Google announced on its Twitter account that public status updates from Facebook are now showing up on Google searches via the company’s new real-time search feature, first announced in Dec. (Updates that aren’t tagged for public consumption will not show up.) The algorithm now pulls in real-time blog postings, tweets and MySpace updates.
Remember, Google is heavily taking location into account! Combine that with this announcement and you’ve just dramatically elevated your online presence if you’re posting on Facebook AND you’ll increase your visibility exponentially if your Facebook friends share your stuff! *Just remember to tag your biz related updates as “Public.”
Your Website Tips & Tricks: Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned web guru you’ll find these cheat sheets extremely useful. Anyone with a business website should pay particular attention to Website Usability Checklist and the SEO Cheat Sheet.
Now, truth be told told, I found this tidbit on Twistimage.com’s blog by Mitch Joel and if you’re a fan of well designed sites like I am you should definitely check it out. What about great information? Yep, it’s got that too! Six Pixels of Separation – The Blog
Got more reference guides, cheat sheets or blogs that are key to your web marketing arsenal? Please share in the comments!
You have a store front, so does your competition. You have a website, so does the competition. You might even have a blog, a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account but if your competition doesn’t already, they will soon. So, how can you stay ahead in the marketing game? How can you stand out from the pack, ensure growth and make a difference that will really matter?
Build a community.
What does that mean? It means create a market place where you can provide a product or service to draw like minded individuals or folks with common interests. This could be anything, a blog, a tip newsletter, quote or photo of the day, whatever you can come up with and, if successful, your new market place will provide you a growing community filled with those who need and/or want your service.
Where do you begin?
Identify your ideal customer.
Identify your ideal customer’s needs or wants.
Identify new products that can deliver that content.
Experiment and test your ideas without breaking the bank.
Set expectations and deliver on promises!
Commit to the long term!
Ideal Customers: These aren’t your favorite customers or even your best customers. These are the ones who want or need your product the most. If you make baseball bats you are probably interested in reaching kids who play baseball, their parents or perhaps schools who outfit entire teams.
Identifying Needs & Wants: This can get a bit tricky so ask them! Social media is great for this! If you’re not active on Twitter or Linkedin, start now! Linkedin groups are a great place to ask questions and get feedback but start now so you can get comfortable using the site.
New Products Brainstorming: Successful new products can be as simple as a branded e-newsletter, a blog or podcast and as complicated as an un-branded video sharing site. If you’re an electronics store, avoid creating a gadget blog because there are already so many out there. Your going to have to be much more creative! Investigate hobbiests and other niches, perhaps there’s an opportunity for that electronic store to blog about installing or tweaking car stereo systems. Look at your staff for hobbies and passion to tap into! Testing: If your new product resembles a blog, newsletter or other niche website take advantage of WordPress.com’s free blogs to create test sites. If you’re considering a podcast build a free channel on youtube, if it works you may just end up sticking with it anyway! If you have an idea that’s not working toss it right away! With proper benchmarking steps in place, failing strategies can be quickly eliminated.
Set Expectations & Deliver on Promises: Trust is, with out a doubt, the key ingredient for any community and once you lose it there no telling if you can regain it! It’s very important to be as transparent as possible! If you’re creating a new unbranded product don’t deny or hide the fact that your company is supporting it. If the product is good and solid there’s no reason to hide. If you plan on serving ads begin doing so early-on to set the expectation of how many ads there will be and try to stick to a posting schedule.
Set your own expectation, this is not an overnight process! While marketing costs can often be curbed with good social marketing plans and by utilizing resources and databases you already have, such as lists of email newsletter subscribers, vendors, trade inventory, etc., this is a process that will take time to build and cost you time to maintain!
Commit to the long term: Depending on the community, you may have to moderate or provide content for as long as the product is in place. Understand that to keep a community going you have to be actively involved!
The possibilities are endless! With an ideal community at your fingertips you can speak to folks who are actually listening whether your strategic goals are brand building, product positioning, increasing press coverage, educating new customers, re-educating existing customers, driving traffic, creating buzz or creating new revenue streams. Even more importantly, you can reach folks who are actually interested and that’s an amazing thing!
Big day for small business may be largest ever in 2009
Record business plan submissions – Record Pre-Registration
The Expo runs from 8:30am -3:30pm, and provides a full day of FREE workshops with business experts, over 100 small business oriented exhibitor booths- and networking with thousands of attendees interesting in building their small business.
Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie D. Neely is proud to announce the launch of the 2009 Small Business Expo Ambassador Program. Latest research being used by the Flashpoint Academy of Chicago indicates the in this world of social media – 55% of people get their news from their friends and family!
In the spirit of a new generation of communication –
EXPO AMBASSADORS ARE – Those groups helping communicate our message about the Free Small Business Expo on Friday, July 17th at the UIC Forum to their networks of 250 or more. These links will remain listed through the EXPO.
Any group getting 25 mentions or more will be listed on the EXPO AMBASSADOR Page of the City Treasurers Website – throughout 2009
If you would like to be in the 10am “One Hour Mentor” forum at the Expo with top Chicago Business Leaders – send “ONE HOUR MENTOR” in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org (space is highly limited)
Office of the City Treasurer
Stephanie Neely TreasurerContact: Public Affairs
July 02, 2008(312) 744-8122
*InovediaMarketing.com is proud to support the 2009 Chicago City Treasurer’s Free Small Business Expo. Follow @inovedia on Twitter for updates and information!
This morning I ran across a nice article pointing out creative ways small businesses are “unique and different” which prompts me to ask “What would they write about you?”
Let’s finally admit that we’re often too geeky about our product, ads and ideas to see that the differences we’re selling may just be too subtle to be noticed by average Joe Public. Other times we may fall into the trap of putting a lot of effort into selling product differences that, unfortunately, few folks care about. Write down a couple of your products / businesses differentiators and email them out to your colleagues, staff and friends (not your family – let’s not try to sway the vote). See what they have to say. You might just find some new unique and different facets about your own business.
So what would the local paper, a blogger or trade magazine write about your business? If they’re not writing anything… write it for them and send it to them! Well, I’ll save that advice for another day, another post.
Lately I’ve had business cards on my mind because I need new ones and
unless it’s your fist job you probably hate ordering them too. They’re boring and they just sit in a placeholder or pocket anyway.
Then it hit me.
When most folks are getting theirs on the cheap, figuring they just need “a business card” to hand out, you NEED to spend extra time and more money! Have brainstorming meetings with staff, friends and/or family, hire a designer and create business cards that are as bold as you want your business to be! Throw out the rules and make an impact! Keep it on brand, but come up with cards that are sure to be remembered and, even more importantly, get cards you are proud to give out! You can engage your customers through your business cards, you don’t have to settle for just informing them!
I know it sounds extreme, but consider this…
Your reflection: There’s a good chance you have a stack of business cards sitting on your desk, counter or next to your cash register for customers to take as they exit. Shouldn’t that stack of paper be an incredible reflection on you & your business? Don’t you want your customers to take them because “they’re cool” actively and hand them out to friends / family? Isn’t that what you were trying to get them to do with your last batch of flyers? Why not your business cards?
An extra $100 goes a long way! Where else in your company expenses can you say that? Business cards are INEXPENSIVE and should be treated with more care and dignity than that last flyer you handed out! A quick Google search for business cards reveals amazing deals and with just a little clicking around you will be amazed by the options you will find!
As simple as a logo: You don’t need to have your information etched into a razor blade to make an impact (although that would be pretty impactful). An unexpected shape, clever design or intriguing theme could strike a memorable chord with your customers! For example, if appropriate, consider recycled paper with the symbol to show you’re engergy & cash conscious.
It’s advertising! How many times have you grabbed another business card on “the way out” of somewhere to remember the place you were just in? Perhaps you recommended a former vender to someone and handed over their business card?
Check this out, a business card that’s actually useful!
Didn’t you cut that…: billboard campaign? …last round of tv or radio spots? Maybe you passed on updating your sign? If you’re spending less, your face to face time with customers / clients needs to increased! Generally speaking, the lower you’re marketing budget the more of it you should invest in yourself!
Second impressions: When you’re not around and Joe Client pulls your business card out of their pocket, or digs it out of a desk drawer, they may very well be fuzzy on the details of your meeting or even on the fence about calling you. Now days, weeks or even months later they’re remembering you from your crappy boring business card!
Some Tips & Examples
Avoid cheap clip-art: This isn’t about handing out little computer cut-outs with your phone number on the screen if fixing computers is your business. Keep it simple, clever & professional and get direct feedback from 10 people you don’t know if you’re unsure about your design.
Less is more: Unsure if “x” information should be on your card? Then it shouldn’t! Put that on your website!
Get as creative as origami! If you really want to go the extra mile, which you probably should, and you really really really want to wow ’em (I’m talking to you Designers, Consultants, etc.) at the bottom of this post I’ve included a number of links to AMAZING MIND BLOWING BUSINESS CARDS, yes – business cards!
How crazy should I get? I suggest getting a stack of your competitors cards, find the coolest & most impactful ones and kick up another notch!
Email me your business card designs & I’ll post them on the bottom of this article. Here is the front of my new card, I was going for clean & clever, how’d I do? Let me know what you think! Did I live up to my own advice?