Stacee Schmidt-Cottrell I think I should reword my question. I'm not asking how I should market my company (although the suggestions are appreciated) I'm asking what things do you do to market your company?
When you are a small business, your resources are limited and your time is valuable. There are a few things I would focus on:
- FIRST: Understand your model. Are you converting customers online or offline, or both? Make sure that if you are running an online business, where users convert themselves through your website into trials or demos or freemiums, that you have a website designed to lead your users through the steps to complete the desired action. I cannot tell you how many customers I work with on a daily basis who are paying good money for traffic re-direction, and their desired action is hidden!!
- Find places where you are most likely to find your targeted audience and test specificly targeted but volume sufficient advertising spend to ensure you get a real idea of what your expectations from a source can be
- Distributing content that provides value (not just a sales pitch) for your product. People don´t buy products, people buy solutions. Help people identify their problem, and they will naturally go to you to solve it as well.
- Start off small: Adwords can be great! Or it can be a flop. Start off with very targeted campaigns in Adwords or any other type of CPC program.
- Get outside infuencers in your industry to test your solution (make sure they have a positive experience!)
Networking events like trade shows and seminars are a great way to create business connections. You can also join local business groups and organizations. Direct mail advertising and newspaper ads can also work for local small businesses.
Hi Stacee, I see that you are a graphic designer in Nebraska. I would start marketing yourself offline by first making sure that your website is up and running, and your profiles are complete everywhere (including images). Rather than think about marketing yourself, maybe concentrate on taking some of your social media connections to the next level and meeting them in person. Talk to them about collaborating on a project and expand your network within the professional community.
What are your passions? Find somewhere to volunteer where your professional skills can be utilized. I'm sure that donating your time/materials to help a local cause would lead you to like minded people who would benefit from knowing what you do and how WELL you do it.
Learn to recognize opportunities where self-promotion isn't necessary. Networking offers a wonderful way to meet new people. Find a group that fits your personality, from highly structured BNI to low key lunch groups with no agenda, there's something out there for you.
I use a good business card for one thing and there is one in my cell phone that I send a lot. I talk about my business in a non trying to do business with you sort of way a lot too. I have a website and it's on the back window of my car, that gets me some traffic. I just have the name, not any other information, that spurs curiosity.
Glad to see you are focusing on marketing. I will tell you what I do and what I do with my clients. This is a short list.
1) Establish myself/yourself as the expert by having a eBook or guide. I have a book and it is now a required text book in a graduate school of management. It is also used by eHow to explain consultative selling. I show people how to get an eBook written and uploaded to Kindle in days.
2) Create "How To" videos. I have s series of 21 videos of my best selling tips on my You Tube channel and a landing page where people can optin for all of the videos.
3) I blog 4 times a week with an optin box for my eZine.
4) I speak to different organization free and fee.
5) The key is my/your customer is going online to search for someone to solve the problems and I want them to view me as the trusted source for useful information that may lead to them becoming a customer.
You must convey to the marketplace that you are an advancing person, as is your business. You must also convey the message that you will always provide more in use value than you will take from them in cash value.
Hi Stacee...we market our company using a variety of promotional items to draw attention to the company and our web site. Of course, we receive a lot of referrals and that helps us to grow also. Hope that answers your question!
Social Media. That's what I do for my clients. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube. Depending on who the target market is and where they hangout. They all work together along with the website & blog. Blogging is important as the Google search engine looks for fresh content and rewards you with higher rankings.
Sarah Johs I think Stacee was asking about marketing "offline"
November 7, 2012
Stacee Schmidt-Cottrell Yes.. I know EVERYONE is on the social media market band wagon. Yet I think ppl forget that some of their best clients could be right in their own town & yet they are too busy looking beyond the local audience to realize it. My company's job is to help ppl promote their business offline. To help reach those local customers & let them know that you are here, right in their community. While the internet is a great place to network don't neglect those potential cliental who are right in your backyard.
Very targeted local direct mail -- such as with super-jumbo postcards -- can be very effective.
With ALL promotion, though, you need to get to the right target audience -- and with the right message. Which means the message needs to clearly DIFFERENTIATE you from the competition. That's where most self-promotion goes wrong.
And you also need to plan on getting your message out REPEATEDLY. Once is rarely enough. Most people need to see your message several times before they take the next step toward purchase.
Hi Stacee. In answer to your re-worded question about what I do to market my own company, I place a lot of emphasis into having an online presence (making sure my website is top-notch, posting regularly to my blog, updating my LinkedIn profile, etc.). Since your question pertains to offline promotions, however, I've found sending customer appreciation campaigns to be beneficial such as holiday gifts. This lets my clients know I appreciate their business, serves as a reminder to them that I'm there to offer assistance, and the mailed pieces stand out from the regular junk mail people receive daily. Networking is great too, though I think it's important I join groups that fit my target market.
We perform a combination of face to face and phone, cold calling. Our business has pretty defined buyers and as long as we provide a viable value proposition, this is generally received well. Our online presence is less about marketing at this point and is more about establishing legitacy, allowing our prospects to, "research us at their leisure, and to use as a sales tool to take our clients to products they want to discuss. Once we feel we have established a reliable and, "self sustainig," base of customers and business, we will put efforts into using the marketing possibilities available online.
Attending meetings through meetup.com has been very helpful for me, not only marketing offline but also gathering resources and allies.
Public speaking, giving free seminars, and also radio appearances also help a great deal.
Define a geographical area that you decide to market yourself offline and have not yet reached. Draw a fictional network tree with connections starting from your home, to your relatives and friends and their relatives and friends. Tick off all of them one by one. Once you have covered your current geographical area, start over.
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