SME's DIY: 19 DIY Small Business Marketing and Sales Tips

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SME's DIY: 19 DIY Small Business Marketing and Sales Tips

Are your marketing efforts reaching potential customers and providing the sales leads you need to close the deal? If not, it’s time to modify your company’s marketing and sales plans. If you’re not seeing results, it’s not too late to try something new.

There are simple marketing and sales tactics every small business can implement, to ensure the next marketing campaign is a success. So, we’ve asked entrepreneurs and experts to share what works best for their companies. From refining a target audience to utilizing search engine optimation (SEO), here are nineteen basic marketing and sales ideas that you can easily do yourself.

1. Don’t let fear get to you.

Leverage everything: social media, friendsourcing, traditional marketing, messaging, public relations and other people’s money. Take risks, try new things and don’t let fear, apathy or failure get in your way. Running the gauntlet of business is scary sometimes, so marketers must stay focused, stay true to principals and values and drive change to grow and be profitable.

Jeffrey Hayzlett, Bestselling Author at The Hayzlett Group: @JeffreyHazlett

2. Focus on your target audience.

Too often businesses focus on every breathing person, their competition, or worse — themselves. If you focus on getting to know your target customer, identifying their needs, and addressing those needs then all marketing plans will fall into place.

Shennandoah Diaz, CEO & Master of Mayhem at Brass Knuckles Media: @Shennandoahdiaz

3. Build trust with customers.

Once you prove yourself, your customers become your brand ambassadors, referring others to your business. The best marketing result is inbound, meaning customers come to you. Always go above and beyond to serve customers and keep your brand reputation in tact.

Elaine Fogel, President and CMO at SOLUTIONS Marketing & Consulting LLC: @Elaine_Fogel

4. Speak up.

Get in front of your target market and speak. Speaking in front of a group of people positions you as an expert automatically and allows you to connect with your audience. When you speak, be sure to come from a place of giving and sharing – not selling. Most importantly be yourself.

Kelly Robbins, MA, Owner at The Copywriting Institute: @KellyRobbins

5. Start a company blog.

Blogging platforms including Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress are free and allow you to communicate directly to your customers. Why beg the local newspaper to write about your business, when you can do it yourself? Write posts about your customers, services, new products, post photos or videos and encourage comments. It’s free, effective and only requires a commitment of time and a little creativity.

Angela Moore, President at Starfish Public Relations: @LedgeDancer

6. Run an SEO campaign.

Every small business should develop a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. This is the most cost effective way to connect buyers with sellers. There’s no better way to market your business than to ensure your company is highly visible when a potential customer searches for your products or services online. By far, SEO gives us the highest return on our investment.

Jennifer Elizabeth Dunphy, V.P. of Sales and Marketing at Vayu Media: @VayuMedia

7. Spread your message.

Think like a journalist and you’ll get leads and earned media. Spend time crafting your message, define what differentiates your company, think about what makes your business ‘headline worthy,’ and why anyone would care enough to read about you. If you diligently do this you’ll capture people’s attention — including the attention of journalists.

Annabel Adams, Media & Community Relations Manager at HUMAN Healthy Vending: @FeedMeImCranky1

8. Follow up using CRM.

When you attend events, create a follow up with potential customers you meet. Develop a system using customer relationship management (CRM) software, a contact management system or even an excel spreadsheet to keep track of potential leads.

Michele Smith, CEO at MCommunnications: @MCommunications

9. Be consistent.

Make sure your brand message and company communications are consistent to create a strong connection with your target audience. Creating high quality and consistent efforts can make your company look as though it has a huge marketing team and million dollar budget.

Jennifer Butson, Founder & CEO at Jennifer Lee Promotions: @JenButson

10. Measure your marketing.

Measure your marketing efforts. You need to know what works and what doesn’t. Once you set metrics and review results, start testing new marketing ideas to see what works best.


11. Get to know your customers.

Go hang out with your customers, not with your fellow service providers. If you create web-enabled software to help lawyers do research, don’t spend your limited funds on attending the Next Great Web 3.0 conference. Instead, go to a legal conference and build a reputation among your customer base.

Stever Robbins, CEO at Stever Robbins, Inc.: @GetItDoneGuy

12. Ask for the upsell.

Add value to every sale. Most of the time your customers will buy an upgrade, an add-on or premium service once you have made the offer. Simply note that, “Most people get the best results when they add this package.” And then explain the added value and associated cost. If they already said yes, there’s an increased likelihood that they will keep saying yes.

Dr. Letitia S. Wright, Show Host & Producer at The Wright Place TV: @DrWright1

13. Make time for existing customers.

In the chase for new customers, it’s easy to forget that your existing customer list is one of your most valuable assets. Don’t ignore them! Communicate with them regularly via email is to generate referrals and repeat business.

Justin Premick, Director of Education Marketing at Aweber: @Aweber

14. Take advantage of what you already do.

Repurpose everyday materials to act as marketing collateral. For example, create mailers that include something extra of value on the outside of the package. It’s a simple tactic that can make the customer happy and increase brand exposure without spending extra dollars.

Laura Zander, Owner at Jimmy Beans Wool: @JimmyBeansWool

15. Focus on your service or product.

Focus your efforts on testing and validating whether or not your product or service is viable enough for people to purchase it. Start selling and marketing your product from day one. Gain website traffic from joint venture partners and affiliates. Also, utilize a webinar, teleseminar, or sales letter.

Chris Brisson, Co-Founder at @ChrisBrisson

16. Go after free publicity.

Take advantage of as much free publicity as you can get through referrals. People are much more inclined to purchase something their friends use. Create incentives for referrals, auto-tweeting purchases, and creating a short You Tube testimonial video that can be shared virally. Also, take advantage of free press – pitch newspapers, local bloggers, and media outlets. All of these things can provide validation for your business and the direct links, they often provide, will drive traffic to your site.

Sen Sugano, Director of Business Development at GrubwithUs: @GrubWithUs

17. Leverage word-of-mouth.

Provide your customers with an outstanding customer experience.  When you take care of your customers, they will do your marketing for you through powerful word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendations.

Randi Busse, President at Workforce Development Group, Inc.: @RandiBusse

18. Use guerrilla marketing.

Low-cost, unconventional promotions can be effective and get your business a lot of buzz.  Guerilla marketing cuts through the clutter and really makes you think creatively about your efforts, without breaking the bank.

Falisha Hopkins, President & CEO at Innovative Specialty Gifts LTD.: @XposeYourBrand

19. Conduct free market research.

Would you respond to the offer? Also ask other people and be willing to receive an honest answer. Most small businesses cannot afford market research, but you will be surprised how effective mini-focus groups can be.  Think about this the next time you want to offer a discount or a free incentive: these tactics don’t work unless your product is very expensive or your target audience is budget conscious.

Kathleen Turpel, Owner at Imaginal Marketing Group: @KathleenTurpel



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