Saturday, December 29, 2012

FREE Resources for Marketing

I wanted to take a moment to share a few resources I have used for years and have found are great for small businesses.

  •  HP Small & Medium Business I love their computers and now I love this website. They offer Business Identity Kits, Newsletter & Brochure templates for FREE!

  • Microsoft Office They offer a lot of small business resources from business templates to stock photos.  This website is great for anyone who uses any Microsoft products for word processing or print designing.  The images available in the clipart section are great for use in any graphic design program.  Did I mention that the resources are FREE!

  • VistaPrint They offer a lot of great printing services.  Anything you need for a small business, professional marketing campaign, and direct mail pieces.  Just do a search online to find some great coupon codes for free shipping and other discounts.  You can find free upgrades to your print items and even receive free custom printing samples.
Share what resources you have found to be great for small businesses.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advertising Offline? Why?

I am often amazed when I meet a small business owner who has a good client base and they feel they don’t need to advertise much, if at all.  I reason against the logic of  “I get my business through ‘word of mouth’” with one word: Wal-Mart.

Where would this giant retailer be if Sam Walton had decided decades ago to only rely on “word of mouth” advertising?  I can assure you that I wouldn't be referencing the company in this blog.  I receive Wal-Mart print ads on a regular basis.  Whether I need to buy anything at the time, or not, I look through the ad and begin to wonder if I need some new clothes, an mp3 player, or that case of Pepsi that is on sale.  I hang on to the ad until it expires, just in case I change my mind.

The lesson for all of us in business: no matter how loyal our customer base is, we HAVE TO keep advertising OFFLINE!

Are you ready to do a little offline advertising?  Before you design your next marketing campaign consider the following:

  • Clearly identify your market – are you a B2B, or B2C based company? 
  • What income level does your product or service cater to? 
  • What will reel them in – What promotion or product will you feature in your ad?
  • Colors – Research colors, yes, I said it.  Did you know that yellow encourages people to spend money?  Orange is used to draw attention.
  • Mailing Trends – If planning a direct mail campaign, learn what days the most ads are mailed out and avoid those days.  Why spend all the time, money, and research on a great advertising campaign to only have it lost in the pile of glossy mailers.

How do you advertise offline?  What works for you? Share here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Where’s My Traffic??

Here are the facts:

  • You want business. 
  • You want to get your name and the name of your small business out to the masses. 
  • You paid someone to put a website up for you. 

Are you still waiting for your influx of calls and interested people? Has business been the same or even gone down?

When you tell customers or clients to visit your website, do you often hear, “I didn't know you were online?” Then you’re thinking, “What was the point of paying for a website, if no one even knows I have one?”

At that point, taking down the website and strangling your web designer may cross your mind – and legitimately so.

You have the right to be ticked off if you finally decided to use the number one way that most business advertise, the Internet, and it seems like it does nothing more than put your name in some flashy lights and not much else. You’re probably not to blame. There are reasons why your Internet marketing may not be working in the right way for you.

The 7 reasons why websites fail to generate traffic

1. Web site owners do not target their message to a specific audience.
2. The site’s design does not incorporate meta tags for search engines to use in placement.
3. Each web page’s title does not reflect the individual pages content.
4. Each page does not provide detailed text descriptions.
5. The site is not built with keyword and key phrase search relevancy in mind.
6. Statistics aren’t captured to learn why searchers come to the site.
7. The site is not submitted manually to the top search engines

Is your website designed to fail? If you want your website to work for you, memorize the seven deadly website sins listed above and make sure your website design and marketing strategy is the complete opposite of what is listed. And, yes, you can still strangle your designer for not having thought of these things in the first place.