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19 Entrepreneurs Explain The Best Way That They Market Their Business

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Sales and marketing are are vital to building a successful business. One of the reasons that businesses fail is because of lack of sales and often that is a result of low visibility. We wanted to find out some of the best ways that entrepreneurs get their name out about their business.

#1 – Answer Questions on HARO

Image Credit: Deborah Sweeney

A great way to market your business is to use sites like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to answer relevant inquiries from reporters to create publicity and buzz for your business if the reporters use your commentary in the stories they’re working on. Not only can you use the site for free, but you can also build up great relationships with reporters this way and network with other members of the media too.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!

#2 – Establish a Strong Brand that Means Something

Photo Credit: Bryan Clayton

The best way to market your business is to establish a strong brand that means something. A brand is a promise of excellence. Our brand stands for excellence in service to our Community. Last summer our team began implementing a little program to get connected to our community and deep in our connections in building our brand promise. We have a few hundred lawn care professionals that utilize our system and we ask them to submit to us candidates that are in need of a lawnmowing for free because they are in a tough personal situation. So once a month we will go and mow a strangers home who’s grass is gotten 2 to 3 feet tall because they are in a jam. One person was facing foreclosure another was getting ready to be cited by the city , we also try to help out single moms more than anybody. I guess what we got learned is that despite what you might hear about the economy things are still very tough out there for working-class folks and this is the least we can do to help out and have a personal connection with our local community. The result was we were covered in every local media outlet reinforcing our brand promise of service to the community.

Thanks to Bryan Clayton, GreenPal!

#3 – In-Person Networking

Regardless of the business, joining an in-person networking group that meets on a consistent basis has been my foundation for each business. 2 of my businesses are completely online and subscription based, but I still get my customer foundation from networking. Getting people comfortable with you, seeing the look in their eyes and their reactions, are all invaluable when trying to find the best product-market fit. You have to pivot multiple times when starting a small business, and having a trusted base of customers in-person helps with that (plus, they make for great video testimonials and referral partners). Go to meetup.com for a good start for local events, and show up consistently to at least one group so that they get comfortable with you and your business and to uncover not just customers, but referrals to customers.

Thanks to Alex Moen, jdmAV.com!

#4 – Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Image Credit: Yousif H

Word-of-mouth marketing is considered to be one of the most ROI positive channels out there. What makes this medium so power is the authenticity and the reach-ability potentials with a minimal investment and resources. To take full advantage of word-of-mouth marketing, businesses need to have a robust product packed with great value to customers. The product should also be backed-up by a superb customer support and outstanding guarantee. Customers will recognize the value of what you are offering and will do the heavy lifting for you. If not correctly, your business will generate brand advocates that will be raving about your product in a variety of digital channel. Word-of-mouth marketing feeds into other marketing channels such as SEO and social which amplifies and expands your brand’s reach.

Thanks to Yousif H., GotPrint!

#5 – Search Engine Optimization – SEO

Image Credit: Rahul Alim

While you need a diversified marketing approach, I love SEO especially for local businesses. The search behavior and intent is all about interested and purchase by its nature. People search for a solution to their problem whether it be a dentist in the area or bowling alley. The opportunity is endless for the business that appear in front of their ideal customers on Google and other search engines. It’s all inbound searches. With approx. 97% of consumers using the internet to research local products and services, ranking organically and on maps becomes a crucial piece of real estate for any business.

Thanks to Rahul Alim, Custom Creatives!

#6 – Facebook Ads

Image Credit: Matt Ham

I love Facebook Ads. I own a chain of brick and mortar stores and Facebook ads allow me to target a hyper local group. I can display ads to users within 1mi of my store, and I can further separate them down by demographic type. Because Facebook collects so much data about its users, it allows advertisers to choose very specific demographics when choosing a customer base. Things like people who have recently moved, marital status, age, interests, etc. In addition, Facebook ads ALWAYS get seen. In so many types of advertising, an ‘impression’ often never gets seen by anyone. In a Facebook news feed, you can practically guarantee a user will at least look at your ad before moving on. That type of ad interaction makes engagement SOAR.

Thanks Matt Ham, Computer Repair Doctor!

#7 – Guerilla Marketing

Image Credit: Golda Manuel

At Care Anywhere, we love taking our marketing to college campuses. Many students are looking for telecommute jobs and part-time opportunities in their area of study so they are really eager to learn about the growing field of telehealth. Since Care Anywhere is focused on health, medicine, and the sciences, we aim our marketing efforts toward campuses with a heavy discipline in these areas. Everyone – students, professors, researchers – are very receptive and curious about the opportunity of working remotely and doing work they are passionate about. It’s even paid off to leave a few flyers behind or on bulletin boards. Some people think this is an old-school way to market but we think that getting out there and hearing the wants of upcoming graduates is a great way to stay ahead.

Thanks to Golda Manuel, Care Anywhere!

#8 – Reddit Ads

We’ve had huge success using Reddit ads to market our business, and have found that our brand and our content has really resonated with the Reddit audience. There was definitely a steep learning curve for us, as Reddit marketing which is too focused on the ‘hard sell’ will never go down well the users on the platform, but by focusing on our brand and the content that we’re producing, we’ve not only managed to build an audience on the platform, we’ve also managed to find a source of steady business leads.

Thanks to Sam Williamson, Anderson Transport Edinburgh!

#9 – E-mail Marketing

Image Credit: Lidia Varesco Racoma

Email marketing has been most effective for my graphic design studio. I send a monthly email to clients, prospects and friends and find it’s a great way to stay in touch and top-of-mind. Each time I send one, I usually reconnect with a client or receive a project inquiry.

Thanks to Lidia Varesco Racoma, Lidia Varesco Design!

#10 – Targeted Blog Content

Image Credit: Steve Benson

Our most effective marketing method is creating targeted content on our blog to connect with our market. It sounds obvious, but it’s a huge part of how we build a relationship with our potential users. We focus on valuable content and research each topic heavily. Our customers are salespeople, so they can smell a pitch a mile away. Instead of writing about our product we address the problems they experience daily. With our blog, we aim to be a resource in every aspect of our user’s lives. We research the topics we write about thoroughly to be sure it’s something our audience would find value in. By improving SEO at the same time, this has brought us a lot of traffic and new customers.

Thanks to Steve Benson, Badger Maps!

#11 – A Unique Hashtag

I work in the unpopular world of automotive sales and in a sea of dealerships and a plethora of salespeople, it can be hard to get notice, so I’ve learned to brand myself within my industry and within my local market. I’ve adopted a strategy of utilizing social media campaigns around a unique hashtag which makes me uniquely identifiable and describes the process of why I’m different from my peers. I utilize it all over the place. It’s in my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts and has also become somewhat of a buzzword to those that follow me online and who know me personally. I drive sales to my store who either call ahead or just walk in asking for #TheWilliamJWay. If anyone asks about me, what I do, or what I sell, I tell them to just Google the hashtag and it has a great effect on them.

Thanks to William J. McCormick, Bert Wolfe Automotive Group!

#12 – Public Relations

Image Credit: Nishchal Dua

PR is the best way to market your business. I have built 3 business, sold 1 & currently running a travel company which I have grown really fast. All of this thanks to PR. Press coverage is the best way to healthy organic traffic to your website/app without breaking the bank. It adds credibility to your business when people see you being featured in multiple publications. It improves your SEO rankings and PR stays forever unlike paid ads. The only problem is most people believe that credible PR is out of their reach and very expensive. It really is not. By using tools like HARO, JustReachOut & PitchPigeon you can easily massive PR for your company.

Thanks to Nishchal Dua, The Remote Life!

#13 – Messaging & Positioning

Image Credit: Tommy Burns

Messaging and positioning is the absolute most critical piece of any marketing campaign. The biggest mistake I see when clients come to Matrix is not creating an ideal customer profile and trying to accommodate every buyer. In marketing, we are often conditioned to believe quantity is more important than quality, and that just isn’t true. Messaging is the core building block of all successful marketing content. Today consumers make the majority of their buying decisions before even contacting a business, so the marketing content you put out into the world has to be relatable to the specific prospects you intend to sell. Find a niche where the market’s pain points lineup with the product or service you are trying to sell, and don’t waiver. Creating ideal customer profiles means not all buyers are right for your business, but that’s okay. Before starting your next marketing campaign stop and make sure you fully understand who the target is and what their needs are. Otherwise, you’ll just be another nameless face in the crowd.

Thanks to Tommy Burns, Matrix Marketing Group!

#14 – Google AdWords

Image Credit: Jason Debel

We use Google AdWords to market our store.It has been the most effective form of advertising. ROI for us is anywhere between 500%-1000%, which is impressive comparing it to other mediums we’ve tested. There are many benefits to AdWords over other mediums. Two major ones is the granular control you have over it. Whereas mediums like TV are limited to the channel and time, in AdWords you can control everything from how much you pay for a click per hour, per day, per search term, per ad copy message and all these can vary among each other. You get flexibility in goals from encouraging a phone call directly from the ad to a digital offer like an ebook or asking for a direct sales. Perhaps the greatest advantage of Google AdWords is the clear reporting at all levels and seeing its affect on other channels.

Thanks to Jason Debel, Urban Strength!

#15 – Market at Different Stages

Image Credit: Otto Peura

It’s important to market your business to people in different stages of their purchase cycle. You have to have some kind of content to raise the initial awareness and interest, some content to feed that interest and then of course content to actually make the conversion. Social media, PR and content marketing are great ways to raise awareness among people who’d never search for your products. Answer HARO queries, contact influencers and create good content to get in front of your prospects. Once you’ve landed them on your site use retargeting and conversion optimization to make the purchase. Remember to collect email addresses in every possible situation to get targets for your marketing automation efforts, too!

Thanks to Otto Peura, Leadfeeder!

#16 – Live Events

The static, flat messaging is out and Ad buying is down. Live experiences are on a rise. We are in a time where people want experiences and connections to a brand or company. We suggest creating live events to better brand your company. Knowing your customer whether it’s BtoB or BtoC is important to target and tailor your message. Whether it’s a road show where you come to them and demo or invite attendees to walk into the world of your brand or create tailored intimate events attached to an industry conference, try to think about the relationships that will organically be your ambassadors.

Thanks to Sarah Sebastian, Rose Gold Collective!

#17 – Books

Image Credit: Pamela Danziger

Books. As a market researcher, my business is all about collecting information. As a trained librarian, I am skilled at organizing the information I collect in a structured, meaningful way. But as a business owner of a marketing research and consulting business, I make my living selling that information and that is where books are the linch pin of my marketing efforts. Through my research, I discovered a growth demographic – the HENRYs (high-earners-not-rich-yet) who because of high levels of income, have discretion to spend, unlike so many middle-income Americans, but are one rung down from the ultra-affluent and wealthy consumers. To spread the work about HENRYs, and their critical importance for the future growth of any consumer-facing business, I wrote a mini-book ( my husband calls it a pamphlet, but I take issue) called What Do HENRYs Want? that in about 30 pages encapsulates the most important information any marketer needs to know to turn their sights on the HENRYs and get started marketing successfully to them. With such writer-friendly tools as Amazon’s CreateSpace, I was able to publish the book, produce both an ebook format and a hard copy, and list it for sale on Amazon. I give bound copies of What Do HENRYs Want? out to new prospective clients and it makes a great calling card for the kind of information and insight that I can offer them through my consulting and research services. Plus, it opens doors to speeches and provides plenty of content to distribute through social media, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, plus the sales of the book on Amazon and my website add a little revenue too. Potential clients really like have a tangible example of my work that provides important information to help them grow. So many small businesses are in much the same business as I am, selling their special, insider-knowledge. Those entrepreneurs should think seriously about how a published book could become a calling card to market their services as well. And for those who are not proficient or confident enough to pen their own book, professional writers are on stand by to lend a hand and do the heavy-lifting for them.

Thanks to Pam Danziger, Unity Marketing!

#18 – Inbound/Outbound 2 Step

Image Credit: Robert McGuire

A few of our clients are having success with that I think of as the inbound/outbound two step. Before they start, they have really great customer persona research so they know exactly how they’re reaching and where to reach them, and they have a solid sales nurturing process. Then they develop solid content that speaks to and engages those customers. Next they use paid social advertising to promote that content rather than to promote the brand. Now people who are engaging with that ad/article are much clearer leads to hand off to nurture and ultimately to start selling to. This tactic illustrates two trends happening in content marketing more broadly. It is getting over its high-handedness about outbound tactics and thinking about how inbound and outbound can align. And content marketing is starting to get results when it is treated more as a sales enablement activity, so marketing and sales are working more closely together.

Thanks to Robert McGuire, McGuire Editorial Content Marketing Agency!

#19 – Press & Media Mentions

Image Credit: Christy A Laverty

My best advice for entrepreneurs and business owners is to start getting press and media mentions. Getting press allows you to reach a large audience and potential future customers and clients, helps you build on that all important know, like, and trust factor. It also helps you gain credibility by having an implied third-party endorsement through media coverage. It is something entrepreneurs or business owners can do on their own or in-house. Start pitching the media with story ideas, industry news, and features. It allows you to connect with your community in a more authentic, less salesy way. It allows you to work with the media to educate, entertain and enlighten the audience.

Thanks to Christy A Laverty, Christy A Laverty Communications!

What are the best ways for your to market your business?

 

 

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of Gresham Harkless Jr.
Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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