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How Are You Promoting Your Business – the Old Standby Methods or Utilizing New Technology? October 31, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, Marketing Plan, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Video Marketing, Virtual Technology, Web TV.
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dma-expected-change-in-media-use-by-medium

Expected change in media use by medium

As the economy continues to be a major factor affecting the ways in which small businesses promote themselves and go about the business of obtaining new customers, we at Strategic Growth Concepts have also found ourselves seeking new, higher impact, more cost-effective ways of promoting our business to prospective clients, as well as ways to help our clients promote their businesses. Our interactions with our clients and those in our many networks tell us that most small businesses are also interested in learning all they can to make the most of these new marketing and advertising tools.

Therefore, we thought we would conduct a brief study to determine the methods of marketing and advertising currently being used by small businesses, as well as to determine which methods are being explored. We will use this information to develop a series of articles and radio shows to help small businesses review and evaluate the marketing and advertising options available to them, and to assist in their determination of which methods will work best for their business. Click HERE to take survey.

We will share the survey results, as well as information about the various marketing methods, in upcoming articles and broadcasts. In the meantime, we would love to receive your comments in response to this article with your thoughts about the results various forms of marketing have produced for your firm.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

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Virtual Events Episode of ‘Strategic Growth Concepts for Small Business’ Now Available August 25, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Strategic Growth Concepts, Virtual Technology.
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BlogTalkRadio graphicToday’s epidose of ‘Strategic Growth Concepts for Small Business’ focusing on Virtual Events for Small Business Lead Generation is now available for download by clicking HERE.

This episode contains excellent information regarding Virtual Events:

  • What are they?
  • How businesses are leveraging virtual events technology to stay in better contact with existing customers and obtain new ones
  • What steps should a small business take to get started with virtual events marketing?
  • What costs are involved in using virtual events, and is the technology something that small entrepreneurial companies can afford to use?
  • What skills are required to host a virtual event?
  • and much, much more!

Be sure to download this podcast if your firm is seeking efficient, cost-effective ways of growing your business – without ever leaving the premises!

Top 5 Social Media Tips for Small Business July 16, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, FaceBook, LinkedIN, MySpace, Naymz, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter, Video Marketing, Web 2.0.
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Some content in this posting is from an article by Mya Frazier for Bankrate.com

A few years ago, using the Internet to market a small business simply meant to create a presence online with a simple, informational Web site.  Then came the demands of search engine optimization to ensure Google and Yahoo searches yielded top-ranked results for your company. Was your business’s Web site chock full of the key search terms that would bring it to the attention of customers?

Social Media graphicToday, social media is transforming the small-business marketing landscape. Social media are Web- or mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information. It’s not just for seeing who your high school sweetheart married. Businesses can tap into powerful networking sites and other social media to drive customers to their shops or companies.

If done right, small-business owners might even be able to slash their traditional marketing spending to zero. Writing blogs (short for “Web logs”) or on-going online commentary using social-networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, can provide inexpensive but powerful online marketing.

Because it’s free, people think it’s easy to create a social media presence. But this attitude can lead to missteps. So before you dive headlong into social media, take some time to observe the customs and social norms of these new forms of communications, says David Spark, founder of Spark Media Solutions, a San Francisco-based firm that helps companies tell their story through social media.  “Also think about your strategy for effectively utilizing social media before you jump in,” says Linda Daichendt, CEO/Managing Consultant of Strategic Growth Concepts. “It’s easier to avoid costly mistakes before you begin than to correct them after they’ve done damage to your company’s reputation.”

“Think of social media as a cocktail party,” says, David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and “World Wide Rave,” books about how to create buzz online. “You don’t go into the cocktail party and go into the middle room and scream at the top of your lungs and say, ‘Buy my products.’ … What works is you have some meaningful conversation first. And that’s just how social media works.”

If you decide to take the social-networking plunge, here are five ways to harness social media to help your business.

1. Use free sites. Use free online services, such as the mobile short-message site Twitter, and popular networking sites Facebook and MySpace, to post significant news, specials or events. For example, you run a small Italian restaurant with a loyal following. You could create a Twitter account and upload the lunch or dinner specials via “tweets,” or short messages of up to 140 characters, daily to customers’ smart phones or to other Web sites.

“All you have to do is give a (Twitter) handle and start a conversation. You could put the Twitter handle on the menu or in the restaurant,” says Chris Abraham, Abraham Harrison LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based digital public relations agency. Granted, social networking sites are still for early adopters.  “You aren’t going to get Aunt Matilda to tweet about the experience she had at dinner,” Abraham says.

Abraham considers Twitter one of the easiest ways for a newbie to social media to get started.  “It’s more challenging to do Facebook,” Abraham says. “You have to create a personal profile, create a page and so on. With Twitter, if you’re Joe Smith with Motorcycle Emporium, you don’t have to create a page. And you can create Twitter updates via a phone or mobile device easily.”

“Don’t try to reinvent the wheel,” he says. “There are lots of people sold on really expensive solutions, but two of the best investments for reaching out to people and engaging with them are free on Twitter and Facebook.”

2. Shift marketing costs to social media. After learning how social networking operates, use social media to free up traditional marketing dollars for your small business by putting it online. You can quickly learn which of your Facebook or MySpace “friends” or online “group” members received and responded to your message.

Stanya Doty has cut her print marketing budget to zero. As owner of Simple Indulgences, a wine and high-end gift shop in Delaware, Ohio, she began using Facebook in December 2008 to communicate with her brother but quickly realized the online marketing possibilities.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, there are so many people here,’ ” she says. Indeed, Facebook boasts 200 million users worldwide.  In April 2009, she began promoting monthly wine tastings via a Facebook page for the shop that quickly attracted 100 members. Combined with an e-newsletter created using the do-it-yourself, e-mail marketing Web site Constant Contact, she keeps enough buzz going about her shop that her advertising budget for local print ads no longer seemed necessary. She usually sends out about 700 e-mails, with the response rate sometimes reaching nearly 50 percent. It sure beats a postal mailing.  “If I sent out a postcard with postage and paid for all that, I’d still have no idea who read it and who threw it away,” she says.

Indeed, unlike a print ad, Doty gets instant, measurable results. “On Facebook, you can see who has responded to invites,” she says. “It’s easy, it’s cheap and I’m actually appealing to people that at first know me from the store and then hopefully … pass the word along throughout their networks.”

3. Do your own social-media optimization project. Learn about the competition in your industry and geographic region that are tapping social networking. Spark recommends starting by researching the competition in the major search engines — Google and Yahoo.

“Type in keywords and phrases that people would use to find you, like ‘plumber’ and ‘San Francisco.’ If you don’t appear in the top percentage of pages, take a look at the Website of those plumbers that do show up,” says Spark. “Look at their pages, and usually they will have a lot of content on their sites.”

To increase a business’s presence on the Internet, Spark advocates companies create blogs, newsletters and other articles on their sites to bolster the number of keywords — terms that search engines recognize — to boost their ranking in all-important Web searches.

“That’s the way people discover you,” he says. “Take that plumber in San Francisco. The right search terms might just be ‘clogged toilet and San Francisco.'”  “That tells me I should write … in my blog about how to fix a clogged toilet and mention that I am a plumber in San Francisco,” he says.

4. Take social-network marketing to the next level. Create and post richer content about what your customers would expect from someone in your business. Don’t view social media sites as a place to simply hype your wares. It’s a place for conversation.

“Social media is about earning attention,” says David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and “World Wide Rave,” books about how to create buzz online.  “What’s most important is to forget about what your company does. Instead, think about the people who are buying your products. Simply hyping products and services online and in social media sites completely backfires. People are not looking for products but for something fun. They are looking to make connections,” Scott says.

So it’s all about having something interesting to say or show. It could be a blog, or a video on the video-sharing Website YouTube.

For example, if you’re a caterer, instead of talking about your service, create engaging culinary content. Imagine positioning yourself as a gourmet magazine on the Web, complete with links to a video you uploaded to YouTube.

“A caterer could create a blog with information about how to create a fantastic party, and each blog post or YouTube video could be another installment,” Scott says. “On the Web, you are what you publish and being on the Web is about publishing information.”

So back to that plumber faced with the prospect of dropping an expensive Yellow Pages listing but worried about customers not finding him if they have a burst pipe or a misfiring shower head. Scott recommends the plumber post a list of “the 100 home fixes for common plumbing problems.”

“All of a sudden you are going to get indexed very highly in the search engines, and people are going to share that content with their friends,” he says. “When someone puts an update on Facebook asking if anyone knows a good plumber in Boston, a friend might point to your content.”

5. Use blogging to drive search results and help new customers find you. Lately, blogging has gained greater attention, with the advent of “micro-blogging” on Twitter. But consider the time commitment and strategy before launching an account.

Even with the spread of micro-blogging, Abraham remains a big fan of traditional blogs, which are lengthier and show up on Web sites. In general, no matter what form the blog takes, it should be consistent over time.

“If you can’t keep up one (blog) post a day or 12 tweets a day, do one tweet every Thursday. Consistency in blogging or tweeting will create a relationship of trust with your followers or readers. Do it once a week, but for the next two years,” Abraham says.

And don’t spend extra money on blogging software, technical help, or a ghost writer for your blog.  To get started, sign up with WordPress.com or Blogger – both are free blogging platforms which are easy to use for beginners.

Additional opportunities within the social media environment include:  online radio shows on platforms such as BlogTalkRadio, social networking sites such as LinkedIN, Plaxo, and FriendFeed, and a wide variety of additional tools as well depending on your type of business.

Following these social media basics for small business will get your company started on the right road to gaining new customers and increased revenue via social media.

If after completing this article you’re still not certain what your company’s social media strategy should be, we would be happy to aid you in it’s development – and implementation if you would like.  Please feel free to contact us via our website or via email at linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com to schedule a FREE initial consultation.

Let Your Voice Be Heard by Your Customers May 28, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, FaceBook, Social Media, Twitter, Web 2.0.
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Technology keeps evolving and providing small businesses with additional ways to communicate with our target audiences.  Now there is an Application that will allow you to record a voice message and have it distributed directly to your connections via Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace, as well as email and telephone.  It’s less complicated than developing a podcast or a video, and yet highly effective at communicating a message – even while on the move – and it provides distribution options including direct-to-telephone which cannot be achieved thru other methods.

This type of application has many potential uses for small business, including:

  • send an email invitation to a seminar with an actual voice invitation from your company’s CEO
  • it lets a public relations manager in the midst of handling a company crisis convey a message to all necessary staff at the corporate office at one time and they can listen to it at their convenience
  • your CEO can dictate a new corporate policy for immediate implementation and distribute it via email (or telephone)
  • you can describe a new product or service to all your Twitter, Facebook and/or MySpace contacts
  • many, many additional uses that can benefit your company.

Read the article below from Mashable for a complete description of the application and how it works.

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by Ben Parr, Mashable

 Phonevite LogoWhen you need to send a voice note or a dictation to multiple contacts, Phonevite has always been a strong option. However, while it does have an iGoogle Gadget, Phonevite has mostly been limited to voice-to-phone sharing.

That was until today, when Phonevite opened the social media floodgates of its voice services. Starting today, you can not only send voice messages to your friends via phone, but you can also share recordings via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, email or just embed the audio directly to your website.

Once you have made a voice recording (either via a recording browser app or via phone), the recording will appear in your recording inbox. Now, however, you’ll see five small icons at the bottom for each of the key social services and embeds which you can use to distribute your content easily.

Facebook will post to your wall while Twitter will create the ready-to-share tweet. This makes it simple to send audio to all of your friends instantaneously. And of course, you can still send it to their phone if you need to send it directly.

Social media is an effective mass-communication tool, and Phonevite has tapped into its raw power to dramatically increase the potential of its products. Phonevite is no longer just for voice notes, but for rapidly distributing podcasts, interviews, and calls. It’s up to users and Phonevite, though, to tap into the potential possibilities.

 

New Technologies Work Together to Grow Brands May 23, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in FaceBook, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter.
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I’ve noticed an interesting trend in my research and review of new media technologies now available to aid small businesses in developing their brands.  The trend is that more than ever before the developers of these technologies inherently understand that their ability to expand use of their product relies on that product’s ability to interact/inter-connect with other new media technologies.  Examples of this include:

  • YouTube providing the capability of downloading videos directly to Facebook
  • WordPress and other blog technologies enabling Twitter to feed into their platforms
  • Facebook and Twitter entries being made from mobile phones
  • Twitter and blog postings feeding directly into Friendfeed
  • many, many additional examples in the wide variety of new media being used today.

And now there is a new example, BlogTalkRadio being accessible via mobile phone.

vice president of mobile service and strategy For those of you unfamiliar with BlogTalkRadio, it’s a free, Web-based radio talk show platform that lets any user with a phone and a computer host a live, interactive radio show, with no downloads or extra equipment needed.  Upon completion of the live broadcast, each show is automatically archived as a podcast.  Many small businesses utilize BlogTalkRadio as a way of enhancing their brand and expanding consumer awareness of their companies.  Click HERE to listen to broadcasts from our show, ‘Strategic Growth Concepts for Small Business’ as an example.

A recent story in Mobile Marketer discusses BlogTalkRadio’s entre’ into the mobile environment; what’s possible now and where they are taking their platform.  Read the complete article HERE; small businesses will likely find this of great interest as an additional way of reaching current and prospective consumers.

If you are interested in learning ways the BlogTalkRadio platform and other new media can aid the growth of your business, please feel free to contact us via our website by clicking HERE to schedule a FREE consultation, or email us directly at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Public Relations: How to Use it to Grow Your Business April 8, 2009

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Had an enlightening broadcast today on our BlogTalkRadio show, ‘Strategic Growth Concepts for Small Business’.  Today’s topic was ‘Public Relations:  How to Use it to Grow Your Business’.  Our expert panel consisted of:  Gail Kent, Managing Director of The Buzz Factory; Jennifer Fortney, President at Cascade Communications and Publisher of SmallBizPRMadeEasy.com; and Melissa Cassera, President at Cassera Communications.  Each of our panelists provided a wealth of valuable information on how to utilize public relations to your firm’s best advantage; each has also made available several special offers for our listeners.  Download the podcast at http://blogtalkradio.com/strategicgrowthconcepts – and don’t forget to check the special offers while you’re there!

‘Social Media’ the Topic of Recent BlogTalkRadio Broadcast March 21, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Web 2.0.
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Had an excellent panel recently on the ‘Strategic Growth Concepts for Small Business’ BlogTalkRadio show.  Topic was “Social Media:  How to use it to grow your business”.  Panel consisted of:  Kevin Green, Director of Social Media Marketing at Digital Influence Group; Derek Mehraban, CEO at Ingenex Digital Media, blogger at The Digital Bus, and instructor at Michigan State University; and LJ Jones, Social Media Strategist at Studeo, and featured blogger on Social Media Today.

Conversation dealt with how best for a small business to maximize social media opportunities, including:  the development of an appropriate strategy, selecting the right social media vehicles, designating the right person or people to lead your firm’s social media initiatives, and insuring that your firm is providing valuable content which will drive interaction.

The hour-long broadcast provided a broad array of “hints & tips” to maximize your firm’s social media experience.  If you’d like to check it out, the podcast can be downloaded from:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/strategicgrowthconcepts or a link can be found on the ‘Media’ page of this blog.

Our next topic, scheduled for March 24th at 2:30 p.m. EDT, is ‘The Legal Aspects of Starting a Business:  How to Prevent Pain and Expenses in the Future’.  Please join us to insure that you – and your firm – are properly protected!

Using Web 2.0 Technology to Teach About Using Web 2.0 Technology March 18, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Social Media, Web 2.0.
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A recent survey by Local Mobile Search, in conjunction with AllBusiness.com (as reported by Opus Research, Inc.) indicates that 59% of businesses surveyed say they do not participate in online marketing of their businesses. The survey further reported that the reasons most cited were high cost, lack of time and not knowing where to begin.

Strategic Growth Concepts is striving to change those results because we believe that with the largest percentage of businesses today having less than 5 employees and little, if any, startup capital, it is imperative that small business owners are made aware of the wide array of Web 2.0 technology tools and resources available to aid them in growing their businesses with little investment other than their time and effort. This technology can teach them how to maximize their business’ resources (both human and financial) and provide them with the tools to do so.

As part of Strategic’s effort to educate small business about the technology by utilizing the technology, our firm has scheduled several upcoming broadcasts on our BlogTalkRadio show, ‘Strategic Growth Concepts for Small Business’. These broadcasts will focus on topics of interest to small business, and will feature experts in each topic area. The following is a schedule of the broadcast topics currently scheduled:

The Legal Aspects of Small Business:  How to Prevent Pain & Expense in the Future

March 24, 2009 @ 2:30 p.m. EDT

 

Using Public Relations to Grow Your Business

April 7, 2009 @ 2:30 p.m. EDT

 

Mobile Marketing:  What is it and can it help you grow your business?

April 14, 2009 @ 2:30 p.m. EDT

You can participate in these broadcasts, or gain additional information, by accessing our site on BlogTalkRadio at:  http://blogtalkradio.com/strategicgrowthconcepts .