3 Free and Effective Ways to Market Your Small Business

There are thousands of ways to market your small business. The million dollar question: Which ones do I use?

There is no way of ever knowing until you test the different strategies.

After extensive testing and implementation phases, here are 3 of my favorites:

1. CREATE A STORY- This is my favorite strategy because it helps separate you from the competition and it brings exposure to your doorstep without ever going out and directly asking for it.

As you have noticed, I’m a 3yr Secret Service Veteran. When talking about fitness, world travel, shooting guns, and eating healthier, it tends to add credibility to my brand. Why? I walked the walk… not just talked the talk.

For example, let’s say you sell pillows. Selling pillows sounds boring and tedious, but let’s look at how you can make it pop and attract people to buy from you versus the competition:

First, create a story. Can you create a sleep contest at your place? Maybe it’s the city’s largest sleepover! Either way, create a story and the press will be there in no time at all.

2. Critical Online Marketing Checklist: Print this list and keep it next to your computer. It will provide you more traffic to your site or blog and a stronger presence online:

* Capture emails – Most people go through the motions on this one. Are you giving something away FREE in order to retain an email address? Are you capturing visitor email addresses upon them landing on your site?

* Get social – Even if you don’t like it, your competition is doing it. START NOW! Open an account on every major social networking site and devote 2hrs/week learning how to use them. They all drive traffic to your site; each in different ways.

* Threshold Marketing – Don’t be afraid to send an email 2 days in a row. There is no way of knowing the true demand of your marketing message until you test it out. I was always instructed to air conservative, but soon as I tested a back-to-back email I noticed it was taken very well! There’s a grey area and you should push to find it.

* RSS feed- Do you allow the option for readers to subscribe to your content via rss? If not, the time is now! Studies show this concept it rapidly growing; and you need to claim your fair share of the pie.

3. BLOG – An online platform for helping people understand your brand. A blog is simple to operate and very effective when used properly. In fact, blogs now receive more relevance with the search engines! In 2009, blogging has been ranked in the top 3 Internet strategies that every business must be involved with; that is, if you want to change with the times!

The Most Effective Way of Marketing a Small Business Is Text Message Marketing

Different marketing strategies had been very useful for small businesses in promoting their products. It takes a very keen understanding on what to do or where to start promoting it. Today’s generation has a lot to offer in terms of small business marketing. These tools that they use now are mostly internet-related promotion since a lot of consumers are now attached with the online world. However, there are still businesses that are using the classic touch of yellow pages and telemarketing strategies that are somewhat obsolete these days.

Marketing competition and popularity gives a very big impact on how small businesses earn profit. Local businesses spend large amount of bucks just to get into the top marketing spotlight where consumers can visibly see them everywhere they go. Some of these small businesses are now on top and others are still finding ways to rank on this popularity game. It is on how a small business hits the bull’s eye of every marketing target in their local area.

Marketing specialists have found out the “tested and proven” ways to make any small businesses bigger. They have launched innovative tools such as SEO, Google Places Ads, social media, email, internet marketing as well as the mobile and text marketing which is now the biggest profit-earner among all the tools mentioned. SEO is one of the most-used trends of marketing any small businesses where consumers can see them online through search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Proper use of keywords and description is the key for this type of marketing strategy.

Place all your contact information in Google Places Ads and be reached by your online consumers. Social Media like Facebook, twitter and YouTube can also supply you with great traffic and probable consumers through your social network. Email and internet marketing connects you to different consumers just by sending out business proposals, discounts or any type of letter that can help you catch your consumers’ interests. Mobile and Text Marketing is the newest and effective way of promoting any small businesses today. This is the massive way of promoting your products to all consumers in your area. There is no need for you to have a website or get a domain name because there is a smart tool that is used to get in touch with your consumers everywhere they go. People read text messages everyday and they can’t get away from it. There is a huge possibility of making it big with this type of method. You can make any strategic marketing promotion or discounts through mobile and text marketing. Attract them with the best deals you can afford to give for the sake of getting bigger revenue out of it.

The best thing about the mobile and text marketing is you can easily generate leads right in front of your computer. A lead master tool will be the one to pull up all the contact information of consumers who have opted in to your list in your area. From the convenience of any location you may send your text marketing messages to your consumers without hassle, easy as that. You will also avail various media tools that can help you market your small business even more.

These are ready to print and mail postcard campaigns, table tents and fliers that can also help you out even more. Testimonies from many businesses have been shown on how text and mobile marketing made a huge difference to their bottom line every month. This would definitely give you a financial edge to be one of them. It is indeed true that mobile and text marketing is the newest way of effective marketing small businesses.

Tips For Marketing A Small Business Effectively

I get asked often by friends of mine who run small businesses about marketing strategy. Today, there are so many tools at a business owner’s fingertips that allow them to market their small business effectively and efficiently without breaking the bank. In fact, there are many things you can do for free, and some other things you can do with just a very small budget of a few hundred dollars a month. In the grand scheme of most businesses, a few hundred bucks is not a huge investment especially in the name of branding and customer acquisition. And, you can make that small amount of money into a pile of money fairly easily. Marketing a small business should not leave you in the poor house when done intelligently.

Over the course of several years, I have made a list of 34 marketing strategies (not tactics – that number is much higher) I would recommend utilizing to market a small business. I will provide you with a handful of ideas below that small business owners should focus on. Broadly, let’s cover a few things in online marketing, social media and guerrilla marketing.

1) Online Marketing

  • You would be shocked at how many small businesses still don’t have a website that accurately portrays their product or service. Focus on making sure that the content on the website fully supports your brand and your marketing message. Marketing a small business starts with your website as one of your focal points.
  • Optimize your website for search. In other words, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key, and can play a critical role in generating free traffic and exposure to your site. There are right ways and wrong ways to implementing a strong SEO strategy, so do some research, partner with experts if need be, and also look into some basic free tools. Most people running sites on WordPress are able to install basic SEO plug-ins, too.
  • Some people supplement SEO with Google Adwords, or paid search advertising. If you have a small budget each month, this is certainly an option. You can basically create advertisements that run alongside search engine results and then pay to have people click from Google to your website. There is a lot more to it than that, but small businesses should certainly think about this.

2) Social Media

  • LinkedIn: This is a must for networking and building your business. Your business should have its own profile, and you (as the CEO or President of your small business) should have one too.
  • Facebook: This one is a no-brainer and is the same thing as LinkedIn: your business, and you yourself, should have profile pages.
  • Commenting: Yes, comments on blogs and articles are a form of social media. I’m sure you have all kinds of trade publications you as a small business owner read to get your information. You should be online commenting on posts and articles with pithy responses, preferably with a link back to your website or your profile.

3) Guerilla Marketing

  • This is my favorite category when I think about how to market a small business because of the sheer number of creative possibilities. But, you have to be willing to spend a couple bucks. Most importantly, you have to be willing to give away stuff to people for free. Like what?
  • Bookmarks. Coupons. Hats. T-Shirts.
  • Think about what businesses are around you, locally, and offer to give them stuff for free to give to THEIR customers. For instance, restaurants. Work with restaurants to have them put your coupons or fliers in people’s checks. Most will let you do it, as long as your product or service is not competitive. Work with retail stores to have them give away your promotions for free inside bags. Again, most will be happy to let you do it.

I’m only scratching the surface in terms of ideas when marketing a small business, but you get the point. I also find that one good idea leads to a handful of others. So while I only list a small number of ideas above out of my entire marketing arsenal, I hope this provides you with a little bit of a starting point for marketing a small business successfully.

Importance of Internet Marketing for Small Businesses

Businesses, especially small firms today are no more reliant on traditional marketing methods such as word-of-mouth or printed advertisements. It has become very essential for the businesses to conduct comprehensive internet marketing to succeed in this competitive world. Now-a-days, the importance of this marketing has increased as it is an easy medium to reach the target audience quickly and cost effectively.

There are many advantages of Internet marketing for small businesses. Here we will discuss about why it is important for businesses.

Customers searching online for products and services

Today, Internet became an integral part of consumers shopping practice. Almost every customer is searching for products or services online. According to a latest report from BIA/Kelsey group, about 97 percent of the customers are using Internet for searching products or services in their local area. It clearly indicates that they should go for Int. marketing. Online presence with a good strategy makes it easy for the customers to know and purchase the products and services offered by a particular small business.

Very difficult for small businesses to find new customers

Finding new customers through traditional ways of marketing like word-of-mouth, customer referrals, television, radio, roadside billboards, printed papers etc., is time consuming and hectic process. Internet marketing makes it very easy for businesses to find new customers. Through Internet marketing, businesses can attract many new customers by creating their own website. Since more and more people are looking online for local products, a good I.M. plan helps small businesses to find new customers and increase their business.

Internet marketing is cost effective

The traditional marketing methods such as preparing and distributing flyers; billboard, television and radio advertising are expensive. Moreover, there is no guarantee that these marketing techniques are helpful. Many S. businesses cannot afford this kind of expensive marketing methods. The easiest way of marketing their products and services is by adapting an Internet marketing method, which is many times cheaper and result oriented compared to traditional marketing options.

Provides 24 hour visibility

Unlike the traditional marketing methods, It provides an option of 24 hours visibility to the small businesses. Customers can get information on products and services irrespective of time and place. Customers can even make purchases round the clock even if the retail outlet is closed.

Many ways to market your small business

There are many ways of marketing your business on Internet. Most popular options of Internet marketing include Search engine optimization, social media marketing, link popularity building, local search submissions, local search optimization etc.

Can compete with large companies

Small businesses need to work on their business marketing to attract local customers who are loyal to big companies. They can compete with larger firms using a good Internet marketing solution. A well-structured Internet marketing strategy provides better exposure and targets larger local audience. It also improves brand awareness of small businesses.

It is quite evident that Internet marketing is very essential for the growth of small businesses. But remember to choose a reliable and efficient I.M. service provider as you can rest assured that they will take care of all your marketing needs.

Online Marketing For Small Business – Grow Your Local Business Using The Internet

Online Marketing For Small Business – The Basics

The internet offers tremendous marketing opportunities for local small business owners; however it is the ones that move now, adapt and start integrating online with offline promotions that will win in the end.

In order to effectively market your small business on the internet you need to have a website that clearly states what your business is, and how you serve your clients or customers. Make it easy for your customers to either contact you, or buy your products.

Your website is where you will be sending people who are searching on the internet, it will be your online shop, and you want to make it easy for your clients to contact you or buy your products or service.

Online Marketing For Small Business – Search Engines

Once you have your website up, running and converting visitors in sales the next step is to optimize your website for the major search engines like: Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

Here are some important contributing factors that will help your website be shown in the top search results of the search engines.

  • Keyword research and selection – What words or phrases are your customers typing into Google to find solutions to their problems? A good free tool to help you with this is the Google Keyword Tool
  • Keyword Placement – Once you have unearthed the keywords you wish to target you now need to include these thought out the text on your website, in description and in your tags.
  • Backlinking – Backlinks are simply when one website links to another, in basic terms the more links you have pointing back to your website the better it can be, search engine kind of view backlinks like votes.

Once your website in ranked in the top search results for your keywords you will start to get free visitors to your website, in turn increasing business and lowering marketing costs.

Online Marketing for Small Business – Advertising

In order to really maximise your online marketing efforts you should be some paid advertising. One of the most popular and effective advertising platforms is Pay-Per-Click advertising, also known as PPC.

This is very effective as unlike traditional advertising you only pay when your advertising actually works – when someone clicks on your ad.

Some other very effective paid adverting methods on the internet are to place banners on other popular website in your industry. Simply contact the owner or the website and ask them if you can place your banner on their site for a small monthly fee. I have seen many businesses pay anywhere from $50 – $250 a month to place a banner on a website that gets tens of thousands unique visitors a month all related to their industry.

Another way might be to contact a popular blog owner in your industry and ask them to write a blog post or if you can do a guess post for them. You can also do this same strategy however instead of doing a blog post; ask if you can send a message to their email list for a percentage of the profits.

Online Marketing for Small Business – Summary

If you have not started to build your online presents then now is the time to start, it doesn’t matter if your business only serves a local market or a global market, and it has been proven time and time again that most people will start their shopping experience online.

As you go along you soon realize how important your choice of keywords are, they really are the tip of the spear, and the more keywords you target the bigger your reach online is. The more established you become in the search engine the less you have to advertise, meaning more profits and lower marketing costs.

Strategic Internet Marketing for Small Business

Marketing needs to be leveraged, affordable and deliver a return on investment which is why internet marketing for small business can be a successful strategy.

The issues with many forms of marketing is firstly expense. Newspapers, radio, magazines, leaflets for example can be expensive and do not always deliver results.

Secondly is targeted. Advertising is not necessarily targeted with a laser focus on your market. That may be unless you are targeting all accountants and advertising in an accounting journal for example.

Thirdly is leveraged. With much advertising you are unable to turn one piece of advertising content into many. Mostly it is one throw-away attempt. if you don’t hit the mark you miss badly.

Internet Marketing for Small Business Allows

Businesses to target their market quite specifically.

Targeting is a key to online success and nowhere is targeting a specific market as easy as it is online. You can research your market, what your market search for and then write specifically to target that market. You can deliver your content online where your market is. You can engage with your market using social networks.

Business to market effectively and affordably.

If marketing is bringing your market to you placing your business in front of the searchers in the market certainly would be the first step. A well optimised website with a sound SEO strategy is an effective and affordable way to place yourself in the sight of your market.

Business to Leverage Marketing Tools

When a business writes a blog post it can be recorded as a video. The audio can be stripped to become a podcast. The article can become a pf and be shared on document sharing sites. Each piece of content article, podcast and video can be optimised and distributed online. Each can be posted onto social networking sites to encourage engagement.

One piece of content turned into many blasted to the market via different marketing channels is leveraged.

The Way Forward for Small Business Marketing

Small businesses don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on branding and advertising. They just need a marketing strategy. The best marketing strategy when the budget is tight or the focus is on return on investment rather than brand – is internet marketing.

An affordable, well optimised website, stocked with frequently updated fresh content.

An SEO strategy and social media strategy to place small business directly in front of their market in an engaging way.

Direct response copy to encourage readers to take action.

These are the things that targeted traffic are made of and conversions are built on.

Strategy

Strategy begins with knowing your market. This isn’t about age or location. This is about problem. What problem does your market have?

What do people with that problem search for? This is the first step to keyword research.

Where are people in that market searching? These are the places you need to be seen.

Why should people with that problem listen to you?

What do you have to offer they can’t get anywhere else?

Answer these questions and you start to build a strategy. Connect the dots between your website, the searches and how your market behave online to develop a clear strategy that will work for you business to drive targeted website traffic to you.

Secrets to Creative Marketing for Small Businesses

Marketing is very important for any type of business: small, medium or large, because it is the main key in drawing more and more customers to buy your product. If you want to get more customers in the future as well as keep your current customers, you will need a creative marketing strategy.

For small to medium businesses, here are some tips that will help you in building a creative marketing strategy:

Marketing Secrets

  • The product itself – It is important that your product is made of high-quality materials especially these days when customers value domestic trademarks. Based on research conducted by business experts, the quality of product you sell really makes a difference when it comes to marketing, and you can promote the quality as a selling point. Of course, in order to get more people to buy your product, they need to be of value and worth in the first place. Customers can tell the difference.
  • Communication – Have you ever tried looking for a certain small business on the internet to find out more about their products? Apart from marketing your products in person, you also need other communicating outlets such as having your own website, and making sure it is promoted well. This will give a good impression of your trade and will also be a way for you to communicate with your customers and answer any of their questions and inquiries. Also be sure to implement social media strategies to more quickly and efficiently communicate with your customer base.
  • Promotion – In order to attract local customers, you may make use of local media coverage through newspaper promotions so that you may draw in more customers into your products. With the newspaper, it will be easier to find customers near you. Contact a newspaper publishing company’s ‘business’ section editor. Ask the editor to give you a catchy profile and post it on the newspaper. Otherwise, stick to online marketing because all trends in marketing are heading in this direction.
  • Sponsor Local Organizations – This is another way to market your small business and make it known to the people near you. You may sponsor a school program, a local fair or any activities where there will be lots of people attending. Sponsoring educational and purposeful activities will get attract many different consumers’ attention toward your product. It is also a way to do good deeds for people within your community, which will always be beneficial when it comes to marketing.
  • Professionalism – These days, marketing is not just about knocking on people’s homes and introducing them the product which you are selling in a door-to-door basis. It is also not just about giving out flyers. These types of marketing strategies will not take your small business far. You will need a more professional approach in order for you to market your products to the public. Also, people these days have become more sophisticated when it comes to trying out new products. Be professional in every method you use to communicate – in person, on the phone, and even online. In order for you to sell your products successfully, you need to have a professional disposition that convinces customers that they should be working with you.

Social Media Marketing For Small Business – Implementation Tips

According to the results put forth by a popular survey, companies with corporate blogs are known to generate more business leads than companies that do not have blogs for showcasing their products and services, and this has been established as a proven fact for B2B as well as B2C companies. Social media marketing for small business ventures is a suitable strategy for various reasons. Most importantly, small business houses may not have enough funds to spare for huge advertising spends. Social media marketing for small business houses is an ideal alternative because they entail minimal costs and ensure a product pitch before a wide audience.

Implementing strategies for small business enterprises requires some basic groundwork and knowledge building before you can embark upon the actual implementation techniques. There are several alternatives available however, all of which can ensure cost effective marketing initiatives online. Some of the most viable options are listed below.

Social Media Marketing For Small Business: Suitable Platforms

Some of the most effective platforms that can be utilised for social media marketing for small business initiatives are listed below:

* Facebook: Facebook is possibly one of the cheapest platforms for social media marketing. It boasts more than 500 million live users. You can showcase your products and services through specialized Facebook pages as well as by joining relevant groups and communities. Your Facebook fan page can be used for propagating your ideas across the various groups you are part of.

* Twitter: Twitter has also emerged as a great platform for showcasing products and services. You can use your tweets effectively to provide relevant information on the company blogs you might have, in order to engage prospective customers and evangelists.

* Use LinkedIn: LinkedIn is another social network, but predominantly used by business professionals. It enjoys the patronage of about 50 million users across 200 countries. Showcasing your products here will, therefore, ensure good exposure as well. Ideally, you should do some research to find out exactly how other small business owners are using this platform to their advantage and use this information to modify your own initiative.

However, before using of any of these platforms for social media marketing for small business houses, one needs to be familiar with implementing the respective strategies suitably. Reading up on each of these social networks m and mastering their usage should ideally be the most suitable method to be adopted by business entrepreneurs.

Top Tips on Marketing a Small Business

These are difficult times and starting up a small business can be difficult. However, if you are starting a small business it is important that you market it well and in a cost-effective manner.

Using one single marketing approach rarely works, so it is wise to have a combination of tools to target to your customer. Once you have used a number of marketing tools, you can seek feedback from your customers to help adapt which ones best suit your audience and are most effective.

Newsletters can be a fast effective way to market your business. It costs six times more to ‘hook’ a new customer as it does an existing one. Therefore newsletters are a good way of marketing to your past customers. You can reduce the cost of circulation by e-mailing rather than posting.

If you have a leaflet/brochure or flyer include it will all mail that you send out. If you are already posting something, it is not going to cost you more and if you are e-mailing, simply attach it to the e-mail! Simple!

Dare to be different. Analyse your competitors and find the things you think customers want but no-one is delivering. These may be hard things to do, but should really offer rewards. Your competitors are not doing them because they are difficult, but you may have just found a niche in the market! However, it could be something as simple as advertising on a postcard and sending it out to prospective customers. You might be surprised how much traffic this generates to your business.

If you are using adverts to promote your business, consider running smaller ads but more of them. This will reduce your cost and perhaps allow you to advertise in more places increasing the potential to capture a wider audience.

Create some special deals, particularly for your existing customers. As they have already used your services, they are more likely to purchase from you again. By offering them special deals or reduced rates, you can generate loyalty and return business. You can also let them know about new products before it goes to the wider market which rewards their loyalty.

Use your existing customers as ambassadors for your business. Ask them to write testimonials and in effect ‘sell’ your business and products to others. This is often the most effective way to market as potential customers tend to trust those who have already been through the system as it were. This is a cheap and effective way to market your small business.

Get involved in networking and business groups in your local area. These are a good way to cross fertilise ideas and potential for business. They also offer the opportunity to pass around your business cards.

Use the internet. Most companies sell via a website, therefore online business forums can be an excellent way to promote your small business. You can build a positive reputation and encourage traffic to your website.

Even as a small business you can support a cause such as a charity or organization. Choose a cause that you think reflects your business ethos and be vocal and proud of your support for them. You may even be able to develop a partnership with them in the longer term.

These are just a few ways to market your small business, there are many more, but these may help to guide you in the right direction.

5 Internet Marketing Tips Small Business Owners Need to Know

Online corporate giants almost always intimidate small business owners who are starting a business online. After all, these corporate giants have the money, time, and professionals in order to make their website businesses profitable. Online marketing for business may cost thousands of dollars, and because of this discourages some small business owners to not follow through with the e-business strategies they have in mind.

However, most people don’t know that business internet marketing is not always costly- it just always has to be effective. For small business owners who want to figure out business marketing online by themselves, here are five internet marketing tips that can help you work on internet business marketing effectively and for FREE:

Why Spend When There are FREE Tools?
Inexperienced small business owners can easily be persuaded to purchase expensive internet marketing tools because of advertisements with “flowery” and promising words. Our advice to SMO’s is this: use Free Internet Marketing Tools to market your site, generate traffic, and learn the Internet Marketing process through experience. You may purchase professional Internet Marketing software only when you understand how it works, lest you want to waste money on a product whose potential you cannot maximize.

Work on Your Email Campaign
The email campaign is the most intimate and effective approach for internet marketing for business. Connect with people who are already interested in your products or services. In this way, your marketing efforts will pay off through direct sales that are most likely made from customers who have subscribed to updates from you (which means that they want your products and services).

Embrace Social Media Marketing
Connect with as many people as you can for FREE by using Facebook, Twitter, and any other social networking site. Signing up is free and it’s easy to find contacts (and prospective clients) by simply adding friends and regularly posting updates. The beauty of social media marketing is this: the network of contacts is virtually endless and it’s up to you to make your own network grow.

“Give in order to receive”
A clean method of internet marketing for small business is offering free eBooks and software downloads that can lure interested site visitors. Join forums and share your knowledge and expertise. Prove that you are a company with a genuine interest in your clients rather than merely being a money-making effort by a work-at-home individual.

Let YouTube Help Your Business
People have the tendency to watch videos over reading boring text, so make it a point to be active in YouTube and post related videos. This approach for internet marketing for local business is especially effective in reaching out to young audiences.