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Using Trending Topics to Beef Up Your Email Marketing Campaigns

11/16/2012
What are the hot topics in your Twitter feed or Facebook newsfeed? Right now it is likely to be something on #Election2012, #Obama, #SandyRelief, #PinterestSecretBoards, #BlackFridayDeals.   Social media buzzes with the latest news, often before the mainstream media has a chance to report. Some of those latest trending topics can definitely help boost your email marketing efforts. How? Incorporating current trending topics gives your customer base the impression that you have insight into the latest and greatest. Some trends are best to steer clear of, but, incorporating a good one can give your target market something recognizable to equate...Read more...

Is Tumblr Right for Your Business?

11/15/2012
As a small business, there is a lot to love about a little site called Tumblr. With 20 billion page views a month – up from 15 billion at the beginning of 2012 – Tumblr.com definitely commands some attention. But, what is Tumblr really and is it a good avenue for your business? Tumblr is a free micro-blogging platform that allows users to post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from virtually anywhere, to a “tumblog,” or short-form blog. It operates a lot like Facebook in that you can post, share, and reblog content – merging the best of...Read more...

Tips for Successful Marketing on a Budget

11/14/2012
In today’s entrepreneurial society, start-ups are everywhere. Nearly every industry is full of small companies hoping to make it big—and, with what is generally a fairly limited budget, each one is trying to do more with less.   For these small companies, there are some simple steps you can follow that will use very limited resources while still helping you to produce an effective, efficient marketing strategy.   Identify your target audience   There is really no use in starting any sort of marketing plan if you don’t know whom you are trying to reach. Whatever your marketing strategy consists...Read more...

Ecommerce Companies Should Have a Good Holiday Season

11/13/2012
The ecommerce industry seems to grow larger by the day, and now, with the holiday season nearly upon us, predictions are suggesting that it should be seeing an additional boom in growth. There are estimates of a 12% increase in online sales from the last holiday season, putting the number somewhere around $94 billion.   Here are some stats that might help display what we have to expect in the weeks to come:   - 67% of retailers believe that they will make more online sales this holiday season than they did last year. Almost 25% of retailers said that...Read more...

How to Take a Business Mobile

11/12/2012
First there was the world of the Internet. From the Internet came the world of ecommerce. And now we are in the middle of the newest sensation—the world of mobile.   We see it all around us. Everyone everywhere is hooked to their mobile devices, to their smart phones and tablets. Fewer and fewer people are sitting down in front of computers to take care of most of their basic Internet needs. There just isn’t any point.   Here a few reasons why you should strongly consider looking more seriously into this new mobile industry.   Your customers are already...Read more...

Developing a Great Email Marketing Campaign

11/9/2012
Shifting gears a little bit from social media, we are now going to tackle email marketing for a bit. A well organized and executed email marketing campaign can help your small business tremendously. Some of the benefits include building and fostering relationships and encouraging repeat customers and brand loyalty. Good reason to get started right? To take advantage of these benefits, and more, it is important that all of your email communication is part of an overall marketing plan that supports your brand strategy. Effective email campaigns should always correspond with both your traditional and social media marketing initiatives. So,...Read more...

Dealing with Negative Comments on Your Facebook Page

11/8/2012
Social media is a popular topic on this blog as it has fast become one of the staples of a successful small business marketing plan. The backbone of most social media plans is Facebook as we’ve discussed several times now. Facebook is a great avenue for promoting and growing your small business and engaging and interacting with your customers. Sometimes, however, your customers may post or share some negative feedback. While it may be hard to read, and hear, it is the reality of having a social media presence. So, what do you do when you see a less-than-glowing post...Read more...

Different Ways to Attract Customers to Your Website

11/7/2012
So you have a business. And your business has a website. And naturally you want people to look at this website. But how, exactly, are they going to find it?   The obvious answer is through web searches, and that does make up a large portion of Internet traffic. Within that, Google specifically is responsible for 85% of online searches. So focusing on making your business’s website Google friendly is certainly a good idea. In fact, some stores receive 80% of their traffic via Google.   But Google is not the only way to direct visitors to your site, and...Read more...

Building Trust Through Social Media

11/6/2012
Everyone is using social media these days—that’s old news. But why? Why are businesses using social media? More specifically, why should businesses be using social media?   Spreading their message to a wider audience is certainly part of it. After all, people of pretty much every age and demographic are hooked in to social media in one way or another, so it allows businesses to connect with a wider range of people than they would ever be able to do otherwise.   But it’s not just about connecting. It’s not just about telling your potential future customers about all of...Read more...

Tips for getting the most out of your business’s Twitter

11/5/2012
We’ve already told you some of the benefits of Twitter. Now obviously, if you’re going to put in the time and effort to really be serious about it, you’re certainly going to want to make sure you get the best results. Here are some ideas and guidelines to keep in mind as you go about your Tweeting.   Schedule your Tweets   By scheduling your Tweets in advance, you can save a lot time and energy and assure yourself that your time spent on Twitter is as effective and efficient as possible. Sites such as Tweetdeck or Hubspot can help...Read more...

How to Set Up a Blog The Easy Way

11/2/2012
Earlier this year, we covered blogging basics and outlined the do’s and don’ts. Now it is time to discuss just how easy it is to get a blog started. You don’t have to have a webmaster or programmer on hand either. You can do it yourself, its cost-effective, quick, and might even be fun too. How, you ask? WordPress.com is a great start. WordPress.com is the hosted version of sister-site WordPress.org, the incredibly successful open-source blogging platform. Through WordPress.com, you can start a FREE blog in minutes without any technical knowledge. You also have the ability to purchase a dedicated...Read more...

Creating Great YouTube Content for Your Small Business

11/1/2012
After you read our March blog on the top 10 tips for YouTube marketing, I know you got started creating your company’s YouTube channel right away. If you didn’t, take a trip down memory lane and read it again. YouTube is still one of the top social media sites and one that warrants your participation as a small business owner. Why? Video grabs attention like nothing else can! While someone may skip over text on your website, they are likely to click on a video to see what it’s all about. This opens the door to more personal communication between...Read more...

The Online Revolution: Ecommerce Goes Mobile

10/31/2012
In the second quarter of 2012, the revenue generated from ecommerce topped 54 billion dollars—the highest it’s ever been. And that number is only continuing to grow.   It wasn’t so long ago that ecommerce itself was the shopping revolution. But times are changing quickly, and today more and more people are upgrading from shopping on a computer to shopping on the go with one of the many mobile devices that are now so prevalent in our society.   The appeal of ecommerce arises largely from the time and energy it saves you. Rather than having to make your way...Read more...

Integrating All of Your Marketing Media

10/30/2012
So your company has been using the same marketing strategies for years. And now all of a sudden social media has entered the picture, and it seems to be all the rage. The question you might be asking now is, how are you supposed to strike a balance between the old and the new?   If you’re not using any social media at all right now, that’s probably the place to start. In fact, only 60% of companies are using social media, and of that, only 12% feel they are using it correctly. If your company falls into one of...Read more...

Use Influence to Increase Your Internet Traffic

10/29/2012
You have a website because you want people to visit it. You want your content to be interesting and engaging enough to get visitors to come there, stay there, buy there, and revisit there.   There are many ways to boost customers’ interest in your website and its content. One very effective way, however, is to partner with somebody who is influential in your industry. When this is carried out, it will ideally not only boost your reputation within that industry but also increase your own level of influence in the eyes of your potential customers. There are a few...Read more...

QR Codes in Your Marketing – How to Get Started

10/26/2012
We are focusing a lot lately on mobile marketing.   1 in 2 American adults owns a smartphone so we’d be crazy not to gear our blogs toward getting your small business mobile-friendly. Mobile marketing is an essential component in any marketing campaign. There are many ways to bridge the gap between traditional marketing and mobile marketing but the way we are going to focus on today is the trendy QR code or quick-response codes. QR codes are the trademark for a type of martrix barcode that offers fast readability and increased storage capacity. The two-dimensional black-and-white code can store...Read more...

Does Twitter Really Work for Small Businesses?

10/25/2012
Have you delved into the world of Twitter yet? One-third of small businesses are using Twitter to promote their products or services. While you may think it is better to focus your time on Facebook and getting it right rather than trying to wrap your arms around another social media site, this one may be worth your while.   When done correctly, Twitter can be a significant tool to promote and grow your business. Why? Twitter allows you to engage your customers and potential customers in a personal way. It puts a face with your brand and gives your followers...Read more...

Using LinkedIn To Boost Your Business

10/24/2012
With 175 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is leaving no doubt that it is the online place to be these days for those who are trying to get ahead in the business world. Those 175 million people include 1.7 million business directors, as well as an incredible 13 million entrepreneurs.   Intrigued?   If you’re not already on LinkedIn, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s time to get started. But where to begin? Well, it’s going to take some effort to make sure you’re getting the most out of your LinkedIn account, but with some guidance you shouldn’t have too...Read more...

Social Media Tips for Your Business

10/23/2012
I think we’ve got the point across—you and your business need to be active when it comes to social media. Whether that means Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, or all of the above, if you want your business to grow you are going to need to make yourself known online.   As you and your business get started with social media, here are some general tips for getting the most out of it.   What are your goals?   This is an important thing to determine at the onset of your social media venture. Before you throw yourself into it,...Read more...

Learn How to Get the Most Out of Internet Marketing

10/22/2012
At this point, I think we’ve done a pretty good job of getting the point across that the future—or, indeed, the present—of the business world is online. And we’ve given you a great deal of specific examples of how to use that fact to you advantage. But let’s move away from those specific examples for a moment and talk a little bit more broadly about just what your focus should be as you navigate this cyber business world.   Create content that people want to read   It might seem obvious, but simply making yourself a presence on the Internet...Read more...

What's Reddit?

10/19/2012
We’ve talked a lot about Facebook, Twitter, and even dabbled in Instagram and Pinterest a bit.   You may be thinking that you have enough on your social media plate, and you just might, but I want you to consider another site, Reddit.   Have you heard of it? Used it?   Small businesses don’t have the benefit of a large marketing budget as compared to larger companies, so it’s important to think outside of the box and seek other opportunities for quality promotions. Reddit is one of those hidden treasures to add to your list. Reddit, self titled “the...Read more...

Does Your Small Business Need a Social Media Policy?

10/18/2012
Chances are good that, if you are reading this post and checking out this marketing section of our blog, you are using, or interested in using, social media in your marketing efforts. 77 percent of small businesses include social media in their overall marketing plans and nearly half of those companies don’t have a social media policy. Should yours? Here’s my short answer … Absolutely! No matter the size of your organization, if you and your team are involved in any social media at all, you should have guidelines in the form of an official policy.   Why? You are...Read more...

The Perks of Social Media For Your Business

10/17/2012
Everyone knows the world today revolves around social media. So it seems an obvious step to bring your business into the social media sphere if you’re hoping to attract more customers and increase your revenue.   But if you’re still on the fence about the whole social media thing (how helpful can it really be?), here are just a few clear, concise benefits:   Create a community   Inserting yourself into the world of social media means that you are creating a platform around which all of your customers, followers, enthusiasts, etc. can gather. This brings together a group of...Read more...

Must See Online Marketing Statistics

10/16/2012
This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve said it, but the Internet—and, let’s be honest, the world—is growing increasingly mobile every moment. Mobile devices like iPhones allow people to stay on top of pretty much everything in their lives pretty much all of the time. We live in a world of constant push notifications, a world where we are all hoping for something to check or looking for something to update at pretty much any time of day.   And as we’ve said before, it would be foolish for you company not to take advantage of this mobile revolution. But...Read more...

Would a Mobile App Benefit Your Business?

10/15/2012
We live in an increasingly mobile time. Everywhere you look, everyone around you is glued to his or her phone—a smart phone, more often than not—and can’t seem to take interest in anything else.   Between 2010 and 2011, the worldwide app revenue increased by 200%, which indicates a pretty inviting market. Forecasts indicate that the number could reach 19 billion by the end of 2012, and US mobile revenue could reach 31 billion by 2016.   What does this mean for you? It means this is a perfect opportunity for your business to start thinking about new opportunities to...Read more...

Instagram Inspiration

10/12/2012
With more than 7.3 million daily mobile users — now more than Twitter! — Instagram is on the rise!   And, now more than ever, businesses are getting involved in this photo sharing site to promote and further their brand. Earlier this year we gave you some tips to get started, and how you can boost awareness of your brand a la Starbucks and Ford Motor Company. Well, now its time to show you what other brands are doing and how they are succeeding in growing their business and connecting with their customers, with this hot tool.   Red Bull...Read more...

Why Traditional Public Relations Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

10/11/2012
We talk a lot about social media and emerging marketing trends but it’s important to remember that there are core marketing elements that businesses should retain.   One of these is the notion of traditional public relations. Traditional public relations is often the most overlooked component of small business marketing plans. With the surge in social media and social networking, many businesses have ignored tradition and gone straight to Twitter and Facebook for promotion. While the landscape has definitely changed, the traditional rules of public relations should not be ignored. Problems arise when companies rely solely on social media for...Read more...

Use Facebook to Boost Your Business

10/10/2012
With Facebook about to hit the one billion users mark, it’s safe to say it services quite a large number of people. For that reason, it is a great resource for businesses hoping to boost awareness of their products and services, increase customers, and raise revenues.   Here are some interesting numbers that demonstrate just what Facebook can do for your business:   42% of marketers describe Facebook as being an important part of their marketing strategy—and the number has increased by 75% in the last three years.   62% of marketers say that Facebook has become a more important...Read more...

The Holiday Season is the Perfect Time to Create an Ecommerce Website

10/9/2012
The holiday season is fast approaching, and it’s time to start thinking about how your business can get the most out of it. Sales are always high this time of year, but you can be sure to absolutely maximize your profits if you turn to the Internet for help.   Some numbers   During last year’s holiday season, ecommerce sales reached above 35 billion dollars, which was a 15% increase from the year before.   In the week ending on Christmas day alone, retailers earned more than 2.8 billion dollars from ecommerce spending, which was a 16% increase from the...Read more...

How to Measure the Success of a New Ecommerce Venture

10/8/2012
Trying out ecommerce for the first time? Unsure how to tell just how well things are going? Here are a few ways to measure your progress in the early stages of creation of an ecommerce website.   Percentage of new visits   If you are just starting your site, the biggest measure of success is the number of people it is drawing in for the first time. This is hugely important. You want to make sure that your business is attracting new customers to come and look at your site, explore the products and services you offer, and, hopefully, start...Read more...

Turning Facebook Likes Into Customers

10/5/2012
We’ve discussed how to build Facebook “likes” on your brand Page, but what do you do with those “likes” once you get them? You know your business should have a social media presence but do you really know why?   The value of your business Facebook presence isn’t just a good way to interact and share information with your fans, it’s a great tool for lead generation. Generating those new leads is the real ROI for doing it. How can you make this happen? Here are some of the best ways to turn your “likes” into leads.   1. Get...Read more...

10 Mobile Apps to Consider Using to Help Grow Your Small Business

10/4/2012
We did a post a while back about the prevalence of apps and whether or not your business needs one.   Even if you decided it wasn’t the time to create your own app, changes are pretty good that you use other apps on a daily basis to access information. In fact, each person downloads approximately 60 apps per mobile device — a rate that continues to increase exponentially. And, mobile devices will likely outnumber humans by the end of this year, so that will lead to even more app usage. So, what does this mean for you, and your...Read more...

Using Social Media to Promote Your Business

10/3/2012
Our blogs up until now have focused pretty heavily on cloud computing and all that it can do for your business. The takeaway, in a nutshell, is that cloud computing allows you to harness the powers of the Internet to save you money and time and to make your work—and life—generally smoother and easier to handle.   But the power of the Internet doesn’t stop there. There are all sorts of other ways that you can use the Internet to your advantage that we haven’t touched on at all. In today’s society, so fully immersed in the online world, opportunity...Read more...

Taking your Business Mobile

10/2/2012
Running a business is hard, but there are now more ways than ever to make it easier. There is new technology popping up every day, and there’s no reason not take advantage of it as you work to make your business successful.   One of the ways to make doing business easier than ever is to start looking more seriously towards mobile applications for help. The world of technology is nearly overflowing with mobile apps, and there are some out there that could be incredibly useful to you and your business in some very important ways.   Customer relationships  ...Read more...

Expanding your Business through Ecommerce

10/1/2012
Sometimes small businesses don’t really think of going big. If you have a small, local, reliable customer base, does it make sense to try and go bigger?   When going bigger means going online, the answer is yes. Businesses big and small have been finding success in the world of ecommerce, a world that allows them to expand their market to a wider and more diverse demographic.   What kinds of businesses does ecommerce benefit?   Of course ecommerce is a great choice if your business revolves around some sort of product. Giving customers the chance to purchase your products...Read more...

Top Seven Benefits to Managed Hosting - the Customer Perspective

9/28/2012
We’ve talked a lot about the cloud, and public versus private cloud solutions, but wedged in between those two is managed cloud hosting. While public cloud hosting is open and driven by cost, and private cloud hosting is secure and dedicated, managed hosting meets them in the middle with both security and cost-effectiveness. Managed cloud hosting, like public cloud computing, can be purchased one server at a time. But, the main difference with the managed cloud is that security is a much higher priority than low cost. Simply put, managed hosting undertakes the upkeep and management of a dedicated server,...Read more...

Two Critical IT Steps for Small Businesses

9/27/2012
“A man to carry on a successful business must have imagination. He must see things in a vision, a dream of the whole thing,” so said American steel magnate Charles M. Schwab. Schwab’s sage advice is especially true for the modern entrepreneur. While planning for and developing a profitable, growing business is a complex, ongoing process, adequate planning, attention to details, and realistic expectations are critical to your success. One of the most important areas that today’s businesses need to focus attention on is their Information Technology needs.   Most small businesses don't have the luxury of assigning a single...Read more...

The Cloud for Non-Profits

9/26/2012
Every company is looking to save money. But non-profit organizations, by their very nature, well, aren’t making a whole lot of profit. Which means that every dollar that can be saved on operational costs is a dollar that can instead be put towards doing what non-profits do best—helping others.   Financial perks of the cloud   Moving to a cloud-based system is one great way for non-profits to save money. The lower costs serve as one of the largest incentives for businesses to begin to use cloud computing, and for non-profits those costs are even more appealing.   If you’re...Read more...

Cloud Computing Continues to Grow in the Business World

9/25/2012
This is not the first time we’ve said it, but with each passing day cloud computing manages to get its foot further and further into the door of the business world.   In the past nine months, there has been a 27 percent increase in users who are trying out cloud computing for the very first time, causing a sharp spike in the overall number of businesses using the cloud for all or some of their operating needs.   In terms of cloud use, private firms have the lead right now, with 68% percent of them using cloud computing services...Read more...

Cloud Computing Takes Flight

9/24/2012
General Electric (GE) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have teamed up to bring cloud-computing technology into the air.   The 18-month project is designed to transition air traffic management technology to a cloud-based service. This shift will allow airlines and air traffic controllers to improve their services by sharing data—both real-time data and all varieties of data analysis.   While cloud computing has been spreading rapidly through the IT world, revolutionizing the ways in which all sorts of companies and organizations operate, it has not yet progressed very far into the world of aviation, where safety is,...Read more...

Going to Your Private Cloud

9/21/2012
You’ve researched the differences between public cloud and private cloud computing solutions, and have conducted a thorough analysis of your needs, processes, current technologies, and of course, the very important return on investment (ROI). Weighing all options, your organization has opted to implement a private cloud strategy.   Private clouds are most commonly used to deliver virtualization automatically and in a more controlled environment, giving businesses an increase in efficiency, security, and valuable resources. Once you make the decision to go private, there are six critical key steps to private cloud success:   1. Create Your Virtual Environment. You cannot...Read more...

The Right Remote Back-Up Option For You

9/20/2012
We’ve discussed the importance of backing up your business data, as well as 10 things to look for in a remote back-up provider, but now its time to discuss the best back-up approach for your organization. First, and most important, you can start to develop a back-up strategy to meet your company’s needs by asking the following important questions:   Are you backing up your entire operating system or just “mission critical” items? Some examples of these “mission critical” items include employee records, financial records, confidential documents, and databases. This answer determines how much data you need to back-up and...Read more...

The Vote Is In—Cloud Computing is the Best Choice

9/19/2012
Trying to decide whether switching to a cloud computing service is the best choice for your and your business? Perhaps the best place to look for advice and guidance is to companies who have faced—and are facing—the very same question.   A recent study shows that three out of every five decision-makers at IT companies and other businesses are of the same opinion—that owning and operating one’s own IT infrastructure drives up costs to an unnecessarily high level and wastes precious time and resources that could be better spent somewhere else.   Nearly 60% of the people questioned in the...Read more...

The Cloud is Revolutionizing Education

9/18/2012
We talk a lot about what the cloud can do for your business (and it can do a lot). But it’s also so much more than just a profit-maximizing tool. Cloud computing represents a technological revolution in nearly every aspect of life, and it brings with it advantages that go far beyond the benefits—which are vast—that it can offer to your business.   One area in particular where the value of cloud computing can be seen is in the educational system.   Online learning   Thanks to new technology, in recent years students have found themselves in a new position,...Read more...

More and More Companies are Adopting the Cloud

9/17/2012
It seems as if, with each passing moment, more and more business are turning to cloud computing to carry out any and all of their IT needs. And far from slowing down, research suggests that, in the years to come, this trend will only continue to pick up steam.   It is predicted that by the end of this year, more than $40 billion will have been spent on public cloud services in 2012. That number could reach as much as $100 billion in the year 2016.   In the next four years, public cloud services are expected to see...Read more...

How to Stay in Control When Switching to the Cloud

9/14/2012
Although cloud computing is becoming an increasingly popular choice for businesses, there are still those who hesitate to embrace this new technology. Their apprehension often comes in large part, from a fear of losing control.   It does seem like that would be a legitimate fear. After all, switching to cloud computing means that you are letting your data out from the confines of your familiar computing system and into the wide-open world of the Cloud.   Why trust your valuable, personal data to somebody else? And why go through the process of change when everything is working just fine?...Read more...

Cloud Computing in the Government

9/13/2012
Despite its rising popularity, there are many people that are still nervous about the idea of cloud computing. They hesitate to switch their businesses over because they worry that the cloud might be a safety risk. They don’t want to release their data into the Internet and leave it vulnerable to danger.   And yet America’s own government—as well as other governments around the world—have entrusted their data and services to the cloud.   Government agencies, which have more need for security and reliability than just about any other business—have decided to trust the cloud. Maybe your business can too....Read more...

Cloud Computing Condensed

9/12/2012
It seems like everyone is throwing around the term “cloud computing” these days—but what does it really mean? Where did it come from? Who uses it, and for what?   Here are a few simple facts about cloud computing:   Where did cloud computing come from?   While it seems to have become all the rage in the past few years, cloud computing is, in fact, not a particularly new idea. It first came about in the 1960s, in vague discussions of a future possibility of the organization of data in some sort of public way.   If you feel...Read more...

Top 5 IT Mistake Small Companies Make

9/11/2012
Long, long ago, small businesses did not have to worry about being computer experts or technically savvy – it was just about business. Not exactly the same scenario in 2012, as organizations realize that in order to compete, they must be smart about technology and take precautions in avoiding common IT security and data protection problems.   That being said, while most companies recognize the necessitude of securing important business data, many companies today continue to making costly missteps.   Let’s explore five all-too-common technical blunders, so you can avoid them and save yourself a lot of time and money....Read more...


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