Marketing is extremely important to businesses. As good as a product is, it's important that entrepreneurs and business owners are able to promote their products to potential customers and clients. Rescue a CEO and CEO Blog Nation asked entrepreneurs to provide their 3 best marketing tips and advice.
Among the most popular tips are networking, video and content marketing.
Maintain A Fresh Prospective, Network & Get Online
There are many avenues to successful marketing, and although I could provide common sense actions like increasing your social media presence, I'm going to focus on traditional but often overlooked tactics instead. (1) First, marketing should be considered the direct path to potential customers and, when you're in the middle of running a business, it's easy to forget simple things like this. That means marketing tip #1 is maintain a fresh perspective. This can be done in many ways, and none have to be through an outside agency. It's as simple as taking a deep breath or setting aside a few hours to clear your thoughts. Alternatively, you can ask friends, business acquaintances or others for input. Check your ideas with different people. (2) Marketing tip #2 is networking. Although at first glance it may not seem related to marketing, it is indeed and it will help bring customers to your business faster than anything else. Every business I've ever come across has done way better when networking played a major role than not. Many people assume that with the Internet and the accessibility it brings, it's not as important to network and make new connections, and that couldn't be further from the truth. If you run a brick-and-mortar store, networking will build relationships with other business owners as well as customers. This brings both potential partnerships and sales into your company. If you run an online business, networking takes shape in the form of guest blog posts and emails. It is just as valuable and will bring the same crucial benefits. (3) The final marketing tip is to make sure you have an online presence. As the Internet has gained in popularity and more and more people have access to it, it becomes a larger part of everyday life. Money spent online has been increasing every year, from books to clothes to services. For online businesses it's obviously mandatory, but for brick-and-mortar stores it's just as important, as that could set you apart from your competition, or if nothing else, bring you up to the standard.
Thanks to Chris Crompton, Start Small Marketing!
Listen, Create Experiences & Content Marketing
(1) The best way to build a brand is to pay attention to customer needs, create better experiences, and then let the customer say how great those experiences are. Remember, it's not what you are saying about you, it’s what they are saying about you. (2) Content marketing is a great opportunity to show your target audience how much you’ve listened to them. You're giving them value up front, which people love. You're basically educating them enough to do business with you, but they are educating you as well.
Thanks to Brian Clarke, Copyblogger!
Hire A Bilingual Social Media Consultant, Blog & Use Each Social Media Tool Differently
Big Picture, Succinct Message & Get Started
Make A Movie & Spend Budget
(1)Make a Movie. The most important part of positioning your brand in the marketplace is the telling of your story. The best person to tell that is you. Regardless of the amount of collateral you have or the complexity of your website, a great way to easily and efficiently communicate to your customers who you are is by engaging some form of multimedia to tell your story. A recent report found that SAT and ACT verbal scores are at an all time low. What does that mean? People probably aren’t reading all the crap on your website so closely anymore! Putting your message to video, either by hiring a professional video company or by turning on your iPhone, is an easy way to directly communicate to your customer why they should buy from you. So turn on the camera, get together a group of your best talking customers and build a video that brings your company to life. (2) Mandate your marketing budget…and then spend it. Marketing is not optional, it is a requirement. Being a small business does not mean you have to act small. However, this is often what happens with many small business owners. Many subscribe to the notion that a marketing budget should be capped at some arbitrary number, often between 3-5%, without an understanding of the expected results. You have to understand your marketing threshold and then commit to a plan that utilizes the spend effectively and fully. There are many places in your financials that coming in under budget is effective, however for a growing small business it is imperative that your marketing expense is not one of them. Commit to a plan that works spread your message and drive sales, and then stick with it fully.
Thanks to Sam Caucci, Sales Huddle Group, Inc.!
Start with the Basics
Entrepreneurs or business owners need to know what business they're really in (for example, I always say that I'm in the storytelling business). They must fully understand the demographics of their customers, and know which communications outlets reach those customers.
Thanks to Jane Blume, Desert Sky Communications!
Try Vocus Trial Month, Subscribe to Muckrack & Create Content Sharing
(1) Trying a Vocus media suite one month trial for free. You can distribute your press releases for upcoming events and see if it works for you in the long run. (2) Subscribing to Muckrack, which gets all the Twitter handles of the journalists and influential people you need to be pitching your products to in one place. You can pitch directly off the site and keep an eye on what the most influential people are talking about. Saves a ton of time and research. (3) Create a new type of content sharing with a new blog platform called JUX. Its an amazing way to connect with consumers and showcase your product and create a story for your brand.
Thanks to Claudia Ramirez, Fueled!
Exchange Knowledge, Ask About Challenges & Listen with Your 2nd Ears
(1) When at a ‘networking' event, don't just collect business cards Narrow it down to the 2 or 3 people who impressed you the most; start a dialogue that ‘inspires' a ‘knowledge' exchange; sneak away and make notes on the back of his/her biz card; send email note with article or link to an article on the topic you discussed; ‘bullet-point' or ‘yellow highlight' the key points from the article which related back to your conversation. (2) Try to be the first to start a conversation with someone else, especially if they're in an industry you know little about; ask for the 2 or 3 challenges their ‘industry' is facing; then are those the same challenges their ‘company' is facing or have they found solutions the rest of the world/country doesn't know about; ask what their role is with meeting those challenges. (3) Learn also to listen with a 2nd pair of ears to ask to whom you might be able to introduce them; or what resources/information you have which would be helpful to them. That's “NetWeaving”.
Thanks to Bob Littell, Chief NetWeaver and PetWeaver!
Blog and Promote It
When business owners come to me and tell me that they are not getting any traffic to their site, the first question I ask them is how often they are blogging. Nine times out of ten, the answer is they are not. (1) My tip to any business owner that is struggling with getting traffic to their site, is to first, start blogging. You don't have to blog everyday, but you do need to publish high quality content that your audience will not only love, but that they will want to share. (2) My second tip is after you publish that content to your blog, spend twice as long as it took you to create it, to promote it! Posting an update on your blog is just the first step! Driving traffic to it through social media is the next. My third tip is to make sure you are capturing leads on your blog. The job of your blog is to drive leads to your site. If your blog is not capturing leads, then it is not doing its job. I like to also always require a phone number on my opt in forms. That way you can follow up by calling the prospect and not rely solely on them first replying to an email.
Thanks to Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now!
Related Post: 6 Things You Should Know About Blogging
Focus, Join A Group & Invest
Word of mouth is still undoubtedly the most powerful tool when it comes to growing your business. At the same time, word of mouth is the most organic method and perhaps that which is least in our control. So how can a small business owner capitalize on a marketing method that is very difficult to influence? The following are a few ways to cultivate the many benefits word of mouth marketing: (1) Focus on providing customers with quality service and products in every step in the business relationship. Happy customers are quick to refer your business to others. (2) Join local associations and organizations and get involved. It's great to be a member of a prestigious and well-known organization like a Chamber of Commerce, but if you're not proactively involved, you're wasting your money. Join planning committees and seek out discussion groups. These are incredible opportunities to network with fellow business men and women. (3) Do not be afraid to invest in your leads. Buy your next potential client a cup of coffee for a Monday morning meeting, or go above and beyond in the initial prep work, even if it is unpaid. These initial efforts can have a lasting impact.
Thanks to Ben Seidel, Igniting Business!
Measure, Know Customer Value & Focus
(1) Have a way to measure the effectiveness of every promotional activity and advertisement you do. (2) Know the long term value of your average customer so you know how much to spend to acquire a new customer. (3) Don't try to be everything to everybody in your advertisements. Focus on one subject/product/service at a time, aimed at one specific audience at a time.
Thanks to John Schulte, National Mail Order Association!
Be Different & Be Spectacular
Marketing tips and tricks are saturating the internet. However, what I have noticed is that most business owners only prefer and utilise a few of these tips and tricks e.g. the most convenient or familiar ones. The biggest tip I have for everyone is a not-to-do item. Do not do what everyone else is doing. If everyone in your industry is running to Facebook, skip it altogether. Maybe even go back to sending a box of donuts to a reporter a week to get some coverage i.e. the old fashioned way. If no one in your industry is on Twitter, saturate it with your tweets. If no one is using video, use and abuse it. The logic behind is a bit like what Tim Feriss said. It is a lot easier to collect $100M than $100k in charity. Why? Because, no one is trying to get $100M and there is less competition. As always, if you want spectacular results, do something spectacular.
Thanks to Darren Veerapa, Real cash Flow Advice!
Don't Waste, Keep it Simple & Provide Cheescake
(1) Don't spend money on stuff that won't build your business. Many business owners invest huge amounts in marketing initiatives like logos, websites, etc. that are great for building their image but in the end, do nothing to build sales. Instead, put your energy into delivering an excellent product/service that exceeds customers' expectations – and sales will follow. If your product/service is inferior, a great image won't help you sell it. (2) Be able to explain what you do in one sentence. If you can't enunciate what you do, why it's different from and superior to your competition, and who your customer is, you're doomed as a business. Also, if you can't state it concisely and clearly – and do so without relying on meaningless lingo, cliches, and industry jargon – you're doomed. (3) Always bring a cheesecake. When selling your product/service, don't return to the same prospects and ask if they're ready to buy. Instead, provide them with a bite of sweet, tasty news about your company: press that you've generated, a customer's success story, a new deal you've closed. Don't mention a word about selling them anything. Eventually, after tasting a series of your yummy samples, they'll be ready to dig into the whole cake – and that's when you can begin doing business with them.
Thanks to Rafe Gomez, VC Inc. Marketing!
Create a Monopoly, Develop a Lock-In Effect & Implement Megaphone Marketing
(1) Create a monopoly. And every successful business has a monopoly. They have a monopoly on what it makes, that someone else can’t make it the way they make it. Brilliant business and marketing is around figuring out that product you can make or that service you can provide, that people are willing to cross the street to get, search the web to buy, visit when they’re in town, and that this is the only place they want it from. (2) Develop a lock-in effect. The lock-in effect means there are customers who always go to the same suit tailor, graphics artist, clothes cleaners, and provider of a service because it’s just to hard to switch. It might be hard emotionally, financially, or technologically.For example: there are a lot of search engines that give search results just as good or even better than Google, with fewer ads, more results per page, better privacy, and etc. And everyone hasn't switched, in fact, almost no one has switched, because of the lock-in effect is really powerful. (3) Implement megaphone marketing. Megaphone marketing is about really growing through the people who like you, who respect you, and who have a vested interest in your success. So if you hand them a megaphone and if all of them are talking about how great your organization, product or service is, suddenly the warm leads multiply. Where does the megaphone live? The megaphone lives largely online at places like Flickr, Del.icio.us, on Blogs, Pintrest, Squidoo, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Hubpages, and all these sites are organized around a human being telling a story about a product, company, salesperson or idea and if you show up in those places, people find you. Offline the megaphone lives on bumper stickers for people’s car, business cards, coupons, at organized classes that teach people, and etc.
Thanks to Patrick Mcfadden, Indespensable Marketing!
One of the most powerful mediums to share your business’ message is through video. For startups and small businesses looking for creative and cost-effective ways to get the word out about their product, service or overall brand, I recommend using a video platform for in-bound marketing, marketing automation and video advertising on the web to better engage viewers and make messages memorable.
Thanks to Gary Lipkowitz, GoAnimate!
16) Use Services Like Elance & Constant Contact
From my observations, many entrepreneurs are really excited about their product or service but don't put much thought into a consistent marketing strategy. Many think marketing comprises pricey activities that only big companies can afford. But with today's technology (and many other similar entrepreneurs selling marketing services you need) a good marketing plan does not need to be pricey. (1) If you are a small or even medium size company, make every ad and marketing piece make your company look professional and even bigger than it is. Professional logos, websites, business card designs, etc can all be done by freelancers located throughout the world. You can post your project (logo, graphic, website design, etc) on a website called Elance. Elance connects you with designers located around the world who are looking to make some extra cash. I paid a graphic artist in Argentina $300 for my logo; a out of work graphic designer in Peoria created fliers for me for $50 for each design. (2) Use a service such as Constant Contact to create email campaigns. Create a calendar of topics for the entire year to force yourself into a disciplined and consistent approach. If you think you don't have all your customer email addresses, and you use Outlook, never fear. Outlook remembers all of the email addresses you've sent in a file called NK2. Google NK2 and you'll learn ways to export those email addresses and you'll be on your way to creating a email marketing list. Remember to ask their permission first.
Thanks to Marcel VandenTop, Intella Lift Parts!
Stay Current, Use Testimonials & Stay Clear of Mass Mailings
When it comes to marketing your business, it is important to always stay current on business trends and constantly evolve with the industry. True marketing should start from the inside out. We recommend growing your business organically, through your existing contacts and referrals. Along those lines, don’t be afraid to ask for a testimonial. Always ask your clients for a testimonial, they can often sell your business better than you can. Lastly, stay clear of mass mailings and email campaigns. They tend to come off as impersonal and can send the wrong message, often getting no attention at all.
Thanks to Michelle Buller!
Love, Emotions & Consistency
Marketing is all about getting people to love you. And to get people to love you you need to at least do these 3 things: Love, Emotions and Consistency. (1) Love First. You have to love your clients before they will love you back. This goes down to every single detail in your product, your service, even down to the place and manner in which you market to them. (2) Use Emotions. People buy emotionally and justify rationally. If you want to reach your intended audience, find an appropriate emotion and make them feel it. (3) Be Consistent Nobody likes the inconsistent flake. Even worse though, no one notices you when you're inconsistent. Be consistent in the places people see you as much as the tone of voice in your messaging and your look and feel. Use these 3 bite-sized common sense principles and people will love you. At least a little more than they did before.
Thanks to Cathey Armillas, Puramarketing!
Know Your Target Customer, Capture Leads & Have a Strategy
(1) Know who your ideal customer is. Many business owners avoid creating an ideal customer profile because they don't want to alienate anyone, however by trying to appeal to everyone they end up appealing to no one. A good customer profile should contain the age, gender, income level, education level, habits, profession, favorite publications and where they spend time online and offline (2) Have a method for capturing leads. Having a way to collect information about the prospects visiting your website is key. Offering an enticing freebie is a great way to get prospects to provide their contact information so that you can continue to market to them. Lead nurturing can be done fairly simply through email marketing and sharing great content. (3) Have a strategy. Spending your time and money marketing in places where your ideal customer already is allows you to focus your marketing, avoid overwhelm and save money. Whether your goal is to generate leads, create brand awareness or establish your expertise in your market, be sure to only partake in marketing activities that support that goal.
Thanks to Heidi Thompson, Evolve Your Wedding Business!
Be Genuine, Embrace Strategic Network & Don't Waste Time on Social Networks
(1) My first marketing tip is to be genuine. Marketing is about building relationships with your prospects and customers and people respond better to those that are unpretentious in their marketing efforts. (2) Secondly, embrace strategic networking. Networking is the core of building relationships both online and offline. An effective strategy includes having an action plan so you are networking in the right places, a powerful marketing message so you are remembered, a follow-up strategy to cultivate relationships with those you meet and an understanding of your networking ROI to make improvements when necessary. (3) And lastly, don't waste time on social media. Social media is an excellent way to cultivate relationships if you are focusing on the best 2-3 social media platforms that are most relevant for your business and managing them well. Most business people feel a need to “do it all” and as a result become overwhelmed and ineffective.
Thanks to Sheryl Johnson, Bd Pro Marketing!
Have A Dedicated Social Media Staff, Focus on Customer Service & Pitch In
(1) Have a dedicated social media staff or at least one person. No other duties, that's what they do. Social media. (2) Realize your customer service staff are the most important people in the company. Give them everything they need to do their jobs. (3) Clean the toilets. Go get lunch. Pick up supplies. Don't take your people away from the jobs you need them to do to make the company money. Your job is to be creative and forward thinking. You can do that while standing in line or cleaning the toilets.
Thanks to Dayna Steele, Your Daily Success Tip!
Cause Marketing, Build Synergy & Find Customers
(1) Cause Marketing – find your company's or associates passion and give back / further the efforts of a local NFP – it builds morale, gives you a great way to engage your customers and your community and can be huge differentiators from your competition. (2) Build some synergy with professionals who call on – but don't compete in your niche (they're also called “market makers”) – align yourself with individuals who working as hard as you are – and realize that you live “on a two way street” (i.e. getting AND giving quality referrals are the name of the game). (3) Go to where your customers are – and your competitors aren't. “Me Too Marketing” means you'll probably end up with business leftovers – there are always pockets of events and groups where you're not running into your competition – you just have to be pro-active in seeking them out.
Thanks to Sheila Neisler, Catalyst – A Marketing Company!
Give Speeches, Blog & Write A Book
(1) Learn To Give Speeches: The most effective way to get people interested in your product or business is to tell them about it. Sure, you tell individuals about how great your offering is, but wouldn't it be more efficient to tell an audience all at the same time? Public speaking is a skill that can be learned. Join a Toastmasters club in your area or get a coach to help you out. (2) Blog Every Day: There is no excuse for not setting up a blog for your business / product (Google will let you do this for free). Many business owners start this and then don't keep up with it. A blog is a great way to get and stay in contact with your customers. Set aside a few minutes every day and crank out a quick update on your product or business. (3) Write A Book: Look, you know enough about something to run a business, why not write a book. It does not have to be any longer than 100 pages in a 6″ x 9″ format book. Crank it out and then use Amazon to publish it for the Kindle — it's all free. You will be seen as being more knowledgeable just because you are a published author and your competition is not.
Thanks to Dr. Jim Anderson, Blue Elephant Consulting!
Entrepreneurs and small business owners never have enough time or money, especially when it comes to marketing their products or services. The secret weapon is online video. Simply adding a video clip to your website can make it 53 times more likely to show up on the first page of search results in Google. Not only does this simple addition help you get found, it also increases visitor engagement with your message. On average, adding video to your website increases phone calls by about 20%, clicks by 33%, and visitor time on the page by a whopping 344%. The best part is that it does not have to take much time or money to create an effective video, even if you don't own a camera and hate computers. It is easy to get a professional-quality video for $500 or less, and you can host it on YouTube for free and then embed it easily on your web page.
Thanks to Alfred Poor, The Center for Small Business!
25) Create Content, Develop Relationships & Be Patient
(1) Create Content. People don't want to be disrupted by ads, they want to be educated. Create something that can add value to consumers to demonstrate your expertise. In return customers will be loyal and share your content with people they are connected with. (2) Develop Relationships. People want to connect with businesses. Don't reach out when it's convenient for you, connect all the time. Instead of creating a discount for new customers, reward those who have been loyal to you. Don't overlook your current customers or they will look somewhere else. (3) Be Patient. Marketing, and especially Inbound Marketing, is a process. It takes time to create content and connect with people. Don't expect instant gratification in trying to develop relationships with people. It takes time to earn their trust.
Thank you to Mike Wolfe, WAM Enterprises LLC!
26) Google+ Local or Local SEO
Google+ Local or Local SEO is by far the best dollar for dollar ROI for any business that services local customers. Google+ Local is a high priority for Google and Google retains more than 65% of all searches. The majority of local consumers use the internet to find local businesses and most will become frustrated when they can't find the business they seek and will turn to a competitor. Google+ Local services are cheaper and more cost effective than Google Pay Per Click and Global search engine optimization.
Thanks to Lisa McTigue, Los Angeles Local Search Marketing!
Related Post: Future Because of Google Plus
Go Mobile, Measure & Create Content Strategy
(1) You must go mobile. Any media created should be accessible by any digital device. Having a mobile-friendly website is no longer a luxury. (2) Measure what matters. Have tracking installed correctly and learn how to read it. Having Google Analytics installed correctly is essential. (3) Create a content strategy. Orchestrate your website, social media marketing and creativity around building your brand. Be informative, be inspirational, be memorable, be delightful and be helpful.
Thanks to Nicole Buergers, TopSpot Internet Marketing!
My one marketing tip is start a Podcast. My podcast is the sole driver of business and is producing incredible results. I would love to expound.
Thanks to John Dumas, Entrepreneur on Fire!