Marketing Eye

Small Business Marketing - Page 7

This story is published in Australia's leading newspaper in Sydney. We thought it may be interesting to our marketing blog readers;

By Christopher Niesche - smh.com.au


EVERY small business should have a prospect list - a database of existing and potential customers where the business can focus its marketing efforts.

But it needs to be more than just a list of names and email addresses. It has to contain people who are in the target market for your products.

Here are tips on how to build up a prospect list.
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Recently, I ventured out to a Turkish Hamams as part of an off-site adventure organised by a conference that I attended in Istanbul.

As I readied myself for the excursion, I packed a bathing suit, took off my makeup and put on some comfortable clothing attire. That's what you do, right? Well, almost.

The bathing suit is not required. In fact, if you bring it along, and you go to a traditional hamams you may be confronted with an old Turkish woman telling you to put the bathing suit away "not needed". Then what do you do? You are there for an experience, right?
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If you have ever marketed even one of your products or services, you’d know what they say about Direct Marketing (DM). There are so many different views about DM amongst the marketers today that it’s difficult to understand whether it’s worth all the time and effort at all. It’s confused, abused and misused by several marketers.

That’s right: there are the haters and then there are the DM lovers. Some are the in-betweeners (no reference to the teen TV show). Whatever it is, as a small business you need to know where DM stands in the digital age of 2011.

In his book, The Complete Guide to Direct Marketing, Chet Meisner refers to an Orlando newspaper which ran a hateful story about direct marketers. The headline was “Spammers, Telemarketers Share Secrets in Orlando”. According to the story, direct marketers were “making way too much money to stop the suppertime phone calls and endless emails.”
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It's time for celebration, or is it? It's Google's 14th Birthday and while one part of me wants to celebrate how much Google has made my life easier, the other part wants to pull back the curtain and see how I can control this addiction.

And addiction it is. Think about how long you can go without 'Googling' something or saying the world "Google". Try going a week. I have. It's impossible!

It's hard to imagine what life was like without Google?
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If you are finding it hard to keep up to the latest in marketing techniques, you are not alone.

Most marketers, let alone small business owners, are struggling to keep abreast of the new developments in technology, buzz words, Google algorithm changes, content trends and more. Why? Innovation has been put on steriods and every technology guru is hoping to become the next Mark Zuckerberg and bank a few billion or at the very least, get their faces on the cover of Forbes.

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Social media has hit a new high. It no longer is something that businesses can think about including as part of their marketing strategy. It now is something NO BUSINESS can afford to not include.

During the week, I had a conversation with another provider for one of our clients. They are basically graphic designers who have done the odd website development. From my conversations with them, I am almost certain that the website developer is either a freelancer or a graphic designer who has learned to use Wordpress. There are some things that are really obvious in the work they have just completed.


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Today, I learnt that I am not average. No, seriously. Really, I am not average. Well, at least on Twitter I am not average because the average Twitter user has only 126 followers. In total, Marketing Eye has 14, 061 with two accounts. One that focuses on the Australian market and the other that focuses on the US market with an emphasis on Atlanta, Georgia.

There is nothing wrong with being average may I add, but as a business that is focused on helping other small businesses grow, it is important that Marketing Eye stand out from the crowd. Average is not an option. The same as everyone else, is also not applicable. For Marketing Eye, we have to be outstanding at everything.
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A company has a problem. They don't like their accountant. Their financial planner just got hit by a bus. The business just got a lot bigger and now they need some HR advice. They don't have a marketing person per se and the owner knows that they are not going anywhere without someone focusing on the company's brand and lead generation campaigns to support their sales team.

The problem has been identified. It now needs a solution. So, what's next? They look for one.

How?

First, they think about who they know. It use to be a case of people they have met or friends of friends, but now there is a not so new revolution to add to the equation. Social media.

Social Media

In the past two weeks we have made almost $200,000 from our social media accounts. It's because companies that we may not have met face to face, but know us through social media and in particular, twitter, linkedin and the company blog, have a problem and the first person they have made contact with is the person they "know" online. You know the one. The person that continually reinforces their expertise in a particular field through showcasing their knowledge, case studies, influence and opinions.

Social media is likened to the old-fashion term "farming" because it takes time, but the investment is worth it in the end if you do all the right things. Farming makes it easier for clients to find you and relate to you and your business. Social media has provided a short-cut in the farming process  but be assured that "farming" is not "prospecting". It is relationship building and you have to be willing to give more than you get.

So, remember next time you go to write on your twitter account that you went out and got totally trashed, but the next day want to be the consumate professional accountant who is looking for new business opportunities that your lifestyle choices may not be what your clients are looking for in a service provider.
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There are many studies out there that confirm that there is a direct correlation between how successful a company is and how well they use social media.

We also know that brands can profit dramatically from a well executed social media strategy backed by a campaign that is creative and has the audience in mind.

So, why then do marketers continue to ignore the fact that certain days of the week and times of the day, are not as effective as others when it comes to executing a social media campaign.
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How many famous people have you heard started out as entrepreneurs selling lemonade or doing the local newspaper run?

I have heard hundreds of stories over the years about how some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs started out as children, making first few dollars when they were still in primary school.
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After having an issue the other week with a man that quite simply told me a bunch of lies that were completely untrue and then spent the next few days after realising that I found out, covering his tracks, I was in good need of my  friends. It's amazing what people do when they are caught out lying. They have to tell lies to cover lies unless they are man enough to own up to what they have lied about which most people, including myself, am fairly forgiving. It's when they lie, then have to make up stories to cover them, that it gets out of control and becomes a drama that quite simply, it does not need to be. But friends, they are great levelers. They tell you how it is and always put things in perspective. Unfortunately, in life, there will always be people that can't help themselves with lying and they will do crazy things and say complete crap, in order to try and make themselves look and feel better. It's quite sad really... but as you get older, you realise that there will always be people who disappoint you. Rising above it, is important for your soul as much as it is for the situation.

When you run a small business, it can be lonely, but life can be even lonelier when you travel every week interstate and overseas and only ever seem to see the insides of a hotel room or the office.
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It's fair to say that marketing strategies don't work by themselves. You can spend thousands of dollars having a marketing strategy written for your small business, but if it isn't implemented, it's not worth the paper it is written on.

I know hundreds of companies that have engaged a marketing consultant to write a marketing strategy and then are left miffed as to why it didn't work. Well, it doesn't work if you don't do anything with it! It's as simple as that.
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There are thousands of marketing companies in America. They range from one-man bands, to small and mid tier agencies, right through to large multinationals.

For small businesses, it is very hard for many entrepreneurs or business managers to ascertain what is the best marketing solution for their business and what will help them get to the next level.

As a business owner and entrepreneur, it is paramount to understand our competitors and do the complete opposite to what they are doing.

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It's no different to Justin Bieber, the Venture Capitalist, reportedly having earned $108 million over the past two years investing in tech startups like Spotify. Becoming complacent because you think you have made it or everything is going swimmingly well, could be your biggest downfall.
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