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. Continue reading “Why Mobile Marketing is Good for Small Business” »
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. Continue reading “How Do I Choose the Right Vendor Events?” »
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.
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.
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. Continue reading “Find Your Marketing GPS: Be Where Your Customers Are” »
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. Continue reading “Ask a Marketing Maven: How Do I get Started Writing My Website Copy?” »
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. Continue reading “Launch: Ask a Marketing Maven” »
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. Continue reading “4 Tips To Grow And Sustain A Small Business” »
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. Continue reading “What is Website Conversion?” »
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!
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.
Over 30,000 eZines are available online and that number grows daily. Chances are your eZine subscribers are also on tons of other lists that flood their in boxes with content. So how to you garner the attention of your target audience? Having timely relevant content is key, but before your readers have the opportunity to consider the value of your content you must first get them to open the email.
When subscribes to your list they know that they will be receiving updates and news from your company. However, that does mean that all of those who subscribe will read everything that you send. It is likely that a large portion of your subscribers signed up for the free offer that was attached to providing their information (that is if you are using strong list building techniques).
Because it was the offer and not the eZine that they desired some of your subscribers aren’t really interested in receiving your eZine and just treat them as waste of cyberspace and delete without so mush as opening the e-mail and scanning them.
Fortunately, you have the power to change that (cue the superhero music). You don’t want to waste all the time and effort expended putting together your eZine, insteas you want people to read your communications and have their interests piqued. Interested enough to go to your website and look around and ideally purchase your products or services.
A well thought out and attention grabbing subject line is one of the numerous ways you can persuade your subscriber to open your email. The subject could easily be regarded as one of the most important aspect of your promotional e-mail.
Your subject line must be short and concise. They should provide a summary for the content of the e-mail so that the recipient has an idea what is inside. This is really vital in grabbing the attention of your readers and subscribers. You want your subject to instantly grab the attention of your subscriber and get them to be intrigued to open up your mail.
A good subject must always be tickling the curiosity of your recipient. It must literally force the recipient to open the mail. A certain emotion must be ignited and get them to open the mail. It is essential to use specific words to get the reaction you need. Keep in mind that your subscribers spends only a few seconds looking at the subject before deciding whther to open or delete. You must grab your reader’s attention right away.
You can also use a subject that creates a sense of urgency. Statements such as “Act now and get this once in a lifetime opportunity”, or “Double, triple and even quadruple what you are earning in one year”. This type of subject deals with the benefits your company provides with your product and services. You may also use breaking news as your subject to intrigue your subscriber. For example, if you deal with car engine parts you can write in your subject, “Announcing the new engine that uses no gasoline, It runs on water”. This creates curiosity with the reader and will lead them to open the mail and read on.
There are many forms you can use for your subject. You can provide a subject that says your e-mail contains content that teaches them tips and methods on certain topics. An example of this is using keywords and keyword phrases such as, “How to” , “tips”, “Guides to”, Methods in and others like that.
You can also put your subject in a question form. These may include questions like, “Are you frustrated with your job?” Or “Do you struggle with acne?” By getting your reader to answer “yes” they are likely to open the email. This form of subject is very effective because they reach out to your recipients emotions. When they have read the question on your subject, their mind starts answering the question already.
I’m sure you’ve heard that the money is in the list, and if you haven then well…the money is in your list! So, If you haven’t begun building a marketing list or have be ineffective then now is as good a time as any to start. Offering an eZine is the most common way to build a list. These daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly communications provide useful information to the reader and keeps you connected to your prospects and customers.
Through various marketing activities you will drive visitors to your website. Every person that visits your site will not have a current need for your product or service at that moment or simply will not be ready to buy from you. For this reason you want to entice as many of those that do visit your site to subscribe to your eZine mailing list. By opting in to your list these website visitors agree to be sent communications such as newsletters, catalogs, promotions and other information about your business.
Here are five simple ways to building your list of prospective clients.
- Add Multiple Subscription Boxes to Your Website
Although it sounds simple enough, few people actually have enough subscription boxes on their site. At minimum half, yes half, of the pages on your website should have subscription boxes. The home page is not always the first page website visitors land on so you need to be able to capture subscriptions from anywhere on the site. The most common place for the subscription box is in the right column of the site. But you can integrate a subscribe box just about anywhere in your site. For example, you could add one just before a page or article starts, in the middle or even at the end. As long as you have good content on your website, you won’t have a problem getting people to subscribe to your newsletter.
- Offer Free Content as an Incentive
There are 30,000+ eZines and eNewsletters available via the web and that number grows by the day. Chances are your website visitors are already subscribed to many that they don’t read. We will get into the types of content to offer, but by offering an incentive you are giving them immediate value in exchange for their email address.
- Use Pop Up Windows
Popup windows are still effective ways to get subscribers, especially in niche markets. There are several different types of popup windows you can use. The first is a pop up window on exit, which pops up after you leave a website. The benefit to on-exit pop ups is that the visitor has had time to get to know a little about who you are more inclined to provide their information. The second is the popup window on-entry which obviously pops up when you first go to a website. Finally, depending on how sophisticated your website is you can have pop ups that only pop up on certain pages. The benefit of these is your free offer can be related to the type of content on the page that they are visiting. You can do a web search to find tons of popup programs; one of the most popular (currently) is Popup Domination which offers both a WordPress and a standalone version. I recommend the pop over that can’t be knocked out by popup killers. So when someone visits your website they get interrupted by your top message you want to get across immediately, i.e. asking them to subscribe to your newsletter, etc.
- Maximize Your Email Signature
This is so simple, yet people forget to even do it. Think about it, in the course of doing business you send out quite a few emails every day. Use these communications as great method to pick up some new subscribers to your list. At the end of each email you send include a 1-4 line ad for your newsletter. Do not simply say “subscribe to our eZine” create a statement that shows value to your audience. You will be surprised how many people will sign up from your email signature.
- Contact Previous Customers
If you are just starting your eZine don’t forget to reach out to past customers to invite them to subscribe. Tell them you’re starting an ezine and let them know they can subscribe anytime they like and get all the information for free. These people have already proven their interest in you or what your selling, so it makes perfect sense they would want to hear from you more often than they already are (if at all!) This simple method is powerful and another one that most people over look. Your customers are likely to be your biggest advocates and past customers generally spend 70% more with you than a new customer.
What strategies are you using to build your list? What challenges do you face in trying to gain subscribers?
I am a vendor at the 2012 Dare 2 Aspire conference in March 2012. As a vendor I had the privilege of being a guest on MGN Radio a Blog Talk Radio show that airs on Friday nights at 9PM hosted by Tosi Ufodike Founder & CEO of My Good Nanny based in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.
MGN Radio is your one stop to family information & entertainment. Their description touts that they are a fun, family oriented show and my experience proved that. I had a fabulous time talking to Tosi, and taking questions from the audience both via live calls and from the chat room. We talked me, Cassius Blue, and I shared lots of marketing tips to help the small business owners in the audience. With so much information to share I really could have gabbed all evening.
If you missed the interview you can listen to the recording below:
[vimeo width="320" height="240"]http://vimeo.com/33468506[/vimeo]
During the show I also extended my December promotion to the audience.
- Save $50 on Strategic Marketing Planning: Take advantage of this blend of strategic marketing planning and consulting to transform your business and your profits.
- Save $50 on Website Evaluations: Receive an objective analysis regarding what changes you need to make TODAY to turn website visitors into paying clients, ways to integrate your website into your other marketing initiatives.
- Save $50 on the 30 – Day Jump Start Consulting Program: This program is ideal for launching a small project or product as well as overcoming challenges in order to move forward on a specific goal.
If you are interested in taking advantage of this offer give me a call at 678.590.5952, promotion expires December 31, 2011.
Did you enjoy the interview? Are there any questions that you have about marketing your business? Ask them here and I will answer in separate blogs and/or videos.