I use Facebook more for personal reasons than for business, but I do see many business benefits. At one point Facebook was considered a “free” way to promote your business but with the recent changes to the Facebook algorithms businesses who aren’t spending money aren’t being seen. The good news is that over the past couple of years Facebook has made significant improvements to its ad targeting options which makes Facebook continue to be a great means of marketing your small business, the difference is you have to spend some of your marketing budget to do so. Here are three tips to effectively using Facebook ads: Read more!
Although I have never run before, I decided a year or so ago that I wanted to be a runner. My disdain for running was so strong that despite being an honor roll student I received a D in physical education because I refused to run the mile. Blame it on watching Forrest Gump one too many times but I gained the desire to just keep running. When I started it only took me a good 45 seconds before I was huffing and puffing and needed a break but I kept trying, through asthma and physical ailments I have kept running. I’m now working virtually with a trainer who has me doing 2 miles per day, 6 days per week and although it is still a walk-run combination I’m improving and going longer distances and pushing to run the full two miles. So why am I talking about running? My hubby made a comment this morning as I was dragging myself out of bed to go run despite the arctic temperatures in Atlanta today that I am a part of a lot of demographics and now a part of the “runner” demographic. Read more!
When you reflect on all of the new smartphone releases of the past year, it makes you wonder what’s in store for 2014. Users are becoming more dependent on their smartphones and the abundance of versatile apps makes them almost impossible to put down. So what does this mean for your small business? It means you have a platform to reach your audience, especially local customers, with a well-planned and keyword-optimized mobile marketing strategy. Read more!
In honor of mother’s day I had the opportunity to interview Emmy Award winning Joyce Brewer. Joyce is a mom blogger, video expert, vlogger, brand ambassador, social media consultant, author, speaker and mom to the cutest little 3-year old.
[youtube]http://youtu.be/igMALAmLINk[/youtube] Read more!
Question: Brandi, I attend a lot of events in which I am a vendor throughout the year. Over the past year I have been burned several times, showing up, setting up my booth, only to find that there were more vendors than actual attendees. It costs a lot of money and takes a lot of my resources to vend at these events. These need to be profitable for me. I know everything is not always going to be a win. But what tips can you offer to help me to select the right events to vend at that will be profitable for my business. Read more!
The Super Bowl is about more than just the game, it’s a time to gather with friends and family to watch the game, fellowship, and mourn the end of the NFL season. It is also all about the commercials and the half-time show. Advertisers spend millions, and devote their most creative resources to coming up with the absolute perfect Super Bowl ad. The price tag on ads hit a new high this year, CBS charged between $3.8 million and $4 million for every spot shown during the game. Today, it is likely that more people will be discussing their favorite commercials than the outcome of the game. One example is YouTube prompting visitors to vote for their favorite.
I am a member of Sugarloafer’s Toastmasters. For those not familiar with Toastmasters, Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. There are more than 280,000 members of Toastmasters. These members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 13,500 clubs in 116 countries that make up the global network of meeting locations.
For me, Toastmasters is a way for me to consistently hone my speaking skills. With each speech I receive constructive feedback on both my delivery and the content. As I work through the advanced manuals I most often develop content related to my area of expertise (marketing, sales, and business strategy).
I’m currently working through the Specialty Speeches manual and the first speech was an impromptu speech. My Type-A personality dislikes not being able to prepare to speak so this presentation was a great way for me to get in some practice. The manual required that I provide my evaluator with 5 topics and they would choose which I was speaking on right before my speech. The topic that was chosen “The 3 Reasons You Should be Blogging for Your Small Business.” 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!
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!
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?”
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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.