Anita Campbell, the publisher of Small Business Trends, made these observations about the secrets revealed in the book:
Throughout the submitted tips, I noticed three themes over and over:
Simple and inexpensive tools are more popular than complex or pricey approaches. “Duh!” you might be thinking. “Isn’t it obvious that entrepreneurs and small businesses, being on tight budgets, would favor low-cost approaches?”
Well, yes and no. What was surprising is just how many of the tips cost literally nothing but your time. A large proportion of others, such as those that focused on using business cards or blogging, can be done for hundreds, not thousands, of dollars. So don’t be tempted to throw up your hands and say “I can’t afford marketing.” You can.
Authenticity, friendliness and relationships matter. When you count your customers in the single or double digits, as opposed to the thousands or hundreds of thousands, relationships tend to matter much more deeply. The importance of smiling and being friendly was brought up again and again. Doing something nice for others and being yourself were common themes.
Most small businesses are NOT about mass marketing campaigns. Instead, we rely on attracting and retaining a relatively small number of customers to be successful. A solo consultant or small Web design firm may have as few as five or six regular customers. For small businesses, investing in relationship building goes a long way.
Creative online marketing plays a key role. We drew tips from those who are active online, so on the one hand you might think that the results would naturally be skewed toward online marketing. And to a degree I suppose that’s true. But I was surprised by the sophistication of the online marketing—especially on limited budgets.
Some of the online approaches are very detailed and go far beyond the plain-vanilla “create a nice Web site” type of advice. A number of the small-business marketing techniques represented in this document get into advanced online marketing, including social media marketing.
While you're certainly read some of the tips and think…well, duh…there's plenty of good thinking among the 100 tips. If you get just a handful of new ideas, it's well worth your time.