Category Archives: Marketing & Branding

Information on target markets, increasing visibility, building rapport & credibility, and social media.

Credibility: How Can You Get Your Customers To Trust You?

When it comes to sales, vour credibility is critical. Trust is as important in your relationships with your customers as your it is in your personal relationships. As a business owner, you need mustunderstand that:

  1. All sales are emotional. Whether you own a convenience store in a small town or an internationally-known software company worth millions of dollars, you ultimately appeal to emotion, not logic, to make your sale.
  2. Gaining credibility, or a customer’s trust that you know what you’re talking about and that you’ll do what you say what you will, is one of the 3 Tenets of a Sale.

Credibility and Sensitive Trust

The trust that you must develop with customers, who are likely people with whom there isn’t a long and complex personal history, is called sensitive trust. Senstive trust is different than the sensible trust that develops between people in long-term relationships (family, old friends, and significant others), and must develop much more quickly in order to establish the credibility needed to close the sale.

Let’s examine the 3 Tenets of a Sale, or the Sales Funnel, to see how you how you develop that sensitive trust?

The 3 Tenets of a Sale

The 3 Tenets of a Sale, or the Sales Funnel, theory is based on the idea that as people buy from you when they:

  1. Know you
  2. Trust you
  3. Like you.

Marketing is a great way to build sensitive trust and keep people buying from you.

You can use Small Business Solver’s Marketing Solver tool to find a whole list of simple-to-implement marketing strategies that can increase your credibility in a flash:

  1. Get business cards
  2. Record a professional voice mail message
  3. Develop a web presence (not necessarily a web site!)
  4. Ask for referrals/testimonials
  5. Use branded contracts/invoices
  6. Rent a post office box
  7. Get a 1-800 number
  8. Look for media cover opportunities (press releases, articles, etc. – not paid ads)
  9. Encourage customers to leave online ratings on sites like Google and Yelp
  10. Do presentations (keynotes, panels, webinars)
  11. Hire a virtual assistant or use a calling service to look bigger than you are
  12. Make brochures to hand out to clients interested in larger or B2B sales
  13. List your products in established online stores (Etsy, Yahoo, Alibaba) for better SEO rankings and streamlined customer experience
  14. Respond to blogs, letters to the editor, related forums to raise awareness of your company
  15. List awards your company has won – even small ones
  16. Develop an online portfolio
  17. Go to networking events

Which marketing strategies are you currently using? Which ones could you easily start using?

Building credibility is hard work, and it’s easy to be very hard on yourself if you inadvertently let a customer down. However, if you do, don’t throw up your hands – the situation is salvageable! Plus it is important to know how to rebuild trust in this situation. Remember, nobody’s perfect – you are not the first to do this, you won’t be the last. Handle it gracefully, to the best of your ability, and forgive yourself.

Learn More about Credibility

All the strategies in this 20-minute video are low-cost, can be implemented quickly, and do wonders for your credibility. Watch the webinar for details on how to implement each one, pick one or two to try this month, and let us know your results! We’d love to hear from you!

Was this helpful? Watch more webinars on our YouTube Channel!

Email Tips To Make You an Email Pro!

Take your online communcations from “average” to “awesome” with these email tips from Small Business Solver Marketing Manager Sarah Levis.

Email Tips to Take Today!

A recent article from “Forbes” indicated that a corporate employee sends and receives 105 emails a day and can spend 28% of the day dealing with email. So learn how to use how to use this tool effectively! In this webinar on email tips you’ll learn:

  1. Whether An Email is Necessary –> Is email the best way to deliver your message? The most effective way? The most appropriate way?
  2. Deciding What Kind of Email is Necessary –> What’s the purpose of your email? How can you clearly indicate that to the reader?
  3. The Importance of Tone –> Is your tone appropriate for your purpose? Are you using conventions that don’t come across well in text, like sarcasm or teasing?
  4. The Power of Good Editing –> Have you edited your writing to eliminate jargon, excessive words, and weak words and phrases?
  5. A Clear Call to Action — > Does the reader know exactly what you need them to do in response to your email?
  6. Tools of the Trade –> Have you made effective use of the tools available to you in your email client to make your email as clear and accurate as possible (Spell Check, Grammar Check, signature, pre-written text blocks)
  7. Checking Your Work –> Have you proof-read your email for errors? Has someone else looked over it for errors that you may have missed?
  8. Subjects – Did you send test emails to make sure that your subject doesn’t land your email in SPAM folders?
  9. Before You Send – Writing Your Greeting, Pause Before You CC, Know the Laws –> Is your greeting appropriate and accurate? Is everyone (and no one more) on your CC list that must be? Are you in compliance with your country’s SPAM regulations?

Links to check out to make your writing even better!

  1.  21 of the Best Email Subject Lines We’ve Ever Seen – HubSpot
  2. GDPR Compliance Information – ZDNet.com
  3. Grammarly: Free Writing Assistant
  4. How to Use Gmail (Ultimate Beginner’s Guide) – Envatotuts+ Learning Guide 
  5. How to Write Emails Like a Marketing Pro – Aytekin Tank for Medium
  6. How to Write Email with Military Precision – Kabir Seghel for the Harvard Review
  7. Outlook Help Center
  8. The Ultimate List of Email Spam Triggers – HubSpot

Follow these email tips and keep these resources handy and you’ll be writing exceptional email in no time! Oh – watch the webinar, too! If it’s useful, check out our other webinars on our YouTube channel!

Writing a Business Plan to Get What You Want!

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That’s why why writing a business plan is the best first step you can take toward making your dream of owning a successful small business a reality.

In this recording of our “Writing a Business Plan to Get What You Want!” you’ll webinar, you’ll learn about what you need to think about as you draft a business plan, including the sections you must include.

Decide For Whom You are Writing a Business Plan

Your plan will look very different depending on who will be reading it. Potential readers might include:

  1. Yourself
  2. A bank
  3. Potential investors
  4. Potential partners

If you’re writing a business plan for yourself, you’ll include different information than you will for anyone else. Similarly, a bank may want different information than a potential partner.

Write the Business Overview

The Business Overview is the section to include the following things:

  1. A description of The Opportunity
  2. A summary of why what you offer is a solution
  3. A desciption of your target market
  4. The unique aspect of your business that gives you a competitive advantage over other businesses in your niche
  5. A brief summary of how you plan to keep that advantage

The Business Overview paints a picture of your business at a point in time.

Write the Vision Section

In the Vision Section, paint a picture of how you see your business in the future. Include details about:

  1. Where you see your company in 3 – 5 years
  2. Your ultimate goal for your business
  3. A description of your exit strategy

The reader will appreciate that you have thought about the future.

Write the Marketing Research Section

Drafting this section is a very important part of writing a business plan. Consider including:

  1. Descriptions of the industry trends, consumer trends, and wider general trends (government, economic, technology) that may impact your products;
  2. Your business’ main competitors and their potential impact.

It’s worth taking time to do any necessary research to write this part of your plan.

Write the Sales Projections Section

The webinar recording goes into how to calculate the sales projections that you should include when writing a business a plan.

Write the Management Team Section

In this section, describe why you, as the owner, are the best person to launch your business, given your support team and contacts.

Write the Marketing and Sales Strategy

Discuss your plan to get the word out about products given factors such as:

  1. Price
  2. Location
  3. Size of area to be covered
  4. Marketing budget
  5. Projected sales

If you need help with this part of writing a business plan our Marketing Solver tool can get you started #ShamelessPersonalPlug

Write the Operations Section

The Operations section is a discussion of issues like processes and delivery. You might want to include details about:

  1. How you’ll track processes to ensure completion
  2. Who handles human resources issues like hiring, scheduling, etc.
  3. The processes in place to handle human resource issues

Nailing down processes is dry work, but necessary. Take the time to protect your employees and yourself and get them in place.

Write the Action Steps Section

Discuss the company’s goals. Break them down into three levels:

  1. Today’s Goals
  2. Short Term Goals
  3. Long Term Goals

Again, this shows that you’ve given thought to your company’s position at the moment and to the direction in which you’d like it to go.

Write the Financial Projections Section

Use this section to demonstrate that the business is financially viable and sustainable over the long-term.

The Last Part of Writing a Business Plan: The Executive Summary

Yes, you write this section last…but it’s the first thing reader sees! Make it compelling! It should make the reader want to keep reading. Are you ready to start writing a business plan?

Was this useful? Watch more of our webinars on our YouTube Channel!

Small Business Marketing on a Small Business Budget

When you’re a small business owner just starting out, keeping costs low is a priority. But you also must let people know that you’re in business, offering products and services that that they want – you have to do marketing, and marketing costs money! What’s the solution? How can you do small business marketing on a small business budget?

Fear not – you have plenty of options for cheap and cheerful marketing, and we’ve made the replay of webinar we did on the subject available for you to study and consider. You’ll learn about easy-to-use small business marketing tools that are free or almost free, including:

  1. Your smile!
  2. 30-Second Pitch (Elevator Pitch)
  3. Your voicemail message
  4. Business cards
  5. Your email signature
  6. Demonstrations and examples
  7. Customer follow-ups
  8. Feedback forms
  9. Testimonials
  10. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool

You’ll also learn about Small Business Solver’s Marketing Solver Tool. This assessment uses your responses to questions about your small business marketing needs (your goals, the sort of impact you’d like to create, the time span in which you want to implement a marketing campaign, your budget) you to make suggestions about which of the 300 marketing tools currently out there will work best for you. Each marketing tool suggestion comes with an information sheet you can view about how to most effectively use the tool.

Small Business Marketing Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

Some tools do cost money, but you can keep your initial marketing efforts low-cost until you have some cash flowing into your business. You can then increase your marketing budget as your finances allow. Use what’s available to you effectively and re-evaluate your budget as you become able to – and please let us know what the process is like for you! You can reach us on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email us at smallbusinesssolver@gmail.com.

Was this useful? View more of our webinars on our YouTube channel!

SEO 2015 and Beyond

Search Engine Optimization keeps changing! Small business owners need to keep on top of this to make sure that their small business is found online.

There are some significant changes that happened in early 2015 that you should take note of right now!

Watch this less than 20 minute video to learn everything that you need to know now.

Contact the Expert
Allan Pollett
allanp73@gmail.com
www.allanpollett.com

SEO Now!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is always changing. Your website is ranked based on staying up to date on these changes.

Learn the ins and outs of what is changing in SEO and how this could impact whether or not people find your small business online. If you don’t know these tips and what changes your rankings could drop!

On the flip side, there are things that haven’t changed and may never change. What this means for your small business is that if you focus on these best practices, your small business website will be protected and maintain its high rank regardless of SEO changes.

Keep up to date on all of the Search Engine Optimization changes for small business as we run online seminar like this every 6 months.


 
Contact The Expert
 
Allan Pollett
allanp73@gmail.com
 
 

Build a Local Small Business Marketing Plan

Small businesses have a competitive advantage versus the larger businesses in the local market. So why wouldn’t you take advantage of this?

Walk through the best practices of a marketing plan and then have it fine tuned in order to reach out to the local, regional market. Then learn to use and implement the local marketing tools.

The overview of the video is:

Step 1: Marketing Goal
Step 2: Marketing Budget
Step 3: Target Market
Step 4: Your Message
Step 5: Your Local Marketing Tools

Contact Your Expert

Carla Langhorst
carla@smallbusinesssolver.com

Like the slides? Download slides

Latest & Greatest Social Media 2014

Social media is always changing!! It is important as a small business owner to stay social mediaon top of these changes and how this will impact your business online.

This 30 minute video talks about how social media is changing and where it is headed. Specific new tools are reviewed and any way that you can use them in small business is discussed.

After the webinar, a few questions were asked.

1. What other goals can you have for your social media?
– you can do market research, marketing testing, and find out how your customers actually feel about your business.

2. How do you decide where to spend your time?
– start with the basic ones, LinkedIn and Twitter are more stable to invest time into. Explore the new social media platforms when you have ‘free time’.

3. How can you think out of the box and become viral in your social media marketing?
– social media isn’t as viral as we all think it is. It is all about reaching a certain threshold where your video or post is highly ranked in its search. To get there, promote to your network and friends. Once you hit the threshold this becomes easier and easier.

Contact The Expert
Allan Pollett
allanp73@gmail.com

 

Resources

http://www.snapchat.com/
https://vine.co/
http://www.houzz.com/
http://www.impossible.com/
http://www.mobli.com/
http://www.yioop.com/
http://www.linkedin.com
http://www.twitter.com
http://www.facebook.com

Marketing Automation for Small Business

When we think marketing we often think advertising. But with business becoming more of a science, there are now marketing software out there that can help grow your business.
 
Obviously technology is more than just social media and your computer, and this is your opportunity to understand what some of those tools are that could help your business.
 
Marketing automation is one of the newest techniques out there. And it is becoming increasingly important as by 2020 it is estimated that 85% of a company’s customer interactions will be automated and through technology. This means that these marketing automation best practices are only going to become more important.
 
The 10 Commandments of Marketing Automation
 
1. Be 100% customer focused. What are your customers pain points?
2. Be pressure free. Gone are the days of the pushy sales person.
3. Support the internal sale. Remember that you are working with more than the decider when you are selling. There are influencers and other stakeholders you need to communicate with.
4. Marketing automation is part of your integrated inbound marketing strategy.
5. Drive repeat purchases. Keep them engaged!
6. Content driven. Have relevant new content to keep them interested.
7. It must be multi channel. Not everyone uses one communication channels. There are many and they are growing!
8. Reflect interest, not just action. Interest is important too!
9. Accessible no matter how someone is accessing the information.
10. Cross platform. The new normal is using different devices.
 
Find out more and what software is available through the video!
 

 
Contact the Expert
 
Andrea Orozco
andrea@think-kik.com
 

Public Relations for Small Business

 
Public relations (PR) is one of the most effective forms of marketing. Why? It is instantly credible and it often gets your business into mediums that you might not be able to access otherwise.
 
Think about when you read a newspaper, instantly any business that is mentioned or quoted is considered more credible or a leader in the field. The same applies if you hear someone presenting, on the radio, or even mentioned on a blog. Taking advantage of this low cost and effective marketing tool becomes critical.
 
Some of the top things to remember about PR is this;
1. Know your public.
2. Target communication.
3. Be consistent.
4. Know the tools and resources available to you.
5. Plan ahead.
 
To learn all of the details and tricks from a PR consultant, check out the video.
 

 
Contact the Expert
 
Sandra Gabriel
sandra@gabrielpr.ca
 
Like the PowerPoint presentation? PR 101
 

Additional Resources

 
Press News Release Outlets
Briefing Wire http://www.briefingwire.com/
PR Log http://www.prlog.org/
News Box http://newsbox.com/
Press Release Point http://pressreleasepoint.com/
My PR Genie http://www.myprgenie.com/
Pamper Me Network http://www.youdeservetobepampered.com
PR Link (Toronto) http://prlink.insidetoronto.com/
 
News & Articles
68 Articles http://68articles.com/
Article Alley http://www.articlealley.com
Article Base http://www.articlesbase.com/
Article Click http://www.articleclick.com/
E-Zine Articles http://ezinearticles.com/
Ezine Mark http://ezinemark.com/
Go Articles http://goarticles.com/
Scribd http://www.scribd.com
gabrielpr.ca http://www.gabrielpr.ca/wp-admin
Women’s Post http://www.womenspost.ca
Biz Sugar http://www.bizsugar.com
 
Extended Distribution List
www.betanews.com
www.highwire.stanford.edu
www.newslink.org
www.marketwire.com
www.editorandpublisher.com
www.prnewswire.com
www.internetworldstats.com
www.newswire.ca
www.prweb.com
www.businesswire.com
www.programmersheaven.com
www.emediawire.com
www.MYPRGENIE.com
www.threadwatch.org
www.pr-inside.com
www.24-7pressrelease.com
www.pr.com
www.mediapost.com
www.tmcnet.com
www.newswiretoday.com
www.our-hometown.com
www.prlog.org
www.pressreleasenetwork.com
www.betanews.com
www.earthvision.net
www.promotionworld.com
www.downloadjunction.com
www.press-world.com
www.majon.com
www.clickpress.com
www.bookcatcher.com
www.businessportal24.com
www.webnewswire.com
www.przoom.com
www.urlwire.com
www.billhartzer.com
www.groupweb.com
www.newspad.com
www.1888pressrelease.com
www.expertclick.com
www.gebbieinc.com
www.newsforce.com
www.imediafax.com
www.eworldwire.com
www.ereleases.com
www.press-release-writing.com
www.searchwarp.com
www.dbusiness.com
www.eceurope.com
www.devarchive.com
www.emailwire.com
www.softwaremarketingresource.com
www.seo-pr.com
www.powerhomebiz.com
www.readmedia.com
www.send2press.com
www.openpr.com
www.store.1choice4ystore.com
www.prleap.com
www.pressbox.co.uk
www.usprwire.com
www.free-press-release.com
www.ukprwire.com
www.theopenpress.com
www.prurgent.com
www.upload.it
www.storebuilder.co.uk
www.free-press-release-center.info
www.malebits.com
www.softpressrelease.com
www.promaxum.com
www.epressreleases.org
www.dime-co.com
www.softwarewire.com
www.ecommwire.com
www.lunareclipse.net
www.sbwire.com
www.pressflash.com
www.pressrelease365.com
www.ukprwire.com
www.pressreleasepivot.com
www.pressexposure.com
www.prfree.com
www.ideasiteforbusiness.com
www.thepublish.com
www.press-base.com
www.targetwire.com
www.express-press-release.com
www.profnet.org
www.thehostingnews.com
www.newsblaster.com
www.myfreepr.com
www.ideamarketers.com
www.afreego.com
www.addpr.com
www.symbcity.com
www.mediasyndicate.com
www.news.baou.com
www.eboomwebsolutions.com
www.internetwriters.com
www.webwire.com
www.mediapeak.com
www.epicinnovations.com
www.prwindow.com
www.exchangenet.com
www.onlinepressreleases.com
www.prudentpressagency.com
www.freepressrelease.org
www.pressabout.com
www.afly.com
www.pressreleasecirculation.com
www.opportunityupdate.com
www.prbuzz.com
www.africanewswire.net
www.publicrelations.uk.com
www.fastprnews.com
www.hungarynewswire.com
www.prnuke.com
www.press.xtvworld.com
www.e-syndicate.net
www.emeapr.com
www.hotmicrocap.com
www.learn-more.org
www.sanepr.com
www.baygo.com
www.XpressPress.com
www.internetnewsbureau.com
www.businessopportunity.biz
www.exactrelease.com
www.bizeurope.com
www.devpress.com
www.i-newswire.com
www.bignews.biz/
http://pressexposure.com/
http://newsreleaser.com/
www.healthprspider.com/
www.freepressrelease.com
http://freepressindex.com/
www.ideamarketers.com
www.yourfreepressrelease.net
www.pressreleasepublic.com
www.release-news.com
www.booshplr.com
www.press-release-articles.com
www.imnewswatch.com
www.prfriend.com
www.pressreleasepad.com
www.postafreepressrelease.com/
www.pressreleasehome.com/
www.pressreleaseroom.com
www.fastpressreleaser.com
www.pressreleasestudio.com
www.qualitypressreleaser.com
www.anyrelease.com