Small Business Marketing Do’s and Don’ts: Strategies to Get the Most Out of Your Advertising Dollar

By Scott Vollero

As a small-business owner, you have to spend money wisely and get the most out of every dollar. Marketing your small business is an area you have to spend money on, but it’s also a potential money pit if you’re not careful.

Sure, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t through trial and error, but who has extra money to spend on “maybes?” Wouldn’t it be great to skip over the trial and error part and jump right into the getting a return on your advertising dollar part?

Here are proven do’s and don’ts to help you cut the risks and market wisely.

Do Know Your Target Customer

Face it, not everyone needs your product or service. Your target customer is a precise group of people or businesses. Identify your target audience by defining who needs and is most likely to buy what you’re selling. Focus all of your advertising campaigns toward that group.

Don’t Overdo Promotional Pricing

The temptation is strong. Offer amazing deals that can’t be refused and get lots of customers all at once — it’s a great strategy, right? Well.. not so much.

A customer’s perception of the quality of your services and products is directly related to how much you charge. If you price your service too low, even customers who take advantage of the offer will wonder why you’d sell yourself short. That’s not to say you can’t have a sale or offer a promotional discount — you can. But, don’t go so cheap that nagging doubts about quality creep in.

Do Research Your Competitors

Research everything about your competitors — how much they charge, perks they offer and methods they use to appeal to the customer. Figure out what makes your business different and how you can take advantage of your strengths. Feature how you’re different and why you’re better in your advertising.

Don’t Expand to Other Markets Before Exhausting Opportunities in Your Current Base

It’s much more cost-effective to keep your current customer base happy, resell to that group and offer add-ons to current customers than expand to other markets. Exhaust every opportunity within your current base before expanding.

Do Make Sure You’re Different from the Rest

In a competitive world, your small business has to do something better to succeed. If after researching your competitors you find very little difference in what you offer, resist the urge to lower prices to attract customers. Instead, figure out a way to offer customers more and better or fill a niche need that’s not being addressed. And then market the heck out of the difference.

Don’t Confuse Customers

One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is building a solid online reputation. If you’re looking for a way to build confidence, don’t confuse customers. Use consistent branding throughout your online channels from website to Facebook — the same logo, the same company colors.

“Market your products appropriately and in a manner that befits
your company image.” —Scott Vollero

 

For example, if you sell a toy for children ages 3-5, you wouldn’t put a bikini-clad woman on the packaging, would you? Of course not. People would wonder exactly what kind of toy you’re selling. Don’t make them guess by sending mixed messages.

Do Deliver on Your Promises

If you promise anything in your advertising, from a product warranty to a problem solution, be ready to deliver on that promise. If customers feel slighted, you can count on them spreading the word. Word-of-mouth advertising is often the best kind, but word-of-mouth complaints can do tremendous damage. Of course, there will be times when nothing you do pleases a customer. That’s part of doing business. But if you build a solid reputation of standing behind your promises, you can overcome one or two complaints.

Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.

How to Boost Your Company’s Online Presence With Infographics and Videos

By Scott Vollero

You already know that a strong online presence is an essential part of any business’s marketing and brand-building strategy. Your company has a website and blog, as well as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. You’ve either assigned someone to handle social media or you do it yourself. You’re adding tons of written content. And, that’s just what you should be doing. But…

So, What’s the Problem?

The problem is you’re just not getting the engagement you hoped. Could it be that you aren’t utilizing the full power of visuals in your social media posts? A recent survey of marketers conducted by Venngage found that 41.5 percent of respondents said infographics garnered the highest rates of engagement, while 25.7 percent said charts and data visualizations performed best and another 20.2 percent stated videos were most often shared.

 

“The bottom line: If you’re not using visual elements effectively,
you’re losing out.” — Scott Vollero

 

OK, you’re probably thinking, “I’m no graphic artist. How can I come up with infographics and videos for my business?”

Don’t panic. Follow these quick tips and you’ll soon have impressive graphics and videos to post and share.

The Basics of Infographics

Because infographics are a widely shared graphic type, it’s important you use them when applicable. Infographics are perfect for laying out factual and statistical information that can be read and digested in seconds. They’re also easily shared and have linkability back to your website or social media page.

Follow these steps to plan an effective infographic:

  • Choose a purpose. The most successful infographics present study results, depict chronological events, explain product/service how-tos or convey earnings results. Do not use an infographic for sales hype. Infographics are for facts, not ads. Instead, choose a fact-based purpose that supports the use of your product or service.
  • Plot the flow of information logically. The information flow should be in a form that makes sense when a user reads it.
  • Identify compelling points. Make concise statements about the information you present.
  • Clear the clutter. Stay on topic. No fluff, no fillers.
  • Design your infographic. Use one of the many excellent online tools that offer free infographic templates. Customize the template to match your corporate colors, fill in your information, add your logo and you’re ready to go.

You, too, Can Make a Video!

If you think only big companies are capable of making videos, think again. If you look online, you’ll see videos on small company websites as well. They may not be as professional looking as a giant corporation’s but they work. You’ll see everything from how-to, behind-the-scenes, thoughts from the owner and charity event videos. If they can do it, so can you.

Familiarize yourself with competitor’s videos. See what they’re doing to give you an idea about where to start. Also keep in mind that videos, like infographics, should have a single purpose. Choose a topic and plot the points you want to make before turning the video camera on.

You can use a smartphone to record video or, for higher quality, a digital single-lens reflex camera, commonly known as DSLR that records video. Once you shoot, use one of the editing programs already on your computer to edit and fine tune what you recorded. There are also free video editing options online.

Make videos brief, to the point and present the information you’re sharing in an engaging and, if applicable, funny way. Watch out for unwanted backgrounds sounds. Annoying interruptions and background noises take attention away from your message.

No one expects your small business video to look like the latest out of Hollywood. In fact, a video with a couple of funny bloopers and self-deprecating humor brings charming insight into the people behind the scenes.

Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.