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The most common question entrepreneurs ask me, is “how can I improve my marketing with no or little money?’ That’s literally the million-dollar question! Social media is about connecting with the people in your niche: customers, potential customers, people who are interested in what you do, or who share similar interests and circles or hubs with you. Business owners with a brick and mortar store need to reach out to a bigger audience online. Let the public know what you’re an expert at and use that to boost your credibility and value. The difference between a successful company and a mediocre one often boils down to an owner’s commitment to building (and sustaining) relationships with clients and prospects.
Join as many Linked-In groups as you can that are related to what you sell and post a question or tip on a regular basis. Twitter is a great place to share photos (TwitPic), host contests, shout out to loyal customers, have scavenger hunts, and promote events. Blog tours are like book tours, but without all the flying and cheap hotels and fast food temptations. Readers at the blog tour site are told to go to your site to sign up for a free sample, or chance to win a free sample, as well. Each Friday in the second edition of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) there are Gift Bag Requests. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that promotional items are only for conferences and tradeshows. Donate several of your products or services to a non-profit organization that is sponsoring a live auction and the proceeds will be donated to the charity. Marketing gurus often refer to it as “differentiation.” Academics who fancy themselves as marketers – they’re the ones who write marketing textbooks – prefer to call it a USP, your Unique Selling Proposition. Offer employee incentives to various big businesses, or to smaller businesses in your hometown. Content is any articles, information, video, infographics or stuff people can read, watch or look at that tells them something they didn’t know already about your product or service. If you want to get people’s attention and have them call you, there’s nothing like writing an article for a trade magazine (for B2B) or local magazine (for B2C) to gain credibility and get the exposure you want.
A convincing (and free) marketing strategy you can use to sell your service or product is by telling true, credible stories (hopefully that include awesome facts and incidents involving your product)—give specific and practical examples of what you have accomplished for clients. Let your fans review your business, then incorporate their reviews in your blog post — good or bad, unless of course it’s obscene, not-safe-for-work bad. If you are introducing a revolutionary new product, an endorsement from a top expert makes all the difference. Host a one-hour tele-seminar with time for content, a specific offer and questions from people on the call. Volunteer to write a “Dear Abby” type Q&A column for your local newspaper on whatever your area of expertise is. Statistically, 3-out-of-4 Internet users live in North America, making exposure on the web critical. Business-to-business professional service organizations get the most bang for their buck when they impress prospective referrers with their capabilities. There is nothing like entering a business award competition to strengthen the reputation of your small business.
Professional and trade organizations, chambers of commerce, Better Business Bureaus, universities – even churches are all organizations that host business competitions. Study the ad campaigns that get people’s attentions and come up with something of your own — unique counts.
Partner with companies which target the same audience as your firm to host “educational” events. Join forces to create posters, contests and other things that benefit all companies involved.
The fastest way, bar none, to create a strong Internet presence and get in front of potential customers when they are in active “search and buy mode” is pay-per-click search engine advertising. Use Your Logo- Now that you have a logo it is time to use it everywhere both online and in print. Instead of always pitching reports with story ideas, schedule a coffee or lunch meeting with the local (relevant) beat reporters in your market. There are hundreds of charities you can help, but you’re better off picking one or two charity organizations or causes and only donating to them for the year.
Leverage your exposure by putting yourself into situations where your marketing efforts have a LONG shelf life.
Maintain relationships with media contacts that cover your industry, even when you don’t have news for them.
Found this page thru an internet search and love the content and overall feel of your site.
I have a different way for you to view this, which might help you feel better if you don’t have money to spend. When you think about your marketing in this way, it doesn’t seem like such a handicap to have a tiny marketing budget, right?
Marketing strategies refer to all the efforts made by a company in order to increase the number of their customers and to keep the old ones closer.
Particularly if we refer to small towns, we can apply some specific marketing strategies in order to achieve our goals. Marketing strategies start from making a clear profile of the customer your business has set as a target and all the necessary information about his preferences, the products he uses, the reasons why he uses them, the price he is ready to pay, the amount of products he need every month and the other products related to this one offered by the company.
When we refer to marketing strategies for small towns, we suddenly think of similar products with the competitors, products that have no competition on the market area or products that are useful, together with others offered by the competitors. A very important part of marketing strategies  is the advertising campaigns and procedures. They have also been creating a lot of different blogs to promote their products through quality content. If you are just starting out with content marketing and don’t really know where to begin, try blogging first.
A lot of Coca-Cola Ads are usually marketed towards certain demographics to help increase the conversion rate. Most of us will never have the incredible marketing budget that Coca-Cola has, but we can all learn that it is much better to focus on a certain demographic with our marketing than to try to market to everyone at the same time. Coca-Cola has had a long history of competitors that have tried to take over their market share. It doesn’t matter which industry you are in, you will always have other businesses looking to cash in on your market share. Coming up with great slogans has always been a part of Coca-Cola’s marketing strategy. It’s about building relationships and networking, not selling, although that does come as a result. Publish tips, share your expertise through public speaking, even try pitching the media… make it super easy for people to associate you and your business with excellence and expertise in your field. Ask your best, most powerful, most influential friends or business associates to introduce you to the five people they think you should meet to expand your business. While it’s important to keep up traditional communication and PR, business owners should also be extending their relationships through online forums – website, blogs, and social networks. If you have a blog or e-newsletter, post an announcement to your Linked-In groups with a link whenever you release a new issue or blog posting. They’re a great way to get seen and discovered outside your usual niche, all from the comfort of your own office, or home. By having contest entrants choose among several products you get them familiar with your other products and get their email address too!
When given out with (or in place of) a business card at a lunch, a meeting or in passing, small promotional items become a gift. Your store name will be displayed on the products for the duration of the event and the donation is tax deductible. So don’t hesitate to start an informal group that can provide something of value to the market in which you specialize.
If you can consistently amaze and thrill readers with new content and new information or entertainment about your product or services, you’ll grow quickly! This may be content you have in some form on your website already, but having it in a trade magazine dresses it up and sort of puts a tuxedo on it.
Use real-life examples of projects you completed, specific problems you solved or successes you achieved. Kim Dushinski’s “5 Steps to Creating a Dynamic Mobile Marketing Campaign” are 1) figure out what your target market wants and offer it, 2) align what your target market wants with your desired outcome, 3) choose the right mobile marketing tool for this campaign, 4) launch your mobile marketing campaign and market it, and 5) track what is working and make any necessary adjustments. Offer your customers, potential customers, and visitors to your website a free resource, such as a guide or report that is packed full of solid information related to your product or services in exchange for their name and email address. Online reviews are a critical component of your business’ reputation and can do wonders for converting new customers. Whether it’s plumbing, or chimney cleaning, or car repair, volunteer to answer readers’ questions in exchange for a link to your website and business name. Heck, even the animals at the local animal shelter have websites, some of them better than mine! Even with all the changes to Google and to search algorithms, having a website that is keyword optimized is critical. One of the best ways to do this is through active involvement at trade associations where prospective referrers’ congregate.

Winning an award can catapult your reputation within your industry and with the sales audience you aim to attract. Virally spread your marketing message by making sure influential local bloggers see your video. A small accounting firm can partner with a small law firm and a marketing firm to hold a seminar on “strategies for surviving the recession,” and invite small businesses to attend. Put it on all of your marketing materials including business cards, letterhead and even envelopes.
Start the conversation by asking, “How might I be able to make your job easier.” When reporters know you’re out to genuinely make their lives easier without trying to sell them your story, you become a valuable resource, not a pain in the neck. Check in with them every month or so and ask how you can help them as an expert in your field.
If your company does events, give people a discount or free gift to bring (or just invite) a friend. The challenge, I think, is helping businesses cherry pick from among the options as to where to focus their energies for their respective companies.
Though for most smaller businesses, doing something that gives you 80% of the results for 20% of the effort is something I focus on. Sending this to my assistant now, so she can begin doing MORE of what’s on this list.
The people who decide not to pay much money for their marketing have to get more creative and put in more effort, but many times that effort yields much longer-term results. If you don’t have much money to spend, and you want to put your efforts into the best marketing strategies possible, this list will help.
It also involves finding information about competitors, products and customers’ preferences, trying to sell as much as you can, setting the best prices and making special offers that attract people.
A small town needs a well established point of attraction for tourist, citizens or simple visitors.
Everything is focused on what he wants, what he likes, what he dislikes and what he would like to be offered. It refers to the way your business is seen by the people, the message you try to send and the way it must be understood by the customers. They currently offer over 500 different brands of soft drinks within over 200 countries and territories.
Every year they come up with countless amounts of stories about their products and their marketing teams come up with great ideas of how to implement the promotion of their products into them. By posting articles about topics that interest their viewers, they are able to grab their attention and keep them interested with that they have to say.
It will help any company attract new customers, keep current customers involved, and it is a cheap and easy way to market. So for example an advertisement that was made specifically for ages 20-25 would be shown on places that are more likely to have that age group watching. There are plenty of marketing programs out there that can help you with this exact strategy. Ever since they came up with their first slogan back in 1886, they have always continued to use slogans to appeal to their customers.
Slogans can help attract people, keep our companies in potential customers thoughts, and they don’t cost much.
Every time you post with your business ID, your business name (and web page link) you’re putting yourself out there in front of potential customers. Volunteer to teach seminars through your local Chamber of Commerce about your area of expertise. Don’t spam of course, but utilize your network to get the word out to your people who know people who know people.
Spend weeks listening to them; you’ll be amazed what they will tell you about their concerns, their ideal products, their current frustrations with their vendors. A great offer goes a long way quickly…especially through our favorite social networking sites! Simply contact bloggers at any specific blog sites that fit your product and ship out a t-shirt, book or other product you offer and then also ask them to do a contest with their viewers. Whatever it is that separates your Stuff – your products or services – from the similar Stuff your competition is selling, that’s your Wow! Ask them to consider referring their smaller cases or business they don’t have time to handle, to you.
Partner up with local neighborhood businesses and a restaurant (or other service providers in a complimentary but non-competing industry if that’s your gig) to throw a special event, complete with noshing.
They offer a concise snapshot of business info so customers can easily contact you or visit your store.
For example, a monthly breakfast discussion on current news and events in the smart phone app industry, or manufacturing or outdoor gear retail industry.
If you’re a new entrepreneur, create a realistic scenario about how you would help your ideal client overcome a typical challenge. The guide is delivered electronically to their mailbox so there’s little cost involved.
The status of being a published author provides you with unprecedented access to media, speaking gigs, and other opportunities like nothing else can. If the paper isn’t interesting in paying or swapping you for the column, then pay for it yourself — and make it an ad. A snappy question to attract people, along with Google’s Geo-targeting can provide great results, for next to nothing.
Many competitions cost nothing to enter – except for the time it takes to prepare your entry. Use opt in email marketing to talk to your best customers – this means the ones that want to hear from you and have signed up to receive your marketing messages and offers. Split the cost and the work that goes into creating the event, including inviting prospects and clients. Include it in your email signature, on your Web site and use it in all correspondence to reinforce your company and encourage repeat customers and referrals.
Keeping your own blog updated, and writing guest blogs for other well-known or popular bloggers in exchange for a credit and blog link, or a reciprocal post is a major part of getting publicity. That will make you more visible plus, the organization will get to know you and who you are. Not only will you get the team, and their friends, family and fans attention and show that your business is a genuine part of the local community.
Consider it an opportunity to position your business as an expert, provide relevant information, and to add another layer in relationship building. As newspapers and magazines continue to lay off thousands of reporters across the country there’s an even bigger demand for well-written stories.
So, look for surveys other companies have done on a national scale, and then conduct a survey with your customers and prospective customers to get a local angle to a national story. If someone buys your product online, send them a coupon for the same item suggesting that they pass it on to someone they think will use it. My partner and i delight how much attempt you place to generate a real wonderful beneficial web page. Sure, people can sign up for an Adwords account, setup a PPC campaign, and instantly start driving traffic to their sites. This infographic called 27 Proven Marketing Strategies For A Small Budget (by Crawford and O’Brien) lists 27 proven, best marketing strategies for you to spend your time on. If I could humbly suggest one more thing to add to this list, I would say to keep moving forward, every single day. Marketing strategies also refer to following and respecting certain rules specific to the organization that can lead you to great and successful results. When we refer to marketing strategies for small towns, it is absolutely necessary to identify such a point of attraction. According to these data, companies try to produce something that is known from the very beginning as being useful for the population. These messages often appear in newspapers, e-mails and flyers and in small towns these are cheap and successful manners of advertising.
Although it isn’t necessary to have a large budget for this type of marketing, being able to spend money on it would most likely get you better results.
Starting a blog  only takes a few minutes and there is plenty of materials to help you get started. For instance almost all of the major social networking sites now have advertisement services. Coca-Cola has always outsold Pepsi, but they have had to fight to stay on top and their rivalry has always been noticed by consumers.
By placing a good slogan on your business cards, websites, and other highly visible areas, you will be able to have an easy marketing strategy that doesn’t take much to implement. Just one of these ideas may trigger a marketing opportunity that you never considered before. Just remember not to get caught up in community drama as every post represents you and your business!
Your business will receive promotion through the event itself, as well as through all marketing for the event.
Discuss your plans and future goals, tell them about why your business is special and ask for their advice. Make sure your gift bag offering has your website address, business card and additional offers that inspire recipients to follow up or at least check you out.

With every successful referral send them a hand written thank you card enclosing a Starbucks (or their favorite restaurant) gift card thanking them for their support. Combining your database with other businesses will expose you to an entirely different segment of people for a shoestring of the price. And best of all, they don’t cost any money!” Make sure your business is on Google+ business, as well as all the local review sites and other map listings you can find.
Leaders and business owners will come together in this informal, low-pressure situation, because keeping an eye on the state of the industry is their job. Lots of people have the relevant content part down, but also create content areas, not just content.
Demonstrate your expertise and position yourself as the go-to person for your product or service with this service. Relate your story through articles, blog posts, public speaking or by publishing a special report. Every two weeks, or so, follow up with more useful content, not a sales pitch, but do include your company’s info at the end.
Other popular review sites include Yelp (local businesses), TripAdvisor (travel related items), and Viewpoints (products).
Include their comments, or if you can snag an interview, put the highlights of that in your blog post as well. Once readers get used to seeing it and it disappears after three to six months, most papers will do what it takes to get it back if it’s popular.
Your website works as an online brochure as well as a “24 hours a day” sales person for your services and products, so make it work efficiently. If you can’t write, then pay someone who can to prepare your entry – or barter services if you’re trying to save money.
It’s a cost-effective way to market to the other firms’ clients, to prospects, and to build a relationship with these other partners in order to gain future referrals. Once you have a solid logo that makes an impact, it should be synonymous with your company name. When you’re highly visible in one or two organizations, it’s easier to say “No,” politely, firmly and credibly to the twenty others who also want your attention, but who aren’t in your target market.
Have ready-to-run articles prepared to send off at a minutes notice will create a great relationship with papers. Don’t forget to make sure you tell the host that “if your line-up is already scheduled, I’d make a great filler-inner when someone has to cancel”. Most papers won’t look at a locally conducted survey unless it ties into a larger survey or is done by a major company.
However, if you don’t have a marketing budget, you can still make a huge impact online by focusing on the best marketing strategies. There are exceptions to every rule, but for the most part, I’ve found this to be true. Even if we are talking about hunting, fishing, touristic objectives or shopping, lower taxes or kind and gentle people, all these indicate the way in which a business in a small town can become successful. Starting with this idea, the products made will be easy to sell, will be looked for by the customers and the sales will increase permanently.
It’s almost unbelievable how large and successful they are, but they would have never gotten to this point without their genius marketing skills. If you have ever been exposed to some of their video content, you will notice a lot of the times it’s just a story that can appeal to the audience, with small promotion signals about their soft drinks.
It’s a win-win strategy, the viewers get their quality content and Coca-Cola gets to promote their products. Although Coca-Cola has the resources to make many different advertisements at the same time, they strategically place them all for better results.
They will let you post your advertisements to the demographic of your choosing, helping you to generate more traffic and revenue.
You should also do extensive research on your competitors so you know exactly what they are offering to consumers and how they might affect your current customers. They have multiple different slogans for different reasons but no matter what, they are always catchy and can stick in the minds of their consumers.
You will be amazed at how these new contacts will pay off ten-fold with recommendations to you for new business and innovative ideas you hadn’t thought of. Make it fun and colorful with a strong “Call to Action” title, like: “100 reasons to call us. For instance, if you’re giving away t-shirts, include a list of celebrities who also wear the shirt they’re getting. This will help you build your customer or client base without having to spend a lot on advertising. Use food to generate PR for your event too — one company I know of sent S’more’s kits to local TV newsrooms to help promote a camper and RV show. All you need to do is tell them what the discount is and they will post it on their website or post it in some other capacity. Since you’re the one providing the benefit of this group, they will already be predisposed to a positive relationship with you, and it’s a short leap to noting your business savvy in their field. These areas should be able to (1) attract users and (2) position you and your business as an expert in those areas. You’ll be building credibility, establishing trust, and reminding those potential customers of your product or services. Go the extra mile and upload pictures, menus, or something relevant for your service or product.
Follow reporters’ stories and take time to read their articles and comment on them without pitching yourself.
Once people are attracted to you, you want to offer them something to keep them coming back or staying put. Compile the results, put them into a press release, and pitch to editors at your target publications.
On the other hand, people who invest a lot of time in learning SEO and working their way up in the search engines organically don’t spend any money, and they are able to see much longer-term results. This can also depend on how political people are, for example; if people adhere to Democratic Party views, it is much more probable for them to be accepting and understanding on a number of issues, whereas Republicans are more conservative, and can often be wary of the new. Let’s see if we can learn some of their strategies and use them for our own businesses.
They are starting to move away from the regular 30 second TV ads that just tell you to drink more coke. It is almost impossible to appeal to everyone at the same time, so by breaking it up into different demographic groups, Coca-Cola was able to increase the efficiency of their advertising efforts. This was calling for consumers to take a blind taste test between Coke and Pepsi to see which one was the best, which lasted years and ended up going nationwide.
There are plenty of other benefits to researching competitors, such as learning their successful marketing strategies, understand exactly why their customers enjoy their products or services, and also learn any other tips or tricks that you might be able to use in your own company.
Create an interactive, regularly updated site or blog, or by build informative yet informal profiles on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. You can also print off coupons for their Human Resource department to distribute, or send them a digital coupon they can email to employees to print off. For instance, if you’re selling hunting knives, create a content area on how to sharpen knives, or how to skin certain kinds of animals, or how to filet a fish. That being said, a business can have much bigger chances of success in a town where people share Democratic Party views, but politics isn’t the only factor in determining this. You have to know them so well that you can predict what they will like or want in the future as well, or know them well enough to know that they can be made to like and want products and services that you want to bring.
There have been many different instances where Coke has been attacked by competitors but continues to still thrive as the number soft drink provider. Give customers a coupon for a discount, or a free doughnut, or something fun to inspire them to call. Tip calculator cards, tea bags, pens and pads, small flashlights or things very target specific to your industry, like small packets of flower seeds for a gardener or landscaper with their contact information on it.
Don’t forget to put an offer ends date (usually 30-60 days) and a “customer must show employee ID to redeem coupon” requirement on the coupon! The content area should utilize your product if possible, but mostly it should have related content that attracts knife owners to your site. Don’t be shy about creating a short but compelling video that succinctly explains your product or service.
Done right E-News is one of the least expensive, but most effective marketing tools in our arsenal.
Sometimes, successful small business ideas are all about convincing people that your new products is what they need, whether they’ve made use of such a product in the past or not. Don’t be surprised by how often your content will be tweeted or covered by bloggers, or open the door to a more extensive PR pitch. Article marketing is a subtle way companies can gain exposure for their business by writing articles that provide information about news and trends occurring within their respective industries. Companies that incorporate article marketing into their marketing campaign demonstrate their expertise in their respective industry while simultaneously attracting new customers.

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