A Not So Secret Marketing Trick To Get The Word Out About Your Small Business

There’s a not so secret marketing trick out there that not enough small businesses and entrepreneurs are taking advantage of. It’s a technique that helped many highly visible entrepreneurs get to where they are today. And it doesn’t cost anything and isn’t that hard to do. Sound too good to be true? Well no, exactly.
It’s something that is very effective when done properly and can elevate the profile of your small business. The not so secret marketing trick is called guest blogging.

Guest blogging is where you create content for another site. It’s as simple as that. You don’t have to get a guest spot on the highest trafficked site out there to have it be of benefit for your business. If you provide content on a quality site with a similar audience to yours, it can pay off for your business.

But before you get started picking up the phone and calling all of the site owners that you can think of, there’s an important thing that you need to take care of. You’ll need a good by-line, which are those blurbs in the author box that tells a little bit about who they are. It’s kind of like a virtual business card. It tells the reader who you are and how to get in touch.

Now, once you’ve crafted a good by-line, you’ll need to create an amazing article for contribution. Don’t think that just because it’s not ending up on your site that you can distribute your second-rate material. This is your chance to get in front of another audience and demonstrate your appeal. You’re spreading yourself around and getting in front of people that you hadn’t been in front of before. It’s your time to shine, and they might just want to find out more about what you have to offer.

When writing a guest article, remember to keep things simple. You’re not trying to write another War and Peace. Don’t try to over complicate things. Make sure that your theme is clear, and that the reader will easily understand who you are and what you do. A confused reader will switch off, and you don’t want that happening.

Another thing to keep in mind is to not be generic when writing a guest article. Let your personality come through, but remember to keep your content relevant for the audience that you are writing for. Don’t forget to link back to your site! But try and do so without using a generic term like “click here”. And please don’t litter your article with backlinks. You’ll end up looking desperate.

So get out there, make some new connections and write some content for another relevant post.

A Picture May Be Worth 1,000 Words, But In Marketing It’s Stories That Sell

Small Business marketing strategy rule number one

Un_Standard presents small business marketing strategy rule number one. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in marketing it’s stories that sell. How many times have you had to endure the trauma of sitting through a presentation of dull PowerPoint slides filled with data dumps or spreadsheets spreadsheets that make your eyes hurt.
If you’re like me, after ten minutes of putting on the front that you are actually paying attention, your mind starts to wander to all of the tasks at hand that need to be accomplished, how many tiles are on the ceiling, or any other distraction to ease the pain of boredom? People react to emotion, compelling stories to form an emotional connection between the presenter and the audience. After all, consumers are motivated by emotion and the best way to connect is by putting the message into context so that the audience grasps the message. Once upon a time…

When we trudge through dry factual arguments, we have our defenses up. When we are absorbed in a story, we drop that front and allow our emotions to take hold. And emotions are what connects us and drives us as consumers.

People relate to honest stories

Every business has an inspiration, and a story behind the way that the business came in to being. Essentia Mattresses is a company that was founded because a family member of the founder and CEO had cancer. The doctors said that the cancer could have likely come about from exposure to everyday toxins from household items…like mattresses. And with that experience, Essentia Mattresses was born. A heart-wrenching story and the motivating story behind the creation of their organic mattresses. Instead of using the small business marketing strategy to position themselves as the first company to offer a natural memory foam mattress, Essentia made the conscious decision to incorporate the story into their brand and marketing efforts. And in a short space of time, they went from being a small online business to generating millions in revenue and eventually opening brick-and-mortar stores with plans for expansion.

Even if you think you don’t have a compelling story to tell in your small business marketing strategy, chances are you have a story that will relate with the ones you’re trying to reach. A good story must be relatable, no matter how mundane it may seem at first. You probably aren’t the first person to have an idea. And you aren’t the last. We all have competition. And those people who will be purchasing your products or services want experiences. Experiences are made through connections, and told through stories. Be sure to use those stories as the foundation of your small business marketing strategy.

And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

Time For A Marketing Makeover

There comes a point in any marketing campaign when it is time for a marketing makeover. It keeps things fresh and gets the attention of those that you want to (when done properly). One of the easiest places to start with your marketing makeover is with your online presence. If you need to spruce up your marketing, then creating a compelling web presence is a good place to start.

When refreshing your online presence, it is important to carefully think about your content. Plan ahead and make sure that your presence is cohesive. Create content that is relevant to your small business. Choose about ten topics that you think will be relevant to your readers (and customers) and create content around those topics. Set up a calendar so that you update your content on a regular basis. And stick to it (believe me, we can be guilty of not sticking to our editorial calendar).

WordPress is a fantastic way to manage your small business presence online. It’s intuitive, it’s popular and there are millions of options for how you can customize it. And better yet, WordPress is pretty SEO friendly. There are a host of plugins for WordPress that can help boost your SEO.

WordPress SEO

WordPress SEO – this is a really handy resource when it comes to reminding you to include all of the things that you need for better SEO when you write your articles. Having this plugin really helps you be smarter with SEO on your site.

Contextual Related Posts

Contextual Related Posts – this is another handy plugin that adds links to related posts that you have written at the end of your articles. This gives readers the opportunity to click through your website instead of going off somewhere else.

Also, when you’re creating content, it’s important to listen to what is going on around you in order to stay relevant. When you listen, you’ll find out what is going on and you’ll be able to keep up with the paces of your industry. There are some great resources online where you can gather this intelligence. Twitter is a great place to start. Create lists to see what is going on in your industry and to keep tabs on your competition. Google Alerts are another great place to gather intelligence. Create alerts relevant for your industry for writers who frequently write about your category.

Some other great resources to use are Alltop, which compiles the content of some of the most influential people within your industry. Quora is another great place to hang out to gather intelligence. Here you can understand what sorts of questions are being asked within your industry. This might shed some light on an opportunity to take advantage of with your name on it.

Using Twitter for small businesses and what you should tweet about

Twitter is a great resource for your small business. It allows you to have a direct connection with your customers. But many entrepreneurs don’t realize that it’s a good idea to have a personal Twitter account that is visible to your customers. When checking brands out, people like to get an idea of the “brains behind the brand”. It gives your customers the chance to connect on a more personal level. But it can be confusing as to what to tweet about.
Here’s our guide to using Twitter for small businesses.

Giving your customers a behind the scenes glimpse into your mind is a great way to cultivate a deeper relationship with your small business. But when it comes to small businesses and their owners, the two are closely linked. So how do you create a personal Twitter feed that is separate (but related) to your business Twitter feed? What sort of things should you tweet about? Here’s a few ideas on tweets for your personal Twitter feed.

Article links

Sharing information that you come across is a good way to shed some insight into how you operate. But only if you add your personal opinion about what is being covered in the article. Let the world know where you stand on certain issues related to your small business. But be careful. Don’t try to be too controversial or divisive in your opinions. Take a stand, but be cautious of how others might perceive your opinions. And keep your article subject matter relevant to your business. Stay away from subjects like politics or religion, unless of course that is what your small business deals with.

Snippets of your life

Sharing glimpses into you personal life can really resonate with your customer base. Share personal news with your customers, such as events, holidays and other things that you would share with close friends. It gives your customers the sense that they are closer to you and your small business. Also think about sharing unusual things that you come across in everyday life. If something catches your eye, then it will probably catch the attention of someone else. If you’ve made a fun purchase recently, then share it with your customers. These are great conversation starters.

Life outside of work

Sharing your personal work can be a great way to build those bonds with your customers. If in your spare time you write, or paint or have any other creative hobby, then by all means share your work. It doesn’t have to be about business all the time. Sharing quotes or slices of wisdom that you’ve come across is also a great thing to spread to your customers. Anything that will give a glimpse behind the scenes of your small business makes it more human. And it makes it more relatable to your customers.

Marketing plans to keep your business running smoothly

We’ve all heard the arguments and excuses on why a business doesn’t need to invest in marketing. After all, if you build it, they’ll surely come, right? Why not concentrate on other more productive areas, such as sales? After all, marketing is just an expense, right?

Well, if only that were true. And that we lived in a world where there was no competition and your business was the only game in town. If we believe that we are alone in offering a fantastic product coupled with great service, then there wouldn’t be the need to advertise. The reality is, that there is competition all around, and consumers have choices with whom to do business with. Even in the Business-To-Business arena. After all, businesses are made up of people, and people make purchasing decisions based upon emotion. Marketing gives those potential consumers the chance to get to know your business and soften the sales process. If you don’t control the messages that your business is sending out, then those messages will control you.

When developing a marketing plan, it is important to understand how your business is perceived, and how you would want it to be perceived. If there is a disconnect, then a solid marketing plan would help shape perceptions to move to where you want to be. Another important aspect is to understand what makes you unique. Why would a customer come to you instead of the competition? What sets you apart? What makes you special? The marketing strategy is the ideal place to communicate what sets you apart to your customers.

Marketing is designed to precondition the sale. It does not sell, but creates the platform for a relationship. It does not close the deal, but gives reason why your customers should choose to do business with you. Marketing can work hard on your behalf if you allow it to happen. Choose your tactics wisely, map out a plan, put it into action and watch monitor the results to see what adjustments need to be made. Marketing, when executed properly, has a profound effect on sales. We have experience in creating marketing strategies for a wide range of businesses all over the world, from startups to huge multinational corporations. We’ve been there and achieved results. Get in touch with Un_Standard today to nail that marketing strategy.

For a limited time, we are offering a free initial consultation without any further obligation. Be sure to subscribe to our Facebook page to receive a discount off of our rates. Don’t let your business fade into the background. Connect with your customers. Set yourself apart from the competition.

Think Un_Standard. Be. Un_Standard.’

Get Your Small Business Marketing Right

A lot of small businesses have trouble with their small business marketing. They have trouble because it’s too simple. But let’s get this straight, simple is not the same thing as easy. Some things look easy, like setting up a Facebook page. But unless your Facebook strategy is interlinked into your overall business strategy, that Facebook page is useless. You won’t be any closer to your business goals in the future than you are today.

The idea of marketing is simple. You have a great product or service, and you tell the people out there about how great your product or service is, thus becoming customers. Sounds easy, right? Well, to be honest it’s a bit more complicated than that. There are so many different techniques that you can use, and you absolutely need to understand who you are trying to reach and how best to reach them.

First of all, let’s clear up a few common misconceptions. Marketing is not all about selling. Marketing involves several different tactics, such as website copy, email marketing campaigns, SEO, brochures, ad campaigns, conversion funnels and much more. And these tactics are very likely to be important to your business. But none of these things is what marketing is really about.

Marketing is about creating a relationship with your one ideal customer. It’s about figuring out who they are, what they are looking for and how you can offer that one thing that they will absolutely adore. It’s about getting into their mind, getting their attention and bringing them on board as a loyal customer. And any of the previously mentioned marketing tactics are only one piece of the puzzle. When used in isolation, you’re not creating that relationship with your customer.

Marketing is simple. There are only three steps, and they’re linked into your business plan. Your marketing plan should never be separate from your business plan. And here they are:

Synchronize

The first part of the small business marketing process is identifying who your ideal customer is. Who would benefit the most from your product or service? Who’s pain can your small business solve? Who is it that is going to be excited about what you can offer? Without knowing who your customer is, your marketing efforts are nothing more than shots in the dark.

When creating your customer profile, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Try to paint a picture as complete as possible. What do they do in their spare time? Where do they go on holiday? What foods do they like to eat? Grab as much information as possible from as many different sources as you can. And don’t think that any of this information is trivial. Finding out about what your customer does in their spare time will shed light on ways that you can start a dialogue with those customers.

Once you have figured out some information about your customer, you’ll need to synch your offer with who you’re offering it to. Once you’ve figured that out, the rest of the marketing plan will be so much easier to put together. You’ll know who you are trying to reach, their wants and needs and how your business can benefit them. Tailor the offer to your customer.

Draw them in

Once you’ve tailored the perfect solution to your ideal customer’s problem, then you need to grab that customer’s attention. This is where much of what people perceive marketing to be comes into play.  You will use all of that information that you’ve gathered in the synch stage to figure out how to draw your ideal customer in. Make sure that your message is in the places where your customer is. Catch them off guard. Pique their interest. And slowly draw them towards you.

Engage them

Once you have captured the attention of your ideal customer, you can’t just come right out and expect them to instantly become a lifelong customer. Things don’t move that quickly. Take it in small steps. Do something simple, like entice them to join your mailing list. Once they have made that step, be sure to reward them. Give them a small token of your appreciation, such as exclusive content, or a brief moment of your time. It will make the effort that they’ve put in seem like a really great value.

Next, take another step. Offer them something a bit more substantial. Something like an offer or a free trial. Something that adds to your perceived value. Once they’ve moved a bit closer to you, then you can entice them into making a purchase. But don’t forget that once the purchase happens, the customer is still engaged with your small business. Make sure that your customer has the absolute best customer experience that they could possibly have. When a customer has a positive experience with a product or service, there is a 90% chance that they will become a repeat customer.

And that’s the name of the game.

From Catwalk to Sidewalk: Burberry’s Concept of Fast Fashion

From catwalk to sidewalk

Burberry goes the way of fast fashion, a la H&M? Fear not fashionistas! Burberry isn’t planning on competing with Primark any time soon, but they’ve cleverly upped their game in regards to getting their product into the hands of those that want to buy. Call it a “catwalk to sidewalk” strategy.

Burberry is to embrace its own concept of ‘”fast fashion” by allowing consumers to buy items from its next collection online and in-store ahead of traditional drop dates. For the first time, consumers will be able to purchase Burberry’s garments from the autumn-winter collection directly through a campaign gallery and short films on their website to instantly move their garments from catwalk to sidewalk. The campaign will also run across digital platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.

Runway to reality

The news follows the launch of the brand’s catwalk to sidewalk strategy called ‘Runway to Reality’, which allows VIP consumers to buy items from its runway collections immediately, via an iPad app. The brilliance of this strategy is that it eliminates the lag time that fast fashion retailers such as Primark and H&M were able to exploit. Previously, a high end designer would show their collection in any of the fashion capitals well ahead of the date that any of the items would end up in retail stores. This lag time allowed the fast fashion bunch to copy the designs, put them into mass production and get them into their stores, often times in advance of the originals. Spanish retailers Mango and Zara were notorious for their extremely quick production times that allowed them to released their knocked off versions of the high end designers before the high end designers had a chance to release their designs to the public. Burberry is a very smart company, and was obviously aware that the  fast fashion retailers were copying their creations. So what better way to avoid that than to make the originals available for sale at the moment that they are revealed to the public?

Now, if Burberry can address the catwalk to sidewalk dilemma, then hopefully next on their agenda would be to address the issue of sustainability in the fashion world by reducing the amount of pollution that their industry generates during the production process.