Resourcesfor better business marketing
Work the Pond!
Start With Why
The One Thing
The Membership Economy
Customers are complaining about my business. Now what?
Customer feedback is an essential part of doing business. Feedback (both positive and negative) can help gather valuable insight – it allows companies to identify successes and failures. In fact, some business consultants urge companies to view customer complaints as a gift because complaints can show areas of weakness that employees and/or management can work to fix.
Graphic design tips for marketing your small business
With graphic design software easily available at our fingertips, more businesses than ever are creating their own marketing materials. If you are a small business owner or manager making your own promotional flyers, postcard mailers or brochures, consider these three design tips.
Is your company trustworthy and reliable? Hip and edgy? Experienced? Forward-thinking? Your brand is what conveys these ideas to customers. It makes promises that your business backs up every single day; your brand is your reputation. Where this can go wrong with branding is when your brand conveys negative ideas that you probably don’t want associated with your business.
Facebook contests: What are the rules?
Back in the day, Facebook contests were a minefield so fraught with danger that many companies — especially small, family-run businesses — didn’t even bother. Thankfully, today’s rules are much simpler. Companies can actually run contests on Facebook the simple way, without awkward integrated apps.
Are you one post away from an Instagram shadowban?
You’d think that with all this technology at our disposal, everything would be automated. You’d think that businesses would be able to enter a few phrases into a chatbot, flip a switch and watch the engagement happen all on its own, as if at the hands of an automated (but organic-looking!) fairy. The truth is, businesses can do all of that. It’s just an awful idea.
How to use LinkedIn to market yourself or your business
How much attention do you pay to your LinkedIn profile? Probably less than you should. Often described as “Facebook for professionals,” the platform’s utility is obvious: Ninety-four percent of job recruiters turn to LinkedIn in their hunts for candidates. And even if you’re not looking for work, LinkedIn is a haven for professional development and networking. It’s also a place where potential customers seek out advice from others who’ve used your company’s products or services. But how do you use the platform? And what makes your profile stand out? Here are three things you can do to get started.
Facebook tips for building community
Facebook has always been about community, with particular focus on connecting friends and family. Now, that focus has swiveled toward connecting the world. How do businesses fit into all this? The same way as ever: by providing value. Let’s look at a four specific examples.
Five things to do now for website improvement
In this world of SEO, structured data and website security, even WordPress websites that once were very user-friendly have gotten more complicated. These complications are for good reason, though, and there are things you can — should — do now to protect your website investment.
How to find images for your website
Where did the images on your website or blog come from? If your answer is “I don’t know,” or “We copied them from Google,” then you are at risk of being sued for copyright infringement.
This is a legal process that can cost your business hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
If you just thought, “Oh boy, we may be in trouble here,” know that you are not alone. Many educated and experienced business professionals don’t understand the rules when it comes to sourcing images from the Web — mainly because the rules are complicated and, quite frankly, confusing to research.
Whatcom County networking groups
Networking can be an important tool for small businesses, and it should not be limited to simply “connecting” with people on social media sites. Word of mouth referrals come from putting yourself out there, meeting new people and then forming business relationships.
Benefits of getting help locally with recruitment
What happens when one of your key employees gives notice, or when your business is growing and you need additional help? It takes time to write a descriptive and inviting job ad and manage the ad postings for online job boards, your website and social media platforms. All of this — in addition to reviewing the resumes and interviewing applicants — can be overwhelming. Where will you find the time?
Stop marketing so hard, start retaining!
Many major marketing campaigns are designed specifically to grab the attention of potential customers — discounts usually are reserved for new signups, and educational campaigns focus on introducing a business to its target market. Without a doubt, these are important things to do. Ultimately, though, they’ll be as ineffective as doing nothing at all, if the business ignores customers once they’re in the door. If you don’t know how to retain customers, they’ll leave.
Make time today for a marketing review
Don’t do things a certain way just because that’s how you learned to do it. Always ask yourself: “Why am I doing this? What is my goal, and is this the best/most efficient/most effective way to get there?” This is a major concept in marketing, and it’s particularly important because the rules and tools are changing all the time. For example: Niche social media sites are the new “in” platform (but so were Peach, Path and Ello). Should you sign up? No matter what marketing tools you use — social media, print flyers, Facebook ads, word of mouth, skywriting, whatever — it’s important to audit your business now and again to gauge the effectiveness of your methods and to consider new methods that you might not have fully considered yet.
Event marketing opportunities in Whatcom County
One solid way to bring attention to your small, local business is to become involved with events — as a sponsor, vendor or participant. There are many options to choose from, including small town parades, street festivals, business trade shows and educational conferences.
Build your team, get stuff done
As a small business leader, you wear many hats – business development, sales, marketing, accounting, and more. You’ve probably noticed that some of those tasks are challenging, like you’re not naturally good at them. That’s totally normal; you’re not alone with those feelings!
Or, maybe you have a team of employees who do the core parts of their jobs well, but there are skills they’re not quite good at. This happens all the time. It’s hard (OK, nearly impossible) to find one person who is good at everything.
If either of these situations sound familiar, now is a good time to explore expanding your team, delegating or collaborating with a local service provider who can fill skill gaps or manage specific tasks for you.
Options for free small-business brainstorming in Whatcom County
It’s a rare business owner who founds a business solely to market to customers. There’s usually something more immediate on their minds: making delectable food, designing useful products or performing top-notch service. But eventually, business owners realize that they need a plan of attack for getting their products and services in front of more people. And that usually means seeking out professional advice.
Grammar: It’s all about me (and whoever else is reading)
This grammar lesson is all about personal pronouns in the form of objects. They can be tricky to parse, but a little understanding of how they’re supposed to be used should help.
First, let’s look at the word “me,” which always acts as an object, or the thing that something is done to. Consider these examples:
- “The world seems out to get me.”
- “She gave the book to me.”
- “He gave a smile to John and me.”
Tips for better grammar and error-free writing
Effective business communication is clear and concise. Whether you’re writing emails, marketing material, ad copy or blog posts, professional writing needs to be free of errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling.
When mistakes slip in, the credibility and professionalism of the writer are hurt. Errors can make clients, business owners and managers think that the writer did not consider attention to detail or was not careful enough to proofread the content before sending or publishing it.
The value of writing fresh content
Are you a leader or a follower? If you’re not sure, just check your website and social media. After all, that’s what your customers are doing — and it’s easy for them to tell whether you’re an authority in your field or if you’re the type to piggyback on the expertise of others.
Any company’s Facebook page or Twitter account can be filled with links to tips, resources and articles created by others — and there’s a place for that, to be sure — but those practices don’t really show that you’re knowledgeable in your industry. Ideally, you want a mix of your own content (to show that you’re an expert) and a few curated links from others (to show that you can appreciate the value of others’ work, too).
Better writing for the web: Part two
Quick question: You’re writing an email to your mom. Which of these two sentences do you type out?
- “Good morning mom.”
- “Good morning, mom.”
Which is right? Could it be either one? Does it even matter?
It does. No matter what your friends might tell you, commas are not arbitrary.
Better writing for the web: Part one
Writing. It may not be your strong suit, but odds are you’re having to do it anyway. Perhaps your boss has asked you to take over the company blog. Maybe you’re running a small business and you’re in charge of all email correspondence and social media posts. However you’re writing, you surely know by now that it’s more than just dumping words onto the screen and moving on. Good writing is an art, and it takes time and focus to do well. You are doing the best you can, but perhaps there are some basic issues that you weren’t even aware existed.