Get Scrappier: Big Tips for (Small) Business Marketers


Published on

Learn how to triage online conversations to build reputation and grow deeper engagement with your users, followers and fans.

Also included, the “Scrappy Marketers (Online) Toolkit”, outlining best-in-class (and easy to use) tools for every aspect of digital marketing.

***Full download found on MagCloud. Coming soon to Nook, Kindle and iBookstore.**

MagCloud Link:

Do more on less. Get Scrappy.

Published in: Business, News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

Get Scrappier: Big Tips for (Small) Business Marketers

  1. 1. Praise for Get scraPPier“Michelle has mapped the wide world of marketingwith a short-cut route for small businesses. Get Scrappieris fast and fun, witty and wise, and completely useful andenjoyable.”—Barbara Findlay SchenckAuthor of Small Business Marketing For Dummiesand Selling Your Business For Dummies; Co-Authorof Branding For Dummies and Business Plans Kit ForDummies (“Get Scrappy is a wonderful resource for businessowners forced to do more with less. Michelle not onlyoffers a variety of marketing tactics to experiment with,she also explains the strategy behind them.This isn’t a guide you’ll read once and discard—you’ll findyourself coming back to it again and again.”—Christa CordovaOwner of Healthy Sprouts; co-author of Get Scrappy
  2. 2. ContentsReaders Tips .......................................................................................................... iiIntroduction ...........................................................................................................iiiSection 1...................................... Why Marketing Matters ................................... 1Section 2...................................... Creating & Connecting Conversations ............ 5Section 3...................................... Simplify & Scale ............................................. 12Special Section ............................ The Scrappy Marketer’s (Online) Toolkit ........ 16Acknowledgements ............................................................................................. 27About the Author ................................................................................................ 28 i
  3. 3. readers tiPsThis is Not (Just) Another e-GuideAll information shared is based on real-world experiences. No pontification.No classroom-only tips.Keep it simple is the mantra, making it easy to “own it”, do it and share itwith others.The ideas contained here won’t sit on a shelf. The guide itself is fluid andcontains concepts that any small business can apply, regardless of industrytype or target audience.Who Will Benefit From Reading ThisSmall business marketers looking for inbound programs that are easy toplan, execute and manage long-term.Best practice seekers exploring how big box and small biz marketerexperiences converge and get applied.Fellow marketers who simply appreciate a fresh dose of inspiration and self-help content.How You Can Help Spread the Word• You can share (discuss) this offline over coffee or beer, but you can also attract other scrappy marketers in 5 easy ways: Slideshare, the Get Scrappy blog, ibooks/iTunes, Nook, Kindle and Lulu.• If you have it and like it, share it online! If On Twitter, Add #getscrappy or @Getscrappymktng to your message. ii
  4. 4. introductionIn 2009, an idea was unleashed. It wasn’t new - it wasn’t evenall that different. But with bank fall-outs, a mortgage crisisand instability in job growth, economic conditions remindedmarketers and business owners to “get scrappy” and tobecome more accountable for every dollar spent. If they didn’t,their job or (small) business would fold.Get Scrappier is an eGuide that outlines [Why MarketingMatters] to making your business more profitable, and [How toCreate & Connect Conversations] about your brand or servicein a digital age.It is also jammed with tips on how to [Simplify & Scale] yourmarketing efforts based on the life stage of your business.Last, but not least, you will receive a list of what your (online)marketing toolkit should look like to make the most of time andresources.Enjoy the ride. It’s short, sweet and scrappy. iii
  5. 5. Section 1Why MarketinG MattersTime and money. Ask any (small) business marketer what holds them back fromcreating full-fledge marketing programs and it’s usually quickly answered by“time”, “money” or both. I am here to say, BS. Those are self-prescribed lies thatwe tell ourselves, that hold us back from becoming something really great.Time is a personal sacrifice. Everyone has time, it’s just how you/we chooseto use it. Time not spent sorting out how to market (communicate) to a largeraudience is misused energy. Your business depends on you spending more timemarketing. Without it you are building a brand underground.Money is something you might be lucky enough to have already. But like time, itmust be allocated correctly to get the best return.Having money does not mean inherently that you will have marketingsuccess. Many a marketer, big biz or small biz, has thrown money at businesschallenges without a noticeable lift in sales or brand awareness.Why? Because a monetary allowance for marketing efforts blinded the practicalplanning process that actually leads to slower spending and ROI-orientedexecution. 1
  6. 6. Not having money in the first place, as you might be experiencing, can actuallybe a blessing. Like life, it forces you to think outside of the box. The challengethen is only to create your own box, a box that best defines your business, yourcommunication style and what money can or cannot buy in the near term.Money is really only a luxury to do more great marketing to achieve biggerresults. It does not mean you cannot start building now, today, from nothing. Youcan. It’s called getting scrappier.Here are some guiding principles to get you started.1. Amplify your (online) marketing now.Let’s assume you have mastered networking events, handing out business cardsand excel at general door-knocking. So now it’s time to move the conversationsonline for bigger impact.A common misconception is that having a website, setting up a Facebook fanpage or Twitter handle means you have “done it”. Check. Move on. Eh, not sofast.Just like a networking event, you stick around for drinks. You shake hands, youget to know people. And by getting to know people, you foster relationships. 2
  7. 7. Online marketing is just that, and more. Thanks to technology you can have real-time (versus pre-scheduled) conversations with real people. Digital media andmulti-device platforms (desktop, smartphone, tablets) allow us to engage users,business partners and the larger industry wherever they are online, at any time ofday.2. Scrap offline advertising. (Ouch, I just said it.)If you are operating on a lean (or no) marketing budget, there just is no time ormoney for it. Even up to a few years ago, many would have argued - even forsmall business - that you should create balanced marketing plans. A little online,a little offline equated to awesome marketing. I would argue this is no longerrelevant for scrappy, tightly funded (or not funded) marketers.Why? The more obvious reason is that consumers spend a significant amount oftheir time online - socializing, consuming content and interacting with friends,family and industry colleagues.The less obvious reason is because digital (with the evolution of technology) hastransformed online marketing into a more visual, connective medium. A lastingdimension of offline marketing has been it’s ability to create a very visual impact,to strike an emotional chord with audiences. Digital simply could not compete inthe past with (boring) text copy and single image ads. 3
  8. 8. Yet now, the communication canvas has changed. Offline media no longer hasexclusive rights to resonate (emotionally) with end users.Today, with great messaging through core digital touch points that mirror yourtarget audience’s online behavior, you can tell your story in a very compellingand detailed way. All this through pictures, videos, polling tools - plug-ins galore- and many of which are free. Sure it takes a little dedication (time) to build outan effective online user experience, but dollar for dollar you will significantlyincrease your reach (and resonate) with new and existing users of your product orservice.So why does marketing matter to (small) businesses? Because it’s more than just1:1 advertising and it’s more than having or creating a marketing budget. It isabout creating 1:many conversations with near real-time impact. 4
  9. 9. Section 2creatinG & connectinG conversationsThey say everyone (individually) is a either a creator, consumer or curator ofcontent. (To re-quote Brian Solis and Steve Rosenbaum.)As marketers, we are challenged to do all three. Naturally, one or two of thesewill fit your skill set best. Yet in the “digital age”, it is incredibly importantto leverage your communication skills to build reputation across onlinecommunities.You might say, I cannot find time (or money) to do this effectively. I would say,take a minute to consider this…Everyone talks to someone every day. And conversations, in-person or not,create a sticky factor by which we measure a person, a service, or business. It isour perception of all those factors that create the world in which we live.These conversations also happen in a multiplicity of formats, times andplaces. And you are actively participating in this dynamic, whether you realizeit or not. That last email you sent, could change the future of your business.That comment you last made on an industry blog, could shape how someoneperceives your business personality. And the list goes on. 5
  10. 10. The interactions we have with people, nearly every day, can be brokendown into three distinct types of conversations. It is from these that you cancreate and connect (online) conversations about your business.Peripheral Conversations. Your News, Their News.Whether I ever meet Dan Rather, Michele Norris, or Pete Cashmore is to bedebated; but what they say, I tune into. What they are distilling for me, I share. Inmany cases, it even changes my world view; and, in turn, it has the potential tochange yours.You might say, “I am not Pete Cashmore”. No, you probably aren’t, but withineveryone’s world there are leaders that (over time) have built their followingby very actively participating in that community or interconnected sets ofcommunities (e.g. technology and media). If becoming a recognized leader inyour space is a big-picture goal, then today it necessitates you to begin minglingonline.Tips:• Participate in industry-level online news forums. LinkedIn Groups and related blogging communities are a great place to start.• Aggregate (curate) and publish interesting industry factoids from your website and social channels. Not only does it make you and your business more interesting (well-rounded), but it also reveals what influences your 6
  11. 11. business philosophy. From such, new or existing users of your product/ service will have something to follow, versus only purchasing or signing up without an emotional connection to what your brand represents.Personal Conversations.The Circle of Trust – Family & Friends.We listen closest to this group. What we glean from this community is not alwaysshared publicly, but it’s just that - it’s personal. It means something to us. Andoften your best champions for what you do eat dinner with you every night orpick up your phone call every week to discuss your latest concept.These personal conversations can lend a significant helping hand to building orreinforcing your brand to the larger public eye.Their (free) advise. Good or bad, they love to give their honest opinions. Alwaystake it. And often, they are right.Spreading the word first via social channels (Facebook, Twitter) by “liking”your branded pages, retweeting something you shared, or providing generalrecommendations and product mentions in their favorite online communities.Writing and blogging on your behalf. You would be surprised how many arewilling friends and family are to promote you. 7
  12. 12. Tips:• Be careful to not over-use or abuse this channel. Credibility can just as easily be lost if used in excess or if comes across as spam.• Graciously ask and graciously give back. This is a conversation circle that will provide support, but is also likely request it in return. Don’t be self-serving with these requests or soon no one will help you out.Professional Conversations.Business Contacts, Industry Influencers.This one is an extension of Peripheral Conversations, but should have morespecificity to your line of work (e.g. specifically digital magazines versus generaldigital publishing).Similar to the other conversation types mentioned, it is important to remainconsistently engaged; but, it is also important to connect the dots with originalcontent (blogging) and related industry content (curating) to create meaningfulconversations that readers and end users can relate to.Tips:• Start a blog. Blogging is one of the simplest ways to display personality and opinions to build your personal brand as a subject matter expert about photography, pastry making, or whatever your passion topic (and business) is. 8
  13. 13. • Look for unique, personal (while still professional) ways of exposing information about your business. Instead of always posting or re-posting something in a formal site update, sketch out your business model or your mission statement on a whiteboard. Take a picture. Post it on your site, Twitter, etc. Have fun with marketing your work!The end result of bringing together these (3) conversations types is a three-prong messaging strategy that can be a mix of:• Evergreen (always on, always happening), or• Event-based (a marketing campaign) with a specific start and stop time frame.When building your marketing plan within this conversational frame, also be awareof your tone. It will be immediately, and regularly filtered, as authentic or not. REAL FAKE • Please join our beta group. • Like us on Facebook and we’ll We want your awesome input give you a Free XYZ! to craft our next product. • Offer, offer. Sale, sale! • Congratulations! You just accessed our (app, site) • False advertising (company for the 100th time. Take $5 off statistics with no credible your next visit. sourcing, splashy platitude campaigns when negative versus • Sharing your skills via your positive product reviews are blog or core website evident on app store). (e.g., lighting tips for taking home photos). 9
  14. 14. so What, Who cares?It is important to stay authentic with your messaging efforts because less authenticapproaches will only provide quick-hits on your site, or immediate downloads ofa free product; but it is bound to deliver the wrong (long-term) lead.The more authentic (and transparent) you are, more genuinely interested andengaged users will be attracted to your business.are you just GettinG started?The following is a quick sketch about how you can distribute and engage inconversations, based on the life stage of your business. 10
  15. 15. BUSINESS STAGE YOUR NEEDS MARKETING Partners/Cross-Links Display/Banenrs Social Channels Local Listing(s) Virtual Events Website Content Search Email BlogStart-up / Initial brand recognition,       Stealth Mode industry or community coverage and (potentially) beta users or those first five clients.Emerging You’re up and running,          but you need to grow clientele and establish yourself as a credible brand and go-to service.Established You’ve “made it”!           Perhaps even to profitability, but you’re still seeking incremental bottom line revenue growth for personal financial reasons to woo investors or M&A opportunities. 11
  16. 16. Section 3siMPlify & scaleOne of the first questions I get in new client interviews is —“what am I doing right?”We all need positive reinforcements, but we also need to understand what weare doing right before we can shelve what we are doing wrong. Once you havea clear view on what is working (e.g. xyz messaging on x online channel delivers10x new app downloads every week), then you can start to iterate and optimizeto drive even better results long-term.The keys to creating marketing (communication) efforts that provide sustainablebusiness growth are:• Build a learning environment within a project or program to verify that it is delivering results.• Create flexibility for iteration.• Develop programs that can achieve results with resources that scale.Let’s dig deeper into the first key — performance expectations. 12
  17. 17. This one starts by setting goals within your business plan that tie directly intomarketing efforts. How you achieve goals may change over time, but the goals (ifset properly) should fill for a larger business gap that is essential to building yourbusiness.If your marketing efforts are not growing your business, take a closer look at oneor two things:• The effectiveness and efficiency of (existing) conversations about your brand or service to deliver revenue• Customer/user satisfaction with your product or serviceIf one or both of these are not meeting a bigger business need, it could be timeto hit the drawing boards.Flexibility to iterate is the more important aspect of building things that scale. Tobe successful long term, you must be able to create marketing events that canbe done over and over without taxing critical pieces of your business for little orno incremental profit. Your investment in any project is human capital (yourself,your immediate business partner, your trusty interns), financial capital (your hardcosts to doing something), and emotional capital (the wear and tear an initiativewill take on your personal time). 13
  18. 18. Tips:Pitfalls to avoid.• Sketch out the end-to-end user experience of a program before you move it into execution. Don’t fly blind or with too much of an assumptive “no failure possible” attitude.• Define the resources necessary to create that experience. Ideas are awesome, but not every awesome idea is tangible or realistic with the resources available.• Don’t ideate in a box. Second-opinions are not intended to kill your best ideas. They are to improve your intentions.• If the goal is mass marketing, be certain the value-add communicated is “in-demand” for many, versus just a few. A good way to test this is to do some simple research online, survey existing customers, or get a second opinion from business peers.Reinforcements to pursue.• Leverage in-house resources first. Outsourcing is not your friend unless it’s to help understand and define the role of something in the near future (e.g. testing Email marketing, but needing a resource to get you started).• Start out with distinct objectives. No goals, no plan, no results. Very few entrepreneurs and business leaders achieve success on a whim. Be thoughtful. Be focused. Know what you want (or need) to deliver. 14
  19. 19. • Craft everything as if it were art — that it will and must last forever. This is a work philosophy as much as it is a way of doing business. There is a vast difference in quality based on the attention to detail. It defines something-to- last solutions versus building-to-react.• Find communication tools that integrate well with other tools. You do not want 20 tools to manage every day. Ideally, there should be fewer than five to assist you.So what’s holding you back from investing in (online) conversations about yourbusiness? Unsure which resources to use to make this happen?Read on about the essential ingredients for your (online) marketing toolkit. 15
  20. 20. Special Sectionthe scraPPy Marketer’s (online) toolkitSpecial Notes:• There is a purposeful absence of print media in this ebook. It does not mean print-based conversations would not be beneficial to your business, but is not recommended. The ROI is hard to prove out and the ability to trace results, challenging.• In the vein of getting scrappy, let’s keep it digital. Over 60% of a consumer’s day is spent online, so why wouldn’t you market there too?• Yes, there are more solutions for SMB marketers than those listed. These are just industry favorites and those I have used and trust.Your WebsiteA business’ online presence 100% starts with creating a .com user experience.And keeping it clean and simple is more important than spending big dollars ona web designer. You can obtain a little help for the non-HTML savvy guy or galhere: 16
  21. 21. Blog-Only• Tumblr• Blogger/GoogleBlog + Domain• WordPress• Yahoo! Small Business• Microsoft Live/365Your Social ChannelsSocial is about establishing presence, monitoring your brand, scheduling postsand conversing real-time with your community.Free, Easy to Learn & Use• HootSuite• Tweetdeck•• Involver (free and paid solutions)Some Investment – Time & Dollars• Wildfire• Buddy Media• SocialEngage (formerly Cotweet via ExactTarget) 17
  22. 22. Your MessagingThe bulk of marketing comes down to storytelling. Be it in-person via your salesteam, or virtual via email. You must be able to articulate who you are in a fewsentences. Online story telling can occur through any/all of the below. Here aresome areas to focus your energy.SEO:Better known as search engine optimization and organic self-made-traffic, SEOreally is a representation of your core value proposition throughout the .comexperience. When building a website and (stand-alone) landing pages, do notforget basics like creating a title, description and meta tags for your site/page.Don’t Outsource, But If You Must:Hubspot: a great one-stop-shop for messaging via .com, email and social media.I have a single recommendation for this one. I don’t trust very many SEO gurus.If you can figure out how to control the basics via yourself or someone talentedin copywriting, you’re set for awhile. Basic index tools takes care of the rest bycrawling your site to identify matching keywords to xyz topics.Social:# hashtags, @ (the fancy Twitter handle), tagging on Facebook 18
  23. 23. These are basics and should not be overused, but they are also truly essentialto joining larger (online) communities and conversations. Providing online“mentions” (tags, retweets) allows others to notice you. Start by tagging peopleyou know, want to know, or other businesses within your posts to involve abroader community in an (online) discussion.Email:You can have an email platform, but you must also have a messaging strategyand HTML templates. (Please do not send text-only or mixed font emails.) Email,while often not opened (yes, true) does still function as a calling card. Make itspecial, make it look good. It may be the only time you get to impress someone.If you are (or soon become) familiar with email basics, I would suggest UserSegmentation as a must-have as early on as possible.Below are (3) simple ways you can start to bucket users and message to them ina more relevant way:Prospects – You have their names and emails, purchased list or not. Sell themASAP on why you should be special to them.Current, Non-Paying Users – They might have registered for something, but theyhave yet to make a purchase. Email is a great way to remind them, without beingannoying, that they showed interest in something and to request permission tocontinue engaging with them. 19
  24. 24. Current, Paying Users – These folks are your best customer. Many are your first.You earned their respect. Keep it that way by messaging in a unique way fromthose you may have never met.Platforms You’d Be Smart to Put Your Time & Money Into:• ExactTarget• Constant Contact• Vertical ResponsePlatforms On the Cheap:• Mail Chimp• iContact• MadMimiText Links (Paid Search):Some might bucket this as Paid Search, I call it all text links. Whether it goes liveon my own site, your site or a perfect stranger’s site, it is a text link if there areonly a few characters to describe a product or service.Places to Be Seen & Found:• Google• Yahoo/Bing 20
  25. 25. Banner ads (your site and theirs)Online banner ads can serve a wide array of messaging purposes andfunctionality. And like text links, they can be targeted by geography, audiencetype (e.g., travelers vs. business owners), age, demographic and so on.Let’s assume you do not have an internal ad server to do this on your ownwebsite. If not, you can use a 3rd party vendor to help you drive incrementalreach for your banner creative.• Facebook Ads: If you have a Fan Page, you need ads to drive initial engagement and new user acquisition. You can create a standard offer or sponsored story (content links) to expose what your brand is all about to new users.• Ad Exchanges: This too is low maintenance and a minimal upfront investment (a few hundred dollars for basic rich media ads creative). Explore Google, if just starting out. It’s also more efficient to tie other marketing efforts into the same platform.• Affiliates: See upcoming section for more info and ideas.• Local Sites vs National or Global: If your brand is localized, then explore banner placements on the most trafficked local websites to see what ranks highest. 21
  26. 26. Your ContentThis space is exploding right now and below are a few worth exploring if youwant to index stand-alone content for minimal to no upfront cost.• Slideshare• Digg• StumbleUpon• Google Docs• YouTube• Pinterest• Chime.In• Visual.lyYour Affiliate PartnersThis one is for small businesses with a mid to high degree of brand awareness.This is not likely to be something you sign-up for as a start-up; but, when you do,it’s a great extension of existing text links (Paid Search) and banner advertising(Display media) marketing.Popular Affiliate Channels To Consider:• Commission Junction• Google Affiliate Network 22
  27. 27. Your CreativeThis an essential item to address. Let’s be honest — we are not all designers.And you need resources for this to properly (and professionally) brand yourselfacross every major online touch points.• Logos• Lead Gen Forms• Main Website• Video• White Papers (formatting/layout)Alternatives to Expensive Media Designers:• Crowdspring. Name your price, find your favorite resource.• Rent-A-Student. This is a college and graduate student resource. Qualified student designers need real-world work experience. You are their ticket to obtaining such, while you also save significantly on costs per project. 23
  28. 28. Your WebinarsI come back to this one from Get Scrappy v1. To be transparent, webinars arenot necessary for every business. If you are in the B2B space though or hosting avirtual cooking class, you must awesome content that lives also on your website,archives or before mentioned content (sharing destinations). You will also likelyneed a webinar tool for events you host.Spend a Little, Get A lot:• WebEx• GoToMeeting• SkypeYour AppsMany confuse apps with products. In most cases though, they are contentdistributors for on-to-go consumers.If apps (applications) are on your horizon or already happening, chances are yourtech team is also pretty involved in marketing them.Below are a few best practices to follow:1. Don’t rely on work-of-mouth for your app(s). True, your first reviewers are your most loyal fans and more than happy to tell their friends, but word-of- mouth will also only get you so far. 24
  29. 29. 2. Start with hedging support within technical (online) communities. Win their trust and admiration and you will build a nice grouping of (genuine) fans to spread the word to the general consumer.Differentiate the messaging of apps versus .com e-store or general brand. Again,bear in mind it’s a content distribution touch point. Some questions to raise andexpose to users: How is the content distributed, shared and stored differentlythan on .com? Is there a notification/messaging center?Your Mobile (Online) ExperienceIn an age of being ever-connected, always on, and accessing content througha wide range of devices, it is invaluable to know how to market across mobileenvironments. There are few (basic) considerations to make when adding mobileelements to your conversations with end users.• Create a mobile browse environment for your website via Mobify, Wirenode and MobilePress.• If your primary target audience are tech savvy, early adopters then focus advertising efforts first on mobile platforms - paid search, display media. The same go-to resources for standard ad programs (Google, Bing) apply.Miscellaneous things to be prepared for:• Unique ad sizes• Added costs for development 25
  30. 30. noW What? Go do it!Creating, managing and optimizing online conversations is undeniably a seriousinvestment that you, and/or your entire team, will make; but, bear in mind youare not alone. If you need a lending hand or moral support, ask for advice. Weare here to share and create success.Keeping doing more on less. Get Scrappy.Join The Conversation Today: 26
  31. 31. acknoWledGMentsA very grateful heart goes out to my family, extended family,friends and colleagues. Without these individuals supportingme through long days, long hours and countless discussionsabout the present and the future of marketing, I would nothave written another book.A special mention goes out to my designer, Dan Eyman. Hiscreative eye made this possible again.I also want to thank my son Preston (“P”) for how he(unknowingly) inspires me to do what I love. I hope he too willsomeday understand the value of getting scrappy. 27
  32. 32. aBout Michelle fitzGeraldMichelle Fitzgerald is a digital marketing expert with over tenyears of experience within high-tech start-ups and F500s.Her past work experience includes Zinio, Yahoo!, LA Timesand CareerBuilder. Areas of expertise include trans media onsmartphone, tablet and pc, social media, online content, B2C/B2B messaging strategy, and big data.Outside of curating and developing content for Get Scrappy,Michelle also speaks at industry events and consults within theSMB community.To reach Michelle regarding consulting engagements, speakingopportunities or content contributions, please contact hervia email or your favorite social channel: LinkedIn, Twitter,Facebook. 28