Marketing shoppingContent marketers want you to believe that content is everything in marketing now. Same thing with the in-bound marketers, mobile marketers, database marketers, SEO (search engine optimization) marketers, social media marketers, and so on and so on…

Marketing has embraced every new channel and technology that it changes at the speed of light. And, with those changes, comes specialists who claim that theirs is the best on the block for your small business or nonprofit organization.

How can anyone in marketing claim that one channel or one method is the “be all and end all?” 

Let’s say that you are planning a dinner party that includes your boss and your immediate team. What’s your objective?

Is it to impress the boss so s/he considers you for a promotion? Is it to prepare for requesting a raise? Is it to show your appreciation?

Whatever your goal is for this dinner party, your menu, table décor, room ambiance, and appearance will affect the outcome. You prepare a shopping list and hit the stores.

Everything you select has to be ‘just right.’ The combination of every element must blend well. You wouldn’t serve meat loaf if you set a formal table. On the other hand, you wouldn’t serve foie gras if it’s a casual backyard dinner. You’d look for a good balance of components to set the tone. It’s the same thing in marketing.

Why would you rely on one marketing channel at the expense of the others?

What was the most important part of the dinner party story? If you guessed the shopping list, you were right!

Every business and organization needs to create its own marketing shopping list based on its overall objectives. The list cannot be plucked from anywhere. It needs to rely on science.

Got a few bucks? Hire a marketing researcher.

Short on cash? Read up on conducting online surveys and how to construct questions.

Run a couple of informal focus groups. Ask your existing (and prospective) customers — clients, patients, patrons, donors, volunteers, students — pertinent questions that help you understand what motivates them to use your products or services or support your nonprofit. Discover what their preferred communications channels are. Ask them if they have referred your organization to others and why.

Once you understand what makes them tick, where they get their information, why they like you (or don’t), and more, only then can you create your marketing shopping list — your marketing strategy and tactics.

So, if you’re feeling pulled in multiple marketing directions, take a pause. Make sure that every strategy and tactic you employ helps to reach your objectives.

Why waste time, effort, and money on things that may, or may not work? Wouldn’t you rather make better informed decisions?

Do you feel pulled and influenced by multiple marketing directions? What are you going to do about it?

Investing in marketingWomen business owners get it - marketing is bound to make a big difference in their businesses. According to a national survey of women business owners (WBOs) conducted by Group, Inc. and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), nearly three quarters (73%) of WBOs plan to invest more in marketing in 2013.

Specifically, they will invest in social media marketing (36%) and search engine optimization (SEO) (36%). In fact, nearly half (44%) predict that social media and SEO are the future of small business marketing.

Interestingly, WBOs anticipated that traditional outreach approaches, including print and direct mail (1.6%), online advertising (4.4%) and email marketing (6.2%), will have less impact on small business marketing in the future.

When considering what marketing tactics currently have the greatest impact on a business’ bottom line, more than half (52%) of respondents indicated that website design and maintenance was very important, followed by social media marketing and SEO (38%) and email marketing (25%). WBOs also indicated that LinkedIn (27%) is the most valuable social media platform to them, followed by Facebook (26%), YouTube (18%) and Twitter (17%).

If you’re a woman business owner, do you agree with the majority of respondents in this survey?

If you could advise these respondents about marketing their small businesses, what would you say?


If your small or medium size business spends a good part of its digital marketing budget on the Web, you are in good company. The $202 billion spend in 2012 includes such services as:

  • Web hosting (63%)
  • Design and maintenance (35.8%)
  • Social media management (0.4%)

According to Borrell Associates, in an October 2012 report and reported on MarketingCharts, all other online marketing services hover around 12% share of the $390.5 billion market. Online ad production takes 12.9% of the dollars, with online agency and exchange fees representing about half that spend.

“Another 12.1% (or $47.3 billion) goes to online consulting and research, which, as the researchers observe, is more than is typically spent on radio and newspaper advertising combined. Online public relations grabs 12 cents off every online marketing service dollar, and includes services like press release distribution and managing and nurturing opt-in lists. Finally, 11.3% goes toward online marketing support, almost entirely spent on search engine optimization (SEO).”

Interesting to Note:
Contrary to what we may have thought, a very small part of the digital marketing spend goes to social media management.

“The average US business is far more interested in spending on online services than online advertising and promotions. On average, they spend $17,000 on online services (or 72% of their average online marketing spend). Online advertising accounts for just 12.4% of their spending, and online promotions 15.6%.”

So, your business or nonprofit organization is involved in social media marketing. But, are you capitalizing on it to bring targeted audiences to you?

The ultimate marketing scenario is when your prospects find you. Whether it’s by word-of-mouth, a formal introduction or referral, or online, inbound marketing means several advantages for your organization.

According to a recent MarketingSherpa study, the benefits of integrating social media as part of a inbound marketing strategy are considerable, as the integration empowers organizations to:

  • generate relevant content (My comment: VERY IMPORTANT!)
  • increase the number of inbound links
  • create more relevant listings to show in search engine results pages
  • maintain or improve their current rankings for targeted keywords
  • make it easier for prospects and customers to find the information they want
  • track inbound leads from initial engagement to conversion with standard analytics tools

Yet, even though three-quarters of organizations think that integrating social media with SEO (search engine optimization) is essential, “more than 50% are not involved in inbound marketing or, worse, they don’t even know what it is.”

In addition, the research “showed a 59% improvement in conversion rates from organic search traffic for marketers who integrated social media and SEO, over those who did not.”

And, since your business or organization’s success depends on being found, inbound marketing is something you’ll want to know more about. Here are some good resources to get you going:

When It Comes To Inbound Marketing Time Is Definitely Of The Essence (Forbes)

Why Content is The Cornerstone of Inbound Marketing Success (Business 2 Community)

50 Ideas On How Businesses Can Use Social Media To Increase Visibility And Traffic (Business 2 Community) Great list!

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