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.

Internet Marketing for Small Businesses Works For You

If you run a small business, it is very important to understand how internet marketing for small businesses can be crucial to your success. Be sure that you are familiar with how you can market on the internet and how to measure the marketing that you are doing. With today’s technology, if you aren’t on the internet, you are out dated and you aren’t going to get your business to where you need it to be. Marketing on the internet is the key to getting people to your website, store, or to use your service.

Creating an Effective Internet Marketing for Small Businesses Campaign

When you are looking at your marketing options, you want to find out what fits you the best. There are going to be different plans for different businesses, and it is just a matter of your business. Work with your business coach or your marketing director to determine what is going to fit you the best every time. Sit down and plan out your marketing campaign before you implement it.

Know what Tools are Available

It is important that before you start the internet marketing, you know all the tools that are available for your small business. There are all kinds of great options that you can do. Most people start by writing articles because they can be spun and used on a lot of different websites. There are also a lot of other great on page and off page ways to do SEO optimization.

Internet marketing is something that people in today’s world need to do. If you haven’t done this for your small business, you are probably losing out on a lot of potential business and cheap advertisement. Be sure that you are looking at ways that you can do internet marketing for small businesses that are effective and efficient.

Email Marketing For Small Businesses

Why You Should Use Email Marketing For Small Businesses

Email marketing is more important than ever as a tool to help improve small business’s customer base and bottom line profits. This is especially true with competition being greater than ever in this prolonged recession. There is not much else that can impact a company’s bottom line faster than a well thought out email marketing campaign to a large and well-nurtured email list.

A business can easily and cheaply deliver a large number of customised and personalised messages at predetermined intervals for next to nothing, so why not take advantage of it? Every business, big and small should be doing this. Most Small Business have not developed a serious email marketing strategy and this is something that should be done sooner rather than later. They are leaving money on the table, so to speak, by not using this valuable method of marketing.

Before you can conduct any sort of meaningful email marketing campaign, you need to have a list of people’s email address and names if possible. There are a number of ways to get this moving fast. As they say “the money is in the list”.

What is a Customer Worth to You?

Customer Lifetime Value

Most Small Business owners won’t know this, but here’s how to calculate it:

Determine average net spend of a new customer transaction:______________

Determine average # of repeat purchases per year: ______________________

Estimate average # years a customer patronises the business: ________________

So, let’s say the average customer buys an item worth £100 profit to the business, and then repeats this process once again in the year, they are worth £200 to the business in year one. If they remain a customer for 5 years, they are worth £1,000.

Use any figures you want, but this is a simple way to view the worth of a customer

Building Email Lists:

  1. Website pages. You never know which page a visitor will land on when they arrive at your site from a search engine or link. You maximise your chances of getting a lead if you have a signup form on every page of your site.
  2. Special Internet-Only offers: Try to get your customers to get on your email lists to receive these special offers. The offers can be discounted products, two for one sales, coupons, vouchers or whatever you wish.
  3. Ask for email addresses. Get your staff to ask customers for their email address.
  4. Send postcards to your mailing list. If you have postal address information but not email addresses of existing customers, send them a postcard asking them to subscribe to your email list. You will want to provide them with some sort of incentive of course.
  5. Use Invoices: add a sign up box on your invoices.
  6. Rented Lists: Can be useful in building a subscriber list. Be careful and only use a reputable provider of such a list and make sure your list contains names and addresses of people who are specifically interested in your type of products or services. Otherwise a waste of time.
  7. Create a Newsletter:and promote it in all your company correspondence and advertising.

Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Do Confirm all new subscribers: This will be done automatically via your autoresponder.
  2. Do Use the “double opt-in” method to ensure the integrity of the signup. This confirms that the subscriber has given you their email address is done by having the subscriber reply again via email to confirm.
  3. Do use the Unsubscribe Link Feature:This is very important to let the subscriber know they can get off your list by unsubscribing. This stops a lot of complaints about spam. All reputable systems will provide this feature.
  4. Do Personalise Each Message: You can increase both your reading and click-thru rates considerably by putting the subscribers name in the email. It’s important to establish a relationship with each customer.
  5. Do Choose Your wording Carefully. Most email systems use spam filters that analyses the certain words or combinations.
  6. Do Use Eye Catching Subject Headings: When your email arrives in your subscriber’s inbox, there are only a few seconds to the subscribers attention. They will quickly delete your email or ignore it.
  7. Don’t add email addresses to your list: unless the person has given you permission.
  8. Don’t forget to sign your messages: Always include a signature at the bottom of your emails, as it’s one of the easiest ways to attract more traffic to your website. This signature should include your personal details, your company details, and an unsubscribe link.

Email Marketing Systems

Ok, now you have the basis of email marketing. Let’s focus on what you need to do next. You will need to select the Autoresponder system that best suits your requirements. Below are some of the more commonly used systems. These are not expensive and includes the hosting of the software (basically you only rent it) and your subscriber lists and follow up messages etc as well. These are all Hosted.

AWeber: Has some great features and is easy to use. Costs around $19.00 per month, but cost will go up once you go past 5000 subscribers. Highly reliable and robust.

GetResponse: Similar to Aweber, but a little more difficult to use in my opinion. Cost about $18.00 per month, cheaper with annual payments.

Trafficwave.Net: You get unlimited autoresponder and click track reporting. Price stays the same regardless of how many subscribers you obtain. Cost about $17.95 per month.

Imnica: A new and up and coming hosted system. It has the vast majority of features the others, same deliverability levels, and LESS strict policies. Imnica Mail also has a full blown API for easy integration with existing systems. Not as easy to use as some of the other, but a great price at $9.00 per month.

With Imnica Mail you also get unlimited lists, unlimited AutoResponder messages, and unlimited broadcasts to your list.

InfusionSoft. Good choice for larger businesses that need to send out huge quantities of email. It integrates email marketing, sales, e-commerce, and even customer service.

Autoresponders Generally:

Because email marketing applications are available as hosted solutions, businesses do not have to worry about using their internal systems to send messages, nor do they have to worry about managing the mail server or backing up their database. Most importantly, they don’t have to worry about legal issues and CAN-SPAM compliance. With these third party systems, all of that is done for them. Once the email system is setup with the chosen provider the next step is to develop the email list. As email is the primary method of online communication. You should have a website that captures leads and sales, nothing is more important than the email marketing system behind it.

Creating an “Opt-In” Form:

You create the Opt-in form within the Autoresponder. You chose the type of form you want, edit the wording and the system provides you with a code that you can cut and paste into your website.

Of the five above systems above, I recommend AWeber mainly for its reliability and ease of use. They also have a very neat “light box” feature that allows you to setup an opt-in form without needing to change the design of your website. They also have good tutorials which lead you step-by-step through the setup process and use of the system.

What Kind of Emails: HTML or Plain Text?

What does this really mean? Basically with HTML you can send messages with text plus graphics and banners etc. With Plain Text it’s text only.

Ideally, you would like to send your messages sent using HTML and graphics to get the full impact, just like in print flyers and direct mail. This works just fine, however, there are a few things to keep in mind with HTML email messages:

  1. Many people will only accept email in Plain Text and have “images” turned off in their email accounts. If you send HTML emails to them, they will only see the words and not the graphics…not really the impression you want to convey.
  2. Generally most of communicate in plain text (i.e. just words). It’s more personal and is more likely to be opened and read.
  3. Plain Text has is disadvantages as well. For example you can’t use all of the means at your disposal to get your message across, such as headlines, photos, pictures, etc
  4. I recommend that you start out with PlainText

Building Email Lists Through Offline Methods

All Businesses, both large and small should be building their email list offline as well as online.

A good example of this is a retail outlet dealing directly with customers. The staff could ask their customers if they want to sign up for Internet Specials. Staff could even wear a badge saying “Have You Heard About our Internet Offers?” When the customer asks a member of staff what the Internet Offers are, they say they change all the time so it’s best to email them to you each time they change…do you want to get on our email list? Your Staff can capture the email information on a small card specially prepared for this or on the part of the receipt that the business keeps. This method is a bit slow, but over time it will grow significantly. This same basic strategy can be used for any business where there is direct customer contact.