Smart Marketing for Small Businesses

Smart Marketing for Small Businesses from The Write Effect Unlimited, Inc.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Make Your Small Biz Stand Out in a Big Way!

Our neighbors recently chose to replace the existing muddy brown cedar siding on their house with a taupe-colored vinyl. This made it the 2000th house in our neighborhood to be blanketed in one of the following electric colors--cream, ecru, sand, tan, fawn, mushroom, camel, beige or buff. The capacity for mediocrity here is dazzling.

Now don’t get me wrong. I haven’t got it in for earth tones. It’s just that when there’s a whole spectrum of colors from which to choose, why do people deliberately pick one that so clearly defines them as having all the zing of oatmeal?

Because everyone else is doing it, that’s why.

So what does any of this have to do with marketing a small business? Plenty.

Mom was Right. You Really ARE Special.

As a small business owner, you are a far cry from mediocre.

To be a solopreneur requires creativity, courage, vision, endurance, commitment, discipline and a lot of other heavy-duty adjectives that sound like something you’d place in want ad for a super hero.

And because you’re unique, talented and a visionary, shouldn’t your marketing be as well?

But alas, as we all know (despite our mother’s insistence to the contrary) we’re not really geniuses when it comes to EVERYTHING.

And unless the dethroned Prince of Nairobi really has transferred the millions he’s promised into your bank account, you’re probably looking for ways to market your small business on a shoe string.

What Makes Me Think I’m So Smart?

Thirteen years ago I started up my own little business venture doing the only thing I’ve ever really known how to do—write. I’d spent the seventeen years preceding that working for various agencies as a copywriter, pounding out ad copy for catalog companies, educational publishers, and credit card firms.

I know. Exciting stuff.

Then, in 1997, I decided to take control of my own life and embrace the freedom and creative challenge of freelancing on my own.

I switched on my computer, scooched my chair up to my desk…and waited.

[Insert the sound of crickets here.]

Of course, it wasn’t quite that simple. I had to market, e.g. buy ad space, make cold calls (ugh), network, mail out brochures, print up business cards, design a website, yada, yada, yada.

And it STILL wasn’t easy.

Pay Attention! Here Comes the Big Reveal...

What I wish I’d had (and what I should have sought) was a mentor--someone who’d cleared the path and hacked away at the underbrush of business on his or her own already.

Instead, I lumbered ahead on my own. And I learned a ton—from mistakes, from blunders, from embarrassing screw ups, and finally, from successes.

And then I began meeting other solopreneurs. And they started asking me questions: Should I spend money on direct mail? How do I even begin to put up a website? Do cold calls really work? Should I send out a newsletter? How can I get more business? Who invented cheese?

With the exception of that last question, it seems that I've managed to discover some answers. And that’s what brings us here today.

As a fellow solopreneur and small business owner, I want you to know the way and know how to do your own marketing, or at the very least, to be informed enough to know what to expect when you hire someone else to do it for you.

I hope you’ll sound off in the days ahead, tell me what you think, tell me what you want to know, tell me I’m full of crap…I don’t care. Just tell me. Let’s get the marketing portion of your biz up and running…and then let’s watch your business grow.

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