Archive for December 2010
Marketing for small businesses can be difficult. It is important to remember that you are a small business, with a small budget and you need to make wise decisions. Larger businesses have a little more wiggle room when it comes budgets and resources. You as a small business owner need to know how to allocate your resources as efficiently as possible.
Business know-how gives us some advice on how to market wisely as a small business. Follow these tips from a post on Business know-how and learn how marketing can help you greatly if done well:
1. Offer a Cheaper Version
Some prospective customers are not willing to pay the asking price for your product or service. Others are more interested in paying a low price than in getting the best quality. You can avoid losing sales to many of these customers by offering a smaller or stripped down version of your product or service at a lower price.
2. Offer a Premium Version
Not all customers are looking for a cheap price. Many are willing to pay a higher price to get a premium product or service. You can boost your average size sale and your total revenue by offering a more comprehensive product or service …or by combining several products or services in a special premium package offer for a higher price.
3. Try Some Unusual Marketing Methods
Look for some unconventional marketing methods your competitors are overlooking. You may discover some highly profitable ways to generate sales and avoid competition. For example, print your best small ad on a postcard and mail it to prospects in your targeted market. A small ad on a postcard can drive a high volume of traffic to your website or generate a flood of sales leads for a very small cost.
4. Set up Joint Promotions with Other Small Businesses
Contact some non-competing small businesses serving customers in your market. Offer to publicize their products or services to your customers in exchange for their publicizing your services to their customers. This usually produces a large number of sales for a very low cost.
5. Take Advantage of Your Customers
Your customers already know and trust you. It’s easier to get more business from them than to get any business from somebody who never bought from you. Take advantage of this by creating some special deals just for your existing customers and announce new products and services to them before you announce them to the general market.
Posted December 30, 2010on:
Vesta Digital LLC is proud to announce IntelBuilder IR, a new addition to the already-strong family of IntelBuilder Website Platform Products. IntelBuilder Content Management System and Social Media Marketing tools are getting traction with scores of publicly traded companies. The IntelBuilder IR website is a large-scale, fully managed, turnkey solution for companies looking to stay compliant with FINRA regulations and have ability to effectively present key information and streamline communications to shareholders.
IR Practices and Web Guidelines
A corporate website is generally the first point of contact for information about a company and its operations. However, many corporations underutilize their websites as a source of information and a channel of communication. In the financial industry, it is crucial for each firm to determine what communicative technology best complies with FINRA regulations. The IntelBuilder IR Platform is equipped with stock market data, company news, SEC filings, historical data and Social Media Dissemination, allowing businesses to retain proper records for all communication and stay ahead of the compliance curve.
- Easy to Use
- Instant access from anywhere
- Centralized management
- Rich interactive features
- Rapid website management
- High ROI
- Cross browser compatibility
- Search engine visibility
- Build brand recognition
- Increase website traffic
- Low cost to setup
- Search engine friendly
- Target your audience
- Establish brand visibility
- Inspire viral marketing
Many corporations do not take advantage of their websites even though it is critically important for all businesses to maintain a distribution of information to shareholders. The increasing use of social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter makes it easier for businesses to maintain this level of communication, and give shareholders easy access to the information they need.
Artem Gassan, president and CEO of Vesta Digital, stresses the importance of having a versatile IR website and comments: “We provide companies with a competitive advantage and the proper tools to improve the quality of their communications. At some point every company will need to invest in new media tools or be left behind.”
Benefits of IntelBuilder IR Website
Investors seek IR websites so they can make an informed decision about the company and who they are, and once this investment decision is made, investors are more likely to come back to that same website on a regular basis. Built with today’s investors in mind, the IntelBuilder IR website provides an opportunity to easily update content and effectively communicate it to shareholders. Correctly structured presentation of key information creates effective marketing for potential investors.
About Vesta Digital
Vesta Digital is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company providing web-based software and business solutions to help businesses establish brand recognition and increase search engine visibility and website traffic.
If you have started up a new small business, and need to build your company name, it is important to understand the fundamentals of marketing. Marketing requires an integrated method of multiple activities that is much more than just advertising your product.
The U.S. Small Business Administration gives a great detailed explanation of the basics of marketing and why it works.
According to the SBA, marketing has two main principles:
- All company policies and activities should be directed toward satisfying customer needs.
- Profitable sales volume is more important than maximum sales volume.
The SBA also says that there are very specific ways to use these principles such as using market research to determine the needs of their customers, analyzing competitive advantages, selecting specific markets to target, and figuring out how to satisfy customer needs.
It is important to conduct market research by using simple questionnaires to give you an idea of current customer preferences, dissatisfaction, or possible new product ideas. You can also use market research to find trends in the market that can encourage or shut down certain sales ideas.
Most small businesses don’t have unlimited resources to devote to marketing; however, the SBA wants you to know that you can still see excellent returns while sticking to your budget if you focus on target marketing. By concentrating your efforts on one or a few key market segments, you’ll reap the most from small investments. There are two methods used to segment a market:
- Geographical segmentation: Specializing in serving the needs of customers in a particular geographical area.
- Customer segmentation: Identifying those people most likely to buy the product or service and targeting those groups.
Figuring out Customer Needs
It is important to know how to satisfy your customers. You need to develop a highly specialized product or service, or have some sort of high-quality service. You need to stand out among your competitors.
In an earlier post I had discussed that it’s important not to spread your marketing strategy too thin. You can’t dabble in a little social media, use some PPC periodically, write one blog post stuffed with keywords, among seven other different inadequate marketing ploys.
It is important to use a few different marketing channels but even more critically – it’s important to put the right amount of effort into each channel to ensure yourself some results.
There are very common mistakes that people make with each marketing channel that can prove deadly. These mistakes are the reason you’re not seeing results from your efforts. I’m going to discuss some of the problems you might be having with social media specifically, and give you a solution.
Social Media Marketing
- Mistake: Wasting time because you don’t know how to do it right.
- Solution: Doing it right.
If you set up a social media account, ad a bunch of people you think might be interested, bombard them all with links and advertisements, then immediately run to your sales returns and study them furiously – you’re doing it wrong. Social media is about generating relationships, customer loyalty, and word of mouth marketing.
It’s important to have a stock of customers (even if it’s small in the beginning), that LOVE you. If you have a number of customers that enjoy what you’ve done for them, they will talk about it. If you have a positive network of people talking about you on social media networks, the word will spread quickly and your company will gain credibility.
Once your company gains credibility, you have an advantage when it comes to a new customers purchase decision over your competitors.
The point is: social media is not a quick sale income generator. It takes a long period of time (often two years or more) to see returns. It is a good investment because it is a cost-effective way to brand your company.
If you have a small business website, you need to continuously update your content in order to keep customer attention and quite frankly – give them a reason to buy from you. If your content is starting to look at little stale, it could be time to revamp your website.
An article in Small Business Trends explains a few ways to amp up your content for 2011:
1. Highlight your strengths.
You’ve probably heard it a lot over the past year – marketing is storytelling. Each sentence on your site should be part of a larger effort to tell your brand’s story and lure readers in. To capture people’s attention, your content has to be telling a story that displays your product/company’s strength and tying it back into how it will solve a problem they’ve expressed.
2. Know your competition’s weaknesses.
Part of knowing where your product succeeds means also knowing where your competitor’s product fails. Maybe you deliver superior customer service, maybe it’s a price point issue, or maybe they’re nowhere to be found on social media whereas you’re dominating and ever-so-accessible. Whatever their specific weakness is, make sure you account for it when highlighting your strengths. Don’t do this in a way that speaks badly about your competition, but in a way that highlights something that you do really well.
3. Tighten your calls to action.
One of the most important things you can do for your website is to use your analytics to find your high-traffic/low-conversion pages. You know that a large number of potential customers are landing on these pages, but for some reason, they’re abandoning before they can convert. Why? Often it’s due to too many distractions on the page, or maybe your calls to action aren’t as compelling as they should be
4. Reassess keywords.
Two years ago you used keyword research to help you determine how users were searching for your products and which terms you needed to rank for. You then developed content based on those terms. But have you checked back in to see if you’re still on the right path? By tidying up your keywords you ensure you’re attracting the right people and optimizing your search traffic.
According to the Wall Street Journal, November saw a significant increase in sales that gave the economy a real boost. Merchants reported better-than-expected sales, giving the average small business owner some hope for the future.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday that retail sales increased by 0.8% in November, outperforming the 0.5% increase economists had predicted. The increase in sales rose to the highest level since November 2007 – right before the recession began, according to the article.
Holiday Shopping is Critical for Business Owners
As a small business owner you understand the importance of boosting your sales during the holidays. As Thanksgiving rolls around every year your head is probably buzzing with sale and discount opportunities. According to the article, Jim Baird, and investment strategist for Plante Moran Financial Advisors, confirmed that consumers were boosting spending in the middle of the holiday shopping season – the most critical time for business owners.
It’s difficult as a business owner not to depend so much on holiday shopping. However, we have hope for the future.
“Compared to a year ago, the results are very encouraging,” Baird said.
According to the article, Tuesday’s retail-sales report showed auto and parts sales fell by 0.8% in November, after surging 5.6% during October. But excluding autos, retail sales in November rose 1.2%, topping expectations for a gain of 0.7% as general-merchandise store sales climbed by 1.3% and clothing-store sales surged 2.7%. Non-store retailers, which include mail order and Internet sales, jumped 2.1% in November.
How to Maximize the Sales Increase for Your Business
As a small business owner, you should see these numbers and get excited about the possibilities of the future. However, you need to make sure you have the right tools to maximize on the sales increases. Do you have a business website? If not, you absolutely need one. It is so critical these days to make sure that you are available to consumers from any channel they might use. Have a business website that is compatible with e-commerce; it can be the most powerful investment you have.