Business Marketing – How to Get Noticed Without Breaking the Bank

With the economic condition getting tighter and tighter as time passes business owners from all genres need to tighten their proverbial belt. Nevertheless, marketing is not one of the areas that should suffer. Cutting back on your marketing will ensure an untimely demise for your business. However, there are ways to promote your business without breaking the bank. In my thirty plus years as an entrepreneur I have been though times of boom and bust. It is through this experience that I have come to realize that throwing money only is not the most profitable means of business promotion.

I have listed below several ways that you too can promote your business, products and services without incurring great expense. I hope you too will find these suggestions useful.

Reward Loyal Customers

One of the best ways to market your business is to let your loyal customers know how important they are to you. Something as simple as a quick note-not an email-or as complex as a gift sent in a timely manner will do two positive things for your business. First, it brings your name back to the forefront of their thoughts, and second, it solidifies their loyalty. Yes, an email may suffice, but a card in their hands will have a greater impact. In your card you could offer them an incentive, or not. The choice is up to you.

When considering what type of thank you gift to send, whether it is a discounted event ticket to one of your events or a physical product, think like your customer. What would they be more apt to remember you for sending them? What would they find useful? Sometimes a branded pen or other item is exactly what is called for. While for the very best customers you might consider a box of yummy chocolates. If your gift is from a fellow small business owner or joint venture partner, so much the better. Which brings us to the next suggestion; joint ventures.

Joint Ventures with Cross-over Business Partners

Joint ventures (JV) are one of the most overlooked marketing ideas in the small to medium-sized business owner’s marketing arsenal. Why this is the case is simple, they are often thought of as competition. However, you might be surprised to learn that even similar businesses often don’t offer some of the services or products that you do. Therefore, consider not only cross-over businesses but similar ones as well when looking into the possibilities of participating in JV opportunities.

As an example, often I JV with writing coaches and editors. While I offer publishing and design services, over the years I have discovered my dislike for editing. I spent many years search for qualified editors. Then, one day about two years ago, I was approached by an editor and not too long after that we formed an alliance. She now refers me to her writers, and when I have the opportunity I reciprocate.

Offer Referral Incentives

One easy way to take advantage of the aforementioned JV experience is to offer referral incentives. For many years now I have offered a bonus referral of 10 percent off first invoice. This has been both beneficial for the referring person and me. Giving back, in a real and tangible fashion is an excellent way of genuinely showing my thankfulness for referrals and generating additional referrals. In the last couple of years, I have noticed a marked increase in business; do in great part to referrals.

Put Your Business Card on Bulletin Boards

Have you been out and about and seen a bulletin board in a place of business, college or library with business cards tacked on it? Have you ever taken one down to use? I have personally done both. Even the restaurants in my local area have tabletop business card promotions that I have asked the waiter for a card or two more than once. These are excellent free and inexpensive ways to market your business. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Put your card or flyer up and check back often to make sure you to replace it when you see it is missing.

Become a Joiner

Online and offline alike, there are many groups and organizations that the business owner has at their disposal. No matter what your business or interests are you will find a plethora of choices. When you get an email that mentions one of your ‘keywords’ do you sit up and take notice? As you read the email do you decide that it isn’t worth your time? We all have to pick and choose wisely, but when you join groups that include your target information or audience you might be pleasantly surprised by the content and opportunities that arise.

Participate

Just joining is not enough. Once you join, if you don’t participate you’ll have wasted your time and money. Get involved, offer to help in any way you can and you will soon find the members more inclined to include you in their circle of friends. Think about the clubs and organizations in which you currently participate. If you aren’t making headway, is it due to a lack of participation, or is it just not working. Clean house, chose again, and participate.

Provide Quality Content

Good content is paramount to good marketing. Misspellings in your marketing pieces, no matter where they are found, only makes you look sloppy and unprofessional. After all, who would hire you if they see the lack of care in your own information products and ads? Yet, typos and grammar errors are not the only things that can count against you. Stale or overused content too can create a sense that you aren’t providing your reader with the information they seek. Yes, do your research, quote sources, but keep the content relevant and fresh.

Write Articles

Article writing is an excellent way to promote your business, products, and services. Not only is this cost-effective but your contact information will always be included. However, you aren’t getting the full benefit of article writing if you are only submitting them to online article houses. Your local newspaper or magazine is always searching for good content. Why not consider submitting content to them? First, find out who the contact person is for the section of the newspaper or magazine you want to provide content for and then jot them a quick note, or better yet, call them to find out their production schedule and required format. Then as mentioned before, provide well written, production ready articles on a timely basis.

Get Active Online

Facebook and Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, Four Square and LinkedIn, just to name a few, social media has taken hold. If you aren’t participating you are missing the mark. Each time you comment or post you have the chance to go ‘viral’. But, if you don’t participate, you never will! Yes, these things take time. Schedule an hour a day to post on the forums and social media; that would be a good start. If you truly don’t have time to get involved it is well worth your marketing dollars to hire a virtual assistant that specializes in social media to do it for you. You can even use tools that are available to automate your posts. Seek and ye shall find!

Update Your Blog

Speaking of activity, it is imperative that you keep your blog fresh. If you can’t come up with content yourself why not invite others to supply content for you. Hosting an author or business owner interview or blog tour are just a couple of ways to bring new visitors and keep your blog fresh. And, whatever you do, make sure your content is free of grammatical and spelling errors. Before you publish, read and rewrite your content. It isn’t going to do you any good if your content is not relevant or of high quality.

Comment on Blogs

Here again is another oft overlooked marketing method. When you comment on another person’s blog you usually have the opportunity to include your website link. These unreciprocated links are seen as some of the best SEO (Search Engine Marketing) boosters. Not only will you enjoy this benefit, but you will be opening your comments to a whole different set of eyes. So, go now and search for blogs where your comments will be welcome and useful. Then, comment yourself into a new community of readers who just might become your best fans.

Google and Visit Online Marketing Sites

Good Marketing Ideas and Small Business Association are just two of the terrific websites offering business owners marketing and business advice. With a simple Google search you will discover that there are a whole host of websites that can help in this regard. Spend some time reading their content and take advantage of their advice. You’ll find it well worth the time taken.

Spruce up your Website

When you look at your web presence does it make you smile? Is it well designed and easy to navigate? If you can’t see beyond your current website or think it can’t be improved, ask your customers. Their feedback may clue you into changes that you may not be aware of that need to be made. Sometimes, just updating or adding another page is all you need to do. At other times, you may want to give your site a complete makeover. Just like getting a new dress, a website makeover takes time and consideration, but once the choice is made the thrill can be invigorating. Besides which, it gives you the reason to have a press release written and distributed, which is your bonus marketing suggestion.

Never Give Up

If you are in need of additional ideas to either implement or just to spark your imagination, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of the award-winning annual Weird & Wacky Holiday Marketing Guide. In it you will find a whole year’s worth of marketing opportunities and even the tool and tips to implement them. Remember, winning new and potential customer’s business is an ongoing battle. It takes time and effort, but in the end you will reach your goal. Figure out what works for you and repeat the process.

How To Earn Money Online As A Local Business Consultant

Even if you are just starting to think how you can earn money online, an Internet businesses, like yours, can quickly gain the skills to help businesses local to your home area. Why you should seriously consider this lucrative strategy for a new internet business may not be that clear at first. You may also wonder how to start. I will give you some answers in this article.

If local businesses are getting business from the internet as part of an overall marketing strategy, why not make it your business to earn a share of that marketing budget? Think about why local search helps customers and how you can provide internet marketing services to businesses and start to earn money online for yourself.

Something like 40% or more of searches on Google include some sort of local phrase. People are more likely to search for say “Birmingham Accountants” than just Accountants, if they are local to Birmingham. Customers are changing how they find things, and comparatively few internet marketers have taken advantage of this growing trend in local search. Now is an ideal time to make it your business to help businesses locally, before your competitors steal this opportunity.

Now we have mobile websites and mobile apps. There are more than 3 times as many mobile devices out there as PCs, you can see why developing and selling a simple mobile website might be a smart move. People use internet access to get information and to find local businesses, as soon as they think about it. People no longer need to rummage through local papers and directories to find a product or service. They can easily find what they want and get more information about local business services, including a location map from any device that gets them online.

Local search marketing has made a ridiculously huge impact to how customers behave, which is why local businesses need to include local search into their marketing strategy. Local businesses may not know how. Internet businesses do. You can claim a share of their marketing budget. That’s how you benefit. Google Maps, Pinterest and Video makes it easy for you to offer marketing services that will get local business ranking highly, but on a budget. Your internet business has the opportunity to offer internet marketing services using a system you can learn, that can be used in any local area (not just US or UK).
Provide the service your business customer wants, build a relationship, get repeat business and referrals. Join business associations in your area which provide an opportunity for promoting your services to people in business locally. Many people have discovered how to earn money online simply by explaining what they can do to other business people.

Competition for keywords with a local word (like Birmingham) is far less, so it’s easier to offer a highly targeted service. If you want a domain starting with Accountants, you will be lucky to find accountants.co.uk or.com available, although you might be able to buy it from the present registrant at his price (high). If the domain you want is say, Birmingham Accountants there will be less competition for that, more chance of it being found by local customers and of greater value to the local business. This is a quick way to get your local business customer’s website on the first page of Google (even after recent rule changes) so their clients can find them.

Some local businesses are more likely to need your internet business services than others. Look for local businesses, ideally medium sized, with a modest marketing budget and who rely on repeat business. Help those proprietors get more leads, more prospects and better cash-flow into their businesses. You will then get paid for your internet marketing services.

You do not need to be an expert at every aspect of internet business to earn money online. Spend just a little by outsourcing the work to the right people. Learn how to outsource internet services wisely. Spend just a couple of hundred on an optimised website and your local business customer will be more than happy to pay you much more. By using outsourcers and being the manager of your business, you free up more of your time, have more resources earning you money at the same time and increase your own internet cash flow.

Internet marketing is not core business for most local businesses. Most prefer to stick with what they are good at (e.g. accountancy, repairing locks, selling handbags, building houses). They need someone to deliver affordable internet marketing services that will get more customers. Local businesses need your internet business. When you find the right internet business training and support you can quickly build a business providing valuable services to local business. There is no point in re-inventing the wheel. Just learn from someone who has made the mistakes and enjoyed the successes before you. You don’t need to duplicate that effort to have a highly profitable internet business and earn money online.

Your Business Vision

Why have a business wish list, a vision?

Because the fuel of your business is knowledge – helping to understand where you are and knowing where you are going.

When you explore where you are now and where you want to be… It will change how you see things, or give you inspiration and motivation. And, you may find a few things to consider NOT doing to keep you on track.

Your business vision is the foundation of your business plan. Without a business vision, how will you know where you want to go? Without a destination, how will you create a road map to get you there?

  • Why would you want to do things differently? Things are working for you now? Great!
  • But what about when times are rough? How strong will your foundation be and can you rely upon a sudden bright idea? And, you don’t know what you don’t know. Why not find out more.
  • Most of us don’t have a business vision, let alone a business plan.

I would have to think part of the reason many of us don’t have a business plan, is because we don’t want to put work into a long, complicated document that doesn’t seem very useful. The typical business plan asks us to define our services and competition and the approximate size of the market we want to tackle; however, it might not include a detailed marketing and sales plan -the stuff the small business needs to do to sell services/products to clients.

When you write out your business plan and your business vision – it’s like really getting to know your best friend – the friend that is going to help you get what you want in life.

Your business vision is your target of where you want to go and be. It’s the business life you want to live. Your business plan includes the goals and objectives and big picture strategies and details that support your vision. The marketing and sales plan, includes the tasks and processes you will need to do in reaching your objectives so you can fulfill your vision.

How to get that business vision on track for you?

  • Start where you are = figure out who you are now in business and how you got here.

• Who are you?
• What do you do?
• Who do you do it for? (Your audience)
• Where do you do it?
• When do you do it?
• Why do you do it?
• How did you get here?

  • Who do you want to be and where do you want to go in your business? If you could wave a Magic Wand…

• Who do you want to be in your business and life?
• What do you want to do?
• Who do you want to do it for? (Your ideal client.)
• Where do you want to be when you do it? (From home, in an office, on the Internet, or giving direct sales parties? Maybe all? Then tell about how that will work and feel for you.)
• When do you want to do it? (3 months, 6 months, a year from today?)
• Why do you want to do it?
• What is your vision from your customer’s perspective? (What you are trying to do for your customers. “My customer vision is to have my clients find clarity and focus to get things to open up in their businesses.”

You can turn your answers into full sentences, then you’ll be creating a formal business vision – the first step in your business planning.

Want help? Please join us at http://donnalward.com/coachinggroup/