Why SEO should be the Marketing Mantra for the Small Business

March 29, 2011

Anything that a small business publishes online, whether it be through your website or blog, or simply distributed online, should pay stringent attention to the rules set down by the Search Engines, most notably Google. Whether we like it or not, every small business must pay homage to the laws of SEO, when visiting the Temple Of Google. Without it, you will simply be left praying for new customers!!

There are few problems in getting a small business or company to the top of the Search Engine rankings by name. However it is a far greater challenge to get potential customers to discover your company using the keywords and phrases that describe your products or services. The problem is that your bigger competitors have greater resources in terms of manpower and budget. They can probably afford to employ a fully dedicated SEO professional and / or throw a lot of money at a PPC ( Pay Per Click ) Campaign. This simply means that the small business needs to be more industrious and vigilante, in it’s application of SEO keywords. (more…)

Why Press Releases are becoming more important to the hard pressed media

March 15, 2011

The Media Standards Trust has recently launched a new initiative and website to “help the public distinguish between journalism and churnalism”. “Churnalism” is the growing practice, whereby a press release is “cut and pasted” into a publication without any editing, qualifying or corroboration. This phenomenon has come about as a result of newspaper, magazine and broadcast operations vastly reducing the number of reporters and sub-editors within their organisations, to counteract and compete with the low overheads of Digital / Internet / Online publishing. This is particular problem in the regions, where the four main regional newspaper players Trinity Mirror, Johnson Press, Northcliffe and Newsquest have spent the last five years slashing journalists jobs as part of ongoing cost-cutting exercises aimed at making outlets more profitable. (more…)

“Magnificent Seven” Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

March 2, 2011

Here are a “Magnificent Seven” Marketing Tips for Small Businesses. These “Magnificent Seven Bullets” will help you effectively hit your Target Audience / Market!!

1. Don’t market and promote your Small Business Like a Big Business

The large blue chip corporates advertise to create brand awareness, as part of a long term marketing strategy. This constitutes a huge marketing spend, that clearly a small business can’t afford to do. This is one fight where David won’t beat Goliath!! Instead, whether online / internet or in the conventional print media, design your advertising to produce sales …NOW!! Don’t be shy when it comes to liberally placing “calls to action” in your advertisements ie “Call Now” or “Order Now” You could also incorporate an offer in your advertising, as an added incentive.

2. Have a two tier pricing structure

a) Offer a Cheaper Version

Some prospective customers / clients may baulk at the price for your product or service. Always remember that some of your prospective customers are happy to sacrifice quality for price. You can avoid losing sales by offering a simpler or diluted version of your product or service at a lower price.

b) Offer a Premium Version

Not all customers are looking to base their buying decisions purely on price or cost. Many are willing to pay a higher price to get a premium, high quality product or service. You can boost your average sale and total revenue by offering a more comprehensive, sophisticated product or service ……..or by combining several products or services in a special premium package offer for a higher price. When it comes to marketing, small businesses need to be adaptable, flexible and versatile.

3. Try E-Mailshotting Prospective customers

Don’t send out a bland text orientated e-mailshot. Incorporate at least one graphic, visual or image into the text to bring it to life. You could use the artwork from one of your promotional adverts to bring some colour to your mailshot. Alternatively you might wish to use the good old fashioned Royal Mail’s Direct Marketing Service, and distribute your best advert on a postcard to prospects in your targeted market. This way you are pro-actively soliciting business. If you do not wish to bulk direct mail via the Royal Mail or a courier company, set yourself a daily / weekly target, and do it yourself. Mailchimp is an easy to use formulaic product.

4. Reduce the size of your adverts

Whether online or in the print media, reduce the size of your adverts and you will get greater coverage for the same cost. The key to successful advertising is not the size of the advert, but the impact that it makes!! So invest time and some of the money you save by downsizing, in employing / hiring a professional graphic designer to produce eye catching creative artwork.

5. Set up Joint Promotions with Other Small Businesses

Approach non-competing / complementary small businesses operating in your marketplace. Create a symbiotic relationship by promoting their products or services to your customers, in exchange for them publicising your services to their customers. Equally you can share the cost of a stand at an exhibition or trade fair. Reciprocal arrangements are cost effective and effective!!

6. Communicate regularly with Newsletters to existing customers

Your customers already know and trust you. It’s easier to develop more business from existing customers than to generate new business. Take advantage of this by producing a monthly / quarterly newsletter. This way, interspersed amongst your company, product and service news, you can “soft sell” new products and services to them. Once again, you could reward their loyalty by giving them a discounted offer before you launch the product or service to the open market.

Utilise your existing customers to spread the word about your company / business and product / service. Incentivise your clients to promote your business to friends, associates and colleagues. A third party endorsement is far more effective than any amount of advertising. Getting someone else to shout your message from the rooftops is also much more cost effective, which leads me to the final, and most important tip –

7. Distribute news about your company, products and services to the media via a Press Release

Every company / business has a story to tell at various times. It may be a significant landmark / milestone anniversary; it may be a product launch; it may be a move to new premises; it may be increasing your staff and how your expansion plans will benefit the local community. If the media ie whether it be your local newspaper, a trade or consumer / lifestyle magazine, deem the story to be newsworthy or relevant, they will publish it as an article or feature. This way you get publicity at no cost. Always remember to add any press releases you distribute to your website, under a News Section. It is worth adapting it, to add extra “key words” that are relevant to your small business to the content, as this will help with Google search rankings.

For more information on how Rhetoric can assist you in marketing your small business, click here……http://www.rhetoric-artofpersuasion.com/marketing-for-small-businesses/

For more information on Rhetoric’s cost effective Press Release, Article and Newsletter Writing services, click here……   http://www.rhetoric-artofpersuasion.com/services/

If you wish to write your own press releases, you can find some tips, by clicking on this link…… http://www.rhetoric-artofpersuasion.com/services/press-releases/top-ten-tips-on-writing-an-effective-press-release/

Alternatively, if you are an SME ( Small / Medium Enterprise / Company ) and you require help with your PR & Marketing, we would be happy to assist you. For further information…….. www.rhetoric-artofpersuasion.com/marketing-for-small-businesses/