How to Market a New Business


Marketing Ideas for Small Business

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, by now you’ve hopefully come to the conclusion you don’t want to compete with folks selling their services for $5. So then, how to market a new business and build a brand? Here are a few ideas:

First, I would consider your story. Why do you do what you do? Why are you personally invested in your clients’ success? Why have you chosen to make this your personal mission and what can you tell us about your personal mission? What is your ‘why’?

Further, what sets you apart from the other guy or gal? Why would people pick you? What makes you so special? Something does, so what is it? By answering these questions, you are beginning to develop your value proposition.

Testimonials are another useful tool. Go to past clients and ask them why they chose to work with you, what problem they were seeking to solve and how you provided the solution. There is a template here that helps with that:

Marketing Idea #89: Collect Testimonials

 
Don’t have any past clients yet? You may want to do some free work to build up your client porfolio. Once people can see others have trusted you in the past, it becomes easier for them to trust you. Think of this as building social proof.

Case studies are very similar to well-constructed testimonials in that they offer a description of the problem and then tell how you provided the solution and finally communicate the happy result.

Best recommendation: Share before-and-after stories. If you’re a writer, show the ad copy in its prior miserable state and then show the revised ad copy after you’ve finished with it. (“Feel the difference?  Here is how we saw conversion rates improve…” P.S. If you’re not tracking this yet, you need to start!) Another example could be for an orthodontist; here is the patient’s mouth before we fixed their snaggle-teeth, and here is the patient’s sparkling smile after the procedures were completed.

Finally, since we’re on the topic of building a brand, you may want to work through this short brand archetype quiz:

Branding 101: Discover Your Brand Archetype (Quiz)

 
The quiz results will provide you with three archetypes, listed in order of relevance. This will definitely help you determine the “flavor” you want your brand to exude. For instance, if you are a rough and tumble pioneer type, the Explorer archetype may be the archetype you identify with most. Once you know your archetype, you can ensure your ad copy, imagery and brand all align with that archetype, which strengthens your position in the mind of the consumer.

Okay, this should keep you busy for a while. If you have more ideas to share or have questions about applying any of these marketing tactics, leave a comment below!

In support of your efforts,

Matt

Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship

You may have noticed a trend emerging when you perform a search in Google. Every so often, you’ll notice someone’s face comes up next to their post. At first, you may think, “Wow, they must be an authority. Google is even publishing their face!” Once the star-struck awe wears off, you may then wonder, “How did they do that? Can I do that?”

For authors, bloggers, podcasters, video personalities and content producers, the answer is, “Yes, you can!”

Google—in their tireless effort to serve and encourage rich Internet content—has produced something called “rich snippets,” which offers content producers and marketers an opportunity to stand out using “Google Authorship” markup code.

The Google Authorship process, however, wasn’t terribly clear for me. I ended up needing about five different resources to successfully navigate the Google Authorship process. Therefore, I’ve taken the time to reproduce a step-by-step process for getting that pretty mug of yours into the Google SERPs.

Step 1: Set Up Your Google+ Profile

If you don’t already have a Google+ profile, go to Google.com and select You+ from the navigation bar at the top. As you move through setting up your profile, pay close attention to adding content for the following fields:

  • Introduction
    • Keep this short and sweet; one to four sentences. A little about you and where visitors and followers can find you.
  • Profile photo
    • Use a clear headshot. This will be reproduced as a small thumbnail if it’s placed into the Google search results. (Google is sure to repeat “if” and “no guarantee” numerous times on your Authorship journey. Be prepared: Your face may not show up in the SERPs for months, if ever.)[image of intro and photo]
  • Work Email
    • Preferred: Select an email address with the same domain name as the one you will be linking from (i.e. your email address is yourname@yourdomain.com and your website is yourdomain.com.) If you can’t do that, any email address you control will do.[image]
  • Contributor to
    • This is where you tell Google what sites you post to, or—in cases where you have been a guest author on someone else’s site or blog—what articles you’ve had published. If a guest post, link directly to your post on the other site; not the main homepage.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile

Step 2: Link to Your Google+ Account from Your Posts

There are a couple different ways to add Google Authorship markup code to your site, but I’m going to focus on my favorite: the rel=author parameter. Why is this my favorite method? I feel the rel=me parameter you would add to your blog’s “about me” page is too broad to be targeted, whereas the rel=author parameter you add to specific links, giving you much more control. You may say, “Matt, that seems like more work!” but I would say, “Not if you do it the way I’m about to teach you!”

Your goal now is to add the code to one place: the bottom of your posts. If you don’t already have one, begin by writing your “about the author” blurb. Here is mine:

Marketing Ideas Author Matt SchoenherrWritten by Matt Schoenherr
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on , Twitter and Facebook. Creative marketing ideas and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com

As you can see, I’ve included links to some of the other social media channels I use, the same headshot I used for my Google+ profile (this could be any picture; I’m just being consistent) and a little about myself.

Pay close attention to the Google+ link here. This is the format you want to use:

<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/111111111111111111111?rel=author“>My link to Google+</a>

Change the 1’s to your Google+ profile ID. To find your profile ID, make sure you’re logged out of Google+ and

  1. do a search for your profile from the Google+ landing page (Google.com, then select You+.) You may see your profile posts come up on the left and believe you just found your profile.
  2. Don’t be fooled! This is not the right address!
  3. You still want to select your profile from the list that appears on the right.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile ID

Now you will see your actual profile and will be able to capture the URL address properly:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/posts

Strip off “posts” and now your URL should look like:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/

Once you have your “about the author” description created, you will add it to the bottom of your posts. If your website is built on a content management system, this may be easy. With Joomla, you may simply add a custom HTML module to the bottom of those pages. In WordPress, you may use a wonderful plugin called “Post Footer” and drop your “about the author” blurb in. If you need help with this, ask your web guru. Here is what my code looks like:

<img src=”http://marketingideas101.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/marketing-ideas-author-200-150×150.jpg” alt=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” title=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” width=”150″ height=”150″ class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-1465″ /><strong>Written by Matt Schoenherr</strong><br />
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on <a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363?rel=author” title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Google+</a>, <a href=”https://twitter.com/#!/mattschoenherr” target=”_blank”>Twitter</a> and <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/marketingideas101″ title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Facebook</a>. Creative <a href=”http://marketingideas101.com/category/marketing-ideas/”>marketing ideas</a> and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com.

Step 3: It’s Alive!

Google has provided a slick little tool that tells you whether you’re on the right path. It’s called the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and you can find it here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

To determine if things are working properly, place the URL address for one of your posts carrying the Google+ link into the top box and select the Preview button.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Testing Tool

An example of what your post will look like in the search results will appear. If you see your picture, great news! You’re done! If not, the Rich Snippets Testing Tool will tell you what errors it found. For me, I was told I hadn’t verified my email address, so once I added the work email address to my Google+ profile and verified it, my “Extracted Author/Publisher for this page” section looked like this:

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Verified

Afterglow

Per the search engine marketing agency, CatalystOnline:

“The results over a few weeks proved the quintessential SEO theory that Rich Snippets do increase CTR and as a result greater traffic. According to Google Webmaster Tools, clicks to the site dramatically increased by +150% and this improvement resulted in an increase of visits and page views (see chart below).” (Emmanuel, 2012.)

Marketing Ideas Rich Snippet Results

True, it may take a little time to get Google Authorship markup installed and functioning. Still, if your posts begin displaying your profile picture in the Google search results, you stand to gain considerable advantage over other content authors whom have not made this effort. As of today, I will begin watching to see when (if) my profile picture begins appearing alongside my posts. When (if) I see this occur, I will come back here and post an update to let you know how long it took.

In the meantime, if you work through these directions and you discover something was unclear or missing, please offer some clarification in the comments below and I’ll update this post.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

marketing ideas ebook divider

Update, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Well, it seems Google caught my Authorship submission today!  Fairly quick turn-around at exactly a week. Nice. So, what did we learn? It’s possible and it can happen quickly. We also learned your photo won’t show up next to everything you’ve written. See below.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Results

As you can see, a search for “marketing ideas 101” shows four listings (page 1, positions 1-4) for the Marketing Ideas 101 site but only one entry in the search results shows my Google Authorship image. Still, every little bit helps. In the meantime, I see I need to address the meta keywords and description for my pages, as my resource box content is being displayed instead of the page description. Ah, good times.

If I notice any other updates, I’ll post them here!

marketing ideas ebook divider

References

Crestodina, A. Google Authorship Markup: How to get your picture in search results. Retrieved from http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-authorship/.

Emmanuel.E. January 19, 2012. CatalystOnline. How Rich Snippets Can Improve Your CTR. Retrieved from http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/2012/01/how-rich-snippets-can-improve-your-ctr/.

Google. Author information in the search results. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1408986&expand=option2.

Google. Rich snippets not appearing. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1093493.

Google. Rich Snippets Testing Tool. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets.

Jamieson, E. How Long Will It Take For My Face/Logo To Show Up In The Search Results? Retrieved from http://www.authorsure.com/514/how-long-will-it-take-for-my-facelogo-to-show-up-in-the-search-results.

Marketing Idea #44: Showcase Local Artists

Marketing Ideas Local Artists

Display artwork for sale from local artists. In doing so, you support the local artist community, gain word-of-mouth through the artists, and bring more interest to your walls. This can be done by writing up an offer and presenting it to a local art gallery. You may want to bring focus to the display either by centering on a specific artist or by having the showing coincide with a particular (and appropriate) event.

Marketing Idea #79: Can’t You Read The Sign?

Marketing Ideas Signage

Consider the signage at your office or facility. Can a visitor find you easily? Can he find his way around your facility easily? Large buildings such as hospitals, office buildings, and malls often suffer from poor signage, creating a sense of unease and annoyance in their patrons. You know that even grocery stores can benefit from clear signage if you’ve ever had the misfortune of searching for way too long to locate a certain item on your grocery list.

Marketing Ideas Signs

To Market Online, Know Your ‘Why’

Marketing Ideas Know Your Why

Question: When marketing online, I have always focused on marketing only one of my many services. Should I market something else? How should I market my business online?

Answer: Many folks wonder how to market businesses online. I believe your starting point depends upon where your heart lies.

If you’re in love with one particular element of your business, focus on that. For instance, if you’re a photographer who favors working weddings, I would recommend staying focused on ‘wedding photographer’ as a keyphrase. Then add your target location (where you want to work these jobs.)  Your keyphrase would then look like ‘wedding photographer Detroit’ or ‘wedding photographer Chicago’.

Yes, if you’re a talented wedding photographer, you probably do well photographing other events. If you prefer photographing sporting events, sure, follow that. However, know that maintaining a singular focus over time will yield more singular results than a dispersed focus (better position in the search engines, more qualified traffic, therefore higher conversions to paying wedding photography jobs.) When choosing keywords during your online marketing activities, take aim at your singular idea—your one thing—and charge after that.

At the time of this writing, MarketingIdeas101.com is only about five months old. Judging by the domain name, it’s safe to guess ‘marketing ideas’ is one of the coveted keyphrases. Well, it so happens there are lots of top-dogs ranking well for that keyphrase, nationally and globally. When the Marketing Ideas 101 site first hit Google, it was on page 2 for ‘marketing ideas 101’ and between pages 13-17 for ‘marketing ideas’. For ‘marketing ideas’, that’s a position of 130-170 out of the approximate 196,000,000 results found by Google. Who is going to go to the 17th page of their search results? The site may as well have not existed!

It took only five months and now Marketing Ideas 101 dominates ‘marketing ideas 101’ (top four positions when I looked this morning) and is now on page 3 for ‘marketing ideas’, surpassing even an Inc.com page. During this time, Marketing Ideas 101 has been grown from a single page to over 50 pages, most of which have ‘marketing idea’ or ‘marketing ideas’ in the title and URL.

(Note: Don’t think for a second I believe there are throngs of people looking for ‘marketing ideas 101’ as a keyphrase. This phrase—which coincides with the domain name MarketingIdeas101.com—was simply one of the smaller milestones I used to gauge progress. Now that the top position for the full phrase has been captured, we’re continuing on after the big fish on the national and global levels; those who sit atop the ‘marketing ideas’ search results.)

The off-site marketing of the MarketingIdeas101.com site has not been aggressive. Maybe there has been a blog comment every two weeks? Maybe there has been a broadcast for new post or article to Twitter and LinkedIn about once a week? More importantly, there are 2-3 new posts every week. Plus, most these posts carry titles based on low- to medium-competition keyphrases with higher search volume.

The aim is to reach folks who have specific marketing questions on topics that have been under-served. Combine this with broadcasting new posts through Facebook, Twitter (automated), LinkedIn groups, and Pinterest (my photographer example should definitely be using Pinterest) and Marketing Ideas 101 moved up to an average daily volume of 50-60 visits each day. The Marketing Ideas site cleared 100 visits in a day last week. Yes, these are still small numbers, but for many small businesses and nonprofits operating at a local level, it is targeted traffic at this volume that begins to make the phone ring.

Again, the only aggressive effort here has been in the delivery of solid content. This content was designed to provide answers to current marketing questions, assisting as many people as possible (e.g. where to find Google Analytics report templates, what’s hot in social media, why you don’t care about building a mobile app, etc.)

Make no mistake; claiming page 1 positioning may take a couple more years even though the Marketing Ideas 101 site jumped to page 3 after 5 months. I can be patient. I understand this is a journey. As long as I’m serving others with the goal of making a difference for as many people as possible, I’ll keep after it. You must know your ‘why’ though; otherwise you may find it easy to become distracted or frustrated when you occasionally lose position to a competitor (or the latest Google update,) or when you lose a client, etc.

My goal for this project is to serve as many folks as I can by providing great content, tools, instruction and support. The intent is to help my followers and students 1) gain the competitive edge in their marketplace and 2) see their dreams through to fulfillment and expansion. Ultimately, my ‘why’ is to fortify or restore hope in the entrepreneur, the small business owner, the freelancer, the nonprofit–anyone who would have more from life from the status quo. Then I arm them with a set of the tools by which to do this.

Knowing your ‘why’ will help you focus your direction and your dedication. Then you can begin selecting your keyphrases. Then you can really get into your online marketing strategies.

So my question to you is this: What is your ‘why‘? Why is it you do what you do? What does driving toward your mission fulfill for you and what does it fulfill for those you support?

What is your ‘why’?

marketing ideas ebook divider

Update, Saturday, July 14, 2012

It appears the Marketing Ideas 101 site has jumped to page 2 in at least one of Google’s indexes (Google has at least two I’m aware of.) Since this original post 20 days ago, I’ve produced three light posts and two full-length articles. Additionally, I had an online article publisher offer to publish this article and Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results. (Read more on article marketing.)

Page Position Marketing Ideas

I’ll report back once I’ve achieved a first page position for “marketing ideas”. Until then, go forth and conquer.

Matt