5 Perfect Times to Ask for a Referral

Asking for referrals makes many small business owners and salespeople uncomfortable. However, if you do a great job for customers and they are happy with you, customers are usually pleased to help you succeed and give you a referral. But customers often won’t think of referring your small business without prompting. You have to ask. […]

Creative and Keepable Business Cards for Your Small Business

Take a look at your business card. If it looks like this, your card is failing at marketing your small business: Custom printing technology has advanced to make many premium elements realistically affordable for small businesses, such as gold foil, rounded corners, double-sided printing and glorious full-color. Take advantage of these possibilities to turn your business card […]

My Top 5 TV Shows for Entrepreneurs

Strangely, reality TV has fostered a golden era of business-focused television. Whether it’s Lori Greiner detailing why a product is “a hero or a zero,” Marcus Lemonis cutting through complicated shareholder agreements or Gordon Ramsay refocusing managers on the primacy of the guest experience, small business owners have opportunity for a free (and entertaining!) business education just by […]

Sadly, Interesting is More Important than Accurate

Precise language is one of my joys. It’s exhilarating to find exactly the right word that communicates in the best way possible. Which is why it pains me to admit that accuracy isn’t all that important if it’s boring. For marketing communications, you must be interesting first and precise second. To catch a customer’s attention, it’s best […]

Save Your Marketing Budget with Negative Keywords

Almost every pay-per-click advertising campaign has room for optimization. Today, let’s focus on one simple way to save money with your Google AdWords campaigns: adding negative keywords. A negative keyword prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. For instance, it’s incredibly important to list negative keywords for my clients who are […]

A Really Limited-Time Offer

The department that writes marketing campaign headlines at Walmart clearly isn’t the same department that designs the automated app marketing: Make Mom Happy! Until Saturday, that is. After Saturday, Mom will have to fend for herself. Consider this weekly ad from Walmart a friendly reminder to always test your automated marketing, mail merge settings and other customer communications before they […]

Don’t Take Your Marketing Metaphors Too Far

Since I named my small business marketing firm Zoo in a Jungle Marketing, it’s pretty clear that I approve of marketing metaphors. Taken from Peter DeVries’ quote “Life is a zoo in a jungle,” my company name promotes stepping outside the constraining zoo of your immediate business environment into the jungles of possibility. But some […]

Avoid the ‘Alphabet Soup’ Product Naming Approach

Naming products and services is an incredibly important element to your branding strategy and marketing plan. Ideal product names are clearly descriptive, motivating to customers and memorable. Or, you could take LG’s example and go with the alphabet soup approach: The LG G Pad F 8.0 (don’t forget it’s trademarked!) is a real product. Try to imagine a […]

USPS’s Every Door Direct Mail: a Small Business Marketing Tool

Direct mail is expensive, and a large part of that expense is the growing cost of postage. But USPS offers a marketing program that significantly reduces postage costs called Every Door Direct Mail. In my experience, postage costs can be reduced as much as 40%. Sounds too good to be true? For some brands and […]

Is an Editorial Calendar Part of Your Small Business Marketing Plan?

An editorial calendar helps answer the question, “What am I supposed to do next?” It’s a tactical element of your small business marketing plan that lays out the month, quarter or year. With only a few hours of work, you’ll boost marketing productivity and effectiveness. Start with Effective Small Business Marketing Strategies As a small […]