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2015
Steve Strauss

Advanced E-marketing

Posted by Steve Strauss Apr 27, 2015

In an earlier article, I shared some thoughts and strategies about the incredible opportunities that this new world of online marketing offers to small business owners. Starting with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and social media, and moving on to the various forms of online advertising; the basic tools available to the small business marketer are truly powerful.

 

I would like to dive a little deeper into this subject and share four more “advanced” e-marketing techniques that you can use to get more business and build your brand.


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1. Content marketing: There is a saying in the Internet world that you have probably heard – “Content is king.” Content is king because with so many sites and platforms vying for people’s attention, the one sure way to get noticed is by creating and offering valuable, great content.

 

Content marketing takes that idea and doubles down on it; content marketing has become the new e-kid on the e-marketing block.

 

For example: While people may not be eager to watch an online ad promoting, say, toothpaste, they would be more inclined to read an article (which mentions the toothpaste) entitled, “6 Amazing Things You Never Knew About Toothpaste.” That’s the idea behind content marketing. It emphasizes content, and blends in marketing.

 

You can use content to market your business in one of two effective ways:

 

  • First, like the example above, within your content you can embed your product. Since sharing content is such a big deal now, when people find your content they will hear about you.
  • Second, you can simply create great content that links back to your site and use it to generate leads.

 

Of course, the key is that phrase, “great content.”

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

2. Opting-in: One of the beautiful things about e-marketing is that you can get people to give you permission to market to them. Think about it: When you sign up for an e-newsletter and give a site your email address (i.e., opting-in), what are you doing other than giving that site permission to contact you? Of course, the deal you are implicitly making is that they won’t take advantage of it.

 

Creating a list of people who give you permission to contact them is crucial in the e-marketing world. Here are some other ways to get people to opt-in:

 

  • “Register for more content” – Have people register on your site in order to read more or get more exclusive content/info.
  • Offer a freebie: Have people opt-in to get a free e-book or a valuable report or a whitepaper.
  • Have a contest: Contests are a tried-and-true way to get people to opt-in.

 

3. E-newsletters: You can use e-newsletters in two ways to market your business online:

 

First, by creating your own valuable e-newsletter, people will want to opt-in, and again, as long as you don’t take advantage of that permission, you will be able to send them valuable content (and an occasional pitch!) on a regular basis.

 

The second way to market with e-newsletters is to find someone else’s e-newsletter that reaches your desired demographic and advertise in it. For example, “this week only – our super effective, whitening toothpaste on sale for only $4.95. Click here to learn more.”

 

4. Digital exercises: There is a content explosion these days which means folks are open to many different platforms offering various types of content. To take advantage of this trend, you could, for example:

 

  • Do a webinar
  • Have a tweetchat
  • Create a YouTube show

 

So yes, there are a lot of ways to promote a business now. The important thing to remember is that whatever you do will live forever online, so make sure it will continue to shine a positive light on your brand.

 


About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steven A. Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steven A. Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steven A. Strauss. Consult your competent financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Shoestring_Marketing_Thumb.gifMaximize Your Marketing Dollars

 

Small businesses rarely have big budgets for marketing, but there are several low-cost (and even no-cost) things you can do to get your company noticed.  A small investment of your time can reap big rewards.

 

Click here to view the content marketing infographic.


Click here for a downloadable, printable version (PDF).



Content-Thumb.gifKnowing what content marketing is, how it works, which types work best, and how to extend and amplify your message across multiple platforms can have a big impact on your business. Here's how.

 

Click here to view the content marketing infographic.

 

Click here for a downloadable, printable version (PDF).

Recently, I moderated a panel discussion with Lori Greiner from TV’s Shark Tank. If you have ever watched the show, you know that Lori is one terrific entrepreneur. With literally hundreds of patents to her name and having created scores of successful businesses, Lori definitely knows a thing or two about business (and then some!)

 

Someone asked her what she liked best about being an entrepreneur. “The freedom,” she told us. Like many entrepreneurs, Lori loves being able to come up with ideas, execute them, and do things her own way. When she was asked about mistakes that she sees small business owners making, one of the things she suggested avoiding was trying to do everything yourself. Instead, she said, it is important to surround yourself with a great team.

 

I couldn’t agree more. Too often, being in business for yourself can be like sitting alone in a room with the lights off; you know you are there, but no one else does. The question therefore is,  “how do you turn the lights on?” “How do you get people to notice your product and/or business?”

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One answer is that you need to advertise.

 

Advertising is an essential way for businesses to get the public to pay attention to what they have to offer. While many small business owners already know this to be true, the challenge is that it’s really easy to waste time, money, or both when undertaking an advertising campaign.

 

So, to help you, here are some key Small Business Advertising Do’s and Don’t’s.

 

Do

 

Do know your purpose: There are basically two reasons to advertise. It is either to get immediate sales (see below) or to brand your business. Sometimes your ads can do both, but usually, it’s one or the other.  Since the type of ad you will run depends upon your purpose, knowing your purpose for advertising is the key to not wasting time or money.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

Do craft your ad appropriately: If the goal of your advertising program is to get immediate results, then your ad needs to do two things exceptionally well:

 

1.  Do have a catchy headline: YOU HAVE TO GRAB PEOPLE’S ATTENTION. See? This is especially true in this “always-on” Internet age. People are bombarded.

 

So how do you do it? There are all sorts of ways– humor for instance – but the tried-and-true best way is to use one or both of the best words ever in the history of advertising: “Free” or “Sale.”

 

2. Do have a strong call to action: “Quantities are limited.” “This week only.” That sort of thing will make people take action now, which is what you want if you are looking for immediate results.

 

A branding ad, on the other hand, is a more of a long-term commitment where you continuously repeat the same value proposition  so that people will remember it when they eventually do need what you sell: “Always the lowest prices. Always.”

 

Do test: Even today with the advent of so many ad choices like pay-per-click, banner ads, text ads and the like, it still may take a while until you figure out the correct combination of placements and cost, and it can be pricy until you do. That is why it is smart to test small, see what works, and then roll it out once you know.

 

Don’t’s

 

Don’t stick to the tried and true: A mistake I see too often is where a small business owner will figure out a marketing or advertising method and then will proceed to run it into the ground until it is no longer effective. It might be a Saturday sale or a Facebook contest or whatever, it doesn’t really matter. The danger comes when you don’t branch out because, by doing the same thing again and again, you ensure that your campaign will be seen by the same people – again and again and again.

 

Don’t be illegal: Running false or misleading ads is illegal and can get you in hot water. The important rules to remember are these:

 

  • Be accurate:
  • Be fair to competitors: Sure, you can compare your business or product to theirs, as long as what you claim is verifiable.
  • Stock up: The old days of bait-and-switch by advertising a low price only to “run out” when folks come in and ask for it won’t fly anymore.

 

Don’t be boring: Taking the time and spending the funds necessary to run a successful ad campaign is an opportunity to get your name out there, but that will only happen if you make sure that your ad is catchy and creative.



About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steven A. Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steven A. Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steven A. Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.





Steve Strauss

E-Marketing 101

Posted by Steve Strauss Apr 13, 2015

It was not so long ago that, for  small businesses especially, marketing was a bit of a toss up, and an expensive one at that. For starters, your options were few –business owners could choose from major media outlets like TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, as well as a few more obscure choices like billboards, direct mail, bus benches, and so on. And of course there was always the Chamber of Commerce mixer.

 

The problem with all of these things is two-fold:

 

  • First, as indicated, there is no guarantee that your campaign will work. Your ad in the magazine for instance could end up on page 5, or on page 123.
  • Secondly, your choicewas often an expensive one. A drive-time radio ad for instance can easily cost in excess of $500 a minute, and given that repetition is required, that is no small undertaking.

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So, among many other reasons, that is why the Internet has improved the lives of small business owners.

 

Simply put, eMarketing is the process of using digital tools to market your business online. It is essentially the same idea as traditional marketing – getting your name out there in order to increase brand awareness and boost sales – but makes it much easier and far more affordable.

 

How is eMarketing better? Let us count the ways:

 

1. It has a far greater reach: Back in the day, if you were to run an ad in your local newspaper, it would only be seen by people in your immediate area, but Internet marketing, simply by virtue of the medium, truly will have a global reach.

 

2. It’s immediate: Previously, you would have to wait weeks to see if your TV campaign would bear fruit. Today, if you were to run a pay-per-click ad (PPC, see below), you would know in less than a day how that ad is working. Or, if you post something on your company Facebook page that resonates, you will know immediately.

 

3. You get feedback: Old marketing: Hand out 100 business cards at a mixer, cross your fingers, hope the phone will ring. New marketing: Post a poll on your website or ask a question on Twitter and get immediate feedback.

 

4. It is less expensive: Maybe best of all, it costs you far less to market online. Creating a great website, using LinkedIn to find prospects, optimizing your website – they all take time, yes, but very little money.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss


So yes, eMarketing is a vast improvement in the world of small business marketing. Given that, let’s take a look at the options you have in your eMarketing toolbox:

 

Your website: The first and best option is your website. It is where people go to check you out and you simply must have, not just a good one, but a great one. On your site you can sell products, have a blog, post a video, offer an e-newsletter – there are so many ways to engage with your audience.

 

The good news is that creating that great site is easier than ever, fast, and very affordable. Check out options like Web.com.

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is the process of making your site attractive to search engines. The beauty of this is that, once accomplished, your site can be found whenever people search for terms that fit your business. Yes, essentially it is free advertising.

 

Social media: Small businesses are often encouraged these days to engage in social media marketing for a very good reason: It is where the eyeballs are. If your customers and potential customers are there, then you need to be there too.

 

Pay-per-click: The beauty of PPC is that you only pay for an ad once someone sees it and likes it and clicks on it. It is incredibly targeted, and cost-effective.

 

Online ads: While banner ads have justifiably gotten a bad rap, there are still plenty of effective ways to advertise your business online.

 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. In an upcoming article I will share some powerful ways to market your business online. Stay tuned!


About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steven A. Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steven A. Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steven A. Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


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