Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Marketing in a Recession? YES!

Is the current tough market the right time to be slashing your advertising budget? Not if you want your business to survive the economic downturn and lay the groundwork to thrive when the economy improves! Tough times may actually provide us our best opportunity to reach out to our customers with little or no competition because so many of our competitors are doing just the opposite of that in an attempt to save money.

During good times everyone has the money (and bravery) to seek out clients, creating an atmosphere of extreme competition where reaching the consumer with your message proves to be exceedingly difficult. NOW is the time to have faith in your product or service, to reach out to your customers and to secure your success now and into the future. And there are easy and cost effective ways of doing so.

There are some simple things that you can do. Everyone knows about the internet, but not everyone knows the free ways to get exposure on the internet. You can write an article about your industry, or a product, and submit it to one of the many sites that accept them. At the end of your article, you mention your business and have a link to your website. Each site has it's guidelines on how the articles are to be written, so make sure to follow them. This will help establish you as a leader in your industry as long as the information you share is helpful and not self-promoting.

Guerilla marketing is great in slow time. Have some flyers or postcards made. One of your employees or friends can design it or you can find an affordable place to do it for you. During your slow time, have your employees go to a busy area and hand them out. Now you are putting your message directly into the hands of prospective customers. Make sure you have an attractive offer that will entice people to visit your business. Obviously, this is mainly for businesses with a store front, but you can do guerilla marketing online as well.

Guerilla marketing is done differently online. With blogs and social networking sites, there are opportunities to market your business in a different setting. You can create blogs and check the response you get from each entry which can help you check what the market is interested in at any given time. Or you can find blogs that have an issue that your company can help with. Respond to the blog with your company information. You can set up an account with a social networking site, giving more information about your business and connecting to other businesses to network and exchanges leads.


Cross promote with other businesses, in other ways. If you're feeling the pinch of the economy, most likely other businesses in your area/industry are feeling it as well. Find other businesses that don't compete with yours and see about exchanging some flyers or a banner promoting each other's business. Or if your business is online, do a link exchange with other businesses. Do not over due the link exchange or Google may lower your organic search results. Be selective in who you work with both online and in the brick and mortar world.

Press Releases can be a very effective way to bring attention to your business. If you have something that impacts the community, then you can have someone write a press release for you. If you hire someone to do it for you, make sure they know how to write and distribute it. Again, remember the topic must be something that impacts the community and not just a self-serving piece promoting your business.

These are just some of the ideas that will help your business grow in any economy. There are plenty of marketing options out there. You just need to find the ones that work for you.

About the Author:
Rob Bedell is an expert in the media industry and has worked in the industry for over 15 years. He has worked with some of the largest media companies in the world, Tribune and Knight-Ridder, as well as helping restructure and rebuild other companies in the Los Angeles, CA Metropolitan area. He now owns a marketing company that helps small to medium sized business, making sure that their marketing pays them back.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Emotional benefits of choosing a small focused niche

Virtually every work at home guru, always advices their followers to choose their niche wisely. The common advice is it should be something you enjoy, has profit potential, low to moderate competition and isn’t too large.

Now all this sounds like general common sense from a business standpoint but until you make the unfortunate boo boo of choosing the wrong niche, and then start over in a better one, you can’t appreciate this good advice.

Choosing the right niche puts you the right mental and emotional state. If you choose a niche that is broad and has little interest to you, you will fail. You will be stressed, and as feelings of failure continue to develop, you can seep into depression and give up on your work at home goal entirely. However, if you follow the advice of the gurus and do your research to find a small niche to focus a website around, you increase your success rate by more than half.

Part of the reason why you are more successful is because you are less stressed.

1.You are working within a niche that you already have a strong interest in. This helps you to create content and your marketing campaigns easier. This already gives you an edge over your competition

2.Your mind is focused on one thing; this makes it easier to get tasks done. If you run a site with multiple themes and topics it can be hard to decide what to do next. But when you have one site that offers advice on one thing it makes so much easier to sit down and focus.

3.You know your visitors needs. The number one problem with flea market sites (sites that host too many topics) is they don’t know what their visitors want. They may not even know what types of visitors they’re attracting. Without having the knowledge of your visitor’s wants and needs it is very difficult to prove to them that you are what their are looking for.

This translates to a loss of sales.

But knowing your visitors and what they expect from you is bliss. You know how to design your site, what type of content to provide, in what type of voice. You know what products to offer and in what price range. It’s just great.

There is less guessing when you choose a suitable niche, less stress, and less of an emotional strain. Take the time to do the research; your nerves will thank you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

5 Simple Rules To Website Design

For years, we have been told that when going to an interview you have 10 seconds to make a lasting first impression. There is no difference when designing your website than making the first impression in an interview. You are making a first impression with the internet visitor who has searched for what you are offering in your website design. The first impression can make the difference between in a paying customer or just a visitor to your website.
Here are just 5 simple rules to keep in mind when designing your website.

Rule #1. Limit the use or do not use flashy banners and advertisements at the beginning of you website. There is a time and place for the banners and advertisements.
There is nothing more annoying than clicking on a website to see cartoon characters and advertisements for other products flashing in front of your face. This can be too much for your potential customer. Your customer is there for a purpose and if the blatant advertisements or flashing banners turn them off they may just hit the back button before they find what they are looking for.
The only exception to this rule is determined by the purpose of you website.

Rule #2. Make sure your website design make it easy for the visitor to find the navigation buttons. If a customer has to search for a navigation button to find information about the company or the navigation buttons are not working, the visitor may get frustrated and leave you website.
As a rule of thumb, your navigation buttons should be on the left side of your web page because the majority of people read from left to right. Think about reading a newspaper or a book. You look at the headlines then you read from the left to the right.

Rule #3. When visitors are browsing your site, have a clear indication for the visitor of where they are on your website and how to get to other parts.
You may want to put a link on each page that the visitor clicks to take them to the home page or another page relating to the information currently viewing. In other words do not confuse your visitor or your visitor may just click off the website totally.

Rule #4. When designing your website pay close attention to loading time, the time it takes your web pages to load. You can reduce loading time by reducing graphics on each page. A good website design should load under twenty seconds.
The longer it takes the pages to load the more frustrating it can be to the visitor. People want it yesterday not today and definitely not tomorrow.

Rule #5. Use a font that is common to all web browsers and easy to read. You have to think of your market. If you are selling a product or service that is used by older individuals you may want to increase the font.
Most of us are not going to get younger and with age, we find our eye sights are not what they use to be.
In addition, different web browsers display fonts differently. Therefore, you want to use a universal font compatible to the popular web browser for better viewing.

Bonus Rule #6. Make sure the information on your website is up to date, and relevant to what you are offering. If your website is selling 32", LCD Flat Screen TVs you should not be offering products to repair your driveway. I know that is extreme but people want to know they are visiting a website that has up to date information and is relevant to what they are searching for.
These are just a few rules of website design. There are many other things to adhere to when designing your website for optima visitors.
When designing your website look at it from the customers' or visitors' standpoint. Would you want to visit this website? Would you want to purchase a product from this website? If you answer "no" then correct the problems.
If you deal with customer service, you need to do as they do. Get out from behind the counter and see what the customers see from where they stand. If you go "ugh", that is not good and you need to make some changes.
About the Author: Pat Turman is a successful mid-level manager and internet entrepreneur. She co-owned a quarter million dollar e-retail store selling golf equipment for women, runs numerous online businesses, and manages a company with revenues of over a million dollars. She holds a BBA from an accredited University and numerous awards and certificates.