One great thing about being in business today is that there are so many options available for your marketing use. There are websites, blogs, social media channels as well as the old standbys of print, tv, and radio ads. Within the last couple of years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in online marketing. The online advertising realm is continually growing and now the future looks like it rests in learning to connect with your visitors in a meaningful way in every aspect – in person and online. A great way to truly build that connection online is using audio and video.
While blogging has been the go-to source for connecting with your audience online, we’re now seeing more and more websites using audio and video. It used to be that only large corporations had the money to record and process video, but with the advent of YouTube and the price drop in HD webcams, video is now accessible to everyone.
So, how can we best use these tools to reach our audience? Read More→
by Diana Ennen
So what is article marketing? It’s writing quality articles and sending them out. It’s allowing you to show your expertise by providing some of the knowledge you have with others. It’s truly one of the best ways to get exposure for your business because thanks to Google and the Internet, your articles stay out there forever and you can get results even months later. It’s what you should be doing to get more business!
Let’s break it down. It’s important to start with a great keyword-driven title, a title that contains the keyword phrases that your customers would be typing in when searching for your topic using a search engine. It’s also important to keep those keywords flowing throughout the article, making sure your content is keyword rich as well.
Then you get right into the article. Article content is important. Be sure to provide information that your targeted audience needs. Your content needs to be interesting, it needs to be full of information, and it needs to have some take away value. Remember this is not an ad for your business. You want to be really careful that your article is worthy of being read.
Choose your topic and then list four or five tips that support that topic, such as “5 Ways To Work With a Virtual Assistant” or “5 Best Holiday Gifts This Season,” etc. Read More→
One of the first things that you should do when starting a business is to begin a mailing list. If you’ve been in business for a while and haven’t done this yet, now is the time to get started. Not only does a mailing list gain you the contact information of your customers, it can also serve to help you make sales.
When I started out, I sent an email newsletter once a month. I would feature articles that appeared on CWAHM, interviews with other entrepreneurs and other tidbits of information that I thought my audience would find interesting. I found that it was a great way to remind subscribers that CWAHM existed J and to draw them to the website to see what was new.
As my business grew, I continued to work towards growing my mailing list, too. Once I reached several thousand subscribers I decided to begin sending my newsletter out weekly. I was worried at first that this would backfire and cause people to unsubscribe, but thankfully it had the response that I was hoping for and helped my website traffic grow steadily.
I’ve tried many things over the years trying to make people aware of the CWAHM newsletter and to make it easy for them to subscribe. Here are the things that I’ve found work the best. Read More→
This week we’ve covered:
* Building visibility for your business
* Why your business needs a marketing plan
* The basics of creating your marketing plan
Next week we’ll discuss some specific strategies we can use to market our business. What have you learned this week? What do you need to put into action?
Your homework over the weekend (next 2 days) is:
1. Assess your goals, business branding and marketing plan.
2. Begin setting goals for the next several months/years including, if necessary, creating or re-vamping your branding and marketing plans.
3. Set a deadline for when you will complete each task.
Get to work!
Miss any posts from 40 Days To a Better Business? Read the entire series here.
Learn more about starting your own business HERE!
Jason Lethcoe has worked as a director, animator, and storyboard artist for the past 22 years. He is currently employed at Sony Pictures Animation. His work has been included in such features as The Little Mermaid and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. He is the recipient of several awards including the Chesley Award for Best Cover Illustration – Paperback Book for his most recent series,The Mysterious Mr. Spines.
Yesterday Lori shared with us several reasons why our businesses need a marketing plan. We need to have specific, achievable goals in mind so that we know where our business is headed. This also allows us to discern what marketing options are best for our company and our budget to reach our target market.
Today we’re going to outline the basics of a marketing plan. Grab your notebook and create a page just for your marketing plan. Break it into sections including:
It’s important to get to know your market as you get started. You’ll want to make note of what is already available to your market so that you can nail down a niche where you can meet needs that are not currently being met.
Also, make note of how your target market gets the information about products or services similar to yours. You’ll want to use these avenues, but more importantly you’ll want to try to come up with new and unique ways of reaching your audience.
Write out a full description for your product or service here. This will help you to define things for yourself and also to be able to easily describe your business to anyone who asks. Too often we have an idea in our heads, but find it hard to explain our business to others. By taking the time to lay it all out in this section, you’ll be confident anytime someone asks about your company.
Also, take time in this section to lay out what it is that makes your company unique. What sets you apart from your competitors? Maybe your less expensive or provide amazing customer service. Whatever it is that makes you stand out should be laid out in this section. Read More→
by Lori Twichell
No matter who you are or what the size of your company is, a marketing plan is always a good idea. It’s far more necessary than most people realize. Often, marketing is the last thing people consider when starting or growing their business. People tend to get so wrapped in what they are working on, creating it or maintaining it, that they expect the product will stand for itself. There’s an inherent assumption that all the time and effort you’ve spent building it will automatically turn into buzz. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
The most important reason that every business needs to have a marketing plan is that it helps us to solidify and clarify our goals. If you have a plan, you have not only clear end goals, but a path you can follow to get to those goals. This also allows you to measure opportunities that come your way and see if they fit into those plans or if they’ll get you to the end goal. It’s easy to get dazzled by someone else’s ideas and get excited about what they can do for you. If you don’t have a plan, it’s possible to get wrapped up in those ideas and get distracted from your own goals. A plan gives you a constant reference and measuring stick that you can use to help keep your business – and you – on track.
A marketing plan also help you understand your business from not only an owner’s perspective, but from your customer or client’s perspective. Putting together an effective plan requires you to understand your business, your audience, and how to reach that audience. This is invaluable information for any business owner to always have in mind. It’s pretty much impossible to get the word out to your audience if you aren’t sure who the audience is or what they would need from your business. Read More→
by Roshanda Pratt
When you think of brands like Wal-Mart, Starbucks or Nike you probably think of very specific things. For me, Wal-mart is one-stop shopping for all things. Starbucks is the cool, trendy place to get a good cup of Java. Nike is the sneaker that allows you to “Just Do it.” These companies and many like them have successfully branded us with their mission and vision. Branding can be defined as consistently executing and promoting a specific set of values, both internally and externally, for the purpose of establishing ownership to those same values in the marketplace.
With that definition in mind, let’s consider Wal-Mart. The store has branded itself as a low-cost store. When you see a Wal-Mart you can count on saving more, living better.
Now, while your company name sets the tone for your brand, along with your logo and tagline, those elements alone are not the sum total of branding your business. Simply put, branding is an impression; a mark you impart on your client or customer. The topic can be rather exhaustive; however, before you begin here are a few questions to consider:
What makes you different from the other guys? What are your competitors not doing?
The above questions are a starting point to showcasing your values and what you represent. Remember Branding and Marketing are NOT the same. Marketing can be simply defined as making specific people aware of who you are, what you do, and how it can add value to them. It is important to know the difference in order to effectively market and brand. Read More→
Improving your business is a long-term commitment, something that must be worked on daily. We talked about a lot of methods of determining what you want for your business and for yourself as a business owner. But really, what good is all of that if no one knows your business exists?
Over the next several days we’re going to be talking about ways to increase the visibility of your business – from branding to marketing and everything in between.
Today let’s talk just a little bit about how to get your business seen. There are so many businesses out there, so many places that people can choose to spend their money. How can you keep your business on a budget, but still make a mark on the world?
Finding a niche is the first step in setting your business apart from the crowd. Locate your target market and then find a niche within. Look for a problem that needs to be solved (i.e. no one local offers organic vegetables) and then be the one to solve that problem. By being unique, your business will gain momentum more quickly than the generic businesses who spend their time copying what others are doing.
Next, begin building and email list. Ask your customers if you can email them a regular newsletter or email that contains your specials. This is a great way to connect with customers, build a relationship and remind them to buy from you. Offer subscriber-only discounts and specials to build their loyalty and excitement about being a part of your business. Read More→