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

Archive for “Launch Your Business”

Your Site Isn’t Optimized? Why Not?

Is your site optimized for the search engines? If not, does one of these statements sound familiar? • I don’t need SEO. • It’s too expensive. • I was ripped off by SEO in the past. Well, here’s the cold hard truth about SEO: You need search engine optimization to compete. What happens right now when potential customers [...]

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Has Twitter Lost its Luster?

I’m getting tired of Twitter.  There are some days when I don’t log on at all.  When I do log in, I am wonder to myself; “Is anybody really listening?” There are some people who are on Twitter constantly, all day long it seems.  And it’s fun to see what they are talking about; just [...]

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Invention in the Spotlight – Melon Peeler

Inventor Jerry Avey hasn’t always been a truck driver.  His true passion is portrait photography.  And years ago, he and his wife dabbled in the restaurant industry, even considering opening their own restaurant for a time.  While experimenting with menus, various recipes, and his own culinary skills, Jerry stood at his kitchen counter slicing melon [...]

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How to Double Your Productivity In One Week

Six years ago, I was working 12-hour days. Wanting to get more done in less time, I started studying productivity principles. Now I never work more than 6 hours a day but I manage to get more done than before! Here are the tips that more than doubled my productivity and cut my work day [...]

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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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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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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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What Happened When One Entrepreneur Had Cleavage Issues

If you have an idea for a new product based on your personal experiences, you should definitely look into creating it. Just look at today’s interview. After having a difficult time finding a piece of clothing that would give her the ability to “manage” her cleavage in comfort at work, Julie Crotty quit her job, conducted [...]

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Votes are in, Judging Underway for Leading Moms in Business

It is our hope that the competition creates exposure for mom-run businesses by creating excitement for each business’s constituency. It’s our hope that the ranking results are a big PR hit for the winners. And with this eBook, it’s our hope that we can warm newcomer moms to the fires of entrepreneurship!
If you’ve been on the sidelines and think just maybe you’re ready to follow in the footsteps of the millions of other moms who’ve started up, consider the first step we are happy to recommend: download your copy of Start Your Own Mom Business!.
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I am ever amazed by the intensity and on-top-of-itness of competitors in the StartupNation Leading Moms in Business Ranking competition. The popular voting and entries phases have just closed and now we’re tabulating those votes and selecting stand-out competitors as judged winners. It’s always a difficult process – so many of them deserve the spotlight [...]

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Survival Tips for Attending A Celebrity Gifting Suite

Whether you agree with the phenomena or not, celebrity sells. I have personally seen the momentum it can create with my own company, Glamajama. A celebrity fan or customer gives your brand credibility in the marketplace and makes your company newsworthy. Celebrity Gifting Suites are one of the many ways you can gain access to [...]

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Inspiration to StartUp: Should YOU Follow Your Passions?

This question has been in my heart and thoughts lately as my pet project, FitandFearLESS.tv, finally launches. As always, there are naysayers. Naysayers that question what a childrenswear designer could possibly know about the crazy world of online entertainment. As I take my first steps in this new venture, I’m often asked “I know this [...]

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5 Ways to Use Foursquare to Market Your Location-Based Business

I’ve been mulling this around since posting the last Foursquare article and thought that there were more practical tips could be added.

Foursquare is a hugely untapped and powerful little tool for business marketing, especially if you own a business that requires customers to physically visit your location to make a purchase.  Unfortunately most businesses don’t understand just exactly how they can use Foursquare and are missing out on a fantastic and inexpensive marketing opportunity!!

So here are five very practical tips on how to use Foursquare to market your location-based business.

1.            Use Foursquare like a customer loyalty card

The cool thing about Foursquare is it shows the user how many times they have been at each location, so you could offer customers a freebie after so many check ins.  Make sure you set clear rules about how to redeem the offer including: check ins more than once per day do not count towards redemption of the free offer; or free offer value at $5.00, may not be accumulated or transferred, may not be redeemed for cash, etc.

The women’s clothing store Ann Taylor recently launched a Foursquare promotion like this in New York City giving shoppers 15% off at the store after their 5th check in and giving the person with the most check ins at one location (called the Mayor) 25% off their purchase at that visit.

Another company, Tasti D-Lite, offers frequent shoppers a branded Foursquare badge, as well as additional loyalty points on their physical loyalty card, plus freebies and other perks.

2.            Organize a real-time treasure hunt.

Now this could get really fun.  Leave a clue of the day on the “Tips” section of your Foursquare page with the answer to each clue being a different special of the day.  The customers who come in and guess the special, get the special, plus they are eligible to win a bigger prize at the end of the contest.

Another company, Jimmy Choo, a high-end designer footwear brand, runs this contest by having a pair of Jimmy Choo sneakers check in at various hot spots around town.  The person who is able to guess the next hot spot and arrive there before the Jimmy Choo shoes arrive will win a pair of very expensive shoes.

3.            Use Foursquare to entice new customers to come into your store by offering a 1st Timers check in discount or freebie.

“Show us your check-in and your dessert is on us!”  Again, make sure you communicate clearly in your offer what the rules are; i.e., free dessert is only for first check in, and must be redeemed with purchase of a meal; etc.”

4.            Leverage word of mouth marketing.

One of the benefits of Foursquare is that friends can “follow” each other and thus can see each other’s check in’s on Foursquare.  Note:  The check in’s are also posted on Twitter, Facebook and Yelp, if they’ve enabled the function.   This is huge for your business because every check in at your location is a tacit recommendation from the person checking in there.    Leverage this exposure by inviting people to check in via Foursquare.  Providing special offers for those who check in via Foursquare will invite people to check in more often.

Also, make sure you pay attention to what people are saying on Foursquare about your business, because whether you use it or not, people are using it, and chance are, they are talking about your business.  Personally reply back to people who leave tips or make positive comments and thank them.  Likewise, it’s just as important to respond to negative comments as well and to remedy the issue as soon as possible.    Don’t be negative; just say something like, “I’m sorry that you had a bad experience.  Let’s get it touch and discuss how we can make it up to you.”

5.            Tie in text message marketing with Foursquare.

Invite people to take photos of them having fun or otherwise enjoying your location and text the photos to a special text message phone number.  Once they do this they will have opted into your text message marketing program and you will be able to send them additional specials and discounts via text.

What other ways can you use Foursquare to market your high traffic location based business?    I would love to hear your comments.  Next post, how to market your non-location based business on Foursquare.

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 and is available on Amazon.com.

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’ve been mulling this around since posting the last Foursquare article and thought that there were more practical tips could be added. Foursquare is a hugely untapped and powerful little tool for business marketing, especially if you own a business that requires customers to physically visit your location to make a purchase.  Unfortunately most businesses [...]

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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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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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Marketing Planning For Your Startup Business


So you’re getting ready to start your own business; have you thought about your marketing plan?

Your marketing plan doesn’t need to be 100 pages of graphs and charts; it can be as simple as a one-page snap shot of all the strategies that you plan to implement to get the word out about your business.

Every business needs to have a marketing plan.     Here’s a simple way to put one together that I call the “10 Minute Marketing Plan TM.”

1.          One an Excel spreadsheet, write the 12 months of the year in a column down the left-hand side leaving about 10 spaces between each month.  This will be column 1.

2.         Create a second column to the right of the months, label it “Highlights.”

3.         Create a third column to the right of the highlights; label it “Marketing Activities.”

4.         Create a fourth column to the right of “Marketing Activities” and label it “To Do’s.”

I can make this even easier for you, email me at WNKenney@23Kazoos.com and ask for the “10 Minute Marketing Plan TM spreadsheet.

Marketing Planning

Now it’s time to fill it out.

For this exercise, I’m assuming that you already know who your ideal customer is.  Now you will need to do some research.

  • Highlights: For the “Highlights” column, you need to research events, holidays, or happenings in your industry, and even seasons because these will help you create marketing promotions that will help create excitement and tap into the mindset of your clients.  For example, for January, highlights could include; New Year’s Resolutions, White Sales, certain sporting events, winter, New Year’s Day, etc.
  • Marketing Activities:  In the Marketing Activities column, write down the marketing activities that you plan to implement each month.   Don’t spend all of your marketing budget on just one marketing activity.  You should do a minimum of 3-5 marketing activities monthly because your customers are every where.  Furthermore, it takes time for marketing to work.  The marketing you do this month will pay off next month, next quarter, and even next year!  Always be marketing!
  • Some sample marketing activities could include: email newsletters, daily Twitter and Facebook updates, blogging, website optimization, direct mail, networking groups, newspaper or television advertising, publicity, contests, door-to-door canvassing, etc. (Note:  You don’t need to do each marketing activity every month.  For example, you could decide to send out an email newsletter once every two months.  The idea of the calendar is for you to write it down so you have a schedule of when the activities are going to occur.)
  • To do’s: In this column write down activities you need to do to make your future marketing activities occur.  For example, if you have decided to do a direct mail campaign, then in the “To Do” column you could write down “Contact Direct Mail companies.”

Questions:

How much should I spend on marketing?

The answer is: It depends.  What are your revenue goals?  What kind of business do you have?  For some companies, it might be appropriate to spend more than others.  The key is to have a budget and use it wisely.  For many smaller companies, low cost and no cost marketing strategies such as networking groups, social media, publicity and direct mail can be very effective.

What marketing strategies should I use?

Again the answer is; it depends.  Strategies will differ based on what your business is, who your customers are, and where they are, and what your revenue goals are.

Survey what other companies in your industry have done that has worked and hasn’t worked.  Ask your CPA to help you with a budget, and then stick to it.  And most importantly, measure the results of your marketing efforts to you can understand what is working and what is not.

For a list of 101 Marketing Strategies, email me at WNKenney@23Kazoos.com.

Are you a new startup business?  We would love to hear from you.  Post your business website and your favorite marketing strategy here!

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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.  She fell in love with marketing with her first marketing at Showbiz Pizza Place.  Since then she has gained experience marketing for several industries including restaurants, legal, insurance and financial services, independent retail, nonprofits and more.

Wendy is about to release a new book called “Buzz: How to 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

Wendy lives in Mesa 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 12.


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So you’re getting ready to start your own business; have you thought about your marketing plan? Your marketing plan doesn’t need to be 100 pages of graphs and charts; it can be as simple as a one-page snap shot of all the strategies that you plan to implement to get the word out about your [...]

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Need Help with your Entrepreneurial Dreams? Hear What Stephen Dodd Has to Say.

As an entrepreneur, do you have big dreams, but aren’t quite sure how to accomplish them? Well, here’s a fellow entrepreneur who is helping people just like you make their dreams a reality. Meet Stephen Dodd, Quantum Voyage, Inc. Lead Programmer and Project Manager for the new, personal goal-setting software at www.goalsettingforyou.com. Tell us about [...]

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The Big Marketing Mistake Business Owners Make and How to Avoid it

Have you ever had this happen to you? Several years ago, I attended a business networking function and I just happened to strike up a conversation with a person who sold cars for a local Chevrolet dealership.

And as luck would have it, I was in the market for a new car and was especially looking for a Chevrolet Trailblazer.    I really liked the person that I was speaking with and told them that I was in the market for a Chevy and asked if they would contact me.  We exchanged business cards and I looked forward to their call.

A few days passed and I still had not heard from the salesperson.  I was very anxious because I really wanted to buy a Chevy Trailblazer.   So I gave them a call, leaving a voice message on their cell phone and on their office phone.  And then I waited for a return call.  And a few days, I still had not heard from the salesperson and so I gave up.

I decided that if they did not want my business, I would take my business elsewhere, ending up buying my Trailblazer through the car buying service located at my credit union.

I’ve had this happen to me several times, and in each case, the sales person, or business owner has lost thousands of dollars in sales from me all because they did not follow up!

I think many business owners confuse the term “marketing” with the term “selling.”   Marketing is simply the process or strategies that you use to get the word out about your business and gather leads.  Selling is the process of turning those leads into paying customers.

The biggest problem that I see in marketing your business is that you can be the best marketing in the world, but if you don’t convert the leads to clients you have nothing.  And the most important step in converting leads to clients is simply following up with them.

There are many ways to follow up with leads or prospects, here are just three.

1.  Phone:

After you exchange information and agree to follow up, give them a call within 24 hours.  Say something like, “Hey, I said I would follow up with you, and here I am!  I would love to get together with you to learn more about your needs.”  Don’t aim to sell them your product over the phone.  Aim to set an appointment and to build a relationship.  Find out about what they want before you start selling them.

2.  Email:

If the thought of making a phone call gives you hives, then you could also follow up by email.  The benefit to that of course is that you can do it at any time, and they can answer at their convenience.  If you don’t hear back from them though, go back to step one.

3.  Snail Mail:

Yes, snail mail still exists, and believe it or not people enjoy getting old fashioned cards and letters.  If you’re just not sure about the person, or if you want to send them some additional information, sending a letter via regular mail is a good option.  However, if the contact had indicated that they were interested in your product because they are looking to buy one in the near future, do not use snail mail. Give them a call first, within 24 hours is best.

The lack of following up is the biggest mistake small business owners make and it costs them thousands, if not millions.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Follow up with people right away.  I guarantee your sales will soar!

Note:  This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “How to Build Buzz for Your Biz:  Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity, and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business.”

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Have you ever had this happen to you? Several years ago, I attended a business networking function and I just happened to strike up a conversation with a person who sold cars for a local Chevrolet dealership. And as luck would have it, I was in the market for a new car and was especially [...]

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What the USPS Mailing Changes Could Mean for Your Business

If you have a business that relies heavily on mail, you may have one less day to reach your deadlines. On March 30, the USPS formally asked the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to allow deliveries to occur Monday to Friday only. According to a press release sent out by the USPS, “The Postal Service does [...]

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