The ABC’s of Marketing for Small Businesses

Marketing?!? That’s for big Fortune 500 companies with CEO’s, thousands of employees and huge budgets. Not for me. I’m a small business owner… I don’t have the time or resources for that.Perhaps you’ve said that to yourself. I know I thought that same thing in the past when running and operating my own small business… and boy was I wrong! Through trial and error, I found out the hard way that EVERY business needs a great marketing plan. And of course every business needs a great marketing plan that’s tailored specifically to their business – the marketing plan of an electrician’s company would be very different from that of a retail clothing store.To market your business properly, you only need to understand the basics of marketing… and it’s not advertising! Advertising is a tool in your business marketing tool kit – it’s the way to get the word out about your business, but it is not marketing. The basics of marketing are covered by a principle called the “4 P’s”, which are “product, price, placement and promotion”. Although, I think they missed out one very important “P” – PLAN.So from here on, we’ll discuss the “5 P’s” of marketing for your small business:1. PRODUCT – This is ideally a product or service that people want or need, or that they believe they want or need in your target market. As a general rule of thumb for small businesses, the marketing of a “wanted” product or service should be a bit more aggressive than the marketing of a “needed” product or service.2. PRICE – Your product or service must be sold at a price that your target customer will believe is of good value.3. PLAN – Marketing for any business needs to have a solid and well thought out written plan, and as a minimum it should include:· sales goalso dollar amounts, # of products sold, etc.· a profile of ideal customerso where do they live? age? Gender? Income?· your “Unique Selling Proposition”o what makes your business/product/service unique? Why should someone buy your product/use your service instead of others? This is a very important part of your plan that you can use to create your “Brand”, which is how you influence how the public will perceive your business or product.· your competitiono Where are they located? Do they have more or less services than you? Is their price higher or lower than yours? Do they have a competitive advantage over you?· a budgeto for traditional advertising (web, radio, print, television), and also for other non-traditional marketing such as hosting events, sponsoring local sports teams, etc.· competitive strategieso what will you do if your competitor beats your price? Or four more competitors open within the next year?4. PLACEMENT – Where will your products or services be available? Is it at a brick and mortar store? Is your product available on-line? Is your product being distributed to stores? How can you make sure your product or service is readily available to your target market?5. PROMOTION – This is the creation of appropriate and consistent consumer perception of your product or services using a variety of methods including social media, websites, radio, print and television. Use your “Unique Selling Proposition” that you came up with in your marketing plan and ensure it is used consistently across all your promotional products. For instance – your business card, website, web advertisements, brochures or flyers should all carry the same professional looking logo and/or slogan. Radio, television or printed ads should focus on your “Unique Selling Proposition”, even when you’re advertising some sort of sale. In summary, keep all your promotional materials consistent and professional, and you will be well on your way to keeping your business well branded in your customer’s mind.A really great example of a well branded product is Nyquil:Product – Definitely feels like a necessity when you have a cold or flu, but in reality, it’s a wantUnique Selling Proposition/Brand – “The nighttime, coughing, achy, sniffing, stuffy head, fever so you can rest medicine”™Price – Priced well in comparison with competing productsPlacement – Available at almost every grocery and drug store in North AmericaPromotion – Promoted similarly across all promotional platforms, using their “Unique Selling Proposition” (slogan) as the anchor for the brandIn summary, a solid marketing plan is not just for the big Fortune 500 companies with huge budgets, it’s a sound basic business principle that even the smallest of businesses can take advantage of. So, build your marketing plan, brand your business and you’ll be well on the way to putting the RIGHT product or service in front of the RIGHT customer at the RIGHT time!

Advertising Ideas For Small Business

Advertising or promoting a product among the masses is the most crucial task for small business entrepreneurs. It takes them a lot of time and a number of issues are needed to be taken into consideration so that the end product is gleefully welcomed by the customers when it is finally launched. It is also imperative that the product exactly meets the expectation of the customers in line with the way it was described in the advertisements. The process of advertising is indeed an uphill job as you need to accomplish a lot of tasks within a stipulated time frame. The advertisement has to be creative and appealing to the consumers and at the same time it needs to be cost effective. If you are a small entrepreneur, you may not have adequate capital to invest in advertising. What comes next is to choose the medium of advertising; this is again not a very simple job. However, there are some basic ideas that prove beneficial for the small entrepreneur’s to advertise a product.1. E-mail & Telemarketing:Take the advantage of the internet era and send a short description of your product via emails to introduce it to your customers. It is the most preferable way to introduce the product with minimum effort. Use professional and catchy words in the text body that lessens the risk of the email ending up as a spam. Telemarketing is another very simple way to promote the product irrespective of the geographical constraints.2. Newspaper advertising:The popular newspaper of your area is also a good medium to advertise and promote a particular product. Nowadays, regular news papers provide the facility to showcase a product at a very reasonable price. The space allotment is enough to describe a product in brief and make it thoroughly visible to the readers. There are no other medium as effective as the newspapers, when it comes to reaching the target audience within a short time and with less expense. Just check out the most circulated newspaper your area and go through the advertising styles. It will help you to advertise the product efficiently.3. Yellow pages:You will find a lot of traditional customers who regularly go through the yellow pages looking for newly launched products. Hence, this magazine has still managed to retain its popularity in this age of internet. When you publish a few words on your product in yellow pages it is bound to reach a handful of people the following morning, helping you to build a network of customers overnight, which is actually what your purpose.4. Television is also a very common medium to introduce a product. Don’t lose heart if you can’t afford the commercial channels. Contact local cable operators and arrange everything properly to display your product on television screen. This will also help you to reach out to a lot of customers over a wide area in virtually no time.

The Importance of Business Directory Listings From The Perspective of Small Businesses

Internet marketing has come up as a very competent tool in promoting businesses over a local or global market. Well, there are obvious reasons behind the popularity of this form of marketing. Basic advertising or conventional advertising is highly expensive and thus they incur a heavy cost to a particular company. Plus, the reach and impact of a particular advertising program is not so high if it is not rotated through a mass media like the internet. Today, businesses are operating on a more global scale and they require targeting a very high number of customers to make their plans successful. Thus they have to use a platform that can potentially reach out to millions of customers at a single point of time. Well, nothing can beat a local internet marketing program. To be more specific, companies are using local internet marketing along with a plethora of promotional tools like small business directory and business directory listings. They have become modern day solutions for small, medium and large scale enterprises looking for plausible marketing solutions to influence a large targeted audience.The internet is a global platform. Today, almost every person uses the internet for his or her benefit. This is the reason why, internet marketing has such a steady graph compared to any other marketing platform. Let us analyze the basic benefits of Business Directory Listings:• Highly Affordable form of internet marketing: well in today’s world of business, a targeted digital marketing campaign is a very expensive affair. Modern digital marketing agencies have high charges for brand promotion campaigns.• The benefits of Search Engine Optimization: the listings get a good exposure through search engines and thus the online presence of the business increases significantly. Local SEO is a highly powerful tool in business promotional. Google local Listings are used to support this. GLL has emerged as a very powerful tool for businesses promotions since it pin points a particular location on Google with ultimate accuracy.• The advantage of direct advertising: the advantage of direct advertising is immense since the key to success in a highly competitive business environment would be through proper advertising strategies.• Social media Optimization (SMO) it has become an indispensable part of modern day digital marketing. If you do not have substantial social media presence, you would not be able to go ahead and promote yourself properly in front of your targeted customers.• Business to Business Connectivity: well, business to business connectivity is one of the most key aspects of a business especially when the business is looking for high level direct clients for its business.On an overall basis the benefits of paid as well as free business directory listings are immense, especially from the perspective of small and emerging businesses. It is highly affordable, specific and directed towards the specific audience, and generates the desired results within a very short period of time.