On the Street: How do you market?

Business consultants agree that marketing is something that needs to be done consistently, even in a poor Marketing signeconomy. We asked our readers, “What kinds of marketing efforts work best for your small business?” Here is what they told us.

A variety of avenues

The Internet is an important marketing vehicle. I have joined as many directories as possible; I participate in social networking, and I have started a blog. I’m now having my Web site redesigned.

mary_habres small)Another way I have secured work is through silent auctions. I donate a gift certificate to reach out to another group of customers who use my services and refer me to others. This also allows me to help local charities and give back to the community. Similarly, I have joined some volunteer groups.

I also network. After my last networking event, I e-mailed everyone I met within 24 hours. This resulted in connecting with two individuals who are referring me to others. (I reciprocate.) I’ve also placed ads in two different publications to specifically target certain populations. My philosophy is to have a lot of different marketing strategies in place.

— Mary Habres, owner, Encore Home Staging and Redesign,


Hosting events

Sherry Davidson smallWe are hosting events and marketing them with social media, blogs and press releases. We have a monthly speaker series and a business to business coffee. We host weekly Webinars. It is a great way to network. The least effective marketing for us in the real estate industry has been print ads. It is very expensive and generates very few calls or visitors.

—Sherry Davidson, president, Davidson Realty,


Targeted direct mail tops

Kevin Carroll smallWe have had major success with targeted direct mail advertising. We have also seen a dramatic increase of potential clients finding us on the Internet due to our increased efforts on search engine optimization. We have also started using social networking to educate and provide helpful tips on our services to our clients. Our hopes are to write articles that will get them to forward to their friends for free.

—Kevin J. Carroll. Swimcraft Pools,


Word of mouth

The key to our new client development success has been through word of mouth marketing. In 2009, we Amy Malerba smallfound that 60% of all our new business came from existing client relationships, 35% came from our involvement with BNI (Business Network Int’l.), and 5% from our continued community involvement and deepening relationships with our centers of influence. We have found that our closing ratios are much higher on these forms of marketing compared to others we have done such as phonebook listings, trade show booths, and our company Web site. 

—Amy Malerba, COO, Calibrate CPAs,


Sarah Gronvold smallMarketing is challenging for small service-related businesses such as ours, where the value of the service has both qualitative and quantitative measures.  We have found that word-of-mouth works the best.  Networking groups and sponsoring local seminars have also yielded some new business.  Mass marketing efforts has not been fruitful.  I think the reason for this is that qualitative value requires explanation beyond that which can be described and or captured in a print ad or with a tag line.

—Sarah Gronvold, NestEggs, Inc., 

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