Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nine Effective Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Small businesses (SMEs or SMBs) need marketing as much as large corporations. The good news is that there are various cost-effective marketing tools around. These tools are a mix of traditional and new – together, they are highly effective.

1. Have your Own Website and Blog

Every business needs a website. Potential customers are searching online to find out what your business is all about. For branding and to position yourself as a leader, you also need your own blog. Blogs are easily created using Wordpress or Blogger - free of charge!.

2.Use business cards

It is still worth while to hand out business cards. A printed business card stays around, which is good for your branding. At exhibitions and at a first business meeting, business cards are still handed out.

Depending on your target audience, make sure that it has the correct format and language (e.g., Chinese at the reverse side of your English one. Pay attention to the format of your phone number; make sure to include the country code for clients abroad.

3. Brand your collateral

Use your invoices, receipts, proposals, price quotes, and order confirmations to brand your company. Put your logo, slogan, tagline, and contact details on documents that you send out.

4. Create brochures, flyers and PowerPoint presentations

A brochure, flyer or PowerPoint presentation will explain who you are and what you are offering in an appealing and easy to grasp way. Once you turn them into a PDF, they are easy to distribute by email and to post online (LinkedIn, website).

5. Create and update your own website

Potential customers want to check you out. They expect you to have your own website. Your business domain name is ideally the name of your company. In case you cannot register a .com, try .biz. Make sure that you update your website regularly and also check that is opens correctly in all major browsers.

6. Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

To reach potential customers, you need to be found. Online searches are the key; people search on search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) and on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, forums, blogs, etc.). SEO helps you to be found by potential customers that are searching for you or your product/service.

7. Use social media

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the main social media to reach your target audience. They provide a highly effective way to interact with your target audience. It is also easy to spread news about your company and announce special offers.

8. Provide freebies

People like to get free information and advice. One way of leveraging this, is by having your own blog and to post your own articles (e.g., on ezine) that provide useful tips to the readers. This not only positions you as an expert in your field, but also builds brand loyalty. Other excellent marketing tools are having a free download on your website for white papers and free webinars.

9. Make Yourself Visible

Attend seminars in your area, promote a cause your target audience care about or sponsor a charity event. People need to get to know you and your business. If your business is completely online, opt for a (humorous) YouTube video.

These nine tools provide a great way to promote your business - success! Please leave a message how if works out for you.

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