Small Business Marketing Book Review – People and Your Business

What if somebody told you one critical key to business success was to practice the principle of the Golden Rule in your business? The idea seems to somehow run counter to so much of what we’ve been taught about business, doesn’t it? Yet, what if that same source convinced you through case-study after case-study that application of the Golden Rule in business actually leads to success?

Let us introduce Frederick Reichheld and his book The Loyalty Effect. While not a small business marketer, but rather an expert business consultant, what Reichheld teaches us about loyalty is worthwhile reading for any small business owner or manager.

Did we say “worthwhile”? Scratch that; pencil in the phrase “urgently essential”, instead. This book is that vital to a small company.

The Loyalty Effect focuses on three groups of people critical to business success: Customers, Employees, and Investors. For most small business, the investor is the owner, so for our brief review in this article we will focus on Customers and Employees.

Reichheld is a definite advocate of customer retention. He convincingly demonstrates time and again that small percentage increases in customer retention have huge impacts on profits. This read will be a just-right fit for those of you having problems focusing on the right customers. If you will take the time to trudge through this book, and really understand most of its principles (we found Chapter 8 to be the toughest) then not only will the marketing of your business improve, but so will your profits.

Isn’t that the reason for all this focus on marketing, anyway?

And Reichheld really opened our eyes to how important employees are in retaining customers. If a company treats their employees right, those employees become more efficient and productive in their daily tasks. Profits go up, retention increases.

Reichheld stresses again and again that a company’s prime mission needs to be creating customer value. Most of you in small business realize this, but it’s reaffirming to see hard-and-fast facts to back up what many of us intuitively know. Customers don’t come to a small business looking to boost our profits; they arrive seeking value. If we consistently create value, profit will come.

Another key point for small business owners is the importance of leadership. If you need to go down to the bookstore and browse through The Loyalty Effect before you buy it, flip over to page 246. Reichheld has studied several large and successful businesses, and concludes here that most of them had leaders with an “intuitive grasp” of how important loyalty is. This is critical for business success, regardless of business size. While not written to be a rah-rah inspirational book, Reichheld’s arguments and his examination of the role strong leaders play in forming great companies reinforces just how important to the bottom line it is for a small business owner to be a good leader.

So much of Reichheld’s book seemed familiar; akin to common sense…after we read it. Treat employees well and they’ll perform well for you; we’ll that’s pretty basic, now isn’t it? But we tend to forget, we tend to think we need to cut corners or just “improve efficiency” and that’ll lead to greater profits. In the short term it very well may, but Reichheld argues effectively that in the long run it’s only by creating value for our customer that we build profitable businesses.

Remember, People is the third element–along with Brand and Package–of any small business marketing success story. Taking a week or so and reading Frederick Reichheld over lunch or before lights out at night is a great way to hone your “people productivity”.

© 2006 Marketing Hawks

Small Business Marketing

The term market refers to the aggregate of all demand for a particular product or service arising from the aggregate of all consumers – both existing and potential for the product. Markets vary widely from one another since the consumers who constitute the markets vary widely in their characteristics. Even a specific market for a given product is not totally homogeneous.

In small business marketing, a market is split up into several smaller units, each with homogeneous characteristics; it facilitates the effective tapping of the market. Market segmentation is the process of disaggregating the total market for a given product into a number of sub-markets. The heterogeneous market is broken up in the process into a number of relatively homogeneous units.

The process is based on the recognition that any given market or consumer group is made up of a number of subgroups distinguished by varying needs and buying behavior. Also, it is feasible to disaggregate the consumers into suitable segments in such a manner that the characteristics of the segmented groups would vary significantly among segments but would also be identical within segments.

Market segmentation confers several benefits on the marketing man. In the first place, it helps him distinguish one customer group from another within a given market and thereby enables him to decide which segment of the market should form his target market. It also enables the effective crystallization of the specific needs of the buyers in the target market and facilitates an in-depth study of the characteristics of the buyers.

When the buyers are approached after careful segmentation, responses that are predictable would be forthcoming from them. This would help the marketing person develop his marketing program on a predictable and reliable basis. When the needs and characteristics of the customer group have been brought into a clearer focus, marketing offers that are most suited to the particular customer group can be easily developed.

Internet Marketing Services Principles For Everyone For Free

Internet marketing services consists of so many things that can be done to make a website top on Google that with some due diligence and research, it can be done for free. How is this possible? Internet marketing services implements systems which affect the two major elements of website marketing which are Google ranking and unique visitors, i.e; traffic.

The most important is Google rankings and are for the keywords selected for a website therefore, the keywords selected must be exactly related to the content within the website. A good practice is to choose a minimum of 3 keywords up to an average of 9 each. The keywords can be a single word or what is called a long tailed keyword, meaning a string of words commonly used in search engines to search for the website. Research is necessary to choose keywords that are ‘reachable’ but yet have enough monthly traffic that the positions within the top 10 bring the site unique visitors. Unique visitors are visitors who are definitely interested in the content of the site and not someone just surfing the internet for something to do.

It is a good practice to research the monthly traffic for keywords before even choosing a name for a website because if you choose a name with the keyword as part of the name, you have already made progress towards your goal of being top for that keyword. Secondly, your keyword should appear in your meta tag title, description and keyword list for your website. Researching the monthly traffic for a keyword has never been easier. Wordtracker and Google itself both supply a quality service for webmasters. Wordtracker has a trial service to do so and Google is, of course, free.

The meta tags are tags used by search engines to display information about your website. The meta tags are not necessarily viewable by visitors on your Website unless the visitor right clicks on your site and views the ‘view source’. Since search engines use this information to display and give visitors a very brief summary of your site, it is therefore necessary to ensure that they are very descriptive of exactly what is contained on your website. When working with meta tags, the words within the title, description and keywords are considered keywords and various variations so when at all possible, do not use un-necessary words such as the, is, at, here, where, etc., as the search engines will consider them keywords. This is due to search engines using long tailed keywords also in their rankings. Many webmasters do not understand this as it is not information published somewhere for a webmaster to follow as a guideline to creating quality meta tags.

Generally, search engines prefer long tailed keywords as 3 words maximum. You may find a keyword in your research that consists of 4, 5, or even 6 words long. These words are all right within the context of your website but not a good strategy to choose them as one of your beginning optimization goals. Quality meta tags are part of the necessary internet marketing services search engine optimization strategies.

The other part of internet marketing services search engine optimization is called density which consists of how many times a keyword appears in your content, meta tags, alt tags and anchor tags compared to how many total words are on the page. Each page of your website should have it’s own optimization for internet marketing services and it’s own keywords, meta tags, etc. There are a few websites on the internet which will give you the density for a keyword on your site. Just search within the Google toolbar for keyword density and find a free service which supplies this. Density is computed by a percentage which would be, 1 keyword per every 100 words is 1% density, etc. If you had a density of 4.46%, then, over 4 words per 100 are keywords and if you have 5 keywords per 100 total words, then the density would be higher than 4.46%.

Keywords within your content of your site should be bolded and/or underlined to show the search engines that this word is important to the site. All words bolded or, sometimes webmasters use the HTML word strong instead, are considered by search engines to be keywords so when you bold the ‘click here’, you need to realize that this has now became a potential keyword.

Your description meta tag for your website should encompass your keywords. If you have selected about 9 keywords, you can many times, turn this into a logical statement for your site. The first keyword in your title should be your most important for your website. This same keyword should be the first keyword in your description and in your content of your site. By doing this, you are telling search engines that this keyword is your most important keyword for your internet marketing services strategies.

The meta keyword tag is used less often now because according to popular belief, Google doesn’t give any credence to this meta tag. However, wouldn’t it be nice to have a top ranking on yahoo or MSN? They use this meta tag and therefore it is still a good practice to implement this into your website. There are also many, many other search engines on the internet, and most of them still use the meta keyword tag.

Within your internet marketing services strategies, not only do you need to study your density for a specific keyword, but you should also be concerned about the placement of the keyword. A good practice but not necessarily a rule, is to place a keyword in each paragraph of your site and if the paragraph is longer than 3 sentences, then place the keyword twice in that paragraph.

To ensure you are in a position to reach top on Google, it is a good principle to study your competitors for this keyword. Go to the Google search bar and enter in the keyword you are optimizing your site for. The first couple of sites on Google are usually sites which have paid to be shown to you and they are irrelevant in your research. Generally there is a line between those and the ‘natural’ high ranking keyword websites. The first website under this line is your competitor.

Study your competitors website. First view their meta tags. Are you going to be as good or better with your meta title, meta description and meta keywords? If not, what changes do you need to make to compete with them. Do not copy them or Google will definitely catch you and your site could become banned with Google. Employ solid business practices without copying anyone else on the internet. Quality internet marketing services practices ensures your site doesn’t become search engine banned nor get in trouble somehow.

Next study your competitors density for the keyword. In this case, it is generally good to view the top 3 websites as the density for the whole website might not be from only the index/home page. You may need to view the inner page of the website to obtain a total story about a website.

You also need to ensure you have some anchor tags on your page. Anchor tags are clickable links on the website. The content that is showing on the page that can be clicked on is considered the anchor tag. These are just about as important to your keyword ranking as your meta title on the page. These are called hyper links as when a visitor hovers over them, they can click on them and either go to another page on your website or even someone else’s website.

The anchor text can read whatever you want it to read so try to blend in your main keyword within the content that becomes the clickable link. Again, do not use words such as the, as, is, it, at, here, where, etc. These will be considered as keywords by search engines. In order to make these keywords more important, it is good to create a page with the keyword as the name of the page so not only is the anchor text clickable, but the page name is also the same.

Anchor tags to other websites should be used sparingly due to the impact on your site. The first rule, of course, is that the other site should have the same content or be so closely related to your content that your keyword appears on that website or preferably within their clickable links as anchor tags. Also, it is very important to link your site to websites which have a Google ranking of 4/10 or better as a lower ranking website, can, affect the overall ranking you receive from Google for your website.

Alt tags are tags used for images. Years ago when the internet was somewhat young, alt tags for images were used to show the name of an image when it was assumed that the browser of other computers may not show the image. Nowadays with most computers having updated browsers and systems, this would rarely happen so search engines have now seen this as a way for webmasters to input their keywords instead within the alt tag since they have been doing this anyway for a long time. This does not add a lot of importance to your keyword but every little bit helps. If you view optimization as if you are going to school and you are receiving quarterly grades, then your final grade will be your overall ranking for your keyword.

Do you think that once this is done you now are within the top 10 on Google for your keyword? No. Now, you need to show Google that your site is important by links to your site and by traffic to your site. There are various systems to use to accomplish this and most of them can be for free if you are willing to put some time into doing them.

Using your meta tags as your foundation for your internet marketing services plans, list your site on search engines. There are many free services on the internet to help you with this.

The next thing you should do, is set up a link trading system so that other webmasters will come to you to trade links. Do not make this your exclusive way to market your site as you will be considered as having a link farm and Google frowns on these but using this regularly along with other systems, helps your site grow and you will receive visitors over time from doing this plus these are long term links where your link to your website stays on the other site until that site might be removed from the internet. The reason you want a system is to keep the information organized and the linking an easy thing to do but not time consuming.

Next, you should then seek to list your site on link directories. Many of these are free and again these are long term links where your link will stay on their site for most directories. You can use all the free systems and benefit greatly by doing so.

Some of them will charge for a featured listing or even to list on the site but it is not necessary to do this if you have a small or non-existent budget. If you have a budget at all, there are a couple of softwares that are worth buying which help automate a part of your listings to save time. One such software that we use contains 3700 directories. We have found that using this system, we can submit to 2500 directories in about 6 weeks if we work every waking moment on them. This helps greatly.

You now should be ready for the next step which is writing and submitting articles. The goal of writing an article is to have other webmasters publish your article on their website which could consist of a blog, or other high traffic sites. Therefore, the article you write should have content related to the content of your site however, the rule is that you cannot use this as a sales tool or your article will be rejected. There are many article directories on the internet for you to research so you can get some ideas on what to write and how to create an article. A good rule of thumb is to create an article of at least 500 words as some directories have limits.

There are variables between various article directories. All articles should have your main keyword in them as well as within the title. Within the article itself, it is a good practice to include the keyword as many times as once per paragraph and the paragraphs should average about 3 sentences in length. Some directories allow one or two hyper links within the article so you should use your keyword as your anchor text for these. Again, within the resource box and/or author box, use your keyword as a hyper link to your website.

Make a summary of your information for your article separate from the article but summarizes your article. Generally 3 sentences are acceptable and be sure to again include your main keyword although most sites do not allow the summaries to include hyper links.

Your resource box gives you the opportunity to add more information about your site, i.e; free giveaways, benefit of purchasing from your site, reasons for the reader to come to your site and any type of internet marketing services ‘hook’ you can think of that will work for you. Articles should be submitted once a week but if you can do more, of course, you will also receive more unique visitors. Once the article is read, the visitors interested will ‘click through’ to your site to view products or see more information.

The step that should take you over the final hurdle is creating a press release. This is probably the hardest job for you as now you cannot sell anything but find something newsworthy about you or your Website to announce to the world. There are many rules to writing press releases and these are mostly available at the places you will submit it to. Once you have created your press release, you can then submit it to the free submission services you can find on the internet. This takes some time to find as there are many services but a lot of them aren’t free.

The time spent is worth it due to the amount of unique visitors you will receive and the backlinks you will receive. Press releases impact a website within 2-3 days of submissions and are a must for any website as part of their internet marketing services arsenal.

Basically following the above instructions will put you on top of search engines over time. You will need to continue to implement more backlinks for your site as your competitor may have more than you, which you can discover by visiting the link popularity website, and so you should continue to add your site to as many sites as you can on the internet. If you have spare time now, you could now implement a system called Web 2.0 as part of your internet marketing services plans, which will then snowball the amount of visitors you receive but more complicated to use than the included systems herein. Hope to see you at the top.

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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