2012 / 11 February

Small Business & Integrated Marketing Tips

* This is a partial reprint of Li’s ClickZ column on Integrated Marketing

Helping Small Businesses with Integrated MarketingSmall business owners are probably some of the hardest-working people I know. Constantly pressed for time, juggling and balancing priorities, trying to figure out which strategies to implement to get them closer to success – it’s hard to find time to breathe. Add that in with the hundred other day-to-day responsibilities, figuring out how to implement all of the online marketing strategies out there can be quite overwhelming. That’s why we’re launching this series that’s dedicated to the small business to help you understand how to begin and implement different online marketing channels in the most time- and resource-efficient ways.

Rather than start off with a particular channel of online marketing and discussing how to integrate it into what you have already implemented, I feel it’s best to start everyone at the beginning. Launching into a marketing channel just because your competition is doing it or you read an article about it on CNN, doesn’t mean that it’s the best path for you. So how does a company get to know what’s best for them? Audience Research.

Yes, it might slow you down in launching your strategy, but at the end of the day you’re going to be very glad that you invested the time to understand how to carefully and successfully implement your marketing strategies in the channels where you are going to get the “most bang for your buck.” There are several ways you can go about your research, and as a small business you won’t need all the bells and whistles that the enterprise-level tools offer. You just need the time and effort to understand the research to use it to your advantage.

Inexpensive but Great Listening Tools

Google Alerts. Google Alerts, if used and fine-tuned around the terms that matter most to your business, can be a great source of understanding multiple channels at once, not just social media. Google Alerts can give you an idea of what’s up-and-coming in the search results, pay per click, as well as social media. The caveat here is to fine-tune your search queries, and make sure you include negatives with your searches so that you get the most relevant results.

Twitter Search. You may or may not find that Twitter is the channel for you to be active in. For some businesses, the audience you seek just isn’t in Twitter. However, Twitter is still a great place to figure out the “pulse” of a topic whether it’s trending or one that’s evergreen. A lot of time utilizing Twitter can lead you to other more powerful and relevant social communities that you might not have been aware of.

Trackur. When you combine Google Alerts and Twitter Search with social media “listening tools” such as Trackur, you can truly get a great understanding of where you should be focusing your efforts. Trackur is great because it’s very easy to understand and utilize in a time-efficient manner for any small business owner who’s pressed for time. Looking at the results daily for about 15 minutes can help you keep an eye on changing trends and where the most relevant conversations are taking place and ensure your strategies are still in line with where the action is happening.

…. Read more of this article at ClickZ

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