Blogging is a great way to market your business for free. With sites such as blogger.com, you can create your own business blog in just a few minutes. Once you have established your blog, you need to be sure to use it correctly to promote business. Update the blog at least once a week, let people know about your new blog and what it offers, and share interesting and useful information. Here are a few helpful tips from Entrepreneur magazine on how to use a blog to boost business:
>Create friend-sumers: Make your blog a place where visitors give feedback and comments. It is a way to interact and gain insight straight from the consumers.
>Gain more exposure: Post on other blogs as well, and form relationships with other bloggers, this will help get your name and your company’s name more exposure.
Click here to read more on how blogging can boost your business from Entrepreneur magazine.
A company’s website should be easy for customers and clients to find, as well as to use. When a consumer is searching for the product or service that your business provides, you want to make sure they can find your company’s site first. It is also necessary to make sure the website is easy to understand so potential clients are more inclined to buy. There are several ways to update a site, without doing a total overhaul, to optimize rankings on search engines and ensure customer satisfaction.
>Give each page a unique title. This allows the search engine to recognize each page separately, thus affecting your search ranking. Pick a title to describe the content on each specific page.
>Improve shopping cart and payment options. Make it as easy as possible for consumers to use, to encourage them to buy.
>Delete extras. Just because new technology comes out, doesn’t mean it will fit with your site. Too many extras can get confusing for customers and can slow down the site.
To read more from Entrepreneur, click here.
Fusion marketing is a way to team up with a similar company in order to save money by marketing your businesses together. This creates “power partners.” For example, a graphic designer may want to join forces with a printer; or an event planner with a caterer. There are several ways that these collaborations can work. One way is by offering coupons at both stores, promoting the partner’s business. Another option is joint mailing lists to reach out to a broader audience. By offering incentives to customers from the alliance partner’s business for each purchase of your product, customers are more inclined to visit both stores.
Before forming a collaborative team for fusion marketing, Entrepreneur offers several steps to consider:
>Define your power partners: Think of several different businesses you may be able to team up with. This shouldn’t be a company who offers the same product or service, but one who targets similar customers.
>Work with your power partner to decide what will be offered: Figure out what makes the most sense for both companies and your customers.
>Write up a letter of agreement: Communication is key in partnerships. Everything should be written out so both parties are completely aware of the terms.
To read more on Fusion Marketing from Entrepreneur, click here.
Small changes in a website can make the biggest differences in how high that site will appear on a search engine. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps to do just that; it improves search rankings so your company site shows up higher on Google, Yahoo, and other search engines.
There are two types of searches that companies can use. The first is organic search, which is the one that SEO helps improve. Organic search is a free way to market a company, find potential clients, and naturally raise your search engine rankings. The other is Pay-per-Click searches, where companies buy the space on the search engine site. Pay-per-Click is a great option to use with the organic search if you have the money to spend. On Google for example, Pay-per-Click searches appear at the top and right side of the page, while organic searches are listed under those.
Entrepreneur has put together the following list of tips to enhance Search Engine Optimization:
>Start early: give this process some time to work. SEO can take more than six months to really see a change in rankings
>Content is king: Come up with a list of the top 20 search terms for your business. Think about how customers would search for your product or service in their terms, and then link that into your site.
>Don’t use the same keywords over and over: Search engines will weed the site out if they see this happening.
To read more, click here.
Have you ever needed something online, searched for it, and wound up with more responses than you could imagine? As a business woman, chances are your spare time is limited, and when you need to find something online, you want the most accurate, relevant websites to come up. Entrepreneur has put together a list of 64 websites that are vital for a business owner. Here are just a few:
Google Docs (www.google.com/docs): This is a free web-based word processor and spreadsheet, which allow you to share and collaborate online with others.
Kauffman Foundation (http://www.kauffman.org/): Check out the Resource Center for getting started information on business operations, sales and marketing, human resources, finance and accounting, and the like.
Accounting Terminology Guide (http://nysscpa.org/prof_library/guide.htm): Hosted and maintained by the New York State Society of CPAs, nearly 500 accounting terms are defined on this site, all sorted in an easy-to-use alphabetical list.
BrandChannel.com (www.brandchannel.com): BrandChannel.com provides a global perspective on brands and the art of branding.
Business Owners Idea Café (www.businessownersideacafe.com): Managed by successful entrepreneurs and the authors of several guides on forming and running a business, this site includes numerous award-winning resources, along with practical advice, business news and humor.
Read the complete list of helpful websites from Entrepreneur here.
As a leader, when times are tough, the pressure is on even more than usual. Employees look to you for guidance, you must watch what you spend because of the state of the economy, but also ensure you can make a profit in your business. There are simple things you can do to handle all of the tasks being thrown at you and the stress that comes along with it.
>Monitor your cash flow: Keep on top of paper work, and monitor your numbers closely, this way, you won’t be caught off guard.
>Categorize your customers: Determine who is costing you money and find a way to change that. Keep those who are profitable only.
>Create strategic alliances: Form partnerships to save money.
>Target your competitors’ customers: If you know one of your competitors isn’t doing well, go to their customers, and pitch your business.
>When the going gets tough, tough leaders get going: Look at this downturn as an opportunity for your business. Be prepared and proactive. Take the lead for your employees and they will feel confident in following you.
To read more from Entrepreneur, click here.
As you try to save money in your business, it may be hard to distinguish between what you should cut, and what you should keep. You want to get rid of the excess things you can survive without, without cutting too close to the bare bones, and leaving yourself needing more. Entrepreneur has come up with a list of three smart saving ideas and three cuts to avoid to help.
Ways to save:
> Say no to costly customers: Even if the deal seems to be great, if it is going to end up costing too much, reconsider. It will save you money and make things easier.
> Look at your tech expenditures: You may be spending more on technology than is needed. Decide what you need to have, and what would be nice to have, and get rid of the unnecessary.
> Bid farewell to under performers: If you see that there are certain people performing at a level that will cost you, cut them. It will save you money and time in the end.
Cuts to avoid:
> Don’t fire great people: They are highly compensated because they do a great job, keep them around and they will save you money.
> Beware of hitting the bone: Don’t cut down on your marketing. Competitors may be, so this would be the time to market to their customers and maybe win over a few.
> Keep your benefits: Good benefits keep you at the same level as larger employers when you are competing for top talent.
To read more on what to cut and what to keep when you are trying to save money, click here.