Any business owner knows that resting on your laurels isn’t an option. Marketing your business is a constant and unending task for any entrepreneur trying to get both feet in the door. It would be far easier if marketing was a one way street. A business owner could pick up the ‘big book of marketing’ and follow each step to success. Wishful thinking, of course, but there are guides and tips to help you navigate. Like, for example, some advice from entrepreneurs and business owners. Below are some tips and examples of marketing maneuvers.
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Photo Credit: Dianne Daniels
Adapting methods for my personality
I use several methods to market my business – all the methods I’ve chosen to adopt are ones that work for me and my personality. When deciding on a ‘marketing mix’ you absolutely MUST take your personality into account, because if you’re not comfortable doing it, it won’t get done or it will get done badly. I utilize online methods – my website, Twitter, Linked In and Facebook – in combination. Twitter and Facebook are primarily for raising my public profile; Linked In helps me to stay in touch with other professionals in my field and connect to potential corporate customers. My website establishes my total online presence and links to other marketing methods. I am a passionate speaker – my coach, Jonathan Sprinkles, calls me a Messenger – and use my experience as an Image Consultant and Weight loss surgery patient to help inform, educate and empower women who want to design and manifest a Dynamic, Intriguing, Vivacious and Audacious life. It all weaves into my chosen business name – The DivaStyle Coach – and into my very outgoing personality. I encourage my fellow entrepreneurs to take some time for introspection – see what fits your personality, and then learn as you go. Don’t wait until it’s perfect – get your marketing out there, see what works, and adjust.
Thanks to Dianne Daniels, The DivaStyle Coach
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Photo Credit: Jeffrey Hansen
Having strong referrals
I run a consulting firm that helps small to mid sized businesses enjoy the same benefits as large multinational companies when it comes to financing, asset protection, and tax advantages. Since our strategies go right to the core of how the business is structured, we can really only work with C-level employees. To get to them, we network with CPAs, attorneys, and other consultants who already have a direct line to these executives, and can provide a trusted referral. We add tremendous value to their clients, so working through them as centers of influence is incredibly effective, and win-win for all concerned. Our business is almost entirely referral based. We form our relationships with these influencers in various ways, from social networking (LinkedIn) to business networking events (e.g. mixers).
Thanks to Jeffrey Hansen, Numus Consulting
Photo Credit: Amanda Bracks
Layer your marketing plan
Marketing is the essence of creating awareness about your services and products and driving people to your business. The companies I work with develop successful marketing plans by incorporating what I have termed ‘pancaking’ into the strategy. Many business managers and owners are looking for the one perfect solution that will make them tones of money. However this rarely happens and in most industries a ‘pancaking’ approach is the way to ensure constant leads and sales despite environmental, economic or other factors. Layering your marketing plan to ensure it incorporates strategies each month from a combination of social media, web site traffic, print, media, referrals, sms campaigns, direct mail, networking and local area marketing ensures that every month the business is exposed in a number of different ways. Rather than picking one of these activities, it is the combination of 3 or more of them which ensures long t erm success in customer acquisition. My favourite saying is “You can always have more, because you can always do more” so pancake layer your marketing plan and you will get a great result. Amanda Bracks is the author of Customer Acquisition; 465 ways to gain and retain customers, is a full time national marketing manager, business growth consultant and sales trainer.
Thanks to Amanda Bracks
Photo Credit: Pearl Chan
Being part of the village
I believe marketing efforts that’s geared towards “being part of the village” works much better in today’s highly competitive business world. This means being where your customers are, for eg. participating at markets/events, taking time to really connect with them, making them feel they’re part of your brand by responding to their feedback. This might seem like a slow process but word of mouth from a few happy customers would bring your business long term brand loyalty. No amount of big budget advertising can replace a human to human connection. It also keeps you inspired knowing how much your customers love your products. This is so important to keep you positive especially if you’re a start up/small business.
Thanks to Pearl Chan, Resparkle
Photo Credit: Darren Bennett
Taking chances on a unique marketing strategy
When 3 Minute Angels was first formed in 2002 we implemented an unique marketing strategy. Not only were we offering some of the first ‘mobile massages’ but we were offering them in bars and clubs on a ‘pay what you think its worth’ rate. The brand soon became established and we were able to progress from leads gathered purely by Angels being seen and people experiencing our Halo Massage. Ten years on and we’re massaging every state in offices, for conferences, at events and more. Today we don’t have Angels in bars & clubs, we’re more focused on Facebook, Twitter but importantly our email newsletter. Maintaining our client base and developing leads by email is an ongoing strategy we’re making good use of. Finally, don’t knock good old fashioned phone calls. People like to speak to a human, and so we ensure we manage client relationships and hot leads by phone.
Thanks to Darren Bennett, 3 Minute Angels
Photo Credit: David Dewhirst
A complete, cohesive internet presence
As a company providing complete online services to SMEs, we market ourselves in the same way we market our clients: Through a complete, cohesive presence that takes advantage of all internet channels (e.g., all the social media networks, pay-per-click advertising) to drive traffic to the constantly-fresh content on our site. That content is used to help capture and nurture leads along through the sales funnel. For anyone in a lead-driven business with the resources to do it, it’s a workable model that generates fantastic results — we have experienced over 100% sustained growth since putting this paradigm into action ourselves.
Thanks to David Dewhirst, ThreeTwelve Creative
Photo Credit: John Publicover
The online world is a must
In this modern age of online Twitter tweets and Facebook posts, marketing my business has changed dramatically over the last several years. There is no need to buy advertisement space in selected magazines where now, using today’s social media such as Facebook and Twitter, an entrepreneur can go from zero publicity to world famous with just a few clicks. Many companies and businesses are higher new positions in particular to this exponential expansion in the new technological market. Many are also employing interns for such positions as the younger generations of young twenties or early teens knows how to do this effectively. If your organization is not tapped into the online world, then the business should not plan on being successful.
Thanks to John Publicover, Project Red Leaf
Photo Credit: Malena Lott
Monthly Marketing Campaigns
started a publishing imprint in 2011 called Buzz Books USA and have found the best way to market our authors and books is to do something every single day to promote the work while increasing our reach each week. Social media – especially Twitter and Facebook – have been nice tools of engagement, and blogging both on our own site and doing guest posts and garnering reviews and Q & As on book bloggers’ sites help with brand awareness. This year we started using “Storygrams” which is a line or two about the story and a photo that’s easy to share on social media. Creating a network among our authors is crucial to help build buzz. Monthly marketing campaigns including giveaways, special pricing and BOGO offers have also helped boost sales and followers.
Thanks to Malena Lott, Buzz Books USA
Photo Credit: Nick Winkler
Stop marketing in the traditional sense
The best way to market your business is to stop marketing in the traditional sense. Instead, successful organizations create something of value and give it away to prospective clients. Doing so dramatically changes the dynamic and transforms top-down traditional marketing into a foundation for a relationship. Prospects receiving something of value may then give the organization permission to market to them. Prospects granting permission are much more likely to trust what follows. At The Winkler Group, a strategic communications firm, we help entrepreneurs, risk takers, and small businesses create and steer narratives that add value. Creating value for a prospect long before he or she needs us often allows us permission to further engage. As traditional marketers scream, we whisper. And we trust prospects will lean in and work a bit harder to hear a quality message they deem valuable.
Thanks to Nick Winkler, The Winkler Group
Photo Credit: Margaret Colebeck
SEO, social media and PPC
Our online marketing strategy consists of SEO, social media, and PPC. We have optimized our website (and continue to do so on a daily basis) for search engines by: using industry’s keywords throughout our website, creating city pages for targeting local search traffic, and have created pages dedicated to important keywords.etc. We also have a blog on our website that we add new content to every week and is optimized for search engines, including all of our photos (alt and title tags) and headers. We also use social media to share our website content and to build relationships with others in our industry. We particular target industry leaders as well as complementary companies. The goal is to create and build relationships with these people so that they in turn recommend us to their followers.
Thanks to Margaret Colebeck, Vantage Advertising LLC
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Photo Credit: Hank Yuloff
I have owned a marketing company for 17 years and have had the opportunity to discover, inspect, and put on trial many different forms of promotion. The most important thing to keep in mind is that different forms of marketing work different ways at different times so in my company we begin by deciding on our target market and THEN figure out how to send our message to them. I have found that for my style, personal interaction is important, so I prefer networking events – Chambers of Commerce, hard networking groups like BNI, trade shows and public speaking – as ways to generate face to face discussion with the markets I want to reach. What is very important is that we continually test and keep track of how each of those venues work so recently I have suggested my clients use a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) system so we can instantly know where our business is coming from. In my opinion, there is no one silver bullet marketing tool, so being open to trying various avenues of promotion is important.
Thanks to Hank Yuloff, Our Marketing Guy
Photo Credit: Tommy Landry
My business approach is heavily based on thought leadership and networking of various sorts. As the key exposure areas, I blog and make presentations to meetups and organizations that care about my subject matter. That thought leadership approach drives many benefits, including SEO traffic, networking opportunities, referrals, and unexpected “blind” inquiries. Of course, social media / networking and in-person networking must be layered on top of this to generate interest and engagement. To further expand coverage, I also contribute content to larger sites in my niche that have good authority with the search engines and accept guest posts. This helps with branding, thought leadership, and SEO via the backlinks provided in those placements. All-in-all, this is a networking and online marketing strategy that is well-integrated, aggressive, and consistent over time. And to put it simply, it works!
Thanks to Tommy Landry, Return On Now
Photo Credit: Robin Pisciotta
Every business is in the people business. People like being listened to, they don’t want to be ‘sold’. So I noticed a major shift in today’s business environment. Gone are the days of fake, cold and pushy marketing messages. It’s all about being real, getting personal and connecting. When I moved away from stuffy ‘pre-canned’ and ‘pre-planned’ messages and into genuine conversations, it was a monumental game changer for growing our business. With social media, potential clients and customers are telling us what they want, why they want it, and how they want it, all day long. But if “listening” isn’t part of your marketing campaign, you cant speak to real heart of your ideal clients. No matter what you’re doing & selling, there is a person on the other end… a person with a need. When you market with people in mind first, not your product or service, it just plain works… for everyone.
Thanks to Robin Pisciotta, Virtual Gurus
Photo Credit: Shane Kinkennon
Bring in your personal touch to marketing plans
The primary market for my boutique national communications-strategy consultancy is people who I already know – former clients and coworkers from back when we were in our 20s at daily happy hours. Today they have gone on to be VPs and presidents of things. I stay in touch directly and personally, dropping into cities here and there to meet for coffee, drinks and dinner. But really, it’s social media channels – my personal and company Facebook timelines and corporate blog, for instance – where the “marketing” of Kinkennon Communications happens. There, by being personal, purposeful and authentic, I remind these folks of my shop’s values – being quirky, being creative, being energetic, working with great people, and working on important things. It’s resulted in a brand with a fairly distinct identity in this niche marketplace. But at the end of the day, my company’s best marketing is the fact that we do fantastic work. The referrals almost take care of themselves.
Thanks to Shane Kinkennon, Kinkennon Communications, Inc
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Photo Credit: Roshanda Pratt
Treat your business like a brand
Whether you are a small business or corporation, marketing your business begins with one thought: treating your business like a brand. One way to do this is by connecting to the media either print, radio or television. If you are launching a new product send a press release to your local business magazine. If you are partneing with a local agency in the community solicit coverage from the local media. As a media consultant building my reputation, I have found ways to connect to the media by being a source for information. I daily check in to see what the media are talking about and engage in the conversation. This has allowed me to cultivate relationship thus opening opportunities for FREE publicity.
Thanks to Roshanda Pratt, REP Communications Network