Tools to Help You Market Your Business
By Steve Ma. Reyna
Marketing is not a hit-and-miss exercise. To help you sharpen your aim, we gathered some tools and applications on the Web to help you market your business right.
Marketing requires a lot of planning and thinking. It is not a hit-and-miss exercise. You have to think of ways to get to know your consumers, find the best vehicle to reach them, and measure the effectiveness of your campaign.
“Uh-oh, sounds good, but how do I do that?” you may ask. Unlike big conglomerates, most home-based entrepreneurs do not have big budgets to spend for marketing or the manpower to get things done. Most likely, you have only yourself to rely on to push your business. Fortunately for you, a number of e-service companies now offer marketing assistance to small and home businesses.
To help sharpen your aim, we have gathered some tools and applications on the Web to help you market your business right. Best of all, most of these tools are free.
Start out with a step-by-step guide for your marketing campaign. MarketiItRight.com (http://www.marketitright.com) is a FREE service that helps you develop and automate your marketing plan. Check them out if you are planning to advertise, start an affiliate program, send out press releases, participate in trade shows and exhibit, or engage in branding activities. This service offers unique tools such as calculators, guides, timelines, reminder alerts, checklists and budget estimators. You can also contract with outside services via RFP\Qs and vendor matching. This free tool will help you plan what to do and when to do it, and even match you with possible vendors to help you accomplish your marketing goals. Use this very valuable tool in order to have a complete picture of your marketing strategies.
Thinking of participating in a tradeshow or industry event? Visit TsCentral (http://www.tscentral.com) where you can find tradeshows, expos, conferences, seminars, event industry suppliers, virtual tradeshow & other events. The site offers free, comprehensive event data, detailed venue information, and an event industry supplier database. An important feature of TsCentral is that it lists the events and tradeshows of countries from Algeria to Zimbabwe.
Get feedback and market information. If you have a Web site, you can run a survey to gather feedback from your visitors. Unlike offline market research, web-based surveys are cheaper, easier to implement and provide faster feedback. One such tool you can use is QuestionBuilder.com (http://www.questionbuilder), which offers their basic service for free. The free basic plan allows 25 survey responses per month for six months. Their paid subscription reasonably starts at $29.95 for 150 survey responses to $299.95 per month for 5,000 survey responses.
Spread the word about your business. Every business benefits from distributing press release and getting media exposure. Use PRWeb’s services (http://www.prweb.com) to distribute your news release to the press for free. Submit your release to PRWeb using their online form, and an editor will review your press release. If approved, it will be sent out to their media contacts via email.
As an entrepreneur, you must constantly find ways to improve your operations to achieve your goals. One note of caution, though: while the above business applications are free, it is still important that you do your homework and evaluate the reliability of the application vendor.
For a step-by-step guide to starting a business, order the CD-Rom “Power Home Business Ideas” from PowerHomeBiz.com at http://www.powerhomebiz.com/Index/practicalbizideas.htm