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Thread: What challenges to small businesses have when marketing themselves?

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    What challenges to small businesses have when marketing themselves?

    Hi,

    I am interested in understanding the current challenges faced by small businesses when they need to get out there and market their products and services.

    Traditional media seems expensive and wasteful. SEO is complicated and a forever moving target. Word of mouth works but is hard to "turn on".

    Is anybody doing anything interesting when it comes to getting the word out?

    Regards

    Lee

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    Gold Member Mark Atkinson's Avatar
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    For me, this is one of the most interesting topics regarding small business.

    First off, SEO is not really that complicated. It IS, however, a long-term process and it takes months to see rewards from your efforts.

    I would say the best form of "free" advertising for small business owners/entrepreneurs is establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Find an online space (such as this forum, actually) and offer no-strings-attached advice regarding your niche. Eventually people begin to associate your name with your product, and that is when the business starts rolling in. They key is to be active and to, more often than not, be the one that answers other people's questions regarding your industry.

    I think Neville Bailey is a great example of this on TFSA. He is the resident Pastel guy. Every time somebody asks a question about Pastel software, Neville comes to the rescue! Often, he'll offer to log onto your system and help you out, free of charge! (What would normally be charged as labour) So now, whenever I need something to do with Pastel, the first person that pops into my head is Neville!

    There are many benefits to this sort of "marketing", one of them being the trust you earn from other members and another being the "turning on" of word of mouth for your business.

    Other marketing methods that I have used effectively are Facebook ads and Google Adwords.

    "Flash" marketing such as the above will get you leads - at a cost. In the end there is no substitute for being recognised as the expert in your field, with a number of brand advocates (happy clients) promoting your business.
    "The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear." - Socrates
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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Atkinson View Post
    In the end there is no substitute for being recognised as the expert in your field, with a number of brand advocates (happy clients) promoting your business.
    Spot on Mark.

    It also depends on the type of business you are in. If you are an owner entrepreneur it is important to network and get to the coalface. Use forums such as these, your local chamber of commerce and networking groups such as Third Tuesday Network Extravaganza to meet people and sell yourself. Visit your clients and get acquainted with their customers and networks. As a professional, your image and reputation is what sells your business.
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

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    Nice Points

    Agree with both posts. Being generous with advice definitely works. I see the benefit of networking when you offer B2B services but seems to be not that effective if you target consumers.

    Is anyone getting any good referrals from online directories and/or quote request services?

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Hartman View Post
    Is anyone getting any good referrals from online directories and/or quote request services?
    In my experience most online directories are little more than spider food.

    The few quote request services we've joined have been pretty specialised and on the face of it produced leads. However, the hard truth was they produced an incredibly high tyre-kicker to serious buyer ratio, and we've dropped all of them now.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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