Archive for Marketing

How to Market Your Small Business: Marketing Checklist

Marketing ChecklistNo matter what business you are in, there are many more ways to market your small business today than you are using. Read on or you may miss an easy way to increase your income.

1) Customer Loyalty from Current Customers

The easiest sales you will ever make are to existing customers. Your highest priority is to strengthen your relationships with anyone who has already bought from you. While this can mean autoresponders and emailed newsletters, anything with a more personal touch will work better.

When is the last time you gave your customers a call to see how they are doing? Have you asked them how they feel about your products or services? Do you tuck thank you notes into your deliveries?

The #1 reason people give for changing companies is that they don’t think their current provider cares. Make sure they know you do and you will get more business. Customer loyalty grows from personal relationships built over time.

2) Business Website and Blog

You need to have an online presence somewhere. Domain names are inexpensive (about $12 per year for .com) and hosting doesn’t have to cost much, either. You can even put your content on pages on an existing site and point your domain name to it for free. But the best option is to put your site on WordPress and have a blog you update regularly.

A business blog does NOT need to publish daily. Once a week is sufficient. If you find it challenging to keep your business blog updated, you can even hire a service such as WriteCollective to provide content or even manage the publishing for you. When you provide your customers with solutions to their challenges in your blog, they are likely to make a purchase. 61% of consumers say they have bought because of a blog post.

Businesses that blog have 434% more indexed pages, 97% more indexed links, and 97% more inbound links. B2B marketers using blogs generate 67% more leads. 90% of consumers find customer content useful. (More stats below.)

Business Blogging Stats

3) Local Listings

If your business has a physical presence, you must get it listed in all the major local directories. Quality directories are still important. Google just changed the name AGAIN. The new name is “Google My Business”. (Old names were Google Places, Google Plus Local, Google Local.) Google has the lion’s share of searches so this is your priority.

Make sure you use exactly the same name, address, and phone number on every local listing. Upgrade your listings with images, videos, mentions of cities and counties you serve, categories that apply, coupons and deals.

Beyond Google there are many more local listing opportunities. These are valuable links you can easily get that will help your business site or blog rank better. Even if you are an online only business, if you have a physical location to use do not pass up these listings. There is more information about where to get listed in Local Search Directories.

4) Social Media

While social media may seem overwhelming, there are now many experienced people who can get your accounts set up quickly for very little money. At a minimum, you should decide on a username that you can use consistently across all social networks. Check to ensure the username you are considering is available on all the major sites before you get started. You can check them all at once for free using Knowem.com.

You do not have to be active on every social network, but you do want to claim your username, upload an image, enter a short bio and link it to your site. These are valuable links easily obtained, so do not neglect them.  If you aren’t going to be active on a site now, include where you can be found in your bios.

There is a lot to doing social media well. Consider paying someone else to set up your accounts and teach you to use them. It doesn’t have to be costly and it will save you a ton of time and frustration. The main thing to remember is not to always be selling or broadcasting about yourself on social media. What you want to do is identify where your target audience is already active and then socialize with them. As you create relationships they will lead to business.

5) Protect Your Online Reputation

Claiming your social accounts and submitting local listings provides protection for your business by having your business name indexed many times. If someone writes something negative about you online, it is unlikely to rank above these authority sites so it won’t automatically land on the first page of search results.

Set up alerts to notify you when your business is being talked about. If you ever see negative comments online, do not automatically respond to them. Stop and think first. If it is a valid complaint you may want to respond. If it isn’t, and the person complaining does not have authority do not lend them yours. You may want to get advice from someone familiar with reputation management before deciding what best to do.

6) Don’t Forget About Offline Marketing

Even if you do business entirely online, that is no reason to ignore valuable offline marketing methods. Order signs or bumper stickers and put them on your vehicles. Consider advertising in free and inexpensive classifieds such as Craigslist, Thrifty Nickle, Pennysaver and others.

Use business cards, fliers, promotional materials, thank you notes and other printed items. Consider going to meetups or live events. If you do, give people you meet something interesting to remember you by. Promotional products that have a useful purpose can keep your business name in front of your clients a long time.

  • 85% say they do business with the advertiser
  • 88% remember the name on their products
  • 91% have promotional products in their kitchen
  • 74% keep products in their work areas
  • 83% say they want to receive promotional products
  • 53% use their promotional products weekly
  • 47% keep them for more than a year

7) People Buy From People They Like – Be Likeable

The most important part of business is people. Focus on figuring out what your customers need and give it to them in a cheerful, helpful manner. Think about why you do business where you do. Do you eat at a particular restaurant because the hostess remembers you or you have a favorite waitress?  Do you shop at a mom and pop store even though you suspect they’re more expensive? People buy from people they know and like.

Marketing Your Small Business Summary

Grow your business by being consistently good at what is most important (what they buy from you) and being someone your customers truly like.

The Importance of Word of Mouth in Marketing

Guest Post: Tanner from Utah Video Marketing team contributed this guest post on the power of word of mouth marketing.

Marketing is one of the most important things in business. Without marketing, you are not going to be able to have any clients or customers. Even if you are the best company for your niche, it will mean nothing if you aren’t well known in the industry. When you are looking to grow you company, you need to spend a considerable piece of your budget on marketing. This will assure that your company is able to reach the target market that is going to bring in your revenue. If you are marketing to other companies, actually contacting those companies directly could be a great from of marketing.

Regardless of the product or service that you are marketing, you need to be able to reach your customer base. There are many different ways of going about marketing, but there are certain types of marketing that work best, whatever industry you may be in. Word of mouth marketing is one of the most valuable types of marketing that is out there. The importance of word of mouth marketing can be the difference between your company being very successful, or not successful at all.

Word of mouth marketing is unique to your business

Word of mouth marketing is one of the most important types of marketing because it can not be duplicated. Other companies won’t be able to look at your marketing campaign and copy it. Word of mouth marketing is completely unique to your business, products, and services. You can buy all of the marketing in the world, and it still wont be as genuine to your business as word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth marketing will give your potential customers a great feel for how your business really is. They will have a much better idea of what to expect from your products or services.

Word of mouth marketing is free

One of the best things about word of mouth marketing is that it is free. Word of mouth marketing is one of the most effective types of marketing, yet you don’t have to spend any money on it. Your customers are doing all of the work for you, with you having to spend a fortune on that great marketing. They will spread the word at no cost, simply because they love your products or services. Sometimes the most work can simply come from referrals.

Word of mouth marketing helps build your brand

When you are looking for brand recognition, nothing helps more than word of mouth marketing. For example, if a friend shows someone their favorite music group, they are way more likely to download their music than if they just heard it on the radio. They are even more likely to download that music if their friend is wearing a t shirt from that music group. This type of word of mouth marketing makes it cool to be into what your friends are into. Sometimes people will buy a product simply because that is what their friends are buying.

People trust what their friends and loved ones have to say

When a random person comes up to you on the street and tries to tell you their opinion about something, you could care less. Although, when we get together with our friends and family, we actually ask them for their opinions on certain matters. It is easy for us to trust our friends and family members, because they have been with us through so much. They know what we like, and what we dislike. We are much more likely to listen to what our friends or family members have to say, rather than just some advertisement.

Word of mouth marketing can help products spread fast and go viral

The world of internet marketing has really changed up the game. It is very easy for a video, picture, website, or Facebook page to get a lot of attention when people start sharing it. With the click of a button, people can literally click share and instantly all of their Facebook friends are aware of this awesome new product, video, or page that their friend is into. This makes it very easier for their friends to click the share button as well, and have all of their friends know about this awesome product, page, or video. This can create a chain reaction which makes a video go viral. Everyone continues to share this video, product, or page, until many many people know about this. There are videos now on the internet that can gain tens of millions of views in a short week due to effective word of  mouth marketing. It is easier than ever for people to share with their friends the love they have for a new product, video, or page. This helps build a huge customer base fast for these businesses.

Word of mouth marketing is quite possibly one of the most important types of marketing in the world today. There is no amount of money that can replace the effectiveness of word of mouth marketing. In this digital world, word of mouth marketing can take a small business or product, and turn it into a world wide recognized brand. Word of mouth marketing may seem hard to achieve, but as long as you are working on making your companies services and products top notch, this will be no problem for you. If you focus on word of mouth marketing, you will have a big company in no time.

Take A Look AT The Graphic That Will Help Me Win The $500 Brother “Back To Business” Contest Prize

Brother Creative Center

Entered Biz Sugars’ Brother CreativeCenter Contest

Yes, I decided it was time to take my shaky design skills to the next level. Fortunately with the Biz Sugar Brother CreativeCenter “Back To Business” Contest, I did not need to brush up on my graphic skills to rock your eyes with my works of greatness. The process was pretty simple. Spend about 10 minutes on the Brother CreativeCenter creating a graphic that I can then use to promote Start Up Gap. Then I created the absolute beauty below to shock and amaze you all! Are you shocked? Are you in awe? Why not?

start up gap flyer

practicing vood traffic

Practicing Voodoo Traffic at the Chicago library to get you to the Start Up Gap Episode with Anita Campbell tomorrow

Ulterior Motives

So, why am I sharing this with you. Well, three reasons:

1. I plan on winning the prize for the contest, and thought doing a blog post would help garner more attention. Always important to get compensated for writing and designing.

2. My subconscious NLP method for getting you to check out StartUpGap.Com tomorrow at 4 PM CST when I interview Anita Campbell, the owner of BizSugar. Working on getting some serious voodoo traffic to the event tomorrow with this post. Look into my eyes. Burn this date onto your Google Calendar! Join us for this session to learn how Anita Campbell built her business. On the count of three you will wake up with a sudden urge to watch this show.

3. I thought I would take this time to show you how to actually use the Creative Center to create your own graphics. When I do win, I want to make sure that I had some serious competition. Are you up for the challenge? He! He! He!

 

 

How To Set Up Your Own Flyer Or Business Card

I thought that one of the easiest ways to show you how to use the Creative Center would be to do a quick video, as I set up some business cards for Start Up Gap. Be prepared to be amazed. Now, that I have worked my voodoo on you, I am sure that it is sure to happen.

What do you think? Pretty easy for you to set up your own graphic as well right? Then join in on BizSugar, so I can have some additional competition.

What Do You Think?

I know this was a visual explosion for your eyes. Definitely join in on the contest, so you too can claim international fame for your graphic skills (or at the very least have a great flyer or business card made up on the cheap.)

In the meantime, quick question. Should I now become a professional graphic artist, or stick to writing? Let me know in the comment area, along with a link to your own design.

Preventing E-Commerce Issues Before They Occur

Unfortunately, E-commerce issues can arise, and  it can lead to an immense amount of frustration. When you’re a business owner, you constantly think about ways you can increase your revenue. Whether your company provides a service or has tangible goods to sell, an E-commerce website is the framework for your efforts to maximize profits. And simply putting a website together with your products and services available for purchase doesn’t guarantee an increase in sales.

There are plenty of issues that can arise within an E-commerce system, though it is the unrecognized problem that tends to cause the most trouble for business owners. At first, they may not even seem like issues, but if left unattended, can bring your company’s daily operations to a halt. Let’s discuss some of these issues, and potential ways to tackle them.

Security Measures

Just like any other website that allows customers to utilize online credit card processing, there is a certain level of hesitation a customer feels when entering their private information online. With all of the horror e-commerce shoppingstories of people having their credit card information stolen, there is still a legitimate fear of the “what if” associated with online payments. That said, how do businesses ensure their customers that they have nothing to fear?

First of all, you need to provide your customers with a set of Terms & Conditions that is extremely clear and to the point. These Terms & Conditions should cover matters such as your return policy, warranties, price changes, and of course, privacy. If you surprise your customers with something after they’ve made their purchase, they certainly won’t be happy to be caught off guard, and might not return to your company in the future. Make sure you cover your basis so you won’t lose customers to a more “trustworthy” site.

Next, take the time to thoroughly analyze your company’s website. Conduct as honest of an assessment as you can; it might be cool to have a high-end website, but it won’t necessarily lead to greater sales. Above all else, make sure you present your company, as well as its goods and services, to your audience in a professional manner. Ultimately, the customer’s first impression matters. You aren’t attempting to solely drive traffic to your site, but you’re also trying to convince customers to enter their credit card information for a purchase. By providing your audience with a neat and easy-to-read website that is also compatible with mobile browsers, you’ll provide your company with the greatest chance to boost its sales.

Payment Issues

In creating your E-commerce website, your goal was to make it as simple as possible for your customers to order the goods and services they need, while making it easier for your company to get paid. However, it takes time to sell new customers on your site and your company. They judge the site’s reliability, the quality of your products and services, and only if they like what they see will they consider placing an order. However, if your checkout process and shopping cart are even remotely difficult to master, you may end up losing sales. Before you have to respond to angry customer emails about their inability to place orders online, or before you have to evaluate why you’re seeing a drop in sales, there are three things you can focus on to ensure your merchant services operate flawlessly.

Start off by drafting up easy-to-follow instructions for your customers to follow to complete an order. You can place this information in a few different locations to make it even easier for your customers to place their orders. Consider placing this information on your website’s home page, as well as every other page where the customer can click to place their order. Whether you’d prefer to create a video to provide a face to your company, or a simple bullet list with each step, make sure you assist your customers as best you can in helping them spend their hard earned cash on your company.

Next, consider signing up for a secondary merchant services account to accept credit card payments. Sure, it may seem unnecessary if your current payment processor is operating flawlessly, but what happens if that processor goes down? If your site is unable to allow customers to complete their transactions, you not only lose that sale, but you run the risk of losing the disgruntled customer to your competition.

Then, evaluate your current confirmation emails you send to each customer who places an online order. If you only send a “Thank you for your order” email, you should seriously reconsider this approach. It’s of grave importance that your company provides its customers with a confirmation, but they also require a good amount of information in this confirmation email. When sending a confirmation email to a customer, you should include a detailed invoice of the order and confirmation of the received payment, along with any shipping information you can provide. This will let your customer know that you received their order, while providing them with peace of mind. Your above and beyond customer service will only leave your customers thinking highly of you, leaving open the possibility for future orders and greater word of mouth marketing opportunities.

Bradley Derringer is a blogger for TechBreach, giving you the latest on all things tech.

Increase Earnings for Whatever You Sell with the Tips in this Video

Use the Tips In This VideotoIncreaseYour Own Earnings and TrafficUntil Brad Campbell contacted me, I had never personally met anyone who was making five figures a month and six figures a year in online marketing. I had published a guest post for him in the past, so when he started making really good money he asked if I would work with him to increase it from $35,000 a month to $100,000 a month. That is his goal.

I finally had found someone who was making six
figures a year doing affiliate marketing online.

Increase Earnings

I asked Andy to let me (Gail Gardner of the PR5 blog GrowMap.com) share this video with you because what Brad explains will work for you no matter what you want to rank for and especially if you want to make money online. While it mentions Empower Network, it is not specifically about it so much as it is how Brad makes more money than anyone else I have personally run across. Use it to increase your own earnings.

If you can’t see the video below, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSy4fpjyWTE


I hope you can see how these tips will increase your traffic and income no matter what you’re focusing on. They’ll help you know what to blog about and what to sell online.

Personally, I consider Brad the single sharpest person I’ve run into when it comes to online marketing. I want to know more about what he knows so I’m checking out his other content. I’ve watched dozens of his videos and the one in this post is the short-cut to how to rank your content so you drive the most traffic so you can make the most money.

Whether you are interested in Empower Network or not, Brad is the real deal –
the rare guy who is making real money – money that you can
live on or even make your dreams come true.

Most people, including Andy, are skeptical of Empower Network. I was, too.The huge earnings from EN are why Brad is focusing on it. He hired me and a couple of other people I recommended – all to maximize income now while he is ranking strong and Empower Network is taking off. They are coming out with a new version that is likely to get people currently sitting on the fence into EN.

People who have known me for years know I would NEVER recommend something I felt was unethical. I have written two posts with details about why I feel that even though the way David Wood and many others present Empower Network it SEEMS scammy and “too good to be true”, I have personally started going through their training and find it very good.

I would recommend it to anyone because it is SIMPLE and very clear about what to focus on and why. And what Brad shares about how what he is doing is even better than what they teach you can get from his free videos. You don’t have to join. You don’t have to pay anything to learn what he is doing that makes him six figures already.

If you want to know more, check out the post that video is in: What Should Empower Network Bloggers Actually Blog About To Make Money? or read these other posts I’ve written that explain why I – as probably the biggest stickler for ethics any blogger knows – decided Brad was right:

If you want to make real money, you owe it to yourself to look at what Brad advises. It’s free, so just do it now. It could change your life – IF you apply it.

The Power Of Great Web Directories For Your Business

Over the past few years, more and more people have discussed how bad web directories are for your site. I think it is a bit of the Penguin and Panda paranoia (Triple P) that has run rampant in internet marketing lately. Why else would be webmasters start freaking out over having your site in a good, quality directory.

With that in mind, I want to go over a few quality directories that are very useful for businesses. Not because they have a huge impact on your search, and then Google will find you more interesting, because people link to you. No, these directories are important, because they deliver direct traffic to your site. Even more so, they have valuable information on them. Instead, of creating a directory with worthless information, these directories prune out the bad sites, and constantly update their site to give you the best information possible.

So, I ask you to stave off your Triple P for the moment. Instead, let us look beyond the Google machine.  Directories, despite what the fear seekers are saying are not dead. How could they be dead? So many of them have such valuable information that it is not feasible for anyone, including Google to completely wipe them out of existence.

How To Find The Best Web Directories?

Instead of dismissing web directories, we need to find the best web directories still in existence.  To help you do that, we will look at five web directories that are very relevant to your business today. Please note: some of these are paid, and others are free directories.

DirJournal- This business directory is great for finding pretty much any type of business around the world. Their hand picked list is one of the largest in the world. Plus, they actually have full how-to guides for their eight separate journals (business, internet marketing, health, entertainment, Internet, and shopping).

The other amazing part of DirJournal is they provide personal service – you can actually talk to them during business hours. Something unheard of with most directories.

Aviva Directory -This is a comprehensive directory organized by category and location. So, you can actually have information on the directory sorted out her via different locations around the globe. *Quick disclosure: I have been paid to write articles for Aviva on different categories and locations in different parts of the world. That is the reason why I know the list is so comprehensive.

Technorati -The definitive directory for blogs. This site lists the top 1000 blogs by their Technorati Authority. A ranking system they developed to properly rank top blogs around the world.

Open Directory Project -If you have not heard of the Open Directory Project, or DMOZ as the URL is called then you have not had a web site for that long. This used to be the fastest way to get indexed by Google. Google would periodically scroll through the Open Directory Project to add sites to their list, before they had a full system in place. As Google developed, they came up with their own system. However, a link in this site is definitely worth it’s weight in gold still.

Yahoo Directory Listing -Probably one of the oldest directories. If you want Yahoo traffic en masse this is a great way to start. Get your site listed on their paid directory.

How To Know Which Web Directories Are Good For Your Site?

The directories listed above are amazing places to start getting your site listed. Use the power and traffic of these directories to get additional, targeted traffic to your site. Remember, however, that it is up to you to do your diligent research on which web directories best fit your needs.

Diversifying Your Income Stream

Gene Hammet is discussing how to diversify income streams. While this presentation is primarily for web developers, the concepts can be applied to any business.

The ideas here go back to passive and active income. Passive income are things that bring in money afterwards no matter what you do. Active are things that you only get paid for when you do work.

The goal here is to get more passive income. Why?

1. More money, and more residual money

2. Self-fulfilment- helps you realize more of your goals

3. Money works for you when you are busy.

The way to do this is by being a trusted adviser.  The shift is the power position.

6 Practical Steps To Do This:

  1. You have to know who you serve?
  2. You have to know what problem you solve?
  3. Can you proof that you can actually do it for others
  4. How will you package this for others? What tools are best?
  5. Marketing
  6. Build your brand as an expert

The reason that holds people back is that people do not realize that 10% is products and 90% marketing!

It will go wrong if you…

  1. Don’t follow the sequence
  2. Try to be all things to all people
  3. Let your day job get in the way (if you have one)
  4. Do not let life get in the way
  5. Do not let your fear/inner voice get to you

Start with the beginning, and figure out who you are serving in your market.  Make sure that your target market is black & white.

Then when you have evaluate who you are going to work, figure out how you will help them. The good thing is that this is as simple as having a quick conversation.

Principles that successful people understand:

  • Laser focus better than a shotgun
  • Speed of implementation is rewarded
  • Invest in yourself continuously
  • They need to be accountable

Continuously build value to what you do, and increase your ability to help your clients deliver more value.

 

New Book, eMarketing Experience Live On Amazon

My new book, eMarketing Experience is now live on Amazon.  Trying to think of something cool and collective about how it helps entrepreneurs with their online marketing skills, but all I can think of is Yipppeee! However, what other appropriate words can I use to describe a book about creating the right experiences for your online marketing.

Special Offer

Therefore, anyone who purchases the new book, eMarketing Experience through July 31st will receive not only this book, but also:

  • A free 30 minute Skype consultation session with me
  • Over75  customized free video tutorials on internet marketing, social networking, blogging, seo, and more

(Total Value: $578.13)

Now, here is the kicker! If you use the link below, you will also get a discount off the regular purchase price of $12.98. However, when you use the link below, the price is $9.99 including S&H for those in the continental United States.

eMarketing Experience Special Offer

Amazon Book ImageHere is the overview of what the book contains, and a special that I am offering through the month of July for those interested in purchasing the book.

First, what the heck is eMarketing Experience!

eMarketing Experience is the combination of over four years of social networking, blogging, search engine optimization, and email marketing experiences I have either directly or through customers gained along the way. The lessons I have learned from success and failure.

Primarily, we discuss how to use the current online marketing tools to build real relationships that lead to real profits online. Really!

The book starts with a review for beginners, showing you how the technology can be used for your business in a systematic method. For way too long people have been mesmerized (or terrorized depending on your outlook) of these technologies.

They were seen as the end all, be all in terms of building your business. However, the internet is more than the sum of it’s parts. Instead, the internet works because we are on there.  Without our ability to communicate with each other online no one would care about online marketing.

Everything I have learned over the past few years led me to the fact that the relationships we create on the internet are the sole source of all revenue online. People talk about a revolution in communications, and miss the fact that the revolution is that the internet brings back thoughts of old-fashioned meetings where people had discussions and listened to each others thoughts and ideas.

Our job as marketers is to create an experience like none other with this technology. One that says, wow you care, and also want to help me with whatever challenges I am facing. In the end, the right experience is about creating massive value for your customers. The more give others, the more we receive back in our business.

Second, this brings me to the special offer that I mentioned above. 

Since this is a book based on creating value through positive experiences online, I thought I would set an example here.

Therefore, anyone who purchases the new book, eMarketing Experience through July 31st will receive not only this book, but also:

  • A free 30 minute Skype consultation session with me
  • Over75  customized free video tutorials on internet marketing, social networking, blogging, seo, and more

(Total Value: $578.13)

Now, here is the kicker! If you use the link below, you will also get a discount off the regular purchase price of $12.98. However, when you use the link below, the price is $9.99 including S&H for those in the continental United States.

eMarketing Experience Special Offer

This is the point where you say what’s the catch. The catch is very simple. I need three things from you.

1. To get your free Skype coaching session you must sign up by August 15th, and use no later than August 30th (48 hour advance notice required).

2. To register for the free Skype coaching session you must fill out short questionnaire, so I know in advance what you need. (Find Questionnaire Here)

3. This is not a requirement, but a request. Once you have read the book, I would ask for you to review my book on Amazon (A Positive Review if you could be so kind).

That is it! Again, if you are interested in the special offer, and more importantly purchasing eMarketing Experience, use click the buy now button below for only $9.99 before this offer expires in July 31st.

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