10 Easy Small Business Marketing Tips for Increased Visibility

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Marketing your small business can seem like a daunting task, and sometimes we just need a little guidance to set things in motion. Here are some tips that you can easily implement into your monthly routine to ensure that your brand is communicating properly with your target audience.  Follow these steps and you will be on your way to better engaging your audience and achieving better success!

1) Be personal and authentic in your communication – With social media at the forefront of marketing and communications today, it is imperative that you communicate on a personal level. People are more inclined to participate with your brand if they know there is a real live person behind the brand identity who cares about them. Newsletters are more appreciated if they’re written from a personal perspective, addressing the individual with expert advice that can help the audience reach their goals.

2) Leverage your Network – your friends, colleagues and social network are your biggest asset. Ask for referrals and testimonials from people you know or have done great work for. We are more likely to purchase a product if our friends have had a great experience with it. Create a “Friend Referral Program” or provide other incentives — like deals, discounts and rewards on your services – when people say good things about your company. Doing this consistently will greatly expand your network reach to a genuinely interested audience.

3) Google rankings – As we all know, getting to the top of Google can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Have no fear: there are lots of ways to build your search engine rankings without blowing your budget. Our number one recommendations? Put your business on Google maps: this is a great way to get to the top of the list! Generate quality content that your target audience can learn from or be entertained by. Being consistently active on Twitter and Google Plus are fun, easy ways to increase your Google ranking, while adding shareable links to your Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest posts drive traffic to your website or blog. Today, the best way to rise to the top in search is to consistently produce content that is relevant (use your keywords here) and shareable.

4) Create your own TIPS – People like tips! A quick, fun list is a great way to provide useful information to your audience. If you want to kick it up a notch, create a video for them! Video is a great way to show the face behind the brand, creating an indelible personal connection.

5) Photos are king – People love to share inspirational, sarcastic and funny photos. Join the trend by putting together some current text and quotes that appeal to your crowd and the type of people you think would appreciate it. This is a great way to access your fans’ network without being “markety.” People will see who created the image and share it via the original source (you), creating brand visibility and adding a few likes along the way. Plus, you’ll probably make someone’s day!

6) Collaborate with the competition – Working with other like-minded business owners can help promote new ideas and products. Because your audience already exists on social media – and so does theirs – collaborating is a natural and friendly way to seek out social media users who are interested in learning more about the products or lifestyle you offer.

7) Create contest giveaways – People love to win things! Especially if those things are highly valuable, unusual or difficult to acquire. Make sure what you’re giving away is a conversation starter, something that people want to tell others about. Use Facebook ads to further promote your contest, as the ads employ a targeted tagging system to ensure you’re reaching the right people.

8) Knowledge is power – Know your audience and your competition. Follow the old corporate adage: don’t try to be something for everyone, aim to be everything to someone. Before you jump in the deep end, learn to understand whom it is you’re communicating to and what value your product or service can add to their lives.
To do: create online polls using Survey Monkey, pay attention to Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, and most importantly, listen carefully to responses. Offer an incentive for participating, like a free coffee or a gift card from Tim Horton’s. Speaking of listening, keep your ears open to what the competition is doing. Be bold and willing to stand out and strategize over the long-term!

9) Partner with a charitable organization – Choose a cause you love and partner up with an organization whose mission is similar to yours. Get your staff and team out there helping out with a soup kitchen, throw an event and split the proceeds, or host an auction. You’re already a good Samaritan, so why not share your social consciousness with others? This alone helps your brand stand out and become a valued part of your community.

10) Capture information – Almost every message you put out there should come with a call to action. Add a newsletter sign-up form to your website, make a database of loyal clientele, and reach out to them on a regular basis. Offering incentives – “Sign up to our newsletter and receive 10 tips to…” or “Share this contest for more chances to WIN..” – is the strongest way to get your audience to participate, and it lets you find out what works for different segments of your market niche. Show them that you are grateful: a simple reward goes a long way.

 

The above article is a guest post by Sari Gabbay, founder, president and visionary at U2R1, a branding, design and marketing agency. To submit your own blog post or article for consideration, learn more here.

The Blind Side of Marketing Part 3 of 3

Football
Football can teach some valuable business lessons

By Christopher Telles, Founder, MarketVouch

This is a special guest post by one of our AnyMeeting users. Want to write for the AnyMeeting blog? Get the details.

 

In part 1  we covered the correlation between football and small business regarding the use of planning and strategy to protect their most valuable investment from the blind side. In part 2 we covered the creation of a marketing plan to help small business owners create a game plan to help them acquire new customers.

As a quick refresher the blind side in football or in business is the point you are the most vulnerable. For small business owners this point is most often in the area of marketing. Like in football, the blind side can be protected by engaging the biggest, strongest, and fastest marketing actions in your small business. The marketing plan actions serve as your protector.

Once you have a marketing plan defined you will need to populate it with elements to proactively target new business. These elements can range from a single source to multiple sources. In marketing these elements are referred to as marketing channels (although not necessarily the same, the term sales channel is sometimes interchangeably used in its place). These channels are where marketing actions take place just as the linemen on a football team take action to execute plays.

We’re going to look at five marketing channels that can be implemented to help you increase customer acquisition and increase revenues.

In his book “Guerrilla Marketing” Jay Conrad Levinson states that Guerrilla marketing is “everything you do to promote your business”. It’s written in the first paragraph on the first page and this couldn’t be truer today.

Promotion can be anything such as picking up the phone and calling ten new prospects a day, hiring a flash mob to promote your brand, or sending a tweet. Guerrilla marketing actions can be one of the least expensive and most effective ways to promote your business. If you aren’t already using Guerrilla marketing actions then you’re missing out. Pick up a copy of this book today. A used copy of the most recent version is $6.07 on Amazon. This will be the best marketing expense you could ever incur.

Depending on the complexity of your selling proposition you could consider teaming with an outsourced sales company. These companies offer sales services on an ad hoc basis. The service could be engaged to help you introduce a new product/service or help to revive sales of an existing product/service. Find a company that you feel comfortable with and can work within your budget. Look for a company that will take on some of the risk through a partial pay for performance fee structure.

Email marketing is alive and going strong. If you have a list of current and former customer emails you could build email marketing campaigns for as low as $8.50 per month. Many of today’s email companies have easy to use email creation templates that allow you to produce high quality html emails. Insert pictures and links to help get customers to visit your website. Email has a high ROI and can be a good source for new customer acquisition. Constant Contact, Vertical Response, Mail Chimp, iContact, My Emma, and Godaddy are a few good companies (I have no affiliation with these companies).

Social media marketing is one of today’s least expensive forms of advertising. If you’re new to social media or haven’t yet started using it for marketing then just know it’s easy to get started. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and some other social media networks all have the capacity to put your business in front of millions of potential customers. Each has their own rules on how you can use the network to promote your business, but the take away should be that you can start for free or for very little money and the results you receive could very well be worth the effort.

The latest innovation in marketing has come in the form of daily deal sites. The daily deal industry is changing the way small business finds new customers. Many consumers look to daily deal sites to find new products and services and receive discounts to try out new businesses. But as a small business owner you should look to daily deal sites for marketing support and as a marketing channel to help you find and acquire new customers. The cost of acquiring new customers using a daily deal company can be lower than the customer acquisition costs using other forms of marketing and advertising. (disclaimer: I own and operate a B2B daily deal website)

As a small business owner you need to protect your company from the blind side. Your company’s marketing plan is the left tackle of your offense and it’s what protects you from where you’re the most vulnerable. Select your marketing channels wisely and measure the actions they take to find and acquire new customers. Tackle your marketing plan head on and start producing new revenue from new marketing channels actions.

The Blind Side of Marketing Part 2 of 3

Football
Football can teach some valuable business lessons

By Christopher Telles, Founder, MarketVouch

This is a special guest post by one of our AnyMeeting users. Want to write for the AnyMeeting blog? Get the details.

 

In part 1 we covered the correlation between football and small business regarding the use of planning and strategy to protect their most valuable investment from the blind side.

As a quick refresher the blind side in football or in business is the point you are the most vulnerable. For small business owners this point is most often in the area of marketing. You can protect your marketing blind side by engaging the biggest, strongest, and fastest marketing actions in your small business.

Like in football, marketing can only work well when there is a game plan. This plan starts with senior management assigning each marketing action a responsibility just like a head football coach assigns assistant coaches responsibility for a portion of each game. These assignments are then passed on to the team members responsible for executing the assignments. This would be the players in football and marketing personnel in business.

If you’re a small business owner you need a marketing plan. Without one how will you muster an offense that is going to consistently produce revenue gains? Let’s take a look at creating a marketing plan that can help you acquire new customers.

Small business owners should regularly review their marketing plan. If you don’t have a plan then you should make it a priority to create one. The marketing plan doesn’t need to be extensive but it should help you answer the following questions:

  1. Where are you now? This will establish a benchmark to measure new results.
  • What have you been doing to market your business?
  • How much new revenue comes from existing marketing activities?
  • What is your current customer acquisition cost?
  1. Where do you want to go with new marketing?
  • Establish a realistic revenue goal for new marketing actions
  • Assign new marketing actions to existing or new marketing channels
  • Set marketing goals to measure actions, weekly, monthly, or quarterly
  1. How will you get where you want to go? Ask yourself some questions:
  • How did my largest competitor capture market share in their early days?
  • What are my competitors doing that I am not currently doing?
  • What can I do to make measurable changes to capture more customers?

A marketing plan will help you assess how best to budget marketing actions before you start spending time or money, and it can serve as a plan you can share with your team.

Your marketing plan is the way to change the game and places you in a position to gain new customers and increase revenues. Without a marketing plan a small business is left to the vulgarities of fate. You can control the fate of your business by using an easily created and easily implemented marketing plan.

In part 3 we will cover five marketing elements to help you implement your marketing plan, acquire new customers, and grow your business.

The Blind Side of Marketing Part 1 of 3

Football Field
Football can teach some valuable business lessons

By Christopher Telles, Founder, MarketVouch

This is a special guest post by one of our AnyMeeting users. Want to write for the AnyMeeting blog? Get the details.

 

Autumn is officially upon us and with this comes the beginning of collegiate and professional football. As fall begins and football becomes the subject of choice I’ve started to think and talk about the correlation observed between football and small business in the use of planning and strategy to protect their most valuable investments from the blind side.

The blind side in football was made famous by a movie of the same name starring Sandra Bullock. The blind side is the side of the field where the quarterback is most vulnerable, the side he can’t see when he drops back to make a pass. Football teams draft special players and pay them big money contracts to play the position that protects this blind side. The left tackle position is occupied by the biggest, strongest, and fastest linemen on the field

Small business owners need to think and act like the general manager of a football team. They must make wise choices to protect their franchise investments. The blind side in business is the area you are most vulnerable and for many small business owners this is marketing. As a small business owner you would be wise to find the biggest, strongest, and fastest means to produce new revenue to protect your blind side.

Like millions of Americans I enjoy watching and analyzing football plays, but in my case I can’t just watch football without analyzing the strategy used to execute each play.

My enjoyment of football comes from watching the offensive line execute and open holes for running backs and protecting the quarterback. This is the result of watching my son try to squeeze through holes opened by the 300+ pound offensive linemen. Linemen are big, strong, and agile. They can move their robust bodies all over the field while executing plays. Many fans only follow the ball and this causes them to miss the small execution steps of the linemen.

Marketing is the offensive gain plan for business. Without marketing a company would not receive new revenue gains to help it grow and prosper. Likewise a football team will not win if it does not gain yardage and score. Marketing actions are like linemen on a football team. Marketing works in the trenches making small contributions and when combined with the efforts of the rest of the team it produces measurable gains.

Like in football marketing can only work well when there is a game plan. In marketing this is called a marketing plan and it can determine whether your company experiences success or failure. A good marketing plan can be simple to create and simple to implement.

In the second part of our three part series we will take a look at creating a simple marketing plan and how this plan can help your small business acquire new customers. In part three we’ll investigate five marketing elements to help your company increase revenue and grow.