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Posts Tagged "Small Business"

How to Improve Your Small Business Website

on December 28 in Foundations | 0 comments

Most micro and small businesses started a company website at launch in order to establish a brand identity, build credibility with potential buyers, cross temporal communication barriers, create another opportunity for lead generation or customer education, or even conduct online sales. However, as the company has grown and more information has been added, the site has lost its focus, become difficult to navigate, and/or compromised the brand. The effects of these challenges can appear as decreased e-commerce or lead generation activity, negative feedback from users, or lack of contact made with the right customers. To remedy this, we recommend a thorough site review—in the form of our Site Review Report™. To provide those of you who like to do it yourself a foundation to work from, here are some key guidelines to consider when seeking to improve your existing website: Assess the current activity. To best understand what changes to make, you’ll need to know what is happening on your site. Take a look at the reports and statistics that come with your hosting plan. If they are insufficient, supplement them with a Google Analytics account. Looking at the numbers is an important first step in any site re-design project. Plan to put other data collection mechanisms into place. Consider what you need to know about customers to be successful, including demographics and psychographics. Design the necessary mechanisms or forms to capture that data if it isn’t readily available. Be clear about the product or service you’re positioning and its relationship to “online.” It sounds easy, but oftentimes we are so familiar with our product or service offerings that we forget what someone needs to know and understand when encountering it for the first time. Looking at the offering with an outsider’s point of view is important to see how others will respond it. Oftentimes, a professional external review is helpful. Make sure your content speaks to the intended audience with a clear, consistent, well-thought-out marketing message. Based on the above and an understanding of your market, scrutinize the content to identify any barriers to successful communication. Ensure all visual images support your message. Ensure the site is structured to meet your purpose. Users should be able to move through...

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Evaluating a Marketing Person: Criterion #1

on September 3 in Creative Partnering | 0 comments

Criterion # 1: Sufficient Experience . . . As Evidenced by LinkedIn (or other professional online network) Background: I get asked sometimes by friends (even those who have made hiring mistakes in the past) about how they can “screen” an independent contractor or small marketing agency based on its leadership and what to look for.  This is the first in a series of  posts providing an answer to the questions: “How can I evaluate a marketing person (independent consultant or contractor) to help achieve my small business goals?” and “How can I be assured that I am engaging a qualified professional?” About the Criterion: Look at past and current titles as well as dates of employment listed and duties performed to see if the individual has held positions in marketing that are aligned with the services they are offering and you are requesting.   Consider the collective marketing experience and level of responsibility for results as well as accomplishments. Serious Red Flags: No previous work experience within one or more marketing departments or agencies Only one prior position in a marketing department and/or agency, especially if for a limited period of time, before going independent No recommendations directly related to marketing work or positions More Causes for Concern: Recommendations not related to the type of marketing services you are seeking The website links provided are broken or point to parked or expired domains A summary lists evidence of leadership and experience but no former positions (with dates) are provided as support No prior companies listed except the current marketing business A summary that provides ambiguous company goals All prior experience in an industry other than marketing Profile cites age and/or founding a company as an indicator of marketing expertise No actual marketing results/outcomes provided in recommendations or work detail If you have had experience with evaluating expertise using LinkedIn or another professional network profile, please share your stories.   (Future posts to address other criteria and evaluation methods; stay...

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File Under Feisty: The Zig-Zag Business Owner

on July 30 in Creative Partnering | 0 comments

We’ve all seen the zig-zag small business owner in motion.  It’s like watching a drunk driver pass you on the road at night.  They weave all over and have no sense of what they’re doing.  It’s scary and you can’t make them stop immediately.  Even if you could, they probably wouldn’t listen, be able to reason, or understand what they are doing wrong.  It’s painful to see grown men and women drive their businesses aimlessly into the ground and risk hurting others along the way.  At least with the driver, you can call the police and they can stop them, hopefully before any damage is done.  I guess I’d like to be the one who stops the madness for small business owners.  I’d like to help them concentrate on the right things and make better decisions.  I should start MADD: Marketers Against Dumbass Decisions for #smallbiz.  In the meantime, if you know a zig-zagger, feel free to report them to me for...

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Getting Fierce About Time Management

on May 27 in Creative Partnering | 1 comment

While I strongly believe in investing in professional relationships, I realize I cannot have coffee or lunch with everyone who suggests it.  While I understand the importance of networking, there’s no way I can attend all of the networking events where my target market hangs out.   I guess I’m not too different from any other small business owner, solo service provider,  or entrepreneur, right? The question is “How can we get fierce about how we spend our time to ensure we’re putting energy toward the right stuff?”  I won’t pretend I have all the answers; certainly, there have been many books written on the subject by experts.  What I will suggest is that I believe in trying new techniques to solve the issue of time management with respect to meeting and events.  So far, here are two techniques I’m trying (and I welcome your suggestions!): 1.  Office hours.  This idea was recommended to me by the amazing @KammieK. Instead of scheduling numerous appointments on different days, I’m holding office hours in a coffee shop once a month (or more frequently as needed).  Anyone who’s interested in stopping by and discussing their marketing issues is welcome.  And, if we draw a crowd at a given time, we can leverage the collective brainpower.  I like this approach because in the best places I have worked, we had an understanding that we didn’t have meetings just to meet.  There was an agenda and a purpose for everything.  Rather than (awkwardly) demand an agenda, I’m offering this opportunity for “get to know you” type meet-ups. 2. Shout-out on Twitter.  Tonight there’s an ASBA (Arizona Small Business Association) mixer. While I am a member and I do enjoy these meet-ups, I really want to leave such an event with some prequalified business prospects.  I’ll admit I’m not much of a salesperson.  And really the best evidence I can provide of the value of my marketing services is via a conversation about a small business owner’s particular challenges and opportunities.  Hard to do in a social setting and oftentimes people want a separate meeting for that (see #1 above).  So, I tried putting the feelers out on Twitter by asking: “Anyone going to @the_asba mixer tonight & want to talk #smallbiz marketing opportunities? DM me & I’ll make it there!...

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