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Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Can you believe that the Internet has been a part of our daily lives for nearly a quarter of a century?  If you're old enought, it may seem like "only yesterday" that everyone in the small business community was scrambling to create some sort of Web presence. Today, if you don't have a professional-looking, fully functional website, then your business is at a competitive disadvantage.

Social Media Marketing

Internet marketing can be a bit of a double-edged sword, however, because it's easy to spin your wheels with social media marketing, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin, and a handful of other options—more of which seem to be cropping every year! I'm not saying that social media marketing doesn't have it's place in a small business marketing plan, but it can be very time consuming and, in some cases, completely unproductive.

Depending on the nature of your business and your marketing budget, it may pay to hire a Internet-savvy student intern or social media marketing manager. It would be advisable to provide them with detailed guidelines and parameters, regarding things like your marketing objectives, branding strategies, and best practices. Especially in the early stages of a social media or Internet marketing campaign, it's a good idea to be kept apprised of how things are progressing and what strategies are being implemented.


If you're in the process of crafting a small business marketing plan, here's a short list of the many possibilities to consider:

Email Marketing

Developing a list of targeted, opt-in email subscribers can be an effective way to solidify customer relationships, maintain top-of-mind awareness, share useful information, and promote special offers. Check out this article for tips on writing an effective sales/marketing letter.

Content Marketing

Content marketing refers to the creation of articles, blog posts, and other informative pieces that you place on your own website or on other websites that are looking for guest blog posts or other relevant content.

One important caveat to keep in mind is that all content you post—either on your site or external sites—should be original and unique. The reason I mention this is because Google will not index your content if it's duplicated elsewhere on the Internet.

SEO Marketing

There are a lot of different ways to gain visibility for your business on the Internet, but the gold standard for generating traffic to your website and getting your marketing message seen by a targeted audience is achieving high search engine ranking—especially in Google, which, at least for the time being, dominates search engine popularity.
Video Marketing: Creating and posting marketing or informational videos on your own Web site or video-sharing sites like Youtube can accomplish several key objectives. Videos on Youtube can result in more traffic to your website, an increase in word-of-mouth advertising, and an uptick in referrals. Posting videos on your own websites can increase visitor engagement and the amount of time prospective customers stay on your website. Those are among the many factors that can favorably affect search engine ranking. Of course, the longer they stay on your site, the greater the chance that they'll perform a desired action, such as making an online purchase, requesting an appointment, or inquiring about your services.

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is a mainstay of many locally based small businesses because it can be a cost-effective, targeted way of getting your coupons, special offers, marketing letters, or announcements into the hands of a targeted audience.

B2B Marketing

Business to business marketing shares many of the elements of business-to-consumer marketing strategies, but often leans more toward an individualized approach. Creating detailed business proposals, scheduling appointments with corporate decision makers, and giving face-to-face presentations are usually among the cornerstones of an effective b2b marketing plan.


Real estate agent prospecting letters
Real Estate Marketing Letters

Small Business Marketing Strategies (Some Things Never Change)

With Facebook marketing, Twitter marketing, and mobile marketing increasingly becoming a part of our small business marketing lexicon, one thing's for sure: business marketing has changed enormously in just the last ten years. For businesses that want to tap into the potential of Web marketing, having a professional-looking Web site that's been optimized for the search engines is no longer something to merely keep in mind for the future--it's an immediate necessity. Most well-rounded integrated marketing strategies should include everything from SEO marketing and social marketing to blog marketing and some form of face-to-face marketing.

In spite of the fact that marketing has changed so much in recent years, certain things remain the same and probably won't change in any of our lifetimes. Here's a short list of some of the immutable truths and strategies about small business marketing:

  1. People usually don't like to be sold to. The sales process, whether it's in person, over the phone, or in print, should be handled delicately--especially at first. It's usually necessary to warm a sales prospect up, establish your or your business's credibility, and reassure people they're making the right decision. That can be accomplished by making the benefits very clear and, whenever possibly, offering some sort of quality assurance guarantee or warranty. Familiarizing yourself with effective sales scripts and tactics for overcoming sales objections can help turn more sales prospects into long-term customers and clients.
  2. Clear communication and presenting yourself with confidence are two of the most important selling skills to cultivate. If you overload your prospect with too much information or if any of it is at all confusing, your chances of losing the sale increase exponentially. The more you confuse your prospect, the greater the likelihood that you'll hear the dreaded words, "I'd like to think about it." NOTE: Making a good first impression is a vital skill to cultivate for both sales presentations and job interviews.
  3. Relationship marketing techniques work. Sales resistance is significantly reduced when your prospect knows you, has heard of you, or trusts you. There are many ways to brand yourself, achieve visibility in the media or your community, or just adopt a systematic approach to customer relationship management. That's a topic for another article, but suffice it to say that approaching sales as a multi-step process usually yields better results than expecting to go from introduction to closing the sale in 15 minutes. "You had me from hello" only works in the movies!
  4. Public relations has evolved quite a bit over the past two decades, but it still remains a viable strategy for generating publicity, strengthening credibility, and building name recognition.
  5. Writing a small business marketing plan, even a simple one, can help you sharpen your focus, strengthen your competitive edge, and help you grow your business more deliberately. If writing a business marketing plan seems too daunting and you don't know where to start, there's a relatively simple three-part system that provides easy-to-follow steps and guides you through the process of writing a solid marketing plan.
  6. Small Business Marketing Tips: I wrote an article on marketing strategy several years ago, which still holds up as well today as in did when the Internet was in its infancy. Whether you have an established small business or you're preparing to launch a new startup, make sure you avoid these 11 marketing blunders! For more insights into starting, marketing, and developing a small business, visit my new blog: Ideas For Starting a Business.

Marketing Strategies for Real Estate Agents, Mortgage Brokers & Entrepreneurs

A successful marketing strategy begins with the right marketing ideas, effective marketing tools, and the persistence and creativity to follow through with a marketing plan until it yields results. This site features a number of marketing templates, tools, and other resources that could help you increase your productivity, lead generation, and sales and marketing success.

If you're marketing real estate and looking for ideas on writing better real estate marketing letters, advertising more effectively, generating leads from postcard mailings, or improving your web-based real estate marketing efforts, then check out our real estate marketing blog: Real Estate Prospecting Letters and Marketing Strategies. This marketing website offers some helpful real estate advertising/marketing ideas for real estate agents and Realtors, as well as a unique perspective on developing real estate marketing campaigns, lead generation strategies, and real estate marketing plans. More marketing articles and ideas for real estate agents are featured throughout this site.

For those engaged in marketing other types of services or products, the business proposal templates featured on this site could be invaluable in helping you gain an edge in competitive bidding situations. For many small businesses, knowing how to write a business proposal can make a big difference in the outcome of sales presentations, marketing campaigns, and corporate bidding opportunities. Through Internet publishers we're affiliated with, we will continue to offer professionally written marketing letter templates, real estate flyer templates, e-books on small business marketing strategy, and other marketing materials that we hope will be directly beneficial to the profitability of your small business marketing efforts.




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