50+ Ways to Promote Your Business

This week’s Marketing Monday edition of the Freestyle Biz Bulletin is loaded with tips, pointers and insights from around the web. Your business is unique, so your marketing strategy should reflect that. If you’re like most of us, your marketing plan is a work in progress. Here are a few articles you might find helpful to get you thinking in the right direction:

MARKETING
15 Email Marketing Tips for Small Business (Forbes)
4 Innovative Ways to Use Video to Promote Your Business (Mashable)
6 PR Tips for Generating Publicity for Your Startup (Young Entrepreneur)
6 Ways to Get More Client Testimonials (Intuit Small Business)
Business Logo Redesign Ideas (Logo Mojo)
Hub Webinar: Six Signs Your Website is Ineffective (Micro Business Hub)
Networking: Stop Hiding Behind Your Computer (StartUp Nation)
5 Low-Cost Ways to Make a Marketing Splash in Your Local Community (Entrepreneur)

SOCIAL MEDIA
7 Tips for Building a Power Network in LinkedIn (Entrepreneur)
How to Look Stupid in 140 Characters (Micro Business Hub)
Interesting Twitter Stats for Business (Technology in Business)
Social Media Marketing Explained in 61 Words (WebInkNow)
3 Things Marketers Keep Forgetting About Facebook (Inkling Media)

Advertising Mistakes to Avoid

Are you making mistakes in your advertising? Advertising is a key weapon in your quest to win one more customer. But one of the first lessons you’ll learn when you begin advertising for your small business is that not all ads are created equal, and they can cause you harm if not used properly. What are the biggest advertising mistakes you can make when you are coming up with your approach? There are specific kinds of ads you want to avoid, because they won’t help your business, and will end up only costing you money.

What Are Institutional Ads?

When many businesses start advertising, they end up creating institutional ads. These are ads that are designed to tell the audience how great and wonderful you are. Their primary purpose is to just put your name out there where people can see it. How can you tell if an ad is institutional? The answer is simple: institutional ads are not trackable; there is no definable action you can measure the effectiveness of the ad by. They can be funny, serious, cheap, or expensive—it’s any ad that just puts your name out there without a feedback channel. The problem with institutional ads is that they’re usually a complete waste of your money.

Why Are Institutional Ads a Mistake?

The problem with institutional ads is that they ignore the reality that advertisement is nothing more than salesmanship in print, in the mail, or on the air. Avoid them! The public doesn’t care how great you say you are or what you want. What people care about is whether you can offer them something that improves their lives, whether you can benefit the customer. An institutional ad ultimately says nothing about how you’ll help people who give you their business. They say nothing, make no case, and compel no action. And even if they do bring in customers, you have no way of quantifying their impact because there’s no specific, measurable action associated with the ad. In the long run, running institutional ads is a good way to make local media outlets rich without bringing any benefit to yourself. They’re a huge advertising mistake.

What Ads Should You Create Instead?

Instead of institutional ads, you need to focus on creating ads that outline a tangible benefit of doing business with your company and direct-response ads. First, ads that tell the audience why and how you can help them are beneficial. If you have a lot of experience, if you have special qualifications, if you’ve received specific recognitions, let people know! That’s different from an institutional ad that simply puts your name out there without any real, specific information; it provides a very specific reason for people to come to you—in this case, your expertise.

Most importantly, your ads need to inspire direct and immediate response. Advertisements are expensive, and you need them to direct people to your business in a real, measurable way. The response can be a qualified inquiry, a phone call, a visit to your business, or an instant sale—these are all quantifiable actions that you can gauge the effectiveness of your ads and see if they really are bringing you more customers. If it doesn’t bring you additional customers, the advertisement is a mistake.

Think about what kind of ads you run for your business, and make sure that they are measurable and doing more than just blindly tossing your name out into the marketplace. If you avoid these advertising mistakes, your advertising strategy will help drive customers to your business, rather than driving money out of your bank account.

 

The preceding article was provided by the staff writers at GoSmallBiz.com. For membership information, click here. For a benefits overview, watch this brief video.

Online Advertising Terms Explained

Advertising is crucial to the success of any business, and while old-school methods of getting the word out about your small business may still have some measure of effectiveness, the reality is that an online marketing strategy is becoming more and more important.

Getting started can be a bit daunting, and sometimes it feels like I’m drowning in a sea of online advertising terms as I swim around trying to make sense of it all. If you are like me, you keep hearing words and phrases related to online marketing and may not be clear on what they all mean.

YFS Magazine (Young, Fabulous & Self-Employed) published a great article on this very topic this week. Here it is for your enjoyment (and education):

40 Online Advertising Terms Every Entrepreneur Should Know