A Perth, Australia, teenager Matt Corby posted an image of a less-than-a-foot-long Subway Footlong. The image that circulated around the web last week showed a Subway FOOTLONG® measuring only 11”. The article posted on BuzzFeed.com suggests that legal action could be possible for false advertising; I will leave the legalities of the less-than-a-foot-long sandwich to the legal people. But the lesson that I take away from this situation is the importance of delivering on promises that you make to your customers.
Question: Brandi, I have an idea for a tool that I think is great (of course), useful, and needed. Where do I find info on regulations for my specific type of product? How do I get from prototype to sales? I know that’s a long path. Thanks in advance! Read more!
Today we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On August 29, 1963 Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The 17-minute public speech called for an end to racism in the United States. The speech, delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.1 At the end of the speech Dr. King departed from his prepared text to deliver the most memorable portion of the address. Read more!
Imagine going over to your local electronics store, purchasing a marketing GPS, plugging in your target audience and having it navigate your marketing so that every one of your efforts reached your ideal customer at the exact right time with a message that moved their wallets to open up to make an immediate purchase. That would be small business utopia wouldn’t it? Your bank account would be overflowing and you would be making expansion plans rather than scratching your head trying to figure out what to do next. Read more!
Brandi, I have been working on my website for what feels like forever. The countdown to the launch ended more than two months ago because I’m stuck. I have chosen my theme, I have my logo and colors, and I know what needs to go on the site but I’m struggling to get the content written. What’s crazy is I just completed my educational program and my school provides a website template for us. Although, I don’t want to use it because it is cookie cutter it is at least a starting point. I know how important my site is, where do I start? I really need to get this done so that my business can move forward.
Thank you for your question, website copy can be a challenge for a lot of small business owners. Here are my top 3 tips to getting started with the copy. Read more!
You Have Questions, I have Answers!
Happy New Year! We are 10 days into the New Year and I’m excited about what the future holds. I took the holiday off to relax and re-cooperate and plan for an amazing 2013. I am always looking for new ways to be a resource to you so I am excited to announce the launch of the Ask a Marketing Maven video series. Whether via email, Facebook, or text message I am always asked marketing, sales, and business strategy questions. So you now have the opportunity to ask me your questions and receive feedback and tips in the form of videos. Read more!
Startups and growing businesses in the one to five year range normally have their own set of challenges to contend with. Here are a few simple but powerful tips to grow and sustain a small business.
1. Setting Smart Goals
Goals are the invisible force that can keep a business moving forward relentlessly. Without goals, a business would lose perspective and motivation. By setting the right goals, a business can be given laser sharp focus, which would then move it closer to achieving that goal every single day. However, it is important to set the right goals. The goals would have to perfectly align with the vision of the organization. The goals should also be achievable and realistic. Unrealistic goals, how much ever noble they are, can discourage employees and instill a sense of defeat. Read more!
As an entrepreneur we wear many hats and are stretched thin daily in addition to family and other outside commitments. Often we find ourselves spending too much time working IN our business as opposed to working ON is.
Administrative tasks and client projects are examples the day to day tasks that keep us working in our business. However, generating new business and taking steps to meet your business goals is what will allow your business to thrive and flourish.
In order to free up some of your time to work on your business you need to outsources some of the day to day. Outsourcing doesn’t have to be costly; there are resources available that can help. Here are a few tips to outsource without breaking the bank. Read more!
Increasing your website conversion percentage is one of the most significant things that you can do to drive revenue in your small business. Your small businesses website should not just be an online brochure; in fact it should be the hub of all of your marketing efforts and lead to revenue.
So what is conversion? By definition website conversion is the percentage of visitors who take a desired action. Those actions could include completing a form, purchasing a product or service, download something, signing up for a free consultation or trial, or simply visiting a series of web pages. Whatever actions you feel will lead to capturing visitor’s information or generating sales can be measured as a part of conversion. Read more!
Life happens online, whether sharing key milestones on Facebook researching answers on Google and ‘How to’s’ on YouTube or searching for the best deals or the right restaurant the internet has become an integral part of our everyday life. We search and engage online both from home and on the go. According to Internet World Stats, there are over 215 million people using the Internet in North America alone. Having a website for your small business is no longer an option it is a MUST!
Whether you offer a product or service your consumers are using the internet to research and purchase the products or services that they need. The simplicity and convenience of online shopping has led to 73.9% of all Internet users shopping online, according to emarketer.
So if you are pondering whether or not to join the world wide web, stop and instead evaluate how you will effectively represent your business online. Here are a few things to remember:
- Your website is often the first interaction a potential client has with your business, first impressions are lasting.
- Your website should clearly articulate your product or service, be easy to navigate, and make it clear to your site visitors how to buy from you.
- Don’t forget the contact information, a form is not enough nor is just having a phone number. Every person’s preferences are different, I recommend including a form, a phone number, and an email address.
- Your website is not an online brochure; write concisely in a way that connects with your target audience, make it as interactive as possible, and encourage visitors to connect with you.
To learn more about making your website work for your business I invite you to view the recorded webcast “Is Your Website Just Another Pretty Face or a Lean Mean Marketing Machine?”
P.S. Sign up for web hosting through HostGator and receive your first month for only 1 Penny!
SOCIAL MEDIA RELEASE
BRANDI STARR WINNER FOR ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS AT THE 2012 STILETTO WOMEN IN BUSINESS AWARDS
The SWIBA Awards Celebrates Women in Business and Takes Solo-Entrepreneurship to New Heights
LAWRENCEVILLE, GEORGIA – MARCH 26, 2012 – Stiletto Women Media named Brandi Starr, President and Marketing Maven of Cassius Blue Consulting as Entrepreneur of the Year, Marketing and Communications. With over 10 years marketing experience Brandi energizes small business owners who are in the first 0-5 years of their business to win more customers, grow sales and build reputation.
Brandi Starr was honored in Atlanta, Georgia at the 3rd Annual Stiletto Women in Business Awards on March 17, 2012 at the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Airport. “The SWIBA Awards honors the monumental efforts of everyday women business owners, particularly those operating smaller entities that often go under the radar,” says Wallace, founder and CEO of Stiletto Women Media. “These leaders redefine conventionalism and create their own success, all while changing lives.”
“I felt honored simply to be a finalist, so I was elated to hear my name called and overjoyed seeing my name engraved in the award. Cassius Blue Consulting is still in its infancy, and the impact that I’ve had on the lives of small business owners in such a short time is truly a blessing;” says Brandi Starr.
With over 300 entries thirty-seven honorees were chosen in thirty-three categories; the list of honorees is both diverse and impressive. To view the full list of honorees visit: http://www.stilettopreneursrock.com/2012/03/2012-swiba-awards-meet-honorees.html
ABOUT CASSIUS BLUE CONSULTING
Cassius Blue Consulting (www.cassiusblueconsulting.com) is more than just another marketing company. From traditional offline methods through to online digital techniques, Cassius Blue has the marketing tools to move small businesses from where they are to where they need to be. Cassius Blue offers marketing consulting services that bring added impact and insight to current marketing efforts and turn ‘the undecided’ into customers.
ABOUT STILETTO WOMAN MEDIA, LTD.
Stiletto Woman Media (www.stilettowoman.com) is a leadership-centric personal and performance improvement company designed to empower women in business through coaching, mentoring, and training. Stiletto Woman Media is well-known for its signature businesswomen’s publication, Stiletto Woman Magazine. The magazine has been called meaningful, chic, and empowering; an independent publication that’s become a fast-growing source of inspiration and real talk for women entrepreneurs.
You have 3 clicks before your website visitors abandon your site. Can your visitors get to your revenue generating content from any page in 3 clicks? Are your call to actions present? Are the strong enough? Watch the video for a quick tip on driving your website visitors to the right place on your site.
Blogs are an effective way to establish you as an expert and build relationships with prospective and existing customers. Blogs are generally easy to set up and maintain. However your blog is useless if no one sees it. Your marketing strategy has to include ways to drive traffic to your blog. Here are a few tips on increasing the traffic to your business blog.
Use Social Media
Social media sites are great places to promote your blog. In fact, your blog can be the primary source for your social media content. For every blog post that you write aim to develop at least 10 (yes TEN!) social media posts for it to be shared over time. Remember, your followers and fans are online at different times of day and different days per week. Carefully crafting different messages that drive to the same blog post increases the number of people who are exposed to your blog. In addition, by sharing via social media over time you give each blog post longevity. No one says you have to only post about your most recent post. Dig back in the archive and share the best posts.
Guest Post on Other Blogs
Every blogger eventually gets burned out with his or her blog or desires varying subject matter or opinions. Most bloggers won’t turn down the opportunity to have someone else write high quality content on their blog. Seek out bloggers with similar target audiences, become a frequent reader/commenter and then reach out to them to pitch your idea. Make sure that you your post includes a link back to your blog. The incoming link help with search engine optimization (SEO) and promotes your business by spreading the word about your business.
Submit Your Content to Discovery Engines
Circulate your content via discovery engines like Stumbledupon.com, Bizsugar.com, reddit.com, and Delicious.com can be very effective in getting readers to your blog. In fact, according to a July 2011 article StumbleUpon now drives more U.S. web traffic than Facebook. So take advantage of these sites, although it takes a few extra moments to submit they will help you to get found.
Your blog is a very powerful marketing tool for your business, spending time ensuring your target audience is regularly reading can pay off big for your business. Don’t just hope that visitors will come, drive them there.
What techniques are you using to drive readership of your small business blog?
Following up with potential clients is crucial if you want to succeed in business. I am sure you have heard people say, “The money is in your list.” when they talk about getting clients. However, if the people on the list don’t know what you do or how you can help them, having a list is meaningless. The money can only be in the list if you communicate with your list. You have to constantly be in touch with the people on your mailing list or they will forget about you and your business. People get inundated with marketing messages. It’s important to be in constant contact with your ideal clients.
Don’t Make All Your Communications About Business
Not all of your communications with your prospect have to be business related. A personal touch goes a long way. Send your potential clients hand written thank you notes or greeting cards for key milestones such as birthdays or accomplishments. When you see articles that you know will interest people you are networking with, share them; forward the link to the article with a note as to why you thought this would be valuable information for you. And don’t forget picking up the telephone is a great way to stay in touch with your prospects. A quick phone call to see how things are going in their business and how you could potentially help can go a long way in building lasting business relationships.
Vary the Methods You Use To Stay In Touch With Prospects
Don’t just limit yourself to email communication. Social media is a great way to engage on a day to day basis with your prospects. Make sure that the people on your mailing list know how to reach you on social media. Include the links to your social media profiles so you can have another way to keep up with your prospects. If you are a Gmail user install rapportive to give you greater visibility into all of your contacts (prospects and customers). Rapportive shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox.
Also, never pass up an opportunity to meet with the people you want to do business with in person. Your potential client will always do business with someone they have met in person instead of someone that is just a name and an email address.
Don’t Give Up, It Takes Time
It is very rare that people will buy from you on the first try. You have to stay at the forefront of your potential clients’ mind. Ideally you want to be the first person that your client thinks of when he or she is ready to make a purchase. You can only accomplish this by following up and staying in touch with your prospects. Your blog and social media content is a way to keep your customers engaged during the early stages of the buyer cycle in addition more personalized follow up periodically will go a long way in closing sales.
There was an article in Huffington Post titled “Should Women Be More Arrogant?” that was a follow up to a Wall Street Journal article. The article was written after Steve Job’s passing as Apple began its quest for a new CEO. The gist of the original post was that the characteristics that make for a successful CEO are “unbridled confidence” and some degree of arrogance and narcissism. All of these traits when exemplified by women are often viewed negatively. So the question was posed beyond the boardroom and into the living rooms and shops of small business owners. In order to be successful entrepreneurs do women business owners need to be arrogant and a bit narcissistic?
Narcissism by definition means extreme self-love, and simply if you don’t have extreme love for yourself how can you expect others to?
Some would argue that arrogance is not only unnecessary but undesirable that simply being confident in your abilities and your business is enough to be successful. However, I do believe unbridled confidence and a touch of arrogance and narcissism is a piece of the success puzzle that allows you to take your business to THAT level. Not just existing, not just making it, not just lukewarm success but to take your idea turn it into a business and to nurture it to the level of the women business owners whose stories grace the pages of leading business magazines and top 25 lists. To get THERE success is an expectation not an option.
Let’s for a moment discard the negative connotation associated with the word “arrogant” and approach the term from a different perspective. Confidence is knowing you can do the job, it is believing in yourself and your abilities. Being confident in your business is knowing that you can stand tall against your competitors, that you can provide a quality service or product, that you can provide value to your customers. But arrogance is knowing you can take over the world! Arrogance is believing in yourself beyond your abilities. It is believing that there are no competitors on your level, that you provide a superior product or service, that you change your customers worlds.
Steve Job’s and what he has done with Apple is an example of that. Although there are other similar products Apple products are in a class of their own, they are priced at a premium and customers willingly pay the high price tag, and from the original The Apple I to today Apple’s products have revolutionized technology. Steve Job’s took over the (technology) world!
That level of unbridled confidence is infectious, people are drawn to it. People want to be a part of something big. Here are my five tips to embracing a little arrogance in your business:
- Toot Your Own Horn: Don’t be afraid to share your successes and accomplishments. Your past achievements can be the leverage that you need to move your business to the next level.
- Be Essential: Be the product or service that your customers can’t live without. Over the years customers have stood in line and sometimes camped out for iPhone, Air Jordans, Tickle Me Elmo, and Michael Jackson concert tickets. These brands, although not necessities, have become essentials. Position your brand as the ‘thing’ they can’t live without.
- Establish Your Prices & Stick to Them: If you know that you offer a premium product or service don’t be afraid to attach a premium price tag to it. A part of pricing is the buyers perception of the product or service they are purchasing.
- BE YOU!: So often as women business owners we adapt ourselves to fit into the mold that we believe the business and consumer communities expects of us. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who are confident enough in who they are to adapt their world to who they are. S. Truett Cathy chose to not open his Chik-fil-A restaurants on Sunday’s based on his Christian beliefs. People said he was crazy and that the restaurant would never succeed not being open on Sunday. Forty-five years later there are 1 ,606 restaurants in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
- Push the Envelope & Raise the Bar: When you truly believe that you can take over the world the possibilities are limitless. There is no “can’t”, no hesitation, no uncertainty, no glass ceiling. There is only the next step in the quest for greatness.
I am but one entrepreneur growing an empire that is still in its infancy but I AM taking over the world, one small business owner at a time, creating a new norm, influencing our countries economic environment, touching the lives of mothers, wives, daughters, men. I am building a legacy.
If you don’t already, every morning when you get up take a long look in the mirror. Look yourself in the eye, believe in yourself beyond your abilities. Believe that you have no competition, that you provide a superior product or service, that you change your customers worlds. Be arrogant, and love every minute of it! Life is too short to be mediocre!