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Archive for 2010

8 Tips for Fast and Free Publicity

After optimizing your site for the search engines and pursuing other marketing-efforts, it’s time to use the “power of the press” to boost sales, awareness and credibility cost-effectively.   But how do you pitch your story to a reporter?   Here are eight quick-tips to help you through the media process:   1. Know Your [...]

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Google Caffeine Means This Marketing Strategy is More Important Than Ever

Just last month Google announced the completion of their new web indexing system called Caffeine.

According to Google,

“Caffeine provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than our last index, and it’s the largest collection of web content we’ve offered. Whether it’s a news story, a blog or a forum post, you can now find links to relevant content much sooner after it is published than was possible ever before.”

This change means that having fresh content is more important to your business than ever before.  How do you do that?  According to Google’s Matt Cutts,

“Blogging is a great way to show people the human side of your company and provide information to customers and visitors. Blogging is also much lighter-weight than a press release. The only time I’d refrain from blogging is if you don’t anticipate updating your blog very often. If you only do a blog post every year or so, it makes your site look more like a ghost town than a vibrant community.

I’m assuming that you already know what a blog is, so I won’t go into that here.  But suffice it to say, a blog can be a very powerful marketing strategy.  But before you get started, here’s what you need to know.

1.         Blogging is free!

You can use free blog platforms like WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Typepad.com or Tumblr.com to get started.  The great thing about all of these platforms is that you don’t need to know coding or design.  Once you set up your account, you’re ready to publish.  For many of these websites you can even purchase a custom domain name for your account if you don’t want to have the platform name such as WordPress.com in your website URL.

2.         Blogging is easier than you think!

Come on admit it, your website was built 5 years ago and is ready for an upgrade, but your wallet is not.  Fortunately, you can use your blog as your new website!  It has all the functionality of a website and then some.  Plus you can update it as you need to as often as you like without having to pay a programmer.  This keeps your blog fresh and timely-search engine friendly!

3.         A blog doesn’t have to be wordy.

The beauty of a blog is that it can be as short or as long as you like.  You don’t have to write a new chapter of War and Peace every time you write a post.  Sometimes a sentence is all you need!  And if you don’t want to write, try posting photos or videos instead.  What about “before and after” photos of work you’ve done or virtual tours of your product, facility, office, or process.

4.         Your website is like a yellow pages ad, but your blog is like a journal.

Which would you rather read?  A blog invites people to read it because it is reveals the inner thoughts of the writer.  Don’t worry if you start a blog and the only one who reads it is your mom.   That will change as you keep at it and word spreads.   The key is to update your blog regularly.  The rule of thumb is that the more you update your blog, the more traffic you have.  At minimum you should update your blog once a week with articles of 500 words or less.  But blogging twice a week is optimal.

5.         Blogging establishes you as an expert.

With so much competition out there, it can be difficult for consumers to make decisions, however a blog sets you apart from your competition as an expert.  This increases your credibility to your potential buyers which translates to increased sales.  An added benefit is that the media also rely on bloggers as experts.  Case in point, the blog “Get Rich Slowly” is frequently referred to by Money Magazine.  The blog, The Pioneer Woman.com, led to a New York Times best selling cookbook.

So what are you waiting for?  It’s time to get started!  Have a blog?  Feel free to post it here, but business appropriate only please.

Wendy Kenney is a nationally known Buzz Building Expert and the Founder and CEO of 23 Kazoos, a marketing firm specializing in inexpensive and creative small business marketing strategies.  She has honed her marketing skills through over 26 years of entrepreneurship and business management.

Wendy just released her new book called How to Build Buzz for Your Biz- Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business” based on her knowledge of what works and what does not work in small business marketing.  This book features practical and low cost marketing strategies, such as “How to Grow Your Business Using Social Media,” as well as valuable links, resources, and tips.

Wendy frequently speaks to organizations about marketing for small business.  To get more information or to schedule Wendy to speak go to:  Business Marketing Speaker

Claim your free download (no email necessary) on Wendy’s website:  23 Kazoos

How to Build Buzz for your Biz:  23 Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed

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Just last month Google announced the completion of their new web indexing system called Caffeine. According to Google, “Caffeine provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than our last index, and it’s the largest collection of web content we’ve offered. Whether it’s a news story, a blog or a forum post, you can now [...]

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Our Franchise eBook – Your guide to becoming a franchisee

We’ve been working hard in collaboration with the country’s leading experts on crafting a Franchising Guide eBook that helps you walk through the key considerations and action steps to pursue your own franchise of interest and embark on the life of an entrepreneur. http://www.startupnation.com/franchising/ is where you can find out more. Use this downloadable workbook to: [...]

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Angel Investors 101

Finding funding for a business is a process that involves presenting your ideas to potential sources of funding, introducing your potential, and asking them to help you realize your dream. In return, however, your investors will likely hope to either take the reigns, make back their investments and then some, and also wash their hands [...]

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80′s Tech Company Stay Successful with PR and Marketing

With all the ups and downs of the economy, I’ve tracked down a technology company that has remained successful since 1983. To find out the success secrets of Apricorn, www.apricorn.com, I spoke to Michelle Fischer, Apricorn’s Marketing Manager. Here’s what Michelle had to say: Tell us about your business. Headquartered in Southern California, Apricorn was [...]

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Can You Earn Royalties On Your Invention?

Believe it or not, it’s not as hard as you may think to land a royalty deal on a product invention…provided you have a truly “good” idea to start with, and you have some important steps completed before approaching companies. To begin, let me step back and explain what I mean by “royalty deal”, which [...]

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50 of the Best Twitter Applications and Resources For Small Business Owners

1. Twellow: http://www.twellow.com

2. Tweepz: http://www.tweepz.com

3. Nearby Tweets: http://nearbytweets.com

4. GeoFollow: http://geofollow.com

5. Streetmavens: http://usa.streetmavens.com

6. Twitter Grader: http://twitter.grader.com/location

7. Journalist Tweets: http://journalisttweets.com

8. Media on Twitter: http://www.mediaontwitter.com

9. Muck Rack: http://www.muckrack.com

10. Listorius: http://listorious.com

11. Twitter advanced search: http://search.twitter.com/advanced

Manage Twitter:

12. Journalist Tweets: http://journalisttweets.com

13. Media on Twitter: http://www.mediaontwitter.com

Manage Twitter on Your Computer:

PC

14. Tweet Deck: http://tweetdeck.com

15. Seesmic Desktop: http://seesmic.com/seesmic_desktop

16. HooteSuite:http://hootsuite.com

Mac:

17. Nambu: http://www.nambu.com

18. Tweetie: http://www.atebits.com/tweetie-mac

Manage Twitter on Your Mobile Phone:

Blackberry:

19. OpenBeak: http://www.orangatame.com/products/openbeak

20. Tiny Twitter: http://www.tinytwitter.com

Android:

21. HootSuite: http://hootsuite.com/android

22. TwitDroid: http://twidroid.com

23. NanoTweeter: http://code.google.com/p/nanotweeter

iPhone

24. Twitter for iPhone: http://www.itunes.com

25. Echophone: http://www.echofon.com/twitter/iphone

Automate Twitter:

26. CoTweet: http://cotweet.com

27. HootSuite: http://www.hootesuite.com

28. Twuffer: http://www.twuffer.com

29. Social Oomph: http://www.socialoomph.com

30. Ping.fm: http://ping.fm

Personalize Your Twitter Background:

31. TwitrBackgrounds: http://www.twitrbackgrounds.com

32. Twitrounds: http://twitrounds.com

33. TwitBacks: http://www.twitbacks.com

Market Your Small Biz with Twitter Applications:

34. TwitHawk: http://www.twithawk.com

35. Easy Tweets: Promote your biz: https://easytweets.com

36. Twitjump: Monitor your brand: http://www.twitjump.com

37. Listorius: Find the top lists to follow: http://listorious.com

38. OneForty: Best Twitter applications: http://oneforty.com

39. Twt Apps: Applications especially for businesses: http://twtapps.com

Just for Fun!

40. Twittersheep: http://twittersheep.com

41. Playtwivia: http://twitter.com/playtwivia

42. Tweetbomb: http://twitter.com/tweetbomb

43. Twittearth: http://twittearth.com

44. Tweet Cloud: http://tweetcloud.com/

45. My Tweet Cloud:

46. Twitter Grader: http://twitter.grader.com

47. 12 Seconds.TV: http://12seconds.tv/home

Twitter Tips and How To’s

48. 100 Twitter Tips eBook, by Dan Hollings:

49. Twitter Power 2.0, by Joel Comm (book)

50. Mashable.com

Wendy Kenney is a nationally known Buzz Building Expert and the Founder and CEO of 23 Kazoos, a marketing firm specializing in inexpensive and creative small business marketing strategies.  She has honed her marketing skills through over 26 years of entrepreneurship and business management.

Wendy just released her new book called “How to Build Buzz for Your Biz- Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business” based on her knowledge of what works and what does not work in small business marketing.  This book features practical and low cost marketing strategies, such as “How to Grow Your Business Using Social Media,” as well as valuable links, resources, and tips.

Wendy frequently speaks to organizations about marketing for small business.  To get more information or to schedule Wendy to speak go to:  Business Marketing Speaker

Claim your free download (no email necessary) on Wendy’s website:  23 Kazoos

How to Build Buzz for your Biz:  23 Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed

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I didn’t like Twitter at first. I thought it was random, and stupid, and a waste of time, and so right after I first signed up I deleted my account. But after a while I kept hearing the testimonials from people who loved Twitter and so I thought I would give it another shot. I’m [...]

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PR Too Expensive? Think Again.

If you are currently worried about finances, you may want to review your public-relations efforts and look into getting outside help.   Think it’s too expensive?   Well, you could be wasting time and money by continuing your current publicity activities!   By hiring a PR consultant who acts as an extension of your team [...]

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5 Ways to Protect Your Office Copier

Did you know that digital copiers have hard drives that store all the information copied? According to eWeek, the FTC is now working with manufacturers to tighten the security risks for businesses, but until everything is finalized, here are some steps to make sure you’re not reselling private information if you sell your equipment. Scrub [...]

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Is Your Website Putting Your Business At Risk?

a. Have a Terms of Use Policy on your website:

All business websites should have a “Terms of Use” page. It is basically a contract that sits on your website under a “Terms of Use” tab and it spells out in detail the terms required if someone is going to use your website. If your site contains copyrighted content, offers advice, or sells products or services, a Terms of Use agreement is a must. What language in your Terms of Use agreement depends on your business.

For example, if you sell clothes, you will need terms of use that governs use of the website and the terms by which your customers purchase items from your website. If you offer professional services of some kind (like a law firm or doctor’s office), your terms of use might include a statement that no attorney/client or doctor/patient relationship is formed by the mere use of your website or by the act of sending you an email.

If you allow people to post comments or content on your site, or you have an interactive forum, you absolutely need terms of use that govern those activities and that spell out what is prohibited, and that reserves your right to exclude people from your site.

No matter what your business is, you need to give some real thought to what needs to be contained in this agreement, and you should use others in your same business as a guide for what needs to be in there. This is a really good time to retain a reputable lawyer who knows how to draft terms of use properly for your type of business.*

b. Have a Privacy Policy on your website

Next, you must also have a clearly posted privacy policy on your website. If you have forms that collect personal data from visitors to your site, such as an opt-in form to collect email addresses or other personal information, you should post an abbreviated and clear privacy policy right below that form. But then you also need a more comprehensive policy published on your site somewhere that is easy to find. The policy should deal with how visitors information is handled, collected, kept safe, the use of cookies, etc…

The reasons for having a privacy policy are twofold. One, it is about building trust with your customers and clients. As we have seen with the privacy faux pas by Facebook, people care passionately about their privacy and don’t take lightly an unauthorized use of their personal information. In order to build trust, which is critical in today’s world of social media/relationship marketing, you must have a clear policy on how you will use the information you gather, and you must adhere strictly to it.

The second reason for having a privacy policy is to protect yourself legally. This is very important, especially if you collect any kind of information from visitors on your website. For example, if you collect personal information for an opt-in box for a newsletter or ezine, or from people who want to use your online forum, or from people who register for an account or membership on your site.

Also, if you send out email communications with your customers or clients, you absolutely must adhere to the federal Can-Spam Act or you could find yourself being prosecuted and fined heavily for being a spammer. This is no small thing and I have had clients almost go out of business because they were embroiled in litigation with the US Attorney’s office for violation of the Can-Spam act. Among other things, you must have clear authorization to contact someone via email, and you must provide a clear and easy way for someone to unsubscribe from your list. Never ever send an email to someone who didn’t voluntarily give you their email address and agree to you using it to contact them. I personally think the best way to handle this for yourself is to use a service that will collect and monitor emails for you, such as Aweber, iContact or Constant Contact. They will receive the “unsubscribe” requests and the database will automatically remove that email from your list and will put it on a “do not contact” list to comply with the Can Spam act. There is a monthly fee to use these services, but this is about easily minimizing a huge risk in the virtual world and I wouldn’t bat an eye and using one of these services.

If you put these two items in place on your website, you will make huge leaps forward in protecting your hard work, your business and your reputation as your business grows in the virtual world.

*As an alternative, I will be offering several versions of a sample terms of use policy in my Business Brilliance University, so go check out my self-help resources there as a way to jump start this process yourself and possibly save yourself thousands in legal bills.

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I love the internet. It is a great leveling force, allowing small businesses to have the same presence at huge corporations. It allows start-ups to reach as wide an audience as multi-national companies. And these days, getting online and having a great looking, user-friendly website is as easy as saying 1-2-3. But before you launch [...]

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The One Business Marketing Strategy That Will Cause Customers To Buy More, Refer More and Keep Coming Back for More!

My husband and I love baseball and we’ve always wanted to have season tickets. So during the Arizona Diamondbacks Spring Fan Fest we decided to take the plunge and buy a weekend ticket package.

We were excited about our purchase, until the season got under way. As of this writing the Diamondbacks have had a poor run, so far losing more games than they have won, placing them at the bottom of their division.

We are having serious buyer’s remorse.

It’s during tough economic times that people want–no, they desperately crave–experiences that help them feel better. They want good prices, great experiences and companies that care. But more than that, they want to know that their decision was the right one.

How do you help your clients feel like the purchase they made with you was the right one? How do you prevent buyer’s remorse?

Looking at all of the empty seats at the Diamondbacks games should give you the answer; simply said, you need to be a winner. Attendance at Arizona Diamondbacks games is down 17.4%. And they are only one of two teams to have lost money last season.

Compare the attendance at the Diamondbacks games to the recent playoff experience of the Phoenix Suns, and you’ll see what I mean. Their attendance level was at 95% for the whole season. Winning sells!

If you own a business the same is true. Winning makes you win!! Customers will buy more, refer more, and keep coming back for more because they want to be associated with a winner!

So then, what does being a winner mean to you and your business? What makes your business a winner to your customers? I would love your comments here!

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My husband and I love baseball and we’ve always wanted to have season tickets. So during the Arizona Diamondbacks Spring Fan Fest we decided to take the plunge and buy a weekend ticket package. We were excited about our purchase, until the season got under way. As of this writing the Diamondbacks have had a [...]

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Got Profits? American Roads’ CEO Shares Success Secrets

Today, we find out the scoop on running a successful, small business from Neal Belitsky, the CEO of American Roads, LLC, www.americanroads.com. His company has remained profitable during tough, economic times. Here’s what Neal had to say about this: Tell us about American Roads and how you became involved in this business. American Roads is [...]

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Chris D’Agnese of Inkhead Uses SEO Tactics to Grow Business

Does SEO really work? Well, former software developer Chris D’Agnese saw an opportunity to build a promotional products business solely off of online sales, based on the ideas that consumers like to research and compare before purchasing. Using simple SEO tactics, Inkhead’s sales increased 32% from 2008 to 2009. As a member of the Promotional Products Association [...]

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Social Media Marketing for the Medical Practice

I recently read a fabulous article about social media marketing for dentists by Dr. Jason Lipscomb. The article states that dentists have been very slow in adopting social media as a tool for marketing their practice, preferring to stick with traditional marketing methods, such as direct mail, because that’s what’s always worked.  However, the traditional marketing [...]

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Marketing Planning Part II: Give Them What They Want

Give ‘Em What They Want, When They Want It Now that you’ve formed a better idea of who your ideal customers are, you need to identify how you can meet their desires. So let’s look at a few examples of businesses that have profited by aptly answering to their customers wants. Joe’s Real BBQ: Known [...]

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