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Small Business Marketing Combines Experts With Personal Execution

One of the toughest challenges of marketing is connecting the creative process to techniques that maximize the promotional results. Most smart, passionate small business owners know their businesses better than anyone, but they lack the specific knowledge to channel that energy into marketing success.

The Internet and Web 2.0 are bringing these savvy entrepreneurs all of the tools to execute a world-class marketing plan. Unfortunately, there is still that missing piece–knowledge.

Old school marketing firms and ad agencies are trapped in business models sustained by big retainers, long-term contracts, and little accountability. This is a recipe for good money chasing bad execution, in an economy that can’t afford it.

In contrast there are some emerging options, provided by more innovative marketing firms. Leveraging Internet tools, social marketing, and new mobile techniques these new marketing firms are specializing in strategy and expertise, leaving execution to their clients.

Here are a few hints to save you money and squeeze the most out of your marketing spend:

1. Find Experience

Look for firms with talent and proven experience. Survey their impact on the Internet. Ask associates for referrals and references. An effective Internet marketing firm should be easy to find.

2. Pay for Expertise, Not Execution

Chance are you are heavy on smart people, while light on marketing expertise and budget. So, find a marketing partner that will work with you to balance that mix. Look for specific how-to advice and guided strategy. Then do the heavy lifting yourself.

3. Look for A La Carte Services

Don’t pay for the whole marketing department when you just need a few targeted services. Look for coaching and expertise in copywriting, press releases, and campaign management, not managing your message or “communications.” You probably have better knowledge of your target market any way–and how to get their attention. Ask (and pay) for only what you need to get it done, and nothing more.

4. Discard Retainers for Pay-As-You-Go

Retainers are for multi-national, Fortune 50 companies. Pay only on performance, as you go. This more closely aligns a marketing partner with your goals and objectives, while minimizing your long-term risks.

5. Results are the Final Measure

Bottom-line sales and revenue producing results are the most important objectives of any business, but particularly a small or medium-sized business. This is why you may find great marketing firms willing to let you employee their expertise, while giving you the responsibility and savings for implementation and measurement. This assures that their services are credible and drives immediate value.

Find do-it-yourself marketing options for your next ad or marketing campaign. Hire expertise and retain execution and measurement. You get to lead the marketing charge, giving you more for you marketing dollar.

How Is Social Media Relevant to Marketing?

When people say the word “media,” the first thing that often comes to mind is TV, radio and newspaper. This is the traditional form of mass communication, where one medium sends information to a large number of people. This form of mass communication only transmits information, with little to no interaction from those on the receiving end of the information. It is also an extremely expensive venture to get into and maintain, which is also why it costs a lot to advertise in any of these media of mass communication.

With the current Internet speeds and availability, though, these traditional media are slowly being replaced by social media - also known as social online places or consumer-generated media in the more commercial circles of society.

Social media itself is the epitome of the Internet culture: it is a collection of web-based and mobile technologies that allow users to generate and publish content. This simply means that people create, upload and share a whole lot of “stuff” on the Internet. Everything is fair game with social online places – from simple comments and amateur videos to technical manuals and sweeping scientific studies

For an example, you can simply search for social media on Wikipedia. Not only will you learn more about the term, but you will have visited a social online place site born from the collective input of experts around the world!

But you are not reading this guide to learn more about social media’s roots and origins. You are reading this to learn how to increase traffic to your own website. Ergo, you are reading this guide to increase your overall profits.

So, How is Social Media is Relevant to Marketing?

The whole point of this guide is to teach you how to increase web traffic to your business by using social online places, but it is absolutely essential that you first understand how to use the various social online places to that end.

Here are a few things to help keep you in the right frame of mind:

Information and Awareness

One of the first things you need to remember is the distribution of information.

If you are launching a program, starting a promotion, offering discounts, looking for employees, opening a new line of products or have anything important to say, then social marketing will be one of the quickest and cheapest ways for you to get that information out into the Internet. This is also a facet where social online places shines, since people can pass along this information on their own social networks.

Engagement and Discussion

One of the main draws of social marketing is giving the consumer the ability to easily communicate with both the business and other consumers.

A smart consumer of the Internet age no longer takes advertisements at face value. He goes online and starts from there, and social media allows you to communicate with these people on a near real-time basis.

You always have the option to filter or block discussions if they don’t go as you’d like them to. Just keep in mind that they can and will discuss an issue on a separate website that you will be unable to monitor. This is why it would be better that you see what frustrates your customers yourself and address the issue in a timely manner.

Support and Assistance

If people have problems, one of the first things they do is look for someone to help them – and social online places could be a cheap and accessible tool to let that happen.

It is cheap, easy and convenient tool for people to seek solutions to problems that they may encounter and answers to questions that are nagging them. This is especially useful for small businesses, where the need for expensive customer care services is virtually eliminated by using social online places instead. One or two people will be more than enough to handle things until the business grows big enough to need and afford larger customer care services.

Networking and Recruitment

If you are looking for people to help support your business – like partners, suppliers or employees – then social media can help you out there as well.

Not only will you be able to bring additional business to your website, but you could also use an established social network to get additional

Competitiveness and Relevance

If you can use it to get customers your way, then you can bet that your competitors can use it too.

This is why social media can be a very useful tool to spy on the competition. Are they launching a product with new features? What problems are their customers experiencing? How are they setting up their own social marketing strategies? Keep an eye on your competitors and you will be able to modify and present your own products and services in a more relevant and competitive manner.

Trust and Assurance

Everything that has been discussed earlier will ultimately lead to one thing – the trust of the consumer.

This is perhaps the main reason why social marketing is so effective in marketing circles. It is also the reason why other businesses just can’t see any traffic increase when they use social online places.

Remember that you are dealing with intelligent people that have something to say. Learning how to properly engage and communicate with them will mean the difference between a successful social marketing campaign and a total waste of time and energy.

Now that you have a general idea of how social buzz works as a marketing tool, it’s time we got down with the first social medium: Facebook.

For more information on Facebook and other social online places, like Twitter, Squidoo or social bookmarking go here…

Top Easy Tips To Cash In On The Web: An Affiliate Marketing Guide

If you’re looking into making money through promoting products and businesses online, you should definitely learn the ropes how this thing works in order to succeed. Luckily, there are tons of things you can try to boost your odds of pulling this off, especially if you have a handy affiliate marketing guide to help you.

If you need some help in that department, here are some easy tips that you can use to start raking in those affiliate profits:

1. Generate traffic. In order to make a sale, you need people to first notice your promotions and your link. This is why you should work to get traffic. Of course, choosing the right product can also help you do this, but you shouldn’t rely on that alone. You need to exert some efforts of your own to get people to visit your site or blog, so take the measures that can help you achieve this.

2. Build connections. Especially if you’re still starting out, you will need to start with your personal connections first before extending your reach to others. You can always do this by taking the steps to build a list or using social media marketing.

3. Prioritize and focus. With ample research, you’ll find a good amount of techniques that you can use to promote your product. It will also be tempting to try them all, especially if you believe that you should take a wider approach in things. However, if you’re handling things on your own, this isn’t very ideal. Doing multiple techniques at a time may end things half baked, leaving your intended results lacking. This is why one of the most important things you should follow in this affiliate marketing guide is to prioritize and focus on things. This will help you monitor your actions, learn which ones work, and get the best outcomes from every technique you got your hands on.

4. Set up your site; design it in a way that it can efficiently receive traffic while promoting your product at the same time. By following the right tips and techniques, you’ll surely get people to your site. However, the work isn’t done yet. You will need to set your site up in a way that it won’t waste traffic, giving you the edge you need in succeeding. This is pretty tricky, though, so make sure to research about it well.

These four are the most basic things you need to remember if you’ll ever need an affiliate marketing guide.