September 2012

 September 2012

10 Quick Ideas for Marketing your Business

By Mike Young & Jason Yerka

Marketing is not an exact science. Developing a winning formula is a challenging task that requires continued innovation. Although we may think of marketing as more of an art form, applying the scientific method can be very helpful to create a successful mix. To do this, we simply need to plan out our efforts, implement our plan, review the result, and adjust the plan based on our findings. Below we have listed a few quick marketing ideas that you will hopefully find helpful.

1. Everyone knows they need to have their business on Facebook (especially if you sell directly to consumers), but few people know how to make it effective.  Below are 5 tips to help you manage your Facebook page:

1.   The highest click through rate (forwarding of posts) happens on Wednesday at 3:00pm Eastern. This is the time to put out your most crucial weekly post.  

2.  People are going on to social media at work, they pay attention more during the morning and lunch.

3.  Facebook postings should be updated 3-5 times a week depending on your creativity and content.

4.  Asking people to share, forward, or re-post helps a lot! Enticing coupons are much more likely to be forwarded.

5.  Sponsored Posts – No one looks at the ads on the right hand side of Facebook. Because of this, Facebook uses Sponsored Posts. By sponsoring a post, it gets out to more people and their friends.

2. YouTube is the number two most used social media tool on the web.  Creating a video-advertisement for your company is becoming more and more important.  If people have the option to read a brochure (or website) versus watch a video, they will almost always choose the video.

3. While LinkedIn is a powerful tool for hiring and finding work, LinkedIn groups can also be used very effectively to find people with similar interests, qualifications, and positions. These connections can be used very effectively to generate sales leads, especially for business-to-business sales.

4. Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Sprout Social, Vitrue Publisher, Trendrr, TwitterCounter – These tools allow you to manage your social media efforts by providing a dashboard that shows you what is happening across all platforms. If you are using multiple social media venues, you should use one of these tools. Most of them cost some money, but there are some free versions for one or two users.

5. New Payment & Loyalty Tools - Square and Intuit Go Payment allow you to take payments from credit cards with your mobile device or tablet computer.  These tools allow small businesses to create powerful customer loyalty programs at a very low cost. While these tools frequently cost less than merchant accounts with banks, they do have certain drawbacks - especially if you’re dealing with orders over $1,000.

6. Although Google has a huge variety of products, 95% of their revenue still comes from search. This is because Google search is very effective as an advertising tool. While AdWords requires a fair amount of knowledge and experimentation, Google recently came out with AdWords Express to help greatly simplify the search listing advertising process. If you don’t have a lot of time or money to put into search engine advertising, AdWords Express is the product for you! Search engine marketing works for small business because you can set a monthly budget, it is fast and easy, there are powerful analytic tools for tracking, and you can change your campaign quickly and fit it to any market. Search engine marketing is much easier and requires less time than social media marketing.

7. Email Newsletters can provide a great way to keep clients thinking about your business. The content is critical and must be as engaging as possible. Here are a few email marketing tools to try: Constant Contact, iContact, Emma, Mail Chimp (Mail Chimp has a free program), and Email Contact (a local provider).

8. If you don’t have or are not effectively using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, you are well behind the times. Many powerful web-based solutions can be accessed at a reasonable price. A few examples to consider are, Act, Goldmine, and Solve 360. As with any database you keep, it is critical to remember that if you put garbage in a CRM, you will get garbage out.

9. If you are working to expand your customer base, one useful trick is to create a profile for each of your top 5-10 customers and look for commonalities. As you identify common traits, build a marketing plan to go after customers with similarities to your current top clients. You are more likely to have future success in similar industries where you have had it before.

10. If you are looking to start a new venture or expand into uncharted territory with an established business, primary market research is critical. Rather than just relying on secondary data, contact 50 potential customers and find out what they think about your idea and how they are currently meeting the need that you want to fill. Build your new offering(s) in a way that will both provide value to and make life easier for the people you contacted. Go back to your initial contacts with your new products and/or services and convert them to customers.

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