For Overwhelmed Business Owners: How Online Marketing For Small Business Gives You Breathing Room

Online marketing for small business owners can be somewhat tricky, but, if done successfully, it can make running a small business simpler. Online marketing can make a business successful while, at the same time, allow a business owner an easier time running her business. So, how does online marketing for small business really help business? Does it really make things easier for business, or simply simpler?

Online Marketing For Small Business Or Fail

Well, let me put it this way, small business needs to be aggressively marketed, no matter what, or the competition will eat it alive. If your business is not marketed properly, it will fail — plain and simple. As it is, the never ending race for new business is exhausting and consumes the bulk of my time. I love courting great prospects and the challenge to convert them into great customers. What’s better than bringing a great customer into your family? How can business get any better than growing your family of great customers?

So, why should a business be marketed online as opposed to marketed elsewhere? Let me show you several reasons:

First of all, marketing online gives small business owners a greater sense of control over where and to whom the business is marketed. To whom ought you to market your business? Understand your two or three best customers intimately and coalesce that intimacy into buyer personae. Focus on your buyer personae. If you’re not selling Pampers or used cars, do not market to Pampers and used car buyers. Online marketing is much better than traditional marketing for laser focus on target markets.

Focus On Online Marketing For Small Business

If your business sells rare antiques, you don’t want teenagers to be the majority of people seeing your advertisements. With online marketing, a business owner easily chooses on which online media to market her business. She can monitor the demographic viewing her website to help determine whether or not that online media is where she wants her business advertised. Marketing to the right demographic is one of the most important factors in generating sales, because targeted leads are more readily closed. This is accomplished most easily marketing small business online.

Furthermore, online marketing for small business makes growing business easier because online media are more readily changed. They don’t need to be as on top of marketing strategies as they needed to be when they ran ads in print or some other offline media. Have you ever tried to change the color palette on a billboard? How quickly can you change from black-and-white to color Yellow Pages spread?

What does this mean? Well, I’m not saying that a business owner won’t have to monitor her marketing strategies closely. Whether they are online or off, one size never fits all. Some techniques will work and others don’t. Some strategies may work today and no longer work next year.

Measure Online Marketing For Small Business

Nevertheless, it’s far easier to monitor effectiveness online, and easier to test multiple alternatives simultaneously. With a simple click of a button, the business owner can see how many websites visitors she’s attracting from particular advertisements.

More to the point, it’s easier than ever to gather metrics and measure crazy stuff like visitors to leads to sales ratios. How profitable is your Yellow Pages campaign? Traditional offline marketing cannot provide clear cause and effect metrics. It’s exceedingly difficult to monitor how much interest in a business is being generated from TV commercials, newspaper ads and telemarketing calls. Online, these statistics are readily monitored.

Online Marketing For Small Business Is Smart

Overall, online marketing for small business is just plain smart! Making the business owner’s life much simpler is perhaps the single greatest benefit of online marketing.

Lessons From Iowa for Small Business Owners

Perceptions

We have just witnessed the battles for dominance of the Republican and Democratic mindset at the Iowa Caucus. The Iowa Caucus is not just another Caucus. It is considered to be of tremendous significance in helping to determine the ultimate outcome of candidates challenging for the Presidency of the United States. Hence, its’ importance and why the eyes of the political classes, the media circus and the faithful followers attach such significance to the result.

Influence

What has that got to do with Small Business? It has a fair deal of built-in lessons for anyone and everyone interested in the multi-million world of advertising and marketing. It presents opportunity to analyse what Branding, Marketing, Competition, Positioning is all about. It is presents incisive insights to the influence of the media and a glimpse, at least, at what forces and agendas are leading or behind the drive to influence, in the case of Iowa, the minds of the voting public.

Communication

The identical tools, tactics and strategies are at play in influencing how we chose our services and products in the market place. Additionally, now, we have the increasing use of technology, TV., Cinema, Smartphone, Cyberspace, all additional and speedier methods of conveying powerful messages, incessantly invading and distracting our mental space.

Our conversations are dominated by accounts of what we have just seen or heard on the Internet, through Social Media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and, of course, Radio and Television.

Conditioning

Messages, messages, messages – constant, incessant, injections of ideas and thoughts into our brain-cells – subtly insinuating how best we ought to respond in order to be ahead of our contemporaries in whatever way we feel a need to compete. Even the urge to compete is built into the process – offering a, “Call to Action”. These are scientifically and specifically structured so as to trigger a psychological and, or emotional response from the targeted public. We are being conditioned to respond in a given way and, frequently, within a time specific frame-work so as to add urgency to our response.

Return on Investment

The point about the Iowa Caucus is that, in spite of the millions of dollars invested by the leading candidates on both sides, the message did not land in the way it was meant to land. in the minds of the targeted audience and, consequently the multi-million-dollar investment in preparing and delivering the message did not yield the anticipated result.

Lessons for Small Business

The lesson for Small Business Owners is relatively easy to absorb. It is critically important to have a clear sense of what unique, distinguishable value you wish to offer to your potential followers. In the case of business, we normally refer to leads, prospects, customers or clients. What product or service is your business offering and what makes it different from the competition? General, sweeping, platitudes describing your service or offer will not necessarily penetrate sufficiently to generate the particular response you need. It requires careful thought and consideration in the preparation, presentation and delivery of your message in order to ensure that it is directed at the particular, rather than the general, target audience from which you wish to generate a response; it must contain something of unique and distinguishable value. Finally, your message must have something of importance to say. You must say it well and say it often.

If you are engaging someone or agency to assist you in constructing, presenting or delivering your message, you will be more assured of a good return on your investment if you ensure they understand what it is you wish to convey and possess the requisite knowledge, understanding, skill and capacity to prepare and present it so as to obtain optimum benefit.

Dialing In on Mobile Apps for Small Business For More Fans to Become Customers

Once our mobile apps for small business are designed smartly for our industry it is time to turn our attention to our highest priorities – fans.

These are the people who may be today’s customers. With the right strategy you can soon develop tomorrow’s prospects. You can even expand geographically if it makes sense.

Target Audience – Target Needs

There are few businesses that can meet every type of group’s primary needs. Successful smaller firms often have an innate ability to attract a particular demographic group.

One of the keys to successfully using mobile apps for small business is to know the specific profile of your strongest demographic group.

Consider age, gender, income or even race, ethnic or faith considerations.

Next, are you primarily trying to reach current customers who already know your business and equip them to introduce your offerings to others?

Or, do want to engage a totally new group from the start?

Mobile apps for small business can easily be designed with loyalty and repeat business criteria.

Most mobile apps for small business primarily lead with something fun and engaging. Just be sure to keep the most dominant felt need your target audience is likely experiencing the most frequently.

Not sure what this is yet? This will be much easier to determine from your target demographic profile.

For example, a studio photographer targets early bird specials for high school juniors for the senior portrait market. Their mobile apps for small business targets busy working parents with attractive referral discounts as well.

One felt need that is often overlooked for mobile apps for small business surrounds status. Be sure to include a social forum where your fans can share what they are most proud of accomplishing.

Examples can include recognizing local sports teams and their fans championship season with a picture gallery. How about proud grandparents sharing their favorite pictures of special times with their grand kids? Don’t forget area alumni, chamber or association groups for posting professional awards and designations.

What Zip Codes Do You Want to Reach?

What is exciting about mobile apps for small business is that with a minimal budget you can literally reach anywhere in the world. Just think of the popular social media tools today that are a growing global phenomenon. Facebook is closing in on 1 billion registered users. Smart phones are forecasted to be at 1 billion users by 2016.

At the same time you can much more quickly become a local leader in your market with the right mix of mobile apps for small business.

In fact Silicon Valley recognizes this area as one of the hottest investments in the social, local, mobile market.

Here are some tips to help you grow your footprint as big as you want to.

Local – The local audience is fleeing traditional print sources such as yellow pages in droves. Instead the explosion of smart phone use makes mobile apps for small business the ideal place for your audience to find you. Be sure to really refine your unique brand and niche. The more you make it positive and interesting the more likely your new fans will want to share it with their friends.

Regional – If you have identified an unmet need with your brand and have an exceptional level of product and service why not look regionally? Do some important due diligence on the competition. Reach out to some local affiliate partners that can help you get off to a faster start.

It is often wise to have a clean and simple front door like a welcome or offer page on a regionally branded web site or landing page. Just be sure your regional brand identify is reflected throughout what you offer.

National – With e-commerce growing fast on the web more people are used to buying products from anywhere. Build on this with your mobile apps for small business. Once again 3rd party affiliates will be important to your success. Just be sure they have a strong established national reach and your product or service brings real additional value to what they already provide their current customers.

Other important factors in choosing the right mobile apps for small business include your ability to offer a unique enough product or service at the right price that will trump local offerings.

Any major change in geographic coverage requires thoughtful planning. Always make sure you can deliver what you promise with timely delivery and service. The reward of building confidence with your customers comes with equipping them with the right mobile apps for small business that they will want to share with their friends about what benefit you provided them.

Think Globally and Grow

With select products and services on the web it’s now more common for small firms to have a national and even global presence. Simply leverage that in your unique way with the right suite of mobile apps for small business. Just be sure you do the due diligence on complying with international commerce and taxation regulations.

Finding new fans you can turn into customers is made much easier with the right mobile apps for small business strategy.

Top 5 Ways to Generate Leads for Small Businesses

The ever-increasing competition in the world of business has meant that small and home-based businesses can effectively run against industry giants and survive, even grow and be successful. Yet this same competition brings into stark relief the importance of generating leads successfully and converting them into paying customers. There are myriad ways to generate more business, both traditional and non-traditional, and either can be just as effective if implemented carefully, creatively and innovatively.

1. Networking Events

One of the oldest and surest ways to generate more leads is networking. Chamber of commerce events, happy hours, after-hour mixers, business get-togethers for various purposes are excellent ways to get your business name in front of prospects. Remember, you can simply exchange business cards and still get good leads even though you are not a savvy social animal. Just make sure you are creating a database and saving all the information in a CRM system.

2. Trade shows

Most industries host exclusive trade shows, expos, and exhibitions to showcase their products and services. Get in line, set up a booth, and provide a more hands-on experience and understanding of what you do and why you should be chosen. Ask those interested to fill out forms and surveys, and build a database with their information to capture and convert leads.

There are many CRM systems out there if you research online. Remember, the key here is to adapt to faster ways of building customer database so you can get the marketing started. This is NOT the time to contemplate about how much you can save. Invest in the right tools early so you get the dividends later.

3. Your Website/Blog

If you want your small business to succeed, you must have a website and preferably a blog. I can not stress this enough but these tools are not only useful to ‘display’ your business info but also valuable resource to generate leads. You can offer free goodies on your site such as ebooks, research papers, webinars etc with content packed with value for your end users and they would be happy to provide you with their contact information in exchange to get more valuable stuff from you in the future. Use proper strategy to incorporate the location of the opt-in forms.

4. Customer Referrals

A happy customer is worth $10000 dollars worth of marketing. Do your best job to serve your existing customers and they would be happy to spread the word to their friends and relatives. Don’t be shy to ask for testimonials and referrals and encourage their participation in advocating your business in the community in exchange for exclusive promotions or giveaways.

5. Social Media

One of the newest tools that is very effective, free and easy to use for small business is social media. Create buzz and generate awareness of your products and services on Facebook, Pinterset, Google+ and other platforms that will engage your friends and their friends. Use creativity to attract and offer something of value to those who would participate in a survey or promotion.