Five Ways to Boost Your Marketing Power

business-handshake-deal-finalized-100234444Building an online business is certainly not easy, especially when you are on a very limited budget. It has been my experience that numerous entrepreneurs and home-based business owners overlook some very effective and free advertising opportunities.

Some examples of these result producing techniques are:

1. Welcome Letter for Subscribers – I subscribe to tons of groups and ezines and am sometim es disappointed when I get a default welcome letter. Welcoming a subscriber or group member is one of the most potentially effective tactics for your business. Personalize the welcome by introducing yourself and letting the person know about your website and what you offer and how that will benefit them. This is a crucial moment in that you can start connecting and forming that relationship with your reader before they even get your ezine or mailing.

*Inform them of any exclusive specials you have.

*Tell them your advertising rates and add a testimonial or two.

*Invite them to your site to utilize the free resources.

*Let them know your email and t hat they can contact you anytime with questions, comments, etc.

*Use some of the space for add swapping with other publishers.

*Highlight any of your best products or affiliate products you may be marketing.

2. Goodbye Letter – When you lose a reader or subscriber, you have one last chance to get them to purchase a product or service from you. Utilize it to the fullest. Thank them for being a subscriber and encourage them to re-sub at any time. Be sure to ask them why they have left so you are able to make any possible improvements.

For example:

Thank you for being a subscriber to our ezine. We are sorry to see you go. If you could take a minute to let us know why you unsubscribed, we would greatly appreciate it. Please drop a quick note to unsub@mydomain.com. Thank you so much!

By doing this, you may actually get them to come back immediately and if not, you can find ways to improve your ezine or group for the next subscriber. Remember, always send them an appreciative thank you note as well.

3. eMail Signature – This simple but powerful method of promotion is unknown to some. By using an effective email signature, every time your email goes out to someone, you get free advertising. Join several forums and groups to utilize your sigtag to its maximum.

Example:
< br /> Warm regards,
Jane Doser

Free eCourses – Sign up for one or all!
http://www.doser.com/ecourses

Build Your Business with Us!
subscribe@doser.com

You want to keep your signature fairly short – about 6-8 lines.

4. P.S. – It has been found that a P.S. is very likely to get read. Using a P.S. can be quite effective for your business. Make it short and to the point. A P.S. novel will more than likely be ignored.

Example:

P.S. Need more subscribers? Get our free report at subscribe@domain.com

You could then have a more detailed message on autoresponder. Do not just send them a sales pitch. Add some useful information and resources that are actually beneficial to them. This will give your more credibility which is extremely important if you want customers.

5. Thank you Page – An excellent way to get more subscribers is to get together with other online business owners and set up a group subscription page. Every time someone subscribes to one mailing list or ezine, the thank you pa ge will have a message something like this:

Thank you for subscribing to our mailing list. Take this opportunity to check out more quality ezines and groups. Please check or click the ones you wish to receive.

You would have each joint venture group member’s ezine or group listed with a short description. This is a very effective way of gaining subscribers because the person is already in a subscribing mood and will most likely check most if not all of the other groups and ezines.

The above advertising opportunities are fairly simple but can be most successful! Try one or all of them and see what they can do for your business.

About the Aut hor:
Terri Seymour has over 16 years of internet marketing experience and has helped many people start their own home-based business and make money online. Visit her site for three free gifts including, The Big Book of Social Media Tips and How to Market Your Online Business for Free: http://www.SeymourProducts.com

“Getting” Twitter

As my business colleagues and a number of my friends know, I am a huge fan of Twitter.  Launched in 2006, this social media site currently has over 645 million accounts worldwide, with 135,000 new Twitter users signing up each day.

One would think this would qualify Twitter as being one of the established granddaddies in the social media world.  Yet, nearly eight years and billions of tweets and hashtags later, posted by everyone from world leaders and internationally famous celebrities to aspiring artists and high school loners, the power, reach and—yes—fun of Twitter continues to elude so many people.  “I don’t get Twitter,” they tell me.

Not that I totally blame them. “Getting” Twitter takes a little more time and effort than, say, Facebook or Pinterest.  For example my sister, who didn’t even own her own computer until a handful of years ago, took to Facebook like a duck to water, posting and connecting with friends and family like a social media pro. That just doesn’t happen on Twitter.

Unlike the more linear nature of Facebook exchanges, venturing onto Twitter is more like walking into a huge cocktail party, a cacophony of conversations where, at first, it seems like everyone is talking and no one is listening. But like that cocktail party, after you help yourself to a drink and an hors d’oeuvre and acclimate yourself to your surroundings, you begin to get a better sense of what the various groups of people are talking about.

You notice that the certain guests are leading their discussions, while the others close by are nodding and perhaps repeating what was just said to others not close enough to hear it themselves.  You see that each circle tends to favor particular topics; some talk sports, others business, philosophy or politics.  Some groups seem passionately serious, while others appear to be having a great deal of fun.

That cocktail party, in essence, is Twitter. 24/7.  As a newcomer, or someone who perhaps occasionally peers into the party but never stays long, your mission—if you choose to tap into the power, reach and fun of Twitter that I mentioned earlier—is to figure out a way to get into one or more of the conversations, to connect with discussion leaders and listeners who share your interests.

In the coming posts, I’ll tell you how to do that.

Mary Anne Hahn, a.k.a The Word Genie, is a writer, marketing consultant and visibility expert who helps small business owners and solopreneurs connect with potential customers locally or worldwide.  You can find her on facebook at http://facebook.com/thewordgenie and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/writesuccess.

I Firmly Resolve…

After seeing numerous articles and blog posts over the past week about the pros and cons of making New Year’s resolutions, I needed to take a step back and assess where I actually stand on the issue.

What I came to realize was that I’ve been a resolution maker and breaker for as long as I’ve kept diaries and journals, which started around the age of 12. Yet, when recently asked by a friend on Facebook if I had any for the coming year, by golly, I was able to jump right in and list three!

Why, I wondered, would I keep up an annual ritual that apparently has historically yielded little benefit for me as a person or for the world at large over the course of several decades?  Did I really think making resolutions for 2014 would be any more effective than the ones I made in 2013, 2012, 2011…?

Or, conversely, were the resolutions I’ve made over the years really all that ineffective? Maybe not; after all, I have achieved at least some of the things I’ve set out to do in the past.

Here’s the thing: whether or not I’ve previously kept my resolutions, I find the whole concept of starting out with a clean slate at the threshold of a brand new year invigorating if I  and motivational.  I think that’s why all of us New Year’s resolution makers do it.  The way I look at it, if I don’t at least set goals for the next 12 months, what would I use as a compass to guide the way, or as a yardstick to measure my progress? And aren’t resolutions just that: goals that we want to set for ourselves?  If they’re important enough, if they’re milestones we really want badly enough and if they are good for us, then resetting one’s sights on them every January first doesn’t strike me as such a bad idea.

So if you haven’t set your resolutions yet for 2014 because others have pooh-poohed the idea as silly or a waste of time, I invite you to join me now.  It certainly isn’t too late.  Whether they involve personal or business goals, or a delicious combination of both, go ahead and set them, and embark on the journey towards making them a reality.

Wishing you all the best of health, prosperity and success in 2014.

Heartfelt Marketing

One of my favorite small business marketing strategies—which isn’t really marketing at all—is to hold an event or fundraiser to support a cause, show appreciation to customers or just to be a good community citizen.  While large companies often can and do write giant charitable checks, it’s the contributions of small business owners that I find most memorable and endearing.

I suppose the main reason I appreciate small business charitable acts over those done by mega-corporations is that the small business owner almost always sacrifices something while in the act of giving, while the corporate senior leadership sacrifices nothing on a personal level, and the corporation itself is not impacted in the least.  Moreover, big companies tend to befriend big charities, while smaller or sole proprietorship businesses often look to support smaller, more personal causes.

Another reason is that small businesses can be more creative and personal in their giving.

Sure, regardless of size, the goodwill generated by being charitable makes good business sense.  The difference is, small business owners have hearts; corporations don’t.

In this vein, here are some of the cool ways small businesses have supported causes—and garnered some public rapport at the same time:

  • The tiny tavern that threw an annual party where “admission” was the donation of personal care products and children’s toys, which were given to a local battered women’s shelter;
  • The bait and tackle shop that throws a free fishing derby for kids every year. The shop provides the bait and trophies, and arranges for a free lunch afterwards.
  • The funeral director who collects and repairs used bicycles for an annual holiday giveaway.
  • The restaurateur who provides free meals to a group of volunteers on a specific project.
  • The rug dealer who cleans and donates used rugs to charities.

Is there some way you and your business can find and support a cause, program or idea in a creative manner?  Doing so can do more than help others—it can boost your spirits your business as well.

Marketing in a Word

If you live practically anywhere in New York state, or in parts of Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, California or the Carolinas (although now mainly in upstate New York and Florida), there’s a good chance you’ve heard of—or actually heard fromBilly Fuccillo.  A big man with a booming voice, Fuccillo relentlessly hawks his car dealerships on TV, radio, billboards and buses, summing up his business in one word: “Huge.”

His inventory is “huge.”  His sales goals are “huge.”  His car lots boast huge inflatable animals that include the humungous (I mean “huge,” of course) blue Super Deal Dog, an even more enormous (don’t make me say it again) blow up bull, and a gargantuan gorilla that actually was the victim of a kidnapping a few years back.  But that’s another story.

Fuccillo certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  In his ads, he frequently talks over the other announcers in what I assume is supposed to be unbridled enthusiasm for what he has to offer.  He waves his arms.  He bellows.  And he can stretch the word “huge” out over several seconds—“Huuuuuuuuuu-gah!”  His ads are like nails on a chalkboard for a lot of people.  In fact, there’s even a “We all hate Billy Fuccillo TV commercials” Facebook page—although, granted, it hasn’t been too active lately.  But as you can imagine, the comments there aren’t exactly supportive of the big guy’s marketing tactics.

Still, like him or loathe him, his ads work.  He could almost trademark the word “huge;” say that word around here and I’ll bet nine times out of ten people think of Fuccillo, and know darn well what business he’s in.  Personally speaking, I often refer to situations and events as “Billy Fuccillo huge,” and I’m certainly am not the only person who does so.

More importantly, in just over three decades Fuccillo has risen from a lowly car salesman who applied to the same car dealership four times before getting hired, to CEO of his own automotive empire, with  a net worth of $100 million and over 1400 employees in his 22 dealerships and 30-plus franchises. He has won  awards as the top Kia dealer in the U.S., sends his employees on cruises and gives generously to charities (which is, interestingly, something he seldom crows about—his philanthropic side is remarkably low key).  Again, all of these are testimonials to the success of his marketing endeavors.

So for every person turned off by Fuccillo’s bombastic approach, there are obviously plenty of potential customers who enjoy, appreciate or simply remember it enough to check out his websites, stop by one of his dealerships and make a purchase.  In fact. only one other local dealer, Todd Caputo  (“the Used Car King”) comes close to matching Billy Fuccillo’s celebrity (or, dare I say, ad budget),  and maybe Jane Fox , who has a memorable delivery  of her very own.  And neither come close to matching the Fuccillo auto empire.

Your Word Genie challenge for today, if you use to accept it, is this: What could be your very own “huge”?  If you were to sum up your business in one word—or even a short phrase—could you? What would it be?  What would make your business stand out  from others of its kind, make it or you more memorable than your competitors.  And would you have the courage to stick with it, stay behind it, even if turns some people off?

Have a little fun with this.  Billy Fuccillo sure did—and it has made a “huge” difference in his business and overall success.

7 Easy to Implement Steps for Using Facebook to Promote Your Business

It’s about quality, not quantity.  In fact, on Facebook less is more, most of the time, when it comes to business posts.  In a world where people are pommeled by marketing messages from every direction, one of the reasons they flock to places like Facebook is to catch up and share with each other, not to get inundated by even more intrusive ads.  So you don’t need to spend a lot of time there when you’d rather be working on other aspects of your business.

  1. Mix business with pleasure.  Your business posts shouldn’t always be about your business.  Mix announcements about your business with posts that are fun or informative.  More on this in the tips that follow.
  2. Give your followers something they can use.  When you come across an article, photo or video that your customers might enjoy or learn from, share the link with them on Facebook.  These can be indirectly related to your business, so they come across more as networking rather than advertising.  For example, if you own a car dealership, you can post reviews regarding specific makes and models and car care tips; if your business is a restaurant, maybe you could share some nutrition facts, cooking tips or historical articles on the origins of different dishes. 
  3. Stir in a dose of local flavor.  This is one of my favorites, and can be done in so many ways.  From posts that support a local sports team to links to local news articles or upcoming events, you can have some fun engaging with your customers on Facebook.  One restaurant I know did a great job with this, looking up tidbits on local history and sharing photos of the surrounding area.  These were often shared by the restaurant’s followers, broadening that business’s reach. 
  4. Run contests now and then.  The big boys do it—Amazon, Staples, Maybelline, Sony, Levi, Ford to name a few.  Why not you?  Your followers already know and like you.  Why not give them a chance to win a gift certificate, a free service or a special offer?  Contests are also something that Facebookers love to share with friends and family.  As you can probably guess by now, having people share posts about your business is one of the most effective Facebook marketing tactics you can employ.  Viral word of mouth is what you’re ultimately after. 
  5. Offer Facebook only specials.  This one’s pretty self-explanatory.  Offer the occasional special only to someone who follows your business on Facebook would know about.  You can do this by having people mention your Facebook page in order to get the price break, or instruct them to print off your business’s  Facebook page. 
  6. Post customer photos. Another self-explanatory strategy, this one personalizes your customer engagement big time.  Whether you capture them posing next to your personally or enjoying one of your product or services, spotlighting customer photos gives both them and your business a moment in the Facebook sun.  
  7. Ask your followers a question now and then.  Social media in general, and Facebook in particular, is all about engagement.  Posing questions is a particularly effective way to interact with your customers and fans.  Keep the questions fun and non-controversial—for example, things like “What do you like most about living in [your city or state]?”  “What place would you like to travel that you haven’t visited yet, and why?”  You can even occasionally tie the questions back into your business, e.g., a car dealership might ask what was the first car their followers ever owned, a local pharmacy might question what sort of home remedies people endured as children, a florist can ask about favorite flowers, and so forth. 

Facebook allows you to put a personal and personable face on your business, strengthen your relationship with existing customers and connect with new ones.  Put these seven tips into regular use and watch your business grow by leaps and bounds.

 

 

 

10 Social Media Tips to Elevate Your Holiday Sales

©Terri Seymour

The holidays always come upon us faster than we expect them too so making sure your business is prepared can be challenging.  With social media comes more ways to brand your business for the holidays.  Social media marketing is always a powerful way to build your business but there are some tips and tricks you can integrate to elevate your social media for the holiday season.

Last year’s Cyber Monday brought in $1.4 billion in online spending which made it the largest shopping day in internet history.  This year promises to increase so be ready and be a part of it!

1. Show Appreciation – Everyone wants to be appreciated and your potential customers are no different.  Offer free gifts, coupons, or other specials to show your appreciation for one and all.

2. Holiday Events – Provide fun competitions and events in which your visitors and customers can participate.  Throw an online holiday party with themed promotional offers such as 12 Days of Giveaways or Tis the Reason for Giving.  The possibilities are endless for offering holiday themed gifts and giveaways.  Promote these events on all your social sites as well as your main site and offer incentives for participation.

3. Holiday Engagement – Encourage your friends and followers to share their holiday tips and tricks.  Most people love sharing their ideas especially for the holidays.  Get people involved in active holiday discussions and debate s.

4. Holiday Video Marketing – Create fun themed holiday videos to share with your fans and followers.  A fun marketing twist would be to embed a discount code somewhere in the video to provide more incentive for people to watch.  You could also post a clue to finding an even bigger and better discount or free gift.  Post these holiday videos on your social sites for all to see.   Make them short, interesting and as holiday-themed as possible.

5. Share Tips and Hints – On the flipside, be sure to share holiday tips and hints as well.  Even short tutorials or ecourses with a holiday theme would work well.  Remember, you want to be a resource for your friends and followers, not just make a sale!

6. Daily Drawing or Contest – Hold daily contests or drawings on your social sites to get people to come and visit every day.  For example: 12 Days of Christmas Trivia.  Post a Christmas trivia question each day and with each correct answer comes a chance at a big prize or discount.

7. Points for Prizes – On the same track, give points for each visit per day and offer specials, prizes, gifts, etc. for so many points.

8. Decorate for the Holidays – Make changes to your sites/pages for the holidays.  There are many options for graphics to easily add to your site.  Change your Facebook cover photo to a heartwarming holiday scene.  Add some holiday lights to your site.  Get festive and spread that holiday cheer!

9. Encourage Giving – Inspire people to give to charities as much as they can.  Let them know that through you, they can get what they need AND give to people in need.  Donate a percentage of all your holiday sales to charity.  If they prefer, let the customer choose the charity.  Provide options for them so they feel more in control.  Giving and helping others in need is one thing we can all do to help each other.

10. Start Early – The holiday season seems to get longer and longer so do not wait to start your holiday marketing.  The big stores now start marketing Christmas in September so be sure to be there as well.  Start planning your holiday marketing several months ahead of time so when the season is upon us, you are well-prepared.

Marketing is an art form like any other.  You need to have imagination and creativity to come up with innovative, successful campaigns.  The holidays provide you with a platform to really soar in your marketing efforts.

Happy Holidays and Masterful Marketing to You!

About the Author:
Terri Seymour has over 15 years of internet marketing experience and has helped many people start their own business.  Visit her site for free articles, resources, information, resell ebook business opportunity and more.  Subscribe to the RSS Feed for her free business building ebook with MRR. http://www.SeymourProducts.com

Are You Falling Out of Love with Your Business?

Has your business gotten to be a drag lately?  Does it seem like you spend more time doing tedious tasks and less time doing things you love to do—to the point that you sometimes don’t even know what it is that you love to do anymore? Are you finding yourself doubting your business idea or, if you’re already in your own business, sometimes regretting your decision to do so? 

I see it all the time.  Heck, I’ve lived it.  Initially, you throw yourself headlong into to your business like there’s no tomorrow.  You take the best courses, read the best books and/or follow the best advice you can find…then you put in tons of hours, at first feeling inspired and driven and even emancipated from the ho-hum life you see so many of your friends and colleagues living.  You have the theme song from the old TV sitcom “Laverne and Shirley” playing in your head (or from the movie “Rocky,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Flashdance”…you get my drift).  

But days turn into weeks turn into months, and you’re not seeing a return on your investment of time and effort.  Oh, you might get some results in dribs and drabs, some slight responsiveness to your marketing efforts.  And those dribs and drabs were exciting at first, right?  But over time they seem more like some sort of water torture. 

Not only that, you’re just plain tired—tired of doing all the giving and getting so little in return.  Tired of the long hours, the seemingly endless hurdles and setbacks, the dearth of anything feeling even remotely like fulfillment.  Maybe you should just get a job and collect a paycheck like “normal” people. 

Sure you can do that.  But before you make the decision to throw in the towel on your business, I want to ask you a couple of things to consider: 

First, have you ever heard Napolean Hill’s “Three Feet from Gold” story, or Russell Conwell’s “Acres of Diamonds” speech?  Might you consider the possibility that, as success coach Fabienne Frederickson would say, you’re merely encountering “the big breakdown before the big breakthrough”?  Because let me tell you something—I look back at so many of the undertakings I’ve abandoned in the past and clearly see now that if I’d just stuck with one of them just a little longer…Could that possibly be where you are as well? 

Second, although a steady paycheck is nice, it’s growth (or even continued existence) lies in the hands of others.  Whether you get a one percent increase or an five percent increase or any increase at all is, in many companies, pretty much left to someone else to decide.  Is that really what you desire? 

Third, and I really, really mean this, I think the world needs more entrepreneurs, not less.  Our future survival lies with the pioneers, just as it always has—not with bailed out, top heavy, overly cautious corporations.   Creative genius frequently withers on the vine in a stifling corporate environment.  Not so among entrepreneurs.  If you’re trying to get your own business up, running and thriving, everyone benefits if you succeed.  Really. 

So how do you rekindle the romance you felt towards your business when you first started out?  Here’s what’s working for me: 

  1. Finding and following the successes of others who are doing what I want to do.  I find it very inspirational to hear or read about what challenges others in my field have overcome, discoveries they have made, and which of their efforts had the biggest impact on their bottom lines.  These people become my mentors, whether they know it or not.  I heart them. :-)
  2. Journaling and/or meditating with the goal of remembering why I wanted to go into business for myself in the first place.  There’s nothing quite as invigorating as remembering your own “big why”—the life you wanted to create through your business, the people you hoped to connect with and help, the values you wanted to live by that weren’t valued within the confines of your former day job culture.  Reconnecting with this and holding it front and center is bound to provide you with a surge of entrepreneurial energy.
  3. Having fun with my marketing.  I found that when I stopped censoring my voice and my message, and allowed myself to inject more of my personality into both, it was like shrugging off a straightjacket or wiggling free from a cocoon.  What actions would make running your business fun again?  Start making them a regular part of your business strategy, and watch your enthusiasm soar. 

Last but certainly not least, you also should be looking at what aspects of your business you most love to work on, and what tasks should be outsourced or delegated.  As small business owners, we sometimes get tangled in our own weeds.  No wonder we feel dragged down at times. 

Here’s hoping that implementing some or all of the above helps you fall back in love with your business.  I’m wishing you every success. 

 

 

 

 

Need More Customers? 7 Very Costly Mistakes You May Be Making with Your Small Business Advertising Budget

Let’s face it–you work WAY too hard on your business to be throwing good money down the drain.  And yet I see it nearly every day: small business owners plunking down hard earned cash on misguided attempts to advertise their businesses.  What’s more, these costly mistakes tend to fall into one or more of seven distinct categories.

Want to know what those mistakes are, and whether or not you make any of them? Well, here goes:

  1. Not having an advertising strategy.  Sure, it can get real confusing knowing when and where to advertise, and many of the options are so damn expensive.  But it pains me to see so many small business owners, who often diligently plan every other aspect of their business, neglect doing the same with their marketing.  So they try throwing a little (or a lot) of money here, and some more over there with absolutely no clue as to whether or not they’re getting any return on their marketing investment (more on that below).  What a terrible waste of your terribly hard-earned cash. 
  2. Not advertising where your target customers or clients will see it. I personally know of a businessman who spends $500 a month on an ad in a local free weekly newspaper—when less than 10 percent (and I’m being generous) of his customers are 1) local or 2) even know that newspaper exists.  In fact, a significant portion of his business comes from out of state.  He would probably be better off wagering that six grand at the track.  Or spending it on me. Hey, good idea.  Think I’ll give that guy a call when I finish this article. 
  3. Not testing the return on investment for your advertising dollars.  Have you ever once asked new customers how they heard about you?  Or kept any sort of track as to what brought someone to your website (you do have a website, right?)?  Then how the heck would you know whether or not you spend your advertising dollars wisely?  Any questions as to why I might consider this one of the seven costly mistakes you’re making?  And have you ever seen a paragraph made up entirely of questions before? No?  
  4. Not advertising consistently.  This is a direct result of not having a marketing strategy.  You get the calls from salespeople trying to get you to advertise here and there, and sometimes you say yes and sometimes you say no, and even when you do say yes you often feel buyer’s remorse almost immediately and never purchase advertising from them again.  Doing this makes your business a moving target which, even if you’re not a marketing expert, you must realize is just not a good idea.  At least I hope you do. 
  5. Not advertising creatively or memorably.  There’s a chain of car dealerships whose owner has made the word “huge” his one word slogan and brand.  Sometimes annoyingly so, perhaps, but at the same time very successfully—when people hear the word “huge,” they automatically think about this specific businessman and, subsequently, his dealerships.  The same thing can’t be said for probably about 95 percent of small businesses.  So why waste money on advertising that no one is going to remember? 
  6. Trying too hard to advertise creatively or memorably.  I could probably come up with a dozen examples of this, but once a commercial, a jingle or an ad makes me wince, I do my damnedest to try and forget I ever saw or heard it…which means I am also trying my damnedest to forget the business associated with it…and chances are I’m not the only one.  Just something to keep in mind.  
  7. Relying solely on traditional media for your advertising.  Do you see people walking around with hefty phone books, TVs or even radios anymore?  Then why spend a small fortune advertising with them?  In fact, nearly everywhere you look, people are checking their smartphones and tablets for updates.  If they never see your business there, what’s going to make them think of you?  Besides, think about it—when was the last time you looked up a business in the Yellow Pages.  Right, I thought so. 

So are you making any of these costly advertising mistakes?  Or several of them? Then you need to start treating the marketing aspect of your business with the same care, foresight and attention to detail that you use in running the business itself.  Your future success depends on it. 

 

Building Your (Marketing) Field of Dreams (Part 2)

In Part 1, I talked about what you need to know before you start (or keep) spending your money on advertising or online marketing.  That’s how you lay the foundation for effective ad campaigns that actually give you a return on your investment—because that’s what good marketing should be, an investment, not merely an expense. 

Now it’s time to use the information you’ve gathered to plan out a marketing strategy that’s tailor-made for your business.  No cookie cutter solutions here.  We’re talking customized, baby! (This is where the Word Genie starts getting all nerdy and excited—some people go gaga over classic cars, certain musical groups or baking the perfect pie.  I get pumped talking about driving new and repeat customers to small businesses!) 

OK, but enough about me.   What did you learn from answering the questions in the previous post?  Or what should you have learned? 

  1. You should now know what you want your advertising to do.  Whether it’s to get people to pick up the phone and call you,  fill out a request form on your website or get them to walk through your door, you need to know this.  This will enable you to create what is known as a “call to action” that specifically addresses the action you want your existing and potential customers to take.
  2. You should now know who you are trying to reach with your advertising campaigns.   This can help you decide not only where to advertise, but what kind of tone to use in your marketing efforts.  Let’s face it, 21 to 30 year olds speak and listen differently than people over age 65.
  3. Your answers to those questions will also show you when to step up your ad campaigns.  Keep in mind that customers may need lead time before doing business with you.  For example, if your business is seasonal, you may need to promote yourself a couple of months prior to your opening day.  You can now start scheduling your marketing based on what times of day, week, month or year would have the most impact.
  4. Last but by no means least, you should have a greater understanding as to how to reach new and repeat customers.  Whether they listen to the radio in their cars on the way to work, frequently check their Facebook statuses, read the daily newspaper or pick up free weekly and monthly publications, your ads need to be there.  

I actually hate seeing small business owners waste precious time and money on ads that no one will see or, more importantly, take action on.  The next time you’re approached by an ad salesperson, keep in mind the who, what, when and how of your marketing strategy before deciding whether or not to buy.  OK? OK.

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