Turbocharge Your Marketing

Steve Strauss shares ideas for boosting your business's marketing.      

MarketingQ: I have tried all sorts of things to grow my business, and they all seem to work – for awhile. Then things go back to normal, which is not good. I don’t really know what I am doing wrong. Might you have any insights from the other businesses whom you have worked with?
: What works for one business may of course not work for another, but that said, one thing I know is that if you want to take your business to the next level, one thing you have to do is crank up the marketing.

The reason for that is that there are three types of customers: New customers, existing customers, and exiting customers. Customers leave for all sorts of reasons – habits change, they move, they found someone better or more convenient or cheaper – whatever the reason, they leave. It happens. The purpose of marketing is to keep the customer pipeline open so that there are always new customers coming in to replenish those that leave.

What I suggest is that you not try just one marketing idea, but actually test several new ideas, all at once. It will take bandwidth on your part, yes, but it need not cost a fortune, and the benefit is that you will discover what works. Then you can take the top producing ideas, implement them full time, and use them again and again.

Here are a few easy ideas to get you started:

1. Use Facebook to rock your business: There are two main ways to use Facebook to grow your business:

1) Advertise. Example: Chris Meyer is a photographer who decided to try putting some ads on Facebook. And because one of the best things about advertising on Facebook is that you can very specifically target your desired demographic, that’s exactly what Chris did. He placed ads on Facebook that would only be seen by people in his area, aged 24 to 30, whose relationship status was ‘engaged."”

How smart was that? Very smart. Over the course of a year Chris’ $600 ad campaign generated almost $40,000 in revenue.

2) Create a Fanpage: Having a Facebook Fanpage can also really benefit any business. By creating an interesting, fun, valuable Fanpage, and getting people to like it, you create another way to drive traffic to
your business. The secret is to have a Fanpage that is interactive, useful, and has good content. For instance,

  • “Company news” is boring. But discount coupons are not
  • Industry articles are boring. But contests are not

2. Create a winning e-newsletter: Newsletters are great because they are permission marketing, that is, they stem from potential customers giving you permission to contact them. That is huge. But if you are at all like me, although you get your share of e-newsletters, some never get opened, right? And we all know why: Bad content! Boring content. Irrelevant content.

Bad content is the main reason not all newsletters are created equal. Great content usually equals a great e-newsletter. Offer great content and you usually have a compelling e-newsletter.

Even better, creating good content is not that difficult to do. You don’t have to be a professional writer or geeky wordsmith to create valuable content. Here’s the secret to creating compelling content (from a guy who creates content for a living): Be yourself. Show your passion for your subject. Share the love. What people like to read is something real and authentic, valuable and interesting.

3. Add video to your website and Fanpage: I am beating the video drum a lot lately because it is important. People watch video online, and posting videos that people watch is one of the very few ways to get someone’s uninterrupted online attention for three or four minutes. That’s marketing gold.

These are just a few ideas. If you look, there are many more. Try some out, see what works, and then make a commitment to using the best all year long. You will be glad you did.

Today’s tip: It is important to remember that social networking is not just about numbers, about getting a lot of fans or followers. The woman who opened my eyes to social media taught me that the point of it is to meet new people with whom you can do business. By tweeting smart, she did just that. She created relationships with people she otherwise would not have met, and as a result boosted her business 34% in one year.

Have a question about marketing? Connect with a SCORE mentor online or in your community today!

About the Author

Steve Strauss HeadshotSteven D. Strauss is a lawyer and writer and is one of the country's leading experts on small business as well as an international business speaker. The best-selling author of 17 books, his latest is the all-new 3rd ed. of The Small Business Bible. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success Powered by Greatland, visit his new website for the self-employed, TheSelfEmployed, follow him on Twitter, and "like" TheSelfEmployed on Facebook. You can e-mail Steve at: sstrauss@mrallbiz.com. © Steven D. Strauss