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No Silver Bullets

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers suggests it takes 10,000 hours to become a master of anything. How many of us will ever spend 10,000 hours to become a master in marketing? We have businesses to run.

How are the masters of marketing finding new customers and growing existing customers? The Masters understand there is no silver bullet to grow revenue. Only lots of lead bullets.

Everything works in some fashion. The commonality of masters in marketing is the smarter you are in marketing, the more marketing tools you use. The marketing experts know "I have Facebook" or "I have referrals" is simply not enough.

We think the trick for business owners is to use as many tools as possible that can be done in an efficient amount of time. We think about three core tools is the best number for a business owner doing the marketing work.

Great customer service and word of mouth are always the best. That’s where the business owner's time needs to be invested the most. Pick your target audience and then pick three additional marketing tools to use regularly to maximize the efficiency of your time.

No Cost PR Tips

PR can shape and frame public perception to build a credible reputation. The question is how to do it at no cost. Here are some tips to implement a program:

Media Database:  Build a database of key media contacts that cover your industry (such as a trade journal or news site) or region (such as a newspaper or TV station). Contacts can be found on the media source’s website.
Media Relations: When you have real news to let your key stakeholders know about, send a news release to the database. News could include major contracts won, important new hires or business financial success over a previous quarter or year.
Editor/Reporter Outreach: Today’s newsrooms are roughly 25 percent of what they were a decade ago. With less staff to discover new stories on their own, reporters are looking for companies to send them news ideas to cover. As an example, let’s say you are an interior designer. You read an article about the escalating costs of new home purchases in the area and know from your own work that 1) homeowners can’t afford to buy right now and, 2) that these homeowners are reinvesting in new kitchens and baths that produced a record first quarter for your business. That’s a good business angle to approach an editor with.
Bylined Articles: For business-to-business (B2B) companies, trade journals offer a terrific platform to share your expertise on certain subjects that are related to your business. Each year, journals share an editorial calendar of their topics for each issue they publish. If you see a topic that is your expertise area, you can approach the editor of the journal with an offer to write the article yourself. In return for a piece that shares insight, trends and industry facts, the author gets a byline and picture, but more importantly, readers of that article will view the author as a subject matter expert. That adds credibility to the brand.
Website Blog Articles: While most corporate websites are used to promote and sell a product, the blog section of the site can be used to educate, inform and persuade stakeholders on subjects important to your brand. Through the concept of making key audiences come back again and again to see what’s new on your site, blog articles on important trends, statistics, news, government policies and innovations can position your brand as a source of industry insight. With each new blog post, social media posts could alert followers of the new content.
Public Relations is the often forgot about no-cost marketing strategy but it is one that can have tremendous impact on your brand’s credibility, reputation and value with your key stakeholders.

- Scott Carpenter

Florida SBDC at USF

Highlands County Woods & Water

The Highlands News-Sun introduces Woods & Water, its newest quarterly magazine that will publish for the first time in November. Inside will be stories featuring fishing hotspots, gun safety, survival skills, water sports and more stories about hiking, hunting and the great outdoors. We will also provide information on Fishing Rules and Regulations for Florida waterways. Reserve a position in this magazine and get your business in front of thousands!

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