The Top 5 Small Business Marketing Tips for Budget-Minded Business

When it comes to running a successful business, marketing is essential. For a small business, marketing often seems like a daunting task – especially when it comes to marketing your business on the web.

Many times, budget-minded business owners fear that small business marketing needs to be expensive in order to be effective. Fortunately – this isn’t true. Here are five simple tips for small business owners who are looking to save dollars, while still running an effective online marketing campaign.

1. Optimize Your Website

There are three simple steps to take so that you can be sure that your website is working for you.

The first is to use a descriptive title for your site as well as keywords and a description that allows search engines and site visitors alike to know what they will find when they visit your web page. Once that’s taken care of, make sure that you are placing keywords appropriately in the text of your website.

Your keywords should be specific to your products and services, and should be chosen with consideration for the terms prospective customers would use when searching with Google or Yahoo or whichever other search engine they use.

Finally, these keywords should also be used in the alt image tags as they relate to the photos and illustrations that you post to your website.

2. Market Your Website with Articles & Distribute Press Releases

Article marketing is an extremely effective way to draw visitors to your website. By creating an informative short article that relates to your business, your area of expertise and your keywords, you can show readers a bit more of what they’ll find from your business – which you can link to in your resource box at the bottom of the article.

Online press releases are another effective marketing tool. Like conventional press releases that let local newswires pick up a story about a new staff member or a new product line, online press release distribution will allow you to get the word out to those who publish online newsletters or who review products and services like those that you offer.

Both articles and press releases published online create valuable, relevant inbound links to your website (via the link to your site in your resource box at the end of each article or press release). Search engines place a great amount of value on the number of inbound links you have to your site, so this is an excellent way of building popularity with the search engines, as well as your human customers.

Both article marketing and distributing press releases will enable you to establish yourself as an expert and your company as a source for products or services. Each is effective, and often, submission to article directories is free – that’s right, free marketing for your business, all it takes is a little bit of time.

3. Start a Blog

It’s a common statement when it comes to Internet marketing: content is king. A blog – short for a weblog – allows you to create fresh content at regular intervals, driving traffic and search engines to your website.

Like article marketing and press release distribution, having a blog allows you to establish your expertise about the products and services that your small business offers. Unlike article marketing and press release distribution, however, a blog allows you to begin to carry on a dialog with your current and prospective customers.

Your blog works like search engine magic for your website. By linking your blog to your website, you draw the search engines to your website. Your site will rank higher and your customers will have a much easier time finding your site.

4. Commit to a Link Building Campaign and Submit Your Site to Directories and Search Engines

As a small business owner building and promoting your business on the web, having quality inbound links is important. Links allow your site to be found by those who visit similar sites looking for the products and services that your company offers.

Links – like those at the end of your articles and press releases, like those that link back to individual products or services from within your blog, and like those from others who have purchased from you in the past – help to improve your site’s search engine rank.

By submitting your business’ website to relevant directories and even to industry-specific – niche – search engines, you’ll begin to generate additional links. More importantly, however, these niche directories are increasingly used by those looking for very specific sites. Having your listing present will make it even more likely that your prospective customers will find your page; that makes them a particularly valuable marketing tool for your business, and, again, it’s often free to submit your site.

5. Look for Joint Ventures with Other Like-Minded Business People

It’s not uncommon for small businesses to work together – a movie theater and a restaurant offering coupons for a discount if you spend the evening at both places. In my past life working with large corporations I realized that the largest companies grow by means of joint ventures all the time. However, many small businesses do not look into joint ventures when it comes to marketing their businesses.

Is it always easy to find the right joint venture for marketing your business? No, of course not. But it is possible to find like-minded business owners whose customers could benefit from your products or services just as your customers could benefit from those that they offer.

As a result, both small businesses will be better able to extend their outreach and develop a wider customer base. If you are going to enter into a joint venture, search for companies with similar goals and a similar customer base but a different type of product or service. Stay on the lookout, keep an open mind and you just might find the perfect opportunity to market your business to a new audience.

A perfect example of this principle is a recent joint venture I did with a company who specializes in teaching business credit skills to small business owners. This company markets to the same clients that I wish to add to my customer list, but they offer a completely different service. By working together, we were able to market our services to each other’s mailing lists, resulting in both of us attracting new customers we would not have had otherwise. The great part about this joint venture was that there was no out-of-pocket cost to either of us – just our time and a little creativity in coming up with suitable promotions to each other’s lists!

Taking your business to the web does not need to be difficult, nor does it need to be expensive. By taking a creative approach, small business owners on a tight marketing budget will be able to find traffic and increase their customer base.

Focus on reaching the search engines: use the right keywords and use them appropriately. Let people know that you have the information they need with articles and be sure to get the word out by distributing press releases. Interact with your customers with a high quality blog, and focus on getting great links. Lastly, take advantage of partnerships with like-minded business owners.

Marketing your small business website may require a lot of hard work, but it doesn’t require a lot of money – oftentimes, the best results are derived from the most creative (not the most expensive) solutions.

Understanding the Role of Small Business Marketing Consultant To Your Business

Tapping the services of a small business marketing consultant has been one of the biggest puzzles in the industry. Business owners have heard of it often but many refuse to avail of their services due to lack of understanding on what a consulting service can do for their business. Some are reluctant because they think that a consulting agency can mess up their business strategy, while others fear that they will lose control over their business management. However, these concerns are far from reality and you must take time to know the role of a business consultant for you to enjoy its benefits, as well.

The most basic definition to a marketing consultant is an individual or team of professionals who are considered expert in the field of small business marketing. Their expertise are gained either through completion of degree or through years of experience working in the business industry. Thus, they are skilled and equipped to handle any type of marketing challenge and also enable you to devise marketing strategies for small business.

The term “consultant” must not be neglected and is important thing for business owners to keep in mind when hiring these professional services. It means that they are hired mainly to provide expert and impartial insight into your business to help you become more profitable. For instance, if you are just starting out in your business, they can recommend steps you need to take in order to lay out a solid foundation for a profitable business. If your business is already existing, they can recommend marketing strategies for small business to improve operation and become more effective in achieving their goals.

The initial step taken by a marketing consultant is to assess the business’ current standing. Through their expert knowledge, they are able to determine what else the business can do in order to achieve its short- and long-term goals. You can leverage their expert view to take your business where it needs to be. This is critical with a highly competitive business industry so that you can keep your head above water even if you had to handle the core aspects of business management.

Several consulting sessions might be held between the business owner and the consulting team to discuss different strategies proposed by the consultant. The consulting agency will make proposals that will be evaluated by the business owner before it is approved and applied on their business. In some cases, a business consultant can also provide training to the personnel of a small business. The goal is to motivate the business owner to acquire new skills and knowledge to become more competitive.

The scope of a consultant’s responsibility with the small business is determined by the business owner who hired them. Thus, you won’t be dragged into a direction that you do not want your business to go in. Communication is very important though to ensure that both parties reach an agreement and take the necessary steps together.

Hiring the services of a small business marketing consultant is your initial leap towards making it big. Now that you have squashed any misconception about hiring a consultant, your next step is to find a qualified consulting team or individual who can get you where you want to be.

4 Common Mistakes In Small Business Marketing

Keeping new customers coming into your small business is vital. In fact, new customers are like oxygen to your lungs. But there’s a lot of confusion about the best ways to add new customers to a small business. And as a result there’s plenty of bad advice that’s waiting to steer you in the wrong direction.

In today’s article, I’ll show you 4 common mistakes to avoid when advertising a small business.

Are you ready?

Small Business Marketing Mistake #1: Using the cheapest marketing.

This is a common mistake I hear all the time. In fact, you should not look for the lowest priced advertising. What you want is the most effective advertising that at least breaks even, and even better puts money into your business on the first go round. The only measure of a good small business marketing promotion is whether or not it puts enough new customers into your store to at least pay for itself. Sometimes, a great piece will even make money on the first go.

But remember, the money in new customers is their value over a period of time.

Small Business Marketing Mistake #2: Getting concerned over image.

This is another mistake that’s very common. And I understand why it’s made. After all, you’ve invested a lot of time and money in your business. So it only seems right that your marketing image should be foremost in your mind.

But understand this:

The sole purpose of your marketing is to get a new customer. Plain and simple. And what works is being outrageous. Being fun. And grabbing attention so you set yourself apart from your competition that are busy launching boring (me too) campaigns.

Small Business Marketing Mistake #3: Not testing.

Many people have opinions on what they think good marketing is. But few are qualified to give advice. The way around this is TESTING. Testing your marketing trumps opinions, theories, and beliefs from all the so-called small business marketing experts. So if someone recommends you do something, then so be it. But make sure you test this idea to see if it produces or not.

Small Business Marketing Mistake #4: Not being clear

Don’t try to be cute or funny in your marketing. Instead focus on giving your reader something that benefits them. Maybe that’s a sample of what you sell… or a one-time deal… or even some free information to help your prospect make a decision. But no matter what, your advertising must deliver crystal clear benefits to your target audience.

So keep these four small business marketing mistakes in mind the next time you try to attract new customers to your business.

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