Saturday, June 28, 2008

Marketing for Small Businesses

More than 1.7 million new small businesses are started in the U.S. every year. Although the details vary, based on the chosen market and business type, one thing remains the same.The need to Market. Every successful company uses some sort of promotion.
The following are cost-effective, easy-to-execute ideas.

The key is to find the methods that are appropriate for your business, marketplace, and professional style.

Contests As one example, a cookware store decided to sponsor cooking contests.After sending out a press release announcing a competition for the best cookie or chocolate cake, a mailing went out to the store's customers soliciting entries. Food editors, professional chefs, and cooking teachers were invited to be judges. Both the winners and the winning recipes were publicized. Essay and design contests are also possibilities, such as a furniture store establishing a prize for student furniture design. Pie eating, pancake flipping, oyster shucking, and grapestomping contests make sense for restaurants. Dentists can hold smile contests, while video rental stores can stage movie trivia quizzes.

Newsletters Another good way to promote, particularly for brokers, banks, and businessconsultants, is through newsletters. They demonstrate how much you knowabout your field and do it in a low-key, informative way. They help keep your company high in the consciousness of your prospects.

Demonstrations Demonstrations are an option to attract people to your place of business, show them how to best use your product, and establish your credibility. A retail-wholesale fish outlet holds cooking demonstrations twice a week, featuring a different restaurant chef each time and attracting substantial crowds. Recipe cards are even given out. Wallpaper demonstrations, fashion shows, gift-wrapping, refinishing, and computer demonstrations have all worked well for retailers selling products associated with them.

Seminars Often more appropriate for business-to-business marketing, seminars are the commercial side of demonstrations. If you hold a seminar, follow these rules for success:
* Schedule the event at a time convenient to most attendees
* Be specific in the invitation about beginning and end, who will be there, and agenda
* Follow up the invitations with personal phone calls
* Charge for the seminar to give it a higher perceived value
* Follow up after the event to get people's reactions

Speeches Depending on your topic and market, you might want to speak before Chambers of Commerce, trade associations, parent groups, senior citizens, or other local organizations.

Donations Donating your product or service to a charitable cause often results inpositive exposure to community leaders, charity board members, PTAs, and civic groups. While consumer products are desired most, many organizations also look for donations of professional service time. If you have a restaurant or a large meeting facility, consider hosting an event for a charitable organization. This works best if volunteers forthat charity are potential customers.

The above tips were compiled from SBA information by Howard Keating, Chief Executive Officer, ZANA Network, LLC - an online Marketplace for small businesses.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Why and How to Get Known as an Expert in Your Field

With all the dire economic news lately, many business people and professional service providers wonder if the sky is falling and what that means for their ability to grow their businesses in such challenging times.

Those who are known as experts in their fields stand to weather the bad times better than those without this reputation. They may even be able to charge more for their specialized services because those who need their help can ill afford to make the wrong choices when the problems they need to solve are so urgent.

Some of the most tangible benefits you can enjoy as a result of being known as an expert in your field are enhanced reputation, increased traffic to your website or blog, better search engine rankings, sold out seminars, more frequent phone calls from the right prospects, and new engagements.

It is not easy to launch, grow, and sustain a winning business – especially when times are tough. It takes passion, hard work, commitment, and so much more. To be seen, heard, and celebrated in your local media for the expertise you’ve earned and the contributions you make is absolutely priceless beyond the tangible benefits that count for a lot.

Here are the top 15 ways to earn a reputation as an expert in your field.

1.First and foremost, do great work for your clients so they are happy to go to the mountaintops with their bugles to sing your praises. If you are truly doing a great job for your clients, you have earned the right to ask for testimonials and use them to celebrate your expertise.

2.Be clear about your commitment to serve others first so your own success can grow. When you share general tips and information that eases aches and pains others are experiencing in their businesses, you will invite others to engage you for a fee for the specifics to solve those problems.

3.Craft a fabulous bio that proves and declares your expertise in a winning, memorable way. Leave the blah, blah, blah boring bio behind and lead with a story that is memorable, likable, and worthy of respect. You and your expertise will be well served.

4.Write regularly for the local, trade, or national business media.

5.Use those articles to ask for and earn an ongoing column in a local business journal.

6.Contribute commentary, tips, and resources to social networks, online forums, blogs, radio shows, and other media.

7.Speak at professional events and serve on panels through which your expertise can add value.

8.Launch and sustain a useful electronic newsletter, and invite new subscribers to benefit from what you offer by offering valuable resources, special reports, and other tools to support their success.

9.Launch and maintain a useful blog.

10.Maintain a quality website that celebrates your expertise.

11.Host teleseminars, webinars, and workshops to share your expertise with others and expand your sphere of influence. Tell. Don’t sell.

12.Merchandise your contributions and perspectives to the media via your online pressroom to make it easy for editors and writers to connect with you 24/7.
13.Write special reports, e-books, or other tools to support others’ success through the power of your expertise.

14.Win awards that celebrate your winning ways and reflect favorably upon your reputation.

15.Explore video as an avenue to share your expertise with the world. Now that YouTube is such a powerful force, along with dozens of other online video sites, the opportunities to share your expertise and message in a way that will engage others are limitless.
There is no “Easy” button to earning the reputation as the expert. However, if you choose the five tactics that appeal most to your strengths and talents and get into action to deploy them today, over time you will earn that coveted reputation and the rewards that go with it.

Nancy S. Juetten is a work-in-the-trenches publicist, Publici-Tea™ trainer, speaker, and the author of the Media-Savvy-to-Go Publicity Toolkit. Get in touch at 425-641-5214 or by email at Visit the blog or to learn more.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Market Yourself With Google Alerts

Most people know search engines find Web sites thru keywords and meta tags. Did you know news readers such as Google Alerts locate blog articles the same way? So use words that your prospects are likely to use in their searches. For example, if you speak primarily to financial services groups make sure you use terminology specific to their industry. Google News searches will not only return industry news to your prospects but your blog posts too. If you’re having trouble breaking into a particular firm, write a glowing post on their business practices, or — if you’re brave — challenging them. (Make sure you mention the firm in the copy; even better in the title). Any active news feed alerts this firm has on itself will then return your article post based on the keyword search of their own company.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Complimentary Publicity Webinar

Would you like to learn:

How the media really works
How to write articles for national magazines
How to get nationwide publicity
How to get publicity for your books and products
How to interviewed on radio and television
How to recycle publicity
How to turn your publicity into profit
Harnessing the power of social media
How to get reporter and producers excited about you
How to write a press release that gets noticed
How to create powerful press release titles
What reporters look for in a story
How to syndicate your articles around the world

Then click the link below to register for

"Marketing Minus Money"
12:00 p.m. Central on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 (1:00 p.m. Eastern)
Sponsored by... and Speak Easy