Online Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses

Online marketing strategies for small businesses have never been as important as it is now. Businesses, towns, states and even countries are on the verge of Bankruptcy.

What are you supposed to do?

It seems like the catch phrase has become, “Well, in this economy, we just have to make some cuts.”

Sound familiar?

As a business owner myself, I understand and appreciate the value of making cuts. However, let’s make some of the cuts in the right places and make sure that your efforts (and dollars) are quantifiable and measurable.

So how do you, the small business owner, remain not only in business, but competitive in your Market Place?

This is actually easier than you think. In fact, after learning what you’re about to read, you will not only remain in business, but will in fact be able to catapult yourself to the head of the pack.

So grab a pen and a piece of paper as we cover 3 basics of online marketing strategies for small businesses. As the old saying goes, you can either make dust or eat dust…I’ve done both and I’d like to save you from that dry gritty taste.

· Get Clear: If you’re going to begin to dominate your market, you first must understand WHO your market is.

I know, this almost sounds too simple. However, you’d be surprised how many small businesses WASTE a ton of time, energy and money marketing to the WRONG people.

Without getting too deep into human psychology (which I am not an expert) I think most small business owners get caught in the IMPRESSIONS of an idea rather than its’ effectiveness.

Let me explain…have you ever been approached to be a sponsor of a local Golf Tournament?

Sounds great doesn’t it? A few hundred people will see your logo and promotional material on certain Tee boxes. You’ll get mentioned in the Golf Tournaments advertising and you can put your material in the welcome Gift Bag to all players!

Man, who wouldn’t want to be a part of THAT!?!

You! And any other small business owner who demands to see an effective return on your Marketing/Advertising dollar.

As a small business owner, it is VERY important for you to NOT take the shotgun approach to your Marketing. You know, a big wide spread blast to a huge area.

If you are an Insurance business owner you need to drill down to YOUR specific niche…and no, your specific niche is NOT the entire Insurance market.

Get Clear, Get Specific.

· Information & Education: One piece of Marketing is NOT enough.

Today’s buyer is MUCH savvier than ever before. Part of this is the fact that there is an unlimited amount of information for your customers.

People hate to be sold but they LOVE to buy. So how do you make sure you do as much sales as possible without selling your customer?

That’s actually pretty easy, you inform.

I know you’ve heard the term, “If you sell shovels, teach someone how to dig a hole.” The premise being that when that person decides to buy a shovel, they will buy from you.

A perfect example is of my local Home Depot. I am NOT a handy person. You know who is…

My main man Clark. I had gone in to Home Depot trying to figure out a project I was working on. I had no clue what I was doing. When I ran into Clark, he obviously knew I was out of my league.

Instead of him taking the “sell him everything we’ve got” approach, he showed me step by step how to complete my project and gave me multiple options of getting it done.

I have done two other projects since then and Clark has helped me with both.

Where do you think I go if I’m going to do a Home project? Who do you think I ask for?

The best part for your small business is that you can do this very same thing for your potential customer without ever leaving your office or having to do it face to face.

Trust me, whatever your business/industry is; your potential customer IS looking to get educated. Do yourself a favor and make sure you are the teacher.

· Follow Up: Tell me if you can relate to this…

You have so much going on and you deal with so many customers and clients that you drop the ball on something.

It may be something as simple as a phone call or email, but it may be something as important as a shipment or re-order.

You know these crazy new online marketing strategies for small businesses can ensure you never miss another follow up anything.

Automation and delegation are the two biggest assets to a small business owner.

How much more effective will your business be when you can do ONE piece of marketing, put it in digital format, hit send and have your entire existing customer base be informed.

This is just the tip of the Ice Berg. Not only do you inform your existing customer base, but also your potential customers and completely new prospects also get a taste of your business.

I know you’re just like most small business owners…BUSY.

You don’t have time to sit and write Newsletters and individual emails to your entire Customer list.

You need to be able to inform as many people as possible to make sure your TIME is as effective as possible.

When you have implemented the first two basics, not only is your time effective, but so is your message because it is going to the RIGHT person, saying the RIGHT message.

Implementing the correct online marketing strategies for small businesses can be the difference between success and failure. Start with these basics of Getting Clear, Informing and Follow Up.

Be on the lookout for part 2 of Online Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses, where we are going to cover HOW to Get Clear…HOW to inform and HOW to correctly Follow Up.


Great Lakes Cruises – How About a Trip on a Schooner?

Great Lakes Schooner Company is a niche cruise line offering private charters rather than regularly scheduled cruises. Instead of a package of long trips like some of the luxury cruise lines do, the company offers a unique blend of short day and dinner trips around Toronto Harbor and Lake Ontario. What really sets these cruise packages apart from standard luxury cruises are the ships that are used.

The Kajama is a 164-foot, 3 masted Schooner. G.L. Schooner Company claims that the Kajama cruise can only be duplicated in the Caribbean, and that may very well be true. While there is another tall ship cruise located in Traverse City, Michigan, USA, it is reported to lack a fully licensed bar. On that ship you are allowed to bring drinks on board and to pre-order, but a complete bar is unavailable.

Another interesting thing about the Kajama is that a Fireworks Tour is available. You can watch the fireworks in Toronto Harbor from the deck of this beautiful schooner. The experience might be similar to that witnessed by sailors centuries ago during night battles with shore batteries.

The G. L. Schooner Company also operates a steam powered paddle wheeler known as the Trillium, which is large enough to handle up to 500 guests. According to the company, the Trillium is the last steam operated paddle wheeler offering Great Lakes cruises. There is also a 97-foot schooner available for cruising the Lakes, and a 190 passenger conventional cruise ship that boasts an upper-level dance floor with a retractable roof.

Great Lakes Schooner Company typically offers two boarding times, one just after 12pm and an evening run that starts between six and seven. The company claims they are flexible with the times since their Great Lakes cruises are private.

If you are interested in having them host a Lakes cruise or other charter event, whether it is a wedding, company meeting or something else, you will want to contact them early and schedule your time. These are unique ships and you might have to hunt long and hard to duplicate these enjoyable and unique cruises.

Business Travelers Welcome!

If you are a business traveler you may not realize it, but you are a hot commodity right now; that’s right. Unfortunately, this prize customer has been in hiding ever sense the global economic crisis. Today, the hospitality, rental car, airline, and hotel industries are noticing a slight uptick in business traveling, and that is a very good thing for their shareholder’s equity and quarterly profits.

Indeed, business traveling folks are often given deals for extra-nights, extra rental car days, and even free add-on services by companies who wish to retain them as loyal customers. This type of discounting strategy is working. Luckily, the business travel market is coming back, and the sign can be read loud and clear; Business Travelers Welcome!

In fact, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal on July 15, 2010 entitled “Business Travelers Behave” in the Travel Watch Section, author Jonnelle Marte explains that business clients are much easier guests, require much less baby-sitting, and rarely misbehave. They are also willing to pay more for extra services like WiFi, whether on an airline flight or in a hotel.

You see, as businesses try to grow out of the recession, they must re-establish commercial contacts, and send their sales, marketing, and proposal teams to meet and greet clientele. This is a win-win for all concerned, especially the hospitality industry which really needs them to come back and spend on all things travel related.

Of course, these days there is a lot of competition for the traveling business person. There are hotels, extended stay hotels, and even condo and timeshare rentals who cater to the business community and like I said, the welcome sign it flashing in bright neon, they want your business, and they will do whatever it takes to get it too. They aim to please, and I hope you’ll please consider all this.