managing
You don't want to be running damage control.

How to Manage Your Business’s Online Reputation

by Mark Potter

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well”—Jeff Bezos The importance of online reputation management cannot be understated. Thanks to sites such as TripAdvisor, it’s easier than ever for customers to post their comments and criticism online. And, as many businesses... Read more »

planning
marketingplan

Help! My Business Needs a Marketing Plan and I Don’t Know Where to Start

by Gina Smith

Congratulations! You are among a select number of small business owners and executives who recognize the need for a marketing plan. As a marketing strategist, I recommend a marketing plan to all of my clients. More often than not, business owners feel they can just “wing it.” That, my friend, is a recipe for disaster.... Read more »

managing
applecustomervalues

What Apple Can Teach You about Marketing

by Jack Holt

Few iPhone users would identify “hedonism” (or the pursuit of pleasure) as a core value in their lives, but when you look at the sentiments behind Apple’s marketing strategy for the past 30 years, you might not be so quick to disagree. This extremely human core value is a key factor in Apple’s success today, despite... Read more »

managing
Don't let your good marketing be erased.

Good Marketing Undone

by Teri Epperly

I wrote this article a few years ago, before I took over the customer service team for Palo Alto Software. My perspective at the time was as a consumer. Looking back on it now, as the manager of my team, the glaring miss in this company’s story was the lack of training for their staff.... Read more »

managing
productpackaging

Product Packaging: The Most Overlooked Detail

by Brittany Klontz

Advertising budget: check. Marketing budget: check. Product development budget: check. Product packaging? Uh, check back later. If you’re like most small businesses, product packaging is often a last minute detail for you, or at least not at the top of your priority list. But there’s a reason the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its... Read more »

planning
take a vacation

I Went on Vacation and Increased Our Facebook Traffic by 300%. Here’s How:

by Jonathan Michael

I’m not going to be shy with my opinion on this topic: you need to take more time off of work. I took a week off in August and was able to increase our Facebook referral traffic by over 300%—all while being completely unplugged from work. I want to show you how, but first, let’s take a... Read more »

managing
Building your website yourself?

Building Your Business Website Yourself? Get Some Expert Tips First!

by Lisa Furgison

A good website is crucial in today’s business world. If you’re starting a new business, you might not have the cash to drop on a website designer, or your existing business website might be in need of a redesign. That’s okay. You can go online and find a number of template-based websites for an affordable price.... Read more »

managing
Facebook contest to grow your business

Can a Facebook Contest Help You Grow Your Business?

by Cidnee Stephen

One of our clients had a great idea for a contest. We decided to use Facebook as the platform for a couple of key reasons: Their page was relatively new and it needed a promotional shove to build the company’s brand on Facebook. We knew it was a very inexpensive promotion to run, thus reducing... Read more »

planning
Call to action

5 Ways You Can Use CTAs to Convert Customers

by Cidnee Stephen

Nothing breaks my heart more than visiting a website that is well laid out and has great content, but has missed the mark in converting visitors into customers through an effective call to action (aka a “CTA”) system. This is like investing all your money in a beautiful store front, but keeping the doors locked... Read more »

planning
If I gave you a $100,000 marketing budget what would you do?

If I Gave You a $100,000 Marketing Budget, What Would You Do With It?

by Cidnee Stephen

Let’s face it: developing a marketing budget for a small business is usually not a very big priority. Typically, we just don’t have enough money to warrant having a formal marketing budget. Sometimes we just ignore doing one because it’s depressing. After all, if you don’t have any money to put towards a marketing budget,... Read more »

managing
A few of the goodies Crane gives out to interested people.

Does Your Business Have Swag?

by Lisa Furgison

Promotional gear, goodies, swag—whatever you call it, items with your company name and logo are a great marketing tool. They provide a way to connect with customers, improve brand awareness, and help drive your sales up. Crane, a home appliance and wellness company, uses promotional gear to promote their brand and products at various events and trade... Read more »

planning
5 ways to spy on your competition

5 Ways to Spy on Your Competition

by Sarah Brooks

Most companies are continually looking for ways to get an edge over their competitors, and a time-honored method is simply to spy on the other guys. Technically, it falls under the category of market research, unless, of course, it’s actual spying. But, we’re not going to get into corporate espionage here—we’ll stick with the “market... Read more »

managing
YELP

How Your Business Can Master Yelp

by Lisa Furgison

In the past decade, businesses have had to jump on the digital train to stay on top of new trends, capitalize on new markets, and expand reach. From social media channels to review sites like Yelp, there’s a lot for entrepreneurs to monitor in the instant feedback, smartphone-crazed world we live in. Yelp, for instance,... Read more »

starting
league2

Welcome to Summoner’s Rift: Why a Free Start Can be Better for Business

by Ryder Cochrane

At first glance, the business model sounds insane—a game that you can download and play for free. Not a free trial, not on a basic account, the game can be played forever while never spending a single penny on it. You read that right—the game is free. Anybody can play it for as long as they... Read more »

managing

How to Grow Your Business by Setting Goals [Webinar]

by Sabrina Parsons

We all have goals for our business, but sometimes we forget how important it is to clearly define these goals. This is especially true when it comes to financial goal setting for small businesses, where often financial goals are only vaguely defined or based too heavily on assumptions. Many small business owners may keep a... Read more »

planning
Why Businesses Fail

What is the Biggest Cause of Business Failure?

by Arlene Soto

There are many reasons businesses fail: lack of money, changes in the economy, ineffective management, employee turnover, theft, illness, or death of the owner are just a few. According to SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), the main reason businesses fail is ineffective management, whether it be poor planning or not understanding all that is required... Read more »

managing
gatorade

Gatorade and the Kings of Cool

by Ryder Cochrane

When you are developing a marketing plan, it’s important to focus on the aspect of your product that you mean to be the selling point. You have to have that thing that makes you stand out from the pack, and that’s what you focus on. You’re the cheapest. You’re local. You’ve got the highest quality product.... Read more »

managing
hugh macleod business cards

Why Hugh MacLeod’s Art Should Not Be on Your Business Cards

by Candice Landau

Regardless of the industry you're in, when networking or selling, moving the focus from you to someone else that bears no relevance to you, is terrible. Your business card should aid the discussion you've been having rather than direct people away from it. Read more »

planning
Shoestring Marketing Budget? Get Your Customers to Do It For You

Shoestring Marketing Budget? Get Your Customers to Do It For You

by Sarika Periwal

To survive as a business you need sales, and to generate sales you need marketing. It is for this reason that most businesses set aside a sizable chunk of money for advertising, but wouldn’t it be grand if you could generate sales by getting your existing customers to do your marketing for you? If you... Read more »

planning
omni-channel retailing

What Is the Future of Retail?

by Candice Landau

If you own a brick-and-mortar business, or are thinking of setting one up, you’ve likely seen plenty of reports that imply the future of shopping is online and that it is also “mobile.” You’re right to be concerned about what this means for your business, but perhaps not in the way you may think. Firstly,... Read more »