Small businesses do not often have large budgets. Thanks to the Internet, small business marketing can be a huge success, even without big dollars behind it.

Small business marketing can benefit from new trends in general marketing. These trends point to methods that are inexpensive, innovative, and online.

One of the key online options for small business marketing is search engines. The cost of submitting your Web site to a search engine is minor, but there are some considerations to be made:

1. Your site must be optimized with keyword phrases. Search engine optimization is achieved by including keyword phrases that apply to your company. These phrases must be present enough times to draw the attention of the search engines to your site.

2. Since most small businesses focus on their local market, you should aim your advertising efforts at your local audience. Users have recently begun pushing for better local search capabilities and most search engine companies are responding. Statistics have shown that 74% of Internet users perform local searches. Your keywords should reflect your locale and you should look into local search engines and directories, like your local Yellow Pages, Google Local, Citysearch and others.
If you are a local merchant and your intention is to sell products on the web, one of many tactics is to build your online ads around local content to increase your click through rate.

3. Speaking of local searches, newspaper Web sites have become the top portal in their local areas, especially among the coveted 18-34 demographic. Traditional newspaper advertising is generally beyond most small business marketing budgets, but the online versions offer more affordable ads on the “back” pages – those that are not visited as often but are rich in content.

4. Another exciting small business marketing method is the weblog, or blog. A blog offers your business a good way to have an inexpensive, two-way conversation with your customers. Write a blog for your Web site to give your customers and prospects an additional reason to visit your site.

5. Podcasts are among the newest small business marketing techniques. A podcast is a multimedia file (think radio broadcast) distributed by paid or unpaid subscription over the Internet. Podcasts offer you a direct way to tell your prospects how your product or service can benefit them.

6. Many small businesses can use online seminars or demos, also known as webinars, to demonstrate and promote their latest products. Online demos are an ideal tool for small business marketing because they are relatively easy to produce and allow you to reach a wide audience without ever leaving the office.

7. A strong online presence is a critical component of any small business marketing campaign. Why? Because the Internet offers advertising options that are relatively inexpensive. Because 87% of consumers research purchases online before they buy. Because 63% research online and then visit a bricks and mortar store to complete a purchase. And because demographic trends show that the most desired customers are most accessible through online means.

By: Barry J Byers

About the Author:

About Barry Byers

Barry is a co-founder of small business marketing agency, Wolf21and co-director of training of Search Engine Academy Montreal and Toronto. Barry teaches 2-day beginner, 3-day advanced, and 5-day all-inclusive “hands on” search engine marketing workshops in the Greater Montreal, Quebec and Greater Toronto, Ontario areas.

About WOLF21

WOLF21, created in 1996 is a certified marketing representative (CMR) and a member of the Yellow Pages Association (YPA). The company is also certified in Advanced Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click Advertising. The company offers National and Regional Yellow Pages advertising program management and International Search Engine Marketing Services taking an important step in the convergence of Yellow Pages advertising and Search Engine Marketing. http://www.smallbusinessmarketingwolf.com

About Search Engine Academy The Search Engine Academy is the first search engine optimization training designed for people with little or no previous experience with SEO. http://www.searchengineacademy.ca

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Maintaining a balance between work and the rest of your life can be a struggle for many small business owners. It’s easy to be consumed by your business, especially if you love your work and you’re committed to making your business a success.

And when you’re consumed by the day-to-day running of your business, marketing often gets pushed to the back burner. That may seem fine right now while you’re swamped with work and clients, but what happens when things slow down and there are no new clients in the marketing pipeline?

This is where many small businesses get into trouble.

So just how do you find time to manage and market your business at the same time?

Here are 10 tips I use to help me balance running and marketing my business at the same time. I hope they’ll help you do the same.

1) Be realistic about how much you can do

Pace yourself, reschedule some things if necessary, and perhaps even put a few things off for a few months when you have more time in your schedule.

2) Use a calendar or Day-Timer system to stay organized and record all your appointments and “to do” activities

I use Microsoft Outlook and a Pocket PC. I enter everything I need to do as an appointment. For me, this works better than having a separate “to do” list because it forces me to actually schedule time to get the work done.

3) Prioritize your activities

Put those that help you generate revenue at the top of your list – and this includes marketing. We often get bogged down in administrative or busy-work that either doesn’t have to be done right now, or that we could get someone else to do for us.

4) Make sure to schedule time for your marketing and planning activities

These are crucial to the long-term success of your business. Book time in your daily schedule to do them, just as you book client appointments. Then stick to your schedule.

5) Every evening, look at your calendar for the following day

If you need to prepare for a meeting, do it the night before. Know what you need to accomplish each day and be ready to get up and go in the morning.

6) At the end of each day, review your calendar and check off all the activities you completed

If you didn’t get to something, move it to the next day you can commit time to getting it done. (And, here’s a tip: if you move something more than 4-5 times, it’s probably not a priority item and you can push it to the back burner or maybe get rid of it completely).

7) Get some help

For seven years I did everything in my business. I didn’t hire help because I didn’t think I could afford to. If hiring help means you can spend more time on revenue-producing activities, you’ll be able to pay for that help in no time. And, if you’re like me, you’ll kick yourself for not getting help sooner!

8) Schedule an “exercise” appointment every day

Daily exercise, whether it’s a trip to the gym, a 20-minute walk, going for a run, or whatever activity you enjoy, will help you maintain the energy you need to get all your work done. It’ll also help boost your immune system so you stay well. I’ll admit, I let this one slip sometimes, but every time I get back on track, I feel better about everything.

9) Schedule “me” time, too

Just because you’re busy, doesn’t mean you should let your personal time go by the wayside. You need that time more than ever now, to rejuvenate and keep your energy up. Book time to relax and read a book, get a monthly massage, spend time with your family, go on a date with your spouse, or whatever you like to do. You’ll return to your business with a fresh perspective and attitude that will help you be more successful.

10) Realize something’s not going to get done, and be okay with that

Despite all the diligent scheduling, unexpected things will come up, some tasks will take longer than you planned, and you probably won’t get to everything. The good news is, if you follow all 10 of these steps, the priority work (that’s the work that produces revenue for your business) will get done. You may even find that some of the things you thought HAD to be done, really didn’t have to be done after all.

(C) Copyright 2005 Debbie LaChusa
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Anushka Sharma asked:

Hiring an SEO consultant is critical to improve the performance of your website. What is even more critical is the selection of most suitable consultancy offering SEO services. As an inexperienced website owner, you may not consider all the factors that are necessary to evaluate the expertise of such companies. Here are some important questions that you must ask a company offering consultancy SEO services before hiring it.

What is the Guarantee?
A consultancy service with main aim to make profit through SEO services will offer 100% guarantee on great SEO results. However, you must not fall prey to such guaranteed offers, as no company can guarantee page one ranking. The company promising such guarantees is either fraud or has incomplete knowledge about the process of website optimization.

Are There Any Reference Websites?
You must ask for the reference of website the SEO consultancy has earlier worked for. An experienced consultancy should be able to provide you with a number of websites. You must visit the websites and analyze how well they are performing among the search engine results. A company who fails to provide links of reference websites should not be counted among SEO experts.

What Are the Areas of Optimization?
An SEO consultant specialist should mention a number of onsite and offsite optimization areas as answer to this question. For example, website content optimization, keyword and Meta tag optimization and optimization of website titles are some of the main onsite optimization fields.

At the same time, the offsite optimization techniques include content development and article submission, directory submission, link building, press release development and so on. An expert SEO consultancy should be able to explain all these methods that it uses for website optimization.

What Are the Performance Monitoring Tools?
SEO experts make use of a number of performance monitoring tools and metrics to evaluate the progress of website optimization. The SEO consultancy you visit must be able to explain these website analytics tools to you.

What Are Reporting and Communication Tools?
You must learn about the tools and methods that the company follows to report the progress to their clients. An SEO consultant specialist would take interest in reporting regularly to the website owners. For this, the company must also have good communication and customer support tools.Price is another thing that you must discuss with the SEO consultancy in the beginning itself. However, good SEO experts always charge standard industry prices and anyone offering below the standard rates should be avoided. A good idea is to obtain answers for all these questions from different companies and evaluate them to find the best SEO consultancy.

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iibramiro31 asked:

If you& #039; re distills using the common tools of comercializacià ³ n for its business, watches this way and discovers tools of comercializacià ³ n in lÃnea mÃs efficient and mÃs interesting hardly like the business blogging. Many pequeñas companies obtain today in dÃa found in lÃnea by means of the business blogging. His pequeña company can obtain found también if you harness energÃa of comercializacià ³ n of blogs of the business. It can even reach reputation in lÃnea to become blog of the business of the celebrity enough. Like a nascent one to this particular idea, you preguntarÃcuÃl is the business blogging and cà ³ mo you can treat it. Here& #039 well; s qué and hardly cà ³ mo: The business blogging estÃgenerating a space in lÃnea to start its business writing on él. In order to acquire a space for the writing, you sign for above in free-blogging sites including WordPress or Typepad and fixes blog. Blog estÃin places that you can register his opinions. A space is también where by the men and the women it can be on ideas. But blog only has the potential of being a space for convergenceif él estÃposition actively. In case you do not do thetips of the work and the tricks of the business blogging, you hablarÃsimply with in lÃnea. An essential thing that you must know on the business blogging is él works with optimizacià ³ n of the Search Engine well (CATHEDRAL) using key words within its entrances of blog. You conseguirÃonly found if the connections to his pÃginas exhibits in questions in lÃnea. Because búsquedas in lÃnea are by means of key words, you need to include key words and phrases keys in his entrances of blog. For example, if you estÃwriting on services of the building in Roofing tiles, he includes & #039; building services& #039; and & #039; Texas& #039; in his artÃculo. repeticià ³ n of key words can help to the presence in lÃnea of its entrance of blog but it does not exaggerate repetitions of the key word simply because serÃn annoying to read. Once you obtain found in búsquedas in lÃnea, you& #039; ll has mÃs things to do against. The thing estÃfor you not to only concentrate in being found. You need to work in his reputation. You can only obtain reputation if many of users in lÃnea really like his blog to keep visiting of él enough. Bloggers of the celebrity can sell fÃcilmente not watching in fabricacià ³ n of advertising rolls but by means of the writing on its clients, their passions, a brief history of its professions asà as the ways their products can improve lives. ³ n and està write with preocupaciÃby this razà ³ n that they& #039; re able to bring to much público to his blog. Qué you need to avoid està obviousappearing melodramÃtico. He remembers that you todavÃa estÃwriting on business and not its personal life. He keeps his professional but not to stiff from blog. The secret is to speak to its hearing. Distribution with them in the second person. You encontrarÃthat using this método you conseguirÃmÃs answers of them. You necesitarÃto please its clients and perspective enough good that must present/display to him with regenerations. Their regenerations are important since permitirÃn that you strategize his comercializacià ³ n in lÃnea. Blog maintains interesting his mixing the important details with official notices of press, warnings of the product, and growth of investigacià ³ n and development with the personal development in its entrances of blog. Its readers adquirirÃn mÃs knowledge of his blog if they find absolutely some informacià beneficial ³ n and frees that they can use to heighten his lives. The business blogging is a process of long term and not one solucià ³ n in the short term. You necesitarÃto put to dÃa his blog, to keep conversacià ³ n going with its potential clients and clients, and keeping frequently the subjects exciting to put positively its products and services. In time, its time and efforts pagarÃdull n. Its business conseguirÃfound you and serÃblogger of the celebrity whose reputation sells his businesse& #039; the services and the products of s flow.

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An Indian Writer asked:



Today, every business that wants to attract prospects and customers should consider using appropriate Search Engine Optimization techniques. This methodology can’t be beaten if you want to reach the broad market segments, speciality markets via the World Wide Web. It is also great for advertising locally; and especially if you are the new age entrepreneur who likes to keep a tight grip on the business budget.


SEO can benefit your online business in the following ways:

Speed, flexibility and control.

If you are using pay per click programs, you can open an account, write the copy, set your budget and see your ads online within hours. You can quickly change your ad message and keywords or turn your ad on/off with a click of the mouse. Sites like Google, Yahoo are very easy to use and you can manage your account from the comfort of your office PC.


Establishing budget

Having a monthly spending cap will help you control your finances.


Track results

What is the use of implementing the SEO strategy if you don’t come to know who is clicking your site, what are visitors looking for and which site they click while leaving your site.

A good SEO company will always offer you a greater control and precision through results tracking than what you had before. You can see detailed, up-to-the-minute performance reports 24/7, all across the year.


Search Engine Submissions

Submitting sites to various search engines will make it popular and boost its rankings. SEO companies submit your website monthly to help maintain your rankings to ensure that higher amount of traffic is driven to your site.


Site optimisation and keyword review

You can hire search engine technicians to make recommendations based on the latest search engine algorithms and then implement them for added advantages.  Title and Meta tags are also optimised with accurate keywords in the process.


Local Marketing

Targeting the local market, especially the hot selling topics can create a buzz for you. People normally like to take services of a firm which is located near to their area of work/residence. It gives them a feeling of confidence while doing transactions with your firm.


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Maurice Evans asked:


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method businesses use to attempt to rise to the top of the results listings in Search Engines (SERPs). This has been a practice since search engines were invented for the Internet. Search engines encourage website owners to make their pages easier to understand by their robot spiders. When Search Engines send out their robot spider across the internet, it tries to “read” the page. Optimized pages are easier to read, and subsequently rank properly in the SERPs. For almost a Decade SEO was the way sharp business owners dominated their industries and crushed their competition. During this time up to 85% of websites were found for the first time due to a search in an engine like Google or Yahoo! Since 2/3rds of all searchers rarely clicked on links beyond the first page, it only made sense to try to get your site ranked within the top 10 search results.


SEO began to get abused in 1997 when 3rd party software and companies began to spring up with the sole purpose of “gaming” the engines. Such practices are frowned upon by the search engines and they penalize any website attempting to violate their best practices. A famous upgrade to the code in Google was the “Britney Spears” update. Pornographic Websites began stuffing the keyword “Britney Spears”, who was the most searched term at the time, into their Keyword Meta Tags. Even though their site was totally unrelated to the pop singer, their sites showed up first in SERPs. This is why by 1999 Search engines had stopped factoring the meta tag “description” and “keywords” in their ranking algorithms. This abuse of site code is no longer possible, and search engines continue to combat any attempts of similar foul play. A consequence of such attempts caused the engines to get smarter faster and start to penalize and even ban websites that used any unapproved methods to “optimize” their sites.


Somehow, the people who (still) sell traditional SEO manage to convince people the purpose of SEO is to get your site ranked higher for specific search terms (keywords.) Many of today’s contemporary agencies used to sell it too. The better ones have realized they would rather produce long term results for their customers than short term bragging rights. If you SELL SEO, gloating about being in the top 10 of Google may be the point of YOUR business, but ONLY if SEO is your only service line! Often such top 10 rankings by outdated SEO firms are for search terms no “customer” actually types into the search engines anyway. Such companies do not realize business owners are not in it for bragging rights.

As if you as an owner would be proud to say “HA! I am in first position for ‘Cantonese basket weaving jokes!'” Yes, they guarantee you will be in the “top positions”, but not necessarily for a good search term. They also rarely mention how much traffic you will (or will not) get. Is your goal simply to be above your competition in the engines for some obscure word? OR is it to get more visitors to your website? Most old-method SEO companies do not understand this end goal, but are happy to take your money anyway. Later they tell you “congratulations, you are now number 4 in the engines for (useless rarely-searched phrase.)” Search Engine Ranking is not an award certificate. It is designed to drive traffic naturally, without you having to pay for it.


SEO uses a lot of fancy programming and techniques to “optimize” a web page and promote it on the web to try to get it to climb the ranks in the search engines. No matter your product or service, if you SEO your site, you want your page to be higher on the list than your competition. Web surfers usually start with the first link and work their way down. The sooner they click you, the better your chances of getting a sale. But just as you are willing to pay money to get your page optimized, and have someone perform all the SEO tricks to get your page higher – so will your competition. Your competition wants to beat you just as much, if not more, than you want to beat them.

So EVEN IF you do get to the top, it will just make your competition try that much harder to knock you back down a peg or two. So you end up in a vicious cycle where you and your direct (and indirect) competitors are jockeying back and forth for first position. Whoever spends the most time (spelled M-O-N-E-Y) on SEO wins. At least for a time, just so long as no one else spends a little more than they do. So even if you get to the top, you can bet, you won’t stay there for long.


In the year 2009, less than 47% of web surfers found websites through a search engine. And that number is shrinking daily. Social Referral Sites like Digg and Del.ico.us allow site members to post the link of their favorite web address for other members to visit. Other visitors get to vote on whether or not they like it. Social News Sites like Redit, Slashdot and Fark aggregate news articles recommended by its site visitors. Social Networking Sites like Twitter and Facebook allow people to share reviews and links of favorite sites. Social Bookmarking Sites like Stumble, actually act as a publicly accessible “favorites” or “bookmark” for web pages.

Now, combine all the social media with News aggregators like Google News and Yahoo News plus corporate and industry web presence pages like CNN, CNBC, Entrepreneur, Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today, Family Circle, FORBES etc. and you have a ton of press, publicity, bookmarking, networking and overall word of mouth happening on the internet.


In addition to the Millions of Social Media Sites out there, there are BLOGS and FORUM sites aggregating social media into blog networks like TweetMeme. Oh yes, Blogs. There are Millions upon Millions of Blogs on the internet. Today, Blogs look at search engines and laugh at their inaccuracy and failure to stay up-to-the-second with information. Old School Search Engine Optimization has had it’s time at the top. As many pioneers of the internet, their day is over. Add Search engines to the list with Compuserve, AOL, and MySpace. Yes, we know sadly, that eventually even the currently popular phenoms like Twitter and Facebook will be replaced by what will be a newer, slicker, faster and just plain old better application. Search Engines like Google became so huge and popular, because that was how people generally figured out how to find information on the internet. Those days are long over.

People find sites every which way these days. Every way it seems, except through search engines the majority of the time. The search engines feel social media’s information is much more current and relevant than their own. Which is why they all have added social elements. Google, (Who owns Youtube,) will often put News, Twitter, Youtube and other site results in the middle of what they would normally post as results to a search. This just proves the relevance of social media and the search engines inability to keep up. The best they can do is repost and quote after the fact whatever social media already has moved past. Sharp business owners have discovered that each of the social media sites results are often what the search engines use to list as results.


Think about this. Imagine if you were the owner of a business that put on real estate seminars. Your direct (and indirect) competition in the search engines for real estate would come from: any individual who has a house for sale; people looking for houses on Craigslist; the guy selling books on real estate on eBay; the Wall Street Journal’s latest article about real estate; RE agents; the Realtor organization; and even the latest twitter results containing the “word” Real Estate. That’s not to mention all the mortgage brokers, appraisers, contractors, investors, title companies, tax sale auctions and even developers that would all also want their website at the top of those same results.

When you search Google you will often see it say something like “Results 1-10 of 2,232,280 results”! Hundreds of thousands to millions of possible results, and you want to spend your money to try to be number 1-10? Well, I am sorry to report, the odds are against you. However, there is good news.


What if instead of focusing on traditional SEO, you focused on Saturation? In other words, what if instead of “optimizing” your site/page for one search engine, you took a different approach and decided to saturate the ENTIRE INTERNET itself with your web page? Think about it. If people are book marking, tweeting and sharing your site all over the internet. Plus all the news sites are running articles on you, and your site is all over the net. Then wouldn’t your TRUE GOAL, of getting website visitors (to turn into customers), be getting accomplished?

People who read about you on CNBC’s website will come visit your page. People who see their friends tweet about you will come visit your page. People who read a blog article about you will also come visit your page.

The additional benefit is: now instead of simply having one (optimized) listing in the search engine, you end up with SEVERAL, many of them on the first page! None of them is even your site, but all of them are pages that lead people TO your website!

End Goal accomplished!


That is Search Engine Saturation.

Here is another way to look at it. You can pay BIG money, and have the BIGGEST and FIRST Ad in the Yellow Pages Directory. (Optimization)


You can have every radio station, News broadcast, and magazine talking about your business, in addition to people buzzing about you in every barber shop, sports event, hair salon, and restaurant. (Saturation)

Which would you rather have? Which will bring you more business? Which will have a longer lasting effect?

This, my friend, is the power of saturation over optimization.


If it is beyond the year 2009 and you are reading this, forget traditional SEO. Make your peace, leave a rose or two, say a prayer – and move on. The rest of the world (wide web) has. Socialized, or Viral Marketing, as it is called, is now the new King. Instead of attempting Old-Method (or any) SEO, focus on viral marketing.

Viral marketing is the Internet’s version of Word Of Mouth referring through Internet Saturation. Viral Marketing is just as fast, just as powerful and more importantly, a perfectly legitimate way to dominate the search engines and the internet as a whole. Search Engines will always be a source of traffic, SEO is simply no longer the way to “optimize” your listings in them. Viral marketing automatically saturates the internet, leaving SEO as a naturally occurring byproduct. Viral marketing also cannot be defeated by SEO no matter the budget. The businesses that use Viral Marketing techniques to saturate the internet are light years beyond the businesses still attempting to use old school SEO techniques.

“Viral Marketing is to SEO what the

Space Station is to the horse and carriage.”

Step into the future, say goodbye to our dead goldfish, SEO, and say hello to our brand new puppy, Viral Marketing! C’mon Boy, get the customers…fetch!

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Richard Woolsey asked:

ÂYou work a medium business pequeño and has noticed that its Web site not estÃproducing ninguà ?   n trÃfico LOCAL true, described? ÂYou have noticed who the book of Yellow Pages (as expensive as it is) unfortunately cannot bring in the clients who did once makes 10 años? You think that bull& #039; Âs eying trÃfico local intense for its goals of comercializacià ³ n of pequeña company is the única way to stand out in the Internet? When company comes to comercializacià ³ n from pequeña, there are some very great fish towards outside allà in the Internet. CompañÃas mÃs great has much mà awhiles fÃcil obtaining of extremely high graduations of the Search Engine. ÂBy qué? Due to qué ³ n of the Internet like &amp is known in the world of comercializaciÃ; quot; links& quot back;. ÂCuÃthey are to them detrÃs binds? EstÃn towards outside allà in the Internet that señalan to a Web site, hopefully ITS Web site. MÃs of éstos that point to its Web site, mÃs the motors of búsqueda as Google raises colocacià ³ n of their listing of the Web site in their Search Engine. ³ n of pequeña is one of the best técnicas of comercializacià company to gain back connections of the value object. Many ways exist to become detrÃs binds. An excellent way is to write artÃculo, like which you now estÃreading. ArtÃculo can be sent to 100& #039; s of another Web site that needs the content. And each Web site that envÃa artÃculo has a connection señalar to ITS Web site. Other ways to obtain to portions mÃs exposicià ³ n estÃn using social sites of means such as Facebook, gorjeo, YouTube, etc. Unfortunately, mayorÃa of the propietary pequeños of business do not have the knowledge or the época to execute these long-range structures nor to pay to a competent professional to handle it everything – can cost ten of millares of dà ³ lares to make do it to the right. Luckyly, rà are many waysyou ask, profitable, fÃciles to obtain the best one of all these worlds without the necessity of a PHD in the Internet that puts or that pays an arm and a leg the excellent results that crearÃn much mÃs trÃfico to its Web site of the business using back connections. The back connections are an amazing way to heighten their goals of comercializacià ³ n of pequeña company. The fact is, if his comercializacià ³ n of pequeña company lacks to have LOCAL presence very focused of the Internet that you soon comenzarÃto see its business every time suffering mÃs. ÂThe Internet is the future and you need to take advantage As soon as possible using back connections! When & quot of the Search Engine; sees& quot; a back connection that señala to its Web site, the Search Engine decides bÃsicamente to that this connection of the later part is & quot; vote& quot; of another Web site – a vote that looks for the motors admits to consideracià ³ n when putting a connection to its Web site in its motors of búsqueda. MÃs of these votes, best for his website& #039; última colocacià ³ n of the Search Engine of s.

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Small business marketing can be distilled into two basic elements: the acquisition and the retention of customers. For many business owners, it’s not overly difficult to reach out and find their ideal target market. Where they often fail to achieve the kind of marketing results they are looking for is in converting those prospects into paying customers and in keeping them coming back for repeat purchases.

Since small business marketing can be broken into the basic elements of acquisition (the “getting”) and retention (the “keeping”) of customers, so too must conversion be broken down into the same two basic elements.

In this article, we will look specifically at three ways you as a small business owner or marketing manager can improve your new customer conversion rate.

Three Ways to Increase New Customer Conversions

The rate at which prospects can be successful converted into paying customers for the first time is the cornerstone of measured marketing. It is essential that you, the business owner or marketing manager, know precisely at what percentage prospects or leads are converted to paying customers for each of the marketing channels you employ.

Large “big brand” companies don’t necessarily have to worry about this metric and, in fact, have a difficult time even tracking it, because of the nature of their advertising.

Some of the biggest and most recognizable companies in the world employ a “brand marketing” strategy to remain in the forefront of our minds. But small business marketing managers don’t have the luxury of an eight-figure marketing budget and have to take a much different approach.

Customer Conversion Tactic #1 – Know Your Customer

Knowing your customer means understanding at a basic level exactly what fears, frustrations and desires motivate their behavior.

In many cases, business owners or marketing managers assume that they know what their customer needs, without ever asking them what they actually want.

Since people make most decisions from an emotional state of mind and then validate their decision with logic after the fact, missing this key point can be the difference maker for many businesses.

Of course, the easiest way to know what your customer wants is to ask them!

You can ask in the form of a survey that they fill out online or complete and send back to you, you can ask them directly while they are in your store or you can call them up and ask them.

Which method you employ will depend on the specific type of small business that you own or are trying to market.

Case in point: if people always purchased what they need instead of what they want, sports cars and beer sales would be overshadowed by economy cars and milk sales.

Customer Conversion Tactic #2 – Craft Your Message

One of the most common marketing mistakes that small business owners make when trying to create their own marketing materials is talking about themselves instead of talking about the customer.

Just like everyone else on the planet, including you, your customer’s favorite topic of conversation is them! So start your marketing efforts by talking about their favorite subject and you’ll go a long way to improving your new customer conversation rate.

You can tell right away if your marketing material is “you” focused or customer focused by seeing how many of your sentences start with the word “we” or “I” or talk about your own company’s history or credentials.

When first starting a conversation with your prospective customer, you want to focus on their needs and desires first. Proving that you know what you’re talking about and that your company is worthy of their business is important… just not at first.

Customer Conversion Tactic #3 – Measure Your Marketing

There is a saying that “what you measure, you can manage”. When it comes to improving your small business marketing conversion rate, this couldn’t be more true.

Unless you know at what rate your marketing is creating new customers, you’ll never be able to take steps to improve on it. Getting this data is vital to your success in business.

Fortunately, with many of the newer digital marketing mediums like mobile marketing, pay-per-click and other online advertising, tracking the conversion rate is relatively straightforward.

But how do you measure your marketing results using offline marketing tactics? You need a specific call-to-action that motivates readers (or listeners) of your marketing message to take a specific action and then you need to record that action.

For example, if you regularly advertise in a magazine aimed at your target audience, you could include a note to “mention this ad and save 10% off your first order”.

That way, whenever someone mentions that particular ad and completes a sale, you can place a checkmark on a tracking sheet under that particular advertisement.

Another option would be to have prospects call and ask for “Anna” when requesting more information. In this example, “Anna” is a tracking code for the specific advertisement. Once again, when someone calls asking for Anna you know right away where they heard about you and can make note of it accordingly.

As a small business owner or marketing manager, your number one priority has to be the acquisition of new customers. The best way to get the highest return on your marketing investment is to improve your new customer conversion rates incrementally over time.

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Marlene Dewitte asked:

You can teach small business marketing strategies all day long, but if your audience doesn’t grasp them and understand the importance of marketing, they simply will not get any value out of it. It’s really strange.

It’s like putting a 747 in the hands of an experienced pilot versus someone that knows nothing about flying. One of the biggest issues I see in small business owners is not having a marketing mindset.

Also, a lot of entrepreneurs are confusing marketing strategies with sales strategies. They think selling is the same thing as marketing but selling is only one aspect of a small business’s marketing effort.

I define selling as what you do when you’re face to face or on the phone and attempting to either communicate the benefits of your services or your product, then identify pains that your product or service will eliminate and offer your prospect a solution to their pain/problem.

Marketing strategies are things you do to get someone face to face with you or on the phone, in a seminar, on your email list or whatever your sales environment is. If you do your marketing right the only people you’ll end up with are prospects who fit this criteria which is – they are interested in your product/service and pre-qualified.

There are thousands of great sales people starving to death because they don’t have anyone to present their product/service to. They don’t know how to get people face to face with them, people who are motivated in doing business with them. They just don’t use marketing at all.

As a small business owner try to find a small group of people that does business with you over and over again. Build rapport, establish a relationship with them, know exactly what their pains are and offer them solutions. Focus on relationships, not a one-time sales transaction. Continue to market to this group continuously because they will refer people to you, provided you do a good job fixing their problems.

Your marketing strategy must enable you to enter a conversation in your prospect’s mind that’s already existing. Selling a race car if your prospect is shopping for safety is incompatible with what goes on in her mind.

Having a marketing strategy means owning a marketing mindset and creating an environment of dialogues not monologues. Your marketing must answer the prospect’s question “Who can I trust?”. Before that question is not answered which then diffuses your prospect’s fear, no transaction will take place.

Let’s say one of your marketing strategies is to get people on the phone and then sell them your product/service over the phone. Here’s how you could do it: instead of putting your name, rank, serial no… on your business card, drive people to a free 5 min recorded message telling them all the great stuff about your business.

If they are interested they press 0 and are connected to you or someone else.

My point is, the right small business marketing strategies can turn a simple piece of paper, a card, and turn it into a great lead generator with a perfect sales pitch on autopilot.

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Dan J. An asked:

All business or company websites will want to maximize and optimize their website to make sure they get a good listing in search engine results. But this will not be possible unless your website is under the work of SEO experts. Most big businesses will have a budget for a social media marketing team and a team for search engine optimization. However, a small and budding business may not have the money to afford all these. But do not dismay as there are many SEO experts and consultants that you can still hire. This is a more cost effective move for small business owners. To be able to help you choose an SEO consultant here are some SEO tips.

In finding a good SEO expert, one of the SEO tips is to get references from previous clients. This is one of the best ways to know if the SEO consultant really delivers what he/she offers. You can ask the SEO expert to give you some client references and you may talk to them directly if you want or you can visit the consultant’s own website and look for client reviews and testimonials there. But if I were you, asking the client’s directly is a better way of knowing if the SEO expert gives quality services. On the other hand, if the SEO consultant is still new, you can still give him/her a chance and negotiate a discounted price for his/her services as that will make you the first client.

The next of the SEO tips is to make sure that the SEO consultant is offering you the real thing. Some SEO consultants may market their name and services as claiming they will get your website in the number 1 Google ranking. You might want to avoid these SEO consultants. Although the task is possible, there is still no guarantee that the consultant will be able to do it. The mechanisms in search engines are always changing and you should expect that your SEO consultant will be able to give you a good explanation on how your goals will be achieved given the circumstances.

The third of the SEO tips is to make sure that the SEO consultant knows the ins and outs of search engine optimization. This is because search engines like Google will have different requirements and guidelines for a website to rank and your SEO consultant should always be updated. He/she may still be practicing an old SEO technique that is no longer working and effective.

The fourth of the tips is to examine how your consultant will achieve your goal. At the beginning, you will be telling the consultant what you want to achieve for your website, what areas need improving and what areas are lacking. Through the information you’ve given, you can immediately see if the consultant knows what he/she will be doing to optimize your website and make it better. It is best that you also agree and understand the strategy the consultant is planning to take.

SEO consultants will be very helpful to small businesses. They are cost-effective and can really deliver results. Hopefully, these SEO tips in choosing an SEO expert for your website will be helpful to your search.

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