3 Free and Effective Ways to Market Your Small Business

There are thousands of ways to market your small business. The million dollar question: Which ones do I use?

There is no way of ever knowing until you test the different strategies.

After extensive testing and implementation phases, here are 3 of my favorites:

1. CREATE A STORY- This is my favorite strategy because it helps separate you from the competition and it brings exposure to your doorstep without ever going out and directly asking for it.

As you have noticed, I’m a 3yr Secret Service Veteran. When talking about fitness, world travel, shooting guns, and eating healthier, it tends to add credibility to my brand. Why? I walked the walk… not just talked the talk.

For example, let’s say you sell pillows. Selling pillows sounds boring and tedious, but let’s look at how you can make it pop and attract people to buy from you versus the competition:

First, create a story. Can you create a sleep contest at your place? Maybe it’s the city’s largest sleepover! Either way, create a story and the press will be there in no time at all.

2. Critical Online Marketing Checklist: Print this list and keep it next to your computer. It will provide you more traffic to your site or blog and a stronger presence online:

* Capture emails – Most people go through the motions on this one. Are you giving something away FREE in order to retain an email address? Are you capturing visitor email addresses upon them landing on your site?

* Get social – Even if you don’t like it, your competition is doing it. START NOW! Open an account on every major social networking site and devote 2hrs/week learning how to use them. They all drive traffic to your site; each in different ways.

* Threshold Marketing – Don’t be afraid to send an email 2 days in a row. There is no way of knowing the true demand of your marketing message until you test it out. I was always instructed to air conservative, but soon as I tested a back-to-back email I noticed it was taken very well! There’s a grey area and you should push to find it.

* RSS feed- Do you allow the option for readers to subscribe to your content via rss? If not, the time is now! Studies show this concept it rapidly growing; and you need to claim your fair share of the pie.

3. BLOG – An online platform for helping people understand your brand. A blog is simple to operate and very effective when used properly. In fact, blogs now receive more relevance with the search engines! In 2009, blogging has been ranked in the top 3 Internet strategies that every business must be involved with; that is, if you want to change with the times!

How A Small Business Can Double The Effectiveness Of Their Marketing Instantly

Chase Positive Feedback

I have to tell you this amazing story.

So, I made a mistake with some credit card transactions I was doing and I had to call the credit card company to remedy the problem. If you use credit cards (and I’m sure most of you do) you know that calling a credit card company is a freakin’ nightmare.

The ridiculous phone maze to keep callers from actually talking to a live person, the prompts that take you no where, the Fort Knox like security (which is probably a good think but after all the other stuff still makes you mad).

I had to do some pretty crazy flip flop of balances… I had a made a payment to the wrong card. I have a both a Visa and a MasterCard issued from the same bank – one in my name and the other in my wife’s. I made the payment to the wrong one and now was going to try and flip the balances.

I was ready to be annoyed.

BUT… I was pleasantly surprised. The people I talked to were fantastic. So much so that I told the lady that helped me (Mary Ann was her name) how great she was and how easy she made my transaction. I also told her about the hassles I normally have and how surprised I was that I didn’t have to deal with that.

What Mary Ann said next was blew me away!

Mary Ann said, “I wish my boss were here to hear you say that!” I was floored by that statement.

Most people aren’t swift enough to realize something valuable to their career is being said. Many business owner’s miss this too when a customer give feedback that is extremely valuable to their business success.

I told Mary Ann that if she wanted to have her boss call me I would tell her in person. So then Mary Ann did it again! She amazed me again. You have to realize how unbelievable this really is. No one does this – especially employees.

Here’s what she does next…

Mary Ann asks me, “Would please tell my boss that on her voice mail?” I agreed and she immediately transferred me to the voice mail where I left a glowing testimonial.

The moral of the story here is that you need to be aggressive in the collection of positive feedback. You need to amass a stockpile of praise from customers, employees, employers, civic leaders and whom ever you can find.

You need to be a rabid collector of these juicy bits of joy. People live vicariously through the thoughts, words and actions of others. Having this preponderance of proof that you are as good as you claim to be is more powerful then anything you can ever say.

Travis and I see this mistake made by business owners more than any other. Most small business owners just don’t “get” the power of collecting testimonials and using them in their advertising and marketing. It is a must.

Marketing Guru, Dan Kennedy said, “You don’t have a product until you have testimonials.”

He’s absolutely right. Yes, it is difficult and time consuming to collect them. But there are many ways you can make it easier on yourself. You have to make it a priority and teach your entire staff to recognize and prompt opportunities to capture testimonials, success stories and praise.

Testimonial Collection Made Easy

One way we have found to make collecting the words of others easy is using a service that allows people to leave voice testimonials via the telephone and then you are able to both use those on your website (which is extremely powerful) with just a click of a button or you can transcribe them and use them in print. A system like this gives you the ability to collect powerful testimonials in the voice of your customer. Using this technique we have seen clients increase business by at least 25%.

One way to do this is by using a system like Audio Generator.

There’s power in the details.

Details in testimonials is key. The more you can provide the more believable they will be. Don’t chicken out on testimonials by just putting the first name of the person who gave it or just their city. Give all you can. Even take a picture if you can. These tips will make you testimonials 10x more powerful.

If you aren’t using testimonials now in your marketing your only getting 50% of the business you could be. If you aren’t a business owner you can still significantly increase you pay, job opportunities and career options by using this simple little technique.

Your Mission Should You Choose To Accept It…

Start collecting and using testimonials now!

There is an excessive amount of traffic coming from your Region.

Small Business Marketing the Easy Way

Marketing is something every small business owner knows they should do, but when they get around to it most just scratch their heads and wonder where to start. True, it can be a daunting experience to build a marketing plan, and then put it into practice. It takes a bit of time and planning, and there are always costs to consider. That said, there are ways to market a small business that are both easy to plan and implement and, better still, are very low-cost or even free.

This is very good news for those small business owners who have had the misfortune to hire a “creative” marketing agency or “branding” consultant, and then watched as the money they spent disappeared without a single penny in return.

Simple Small Business Marketing Strategies

Don’t Sell Your Stuff. Most businesses try too hard to sell their stuff, and in fact a much better approach is to not try to sell at all. Most people reading this will think that’s a recipe for disaster, because if you don’t sell anything, the business doesn’t generate any revenue and profits. This is true, but what I mean is making an overt attempt to sell is counter-productive. The best way to sell is to simply create a great product or service, and then tell people about it. That way you attract people to you instead of you chasing them all the time. This makes selling easier, and more profitable. As well as a great product, you should also give great customer service, and that’s the next strategy.

Customer Service Is Paramount. Ask any business owner about their service levels and they’ll all swear they give really good service. What they mean is they give service at a level that’s about the same as their competitors. But that’s never good enough to make a business stand out from the crowd. To do that, you need to give customer service nothing short of excellent – at a level which makes people talk about your business to their friends, and recommend you. This does take some effort, but the rewards far outweigh the effort you put in.

Market All the Time. Once you have a great product, and you give great customer service, there’s only one thing to do, and that’s to tell people about it, and attract them to you as outlined above. But don’t think you should do this once and then forget about it. You should have a marketing plan that rolls on, and you should be doing something each month – and maybe every week – to tell people about your business and make sure you’re always the first choice. You could send out an email three times a week, run a print ad once a week, or send out a piece of direct mail every month. Even better, do all three.

Some of the marketing strategies have costs, but none are particularly expensive, and some of them, such as simply giving great customer service, don’t really cost anything at all. Follow these three strategies and you’re almost guaranteed to see improvements in your sales and revenue, and without spending a penny on hiring a “creative” consultant or branding guru.