Google+

There are a great number of tools out there on the internet that every small business should use in order to increase the growth of their company over the course of time.

Limited time, manpower, and budgets can all be a factor as the workload starts to pile up and the bills come rolling in. With a solid team and the right tools however, you’ll soon be on your way to reaching your business potential.

  • A solid team 50%
  • Website / E-commerce 60%
  • Social Media 40%
  • Analytics tools 40%
  • Advertizing and Marketing 50%

Build a Winning Small Business Team

If you want to best your competition, follow these essential steps to form a solid small business team.

Building a Successful Small Business Team

1. Know your business process Define your business steps to determine the players you need.

2. Define materials and vendors needed to fulfill specific tasks Form the team that can keep your business processes delivering quality products/services. One supplier may provide higher quality orchids at a better price point than another.

3. Engage a contract attorney Draw up and review contracts between your owning entity and vendors. A reputable, ethical attorney can provide quick, reasonably-priced services that could save your business during legal disputes, should they arise.

4. Define a timeline for deliverables Put a clear process in writing so that each player knows the timing of an expected deliverable.

5. “Secret shop” the competition See how your competitors conduct business, and then take yours a notch higher.

The Benefits of a Great Business Team When you have a solid team in place, it can yield entrepreneurial advantages.

1. Work “on” your business, not “in” it A well-functioning business shop staff can work successfully with vendors and customers, allowing the owner to step out of daily operations and focus on strategic business development.

2. Gain market share Market advantage ultimately prevails when your business processes operate more efficiently than your competition’s.

3. Continuous improvement Focus on ways of further improving your products and services through education and staying on top of the latest technologies in your industry.

Website / Ecommerce:

Ecommerce business owners have many choices when it comes to shopping carts or ecommerce platforms almost all of which claim to be easy to deploy and manage.

In reality, however, most business owners wind up hiring a Web designer or Web developer to help them create the perfect ecommerce site.

Increased Traffic to Website Is Number-Two Benefit of Social Marketing

sd-sm-business-benefit
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

The chart above indicates that 77% of the survey’s nearly 4,000 respondents have appreciated the traffic that comes to their sites via social referral (clicking from Facebook or LinkedIn to the website for a blog post or landing page offer). Google Analytics and other tools make getting this data possible, even easy.

Types of Social Media Content

Once a small business determines which channel drives the most valuable (and intentional) traffic, the next step is to provide the content to engage that traffic. Blogging and visual assets nearly tied at 70% and 71% respectively.

The self-employed depend on blogging, with 79% of that faction reporting they blog. At this time, just 10% of marketers use podcasting, but some speculate that podcasting could be an opportunity.

Requiring higher budgets and more technology, video content finishes third.

Google Analytics

Do you know what’s driving leads/sales to your website? Google Analytics can tell you. The trouble is many small businesses struggle to get Google Analytics set up, let alone use it to pull out meaningful data.

This easy to follow guide will take you through the set-up process and help you understand how your website’s performing.

Check this tips:


Click image to open interactive version (via Simply Business).

0 Inexpensive Ways to Advertise Your Small Business

Banner ads and print ads can be expensive. And they are not necessarily the best way to advertise your small or mid-size business. So to find how to get the greatest return on your advertising investment, Small Business Computing surveyed small business owners. Here’s what they had to say.

Invest in Google AdWords

Google AdWords and PPC [pay-per-click] can give you crazy amounts of traffic if you are tight with your campaign and run niche ad groups,” explained Andrew Riker an SEO specialist at WordStream. “Focused, long-tail keywords that are specific to your industry will cause the highest possible click-through rate and in-turn conversions.”

Riker adds that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a lot of traffic. “A small daily budget—$10-$20/day—can provide you with a large amount of traffic and in turn qualified leads, as long as the ad is relevant,” he said. • If you’re new to AdWords or just want to keep up with the latest tips and info, be sure to check out Inside Adwords, Google’s official resource blog on all things AdWords.

Try Facebook Ads
  • “We tried print ads and banner ads, but for our money Facebook Ads provide us with the most focused consumers,” explained Chris Knollmeyer, Web manager for Carolina Rustica. “Being able to target specific demographics lets us pinpoint people we have not reached yet and provides us with a platform to reach out to them. This kind of targeting allows us to minimize extemporaneous clicks from consumers [who are] just browsing or searching for information and gets us the most for our money.””Facebook ads have definitely been the most successful overall,” concurred Megan LaBant Abrahamsen, the owner of Blue Star Bazaar. “I can set a small budget (less than $10 per day) and target specific customers – [by] age, gender, education and interests similar to my product categories.”

    Even if people don’t immediately make a purchase because of the Facebook ad, many of them wind up “liking” her business, she said, which lets Blue Star Bazaar create a database of potential customers.

    • Get your Facebook Ads tips direct from the source: Facebook for Business.

Look into StumbleUpon Ads

“One of the best ways to advertise and get traffic to your website is by using StumbleUpon Ads ,” noted Chris Wise, the online marketing director at CustomerRave. “They cost as little as $0.05 a click, so for $5 you can get 100 unique visitors to your site. While the bounce rate is more often than not higher when using these ads, it’s a great way to advertise contests, giveaways and big promotions,” he said.

And if the content you are promoting proves to be popular and receives a lot of “likes,” you will start receiving free traffic from Stumbles, which can go on for months, even after you have stopped advertising.

• Need a hand? Head on over to the StumbleUpon Ads Blog 

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Get Published Online

Another great way to advertise your business is to “submit articles on topics your customers may be interested in to reputable websites, such as Ezinearticles.comArticlesbase.com, or TheFreeLibrary.com,” said Matthew Kostanecki, a marketing specialist at Archon Systems.

“In exchange for the content, they allow you to include a couple of back links to your website. Not only does this provide you with potential traffic and leads to your business, it also helps establish you as an expert in your related field,” said Kostanecki. Can’t come up with a subject to write about? He suggests asking your customers about their biggest pains and problems.

 

Donate Products or Volunteer Services to a Worthy Cause

“I got the equivalent of $1,000 in advertising by building the website for the Rhode Island Rally for Recovery,” explained Benjamin John Coleman, founder of The Origami Bonsai Company. And his investment of time really paid off—resulting in $5,000 in new business. That’s because when other vendors who participated in the Rally saw what a great job his company did building and maintaining the Rally website, they hired Coleman to help them with their websites.

Cultivate Bloggers

Find influential bloggers in your industry and ask them to review your product or service,” suggested Daniel Weaver, the president and owner of Daniel’sPromise. “Many will be happy to do so if you give them free product for them to use.”

That’s what Juppy, the maker of the Juppy Baby Walker, did. “When we started out, our company we didn’t have a lot of cash on hand to spend on advertising,” explained Mayra Sotelo, the COO for Juppy. “So we decided to seek out mom bloggers who would review The Juppy Baby Walker. This worked out great for us… because there is no better [endorsement of] our baby walker that fits in a purse than by a real mom who loves our product.”

And if you can’t find a blogger who will review and write about your product for free, there are also bloggers “who will write about your site/product/company in exchange for a fee,” noted Mike Scanlin, CEO of Born To Sell. And even with a fee, that kind of endorsement is typically more effective and less expensive than a banner ad.

Use Community Sites and Local Directories

Leavy uses a site called Quentin’s Friends, an invitation-only network where members can post recommendations and offers for their products and services for a very small fee. “The service is location-specific, so my ad is going out to thousands of people who are specifically in my geographic area, New York,” she said. And Leavy’s return on investment has been an impressive 6,500 percent.

Link Up with LinkedIn Ads

If you own a B2B company, a good way to reach your target audience is through LinkedIn Ads . “We are a small business and our target market is small business users,” explained Damian Raffele, vice president, marketing, AnyMeeting.LinkedIn Ads has worked well for the company, because it allows them to target a specific audience by geography, demographics, job title or LinkedIn Group.

“Being able to target users who belong to specific LinkedIn Groups…allows us to design ad copy that is tailored for them, which has resulted in great conversion rates, providing us with a great ROI on our marketing spend.”

• You’ll find more help and ideas at the LinkedIn Ads blog.

Distribute Flyers

“If you have a small business that focuses on a particular area, flyers are a great way to advertise,” said Nathan Letourneau, co-founder of CampusBooks4Less. And they needn’t be expensive. Chances are you have someone in your company, or a friend or family member, who can help you design the flyer inexpensively (or for free) – and you can print the flyer in house or find an inexpensive printer.As for distribution, “hire some high school or college students and have them put the flyers on parked cars, attach them to house entry doors and distribute them inside area businesses (to employees and on any bulletin boards, if allowed) and apartment complexes,” he advised. “We saw huge increases in traffic after having students distribute flyers on parked cars in our target areas.”

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