Yearly Archives: 2013

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4 Ways to Improve Your Online Marketing with Google Analytics

As a small business owner it can be difficult to understand the results from your online marketing initiatives without paying a lot of money for expensive software. How do you know if your website and online marketing campaigns are effective? Fortunately, Google Analytics is a powerful analytics tool that helps you to monitor traffic patterns and the effectiveness of your website and it is totally free. Here are some of the features that could benefit your small business.

How visitors are viewing your website

Understanding what technologies are being used to view your website can tell you a lot about your visitors and helps for optimizing your web design. For instance, if a good majority of your visitors use a Chrome browser over Internet Explorer, you could infer that they are tech-savvy and you would want to test your web design thoroughly in that browser. In addition, you can also see which devices are being used to view your website. With mobile devices continuously growing in popularity, you might want to consider building a mobile-friendly version of your website.
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Four Secrets to Writing a Successful Press Release

Four Secrets to Writing a Successful Press Release

Regional newspapers, community publications, arts & entertainment weeklies, and online news sites are all excellent avenues for promoting your small- or mid-sized business in print. And, most news stories are the result of good, old-fashioned press releases (sent out by the subject of the story).

So how do you get harried reporters to pay attention to your press releases? Believe it or not, the top three success factors have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual document.

The #1 success factor: Knowing who to contact

No matter how good your press release, if it doesn’t end up in the hands of the right person, the chances of success are slim to none.

Your best bet is to simply note which reporters tend to cover which subjects in your area, then start sending your press releases and story ideas to those who write about businesses your size, your industry or the community you operate within.

If you can’t pinpoint the right reporter, find the most appropriate editor (usually listed by name and department on the news organization’s Web site). Editors are a bit harder to get excited, but if they like your release they’ll forward it to the right reporter.

Columnists are another good option. They generally write two or more columns a week and always need fresh ideas. They usually have more freedom than reporters to pick their subjects, and they’re often attracted to minor stories with offbeat or unusual angles.
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6 Ways to Build Targeted Marketing Campaigns

Many small- and mid-sized businesses are loath to launch a segmented marketing campaign. They’re so used to generic campaigns that the idea of launching a marketing effort that only appeals to a sub-group can be downright frightening.

The key: Remember that marketing to sub-groups is almost always much more lucrative than any generic campaign. Sub groups with a real affinity for your product or service will buy more, buy more often, and spread the good word about your business.

Generic advertising is everywhere, and people have learned to simply tune it out. If you want to open their eyes to what you have to sell, you’ve got to present it in way that resonates with them on a personal level. That’s what segment marketing is all about.
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Five Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes You’ll Want to Avoid

Direct mail can produce results, but in order to get those results you have to execute it correctly. Here are five common direct mail marketing mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

Launching a mishmash of marketing efforts without an overall plan. In order for your direct mail marketing program to be a success, you’ve got to embrace every stage of the customer lifecycle:

Lead-generation phase – Everyone understands this stage. This is when you try to attract the attention of potential customers.
Nurture phase – Once you’ve developed some leads, your next challenge is encouraging those prospects to take the next step. This is the time to feature customer testimonials, make special offers, compare your products/services to those of competitors, and send out regular announcements regarding any awards, improvements or new offerings.
Purchase phase – Once money changes hands (or contracts are signed), the purchase phase is in play. Your goal at this stage is to maintain the customer’s trust and confidence so they’ll happily segue into the “loyalty” phase. At the very least, send a welcome card that congratulates the person on their purchase and reiterates some of the benefits and advantages of your product or service.
Loyalty phase – Instead of letting customers fall through the cracks after they’ve made a purchase, offer them special discounts on follow-up services, upgrades and new purchases; ask for feedback (surveys are great); and request their help with referrals.

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Opening Doors with Word-of-Mouth Marketing

According to WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) a whopping 92% percent of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family more than any form of advertising. And, when asked what sources “influence your decision to use or not use a particular company, brand or product,” 72% claim reviews from family members or friends exert a “great deal” or “fair amount” of influence.

Sure. Okay. But you can’t control what people tell their friends and family about your product or service, right? Wrong. Customer service and advertising are actually the two most powerful drivers of word-of-mouth marketing.

Satisfy their Customer Service Needs First

There’s nothing like exemplary customer service to get people talking about your business. But don’t make the mistake of believing you only need to be better than your direct competitors. Your customers and prospective clients are actually judging you on how well your service stacks up against UPS, Wal Mart, Amazon, and all the other service providers they use. They don’t differentiate, and neither should you: Study how companies in other industries handle things, and incorporate their best ideas into your own service offerings.

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Who’s Talking About Your Business Online?

With all the places for people to post their personal opinions online today, it’s more important than ever that you know how to monitor and track what’s being said about you, your products and services.

A few positive tweets or blog postings from respected sources (“He was smart and savvy from beginning to end; I’d recommend his services to anyone.”) can have new customers clamoring for your attention – especially if you’re an independent sales agent whose livelihood depends on referrals, word-of-mouth marketing and repeat business. While negative listings on any of the peer-review sites (“The lobby was filthy and the customer service non-existent.”) can just as easily send sales into a slide.

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Low-cost Marketing Strategies That Get Results

If you’re willing to invest some time and effort, you can launch powerful marketing strategies with little to no money. Here are five examples:

1.       Ramp up the referrals – When it comes to referrals, two of the greatest sources are “influencers” (people who are outspoken and influential) and “aggregators” (accountants and other professionals who serve groups of small-business clients). Search out a few of each and propose an exchange: in return for any referrals, offer to provide those prospects with pricing discounts, free add-on services and/or other special advantages that make the person doing the referring look like a hero.

2.       Become a committee member – Spend some time serving on a committee, and the personal relationships you develop will reap professional rewards now, and for years to come. Look for volunteer opportunities with industry associations, community organizations, alumni groups and local chambers of commerce.

3.       Get Listed – Everyone knows Google (by far the most popular “search engine”). But what most small businesses don’t realize is they can achieve a top sub-ranking on the service just by creating a Google Maps listing. Plus, as the Google Maps site says (maps.google.com) “It’s easy, free, and you don’t even need a Web site of your own.” The major search engines, online yellow page directories (www.SuperPages.com), as well as many newspapers, allow you to list your Web site for free. The more online listings for your site, the easier it will be for prospective clients to find.

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Marketing Copywriting: Let the Facts Speak for Themselves

Let the Facts Speak for Themselves

No one would be surprised to hear that the airline industry is responsible for a lot of lost luggage. But what if we told you a whopping 31 million bags were misplaced by the airlines. Not only are these statistics true, they’re also examples of how facts and figures can put things into perspective for your audience in ways that clever writing and catchy slogans never could. But knowing how to use statistics is key. Here are six suggestions:

Use Real Numbers – Statements like, “most people lose all the weight they want in a matter of weeks,” are too general and don’t pack the same punch as facts and numbers.
Simple Math Makes for a Better Argument- Simple statistics, like “two out of three” or “three out of four” are easy enough to comprehend. But most people won’t know what to make of statements like “11 out of 15.”
Find a Reputable Source – Consumers today are a suspicious bunch. If you want them to believe what you have to say, only use trusted sources (like the U.S. Statistical Abstract), and always include references to the sources (i.e. “according to U.S. Census figures.”).
Get Permission Before Borrowing Too Much- Under copyright law, you’re generally safe using facts and small amounts of verbatim text from published materials without asking the source for permission. But if you plan to use more than a few sentences, ask for the original writer’s blessing beforehand.
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Writing That Sells: 6 Tips for Business Owners

Stumped about what to write? Not everyone can be a professional copywriter, but anyone can write compelling copy. Here Xpressdocs gives you six techniques copywriting pros use to overcome consumers’ do-nothing attitudes, make their messages stand out and entice perfect strangers to open their wallets.
1.      Grab the reader’s attention right away by stating a question, a fact, or the number one most compelling benefit.

“Prices for new homes are down 16% from last year!”
“How can you get the year-round tan you crave without burning your budget? Sun Center has the answer!”

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New Movers Are Big Spenders

Most small businesses have a niche they like to target with their marketing (a particular neighborhood, an age group, people from a specific socio-demographic, etc.). But there’s one niche that just about every business can benefit from: new-movers.

“New-movers” are households that have been living at their current address for 12 months or less. And boy are they eager to develop relationships with the service providers in their new neighborhood. Think about it: These are folks who need to find a new bank, a new gym, a new gardening service, a new tanning salon, new service providers for their pets, new doctors and so much more.
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