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SCORE ExpertAnswers 

January 2012
7 Tips for Marketing Your Business
Derrith Lambka
Founder/Editor-in-Chief, MarketingZone.com
Expert Advice for Small Business Owners

When it comes to marketing, Derrith Lambka has literally done it all, working with Fortune 100 brands and starting her own entrepreneurial ventures. Read on for expert tips from Derrith on marketing your small business. 

 Download: 7 Tips for Marketing your Business


Q: Developing new customers and keeping current ones happy is almost like having to be in two places at once. How can you focus on both without getting stressed out?

  

A: To grow your business, you want to attract profitable new customers and clients who will also be pleasant to serve. So, you want to make offers that will attract profitable new customers and clients, and treat them like VIPs. 

 

It's also important to thank them for their business and encourage them to refer other people to you. Focus on keeping your existing customers so happy that they share positive word-of-mouth and referrals in person and online. 

 

Some customers will recommend your business products or services proactively; others will recommend your business when asked by someone else. Both types of referrals are very valuable because they will generate new business leads of people who will be pre-sold.


Q: An oft-cited advantage of a small business is the ability to react quickly to change. What are some ways to optimize your operational and marketing flexibility?

  

A: Marketing now is more about who is fastest to see an insight, capitalize on it, optimize it and scale it. Focus on a goal of "perfect enough." Procrastination and stagnation are your enemies. Failure is making a mistake and not learning from it. You can't learn unless you do something. Keep trying, and keep improving!


Q: What are the key elements of a small business marketing plan, and how often should you review/update them?

  

A: The 80/20 rule applies to your marketing plan. Spend 80% of your time thinking and only 20% of your time writing the marketing plan. Most people do the opposite. They spend 80% of their time figuring out the best marketing plan format and how to write the plan and not enough time thinking!


Q: Entering a new market or introducing a new product line can help a small business grow. Is there a "rule of thumb" for ensuring you won't get overextended?

  

A: Job #1 always has to be customer retention and building customer loyalty. Job #2 is acquiring profitable new businesses. 

 

Always evaluate how entering a new market will affect your existing customers. You will ultimately lose market share if you are solely focused on customer acquisition without thinking through and pre-planning how you will handle nurturing and educating new customers - and building their loyalty.


Q: Blogging is becoming popular among small business owners. What kind of content and frequency are necessary to optimize a blog's value as a business development tool?

  

A: Blogging has become popular because it's free. What is often not considered is the ongoing time required to post something interesting and relevant at least three times a week, and then to promote your blog. Blogging may, or may not, be the most efficient ROT (return on time) for a business owner.


Q: Is it possible to network and develop businesses mainly online, or is face-to-face contact still essential?

  

A: It's possible to develop a great business mainly online if you are an e-commerce business like Amazon.com. But for most businesses, especially those that sell through retail stores or B2B products/services, face-to-face networking is essential. 

 

Online networking can help you stay connected to people you meet in person and to research people you want to meet in person. But even the online-only crowd wants to get together in person for conferences and meetings to talk face-to-face.


Q: You started MarketingZone.com because, as you put it, "none of us individually are as smart as all of us collectively." How does that apply to working with a SCORE mentor as well?

  

A: SCORE mentors have "been there, done that." Their motivation is to help you as a business owner. They serve as sounding boards and connectors to help you find the information, answers, and resources you need that will save you time and money and help you get better results.


Visit SCORE.org today to connect with a mentor and get help marketing your business. 


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