Marketing Your Business

Marketing Basics

Start with the fundamentals and a marketing plan that identifies how you will identify, communicate and connect with your customers.

SBA: Marketing
Done well, marketing is a great way to promote your small business. It requires an integrated approach to a variety of activities that goes beyond advertising your product. For example, the way you describe your product or service is also a form of marketing. This section is a brief overview of concepts and topics to make your marketing efforts more effective.

Essential Elements of a Business Plan
A business plan should be a work in progress. That’s because your business will evolve over time, and be influenced by outside factors such as the economy and local conditions. Marketing sections of the plan will include Market Analysis and Marketing & Sales Management.

Mplans: Free Sample Marketing Plans
Get practical ideas and good models with dozens of examples of
successful marketing plans and free marketing calculators for startup costs, breakeven, cash flow and more.

Business and Market Research

Do you know the current conditions and projected growth of your industry? How will you promote, price and distribute your products and services? Who are your competitors? Gathering this information helps you define your products and services, the types of customers you will target, and the competition.

Market Analysis
The market analysis section is Part 2 of the business plan. This section should illustrate your knowledge about the particular industry your business is in. To run a successful business, you need to learn all about your existing and potential customers, your competitors and the economic conditions of your marketplace.

Market research is the process of gathering and analyzing consumer and economic data to help you understand which products and services your customers want, and how to differentiate your business from your competitors.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
Identifying your correct NAICS code is critical to finding information on industries, customers and competitors. Although NAICS was developed to replace the U.S. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System, both are used by government and data information services. To find your industry code, enter a keyword that best describes your business in the search box.

HighBeam Business: Industry Reports
HighBeam Business delivers insightful snapshots of specific industries that include an industry’s classification codes, historical performance, major competitors and statistics.

Business Guides by Industry
Each guide in this section details information specific to an industry. You’re likely to find one that provides invaluable information targeted to your line of business.

TexShare Databases
The TexShare Databases turn your computer into the anytime, anywhere library. Find useful information through news articles, magazines and journals. Full access to these databases is available online from your home or office to registered card holders of participating Texas libraries.

Gateway to Associations
The ASAE Gateway to Associations Directory is easy to use and is updated daily to help you make networking more convenient. This page allows you to search for an association by name, interest area, or geographic location. You also can search using a combination of fields.

Target Market

Will you sell your products and services to consumers, businesses or both? You want to know who the best customers are for your products and services and where are they located.

Consumers (B2C)

Texas State Data Center
The most current demographics for county, cities, and metro areas is now available. Scroll down to the section for State of Texas, County, and Place Total Population by Race/Ethnicity to download the demographic profile for any county, city (places) or metro in Texas.

American FactFinder
Find popular facts (population, income, etc.) and frequently requested data about your community.

ESRI LIfestyles
Using ESRI Tapestry, you can identify and target your best customers and prospects.

Pew Social & Demographic Trends
The Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project studies behaviors and attitudes of Americans in key realms of their lives, including family, community, health, finance, work and leisure.

ReferenceUSA: Business and Residential Information
The Navarro College SBDC and each SBDC in the North Texas SBDC Network subscribes to ReferenceUSA and provides information at no cost to our clients. This database is an excellent tool for identifying both residential and business customers and building a customized contact list. You can also identify and analyze the types of competitors, level of competition and estimate the size of a market. Knowing the competition provides valuable insights into how a company can differentiate itself from others selling similar products and services.

Businesses (B2B)

TexShare Databases
The TexShare Databases turn your computer into the anytime, anywhere library. Find useful information through news articles, magazines and journals. Full access to these databases is available online from your home or office to registered card holders of participating Texas libraries.
Manta offers all site visitors free access to contact information, location, and other details for more than 64 million companies. Visitors who register with Manta gain access to more detailed profiles of 13 million companies, also free of charge.

Choosing a Location

When it comes to real estate, the saying is true: “Location, location, location.” Where you open for business can have a huge impact on your success.

Leasing Commercial Space
Where is your business going to be located? Your business location is an important decision, and if you will not be starting up in your home, you will need to lease a space to conduct your day-to-day activities.

Basic Zoning Laws
Zoning ordinances and regulations are laws that define how you can use your property. Cities, counties, townships, and other local governments adopt zoning plans in order to set development standards to assure that land is used for the common good.

Zoning Laws for Home Based Businesses
Before you decide to operate your business from your home, first determine if doing so would break any local zoning ordinances.

Tips for Choosing a Location
The ideal location for your business depends on a number of factors. The most important consideration is the kind of business you’re running. Before you begin scouting a location, consider a few of the factors that can help you select the right location for your business. Search for Commercial Real Estate
Using the Advanced Search option, you can research available local commercial real estate properties for sale or lease. A free membership is required to view listings.

Internet and Social Marketing

You need more than just “word of mouth” to attract customers to your new business. In addition to traditional and internet advertising, social media and search engines such as Google will help you effectively communicate with new and existing customers.

Blogs and Newsletters

Small Business Trends
Small Business Trends offers a variety of websites and information feeds to help you stay informed about the small business market. You can track, explore and learn from trends affecting small business through these informational resources.

HubSpot: Marketing Resources
Access free resources that include eBooks, data, and a collection of upcoming and archived internet marketing webinars on a variety of topics, from blogging, to search engine marketing, to press releases.

eMarketer is the go-to authority on digital marketing, media and commerce, providing insights and intelligence essential to navigating the changing, competitive and complex digital environment.

Open source WordPress has been incredibly successful and risen from a handful of users to the most-used blog tool in its category.

Search Engine Optimization

Webmaster Tools
Get the data, tools, and diagnostics for a healthy, Google-friendly site.

Creating a Website

Google teamed up with Homestead to provide small businesses a free, three page website. Along with the website, you receive a free domain name and hosting for one year.

With a combination of easy-to-use free website building software, affordable web hosting and toll-free customer support, Homestead makes it easy for you to build a website.

A drag & drop website builder that makes it easy to create a professional website even if you don’t have any technical skills.

With 100’s of templates to choose from, use drag & drop tools to create an easy to build professional website.

For bloggers, WordPress lets you turn a blog into a multiple page website.


Google Places: Get Found on Google for Free
97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Be there when they’re looking for you with Google Places for business – a free local platform from Google.

Google Analytics
Google wants you to attract more of the traffic you are looking for, and help you turn more visitors into customers. Use Google Analytics to learn which online marketing initiatives are cost effective and see how visitors actually interact with your site. Make informed site design improvements, drive targeted traffic, and increase your conversions and profits.

Google Adwords Beginner’s Guide
In this guide, you’ll learn all the AdWords basics, including how to begin, what to expect, and how to make the most of your advertising efforts. Click a topic below to get started.

Google Adwords Keyword Planner
Keyword Planner is like a workshop for building new Search Network campaigns or expanding existing ones. You can search for keyword and ad group ideas, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several lists of keywords together.

Email Marketing

Constant Contact
Constant Contact’s leading email marketing, online survey and event marketing tools—supported by its expert personal coaching and support—help all types of small businesses and organizations create professional-looking email newsletters and insightful online surveys and begin a dialogue with their customers.

Monthly newsletters, invitations, promos and more. No matter what you send, your organization’s emails will stand out in style.

Online email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails and track results.

Social Media

HubSpot: Social Media Marketing Hub
Comprehensive Social Media Marketing Resources-Social media can be used for more than just connecting with friends or stalking ex-boyfriends. Use the resources on this page to learn how to use social media as a tool to help achieve your business and marketing goals. For specific resources on individual channels, check out our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Marketing Hubs.

Social Media Quickstarter
The folks at Constant Contact have created a simple collection of guides to get you building online social connections fast, in a way that’s super easy.

Marketo provides easy and powerful marketing automation software with everything a marketer needs: email, social, analytics, lead management, and more.