Before the Internet came along and changed human behavior forever, small business marketing was pretty straightforward. An entrepreneur had merely to focus his or her efforts on offline marketing strategies to maximize returns.
With the introduction of the Internet, however, entrepreneurs have now been presented with a piece of technology that has already begun to revolutionize the way businesses market and sell their products and services. It has become the quintessential medium for entrepreneurs to gain better competitive advantage and stronger economic footing in their marketplace.
As exciting as the Internet is for entrepreneurs, however, it inevitably poses a new set of challenges for small businesses, specifically in marketing. So, if you’re a tad bit confused about creating your marketing strategy to fit today’s global marketplace, then here are 7 small business marketing strategies that you and every other entrepreneur should know about:
1. Start A Blog
You know a marketing strategy is working extremely well if Microsoft is using it. The revolution of the Internet made websites mandatory for any business seeking an online presence, but the evolution of the Internet has made it mandatory for entrepreneurs to start blogging. There’s a lot that should be said about blogging, but in a nutshell, it is a distributed media that entrepreneurs create and relinquish control to their audience (prospects and customers) to establish a long-lasting customer relationship.
Blogs are probably the quickest way to create awareness and draw attention to your business, building trust with your prospects and removing perceived risk by tearing down communication barriers. It puts a human face to your business, illuminating an element of business transparency your customers can easily identify with.
2. Network Online And Offline
Networking is seldom referred to as a marketing strategy and those who undervalue its potential to grow a business couldn’t be more wrong. The proof of this is in the popularity of social networking sites like MySpace.com and Facebook.com. So popular are these digital networking sites in today’s Web 2.0 era that there is practically a site created around every interest imaginable.
Networking sites like Ryze.com and LinkedIn.com are specifically centered on like-minded small-business entrepreneurs like you and are perfect platforms for seeking out new business opportunities and partnerships.
Let’s not forget the traditional methods of networking as well, such as attending seminars and business events which, although outshone by the current frenzy of online social networks, still play a huge role in carving out big chunks of business opportunities.
Let’s face it, growing a business is easy if you know how, but giving your business a unique identity amidst all the competition in your market is tough. Here’s where branding can lend a helping hand, personifying your business by leveraging on brand awareness to build stronger relationships with your customers.
Ideally, your brand should influence every aspect of your business operation because the successful brands of today will be those capable of producing customer-centric business models consistently.
4. Targeted Traffic
Getting traffic to your business is obviously a must for survival. No business can survive without traffic, whether it be online or offline. But the key to outsmarting your competitors is attracting targeted traffic, which pose a much higher chance of converting to paying customers.
Attracting targeted online traffic is a much faster and more cost-effective way of growing a small business and can be achieved by utilizing strategies such as search engine optimization, buying traffic (using PPC, CPA, or banners), recommending affiliate programs and syndicating content.
Want to spark a buying frenzy for your products or services in a flash? Then, nothing comes quite as close as landing a press coverage about your business or about your success as an entrepreneur. Yes, advertising in papers or magazines has its perks, but consumers know that these can be biased. Gaining publicity via a news release, on the other hand, lends huge credibility to your business and should only serve to boost your sales for the long term.
6. Writing Articles
The Internet has made it extremely easy for anyone to establish themselves as an author and information publisher. Take advantage of this by writing articles promoting your business. Why? Because as an entrepreneur, writing articles makes you an authority in the eyes of your customers, a marketing strategy often used by CEOs of Fortune 500s to garner a following of pre-sold prospects for easy sales.
7. Public Speaking
Probably the hardest strategy for the publicity shy, but speaking to promote your business is a critical marketing strategy. Communication experts list speaking and writing as the two most important skills to develop as an entrepreneur due to the instant recognition that these skills contribute to your business.
Small businesses experiencing a growth spurt on the Internet can be attributed to one common factor: a successful marriage of both online and offline marketing strategies. So put these 7 marketing strategies into practice and watch your business takeoff from a whole new level.