If you're like most new entrepreneurs, you can't afford to wait months or years for your first sales. You want marketing tactics that produce results quickly, and that means learning all you can about "search corridor" media--media customers use when they've made a decision to buy something. These will put you on the fast track to the leads and sales you need to get your business up and running.
Search corridor media are an essential component of a smart media mix because they shorten the sales cycle by bringing you prospects who know what they want and are looking for the best place to buy it. Consider these four search corridor media options and how you can put them to work for you.
Newspapers: In most major newspapers, regular readers are accustomed to shopping for what they need in the right section on the right day. Major daily newspapers also often have leading web portals in their geo-graphic markets, and they offer advertisers the options of making combo buys--combining print and online--or buying solely online. To save money when advertising on your paper's website, bypass the main pages for content-rich pages where you can place your ads surrounded by rel-evant editorial content. You'll reach fewer readers, but they'll be better qualified to act on your message.
Niche magazines: There are magazines for dog owners, kayakers, boaters, golfers--you name it. And you may even find local special-interest publications that carry ads and editorial for your type of product or service, making them ideal search corri-dors for you. For best results, place large, visible ads in a small number of well-targeted specialty publications often enough for your message to penetrate.
Print directories, such as the Yellow Pages: These often claim the largest portion of a new entrepreneur's resources, so make sure you get the most for your money. To be effective, your ad should contain exactly the information your prospects are looking for, and it should differentiate you from your competitors.
Advertise in the directories with the most listings and ads because these are the ones your prospects will search first. And consider spending some of your directory advertising dollars online, particularly if you're targeting shoppers under age 35.
Search engines: These are the ultimate search corridor tools because the vast majority of shoppers do research online before purchasing. Online search also has a profound effect on offline sales, so even if you sell primarily through your brick-and-mortar store, you'll need to be effective in the search engines and have listings or ads that link to a great website.
Because most online searchers rarely click past the first page of search results, it's essential to seek high rankings. You can optimize your site by getting high-ranking sites to link to yours, sprinkling keyword phrases throughout each page and including local tags. You can also have a paid search campaign that guarantees your ads appear at the top or down the side of search result pages. You'll reach qualified prospects when they're actively considering a purchase and be ideally positioned to transform these hot prospects into customers.
Kim T. Gordon, author of Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars: The Top 50 Ways to Grow Your Small Business. Her new e-book, Big Marketing Ideas for Small Budgets, is available atwww.smallbizbooks.com.