Face it. An independent retailer is never going to be able to compete with a national chain when it comes to traditional advertising. The Marts and Depots can afford to run multiple page fliers every week. They can afford to run slickly produced TV spots, pretty much at will. So, how do you compete?
David Meerman Scott has written an e-book called "The New Rules of Viral Marketing--How Word of Mouse Spreads Your Ideas for Free." Living up to his title, Scott is spreading his ideas for free. Click on the link to download the book.
He begins with the story of Cindy Gordon, a VP at Universal Orlando Resort. The park will open a new Harry Potter themed section in 2009. Rather than spend millions of dollars marketing the new attraction, Gordon decided to focus on seven people with popular Harry Potter fan sites. These seven people were invited to a top-secret midnight Webcast.
To follow up, an email was sent to the park's email list of guests. A micro web site provided information for bloggers and the media. Traditional media picked up the story and Gordon estimates that 350 million people have now heard about the new attraction. All from an in-house attraction that cost just pennies compared to a traditional media campaign.
You don't have to reach 350 million people and you don't have the power of the Harry Potter name. But suppose you want to reach 100 people who have an interest in what you sell. Do you run an expensive print or TV ad that reaches 100,000 people (paying for each and every one of those impressions) to reach the 100 who actually might buy from you? Or,do you use the power of the Internet to reach them? Your newspaper ad guy (or gal) doesn't want to hear this, but I'd go with the Internet.
Scott's e-book goes on to give some very good ideas for getting the most out of your promotional dollar. He even tells us about his own on-line successes. His latest hardcover book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, has sold more than 30,000 copies just from what he calls "word-of-mouse". Obviously this free e-book is another way of promoting his dead-tree books.
This has got to be the most exciting time in history for marketers. The Web has made the playing field more level than every. You can create an on-line presence for nearly zero cost. All you need is a computer and an Internet connection. Throw in some imagination and a good customer database, and the sky's the limit.
Download Scott's e-book and check it out. It's only 34 pages but it contains a lot of good information.