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The Small Biz Success Express

Tips for Online Marketing on a Tight Budget

By Jennifer Ayalon

The Internet has helped many business owners. For small ventures, the perks are more inviting given the endless benefits of online trading. Building a visible online presence for the small business can be an onerous task. Today, there are new businesses that are making huge profits even on a tight budget. The catch points are on the tactics used to get more traffic or returns.

The World Wide Web is a well of vast information. Different users continue to enjoy control of what they want to find in this domain. However, getting your business or products to the target audience is not easy. With the following tips, it is easy to increase profits despite the stringent budgetary allowance.

Know the Market

In the online marketing domain, success is not easy if your target market or audience is not well defined. Conventionally, it is prudent to assess your market before spending on marketing strategies. You really don’t have to incur costs hiring experts to do the ground work for your markets. If you have a grasp on your services or products, your target markets should be easy to figure out. Remember to have the specifics when it comes to all aspects of your product and its intended users. Market demographics can be a crucial factor when deciphering the overall online marketing plan.

Set and Re-tune Objectives

You want to go into profitable online marketing with a focus on higher conversion rates. Thus, you will need to set goals on what you really want from the online marketing initiative. If you are looking to increase the volume of traffic, or you are just trying to boost the income, it is important to list them. This will help you measure the level of success of the marketing strategy, and help you bring in new tactics to help you achieve specific goals. Once the basic objectives have been met marketing-wise, consider arranging new objectives.

Set a Budget

You have a practical vision of your target market, products, and marketing goals. The next critical factor to consider is the budget. The good thing with digital marketing is that success can come even on a low budget. Set a budget to help you push your venture forward. Remember to join relevant niche forums, which my help you build your presence.

Brand Yourself

Online businesses are always competing against intense competition. To get an edge above the rest, you need to establish your venture as a brand. If you are up against similar ventures, you will end up on the top if you have good branding and keep your name in your client’s mind. This can be achieved by branding every aspect of your venture, starting with your site. Having an appealing domain name will help your brand visibility rather than trying to market a bland domain. It is important that clients view you as an established brand so the more consistent you are the better. Any branding campaign that will be backed up by a social media presence will end up driving more traffic and reaching out to a large number of potential clients.

Search Engine Optimization

A shrewd online business owner knows the relevance of ranking high in the search engine optimization context. If you can bring in visible keywords and links, the rest will be delivered on a silver platter. It is true that SEO can be a demanding process, but once it is well synced with your venture, it will bring rewarding results. Don’t just go for the keywords to improve the rankings, use specific and target based keywords to improve your site’s appeal. This is the best technique to get conversion rates on a tight budget.

Article Source: http://www.articlebiz.com/article/1051628618-1-tips-for-online-marketing-on-a-tight-budget/

How to Design a Great Business Card

By Natacha Atlas

A smart business owner is always prepared to give a confident pitch and market their business to a person of interest. You may come across potential investors, partners or consumers anytime. Once you have told them all about your thriving business, you need to share your contact information.

This is usually done through a business card but people rely heavily on digital means as well. Consider what would happen if that person’s phone was lost or your details got deleted by mistake. That’s one of the main reasons why handing out a business card is a better idea than sharing information digitally.

Whether you give the job of designing your business card to your company’s design team or you decide to hire another professional, the design is of the utmost importance. Your business card is like the first impression of your brand so you have to work hard on presenting yourself in the best manner. Here a couple of tips to point you in the right direction.

  1. Logo Focus
    Always look for opportunities to market yourself tastefully so that your brand maybe recognized by more people especially your target audience. One of the best ways to make your brand memorable is to incorporate your logo wherever possible particularly in your business card design. Make sure it occupies a prominent position and stands out against the background.
  2. Contact Details
    Decide what kind of contact information you wish to share through your business card. Your business card will have your name on it even if you have business partners or you are just an employee. Keep things as concise as possible to avoid clutter. The worst thing is to have too much text on your business card.
  3. Typography
    Think about the kind of fonts which are popular these days and what kind of effect you are trying to create through the design elements. Stay true to your brand to ensure the typography doesn’t clash with your brand image. If you’re going for a minimalistic look you could produce an impactful business card by simply playing with typography.
  4. Readability
    Be very careful about the size and style of the font you choose. Some fonts look great but maybe difficult to read. Your text must be clear and legible to the reader. It’s best to print out a sample for testing before you send it out for mass printing.
  5. Space Usage
    It’s essential that you make the most of the limited space you have in your business card. There’s nothing worse than a business card with text and graphics cramped up together. Keep plenty of empty space to keep it classy. You might wish to do away with extra graphics and only add basic text besides your logo.
  6. Suitable Finish
    There are several kinds of finishes for business cards these days so ask around about the options available. Usually people go for either glossy or matte finish depending on the kind of brand image they are trying to project. Matte finish looks pretty chic and is suitable for trendy sophisticated business cards.
  7. Add Rrends
    If you are confused then just go with the flow and make use of existing trends. This concept guarantees your business card will be liked by your target audience and not appear outdated. So, it’s a safe option for new businesses that need to gain quick recognition in the market.
  8. Creative Surprise
    If you want to go the creative route, you will need to consult your marketing team about what kind of idea would suit your brand image. This will help people link the idea to your brand’s philosophy. There are many business card printing services that can help you with such designs.

Article Source: http://www.articlebiz.com/article/1051640629-1-how-to-design-a-great-business-card/

What Makes a Customer a Good Customer?

By Kevin Serwatowski

Save money, time, and headaches by working smart with your Web designer.

Article Source: http://www.articlebiz.com/article/1051636636-1-what-makes-a-customer-a-good-customer/

7 Deadly Sins Of Designing Your Own Website

By Holly Chantal

Over the last couple of years we've built over a hundred websites for online entrepreneurs and reviewed hundreds more. We've seen it all, and here is a list of 7 of the most common mistakes we see being made when a business owner goes it alone when creating their website.

  1. No Clear Call To Action

    This one you've probably heard before but it bears repeating. The call to action for each of your pages needs to be font and center - and on it's own. Too often online entrepreneurs bury their main call to action with wishy washy copy, or too many features on a page.

  2. Installing Too Many Plugins

    ust because you can install plugins yourself doesn't mean you should. Plugins not only slow down your site, they provide very convenient security holes for hackers to weasel their way in and wreak havoc. Very often you can get the same features that plugins provide from your web developer. When added features are custom coded they usually use less resources which makes you're site faster, and they are also integrated in a way that is more cohesive with your overall design.

  3. Using Economy Hosting

    Like with anything, you get what you pay for. Economy hosting may look cheap at first glance, but if you're serious about your website then premium hosting is the way to go. Premium hosting offers better site speeds, security monitoring, awesome customer support, and features that protect both you and your visitors. If you're using WordPress look for WordPress managed hosting like WP Engine or Web Synthesis. Plus they usually only cost around $30 a month which is still pretty cheap in the big scheme of things.

  4. Failure To Plan

    Putting together the pages on your website is not only about listing your services or products that people can buy. Each page should have its own purpose, and all pages need to serve your brand as a whole. With a little planning you can guide a visitor through the journey of becoming aware of you and your services, to building a relationship of trust, all the way to wanting to work with you over and over again.

  5. Letting Software Go Out of Date

    If you're using WordPress then you want to keep your plugins, themes, and WordPress installation all up to date. This will affect your site speed as well as security. The caveat is that you need to be careful because the older your site is, the more likely it could break when updating the software so you'll want to have your developer on hand to do these updates for you in case something goes south.

  6. Using A Free Theme

    When starting out you obviously want to save money, and there are so many great and affordable premium themes out there that using a free one is just silly. (Though I won't lie, my first website was done with a free theme.) Free themes are generally not kept up to date, they don't have support, and can be fraught with security holes. Just say no to free themes. Studiopress offers a great variety of themes that are well coded, customizable and under $100. Plus, when you hire us to do your website *wink wink* we build our sites on their framework and you'll already be familiar with where everything is so you can keep the site up to date yourself.

  7. Article Source: http://www.articlebiz.com/article/1051626526-1-7-deadly-sins-of-designing-your-own-website/

    How to Promote Your Business at Community Events and Festivals

    By April Maguire

    Festivals, business expos, health fairs, and other community events are all good opportunities to promote your business locally. These tips will help you make the most of your booth or table.

    Small businesses often invest thousands in promoting their services online or by mail. However, many owners fail to advertise in their own backyards. If you’re not taking advantage of nearby festivals and community events to promote your business, you’re likely missing out on a valuable opportunity to grow. In fact, a recent study revealed that 44 percent of marketers see a 3:1 return on their event marketing investments.

    Festivals and community gatherings enable businesses to connect with members of their own cities and towns. Not only can you interact with current and prospective customers, letting them know what it is you have to offer, but you can also give out brochures and even small gifts and freebies to encourage them to shop with you in the future. Additionally, owners can form potentially valuable relationships with other local businesses.

    Here are some tips for promoting your business successfully at local festivals and events:>

    Do Your Homework

    Before attending your first festival, it’s important to do your research. Communities offer a broad array of events from parades to picnics, cook offs to art showings, music festivals to holiday celebrations. Before booking your table or stand, take time to consider your target audience and what types of events they are most likely to attend. If you’re selling to families with small children, you will likely focus on different events than a company that targets senior citizens.

    Not sure where your audience members tend to congregate? Speak to other business owners in your general field and ask what events have proven successful—and which ones are duds. You don’t want to spend a lot of time and money prepping for an event that is only sparsely attended. Additionally, you should consider the fees and registration costs, as they might affect the overall value to your business.

    Understand Your Space

    Once you’ve pinpointed the perfect event, you should contact the organizers to determine how much space you’ll have on the big day. While some events afford businesses a whole stand, others allow them only a tiny table to promote their wares. Acquiring exact measurements helps you determine the type and amount of goods to bring. After all, you want your stand to appear clean and organized, rather than sparse or crammed with products and swag. It’s also wise to find out if you’ll be under a tent or other cover or out in the elements. You don’t want to cart along expensive goods if they’re likely to be damaged by rain.

    Bring the Right Freebies

    It’s great to give your business card out to festival attendees. However, freebies tend to make a more significant effect than tiny pieces of paper. Before attending an event, take time to consider the best swag for the big day. Complimentary gifts can include items featuring your company name—like pens, mugs, and reusable grocery bags—and even coupons good for free products in your store. Additionally, companies sometimes use community events as opportunities to give away new products that they’re looking to introduce to a wider market. Offer deals on new items or pack up several products into an attractive gift set to save consumers time on their shopping.

    To maximize the effectiveness of your event marketing, choose promotional products suited to both your business and your customer base. For example, a local gym would be better off providing free water bottles than chocolates. On the other hand, you probably want to avoid items like iPhone cases—most people already have these and are unlikely to use one branded with your company name.

    Provide Value to Consumers

    Customers appreciate receiving useful information in addition to gifts. When researching events, ask the organizers if there will be opportunities for sponsors and exhibitors to speak to attendees. You might be able to hold a demonstration showcasing one of your new products or present a seminar on a topic of interest. For example, a local funeral home could host a mini-class on the value of advanced planning. Be creative and offer value to everyone who stops by your stand.

    Gather Emails

    When you attend local festivals, the marketing opportunities don’t stop when you pack up for the day. On the contrary, savvy business owners invite prospective customers to sign up for contests and giveaways. Collect customer email addresses in a database and use it to expand your business in the coming months. (Be sure you get permission to email them when you collect their email address.) For best results, avoid bombarding clients with too many emails and ads. Only contact prospects when you have something of true value to say.

    Many businesses have already seen the power of event marketing. In fact 83 percent of B2B marketers say they are very invested in events. Do your research to identify the best festivals or local events for your promotional needs and goals.

    Article Source: https://www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/community-events.htm

    Should You Do Your Own Marketing or Just Outsource?

    By Priscilla Manning

    Businesses face difficult choices every day, but the least of which should be deciding the best approach to marketing. There are essentially two possible options—organize an in-house team or hire an external provider. However, some also consider a third approach, opting to implement a hybrid of in-house and outsourced marketing.

    Choosing a marketing channel is influenced by numerous factors and is not an easy task. The challenge lies in determining which factors should be taken into consideration given the current needs and immediate plans of the organization. Will an in-house team suffice or is outsourcing the smart and timely decision? What if a hybrid approach is the best way towards achieving the company’s priority goals?

    Decision makers should steer themselves in the right direction using the right framework. Let’s dissect each approach to determine the right marketing solution for your business.

    What's the right choice for your organization?

    If your marketing strategies require a group of people working for consistent and predictable targets and you have an extensive budget, perhaps an in-house team of capable individuals would suffice. When your campaigns require expertise you do not have, outsourcing is an important and viable option.

    External providers allow you to focus on internal tasks while their marketing specialists work to attain the goals of your organization. When your needs are varied and will benefit from both outsourcing and in-house efforts, then a hybrid approach is the most feasible option.

    Consider your business model, and think about the objective or your organization. With these considerations upfrontFeature Articles, you can come up with the right solution. It all boils down to the current needs and aspirations of your business when it comes to determining the right approach that would fulfill your requirements.

    Article Source: http://www.articlesfactory.com/articles/marketing/should-you-do-your-own-marketing-or-just-outsource.html