Surprising Marketing Channels for SMBs: Experts Weigh In

There are so many marketing channels for small businesses it can be difficult to know where and how to best focus your efforts.

Base simple CRM and sales tracking

To help you sort through it all, we’ve reached out to a panel of marketing and small business experts and asked them all a single question: “What is a surprising marketing channel for SMBs?

Below is a collection of their thoughts and perspectives:

Mari Smith

Facebook personal profiles with the new Subscribe feature enabled – where anyone on Facebook can sign up to receive your public content in their News Feed. Subscribers is the fastest growing social channel I’ve seen. In around seven weeks, my subscriber base has quickly grown to over 40,000 whereas my fan page took over three years to build to 55,000 fans. To many Facebook users, there’s something magical about being connected to someone’s personal profile – it’s more intimate, it’s more personal. As a small business owner, if you can weave just enough personal content in with marketing messages and calls to action, you’ll find it’s very easy to begin seeing an ROI from your Facebook subscriber base. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, you should see positive results from enabling Subscribe.
Mari Smith is a passionate social media speaker, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Follow Mari on Twitter @MariSmith.

Joe Pulizzi

Slideshare, the YouTube for PowerPoints, is by far the most underrepresented online channel. According to the latest Content Marketing Institute research, only 20% of B2B companies actively use Slideshare. In addition, I believe there is still an opportunity for print in some markets (print newsletters, mini-magazines, etc.).
Joe Pulizzi is a leading author, speaker and strategist for content marketing. Joe is first and foremost a content marketing evangelist, and founded the Content Marketing Institute, Junta42, Content Marketing World and Chief Content Officer magazine. Joe is also CEO of SocialTract, and co-author of the book Get Content Get Customers and Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand.

Charlene Li

SMBs should try Facebook. You can target quite specifically, whether you are a local business or B2B. If you think Facebook is only “personal”, you should double check — do a search for public posts about your product, service, industry, or topic that’s relevant to your business. If people are on Facebook talking about it, you have the potential to target them with a very specific message that is highly relevant and interesting to them.
Charlene Li is founder of Altimeter Group and the author of the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership. She is also the coauthor of the critically acclaimed, bestselling book Groundswell, which was named one of the best business books in 2008.

Aaron Wall

I have been critical of some of the big-brand bias & discrimination against small businesses by Google, but in spite of their efforts on that front search still offers an amazing opportunity. That opportunity is not in all markets & across all keywords, but when you consider how mature search is it’s surprising that there still are so many opportunities out there.
Aaron Wall is an SEO expert and the founder of SEOBook, a site offers marketing tips, search analysis, online business tips, and general commentary on the evolution of the web from an algorithmic, publishing & business model perspective.

Paul Gillin

E-mail marketing is still incredibly effective. It’s a unique, permission-based tool that gives you access to the inbox, which is a hallowed place for most customers. Do everything you can to get people to give you an e-mail address and permission to send them news, updates and offers.
Paul Gillin is the author of three books about social media marketing, including the recently published Social Marketing to the Business Customer.

Toby Bloomberg

Thinking about not the channel necessarily but the mediums e.g, text, video, photos, presentations and let’s add mobile to the mix there shouldn’t be any big surprises. Each has its strengths and limitations that help extend communicate and build relationships. Where the surprise comes into play for many business owners is social media doesn’t work in the same manner as traditional marketing. It’s a long range initiative that is built not on messages about providing relevant, content and conversations that are of value at the time your customer need them.
Toby Bloomberg consults, speaks and trains on how to combine social media with branding, marketing and other customer touch points to build relationships. Her blog Diva Marketing is a Forbes Pick of Best Women Blogs on Marketing & Social Media. She is the author of Social Media Marketing GPS. Connect with her on @tobydiva.

Tamar Weinberg

Personal outreach. :) Honestly, a lot of people try to forge relationships online — but if you network at face to face events, especially with those online folks, it makes much stronger of an impact than anything you could possibly do online.
Tamar Weinberg is a social media enthusiast with a passion for all things tech and productivity. She provides consulting in internet marketing and manages Community Support & Advertising at Mashable. Tamar is also the author of The New Community Rules

Paul Colligan

Targeted multi-channel (and interactive) messaging sequences.
Paul Colligan helps busy people leverage new media to get their message out to more people, with less effort, and for greater profit. He is CEO of Colligan.com, Education Czar for Traffic Geyser Inc., and Executive Producer for eMarketingVids.com.

 

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