What is Your Marketing Style?

Small Business Marketing StyleAre you aware of the marketing style that you use in promoting your small business?   Developing a consistent and congruent marketing style is one aspect of effective business branding.

This point was brought home to me by Nancy Marmolejo, a visibility expert, who teaches small business owners to “step into the spotlignht”  by understanding and developing their preferred marketing style.  She suggests that if you use trial and error to develop your style it will cost you time, money and effectiveness.   Your marketing style is what you use to persuade people to take action (basically, your influencing style)

In a recent webinar, Nancy identified three basic marketing styles:

1.  Practical Engineer

The core theme of this style is “follow my instructions”.  The Practical Engineer is methodical and uses facts, figures and logic to influence people to buy their products and services.  They are the ones who will give you the “numbers” as proof, focus on the outcomes and spell out the steps to get there.   In a managerial context, these people are described as the “assertive persuaders”.  Nancy highlighted Tanya Smith as a person who was able to dramatically grow her busines by getting in touch with her own  preferred influencing style, the Practical Engineer:


2.  Trusted Advisor

People who use the “Trusted Advisor” marketing style typically do not like to sell – their focus is on being connected, developing relationships and demonstrating authenticity.  They are able to persuade through their reputation, knowledge, credibility and the relationships they develop.   The trusted advisor will be the person who is non-competitive and who gives endless free information.  They build trust easily and are typically warm-hearted and nurturing in their approach.  However, the downside in terms of developing their small business is that they find it hard to ask for the sale and are very indirect in their approach to marketing.  The danger for the trusted advisor is that they can be generous “to a fault”.   In a managerial context, they are equated to people who use the “participation and trust” style of influencing.   Nancy identied Cathy Jennings as an exemplar of the Trusted Advisor marketing style:


3.  Brand Evangelist

The message of the “Brand Evangelist” marketing style is “follow me”.  They are the visionaries who help people see the future, to envisage possibilities.   They tend to be charismatic and propose that their way will work for everybody.   The downside is that other people may be wired very differently – we are not all the same.  For example, there are many different learning styles and people differ in relation to these learning styles.   In a mangerial context, the Brand Evangelist  is described as a person who uses the “Common Vision” approach.  Nancy identified Allison Rapp as an exemplar of the Brand Evangelist marketing style:


While Nancy Marmolejo’s “Spotlight U” approach is particularly useful for those who own consulting or coaching businesses, it has relevance across the whole spectrum of small business.  In her own coaching, she helps small business owners to get in touch with their preferred marketing style, to understand the “shadow” or inherent weaknesses of their style and to develop marketing activities consistent with their preferred style. 

 Nancy has many testimonials where people report that her coaching program enabled them to really get in touch with who they are and how they like to operate.  Participants felt relieved that they did not have to be “everything to everybody” – they could really be themselves, play to their strengths and attract the kind of people they want to work with.   Where your marketing style lines up with who you are, everything becomes a lot easier – you are not pushing against natural forces. 

Having heard the testimonials and seen Nancy’s passion for what she does (in her typical Brand Evangelist style), I feel comfortable in recommending her coaching program.


I’ve found that I have used different marketing styles in different arenas.  Typically, I have only drawn on two marketing styles – Trusted Advisor and Brand Evangelist.  These two styles are related and are quite different in orientation to the Practical Engineer style. 

When I was President of ALARA (Action Learning and Action Research Association), my goal was to develop a global, not-for-profit organisation that would establish a strategic network of people who shared a common vision about improving equity and justice in the world.   So I adopted a “Brand Evangelist” approach and spent a lot of time influencing people to use these intervention modalities to improve their local situation (whether in schools, organisations or communities).

When I started to focus on building expertise in social media and small business marketing, I adopted very much the Trusted Advisor marketing style.  I built up my reputation and credibility online by developing and sharing expertise and building lots of relationships.  This approach was reflected this year in the joint development, with friends in the US and Germany, of a social network for online writers, Wizzley.com.

In marketing my own Human Resource Consultancy business, I have adopted a Trusted Advisor marketing style.

RedGage: Social Bookmarking with a Difference

RedGage Social Bookmarking


Social Bookmarking is designed to create online bookmarks that store information about your small business.

Sites that provide social bookmarking often have a high Page Rank with Google so information bookmarked on these sites can provide quality backlinks to your own small business website/blog.  This, in turn, increases the value of your own site in the “eyes” of Google.

RedGage is a social bookmarking site with a difference:

  • it combines social bookmarking with social networking
  • enables you to earn a (small) income just from sharing your content
  • provides bookmarking for images, photos, videos, blog posts, and other web content
  • provides a blogging platform to enable you to add blog posts on site

When you share your content on RedGage, you can build links to your own online content so that you generate traffic from within RedGage and via Google’s search results.

As with other social networking sites, RedGage provides a “profile” panel where you can add information about yourself and create links to your website/blog.

You could feature your small business products/services through RedGage by way of images, videos, links and by creating blog posts on the site.  The blogging platform is really an excellent addition and underutilized by most RedGage members.  It has all the edit features you would want and enables you to embed images and videos.

The RedGage community is very supportive and appreciates quality images and uploads.  Like other social networking sites, you gain visibility by commenting constructively on other people’s content and by regularly adding your own content.

For more information on RedGage and its marketing potential, visit my Squidoo lenses:

RedGage can be a valuable addition to your social bookmarking and an integral part of your social media marketing.

Social Media: Where Are Your Customers Conversing?

Yosemite Valley


With the growth of social media, small business owners face new challenges in terms of locating their clients/customers.  Added to this is the fact that recent estimates show that 80% of people who have access to the Internet start their search via the Web, not via printed media (e.g. Yellow Pages or newspapers).

One of the key learnings for me in small business marketing was to learn to focus on my customers/clients.  This meant getting to know their demographic, their interests and needs and what appeals emotionally to them.

Now that social media has expanded rapidly, the nature of “word-of- mouth” recommendation has changed drastically also.  Are your products being recommended by others on Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Squidoo or LinkedIn?

One of the keys to small business marketing online is getting to know where your customers are carrying on their conversations and joining them there.  For instance, since one of our client groups is professional public sector managers, we have found that they can be reached via LinkedIn.  The secret is to “get in front of the online conversation”.

One way to do this is to join social media sites and monitor what is going on in relation to your niche.  Another way is to use Google Alerts (via your Google account) to check on what is happening in relation to your niche and your business (name).   This will pick up who is saying “what” about you and your niche and where this is being said.   This is an aspect of reputation management as well as direct small business marketing online.

With your customers/clients spending so much time on social media, can you afford to ignore it?

Photo Source: http://www.pixabay.com



To learn to master social media, check out my Social Media Marketing Training:


Turn Photos into Video to Promote Your Small Business


One of the easiest ways to market your small business is to turn your photos into video.  You must have lots of photos lying around that you can use for this purpose.  However, if you want to make the most of this highly effective marketing option, you can be more deliberate about what photos you take and the videos you create.

The program I have used over the last few years for turning photos into video is called Animoto which is an online service that is spectacularly easy to use.

Animoto uses the very latest in cinematography to produce stunning videos that you can upload to your blog/website, YouTube or any other video hosting site.   You can use the video to promote your small business and/or your services and products.  The online program uses state-of-the-art cinematography to create a video from images, video clips and music.  So you end up with an animated musical video created from your photos.

The steps are quite simple to turn photos into video:

  1. upload images to Animoto
  2. identify the two or three images you want to highlight
  3. decide what music track you want (yours or theirs)
  4. press “create video”
  5. upload video to your computer and/or YouTube (press a button)
  6. press remix as often as you like to make alternative videos
  7. admire your handywork.


You can adopt a number of strategies for your small business video marketing.

1. Create an eye-catching video from your photos:

This is illustrated by the rainforest video at the end of this paragraph.  Here you are simply creating an attractive video that people like to watch (e.g. some holiday snaps).  Your aim is to redirect the traffic from the video site (e.g. YouTube, Facebook or Flickr) to your website or blog.  The rainforest video has attracted nearly 3,000 views on YouTube (and many more elsewhere).  A number of people have placed the video on their own websites as well:


2. Produce a video about your small business and your staff

Animoto is great for this because you can add text to the video that you create from your photos.  You can also splice in 30 second videos created elsewhere.  Here’s an illustration of what I have created to promote our own business, Merit Solutions Australia:


3. Promote your local area

There are stats that show most small businesses generate up to 80% of their business from their local area.  So a video highlighting your town or city can attract the attention of residents as well as potential tourists.  You are then able to reinforce the fact that your business is local.  The following video was taken during a holiday but it could be used to promote your local business if you lived in the beachside town of Mooloolaba:


Animoto offers both free and paid versions of their program.  The free version allows you to create as many 30 second videos as you want (for non-commercial use).  A very cheap option allows you make as many non-commercial videos as you want of any length (you are not restricted to 30 seconds).  The paid or business option includes unlimited videos of any length as well as the production of high definition versions of your videos.

This can be an exciting area of small business marketing because you can combine your love of photography with promoting your business.  I frequently take photos on my holidays and business trips to use in videos that I create to promote my small business.   Animoto opens up a whole creative world and makes it easy for you to turn photos into video.

Are Your Listings in Local Business Directories Accurate?

I was checking the search results for my business name, Merit Solutions Australia, in Google and was surprised with the results from local business directories.

A lot of the entries in the first two pages of Google results were listings from local business directories.

These directories create business listings (much like Google and Facebook have done recently) by scraping content from the Internet.  The only problem with the local business directories, as I found, is that a lot of the information is incorrect (because it is out of date).

So I noticed that while local business directories had eight (8) of the listings in the first two pages of Google results, most of them had inaccurate information – wrong address, phone numbers or business categories.

So I set about correcting these entries.  Most of the listings are free, so all you need to do is go to the site and claim your listing and update it.  Some allow you to add your logo and images, so it is well worth the effort to get accurate and comprehensive information about your business on the first two pages of Google results for searches on your business name.

Some of the local business directories also offer “premium” or paid listings – but you need to evaluate these offers in the light of the ranking of the site, the potential additional traffic and the added value in terms of potential increased sales.

An added benefit of listings in local business directories is that these sites often have high page rank – in other words, Google values their content and gives them high ranking in search results.  This means that your listings create quality backlinks to your site and thus add value to your own website/blog. One of the key local directories is hotfrog.com which has a Page Rank of 6 and is ranked (in terms of traffic) in the top 6,000 sites in the world.

So whatever you do, make sure your listings in local business directories are accurate.