Lessons From Iowa for Small Business Owners

Perceptions

We have just witnessed the battles for dominance of the Republican and Democratic mindset at the Iowa Caucus. The Iowa Caucus is not just another Caucus. It is considered to be of tremendous significance in helping to determine the ultimate outcome of candidates challenging for the Presidency of the United States. Hence, its’ importance and why the eyes of the political classes, the media circus and the faithful followers attach such significance to the result.

Influence

What has that got to do with Small Business? It has a fair deal of built-in lessons for anyone and everyone interested in the multi-million world of advertising and marketing. It presents opportunity to analyse what Branding, Marketing, Competition, Positioning is all about. It is presents incisive insights to the influence of the media and a glimpse, at least, at what forces and agendas are leading or behind the drive to influence, in the case of Iowa, the minds of the voting public.

Communication

The identical tools, tactics and strategies are at play in influencing how we chose our services and products in the market place. Additionally, now, we have the increasing use of technology, TV., Cinema, Smartphone, Cyberspace, all additional and speedier methods of conveying powerful messages, incessantly invading and distracting our mental space.

Our conversations are dominated by accounts of what we have just seen or heard on the Internet, through Social Media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and, of course, Radio and Television.

Conditioning

Messages, messages, messages – constant, incessant, injections of ideas and thoughts into our brain-cells – subtly insinuating how best we ought to respond in order to be ahead of our contemporaries in whatever way we feel a need to compete. Even the urge to compete is built into the process – offering a, “Call to Action”. These are scientifically and specifically structured so as to trigger a psychological and, or emotional response from the targeted public. We are being conditioned to respond in a given way and, frequently, within a time specific frame-work so as to add urgency to our response.

Return on Investment

The point about the Iowa Caucus is that, in spite of the millions of dollars invested by the leading candidates on both sides, the message did not land in the way it was meant to land. in the minds of the targeted audience and, consequently the multi-million-dollar investment in preparing and delivering the message did not yield the anticipated result.

Lessons for Small Business

The lesson for Small Business Owners is relatively easy to absorb. It is critically important to have a clear sense of what unique, distinguishable value you wish to offer to your potential followers. In the case of business, we normally refer to leads, prospects, customers or clients. What product or service is your business offering and what makes it different from the competition? General, sweeping, platitudes describing your service or offer will not necessarily penetrate sufficiently to generate the particular response you need. It requires careful thought and consideration in the preparation, presentation and delivery of your message in order to ensure that it is directed at the particular, rather than the general, target audience from which you wish to generate a response; it must contain something of unique and distinguishable value. Finally, your message must have something of importance to say. You must say it well and say it often.

If you are engaging someone or agency to assist you in constructing, presenting or delivering your message, you will be more assured of a good return on your investment if you ensure they understand what it is you wish to convey and possess the requisite knowledge, understanding, skill and capacity to prepare and present it so as to obtain optimum benefit.

Internet Marketing for Small Business – 6 Powerful Tips To Gain A Formidable Online Presence

My name is Hans Storrie, I’m an Internet marketing consultant for small business, and I’d like to share with you 6 excellent tips and reasons why, if you haven’t done so already, you should be taking full advantage of the available tools and professional help get your business seen by more potential customers, hence gaining more sales and most-importantly, increase your bottom line profits while slashing your current advertising costs.

1: If you’re business provides a ‘business-to-business’ or ‘business-to-consumer’ local service, you must have a well-optimized Google Places listing that shows up on the first page of Google for you main keyword phrase. Why? If you don’t, your competitors will and it will take you much longer to outrank them.

2: A top Google Places listing is enhanced by a business website. Businesses that do not have a website and are currently showing on the first page of Google, you’re lucky but be warned! It’s only a matter of time before your listing will drop away to allow a competitor’s fully-optimized listing to follow in your footsteps. With more business websites being built using WordPress, there’s no reason for any small business not to start building their own piece of online real-estate, especially when WordPress is FREE, easy to use, and very much Google-friendly!

3: One of the biggest reasons that so many small businesses fail to get the traffic and online exposure they deserve, is the fact that they’re targeting the wrong keyword phrases. Search Google for their Free Keyword Tool then enter the main keyword phrase you think potential customers are using to find your business. You’ll get some astonishing facts along with instant data that shows you the competitiveness of any keyword phrase, the amount of times that your keyword phrase is searched for in any given month, plus a whole host of other relevant data. If you’re just starting to build your online campaign, this is definitely the place to start!

4: Once you have a list of targeted keyword phrases, you can then start optimizing your web pages accordingly with the proper meta tags, title and description tags, navigation structure, inner-page linking, a solid on-going back-linking campaign sprinkled with a splash of social media interaction, and you have the perfect recipe to give your business the best chance of success over any competitor.

5: Your own business website may be pretty to you, with nice images and lots of stuff about YOU, YOU, YOU! But if your website hasn’t a clear PURPOSE with a clear ‘Call-to-Action’, your visitors will simply leave without ever buy anything from you!

If you want people to call you, TELL THEM! If you want people to give you their name and email address… ASK THEM! Offer them a friendly bribe like a free report, a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly newsletter, Free Tips, a Free chapter of your latest book, a discount voucher or coupon or whatever the case may be.

Doing so will put you in a better position to follow up with your visitors on a regular basis, start building trust, business relationships and eventually making much-needed sales. You didn’t marry your spouse on the first date did you? The same principles apply to your business!

6: Follow-up regularly with quality content. You’re subscribers can soon forget the reason they initially requested your freebie unless you maintain an ongoing relationship with them. Sometimes it can be difficult to write a newsletter, articles or good content on a regular basis, but this doesn’t mean you have to stop following up.

There are several things you can do to continue sending your list stuff they’ll appreciate, and one of them is breaking down your product or service into small benefit-ridden tips and loading them into an autoresponder, how?

Let’s say your business is an accountancy practice and the main purpose of your website is to attract new clients, do you think you could easily put together 26 quick tips about ‘accountancy for small businesses’? Of course you could. Sending 1 good tip to your subscribers every week means you’re providing valuable and appreciative content for 6 full months.

The best thing too, once it’s set up, your business could be attracting valuable new clients on a regular basis, without you lifting another finger or paying elsewhere for expensive leads.

A good autoresponder service will cost you around 13.00GBP per month, and well worth every penny of this small ‘lead-generation’ investment.

Why Internet Marketing for Small Business Can Provide Longevity to Your Online Efforts

Having your own Internet marketing consultant on board when taking your business online may very well cost you initial monthly fees for 3, 6, or 12 months, or depending on the competitiveness of your market, but the return on investment can be much greater and can save you many months, if not years of learning.

Internet Marketing For Small Business Owners – Use A Lead Follow Up System To Get More Customers

If you are new to the topic of internet marketing for small business strategies, you may not understand why it is a good idea to use email lead follow up systems to get more customers and grow your local business. The results of many surveys have shown that online business marketers have received most of their sales from the members of their business email lists. So if you are wanting to get more local business online consider setting up an email lead follow up system with an autoresponder service.

Make sure that you have an opt in form on every page of your website so that where ever your visitors go, they have the opportunity to join your business email list. Offer them something of real benefit that will entice them to join your list in order to get access to it. After they have joined, you must continue to follow them up by sending out emails at regular intervals so that your local business is kept constantly in their minds. I have heard many internet marketing experts say that it can take up to seven points of contact with a subscriber before they take the decision to make a purchase.

It is also a fact that we as consumers are much more likely to make a purchase from someone we know something about and have come to trust. If a sales person appears at your door and tries to sell something to you, you are not likely to buy it, even if the product is a good one – mainly because you don’t know them and perhaps could not trust them either. The same process occurs online.

However, you can build a relationship by creating a lead follow up system in which you email your prospects regularly with information that presells your services. Tell them about special promotions that you have on offer, send out a newsletter, refer them to an article or blog post in which you educate them about some area relevant to your business niche. When you send out lead follow up emails always make sure that you highlight the benefits to them as the customer. In other words what is in it for them?

A lead follow up system with an autoresponder service can also be used to remind your business email list subscribers that you are available to assist them with their needs. You can also use this lead follow up system to receive feedback on your products and services by sending out an email which asks them directly. Research has also shown that if you share a little about your story with your prospects, you can very quickly build up a rapport with the target market that you serve in the local community. By sharing your life experiences and story in these emails you will find your customers are more able to trust you as they get to know you more.

Internet marketing for small business strategies is all about creating relationships with the people who need your services to the point where they know and trust you enough to do business with you. You can build this relationship with an email lead follow up system using an autoresponder service.

Why Should Small Businesses Consider Internet Marketing to Promote Their Businesses?

More than medium and large businesses, whose products or services are already known to people, small businesses should take help of marketing – to bring in more new customers and ultimately to survive and sustain. But cash-strapped small businesses cannot afford to invest in traditional marketing channels like television, radio and print, which are very expensive.

If you are one of those small business owners, you need a tested, tried, result oriented, and affordable marketing channel that can provide quick and long-term results. Internet marketing can be considered as one such channel that can help you.

Wide variety of marketing tools
Be it a long-term or a short-term strategy or a limited budget or an extended budget strategy, Internet marketing has many tools that can match with your requirements. The wide variety of tools provided by the Internet marketing makes it an obvious choice for small businesses. Some of the Internet marketing tools you can use are:
• Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
• Pay Per Click (PPC)
• Local site submission
• Link building
• Display advertisements
• E-mail marketing
• Content marketing

Wider reach provides better awareness
Even if you are the best product/service provider in the industry, if you are not able to reach your target audience, you will lose many potential leads. Lack of proper marketing channels deprives you of your due recognition. Hence, the purpose of marketing to generate leads and sales starts with creating awareness about your business. Awareness is the key to increase the customer base. The wider is your reach, the greater is the possibility of getting recognized and increasing your customer base.

The Internet acts as a global platform for marketing your businesses, thus ensures that you do not miss any of your potential customers from your locality or any part of the world.

Flexible to be customized as per your budget and marketing needs
Small businesses, rarely concentrate on enhancing their marketing strategies due to the budget constraints. Moreover, marketing is a continuous process, which needs to be modified on a regular basis depending on the industry trends and ROI. Interestingly, all the Internet marketing tools are less expensive, yet they are highly effective. They are also flexible enough to be changed as per the budget set, industry trends, competitors’ strategies, and customer preferences and business’ objectives.

For instance, a small business can opt for
• PPC, when it wants to generate quick sales in a limited budget, or to compete with the competitors on a specific keyword
• SEO, for long term results within a medium budget
• Display advertising, when having a good amount of budget and want to attract more customers
• Local SEO, when targeting local customers and competing with local businesses
• Website development, to get a new functional design for the website so as to engage customers and to make it look better than that of competitors’ website

Internet marketing strategies can also be periodic (can be adopted when you have need or budget).

Best way to reach targeted and local market
While traditional marketing strategies are highly generalized, Internet marketing strategies are highly specific. You can design a marketing plan so as to target your audience based on their demographics, income levels, geographies, gender, tastes, etc. This way you can increase the sales of your products or services as they are more likely to catch the attention of right people who are in need of your product.

Good returns on investment
Internet marketing strategies are characterized by their ability to reach the potential customers, to serve the business’s objective of generating leads, sales, etc., and to create brand awareness – all which leads to good returns on investment. It also facilitates direct and instant feedback from the customers which allows you to make your business more customer-friendly. Thus, we can conclude that Internet marketing is highly profitable for a small business. IM strategies are measurable and can be modified so as to maximize the returns and minimize the losses.

Internet marketing strategies are comprehensive – while they narrow down your marketing plan to a specific targeted group, they broaden your business prospects by interconnecting various interactive marketing strategies, thus, maximizing the marketing impact on the business.