Cross-Promotion for Small Businesses

Small business owners are often faced with the challenge of how to most effectively market their business with restricted budgets and resources. An article on titled 5 Ways Small Business Can Cross Promote, outlines the top 5 steps for making the most of your marketing dollar through collaboration.

1. Find complimentary business 2. Make an offer 3. Combine Mail-outs 4. Create a combination display 5. Link your site This is an interesting approach to collaborative marketing. Often times, complimentary businesses or strategic partners pair up at tradeshows and conferences or in advertising campaigns. Perhaps a little .out of the box. thinking can help uncover other uses for this team marketing methodology.

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Online User Reviews . How to Make Them Work for Your Business

A recent Wall Street Journal article .As Online Reviewers Grow, Businesses are Listening. discusses how online reviews, written by everyday customers is on the rise. With sites such as Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Yahoo Local and CitySearch, users have the ability to review and rate their favorite (and not-so-favorite) businesses. Many consumers use these sites to discover and research their choices online. In fact, the article states that 4 in 10 consumers perform online research to aid in offline purchase decisions.

So how can you harness the power of this user-driven content? Some businesses publish positive reviews on their websites, or print them for viewing in their stores. Sites such as Yelp and CitySearch offer the ability for business owners to publish special promotions for their users. Yelp alone had 29 million unique visitors in September, so the purchasing power behind these users is quite attractive. more

Email Marketing Subject Lines

How do you engage prospective customers with email marketing? The subject line. Before a customer even decides if they want to buy something, they have to open your email first. Before they open the email, they usually decide if your email is worth opening. So, the first place you have to capture their attention is the subject line.

Subject Lines with the following characters have been shown to have better results:
Correct spelling and grammar
Sense of urgency
Not spammy sounding
Be interesting but not deceiving

These are just the basics, but by starting here, on your way to a much better open rate and hopefully conversion rate. more

PubCon 2009

For those particularly interested in SEO/SEM, affiliate marketing, social media, web 2.0 and more, consider attending PubCon. Registration for PubCon Las Vegas 2009 opened up on July 14, 2009.

When: November 10-13, 2009
Where: Las Vegas Convention Center

Work hard and play hard . after all, it is Las Vegas! :)

Customer Ideas and Involvement

Sometimes the best ideas come from your customers. After all, they are the ones looking to purchase from you, utilize them to help drive your business to the next level. As a company, your best interest is the customer because if you can sell or provide them what they want or are interested in, they are more likely to convert.

It seems that, in general, people like to have a say in the things they buy, own, or consume. Take the example of food . while McDonald.s McCafe is growing up its own customer base rather quickly, there still many die-hard Starbucks fans. Taking the facts of coffee quality and price aside, left with options. I see that McCafe is trying to give the customer more options but at Starbucks you are pretty much free to customize your coffee any way you want. more

Optimize Your Website for Success

In this economy, people are taking a lot longer to buy, doing research, and looking for the best deal. I came across an article from ClickZ on .Optimizing Your E-Commerce Site: Three Levers for Success. and feel that it provides a great sum up of how you can improve your website to hopefully grab that next sale or lead. Here.s a quick rundown:

Understand your core demographically, geographically, and behaviorally.
Do you have consistent messaging across the site?
Are you targeting your core customers in the way most appealing to them?

Utilize the 4Ps: Product, Pricing, Place, Promotion
Is your product presented in an appealing and information way?
Do you offer anything special with the product . guarantees, upsells, cross-sells? more

Paid Search: Using Negative Match

Negative match is an option in paid search (talking about Google Adwords today) where you can choose keywords or related keywords that you do not want your ad to show up for. For some people, you may be thinking, .why would I not want to show up for something? I want to show up for everything!. A good amount of advertisers out there use broad match when setting up their keywords and I.m sure some even use exact match or phrase match, but probably few use negative match.

When you use broad match for a keyword, your ad will end up showing up for a lot of different searches that are similar or even related to your keyword. This is not always good because the searcher may be looking for something completely different than what you are offering. And if by chance these people don.t realize that you don.t offer what they want until they click your ad, you will be wasting and losing a lot of money that could be spent on more qualified traffic. more

Sample Customer Survey Questions

2 weeks ago I posted about the importance of surveying your customers. This allows for you to learn more about what is important to your customers, how customers feel about your products/services, and/or what customers thought about their shopping experience. You can use this information to improve your products/services and shopping experience. You can also use the information you find out about your customers to better target them . providing them what they are most interested in so that they are more likely to convert. Below are some sample customer survey questions you can use to learn more about your customers.

Rating Questions (Typically from Poor to Excellent or N/A)
Overall Shopping Experience
Selection of Products
Ease of Finding What You are Looking for
Information Presented to Help Make Shopping Decision
Shipping Options
Customer Service more