Where do people go to find you?

How do people find your businessWhere do you think people go to find your business?

I promise you it’s not the Yellow Pages. In the last three years, I can’t even begin to recall the number of business owners who told me they were giving up their Yellow Page ad. If I had a dime for each, I’m sure I’d have coffee for a year.

So where, then?
One thing that drives business for a lot of people is referrals. People ask their friends and family for advice when purchasing a service or product all the time. This can happen anywhere: in person at a coffee shop, a meeting, an event, or on the phone. Because we’re all crunched for time, it’s happening more and more online through email or on social media. These two platforms are huge in terms of opportunities where referrals flow.

If you’re not being referred or talked about in social media, then you are definitely being Googled. People are finding you by searching Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or some other search engine. That’s why having a presence on the web and being easily found online is crucial for survival today. This applies to all businesses, large and small.

This is the type of stuff we help small businesses accomplish everyday. Contact us if you’d like learn more.

An Email Marketing Checklist

Email marketing checklistTwo weeks ago we sent out our first newsletter in about a year. We won’t get into the reasons why it took so long to get back into the game, but we will say that we’re happy to be back!

We were expecting unsubscribes and non-engaged readers. We had some, but for the most part, we’re happy with the results from our last two newsletters. Now for the challenge going forward: improve our open and click rates, provide information each week that readers are eager to receive, and gain new subscribers in the process.

How does one go about doing this? As I was brushing up on my email marketing skills, I came across this article from Small Business Computing. Although there are thousands of email help articles on the web, this one speaks to our—and hopefully your—small business. The full article goes into detail, but on the surface they suggest:

  1. Integrate email marketing with social media
  2. Make email campaigns viewable on mobile phones
  3. Engage readers by having conversations and inviting them to participate in the discussion
  4. Keep content brief and focused
  5. Don’t overdo on images or design
  6. Track campaigns to determine what’s working and what’s not

Email is essential. We’re committed to making our newsletter something people look forward to getting each week and we’d love for you to subscribe. If your small business needs help starting an email marketing campaign or implementing some of the tips listed above, we can help you build a list from the ground up and start seeing the results from this powerful tool.

Social Media Workshops for Oldham County Chamber of Commerce

Over the last month and a half I’ve been doing a series of Social Media 101 workshops. Each workshop has been divided into 2 weeks with approximately 10 small business owners, freelancers, consultants or non profit directors. When I was initially contacted by the great folks at Oldham County Chamber they mentioned doing a hands on workshop one time for around 30 small business owners. The workshop evolved into 2 two-week sessions with different groups and it has been a great format.

The format has really worked because it allows me to give the participants the big picture in session one and get their buy in through some real life case studies.  The second session allows us to introduce some tools to make businesses more efficient at managing their inbound marketing. Too many businesses are “doing” social media because someone told them they should. In my experience you can’t do it, but you can commit to it over the long haul. You can’t get better at it if the only reason you’re testing the waters is because someone told you that you should.

So if I had to give those who haven’t been able to attend the cliff notes version- here it is in bullet form.

The concepts:

Inbound Marketing or Digital Marketing whatever you prefer. This includes social media, blogging, playing well with search engines (Google), and content marketing.

The key players:

Chris Brogan

Mitch Joel

Hubspot

Seth Godin

The books to read:

Trust Agents

Six Pixels of Separation

Linchpin

Tribes

Crush It

Rework

The spaces:

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIN

Youtube

The tools:

Google Reader

Google Alerts

Google External Adword Tool

WordPress or Hubspot CMS

Twitter Search

Hootsuite

Sorry no time to link all these up. Maybe in a follow up post. Just Google them all.

The New Top of Mind- 7 reasons to pump out content

Here is a quick list of 7 Reasons why you should start Pumping out Content for your small business, micro business or startup.

1) Because you can.

With a WordPress site and a premium theme ( of course I’m an affiliate) you are the director of “You” Publishing. It’s the ultimate in Bootstrap Marketing.

2) Because it’s fun.

What small business owner doesn’t get ideas in the middle of the night, driving down the road or in the shower. We all do. We care about our baby and even the most boring of us comes up with great ideas to promote his or her baby. Now you have the keys and you’re in control.

3) Because it educates and sells.

Want to get a point across to a prospect. Want to reinforce something to a current customer. Want to show your hand to a competitor. Want to tell your customers and prospects why they should look at your value propositions. Pump out the good relevant content.

4) Because you’ll be one of the first adopters.

No matter how much small businesses are chattering about inbound marketing, social media and blogging- very few are actually doing it. Want to get ahead? Then actually do it and stop just talking about it.

5) Because you’ll learn a lot in the process.

Creating good content for your site and blog is fun yet challenging. It requires you to rethink the way you run your business, the way you market your products and services and the way your community views you. Whether you’re recording videos and screencasts, snapping telling pictures, writing great posts or sharing key links- you’ll be forced to think and learn along the way.

6) Because you’re creating indexable content that can be referenced by you and search engines fo-ever.

Think about the difference between the web and sending a direct mail piece, running a print ad or buying a phone book ad. Print is finite. The web is not as of yet.

7) Because I said so.

I have your best interests at heart. I’m a nice guy and a lot smarter people than me are saying this too.