Archive for the ‘Small Business Marketing’ Category

The Unique Selling Proposition For Small Business

August 27, 2010

I spent three hours yesterday working on a foundational marketing issue for a client – the development of their unique selling proposition.

It was the first time I had worked on developing a unique selling proposition in years.

Having competed online now since 1999 – which by definition is a global market – differentiation and competition offline looks almost pedestrian.

Yet the skills required to successfully compete online are quite handy when it comes to developing positioning and messaging for any business whether their byproducts are executed online or offline.

There were several key points surfaced during my meeting yesterday.

1. Every business competes within a competitive monopoly.

2. Most “new” business is not new at all but new to that particular business. “Switchers” – as I like to call them – are how most small businesses gain new customers – not orchestrated customer acquisition campaigns.

That being said – in order to attract Switchers, small business owners must have a unique selling proposition and the accompanying messaging that speaks to those buyers unmet needs – those needs not being met by their present provider.

Buyers switch when they aren’t getting what they want and when the attractiveness of alternatives attract their attention.

This is where a well researched unique selling proposition embedded within consistent messaging can prove to become an invaluable investment for the small business.

Ideally – the sophisticated small business owner employs a unique selling proposition that plays to the weaknesses of their competition while simultaneously emphasizes their unique strengths.

Simply put – the small business owner’s best prospects for attracting “switchers” – buyers who are switching providers – is to first determine who of their competitors customers are not going to become their customers.

Once these static segments are identified, the unique selling proposition should be built on communicating what value the business offers to those customers who will switch provided  they become convinced their needs can be met by a new provider.

For the small business competing in a crowded niche, their best prospects for new business aren’t going to be created out of the blue but out of the “blues” – the blues they get from dealing with their present vendor.

Customer “blues” are the pallet from which a successful unique selling proposition is created  – a unique message that the small business can predictably and confidently use to acquire new business.

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Free Small Business Commercials: I Love Local Commercials

December 2, 2009

I came across an interesting small business marketing site “I Love Local Commercials”.

Two guys – Rhett and Link – ask their site’s visitors to nominate a small business to win a free commercial produced by their company ILoveLocalCommercials.com.

So they actually don’t give away a free commercials to every small business owner who asks – the small buisness owner has to win first.

How do Rhett and Link do it?

Through sponsorship by a company called Microbilt.

I Love Local Commercials

I Love Local Commercials

The concept of giving away free commercials which is really a twist on the “register to win a prize” tactic is subtle yet innovative.

I am not sure what direct return on investment Microbilt has received from their sponsorship of ILoveLocalCommercials.com

However, Microbilt most certainly has established their brand name as a result of their sponsorship.

Rhett and Link’s work like the commercial below also appears to be effective for the medium.

A question I have for Rhett and Link is – how come they don’t advertise and sell their commercial production services as well?

Google Local Business Center Testing Local Listing Ads

October 6, 2009

Greg Sterling reports on his blog and at Search Engine Land about Google’s announcing their new local advertising product called Local Listing Ads.

Google Local Listing Ads

Google Local Listing Ads

More about the features of Local Listings ads from Google’s Local Business Center:

Drive more sales
Over 80% of people look to Google for local information. Make sure your listing stands out.

See – and hear – the results
You’ll hear “this call brought to you by Google” with every call from your ad.

Free for 30 days
Try it out, risk free. You can cancel anytime.

Local targeting
We’ll make sure your ad only shows to people near your business, with no work for you.

Local Listing Ads are currently available only in San Francisco and San Diego, CA.

From a Google and Small Business Marketer’s perspective, I have to wonder what kind of resources – both human and financial – Google is putting into this new program to make it a success?

Who is running the Local Listings program within Google – a Google Maps or Google Adwords team, the “Local Business Center” team, a new team or a not yet formed team?

I think Google’s answer to this question lies the fate of the Google Local Listings advertising program.

Google Advertising Seminars

May 26, 2007

I decided to apply for the Google Adwords Seminar leader position again.

Their latest application was slightly different from the first one in December of 2005. After looking over my original application, I am surprised my application was even given serious consideration.

Two Google Adwords Seminar Leaders were chosen in early 2006. I believe they have since presented Google Adwords seminars to over 1,000 attendees.

Spending the last year and a half preparing for and writing my book: For Sale By Google – How To Make Money on the Internet Selling Your Products Using Google Adwords and Search Engine Marketing Strategies has given me an entirely different perspective on the paid search business and search in general.

I believe my answers below do in fact reflect that change in perspective.

Section 1:
Background Info
All fields are required.

First Name: Tim
Last Name: Cohn

Email address: timcohn at gmail.com

Website: Search Marketing Communications

Phone number: 405-842-0163

Current Address:
(Street address) 6403 NW Grand Blvd., Suite 208
(City) Nichols Hills
(State / Province) OK
(Zip Code/Postal Code) 73116

1) How long have you been an AdWords advertiser?

Since March of 2002.

2) Do you have experience with other advertising channels? If so, please explain.

Yes, since 1989 I have been a direct marketing consultant.

I have developed marketing campaigns through nearly every form of advertising media available to the small and medium size business.

I have created and ran advertising campaigns in radio, television, magazines, newspapers, yellow pages and direct mail. No other recognized form of media compares to Google paid search. Word of mouth marketing out performs paid search but the process has yet become measurable and thus manageable.

Since the advent of Adwords, I have focused exclusively on producing results for myself and clients through reaching the search audience through paid search.

I have personally managed the production of 100 million impressions and one million clicks.

3) Do you have teaching or training experience? If so, please explain.

I spoke several years ago about the power of Google Adwords to business audiences in Atlanta, GA and Scottsdale, AZ. I have since accepted a contract to write a book about my Google Adwords experience for John Wiley and Sons. The book, For Sale By Google – How to Make Money Selling Your Products on the Internet Using Google Adwords and Search Engine Marketing Strategies is nearing completion.

As you may gather from the title, the book targets the small to medium size business market with an emphasis on how they can reach their audience more cost efficiently with Google Adwords as compared to their other media options while generating leads and sales in the process.

I believe my direct marketing background which is rooted firmly in advertising accountability and return on investment helps me give proper perspective to the small business owner who needs guidance when it comes to choosing where best to place their advertising dollars.

4) Do you or any of your family members work in the internet search and advertising industry, or for any company that you might reasonably consider to be a direct competitor to Google? If so, please explain.

No.

5) Resume: please paste your resume or a URL linking to your resume into the box below.

As a self-employed marketing consultant, I don’t have a resume per se. However, I do however keep a Curriculum Vitae of the projects and deals I am working on.

Section 2: Short Answers
1) Why do you want to be an AdWords Seminar Leader? (1-2 paragraphs)

A. If I am not constantly teaching others all that I have learned and I continue to learn about Google Adwords, I will be doing both them and my self a disservice.

B. I believe in the power Google Adwords has to transform the small business and the small business owner’s life! I made a commitment to understanding and mastering Adwords to the best of ability long before it became a requisite for being competitive in the market.

2) What is the most challenging situation you have faced when managing AdWords accounts? (1-2 paragraphs)

Being ignorant of any Adwords feature.

3) If you could change one thing about AdWords, what would it be? (1 paragraph)

Add Zip Code Targeting.

4) What is your favorite AdWords tool or report? Why? (1 paragraph)

The Keyword Tool.

Because it rationalizes demand into language.

Section 3: Video Presentation
Please submit one video presentation containing the following 2 components:

a) Introduction (max 1 min.) – Tell us who you are, when you first started using AdWords, and why you want to be an AdWords Seminar Leader.

b) Lesson (max 7 min.) – Choose one of the following two topics and create a lesson as if it were a partial session of an AdWords Seminar. You may use visual aids, but please do not repeat or reuse any materials from the AdWords Learning Center.

* OPTION 1: Your audience is a group of local small business owners with small advertising budgets. They are concerned about competing with large, national advertisers who are also advertising on AdWords. Explain to them how AdWords pricing works, and which AdWords features can help them advertise effectively in this competitive environment.

* OPTION 2: Your audience is a group of new AdWords advertisers. During the Q&A session of the seminar, one advertiser asks: “I’ve been advertising on AdWords for a few weeks. I’ve spent a few hundred bucks, but I’m frustrated because I can’t get my ad to show up on the first page of search results. I’m always in 7th or 8th place on the second page. How do I get my ad to show up on the first page?” How would you address his question?

Yellowbook.com

September 7, 2006

David Carradine is appearing in Yellowbook.com commercials airing on national cable channels. I grew up in the 70’s watching Carradine as Kung Fu. Mr. Carradine attended a party at my now in-laws home in the early 1980’s where he sang and played the piano. I met his brother Keith Carradine backstage after one of his performances as Will Rogers in the Will Rogers Follies.

It appears Yellow Book has employed Carradine to reach and connect with baby boomer men like myself. My demographic theoritically has the decision making power within small to medium size businesses to make internet yellow pages buying decisions.

How many new internet yellow page advertisers does Yellowbook.com acquire for each $1,000 spent via cable television advertising? Can a Yellowbook.com internet yellow pages advertiser expect to get a higher or lower rate of return from their investment compared to what Yellow Book gets for each $1,000 it spends on cable advertising?