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small business marketing

Brand Identity

Branding concept in tag cloudHow do your potential clients identify with your brand?  Does your logo identify with your core business practice?  It’s important to carry your themes, colors and logos across all your marketing material from your website to your business cards to your brochures.  Proper brand identity can help your products and services sell themselves.  If you offer more than one product or service, properly identifying your brand can help one service or product sell another.

We’ve seen many companies fail at branding.  Using different logos for the same products, different colors to identify the same services, and it only leads to confusion by the potential customer.  It’s important to keep your logos, schemes and themes the same across your website, social media and print material.  Your customers will be better able to identify you and your products and it makes it easier to recommend a product or service to a friend.  With the influx of social sharing, this can be crucial to a businesses success.

 

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Local Marketing for Your Small Business

 

Countless small businesses are missing something from their marketing campaign:  Local Marketing.  Do you own a storefront?  Are your main customers people within a 25 mile radius?  How do they find you? As a local business, you need to make sure you’re advertising in the right places.

One of the best and least expensive ways to get started is to create a local listing.  It’s easy to create one- head over to Google’s Local Business Center.  Log in with your Gmail or Google apps account and claim your listing.  Add tags that are appropriate to your business- think of what you’d type in a search engine if you were looking for a company like yours.  Google will even help you with suggestions if you aren’t sure which keywords to choose.  Don’t forget to upload images of your products (up to 10), add your address, your website, your hours, and your phone number.  You can create special offers, coupons and deals too with your local listing- be sure to take advantage of this!

Now that your local listing has been created, it will take a while for it to bump up to the top of the search.  To be sure your listing moves up the list, make sure to update it regularly, and be sure you have accurate information about your business.  Ask your customers to rate your business through your places page. The more ratings you have, the better chances you have to move up the list.

As you wait (and pray!) for your local listing to move up towards the top of the list- you might be interested in trying one of Google’s PPC campaigns.   You should try out Google Boost. Google boost gives your add a “boost” to the top of the list for your selected keywords.  It’s a relatively inexpensive and effective way to boost your local search results. As a local business, you may even find that Google Boost is more effective than Adwords for your small business.

Have you tried Google Boost?  Is your places page up to date?  Tell us what experiences you’ve found with Google Local Listings for your small businesses.  Leave a comment below or come and find us on our Facebook page!

 

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Small Business Blogging- Finding Topics

Blogging is one of the best ways to build up a following on your website.  I tell my clients again and again, one of the best things you can do to improve your search engine rankings and traffic is to add a blog to your site, have it set up properly, and post to it regularly.  You see, the way a search engine works is that it looks for websites that offer up fresh content.  Sites with blogs that are updated regularly are more favorable to search engines than sites without blogs.

Many people get stuck with their blogs and come to me saying “I’ve written all there is to write on my business topic!”  Too many business bloggers make the mistake of focusing only on the one topic that brings in business- and then they run out of things to write.  You have to think outside the box and think about what else it is that your blog readers/visitors would be interested in.  One of the best things you can do to help increase and retain visitors is to become a source of information for them.  For example, if you own a bakery- you’ll certainly blog about cupcakes, muffins and brownies… But what about giving your readers recipes?  How about writing about low fat options your bakery offers? Your readers would also probably be interested in learning about the recent school fundraising event your bakery sponsored, and about how you donate your day old bread and sweets to a local homeless shelter.

Can’t relate to the bakery blogging?  Okay then, let’s say you own an auto body shop.  You may want to blog about the new engine mount you just got, or the 66 Mustang you just had in the shop that you found a nest of black widow spiders in (thanks Bill!).  You can also blog about the NASCAR race and the feud between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, and make fun of the way they drive!  Make more sense now?  Become a source of information and entertainment for your readers and they will want to keep coming back.  Keep your blog topics diverse, yet still something your customers can relate to and you’ll genuinely offer a great experience for your readers, as well as make search engines more likely to direct more traffic to your site.

If you’re still unsure of how to get started blogging for your small business, contact us and we’ll be happy to help and offer some guidance.

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