Category Archives: Marketing Your Small Business

Marketing advice and tips for small business owners.

Picking a Keyword for Your Small Business Press Release

You want to write a small biz press release that gets the right attention from media sources, journalists and bloggers. Here are a few tips.

Though many internet marketers have discovered that using press releases strictly for SEO (search engine optimization) linking purposes is not as effective as in the past, it is still valuable to write them when announcing important new business developments and offerings. One of the most important decisions to make when writing and submitting a small business press release is to choose the keyword phrase that would best attract the right attention to your story. Here’s a few tips for how to pick the right keywords for your small biz press release.

What Is Your Goal?

Decide what you want to achieve by writing this press release. For example, let’s say that its purpose is to announce the opening of a new online store that sells bird cages. Your main goal here is to attract editors at bird magazines, the pets and animals sections of popular news websites, shops and bloggers who write about pet birds. Now create a list of the types of things these people might type into a search engine when looking for stories. For instance, new bird cages, designer bird cages, bird cage technology, etc.

Google Keyword Tool

Pull up the Google Keyword Planner tool (available to Google AdWords subscribers) or a similar tool that will help you select keywords that will apply to your small business press release. What would people who are interested in your business search for online? In the earlier example obviously a keyword phrase containing the words “bird cages” is a wise starting point. Start with that and the keyword tool will provide you with more suggestions.

The keyword tool suggests a number of similar or more specific search phrases that you can use, such as “wooden decorative bird cages” or “Feng Shui bird cages.” Choose keywords that have low to medium competition and a solid number of monthly visits (at minimum of 1,000 per month). You may have much more success being found using keywords that don’t have too much competition with moderate monthly traffic over those with a lot of competition and a very high number of monthly hits.



Inserting Your Keyword Phrases

Choose your main keyword phrase to use in your press release and mention it three times in a 350-400 word piece – once at in the headline, once in the beginning paragraph, once in the middle and once at the end. Don’t overdo it, because that could turn off some search engines — they might look at it as keyword stuffing. If you’re going to provide a link to a page on your website, only use one (maybe two) that fit naturally within the context of your story so that readers can seek more information about the topic.

If you take the time to write it correctly, a small business press release can be a very valuable tool for your company. In addition to grabbing the interest of potential media contacts and announcing your plans to the world, it could also improve the visibility of your company website.





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Tips for Selling Your Services Online

In order to successfully sell your services online, you must have a few skills. The first is a reliable system for finding good clients and making it easy for them to find you online. Second is the ability to communicate fluidly and consistently—even if it is only via email messages. You must develop a rapport with your clients that lasts from the start of the project right up until the end. Thirdly, you must demonstrate that you are a true and trusted expert at the service that you plan to provide. Finally, you must have great organizational skills, as you will often find yourself juggling multiple clients and projects at the same time. Here are a few simple tips for success if you plan to sell your professional services online.

Provide Contact Information to Gain Trust

When you sell your services online, trust is a major issue. Potential clients need to be assured that you are a legitimate business person before they send you money and it is customary to ask for a deposit before work begins on a service project. One way to reassure your client that you are trustworthy is to provide as much contact information and details about your business as possible. Get an 800 number for your business—some toll-free services even allow you to pick a local number. Provide a business address as well, even if it is just a post office box (some offices now allow you to use the post office’s full mailing address along with your box number) or a rented office address where you can receive mail.

Always Lay Out Terms in Writing

One common challenge that you may experience when selling your services online is managing confusion regarding your terms after the project begins. Some service providers figure that it’s such a small job that a contract or discussion isn’t really necessary, but that can turn into hours of unpaid work. Avoid this issue by making it a point to outline your general terms on your website for all to view. Go over the specific terms of your service project in an email so that you both are clear before you proceed and outline them all in a clear-cut contract. In some cases, the email itself can serve as a contract for a very small project. Some clients like to finalize things over the phone, but this is tricky because there’s no proof of your agreement. Get everything in writing.

Provide As Many Samples and Testimonials as Possible

When a potential client is deciding whether you are the right service professional for his needs, he’ll want to know if and how you’ve helped other clients in the past. If you’ve successfully completed projects in the past, contact your past clients to ask for a review of your services along with permission to publish their comments.

Selling your services online is not a simple feat and comes with its share of challenges. But you’ll find success if you set forth a clear-cut process for attracting, accepting and servicing clients.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Social Media Tips for an Online Store

It’s estimated that e-retail (buying from online stores) will increase by 62% by 2016. Social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, will likely play a significant role in making that happen. Keep reading for some social media tips for an online store.

A Deal Is Always a Big Deal

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????People on social media are always looking for a great deal. Think about it — when you’re checking out your social media account, you’re not really looking to buy something in particular, but if you see a really good deal advertised you’ll probably be more inclined to check it out. Offer a special promotion code or coupon that’s active for a limited time each week to draw traffic into your online store.

Get Snap Happy

The social media experience on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest is better when you have plenty of cool stuff to look at. People get tired of just reading words on a page all of the time – give them visuals. For example, instead of telling your followers that you just got in a new shipment of great shoes, post a picture of them. The great thing about Twitter is that the picture will float down the timeline of your followers while they’re browsing, so it’s bound to get a look and possibly a click to your web store.

Give It Away, Give It Away Now!

If you really want to kick things up a notch and gain plenty of new interested followers, schedule special giveaways to people that interact with you (or random followers). Measure the cost of strategically giving away a few key items from your online catalog against the promotional benefits of attracting attention to your online store. Go all out at first, giving away really great items so that other social media users will see what’s going on, get jealous and want to jump on board!

Try out one or more of these social media tips for an online store to grab the attention of your followers and get them to click to your site.

 



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Your Small Business Marketing Plan: Tips for Success

Your marketing plan could very well be the “make or break” element of your entire business plan. After all is said and done, your business is established and products are available for sale, you’ll still be doing marketing, sales and promotions. So when you’re writing your small business marketing plan, keep these tips for success and longevity in mind.

Stay Focused on the Main Purpose

When you’re writing a marketing plan, it’s important that you stay focused on the main goal of why you’re writing it in the first place. The point is to create an actionable plan that will guide the decisions you make while marketing and promoting your products or services. Some people get too caught up in technicalities that distract them from this main purpose. Your marketing plan doesn’t have to be written to an exact standard to “sound good” — write your plan in plain language that you can understand and follow.

Work from an Outline

If the idea of writing a small business marketing plan seems like a major feat, make it easier by simply creating an outline. You’ll find that as you follow the outline you’ll add more and more details until you finally have a full plan of action. Here is a simple outline to follow:

–          Your Overall Marketing Vision

–          The Marketing Team (and Responsibilities)

–          Target Customer Profile(s)

–          Product Details

–          Promotional Plan

–          Pricing Plan

–          Distribution Plan

–          Marketing Budget

Study and Test Your Target Audience

Some new small business owners make ill-advised assumptions about who would want to buy their product or service, but later learn that they’re targeting the wrong people. If you stay too fixated on one target audience, you could be missing out on a lot of income. Conduct marketing research to test your theories about your target audience, such as surveys, polls, small focus groups and handing out product samples in exchange for a review. Keep your mind open to other target customers that might scramble to buy your product or service.

If you want your new company to succeed, it’s so important that you spend some time developing your small business marketing plan. Pin your plan on your computer for quick reference and add to it every day until it’s just right.

 Louise Gaillard is a social media manager, prolific writer and author.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Guerrilla Marketing Ideas for a New Small Business

Guerrilla marketing is the art of finding non-traditional and creative ways to let the world know about your products and services. The ultimate goal is to promote the brand or to inspire instant sales. For a guerrilla marketing plan to be successful, you have to be bold, confident, determined and willing to take a few risks. Here are a few guerrilla marketing ideas for a new small business owner to try.

Table Time

Some municipalities and cities allow people to set up a table on the street and distribute literature. This may be protected as free speech. If your city allows this, set up a table in a high traffic location with brochures, samples, business cards and other visuals to promote your company on the fly. Talk to people that you meet on the street and give them something to walk away with to place a future order (provide an 800 number on your company cards). Now if you want to sell your things on the street, that’s a different story. You may need to get a permit or sales tax certificate from your town or state first.

Public Transportation “Drops”

If you live in a major metropolis where most of the population uses public transportation, you might grab some attention by leaving promotional items in the seats, like business cards, small flyers or even a small product sample. When someone sits in the seat they’re likely to pick it up and check it out or take it with them. I’ve actually tried this out once, and then sat nearby to watch what happened. The person picked the promotional item up, read it and took it with her.


Done excessively, some people may think of this as “littering,” so you have to do it in moderation. Consider the rules and regulations before trying this guerrilla promotional idea to avoid issues, but keep in mind that plenty of people leave their newspapers and magazines behind when riding public transportation for the benefit of other riders. Also, if your item is interesting enough, someone is probably going to take it with them.

Personalized Giveaways

If your goal is to increase exposure to your brand (company name, phone number, website or other information) put it on a personalized item that people are likely to use every day and then give it away! Items that people use and look at often include pens, tumbler cups and refrigerator magnets.

Hire someone to distribute your customized, branded gifts on the street and around town. You might be surprised at how fast they go. When they see your logo, 800 phone number or website address every day, it will be hard to forget.

They say it’s good to think outside the box. Employing a well-crafted guerrilla marketing plan can help give your new small business a boost.

 



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Twitter or Facebook for a Small Business?

One of the most important marketing steps for most small businesses is to establish a social media presence. There are a number of social media sites to choose from, however, the big two are Facebook and Twitter. workingWhile it’s a good idea to establish a strong platform on both sites, you may wonder which of the two you should spend the most time updating.

Facebook is Personal, Community-Oriented
Facebook allows you to be more personal with your target audience. It’s like going over to a friend’s house and having a chat over a cup of coffee. Because real names are attached to Facebook accounts, the conversation are often more civil than on other social media sites. You can develop an in-depth connection with your fans through comment threads and by posting photo albums as a way of telling your company’s “story.” Facebook is also more popular with older people and parents, according to a 2013 European research study.

So Facebook is best for companies that are looking to develop a community with their audience. It is a platform for building long-term relationships with customers. Based on this information, if you have a more traditional company that wants to attract repeat customers who will stay loyal for years to come, you might want to spend the majority of your time updating your Facebook page.

Twitter is Public and More About Instant Gratification

For the most part, Twitter is more public than Facebook. You don’t have to follow someone to see the tweets that they share (unless the profile is set to private). Information is being shared freely and at a fast pace. Twitter timelines move much more quickly, and it is not uncommon for a tweet to be buried within minutes of it being posted, so you have to work harder to keep fresh content in front of viewers if you want to capture and keep their attention.

Twitter is best for businesses that are hip, innovative and always on the cusp of what’s trendy and popular. Twitter appeals to a younger audience. Creative businesses like technology companies who develop software and clothing stores often do well on Twitter.

Check Out Tweet Adder for Twitter Account Management

So the Answer Is…
The answer to the question of whether Twitter or Facebook is right for small business depends on the type of company you have. The beauty of social networking is that it allows you to cater to a specific audience. You could start off by finding out where your target audience spends most of their time. If they prefer Facebook, spend most of your time there, and the same for Twitter. However, the best first step is to take a look at the type of business you operate and whether it’s fast-paced and trendy or best tailored for a slower, community-building approach.

Although there are other popular social media sites out there, Twitter and Facebook tend to be the two that are most often used by small businesses. No one site is best for all small businesses — it comes down to deciding which site best meets your company’s needs in particular.

 

 

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Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Social Media Marketing Tips for a New Clothing Store

When you open a new retail clothing store, whether it’s online or at a physical location, one of your top marketing goals should be to connect with the right people who can help spread the word and increase your market reach. Social media makes that process easier for store owners. With social media marketing you can become a premier store that fashionistas and clothing enthusiasts go to for the latest trends.

fashionableladyBe a Trend Setter
People commonly use social media sites to stay updated about the latest fashions and clothing trends. Give them what they want—use Twitter and Facebook to share pictures of the latest trends that come across your radar as well as fashion “do’s and don’ts.” Put clothing pieces together to show your followers how to complete the perfect look. Start a conversation on Facebook to encourage people to share their own fashion ideas or faux pas. Pinterest is also a perfect place to display your outfit ideas and gain more followers for your store.

Generate a Buzz
Create energy and buzz about the items that will be shipping into your store soon so that people will be eager to snatch them up. One way to do this is to offer them in very limited quantities. For instance, if you post a picture of an amazing pair of pants on Twitter and state that there are only 10 available starting Monday morning, it can create an intense demand for the item. If you do this consistently and successfully, you might get to the point where people are willing to stand in line at your store to get the latest items. If you have an online clothing store, start a countdown clock until the limited quantity item is available to the public and remember to inform everyone when it’s sold out.

Value Your Followers

You are nothing without your customers, so make sure that they know just how much you appreciate them. Back up your glowing words of praise with special offers and discounts to keep your best customers coming back for more. Also, on social media sites it’s important that you interact with your followers and show them that you’re not just a bot posting advertisements. Talk to random followers and answer people who ask you questions about your merchandise.

Creating a reputation for being an awesome new clothing store won’t happen overnight, but with smart social media marketing you can accomplish this goal more quickly. Offer the latest trends, create a buzz, open up to your customers on social media sites and be sure to thank your customers with special offers that keep them coming back for more.

 

 

Image credit: © Phil Date | Dreamstime Stock Photos

 



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Tips for a Pay-Per-Click Advertising Campaign

Before you make the investment in a pay-per-click campaign, which could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars each month, do an evaluation of your business to ensure that it will be worth your while.

womanworkingThe Price Point of Your Offering
For a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign to be worth your time and money, you should be selling a relatively high margin product or service. In other words, you should be profitable on each sale of your offering, including the amount that you spent on your PPC campaign to generate the sale. For instance, if you have to spend $100 in clicks to generate one sale, then the item you’re selling should at the very least give you a $100 profit.

Keyword Research
Many advertisers know about keyword research but still don’t spend enough time on this important task. Choosing keywords to purchase should not be a passing thought. You should take a few days, even weeks, performing keyword research before you start spending money on them.

The keywords that you choose should be ultra-relevant to your business and as specific as possible. Before you add them to your PPC campaign, ask yourself this question: “Will someone who types this phrase into a search engine actually consider buying my product?”


Features and Benefits
When you set up a PPC campaign you’ll most likely have to write one or more short ads. Write your ads before you start the campaign — not on the fly while logged onto your PPC dashboard. You need time to review your marketing plan and come up with the right message to draw quality clicks.

Start by listing all of the features and benefits of your product or service. Features are attributes of the offering (such as size and specs) and benefits are the specific ways that the offering will help the target customer (such as “lose weight” or “make more money”). Know all of this before you start your campaign — it may give you some insights into good keywords and advertising strategies.

Goals and Limits
Before you launch your pay-per-click campaign, ask yourself a few questions. What is your main goal in launching this campaign? Is it to make instant sales or to just get leads to send you their email addresses? At what point will you decide that the campaign is either a bust or a success and then either halt it or put more money toward it? What are your spending limits and how long will the campaign run? You need to know all of the answers to these questions and more before you get started.

Don’t rush into a pay-per-click campaign — take plenty of time to prepare. Make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row before you add money to your account and release your first set of ads to the online world.

 

 

Image credit: © Abdone | Dreamstime Stock Photos


Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Stay updated on the topic of marketing strategies for small businesses in this section of StartUpaSmallBiz.com .



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Guerrilla Marketing for Small Businesses

Stay updated on the topic of guerrilla marketing for small businesses in this section of StartUpaSmallBiz.com .



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.