Can’t Get Bank Funding? Funding Alternatives for Small Businesses

Small business funding alternatives

Individuals raise funds for their small businesses in various ways. The way you raise capital for your small business will depend on your business needs as well as your circumstances. But if bank funding is not an option, and your small business is in need of funding, here are some alternatives.Personal Savings If you have adequate personal holdings to finance your business this can be of great benefit since you will not be required to borrow from third parties. When you fund your small business from personal savings, it gives you full control over the running of your company since you are not responsible to any third … [Read more...]

How to Choose an Email Service Provider for Your Nonprofit

colorful tiles- choose an email service provider

Email is a powerful tool that benefits commercial and nonprofit organizations alike. With that said, it is a tool that performs at its best when supplied by email service provider (ESP). An ESP has the tools you need to create professional looking campaigns, gauge your success, and make sure your messages are actually delivered, which isn’t guaranteed when trying to reach even small groups of people from a standard account.But with so many vendors on the scene, how do choose?Use these pointers to find an email service provider that accommodates the needs of your nonprofit. Determine What Your Nonprofit Needs Before heading out to … [Read more...]

Do Good Social Online! How to Use Social Media for Charity Fundraising

Joy! Do something GOOD with social media

People are always talking about how social media makes it much easier for small businesses to reach their customers and engage the people who are most interested in what they do. But, have you ever thought about applying similar social media marketing strategies to those used by successful businesses to raise money for a good cause you care about?Whether you manage a charitable organization yourself, or are simply a member of the community who wants to do something to help a charity, here are some ways the Web can help. Sponsored Events — Get More People Behind You If you are thinking about asking for sponsorship to do something like a … [Read more...]

An E-commerce Business Owner’s Guide To Pinterest

IT support for small business

Pinterest has really taken off in the past few years leaping from humble beginnings in its beta form in 2010, to over 25 million users in 2013. Not to mention, the demographics of Pinterest users sit comfortably on the side where users have a decent amount of disposable income – perfect if you’re running an ecommerce store and looking to grab new customers.If you’ve been hiding in an underground bunker and don’t know what Pinterest is then here’s a very simple run down; Pinterest is a site that allows users to ‘pin’ images onto ‘boards’. These images all link through to the site from which they came from, allowing people to successfully … [Read more...]

Defend your Sales Price: A Small Business Strategy to Sell Anything

Small business sales strategy

Sales skills are some of the most valuable, applicable talents you can possess in today’s (small) business world. While you may think that being a good salesperson only applies to selling products, it’s important to realize that commodities are not the only important things that are sold.You also have to sell good ideas to your colleagues or supervisor, and if you’re just getting into the job market, you have to be able to sell yourself and make people aware of everything you bring to the table. Sales skills aren't just reserved for marketing geniuses or people who have a passion for selling products. It is important for you to learn … [Read more...]

How do I Find a Small Business Web Design Pro?

small business web design

As online purchasing continues to climb steadily, no business can afford to ignore the power of the Internet. If you want to grab eyeballs, you need a website that ranks high on search engine results – one that attracts and retains visitor attention. Hiring a good web designer can help you achieve this; but, this is easier said than done. For a small business owner who has no idea of what goes into creating a website, it can be a confusing task; here are a few tips on how to find a web designer to take your business to the next level. How to find a Web Designer for your Small Business Website A web designer is someone who is an expert at … [Read more...]

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Guest Posting

Guest posting on other blogs is one of the best ways to obtain additional high quality backlinks to your website as well as get your name out there when it comes to authoring high quality blog posts.  Guest posting is the process of writing an article on somebody else’s blog and then including a backlink at the end of the post.  When guest blogging there are numerous things to keep in mind to ensure the readers react positively to your post, which increases your chances of being invited again to make another post.#1 – Ensure Backlink is to a Quality WebsiteThe primary purpose of writing a guest post and putting it on somebody else’s … [Read more...]

Using Email Marketing to Improve the User Experience

Trends come and go in the marketing realm, but one trend brands can’t afford to lose sight of is carving out experiences that fully accommodate the user. Whether it’s website visitors, app downloaders, or paying customers, the user experience is everything.Thanks to around the clock coverage, we are constantly reminded of just how important catering to the user really is. Experts tell us that its importance spans from the social media networks to the mobile arena across multiple platforms. In this post, we will focus on the role it plays in the email channel and how email marketing can be used to improve it.Setting the Tone and the … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Guide to Software Marketing

You may be the greatest software developer on the face of the universe but that doesn’t mean that you know squat about software marketing. And even if you do have a working knowledge of software marketing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to execute on that front. The following is a guide to marketing software to assist you in this endeavor. Cede Control In the infamous words of Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry Callahan, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” OK, so he wasn’t PC in his use of the word “man,” but software marketing is a distinct and separate world to software development that requires a completely different skill … [Read more...]

The Psychology of a Brand: You are What You Tweet

KNDSGUDB9XYNSocial media understanding is still largely in its infancy. Being labeled a “social media expert” in 2013 is sort of like being called a doctor in the Medieval Times. The exact parameters for for the label and what it means might be foggy, but a swarm of people are fascinated enough by it to take the reigns and pave the way for an essential industry.Managing your social media pages certainly isn't as important as, say, inventing penicillin, but with 22 percent of online time spent on social media and 65 percent of the the world's companies on Twitter, according to The Social Skinny, social media is becoming an integral … [Read more...]

Mom’s Dating Advice and Email Marketing Tips

Chaunsea Keller

Originally published on ehotelier.comE-Mail Marketing - it is what I do all day, every day, so it is common for people to ask my expertise on design tips, deliver tips, content tips, etc, and I am more than happy to share. Sometimes my advice stems from personal/professional experiences, sometimes articles from "the experts", and sometimes I have to "trust my gut". So as I found myself telling my daughter the advice to "Trust her Gut and Follow Her Heart" (even though she is 6, it's never too early to start) my mom's voice was resonating in my head much to my surprise of "Oh my Gosh, I am sounding like my Mom"! I am happily married, so … [Read more...]

Email Marketing: Are you a good sender or a bad sender?

Good email sender

Gmail and the other ISPs are now blocking emails that you send to your double opt-in subscribers!Why? Because those subscribers aren't opening your email anymore. And since your subscribers aren't opening your email anymore, Leon, the anti-spam-guy at Gmail, took notice. Then he remembered that he's still sore over that painful fiasco in high school where he had once hand-delivered Darlene, the head cheerleader, seventeen love letters, which he had personally put into her mailbox (a 'mailbox' is what they used to call an inbox back in those days). Darlene never responded to Leon's love letters. Apparently, she wasn't interested. Go … [Read more...]

Your Small Business Website is Not Thriving – and Here’s Why

Small business websites need tools

Originally published on Quick and Dirty Tips.comYou're a small business. You have a website and you want traffic, subscribers, followers. In short, you want more customers.The prevailing wisdom has been that if you have a nice looking site, and optimize it for search engines (SEO), the customers will just show up.But, it's just not happening is it? The old "if you build it, they will come" thing just isn't working out. Your business is not thriving.Too often, this is the frustrating experience felt by small business owners as they try to get their businesses off the ground.So where are you going wrong in your approach to … [Read more...]

10 Social Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Should Avoid

small business mistakes

No matter how skilled you are or what you’re doing in life, you’re going to make some mistakes. That’s just how it goes. Hopefully, you will learn from these mistakes and avoid making them in the future. When developing a social media marketing strategy, you can be sure that you’ll make some mistakes from time to time. The best way to work to avoid these mistakes before they happen is to learn about the mistakes beforehand. Business branding through social media can be a very cost-efficient strategy, especially for small businesses, and there’s a lot you can do yourself without any help from a large media agency. As you’ve learned here on … [Read more...]

6 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Better Website

[xyz_dbx_default_code]Inspired by SocialMagnets who created a great infographic called "10 Reasons why small businesses need an online presence" Also published on SocialMediaToday.comYou've had this discussion before with your business partner. "Why do we need to spend money on a website?" Or, perhaps it's "Look, I know our website needs updating, but honestly, we've got so many other things to work on right now....."And the discussion goes on. But are you making the right decision? True, there are a lot of things that draw the attention of the small business owner. But stop and take a look at your current website.Your … [Read more...]

3 Ways Personal Bias is Killing your Marketing Campaign

Originally published on SocialMediaToday.comThe Chief Marketing Officer has just walked into your office, well, into your cube anyway. And she's not happy. You feel the tension."They're looking at our budget with a microscope. If we don't absolutely nail this next major campaign, they're going to, to.....well, something....."She's not being paranoid either. Marketers are under the gun, having to justify each spend. The average tenure of a CMO is just two years."I just feel like we're missing the market somehow," you tell her. "Something doesn't feel right. I mean, we're hitting all the big social channels, but it's like the … [Read more...]

How do I get more customers (and keep them)

How do I get more customers?

You are the newest of the noobs in your small business. You started out with a lot of energy, but the customers just aren't coming. Or, the ones that are coming are not coming back.You know you've got a great product to offer, but it just seems like the message isn't getting out. No one really knows about this place. So, you're asking, "how do I get more customers?"You are frustrated, and thinking of calling it quits. "How DO I get more customers?"Well, hold on for a moment. If you muster just a bit of courage I'll answer the how do I get more customers question and show you Other small business owners like you are not facing … [Read more...]

What Do You Mean My Email Subject Line Sucks?

Email Subject Line

Originally published on Social Media You've spent all that time building an email list, crafting the perfect email, creating great content, and sending it out using all the proper email deliverability hoo-ha and all that. Your anticipation of a high email open and click through rate is there. That will mean you'll make more sales, right!?After launch, you wait. And then...... nothing. Your open/click through rate sucks and your sales are as stale as that box of Cheerios you left opened last Tuesday. You spent all that time crafting the perfect email, and for what? For a 2.5% open rate, about ten click throughs, and no … [Read more...]

7 Reasons you SHOULD use Hootsuite

7 Reasons you SHOULD use Hootsuite

Originally published on Some time ago, I posted a rather controversial article that ended up being one of the most visited posts on my blog– 7 Reasons why you should NOT use Hootsuite. It even prompted the Vice President of Community at Hootsuite to respond in the comments. Although I tried my very best to give a balanced view and to list the positives, it was, at the end of the day, a list of the problems that I had encountered with Hootsuite. Since then I’ve wanted to list some of the positives and reasons why some people and businesses should use Hootsuite. Despite the issues that I brought up in the original post, Hootsuite … [Read more...]

7 Reasons to NOT use Hootsuite

7 Reasons to Not use Hootsuite

This post first appeared on iag.meHootsuite is one of the most popular and comprehensive social media tools out there. Yes, there is Tweet Deck and cotweet, but Hootsuite is considered the “crème de la crème” of the Social Media Tools World. I’ve used it for many years and I’ve recommended it regularly for my clients and still do.It was launched back in December 2008 by the digital agency Invoke Media. With a list of features as long as, well, something long, it’s hard to see why you’d never want to use Hootsuite.Here are some of Hootsuite’s many features:Manage multiple Twitter, Facebook (profiles and pages), LinkedIn, … [Read more...]

One Quick Tip to Double your Email Click Through Rates

email marketing double your click through rates

The Importance of Saying Thank You in Email When you buy something from the likes of Amazon or eBay, you check your email for confirmation that your order has gone through okay. If that email isn’t there a little bit of panic sets in. Did they get my order? When will my order arrive? Do they have the right address? Those so-called transactional emails are a simple yet effective way of answering recurring buyer questions.According to marketing company HubSpot, the marketing equivalent of a transactional email is a simple thank you email - an automated email that is triggered when a visitor converts on a landing page. Thank you emails are … [Read more...]

What if your charity had to grow donations by 10X or face failure? (think social media)

What if your boss told you that unless donations magically increased by ten-fold, they'd have to shut the doors on your 501(c)3 forever? What would you do? You're the marketer, so come on, think of something quick. And it better be good. MDG Advertising put together a great infographic about how well nonprofits are doing by using social media for fundraising. But could social media bring a ten-fold increase? If social media isn't bringing hordes of cash into your business, maybe it's because non profits are doing a better job of utilizing it than you are. Read how these major 501(c)3's are crushing their donation campaigns.98% of all … [Read more...]

How Social Media Drove Tupperware to Laugh

This article originally published at The Harvard Business Review recently examined the internal use of social media by corporations. Can social media be used internally within an organization to drive increases in revenue? Can it improve employee retention? Increase productivity? This study reveals just what is possible.We think of social media as a magic set of tools we use to reach the masses to help us promote our wares. But what about using social media as a way to build goodwill within your organization? What if you could retain employees longer? How much money would that save you? How much would it mean to … [Read more...]

An Open Letter to the C-Suite: Social Marketing

(This is a follow-on to Why 1700 CEOs are Wrong about Social Media)Guest post by Dave TaddeoStruggling to convince your CEO to use social media? Tired of hearing the same negative response? Below is an open letter to the C-Suite which convinces CEO's of the folly of ignoring the biggest "elephant in the room" ever conceived, social media. Also reference the companion article Why 1700 CEOs are Wrong about Social Media.What is Social? Social is this thing that people use to communicate and share. It started with Friendster ten years ago and eventually many other sites started popping up. People share all kinds of things … [Read more...]

The Noob’s Zen Guide to Email Deliverability Speak

Eye for email deliverability

(This is a companion guide to "The Noob's Zen Guide to Email Marketing and Social Media Speak")Are you a noob to email deliverability? Don't worry. I know experts who are noob's at being experts, which is to say that they know a lot more than you, but they are new at being experts, hence their noobishness. Make sense? No? Perfect. Lets get started.Above the Fold: When a man is significantly overweight, this is the part of his waistline that is above the belt. In email marketing, this is the part of an email message that is visible in the email client without scrolling down. This is different depending on what email client your … [Read more...]

What your blog can learn from Guy Fieri’s bad restaurant review

Guy Fieri is a famous chef who just got blasted by a New York Times restaurant review. And from reading the review, it sounded as if Chef Fieri created dishes that were just a wee bit out of context. Well, in a restaurant, creating recipes that are out of context is when you go so far with your recipes that diners are left wondering why in the hell you've covered foie gras with Milk Duds. The two have nothing in common. One doesn't compliment the other. Just as Guy Fieri learned that creating recipes out of context doesn't work; in your blog, if you are writing out of context, your readers won't know what you are talking about.What is … [Read more...]

Why 1700 CEOs are Wrong about Social Media

Article first appeared on SocialMediaToday.comTweetIBM recently conducted a study of 1700 CEOs in multiple verticals all over the world about their predictions for social media over the next three to five years. Some of the CEOs were very versed with social, others not so much. What they had to say was revealing about the way companies are viewing social media. Read some of their quotes to get an idea of just how disruptive this set of technologies has become. “For the first time in my career, I feel old. People in their 20s work and think about this social stuff in a different way. (My peers) use it as a way of connecting with … [Read more...]

Is your small business blog losing out on a huge second audience because of fear?

TweetThere is a long standing controversy over whether or not it's OK to duplicate your blog article content on another website. The argument between search engine optimization (SEO) experts goes like this. SEO guy- "Never duplicate your blog content on another website, Google will penalize you." SEO girl- "When we were dating you were always such a fraidy-cat. Google doesn't penalize you unless you are trying to game the system or steal someone else's content. Just look at all the news syndication websites out there. Do you think Google is penalizing all of them?" SEO guy- "Well, you, " SEO girl- "Wait, what's that music … [Read more...]

Email Marketers Guide to 35% Higher Read Rates and 50% Lower Spam Rates

Guy Hanson, Director of Response Consulting at Return Path, recently presented some very interesting data around email open rates. This research was centered around marketing emails sent in the Daily Deals market. Although specific names aren't mentioned in the study, top brands that come to mind are Groupon, Living Social, and Scoutmob. Some of this data will surprise you. Best day of the week to send - the argument continues! Although you need to do your own testing, in this study the worst day to send was Monday and the best was Wednesday.  The rate that recipients actually read your email was 12% higher on Wednesday. And, the rate at … [Read more...]

Gmail users prefer to vote for Obama, Yahoo users prefer to vote for Romney!

Vote for Kermit! Political parties don't know how to manage email marketingReturn Path put out a great infographic about the use of email marketing by both political parties during the 2012 presidential election. The results are interesting and somewhat funny. Both candidates use email marketing strongly, but just take a look at the differences!Obama has five times the number of email subscribers as Romney TweetThat's a telling stat. But, I'm not surprised by this since Obama is a sitting president who's had 4 years in office to grow his subscriber list. Do you suppose he personally manages his email lists? Yeah, you're right. … [Read more...]