This Week in Small Business: Marketing à la Taylor Swift, sales strategies and some great habits.

I never thought I’d be referencing Taylor Swift here, but that’s the way we kick off our marketing advice section this week. You’ll also find tips on how to make the most from your airline award program and discover the habits required for the leader of a successful startup.

Marketing and sales

Taylor_Swift_Red_Tour_2013Even if you aren’t a big fan of the pop sensation, you’ll get something out of these seven marketing tips inspired by Taylor Swift…and maybe you’ll earn some cred with any tweens in the house.

The second of Sujan Patel’s three tips on marketing to millennials shows an important way small business owners need to start “thinking differently.”

There’s a shiny new thing in marketing being introduced almost everyday. You need to ask the right questions or your small business will get sucked into the hype.

Good SEO today requires that you orchestrate your blog, your social media and your PR campaigns to best effect. Here’s what you need to be thinking about.

Using an email marketing service that will automatically create newsletters from your RSS feeds is one of the points made in this email marketing overview.

Content marketing

If you really want to get your content shared and into high-profile websites, take the time to create killer data-based content.

Companies don’t retain knowledge – the people behind them do. Tap into your small business knowledge bank for maximum content marketing ROI.

Pinterest is a great content marketing platform for many small businesses. But what if your brand isn’t visual? Kevan Lee at Buffer shares some good ideas.

Inject personality into your content marketing because people buy from people, not from companies.

James Carson makes a good case for spending half of your small business content marketing resources on distribution.

If you like slide presentations, this is one of the best that gives you the big picture on creating content for content marketing purposes.

Need six-seconds of inspiration so you can create that viral Vine video to market your small business? Here are the best of the best.


Jack Kosakowski gives you the low down on five disruptive social selling tools.

None of your hard work counts if your call to action fails. Here are five quick guidelines to help you formulate great CTAs.

Are you completely DIY when it comes to creating small business sales and marketing materials? If so, you should have these copywriting books on the shelf.

Beth Hayden’s tips are specifically intended to boost sales during webinars and they are great. But even if you don’t do webinars (yet), you’ll be able adapt some of these concepts.

Entrepreneurship, startups and technology

To drive a successful startup, there are certain habits that you need to embrace. This PressFarm article outlines 10 of those habits.

“An entrepreneur without a country” is definitely one of this decade’s trends, as is outlined in this article from the Telegraph on digital nomads.

Growing pains can kill a killer startup. Here are five challenges startups face as they move into the big leagues.

Do you have an idea that could be as popular as an icy glass of Coca-Cola? Well, the soft drink maker may want to serve as your accelerator.

Leadership, management and productivity

plane-airline-public-domainAny small business that logs a lot of travel miles needs to know the best way to leverage those frequent flier miles…or frequent flier points! They’re money in the bank.

Want to get ahead? People need to like you. Here are 7 habits of highly likeable people.

Sole proprietorship. LLC. Corporation. Partnership. S Corporation. Which one should your small business choose?

If you’ve just been flying by the seat of your pants building your small business Internet presence, check in with this Forbes article that covers the essentials.

Good advice: “If you want to be wealthy and happy, learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Here’s why personal development is critical to success.

Emotional intelligence is important to managing your employees. This Harvard Business Review article will help you develop your skills.

Do you have a financial advisor? Dan Moskowitz makes a strong case that small business owners need one.

If you need a wake-up call to get you planning your legacy and succession strategy, read this article: Have You Tried Suing Your Parents?

Are you a one-person show, a freelancer or solopreneur? Here’s a rate calculator that will show you where you need to be to meet your goals.

Writing your mission and vision statements can sometimes be confusing. If that’s been your experience, this is a good way to sort them out.

Politics, government and the economy

gold-public-domainGovernmental regulations now cost the US economy $1.88 trillion each year. That’s about $15,000 per family. Imagine if even half of that money went to the small businesses that fuel our economy.

This may explain the survey schizophrenia: Small business optimism is up but small businesses continue to struggle with marketing issues.

If you’ve been following the saga of the small business owner in North Carolina – the IRS grabbed $107K from his bank account for no good reason – you’ll be glad to know it looks like he’ll be getting his money back.

Florida passed a “Microfinance Act” that makes loans to small businesses or entrepreneurs in Florida that have no more than 25 employees and annual revenues of up to $1.5 million. Will it prove to be a good model for other states?

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Sponsored by AT&T

Images: Taylor Swift, by Jana Zills.  Uploaded by MyCanon (Taylor Swift) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Other images public domain.