Category Archives: DIY Marketing

5 Local Marketing Tactics For Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, you may be giving an inordinate amount of attention to social media and other modern marketing strategies to gain new customers. However, you may be overlooking the power of local marketing – an excellent marketing tool to extend business reach and increase profitability.

The biggest example of the success of local marketing comes from China. Most successful Chinese companies like Tencent Technologies first gained momentum in the local market before going international, and they’re now considered among the best in their industry.Marketing and strategy

Effective ways to market your small business on local scale

1.  Postcards

While most small business owners would prefer high-tech marketing methods, they aren’t the only way to promote your business. Some low cost promotional tools can be just as effective (perhaps even more effective) for gaining new customers and promoting the brand.

Postcards can be a powerful marketing tool for small businesses. For example, an individual who’s in the dentistry profession can utilize dentist postcards to get the business some word-of-mouth buzz in the local area. Postcards are easier to glance at compared to opening an envelope, can be customized in any size, gloss or color and have less competition. They can be ideal to differentiate your business from others.

2.  Host a local event

You don’t need to open the internet every time you’re looking to expand and build business relationships. There are several local small businesses who’ll be offering what you need, and who’ll be interested in what you’ve to offer.  A local event can be a great way for networking and discovering about others.

Hosting events doesn’t have to be expensive. You can simply book a local hotel conference room for few hours or even host the event in local space. Another option is to host local events in conjunction with NGOs, which is also a great way to promote your business as a socially responsible one.

3.  Search for a local welcome vehicle

Your local area may have a welcome vehicle such as a wagon service that collect information from small businesses and deliver them to homeowners. You can search for such a vehicle and get information about your business on the list.

This can also be a great way for generating leads because sometimes welcome vehicles ask homeowners to sign up for email alerts.

4.  Go live on air

A lot of businesses rely on radio stations to promote their products and services. Teaming up with the radio station is a great idea to get active listeners to know about your business. You can even announce a contest or giveaway to generate greater interest. On air exposure may even get your business listed on the station’s webpage.

Local radio marketing is cost effective can reach people who’re driving, at the gym or out shopping. You may also be able to target a particular demographic of audience as stations are usually aware of the interests of listeners.

5.  Start giving classes

You may not be good at teaching, but you’re likely to be good at your business. You and your employees can start giving local classes (teaching students about how the industry your business is in works, how to get into this business etc.).

You may feel as you’re preparing more competition, but the bigger picture is that your business will become the go-to resource in your industry.

Do you rely on local marketing for business promotion? Do you find these tips helpful? Feel free to share your thoughts.

 

Everyday Ways to Promote Your Business

If you are a business owner, you are going to want to try out different ways to promote your business. Promotion for your business is a necessity because it will allow you to get the exposure that you need to have the utmost success. If you did not promote for your business, most people would not even know that your business exists. There are lots of everyday ways to promote your business, some of which you may never have given a thought.1 finger

Create a Website

It seems as though this is a must these days. You should create a website for your business that is full of compelling content and then promote it like crazy on social media. It does take time, effort, and an initial investment to get your website up and running, but it will be worth it as a way to showcase all that you have to offer to the potential customers. Your website should appear to be quite professional and it should contain important information, such as the name of your business, contact info, and what you provide. Give people a reason to do business with you by showing them what they can get from you. All types of businesses have websites and they use it for promotional purposes.

Customized Products

You can customize all sorts of products with your business name and logo to spread the word about what you have to offer. You may want your business name featured on t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and even custom umbrellas. If you do choose this route, go for bright and bold colors that will stand out to the human eye. You want to grasp the attention of others so that you can get them interested in the name of your business and ultimately have them visit your website to possibly buy items that you are selling or services you are offering. While this may seem like superfluous advertising, it is actually a major component of brand development.

Traditional Business Cards

Along with other promotional efforts, traditional business cards can serve a good purpose, allowing you to spread the word about your business. There are lots of websites that give you the opportunity to customize business cards to your liking at an affordable rate. Once you have them custom made with your business information listed, you can start passing them around. You should also give them to customers to hand out to their friends.

Offer Special Discounts

Everyone loves a good deal so why not offer special discounts to new customers? If you are offering a good discounted deal for merchandise or services, people will more than likely be willing to give your business a try. If they end up loving what you have to offer, you will have gained more loyal customers who will continue to do business with you. Aside from discounts, you can also hold special contests on a monthly basis to gain more exposure for the business.

Being a business owner is definitely challenge, especially when you have to spend lots of time promoting your business. However, there are plenty of everyday ways that you can promote your business without having to do too much work. For example, when you have customized products and people are wearing them, they are actually helping you to promote your business because they are wearing gear with your business logo on the front. These are just some of many promotion techniques that all business owners should try.

 

Inexpensive Solutions for Marketing

With the consumer world turning to the internet for just about everything, it’s important for companies, both large and small, to maintain a web presence. Understanding how to create a website is the first step, but you will also need to maintain your website, build a blog and use a few other marketing methods to increase your online presence. Here are a few quick tips to help with your website build and marketing.

Building and Maintaining Your Website

 

If you don’t already have knowledge of web design or you just don’t have the time, you can outsource the actual website build to a professional design. You want to do your research first, so that you understand all the possibilities. Your web designer can set your site up on an easy to use content management system, such as WordPress. This will make it very easy to manage your site and create a blog.

 

Your actual website needs a homepage, about, contact and other pages for any services or products you offer. These shouldn’t change much, but your blog should. The best way to create your blog is with a page on the same domain as your website. The link will look like this: http://www.yourdomainname.com/blog.

 

The blog will give you the ability to post regular information about your company, any current sales or discounts, the industry or anything you want. With up-to-date information, you can not only attract more visitors, but also keep them coming back often.

 

Marketing Your Site

 

You don’t need a large budget to properly market your website. With your blog, you will gain the opportunity for visitors to share your posts on social networks and all over the internet. This type of marketing is very powerful and as long as you post high quality content, on your blog, visitors will share your posts. You can also share your own posts on social network sites, such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

 

Using content is a very cheap way to market your website and create authority in your industry at the same time. Even if you’re not a good writer, you can hire someone to write for you. One of the best ways to use content and gain a large amount of visitors to your website is through guest blogging. Just write (or hire someone to write) a guest article and contact a high traffic blog, in your industry. If they use the post, you will get to put a link back to your site in the resource box, which can lead to a large amount of traffic.

 

Another very productive method to help your company stay connected with customers and continually market to them is to build a list. You can give away a simple free gift, such as a free digital report or something downloadable, if a visitor subscribes to your newsletter. This method of marketing is very cheap and you can use an autoresponder to stay in touch with your subscribers, announce sales or even launch a new product.

 

Just putting your company name on a website won’t bring in new clients, but a professionally designed site with the right marketing will. If your company can’t be found online, even if your products don’t sell well online, you could be losing customers. Investing in a website will give you another way to connect with potential customers and you can easily maintain and marketing your site without spending much cash.

Customers Not Buying? Assessing What’s Wrong With Your Business Model

A guest post by Jenna Smith

Many businesses struggle to figure out why they are not doing as well as they think they should be doing. They may have a great business idea, fantastic products, and good employees, but they might not be doing that great. Many times, a company does not figure out what is wrong until it’s too late. If you are interested in figuring out what your company’s weaknesses are here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Use Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing is a field of marketing that aims to figure out the responses that customers have to a given set of stimuli. You can go to a neuromarketing workshop to learn the basics of the discipline, and to get an idea of how it can help your business. This has the potential to significantly improve your ability to reach people through advertising.

2. Focus Groups

Another way to improve your business is to use focus groups. Focus groups can tell you exactly what is wrong with your products or services. For this process, you simply pay the focus group a nominal amount to get the information that you need.

3. Surveys

It is also good idea to offer surveys to your customers on a regular basis. If you complete a sale, include a survey and ask the customer to fill it out. This can give you valuable feedback that you can use to improve your operations.

4. Hire a Consultant

In many cases, hiring a consultant who is an expert in your industry can be a good way to assess your weaknesses. A consultant will be able to look at your business from an outsider’s perspective and tell you what is wrong with it. A good consultant will be able to make specific recommendations as to what you should be doing as opposed to what you are doing now.

5. Split Testing

Split testing is a method in which you try out different strategies to see which ones work the best. For example, if you have an online marketing campaign, you can try out multiple ads to see which ones get the most clicks. This can help you maximize your advertising dollars without a lot of additional effort.

If you’ll take the time to improve your business, there is no limit to how well you could do in the future. If you’re sick of what you are currently getting, don’t be afraid to change.

Putting Video On Your Business’s Site – And Then Reaping The SEO Benefits

a guest post by Jenna Smith

 

Video is an increasingly popular tool of businesses, bloggers, and advertisers these days. Thanks to its ease of use (bloggers can diversify their offerings and write less), its marketing advantages (viewers are more likely to notice video ads), and its SEO benefits (video is fifty times more likely than written content to appear on Google’s first page), the medium has quickly found favor among online users of all backgrounds and stripes. Gone are the days when online video reflected an entertainment outlet built around YouTube. Now, as more and more businesses get on board, the written word has suddenly lost some of its marketing luster.

How can your business utilize and take advantage of video? How can you incorporate the medium on your site and realize its SEO benefits? Here is a quick and simple X-step approach for accomplishing these objectives:

Step 1: Decide Your Video Content

Before putting video on your site, it is naturally necessary to determine what to make your video content about. There are a wide range of options here. You may want to give tutorials or demonstrations that show consumers how your product, service, or business operates. You might want to give insider looks at your company’s operations. Or you may simply opt for a standard digital advertisement approach.

Step 2: Place The Videos On Your Site

Once you’ve filmed a few videos, you can now post them online and begin reaping the SEO benefits. The first step towards doing this is insuring that your videos are embedded within your site. This can be done with videos uploaded on YouTube. If you use WordPress, however, downloading the VideoPress plugin is probably the easiest way to go. You can always take an online e learning class to get more specific instructions on video uploading.

Step 3: Add Tags, Titles, And An Archive

Now it’s time to maximize your videos so as to boost traffic and benefit SEO. There are a few simple tasks to keep in mind here. First, you should give titles and tags to your videos so that Google’s web-crawling bot can properly identify them. Second, make a dedicated section of your business’s site (i.e. a library or archive) where all your video posts are compiled. This can help increase click-throughs, lower bounce rates, and add greater site sophistication.

Step 4: Integrate With Social Media

Finally, while it’s great to have your site full of streaming videos that highlight your business and boost your SEO, the ultimate goal is to get consumers to actually watch what you’ve posted. Perhaps the best way to insure this is by integrating your videos with social media: every time a new video is posted, link to it from your Twitter feed and your Facebook page. Since consumers are always intrigued by videos, you can be sure that you’ll get some looks.

Following these four steps can help your business incorporate video onto its site in a beneficial way. While video is not right for every business, those that can create appropriate content can reap the rewards tremendously down the line.

4 Last-Minute Holiday Retail Strategies for the Flailing Retailer

Retailers know how crucial the holiday season is to their success. It can make-or-break 2011 – and set up 2012 for failure or triumph. With only 13 shopping days until Christmas, what can a retailer do to boost sales the rest of December, as well as keep momentum going into 2012?

To do this, both online and brick-and-mortar retailers can think about these four strategies:

#1 Market Holiday Promotions on Social Media

These campaigns are great because they’re easy and free – words to retailers’ ears. Additionally, they also increase a retailers’ customer reach beyond the holiday season. For example, retailers can create a promotion that promises a discount worth “X percent” the day before Christmas after they receive “X number” of Facebook Likes. After the holidays, the retailer can continue to promote and share marketing information on the Facebook user’s News feed.

#2 Work with Check-in Programs to Build Loyalty

Chances are, the next customer to walk into a store is either putting away their smartphone, on their smartphone or about to get on it. App vendors are offering some great retail check-in solutions to help retailers connect with smartphone-savvy customers. ShopKick, for example, allows retailers to place sensors throughout their store and actually incentivize customers to walk to specific sections. Apps like this will keep customers coming back after the holidays to get more loyalty points.

#3 Offer Free Shipping, Reduced Shipping or In-Store Pickup

Customers love free shipping. In fact, a recent study by comScore found that 78 percent of online holiday shoppers rate “free shipping” as something they actively seek out – or will determine whether or not they make a purchase. Retailers should offer free or reduced shipping, and heavily promote this across their online properties. Additionally, retailers can also offer in-store pickup. This is a great tactic because some customers don’t want items shipped to their house. Additionally, it allows the retailer the opportunity to make additional sales to the in-store customer. Store experience and familiarity will also increase the likelihood the customer will return to the store later.

#4 Extend Return Policies to Encourage Gifting

Because many customers aren’t purchasing for themselves, loosening the return policies will increase the likelihood of that extra purchase. Already have a great return policy? Promote it. Customers that see you have a have a large return or exchange window may be more likely to make a “risky” purchase.

Michael Koploy is an ERP Analyst, and frequently writes on his company blog about trends in the retail industry and small business POS software. He can be reached at michael@softwareadvice.com or @POSAdvice.

How to Predict The Results of Your Print Ad Before You Ever Place It

It never fails, someone calls me and tells me that they’re spending a couple of thousand dollars to place an ad in a publication of some sort.  And when I hear that — my toes just curl.

Placing print advertising is a great strategy when you are selling products and services to a broad consumer market in a regional area.  (Yeah, I know that other companies place ads too – but they have WAY bigger budgets than what you’re talking about).

Another good reason to place print advertising is when you want to build name recognition.  And if you want to build name recognition, you have to place that ad consistently no less than six runs and more likely twelve or more.  The higher the frequency, the more successful you will be.

Here is a quick and easy way to see the results of your ad BEFORE you ever place it!

  1. Go through the publication where you are considering placing your ad, then
  2. Find a company that has already placed an ad in the same place or the same size as you’re considering.
  3. Give them a call and ask to speak to the person responsible for placing that ad.
  4. Ask them what kinds of results they’ve gotten from the ad.  The results you’re specifically looking for is leads and the number of those leads that converted to sales.
  5. Run through this for a couple of companies in the publication.

One very LARGE variable that I didn’t mention and that you will want to consider is, of course. the quality of the ad copy.  Poorly written ads will undoubtedly yield poor results.  Don’t fall into the trap that big companies practice in writing “artistic” ad copy.  You don’t have tens of millions to play that game.  Instead write ad copy that targets your ideal customer’s pain, provide a feature rich solution, and give them a risk-free offer and easy call to action.

If you feel that placing print ads is a great strategy for your business, then don’t proceed without reading Bill Glazer’s book Outrageous Advertising.

Small Business Social Media Tips Galore and a Great New Web Site Service

A few months ago I talked John Phillippe’s ear off of Zsalvo design — but he asked for it!  John contacted me to chat about social media strategies for small business and I handed out a TON of tips.

Here are just a few highlights:

  • Set your marketing objectives first! Use Scott Allen’s The Virtual Handshake as a guide.
  • Focus on just those social media sites that will help you achieve your objectives.
  • Automate using tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite.
  • Manage your time
  • and More.

Great to All-In-One Web and Social Media Offer – You Will DIE For

During that conversation, John had told me that he was launching a new kind of web service.  He was looking for ways to make it easy and affordable for small businesses to get in the online game.  And he has absolutely done it.  I’m telling you that this is an offer that will make any busy small business owner salivate!  Check this out!

Total Site Support for $250/mo!

Who will LOVE this offer: This is an ideal offer for the small business that KNOWS they need a cool site and wants to do social media but just doesn’t have the time.  If you are currently spending more than four hours a week messing around with your site and blog and web sites and blogs are NOT your business — then you need to see everything that’s offered.

What IS the offer?:

  • Custom website
  • Custom content
  • Blog articles
  • Search engine
  • Visitor feedback
  • Content changes
  • Mobile ready
  • Support

But wait — there’s more!  He’s also offering four more items to his offer that are hard to turn down.

  • email marketing
  • newsletters
  • social media
  • pay pal

It’s going to be hard not to sound like a hard pitch sales person on this offer.  That’s because I think it’s such a terrific, hard to resist offer.  Here’s how to decide if it’s for you.

  • How much are you spending on hosting?
  • How much are you spending on design?
  • How much time are you spending on blogging?
  • How much time are you spending on social media?
  • Have you done ANY SEO activities ?
  • Do you currently have an email marketing and nurturing campaign?

There are more questions I can ask.  But when you sum all those activities, their cost, their opportunity cost and the frustration that you might have over doing them — then this just might be something worth considering.

By the way – John isn’t going to try and sell you on this either.  Click over to Total Site Support and see if it’s interesting to you.  There is a one-time $149 set up fee and then $250 per month.

WARNING – Don’t be late on your bill

There is one BIG issue that I have with the site — and it may not be an issue for you – in fact, I’d be interested in hearing if what you think about it.

If you decide that you want to move the site from Total Site Support – you will lose all the content.  In their FAQ section it says that if you do NOT pay the monthly fee – your site will be taken down.  You own the domain name, but nothing else.  This may be a serious consideration for a small business.

I wish they had a buy-out option here.  Because this is such an irresistible offer to get started, but what if your business grows and you become tech savvy enough to run it yourself and you love it?  You’re not going to want to lose all the work and the traffic that you’ve started with Total Site Support are you?

But if you aren’t in the business of doing webs and blogs, maybe this isn’t that important — I want to know what you think.

Everyone Will Think You Have Psychic Powers

A couple of months ago I was chatting with my buddy Scott Allen (he’s the author of The Virtual Handshake) If you haven’t downloaded or picked up a copy do that right now, it will change how you use social media in your business.  But I digress.

Scott is going on and on about Craig Elias.  “This guy blew my mind with what he was talking about….He showed me ways to use LinkedIn to get to the customer at just the time they’re ready to buy”  and that was just the few details of what he said that stuck with me.  What really sent me in search of more info about Craig Elias was the impact he’d had on Scott Allen.  I mean Scott is already Mr. Guru Guy.  I didn’t think there was that much that would impress him about how to use social media tools – and he was IMPRESSED.

I Find Craig on LinkedIn

I search for “Craig Elias” and “Trigger Events” and the first thing that pops up is his LinkedIn Group.  So let that be a lesson to all of you NOT on LinkedIn — it’s how customers might find you.

I put in a request to join the group and start lurking around.  I soon realized that I was late and quickly jumped into my car and started driving.  Just before I got a block away from my house — my phone rings.  I look at the ID and it says “Craig Elias” — I’m like WHAT? !  How did THAT happen?  (The Twilight Zone Theme comes to mind).  I pick up the phone and ask how he got to calling me.  Craig says “I saw you joined the group and noticed that you and I may be able to work together.”

The Power of Timely Followup

Craig told me that if you call someone within 5 minutes of their filling out the form, you are 100 times more likely to connect with you and ultimately say YES.

This is how Craig does business.  He uses the power of Trigger Events (like my filling out the form) to get to people at just the time that they are thinking about making a change or buying something.

You Can Learn to Be at The Right Place at The Right Time

After much arm twisting (well, not really, Craig is very accommodating) Craig will be partnering with my friends at Survey Analytics on a webinar called “Trends, Triggers and Tools: How to Use Trigger Events to Get More Profitable Customers”

DATE AND TIME:  Tuesday April 12, 2011 at 12pm ET / 9am PT

REGISTER LINK: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/147262882

Be prepared to have your mind explode with insights and ideas!

The Consultants’ Challenge — How to Give a Sample of Your Service

I had just gone into business for myself as a consultant.  Business was slow and I was so frustrated that I decided to stop moping and get some grocery shopping done instead.

I was walking through the Sam’s Club and noticed the samplers stationed strategically around the frozen food section.  A nice lady, that sort of looked like my grandmother, offered me a sample of marinated salmon with a smile .  I plopped the contents of the plastic container into my mouth and thought “YUM!  That is so much better than I thought it would be.”  I went down the isle and snapped up a $13 box of marinated salmon I would not have purchased otherwise.  Good going Sam’s.

How to Sample When You’re a Service

As I got all my stuff in the car and saw that box of salmon, I realized that I had purchased something purely because of the sample that I received.  I remember thinking “Gee, I wish I could sample my services!”  That way my prospects would get a “taste” of what it was like to work with me and I would probably get sales I wouldn’t normally had closed.

Samples are nice.  Samples increase sales.  Samples and demos are a fabulous marketing tool.  There’s only one problem, it’s hard to give someone a sample of an experience or a relationship.

So I got to thinking about creative ways that consultants and freelancers can sample their potential customers:

  • Free Consultation/Conversation: With the advent of Skype – there’s really no reason why you can’t give people a good idea of what it’s like to work with you by having a basic conversation.  Phones are just as good – but a video Skype call gives you the opportunity to really see HOW you are.
  • Webinars – Most people mention webinars as a marketing strategy to generate leads or build a list.  That’s perfectly fine – but also consider this as a way for your prospects to get an idea of what they will get when working with you.
  • Templates: Templates are not just popular with freebie seekers, they are popular with search engines and they will give your prospect an idea of how you think.  Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling does an outstanding job of giving her audience lots of samples of what they will get out of the book.

You’ve probably got wonderful ideas of your own – leave a comment with your best “Free Sample” idea!