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Marketing Tips for People Who Hate Marketing

Let’s be honest – as a business owner, you’re not always going to love every hat you have to wear. One of the most challenging tasks in getting a small business off the ground and making it successful is marketing, yet not everyone enjoys this piece of the puzzle, regardless of how important it is. The good news is it’s still possible to successfully market your business even if it’s not something you particularly enjoy doing. Here are a few tips to help make it a little easier for you.

Get an Accurate Picture – There is really no right or wrong way to market a business, and different people approach it using different methods and techniques. The first thing you need to do in order to get over your immense dislike of marketing is dispel the misconceptions and get a clear and accurate picture of what you need to do, how you can do it, and how much it will cost. When you remove the mystery, it is much less intimidating.

Pick Your Pleasure – Ask yourself if there are any marketing duties that you actually don’t mind. Perhaps spending some time on social media interacting with your clients and prospects is something you enjoy, or blogging, or measuring ROI. Whatever it is that you really like, identify and focus on it. Then, if possible, delegate the other duties to someone else in your office or hire a freelancer to do it for you. If that’s not an option, try tackling the tasks you like the least first and then leaving those that you don’t mind for last, to make it more tolerable.

Dive In – Once you have an idea of what strategy you are going to take, and how you plan to tackle it, it’s time to get started. There are plenty of resources online if you need some help, and many of them don’t cost a thing. For instance, here’s a list of 149 free internet marketing tools that you can tap into without having to worry about cost.

And there you have it! Now you have a game plan, a schedule of what needs to be done, who will do what and when, and a bunch of free tools to play with. You’ll see that once all the smoke and mirrors are removed and you get a clear picture of what you’re dealing with, marketing isn’t as bad as you may have made it out to be. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and market your business!

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 6:57 AM

4 Creative Alternatives to the Traditional Office

Gone are the days of the long commute to the stuffy office, where coworkers huddled into their cubicles to pound away at their day-to-day tasks. Technology, such as cloud computing and virtual phone systems, has opened so many doors in terms of making it possible to work anywhere, any time and as a result, more and more businesses are shifting from traditional to alternative offices. If you’re thinking of making this transition yourself, here are 4 creative options for you to consider.

Home Office – This is probably the most common set up for entrepreneurs because it doesn’t require a huge investment. All you really need is a computer, telephone, and a general place in which you can complete your work. Some people have a separate room or addition on their homes that serves as their home office; others simply sit at their desk or even kitchen table. The downsides to working out of your home, however, include managing your work with kids around and the lack of meeting space.

Co-working Spaces – These are the latest craze for alternative work spaces, because they’re a much more affordable option than renting traditional office space. They typically come fully furnished with office equipment and connectivity, and allow you to rent space for meetings or even just a cubicle, as needed or on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Some even come with other staff like a receptionist, which is shared by co-renters. This is ideal for those who wish to show a professional image for infrequent client meetings. The down size is, it’s shared so it’s not customizable.

Subleases – For those who don’t require the use of an entire office, subleasing part of a space is an option. Know someone else that’s in the same boat as you? You might consider co-leasing an office together, or you can lease out part of a business that is available. In today’s economy, businesses are looking for ways to defer cost, so it’s prime opportunity to find these types of arrangements. Sharing the cost and resources can be an upside for small businesses or entrepreneurs, however having a roommate can make it a challenge.

Go with the Flow – One of the greatest things about our mobile society is that it’s so easy to work from wherever you are at any given moment. These days you can bring your laptop and cell phone to your local coffee shop and hammer away at what you need to get done as you sip on your mocha latte. There are, of course, a few negatives to this approach, and they’re fairly obvious. With this type of work arrangement there is a lot of background noise and plenty of distractions.

The barriers that once held aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners back have been shattered, and people have the freedom to work whenever, wherever thanks, in part to technology. These four options provide the perfect alternatives to traditional work spaces, and allow you the freedom and flexibility to make your business a success.

posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 6:59 AM

5 Tips for Improving Local Business

For brick and mortar businesses, the most important demographic is local residents. But times have changed, and traditional marketing methods like yellow page ads and radio spots are becoming a thing of the past. Not to worry – there are still plenty of ways a small business can successfully launch a “go local” campaign and drum up more business. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started.

Get Involved – If you want the people who live in your area to notice your business, get involved and become active in the community. Join the Chamber of Commerce, volunteer at local events – make your presence known. Not only will this make your brand more visible, but it will also foster a sense of trust among local consumers.

Go Public – Local newspapers aren’t just for advertising – they are also an excellent tool for reaching out to your target audience. Write a guest column that offers some helpful tips or tricks, participate in a Q & A, or simply share your opinions with the editor for publication.

Give Back – People love a free event. Why not sponsor a night out for a wine tasting in your office, after hours, or volunteer your building for an upcoming Chamber of Commerce get together. These types of networking events allow people to mingle with others in the community and also score big points for your business for organizing and hosting the events.

Reward Your Customers – A great way to draw local clientele is by offering them a rewards program or some other type of incentive. The more they shop with you, the more they save or benefit, which builds brand loyalty with your existing customers and also attracts new business.

Join In the Fun – Most communities have annual events that draw people from miles around, such as festivals or other collaborative celebrations. Consider joining forces and participating in these shindigs, whether it’s setting up a booth or volunteering to help keep things running smoothly. The more you make your presence known, the more integrated your business will become as a strategic part of the community.

Driving local business often means getting creative with how you market, and it almost always means rolling up your sleeves and getting involved. These five simple tips will help you to become an integral part of your community and establish the trust and respect needed to land those clients and realize future success.

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 2:15 PM

5 Tips to Increase Your Facebook “Likes”

By now you’re probably aware of the important role that social media plays in today’s business climate – particularly Facebook. But simply setting up a page isn’t enough to actually get you the results you want, which is more brand exposure, increased reach and (hopefully) more paying customers. To really be effective, you’ve got to make your page dynamic and interactive. Here are 5 tips on how you can get more people to click that “like” button on your Facebook fan page.

Pay Attention – How can you possibly give your audience what they want if you’re not tuned in to them? Facebook provides an excellent vehicle through which you can reach out and learn from your existing customers and your prospects. Pay attention and listen to what they’re saying they want and need, and then do what it takes to give that to them. And don’t forget to also keep an eye on your competitors’ Facebook pages to see what’s working for them.

Be Real – The most powerful thing about social media is the way it connects people to the real personalities behind the brands and corporations they do business with. The best way to endear people to you and gain more fans and followers is to show them who you really are.

“Wow” Your Fans – Businesses with the most fan engagement on Facebook find ways to continuously delight and surprise their followers. Try interactive things like contests, quizzes, giveaways – these are excellent ways to get people to share your content, and a quick way to boost your number of likes. And if you continue to delight, you’ll entice those who like your page to stick around.

Actively Engage – The best way to get noticed on Facebook is to get more comments, likes and shares, and the best way to do that is by actively engaging with your fans. Encourage people to interact with you by posting thought provoking questions, doing polls or fun quizzes. These are all things that get people to join in the conversation, and when they do, make sure that you are right in there with them participating.

Give Facebook Ads a Shot – If you participate in pay-per-click advertising, why not including Facebook in the mix? These ads are highly targeted and relatively inexpensive, but they can get you tremendous exposure and help boost your page. It’s not for everyone, but it may be worth a shot for your business.

When used correctly, Facebook can be an extremely powerful marketing tool for your business. The first step is getting people to like your page, and these tips will help you maximize your page for real results.

Speaking of Facebook – have you connected with us yet? We’d love to be your Facebook friend! Please head over and “like” our page. Many thanks!

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 11:07 AM

Work at Home Mom? Why a Virtual Phone System is a Must!

There is arguably nobody that works harder than a work at home mom. Juggling a career while also managing a household with small children can feel like two full time jobs – you need all the help you can get. The good news is, today’s technology has created a number of tools that are designed to make life easier. A virtual phone system is one of them. Here’s how these innovative systems are a must for busy working moms.

You Get a Dedicated Phone Line – Regardless of whether you work from the comfort of your own couch, you want to be able to handle your business in the most professional manner possible. Giving out your personal phone number – and one which is shared by your whole family – can give the impression that you’re running a hokey operation. With a virtual phone system, you get your own dedicated line, with either a local number or a toll-free number, to give out to just your business contacts.

You Get Professional-Sounding Features – It really doesn’t matter if you run a one-woman show – a virtual phone system provides you with all the features you need to project a professional, bigger business image. Custom greetings, voicemail, robust phone trees – your callers will never know it’s just you pulling all the strings!

You Get an Easy-to-Use System – With all of the other duties you’re juggling, between being a mom and running a successful business, who has the time to figure out complicated telecommunications systems? Virtual phone systems are simple to use, and can be up and running in literally seconds, saving you hassle and the precious commodity of time.

You Get Mobility – Being a busy mom and business owner means a lot of running around. You can’t be expected to sit in your home office, just waiting for the phone to ring. Virtual phone systems provide flexibility and mobility so you can manage your hectic schedule while always staying connected. Simply have your calls forwarded to any number you choose and get going!

You Save Money – Now, if that isn’t music to your ears, I don’t know what is! Being successful in business involves finding ways to cut costs in as many ways as possible. Virtual phone systems are extremely cost effective – you just pay one low monthly rate. No expensive equipment to maintain, and you get all the features you need to stay connected and remain competitive.

Being a work at home mom involves a lot of dedication, tenacity and tireless effort. Having tools to help you stay in contact and on top of your competition can mean the difference between becoming a raving success and burning out. A virtual phone system provides you everything you need to stay ahead of the game and come out on top.

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 2:48 PM

Establishing Trust for Your Online Business

In today’s electronic age, owning a business is no longer limited by physical location. Online businesses are being created on a daily basis and many of them are realizing great success. The key to this is being able to establish trust amongst your prospects – something that can be challenging when they can’t physically see your business. It’s tricky, but it can be done. Here are a few tips to help warm your prospects to your online business.

Become Accredited with the BBB – Seeing the Better Business Bureau logo on your website will show customers and potential customers that you are a trustworthy business. Just be sure that you work hard to keep up those standards, or it may backfire.

Join Ranks with Already Established Brands – Your prospects may not have heard of your brand yet, but if you partner with brands that they do recognize it can go a long way to setting their minds at ease and gaining their confidence. This can be done through an affiliate program, through paid sponsorships or by requesting to directly work with another established business.

Display Your Privacy Policy – People like to see that their personal information will be kept secure if they do business with you, so make your privacy policy clearly visible and easy to find on your website. If you don’t yet have a privacy policy, get one stat!

Use a Reputable Payment Processor – If you do any type of product sales online, be sure you are offering your customers a secure way to make payment. Alleviate their fears by using a processor that is reputable such as PayPal or Google Checkout. These platforms offer several layers of protection for consumers, which is a good thing - for them and for you.

Build Your Online Presence – The more recognizable your brand, the more trustworthy it will become, so do your part to establish yourself in other areas online. Become active on social media platforms, ask for reviews from satisfied customers and boost your PR by participating in guest blog posts and other media resources.

Establishing a cyber identity can be challenging, especially if your business is relatively new. These tips will help you generate more trust amongst your customers and prospects and further solidify your brand as one they can rely on.


posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 4:40 PM