Marketing – Small Business

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Marketing budget, income potential, market area and knowledge all play a significant role in the choice of a marketing method. Marketing budget decisions present a major stumbling block for many new home based business and small business owners, or even “want to be” owners. When I started my first business in 1981 (yes I know that dates my age), the options for free marketing were limited to friends and family, free newspaper ads, bulletin boards, roadside signs and flyers. Oh and there was also the delightful option of cold calls. These methods worked. They were time consuming, frustrating because of the high percentage of rejection, and limited to the geographical area near your home.

Today there are so many social networking sites which reach a world wide area. Once again these are free or extremely low cost. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Squidoo, and Linked-In are a few of the more popular. There seems to be a new one popping up every day. Not only can you connect with numerous people as individuals, but there are a plethora of groups of every imaginable type available as well. Video is currently taking the Web 2.0, social networking, by storm. Videos can be uploaded on You-tube for free and displayed on site or on your web pages or even embedded in your emails.

The next step up is print media: newspaper classified, newspaper display ads, magazine classified, magazine display ads, and postcards are the most popular. There are also printed calendars, printed note pads, pens and various other items printed with the business contact information, and even brochures. Business letters are not as frequent but they also appear. The trick to letters, brochures and anything else which arrives in an envelope is getting the envelope opened instead of taking a dive bomb straight for the waste basket. I have seen colored paper, “urgent” stamps, promo checks peering through the window in the envelope, and even actual money enclosed to get people to open the envelope. If the envelope remains sealed, your marketing dollars just crashed and burned.

The internet is all the rage now. Google is the 800 pound gorilla. They rule the jungle and consume the lion share of the market. Yahoo, Bing, MSN and other smaller search engines are tripping on the brush in the jungle attempting to stay on their feet or ideally gain a few steps on Google. This is Google’s eleventh anniversary; notice today they spelled Google as Googlle in honor of the eleventh anniversary. Pay per click presents a more intense learning curve and higher cost for the total marketing budget. The critical factor in pay per click is selecting the targeted keywords and embedding them properly in a compelling ad. When they click on the ad, it must take them to a web page with the specific information promised in the ad. Relevance is key.

The next element in pay per click marketing is designing a web page with enough information to present value and just enough intrigue to entice them to fill out their contact information. Web page design discussions involve chapters, not a single article. No matter which form of marketing you select, the goal is to capture the contact information. Sooner or later you will arrive at the web page design decision.

Happy marketing. It is exciting, ever changing and a fabulous growth opportunity.

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