Posts Tagged ‘Small Business’

Your Shortest Route To Small Business Search Engine Optimization

So what’s the shortest route to small business search engine optimization? This is one question asked multiple times by many business owners who are looking to get immediate results, and asked by those who want to see their small business a big name in its niche market. If you are keen on knowing the shortest route and simplest way to small business search engine optimization, then read on.

Keywords are critical in small business search engine optimization

The first thing that you need to do in order to start the small business search engine optimization is the identification of the keywords. Make a list of keywords that are linked to your business. In small business search engine optimization, you need to think and research on the keywords that are most likely to be used by the users and the readers. In doing small business search engine optimization, you need to put keywords in the page title. Place big importance on the Page Title, since this is used by the search engine spiders in evaluating the importance of your web pages. Putting keywords in the title tag is just the start; small business search engine optimization also means placing the keywords in the Page URL. The Page URL is important for the search engines since this will help the search engines identify the content of the web page.

Place your keywords in the right places when doing small business search engine optimization

The keywords should be placed on the other parts of the website structure. The oft-repeated keywords should be placed on the Meta Data, on the H1 text and on the content. The Meta Data is considered as not important compared to the URL structure, still its best to focus on the Meta Tag. So when doing your small business search engine optimization, make sure that keywords are squeezed on the Meta Data. It also helps if you will place the keywords on the H1 text. This is the title of the article or may refer to the larger bold text at the top of the page. Search engines will see this so make it a point that you value this part of the site structure. When you speak of proper use of keywords for small business search engine optimization, you also need to place the keywords in the contents.

Consider the right amount of keywords in contents when doing small business search engine optimization

Small business search engine optimization is never complete without using the keywords in contents. According to some proponents of small business search engine optimization, keywords can be repeated 4-6 times and other practitioners of small business search engine optimization should repeat keywords 10-12 times. So what’s the real deal in the use of keywords for contents in small business search engine optimization? The answer is to make use of the keywords naturally- let it flow and the benefits of practicing small business search engine optimization will just follow. And finally, you can cap your small business search engine optimization efforts by monitoring the page ranking. Give time to major search engines to do their work. And also check out if the small business search engine optimization strategies are working or not. Do some adjustments if the results leave much to be desired.

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Small Business Advertising

When someone uses the word 'advertising' immediately you think 'expense'. Managed correctly, however, it doesn't have to be expensive. Here are some strategies for small business owners looking for ways to advertise/market without going over-budget.

Likely the most important advertising tip for small businesses is: be "web-centric"!
This means that your website is the mainstay of your marketing plan, and the purpose of almost every other form of marketing is to drive people to your website. If you do an ad in the paper, the focus point is your web address; if you do a billboard or radio spot, the whole purpose is to get individuals to go to your website.

The reason this is the most cost effective strategy is because changing the content on your website is very fast and inexpensive, while changing printed materials is time consuming and costly. By making the purpose of all your other marketing and advertising simply just to get people to your website, those other printed materials never go obsolete, since your web address is yours as long as you want.

Make the focus of your website the extraction of contact information.
Many small businesses think that the point of their website is the get people to buy right now. Rather, the purpose of a website is to collect as many email addresses and phone numbers with permission, in order to follow-up on prospective sales. By collecting this contact information you have produced a potential client list that you can send production information to and not have to worry about whether or not they visit your site again.

How do you get people to offer you up their contact info? As contact information is valuable, offer something of value in exchange for their information. For instance, if you own a rental company, or a retail outlet, offer a coupon for 15% off their next store purchase. Do what it takes to get the contact info of your web visitors. Doing so greatly increases the likelihood that they will become customers some day.

Make certain to follow up with intension.
One area small businesses infamously fail in is the area of following up on potential customer leads/contacts. That is simply leaving money on the table- money that is rightfully yours! On top of that, seeing as your competitors are likely failing in the same area, being careful when dealing with follow-ups will place you ahead of your competition and attract clientele.

Create an immediate mailing that will be directed to visitors who fill out an online form with contact info. Develop a well-thought-out autoresponder series to keep in touch with them for several weeks or months, dependent on the nature of your business. If you are fortunate to have gotten their phone number, be sure to call with a special offer. The bottom line is to make them happy for giving you their contact info. If someone asks a question, especially online, make it a priority to get the answer to them as soon as possible. Again, your care of their concerns will set you apart from your rivals and gain you clients.

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Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Small Business

While we all make mistakes, in small business , there are a variety of mistakes that are common. Learning from other people's mistakes can enable you to avoid many of them. These are 10 mistakes that you should work to avoid when starting a small business: 1. Not Doing Market Research - When selecting a small business to start, it is vital to research the industry and the current market for the products or services to be offered. Search online, research at your local library and talk with your local small business organizations to put together a full market research report to evaluate the opportunity for this business to become successful. 2. Choose a Strong Personal Match - When starting a small business, evaluate accurately what your personal strengths are. For example, don't go into selling insurance if you have never worked in that industry before. 3. Lack of Capital - The top reason for small business failure is not failure to plan or choosing the wrong business concept, but is lack of capital. Research will help you to determine the amount of capital to have on hand as well as the reserve money that should be kept in the event of an expansion opportunity or an emergency. 4. Lack of a Business Plan - In addition to lack of capital, the next most common reason for business failure is lack of a business plan. Spend time to write out a business plan for not only the short term, but the long term. Work through 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years and 10 year plans. While the plans will change over time, establishing and writing a detailed plan of action out will make it much more likely that you will accomplish those goals for your small business. 5. Ask for Help - Many professionals view asking for help as a sign of weakness. But, successful individuals in business recognize that asking for help is actually a sign of help. Don't wait until something becomes a challenge for your business, as at this point, it is likely too late to make the necessary corrective actions. Surround yourself with experienced professionals not only during the start up phase of your business, but ongoing to act as a support system. You never know what you will need help with or when you will need it. 6. Lack of Revenue - Many small business owners go into business as they have a specific skill, talent or interest. And, they will generally not fail due to those things. But, they fail due to lack of revenue. Spend a significant portion of every day working to build new customers by marketing your products and services. 7. Setting Prices Incorrectly - If your prices are not right, your products and services will not sell to the levels that you are expecting. Be sure to spend time researching the current market for pricing when setting yours. And, if things are not working smoothly in the early stages, be sure to re-evaluate so that you can make changes as needed. 8. Lack of a Budget - While no one really likes the word 'budget', in small business, it is vital to its survival. Track income and expenses regularly and make necessary adjustments as necessary to enable your cash flow to always remain positive. 9. Poor Record Keeping - Many small business owners excel in certain areas of their business, however, it is not uncommon for business owners to be challenged in the areas of administrative duties, including keeping accurate records. 10. Growing Too Quickly - In small business, it is important to grow organically instead of forcing growth as this can cause challenges in cash flow.

While we all make mistakes, in small business , there are a variety of mistakes that are common. Learning from other people's mistakes can enable you to avoid many of them. These are 10 mistakes that you should work to avoid when starting a small business:

1. Not Doing Market Research - When selecting a small business to start, it is vital to research the industry and the current market for the products or services to be offered. Search online, research at your local library and talk with your local small business organizations to put together a full market research report to evaluate the opportunity for this business to become successful.

2. Choose a Strong Personal Match - When starting a small business, evaluate accurately what your personal strengths are. For example, don't go into selling insurance if you have never worked in that industry before.

3. Lack of Capital - The top reason for small business failure is not failure to plan or choosing the wrong business concept, but is lack of capital. Research will help you to determine the amount of capital to have on hand as well as the reserve money that should be kept in the event of an expansion opportunity or an emergency.

4. Lack of a Business Plan - In addition to lack of capital, the next most common reason for business failure is lack of a business plan. Spend time to write out a business plan for not only the short term, but the long term. Work through 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years and 10 year plans. While the plans will change over time, establishing and writing a detailed plan of action out will make it much more likely that you will accomplish those goals for your small business.

5. Ask for Help - Many professionals view asking for help as a sign of weakness. But, successful individuals in business recognize that asking for help is actually a sign of help. Don't wait until something becomes a challenge for your business, as at this point, it is likely too late to make the necessary corrective actions. Surround yourself with experienced professionals not only during the start up phase of your business, but ongoing to act as a support system. You never know what you will need help with or when you will need it.

6. Lack of Revenue - Many small business owners go into business as they have a specific skill, talent or interest. And, they will generally not fail due to those things. But, they fail due to lack of revenue. Spend a significant portion of every day working to build new customers by marketing your products and services.

7. Setting Prices Incorrectly - If your prices are not right, your products and services will not sell to the levels that you are expecting. Be sure to spend time researching the current market for pricing when setting yours. And, if things are not working smoothly in the early stages, be sure to re-evaluate so that you can make changes as needed.

8. Lack of a Budget - While no one really likes the word 'budget', in small business, it is vital to its survival. Track income and expenses regularly and make necessary adjustments as necessary to enable your cash flow to always remain positive.

9. Poor Record Keeping - Many small business owners excel in certain areas of their business, however, it is not uncommon for business owners to be challenged in the areas of administrative duties, including keeping accurate records.

10. Growing Too Quickly - In small business, it is important to grow organically instead of forcing growth as this can cause challenges in cash flow.

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Four Free Resources For Small Business Advertising

One of the most difficult aspects of operating a small business is attempting to decrease your customer acquisition costs to improve profits and in many cases high acquisition costs are what prevent the business from being profitable at all. Most small businesses do not keep track of acquisition statistics so they are unsure of how much it costs for them to acquire each new customer. Without knowing this statistic, it is impossible to truly measure the effectiveness of your advertising and marketing.

One of the ways to help reduce acquisition costs is to use free advertising resources to increase your customer base. With these resources the primary cost is time, which for advertising is a relatively low price. Here are a few resources that small businesses should be taking advantage of to grow their customer base as it will definitely give you a competitive edge over your competition:

Craigslist - Craigslist.com is an online classified website that is free to post listings. Craigslists is one of the top 10 visited websites in the United States and can drive a tremendous amount of traffic to your business. Craigslist has a services section where local businesses can list the products and services that they offer for potential customers. Craigslist is organized by local geographies, therefore you have the potential to drive very local customers to your business. Total time to post an ad on Craigslist is probably about five minutes and will be less once you get the hang of it.

Google Base - Google Base is a free online classified that benefits from the large amounts of traffic generated by Google.com. A simple listing on Google Base can help to drive traffic to your website and although Google claims that it does not make a difference, it is a good bet that the more activity you have on the web properties, the better you will rank in their primary search engine.

Press Releases - The days of needing to be a professional writer to submit a press release are long gone. Now anyone that has knowledge of a product or service should submit press releases to media outlets and can be done easily with free resources. A couple of the sites that I recommend are prleap.com and prfree.com, but there are many others. These services submit your articles to the Associated Press which in many cases will be a distribution of 40,000 subscribers. If only a fraction of the subscribers pick up your article, you benefit. It first establishes you as an authority on the subject matter, but it also generates links back to your website which will increase your search engine rankings. The benefits of these free services can be massive in reducing your customer acquisition costs.

Merchant Circle - Merchantcircle.com is an online business directory that is focused on offering small business websites to promote their business. The main benefit of their service in my opinion is that their pages rank highly in the search engines, therefore, increase the ranking of your website in your local geographic ares. To set up you page only takes about ten minutes.

These are just a few examples of free resources that your business should be using. Think out of the box and do a little research to find out other free resources that will benefit your business. With only one new customer, this form of advertising pays for itself.

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