The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Archive for 2010

How to Negotiate with Contractors

When times are tough and money is tight, many savvy business owners look to outsource work to contractors. Using a reliable contractor can help you control costs and give you time to focus on marketing and business growth. But outsourcing is effective only if you can get the results you want at the price you [...]

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10 Tips For Motivating Your Employees

Employee turnover is one of the most expensive costs your company will have. Not only is it expensive to replace a departing employee, but it also affects the morale of the entire team. Here are the ten tips that I use to keep my employees happy. Make Them Feel Like Part of Your Project Share [...]

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Guess Who’s Knocking On Your Door?

So I just got off of a publicized teleseminar with one of the top gurus in the information marketing industry. But get this… there were only three people on the call! I couldn’t believe it! Here I had access to free information and answers that could make me money… so I asked question after question [...]

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3 Tips to Increase Sales Now

If you need to bring in new sales immediately and are overwhelmed with all of the Webinars, books, programs, services, and other “opportunities” that come across your desk on a daily basis, stop for a moment and take a breath. Here are three tips to help you simplify the process and actually see an increase [...]

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Self-Discipline: How to Get Things Done

One of the most important skills an entrepreneur needs is self-discipline. After all, being your own boss means there’s no one telling you to do your job. Without self-discipline, you’ll never get anything done. Many people think of self-discipline as being strong enough to resist all temptations and just do all the work we need [...]

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Inventor on NBC TODAY Show! How did she do it?

My very dear friend and client Kathy Lancaster, is appearing on The Today Show tomorrow morning with Kathy Lee Gifford at 10 AM EST with her amazing fashion accessory Kapelli Ear Covers! How did she do it? Kathy and I have been working on her manufacturing project for one year now, and her shipment of [...]

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NEW Military Home Shopping Channel to Launch!

What will help products reach MILLIONS of consumers? T.V. of course! The Military Shopping Channel (MSC) will be a fabulous new shopping model that will have access to over 12+ MILLION active duty and retired military personnel, and their families. Holy Toledo! After returning from Tampa, and visiting with Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington, I am [...]

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Did You Get Ripped Off?

It’s time for holiday fun, sales… and scams. “I got ripped off! Can you help?” I’ve heard this so many times… good business people spending a lot of money on big companies or agencies and seeing little results. As a business owner who started her business with nothing, I HATE to see other business owners [...]

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5 Small Business Marketing Secrets from Big Box Retailers

Big box retailers like Target and Walmart have marketing down to a science and rarely do they stray from these tried and methods.  It’s worth it to take a look at these successful retailers to see what strategies they use that might work for your business too. 1.         The Secret of Reach: Big box retailers [...]

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Life Planning: What Should You Do With Your Life?

Once upon a time, people grew up, got married, had 2.3 kids, and worked at a somewhat fulfilling job with the same company for 40+ years, then retired comfortably with a gold watch and pension from the company they dedicated their working years to. Those days are long gone. The last number I heard, before [...]

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Invention in the Spotlight – LoveSeatz

Introducing… Love Seatz LoveSeatz began as an effort by inventor Anne Daniels to make her mother’s nursing home wheelchair as attractive and comfortable as her favorite chair at home had been.  Several incarnations later, it has evolved into a unique, stylish, practical and personal part of her daily life. LoveSeatz are semi-fitted slipcovers which easily [...]

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Got Thick PR Skin?

Once you start pitching the media, you may find yourself sucked into the fast world of deadlines and being connected to your “Blackberry leash” almost 24/7.   And even though you are working like a dog, you still may have to deal with…   “Why are we not seeing more sales?”   “Why did that [...]

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Got Stress? Here’s a Holiday Tip

Woo Hoo! The holidays are here… time to have fun with family and friends and get some R and R. But usually, the holidays also bring stress… especially if you’re an entrepreneur.   At work, maybe you:  Must raise sales numbers by 12/31…  Lay off employees to cut costs…  Finalize year-end client reports…  Pay taxes… [...]

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5 Unusual Holiday Marketing Ideas

The holiday season can be a time of information and activity overload for many people making it difficult to get your marketing messages noticed.  This year, I propose going again the flow in your holiday marketing by doing something different.  Here are 5 holiday marketing ideas that will help you stand out from the crowd. [...]

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Gmail Killer? Facebook Rolls Out the Next Evolution in Messages

This morning Facebook announced the rollout of the next evolution of Facebook Messages; a platform that is already being dubbed “The Gmail Killer.”

According to Facebook’s CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg, this is not email, but rather simple, seamless conversation.   Zuckerberg says that this platform enables users to have “conversations with people that they care about the most no matter what method they prefer to communicate.”

Facebook’s new mail system will have three primary features.  1.   Seamless Messaging between multiple channels 2. Single Conversation History, and 3.  The Social Inbox.

This platform integrates four different conversation channels;

  • text messaging,
  • instant messaging,
  • email and
  • Facebook messages.

The idea is that people can have a continual conversation with each other on whichever channel they prefer.  For example, you can start the conversation via email, but then continue it via text message.  Facebook’s goal is to make it feel like conversation, to be a “real-time, immediate personal experience.”

Another major difference between Facebook mail and other email is that instead of having many emails in your inbox from the same person, all with different subject lines, you’ll only have one continual thread per person.  The idea is to make communication “simple, quick, timely and fun,”  said Zuckerberg.

Facebook mail will also integrate a Social Inbox filtering system.  Because the goal of the system is to allow people to have conversations with people you care about the most, by default  the filter will put the conversations with the people you care about the most at the top of your list and into a special folder (i.e. friends and friends of friends).  Other conversations, such as those from people not marked as “Friends or Friends of Friends” will be filtered into a folder called “Other.”    Users will have their own Facebook email address, i.e. Username@facebook.com.

According to Zuckerberg, the program will be rolled out slowly, over a period of months, with first adopters joining by invitation only.  You can request your invite here:  http://www.facebook.com/about/messages/

While Zuckerberg doesn’t think that Facebook mail will be the death of traditional email platforms like Gmail or Yahoo Mail, currently Facebook mail does not sync with other email programs.

How will this new evolution affect email marketing?  What do you think about this new evolution of conversation?  Your comments are welcome.

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This morning Facebook announced the rollout of the next evolution of Facebook Messages; a platform that is already being dubbed “The Gmail Killer.” According to Facebook’s CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg, this is not email, but rather simple, seamless conversation.   Zuckerberg says that this platform enables users to have “conversations with people that they care [...]

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Protect Your Cookies This Holiday Season

ID theft continues to be a major problem. And since many us will be shopping online this holiday season, I caught up with the CEO of MAXA Research International, Inc., www.maxa.com, Manfred Rolle, to get his insights. Here’s what he had to say about ID protection and publicizing his new product… Tell us about the [...]

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2 More PR Myths – Busted!

You can still get PR even if you don’t have a lot of money. Remember my post from last week? Well, here are two more myths… shattered!   Here’s the scoop directly from my new book, “Simple Publicity – How to do your own public relations to boost sales, awareness and credibility fast… without spending [...]

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How to use Facebook “Deals” to Attract New Customers

Facebook recently implemented the “Deals” feature for businesses on Facebook Places, the GPS enabled check-in feature available on many mobile phones.

According to Facebook,

“Deals gives businesses the opportunity to reward customers when they check in on Facebook, and this helps generate awareness, encourage in-store traffic and build customer loyalty.”

At first the “Deals” function was limited to a few select businesses.  However, lately, I have seen the Deals function expanded to include many more.  You may have this functionality available on your page.

There are four types of “Deals” available on Facebook Deals.

  1. Friends Deals: Offer a discount to groups of up to 8 people when they check in together.
  2. Charity Deals: Give something to charity each time someone checks in.
  3. Individual Deals: These are one-time deals.  “Show your phone and get 20% off purchase”
  4. Loyalty Deals: You can offer a deal to customers after as few as 2 or as many as 20 check ins.  Great for a freebie offer, i.e., check in 20 times get a free soda.

So how do you make Facebook Deals work for your business?  Here are 7 characteristics of quality deals that will attract people to your business.

1.  Value: In order to attract customers to your business your deal has to have value to them.  I don’t mean value in terms of dollars, although that is part of it.   Value is relative to the perception of the customer but the basic overall idea is to make the Deal worth the time and effort that the customer must take to redeem it.    It could be something as inexpensive as “1 free scoop, when you order a single scoop of ice-cream.”

2.  Easy: Is your offer easy to redeem?  Make it as easy as “show us you checked in on your cell phone and you’ll get this offer.”  Don’t make customers jump through hoops to redeem your offer because the more hoops they have to jump through the less likely it is they will come in.  Make sure you communicate how to redeem the deal in your offer.

3.  Dynamic: Change your deal up regularly.  Not only will this encourage people to come back, but it will enable you to research and measure what works best as far as the types of deals to offer.

4.  Deadline: To encourage redemption, put and end date on your deal.  If you have too long to redeem the deal and it will go stale; too short of time may not be long enough to actually reach people.  One to four weeks is a good time period to offer each deal.

5.  Clear: This is similar to the “fine print.”  You must be very clear about the rules, restrictions and/or limitations of your deal.  For example, “This Deal not good with any other offers or promotions; One Deal per customer per day; no more than one Deal per table; Not redeemable for cash, etc.”  Avoid problems at the redemption point by clearly defining the restrictions on the deal ahead of time.  Also, make sure you clearly communicate what the deal is in your headline.  For example, “Free muffin when you purchase 1 Coffee drink over $3.00.

6. Communicate: Make sure you have communicated with your employees or anyone who will be responsible for providing the deal to your customers.

7.  Promote: Promote your deal on your Facebook business page, on Twitter, in your email marketing, and inside of your location.  You can also promote it via Facebook ads as well as on your website.

Will Facebook Deals be the demise of Foursquare which offers the same functionality?  It’s too soon to tell.  In the meantime, it’s a no-brainer for business owners to tap into this powerful option to market their business via Facebook.

Wendy Kenney is the internationally bestselling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Business available on Amazon.com, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the New York Times.

Wendy owns the company 23 Kazoos, a marketing and publicity firm in Phoenix, Arizona, that has helped companies like Culver’s Restaurants, The Arizona Farm Bureau and Tom Chambers Commercial increase their visibility through social media, publicity, and creative marketing strategies.  Wendy honed her marketing skills while working for organizations such as MetLife, WebMd, and PacifiCare.

As a Marketing Expert, Wendy speaks internationally to corporations and organizations about marketing strategy, branding, and low cost, no cost marketing.

Wendy lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband Mike, and three teenage sons.   Her personal goal is to visit all of the Major League Ballparks in the US before she turns 49. So far she has been to 13.

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Facebook recently implemented the “Deals” feature for businesses on Facebook Places, the GPS enabled check-in feature available on many mobile phones. According to Facebook, “Deals gives businesses the opportunity to reward customers when they check in on Facebook, and this helps generate awareness, encourage in-store traffic and build customer loyalty.” At first the “Deals” function [...]

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