How To Easily Acquire New Customers For Small Businesses

Making money has now become easier in the information age. The internet has opened up a whole new world of accessing and sharing data
between individuals or entities.

Without proper understanding, the internet can be very confusing and intimidating. That is why many small businesses do not own a website.

It is said that 60% of small businesses in the US with less than 100 employees have their own website or probably don’t want to own one.

The reasons may be;
· They don’t know what to do with it
· They can’t keep it updated
· It can be too confusing to keep up with the latest strategies
· They are too busy focussing on the business to bother

About their website and would rather pay someone else to do that for them.

Meanwhile, the internet is one big lead generator.

A lead is simply a prospective customer for your product or services.

There are resources on the internet of people who need and want your products or services. People who surf the net are constantly searching for solutions to solve their problems. If you can position yourself to answer their questions, you can become rich. The problem is the internet can be too chaotic to find anything unless you know What you are doing.

If you can get the website visitors into buyers, you can cash in big time. There are several companies which harness these internet surfers, find out what They really are looking for, get their details and give or sell the information to Those who have the solution to the problems of those surfing the internet. Most of these companies compile this data and sell them as lists of leads to firms Who need new business or who want to expand their customer base. Other companies rent their lead database to service providers.

If you would like, as a small business, to acquire customers without the expensive Way of advertising, you can consider buying or renting these leads from such companies. You need to acquire not just any leads but guaranteed quality leads. For example, if you are a plumber, you may want to get a list of leads of people who Have just bought or are about to sell their houses.

The new home owners may not have a contract with anyone just yet and you may just Be the solution to their problem of changing the bathtub to a better one, for instance. New home owners are targeted leads as opposed to home owners who may have Already created a good relationship with their plumber when they first moved in. It doesn’t matter what you are offering, you can get leads to expand your customer base.

Effective PR For a Small Business on a Budget – Get Local and Get Online!

If yours is like most small businesses, you can’t afford the luxury of a PR department, much less a dedicated PR agency or even one employee responsible for external communications and PR. However, this business function is critical as the world of communications continues to expand with new applications, demands and opportunities like social media networks. The thought of a concerted PR strategy and execution can be overwhelming for a small business owner, but it doesn’t have to be. There are two primary elements of PR for a small business to engage upon – leveraging online and local offline outlets. The old world of face-to-face will continue to be critical in building your PR strategy and overall business, but let’s face it – the environment has changed, and you simply can’t ignore the power of the Web, particularly social networks. Proactively getting your business out in the community while leveraging the Web will ensure the success of your PR strategy. And, these tactics are not expensive; in fact, many present opportunities for free PR for your small business.

These PR strategy tips are designed for those small businesses that simply don’t have budget allocated toward hiring and retaining a communications expert. If you are a smaller company, hopefully you can take a few tips below to integrate PR into your small business to help build a brand and generate leads. Utilizing informative, valuable PR about your small business gives you the opportunity to influence people and lead them to your destination – your website, your store, your offering. Take advantage of what’s out there! Get online and get local – it’s that simple.

Growing Your PR Strategy

Grow Online

If you don’t have a website, you need to get one immediately. Today, you can get a starter site for free or within your communications packages from your voice and data provider. If it’s in the package, then it’s a no-brainer. If you have a website, then make sure it’s dynamic (video, blogs, and communities) to ensure your target audience comes back and builds a relationship with you and your brand. It’s a requirement in today’s online world; the days of stagnant sites are over. Then, once you have your interactive site, make sure you optimize your website and everything you say about your business online to ensure your potential customers are finding you online when they search. This is a key part of your online PR strategy. Don’t you search Google or Bing to find what you need a pinch? It’s called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and it can be an affordable way to create additional PR for your small business — and it’s often found in your communications and IT packages. At the very least, getting a URL allows you to be FOUND online and that’s key. Google now provides maps when visitors are looking for a specific service in a specific area. By simply having an Internet address – you can be found online looking professional with a map to your location and link to your business, which is pretty cool.

The Wild World of Social Media

You have probably heard about “social media” and you may already be taking part. For many, however, the world of Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, blogs, vlogs and status updates may be a bit unsettling. Suffice it to say – these are powerful tools to help you carry out your PR strategy, especially when used properly to connect, communicate and yes, to sell.

As a small business, you can’t afford NOT to take part. It’s easy and affordable, so don’t waste anymore time. Of course, you do need to understand how best to engage before you jump in. Here are a few quick ways to start creating more PR for your small business:

1 – Create a Twitter profile and gain followers by “Tweeting” about your business, surrounding businesses and community topics that map back to your business. Build buzz about what you provide – can you Tweet special coupons? Can you give advice? Can you share relevant information to your community? Do you have an event you want to invite local prospects to? Twitter, an emerging PR strategy with an increasing audience, is a great way to quickly (140 characters or less) get a message out and position yourself as a leader. Remember, it’s not all about you; you must talk about the world around you to make an impact. Start off Tweeting about your business, but quickly begin integrating Tweets about your customers, your community, and your industry – and the most important part is to provide some kind of value or benefit in your tweets. Be respectable as well. And if you see someone comment about your business online (good or bad) – respond online for all to see. It’s a great way to show you are committed to your customers. The cost to you? It’s essentially free PR for your small business.

2 – Create free profiles on Linked In and Facebook. All you need for Linked In is a profile of you, and from there, you can create a group where you can share stories, news, and other PR about your small business. People can ping you for questions which positions you as an expert and, you can join interest groups that will help you track what other potential buyers in your community do, say and think. For Facebook, simply select “business” on the homepage to create a business “fan” page. Local residents, family and friends can then become “fans” of your company, which is an easy way to highlight the most recent PR about your small business. All you have to do is commit to posting news, updates, coupons, photos and other interactive content to get people engaged. Remember – provide a benefit – a reason for your “fans” to come back for more.

In addition to these PR strategy tips, there are local meet-up groups in every community that often originate from the Web, and then meet offline to have a real interactive discussion. Check out Meetup.com in your area to find one.

Confused about this new world of social media? Read Groundswell by two Forrester Research analysts, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. This book will set you straight and get you excited about the opportunities out there in terms of online PR for your small business.

Grow Local

Much like how consumers like to buy from locally grown farms, small businesses tend to buy from their peers – other small businesses. An effective PR strategy is all about supporting your local communities, and these days, that’s more important than ever. Keeping this in mind, focus on your community by generating PR for your small business at local events. Depending on your business, there are often specialty groups for different types of businesses such as professional service specialty groups. Often these groups gather monthly or quarterly to share best practices and to network. There are certainly general small business groups in your community such as your local Chamber that meet regularly as well. Beyond networking events, you can get ink for your business. Most Chambers have monthly newsletters or emails. Do you have something to say? Could you contribute twice a year with a special promotion to drive people to your business? Take advantage of these opportunities to fuel word-of-mouth marketing through PR for your small business. Hand out business cards, build relationships and follow-up. These opportunities are right outside your door.

Think grassroots.

Shake hands with other small businesses owners, refer each other and grow your business. To improve PR for your small business, think about what events are taking place this weekend where you could set up space, hand out collateral, serve up some hotdogs, and generate solid leads. Is there an art show or “Taste Of” type of event? Don’t take it all on yourself; partner with other local businesses right in your area to split costs and cross-sell to each other’s customers. A hand-shake goes a long way towards an effective PR strategy. Add a coupon and see the results. Most communities have annual events that bring hundreds/thousands of people – target those. In terms of PR for a small business, the best thing you can do is to connect directly to your audience by showing your personality and your value – get out there!

Leverage Local Media.

Another important element of your PR strategy involves local brand development, which means building relationships with local media. Yes, there is still benefit in reaching out to traditional media when it comes to PR for your small business. Take a moment to find out who your local reporters are and introduce yourself. Share with your new media contacts areas of expertise that you would be able to discuss if requested. If you create a relationship with your local media and have something compelling or contrarian to say, chances are they will call you when they need your input. Consider a quick email to your local reporters with an introduction, a quick reference of your expertise and what you could comment on. Being timely and relevant is critical to your PR strategy. Offer a cup of coffee. Those relationships can go a long way when you really want to make noise in the community. It’s important to know that if you want coverage and/or additional PR for your small business – you won’t get it with a cold pitch. You must: 1) – establish a relationship; 2) – have news to share that’s relevant, unique or at least different; and 3) – have a product/or service that is remarkable. These rules ring true for influential bloggers as well. For more on being remarkable, read Seth Godin’s Purple Cow – a great, quick read that will get you thinking about how to stand out from the rest to grow your business.

Blending Old and New: Building PR for a Small Business

Hopefully these PR strategy tips will help you build a brand for your small business and generate new and recurring business via PR. Communicating to customers and enabling them to communicate back to you is essential in today’s social world of media. However, what remains important today as it did 100 years ago is the face-to-face interaction. Nothing will replace it, so make sure you show your face and personality in the community. Coupling the old with the new will ensure a successful PR strategy for your small business.

Small Business Internet Marketing and Local Business Online Advertising

Small Business Internet Marketing Local Business Advertising Online How to start small business internet marketing and local business advertising online is a question that many small and medium sized businesses are pondering as more and more consumers disregard Yellow Pages books and other forms of traditional print media and move online to find what they are looking for.

The Internet is dramatically changing the way we do business and all the major companies are dominating online advertising leaving small and medium sized businesses in dire need of an Internet advertising solution for connecting and interacting with local consumers who are moving online in record numbers.

Many businesses who have created an online presence for themselves are quickly realizing that a pretty looking website does not equate to being found among the millions of websites online. Add to that the cost of dealing with designers and developers, and many businesses have no hope of competing in today’s Internet savvy communities.

One effective way is to utilize some of the many article and press release directories available online to announce your arrival into the online community. Providing concise informative information is the key here. It is not about flogging off your business products but about providing solutions to consumer problems.

Think about what solution your product or service can provide and write an article about that, not about your product, but what solution it can provide. Save the product details for the author’s resources box.

Another way small and medium businesses are trying to compete is through pay-per-click (PPC) programs like Google Adwords. Unfortunately most of the high target keywords and search terms have been become highly competitive and are generally cornered by major companies with large advertising budgets. And, to add fuel to the fire, there are now real concerns about click fraud.

Is Click Fraud and PPC Advertising a Problem?

According to Click Forensics, the overall industry average click fraud rate was 17.1% in the 4th quarter of 2008, up from 16.0% in the 3rd quarter of 2008. The problem, which is not new, is companies get paid based on how many times users click on online ads. Fraudsters develop computer programs that simulate user clicks to drive up traffic, and artificially inflating revenue. -Source: Peak Solutions/SEO Since 1999

What this means is if you and I are real estate agents and I find out you are advertising on a pay-per-click search engine, I will get up at 6am and start clicking on your ad until I use up your daily budget to stop the ad from appearing on the search engine for the rest of the day to improve the promotion of my ad on the same search engine.

What About Organic Search Optimization?

The most effective form of search engine marketing is organic search engine optimization or SEO as it is more commonly known. Internet keyword search studies confirm that keyword searchers prefer the organic search listings 6 to 1 to the pay-per-click sponsored ads found at the top of the pages above or to the side the organic searches. But SEO is a whole other story.

What About Geo-Targeted Advertising?

However, new small business Internet marketing technologies and strategies are opening the way for small and medium sized businesses to succeed in their business advertising online and compete in this lucrative online marketplace. One of these strategies’ is geo-targeted advertising which is driving online shoppers back into local stores and into using local business services.

It works by identifying the online shopper, gamer or surfer’s IP address and pushing out advertisements for local businesses onto those websites. These ads can be seen popping up everywhere from major search engine pages and gaming sites to the ever popular social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and other high traffic sites like eBay.

So it’s not surprising that local has become one of the hottest words in advertising. Attracted by the enormous growth opportunities, everyone, including the world’s largest technology, search and media companies, is gravitating toward local business advertising.

Smart business operators are laser-targeting their advertising campaigns by selecting zip/postcodes suited to their business needs. This means their ads only show up on websites when and where potential customers from their designated areas are online.

When the consumer clicks on an ad they are directed to, in many cases, a mini-website complete with text links, images, videos, discount coupons, and even interactive driving instructions. Never before have small and medium sized business owners had such real time control of their online branding features combined with a powerful local advertising presence.

To top this off, many sites are providing these small business internet marketing ads with no hosting, design or set-up fees and, no contracts terms. Is this the online solution small and medium sized businesses have been looking for to accelerate their business advertising online?

Couple this with effective business opportunity lead generator and prospecting systems and video response marketing solutions and you have the complete small business internet marketing package.

How To Succeed At Online Marketing For Small Business With Any Realistic Budget

Are you a small business owner? Do you want to see a lot more customers coming to you in 2011? Certainly, every business owner I’ve met answers these in the affirmative! What’s your plan to grow your business with great new customers?

Clearly, every new customer is a function of new leads in your sales funnel — we know this as conversion. And, every new sales lead is a subset of the number of eager buyers shopping for what you offer who are exposed to your business — we know this as marketing. Admit it, the numbers of people exposed to your business depends on marketing strategy, tactics, advertising, etc. Times change and so has effectiveness of traditional marketing tactics and offline advertising. Whereas, telemarketing, yellow pages, newspaper ads and other previously effective tactics are seriously lame today, online marketing for small business produces more targeted sales leads everyday.

Don’t Ignore Online Marketing For Small Business

Most small business owners ignore online marketing, because they don’t understand how the Internet has dramatically changed consumers. Furthermore, many unwary businesses have been duped into costly schemes to fool Google and other search engines. Have you been duped into believing that #1 on Google first page or a million website visitors in a month are ends in themselves? How do they add to your bottom line? Here’s a clue: work both of them into a business plan, pass it on to your banker and ask for a business loan. Point is, show your banker a plan to get more targeted sales leads calling you on the phone and then they’ll talk money. Google itself and random website visitors do absolutely nothing to grow your business.

Fortunately for you, this Internet thingy has totally changed the way we consume! No longer flipping through yellow pages or browsing the Sunday Trib classifieds, eager buyers shopping for what you offer are on the Internet right this second searching for you. Every time they search they receive a search results page. If you’re not on that page, they will buy from somebody else. Online marketing for small business has one goal: everywhere they search they find you there.

Affordable Online Marketing For Small Business

Fact is, effectively marketing your business is now possible with any realistic budget:

  • Email marketing has long been the favorite of Internet marketers, perhaps because it’s the online equivalent to direct marketing. Done right, instead of intruding in the Inbox, you ask and they grant you permission to nurture them and keep them informed with current and relevant information. Keeping permission marketing foremost in your mind, think of events, specials and successes that you’d appreciate knowing about your favorite vendors. Your customers and prospects will appreciate the same about you.
  • Online articles are another great way to increase awareness of you, your business and, especially, those special things you do that benefit your customers. Do you remember fondly thumbing through a magazine, reading interesting articles and clipping some articles so you can refer back to them later? The Internet is several magnitudes greater than any paper magazine. This very minute somebody is reading an article about your product and service and today she’ll bookmark it and maybe tell her friends about it. Have you ever tried to find a article in a magazine you threw out a long time ago? That won’t happen online, because it’s always available to be found, 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • Social media is all about family, friends and vacation pictures — right? No. It, too, can be tremendously effective in putting your business in front of eager buyers. Facebook membership alone is the third largest country in the world: China, India, Facebook, USA… In 2010 it’s been reported that the largest growing Facebook demographic is middle aged women. Again, keep in mind how online marketing for small business is primarily about developing relationships with your marketplace. What better way to start a conversation with a new prospect than at a huge party? Facebook, for example, is a neverending party of friends, family and coworkers, and they’re all talking about what’s on their minds. Strike a positive chord with just one, and they’ll tell somebody about you, and on and on.

Follow Online Marketing For Small Business To Success

Online marketing is about branding. The more people recognize your personal name, your business name and your place in the community, the more likely that one of them converts into a customer. Notice how we haven’t mentioned traditional advertising agencies and TV commercial production crews — the prohibitive prices of traditional marketing simply are not necessary online. It’s more about leaving thousands and thousands of bread crumbs from your business throughout the Internet. Whenever some eager buyer happens on one crumb while shopping for what you offer, Hansel and Gretel will follow the trail to your door. Like all marketing, the only goal of online marketing for small business is to create customers.