WOLFBITES - Issue 39

A Christmas gift for small business owners everywhere:
Ten stop/start marketing tips you can execute without spending a single dollar

Stop / Start buttons

1. Stop giving lip service to customer service. Start making customer service a priority. Even a small improvement in customer service will set you apart from the average small business.

2.  Stop under estimating the competition. Start studying the competition. A few hours on a computer is all it takes to identify key threats and opportunities.

3. Stop ignoring the importance of ongoing new business development. Start making new business development a weekly activity. Set a minimum time commitment for new business development and track your time to ensure you meet that commitment.

4. Stop assuming every prospect is the same. Start giving priority to prospects with the best sales potential. They may represent just a small fraction of your prospect base, but account for a huge portion of your sales.  

5.  Stop me-too small business marketing. Start separating yourself from the competition by offering something different – or featuring something the competition is not promoting. You do not need to be different in every way, just one way that matters to the customer.

6. Stop wasting money on single-shot small business advertising. Start saving for a campaign that will last long enough to make an impression. Most small business advertisers make the fatal mistake of stopping their campaigns just as they are starting to get noticed – but before the buyer is ready to make a purchase.

7. Stop assuming social media is free advertising. Start accepting that the development of a successful social media campaign requires things you may not have:

  • The ability to develop shareable content
  • The smarts to choose the right social media platform for your customer base
  • Five to ten hours a week for content development
  • Three to six months lead time

Congratulations if you are among the very few small business owners who are a whiz at social media and can absorb the significant "opportunity cost" (every hour you spend on social media is an hour taken away from other business priorities) required to launch and sustain a small business social media campaign.  Everyone else will need to get professional small business marketing help, which brings me back to my original point: social media is not free. 

8.  Stop focusing on the features of your products or services. Start focusing on the customer benefits delivered by your products or services. This applies to you if your existing copywriting is full of sentences that begin with the word "we". 

9.  Stop being fooled by get rich SEO scams. Start looking for support from a company that knows how to attract the search engine and intrigue the customer all at the same time. You need both to succeed.

10. Stop giving responsibility for marketing and advertising to employees who have no idea how to attract and retain customers. Start budgeting for professional small business marketing help and see the dollars spent as an investment, not a cost. Even a single day of help a month can make a huge difference in your bottom line.         

Learn more by giving the following pages a click:

  • Decline of Old Media, the marketing blog that is must reading for any small business
  • Head to Head, a look at the best and worst small business advertising in a particular media product or channel
  • Advertising IQ test, discover how much you really know about small business advertising and marketing


Wolfgang Franke is President & Creative Director of Words at Work Advertising & Marketing, a full service communications company established in 1988. Our growing list of valued clients are found throughout our local market, Markham and the Greater Toronto area, across Canada in cities such as London, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta, and an expanding list of international locations ranging from The Big Apple in New York to Kanturk, Ireland.




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