And I currently work for HP (which is ranked
#9 in the most recent Fortune 500
listing). So I've seen my share of marketing and brand-building efforts - both
good and bad.
Here's one marketing secret I want
to share: You don't need a dime in your marketing budget to successfully launch
and build your brand. You simply need the right resources, a bit of time, and
the commitment to learn, improve, and share.
Free DIY Marketing Resources
The adoption and acceptance of
social media is very good news for small business owners. The quality of
marketing expertise that's available via blogs, communities and online
conversations is staggering and could cost you thousands of dollars were you to
actually pay for it out of pocket (I did when I had a business). But why would you, if you can get the same
expertise for free (or at incredibly affordable rates)?
Your brand's "story" (the mission statement, logo, brochure, web site) is
often the reason customers decide to spend money with you. Start building the brand story for your
business by checking out these free resources:
- Small Business Marketing Guide:
Top small business marketing experts such as Guy Kawasaki,
Campbell of Small Business Trends, and Duct Tape Marketing's John Jantsch share their expertise,
to help you develop and evolve the compelling story of your business . (As
of this writing, the Small
Business Marketing Guide also offers free marketing webinars, too.
Webby-Award winning site offers dozens of free, professionally designed templates that you can download,
customize, and print for your business within minutes, including:
cards and Business Identity Kits
and Blog Templates
Creative Studio is also a great asset to find tools, access to discounts,
and other DIY and affordable design services (such as Logoworks
Layouts) that professional marketing
agencies use every day.
Get expert advice, get
opinions and share your expertise with world (or just your neighborhood) -
in real time. Any marketing expert worth
their salt is on Twitter, and you get their sage advice for free. Better
still, many experts will follow you back and respond to your questions.
Even better still, when you're ready to test drive your new marketing
materials, the Twitter universe is a great place to ask for feedback and
opinions. (Author and marketer Tara
Hunt asked her Twitter followers to rate the jacket design of her new
book "The Whuffie Factor", and she got hundreds of opinions plus free
designs in response.)
Use the following resources to get started and put
Twitter to work for you (I've also included links to the resources'
How to Use Twitter to
Grow Your Business (via @Copyblogger)
Ideas on using Twitter for Business (by @ChrisBrogan)
We Follow (@wefollow): This is a user-powered
Twitter directory that makes it extremely easy to find people by topic, company
or interest. (You'll find me in WeFollow's
Take the first few steps to launch
your brand - there's a world online ready and willing to help. Including me.
Best advice I ever received from a mentor: There's a wealth
of business expertise out there. Always be willing to ask questions, listen and
Luckily, people much smarter than me are willing to answer
and share. Download, print, and curl up on the sofa with these eBooks written
by leading small business experts:
- 9 Steps to Outstanding Market
Success, by Oliver Fritsch and Ines Bitsch
- PR for Startups (I also recommend The Essential
Guide to Social Media), by Brian Solis
- 100 Best-Kept Marketing Secrets, by the Readers of Small Business Trends
- Lose Control of Your Marketing, by
David Meerman Scott
- Unleashing the Ideavirus, by Seth
to launch your own DIY marketing?
professional color printing for up to 50% lower cost per page and use up to 50%
less energy than laser.
-- Learn more
about Officejet printers and ink
- Visit the HP Creative Studio for
marketing materials, tools and resources you can start using today.
-- Grow your
business with the HP Creative Studio
- Check out cool DIY and
affordable custom designs from MarketSplash by HP
-- Get 100 free business cards from MarketSplash