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Franklin Prosperity Report: Four Key Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

By    |   Monday, 03 February 2014 04:12 PM

Owners of small businesses are always in need of free or low-cost ways to tell the public about their products and services, especially when they’re just ramping up. To learn what works best today, The Franklin Prosperity Report asked two top marketing gurus to share their top tips.

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1. Gather all available info about your target market.

“The more you understand your target market, the lower your costs will be because you can focus all your marketing dollars on hitting that target instead of trying to sell to people who are uninterested in your product or service,” says Christy Vogel, CEO of Marketing Direction, a consulting firm in Tampa, Fla., that pairs businesses with marketing executive talent. The more information you harvest, the more you will be able to market to prospects who look like your existing customers.

Warning: Don’t just assume you should use social media for marketing purposes. “Unless your customers are on Facebook, there’s no point in trying to use it to sell to them,” Vogel says.

2. Send out press releases.

“Do-it-yourself press releases are a great free way to stimulate interest,” says public relations guru Henry Stimpson, CEO of Stimpson Communications in Wayland, Mass. Use online research to find a model press release that works for you, copy the format, and tailor it to your business, then visit www.webdamsolutions.com/digital-asset-management/free-press-release-distribution-sites/ to select a free press release service.

“Write it like a news story, not an ad,” Stimpson counsels, adding that good reasons to send out a press release abound, such as announcing a new business, hiring new employees, opening a new office space, or bringing out a new product or service. “Make it interesting to journalists, your customers, and centers of influence such as attorneys, CPAs, realtors, and bankers.”

3. Grab those email addresses.

Gather as many customer email addresses as you can, Stimpson and Vogel advise, so you can keep in contact and offer promotional items like two-for-one coupons. Just be sure you’re providing content that’s valuable to the customer. And be sure to send those press releases to your own email list as well as to those editors and publications that fall within your marketing sphere.

4. Network, but do it selectively.

Choose no more than two or three organizations to join that either have people who will use your product or service or those who can refer them, Vogel advises. “The mistake most people make is spreading themselves too thinly by joining too many organizations and then not having the time to be involved,” she says.

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