How small businesses can shortcut their marketing

Your neighbours are probably using their phones to search for what you sell right now

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I had an old-fashioned business — the pre-Internet kind.

It was way worse for sure, especially with regards to marketing.

Marketing used to be so much more difficult, and expensive. And it was a much bigger crapshoot.

Place an expensive ad in the newspaper and hope the phone rings. Put an ad on the radio and hope someone hears it.

That’s a lot of hoping.

These days, marketing is better, faster, easier, more efficient and more cost-effective. I wish I had the technology I list below back then, but at least I do now.

I don’t have a favourite, but here are my top tech marketing tools:

1. Content marketing

People love online content. Look, you are reading some right now!

There are lots of ways to do content marketing, but here are three steps that make it easy and simple:

  1. Create compelling content that you think people will like regarding your product or service. If you own a pool and spa store, then an article on something like, “5 Spa Myths Exposed!” might do the trick.

  2. Place a link to the page on your site, or to your social media, where people can find one of the items being mentioned in the piece.

  3. Get the content out there: Put it in your e-newsletter, in your blog, on your social media like Business Tips for Instagram which would help business to boost their sales and get people to share it.

The good news is that these days, content need not be perfect to be effective. You don’t have to be John Irving or Steven Spielberg.

Be clever, have fun with it, and link it to your site. That’s the key.

2. Pay-per-click (PPC)

When people do a search using Google or Bing, what do they see?

Sure they see the “organic” search results to their query. But they also see those little classified ads.

The beauty of PPC is that, while your site may not rank high organically, you can still get a Page 1 ranking by buying one of those ads.

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Even better — you don’t pay for the ad until someone sees it, likes it, clicks on it, and goes to your site. Hence, pay-per-click.

Like I said, things are so much better now.

3. Video marketing

Did you watch an online video today? If you are like most of us, you did.

Videos are hot, and as a small business marketer, it is your job to put your business where the eyeballs are; if they are watching videos, then that is where you need to be too.

Creating a clever video about your product and posting it on your homepage, or sharing it via your social, is sure to get you traffic.

4. Retargeting

According to, “For most websites, only 2 per cent of web traffic converts on the first visit. Retargeting is a tool designed to help companies reach 98 per cent of users who don’t convert right away.”

How does it do this?

Let’s use an example: say you go to a website and see a pair of cool sunglasses you like, but you don’t buy them. Ever notice that ads for those sunglasses seem to show up for a while wherever you seem to surf? That’s retargeting.

5. E-newsletters

Boring, basic ‘ol e-newsletters are great in two ways:

  1. They are permission-based marketing. People give you permission to market to them. Amazing.

  2. Consider advertising in someone else’s e-newsletter. It is sure to be affordable, and also sure to put you in front of a very specific audience.

6. Mobile

Did you know that half of all searches are now done on mobile devices, and beyond that — most of those searches have local intent?

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There are people right now in your neighbourhood using their phones to search for what you sell.

By mobile-optimising your site and checking out mobile marketing options, you will be putting your business in the sweet spot of search.


I get a lot of books sent to me from publishers and PR agents.

Most are very good, but very few really jump out.
Except for this one.

I highly recommend Pivot: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Life by Adam Markel.

Markel is an attorney who transformed his own life and now runs a training company called Peak Potentials. The classes Peak offers can help you with everything from your career, to business issues, to money challenges, to health breakthroughs.

I know from personal experience as I took one of these classes recently and found it to be very powerful.

Using real-life stories, prompts, proven techniques, and step-by-step exercises, Markel’s book is a great guide to personal and career transformation.

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