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_73197265

Content Marketing Lessons SMBs Can Learn from Big Name Brands

by Brittany Klontz

For small business owners who are not 100% up to speed on the online marketing world, all this talk of content marketing may be a little confusing. Your business is online, and you’re on board the social media marketing bandwagon, surely that’s enough to keep up with your competition? Perhaps it is. But who wants... Read more »

planning
unique-selling-proposition

How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition

by Lisa Furgison

Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or thinking about joining the ranks, one question you’ll have to answer is: What sets your business apart? The answer to that question usually leads entrepreneurs to define their unique selling proposition, or USP. To help entrepreneurs create a unique selling proposition, we’ve written this handy guide to walk you... Read more »

starting
14-1106-College-Grads

The Millennial Entrepreneur: Idealistic or Realistic? [With Infographic]

by Jonathan Michael

Earlier this spring, studies in both the U.S. and the UK have reported declines in entrepreneurship: more startups failing, fewer getting off the ground, and low growth expectations for those currently open. After all this time, is it possible that entrepreneurs are now an endangered species? I hope you can sense the sarcasm in my... 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
best blogs to grow your business

The 22 Best Blogs to Help Grow Your Business (That You May Not Be Reading)

by Jonathan Michael

There are plenty of popular business-advice websites that make it on these kinds of “best of” lists, but I wanted to take a different approach. The problem with many of the popular sites is that they often offer little more than fluff pieces that don’t actually help you improve your business. They’ll share entrepreneur success... 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
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 »

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 »

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

Marketing

by Tim Berry

The set of planned activities designed to positively influence the perceptions and purchase choices of individuals and organizations. Marketing is a highly important part of business that focuses on perception, desires, and more to convince customers that your product or service is the one they should choose. Read more »

managing

Using Analytics to Drive Your Online Marketing Strategy

by Casie Gillette

Do you know who is coming to your website?  Who is buying your product?  Where they are coming from?  What they like and dislike? Analytics are an extremely valuable asset when it comes to your website and your online marketing efforts. The more informed you are on where and how your customers interact with your... Read more »

managing

Be realistic when you set your measure of success

by Tim Berry

All of us plan for success in our businesses. That IS the goal after all. To be successful. But how exactly do you determine IF you have succeeded? Regardless if you are a start up or an established business, you need to establish, right up front, during your business planning process, what success will look... Read more »

managing

Not Everybody is Your Customer

by Tim Berry

This is hard to write about, and hard for business owners to accept. It seems so negative. Still, it seems like we all need a fresh reminder. Bill Cosby said it well: “I don’t know the secret to success, but I do know that the secret to failure is trying to please everybody.” This reminds... Read more »

planning

Planning Tips from Palo Alto Software Customers

by Sara Prentice-Manela

Palo Alto Software recently conducted a survey of customers about their business planning efforts and needs. While some of the findings were predictable, others offer lessons for entrepreneurs trying to get started, as well as those trying to get back to fundamentals. The following article highlights three areas of planning our respondents found challenging, and... Read more »

managing

Flaws or Opportunities?

by Sara Prentice-Manela

Did you know that problems with your products are not necessarily going to make your customers dissatisfied? At least, not in the long run. Instead, they can provide an opportunity to turn customers into evangelists for your customer service. Think about this common scenario: you boot up your computer, ready to work (or play a... Read more »

Value-Based Marketing

by Tim Berry

This is just a thought, a tip, not something you’re supposed to do or you have to do.  But it might help. The idea of value-based marketing can help you figure out what to do to take your core strategy into specific activities to reach your customers. It starts with what the experts call a... Read more »

planning

All Those Ps

by Tim Berry

You have a marketing strategy. It’s the heart of your plan. You’ve talked it out, probably written it out. You may have done the market research and industry research, or maybe you’re just sure of yourself in your market. We used to call it marketing mix, or the three Ps (pricing, promotion, and an artificially... Read more »