planning
target-marketing_small

Target Marketing 101 [Infographic]

by Jonathan Michael

The term “target marketing” has been around for decades, but that doesn’t mean that everyone knows what it is or how to apply it to their business. If you’re just starting out, or if marketing your business has been something that you do without fully understanding it, then getting a grasp on target marketing will... Read more »

managing
shutterstock_148195064

16 PR Strategies Every Small Business Should Stop Using Right Now

by Scott Gerber

PR can do wonders for your startup or small business, but not all strategies have proven to be effective. Below, 16 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) share the one PR strategy they think all startups and small businesses should stop using, and why. 1. Over-the-Top Self-Promotion Press releases are a tool for getting your company’s name out... Read more »

managing
Social Media Response Flow Chart

Social Media Response Flow Chart for Small Businesses

by Jonathan Michael

Have you ever discovered a mention of your business on social media and thought, “How should I respond to that?” If the post is negative, you may be especially anxious to answer that question. Should you delete negative comments, respond with a counter-argument, or ignore them altogether? The following flow chart offers a helpful way... Read more »

managing
onlineclass

Top 10 Free Online Classes for Small Business Marketing

by Angelique O'Rourke

A lot of small business owners know their fields and industries like the back of their hand—it’s why they are so good at what they do. But when it comes to marketing your business, there might be a few (or more than a few) gaps in your formal education or training. That’s okay, because a... Read more »

managing
shutterstock_83327209

How to Handle and Avoid Negative Publicity

by Candice Landau

We’ve all heard of at least one social media disaster story—whether that’s the NRA posting a pro-gun tweet right after the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, or Gap’s somewhat insensitive tweet encouraging those caught up in Hurricane Sandy to do some online shopping—and the reality is, these social media disasters happen. Sometimes they’re honest mistakes, other... Read more »

managing
shutterstock_184189163

How to Do Your Own PR If You Can’t Afford to Hire an Agency

by Candice Landau

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or veteran SMB owner, chances are you’re aiming to better publicize your message to a given target audience. Whether it’s customers, prospects, or partners, there is a target group you want to engage. But maybe you’re not ready to hire an expensive creative agency—maybe it’s not in your budget or... Read more »

managing
media

15 Easy Tips to Help Small Businesses Build Strong Media Relationships

by Elizabeth Victor

Small businesses don’t always have a dedicated PR department, or even a dedicated person to handle media relations and press. Therefore, it is not always as easy for small businesses to build media relationships because a small business owner must wear so many different hats. That doesn’t make connecting with media professionals any less important.... Read more »

managing
Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 7.00.44 AM

One Big Small Business Mistake: Not Giving Employees Business Cards

by Candice Landau

I once worked for someone who wouldn’t print business cards for employees, not even on a case-by-case basis. The reason—I was told—was that no one did it anymore. Everyone used LinkedIn. The thing is, this employer still had their own business card and still regularly handed it out when meeting potential clients. Clearly, they didn’t... Read more »

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 »