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Misconceptions About Online Marketing

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People often seem to have the wrong idea when it comes to marketing online. There are a lot of false assumptions and crazy things that I have heard people say over the years, and I think it is past time for me to clear up some of these misunderstandings for marketing online. I will go over the misunderstanding then the reason why it’s incorrect. Ready? Let’s get started!

Results Are Instant.

This one gets me frustrated, often. Businesses seem to think that they will instantly be at the top of Google rankings when it takes a great deal of time to do this. This is actually more time consuming than your offline marketing as there are tons of rules to follow as well as detailed work that has to be done just so. You are trying to create a presence online, just like you can’t walk into a job interview, and instantly get the job, you can’t instantly get results with this either.  The same goes for work, say you were going to work on someone’s pool or any part of their home. Do you think that they would believe you if you said that you only needed a minute to do the work? No, and it takes time to do it right. This is the same concept. To create a presence online there are steps, a few are:

  • Backlinks
  • Blogging
  • Guest Blogging
  • Other SEO

To name a few things, and these aren’t done once, this is a process that is repeated to build your online presence. Be patient with this, and with anyone you choose to work with on this task and try to remember, it takes time to do things right. Continue reading

What Small Businesses Need To Know About Local Marketing

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Local Business marketing

Considering all the marketing options available, it can be tough for small business owners to decide what steps to take. Marketing is the process of making potential customers aware of your brand. The more often customers hear about your company or product, the more likely they will remember you when they need your product or service. Don’t forget about your social media presence, as well. Modern shoppers use social media for reviews and information about local businesses. If your budget allows, you may want to consult a professional advertiser or marketing expert. This service can save you hours of time that you can spend on what you do best. Don’t have a big advertising budget? Check out this outline as a guide to marketing your small business:

Get Yourself Organized

An organized plan should be the launching point for any marketing plan. Sit down and give this some thought. Start with ideas you want to explore, including theme and get things on a list of things to do or a calendar. Keep things simple to start. Do the things that require little or no monetary outlay first. Create a business pitch that informs people about you, the business, and of course, your services or products. Keep it to less than 30 seconds, but make it interesting. Try to make an excellent first impression and welcome customer input.

Build a Company Website

Moderns customers rely on Google to find businesses and products that are of interest to them. Business owners need their own website to establish legitimacy and provide a platform for potential customers to find information about company services and products. Your website must be mobile-friendly since most searches are done on phones. Optimized for the search engines.  Look for an SEO service that provides a plan and offers accountability. Be leery agencies that promise you too much too fast. Many things influence rankings on the major search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo, but done correctly, it will be a gradual process and may take six months or more to see your desired keywords ranking in the top 3 positions on Google. Keep in mind that being too frugal on this step may result in slow growth for your business. There are plenty of DIY website building and hosting services, but depending on the competition in your niche and the kind of website features you need, it may be better to at least partner with an agency to do the things that you with which you have no experience. Choose an agency that is flexible and able to scale up or down to match your budget.

Take Advantage Of Social Media

The world runs on social media in the 21st century. If you aren’t at least using Facebook to promote your business, you are missing out on a ton of exposure. You can create and manage your own page content until you can afford to hire someone to create content for you. For instance, if you are a local plumber you can post pictures of your recent plumbing projects and helpful hints to homeowners.  In recent years increasing numbers of seniors are hopping on the social media bandwagon to keep in touch with the younger members of their families, including children, grandkids, as well as their friends. This makes older people good brand ambassadors, so do not leave this opportunity on the table.

Claim Your Own Business Online

Your business is going to be online, even if you choose not to promote it, so it is essential that your business information be accurate. The best practice is for you to be proactive about controlling what potential customers find out about your business services when they Google you. You can search the different browsers to see what kind of description and information is listed for your company. Claim everything you can and make sure the information is correct. Start by verifying your business with Google My Business and then keep all of your listing information consistent across the internet. Your agency can help you with this if you do not have the man-hours to do it yourself.

Google AdWords Can Help You Get Leads

While you are waiting for your website to rank, AdWords PPC advertising may be useful to draw new customers. Focus on a few quality keywords, and don’t forget to include negative keywords as well. AdWords can be used for targeting your specific local geographic location. A word of caution, AdWords can eat up lots of cash without any ROI if not done correctly. Be sure that you can track where the leads are coming from. If you are not experienced at PPC, you may fare better by letting a professional handle your lead generation campaigns. A good ad manager will be able to provide you with a good ROI, even after considering their fee.

Networking Is Crucial To Business Growth

Join your local chamber of commerce or local business and professional associations. Getting involved with the community is a wonderful way to find new business leads as long as you have something to offer in return. You are able to make new contacts and spread the word about your business. You will be able to give and receive referrals. Sponsor events that benefit a worthy cause. This allows you to promote your name and support your community at the same time. Promotional gadgets and items and with the business contact information and logo on them can be a source of additional advertising for you that goes a long way.

Inspire Brand Loyalty

Coupons for free or discounted products and services encourage loyalty. Happy customers return again and again and also refer their friends and family to you. Your friends and family make great brand ambassadors by helping to promote your business.

You May Still Need To Advertise

While you are waiting for your web presence to grow to reach out and let people know who you are and why you are better than competitors. Advertising will take some experimentation to see what works best for you. And don’t forget, encourage every happy customer to leave you a review or Google or social media. People care about what kind of experience you age their neighbors. A request is not a step that can be skipped. You should get in the habit of collecting emails or cell phone numbers so you can formulate an easy review request that you can send out later if you do not have the time to ask customers at the point of service. This can be done by text or email. There are also affordable applications out there like Zurvia help with this process.

The biggest reason people won’t buy from you is that they do not who you are yet. Focus on consistent, repetitive branding since studies show that it may take multiple exposures before an individual interacts with your company. People need to hear or see your message as many as seven times before they take action. Reach out and be heard.




Starting a Small Business in Albany New York

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Starting a small business in Albany starts with planning

For many people, starting a small business seems like an afterthought because they possess a prior career and now would like to follow their passion and perhaps leave a legacy in the world. Anybody that has the courage to step into his vision must have strong convictions and perseverance. In most cases, many business owners do not survive being in business for more than one year because of poor planning and fluctuations and hurdles in the business market. There are many things to be considered.  For example, you need to be keen to select the right location for the type of business you are opening. You need to understand the traffic patterns of an area by doing an in-depth market research. You need to make sure that the capital you have on hand is adequate to carry you through the rough patches in the infancy of a business.  This all requires a lot of planning but below are some tips you need before starting your small business.

Knowing thyself

It is vital to be honest with yourself so that you are able to assess your temperament and willingness to negotiate, male hard decisions, and sell yourself and your products and services. Do not make an assumption that “if you build it they will come”. It may work well for some people but many people that attempt to open a small business in Albany NY need to acquire sales skills they may not already have. These skills will help clients to understand the value of your products and services so that they are willing to invest in what the new business has to offer. You do not require perfect expertise in all things but you need to take the ultimate responsibility for the business by making sure that you hire the right help for those things you may not be well versed in, such as marketing or accounting.

It is crucial to ascertain if you are ready to become a business owner by talking to other business owners regarding their personal experiences and the obstacles they may have encountered themselves. You can enroll for online workshops or even consider taking short courses just to learn how to run a business.  Your local “Chamber of Commerce is also a place to network with other entrepreneurs. Continue reading

You Have A Story

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Everyone has stories to share in our lives. Every business has a story to tell when it comes to their origins. Just like a person wanting to tell their friends about their trip to the beaches of the Bahamas.  Businesses have stories to tell about their products, services and why they provide them the way they do.  As a new business it is never too early to start your story.  If you are not good with putting your story down, You can enlist the help of a professional to help you make your story come alive.

Marketing, when done correctly, is a lot of fun and entertaining. It’s as engaging and interactive as a storyteller in front of a bonfire. It can be expensive, (unlike a bonfire) but it certainly doesn’t need to be. With the ability to craft your message and distribute it in any form you want to thousands sometimes millions, there is no excuse why you can’t share your latest garden endeavors from the backyard or the new park your city just built.

I have a love for marketing because it helps me connect the community around me.  Marketing shows people who you are, what you want to do and why. It helps you reach your audience in areas all over, showing the real side of your business. You need to love marketing because at its core, it’s creative and as unique as each person, even a person in a large organization.

With that said, Marketing is so much more than billboards and newspaper ads. It’s storytelling at  it’s absolute finest. To do effective marketing, you need to identify the different personalities in your audience and speak to them as a person. Just like when telling a story, you want to be sure you are engaging your audience and relating to them. You have to connect individually to your audience. This is one of my favorite parts of the process. My target audience is different than yours, just as a Lawyer has a different audience than a Burger Joint. Take some time to figure out who your audience is and how best to connect with them as a person, or it’ll be just like all those bland ads on TV and YouTube that no one cares about. Continue reading

How Big is Big Enough – Marketing budgets

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marketing budget

As a local business you are most likely wondering how much you should spend on marketing.  There is a rule of thumb.  Generally speaking you can calculate your company’s ideal marketing budget.  If you want to maintain your current market visibility you should plan on spending 5% of your total revenue.  If you are looking to see your businesses grow and gain a larger market share then you should plan to spend 10% of your total revenue on marketing.  Of course it is not always cut and dry.  Other things to consider would be how tough your competition is, the age of your business, your business credibility, and whether or not you’ve established branding.  If you are a new kid on the block you may expect to spend considerably more on marketing just because you have yet to establish a name for yourself.  The faster you can gain recognition the better off your business will be.  This means that when making your business plan you want to have a fairly large marketing budget that will get you on the map so that you can dial back on those expenses sooner rather than later.

In general the 5% and 10% rules are based on companies that have at least a six figure total revenue income.  If you have not reach this level yet you’re going to have to consider that you must spend at least what your competition spends.  This is not an easy thing to find out I guarantee you that if you call your competitor he’s not going to tell you what he spends.  You can certainly browse the web and see how many times your competitor places Adwords ads.  You can use keyword tools in Adwords to see approximately the cost per click for each key word you would like to rank for.  Check local print advertising for your competition also.  You should be able to call the publishers to get an idea of what a similar ad will cost you. Continue reading