Smart Marketing Basics

What is Hot with Small Business Marketers – Our Top Posts

With the 3rd quarter of the 2011 calendar year recently wrapped up, decided to look back over the last three months to see which blog posts resonated the most with small business marketers.  Site statistics are a great way to monitor the marketplace to identify current marketing trends, and to better understand which issues are top of mind for small business marketers.  

Here are the top 5 posts by views, followed by a quick summary of each post:

1. Press Releases – How to Convince Your Colleagues to Use Press Release Marketing – While writing press releases to promote your small business is a “no brainer” strategy to many professional marketers, they often times have to influence their corporate peers to support this activity.

2. Press Release Distribution Strategies for Small Business – Some quick thoughts on the importance of developing an appropriate distribution strategy for sharing your news with key stakeholders for your business. 

3. Pitching Your Small Business for Speaking Events – Speaking at local business or community events, or seeking out presenter slots is a great way to get exposure for your company’s expertise, as well as generate some potential sales leads.

4. 10 Tips for Small Business Marketers – A quick-read article from Entrepreneur magazine that features some “to do’s” for any small business trying to navigate through these tough times.

5. Email Messaging Templates for Small Business Marketers – Email marketing provides a cost-effective approach to targeting your markets, either by industry, organization type, specific user profile, or by geography.

It is amazing that many of these tops post are older, some dating back to last year, which goes to show that some topics are consistently important to our readers- a helpful gauge as to what we should cover on a regular basis.  Our Smart Marketing Basics blog will make a point to track this hot list each quarter.  Please feel free to comment if you don’t see your hot marketing issue represented here, and we will try to address it in a new post in Q4.

How Social Media Can Improve Small Business Marketing

Need a few tips on how social media can improve entrepreneurship?  Well, I can point you to 98 of them! 

I recently contributed to another article put together by Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, which collected quick tips from several small business marketing experts to create an article titled, “How Social Media Can Improve Entrepreneurship“.  Be sure to check out this article; my contributed tip is #60 out of the 98 total (read tip below).

#60.  Combine Blogging and Twitter for a Double-Whammy
Entrepreneurs must market their expertise, and a great way to do this is with a blog.  Blogs get found by search engines, driving traffice to your site.  each post can easily be broadcast via Twitter earning you more followers and business leads.

Remember, a “must-do” small business marketing strategy is to leverage your own content and industry expertise to build awareness for what you do, and the value  you can provide.  Tactical examples include creating customer case studies, hosting educational webinars, and speaking at industry events (see my previous blog post about this).  Each of these events is worthy of writing and issuing a press release.

Writing press releases doesn’t have to difficult or costly, as there are many good templates available to help you get started.  What is important is to get the message right – your press release must be written in a professional manner to be clear, concise and compelling.  For more help on the topic of press release templates, check out my previous blog post, Five Fast Tips, and check out our templates available at

Get Your Small Business a Speaking Gig: 32 Tips from ToiletPaperEnterpreneur

I’ve written about the importance of speaking at events as a key strategy for small business marketing. Pitching yourself for speaking opportunities at relevant industry tradeshows or local business events that your customers attend is a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise, and to get exposure for your small business. I offered up a couple of my favorite tips in my previous blog post, Pitching Your Small Business For Speaking Events.  

My contributions were also featured in a great article compiled by Mike Michalowicz, Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, in his blog post titled, “Ways To Get A Lot More Speaking Engagements“.  If you are serious about pitching yourself for speaking engagements, then you should definitely check out this article.  It features 32 easy-to-read, actionable tips from a variety of experts that can help any small business get the speaking gig they really want!

Pitching Your Small Business for Speaking Events

When it comes to small business marketing, pitching your company for speaking opportunities should be a no-brainer. Speaking at local business or community events, or seeking out presenter slots at industry trade shows or association meetings is a great way to get exposure for your company’s expertise, as well as generate some potential sales leads. For more insight on this topic, check out my previous blog post, Small Business Marketing Should Include Speaking at Events.

When it comes to topics, the one tip I always recommend to small business marketers is: submit a speaking abstract that pitches a project or customer case study that you have done.  Customer stories and project profiles are way more compelling to event committees than offering up a sales or product pitch because industry events and associations love to hear about what their member companies are doing.  It is a relatively low-cost investment to hire a writer to interview yourself, or your customers, and then complete a 2-4 page write up on a successful project you have completed, or how a customer has used your product to solve a specific business problem.  Speaker selection committees respond more favorably to these types of submissions.

Another example of compelling content would be to do a brief survey of your customers that identifies the top industry issues that they face, and what value they get from your “type” of solutions.  Presenting market research or survey findings puts you in a better position to be selected as a speaker, because you will be perceived as an industry expert that is providing more “educational” content.

Of course, once you have been accepted as a speaker, it is imperative that you promote your speaking engagement using a press release! Speaking at an industry or business event creates a perfect opportunity to brand yourself among prospective customers. Issuing a press release on your presentation creates awareness among show attendees that you will be there, and can drive additional traffic to hear what you have to say. Issuing a press release on your speaking engagement promotes you as a thought leader to prospects, and provides recent and relevant content to post on your website, helping you to improve your search engine rankings.

If writing press releases seems like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be. There are several good templates available that can help you through it step by step, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have access to a PR agency or consultant. You know your business best, and with a bit of help, you can craft a concise and compelling message about your business. Event press releases should be short and to the point, and focus on promoting you as a speaker, the event you are speaking at, and the specific time and location of your presentation.

For more help on how to write an event press release, check out the Press Release Tutor templates, available from The Press Release Tutor provides online, interactive templates that can walk you thorugh creating a professional press release in 5 easy steps.

My Favorite Marketing “Tweets” for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

It is not hard to argue the importance of marketing to the success of any business. For entrepreneurs and small business marketers, the challenge seems to lie in simply getting started. The discipline of marketing is vast, encompassing many practice areas where most marketing professionals focus on mastering only a few specific skill areas.

After spending 20+ years in the marketing arena, my experience has shown that startups and small businesses need actionable, easy ways to get started marketing, and they need to do it fast.  They can’t usually afford in the beginning to invest in a lot of staff, agencies or consultants, and so having some easy templates and strategies to get them going is key. If the initial steps seem too complicated, they simply won’t do it.  Think easy, actionable tips – or in this case, tweetable tips!

If you subscribe to my blog, Smart Marketing Basics, or follow me on Twitter @SMB_marketer, you can see that I write on this topic often.  Below I feature some of my favorite ‘tweets’ that highlight two “must do” marketing tips for small businesses simply trying to get started with marketing:

1) Use PR to promote Your Business
This is easier than most people think, and is a low cost of entry investment.  Even if you are not doing a big PR blitz around a new product launch, creating press releases give you a sales tool for cold calling, helps with drive better search results to your website, and gives you content you can email to prospect lists.  You should regularly write press releases on what your business is up to.  One idea is to seek out local business and industry events where you can speak on a topic related to your business.  Here are some of my favorite tweets on this topic:

Small Business Marketing Should Include Speaking at Events:

Tips for small business on how to write winning press releases:

2) Good Marketing Starts with a Solid Message
Most small companies don’t invest in this activity, and so initial marketing results meet with poor performance because their messages are not clear, concise and compelling to readers. There are cheap, easy templates available from many sites to help get you started (including ours, Here is a favorite tweet on this topic:

Smart Marketing Starts with a Solid Message:

I hope these tweeted tips give you the marketing inspiration you need to get going!  Don’t get overwhelmed by all the marketing possibilities out there.  Rather, focus on doing a couple of things first, and then build from there.  Once you are ready to add more to your marketing mix, check out our free article, Ten Marketing Basics for Your Small Business on our website.

Article: Ten Marketing Basics for your Small Business

Article: Ten Marketing Basics for your Small Business

Small Business Marketing Should Include Speaking at Events

Small business marketing encompasses a variety of campaign tactics, but one that often gets overlooked by small business owners and marketers is speaking or presenting at local events or industry shows.  Don’t panic – this doesn’t mean you have to get on the major speaking circuit and travel cross-country like Dr. Phil.  Rather it can be as simple as reaching out to local business chambers of commerce, rotary clubs and industry associations to present a case study, or share a best practice.

SMBmarketer just tweeted a link to a great article from Inc. magazine called “10 Tips to giving an important speech” that talks about the value of speaking to your business, and some simple methods you can incorporate to become a better speaker.  You can view it on our SMB_Marketer twitter profile, or by going directly to the specific tweet.

When you participate in an event on behalf of your small business, whether as a sponsor, or as a speaker, be sure to promote your participation.  Using press releases to announce your trade show event, is a smart marketing basic that should not be overlooked.  If you are speaking at a conference, or even just participating  on a panel discussion with other speakers, it is important to get the word out in advance to your database of prospects, your customers, and to show attendees.

Often times the local new media and industry journalists will cover these events, and sending them your press release only helps to call attention to your session, as well as establish your name in their minds as prospective interviewee for a follow up news story.  Your sales team can you also use your press release to stimulate interest in your company, and to drive potential meeting appointments while at the show.

Writing press releases that promote your trade shows and speaking events are a great opportunity to create news for your small business.  Writing press releases can be challenging when you are not sure how to create the right message.  If you are a small business owner trying to get started marketing your business, be sure to subscribe to our blog and download our free “Smart Marketing Playbook” article series. Our blog discusses simple strategies to help small business owners grow their business, while our featured articles provide more insight into the ten smart marketing plays that can help make your business successful.

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