The New Small Business Marketing Landscape

Digital marketing has become VAST:
Marketing techniques constantly have to evolve and change with changing times; as the consumers evolve, so do the means of reaching out to them. Today’s consumers belongs to a digital age.

Talking about spends on digital marketing in 2010, approximately $154.4 billion was spent on direct and digital advertising in 2010, up 2.7% over 2009 levels. Of that amount, digital spending accounted for $27.7 billion, driven by search and targeted display advertising.

When we talk about digital marketing the pool of options available to a marketer are vast. From the latest mobile marketing to online display, there are numerous tools that can be used. However, the key lies in using each tool strategically to get the best results from the campaign.

Businesses cannot ignore their ONLINE FOOTPRINT:
Internet has become an integral part in businesses as well as homes. Internet users form a huge audience which marketers cannot afford to ignore. What people talk online can have a direct impact on sales. With search engines becoming ever more powerful, even the smallest remark on a blog or twitter status update, can be fetched and put forth in front of an information hungry web user. This has increased the need for continuous online analytics, not only of your own website, but also the entire web, wherever your name is mentioned.

Altered PR CYCLE:
As market dynamics change the age old means of driving publicity and PR also have to evolve. Today PR has evolved from merely pushing news to the media to a stage wherein content and messaging has taken center stage. Competition mapping, giving out the right message, and closely mapping industry movements helps build a strategic PR campaign. One that not only talks about your company but also helps you position your company in the industry as a thought leader. Monitoring conversations and real-time coverage clearly speaks about how PR has been altered to develop an intelligent messaging strategy.

The CONSUMER has gained substantial power:
Consumer is king!! Today there are a number of factors that influence a buying decision; from purchasing power to influencers that surround the consumer, have a huge role to play. Hence influencing the influencer is the new marketing mantra. With social media emerging as a huge platform to connect and network, this has led to the emergence of a certain set of individuals who are considered as opinion makers. These people have considerable clout because their thoughts, insight and opinions are highly valued by a large network of followers, friends, fans and readers. As a marketer you must identify who these individuals are and devise an influencer marketing strategy to reach out to them.

DIALOGING is better than push marketing:
Consumers today have a mind of their own and are smart enough to identify push marketing strategies. The new age marketing technique has moved away from ‘in the face’ marketing to subtle and more conversational style of selling. We live in a connected world where engagement, interactivity and dialogue play a huge rule. To converse and interact with your potential customer is essential to sell your product.

AMBIGUOUS marketing efforts have no future:
Marketing campaigns need to be structured and targeted. Any marketing effort that does not have a defined objective and a desired result in place is destined to fail. Ambiguous marketing campaigns that do not have a roadmap or a step-by-step roll out plan that leads to a pre decided conclusion will not achieve the desired results. Many businesses are rushing into social media marketing without knowing what they are getting into and how they will maintain it. Ill planned campaigns will lead to no or poor results.

Consistent MEASUREMENT and ADJUSTMENT is the key:
Any campaign that is launched needs to have a measurement matrix in place. At the end of the day, marketing is aimed at supporting and increasing sales. A campaign needs to be measured in terms of some quantifiable metrics. Especially in the case of social media marketing, a measurement criterion is essential to gauge the success of the campaign. Also it’s important to have the necessary flexibility in place. There should be room for changes and modifications in the strategy to achieve best results. There are times when market dynamics cannot be controlled. The marketing campaign should be made flexible to accommodate last minute modifications.

How to Bring Business to Small Towns

Small towns offer high quality of life and a strong sense of the worth of every resident in the community, but a place with a small population has a hard time supporting a broad range of goods and services. Economic challenges are magnified in a small town, where even a smattering of home repossessions and business failures affect nearly everyone. The key to success in building a healthy business community in a small town is to create an economic development plan that maximizes the community’s strengths and minimizes its weaknesses. It is vital that the bulk of the populace is included in planning and execution.

Step 1
Do a SWOT analysis of your town to identify its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strengths might include local history or outdoor recreation that would draw visitors, or it could be a large farming community that could package and brand its own products. Weaknesses could be a town’s remoteness – though that could also be a strength – or lack of broadband access for e-commerce. Threats would include anything that looks like it will hurt an economic sector, such as an oversized development that would hurt visitor trade or a state plan to control costs by cutting maintenance on an important local road.

Step 2
Bring the community together to form a vision and set goals for local economic improvement. Include as many community members as you can to ensure that goals are shared and supported by the majority. Share your SWOT analysis and listen closely to how people see the community and what businesses they would like to see grow there.

Step 3
Make sure the local newspaper editor or publisher is involved in the effort, or at least kept apprised of developments, so that a steady stream of information keeps everyone in town in the loop. Most newspapers will support economic development, not only for the benefit of the town, but also for the advertising revenues that will follow the arrival of new businesses.

Step 4
Form a core group of leaders to keep the planning effort going. Leaders tend to reveal themselves in the course of community planning, by inclination and by the way other community members respond to them. These will be men and women who understand the community and local business challenges, and who can be trusted to be faithful to the community’s wishes. Leaders who ignore the community in favor of their own agendas will hurt this effort.

Step 5
Create a plan to present to the community. Make sure it reflects a bit of something that everyone wanted – it’s much better to give a little than to create opposition – and that it plays well to the community’s aspirations and strengths. At the same time, it may also need to be used to obtain supplemental funding for some types of projects, so it should be very complete, formal and literate. Plan sections should include a full analysis of local economic and social conditions, full discussion of goals identified by the community, and full discussion of the actions and initiatives planned to reach them. If you plan to participate in federal grant and funding programs, follow the federal guidelines and format for a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

Step 6
Refine the plan based on community feedback and prepare to execute it.

Step 7
Create a chamber of commerce or encourage a regional chamber to start a local chapter. Chambers of commerce provide numerous benefits to local businesses, including a voice in government, group purchasing of health insurance and business products, public relations with the community and promotion of business participation in community charities. An active chamber is vital to small town business success.

Step 8
Set up a business facilitation office. A business facilitation expert assists locals to negotiate the challenges of creating a legal and potentially profitable enterprise, She teaches people such basics as how to do a business plan, set up books and get proper permits. The office can be funded through property taxes, grants or chamber of commerce membership revenues and provides services for free or for a nominal fee.

Step 9
Offer incentives to new businesses to locate in the community. These could include property tax breaks, micro-loans and discounted fees and permits. Other businesses in the community can also offer enticements, such as discounted ad rates and good press for the new business or special deals on gym or club memberships for employees of new businesses.

Step 10
Market the community and advertise business benefits to would-be business owners. Appoint a person, or persons, to drum up media stories about the community’s revitalization efforts and highlighting incentives, workforce and quality of life. Send out press releases to newspapers, radio and television to take advantage of space on any websites available, including the local and regional chambers of commerce, municipal and county pages and statewide business groups. Be sure to target publications that serve the economic sector you want to attract.

Step 11
Keep local business in the public eye by praising its contributions and update the economic development plan annually to move with the times and continue to serve the community’s needs.

What You Get From Social Networking

You may wonder how social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook make a profit if they cannot charge their users. While other networks have “value” paid memberships as an option that’s attracted professionals who’ve the sort of income to pay the monthly dues, free of charge social networking sites cater to another demography altogether.

Actually, studies demonstrate that the majority of the users of free networking sites would discontinue the utilization of sites if they were required to pay for dues. While probably the most obvious response to profiting from such sites will undoubtedly be advertising, studies have also shown that users would stop visiting sites which had excessive advertisements. If you should be a small business looking to utilize social networking for profit, you will find certainly a few what to bear in mind.

First and foremost, if you’re looking to promote your business on social networking sites, take into account the demography. Clearly Twitter and Facebook target the young generation and youth. Are you experiencing a definite segment product/service that gives this group? If so, through niche marketing, advertising on these sites could mean handsome rewards and growth. Furthermore, customers would react positively to such advertisements because it relates inside their mind and their lifestyle.

Advertising aside, many companies have, essentially, become users of popular networking sites. Companies have created profiles and used this as a medium to construct customer-relationships through discussions and dialogues. Actually, this interaction is currently personal unlike before where the product has done the talking; now businesses are doing a whole lot in creating a more long-term relationship by getting their customers involved.

How can this translate to profits? Customers are more engaged or vulnerable to purchase products from an organization that takes the excess mile in creating a relationship versus an organization that doesn’t. Along these lines, companies have also incorporated creative promotions and contests online to help keep customers engaged.

The idea of profiting from Social networking has been only a Catch 22 – to generate income, you will need advertisements or paying users, but networking sites can lose traffic and customers. This depends on your personal target demographic and your niche. If you’re able to produce a social networking site that’s in demand and targeting members who’re willing to pay for, then you might develop into a profitable company by having a large network of paying members. If you select to truly have a free site, you have the ability to attract advertisements that produce a sense for your demography.

Clearly, you can find other avenues and it will take innovation and creativity from the area of the business. LinkedIn, for example, has changed into a supply of recruitment and is considering charging companies that hire from the network. You will find no-short of strategies to steer an organization to profitability in social networking but creativity is key.

Advantages of social media marketing for your business

What is SMO?

Social Media refers to using one or more of the many online platforms currently available that were solely created for the purpose of bringing like people together in order to share common interests. Social Media Optimization refers to the ability to use a variety of Social Media Sites with a purpose to produce lots of publicity about a particular company/brand/product/event that you want to let people know about.



There are several ways in which to achieve SMO.

•    Getting links to your website
•    Creating inbound links
•    Bookmarking and tagging
•    Allowing others to make use of your content
•    Making your content travel
•    The good and bad of SMO

Advantages of social media marketing for your business.

Increased Business Exposure
Facebook and Twitter alone reportedly serve 1.5 billion users globally. Social media allows your business to extend well beyond the immediate geographic area.

Insight About Your Customers
This is one of the biggest advantages of using social media. Social media provides limitless opportunities for you to interact with current and potential customers.

Reduced Marketing Expenses
One of the greatest things about participating in social media is that your budget and results are not linear.

Lead generation
When thinking about using the internet for lead generation, you probably think of it like this: I add my inventory to my website, and I also add my inventory to a boats for sale site.

Extremely Targeted
Traditional marketing strategies are usually very general. They work on the assumption that if you cast a big enough net, you will land at least a few fish.

Competitive Advantage
Everything that happens on social media platforms happens in real time. That means social media participation gives businesses the opportunity to engage in advertising that is timely and relevant which gives you a distinct competitive edge.

Analytics and Reporting
Google Analytics, Engaged! (our own social media dashboard) and other programs can help you monitor your social media activities and assess whether or not they are having a positive effect on website traffic, lead generation and product purchases.

Strengthen Customer Loyalty
Social media can help you put a personal face on your business. Instead of just a company name, customers see you as a real person who listens to their concerns and delivers helpful feedback.

Rise in Search Engine Rankings
And of course, there’s the all-important search engine optimization (SEO). If your company has active social media accounts on multiple platforms, it can improve your rankings on search engines which will boost your visibility and potentially increase your profits.

Increased Website Traffic
All of these factors combined – customer loyalty, lead generation, exposure, etc. – will greatly increase the number of potential and current customers viewing your website

Strength of Keyword Search

The Internet is a vast marketplace—but it’s still a marketplace similar to those that have existed since the dawn of civilization. Imagine yourself in a fairly primitive bazaar, maybe somewhere in Asia or North Africa a long time ago. It’s pretty noisy, isn’t it—lots of shouting going on. And why’s that? Because the people who are selling various goods for a living are trying to outshout their competitors, hoping that a nomad strolling through the dusty lane between the marketers will listen to them, and buy a new camel bit in their tent.

In more recent years, it was the same thing in the trading pits, where everything from oil futures to grain to hog bellies switched hands—for the right price of course. Lots of shouting and shoving—you almost had to be an athlete to compete in the pits of the major stock exchanges. Today, all that’s changed. Traders no longer let their prices be known by shouting—or with subtle hand signals. Stock market floors are a lot more genteel than they used to be, and a lot quieter. Because the overwhelming majority of trading is done through sophisticated software programs by quiet individuals looking at a laptop or desk screen, or even at smart phones. Computerization has changed everything.

But the selling must continue, and now with billions of consumers, engineers and purchasing agents looking for products on the Internet, it behooves those who want to sell to make sure that the potential customers know what they have to sell, what’s good about what they have to sell, and where they can get it and how much it costs. Companies that are selling products, either to consumers or other businesses, typically have put all the relevant information about their products on the Internet. But just for a second, let’s go back to our primitive dusty bazaar with all the shouting. Remember, who shouts loudest or gets the attention sells the camel bit. In a way, the same thing is happening on the Internet but a million times more. There are all kinds of people and products on the Internet. Sometimes there are hundreds of companies selling the same thing—but the winners don’t shout, they have strong keyword search strategies in place.

When people look for something on the Internet, they do what is called a keyword search. Maybe they’re looking for a black dog. Well, the words “black dog” constitute their keyword search. No matter how sophisticated the product is, if the proper keywords are strategically planted on the seller’s website, the searcher—or potential customer—will find it. And the good news here is that there are plenty of companies with all kinds of excellent software available to make sure that the seller is not drowned out in today’s marketplace.

What is Social Media Marketing

If you fall into any one of the following categories, like:

  • the ones who don’t know much or anything about social media,
  • the ones who are interested but don’t know how to use it and
  • those who don’t believe in the value that a social media strategy can bring to any site or business

you must read this article to know how big a deal is social media and the enormous benefits of social media marketing.

Social media is information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies that is intended to facilitate communications, influence and interaction with peers and with public audiences. This is typically done via the Internet and mobile communications networks. Today this practice is being enjoyed by executives and professionals for brand exposure and marketing.

Do you make these mistakes to market your brand or services?

  • Use Yellow page ads that cost thousands of dollars, yet bring in little new business?
  • Spend money on direct mailers that also have limited results.
  • How about money spent on print advertising. How effective is it?
  • Are you spending lots of money optimizing your website but still have little traffic.
  • Spend money on Pay Per Click Advertising Campaigns, with limited results.

Can you improve your business if you know:

  • What is being said about you.
  • What your customers think about your product or service.
  • What your customers really want.
  • What your competitors are doing.
  • How to stay up to date with the latest trends and developments.
  • How to make your business more profitable.

Nothing provides a better return on investment than having a network of people raving about you and it doesn’t matter what product or service you sell. So let’s have a look onto the benefits of social media viral marketing.

The value of Marketing through Social Media Channels

Social media marketing is the process of promoting your site or business through social media channels and it is a powerful strategy that will get you links, attention and massive amounts of traffic. Social media marketing is an engagement with online communities to generate exposure, opportunity and sales. The number-one advantage is generating exposure for the business, followed by increasing traffic and building new business partnerships. It is a powerful strategy that will get you links, attention and massive amounts of traffic.

What are the benefits?

It’s natural. No doubt you get natural links, your website is exposed to a large number of people. This differs from paid advertising which has overt commercial overtones.

It’s defensible. Social communities can be a great source of web traffic on top of any traffic you are already receiving from search engines. While you can’t easily increase your search engine traffic, social media traffic can be very easily controlled through strategic marketing.

It’s low-cost/high returns. Costs are limited to only time and perhaps the expenses involved in hiring a freelance programmer/designer. The benefits will often exceed the cost. It would take you thousands of dollars to buy many links; social media has the ability to give you that for free.

It complements other efforts. Social media optimization and marketing is usually community-specific. It doesn’t interfere with any other methods of getting traffic to your website. It can and will fit perfectly with an advertising campaign targeting other websites or search engines.

There is no other low-cost promotional method out there that will easily give you large numbers of visitors, some of whom may come back to your website again and again. If you are selling products/services or just publishing content for ad revenue, social media marketing is a potent method that will make your site profitable over time.