Monthly Archives:February 2015

Hire a Marketing Firm

Why Your Small Business Should Hire a Marketing Firm

05 Feb 15
ROI Content Marketing
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When you bring up “advertising agency” or “marketing firm” around a small business owner, you shouldn’t be surprised if they close their office door or walk away from you. Hiring a marketing firm involves spending money, which many small business owners view as a threat to their bottom line. Every successful owner is taught to cut costs, run efficient operations, and do everything themselves, which frankly is a flawed way of thinking and can end up causing more work in the end. If you want to create better brand awareness around your products and services and ensure success in the world of small business, you should consider hiring a marketing firm to handle your marketing efforts. Why? Glad you asked.

Let the Experts Handle it

It’s totally possible for a small business owner to handle their own marketing efforts, but once they begin thinking about the knowledge needed to do so, the whole process can seem a bit overwhelming. To run an effective marketing campaign that actually contributes to your bottom line, you need to understand all the intricate details of social media marketing, content marketing, seo, paid search, and website maintenance. For someone who spends their entire career doing these tasks, this might be a walk in the park, but for a busy small business owner it may require weeks and months of study to obtain the necessary knowledge and skillset. Even if you decide to do it yourself, you likely won’t do it as well as a professional who stays on the cutting edge of marketing strategy.

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Save Yourself Time

In the world of business, time is money. We briefly talked about how much time is required for marketing in the previous section, but a reminder never hurts. Pawning off your marketing efforts to a marketing firm allows you to focus on the important details of your business without wasting valuable time. If you’re tired of wearing a billion different hats at the office, simplify your life and hire a marketing firm. When you’re not worrying about marketing you can worry about everything else. Marketing professionals know short cuts to access a plethora of information that can help your company succeed. A task that takes 3 hours for a marketing professional to complete may take you three days.

Save Your Company Money

It may seem contradictory to think that hiring a marketing firm could actually save your company money, but it’s the truth. Many ad agencies and marketing firms can save you money when bidding on ads, purchasing ad space, or engaging your audience through other means. If you take care of your own marketing you may spend thousands of dollars more than you need to.

Creating a Brand That Will Last

Though small business owners are very aware of the fine details of their industry, they don’t always understand brand development—a crucial part of any marketing strategy. Developing a brand for your company requires the assistance of someone who can see the big picture, who knows what your customers and clients are looking for, and can put all of that into motion. To create a brand you need to know your target market, the budget of your target market, and what appeals to them. A professional marketing consultant can prepare a marketing campaign that appeals to your target market’s interests. Eventually this will result in lead generation and an increase in sales.

Working From Home Benefits

Do You Have What it Takes to Work From Home?

05 Feb 15
ROI Content Marketing
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It’s no secret that small and large companies alike are hiring more work-from-home employees, but experts agree that not every person is cut out for a telecommuting gig. Between attempting to take care of your regular job responsibilities, watching the pet, and feeding the baby, working from home is not quite as easy as it may sometimes seem. Though your boss may approach you about the possibility of working from home at some point, consider these three suggestions before making a quick decision.

Designate an Office Space That Will be Used Only for Work

Too many telecommuting employees have tried and failed to do their work while eating breakfast in bed, wearing pajamas, and watching a few episodes of Seinfeld. Of course there’s nothing wrong with any of the activities I just mentioned, but trying to balance the various distractions at home with the job at hand is something even the most disciplined employee can struggle with.

If you want to be productive while working from home, consider getting a separate office space that will only be used for work. Even if your office is only a few feet down the hall from your bedroom, make sure that when you’re “at the office”, you’re really at the office. It’s easy to get distracted by everything that home offers—endless snacks, television, no internet restrictions and family, but if you want to prove to your boss that you can be productive in any environment you need to treat your home office the same way you treat your office away from home. If you’re having a tough time concentrating in an office inside your home, maybe use a garage or other detached area for your work. Even a library might suit you better than an extra bedroom.

Set Rules Beforehand

Creating a separate office space is not the only key to becoming a productive telecommuting employee. After you’ve decided on an office you need to set a few ground rules for yourself.

One of the biggest distractions telecommuting employees face on a regular basis is children, partners, and spouses. It’s one thing to work from home in an empty apartment, but it’s an entirely different challenge to work under the same roof as the people you love. In order to stay productive you need to let your family know that you’ll be working in your office with the door closed, and no one is to enter unless it’s an absolute emergency. You also need to keep other distractions out of your office, like television, movies, and video games. Make sure everyone in your home understands the rules before you begin working from home.

Adhere to Regular Work Hours

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you neglect normal working hours. If you work a 9-5 job, work those same hours from home to avoid cutting your work day short.

Though you may be tempted to jump out of bed, grab a bowl of cereal, and ease back into the recliner with your laptop, it’s much more effective to work in an environment that’s similar to your regular office space. Shower when you get out of bed, eat a balanced breakfast, and then work in your office during normal business hours. You’ll find it easier to ignore distractions if you stick close to your normal work schedule.

If it’s not for you, Return to the Office

Although my current employer let’s me work from home half the week, I’m fully aware that working from home isn’t for everyone. If you find it difficult to concentrate and stay motivated while working from home, kindly ask your boss if you can return to the office environment. There’s nothing wrong with honesty, especially when it comes to your work productivity. Your boss won’t have a problem welcoming you back to the office. Over time you may build up the discipline necessary to work from home.

Small Business Marketing

What Your Small Business Needs to Compete Online

05 Feb 15
ROI Content Marketing
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When you’re running a small business, it’s important to look for any advantage that may encourage potential clients and customers to choose you over the competition. This is not always an easy task, especially once you realize there are hundreds and thousands of competitors vying for the same space you’d like to occupy online. Although managing a small business in a competitive market is not simple, there are a few tactics you can use that will make a significant difference, and possibly even propel you above the competition. If you want to be successful with your small business, whether you’re a restaurant or an e-commerce site, follow these suggestions.

Website with Quality Content

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many small businesses pay no mind to their presence online. Not only does your company website serve as an online business card, but when optimized, it can help you appear higher in the search engine results. Each page of the website should include a title tag, a meta description, and an H1 tag, as well as descriptive content that tells the visitor what the page is about. If you’re familiar with seo, research some target keywords for each page and then incorporate those keywords into the content. It’s also a great idea to include pictures, videos, and ensure the website is not crammed with excessive clutter and advertisements. The site should look clean, simple, and professional. Less is more.

Provide Visitors with Free Tips and Information

Many small and large business owners feel the need to charge for everything, even if it’s a small bit of information someone can find for free elsewhere. Let me just tell you this is not the way to win customers and increase sales. If you really want your potential clients and customers to cozy up to you, consider providing free information via your blog, your social media sites, and through email message. You’ll be surprised by the positive response you receive. When you provide free insight, customers learn to trust your brand. Once the relationship is strong, they will be more likely to make a purchase or take action.

Earn Quality Back Links to Your Site

Link building has always been a central focus of seo best practice, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can end up in a train wreck. Google and other popular search engines don’t look highly on strategies that involve link farms, paid links, or excessive directory links, so you have to focus your efforts on earning links organically. If you have a pr specialist, you may consider having them try to obtain links from local newspapers and reputable media sites. You can also submit articles to websites with a high page rank (Google ranks sites according to authority and quality), or submit content to industry sites to garner more exposure. Whatever you do, don’t pay for links or take the easy road. Quality link building can take time. It’s supposed to.

Engage in Social Media

Small businesses need to be active in the social media scene, but that doesn’t mean you should sign up for every social site under the sun. Before you create your social media strategy, research what platforms your customers or clients are using and plan to be active only on those platforms. Though social media is effective, it is possible to spread yourself too thin. B2B marketers should look very closely at sites that allow them to network with other businesses, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Biznik, and Explore B2B.