Small Business Marketing Strategy – The Importance of Customer Commonality

Cliché but true: customers come in all shapes and sizes. Just check out any grocery store or gas station: you see a cross-section of society, right? You find people from many walks of life and all income levels. But underneath the surface these people share something in common: for some reason–known or unknown to the store’s owner–they all made a choice to shop at the same place.Here’s the small business marketer’s primary puzzler: why do they come to my store? What do they have in common that makes them my customers? Once I know that, then I can discover (and reach) more of them.If you are fortunate enough to have a customer database then you can integrate known data, primarily purchase data, with psychographic or demographic data you acquire from outside. You can then combine both the internal and the external data to construct a composite of your customer base.However, if you are like most retail stores, you will have to rely on other types of data, such as survey data and research data, to establish your customer profile.This type of research can get expensive. Very expensive. Frankly, top-drawer research data is often outside the budget scope of many small businesses. Yet, as a small business marketer you know that understanding your customer is a key to gaining a competitive advantage over your competition.We suggest two sources which are far less expensive than traditional research. Of course, if you have the budget, by all means spend a portion of it with a reputable research firm. But if you don’t here are a couple of sources that can give you some insight.First, look to your peers in your industry. Your trade association and your trade publications both have general information on your industry’s customer base. Granted, this isn’t primary research specific to your individual business. Plus, this is data typically compiled at the national level. Yet, you can combine this industry material with your own common sense and your state or city economic and demographic data. Once done you will have a localized picture of your industry. This can yield some good, if general, facts about your customer base.A couple of half-days spent in this type of research often can yield insights that can’t be acquired without extensive (and expensive) research that is hired out.The second asset: employee research. More on that in our next article.Remember: Brand (who you are) + Package (your Face to the Customer) + People (customers and employees) = Marketing Success.© 2006 Marketing Hawks

4 Online Money Making Internet Marketing Techniques

The Online Internet world provides lots of inexpensive marketing, usually with full-colour images to go with text. Plus brand new multimedia components provide a little spice to the mix and boost online potential customers and purchases. Below I have listed some top Internet marketing procedures to boost your sales and earnings.1. DIRECTORY – build your own directory on a particular subject matter, putting your own classified ad or banner along the top of your site. Subsequently ask others to add their website links via a link exchange program, register themselves in your directory. This could end in lots of complimentary marketing for you as your directory grows with links across the World Wide Web. Enter “link exchange software” into your favourite search engine for assistance with setup.2. TEACH A SIMPLE COURSE – compose a straightforward step-by-step series of emails in your area of expert status. After that break it up into lesser segments and then place them a series of email within an auto responder with your advertisements integrated either at the top or underneath every message. Ask your website traffic to sign up through on online opt in form accessible through an autoresponder service. As people sign up to your list, they will discover far more in relation to you and your products and services.3. EZINE EBOOK – put out of your mind unimportant daily or weekly ezines. Publish one huge monthly e-zine in the format of an e-book, if at all possible as an Adobe .Pdf file. Add a generous amount of articles with every circulation and frequently featured areas like inspirational quotes, industry tips, favourite sites and advice from the pros. Furthermore add full-colour graphics, multimedia components like audio file links, if you like, and classified ads. At that moment you could charge a monthly fee, enclosing an yearly discounted package acquisition, and promote marketing spots on your ezine.4. TIP OF THE WEEK – Begin sending your customers your Tip of the Week relating to your own area of expertise, linking to your own products and services. You could set it up on your site in a targeted box, via auto responder, a blog, an RSS feed, an audio file or others means of communication. Add your own ad along with your tip for whichever product or service you want to target or maybe even your own online store for all. This will gently remind your target audience where to go to learn more.In summary, by using Internet Marketing techniques customized to fit your own products and services, you can reach out and increase your website traffic and purchase opportunities. Internet marketing can mean a more affordable way to grow your business.

Optimizing Your Travel and Tourism Website

The internet has proven to be an interesting tool for travellers. It has now become extremely easy for internet users to plan and organize business and leisure holidays at a click of a mouse. The internet gives users the freedom to compare rates, get unbiased reviews and make informed decisions on holidays without worrying about being fleeced in foreign countries.Booking hotels, flight tickets and even visa applications are now easily done through the web. The travel industry can take tremendous advantage of this setting to offer to their audiences a wide choice via engaging websites.Give Your Audience a Peak into what’s Out thereBy using interesting design tools and interfaces you can easily create an appealing website for you visitors and give them an opportunity to travel, through your website. Integrating images into your web design is crucial to the success of any travel portal. The use of appealing images is a simple and the most straightforward way to entice visitors to your travel website.Getting Professional HelpAs a travel website it is strongly recommended that you get professional help to apply some interesting effects to your photos to create the best visual appeal. While this may go against most conventional design rules, considering the nature of your website, you could always incorporate some flash photo slideshows which further add to the appeal of the products you are promoting.Blending Static and Dynamic Design StructuresA quintessential travel website consists of some static structure that is complimented with Flash effects to attract the attention of the target audience. You can also make good use of these dynamic tools to promote specific products and holiday packages on your portal. With modern design technology, you can leverage the use of 3D effects, animations and other graphic elements to exhibit your USP.Give your target audience an opportunity to go through a mind-blowing journey through the Swiss Alps, the Canadian Rockies or the glaciers of Alaska by making use of these effects and visually enticing the audience.Incorporate Call to Action ButtonsDo not forget to integrate a call to action feature into your website. Buttons such as ‘Book Now!’ and ‘Compare Prices Now!’ will encourage audience members to take actions you intend them to; allowing you to further exemplify the benefits of your products and packages.Clarity in InformationWhile you design the content for your travel portal, you need to put yourself into the shoes of your audience and recognize their needs. Most travellers are looking for something new and exciting. Travellers want to make the most of every opportunity to learn new things, and expose themselves to different cultures.The information that you provide must be able to communicate these facets of travel. Talk about the various activities, things to see, do, and look out for on your time there. Work towards building the excitement of the place you are promoting.In addition to this, remember to optimize your website and provide easy navigation to facilitate easy decision making and sales conversions.


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