Business is an activity that is as old as man himself. However, this activity is highly dynamic with social sophistication and technological advancements affecting it to a great extent. We cannot overlook the fact that experienced people have an upper hand in business compared with the new entrants into the field. This is why it is important to employ the services of business marketing consultants especially if you are just getting started. The problem is who among the many consultants practicing today you should choose.The first thing you should consider is the period of time that this consultant has practiced. This is not to say that all consultants fresh in the market are incompetent. The point is that this is a small business with roots not so deep and the risk of falling is high. You do not want to take chances with such a business so you have to get an experienced marketing consultant.Another equally important thing to consider is the credibility of the consultant. You want a consultant that has a proven working record; one you are sure has successfully marketed a business you know. This could be a time consuming task but worth the money you will spend with the consultant. It should not however be difficult since you can easily establish the credibility and efficiency of a consultant by contacting their references.You also should keep in mind that your business consultant is someone who you will spend quite some time with. Building a marketing strategy and implementing it is not a one day thing. This person that you chose should therefore match the personality type that you can work with for a long time. He should also be someone you can trust since they are probably going to come into contact with much of your business information.As business is highly dynamic, so are the marketing strategies. Business marketing consultants are now combining traditional methods of marketing with modern methods such as online marketing strategies. These two methods are all very important as your business should have a presence both online and offline. A marketing consultant that has not adopted the modern way of marketing is not worth your consideration. However, a marketer who specializes in modern methods in expense of the traditional one also misses an important point. A business marketing consultant who combines the two methods is the one you should stop at.
When you are brainstorming small business marketing ideas for your locally-based business, you have many choices. Yellow pages, TV, radio, print, community support – all can be part of your marketing campaign. But don’t overlook the Local Search Engines and Directories!If you own a local business, you know that advertising in the local printed yellow page directory is almost required. You also know the drawbacks of yellow page advertising – the cost, the commitment, and the inability to change your ad for at least a year once the book is printed. Other print advertising is the same – it can be costly, inflexible and the results are unknown. Small business marketing ideas that include TV and radio buys can quickly eat up a marketing budget.All of the above may be part of your marketing mix. You will probably want to include some internet marketing as well. When comparing small business marketing ideas, one realizes that the benefits of internet marketing are low cost and flexibility. But there is a drawback – getting traffic to your website. This is where the cost for internet marketing begins to add up. Many business owners hire search engine optimization (SEO) experts to ensure their web presence attracts enough traffic to make it effective.Did you know that one of the most successful strategies for SEO for a locally-based business is placement in the Local Search Directories? And that trying to get your website to compete with these directories is futile? If you go to any search engine and type in “your niche your town” most likely you won’t find a list of websites first (depending on your niche), you will find listings from Local Search Directories like Local.Com, Yelp.Com, and LocalSearch.Com. These are Local Search Directories.Entering your business information into these local search directories is required for a successful local business internet marketing campaign. And it is EASY! You don’t need to hire expensive SEO experts to handle this for you…you just need to know where to go. Most of these directories allow you to enter information concerning your business beyond the name, address and phone number. You can reference your website, enter business hours; some even let you upload pictures!Maximizing the use of Local Search Directories is one of the most effective small business marketing ideas you can pursue. Don’t overlook this goldmine of SEO.
Small business marketing is all about making the most of opportunities to promote brand awareness. Google Places, Google Maps, and Google Business Listings are free marketing tools that can deliver a powerful punch in terms of web exposure.Small businesses – in particular brick and mortar, depend on being discovered by passing trade. With the increase in use of mobile devices such as the iPhone and other devices, it is essential that you help your prospects to find you. Follow these guidelines to optimize your chances of coming up tops on Google for local search.Ensure that data is accurate, consistent and current. Across the web, all mentions of your business should be consistent. Google often cross references other data providers. Without consistent data, Google will not trust the data enough to put your business at the top of the pile. Check other data providers such as InfoUSA, Yellow Pages, Localizer and Acxiom for inconsistencies in categorization, telephone numbers and addresses. The goal is to eradicate all inconsistencies. Use local telephone numbers where possible to tie your business into a particular region.Claim and verify. Claim your business on GLBC (Google Local Business Center) in order to show up on Google Maps. Many proprietors have still not claimed their businesses, by taking action in this area, you can still gain the competitive advantage.Get clear on categorization. Get crystal clear on categorizing your business. Think about what you would type into a search engine to find a business like yours. Think about products and services. Be specific and don’t overlap. Ensure that categorization is clear across the web in all data references of the business online.Develop a winning description. Develop a compelling and sales oriented description that will cover your products and services in less than 200 characters. Add your unique selling proposition, and you will stand out from the competition with a winning formula. Use this small business marketing technique to get ahead of the competition.Use Images and Videos. Google allows for up to 10 images and 5 videos per business. Adding images and videos can engage potential clients, and can visually demonstrate your place in the market. Display your logo and the logos of your trade associations. In addition, display images of brands that you supply and products. Show images of your premises for recognition from passing trade. Upload any commercials.Use coupons. Google Maps does not have tracking, but by adding coupons you can fill the gap. Furthermore, why not provide your customers with a reason to buy your products or services at a discount?Use web directories. Google will reward your business with greater search visibility if you spend the time and effort on adding your business to directories, like InfoUSA and Yellow Pages. The more references (remember consistency here) that Google finds, the more Google and people will trust your business.Encourage customer reviews. Mentions of your business are very important for Google to rank you. Encourage reviews from happy clients, and provide clear directions on how to review. You can request on your business cards, invoices, and receipts.Google Maps and Business Listings really can push your business into the line of sight of your niche market, just as long as they are optimized for Google. By giving your listings thought and a little extra help, you can build your business and your income through the techniques of small business marketing.