Small Startup Business: Become Successful, Keep Marketing Costs Down

"How a small startup business can become successful while keeping marketing costs down"

Step 1: Learn from others

First, learn from other successful businesses that were in the same unfortunate situation as your company, and they don't necessarily have to be in the same industry as you. Research a number of these companies and study their tactics, what they did to eventually yield a good profit margin, and then apply them to your business as applicable. You will be encouraged to persevere and keep going, at the least, and may even be surprised to learn along the way how a little change in their marketing strategy, possibly inexpensive at that, turned these businesses around.

Step 2: Use an online marketing strategy to get bigger and better results and organize your priorities

a) Building or revising your company's website is your first priority.

Many successful companies achieved their success or turnaround utilizing an online marketing strategy, since it has the potential to reach a much larger consumer target market and thus increase your sales volume. But before you can start on your road to success via an online marketing campaign you need to have an online presence. That means you need a website and it needs to look professional, attractive, and genuine.

You should constantly update it regarding who you are, what you do, what you represent, since in essence it represents your company's image. It needs to take a priority on your marketing to do list, before doing anything else related to your online campaign strategy is done. You don't have to hire an expensive professional website designer either. There are plenty of comparatively low cost options out there for small and startup businesses, from do it yourself off-the-shelf software for website building to website-based companies that will build one for you inexpensively or allow you to build and customize it easily yourself, like Some even include, at no additional cost, search engine optimization, automatic mobile website conversion, and SMN management.

Statistically, the longer period of time your website is viewed the better the chance of a purchase or contact being made by him/her. (Note: here is where the consumer/client is in the decision phase of the buying cycle; that's why it's important to maintain their interest. A well designed website with good informative content will achieve this goal for you).

b) Inbound marketing techniques

Blogging is inexpensive to free and can increase your company's chances of being found on the Web. Blogs have the potential of establishing a business as a “thought” leader in their industries. Blogs are also a strategic tool to capture potential customers' interest and lure them to your website. In addition, blogs are a means for projecting your image, and a good image is highly valuable, since it builds trust. Blogs will allow positive preconceived and professional images of you and your company to be formed in readers' minds even before potential customers ever browse your website or call or shop at your place of business, to purchase your products or services. Blogs allow a business to give to the community, are considered a form of generosity, and potential customers, like anyone else, like to get “freebees”. This in turn helps your company's image. Notably, consumers in general feel that if you give them something for free, you and your company must be a genuine, professional, caring business, and not just in it for the money.  So write several blogs and offer free advice or helpful information in them.

What you write will help shape customer opinions and expectations in reference to your business' professional knowledge, abilities, and products. Blogs will help make your image a positive one and increase your exposure in the marketplace; it is thus important your blogs are well written and have good, remarkable content.  A word of advice about blogging, research how to write a good blog and what “power words” or keywords to include in order for search engines to effectively find and place your blog at the beginning of their search results page. Remember, the ultimate purpose of a blog is to capture readers' interest and lure them to your website, where they can get more information and/or make a purchase.

c) Social Media Networks.

In addition or as an alternative to blogs, depending on your company and/or its product/service offerings, the intelligent, strategic use of Social Media Networks (SMNs) can also increase a company's chances of being found on the Web. They will help your business establish relationships with potential customers, build trust and loyalty with them, and cause them to make purchases. Additionally, besides all that, these days there is no getting around it, if your company can't afford the costliness of using traditional marketing channels and research, you will need to use social media networks to get the word out about your company. The marketing costs associated with using SMN's are minimal to nothing to start. After building your company website you will need to place a link in your SMN content to use as a landing page for potential customers to visit, as well as a link on the company's homepage to each SMN site you utilize.

Step 3: Establish trust

It is important to understand that anyone, even criminals, can put up a good looking website, so just having a website that shows everything about you and your products might not bring your company the success you desire. Businesses need to build consumer trust before they can successfully lure customers to the company website's landing page to entice them further to make a purchase. This is especially so for brick and click retailers who want to reach non-local consumers and those companies that only sell products online. Thus, whether using blogging or SMNs, companies, small or big, need to create peace in consumers' minds, putting them at rest concerning purchase decisions, that the company is a genuine, good and honest business and not out to harm them. Owners or managers can do this by showing potential customers who you are as a company and what you sell through online demonstrations of your products and/or services.

Patricia Herrera is a student in the MBA Program at the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Infographics as a Marketing Tool

Today's consumer requires instant gratification and has little patience.  The average attention span of the average Internet user is only eight seconds, that is one second shorter than a goldfish and four seconds shorter than it was in 2000 (Connor, 2015). When today’s consumers receive something, they want it the second or minute before it actually appeared on their screen or was given to them. How do today’s marketers standout in presenting information? Rather than reading line after line of boring text, why not something visual and entertaining? Something that clearly explains and compares information about a brand or a product. Why not an infographic?

Infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge that present information quickly and clearly. Infographics and advertising work together in a compelling way to interest readers by simplifying information of a complicated subject and giving the viewer a visually enjoyable experience. Infographics are one of the most effective strategies of a digital marketing campaign. An infographic should be visually engaging, contain a subject matter that is appealing to your target audience, and be supported by other engaging content across your website and social channels. Conversations among millennials via texting are mostly done in abbrevs (abbreviations) and emojis, expanding on the changes in the way we communicate today.

In conclusion, we are a very visual society. Infographics are an asset to marketers – they are more likely to be viewed or clicked on over an article, and also, an easier way for consumers to take-in and comprehend information. With that said, there is already too much text in this article, so check out the links referenced below and within the article for visually compelling infographics about infographics.


What is an Infographic? (2016). Customer Magnetism – Digital and Social Marketing. Retrieved from

Connor, M. (2015). The Vanishing Attention Span of Consumers.  Business 2 Community.  Retrieved from

Alexis Sergeant is an MBA student in the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. She can be reached at

Marketing is not just for businesses

Oftentimes we associate marketing with a company that sells a certain product or service; however, we also market ourselves (consciously and unconsciously). We need to become more aware of our actions and how others see us, which is not just helpful for a job interview, but it is also helpful for our everyday living. With the invention of social media in particular, we should be well aware of what we are posting and how it affects us. Everything we post affects our personal brand. Here are a few tips on marketing yourself on social media:

1.      Identify your target market

Identify how each social media site can be used for a different target market. For example, LinkedIn is mostly for professional networking.  This is not the place to post photos from your Christmas party.  Facebook tends to be a little more open, but at the same time, remember it is not as private as you think.  Nothing is wrong with posting pictures having fun but take a double look at the photos to ensure they are not sending another message.

2.      Be yourself

Consumers, employers, and peers can tell when you are being fake, especially if they know you personally and see you frequently. Make sure your posts are representative of who you are. You don’t want people to wonder if they can trust you.

3.      Utilize your best asset

Get to know yourself a bit more.  Find out what your best asset is (perhaps get advice from friends) and be sure to post accordingly so you are showing off that asset.  Of course this does not mean your nicely sculpted 6-pack, unless it is relevant for your business – a gym, for example.  What you put out there is what people will gravitate toward.

4.      Grammar is still important

When making posts on any social media site, remember to spell check and also grammar check.  You don’t want people to think you cannot communicate effectively. Most text editors come with some type of integrated language help.

5.      Set your privacy options

Some social media sites allow you to change your permissions.  For example, on Facebook you can choose who you want to see certain pictures or certain posts.  There is also a feature that allows you to approve photos you are tagged in before they get posted to your profile.  Even though you were out last night enjoying a drink with your friends, the photo you are tagged in might send a completely different message.

6.      Pay attention to other people’s privacy

Have a professional message that you can use when sending a friend invitation on a professional network such as LinkedIn. Don’t become a stalker if a person does not respond or fails to communicate with you. Respect their privacy and don’t share conversations or other content that might be sensitive.

7.      Be careful who you add

Add individuals you know or are familiar with.  If someone adds you and you do not know them, do some research on them, look at the mutual connections and ask your friends about them before you add them.  They could either be a great connection that could lead to opportunities or just someone fishing for personal information.

8.      Do not post too frequently

It is important to post content and update your profile, so that your network can get to know your personality; however do not overdo it.  Posting every 5 minutes can become very annoying, especially if the posts are similar. 

9.      Watch out for likes and comments

Be careful what you like and the type of comments that you make.  Remember those are seen by persons you do not know as well.  What you like and the types of comments you make says a lot about who you are as a person. It might also come back to haunt you at some point in the future.

10.  Know your social media sites

Not all sites are for you.  Select your choice of social media sites carefully.  Be in tune with what each type of site is used for, and ensure that your posts are within their guidelines.  This shows that you respect the site, yourself and also the people using it.

Nicolette Satchell is an MBA student in the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University. She can be reached at

How to Attract More Sales by Using the Inbound Marketing Funnel

How many times have we watched a video or read an article on the Internet about increasing sales by leveraging the Internet and social media to do so? How many times have we heard or read enticing ads about how to guide traffic to our website for more sales; yet it seemed like getting someone to tell us how was as evasive as the search for the Holy Grail? Well, here we discuss how to attract more sales by using a few techniques with virtually no investment – other than time.

First, it is important to understand what drives traffic to your site, how it occurs, and why. A very high percentage of people now use the Internet as a go-to when trying to solve a problem. Research refers to this as a pain point or driving need that motivates a person to find an answer or find someone who can direct them to the answer that will solve their problem (Barry, 2015; Brown, 2012). Once that person or company is located, the individual with the pain point begins reading the information posted on the Internet that will hopefully solve their problem. As the consumers find this person that understands their problem, they begin to follow that individual down a path to finally arrive at the right solution as guided by the person they now trust. So businesses can leverage this idea to increase traffic to their website and hopefully increase sales.

So how can you increase traffic to your website? Write a blog, much like the one you are reading now. It’s a conversation from friend to friend, basically; and written in everyday language. It is very useful for consumers, especially once they find the right post and person posting information that makes sense to them. Information consumers can trust might lead them to ask more questions and find answers that ultimately guide them to the purchase decision.

A consumer had a problem, then s/he searched for an answer, s/he found a blog that answered the initial question. S/he then went deeper to explore your options, then centered on a possible solution. From a general search and reading a blog about it, to asking more questions of the writer of the blog s/he arrived at a sound decision; s/he made the choice and the final purchase. That is the perfect conclusion to the inbound marketing funnel. The writer of the initial blog became the industry expert in your mind who helped direct you to the right answer. This is the way through which a simple blog post can become so beneficial for a business and so instrumental in leading to increased sales.

Write a blog and post it on your website if you have one, or on someone else’s if they let you. You can use social media as a vehicle to get your blog posted and to gain exposure. Not to mention the fact that Google and other search engines will rank your website much higher if you write a blog and update it often with great content.


Barry, J. (2015). Social content marketing for entrepreneurs. New York, NY: Business Expert Press.

Brown, N. (2012). Building an inbound marketing funnel: Part 1 – top of the funnel. Retrieved from


Dr. Bruce Campbell is a professor, lecturer, and consultant on the use of ecommerce by using today’s technology in innovative ways that promote close relationships while closing the transactional distance between buyers and sellers. He is currently an MBA student in Marketing in the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship. Dr. Campbell can be reached through email to answer further questions about this and other topics:

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