to use them consecutively instead of simultaneously, unless you have assistance. Juggling multiple tasks or projects is challenging. It’s easier to focus on strategies individually to ensure they’re productive.
Use ATA Resources
Once you determine what marketing platform will work best for your business, use the ATA’s marketing resources to take it to the next level. The ATA has free marketing images, flyers, templates, how-to guides, a marketing internship program guide, a manufacturer-retailer co-marketing guide and more. Log in to your MyATA member dashboard and click “Download Free ATA Resources” to access the ATA’s resource website.
If you have questions or need more information, please contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail-programs manager, at (507) 233-8146, or email@example.com.