In today’s economy, the small business owner needs all the help they can get in bringing in new business and keeping the bottom line on the positive side. That’s why we’ve compiled the Top 9 Marketing Methods for small business owners to give you ideas on how to best market your business.
- Direct Mail. While the direct mail market has been over-abused in the past with the deluge of junk mail flooding the average mail recipient’s mailbox, using direct mail can still be an effective method to market to your customers. A word of advice, don’t go for overly expensive pieces. Remember, half the battle of direct mail is to get your potential customer to open it. Stick to postcards that are easy to read and expose your message to the customer right away. Remember, direct mail needs to have a clear call to action, so include your phone number or website in a clear, prominent location. If you don’t have a designer in-house to design a marketing piece for you, you can always use prova.fm to pick your price for a professional design. To get cheap, quality printing, look to www.gotprint.net or www.overnightprints.com.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As a business owner, you’ve probably heard a lot about SEO and how important it is for your website and your business. Having good SEO means that when people search for your site or the product you are offering, they find it on the top of the first page in search engines like Google and Yahoo. SEO can be a complicated strategy but it begins with your website. Having lots of great content with keywords related to your product or service can be a great way to start. You also want to make sure you have the appropriate meta data on your site and that it is different for each page of your website. Having a blog or being a part of directory that links back to your site also helps. To truly excel at SEO, a professional is needed. You can find these professionals at freelance sites such as www.guru.com and www.elance.com
- Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing is a great way to get advertising on the web for not a lot of money. That’s because with affiliate advertising you can pay per action completed. So for instance, you sign up with an affiliate network and provide internet ads and materials for affiliate marketers to use to market your website. They go out and drive people to your site. You can structure the deal so that you will only pay those people when a person they send to your site completes some sort of action whether it’s completing a form or purchasing a product. Some of the bigger affiliate networks include Commission Junction at www.cj.com and Hydra Network at www.hydranetwork.com.
- Publication Advertising. If you have a specific industry and target market you cater to, then you may still want to look into advertising in industry publications. Print publications are desperate for advertising revenue and can give you a good deal if you advertise for multiple months. Search out trade magazines that your market reads and contact the advertising manager for deals. Sometimes they will provide the design for you as part of the cost. If not, you can get an ad designed quickly at prova.fm.
- Google AdWords. Google Adwords is a type of internet marketing called pay-per-click marketing. These are the advertisements you see at the top and right of the Google search engine every time you do a search. It’s free to create an account, but a word of advice when creating these kind of campaigns… get an expert to run them. You can easily waste a lot of money if you don’t know what you are doing. An expert can create the ads and constantly alter them according to the results. Most business owners don’t have the time to learn and monitor the results of these ads. Experts can be found on freelance sites such as www.guru.com or www.elance.com .
- Online Directories. If you are part of an industry, chances are there is some type of directory out there for you. Search the internet and find these directories. You will probably have to pay to join, but it is well worth it because it gives you linking value. Make sure that your membership allows you to add a link back to your website. This link acts as a kind of recommendation to you and your site and gives your website more SEO value, therefore increasing your page rank on the search engines.
- Radio. Radio stations have taken a big hit in this economy and have reduced their advertising expenses dramatically. This is great news for the small business owner! Most radio stations offer a package deal that will give you air time on several stations as well as internet stations. Commercials usually run in either 30 or 60 second spots. Remember that with a radio ad, repetition is the key. Your potential customer won’t be able to write down your information, so keep it simple. Give them a website address or a phone number to call, and repeat that at least 3 times in your advertisement. A great place to save money on radio advertising is www.bid4spots.com, or contact your local radio sales person. To get an effective ad written & recorded, check out prova.fm or your local chamber of commerce directory.
- Yellow Pages. The Yellow Pages are a kind of directory and online it can give you the same value that we discussed in number 7, as long as you are allowed to link back to your website. It also offers your potential clients another doorway to find you on the internet. Offline, the yellow pages can still offer certain industries, mostly service-oriented, a chance to get business as well, although this is getting to be an outdated kind of marketing. Certain age groups will still open up the yellow pages to find a service they need. If your business falls into this category, it may be well worth the time and money to place an ad in your local Yellow Pages.
- Craig’s List. For free advertising, nothing beats Craig’s list (www.craigslist.org). It gives you a link back to your website as well as a page for you to sell your product or service. A lot of people will look at Craig’s list now first like they used to look into the Yellow Pages. It can’t hurt to place a free ad on this directory. If nothing else, you will benefit from the link value. As with every type of advertisement, it's important to include a compelling headline and a call to action. Include your website, telephone number, or address in the body of every message, and invite users to click, call, or stop in.
Being a small business owner can be tough, especially in this economy. And finding the right people to help you with your marketing goals can be a challenge. Most of the top 9 marketing methods that we mentioned above will need the assistance of a professional marketing designer. These services can be quite costly and time-consuming to get an ad that successfully attracts customers.
But, with Prova.fm, it’s easy. All you have to do is launch an advertising contest on our website, and designers from all over the world will submit their design concepts for you to review. You’ll receive multiple ads to choose from and have the opportunity to interact with the designers to request revisions on the work they have submitted. And, you’ll get your ad fast, with little of your time invested. You pay absolutely nothing unless you select and download a design you love! If you're worried about your advertising budget, with Prova, you pick the price you'll pay for a winning design. It’s easy, inexpensive, and a great way to get the marketing materials you need, fast! Visit prova today at prova.fm to learn more about how Prova Advertising can help your small business get more effective advertising at the price you pick.
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