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 [...]Continue Reading
Posts Tagged “social media marketing”
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 [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
I spend a lot of time talking with small business owners about how they can get new customers and grow their business. I love hearing about new and innovative ways that companies and business owners have used to market their brand, build some buzz, and get their company in front of the right prospects. While [...]Continue Reading
Business owners beware! Facebook has changed the game again, and this time the change involves your business! On March 1st, 2012, Facebook rolled out Facebook Pages (otherwise known as Timeline) for businesses, brands and organizations. All business pages will be converted to this new format automatically on March 30th, 2012. You can choose to have your [...]Continue Reading
It’s Girl Scout cookie time and you don’t have to go out of your way to find a group of girls in green uniforms with a table full of colorful cookie boxes and sweet smiling faces asking if you want to buy a box or two or three. From the outside, these girls may look like [...]Continue Reading
I’ve found a new addiction on the Internet; it’s Pinterest. And it appears that I’m not the only one that’s addicted to this amazing website. With close to 12 million active visitors in the US per month Pinterest just happens to be the newest “big thing” in the social media world. In case you haven’t [...]Continue Reading
I’ve made many mistakes in business as a business owner the last 20 years. There was a time in the beginning when I thought that I had all of the time in the world. But now I feel like I can’t afford the luxury of wasting precious time anymore by making costly mistakes. If you’re [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
It is common practice to set New Year’s resolutions in our personal lives, but how often do we do it for our business? As you look forward to running your small business in 2012, think about what resolutions you can make specific to your marketing plan that will give you the most buzz for your buck. [...]Continue Reading
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.
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
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 [...]Continue Reading
Recently I asked small business owners to share the “one marketing thing” that has made the most difference for their business. I received some fantastic responses that range from practical to creative. Here are 31 of the best marketing “things” that have generated the most customers and leads for these businesses. There’s bound to be a [...]Continue Reading
If you’re a business owner looking for some creative marketing ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Let me tell you something- If it’s being talked about on the news or on the Internet, then your customers are talking about it too. Become a part of the conversation with your out-of-the box marketing ideas and [...]Continue Reading
Approximately 30% of American mobile phone users have a smart phone and adoption rates are increasing. According to comScore, a digital market intelligence company, it’s estimated that by the end of 2011, that number will have increased to 50%. This represents a huge opportunity to small business owners who have retail locations or who sell [...]Continue Reading
Wendy Kenney is the best selling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Biz, Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business, available on Amazon.com. She has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsday. For more information go to http://23Kazoos.com.-->
What is the biggest marketing challenge that you have in your business? According to a survey by Marketing Sherpa, 78% of businesses say that their biggest marketing challenge is generating high quality leads. In my work as a contract Marketing Director with small businesses I see this challenge on a daily basis. Interestingly enough many small businesses make the [...]Continue Reading
Social media has changed the face of marketing forever. What was once a one-way message pushed from the company to the consumer has become a two-way conversation, requiring both parties to participate. Now your customers have a voice in the marketplace and their voices are loud and clear. One study showed that an unhappy customer [...]Continue Reading
This was brought to mind because it’s this time of year when organizations elect new leaders and volunteers change positions and move on. For many organizations that means that the person who was doing your social media has gone. Have you made provisions to replace them? Often times the answer is no. That means that any momentum you created through Twitter, Blogging, Facebook, etc. is soon lost. And often times, the new person taking over has to start from scratch all over again because the last person doing the social media had all the passwords. This also can be a problem in itself.
So what do you do? Here are three tips:
1. Before you ask volunteers or employees to step in and handle social media for you, create a social media policy for your organization. Outline the parameters of use, i.e., the goals of use, platforms used and what is considered appropriate for public sharing. Also outline the consequences of a breach of social media policy. Sounds like a small thing, but the fact is that your organization could be found libel for the comments or actions of one of your volunteers or employees who are using social media on your behalf. It happens all of the time. Remember whatever you put out on the Internet stays there forever. This is one of those cases where it’s not better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Make sure what employees are posting on social media is appropriate at all times. Here’s a link to Intel’s Social Media Guidelines as a sample.
2. If you’re going to have a presence on social media, make sure your accounts reflect the organization’s brand. Take the time to make sure your profiles are designed in accordance to your organization’s branding standards. Create a professional background that matches your website and clearly communicates that you are the “official” page of the organization. Here’s an example: http://www.twitter.com/southwestair
3. Keep a master list of passwords and change them regularly. This is recommended to help cut down on unwelcome hackers into your account. Also, it will allow you to keep up on your accounts in case of personnel changes.
Social media is not going away, so as you adopt this technology into your culture, it’s important to take a few extra steps to insure that the experience will be a successful one for you and your organization right from the start.-->
Lately I’ve noticed a problem that I thought was worth bringing up. That is; what happens to your social media when the person who’s doing it goes away? This was brought to mind because it’s this time of year when organizations elect new leaders and volunteers change positions and move on. For many organizations that [...]Continue Reading
Foursquare is a hugely untapped and powerful little tool for business marketing, especially if you own a business that requires customers to physically visit your location to make a purchase. Unfortunately most businesses don’t understand just exactly how they can use Foursquare and are missing out on a fantastic and inexpensive marketing opportunity!!
So here are five very practical tips on how to use Foursquare to market your location-based business.
1. Use Foursquare like a customer loyalty card
The cool thing about Foursquare is it shows the user how many times they have been at each location, so you could offer customers a freebie after so many check ins. Make sure you set clear rules about how to redeem the offer including: check ins more than once per day do not count towards redemption of the free offer; or free offer value at $5.00, may not be accumulated or transferred, may not be redeemed for cash, etc.
The women’s clothing store Ann Taylor recently launched a Foursquare promotion like this in New York City giving shoppers 15% off at the store after their 5th check in and giving the person with the most check ins at one location (called the Mayor) 25% off their purchase at that visit.
Another company, Tasti D-Lite, offers frequent shoppers a branded Foursquare badge, as well as additional loyalty points on their physical loyalty card, plus freebies and other perks.
2. Organize a real-time treasure hunt.
Now this could get really fun. Leave a clue of the day on the “Tips” section of your Foursquare page with the answer to each clue being a different special of the day. The customers who come in and guess the special, get the special, plus they are eligible to win a bigger prize at the end of the contest.
Another company, Jimmy Choo, a high-end designer footwear brand, runs this contest by having a pair of Jimmy Choo sneakers check in at various hot spots around town. The person who is able to guess the next hot spot and arrive there before the Jimmy Choo shoes arrive will win a pair of very expensive shoes.
3. Use Foursquare to entice new customers to come into your store by offering a 1st Timers check in discount or freebie.
“Show us your check-in and your dessert is on us!” Again, make sure you communicate clearly in your offer what the rules are; i.e., free dessert is only for first check in, and must be redeemed with purchase of a meal; etc.”
4. Leverage word of mouth marketing.
One of the benefits of Foursquare is that friends can “follow” each other and thus can see each other’s check in’s on Foursquare. Note: The check in’s are also posted on Twitter, Facebook and Yelp, if they’ve enabled the function. This is huge for your business because every check in at your location is a tacit recommendation from the person checking in there. Leverage this exposure by inviting people to check in via Foursquare. Providing special offers for those who check in via Foursquare will invite people to check in more often.
Also, make sure you pay attention to what people are saying on Foursquare about your business, because whether you use it or not, people are using it, and chance are, they are talking about your business. Personally reply back to people who leave tips or make positive comments and thank them. Likewise, it’s just as important to respond to negative comments as well and to remedy the issue as soon as possible. Don’t be negative; just say something like, “I’m sorry that you had a bad experience. Let’s get it touch and discuss how we can make it up to you.”
5. Tie in text message marketing with Foursquare.
Invite people to take photos of them having fun or otherwise enjoying your location and text the photos to a special text message phone number. Once they do this they will have opted into your text message marketing program and you will be able to send them additional specials and discounts via text.
What other ways can you use Foursquare to market your high traffic location based business? I would love to hear your comments. Next post, how to market your non-location based business on Foursquare.
Wendy Kenney is a nationally known Buzz Building Expert and the Founder and CEO of 23 Kazoos, a marketing firm specializing in inexpensive and creative small business marketing strategies. She has honed her marketing skills through over 26 years of entrepreneurship and business management.
Wendy just released her new book called “How to Build Buzz for Your Biz- Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business” based on her knowledge of what works and what does not work in small business marketing. This book features practical and low cost marketing strategies, such as “How to Grow Your Business Using Social Media,” as well as valuable links, resources, and tips and is available on Amazon.com.
Wendy frequently speaks to organizations about marketing for small business. To get more information or to schedule Wendy to speak go to: Business Marketing Speaker
Claim your free download (no email necessary) on Wendy’s website: 23 Kazoos
I’ve been mulling this around since posting the last Foursquare article and thought that there were more practical tips could be added. Foursquare is a hugely untapped and powerful little tool for business marketing, especially if you own a business that requires customers to physically visit your location to make a purchase. Unfortunately most businesses [...]Continue Reading