Marketing for New Business in Today's Messed up Economy
by guest contributor Bob McClain of wordsmithbob.com
Despite what you hear from the "marketing gurus", there is
no "magic" marketing that will get you rolling in new business in days or weeks.
Marketing requires a long term approach and a regular commitment. Sending out
postcards when things get slow is not marketing. Having a plan and sticking
with it, is.
Right now and for the foreseeable future, marketing on the
Internet will get you the most bang for your buck. And I don't want to hear,
"our customers don't look for us on the web." That may have been true several
years ago but today, everyone looks on the web.
Only a handful of people still use the Yellow Pages. And
yes, there are companies that still prefer to find vendors by word of mouth or
recommendation but as things get tighter, more and more companies are turning
to the web to find vendors that can give them the terms or turn-around they are
looking for or has the flexibility they need.
So, what are some of the most effective marketing methods
for the web? Here's one I use.
Sending out weekly
press releases on the web.
This can be powerful marketing and much more cost effective
than you might think. However, your press releases need to be web-ready press
releases. This means that the releases should be sent out via a regular online press release service that can
embed pictures and links in the press release. You can find these services on
the web and the lowest priced ones should be around $40-$50. A press release put
out on the web with no links in it is a waste of time and money.
Secondly, the press release must be written like an article
about a current newsworthy topic. Don't write it about your company or your
products. I know that sounds "counter-productive" but if you write about a
newsworthy topic offering advice and your contact info at the bottom, websites
will pick it up and post it as a helpful article. If you send it out talking
about your products, services or company, they'll see it for what it is; self-promotion
and they'll delete it. Here's
an example of a press release I sent out recently.
And remember, every time one of your press releases gets posted
on the web, that's another link back to your website. This tells the search
engines that your website is important enough for someone to link to it without
a link back. For this reason, they place you higher in the search engine listings.
And more importantly, anyone who reads the article and finds it helpful is
likely to contact you through that link or at least visit your website. If your
website is written to convert visitors into buyers, you've scored.
Lastly, you need to have a regular Press Page on your
website and post links to each of your press releases on that page. This
accomplishes several things. First, it adds content to your website which the
search engines love.
Secondly, a press page is also great for reporters. It gives
them a single place where they can find all of your press releases so they
don't have to search for them. And you can also post your company info,
press-ready pictures, and recommended questions for reporters to ask you if
they contact you. If you make things easy for reporters, they are much more
likely to work with you. Here's my press kit
If you would like to learn more about marketing on the web,
tell Mark Komen and I'd be happy to write more articles on real, proven and
effective programs for marketing small to medium-sized businesses.
Bob McClain is known
throughout the Twin Cities as WordsmithBob. He teams up with various web
design, marketing and search engine optimization firms in the area to create
effective marketing campaigns for small businesses. His purpose is to help
small businesses get found on the web ahead of their competitors and convert
those visitors into buyers or sales leads. He can be found at www.wordsmithbob.com.