Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses with Gail Gardner @Growmap #VCBuzz

twchat-gailOur guest this week is special: She has been our member and advocate since day one and she has been my personal great friend for a s long as I can remember!

But first a couple of reminders:

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About Gail

Gail is one of those human beings who seems to be doing TOO MUCH. Gail is the founder of Growmap, the web resource that really helps small businesses to market themselves online.

Gail is social media marketing strategies at SocialImplications.com, marketing consultant and coach. Gail is also the moderator at @Threadwatchorg and an active member in a thousand of places.

Questions We Discussed

Q1 Gail, how did you get into web marketing? Was it hard to get started in the industry?

A neighbor was selling horse hotwalkers like hotcakes so I cornered him to find out how he was doing it. AdWords! For 5.5 years I did nothing but AdWords and other pay-per-click (ppc) for small businesses. 7 years ago I decided to stop doing AdWords to focus on how #Smallbiz could survive without Google. Tough challenge.

Q2 Out of curiosity, it’s hard to brand yourself without branding your headshot (think Google Authorship, for example). Also people are more willing to connect to people than logos. Why have you historically been using your logo as an avatar?

There are often many tiny images (remember the blog community widgets) with a sea of tiny faces and my Avatar stands out. Now that images are larger it isn’t as necessary, but when they were tiny it was more easily branded. If you do use a photo, do something in the background to make it bright and easier to find. Logos are far easier to brand. It makes it more obvious what I do. Businesses should use logos. Speaking of branding, choose colors wisely and use them consistently.

Q3 How to create a strategy for a small businesses? Where to start if you have a small self-financed budget?

Many jump onto social media without a plan. The first step is deciding what your goal is – probably selling something. Once you decide what the goal is, make a list of what kind of people buy your products or services. Find out what they are interested in and where they hang out. You want to be active where they ALREADY are! Research the most targeted, active communities. Choose the ones that fit you best and be CONSISTENTLY ACTIVE in them. Your goal is not to actively sell. Your goal is to make friends and socialize with those who are your target audience.

Few do the research I do for #smallbiz Find ALL the options FIRST and then choose wisely from among them.

Right @andynathan That is what confuses many. You don’t go in selling. You want to be so interesting people check out what you do.

You want to be active consistently; we can automate some things – but we must personally show up daily for a few minutes @hsaleem

Q4 Which communities and tools do you recommend for a small business owner to join when they start learning web marketing?

We need 2 different kinds of communities. First choose ONE place where you can interact with your peers. Then choose the top places where you can interact with your potential customers. You need mentors – but not too many. Find one and let them guide you through priorities to avoid shiny object syndrome. Your mentor will already know how to use the tools you need. It is far faster to learn one-on-one than trial-and-error.

You definitely need to be using Viral Content Buzz to drive traffic, but also to meet influencers quickly. Trello is one of my most valuable tools. I create many boards to do brand strategy. I’ll be doing more videos on that soon. Which communities will depend upon your niche and interests. But some are universally useful. For example, there is a great Entrepreneurs, Small Business Community on G+ everyone should join.

I would love to have people join our new membership site at socialimplications.com I will help you IMPLEMENT strategy. There is a shortcut to finding the communities and tools you need. Ask someone like me. I answer everyone. There are so many others we’ve known for 7 years now; can’t mention them all. Next month growmap.com will be 7 years old.

Q5 What’s your one best piece of advice to a small business owner starting to market the business online?

Get a mentor and listen to their advice. There is too much to learn hunting and pecking away. Mentors are not expensive. Some consultants charge, but much advice is available at no cost. Hasan @hsaleem and I launched the membership at socialimplications.com so EVERY #smallbiz can get advice from me. Risk $17 and find out. Together we can develop your strategy and you can get started the easy way! If you’re out there lurking or read this later, don’t be shy. Just go ahead and talk to me to find out what is possible.

Q6 Our traditional question: What’s your productivity secret? How do you manage to accomplish so much?

Trello is my secret to keeping track of everything and continually re-prioritizing. To be productive, first get organized. Then add one task until it is a habit. Then add another. ONE at a time. You can find out some of how I use Trello in my YouTube channel.

I’m going to be available on Live Chat so come by and ask about what we’ve discussed specific to YOUR #smallbiz

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