7 Tips to Help Small Business Owners Achieve Success

In today’s austere economy, small businesses could gain a leading edge over their competitors by first evaluating where they stand and then implement some solutions to ramp up their marketing campaign. The key factor is to embark on a marketing campaign that is interactive, where the opinions of your customers count and to emphasize that you are listening to them. It is essential that the customers know that you value their participation in the business transactions. To begin, there are seven tips that will help small business owners to gain momentum and achieve success.

1. SEO

Evaluate your business website’s search engine optimization. Even if you plan to hire an SEO consultant, it is important for the savvy business owner to learn about SEO so that you can work with the consultant as a team. Two websites offer information to help interested people to learn about SEO: Seobook offers a free course, “7 Days to SEO Success”, and Hubspot offers free eBooks, which includes “Learning SEO from the Experts”. Marketing software for small and medium-size businesses can be purchased from Hubspot. Mike Volpe, Chief Marketing Officer, places great importance on their blog because it is an integral part of their marketing strategy to drive traffic to their website.

2. Articles and Blogs

Write and publish articles and blogs to establish your standing as an expert in your industry. When you provide articles about relevant information pertaining to your industry, you will gain status as a thought leader and you will build credibility and trust. In your blogs, you can communicate and connect with customers. If a complaint is sent to you, view this negative comment as an opportunity and not a threat. You have the opportunity to show the customer and other potential customers that you are a problem solver and that customer satisfaction is your priority.

3. Press Release

Write a keyword friendly press release about your product or service. By submitting this press release to Google News and other websites, many people will read about your business.

4. Market Segmentation

Analyze your customer base and obtain market segmentation knowledge. When you sell a product, think about the profile and focus on what qualities are most important to the group of customers who are most likely to buy the product or service. You would design the advertising to talk to this particular group in their language to satisfy their wants and needs.

5. eBook

Offer an eBook with information that customers are seeking. This project is two-fold. First, you will enhance your reputation as an expert in your field. Second, in this marketing effort, you will obtain information about your customers. The opt-in page will collect the customer’s name and email address. You may wonder about what topics would be appealing to customers.

For example, a landscaping business could write an eBook about water-wise gardening and offer the eBook for free on the business website with information about the number of gallons of water that would be saved. The objective is for the customer to create the project. The business owner could also provide pricing information of the plants and materials such as the drip irrigation supplies. Most likely, after reading about the advantages of saving water and being friendly to the environment, the customer would call the landscaping company to do the actual work of installing the drip irrigation system and to put in the drought-resistant plants. To assist customers, the business could also suggest the Home Depot website, where they could purchase rain barrels to collect rain water from the wet season for watering the garden.

6. Contest

Hold a contest to attract many entries and additional customer data. For example, you can give away a laptop computer, iPhone or iPad. An opportune time is the anniversary celebration of your business. The investment will bring returns that are manifold. First, you are promoting good will for your brand and business. People are generally very excited about contests and will most likely spread the word to their family and friends. More importantly, as customers and potential customers enter the contest, you are adding many names to your email list.

7. Email Marketing

Traffic and customers are the lifeblood of a business. Conduct email marketing to reach more customers and potential customers. The collection of emails can be done in several ways. The above tip # 5 (offer an eBook) and Tip #6 (hold a contest) are great ways to collect names and email addresses. If your business is a brick and mortar business in addition to your online business, the face time with customers is very important as well. In addition to good customer service, instruct your sales staff to ask for the customer’s email address and offer an incentive. Tell the customers that you will email a coupon for 10% discount on their next purchase and that you will notify them about special sales.

By implementing some or all of the above tips, your business will be more successful because you are using an interactive marketing strategy. The important benefit to emphasize is that you are the business owner with initiative and you are implementing proactive measures to gain a leading edge over your competitors. Your customers will feel that they are part of the process because they have choices and their opinions count.