How Indirect Marketing works in 2019
By Megan | Feb 11, 2019 (5 min read)
If you run a business today, you’ve probably heard about the different types of marketing approaches available. You know that you need to spend time and invest money in attracting customers to your business.
While many businesses will spend a lot of money on their advertisements, and contacting customers directly through sales calls, there is another way to grow market share today that is often overlooked: indirect marketing.
What is Indirect Marketing?
Although it sounds like an academic term, Indirect Marketing is actually something you’re likely very familiar with. In fact, it’s become a huge part of the online world, especially since the mass adoption of social media.
Through social media advertising and social media sharing, there has been a huge influx in the amount of indirect marketing being done by businesses. In fact, some of it is so well prepared, that it is difficult to tell the difference between personal posts and sponsored posts online today.
Sites like Buzzfeed, Reddit, Mashable and many others have also made a massive impact on the way we consume media. By blurring the lines between informational and entertainment based media, they have been able to drive business growth through their online portals.
Why doesn’t every business use Indirect Marketing?
If you are not taking advantage of Indirect Marketing in 2019, then you are probably losing market share in your industry. There are three big reasons why companies tend to avoid indirect marketing:
1) It’s hard to understand
The innovations of online technology and social media can feel overwhelming. When new platforms emerge, many businesses feel like they don’t have the time to learn them and to adopt them into their marketing.
2) It’s hard to do consistently
Another key factor in why businesses don’t use indirect marketing is that it takes consistent effort. Coming up with engaging topics, posts and ways to wow your audience is easy for a day or a week, but after a few months it gets a little tougher.
3) It’s hard to measure directly
Sometimes it seems easier to simply run online ads and track the results you get. While this can be a great strategy, you can’t overlook the brand value that indirect marketing creates over time. The biggest brands in the world reach a point where advertisement doesn’t compare to their customer loyalty. Small businesses can mimic this by consistently adding value to their followers and fans. Over time, these small interactions can build an incredible amount of business volume.
Learning to Ride The Wave
The way that social media, online search, and online reviews have changed our culture is enormous. We live entirely different lives today than we did only 15 or 20 years ago. The pace at which innovations take hold is overwhelming.
The rules have also changed. It used to be that you would spend a certain amount of money on advertisement and get a reasonable return. Today you can spend a lot of money on advertisements such as mailers, television or radio ads or billboards and see almost no financial gain.
Yet, you can also boost a post on facebook, or create a targeted Google Adwords advertisement and get immediate clicks and sales. All it takes is some experimentation to learn the basics, and the willingness to try something new.
How to get started with Indirect Marketing
Indirect marketing is anything you do to keep your business, products or services in the peripheral view of your customers.
To get started, you can choose any of these indirect marketing strategies as a starting point:
- Creating useful blog posts on your website
- Writing news articles and posts on other sites (e.g., Medium, Huffington Post)
- Creating videos and posting on other platforms (e.g., Youtube, Vimeo)
- Sending regular emails with valuable information to your email list
- Growing your social media business pages (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn)
- Partnering with social media influencers (e.g., Instagram, Youtube)
- Grow your online reviews (e.g., Yelp, Google Business)
- Enhance your SEO rankings and organic traffic (e.g., Google, Bing)
It Takes Time and Effort
Some business owners think that any time not spent directly selling to customers is wasted. However, growing a brand on social media and increasing Search Engine rankings is highly valuable. Getting a few hundred free visits to your website each day starts to add up, particularly if you focus on collecting their email address and marketing to them over time.
The first place after your website that most people will visit is to your Twitter, Facebook business page, your Youtube channel or LinkedIn business page. For some types of businesses, customers may also look at your Instagram business profile.
If you haven’t taken the time to set these profiles up, you are missing another source of connection. If you don’t maintain them at least once or twice a week, it will appear that your business is not up to speed. In the modern market, the latest post is all that matters, so you have to make the time and effort to update.
Momentum is Critical
Another overlooked factor in indirect marketing is the momentum factor. Posting once on a single platform won’t have much impact. Posting three times a week on several different platforms will start to create awareness about your brand.
No matter how famous your brand is, people don’t look at every single post. However, they do notice the posts in their feed as they are scrolling. They may breeze past the first, second, third (or even tenth) post; but they will start to pay attention to something. It might be the twentieth or the fiftieth post that gets them to stop scrolling. Eventually, they will notice your consistency and begin to want to know more.
This is when momentum kicks in. If a potential customer has liked or followed you, they will keep consistently seeing you in their social media feeds. Over time, this repetition builds their connection to you.
Most consumers today use multiple social media platforms, so you can multiply the effect by being on several. If a customer or prospect sees your posts on LinkedIn and Twitter, they have a higher chance of recalling you.
Indirect marketing has a steep learning curve, but it has a valuable payoff. Take the time to learn how to do it, keep up with the latest platforms, and commit an hour each day to grow your reach. Most business owners don’t do this, and they miss the opportunity to increase their profits.
With Indirect Marketing, you will likely see results within three to six months. Keep doing it for a year or two, and you will be glad that you started when you did.