How to Ask Customers to do Marketing of your Business


Most small business owners are at a disadvantage compared to their large competitors when it comes to marketing. After all, small businesses do not have the marketing muscle and budget of the large companies. They have to find innovative ways to do marketing and advertising that is not expensive yet is equally, if not more, effective.
Many small business owners get intimated by this challenge and think that there is no way they can succeed against Goliath in marketing. We believe that is not true. In our earlier post on 5 fundamental rules of marketing we argued that good marketing strategy does not have to cost much. We also showed how you can improve your sales in a low-cost fashion through community involvement. There is another aspect of low cost marketing that is not utilized well by small business owners. That involves seeking help from your existing customers to do the marketing for you.
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Checklist to Understand Marketing Benefits of Franchise

In the post about benefits of buying a franchise versus independent business we argued that one of the primary benefits provided by franchise is better marketing at a lower cost. By leveraging their size and expertise a franchise can create better brand and improve sales for all franchisees. Subway positioned itself as the Diet Sandwich Shop in the minds of all Americans by running the “Jared” campaign for number of years.
However, not all franchises do such a good job of marketing. A number of them waste their and franchisees’ money by spending on frivolous, useless marketing activities. That’s why it is important to understand the value provided by franchise in terms of marketing and compare it against the investment you have to make as a franchisee – in other words the return on your marketing spend.
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How to Improve Sales with Community Involvement


Many small business owners focus all their marketing effort on advertising and promotions. As we mentioned in this post on 5 Fundamental Rules of Marketing; marketing is much more than just advertising and many times costs very little to do. One of the great marketing opportunities overlooked by small business owners is getting involved with the local community.
Community involvement establishes long-lasting relationship with your customers that will keep your business on top of their mind for a long time. A typical advertising, in contrast, only has a single transaction relationship where the customer will think of your business as a result of advertising flyer or coupon for a short time.
There are several avenues you can explore to get involved with the local community.
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Do You Understand Why Customers Buy Your Products?


Guest Contributor Chris Blanton is a former serial entrepreneur and business
advisor. He is currently editor of Ingenious Business Guide, a collection of proven practical techniques to ignite business growth and profitability. He can be reached by email and tweets under the handle @cmblanton. His guests posts appear here each Sunday.


One of the most important questions business owners should be able to answer is why their customers are buying their product or services. You have to determine what benefit your customers pay for. You can employ a skilled marketing consultant to guide you in this exercise. But if you’re determined to go it alone, you can get great mileage performing a thought experiment to uncover the true benefit your client realizes buying from you.
Our consumer culture so artfully manipulates us that we are often unaware of our own motivation. For instance, examine the process of buying a new car. Why does someone buy a new car? What wants or needs does it satisfy?
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5 Questions to Ask Before Spending Money on Advertising


Many small business owners remain dissatisfied with the return they are getting on their advertising spend. They continue to spend money on advertising month after month just because everyone else is doing it. When asked about what they are getting in return they remain as confused as everyone else.
We think the reasons small business owners are not happy with the return on their advertising spend is they don’t understand how to go about asking the right questions before putting their money down. They should pay attention to few fundamental principles of advertising before sending their next check to the advertising company.
Below we have distilled those principles in the form of questions that every small business owner must ask BEFORE placing an advertisement. By answering these questions and taking appropriate actions you can get the maximum return on your advertising spend.
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Internet Advertising – A Must for Small Business


In our previous post we argued that if you are not using Internet and Social Media for marketing you are wasting lot of advertising money. Not only that; but you are also missing an opportunity to reach large number of customers who are increasingly on the Internet. The central tenet in selecting an advertising platform is that you should advertise where your customers are and these days your customers are spending more and more time on the Internet as opposed to traditional platforms such as television and newspaper.
Advertising on the Internet can take many different forms. They are suitable different businesses and budgets. You should look at all the possibilities and select the ones that fit your style, budget, capability and customer preference.
Below we have identified several avenues for Internet advertising along with their characteristics and trade-offs they present.
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How to Select the Right Advertising Platform


Advertising is the rope that pulls customers in to your small business and keeps them coming. Many small businesses spend as much as 6-8% on advertising either through franchise marketing fund or on their own. In spite of spending so much money on advertising many business owners are dissatisfied with the return they are getting on their advertising spend.
One of the reasons small business owners fail to get appropriate return on their advertising spend is they do not choose the right platform to advertise their products. The choices are numerous when it comes to advertising. They range from traditional media such as newspaper and television to newer forms such as Internet and social media. Each of these platforms serves specific purpose. The key to getting good return on your advertising is to understand your goals and choose the platform that fits those goals.
Below we have highlighted the purpose served by these platforms and the type of advertising they are suitable for.
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How to Choose Best Coupon Strategy for Small Business


For most small businesses coupons is a fact of life. In this difficult economic environment, when consumers are strapped for money and are watching their purse strings carefully, it is more important than ever to use coupons to entice customers to come to your business. Not all small businesses are created equal when it comes to coupons. Some businesses such as pizza use them extensively; while others are not so heavy users.
While it is important and imperative to use the coupons to improve your sales or at least hold to the customers you already have; you also have to have a good plan in place to use them effectively. To a novice it may seem that coupons serve only one purpose – to attract customers to your business. However, judicious use of coupons can not only improve your sales; but also help your business achieve other important goals.
Below we have identified different situations in which coupons can help achieve the results you are looking for.
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Innovative Approaches to Generate Huge Sales


These days it is impossible to succeed in small business without spending significant amount of money on marketing and advertising. However, many small business owners feel that no matter how much money they spend on advertising they can’t seem to boost the sales they had hoped for.
We saw this happen to our business too when we used to own them. We would send out advertising inserts in the newspaper and direct mails only to see the sales go up by $300 – $400 in the following week. This doesn’t even cover the money spent on placing an advertisement.
After looking at this very carefully and talking to fellow small business owners we realized that the root of the problem was that we were just one amongst the hundreds of other small businesses who were vying for consumers’ attention.
To be successful in this advertising game you have to stand out from the crowd. You have to be unique, may be even idiosyncratic, to get attention of the consumer and bring them to your business. Below we have laid out several approaches that have been tried by several small business owners with great success. These approaches have generated huge jump in sales and brought in number of new customers.
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5 Fundamental Rules of Marketing for Small Business Owners


Many small business owners we have met have misconceptions about marketing. They think of marketing as doing flashy advertising with catchy pictures and some coupons in newspaper insert or with a direct mail company. This underestimates the power of marketing and the value good marketing can bring to your small business.
We ourselves have fallen into this trap when we owned businesses in the past. The reason many small business owners, including ourselves, do this is because of lack of time and lack of understanding of what marketing is all about. We have thought long and hard about this when we operated small business and afterward. Based on that we have come up with 5 fundamental rules of marketing that when used properly are sure to improve your sales. Here they are in no particular order:
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