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Four Affordable Tools That Can Help You Market Your Business

by Steve Adams  |  
December 7, 2010

In this article, you'll learn how to...

  • Use virtual phone features to enhance your marketing efforts
  • Benefit from an email-marketing service
  • Reach Internet users via online video and social media

Small-business owners often feel the cash-flow pinch, especially when they're starting out. Because their resources are limited, they may feel that their marketing efforts have to be limited as well. Yet what they may not realize is that they already have some powerful marketing tools at their disposal.

What business owners need to do is take a lesson from the inventors of the 19th and early-20th centuries: They developed an uncanny ability to turn a mundane item into something new and exciting. Following are some ideas to help you get started.

1. Start marketing the minute that customers and prospects call

Yes, your phone is useful for making and receiving calls. But if that's all it's doing for you, you're missing some opportunities.

Although most businesses opt for their standard, local telephone provider, consider using a virtual phone service for small business. That type of service, which you add to any land or mobile phone line, provides various features, such as a single number to reach anyone in the business, multiple extensions, a virtual receptionist, enhanced voice mail, smart call-forwarding, caller ID screening, and more.

The virtual-receptionist and multiple-extension features are the ones that can help you with your marketing efforts. Let's say you offer three different product lines, but your customers are familiar with only one of them. Your virtual-receptionist greeting can include a message telling callers to select extension 101 if they're interested in product one; 102 for product two; and 103 for product three. All three extensions may lead to the same person (you), but you've just told all callers about your three products.

You can also use the virtual phone service to provide informational messages by simply assigning an extension and recording the information. The virtual receptionist can tell callers to select 107 for more information about a product or service, and callers will then hear the recording about that product or service. In effect, it's like having a virtual sales team.

2. Turn email into a profit center

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Steve Adams is the vice-president of marketing for Protus (, a provider of communications tools, including the MyFax ( Internet fax service; my1voice (, a virtual phone service; and Campaigner (, an email-marketing solution. He can be reached at

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