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Is Anyone Still Watching Commercials? Here Are 5 Other Advertising Opportunities

Is Anyone Still Watching Commercials? Here Are 5 Other Advertising Opportunities

There’s no doubt that people still love their televisions — American adults still spend more than four hours watching TV every day. But thanks to advances like smartphones and on-demand streaming services, the days of seeing a traditional TV commercial are fading fast. In terms of traditional marketing, you can no longer depend on this venue to get your message out. But if you’re going to ditch TV ads, what are the best alternatives?

1. Influencer Marketing

Influencers are people who have a lot of followers and subsequent sway, as a result. They typically work on social media or video-based platforms. Because so many people view an influencer’s content, getting them to promote you can mean reaching a larger audience than otherwise possible. 

With influencers (who may or may not be celebrities), their audience often comes to trust them like they would a friend or family member. That’s significant because 59 percent of consumers say they make purchase decisions based on the recommendations of people they trust. Influencer marketing can be a way to bypass initial apprehensions buyers might have because they’re not as familiar with your company. Influencers often end up demonstrating your products or services, so potential buyers get to see how everything works just like they would in your store or at an event.

2. Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs involve partnering up with other businesses. Instead of you promoting the product, the partner will — whether that’s displaying your ads, mentioning you on their programming, posting about you on their social channels, or other options. You pay them for that promotion or offer them free products in return.

Teaming up with an affiliate can be pricier than if you paid your own sales team, but an affiliate can bring the expertise of a particular market to the table — and they’ll have an established following you can tap into. Affiliate programs can help broaden your reach, even if you don’t have a marketing team just yet. Plus, you don’t have to worry about executing any advertisements yourself.

3. Bloggers

Bloggers can be influencers in their own right. They write articles that show off their opinions and expertise, but they can also curate great content from around the internet. Their audience trusts them as an authoritative source.

The trick with using bloggers for advertising is to hone in on the ones who are genuinely interested in your industry. Find out who is genuinely passionate about the type of product or service you offer — someone who knows what is going on in the industry. Then reach out to them and see if they’ll feature you in some way. A lot of bloggers also have podcasts, which could be a further opportunity to talk about your product/service in a way that displays your business motives and passion. 

4. Virtual Events

Virtual events let you connect with customers from around the entire world without the expense of travel. You always have the option of a more traditional webinar, but the ideal approach is to get people who are participating engaged in a way that makes them feel like an insider with you — from their own couch. 

For example, you could host a wine tasting. You’d send the participants bottles of wine ahead of time and invite a sommelier to join the live stream. Everybody involved would enjoy the wine together as they interact online. Getting some partners or sponsors for an event like this could open up a lot of opportunities, all while making the occasion even more fun. Besides, consumers are more willing to discover more about you if you entice them with something else they enjoy. Use the events to network and establish good relationships.

5. Email Lists

Despite the ongoing talk about people being overwhelmed by their digital inboxes, individuals still open 82 percent of emails they get from businesses. Not only that, but 76 percent of them have gone on to make a purchase. A good marketing strategy is to use your marketing tools (e.g., influencers, bloggers, etc.) to build up your email subscribers. 

Even though television ads are falling out of favor, you still have plenty of options to get your message out to customers and to encourage them to buy. Working with influencers, affiliates, and bloggers lets you lean on a base someone else already has built. Virtual events are fun and let you demonstrate what you’ve got in a way that connects consumers from faraway places. And email lists, which are known to up the odds of a transaction, will let you send information and offers with just a few clicks. None of these options are necessarily free, but since they’re usually less expensive than other advertising, it doesn’t hurt to take them seriously and consider them for your startup or growing company.

David Partain is the Chief Marketing Officer of FlexShares, a Northern Trust Company

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