Monday, March 07, 2005

Small Business Trends

As you might expect, Jay's blog is very good at providing marketing tips and advice to small businesses. Even compared with other marketing blogs it is especially useful. It is written in a clear and succinct style. All the information packs a punch.This blog excels, however, in the way it is being used by Jay as a two-way vehicle. This is where a blog leaves a traditional website in the dust. A traditional website is a one-way conversation. Rarely if ever do you get a chance to receive input from a site visitor, other than perhaps taking an eCommerce order or a newsletter subscription. In fact, many traditional websites actually discourage communication and interaction, by making it hard to find contact information. Not so with a blog. And Jay has figured that out. Jay uses his blog to expand his knowledge base, to get fresh ideas and thinking from others. He tells me that one recent post, "Marketing a big ticket item," had just such an effect:"After making the post, I heard from other experts in this area who added their comments to my post. Many of their points were good ones ... and ones I never would have thought of. As a result I came away from the exercise with more valuable information that I could end up using with my small business clients."Another example of the two-way mode is for networking. For example, Jay says that for years he admired from afar the work of Robert Bly, the copywriting legend. He'd read his books and incorporated Bly's concepts into his consulting work. Then one day, he commented on a post on Bly's blog. He was surprised and, of course, pleased to get an email back. Bly had visited his blog and liked some of his posts. From there the two started emailing. The blog played a pivotal role in establishing a networking contact -- a contact that wouldn't have had a 1-in-1000 chance of occurring in the absence of blogs. Jay sees blogs as playing a crucial role for the small business owner: "I see many small business owners who suffer from isolation. Without a host of cube-mates or peers discuss key ideas with, these executives can sometimes operate in a vacuum." There's a lot to like about this blog. Anyone, no matter how experienced they think they are, and no matter how good they fancy themselves at marketing, will find some useful tip at Smart Marketing.My favorite tip? I liked the post about how to write a brochure. Among other things, I learned "always use captions with photos."

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