Resources for starting a new business, ideas for naming that business, mistakes to avoid, lead generation strategies to embrace, how to apply some of Warren Buffet’s wisdom to online marketing efforts…find all of that and more here in this final collection of the best posts on strategy and branding from the past year.
What’s in A Name? by MediaPost Online Publishing Insider
Top 12 Resources for Start-Ups by Duct Tape Marketing
The ever-industrious John Jantsch provides a short but bookmark-worthy “list of resources to help small business owners get started and growing,” such as the SBA’s Small Business Planner, business resources from StartupNation, and guides to starting a business from AllBusiness.com, Inc.com and Entrepreneur magazine.
7 Things Big Dumb Companies Do That You Can’t Afford (Especially Now) by Remarkable Communication
The brilliant Sonia Simone pulls no punches in warning small business owners away from some of the myopic and unproductive practices still sometime seen in their larger competitors, like printing up 10,000 brochures (then throwing away 9,500 of them) and “forgetting that `we’ includes the customer,” as well as recommending effective practices to use instead. Of course it isn’t only big businesses that make mistakes, so to be fair Sonia details in another excellent post dumb things small businesses do, advising entrepreneurs to avoid the number “one,” as in over-reliance on one customer, one vendor or one partner.
Lead generation playbook: 5 steps to a 375% conversion lift by Marketing Experiments Blog
Hunter Boyle and Brian Carroll provide a helpful, educational online clinic on “what happens after prospects hit the ‘submit’ button, and how marketing and sales teams can work together more effectively to expand their customer base and get the most revenue per lead.”
Warren Buffett, Search Marketing Guru? by MediaPost Search Insider
In this well-worth-bookmarking post, Steve Baldwin presents a list of “Buffetisms” he has taped up on the wall of his cubicle (Steve Baldwin sits in a cube?!) and how they relate to search engine marketing. One example: “‘Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.’ All of us run the risk of growing complacent, just because our ROI is somewhere in the black.” An even better one: “‘I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.’ Keep this one in mind when you decide whether to fight a pitched battle for #1 placement on a high-traffic SERP. You might be far better off looking for smaller gains on longer-tail keywords, 2nd-tier engines, or by using day-parting or other segmentation technologies.”
The 6 Untold Reasons Why Businesses Fail by Growthink
Dave Lavinsky elaborates on six common but often unrecognized causes of business failure, such as confusing ego with a business opportunity, trusting “white lie” feedback and failing to make a 100% commitment.
100 Tiny Tips to Create and Maintain Loyal Customers by Bootstrapper
This must-read post for every small business owner and marketing professional provides tips on everything from where to find new customers (not only in the obvious venues like on Facebook and at industry conventions, but at volunteer events and other places) to how to effectively network, communicate and build relationships (e.g., “Send a thank you gift when a customer renews a contract”), to easy-to-use tools and services (such as FreshBooks) to help your business run more smoothly.
The boobs have it, the biggest PR blunder since New Coke by Marketing Edge
The always brilliant Albert Maruggi explains how UPS bungled an unusually powerful branding opportunity with Kentucky Derby-winning horse Big Brown. Due to “short-sightedness combined with a lack decisive management” on the part of UPS, the company had to shell out big bucks to avoid sharing the spotlight with Hooters—not a brand one normally associates with either horse racing or parcel shipping.
SEO: best bang for your buck for generating online leads by E-consultancy
Aliya Zaidi summarizes research from E-consultancy showing that while “natural search, email marketing and paid search are still the most commonly used methods for generating online leads,” “SEO (is) seen as providing the best value for money.” PPC gets a higher percentage of budgets (not surprising, as it has a direct cost per click not applicable to natural search) but natural search clicks provide superior value.
How to run marketing like a profit center by iMedia Connection
Is your marketing department more focused on “firefighting” than executing productive strategies? Is it difficult to measure the ROI of marketing activities and prove the value to the CEO? Having trouble coordinating activities with other functions? David Hutchinson provides a roadmap to success in this excellent article, using marketing operations—process-based management well-established in other disciplines that “enables informed decision making, accountability, sustainability, visibility, teamwork, strategic thinking and best practices execution.” For a longer treatment of this topic, pick up a copy of Value Acceleration: The Secrets to Building an Unbeatable Competitive Advantage by Mitchell Goozé and Ralph Mroz, previously reviewed here.
How to Profit From Testimonials…Even With No Testimonials! by Copyblogger
Dean Rieck (is that real hair?) delivers 17 clever ways to get the effect of testimonials for your product or service without actually using testimonials, such as showing pictures of people using your product or service, noting how long you’ve been in business and/or how many products you’ve sold, displaying a seal or approval, or citing favorable reviews.
5 Things Salespeople Really Need From Marketing by Sales and Sales Management Blog
Sales guru-ess Jill Konrath concisely explains what a sales team needs from the marketing department in order to launch a new product successfully, including sales tools, competitive research, and above all a compelling value proposition.