After the webinar: Barry Moltz answers your questions
Thank you so much for attending the latest in our small business webinar series: “How to market your business on a shoestring budget”, featuring Barry Moltz. We hope you found it helpful and left with plenty of tips to help move your business forward.
Sadly, there’s not always enough time during the live webinar to answer all of your questions. So we’ve put your additional questions to Barry and here are his answers.
How do I start a customer referral program?
If customers say they’re happy with your product or service, ask them there and then for a referral. In my speaking contracts, I put, “the cost of this speech is $X plus one referral if you are delighted after my presentation.” And always encourage people to post reviews on social media.
What about a membership program?
I’ve always liked this idea. Offer customers substantial benefits for a minimum amount of money per month—it binds the customer to doing business with your company frequently.
What value can I generate from sharing/posting content from other experts compared to creating original content from my own knowledge?
You should produce at least 50% of the content yourself so customers see you as a resource as well as a curator of good ideas.
Do you think offering a discount to a customer if they refer someone to your company would be a good idea?
I think a thank you note, email or a very small gift is better.
What app/site helps you ask for testimonials automatically? Where should you have testimonials posted? Yelp, LinkedIn Facebook?
You can't expect a client to post on several sites. Instead, you want to provide a platform where they can easily share their feedback—here’s some good advice on how to do this. You can also use tools like Review Trigger.
Sometimes customers have unreasonable expectations and that can result in negative reviews. You want to be as empathetic and understanding as possible. Other customers realize that not everyone will be satisfied, but they want to see if, and how, you respond to concerns when there is a problem—this can be a big factor in whether they decide to do business with you.
What was the marketing tool that worked best for you when you first started out?
For me, the best marketing tools have always been email and social media.
How often do you post on different platforms daily (at a minimum)?
LinkedIn, 1; Twitter, 3; Facebook, 2; Instagram, 1; Pinterest, 1.
Other than yourself, who could we look to for impactful new small business practical advice?
With so many resources available for free on the internet today, it can be hard to find sources you can trust. That’s why Verizon is a great starting point—it brings together the best small business experts to offer you monthly guidance and ideas in its free, informative webinar series.
How do you deal with unsubstantiated negative reviews?
If by unsubstantiated reviews you mean fake ones by people who have never tried your product, then report them to the review site.
Are negative reviews by your competitor legal?
I’m not a lawyer, but I believe they are if they actually tried your product or service.
What platforms are out there that allow me to show my expertise?
Find out where your expertise can be valuable. Search on Google and social media sites where people are having discussions about problems you can help solve.
What was the name of the title generator link?
If you were unable to attend or want to refresh your memory on Barry Moltz’s webinar, “how to market your small business on a shoestring budget”, you can listen to the replay now.
Most small businesses get caught in an endless cycle when it comes to marketing and sales. They only have time to do marketing when their sales are down. But once revenue starts to pick up because of these efforts, they stop having time to do marketing. Their sales then start to shrink, and this cycle starts all over again. This keeps their business flat and prevents them from ever growing their company. Small-business owners need to know how to develop a sustainable marketing plan even if it is on a limited budget.
Here is where to start:
- Content marketing. This is an easy way to stay in front of small business prospects to showcase expertise, so they think of the company when they are ready to buy. It involves sharing expert knowledge on social media, through websites, video or by sending emails. Where to start: On at least a weekly basis, send single subject emails solving a problem prospects may encounter. Get involved in conversations on social media where that advice is also offered. Unfortunately, many small businesses spend too much time on social media every week without a clear strategy.
- Hire a content writer for the company blog. Many small-business owners complain they have no time to blog or create content for their site. However, the more branded content a company blog has, the higher it will rank in the search engine rankings. Where to start: Find a journalism student or get an article written for as little as $1.25 a post by a freelancer through a crowdsourcing site like UpWork.
- Get more reviews. Consumers now trust online reviews from people they don’t know almost as much as a referral from friends and family. Where to start: Ask customers. This can be noted in the bottom of a receipt, attached to a follow up email or in person after a sale. This can be done automatically through solutions like FiveStars.
- Practice organic search engine optimization (SEO). Every post and page should have keywords, so search engines can easily index this information. If customers can’t find a company when they're looking for a solution, it will never be chosen. SEO enables a company to target the keywords and links that can get it on page one of search engines and increase its traffic. Where to start: If the website is built on WordPress, there are free plugins like Yoast SEO that can help. It is also important to claim the company’s listing on Google My Business.
- Execute a well-managed search engine marketing (SEM) campaign. This is not to be done alone, since a poor campaign can burn through $500 very quickly with little results. Where to start: For the novice, start testing advertising with Facebook rather than Google. Facebook offers a narrower search for prospects that look like the company’s customers on a smaller budget.
- Send 500 postcards to targeted customers. Direct mail is making a comeback, since there's more email spam and less physical junk mail than 10 years ago. Where to start: Use a vendor like Office Depot to design and print postcards for about $10. Repeat similar mailings to the same customers at least six times on a monthly basis.
- Buy a plane ticket to see a key customer. There's still nothing that can replace a face to face meeting when it comes to building a relationship with a customer and then landing the business. The best time to buy a ticket is on the weekend and fly on a Tuesday. Use services like Upside that can compare fees across airlines and other Internet ticket sites.
- Earn PR. Get the company’s story in front of news people, but make sure it connects to what is actually going on in the news, not just a pitch about products. Where to start: Many businesses use the free service from called HARO. However, for more targeted results, check out Dan Janal’s PR Leads service to get more reporters and high-quality interviews.