5 Successful Marketing Tips For Small Businesses in Any Economy

Marketing your business and building your brand is extremely important in any economic environment for a small business to ultimately succeed. The recent poor economic conditions around the world have dramatically impacted everyone’s business, while at the same time creating great opportunities for those who have continued to market their business. Studies have shown again and again that continuing to market your business in all types of economic environments is crucial for long term success.

History has shown the importance of marketing in both down and up economies. Take Sears a well known retailer that has prospered in the past by aggressively marketing in poor economies. Montgomery Ward was once the leading retailer that dramatically pulled their marketing back during WWII. Sears on the other hand increased their marketing and overtook Ward as the leading retailer. Almost 40 years later Sears ended up acquiring the bankrupt Ward.

History has shown us that most businesses dramatically reduce marketing during economic downturns. Businesses become fearful cutting back advertising and crucial employees. Cutting back during a poor economy or an economy that is recovering is absolutely the worst thing to do for a business that looks to be the leader. Studies have shown that businesses that maintained or increased their marketing spend during poor economies experienced over 200% or more in sales revenue than the companies that decreased spend.

The following are 5 suggestions to succeed in any economic environment:

  1. Add Value & build relationships! Unlike big box retailers or larger service companies you as a small business owner have the upper hand. Larger companies are slow to react. As a small business owner you have the ability to connect with your customers and prospects by connecting with your community. Add local news & stories to any advertising to build the connection.
  2. Stay in front of customers! Email, call or visit existing customers as much as possible. Remember to look at what your cost is to attract a new customer and remember that it’s much easier to keep your existing customers than attract new ones.
  3. Reward your loyal Customers! Acknowledge customers in all types of economic conditions. Discount or gift to say thank you really creates stronger loyalty and builds long term relationships. Referrals also really increase because of this.
  4. Categorize your Customer Base! Look at your current typical customers and learn what commonality they have. Try to focus current advertising on that demographic or typical customer to increase your opportunity for success.
  5. Create & Maintain an Acquisition Strategy Model! Develop a process that prospects go through from the confirmation for an appointment, follow up phone call after appointment, follow up letter or postcard and whatever else you find helpful for you business. Regardless of the model keep it consistent and make sure to follow in both up and down markets.

These 5 suggested marketing tips are relatively simple to implement in any business model and will have great results on long term revenue. Remember that again companies that aggressively continued to maintain their marketing strategy in slower economies experienced much larger sales growth in better times. These 5 tips did not all require money to be spent and are powerful in all economic situations.

6 Internet Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Nowadays, the currency for measuring your brand’s value stands in the number of likes, tweets or views you receive. But being seen, heard and found amongst the relentless competition online can be exceedingly daunting and challenging.

Listed below we offer 6 useful internet marketing tips to help you promote your small business and gain a bigger following…

1. Establish your Main Goals

A business without goals cannot move forward. Of course, your ultimate goal should be to bring in more business, but do you have any specific goals that you want to meet? How can you meet those goals? Setting goals, even if just a single goal, is a great motivational tool for giving you something to work towards.

2. Evaluating Content

What sort of message does your website’s content project? Can visitors to your website learn from your content? Is it useful, interesting and well-written? Content is definitely king, so having high quality, valuable and business-specific content throughout the pages of your website is a very important internet marketing tool that helps you to reach out to an even broader audience.

3. Start Blogging

Blogging is highly advantageous to every business, no matter what size. Small businesses can benefit from blogging since it enables you to engage with your readers on a personal level, giving your brand a more ‘human’ element. Through informative, high-quality content you will become an industry leader.

From an SEO perspective, blogging enables you to insert important keywords into your articles and gain a better reputation from Google (search engines are constantly crawling websites for new content and rank you accordingly).

4. Your Title Tag

Most websites have a title tag usually located at the top of the browser window. Your title tag is essentially your company’s tagline so if you don’t have one then now is the time to invest in one. This is your opportunity to describe your business using your primary local search keyword.

5. What’s the Competition up to?

Visiting your competitors’ websites enables you to establish what your competitors are doing and saying. Though it’s not advised to copy your competitors, it is a good idea to find out what they’re up to and see what keywords and phrases they are using.

6. Read, Read, Read

Finally, never stop educating yourself about the world of internet marketing. Although it may seem like the rules are constantly changing, by continually educating yourself you will always be able to keep up with those latest changes and stay ahead of the competition.

Sales Tips for Small Business Owners

Small businesses are a source of livelihood for many and they contribute to economic growth of every nation. Small business owners range from work at home moms to individuals running small shops and sales is key to the success of these small enterprises.

Typically every small business owner is a sales person and this is because they know their business and products better than anyone else. Here are some sales tips for small business owners.

• Use of social media networks

We live in a digital age and social media networks are the way to go. Social media as a platform has millions of active users across the world at any given time. This makes it the best platform for marketing your business or products. To add to this it is also cheap compared to the contemporary marketing or advertising ways. Social media allows a large number of people to interact with what you are selling and you can create a presence on social media by creating a fan page and posting business related articles that interest your audience.

• Good relations with customers

In every business you will have some top buyers, those who buy your products or services from time to time and you cannot afford to lose such customers. The only way to keep them is by maintain a good customer relationship with them. Maintaining a good relationship with customers is one of the top sales tips used by many small business owners. You can maintain a good relationship with your clients by giving them after sale support. There are many businesses that sell their products and forget about the customers who bought from them. Most of such businesses are never there to listen to complaints from customers. When you give after sales support to your customers, you stand out and increase your chances of making more sales from return customers.

You can also improve customer relations by giving discount coupons. The world economy is not so good and many people are looking for discounts as a way of minimizing their expenditures. Discount coupons attract many customers to buy products or services from your business. You may opt to give discounts to return customers of customers who purchase in bulk.

• Confidence and product knowledge

Clients want to know about your product before they commit to buying it. This means that as a small business owner you need to have good knowledge about your product. You should be able to answer all the questions asked by your customers confidently.

Consistency is very important in sales and with the above tips you are assured of improved sales and growth of your small business.

SEO Tips for Small Businesses Online

Even when running a relatively small business, small business owners still have a lot of things in their heads. From handling day to day tasks, keeping ahead of the monthly dues, to finding alternatives and new opportunities for growth, the job of a small business owner can still be overwhelming.

With the shift of marketing strategies nowadays, on top of the regular manual concerns, small business owners have to be considered about SEO as well. Why? Because e-commerce demands a strong online presence if you want a business to stay afloat among the competition – and SEO is one of the most effective way to be found by customers.

Anyone who is familiar with the internet and Google has probably bumped into SEO somewhere before. But then again, only a few people know what exactly it is about as well as the best ways to integrate SEO into a business’ marketing plan.

Good thing there are already is a lot of SEO tips that you can use to take advantage of the services that search engine optimization can provide. On top of that, you can let search engine optimization work for you without shelling out a lot of time or money.

Every business needs some pointers, and here are some SEO tips for small businesses that are simple to do and are very affordable.

Double check your website

Before you let your website go live (submit it to the judgments of search engines), make sure that it is free from errors and/or violations. Make sure to clean up dead links and to check the html codes and so on to make sure that the search engine spiders can crawl freely through your website and index it properly.

One way of making sure that your website runs smoothly is to ask your friends and colleagues to check out your site and give you actual feedback of what they think. Visitors should not have a hard time navigating and using your website and it should be free from any visual distractions.

Have great content

Having a great web content means including relevant keywords seamlessly inserted within the body and at the same time are properly inserted in several entries in your site. In simpler terms, this means that you need to fill your site with rich and relevant content regularly and make sure that you always provide fresh entries to keep your readers hooked.

Have a strong link-building structure

Getting high quality links does not happen overnight, so try to be patient. However, with some online networking, consistent linking to good sites, blog comments, forum memberships and so on, bigger sites will notice you and your website and will eventually start linking to your own site.

Content Marketing Tip for Small Biz Owners: Create Fresh Content Every Day in Less Than 30 Minutes

As the owner of an SEO content writing service, probably the number one reason clients say they use our services is that they don’t have time to create content regularly. This is why you see many small business blogs updated so erratically.

A Common Content Marketing Strategy for Small Business Owners

The trajectory usually goes something like this… content will be uploaded regularly for a week or two (maybe three), then nothing for a month or so, then a sporadic post or two over a few months, then — complete silence.

Does this sound like you?

Create Content in Less Than Half an Hour – Every Day!

If so, here’s an easy way to come up with fresh content for your blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn account, etc. And, you can do it all in less than 30 minutes a day – really!

Comment on a Posts from Your Social Media Accounts

If you use Twitter, for example, find relevant posts to comment on and post that on your blog, website and/or social media outlets.

The quickest way to do this is to search for content via hashtag. For example, as a company that provides (SEO) content writing services, I frequently search for #ContentMarketing. Then, I’ll see what pops up. I may skim through a few articles, then pick something that I think can help my clients to comment on.

Note: Be sure to choose content that benefits your customers/prospects. Remember, content marketing is about sharing; not selling.

Here’s a recent example. I ran across the following article in my Twitter stream on Business2Community, 6 Tips For Repurposing Content To Make It Work Harder. I posted the link and title on my Facebook page, along with the following comment:

One of the biggest mistakes I see clients making is NOT making the most of their content. Here are some great tips for stretching one piece out — and getting maximum mileage out of it.

#3 is the easiest and quickest tip of all, especially for your social media interactions.

Hope your Wednesday is going well. As usual, we’re snowed under over here, but loving every second.:-)

This took me all of 15 minutes – the longest part was actually reading the article, which was very informative.

If you don’t have time to create content on a regular basis – but want to stay top of mind with your target audience – this is an excellent “content marketing shortcut.” It keeps you in the know, your audience in the know, gives you a chance to share some of your knowledge – and most importantly it keeps you top of mind with your customers and prospective customers.

The Importance of Content from You

While this content marketing tip is great and can be used regularly, at least once per week (more depending on your niche), you should write — or hire a content writing service to provide — some original, in-depth content to share. Because if you’re not, you can bet your competition is.

10 Survival Tips for Small Business Owners

The reality for many small business owners is that they were forced into starting something of their own. Perhaps they were retrenched, fired or unable to find a job.

What this means is that often small business owners really haven’t even had time to obtain some training in basic small business practices such as finance, human resources management and marketing.

The other real danger is that the small business owner works so hard in the business, trying to push for more sales, handling negotiations with suppliers, making month-end payroll and trying to get big customers to pay on time that they don’t catch major problems in their business before they become a threat to their businesses survival.

Newspaper reports recently indicated that about 4,000 businesses went insolvent in 2013. The causes for these business failures were not reported on but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure the usual fatal mistakes: bad business decisions, running out of cash, a market that has dried up or even an employee when employees who have embezzled the company.

Here are 10 practical survival tips for small business owners:

1. Stay inside your “circle of competence”: the investor Warren Buffett avoids making investments outside his “circle of competence”. Starting something new, venturing into a new market requires competence that the existing small business owner may not have. Stick to the knitting in bad times.

2. Keep focused on cash flow: When the cash dries up, the game is over. In hard economic times its important to monitor cash flow more frequently, if not daily. Set up a simple system and watch your cash like a hawk. Big customers want to take ever forever to pay and suppliers want their money now. This makes it vital to manage cash carefully.

3. Don’t sign sureties: when cash runs out, the temptation is to go to the bank to increase your overdraft. Don’t sign sureties that for a small loan require confiscation of all your business and personal assets. Enough said.

4. Temptation: Act ethically at all times: even what may seem harmless will become a major issue if it involves and an unethical business practice. Ensure you have a clear red line where you will not cross over. In this economy with people desperate, unethical, explotative small business are on the rise. Detect them early and avoid them at all costs. Some are not paying their taxes, operating illegally and not complying with health regulations and should be shut down by the relevant authorities.

5. Take time to work on your business: Working in your business gives you very little time to work on your business. Make time each week to review where your business is going and how you can improve your operations and increase your market.

6. Insurance cover: Have insurance cover in place for fire, theft and personal liability: It sounds like a no-brainer but how many small business owners have adequate insurance? Don’t be wiped out because of this.

7. Business advice: The biggest risk that a business often faces is poor business advice. Airlines and utilities are virtually bankrupt because of bad business decisions and have to be bailed out. Double check business advice and rely on your own common sense and savvy.

8. Avoid the dangerous number 1: there is a danger in having one big customer or one key supplier. Check your business for this kind of risk and make backup plans.

9. Keep a watchful eye out for unusual employee behaviour: One of your employees could be handling too many critical tasks, employees could be taking out stock without you knowing it and finance or bookkeeping employees could be involved in an invoicing scam. Watch out for suspicious behaviour.

10. Be frugal: keep costs down and avoid unnecessary purchase of new assets. Set your small business a cost reduction percentage target and stick to it.

These 10 tips for small business survival are just a few that any small business owner should keep in mind during these economic times.

If you are in any way concerned that there could be un-seen or hidden risks in your business, get in the right professionals or a business adviser before it’s too late.

You may be grudge them a professional fee but when you consider it is really a pittance compared to the cost of closing your doors.

SEO Website Tips For Small Business Owners

If you have a small business, then you know that there is much that is rewarding about it. You get to call the shots and run the business the way you want to run it. You can also enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that this business is something that you built yourself from the bottom up. On the other hand, when you have a small business, you are going to have to work extra hard to get noticed. In other words, there are a lot of larger businesses with more funding and more resources who are going to dominate the internet landscape. This means that you are going to have to be savvy when it comes to getting your name out there on the internet. Here you will find a few SEO tips for small business owners.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is a way of talking about strategies for getting your website to appear high on the list when people do relevant search engine searches online. You are first going to want to make sure that you are getting your effective keywords out there. In other words, you are going to need to do more than just have a pretty website. You should choose some strategies, such as putting up articles in article directories and starting blogs. These are free services that anyone on the internet can use and which will help to direct visitors to your site.

When you are using these SEO strategies, you are going to want to make sure that your titles, tags, and keywords are effective. This is how your articles and blogs will come up in general searches. In other words, you are going to want to make sure that you are hitting the right markets. What’s tricky about this is that you can’t use a search term that is too obvious, since there are other businesses that are using these same terms. If you sell garden supplies in Los Angeles, don’t make your keywords simply “garden supplies.” Try something more particular, such as “Los Angeles hand shovels.” The key is to be specific and get the most out of all the potential search terms.

You are probably going to want some help when it comes to website optimization. The good news is that there are online businesses that will help your small business get the recognition it deserves. In the online community, where consumers have more options than ever before, you really need to work to get your name out there. With a few simple tips and a specialist by your side, you are on your way to the top of the list.

Local Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

When it comes to the art of marketing many people seem to know random tips and have opinions about it but the people who really knows what works and what are the steps to take a small business from zero to success are not going to hand over all of their years of hard work to just any newbie or competitor who enters a similar market.

Today’s business world is quite complex and competitive markets seem to get tighter by the day, as a small business owner you need strategies, organization, creativity and you need to make a lot of “friends” as you develop your marketing plan. The first step is to always have some sort of flow chart which can be made from putting random ideas on a piece of paper, you can write down your budget, your options, costs and target markets you want to reach within your local community. Whether you are in a big or small town within the UK or anywhere in the world for that matter, knowing your potential customers and competitors should be one of the highest priorities.

If you are in business, you should have realized by now that your product is not “unique”, if it was you’d be monopolizing the niche you are in but since this is not the case you need to come up with a way to spin your marketing campaign to make your product sound and look unique to your prospects. You can offer a special guarantee, a trial, samples, free merchandise, discounts or any other kind of “incentive” which is going to add value to your product or service setting you apart from the competition.

After developing a good marketing idea and positive spin for your business products and services you need find a medium to advertise what you have to offer, this is where your networking skills will come in handy, many people love the “business card” approach but if it not done correctly you will be throwing away your fancy piece of paper. The number one mistake is to pay someone to distribute your cards on the streets or placing them on phone booths, etc. This practice will only degrade the look of your business and will drive people to your competitors who might be advertising through more professional mediums.

Always advertise to your target audience, for instance, it would be futile to advertise Real Estate deals on a high school football field, why? simply because the ones who will be looking at those ads will be teenagers who still have a lot of work to do before buying a house of their own, so consider places where your average customer would be exposed to your advertising

Another good way to get the word out is to use the web. As a smart business owner is your responsibility to learn new ways to advertise to your clients cheaply and effectively. Major search engines such as Google and Yahoo are excellent for this type of advertising since they are able to deliver “geo-targeted” visitors according to their “IP addresses” this only means that if you are operating in Whales, you will be able to target potential customers using these “geo-targeting” capabilities. Also if you advertise online try to avoid advertising through mailing lists unless the people you send emails to have opted to get your newsletter.

Today’s business world is complex and competitive so when it comes to marketing your business you must always think outside the box.

Newsletter Marketing Tips For Small Business

If you own and operate a small business and would like the BEST way to get new customers, add an abundance of referrals and ultimately drive your sales, then you must use a client newsletter. In fact newsletter marketing is something every small business can do no matter what they sell, how stiff their competition, or how far the economy falls.

But the best part of the whole equation is the simple fact that newsletter marketing is as close to a magic bullet as you’ll find.

Here’s a question and answer session to help you put the power of newsletter marketing to work in your small business.

Newsletter Marketing Tips:

What’s the most important part of a client newsletter?

I get this question all the time. And the answer I’m going to give you may shock and surprise you. But it’s the truth. So here goes: Get a newsletter out the door every month. Even if you have all the parts wrong, you’re better off doing something then waiting around until your newsletter marketing skills are ‘perfect’.

Why should you write and mail a client newsletter?

It’s an under the radar (and ridiculously fun) way to promote your business. Nobody expects to get a marketing message when they read a newsletter. And for this reason it becomes a great way to subtlety promote your products and services while also delivering a ton of extra value for your audience.

What is the best way to get a client newsletter mailed out?

Simply set aside time (about 4 hours per month) to write and mail a client newsletter. This takes some discipline in the beginning. But the more you do it, the easier and faster you’ll get.

Is there something that makes this easier?

Another great question. And like anything else practice makes perfect. So don’t beat yourself up if you’re not the king of newsletter marketing in the beginning. Go easy on yourself. Give yourself a chance to hone your chops, until you do become a rip roaring newsletter samurai.

Is there anything that must be in a client newsletter?

There are a host of things that must be in an effective client newsletter. But since it’s your newsletter you get to make the rules. Sure, my client newsletter would be different than yours. But then again, you and I are different people.

Who should get your client newsletter?

Every person that has bought from you, even if they haven’t purchased anything in a long time is a perfect candidate to receive your client newsletter.

So there you have it.

Six questions you can ask yourself to use the power of newsletter marketing to drive new customers, referrals and repeat sales into your small business.

Most Effective SEO Tips for Small Business Owners

Today, the internet has become a very dynamic marketing tool and with proper SEO; even the smallest businesses can be accelerated with opportunities. Internet opens you to a larger world and SEO, in form of the best marketing strategy, guides you through it. So, here are some of the most effective SEO tips for small business.

1. Keywords – This word is the key to successful business marketing. Initially, when internet marketing was the latest trend, single keywords were used and yielded results too. But today people use phrases to make a search. Watch out the trends in the analytics to find the popular ones.

2. Matter – Or as it is popularly known as- content. Content has to be catchy and convincing because it is this content that will make the visitors to buy your products or services. Avoid fluff and frills with keywords induced at any cost as that does not work anymore.

3. Mobile friendly interface – Cite this as most important of all SEO tips for small business. A good percentage of your potential customer may access internet on their phones. In order to cater them, make sure your website loads in mobile with equal ease.

4. Broken links – It is important to repair the broken links on time. Search engine does not rank the sites that have broken links or the one that do not work. However, if you work on WordPress, install the plugin that keeps a check on broken links and informs you so that you can take care of them on time.

5. Indexing – As you service your car periodically, you should index your webpage too. At the same time, updating and upgrading of the site is important as well.

6. Speed of the site – When discussing SEO tips for small business, speed of the website needs special mention. Traffic towards your page is directly proportional to the speed. Faster the site loads, more traffic visits the page.

7. Local search – Even before we could notice, we have started using local search. Thanks to Google Places and other sites of sort, local search is ‘the’ word today.

8. Personal correspondence – To rank your page, search engine must find other websites linked to yours. Since you cannot go on and start spamming your page, it is better to contact the vendors of related business and ask them to link their sites with yours while you place your link to their page.

9. URL structure – If your URL explains your content, search engines would prefer your page over the one which does not.

10. 404 files – Creating these files ensure that the users will come back to the home page even when they click on a broken link.

These are the most effective SEO tips for small business that can boost up the page ranks and eventually bring more business for you.