Monthly Archives: June 2020

Improve Your Small Business Marketing to Increase Your Profits

Marketing Tips to Help Drive Profits and Stay Competitive

Although we call them “small” businesses, running a small business is no small task. Compared to larger corporations, small business have a much smaller margin for error when it comes to marketing initiatives – when a marketing campaign fails, larger corporations shake their heads, make adjustments, and move on but for small businesses, a big failure could mean the end of the company. Here are some great marketing tips to help your marketing efforts stay effective and your business stay competitive.

Better Use of Data

Data about your target audience is invaluable to small businesses. This kind of information allows business owners and marketers to identify the types of people who are most likely to do business with them and purchase their products and/or services. Knowing your target audience can also help you to better tailor and focus your marketing messages to those types of consumers. If it is in the budget, hiring a professional data team can really help a small business make the most out of this information.

Use Email More Effectively

Email can be a powerful tool when it comes to communicating with your current customers. Emails are a great opportunity to connect with customers and provide them information on upgrades, cross-selling opportunities, and additional sales or deals your business may be offering. Using email is a great, non-evasive way to stay connected to those consumers who already know your business and your brand. You can even take email marketing a step further by breaking down your contact list into groups by segments such as purchase history, age group, geographical area, and other important data points.

Use Shareable Content to Expand Your Reach

Consumers love to share, and social media has made it easier than ever for consumers to share things they like or dislike online. Known as “content marketing,” creating online content that is informative and meaningful to your target audience is a great way to reach more consumers and raise more recognition around your business and your brand. This information is most effective when posted on your company’s website but can also be shared on sites like YouTube and Facebook for easier access.

Consider Paid Search to Increase Visibility

Driving traffic to your website is always an important part of marketing your business. One way to do this is to use a paid search to ensure your business’ website will appear when consumers search the types of products or services you offer. For example, should a consumer search “pet groomers in Harrisburg, PA” and you own a pet grooming business in or around that area, your business’s website will appear at the very top of the search results. The closer your businesses website link appears to the top of the search results, the more likely it is that consumers will follow that link to your site.

Use Your Resources

Aside from in-house marketing, there are a number of resources available to help small businesses. For example, the United States Small Business Administration can offer business owners loans, counseling sessions, contracts, and other forms of assistance to help cultivate and grow their business. Consider other resources as well including Google Tools for website assistance and online marketing, Kabbage for small business loans, and Free Stock Images for high quality images for your marketing materials.

Small Business Marketing Secrets: Look Like Sizzle, Be The Steak

You’ve heard marketing and advertising gurus quip, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Advertising initiatives best reach their target audience with benefits and the “wow” effect, not the value or features of their product or service. This may work well to get customers in the door. But once they’re in, you better have some substance. How can you ensure you uphold the integrity of your business and still maintain the “Wow Effect”? It just takes well executed strategic steps for business AND personal development:

1. It’s Already Done

Act like the goals you are working so diligently to achieve have already been reached. Walk with that confidence. Treat your leads like customers, your customers like guests in your home, and your staff like family. When you approach goals like a “done deal”, you open up creativity reserves to think outside the box, access resources you didn’t know you had and create opportunities for success previously unforeseen.

2. Get There From Here

It is not enough to act like you have arrived; you also get to devise a strategy map to get you there. Ask for your customers’ input through surveys, polls, feedback forms. Pay customers’ a visit, just to see how things are going. Send a birthday card, send flowers, and send an article clip that can prove useful to a client. Never miss an opportunity to create relationship. The best way to ensure you don’t miss opportunities is to create a plan.

3. Who Cares?

Ensure that your work is fun and fulfilling for you and those who might work for or with you. Keep your duties aligned with your skills and interests, and invest in your own personal development. Volunteer in the community. Build a house for Habitat for Humanity. Run a marathon or half-marathon. Sponsor a scholarship with your local high school and recommend alliance partners or contractors to be part of the selection committee. It increases your visibility and theirs, and you both get to be a good corporate citizen. All for a good cause. Invest in yourself and in your community. Show you care.

4. Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say

Address issues as they come up or as soon as appropriately possible. Sometimes we let things slide or leave things unsaid. This devalues what’s important to you and insults the intelligence of the other person. Be open in your communication.

5. Create Win-Win Solutions

The belief of “looking out for number one” is so embedded in our collective consciousness that we have forgotten we are ALL #1 because we are all one. When you create win-win solutions, you not only generate good will among peers and supervisors, but you develop a reputation for fairness and professionalism. Everyone collaborates with a collaborator.

6. Acknowledge the Feedback

When customers take the time to write a scathing letter or make an irate phone call about horrific customer service or product quality, they are providing you with a valuable opportunity: Free feedback that you didn’t ask for, didn’t pay for, didn’t market for or followed up on. It just fell on your lap. So thank your customer for being committed enough to your company to give you feedback on how you can improve your service. Give something away or at a steep discount. You have a choice: Swallow your pride, or dwindle your profits.

7. Go Back to Kindergarten

When you take lunch, take a walk to a park, eat leisurely, and come back to the privacy of your office for a quick 20 minute power nap. You’ll feel refreshed and replenished. Don’t have an office? Take a nap. Make it fun and, most importantly, nourishing.

8. Tie Up Loose Ends

Pay the parking ticket. Write that letter. Clean out your files. Make up with that client. Enroll in school. Back up your computer systems. Run the Clean Sweep Program on yourself, then the company (for more information, email us at [email protected]).

9. Give Yourself a Makeover

Lose the 15 pounds. Get that haircut. Buy fresh makeup. Reinvent your wardrobe. Give your car a paint job. Rearrange the furniture in your office or lobby. Give away old clothes. When you get in the habit of installing new practices and letting go of old ones that no longer serve you, you generate and circulate fresh energy.

10. Keep Your Commitments

When you say you are going to do something, do it, or else renegotiate another arrangement. Very few things are as difficult to earn back as your credibility and the trust of those who deal with you.

11. Play a Big Game

When setting your goals, ask yourself if you are stretching. Set your goals high enough to have to stretch for them. Make your growth systematic and strategic. If your goal is to call 20 leads this week, to close one sale, what would you have to do and believe about yourself to make it possible to call 50 and close three sales? If your goal is to go to dinner with your brother, just to reconnect, how about stepping it up and actually saying “I love you?” You know you are playing a big game when your first reaction is a big whine “I can’t do that!” Yes, you can. Surprise yourself.

12. Be a Contribution

How can you make your customers’ life more livable, your work more enjoyable, and your community more cohesive? Everyone wants to know, what’s in it for me? When you focus out, you immediately speak their language and enroll them in playing yours. No one plays with you if they think you are not on their team. So join them. And they will join you.

Copyright 2004, Monikah J. Ogando, Ogando Associates, Inc.

Top 10 Marketing Concepts For Small Business Marketing

Over the past decade more and more people are getting fired, getting downsized, or getting fed up with their corporate jobs and embark on the journey as a small business owner. Unfortunately, most of the new small business owners fail to consider their marketing plans or strategy. There are many marketing concepts for small business marketing to consider and plan for, but here is our list of Top 10 Marketing Concepts For Small Business Marketing.

Marketing Concept # 1: Consistency

Consistency is the number one marketing concept for small business marketing only because it is left out of marketing concepts for so many businesses. I have worked with a long list of clients, big and small, that are extremely inconsistent in all areas of their marketing. Consistency helps lower the cost of marketing and increase the effectiveness of branding.

Marketing Concept # 2: Planning

Once small business owners decide to be consistent with their marketing, planning is the next major concept to engage. Planning is the most vital part of small business marketing or any level of marketing, for that matter, and so many owners, marketing managers, and even CMOs plan poorly. Put the time into planning your marketing strategy, budget, and other concepts presented here to ensure success.

Marketing Concept # 3: Strategy

Strategy immediately follows planning because your strategy is the foundation for the rest of your marketing activities. In the process of planning, you must develop your strategy: who you will target, how you will target them, and how will you keep them as a customer.

Marketing Concept # 4: Target Market

Target market is also another key concept for small business marketing. Defining exactly who you are targeting allows small business owners to focus on specific customers and reduce marketing waste. A well-defined target market will make every other marketing concept so much easier to implement successfully.

Marketing Concept # 5: Budget

Although it is listed at number 5, budgeting is important throughout the entire process. Creating a marketing budget is usually the hardest and most inaccurate part of small business marketing. Most small businesses owners lack a great deal of experience in marketing, so their budgets usually end up skewed. The most important part of this marketing concept is to actually establish a marketing budget. From there, you can worry about how to distribute your available funds.

Marketing Concept # 6: Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is usually defined as product, pricing, place, and promotion. As a small business owner, you must specifically decide on your products (or services), the appropriate pricing, where and how you will distribute your products, and how will you let everyone know about you and your products.

Marketing Concept # 7: Website

In today’s market, a business of any size must have a website. I hate when I see businesses that have a one page website with out-dated information. Customers, be it businesses or consumers, will search the web over 60% of the time before making any purchasing decisions. This marketing concept contains a slew of additional components, but you must at least develop a small web presence of some kind and keep it updated.

Marketing Concept # 8: Branding

Many small businesses owners also neglect this concept. Small business marketing must focus on this marketing concept just as much as large corporations do. Branding consists of the pictures, logo, design scheme, layout, make up, and image of your products and even your company. Branding is how your customers perceive (please place a lot of emphasis on that word!) your products and company. Make sure to pay special attention to what kind of brand you are building through each step of your planning and implementation.

Marketing Concept # 9: Promotion and Advertising

Promotion and advertising is a very complex marketing concept, but must be considered for any type of business and its products and services. Once you engage the previous 8 marketing concepts, you must finally let your target market know about you and your products. Proper promotion and advertising will result in effective brand recognition, and, ultimately, increased sales.

Marketing Concept # 10: Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The concept of customer relationship management has become a huge industry in the marketing world. There are many types of software and services offered to help businesses of any size handle their customer relationship management. Since there is so much available, usually for a large sum of money, small business owners usually look at this concept as something they are not big enough for or have enough money to implement. Don’t be fooled by the massive industry that has evolved from this concept. Maintaining proper customer relationship management is essential to creating loyal and consistent customers.

This list of marketing concepts should be examined, researched, planned, and implemented, especially by small businesses, in order to be successful. Also, your marketing doesn’t stop here. Each business is unique and will have additional components that must be considered, but this list will jump-start any marketing plan.

Newsletter Calendar – Creating a Schedule For Your Business Marketing Newsletter

A newsletter calendar keeps your publication on track. Whether you send it by mail or email, creating a regular newsletter for your clients and prospects is an important marketing strategy. However, many organizations struggle to find topics for their newsletters or have trouble getting it out the door on a set schedule.

To prevent these problems, businesses can borrow a technique magazines have been using for ages: the editorial calendar. This sample newsletter schedule will help keep your organization’s newsletter on track. Remember, these dates aren’t hard-and-fast rules. The most important thing is to find a set of deadlines that feels comfortable — not rushed — and stick to those deadlines for each newsletter cycle.

What: Annual Planning

When: Each December

Create a list of seasonal topics for the upcoming year and pencil them in for each month. For example, a Realtor might want to include a spring cleaning checklist in April, tips for a greener lawn in August and strategies for choosing a good school district in September.

What: Editorial Meeting

When: 1-2 Months Before Publication

An editorial meeting typically includes everyone contributing to your newsletter: editors, writers, managers and designers. Print newsletters need more time, so schedule your editorial meeting at least two months before deadline. Email newsletters may use a shorter timeframe. In the editorial meeting discuss possible story topics, assign writers to each story and establish writing deadlines for each article. Refer to your annual planning calendar for story ideas, and also incorporate current news and events at your organization.

What: Editing

When: 3-5 Weeks Before Publication

On this day, all articles should be submitted to the newsletter editor for review and approval. Set this deadline based on whether you have a print or email newsletter, and be sure to allow leeway for missed writing deadlines.

What: Layout

When: 2-4 Weeks Before Publication

By this date, all the articles and other newsletter content should be submitted to the designer for layout.

What: Layout Approval

When: 1-3 Weeks Before Publication

While this is not the best time to make any edits or changes to the copy, the newsletter editor should take one last look at the newsletter layout to ensure everything is formatted correctly.

What: Printing & Distribution

When: 1-2 Weeks Before Publication

Email newsletters should be scheduled for release at a specified day and time, and print newsletters should be sent out for printing and mailing. Then, start the cycle all over again!

The Significance of Social Media for Business Marketing

Let us talk about a simple fact, which is, social media presence is really significant for your business these days. This significance is growing at a great speed with each passing day. No matter you are the owner of a local shop in your area or running a company or business at a national level, you need to understand its significance for a while. It is crucial because it is an essential piece of the marketing strategy of your business.

What are the potential benefits of using social media platforms for your business? It helps the business owners to connect with potential customers all over the globe. It let them boost up their brand awareness without much efforts & time investment. All of this will consequently increase sales & ROI for your business.

For all those people, who still don’t have social media business profiles, this guide is worth-reading. Here are the top reasons for which you must invest in this wise business move.

# Build brand awareness

The people will only come to you if they know your business otherwise not. This is the reason it is vital to make the people know about you. Social media increases your visibility within short time amongst your targeted customers & you can reach a wider audience this way. The most amazing thing about all social media platforms is that it let you create profiles free of any cost. You have to invest time in making an effective strategy for social media.

#Communicate authority

In this digital era, the people before making a final decision about the brand they support, browse your company’s website profile. The choice is yours whether you proffer them the rich information source via these two things or they end up finding an empty storefront. If you are looking for the best ways to build up authority as a company, you must be careful in this scenario. All you need is a robust social media profile with updated content about you. In this way, you will be able to make your very first impression in a positive manner. As a company, people recognize you reliable, knowledgeable & most importantly approachable. Your potential customers will also have confidence in you this way.

#Offer support

Gone are the days when there were communication barriers amongst customers & the companies. In fact, social media platforms have broken down all of them. Now the customers don’t need to call the company to ask any sort of query or seek help. Instead, they turn to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook etc to get their problems resolved or find any sort of information.

For offering great customer support as a company, make sure to develop your repute as a caring & responsive brand for your customers.

#Grow affordably

Small companies or start-ups can’t usually bear the huge costs of business marketing campaigns. Social media marketing tactics are a suitable alternative to this. No matter what your business is about & what is its size, you always have the opportunity to grow your business & achieve its goals reasonably. Instagram & Facebook ads are of key importance in this regard. When it comes to ad campaigns, the major thing you need to know is your targeted audience & aims to achieve.

There are so many other things that make social media platforms an important part of business marketing. Don’t ever get stressful managing it as it is not something complicated. Let us start with the first step i.e. creating your business profile without wasting any time.