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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

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

Wired Coffee & Bagel, a Lesson in Planning

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Business plan

Matt and Marty Michele became the “new kids on the block” when they open the doors to their shop in Eldridge Commons in Malta, New York. This complex of apartments and retail, and office space seemed like a piece of heaven for the new shop owners.  However, multiple ups and downs delayed the coffee shop opening by several months.

Well this scenario is not so uncommon.  What is it they say about Murphy’s Law?  Even with a perfect business plan things can always go wrong.  That is why is so important for a new business to allow a little wiggle room for those unforeseen circumstances.  Failure to do so will really leave the business in a jam at can be crippling.

Compared to most of the other small businesses that went into this mid-sized mixed retail, office, apartment complex Matt and Marty are way ahead of the game.  They continue to see their clientele grow on a monthly basis.  I truly think this because they” had a good solid business plan.  And while as Matt implied, it has been a bit scary being the “new kids” they are weathering at well.

What separates Wired Coffee & Bagel from some of their retail neighbors in the complex?  Matt and Marty chose a good product.  A product with a general appeal—everybody wants their coffee, or should they say needs their coffee.  Everybody likes to eat.  They chose a setting that was somewhat different from the older establishments in the area.  It is attractive, with an outdoor seating area.  They also have a good handle on promoting their business in social media.  Today that is such an important concept.  Any business that tries to fly without the Internet is doomed to fall behind its competitors.  This is a concept that I preach day after day to service businesses in all different niches.

Despite setbacks and slower than anticipated growth, Matt and Marty have stuck with their plan to provide a premium quality product.  This is what sets them apart from some of the chain coffee shops that are in close proximity.  All their sandwiches soups baked goods, and salads are fresh made.  Their coffee is a small batch roasted and they also use a special nitro cold brew process if that’s your game.  There are plenty of teas, hot chocolate, and soda as well.  Wired provides a good product and the customer is never disappointed.  Once that customer walks through the door, they are hooked and Matt and Marty know they’ll be back again.  Not only will they be back, but they both share their new found favorite coffee spot.  Never doubt the power of word of mouth.

I would like to thank Matt for letting our staff interview him concerning this promising young business.  Matt, you know will be sending everyone your way the cause we want you to be one of The New Kids Forever.  Lots of luck Matt and Marty!