Article - business opportunities
Small Business Marketing Magic
by Bonnie Jo Davis
Once upon a time, in 1969, there was a young woman who had a dream of starting her own company. She had ideas,
talent and work ethic to spare but what she didn't have was cash. After careful research she found that marketing
would cost more than all the other aspects of her business combined. Out came the credit cards, family loans and
savings. After a few months the woman realized that she had mortgaged her future to the hilt and she still couldn't
make enough money to buy her way out of debt. Sadly, she closed up shop and went back to a job she hated at an
Fast-forward thirty years and meet a young man working at an insurance company who dreamed of starting his own
small business as a financial planner. He had the education and experience but what he didn't have was cash. The
year is 1999 and after a few weeks of research the young man realized that marketing and promotion were vital to
the success of his business. However, the young man knew about a magical method of promotion that wasn't available
to the young woman in 1969. What was the magical method he used to start his business part-time and build it into a
full-time thriving practice after six months? The answer, of course, is the internet!
It's true that the internet seems like a capricious magician that selectively waves a magic wand over some small
businesses. However, the reasons for this became glaringly clear to the young man after he completed his research.
He discovered that success is garnered by avoiding scams such as "business opportunities" that seem too good to be
true. In addition to hard work and patience he stayed away from spam, Free For All Links (FFAs), pyramid schemes,
network marketing, sweepstakes and investment fraud. He used http://www.scambusters.org to avoid anything that
remotely resembled a scam.
The young man developed a marketing plan focusing on the internet and after six months he found the following free
or nearly free strategies worked best:
Press Releases - Particularly helpful if the release is tied to an upcoming holiday or a recent event.
Creating Content - Offering articles and case studies is by far the most reliable way to find clients and brand
yourself as an expert in your field.
Book Reviews - Some on-line books stores like Amazon.com allow you to post reviews of books you've read. These
reviews will be tied to an "About Me" page that can include information about you and your business and your
Forums - Joining forums that cover your area of expertise is a good move. Help people by answering questions about
your topic and include your URL in your signature.
Testimonials - Wise marketers ask every existing client for testimonials to be used on their website and/or printed
Newsletters - Keeping in touch with customers and prospects with an on-line e-zine is a good way to build a steady
stream of loyal clients.
Teleseminars - A small investment in a bridge line allows a group of people to sign up for a free or fee based
seminar on your area of expertise.
Referrals - Proactively asking clients for referrals works better if they are offered a discount on products or
services in return.
Solo E-zine Ads - Solo ads are an advertisement or article sent by itself to a list of newsletter readers. Many
solo ads are competitively priced and offer a generous amount of room for your message.
The young man learned a lesson that we can all appreciate. There is no "get rich quick schemes" that work on or
off-line. The only way to prosper hasn't changed over time... build client relationships with hard work and
excellent customer service. Cultivate patience and find your own internet magic by following in the footsteps of
the young man.