Category Archives: Marketing plan

Small business owners face challenges, but still optimistic

Owning a small business has always been difficult, but these times bring more than their fair share of extra challenges. The good news is that small business owners tend to be a hardy lot, and new ways of tackling challenges can help businesses to thrive.

Five biggest challenges facing small business owners:

  1. Inflation
  2. Supply chain issues
  3. Covid 19 safety protocols/compliance
  4. Revenue
  5. Rising interest rates

According to the Q2 2022 Small Business Index sponsored by MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, inflation tops the list of concerns. Of those surveyed, 44% called inflation their biggest challenge, which is up from 33% last quarter and up significantly from 19% in the third quarter of 2021.

To compensate, 69% of the small businesses surveyed have raised their prices in the past year. Nearly half (46%) report having taken out a loan to cover higher costs due to inflation (up from 39% in Q1 2022).

Labor shortages are also a major concern for small businesses in the post-pandemic world.

Half of small business owners say they’re working more hours than they were a year ago. This bears out the experiences of [email protected] Work’s clients, where hiring is always a challenge for out small business clients. It’s especially true for at least one client who off staff during the depths of the pandemic. Then, when business rebounded, they had trouble hiring, and are still short-staffed.

Interestingly, A study from the Aberdeen Group, cited by, found that 73 percent of millennials (18-34 age group) found their last position through a social media platform. To target that motivated group, make sure that you use platforms that appeal to them.

So, in addition to Facebook and Instagram, think YouTube, SnapChat and Twitter. See how these platforms stack up against each other here.

Ramp up your marketing

Revenue concerns are also on the top five list. An effective antidote is for small businesses to take a serious look at how they can improve their marketing:

  • Video marketing has been a key marketing tool for years, and now the popularity of TikTok shows the significance of short form video! According to, TikTok has overtaken YouTube as the most watched video platform!
  • I remember writing years ago that “Content is King!” It still is. Content needs to be readable, structured to increase SEO, and valuable to your customers. It should be written to address their problems and concerns, not a list of products, services, and features. Here’s how we stand in our customers’ shoes on our website
  • Create an effective social media marketing plan. Consider Facebook (still the giant), Instagram and YouTube as platforms for your strategy. And don’t overlook Pinterest it your products or services are very visual, and a high percent of your customers are women. LinkedIn is important for B-2-B businesses to reach customers, drive engagement and build trust.
  • Depending on your budget, consider online marketing. There are endless options available in this arena (that’s a topic for another blog post).

A final optimistic trend

An enduring trend that the Small Business Index has tracked through the years is resilience and optimism. Looking ahead to next year, 43% of small businesses intend to increase their staff—an increase of six percentage points from last quarter. Additionally, 43% anticipate they will invest more over the next year, and 66% expect revenues to increase, both on par with Q1 2022.

Click here for a complete copy of the report.

For a complimentary consultation on how you might ramp up your marketing, email [email protected] or call 301-514-1102.

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Fun ideas to spice up your October marketing

Fall isn’t just about pumpkin spice lattes!  October has a lot of holidays that can be used in your fall marketing!

The first day of October is International Coffee Day.  Yes, it really is a thing! If you’re a coffee shop it’s a great day to promote.  If not, you could celebrate by having a staff person hand out socially-distanced cups of coffee.

October 5 is “Do Something Nice Day.”  Don’t we all need more of that?!   It could be as simple as sending a card, an email or making  a phone call to your customers or clients.

October 5 is also World Teacher’s Day.  Held annually on 5 October since 1994, World Teachers‘ Day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. Show teachers extra love by offering them special discounts at restaurants, shops, services, etc.  Parents around the world surely value teachers more now than ever.

The first week of October is also Get Organized Week.  During that week you could plan your holiday marketing schedule, and don’t forget Small Business Saturday scrunched in there between Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

October 1- 7 is also Customer Service Week.  Remind your customers that your business is open, and what you’re doing to protect your employees and customers.  If you’re an in-person business, you might offer a bottle of water or some type of pre-packaged treat or giveaway.

National Dessert Day hits on October 14 – a perfect time for restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores and cupcake shops to offer specials!

As if the desserts weren’t fattening enough, on October 17 we have – wait for it – National Pasta Day!  Restaurants and grocery stores can have a field day with that one!

Make a Difference Day is October 24, and it’s a good time to highlight the good deeds your business and employees do in the community.  Use photos on social media, signage, your website, emails to customers and clients to build good will around your business.

And finally, of course Halloween on October 31! But what will Halloween look like in a pandemic?  Here are a few ideas.

Finally, a tip from Constant Contact – 81% of online shoppers who receive emails based on previous shopping habits were at least somewhat likely to make a purchase as a result of a targeted email! (Source eMarketer)

If you’d like help with your email marketing, social media marketing, contact us! [email protected], 301-514-1102.

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Have you tackled your 2019 marketing plan?

Marketing planLike writing a business plan, creating a comprehensive marketing plan can seem like a big, hairy project that takes forever to accomplish.  But if you break it down into steps, and have your team in on the creative process, you can easily get it done!

Remember, it doesn’t need to be finely honed prose.  Just get everything down on paper in an easy-to-read format!

Click below to get the plan delivered to your inbox!

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What happens in 15 years of marketing ?

In this age of slam-bam, rapidly accelerating changes – a LOT!

Back in 2004, I stepped away from the corporate marketing world to launch my own agency. One of the first things I did was to create a four-color, four- page newsletter to showcase my services.  I had no website.  Not that websites weren’t a thing back then, but most small businesses didn’t have them.

And search engines?  Do you remember Ask Jeeves, Yahoo Search and MSN Old search engineSearch? Google wasn’t yet on the radar of consumers.

All of my work was print – postcards, brochures, ads, etc., and I teamed up with the extremely talented Mary Ann Beane, who continues to do amazing work for M @ W.

And social media? Look at this little gem from the archives:

“Facebook is the second largest social network on the web, behind MySpaceonly MySpace in terms of traffic. Primarily focused on high school to college students, Facebook has been gaining market share, and more significantly a supportive user base.”*

And how about email newsletters – those gems we need to keep “cleaning out” of our inboxes?

The first electronic mail was sent in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson, a programmer working on applications for MIT’s Arpanet project (essentially the start of what we know today as the internet), according to Towerdata.

And amazingly, the first email marketing blast was sent in 1978 by Gary Thuerk who worked for Digital Equipment Corp. His email blast was sent to 400 recipients as a promotion for his company’s computers, and it actually resulted in $13 million in sales. Taking inflation into account, that’s equivalent to about $78.8 million today.

Email still has the highest return on investment per marketing dollar Outlookspent, according to the Data & Marketing Association. And while Facebook, especially, has whipsawed marketers with ever-changing rules about how to reach customers—and how much Facebook will charge for the privilege—with email, a company owns its own lists.

What hasn’t changed; the need to focus on clients and customers!  Know who your ideal clients and customers are, and go after them with a laser-like focus. Describe them, who are they, what are their interests?  Why is your product or service the best option for THEM?

For example:  Marketing @ Work’s clients are small businesses and non-profit organizations that are too small to afford a professional marketing on their staff, but they still need professional but affordable marketing services to grow their businesses. That’s what we provide!

In celebration of our 15th anniversary, we’re offering this free guide “How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan in 6 Simple Steps!”  To get your free copy, click here.

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