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Posts Tagged “small business marketing”

HubSpot Has Your Marketing Needs Covered

 According to recent market research, more than 15,000 websites are currently using HubSpot, an all-in-one marketing tool that aims to do for small and medium-sized businesses what full-fledged marketing consultants do for larger companies.

HubSpot strives to have every major marketing feature that small and medium-sized businesses need-Search Engine Optimization (SEO); lead generation, nurturing and tracking; blogging and social media management; and email marketing. Additionally, it has the analytics and reports to help companies figure out what’s working and what’s not.

Thousands of companies can’t be wrong. In fact, our user base confirms that HubSpot hits the mark. Not only does HubSpot do a good job of SEO for search engines, for example, but it delves deeper to grade keywords on social media sites and press releases. HubSpot also provides comprehensive lead tracking and nurturing tools and incorporates timed emails to prospective leads to increase the chances of conversion.

This solution is geared to the SMB in two ways. First of all, although the price may seem high (from $250 to $1500 per month, depending on quantity of users and campaigns), it’s much cheaper than buying tools separately or hiring a consultant.  All the tools come integrated – a huge added bonus. HubSpot’s value-add is really in the additional help (okay, sometimes hand-holding) that smaller companies sometimes need, especially when getting started. It ranges from the very simple (online training or webinars, for example) to the more complex (group training classes, 1:1 coaching, customized marketing plans).

HubSpot isn’t the only game in town-far from it. It’s got several worthy competitors that are well worth checking out. But so far, HubSpot is winning the game, one customer at a time.

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 According to recent market research, more than 15,000 websites are currently using HubSpot, an all-in-one marketing tool that aims to do for small and medium-sized businesses what full-fledged marketing consultants do for larger companies. HubSpot strives to have every major marketing feature that small and medium-sized businesses need-Search Engine Optimization (SEO); lead generation, nurturing and [...]

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local marketing

Local Marketing in 2014: 3 Tips to Thrive on Main Street

Brick and mortar retail may have lost its strength in recent years with the dominance of digital giants like Amazon, but local services on main street are alive and well. Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent every year in the U.S. at local businesses like hair salons, spas and even yoga studios, and those numbers [...]

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5 Marketing Lessons We Can Learn from Google

I am always looking for ways to help my small business clients get more results in their marketing.  This week I got an unsolicited telephone call from Google, of all companies, which started me thinking.  Why is Google, who is unquestionably the king of online marketing, engaging in telemarketing?  I’d be interested to hear what [...]

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86 Common Sense Marketing Ideas for Startups

When starting a business, marketing is (or should be) the business owner’s biggest priority. Yet many startups have no clue about marketing.  With that in mind,  I thought who better to learn what works in marketing than from those who have gone before? I reached out to established business owners across all industries to see [...]

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10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Market Your Business

Every business owner needs to make the most of their marketing dollars and sometimes thinking outside the box can help you do much more with less.  Here are 10 great ways to market your business without busting your bank account provided by business owners across the country.   I love writing posts like this.  The advice [...]

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5 Creative Marketing Ideas for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is Sunday May 13th, 2012, and is an excellent opportunity to build buzz for your business with some creative marketing! From Mother’s Day Contests to Mother’s Day themed promotions, here are 5 creative Mother’s Day Marketing ideas that will help you bring more customers in your door. 1. Create a Mother’s Day Gift [...]

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9 Big Marketing Ideas for Small Business

Small business owners are always on the lookout for that one big marketing idea that will catapult their business into the stratosphere.  What I’ve found, however, is that it isn’t just one marketing idea but many marketing ideas, implemented strategically and consistently over time that reap the best results.  Here are nine of my favorite [...]

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30 Ways to Make Your Business Stand Out From the Crowd

Let’s face it, starting a business can be very easy, but staying in business can be very difficult given that our customers have too many choices on where to spend their hard-earned cash.  So the question I posed to small business owners was “How do you make your business stand out from the crowd so [...]

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4 Reasons to Use Google+ to Market Your Business

Many of the small business owners I work with are suffering from social media fatigue.  The past few years have been a whirlwind of new technology that has left many of us wondering; “is all of this social media really worth while for marketing my business?” The recent introduction of Google+ for business into this [...]

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5 Tips for Using Email Marketing to Boost Your Business

Every small business owner understands the value of building relationships with customers.  But many of us get lost when it comes to building relationships with potential customers. As a business owner, I’ve learned that success in marketing is all about timing. The optimal time for a business to sell a product or service to a [...]

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5 Tips For Writing Your 2012 Marketing Plan

2011 is almost over and planning for the next year can get lost in the business of the of the holiday season. However, the best way to get 2012 off to a great start is to put some thought into your 2012 marketing plan outlining where you want to go and how you plan to get there.

For small business owners, your marketing plan can make all of the difference in your success. As you get ready to leap into the New Year, taking the time to develop a marketing plan will help keep you on track, ensure you are spending your marketing dollars effectively, and give you the focus you need to succeed.

I asked other small businesses for their thoughts  on how to build a successful small business marketing plan for 2012 and received many responses. Small businesses are taking a hard look at what worked and what did not work in 2011 so that they can focus their marketing dollars in the most profitable places. Others are looking for creative and innovative ways to expand their reach without expanding their marketing budget. To help you build the best marketing plan for your business, I pulled together the most consistent themes, sprinkled them with a bit of my own experience, and let the small businesses speak for themselves.

1. Begin at the End

In order to ensure you pick the best tactics and strategies to meet your marketing goals for 2012, you need to be clear about your goals. What do you need marketing to do for you in 2012? Are you looking to expand your market presence, bring in more customers, generate more leads, or break into a new market?

Beth Walsh from Clearpoint Agency, Inc. explained how they develop their marketing plan for the coming year.

We have several methods that we use to plan our marketing tactics, including a news release schedule and blog schedule, both of which are set-up as Excel spreadsheets. However, first, we are having a planning meeting with our staff of five where we will do a workshop on our key messages for the upcoming year. We plan our key messages based on what is true about our company culture and the services we deliver for clients and then we look for ways to differentiate from the competitors. We review competitors, look at their websites, marketing activities and press-pickup, and then we review our own in comparison.

2. Learn from Last Year

Look at your marketing plans for 2011 and compare them to actual results. Where were your marketing dollars most effective? Where were you unsuccessful in achieving the results you expected? What lessons can you learn from last year that will help increase the effectiveness of your marketing spend next year?

Catherine B. Ahles from Premier Aircraft Sales explained how experience dictates their marketing strategy.

Today, most aircraft purchasers do the bulk of their “hunting” online, rather than at their local airports. In 2012, we will be doing even more online advertising as well as creating more landing pages and other web-based tools. Incentives have become more important too. We will be offering things like free fuel for a year with purchase of a new aircraft. Also, we are still figuring out how to use Facebook to aid our customers in keeping up with new developments of interest. Our print advertising will go to bare minimum, and we will cease doing open houses and any trade shows except the very largest.

3. Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work

Understanding what worked and what didn’t is the first step, but in order to use that information effectively, you must also stop doing those things that aren’t working. For some small businesses, this can be difficult, especially when what isn’t working is one of those “marketing things” that every business is supposed to do.

Chris Tobias from School Skills shared this with me.

In 2012, we will no longer pay for advertising that does not directly drive sales. We will only pay for results. This means affiliate programs and partnering with publications to pay them based on the sales an ad produces rather than just paying for ad space. It means no more pay per click or pay for space. After spending a year and a half attempting to optimize click through conversion rates, design high quality marketing communications and locate appropriate advertising vehicles we have discovered that we are not advertising experts. We have also discovered that the risk for advertising success lies entirely with us. If we buy media space in a publication that does not produce results we lose both time and money.

4. Be Specific

It is always easier to hit the bull’s-eye on a target if you can see what the bull’s-eye looks like. Imagine you are shooting an arrow at a target that only has the giant red circle around the outside. It would be pretty hard to hit the center of the bull’s-eye without any other point of reference. Now think of that target as your 2012 marketing plan. If your marketing goal is to expand your social media presence, you only have a giant red circle to aim at. By planning out specific activities and actions as part of your marketing plan, you are effectively adding the other circles to the target that enable you to zero in on the bull’s-eye.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith from Increase Sales Coach talked me through the specific actions she included in her marketing plan for 2012.

Since 2005, I have been engaged in education based marketing with a primary component of article marketing. I plan to continue those efforts through at least 1 new article per week. Currently, I secure two new clients from inbound marketing activities each month and want that to double that in 2012. Continually updating the website is also critical as trends change keywords. Each morning I invest 1.5 hrs into marketing, the goal is to increase marketing activities by 20% as I have a new solution that will be offered in the summer of 2012. Blog posting must remain at an average of 5 per week. As I have expanded into Facebook through business pages, daily postings must be maintained on these pages as well.

5.  Just do It

One of the biggest mistakes that I see businesses make when it comes to marketing is that they don’t take the time to put together a marketing plan at all.  Their marketing plan consists of following the latest fad just because everyone says it’s the “thing” to do, without really taking the time to analyze if it’s the right marketing strategy for their business.  So take some time now at the end of the year to put together your 2012 marketing strategy based on these tips and your experience. You’ll be rewarded with better results.

Are you in the process of writing your marketing plan for 2012? What are your tips?  Share them here along with the link to your website.  We always love hearing from you!

Want to get more inexpensive and practical small business marketing ideas, grab a free ebook called “Build Buzz for Your Biz, 23 Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed” at http://23kazoos.com.

Wendy Kenney is the bestselling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Business available on Amazon.com, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsday.

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2011 is almost over and planning for the next year can get lost in the business of the of the holiday season. However, the best way to get 2012 off to a great start is to put some thought into your 2012 marketing plan outlining where you want to go and how you plan to [...]

Continue Reading

5 Easy Ways to Participate in Small Business Saturday

Note:  A couple of weeks ago I wrote about holiday marketing ideas and Liz Cies from Aweber had so many great marketing ideas I invited her to write today’s post!  I think you’ll find some valuable nuggets in her article.  Enjoy! Thanksgiving is over and the fun is just beginning.  For many people, the day [...]

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9 Best Darn Holiday Marketing Ideas

The holidays can be one of the busiest and most profitable selling seasons of the year for small business owners.  The key to your success is marketing. Leverage the goodwill of the season by implementing your own holiday marketing campaign.  Here are 9 of the “best darn” holiday marketing ideas from small business owners across [...]

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QR Codes in Marketing- Is it Right for Your Business?

There is a lot of buzz about how QR codes are the latest and greatest marketing thing for small business. According to a study by Mobio Identity Systems, the number of QR code scans increased by 4549% in the US in one year.  But for some small business owners, this might feel like just one more thing [...]

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9 Halloween Marketing Ideas

According to the National Retail Foundation, Halloween 2011 is poised to be one of the biggest Halloweens for business in nine years with approximately 70% of consumers indicating they plan on celebrating it this year. In fact, I recently heard that Halloween is quickly becoming one of the most popular holidays in America, second only [...]

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