You’re in business to get more business. That’s where effective marketing comes in. Many people who run a business, especially solo start-ups and entrepreneurs, may be great at what they do and may even be good at running the business; yet they lack effective marketing skills to get the extra edge they need for growth.
In essence, marketing is the image that a company presents to the public. It relates to behavior and interaction within the marketplace. Therefore, it is essential that the businesses philosophy and values are reflected and reinforced within their marketing efforts.
Here’s 25 ideas for you to get going, get more traffic on your site and get more business!
1. Update your website: It won’t behoove you to do any marketing if your site is visually unappealing. In a word, a crappy site will reflect on the quality of your business. Fresh content and new graphics will do wonders.
2. Create a Marketing Strategy: If you made a business plan, this second document will be the fuel that drives your business. Have a plan, man!
3. Submit Press Releases: There are plenty of sites that offer free press release submission. But first you need something newsworthy. Think creatively here. No one cares about the minuscule things, but offering the audience worthy advice that is related to your business, or finding something current in the news to tie in with your industry will be more likely to get picked up by major news organizations.
4. Start an Email Marketing Campaign: You hate getting spam, and so do I. So make sure your email campaign offers worthwhile services and engaging content. Make sure you only send your emails to TARGETED and SPECIFIC lists, not everyone.
5. Set up a Blog: A blog is like a “dear diary” for businesses and is a free-for-all to write your opinions, advice or tips relating to your business. It also helps to bump up your searches and creates more traffic to and from your site.
6. Comment on other People’s Blogs or Online Forums: For the same reason, you can drive traffic just by leaving a short message and of course, a link back to your site.
7. Join the Social Networking Revolution: So you’re busy and don’t have time to chat or keep up with the Joneses on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter? Hire a college kid to manage it for you. Some will set it up and manage it for like $100 a week. They can respond to “friends” and market your business. Or make a commitment to log on to at least one of those big sites at least once a day to keep in touch. It works!
8. Create a niche: You’re good at everything and offer a multitude of services and products. You may be confusing your customers. Start with your FAVORITE and promote the heck out of it, then you can move on to something else later instead of confusing people by telling them too much all at once.
9. Promote a Fellow Business: By promoting someone else, you are taking emphasis off you. However, one hand washes the other. Find businesses that you can marry with (ie – photographer with DJ, or web designer with writer, or fashion designer with fabric company, etc.). Put links to each other’s websites up or propose doing a promotion together to get more business.
10. Show Appreciation to Clients: Instead of only going after new business, don’t forget the customers who made you who you are today. Give them a reason to stay with you and always make them happy. Your “oldies” are the “goodies” so you should keep them at the pinnacle of your business priorities.
11. Join HARO mailing list (Help-A-Reporter Out): This really cool list comes to your inbox several times a day, but if you scan through it you will find thousands (29,478 to be exact) of journalists who are looking for people to interview for upcoming stories. They want experts on all sorts of topics, and surely you are an expert on something! It could land you on the radio, in a magazine, newspaper or as a quote in someone’s book.
12. Free Article Submissions: Sites like Ezine, Helium, Article Dashboard, Articles Base and a whole bunch more are places that you can write and submit articles (about anything!) for the world to read. These article directories do two things – they help to optimize your site and increase traffic and they provide an opportunity for you to become an expert on a topic that means something to you. They’re also FREE! FREE publicity!
13. Track Your Website: Google Analytics offer a free way for you to see how many visitors are coming and going to and from your site. This will help you to identify how well it is doing and will give you leverage to make improvements to increase search visibility.
14. Get Listed on Industry Directories: What are these? These are sites that you can list your business’s service to any relevant database. For example, if you are a contractor and looking for construction jobs, do a Google search for industry relevant databases that cater to your type of work. Find as many as possible and commit to listing your business in at least 2 or 3 per day. You will gradually notice a lot more traffic to your site!
15. Attend Trade Shows: Even if you can’t afford a booth, you should attend as many trade shows and conferences as possible. Make sure you bring a lot of business cards and talk to as many people as possible – even if the trade show has nothing to do with what you offer – you may meet valuable relationships and everyone knows someone.
16. Show Your Spirit: Wear a shirt, hat or something everywhere you go that either has your company name on it or your favorite sports team (Go Dolphins!). This is a great conversation starter and almost always gets at least one person to talk to you. Have cards handy!
17. Get Organized and Delegate: One downfall of many businesses is trying to do everything themselves. They are the proverbial “jack of all trades” and the master of none; usually to save money. Hire a designer to do your website, or a writer to write it, or a printer to print the business cards. Your professional appearance is at stake, so even though you want to save money you may actually be hurting your business in the long run if your image looks shoddy.
18. Newsletters: Once a month is enough, any more or less and people won’t read them. The first time I ran one, I heard from a client from 3 years ago. The second one, I got two new clients. The third, I had referrals and even more business. You get the idea! Newsletters help you stay in touch. The trick is to offer valuable content, rather than junk that people won’t bother reading. The nominal cost of Constant Contact is well worth it!
19. Flirt More: This doesn’t mean getting your significant other upset. It means when you are out and about, smile at people and make conversation. Be approachable. Striking up a conversation is a great way to get a plug in for your business!
20. Subscribe to Industry Related Lists: As an example, I get emails from Writer’s Digest and many of the business related marketing sites. Staying informed will give you new ideas for marketing development.
21. Direct Mail: No, it’s not a dying breed Direct mail is a great solution for companies who have a product to sell. Rather than sending a brochure that may get thrown away, try the old strategy of handwriting the envelope or joining in on a mailer pack. No time for writing? Hire a teenager with nice penmanship.
22. Create Relationships: Don’t just do business… create real relationships and friendships with your customers so they will enjoy using your services time and time again.
23. Make a Unique Selling Proposition: Create your USP to convince your customers you are the top choice in the marketplace. What is a USP? Google it and see!
24. Bump up the SEO: Search engine optimization will help increase your website’s visibility online. This is a very complex strategy for many people who are not marketing savvy. You can use the services of a Seo company or search engine experts, like our friends at Search Wiz.
25. Try an Elevator Pitch: This is a brief summary of your business, which can let your customers know what you do in a one-sentence or one-paragraph synopsis.