Marketing Ideas to Grow Your Small Business

Discussion in 'Articles & Tutorials' started by bytrade001, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. bytrade001

    bytrade001
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    Be different. Take your cue from big advertisers and brands and find something that distinguishes you from your competitors – then promote the difference. The difference could be your slogan, or a key difference in your product, or even a perceived difference. For instance, Are the luggage products you sell lighter? Does your environmentally friendly lawn service make lawns greener, "naturally"?

    Form strategic alliances with other businesses. Look for businesses that reach your target market and consider ways you can work together. Whether you actively market each other's services, or team up to jointly work on clients' jobs, strategic alliances can extend your reach and firm up your bottom line.

    Segment your market and create products or develop specialties that appeal specifically to the needs of each segment.

    Expand into new markets. Sell your bakery products to local restaurants and catering facilities as well as directly to consumers; if you sell office services to small businesses, look into soliciting business from bigger businesses, and federal, state or local government agencies.

    Talk to your customers – ask them for feedback. Ask them what you can do to better serve their needs. If you see a trend in what's being asked for, act on it.

    Put your business on the web if you haven't already done so.

    Get listed in Google Places.

    Get involved in social media. Ask your customers which social networks they participate in, and then spend a few minutes a day participating in the one or two most customers use.

    Fill out social media profiles with as much detail as you can, being sure to include website links and products.

    Use direct mail to reach your customers. Yes, it's an old-fashioned technique in an always-on world, but it still works.

    Send a card or postcard to customers to remind them when they need to come back for a checkup, or to remind them in advance of an appointment scheduled months in advance. Tip: Save time and money by using a service like SendOutCards (affiliate link) to store addresses and do the mailings.

    Put local keywords (the name of your city or county for instance) on your web pages and in title tags to help web searchers find you.

    Add share buttons to your website and encourage visitors to use them

    Use email to stay in touch with your customers. Contact them regularly with special offers, tips about using your product, industry information, or other content that will help them return to your website and/or buy from you.

    Include your telephone number in your pay per click ads to make it easier for customers to call for more information or call to make a purchase.

    Make the telephone number on your website a click-to-call link to make it easy for customers using smart phones to call you.

    Advertise in weekly shoppers and the classified sections of local weekly papers if your business is local. Look for deals for getting your ad in both the print edition and online edition of the publication.

    Give away something useful with a purchase over a certain dollar amount. You might give an inexpensive lint brush with clothing purchases over $100, say, or a thumb drive to new customers who hire you to make their PowerPoint presentation look good.

    Be proactive and be persistent. You didn't learn to ride a bicycle when you were a child by thinking about how to ride a bicycle. You went out and tried, and tried again until you learned to balance yourself and then gradually picked up speed. Marketing is no different. You have to keep at it until you find what works for you. Then, if you want to continue your momentum, you have to keep on marketing.

    Start today. Make your own list of marketing ideas. Include some of the ideas on the list above, or ideas of your own. Include marketing ideas you've used before and those that you haven't. Include marketing strategies you've seen other companies use. Then start putting them into practice one by one. Aim to try one new marketing idea a week. Keep using the ones that work, discard the ones that don't and watch your business grow.
     
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  2. Mark T

    Mark T
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    People often or most of the time say "Think out of the box" so that a business, even though how small it is, can really succeed. Someone said a contradiction from it telling, "Stop thinking outside the box, just think." ...Often times we think too much out of the box that we often overlook the most important aspects and factors in our businesses. There is nothing wrong with it, but how far do we think out of the box at all?
     
  3. Business Attorney

    Business Attorney
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    There were some good nuggets in your long list of marketing tips. I particularly liked "Make the telephone number on your website a click-to-call link." As soon as I figure out how, of course.

    Thanks.
     
  4. integrity2succee

    integrity2succee
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    Nice to know there are others out there who do not know 'how to' all these amazing applications, like click-to-call link. When you find out how to do it please spread the word.
    Thanks
     
  5. integrity2succee

    integrity2succee
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    Work from home

    Work Online from Home
    Be honest with yourself, you enjoyed working in a job. Perhaps the social side was a whole lot better than the work side and you probably made some of your best friends at work. It is possible that you achieved most of what you strove for from your job although it never seemed like enough for either your ambitions or your employers expectations. The more you did, the more you were expected to do with or without acknowledgement.
    And then life throws you a curved ball and you find yourself looking for something to do to earn a living. Perhaps the company went into insolvency or you were retrenched because they couldn’t afford you. Or you moved cities or went on maternity leave and now wish to find something that makes you happy and comfortable.
    Work online from home can be the answer to your goals. No matter what your field of expertise, you can use it to earn a living on the internet. For example a lot of people, who are involved in the medical field, write articles for medical sites, some do medical transcripts and the list goes on. The opportunities are endless – there is something available for everyone on the ‘net’.
    As you would for any other job or business opportunity, take some time and study your options. In my experience people who work on the net are so much more amenable to guiding others than in a conventional workplace. Sure there are a lot of ‘sharks’ out there just looking to take your money, but when you show you are serious you will find people happy to help with almost any query you have.
    Bear in mind that a vast majority of the experts on the ‘net’ are young and have not been exposed to the horrors of the ’dog eat dog’ mentality that is common to corporate life. Hopefully they will remain free from that corporate world, because in order to remain the ‘top dog’ you have to know more and keep one step ahead of the pack otherwise they will take your place. On the ‘net’ there seems to be room for so many more all the time. Take a good look at businesses that are growing even in these bad economic times and you will see that business on the ‘net’ is growing stronger day by day. The number of people using the internet today for business as well as social activities is revolutionizing the world.
    I listened to a commentator recently who feels that there may not be a need for governments in the near future. The internet could create the ‘new world order’ whereby today’s enemies can live side by side in peace. It sounded so far-fetched and then I thought, look what happened in Libya? Whatever the next five years is going to bring, technology will be right at the forefront. I for one, want to be right out there making a difference in peoples’ lives through the internet.
     
  6. ThirdSEO

    ThirdSEO
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    This is one of the most important factors that you could have mentioned. There will never be the 'perfect' time to start a business, or any other project for that matter. The important thing is to get started and slowly build the foundation that will ultimately lead you down the road to success. Get started. Now.
     
  7. ilovedesign

    ilovedesign
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    That pretty much sums up business marketing 101 in a simple, easy to understand list of what to do. There's not really much of anything to add to these because you might run the risk of being overwhelmed by all of the different things you need to do and consider with your marketing. To make things easier, though, people can try to organize this list into different levels, from the most crucial to the least crucial so that it would be easier to focus on the things that would really contribute a lot to the success of the business.
     
  8. Casey

    Casey
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    Thanks for the article, I like how you present both online and offline marketing methods.
     
  9. StewardHill

    StewardHill
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    Nice article. Nice to see both offline and offline point of views. Visibility on the internet - especially on social networks, forums is definitely the way to go. Social Bookmarking could help as well. What I have found very effective is choosing the right website for advertising by using some web page ranking method/website. Many businesses dig themselves into a hole by simply overlooking the traffic each website has.
     
  10. Derrick614

    Derrick614
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    Thanks for the article, very informative. :)
     

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