How do you promote your business?

9:36 pm

You work hard to make your business a success. You put the hours in to make sure the job gets done right. You go the extra mile to make sure your customers are satisfied.

But with all of the time and effort you put in, how do make sure that your business keeps growing? How do you ensure that a steady stream of customers continues and increases?

You have to promote your business, get the word out there about your company. Let people know why you are the go-to source, the expert in your field.

Few people have a ready-made pulpit to get the word out about their business. Few business owners have free access to share information regarding their services and products with the masses.

Promoting your business is a complicated effort that can be a confusing maze of ads, media outlets and price ranges. How do you promote your business in the most cost-effective manner? How do you know you are getting the most bang for your buck? That likely depends on your business, your budget and your desired audience.

There are multiple avenues to consider when looking to promote your business. Here are some promotional tools and questions to ask yourself:

 Billboards: Very high-visibility tools, but could be out of some business’s promotions price range. Can you afford the cost? Can you boil down what you need to tell your potential clients about your product or service to just a few words? Can your message be quick enough to be noticed and remembered by a motorists on a highway at 55 mph? Is there a billboard location near enough your business to make the expense worth it? Are you willing to commit to a billboard lease agreement, and the time frame that goes along with it?

 Social media: A growing promotional tool that can get your business’s name in front of potential customers several times a day. Do you have products that would work being pictured on Facebook? Do you have a Facebook presence currently, with your business being “Liked” by customers? Do you have someone who can update your business’s Facebook page regularly? Would purchasing an ad on the side of Facebook pages benefit your business? Do you post updates and news about your business on Twitter? Do you have the time to do that? Do you have a Linkedin account? Do you use it to let connections know when you have picked up a big new client or other news? Is there a YouTube video posted of what you do and who you are as a business?

Website: That same video of your business doing what it does on YouTube should also be on your business website, along with plenty of other information about your company. Do you have a strong web page that draws in potential customers? Is your domain name the same as your business name, making it easy for customers to find you? Are your keywords strong enough to get your listed in search engines?

 Print ads: Do you have a lot to say about your product or service? If so, print advertising might be a good option for you. Do you have listings of products, such as a car dealership, that would be beneficial to have before the public in print form? Is your product pretty stable, where it would be good to have it listed in a publication that might be on an end table for a week or month? Or is your product supply always changing and not geared for such longevity advertising? Are you a smaller company that could benefit from getting your message out through a lower-cost medium. Do you want to use coupons to gauge the response?

 Broadcast ads: Using radio or television can get word out about your product or service to a wide audience. Is your product message succinct enough for a 30-second radio or television commercial? Can you afford the mass-marketing effort, which often includes hired talent? Do you want to reach a broader audience or would a more-targeted audience (watchers of college football, etc.) be better?

 Direct mail: Letting people know about your product and your sales can be achieved by sending the information right to their doorstep. Would targeting certain ZIP codes be beneficial to your business? Then, direct mail could help. Like print ads, coupons can be a way to know how receptive people are to your message. Do you want to offer coupon deals? How many homes do you want to reach?  How much of a discount do you want to offer on the coupon?

 Flyers: Paper pieces can be handed to people or put on their cars or in their mailboxes with your information and deals. Do you have the manpower to target certain areas at certain times with your flyers? Are those the best times or simply the most convenient for your staff? Can you afford the manpower to put pieces in mailboxes and in doors?

Business cards: A great way to get your business’s name out to people you meet. Is your business card unique enough to get noticed? Is all your company’s information, including your website, on your card? Do you make sure to always have cards with you?

 Vehicles: An eye-catching way to promote your business is to paint a car, van or truck with your business logo and information. Do you have a company vehicle to which you can do this? Is your business along a major roadway, where a painted vehicle parked near the roadway would serve as an ongoing advertisement? If you are not along a thoroughfare, is there one nearby where you could park the vehicle at the close of business?

Samples: People love free stuff. Handing out free samples of your product will get people’s attention. Are you willing to give people a taste of your product free of charge? Are you near a high-pedestrian-traffic area where providing samples would be worth your company’s time and effort?

 Contests: Having a contest with your product as a prize is good, low-priced advertising. Whether you or a third-party, like a radio station, conducts the contest, it will get attention if the prize is good enough. Are you willing to give up product for the publicity? Is there enough name recognition for your product that it carries value and weight with the public?


I’d be interested in your responses. Send me your thoughts at And, as always, I would love to be a sounding board for ideas about promoting your business.

Keep posts varied, short

10:30 pm



Having a social media presence is vital for a business today. With Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Foursquare, YouTube, Google+, blogs, e-newsletters and websites, it is hard to imagine that you can overdue it with your posts, but you can.

Be an annoyance or narcissistic and your gains in social media numbers can disappear in a heartbeat. Good social media skills, like proper manners, are never going to steer you wrong.

Knowing when your social media efforts are going over the top is key to understanding how to effectively use these emerging communication tools.

Here are 10 ways businesses overdue social media:

  1. Overposting on Facebook and Twitter – Hammering followers with 25 posts a day may sound like a great way to get your name out there and dominate the social media scene, but eating up that much of a person’s day is going to turn them off and result in “unlikes” and lost followers. Keep your name out there without being a nuisance.
  2. Too self-centered posts: Tweets and status updates telling people where you are at or what you had to eat for your business lunch isn’t vital information. You may be an accountant and love numbers, but your followers are not going to be engaged by tales of your afternoon of number-crunching. It is good to gauge followers’ interest in your posts. Get their input on what they want to see more and what they want to see less in your updates.
  3. Increased postings with increased popularity – Just because your followers or friends have increased doesn’t mean you are suddenly that much more interesting and engaging. You do not need to post more once your popularity increases. Keep your postings at a consistent level, or, if anything, cut back slightly as your popularity rises.
  4. Posting in only one specific area – While your position or your business may be specialized, people don’t want to hear just about your niche. Let them know about company news of broader interest. Let that know about discounts and deals. Tell them when business numbers are up. Invite them to upcoming company events, when appropriate. Inform them about upcoming company plans and projects. Give them recaps of events and fiscal year performances.
  5. Writing too much – Long posts are not your business’s friend. People don’t want every detail of your business day. Keep posts short and too the point. This is a “need-it-now” society. People don’t have time to wade through paragraph after paragraph to get to the point of your post. Twitter breeds brevity with its 140-character limit, but know that you don’t need to use all 140 characters to get your point across to readers. Keep Facebook posts to quick recaps of business events and happenings,
  6. Overhastagging on Twitter – More than one or two hashtags in a post is over the top and completely unnecessary. Hashtag only what is essential. Don’t hashtag every word. And keep hashtagging to Twitter. It does not have a place or purpose on Facebook.
  7. Reciprocated “Likes” – Exchanging “Likes” with other pages on Facebook can boost your fan numbers, but doesn’t do anything for your page. In fact, such reciprocal moves can hurt your business because these reciprocal fans won’t interact with your content. Facebook algorithms detect such discrepancies and lessen your visibility on fans’ newsfeeds.
  8. Too many posts early – Business tend to heavily promote an event or a deadline way in advance and then slack off as the event or deadline nears. Continue to promote an event or deadline until it passes. With everything so instant today, people have apps on their smart phones and can access information from anywhere. Keep posting until the deadline or event passes.
  9. Automated responses – Yes, automated responses give people a response and free you up for other things, but it is a generic response – and not one that builds relationships. If people take the time to send you comments and concerns, take the time to send them back an honest reply. Taking the time to answer posts and tweets shows customers that you care. An automated response can say “thanks for your question or concern,” but also let that person know that he or she will hear back from someone – and follow through with that.
  10. Hammering one social media site – Focusing all your attention on one social media outlet misses lots of other potential customers. While you may like only doing Facebook posts for your business, people who could use and buy your products or services may be on Linkedin or Twitter. You need to link your social media together and use them all to your advantage. Every social media outlet has its own benefits. Use its different style to benefit your company. Facebook, for example, is more visual. Post photos of products and services there. Twitter is more text-based. Pinster is visual, good for photos, but also for pinning websites, links and blogs. Foursquare allows people to check in and post about businesses. Make sure you are keeping a presence on all social media outlets.


3:40 am

One of the 10 most popular social media websites is The site states that it’s a virtual pinboard. It allows users to get a free account and share beautiful things (including articles and pictures) that the users find on other websites. Users may browse boards that are made by other users, to find new things and get new ideas from other people who have some of the same interests. Some Pinterest users use their boards to plan weddings, decorate, and share recipes.

A pin is any image that a pinterest user adds to his or her board. A pin may be added from any other website, by using the Pin It button. A user can upload pictures from his or her computer. Each pin that is added, using the Pin It button contains a link back to the original site.

A board is a set of pins that each user can create. A board can be created about any subject, including recipes, churches, or political views. A user may add as many pins as he or she chooses, to his or her board.

Unlike many social media websites, Pinterest is mainly a visual site. If a user wants to post information and doesn’t have any pictures, he or she won’t be able to contribute, well. Each user needs to choose interesting pictures to pin.

Some Pinterest users get accounts because they want to use the site to post offers from their businesses. It’s usually difficult for users to do that, since the majority of users find other pins on which they want to comment. Users usually find that they enjoy the site more, if they discuss other pictures.

Users should notice many things that others posted and comment on them. If you use the @ sign, the person you mention will be tagged. Users usually think that is a compliment.

Google follows Pinterest, so users should use keywords, when they create a pin. From an SEO standpoint, this is great news, since it may cause your link to be found by others. This may change.

The majority of Pinterest users are women. This is important for business owners who consider using Pinterest to promote their business. They should do that, only if they think that the majority of their customers are women.

Many people think that Pinterest is addicting. Pinterest users spend an average of 15 minutes, each day, “pinning.” Since this can be done while users use other sites, that time may be higher. Facebook users spend an average of 23 minutes, per day, on that site, but Pinterest is doing well, for a new site.

Few social media sites list etiquette, for those sites, but has a page “Pin Etiquette.” It states that the rules were sent by their users. That page reminds users to be polite and honest. That page reminds users to cite the original site, for each of their pins. That page asks users to report objectionable material, since they don’t allow nudity or anything that encourages violence.

These facts should help readers decide whether they want to user If you want to know more information, please read the site and views some boards.


2:58 am

One of the most popular video websites is It allows users to watch TV shows, movies, and concerts, for free.
Although users may watch some videos for free, there are some advantages to paying for an account. If someone has a facebook connected account, the user can log into a personalized homepage, where the user can see his or her friends’ favorite shows. Only people, who have accounts, can have conversations, via hulu, with other users, who follow the same shows. Each person, who has an account, can maintain a video queue and add videos to it. Each user, who buys an account, can use parental controls, to control what their children watch.
The hulu staff tries to keep the videos, on the site, for as long as possible. However, the length of time that the videos are on the site is determined by the content partners. The hulu staff tries to get more time, for each video, but, sometimes, they must take the videos from the site.
The site allows someone to buy an account, for someone else, as a gift. Hulu has
recommendations page. It suggests new videos that a user might want to watch, based on videos he or she already watched.
This information should help you decide whether you want to use hulu. If you want more information, about the site, please read

A Social Search

4:27 am

Social Media watch tools

7:58 pm

Two important companies, who can help businesses use social media, are Alterian and Raven Tools.  Here are some details about both companies.

      Alterian’s site states that they enable client to make smart decisions by delivering insight and foresight from known and new places, by giving strategic decision support and listening consultancy around customized solutions.  They say that they provide customized solutions around their social media technology platform, to change the customer’s marketing actions, regardless of how they do that.  They say that their Social Media Insights services change social media information into actionable business intelligence.  Alterian can show a company what people are saying about that company, who the influencers are, how Alterian’s customers can contact the influencers, and how the customer’s company compares to their competition.  The Alterian site states that some of their services are web content management, campaign management & analytics, email marketing, web behavior analytics, and social media marketing.  Their site states that they have different pricing plans, through their online store, for small, medium and large businesses.
      Raven Tools’ site states that their Social Stream tool can help a user monitor and participate in social conversations, while they happen.  Raven Tools allows a customer to customize the view to his or her social network, keyword searches, or other sites that the customer wants to monitor.  A user can quickly change views, to check different subjects, and a user can reply in real-time.  Raven has simple charts that help users analyze which content, in which form, and at what time is the most effective at driving traffic to the user’s site.  Raven’s Event Manager helps each user log social milestones and overlay that data with the user’s goals.  Raven gives users PDF reports that can help a user prove that his or her social media campaigns are producing good results.  Raven allows a user to use one location, to manage his or her internet marketing campaign, helping productivity increase.  Raven charges $99, per month, for a professional person, who works by himself or herself.  They charge $249, per month, for an agency.
     This information should help readers to decide whether they want to use Alterian, Raven, or both.  Both companies help users monitor social media sites that mention the business and/or competitors.  If you want more information about Alterian and/or Raven, please look for their websites.

Customer Relationship Management, CRM

4:53 am

Customer Relationship Management, CRM,  is an information industry term for methodologies, software, and usually Internet capabilities that help an organization manage customer relationships in an organized way, which usually includes organizing a list of potential clients and their contact information.  Here is some information about two of the most popular CRM companies.
SugarCRM sells a new service, Sugar 6.  It helps companies use social media sites, including twitter, facebook, and linkedin, inside the companies’ SugarCRM interface.  Sugar6 extends the existing SugarCRM social platform, encompassing more external data sources to foster social business value. Sugar 6 includes some new features.  That includes the ability to quickly monitor individual and company activates, on many sites, including twitter, facebook, and linkedin, by using Sugar Cloud Connectors.  Another new feature allows a user to see social feeds inside the Sugar 6 user interface, increasing CRM use, productivity, and return on investment.

Radian6 was founded in 2006 because the founders thought that business owners should know what is said, about their company, industry, and competitors, online.  They built a listening platform that can help companies do that.  Radian6 helps businesses measure, analyze, and report on their social media work.  Radian6 helps businesses gain

insights from that information.  Radian6 uses all areas that social media affects, including customer service, sales, public relations, and marketing.  Radian6 is owned by Sales Force.  That company’s site,, includes Chatter – the company’s private and secure corporate social network.

This information should tell the reader enough information about SugarCRM and Radian6.  This should help readers decide whether they’ll use either of these services



2:40 am

One of the newest social media sites is, a site that allows users to post photos so that the pictures can be see by anyone, who uses that site.

     The site states that it allows people to store, sort, search, and share photos.    The site states that it helps users organize a large number of photos and allows others to tell stories about them.  The site has pages that are titled “Sets” and “Groups.” Those pages allow users to search for collections of similar pictures, at the same time.
      The site states that there will always be a free version of Flickr.  It states that users can upgrade to a Flickr Pro account, for $24.95, per year.
     The site gives directions about what a user should do, to use a picture that the user found on Flickr.  Some members are told to check whether they need to request a license, to use the picture.  Some members are told to email the poster, directly.

These facts should show that Flickr is a useful website, for people who want to post pictures, view photos, from others, or both.  If you have any questions, about the service, please read the site,


4:50 am

Two popular sites that, help authors and blog publishers find one another, are and Here are some details of each site. The textbroker sites states that the site is for unique and exclusively written articles that are written to the client’s requests. They pay fixed rates that ensure easy planning for budgeting. They say that they have a large list of authors, who are knowledgeable about many subjects. The site states that their authors aren’t required to already be professional authors, but their better writers earn more money. The site has a section for clients to sign up and a section for authors to sign up. The section for clients states that they have thousands of authors who want to write articles, blog posts, and reviews, for reasonable prices. The section, for authors, states that proper spelling and grammar are required. It states that the authors can use, for free, the Textbroker WordPress Plug-In, to help the authors post their articles. states that it has sold more than 260,000 articles to more than 3,000 clients. That site states that it uses Copyscape originality verification and new technology to make the approval process easy. Unlike textbroker, the writersaccess site gives more details about their pricing. It states that a client can start by making a $50 deposit that’s 100% applied to the client’s first order. The writersaccess site also states that a client may choose a pricing plan. A client may choose to pay a certain cost per word and choose a star rating, for an author. A higher-rated author is paid more. A client may choose to pay a fixed-rate that is nogotiated with the author. Both of these sites can be useful for authors and webmasters who want to pay for articles. Both of those groups can benefit from one of these sites or both of them. If someone considers conducting business with these companies, he or she should read all of the details, on both sites, to find which one is better for that person.

Email Marketing

6:25 pm

Some people who consider email marketing, for their companies, don’t know how easy or cost-effective it is.  Here are a few advantages of using it.

      Some business owners think that using email marketing is old-fashioned, since those people want to use social media.  Those people don’t know that email marketing and social media can work together.  Many email marketing services send links that ask the receivers to “like” the company’s facebook page and/or follow the company, on twitter.
      Many email marketing companies help their customers use their services, very easily.  It can be done by adding names and email addresses to a database, and customizing a template.  Some companies allow a customer to adjust the design on the emails so that they reflect the company’s image.
      It’s usually easier to use email marketing, compared to direct mail.  Direct mail can be expensive, since the printer needs to pay for paper, ink, labels, and postage.  When a company uses email marketing, it eliminates those costs.  If a direct mail piece contains an error, the printer must print the piece, again.  If a company uses email marketing, the email can be changed, quickly and less expensively, compared to a direct mail piece.
      These facts, about email marketing, should help inform business owners, who are thinking about using it.  Those business owners should compare prices and services, of several email marketing and direct mail companies, to find the most cost-efficient service, for that company.