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Archive for “Leverage Business Technology”

Are You Ready to Send Out That Release?

You have your business up and running and are ready to announce it to the world. Hold on! Before you send out that press release letting everyone know about your services, there are three things to keep in mind:   1.      Is your site ready?   If people see your press release and visit your [...]

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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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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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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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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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Business Technology—Mobile Communications

Gone are the days of being tied to a desk in order to get business done. The advent of mobile communications enabled me to be able to do business from anywhere I took a fancy to. Some people perform best when in a traditional office environment, but I know that there is a big group [...]

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4G Becomes U.S. Standard Speed in 2015

With Sprint’s newest 4G network already receiving good reviews in the cities it has been tested in, it’s unlikely any wireless carrier will continue to focus on updating their 3G connections. At the moment, T-Mobile remains the only carrier without immediate plans to move into 4G, though it has introduced plans to start 3.5G networks, [...]

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What’s In Your PR Quote?

Are you paying attention to the quotes you’re using in your press releases or just inserting them “as is” into your PR materials? Quotes are important so here are a few, quick things to keep in mind when writing:  Provide value. How many times do you see a press release where the CEO is “thrilled” [...]

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Got Word-of-Mouth PR?

Do you think of social media first when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing and PR? Well, before you start Tweeting, posting photos on Facebook and adding videos to YouTube, tell your story to the media. After all, if your business is featured in a major news-story on radio, television, print, or online, you can build [...]

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Take PR Action to Boost Sales Fast!

If your business is not getting the sales you want, it’s time to take action with public-relations activities. Do you want some free publicity within the next two weeks? Here’s what you can do right now: Research. If you don’t already have it, find the name and contact information for a reporter at your local [...]

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How Efficient is Your Time Tracking Process?

Time and attendance can be an issue for many businesses. No matter the size of the company, there are always discrepancies to be found in employees’ hours. One way to help streamline your efforts is by implementing a time and attendance system. Time and attendance options come in all shapes and sizes. They range from [...]

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Get the Word Out Now!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen an increase in small-business marketing budgets in the last few weeks.   More small businesses are realizing that they need to market and promote their services more than ever to get their piece of the consumer’s shrinking budget.   After all, if you don’t get your name [...]

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How to Increase Sales in 3 Steps

If you want to get some new business, here are three quick tips that may help you boost your customer-list fast… 1. Make A List. Check It Twice. Look through all of your contacts and review the people you’ve met in your industry or at various conferences, local business meetings, presentations, etc. Then, make a list. Research [...]

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Ready to Make Media Contact?

After conducting extensive research and preparing your story ideas (discussed in previous blog entries pertinent to our “7 Steps to Successful Public Relations”), the next step is to contact the media. Introduce Yourself. You can start with a press release announcing your new business and call or e-mail the appropriate media member with a simple [...]

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