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Which types of marketing attract the most clients?

By: Will Adams



I am looking for advice on advertising a business. What is the best form of advertising? What is the most effective? Which types of marketing attract the most clients?

Answer: The most effective form of advertising is word of mouth. Word of mouth or referrals cost no money, typically result in a new customer for the business and normally generate a very high response rate. It is unfortunate that other forms of advertising do not work the same way. However, businesses normally determine by experience which marketing options are most successful to market their product or service.

Business owners typically test, measure, and adjust their marketing efforts to make sure they are allocating their marketing dollars responsibly in reaching their potential customers. Apply this to your business. Create a strategy to reach your market, implement the plan, track each individual response you receive, and trace it back to the marketing effort that generated the response. Each week and month, total the number of responses, sales made from those responses (per marketing activity) and compare the amount of revenue generated versus the amount paid for the ad, promotion or flyer, for example. Then adjust your marketing strategy appropriately and continue the process. Start with a breakdown of the target market. What are the demographics of the business’ market? Are potential customers concentrated in a certain ZIP code, for example? A business should gather all of the information it can about its current customers so it can build a customer profile to target. Look at all options to reach the market such as: – advertising in the newspaper – on the radio advertising – using door knob hangers – coupon books – direct mail – Yellow Pages – Direct mail – Outdoor advertising (ex. billboards) – Press releases – Speaking to audiences – face to face marketing (cold calling, networking) – Telemarketing – Internet marketing (website, email) – Referral programs (offer incentives for current clients who refer new customers) – Radio and print advertising (newspaper, magazine) – Seminars – Flyers.

Also, look at how and where your (successful) competition advertises. Businesses should always monitor their competition’s marketing activities so they can react accordingly. If possible, check on how your competition has advertised through a specific medium in the past, such as the Yellow Pages. For example, locate a Yellow Pages book from last year and look under the appropriate category. Then, compare your competitors’ ads from last year to this year. If the ads have increased in size, then it must be working. If the ads from one year to the next have decreased, or disappeared altogether, then it must not be generating the responses expected. While the conclusions drawn in this example should not be taken for granted, they should be taken into consideration if you decide to advertise in the Yellow Pages. Whether it is word of mouth or direct mail, marketing is an activity that requires constant and careful monitoring by any size business. Small business owners have to monitor their activities even closer to help ensure that they are making the most of their marketing dollars.

Published: November 25, 2013

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Will Adams

As the President of Business Development at Tarkenton, Will works directly with Tarkenton’s partners to identify and understand their organizational needs. He then assembles a cross-functional team to develop and deliver the solutions to meet the needs of the partner. Since joining Tarkenton in 2010, Will has helped develop new partnerships, plan strategic growth initiatives, and mentor organizational leaders. Connect with him on

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