Five Important Steps To Getting Your Business Up and Running

Man Putting out Open SignWhen you want to launch a new business and you want it to be successful, getting it up and running may be a challenge regardless of the industry you are working in and the experience you have. There are a few important steps to help you to get your business up and running that can help contribute to the overall success you experience down the road.

Create a Plan

Launching a business requires you to develop a business plan that has been thought out and that is solid for any future plans you have in mind. Creating the right business plan for your ideas may entail plenty of research and a dedication to understanding your financial situation and potential needs in the future.

Consider What You are Providing

You should also consider the type of products, services or even content you plan to provide to potential customers or visitors who are interested in your business. Considering what you plan to provide to those who are genuinely interested in your company will help you to choose the right target demographic or audience to appeal to, regardless of whether you are selling items or if you want to share content online through your company’s official website.

Search for Suppliers or Contributors

Your next step to get your business up and running is to search for and locate your manufacturers, suppliers or the contributors you want to work with together with your business. Finding the right suppliers and contributors will help you get started with adding content, products and the services you want to provide immediately to your business. When you are in need of a money transfer for any reason during the planning process of launching your business, Sigue is available for a wide range of services.

Marketing is Essential

Understanding how important marketing is when it comes to launching a business is essential. Developing a solid marketing plan that entails how you plan to reach potential consumers or visitors will help you to get ahead in promoting and selling the items you have to offer. Implementing social media and online marketing is also necessary today, especially if you are launching a website or developing an online presence to help with representing your company or the type of business you are running.

Be Persistent

Always being persistent during the process of launching a business is a key factor to discovering success. The more persistent you are with promoting your brand, believing in the products or content you have to offer, the easier it becomes to attract customers and potential investors or business partners. Being persistent shows you are truly dedicated to your business and professional.

How To Market Your Business So People Will Remember You

imagesMarketing a business can be challenging, especially if you are working in an industry that is highly saturated or in-demand. Marketing your business and brand so people will remember you can be done by committing yourself to understand your customers and how to relate to them. The more involved you get with the marketing of your company, the easier it becomes to generate sales, revenue and loyal followers for years to come.

Create an Original Logo

Create an original logo that sets your business apart from other companies that are similar to your own. Using a modern, visually-appealing logo helps others remembers your company and what it has to offer. Design a logo that is relevant to the type of products or services you provide. The more relevant your logo is to the type of business you represent, the easier it will be for other individuals to remember and reference it in the future.

Speak at Conferences and Events

You can also market the business you represent to potential customers, clients and even business associates by speaking at conferences and events that are hosted in the industry you represent. When you are active with presenting the products and services you represent or if you are an expert on relevant topics to running businesses, speaking and giving speeches assists with becoming more memorable to those around you. When you speak at conferences and events, you are also getting free advertising and increasing the amount of exposure your business is capable of getting.

Use Promotional Products

Using promotional products is a great way to effectively market to any audience with the use of everything from promotional bags and coffee mugs to customized pens, stickers and magnets. If you want to implement promotional products within your own marketing plans, working together with a reliable promotional products company is highly recommended. Using promotional products can be done at conferences, events and even when you want to promote your business on the street.

Implement Social Media With Your Online Presence

Running a successful business today requires the implementation of a website and oftentimes, social media. Using social media effectively by updating your online followers and customers each day is a way to improve your overall reputation while gaining more exposure. When you become an active user of social media representing your business, other individuals will begin to remember you and the products or services you have to offer. Social media is highly effective when creating a business that is memorable, especially when you want to gain a wider audience with less limitations.

5 Powerful, Alternative Marketing Strategies for 2013

imagesIn today’s economic climate, marketing has never been so important. While you know that your marketing mix is important, you will need to focus on alternative strategies that will communicate your message more effectively if you want to compete. Direct mail marketing, billboard advertising, and radio advertisements are all still effective ways to reach your target audience, reinforce your brand, and promote your products or services, but implementing new marketing ideas in 2013 is critical. Here are 5 affordable yet powerful alternatives strategies that you can implement into your marketing campaign this year.

1. Express Your Opinions to Be Heard

You know that Internet marketing is important, but are you using your social profiles to their full potential. If you want your message to be heard, you will have a lot of noise to compete with. Many of the companies in your industry are saying the same thing, so to cut through the noise you need a different message. One way to be heard by the masses is to express your own original opinions and thoughts. While you are taking on more risk to be criticized or judged, you are also getting the attention you need to stand apart.

2. Crafting a Story Worth Sharing

You want likes, retweets, and referrals. While your marketing message may describe what value you can offer and your mission statement as a company, you need to create content that is truly worth sharing if you do not want your messages to be filtered out. Craft a press release or a true story about your business that people would want to read and encourage your target audience to share and repost.

3. Form a Proactive Strategy

Being reactive is important is a public relations crisis, but when it comes to marketing, being proactive is the best alternative. Test and measure your current campaigns, adjust your strategies accordingly, and move forward by scrapping efforts that are not working and focusing on those that are.

4. Creating Content for the Web

You know that website content is important, but do you know how important content off of your website is? Off-page content is a critical part of optimizing your website for more traffic. It can be posted to blogs or article directories and must be informative and relevant to your industry. By implementing this strategy, you can increase traffic to your site and establish yourself as an authority in the industry.

5. Re-branding

Does your branding really stand out? Can it be identified easily? Sometimes, revamping your branding to breathe life into it is essential to marketing. By reviewing your logo, your printed materials, your images, your graphic design, and everything related to branding, you can breathe life into your efforts and better connect to a targeted audience.

Marketing is not all about spending a small fortune for a television commercial or a radio spot. While these are techniques that will contribute, these alternative marketing strategies are effective way to communicate the right message on a limited budget.

Author Bio

Hayley is a freelance blogger. To learn more effective marketing strategies, visit the Domo library.

 

 

 

Five Great Ways To Get Your Businesses Name Out There

promotionNo one is going to buy your product if they don’t know that your company exists. Therefore, you need to make sure that your target market knows about your company and its bran. Here are five ways that you can gain more exposure for your business.

Offer Promotional Products

People who have used your products will have an easier time remembering the name of your company. They will also be able to tell their friends about your company as well. If you are in a cleaning industry, the use of custom towels can promote your brand while also allowing potential customers to try your product for free.

Promote At Large Community Events

Get your name out there by putting yourself where the people are. Consider setting up a table at baseball games, at festivals and other events where large numbers of people will descend on one spot. Setting up a booth at a local flea market could be a great way to get your name out to people in smaller towns.

Go To Trade Shows

Trade shows give your company the opportunity to mingle with other business owners who may want be interested in helping you to market your product. Going to a trade show can also help get press coverage for your new product. It can be just what a fledgling company needs to gain traction in the marketplace.

Advertise Through Multiple Channels

It is important to advertise through as many channels as possible. For example, you should post ads on social media sites, on search engines and in newspapers. If possible, you should also consider posting ads on television and radio broadcasts. Billboards are another great method of advertising. If you do advertise online, a company such as HALO Branded Solutions can help you provide potential customers with promotional products.

Put Your Logo On Your Car

There is a good chance that you will use your car on a daily basis. This gives you a great opportunity to advertise your company while running errands or going to see a movie. Placing your logo, contact information and other relevant details about your company will leave interested customers wanting to know more.

It can be easy to get the name of your company out there to your customers. Place advertisements online, go to trade shows and use promotional products to spread the word about your company. If you can do that, you will gain increased visibility for your company.

The Ideal Ways to Brand a Company in 2013

 BrandWhen a business decides to take the plunge into the evolving and extremely competitive economy, decision makers are tasked with deciding exactly where in public they want to instill their brand image. This task requires calculated decision making, as the marketplace in 2013 is different than ever before.

Modern leaders tend to lean very heavily on social media and internet technology, but traditional methods are still viable when it comes to brand outreach. Below I discuss the main areas of society that company leadership should use as platforms for the marketing of their service or product. If you are the one calling the shots for your enterprise or small business startup, these areas can be used to complement any existing strategy.

 1.     Radio.

Radio is a dated form of media, but dated does not necessarily equate to something becoming ineffective. Many people still listen to the radio each and every time they drive to work, and this is a prime platform for getting your brand out there. Voice over advertisements or company launch announcements slide easily into a radio program and can increase visibility in high volumes.

Main benefit: Radio offers a relatively cheap way to market and advertise a product or service. This traditional form of media is great for high volume, general business outreach.

2.     Print media.

Various forms of print media offer a straight forward and old-fashioned approach to imprinting a brand on the public. Whether it’s a magazine, newspaper or other publication the opportunities are relatively cheap and create immediate visibility. While it’s important to not rely on print to get your company exposure, it is a great supplement to a multifaceted scheme.

Main benefit: Although print seems to become more dated by the day, people will still read the newspaper and see content promoting your business. Circulations will continue, and as long as they do, it should be part of your marketing portfolio.

3.     People.

To truly instill your brand within your target demographic, you need to utilize the public. You can make a bigger impact with multiple touch points. They will see your message in print, and hear your message on the radio, but they’ll feel your brand when you offer promotional items printed with your message. You can introduce this aspect of sensory selling by offering promotional giveaways at events. They encourage engagement, add interest and offer a tangible touch point for your message. If you are able to provide an item like a customized tote bag, not only will the people receiving the bag feel appreciated, but they will become inherent brand endorsers each time they use your promotional tote after the event. This offers two valuable branding opportunities. You’re building brand loyalty with event attendees and reaching the public every time they carry your message. This can really imprint your company image in areas of the public that are much less accessible through traditional media and marketing techniques.

Main benefit: Providing promotional items introduces your products or services to a finite group of the public, and amplifies your message among the general public, offering a virtually infinite number of ad impressions with each use. Recipients become proponents of your company, whilst simultaneously marketing your image to others.

4.     Social media and internet.

A general platform of communication that cannot be ignored in any modern marketing strategy is the internet. Whether your approach includes banner ads or simply social media like Twitter and Pinterest, the internet is nearly mandatory in 2013. The volume of internet traffic and the creative possibilities involved with the World Wide Web offer too much to be excluded.

Main benefit: When coupled with traditional techniques, the internet can have a large impact on the branding of a company. Like any other business out there, it should be included in your marketing plan.

American business has and will continue to be successful as we push forward as a nation. However, to accomplish this it’s imperative that decision makers understand that the combination of both traditional and modern branding strategies offer an interdisciplinary outreach plan that is becoming increasingly necessary in this economy.

Hayley Scott is a writer and graphic design aficionado that loves Thai food, specifically green curry. When she’s not sketching a new logo design she writes for HALO Branded Solutions, a leader in personalized tote bags and other promotional items.

 

 

Creative ways to attract new customers

New-customersAnytime you have a business you need customers. They are your lifeblood and how you keep things staying afloat financially. You need to fully understand your target audience, learn things about them, and what means of marketing will create those connections with them and attract them to you specifically. Depending on their age or educational level, difference modes might be more effective. If your target audience is the elderly, perhaps consider using paper mailers instead of high tech things since that is what they grew up with and are used to. Both means of communication are relatively inexpensive.

If you are targeting a younger very educated audience, perhaps using the newest products in the technology field will help them to be excited about what you are offering and show you are hip and up to date. There is always the option of using an interactive agency to help market your product. They can be a good resource because they specialize in marketing and advertising so they have done plenty of research in searching out what works and what doesn’t. They are paid to be creative and come up with something good to help you attract new customers. However great these agencies might be, there are also fun ways to attract new customers on your own without having to hire out an additional company.

1. The first way to attract new customers is to use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with people and to get them interested in what you are trying to sell.  I know I for one am on Facebook a decent amount, and when places I like say they advertise on Facebook or even have coupons I tend to check out their page.  This is a very inexpensive and global way to get your name out there to a lot of potential new customers.

2. A second creative way to attract new customers is to run a sale with a daily deal site. Tons and tons of people like deals and coupons, this is a great way to get a new face on board with your company. There are many daily deal sites out there so team up with one such as Groupon or Living Social and see that happens.

3. A third fun way to attract new customers is to hold a contest on your site. People like competition. See how popular Doritos was after they had the contest to make your own Superbowl commercial and then they aired the top two?

4. A fourth way to attract new customers is to utilize Pinterest. This is the same concept as Facebook. it is a popular site that a lot of people are on each and every day.

5. A fifth way to attract new customers is to have t-shirt giveaways. I don’t know what it is, but this marketing technique works because people get excited. Especially college aged individuals if that happens to be your target audience. So have some fun, get creative, and see some new customers emerge.

 

 

 

 

The 5 Powerful Secrets to Developing a Successful Marketing Plan

Marketing planThe signs of a high-quality marketing plan are threefold: the decisions that result, the level of business success it produces, and the degree to which the plan is actually followed. The major components of a successful marketing plan are target and product focus, material features, organization, and improvement from input.

Pleasing a clearly defined target audience is key to business success. Targeting every possible audience and vaguely attempting to please all of them will in fact please none of them. For example, an elderly audience is likely to disagree with a teenage audience regarding that which constitutes a fun, recreational evening. Considering the specific, narrowly defined audience and aiming to maximize its customer satisfaction is a superior strategy of marketing.

Coinciding with market focus is product focus, for recognizing a particular marketed product helps to define the target audience. For example, a business whose product is alcoholic beverages will do well to avoid children as its marketing target. Similarly, family-oriented restaurants should not advertise fancy, romantic date nights that appeal to young couples. Precisely recognizing a business’ marketed goods significantly assists in guiding a marketing plan in the proper direction.

Tangible and quantifiable aspects of a business plan are essential for success. Setting immeasurable goals such as producing the greatest type of good is far less effective than setting an ascertainable one. Defining a specific number of Facebook “likes” or items sold and striving to reach the number within a given time frame, for example, implements provable material evidence of the success of a marketing plan. While abstract propositions and procedures are necessary, they need hard data to attain their full potential.

Author Bio

Jennie is a marketing consultant, author and blogger.  She recommends 123Postcards for performance-based dentist advertising. To see an example of 123 Postcards direct mail dentist postcard gallery, visit http://www.dentalmarketing.net/dental-postcard-gallery.

21 Rules for social media marketing

With the new year coming up quickly, many of us are beginning to set our list of goals for 2013. For businesses, social media strategies should be on your list. It’s an easy and cheap way to gain a following if you do it right. This infographic gives some great rules and tips for how to use social media to your advantage and how to create a winning strategy.

 

Ultimate Entrepreneur-Trifecta 2012: Live blog Feed

The room is full of women, except for the one man on the front row. Maybe that’s because the conference is being put on by three women, or maybe it’s because there are just a lot of ambitious women in this town. Either way, there’s going to be a lot of women entrepreneurs ready to take their business to the next level after this.

We are starting off by listening to Rebecca Servoss. Rebecca is a graphic design and branding guru who is going to walk us through branding for our businesses.

Branding speaks for a company through images, through words, and through text. Find out upfront what the message is which gives your branding a roadmap to send the right message.

We are going through the branding lingo right now. It’s something that might seem elementary on the surface, but it’s the building blocks. The foundation. Try outlining the following for your business:

My promise

My identity

My image

My process

Branding=putting all of these things together.

So what’s the point of branding?

Well, it all started with the cows. People started “branding” their cattle with hot iron stamps. Today, we do the same thing with our businesses. We give a promise with our brand. When someone sees our logo or name, they will associate this promise and brand with that. So, we must make sure to be clear and concise.

The branding process:

Decide-research-position-define-identify-launch-manage

We are going through each of these, step by step. We are deciding who we are selling to and why we are running our business. It’s important to figure these details out before we can correctly brand ourselves and our products.

Have you ever thought about how you can offend your consumer? If we create literal brands, we can seem condescending and elementary. Make sure you know who your audience is so as to create a brand that peaks curiosity and draws customers in.

So, once we’ve figured that all out, it’s up to us to care for and feed our brand. This allows us to more effectively elevate our business. Our reputation is HUGE. 89% of people say that reputation is a tiebreaker between equal products. Thus, we want the better reputation to bring the highest traffic of consumers in.

We are talking about re-branding now. Gap and Tropicana both had recent flops when they changed their logo and packaging and customers revolted. AOL is doing it the right way by bringing the consumer in as part of the experience and offering a whole new package along with the new logo.

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And with that, we are moving on to the next section: Marketing. This part is hosted by Michelle McCullough, managing director of Startup Princess.

Part 1:

To start off, we are asked if we think marketing is important. We all agree that it is. Thankfully we are all on the same page and we can move on to the good stuff.

Marketing is sharing the right messages to the right masses through the right mediums so you can make money. Consistently.

Our home court advantage is our website or store/retail site. This is where we can create a powerful promotional outlet. Our goal is to bring people home. We need to get them from where we are marketing, to our home court advantage. Get people to our website or blog or store.

Be the expert. Continue to put out information that leads to you becoming the expert in your field and creates a space for people to keep coming back for more. And on that note, we have to make sure to be consistent. Post an article on your blog once a week or update your Facebook page a few times a week. This gathers trust from your readers and consumers and creates a community.

Marketing Campaigns=a campaign carefully defines the step-by-step marketing actions you will take so you can get your prospects to take informed action. We first must make sure to research. A successful marketing campaign cannot be carried out without doing the work at the front end and figuring out who to target and how to go about it.

Create a customer loyalty KIT. Keep in touch. Make sure to follow up with your customers to get their feed back, send thank you notes, and find ways to show you really care. This will create trust and loyalty.

We are finishing up section one of marketing by talking about email lists. How do we grow them? How do we use them? It’s an easy way to bring people back to your “home” by sending out newsletters, deals, and links to e-books or downloadable PDF’s.

Part 2:

We are back from lunch and ready to jump back into marketing. Michelle is starting us off by talking about strategy. We would be smart to create a marketing map that plans out the next 3 months in detail and the next 12 months on a more broad scale.

  • Define our budget. Figure out your scale for advertising and learn where to place ads and where you can afford to spend the money on those ads.
  • Always make sure you are putting out QUALITY content.

Schedule and write out all of your social media content. Create your tweets in advance and sales should be less than %15 of your tweets. Use Twitter to build your email list, give promotional value, motivate, and inspire.

Take action-give yourself a deadline for finishing certain tasks and stick to it.

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Moving on to our last presenter today, Tiffany Peterson of The Lighthouse Principles is talking about sales.

We start with a brainstorm about what are our challenges in sales?

  • fear
  • too much information
  • confidence
  • money

We acknowledge that we are afraid of making people feel uncomfortable, being too pushy, or being obnoxious about our business. So she asks us this question:

Am I willing to be uncomfortable to have the results that I want?

And then she says: “Your life works to the degree that you keep your commitments” –quoting Warner Earhart. We all felt a little uncomfortable after that, because we all know it’s true. A little hard love is necessary for results.

Rather than looking at ourselves as “sales people” we should see ourselves as a “solutions provider”.

Tiffany just talked about a really great point, that people buy and promote those they trust. We must remember this in networking and building relationships. It is worth taking the time to follow up after networking and conference events. Take time to schedule in a relationship nourishment hour into your week. Send a few handwritten cards or heart felt emails that will build your relationships.

It costs twice as much to recruit a new client as it does to maintain a client relationship. If you take care of your clients, your clients will take care of your business through reputation and referrals.

“Stop having million dollar dreams and $10 efforts.” Now that one cuts deep.

Now we are talking about interactions. She just gave us this big statistic: 60% of all business transactions (sales) takes place after the fourth interaction with you, your brand, or business. This plays back into relationship building, as well as marketing. We have to keep putting ourselves and our products in front of people.

When looking to make a sale, ask questions of your prospective clients that will have them contemplating and answering their own questions. This allows you to not have to by “salesy”. You don’t have to pitch anything, rather they are being drawn in to what you have to offer.

That ends the instruction part of the conference. I’m off to ask questions and chat with the amazing women in the room!

Book Review: Breakthrough Branding

Today we are featuring a book that we know will be a huge resource to anyone looking for help with branding. This is one of those things that can be extremely daunting and often it’s hard to know where to start. Catherine Kaputa addresses this issue in her book Breakthrough Branding and gives mini case histories of dozens of brands to demonstrate what makes a brand thrive.

The book provides tools and steps that will help you mimic tactics of brands such as Red Bull, Groupon and Trader Joe’s. It shows how successful companies begin with three things: an entrepreneur, a winning idea and a smart brand strategy.

With the help of this book you can learn how to narrow the focus of your product or service, standout from other brands, create a company personality and place yourself as superior to your competition. All of this can be done with the right banding strategy.

Daniel H. Pink, author of DRIVE and A WHOLE NEW MIND, also read the book and said, “Whether you’re dying to launch your own company, or are more of a reluctant entrepreneur, you face the imperative to build your brand. Catherine Kaputa has made this challenge her personal and professional study, and in this book she shares secrets worth many times the cost of admission.”

Breakthrough Branding truly has something for everyone and teaches you tactics that are up to date with the latest social media strategies. Take it from us, this is a book that is worth reading.

So, if you find yourself wanting to rebrand your company or if you are just starting out, check out Catherine’s book.