3 Reasons Why Blogging Will Help You Grow Your Small Business

I have been intimately involved in building, growing and consulting many small businesses both online and offline for many years and what I have found is that entrepreneurs at all stages of growth and development are anxious to discover both strategic and cost-effective marketing tools that will help them attract new profitable customers in an ever-changing dynamic market place environment.

Increasingly, small businesses are smartly adding blogs as a key tactical online marketing technique for three important reasons.

3 Reasons Why Blogging Will Help You Grow Your Small Business

1. Blogging Is a Great Strategy To Help You Increase Visibility To Your Ideal Targeted Market.

The bottom line is that incorporating a blog into your online marketing strategy can help you improve your chances to increase sales and grow your business.

Do understand that this is not a quick or short-term sales success technique. Be committed to a long view of blogging and this technique will help you build value as a lead generation tool over time.

But if you have the determination to post consistently adding content that is fresh and helpful to your ideal target niche market, it will help you gain a competitive edge over your competitors.

The most important tip for you to follow when starting a business blog is to “Define The Purpose of Your Blog.” Just as any company must have a business plan, your blog must have a specific direction and purpose.

For instance, if your blog’s purpose is to help your customers and prospects with information that delivers tips, solutions free advice and/or adds value to your primary product or service, then make it clear.

If fact, make it very easy for any first time visitor to your blog to recognize what it’s all about. The key here is to write your blog posts with your end-users in mind.

2. Maintaining An Active Blog Will Help You Improve Your Websites Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Results.

If you do decide to develop a blog as a marketing tool to help you grow your small business, focus on building it around two basic criteria:

  1. Your most valuable keywords
  2. Continually adding new and informative content

If you do this, you can gain leverage allowing you to effectively compete against the big boy brands.

As search engines continue to shake up the way they rank sites for relevancy, adding fresh and regularly updated content will continue to be an essential marketing strategy for your small business.

A couple key tips here are to:

  1. Differentiate your blog and make it stand out in a crowded and competitive marketplace. Make it “cool” for a lack of a better way to say it.
  2. Write your blog posts with your prospective searchers in mind. Put yourself in their shoes and use words and terms that they would be thinking in their heads when they are searching for what you offer.

Lastly, remember that as cliché as it sounds content is still king which means you should focus on delivering unique and helpful information. The reason is that fresh and relevant content is still the foundation of a smart SEO strategy.

3. Credible Content Will Help You Drive Traffic To Your Company Website.

If your objective is to build a blog that helps you generate sales leads and/or strengthen relationships with your existing customers, then you must realize that great content is what will help you build your reader and visitor base.

In fact, think of it this way, the content you deliver in your posts is like the food (or nourishment) you feed your readers and those who are searching the Internet for the information, tips and solutions you are writing about.

Plus, it’s the information that keeps them interested and hooked on your blog and will motivate them to share it with their friends and family. This helps to make it viral and valuable.

I stated it above and will emphasize here again that you should ask yourself “why am I publishing this blog?”

The answer to this question will lead you to creating great content. But continue to be diligent in keeping your focus on THEM (your reader).

In fact, paste this famous marketing saying on your computer screen as you write every post, “It’s all about them, it’s not about you.”

If you actually do this, you will create content your readers will be interested in and the by-product will be that you increase your competitive marketplace leadership, your SEO rankings, your sales leads and interested customer or client prospects.

One more tip when writing a business blog is to position yourself as the expert in your niche.

No one will actually come to you and crown you the expert but if you really do have expertise, experience and education in your area, then proclaim yourself the expert and share some of your successes and testimonials. This will increase your social proof helping to solidify the credibility of your blog enormously.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that incorporating a blog into your online marketing strategy will help you improve your chances to increase sales and grow your business.

Marketing Strategies for Small Business: Simple Ways of Taking Your Business Online

There are so many marketing strategies for small business out there these days that it’s enough to make you dizzy if you try to listen to every advertisement. The problem is that people who sell internet marketing systems are likely to be pushing something that doesn’t even work for them! No wonder it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the technology of today.

But what if there was a way take just the “meat and potatoes” from the best of the marketing strategies for small business?

The purpose of this post is to try to simplify what you actually need to get started in taking your business online…

Why taking your business online?

The beauty of taking your business online… The beauty of taking your business online…

Because, now that the internet is a huge part of the average business, if you’re not taking your business online, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table! You’re apt to be left in the dust while your competitors ramp up past you with their own marketing communication strategy.

But no need to get overwhelmed just yet…

I’m here to give you those “meat and potatoes” for the best internet marketing strategies for small business…

… in actuality, you only need three things for taking your business online to where you can allow the system to do most of the “heavy lifting” for you.

There are basically only three marketing strategies for small business online…

1) Taking your business online with a capture page…

This is also called a “landing page” because it’s what your visitor who’s searching for your service will initially land on. The purpose of the capture page is to compel your visitor to want to enter their email address; hence, you’ve just “captured” them as a new lead.

The main thing you need to remember about the capture page is that it must promise something.

Look at it from your visitor’s point of view; what would compel you to want to enter your email address for more information? A good example of this is to promise something for free – like a free educational video for more information.

2) Taking your business online with a sales page…

Ideally, this is a video that your new lead will be introduced to immediately upon entering their email information. The beauty of this, of course, is that it’s all automated so your new lead will literally be listening to a sales presentation from “you” while you might be still sleeping!

3) Taking your business online with an auto-responder…

On average, most people will need to be approached seven times before making a decision to purchase.

SEVEN times? OMG!

Who on earth would want to be that much of a nag? Especially those small businesses such as network marketing deals where you get all the work and NO training on how to promote you deal. Developing a marketing strategy is so much easier if you only need do it once, and then let the system take over the bulk of the work for you.

The beauty of having an auto-responder is that you set it all up ahead of time with your own personal messages…

People tend to want to buy from those who they know, like and trust. And it’s your continuous flow of emails with your pictures and videos that help them get to know who you are, whereby giving them the chance to grow into a trusting “relationship” with you – even without ever having met you!

And that’s really all there is for in marketing strategies for small business online… except for the idea of a “funded proposal”…

If you haven’t heard of this term before, think of an internet marketing system that will automatically “sell itself” while you use this system for taking your business online. This is an idea adopted by millions of successful internet marketers because it costs money to market your business, and, without a funded proposal, it’s likely that your funds for the business will be exhausted before you start to make any substantial profits.

It’s no wonder that the funded proposal is now a household term among those using marketing strategies for small business online!

Building Marketing Momentum For Your Small Business

The success of your business depends on your ability to build marketing momentum. Without the ability to generate new sources of leads your capacity to sell will slump and the growth of your business will stagnate or shrink.

Unfortunately, many small business owners are at a loss when tasked with coming up with new ways to market while others are frustrated into stagnation by seeing consistently ineffective results from their marketing efforts. It doesn’t matter if your business is young or established. If your business is young you must market well simply to survive. On the other hand, if you have had marketing success with a method that does not increase your opportunity to generate new business your success will be stunted by your limited ability to find new sources of business.

Building marketing momentum is like kicking a ball down a hill that keeps getting steeper. Each time the hill becomes a little steeper the ball will roll faster and pick up momentum. In marketing, any tactic you add to attract attention to what you do is like making the hill a little steeper.

The other day I was talking to Ed who runs a successful metal shining business. I asked him how he went about generating new sales. He told me that 100% of his marketing effort is networking. I couldn’t help but wonder why. I realize that he is doing well with it but if he simply placed an ad in the yellow pages that generated just one sale a year he would cover the cost of the ad and be profitable!

Even though Ed’s networking efforts are successful he is limiting his ability to grow his business by only implementing one form of marketing. By simply trying something new in addition to networking Ed can benefit from developing a new way to generate leads and build his marketing momentum.

Is your marketing effort one dimensional or stagnant? Here are five tactics you can use to build marketing momentum.

Deliver a Great Marketing Message

A great marketing message will have the effect of generating interest in what you do. It never ceases to amaze me the number of small business owners that fail to use a compelling marketing message. How many times has someone described to you their business or what they do with a label like, “I’m an accountant” or “I’m in Communications”? Such answers are not likely to start interesting conversations and marketing opportunities are missed.

If you answer the “what do you do?” question with a savvy marketing message you will find that more people associate what you do with a need of their own or that of a friend, colleague or relative and you will win more referral business. Develop and use an outstanding, compelling marketing message and you will find that more people show interest in what you do. The result will be more better sales.

Make Cold Calling a Hot Source of Sales

Many small business owners hate to make cold calls. Their derision is understandable. By making cold calls they are setting themselves up for rejection. No one likes being rejected. However, rejection is part of the game when making phone calls. Once you realize that it’s not your fault when someone says no during a cold call you can move passed your barrier and add cold calling to your marketing arsenal.

The fact is that by regularly picking up the phone and reaching out to potential clients small business owners increase their chance of finding new business. A percentage of the people you speak with will become clients when you make cold calls, especially if you are targeting your market well and are offering something they need. What’s more you can work to improve your phone skills to increase your ability to make sales. Add cold calling to your marketing strategy and you will increase your opportunity to generate new business.

Use Your Web Site as An Effective Marketing Tool

Many companies have web sites that fail as effective marketing tools. Does your web site consistently generate leads and sales? It should. And it can. The World Wide Web is a continuously open marketplace that reaches hundreds of millions of consumers every moment of every day and allows you to easily and accurately target those who buy your products or services. A company without a web site as part of its marketing team is missing a fantastic opportunity to increase its revenue stream. Deliver a web site that functions as an effective marketing tool and you will consistently add to your marketing momentum.

Develop Your Network

Another great tool to use to build marketing momentum is networking. Networking is a highly effective means of generating referral business (which is some of the easiest business to get, once you get a referral). A person who is willing to take someone else’s advice to contact you about your product or service will transfer the trust he has in his friend or colleague making the referral to you. Making it easier for clients to trust you removes one of the barriers to making a sale. By developing a robust network you will increase your ability to find new prospects and do more business.

So then, just how should you go about building your network?

Ed, from our previous example, is able to successfully operate his business with networking alone. That’s because Ed networks the right way. Many small business owners and executives don’t realize what networking truly is. Unfortunately, all too often people think they are networking by reaching out only to the people they know when what they should be doing is taking steps to continually expand their network. Ed regularly attends networking events and is involved with multiple networking groups. He ads new people to his network all the time and has a successful business to show for it (though he could be even more successful if he added another tool to his marketing toolbox).

Measure Your Results

No matter what tactics you adapt to market yourself or your business be sure to measure your results. By measuring your marketing results you will be able to move away from or correct what does not work and stick with and reinforce what does. By diligently measuring your results you will improve your ability to ad to your marketing momentum and grow your business and success.

By measuring my results and trying new things I have been able to develop an ad that enjoys a 20% response rate. The ad is so successful I only need to run it occasionally to generate enough calls to keep me very busy. Not only does this great ad do a fantastic job of generating interest in my marketing services it saves me money on my advertising costs because I can meet my goals by running fewer ads.

You too can develop highly effective ads by measuring your results.

Move Your Marketing Forward

If your marketing efforts aren’t helping you reach your goals you can improve your results by implementing any one of the tactics outlined above. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with and take small measured steps toward realistic goals and you will see a beneficial transformation in your marketing results.

18 Essential Tools For Marketing Your Small Business

Growing and maintaining a small business is not easy. It takes stamina, patience and perseverance to keep the doors open every day. It also takes money and marketing to succeed at getting your message to the right prospects. Small business owners need to pay close attention to the message they convey and how it is perceived by their target audience in order to their promotional budget.

Knowing what works and what doesn’t in the arena of promotional advertising and marketing is one of the most common problems business owners face. When you are working with limited resources it is extremely difficult to apportion time and money to every new idea that comes around. This is one reason why Internet marketing has still eluded a lot of local companies. They often don’t know what to do and where to best allocate resources.

Trying to keep up with the various trends that seem to pop up on a regular basis takes a lot of work and no small business owner has the time keep up when they must also wear 100 other hats in their industry. What I found is that the basic principles of marketing still holds true even in the digital age regardless of the type of product or service being offered there are still fundamental applications that fit even the most cutting-edge marketing model. I have distilled the processes down to a basic set of tools that any business owner can use to succeed at generating leads.

There are marketing 18 tools that are vital to the health and growth of a small business in today’s competitive world. There is no doubt that technology has made life easier for small business operation but it is also made it more frustrating. But the essence of marketing is still finding and influencing the people who have a need for what you are selling. You can use any of these 18 tools in a variety of configurations based on your budget or unique requirements.

1. A Company Website
2. A Separate Blog
3. Affiliate Or Referral Program
4. Customer Retention Program
5. Direct Mail
6. E-Mail Marketing
7. Google Maps
8. Internet Advertising
9. Monthly Articles
10. Monthly Newsletters
11. Online Videos Channel
12. Podcast Channel
13. Print Ads
14. Radio and Television Advertising
15. Regular Press Releases
16. Search Engine Marketing
17. Social Media Interaction
18. Telemarketing

These tools offer your business a fighting chance at staying ahead of the competition and can also dramatically improve your bottom line. I wouldn’t necessarily stress one particular tool over another because they all have their pluses and minuses when it comes to effectiveness based on particular markets. It isn’t necessary to utilize all the tools every month; that may be impractical for many small businesses.

If you are just starting to pay attention to marketing, choose a collection of tools that can easily be tracked to gauge their performance. For example establish a company website and a separate blog. Use e-mail marketing and direct mail to promote your company. Establish a customer retention program and affiliate or referral program using your e-mail marketing campaign and direct mail campaign to generate interest.

Craft your message and stick to it. Conduct market research and establish a series of keywords that can be used throughout your promotional campaign both on the web and off-line. Keep your message consistent with the keywords in order to generate a solid message to a target audience.

Promote your message through a variety of media sources for example articles and video or develop a podcast series dealing with the specific topics surrounding your message. Get the word out through social networks and your blog and drive traffic and search engine marketing techniques.

Sketch out your entire campaign on the calendar in order to simplify the entire process. This also allows you to identify your milestones and help in tracking your progress. Marketing should never be an afterthought in your business. Delivering your message and converting prospects to customers is essential for generating consistent profits.