How To Create A Small Business Marketing Strategy That Will Triple Your Profits This Year

What does a small business marketing strategy mean to you? Some people automatically think in terms of their company’s long-term goals. When they start their small business, they create a long-term business plan, including a marketing strategy, that will help them develop their company over time. Others think of a small business marketing strategy as a single campaign. They create a marketing campaign for one product or service they offer, and create a series of marketing tools that will help them sell that product or service.

While both may technically be correct, there is a distinct difference between the two. One creates a stream of income for a short period of time (typically a few weeks to a few months), while the other ensures you have a stream of income coming in on a regular basis.

In order to ensure an effective small business marketing strategy, you must have three things in place.

1. Multiple marketing tools in place. Every day a person is marketed to 60-100 times. You see banners on the sides of busses, advertisements in newspapers and magazines, and coupons in your mailbox. It’s easy to see why marketing tends to become almost non-existent in our minds.

But the thing that a good marketer realizes is that he has to use different marketing tools to reach different target audiences. Everyone has a different attention span. Everyone is searching for different products and services at different times. A good small business marketing strategy has multiple tools in place to capture a prospects attention when he or she is ready for our product or service.

The key is to knowing who your ideal clients are. The more you know about them, the more you’ll be able to reach them in a manner that’s best for them. Good marketing tools are:

* direct mail postcards

* direct mail letters

* advertisements in magazines

* advertisements in newspapers

* neighborhood postcard packs

* door hangers

* flyers

* brochures

* promotional products

* tradeshows

* billboards

* bus stops

* school buses

* regional transportation systems

* sponsorship of school athletics

* and much more

An ideal small business marketing strategy will encompass many of these types of tools, and have campaigns set up using select tools at different times throughout the year.

2. Use those marketing tools over long periods of time. Once you have your marketing tools in place, continue to use them again and again. Probably the biggest mistake a small business owner makes is to grow tired of his own marketing campaign, and abandoning it before it’s realized its full potential.

The average campaign takes a person 8 – 12 times of viewing the same material to recognize the information and take action. If you quit running a campaign before you reach the 8 – 12 times average, you won’t achieve your desired results.

An ideal small business marketing strategy will provide goals to seek out longevity in marketing campaigns. While nuances of a campaign can change (i.e. changing ad advertisement to showcase seasonal products) the structure of the campaign should always remain the same.

3. Use those marketing tools in many different places. Your prospects come from a variety of different sources, and have a variety of different interests. Mailing your brochure out to prospects is a great way of marketing; but you may also do well by placing your brochure in offices of complimentary businesses. Advertisements may work well in your local newspaper; but they may do just as well in an industry trade publication. Direct mail postcards may inspire a lot of people to pick up the phone and call you; but it may motivate more people to visit your website.

Creating a handful of tools to use in your campaigns provides you with the resources. Getting those tools into the hands of your prospects is what requires a plan.

An ideal small business marketing strategy will be a long-term plan that involves creating marketing tools, putting them into the appropriate places, and leaving them in place long enough to let them work.

Copyright 2006 Vision Business Concepts Inc

Small Business Marketing – The Power of a Market Review

Conducting a market review is one of the most important steps in the small business marketing process as it provides together with a business review the information you need to create a dynamic marketing plan. All big businesses conduct these reviews as they know it can save time and money for their business.

A market review does not have to be complicated and a lot will depend on what information you can source. The important factor regarding a market review is to understand the key elements of your market and how these elements can affect your business now and in the future.

The key elements you need to look at when conducting a market review for your small business include:

Size of Market
Your market is simply the overall industry in which you compete. For example if you sell juice then you compete in the Beverage Market. If you sell holidays as a travel agent then you compete in the Tourism Market. Analyzing the size of your market can tell you whether it is growing or declining, help you to identify growth opportunities and for a new small business can determine if the market is large enough to compete in and operate a profitable business. There are many sources you can use to gather information on the size of your market and these include trade magazines, industry associations, search engines and local government websites and resources.

Market Segment Analysis

Segmentation is a process that looks at the total market and then divides the products or services into broad groups that have similar characteristics. In the examples above, whilst the total market is beverages, the segment that is the most important to a juice manufacturer is the Juice Segment. Looking at the total beverage market today throughout the world the leading soft drink manufacturers have entered many of the market segments such as bottled water to expand their business. Market segment analysis also helps you to determine where your small business marketing efforts should be concentrated.

Distribution Channel Analysis
A distribution channel is the way in which your product or service is made available to your customers so they can purchase it. Examples are supermarkets, personal selling (face to face selling), distributors and the internet. Analyzing the sales of each distribution channel in your market enables you to identify which channels are the most important for you to compete in to grow your business.

Market Trends
A trend is any significant change to your market that your business may need to respond to. Examples of market trends include changes to the economy, changing customer demographics, social and global factors (to name a few). If you conduct business in the USA at the moment or are intending to compete in the USA then the concerns about a possible recession and how it could affect your small business needs to be identified so action plans can be put in place to minimize the impact.

Market Seasonality
If a product or service is seasonal it means that the majority of the sales occur at one or a few times a year. Tax accountants obviously have increased sales when the end of the financial year occurs and tax returns and other government reporting are required. Understanding market seasonality factors can lead to your small business maximizing sales through this period and also may highlight opportunities to spread your sales throughout the year.

Competitor Analysis
Your key competitors need to be analyzed in order for you to identify their key strengths and weaknesses and how they compare to your own small business. Reviewing this area means that you can be smarter with your marketing efforts and be proactive against their weaknesses and of course defend against their strengths. One tip that all big businesses do is to have a competitor file with examples of their marketing activities, products or services.

Big businesses know the value of reviewing the market in which they compete and you can to. Remember you can start slowly and just review one section at a time and then put in place activities or make business decisions based on the review to grow your small business.

© Marketing for Business Success Pty Ltd 2008

Here is What Life is Really Like For Small Business Brokers

Among the most intriguing career choices for business people is to become small business brokers. Many people who have burned out or retired from a corporate or even a small business position are attracted to this field because of its many benefits.

But does the reality match the myths about this work? Here’s a frank look into some of the popular claims about the profession.

1. Make a six figure income your first year.

Actually that’s true. Of course the six figures include all the numbers on both sides of the decimal point.

Sure there are small business brokers making $100k plus. Most likely they’ve been at it awhile. They have proven to the genie who sits on the bag with all the gold that they’re worthy of abundant rewards for mastering the many trials put in their way. Those include, for example, the “clients” who can’t or won’t perform as promised, and the trolls who climb out from under the bridge so they can kill deals.

2. Have complete control over the way you spend your time.

What a privilege to be able to call your day your own, with no one to tell you what to do. Unfortunately it’s not the full day, just those few hours between the 11:00 o’clock nightly news and the rooster’s announcement at dawn.

Guess when that “can’t miss” session with the landlord is going to happen – the very day you had planned to start the vacation trip you’ve long promised your family.

Prospective small business brokers eagerly anticipating the chance to get out on the golf course in the middle of the day don’t know about the owners who will require hours-long meetings about their possible interest in selling out. And there are buyers who somehow get in the mood to make offers only during those holiday weekends when everyone else is at home greeting relatives and firing up the barbecue.

3. The opportunity of working with smart and successful associates.

This is very appealing to the would-be business broker who’s spent years in the workforce dealing with dumbbells and with co-workers so slow that a sloth looks ambitious by comparison.

There are bright, energetic and professional small business brokers who get things done. But don’t expect them to want to do those things with you. And you may be justified in complaining that they’re greedy and rude.

Then, when you’ve been in the business for a while, have some good listings, motivated and qualified buyers and a solid reputation, you’ll be accused of the same things. You may switch from the “for” side to the “against” side of the “cooperation” debate the first time you find out your seller’s confidential information is circulating on twitter, and discover the other broker’s buyer doesn’t understand the meaning of the confidentiality agreement. Or when you get a letter from an attorney asking you to reimburse a buyer or seller for their losses – losses caused by misrepresentations and promises that came from the other broker you agreed to work with.

4. The chance to do meaningful work that really helps people.

There will be times when a seller or buyer will actually say “thank you.” And you’ll feel good about having given the client smart advice and negotiating well on his or her behalf.

Just hope there are enough of those satisfying moments to balance out the frustrations and disappointments caused by those who stand you up, lie to you, change their minds and kill your deals.

So, while there are substantial joys and benefits for those working as small business brokers, it takes guts, determination and perseverance to make the career really yield those rewards. And it’s a good idea, when starting out on this adventure, to have a year’s living expenses in the bank.

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