Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Change The Way You Think

For most people, new purchases begin with researching the product online.  From big purchases such as a car or computer to smaller purchases like video games or ceiling fans, people use the internet as a tool to find product information and venders.  How many websites do you find helpful?  Do most websites bombard you with “Buy Now!” deals?  Do you really find the information you are looking for?  More importantly, how do these websites make you feel?
For example, let’s say you are in the market to purchase brand new living room furniture.  You start your endeavor by plugging “living room furniture” into a search engine.  The first website you go to has a very busy homepage: “0% DOWN, TODAY ONLY” “FREE DELIVERY MONTH OF MAY ONLY” “LIMITED TIME OFFER”.  Unfortunately, flooding websites with verbiage to entice consumers to make hasty purchases is common practice for many organizations.  These marketing techniques can be flat out annoying.  Many consumers leave the website frustrated and are left with negative impression of that company.
Marketing has changed drastically due to the widespread use of the internet.  It changed the way consumers do business and organizations must adapt to this change.  A well designed blog is a major part of this shift in marketing.  There are many positive outcomes of a well designed blog which will be discussed.  The first lesson is to forget what you know about marketing because those rules no longer apply to a culture of internet savvy consumers.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Learn to build your brand online

As an undergraduate in college, my roommate worked as a server for a local restaurant located at a busy mall. The mall would bring in new customers frequently enough to pay the bills for the most part, but the business was still in trouble. Even though the restaurant had several locations in Florida, it wasn’t very well known. The restaurant chain refused to advertise, because the owners were convinced that advertising would be too costly. Unfortunately for the restaurant, this common misconception caused the owners to eventually go bankrupt and close all of their locations. This was especially bad news for me, because I really loved their food!

Today, small and medium business owners feel marketing their product or service is a daunting and expense task. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth! The internet has become the most effective way to affordably build a company brand, relay useful information to potential customers, and build a following. There are many ways to effectively utilize online tools and sites to build up your business.

Over the next several months, we will discuss such internet tools to transform your business. Best of all, many of the techniques you will learn are extremely easy and affordable to implement.

I’d like to officially welcome everyone to Your Social Voice. We are dedicated to providing the knowledge and resources necessary for small to medium businesses to accelerate their success.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

SMBs to Boost Social Media and E-mail Spending in 2011

Kate Kaye  |  March 10, 2011

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More than half of small and medium sized businesses that intend to spend on digital advertising and marketing in 2011 expect to increase that spending compared to last year. That's according to the just-released 2011 Outlook report from Borrell Associates.

The research firm surveyed over 2,800 SMB owners to find that, of the 84 percent who will spend on digital, 53 percent will boost that portion of their budgets. Spending on their websites, social media marketing, and e-mail is set to grow more than 30 percent. Meanwhile, local print media, newspapers, directories and radio will take double-digit hits in 2011 among those who buy those formats.

The SMB market is huge according to Borrell, accounting for over 70 percent of all online advertising expenditures including e-mail, search, and run-of-site display last year. While individual SMBs on average spent less than $12,000 on all advertising in 2010 – about $2,300 of which went online – they represent 95 percent of U.S. business locations, according to the research company.

"SMB has become both buzz word and mantra to advertising execs of every stripe," notes the report. "As a result, SMBs have been bombarded with sales pitches... [fielding] 22 media sales calls per month."

Social media is especially hot. Small businesses are ever more interested in Facebook , Twitter, location-based services, and daily deals platforms that connect their virtual and real-world presences and facilitate word-of-mouth. According to the research firm, 70 percent of SMBs currently spend on social media, and in some cases, social network pages have replaced company sites. Borrell found more than a third of the 14 percent of SMBs without a company site have a social network page.

At Borrell's local media conference in New York City last week, Emily White, Facebook's director of local, pushed new offerings as valuable for SMBs, including the company's Facebook Places mobile check-in platform. She also touted its Sponsored Stories ad format which includes comments about a company by a user's friend in ads for that company, and described the offering as "social endorsements at scale."