Small Business Marketing – Using Twitter

Twitter has been around for a number of years now, but only recently have small business owners started to realise the power of tweeting and what Twitter can actually do for their business. Nearly 20 million people are tweeting on Twitter, and this article shows you how to join them and why you should.

Twitter has several uses and probably one of the most powerful is that it can link several social media accounts together. Twitter acts as the link between your Facebook fan page and your Facebook profile. It can also act as the link between Facebook and LinkedIn. This proves extremely powerful to write one post on a fan page and get it seen across four different sites and four different lots of users.

All you need to use Twitter is an internet connection or a mobile phone. First you sign up for a Twitter account at Twitter dot com and then the next step is to get people to follow you. The more people that follow you, the more people see your post and your information. A simple but proven technique to get people to follow you is start following them. Most people will return the follow and start following you also. This can take some time, however if you did 20 a day for a year you would have over 7,000 followers. The celebrities on Twitter get it right, and gather huge followings by requesting that people follow them.

Twitter allows you to upload your pictures, write messages, add links to other sites, plus provide information about you and your business in the profile section. You can also choose from 100s of free Twitter icons or Twitter backgrounds, or enhance and promote your brand identity with a professional custom Twitter design. I myself have only been on Twitter for a year and can see the potential is huge. The possibilities are endless. Twitter certainly does have a different use than your Facebook or LinkedIn. The posts are shorter and you’re trying to take people from the Twitter page onto another page through the use of a link. However the concept is still the same. You must add value to your follower’s world or else they have no reason to follow you.

Avoid the biggest mistakes that Twitter marketers are making online! And that is one of pure self promotion and selling. It doesn’t take long on Twitter to get un followed if people get sick of your tweets and you are adding no value to their world. The places you take people with your links need to be valuable enough for them to want to click on it. Also what you write leading up to the link needs to provide enough benefit to the reader to make them want to click on the link in the first place. It can be a fine art to get this correct, but practice does make perfect. Twitter allows you to blast your product link to all of your followers and drive huge traffic to your site. Certainly this can increase sales and the more followers you have the more likely it is that you will have the right people who are wanting to buy what you have to sell.

Here is the outline for using Twitter successfully.
1. Get followers everyday around your niche market. No point getting followers who aren’t interested in what you do
2. Add value to their lives be providing great information
3. Provide your followers with links to your other sites to see articles, blogs, videos
4. Provide your followers an opportunity to buy your product or service This process just keeps getting repeated day after day.

Good luck in using Twitter in your business.

4 Money Saving Tips for Businesses

Now more than ever, with the condition of the Global Economy, many businesses need to cut costs. However it is worth remembering “There are so many men who can figure costs, and so few who can measure values” – author unknown.

This article is intended to highlight a few of the areas that business owners can review in order to minimise costs. Although this article is directed at UK based small businesses,the principles may be appropriate for business from all over the world.

  1. Review finance costs It is important to keep a watchful eye on the costs of financing your business. Although lending from banks has become more difficult over recent years, it is worth noting that many banks are still open to negotiation over their charges. It is often worthwhile speeking to a number of banks for comparative purposes. Consider all sources of funding, each have their advantages and disadvantages. Such as mortgages, bank loans, overdrafts, asset finance, factoring, issuing new shares and directors loans. This is a complex area and usually well worth seeking competent professional advice.
  2. Make full use of technology It can often be a false economy to scrimp on technology costs in order to save money. There is technology available to improve efficiency and make your business more competitive. The types of technology vary greatly from administrative and financial software to fully automated manufacturing processes. It is recommended to not discount investing in technology for your business without doing a cost V benefit study first. If your competitors adopt new technologies before you, you could find your business falling rapidly behind.
  3. Engage experts where necessary Often the fees that consultants and experts charge are seen as an unnecessary cost. This is not always true. It is better to pay a consultant a few hundred pounds than to spend hours and hours researching into a business area you know little about yourself. Experts that could save you money are those that could make your business run more efficiently, cut costs, raise sales, reduce your liabilities or those that can minimise risk. Think carefully and seek recommendations before engaging an expert.
  4. Review overhead costs It is good practise to thoroughly review your business costs on a cyclical basis. Just because your energy supplier was the cheapest 3 years ago, it does not necessarily mean that they are the cheapest now! Shop around, obtain written quotes and always negotiate hard. However remember – Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the trouble is I don’t know which half ” – Viscount Leverhulme 1851-1925: in D.Ogilvy Confessions Of An Advertising Man. The other factor to consider that the cheapest is not always the lowest cost in the long term. A poorer quality service or product could end up costing your business more.

The author does not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided in this article and recommends that you do not take any action, whatsoever, based on the information provided. By the fullest extent permitted by law, the author does not accept any responsibility for any actions you may or may not take based on information contained in this article. This article contains general information and is not a substitute for specific independent professional advice.

Web Design – 6 Critical Elements Your Small Business Website Must Have to Survive

A great number of small businesses have a website because everyone else does. Keeping up with the crowd if you like. If this is the reason that you have a website then there is a very good chance that your website is not performing as well as you would like. There is even a very good chance that your website has not been updated in a while. So, what are the 6 key elements to getting your website to perform?

The first thing that you must have on your website is great content. People search the internet for information, so you must ensure that your website contains great information relating to your business sector or niche. Google will reward you with a better ranking for having lots of great content on your site. You probably already have access to lots of great content about your business. Nobody knows your business better than you. A number of articles of 500 to 1000 words about various elements of your business will really give your site a boost. You may also choose to outsource this element of your site to a ghost writer to create content for you.

A Blog is a great way to give you site a boost. Blogging is not just for nerds. A blog helps to create a community around your website. People can contribute their ideas to your blog making them feel a part of your business. A blog is also a great way to contribute new content to your site. Google will reward you for this new content with a better ranking. There are a number of free blogs available that can be easily incorporated into your site.

Video is a key element for any website. Videos on your site let you interact with your visitors at a more personal level. The internet is often a faceless medium coming out of a computer screen. As a result of this people tend to be a little more wary dealing with a business they do not know over the internet and it can take a number of interactions to establish trust before people will purchase from your site. One way to overcome this is a video message on your site to indicate that there are real people involved in your business. Video is also a very effective means of teaching people how to do things and sharing high quality information on the internet. This also helps with the credibility of your website.

Email capture is vital for your website. It can take time to establish trust and credibility with your site visitors. If you have a site that sells product people will often not buy from you until they have visited your site a number of times. Give away a free report or a free subscription to your newsletter in order to get them to leave their email address with you. This way you can keep in contact with them on a regular basis in order to establish trust and credibility and to keep them coming back to your site.

Business details are vital to give you credibility. Your physical location, a phone number, details of the real human beings involved in your business are important, and often overlooked elements of your site. If all your customers can find is a web page and an email address then it will take longer to establish credibility with them.

The layout of your site is vital for keeping people involved. Is your site easy to navigate? If you are selling product, how easy is it to find the product that you are selling? If your visitors are leaving your site quickly then there is a very good chance that your layout is not engaging them or it is too difficult to navigate. Your layout should be clean and easy to follow. Many sites have too many widgets and gadgets and are too busy, and so people leave because they do not know what to look at next.

So, out of a score of 6, how is your site currently performing? Great content or needs improving? A blog so that people can get involved in your site? Video? Email capture by giving away a free report or newsletter subscription? Physical business details to establish credibility? Layout?

Is your website meeting your needs?

Top 10 Online Marketing Trends For Small Businesses

Internet has changed the very fabric of marketing, and as new ways of communication and associations are blossoming between individuals, communities, societies and countries, business builders need to embrace the traits and trends of marketing for this new-age online platform. Here we present the top 10 online marketing trends for the year ahead.

Email marketing

With so many sales emails bombarded every single day and add to it the spam mail menace, the key is to get the recipient open your email. So the trend shall switch from sales mail to informative sales mail. This calls for friendlier and credible email ids, subjects, useful content, better targeting and personalization. Secondly, your email contents, including images and HTML design, must be ready for all kinds of desktop and mobile browsers. According to Adology’s survey, the top place where small businesses will put their marketing dollars in 2011 is e-mail marketing (72.7% in 2011 vs. 56.6% in 2010).

Social media marketing

You are getting closer and closer to your prospects with social media networks. It’s so crowded and informative that you have to devise more effective and actionable plans to get your ideas working.

In a survey conducted: the number-one advantage of social media marketing (by a long shot) is generating exposure for the business, indicated by 85% of all marketers, followed by increasing traffic (63%) and building new business partnerships (56%).

The key here is to put aside conventional marketing techniques and try to get along with your prospects, and understanding their very specific like and dislikes.

Smart online advertising

Blindly consuming all online ad space is foolishness. The trend is to be seen where you ought to be seen and not to be seen everywhere. This requires you to study your prospects online browsing habits and then follow him wherever he frequents. This kind of intelligent ad space hunting should be the new thing to look for.

Globalization of ads and campaigns

Through the internet you are talking to a global audience, so do you think that one ad fits all needs? The crux here is to design ads based on local tastes and culture so that you improve the effectiveness of these ads. Studying the local search trends and optimizing your marketing for those keywords is important.

Informative marketing

Sales ads are passé the need of the hour is to deliver quality and relevant information to your prospects and draw them to you. You can opt for articles, blogs, forums, videos and so on. The key is to get identified, as someone who provides quality information rather than projecting a salesman kind of image. According to Adology’s survey 45% of businesses plan to use online video in their marketing in 2011 vs. 28.4% in 2010.

Web and mobile analytics

This will always be a trend that keeps on renewing. All the marketing, campaigns, optimizations will become semi-productive if new innovative ways aren’t adopted for analyzing visitors. And with smart phones engaging customers most times of a day, mobile analysis is getting the much needed importance. Marketers would need to invest in digital analytics to great optimization of their marketing initiatives.

Mobile marketing

Among the 300,000 odd mobile phones sold in the first quarter of 2010, 50,000 were smart phones, and its sales alone are set to overtake PC sales by 2012 or maybe earlier (Gartner report). This clearly hints at the impact smart phones can have on marketing. According to Adology’s survey 35.9% of small businesses surveyed plan to use mobile advertising in 2011, vs. 21.3% in 2010.

Free online services

With information becoming easily available over the internet, most web users are happy to get stuff they want, free of cost. This is can work either ways for an online business, they could lose customers if someone else is offering similar services free of cost or they could gain by first offering basic services free of cost and make the customers stick to them for later up-selling.

Local search engines

Businesses are of course focused more on popular search engines but it’s time to shift the focus equally on local search engines. Local search engines can get you faster and some real good business, which most businesses seldom anticipate, as they are more worried about the global online markets.

Instant support and sale

Competition is all around; you are now a global producer vying for global consumers. Customers are showered with choices, and the trend will be to make the best of it when the customer visits us. So the focus will be on instant support, information and sale, in a single conversation.