How’s Your 2016 Marketing Plan Coming Along?

Sometimes, small business marketing can feel rushed and put you under pressure. When business owners first talk to me about their marketing efforts, they usually express a sense of anxiety, asking question like: How do I know I’m doing enough marketing? How much should I be spending? How do I know if my marketing is […]

Make it Easy for Customers to See Your Marketing Content

When marketing your small business, keep in mind that customers are naturally less interested in seeing your marketing messages than you are in sharing them. One simple way to make it easier for customers to engage with your marketing content is to always think about removing barriers to accessing the content. Let’s say you have a […]

No One Cares about Free Estimates

Have you ever paid for an estimate? Neither have I. And yet the marketing universe is full of badges, buttons and starbursts proclaiming their benefits: Promoting free estimates is like boasting about offering a toll-free number. It’s simply a cost of doing business, and customers won’t be persuaded to buy from you because of either. Instead […]

Marketing Strategy Trumps Marketing Execution

I once helped a small business that sent out poorly-designed post cards. Although the company lacked design sensibilities, its efforts were still incredibly successful because the marketing strategy was carefully crafted and spot-on. The lesson here is that marketing strategy is more important than marketing execution. If a small business has a fixed marketing budget, […]

How NOT to Use Video in Your Marketing

These days, video content is a powerful marketing tool. Each month, 45.4% of internet users view at least one video. Each day, 100 million internet users watch video content. And Video Brewery reports that 90% of one online retailer’s customers report that video helps them make purchase decisions. But anything can be taken too far. […]

Marketing Podcast: Skip the Marketing Gimmicks

In this interview, Dave Weatherholt plays a bit of devil’s advocate, challenging my assertion that brands should avoid marketing gimmicks. But I remain firm– marketing gimmicks are bad for long-term success. Stick to what your business is passionate about, and your customers will notice. Download or listen below: Marketing Podcast: Skip the Marketing Gimmicks (5.3 MB) […]

Cookie Monster is Happy Again

A few years ago, in the face of the obesity epidemic, Sesame Street tried to give Cookie Monster a new slogan: “Cookie is a sometimes food.” Cookie Monster bravely faced this new challenge, giving up his favorite phrase, “C is for cookie. That’s good enough for me.” Fans were not so kind. Petitions, blogs and […]

Groupoff: Why Groupon is Usually a Bad Marketing Idea

Groupon is the group coupon website that features daily deals– if enough customers want to buy the deal, they get a coupon for a 50-90% discount. Otherwise, the deal is canceled. But since the discounts are hefty, and Groupon itself receives a commission, does this medium make sense for most small business marketing plans? Here’s […]

“Top Selling” and Other Pointless Marketing Claims

Describing a product or service can often turn into a navel-gazing activity for marketing writers. When a business doesn’t understand their customers and what they care about, they usually engage in marketing that appeals to their own management. The problem is that your customers don’t care about your inside baseball. Your internal realities have little meaning […]

Use Your Product to Sell Your Product

If you’ve got a great product or service, what’s the best way to market and sell it? By letting customers try it out! Lighthouse Carwash does this whenever they open a new car wash. For the first few days, all the washes are free. It helps them build a customer base by showing just how […]