Small Business Marketing Kit For Dummies®, 3rd Edition

Visit to view this book's cheat sheet.

Table of Contents

About This Book
What You’re Not to Read
Foolish Assumptions
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: Getting Your Marketing Bearings
Part II: Laying the Foundation for Marketing Success
Part III: Marketing in a Screen-Connected World
Part IV: Getting the Word Out with Ads, Mailers, Promotions, and Publicity
Part V: Winning and Keeping Customers
Part VI: The Part of Tens
Icons Used in This Book
Where to Go from Here
Part I: Getting Your Marketing Bearings
Chapter 1: Framing the Marketing Process
Seeing the Big Picture
Following the marketing wheel of fortune
Understanding the relationship between marketing and sales
Jump-Starting Your Marketing Program
Marketing a start-up business
Growing your business
Scaling your marketing to meet your goal
How Small Business Marketing Is Different
Dollar differences
Staffing differences
Creative differences
Strategic differences
The small business marketing advantage
Making Marketing Your Key to Success
Chapter 2: All about Customers
Anatomy of a Customer
Collecting customer information
Geographics: Locating your market areas
Demographics: Collecting customer data
Psychographics: Customer buying behaviors
Determining Which Customers Buy What
Viewing your sales by market segment
Matching customers with distribution channels
Catering to screen-connected customers
Chapter 3: Seeing Your Product through Your Customers’ Eyes
Getting to Know Your Product
When service is your product
Your product is what Google says it is
Illogical, Irrational, and Real Reasons People Buy What You Sell
Buying Decisions: Rarely about Price, Always about Value
Calculating the value formula
Riding the price/value teeter-totter
Evaluating your pricing
Raising prices
Presenting prices
The Care and Feeding of a Product Line
Enhancing the appeal of existing products
Raising a healthy product
Developing new products
Managing your product offerings
Chapter 4: Sizing Up Competitors and Staking Out Market Share
Playing the Competitive Field
Speaking the language of competition
Knowing what you’re up against
Understanding how to compete
Winning Your Share of the Market
Defining your direct competition
Moving up the competitive ladder
Calculating Your Market Share
Sizing up your target market
Doing the math
Increasing Your Market Share
Chapter 5: Setting Your Goals, Objectives, Strategies, and Budgets
Where Are You Going, Anyway?
The “vision” thing
Your statement of purpose
Success stories
Defining Goals and Objectives Simply
Setting goals and objectives
Planning strategies
Putting goals, objectives, and strategies into action
Following the fail-safe planning sequence
Budgeting to Reach Your Goals
Realistic talk about small business marketing budgets
How much should you be spending?
Part II: Laying the Foundation for Marketing Success
Chapter 6: Taking Stock of Your Business Image
Making First Impressions
Encountering your business through online searches
Arriving at your website
Managing e-mail impressions
Arriving by telephone
Approaching your business in person
Auditing the Impressions Your Business Makes
Surveying your marketing materials and communications
Creating an impression inventory
Improving the impressions you’re making
Chapter 7: Forging Your Brand
What Brands Are and Do
Unlocking the power and value of a brand
Tipping the balance online
Building a Powerful Brand
Being consistent to power your brand
Taking six brand-management steps
Your Market Position: The Birthplace of Your Brand
Seeing how positioning happens
Determining your positioning strategy
Conveying Your Position and Brand through Taglines
Balancing Personal and Business Brands
Maintaining and Protecting Your Brand
Staying consistent with your brand message and creative strategy
Controlling your brand presentation
Chapter 8: Creating Marketing Communications That Work
Starting with Good Objectives
Defining what you want to accomplish
Putting creative directions in writing
Developing Effective Marketing Communications
Steering the creative process toward a “big idea”
Following simple advertising rules
Making Media Selections
Selecting from the media menu
Deciding which media vehicles to use and when
The Making of a Mass Media Schedule
Balancing reach and frequency
Timing your ads
Evaluating Your Efforts
Chapter 9: Hiring Help When You Need It
Reaching Out to Marketing Pros
When to bring in marketing experts
Who to call for help
What kind of expertise to hire
Choosing and Working with an Agency
Requesting agency proposals
Interviewing agencies
Preparing the client-agency agreement
Understanding agency fees
Working with your agency
Hiring Help for Website Creation
Looking for help
Getting clear about your needs
Interviewing website designers
Finalizing your choice
Handing off the content
Part III: Marketing in a Screen-Connected World
Chapter 10: Establishing an Online Presence
Pulling People to Your Business Online
Setting Your Goals for Online Visibility
Claiming Your Online Identity
Registering for a domain name
Reserving your social media user name
Establishing Your Online Home Base
Website basics
Contact sites
Brochure sites
Support sites
Lead-generating sites
Mobile websites
E-commerce sites
Building Your Site
Cracking the site-building code
Incorporating attributes of a good site
Optimizing your site for search engines
Evaluating the strength of your site
Promoting your site
Advertising Online
Banner ads
Pay per click (PPC) ads
Chapter 11: Getting Interactive with Social Media
Benefiting from Social Media Activity
Getting Started in Four Necessary Steps
1. Define your objectives
2. Choose the name you’ll use across all social media networks
3. Develop your social media introduction
4. Set up an online home base
Diving into Social Media
Location-based and check-in sites
Rating and review sites
Announcing Your Social Media Debut
Keeping Your Social Media Efforts Active and Engaging
Sharing content
Becoming a content conduit
Getting conversational
Keeping an Eye on How You’re Doing
Monitoring your social media mentions
Measuring your social media effectiveness
Chapter 12: Packaging Your Message for Blogs and Other Online Channels
Joining the 200-Million Blog Contingent
Who blogs?
Why blog?
Launching a Blog
Getting started
Committing to a blog
Crafting your blog-post approach
Using blog posts as the backbone of your online content-distribution strategy
Adding video to blog posts
Cross-Promoting Off-line and Online Content
Turning news into content
Giving long life to presentations
Part IV: Getting the Word Out with Ads, Mailers, Promotions, and Publicity
Chapter 13: Creating and Placing Print and Outdoor Ads
Writing and Designing Your Ads
Packing power into headlines
Writing convincing copy
Making design decisions
Translating ad production terminology
Making Sense of Print Media Rates
Placing Newspaper Ads
Scheduling your placements
Using small-budget, small-size ads
Requesting your ad placement
Finding value in the classified section
Placing Magazine Ads
Selecting magazines
Scheduling placements
Considering Yellow Pages, Directories, and Their Digital Alternatives
Creating and placing print directory ads
Getting found in online directories
Using Billboards and Out-of-Home Ads
Chapter 14: Broadcasting Your Message on Radio, TV, and Online
A Guide to Buying Airtime
Knowing some station and ad-buying terminology
Achieving broadcast reach, frequency, and rating points
Bartering for airtime
Broadcast Ad Guidelines
Establishing your own broadcast identity
Writing your ad
Turning your script over to the producers
Producing Radio Ads
Producing TV Ads
Hiring professionals
Airing preproduced manufacturer ads
Considering Infomercials
Logging In to Webinars
Chapter 15: Snail-Mailing and E-Mailing Your Customers Directly
Using One-to-One Marketing
Direct Sales: Do-It-Yourself Distribution
Marketing with Direct Mailers
Setting up for success with direct mail
Deciding between e-mail and “going postal”
Making your offer
Personalizing your mailer
Putting Surface Direct Mail to Work
Developing a great list
Creating your mailer
Sending your mailers
Following up
Keeping your list current
Knowing the difference between direct mail and junk mail
E-mail Marketing
Keeping your e-mail legal and welcome
Rating your e-mail marketing
Sending e-mail that gets read and gets results
Chapter 16: Brochures, Promotions, Trade Shows, and More
Publishing Brochures
Differentiating types of brochures
Designing and printing brochures
Getting brochures into the marketplace
Making the Most of Newsletters
Planning your newsletters
Packing newsletters with useful content
Producing and circulating e-newsletters
Finding Marketing Opportunities throughout Your Business
Turning your packages into ad vehicles
Building business with gift certificates
Getting good use out of business cards
Making the most of advertising specialties
Choosing and Using Trade Shows
Building Sales through Promotions
Chapter 17: Public Relations and Publicity
The Relationship between Public Relations and Publicity
Taking a wide-angle view of public relations
Focusing on publicity
Becoming a News Source
Creating a media kit and online media center
Establishing and maintaining an all-important list of media contacts
Getting real with publicity expectations
Spreading Your News
Preparing news releases
Managing media interviews
Staging news conferences — or not
Crisis Communications: Dealing with Bad News
Part V: Winning and Keeping Customers
Chapter 18: Making Impressions through Networking and Presentations
Building a Far-Reaching Network
Making Introductions
Introducing yourself
Introducing your business
Polishing Your Presentation
Stepping up to the microphone
Presenting your proposal or product
Chapter 19: Making the Sale
Turning Prospects into Customers
Navigating the Sale Process
Selling redefined
Getting off to a good start
Negotiating mutually agreeable solutions
Watching for buying signals
Asking for the order
Making buying easy
Chapter 20: Enhancing Customer Service and Developing Loyalty
What Customers Want
The Fundamentals of Customer Service
Mastering the service cycle
Evaluating and improving service levels
Cultivating “best customers”
Creating a customer service environment
Dealing with Concerns and Complaints
Understanding why customers don’t complain
Encouraging complaints
Reading customer clues to dissatisfaction
Turning complaints into loyalty springboards
Making Loyal Customers for Life
Valuing your customers
Benchmarking satisfaction levels and cultivating loyalty
Closing the quality gap
Building loyalty through service
Part VI: The Part of Tens
Chapter 21: Ten Questions to Answer before Choosing a Business Name
What Kind of Name Do You Want?
Is the Name You Want Available?
Is It Easy to Spell?
Is It Easy to Say?
Is It Original in Your Market Area?
Is It Unconventional?
Does It Work in Markets Far and Wide?
Is It Memorable?
Can You Live and Grow with This Name?
Are You Ready to Commit to the Name?
Chapter 22: Ten Ways to Attract People to Your Business Online
Commit to Becoming Findable Online
Set a Goal for Your Online Activity
Decide on Your Online Identity
Establish Your Online Introduction
Stake an Online Home Base
Build an Online Media Center
Get Active Across Social Media
Develop a Content-Sharing Program
Monitor Your Online Reputation
Get and Stay Active Online
Chapter 23: Ten Steps to a Great Marketing Plan
Step 1: State Your Business Purpose
Step 2: Analyze Your Market Situation
Step 3: Set Goals and Objectives
Step 4: Define Your Market
Step 5: Advance Your Position, Brand, and Creative Strategy
Step 6: Set Your Marketing Strategies
Step 7: Outline Your Tactics
Step 8: Establish Your Budget
Step 9: Blueprint Your Action Plan
Step 10: Think Long Term
One Final Step: Use Your Plan
Appendix: About the CD
Cheat Sheet
Download CD/DVD Content

Small Business Marketing Kit For Dummies®, 3rd Edition



About the Author

Barbara Findlay Schenck helps business leaders start, grow, market, brand, and, when they’re ready, sell their companies.

She’s worked internationally as a community development Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia. She’s served as a college administrator and writing instructor in Hawaii. And she started and sold an advertising agency in Oregon, which she co-founded with her husband, business partner, and the collaborator on this book, marketing strategist Peter V. Schenck.

She has worked with hundreds of businesses and shares what she’s learned in a shelf-full of business books that include the book you’re holding (including its first and second editions), Branding For Dummies, Selling Your Business For Dummies, and Business Plans Kit For Dummies (now in its 3rd edition), all published by Wiley.

Barbara is a marketing strategist and small business advocate who contributes to a number of news sites and is called upon for presentations and advice by a long list of businesses and business groups.

For more information on Barbara’s background, books, and business advice, visit her website at You can also follow her on and at

Author’s Acknowledgments

Thank you to every business owner, marketer, and strategist I’ve ever had the honor of working with. We are living in an age of collaboration, and only because you shared your issues and insights was I able to discover the solutions and advice shared in this book.

Thank you to Microsoft, MSN, and For years I’ve had the pleasure of writing marketing lessons and articles for your incredible small business resource programs. Because of you I’ve collected a good many of the examples shared in this book, and I’ve connected with many of the experts who shared their talent in the book’s sidebars and how-to sections.

Thank you to the experts featured throughout this book. In the order their advice appears: Jim Bonfield of CustomerLink; Sohrab Vossoughi of Ziba Design; Janine Warner of DigitalFamily; Liz Goodgold of Red Fire Branding; Eric Swartz of Tagline Guru; the marketing software geniuses at HubSpot; Annette Tonti and Rich Kolman of MoFuse; the site-creation pros at Weebly and WordPress; Viveka von Rosen of Linked Into Business; Michael Katz of Blue Penguin Development; Joshua Waldman of Career Enlightenment; Antonio Neves of THINQACTION; Ron J. Williams of SnapGoods and Knodes; the e-commerce solution providers at 3dcart; and Jeanne Bliss of CustomerBliss. Also thanks to the long list of authors whose books I love to cite and recommend, headed by Paco Underhill’s Why We Buy (Simon & Schuster) and Scott Berkun’s Confessions of a Public Speaker (O’Reilly Media).

Thank you, Facebook and Twitter. You have opened doors, enabled conversations, and kindled business relationships that simply would not have been possible a decade ago.

Thank you, Wiley. You manage to make each publishing experience yet more enjoyable. This time, heartfelt kudos go to executive editor Lindsay Lefevere, project editor Elizabeth Rea, copy editor Todd Lothery, tech reviewer Lorraine Ball, digital team leader Laura Moss-Hollister, and publicist Adrienne Fontaine. Calling this an amazing team is an understatement.

Thank you, Peter V. Schenck. Your research, reporting, editing, and inspiration merits a byline on the cover. This book wouldn’t exist without your talent.

Thank you to my family, starting with Peter, my husband, business partner, and the person who improves every writing and business project we undertake; and Matthew, our son, who opens doors to new media, new business opportunities, and new ways of looking at strategy — and success. And finally, thanks to those who have been with me longest: My late dad, Walt; my dear mom, Julie; and my sisters, Carole, Mary Lynn, and Pam.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments at For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Vertical Websites

Project Editor: Elizabeth Rea

Executive Editor: Lindsay Sandman Lefevere

Copy Editor: Todd Lothery

Assistant Editor: David Lutton

Editorial Program Coordinator: Joe Niesen

Technical Editor: Lorraine Ball

Vertical Websites: Laura Moss-Hollister, Doug Kuhn, Shawn Patrick

Editorial Manager: Michelle Hacker

Editorial Assistant: Alexa Koschier

Cover Photos: ©

Cartoons: Rich Tennant (

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Sheree Montgomery

Layout and Graphics: Carl Byers, Christin Swinford

Proofreader: Melanie Hoffman

Indexer: Sherry Massey

Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies

Kathleen Nebenhaus, Vice President and Executive Publisher

Kristin Ferguson-Wagstaffe, Product Development Director

Ensley Eikenburg, Associate Publisher, Travel

Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel

Publishing for Technology Dummies

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher

Composition Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services


Marketing is the process through which you win and keep customers. That fact was true long before my first book, Small Business Marketing For Dummies, was first published in 2001, and it remains true as this updated and expanded version, Small Business Marketing Kit For Dummies, 3rd Edition, goes to press.

But while the definition of marketing is cast in concrete, everything about how businesses market has changed.

A growing number of customers now meet businesses online long before they venture through their doors. Increasingly, they form opinions based not on marketer-produced messages but on what others — or what Google — tell them about a product or business. They read online reviews more carefully than they read business brochures. And they’re not hesitant to share their love or lack thereof for the companies and products they encounter, passing on their opinions not just to those within earshot but to any of the 2 billion-plus Internet users worldwide who come across their posts.

Welcome to marketing in today’s screen-connected, customer-empowered world.

And welcome to Small Business Marketing Kit For Dummies, 3rd Edition, which has been updated on every page to prepare your small business to succeed in the exciting, fast-changing marketing world around you. From updated techniques for using traditional advertising and communication approaches to all-new advice for shifting marketing emphasis toward digital communications, count on the upcoming 350-plus pages — and the more than 40 forms, worksheets, and checklists on the CD-ROM — to prepare you for better marketing in the following ways:

check.png New coverage of how to use the Internet and social media networks as your most-essential guerrilla-marketing tools.

check.png Revamped instructions for generating publicity in today’s wired, linked, and blogged world.

check.png Step-by-step advice for shifting from one-way to two-way marketing communications that inspire customer interactions and loyalty in today’s connected and competitive marketplace.

check.png Updated advice and examples throughout, including the newest tips for generating product innovations, marketing communications, and consumer trials, sales, and loyalty.

check.png Expanded advice on business branding and personal branding, and how to balance the two for the health and value of your business.

Whether you’re marketing on Main Street or online, whether your company is a growing enterprise or a one-person shop, whether your business is starting up, making a U-turn, or growing beyond your wildest expectations, this book aims to serve as your marketing partner as you plan and implement a program to reach out to the customers who will help you write your success story.

About This Book

Small Business Marketing Kit For Dummies, 3rd Edition, is especially for businesses that operate without the benefit — or the expense — of a high-powered marketing vice president, an award-winning ad agency, or even a staff person dedicated full-time to the task of managing the marketing program.

Every example in this kit is directed at the businessperson who wears all the hats and markets in whatever time remains. If that person sounds a lot like you, keep reading!

You have a business to run, customers to serve, product issues to address, and a lineup of deadlines and decisions looming. You also have questions about how and how much you should be marketing, whether you need to be active online, and how to best invest your time and dollars to draw customers to your cash register. If you fit the small business mold, you’re strapped for time and need quick answers, rapid-fire advice, and street-smart solutions that you can put to work immediately. This book gives you all that and more.

What You’re Not to Read

If you’re pressed for time (and almost certainly, you are), skip over the chapters that don’t affect your business or wait to read them when you’re ready to tackle the topics they cover. For example, if you’re a do-it-yourself marketer, skip over how to hire professional marketing help in Chapter 9. If you never place paid ads, skip over Chapters 13 and 14.

Also, you can scan through each chapter until you reach the headlines that address the issues you’re tackling. And you can skim through the bulleted lists and get the gist of the advice they detail before deciding whether to read the steps carefully.

Usually I tell readers of my books that they can also skip the gray-shaded sidebars that complement the text in each chapter. In this book, though, those sidebars include amazing advice from seasoned and successful marketing pros, so at least glance over them on your way toward the information you need.

Foolish Assumptions

I never introduce a For Dummies book without reminding readers that anyone smart enough to turn to one of these yellow-and-black books is no fool. Here are a few other assumptions I make about you:

check.png You market a small business or organization, likely with a tight budget and with a marketing staff made up of just you, or you and only a few others.

check.png You’re baffled by the new marketing options you hear about every day and aren’t sure how to proceed and which approaches — from traditional advertising to online and social media communications — to use.

check.png You’re aiming for greater business success and aren’t sure what marketing path to follow.

How This Book Is Organized

Each of the six parts of this book tackles a different aspect of your marketing program, and the book’s CD-ROM provides templates, forms, and checklists to support the book’s advice. (If you’re reading this in an electronic format, go to for access to the additional content.) Here’s how the information is organized.

Part I: Getting Your Marketing Bearings

Part I begins with a plain-language marketing overview that strips away the mystery, gives you the background you need, and puts you in position to rev up your business and jump-start your marketing program. Subsequent chapters help you analyze and define your customers, your product, and your competitors. A final chapter leads you through the essential steps of setting your marketing goals, objectives, strategies, and budgets. In short, Part I helps you shape your business’s future.

Part II: Laying the Foundation for Marketing Success

This part helps you uncover gaps that may exist between what people believe about your business and what you think they believe. Then it looks at what you’ve been saying (or not saying) to lead to misperceptions. With all that in mind, this part steers you through the process of defining your business position and brand, including explanations of what those terms mean. Finally, it offers advice on how to create marketing communications and how and when to bring in professionals to help you implement your marketing program.

Part III: Marketing in a Screen-Connected World

Your customers are online, and they expect your business to be online, too. They also expect to find good words about your business when they search for you online. And they expect to be able to interact with your business from the comfort of their keyboards or mobile devices. Use the three chapters in this part to get clear about the hottest topics in marketing today: how to establish and expand your web presence, how to leverage blogs for business success, and how to use social media to pull customers to your business.

Part IV: Getting the Word Out with Ads, Mailers, Promotions, and Publicity

Part IV is packed with information on what’s currently referred to as traditional marketing tactics — though with an all-new perspective thanks to new technology, new approaches, and new examples that are featured on every page.

This part starts with a tour of the world of advertising, complete with a quick-reference guide to mass media, a glossary of advertising jargon, how-to’s for creating print and broadcast ads that work, and step-by-step instructions for planning and buying ad space and time. You also find out about direct mail, whether sent electronically or by surface delivery, as well as brochures, promotions, and trade shows. And finally, a chapter on publicity and public relations helps you place stories and manage news about your business to achieve mentions and visibility in online and traditional media outlets.

Part V: Winning and Keeping Customers

A widely cited study by the U.S. Department of Commerce found that getting a new customer takes five times more effort than keeping one. This part gives you priceless tips on how to do both. It begins with a chapter full of advice for networking and introducing yourself and your business before heading into a chapter on how to capture the interest of prospects and turn them into customers through good sales techniques. Then it moves to the most important topic of all: developing customer loyalty by making customer service a cornerstone of your business.

Part VI: The Part of Tens

Chapter 21 leads you through the ten most important questions to ask and answer before naming or renaming your business or one of its products. Chapter 22 offers you a ten-step overview of how — and why — to get active online. Finally, Chapter 23 brings it all together by outlining the ten steps to follow as you build your own easy-to-assemble marketing plan. This part also includes an appendix to help you use the CD-ROM so that you get the most of the “kit” aspect of this book.

Icons Used in This Book

Marketing is full of logos, seals of approval, and official stamps. In keeping with tradition, throughout the margins of this book you’ll find symbols that spotlight important points, shortcuts, and warnings. Watch for these icons:

remember.eps This icon highlights the golden rules for small business marketing. Write them down, memorize them, and use them to guide your marketing decisions and actions.

example_smallbus.eps Remember the line, “Don’t tell me, show me”? This icon pops up alongside examples that show you how an idea applies in real-life marketing practices.

warning_bomb.eps Not every idea is a good idea. This icon alerts you to situations that deserve your cautious evaluation. Consider it a flashing yellow light.

tip.eps The bull’s-eye marks text that helps you stretch budgets, shortcut processes, make confusing steps easy, and seize low-cost, low-effort marketing opportunities.

technicalstuff.eps It’s not all Greek, but marketing certainly has its own jargon. When things get a little technical, this icon appears to help you through the translation.

checkitout_antique.eps This icon lets you know that there’s a form, checklist, worksheet, or resource on the CD-ROM that will help you complete a step in the marketing process. If you’re reading this in an electronic format, go to for access to the additional content.

Where to Go from Here

The role of marketing is to win and keep enough highly satisfied customers to keep your business not just in business but on an upward curve — and that’s what this book is all about.

Hit the table of contents or index and you can dart straight to the pages that hold the advice you need right now.

Or become the marketing genius for your business by reading this book from cover to cover. It walks you through the full marketing process and helps you tailor your marketing program, create your marketing messages, and produce marketing communications that work.

For the price of this book, you can get what big businesses pay big dollars for: a self-tailored marketing “consultation.” Every chapter includes the latest facts and advice, and most also include how-to information from a lineup of amazing and successful experts who were generous enough to share their best tips in the pages of this book. We all wish you marketing success!

Part I

Getting Your Marketing Bearings


In this part . . .

Whether you’re running a do-it-yourself sole proprietorship, a family business, a professional practice, a retail establishment, a web-based enterprise, a nonprofit organization, or a multimillion-dollar corporation, Part I helps you focus on the plain-and-simple marketing truths behind business success.

The chapters in this part give you your marketing bearings. They offer clear-cut definitions and get you going on your own fact-finding marketing mission, helping you analyze your customers, your products, and your competition before setting goals and objectives that will shape your business future.

If you’re in business, you’re a marketer. This part introduces you to your job!