Yellow pages, newspapers, magazines, online… which is right for your business?
Yellow pages, newspapers, magazines, online… which is right for your business?
Running a small business is an art. You have to trust your instincts and use your talents to achieve success.
It takes a lot of hard work, research and study. Never give up on your dreams.
I’ve been running Creative Juices for over 32 years. It never gets easier. In fact, with today’s economy and the changing field of graphic design, it is a daily challenge to stay up to date and relevant.
That is why I am constantly reading and studying the news for anything related to social media marketing and changes in technology for website design and function.
Here are five simple ways you can increase your chances for business success:
Check out the following articles. They will help you reach your goals of business success.
Most importantly, what are your plans for promoting your products and services for the all important holiday season?
Be sure to read the following for more information:
What are you planning to do to promote your business?
Not only should your ads tell the truth, but what you are offering should also be fairly easy to accomplish. Whether you are giving something away or having a sale, you should make it very easy to do.
Here’s an example of what not to do. Ralphs and Shell have been advertising their 10 cent deal for quite some time.
I visited Shell and saw no place to scan or enter a Ralphs club card. A big sign said bring in your receipt to Ralphs for double rewards points.
I did so, but the checker at Ralphs says the receipt was missing the proper numbers. The manager said the same thing.
“Go back to the Shell station to get the proper receipt”. Yeah, I’m going to go out of my way to do that.
The result: this blog post. Bad karma for Ralphs and Shell. It probably won’t have any real effect but I feel better and I got a post out of it.
If you run a small business, the best thing to do is to back up what you advertise. Even if you lose a little money, it’s better to make a customer happy than to have them bad mouth your company online for all the world to see.
I will continue to go to Ralphs because it is convenient and I’ve been going for years. Overall, I like the store and it’s products and prices.
But unless it’s an emergency, I will avoid Shell. Why Shell and not Ralphs? Not only did this Shell not have the proper receipt, but they advertised one price for cash on their big sign, and another price for credit on a little sign I did not see.
Plus they put a tiny little notice on their pump saying the cheaper price was for cash only. Not a good idea to tick off your customer. I will not be back. At least not at that Shell station.
Social media is everywhere. With places like Twitter, Facebook and Yelp to voice your opinions of companies, it’s always best to follow through on your promises and don’t tick off your customers.
Then you really need to get a website. Let the world know you exist.
The question is, where do you start?
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS). It has a completely accessible back end that is easy to learn. You will be able to add an unlimited number of pages, posts and plugins with unbelievable functionality. This includes photo galleries, PayPal shopping carts, Twitter and Facebook links, calendars, search engine optimization and tons more.
Search engines love it when you add new content to your website. So do readers. Adding useful content to your site on a regular basis is a great way to increase your Google page rank.
Starting your company blog also helps to connect you with potential and current clients. It’s a way for you to be creative too.
Stand out from the crowd. There are plenty of free WordPress templates available. But you want your website to be unique.
I can design your custom template and set up your entire site.
Many options are available:
I will design and set up your unique website that will meet your budget. Special package deals available upon request.
There are many ways to get a logo today. You can create one yourself if you have design capabilities. You can buy a logo design software package for $29 and put a few graphic elements together along with your company name.
You can go online and find a logo design factory that charges only $99 or $149 for a logo with unlimited changes. Realize, of course, that your logo will most likely be designed by students or recent graduates with limited experience. And you will be encouraged to order something else to help the logo design factory generate enough money to make up for that cheap logo.
Or you can hire an experienced graphic design company and pay a fair price for a product that will best represent you and your company.
It used to be that a professional logo design would cost you a minimum of $500 and an average of $1500. You were dealing with professional artists and graphic designers who had many years in the business designing logos. They had talent and experience. They knew how well your logo would stand out in color and black and white. What colors would go with your product and service and what design would create the best public image for your company. You met with the artist in person and discussed your preferences and options. And they took the time to follow their creative process. Creativity is not instantaneous.
Today you can go online and get an instant logo for $99 or $149. How much time and effort do you think was spent on creating that logo?
Keep in mind that your business logo is a graphic representation of your brand. Typically you keep your logo for many, many years. When people see your logo they get an immediate feeling about your business, whether it’s conscious or not. Do you really want that image to be cheap?
Think about big companies like Apple, Nike, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Microsoft, etc. Do you think they contacted an online logo factory and paid $99 for their logo design. I think not. They took the time and spent the money to carefully research their image and brand. They spent thousands of dollars. Maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars building a brand image that matched their product or service.
So when it comes time to choose a company or person to create your own company’s brand image, don’t you think you deserve to get something that best represents you? I think you do.
You want to be proud of your company. You want to be successful. And you most certainly want to present an image of yourself that is both professional and exudes success. To achieve this you have to spend a little bit of money.
And always remember. You get what you pay for. This fact almost never changes.
Your blog is an extremely powerful social media hub. If done correctly, it can boost the visibility of your business in ways never before possible. Think of it as an online magazine. You’re in charge of design and content. Your blog can help promote your company’s website or it can be a part of your website.
Setting up a blog is very easy. You can try using a free blogging system such as WordPress.com or Google’s Blogger. But if you want to appear really professional you need to go for a self-hosted blog. The most popular and easiest way to do this is through WordPress.org. You have lots of options for design themes and plugins. Of course a professionally designed unique theme that utilizes your company’s brand identity is best.
Maintaining it regularly can be a challenge. You have to constantly come up with copy that is interesting, relevant and remarkable. This could be once a week. Daily would be great. A few times a week is good too. The trick is to write posts that people want to read. Show your personality and have fun.
Facebook is the most popular online social network today, with over 400 million active users of all ages creating a home page and making “friends”. Facebook is a place where “friends” gather. Let everyone know what you’re doing. It’s easy to set up and is free. Show photos, play games, network, add applications. What’s your status? Your Facebook profile can be made public or private. You control the settings of who gets to see your page.
If you have a business you need a “Fan” page. A fan page is part of your original Facebook account. It is visible to everyone, registered or not, including all your customers. While a Facebook Group is better for hosting discussions, for long-term relationships, a “fan” page is best. Personalize your fan page with your company brand or image.
In order to get people to become a “fan” of your company, you need to drive them to your Facebook fan page. Therefore it is important to link your social media together. Create a button on your blog and company website, inviting visitors to become a Facebook fan. You want your fan page to be a fun place to visit. Create content and invite discussion and participation. Make your fan page a resource of information about your company and related products.
Another way you can entice users to join your fan page is by creating contests or coupons specifically for your Facebook fans. This could include discounts on products, free shipping, or other special deals. The goal is to get people to join your fan page and come back often. You need to give them a reason to participate. Encourage comments and input.
Creating a successful fan page takes planning, time and dedication. It’s not something you can set and forget.
Twitter can be a very powerful business tool with over 17 million users, a large number of which are older professionals with high incomes. It is called micro-blogging because your “posts” are limited to 140 characters. But you can create an unlimited number of posts.
With Twitter you have access to immediate feedback from people all over the world, 24/7. When you need help, just ask for it. You’ll be surprised at the number of people who will answer your questions and offer assistance. This is also a great way to do market research.
Use Twitter to let people know who you are. Your tweets can include links to photos and video. Send links to helpful or interesting websites. Promote contests, specials, sales, new products, whatever. Inform people when you make a blog post. Direct people to visit your website. And don’t forget to create a unique Twitter backdrop with your company brand and information.
Coming soon to Twitter will be “Promoted Tweets”, a way of advertising on Twitter. And you will be able to pay for a Commercial Twitter account which gives a business detailed analytics tools and the ability for several people to post to the same Twitter account.
LinkedIn is a business social network with over 65 million professional business users with an average income of over $100,000 a year. If you’re selling to other businesses you’ll want to have a LinkedIn presence. It’s a great way to drive targeted traffic to your website and further build your social network by exchanging “information, ideas and opportunities”.
The best way to get noticed is to remain consistent. That means you must post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and write your blog posts on a regular basis. If you don’t, people will stop following you. That’s not good. Sign up with HootSuite and you can write one post and send it to any or all of your social media at one time.
The more followers, friends and fans you have, the more you’ll get. It’s kinda viral. People want to follow popular people. And when you give people what they want in terms of information, tips, discounts, promotions, contests, customer service, etc., they’ll keep coming back for more.
When you’re involved with social media marketing, you’re also a part of the exciting new world of mobile marketing. Facebook, Twitter and Blog news-feeds are a huge part of mobile phone apps. Even Apple has entered the arena with it’s new iAd concept coming to an iPhone or iPad near you. Imagine interactive mobile ads and videos that are graphic and enticing. Google already has a big presence in mobile text advertising. You don’t want to be left out of this new marketing frontier.
So that’s the essence of Social Media Marketing. It’s all part of Search Engine Optimization. The goal is to get people to your website or social media hub. This can also include being part of social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, Digg; photo sites like Flickr; rich media sites like YouTube and Spoink and don’t forget MySpace.
For more information on how you can become a part of this exciting and powerful world of social media marketing contact Chuck at Creative Juices.
Are you in business for yourself and need more income? Who doesn’t… There are many ways to increase your income. Here are a few.
A lot of thought needs to go into designing your website before you put it online. Your website is who you are (or want to be). It’s often the first thing people see and learn about you and your business. It’s the first impression you give and you only have a few seconds to hook a potential client.
So here are some things to think about when setting up your website.
When in doubt, consult a web professional. I recommend the folks at the Creative Juices factory, primarily because that’s me. And advice is always free.
The hard part of email marketing is deciding to do it and then sticking with it. Here’s an easy plan to help you get started.
Or you could just hire someone like Creative Juices to do all this for you. How easy is that?!
I’m just starting to delve into Twitter so that means something newer is about to take it’s place. Well maybe not really. But sometimes it takes a while for new ideas to take hold of my consciousness.
Twitter has become THE place to go to market your business. There are scores of books on just how to do this as well as tons of info online. Twitter is the latest in micro-blogging. What are you doing now in 140 words or less. Of course you can keep adding 140 word entries until you run out of things to say.
As far as a business marketing tool, from what I’ve learned so far, Twitter is used as a form of socializing. People getting to know each other, cyberly speaking. Not so much as a place to sell products or services directly. You can direct people to your website, offer specials, contests, tips, links to articles, websites and more.
It seems everybody is following someone. Or thousands of someones. And it could be overwhelming. Just how much information do you need to know in a day? I personally am suffering from information overload.
I admit I’m addicted to my iPhone. I now follow people I don’t know on Twitter. I’ve set up a page on Facebook, MySpace, Linked In, Merchant Circle, Plaxo, Ning, Xing, and others I have forgotten about and have no time to add content to. I’ve got this blog using WordPress and have set up one on Google’s Blogger too.
I follow all the news I need to know on my iPhone too. There’s AP Mobile News, USA Today, Yahoo, NY Times, CNN, Easy News, and of course a ton of RSS feeds including the LA Times, E! Online, CBS, KFWB and many, many tech news feeds.
I’m also reading Twitter Revolution on my iPhone Kindle App, Twilight from Iceburg, Murder List on my Stanza App and real hardcover books Twitter Power and a Doris Day biography.
Plus I read the antiquated LA Times and local Daily Breeze on real newsprint.
Yikes. It’s a wonder I can’t sleep at night. There’s just too much information to process.
As I grow with Twitter and other social networking sites I will keep you informed. And if you are looking for something to fill up your time, why not follow me on Twitter! @cjuices