How NOT to Sabotage Your Small Business Marketing Success

Wondering if a business person would in any way really sabotage his/her own success?  Of course that sounds impossible but the truth is, many are. While many small business owners think they are effectively marketing their business, the fact is they are cutting their own throat!

It doesn’t matter if as a small business entrepreneur you’re running ads that are pulling in leads/customers. You may even be a business blogger writing regular and impressive blog posts and you’re perceived as an expert in your field.  Yet if you’re failing in the following areas, you definitely may be sabotaging your own success because successful marketing goes beyond these things.

Small Business Marketing Tips

The following are a few ways small business owners unknowingly sabotage their own success.

1. No Marketing Plan 

There is a popular saying that those who fail to plan have already planned to fail. That indeed is the truth. If as a business person you have no marketing plan, no matter what you’re doing right now you’ve set in motion forces that will sabotage your marketing success. Of course you can market without a plan but a plan will help your focus your marketing efforts so that you can make the most of your marketing budget.  So if you don’t have a marketing plan right now make sure you create one.

2. No Written Goals

Just think about it for a moment, those marketing activities you’re engaged in right now do you have a specific objective you want to achieve with them? Are your goals written down? This is another area where many business entrepreneurs sabotage their marketing efforts. As a business person you need a clear vision and a target to aim for with every of your marketing activities. That’s the way of smart business owners. They have written goals and objectives for what they want to achieve with their business and for each of their marketing activities. What more, proofs abound of people who put their goals into writing having a higher success rate than those who do not.  A written marketing goal will help you determine how much of marketing you need thereby making things a lot more easier for you.

3. Short-Term Mental Attitude

Another way you can sabotage your marketing success as a business person is in your approach to what you’re doing. Are you consistent with your marketing efforts? Do you pull the plug too soon? Are you the reactive type who, though it may appear, is doing a lot of marketing on the surface is not doing anything consistently or long enough to make any impact?

You must understand that consistency is one virtue you must learn as a business person.  Running an ad or sending out your newsletter a few times and then giving up because you received no immediate results is worse than doing nothing at all.

You should know that marketing statistics indicates it takes somewhere between three and 10 exposures to a message for the average consumer to notice it and take action.  It therefore means that having a short-term attitude towards your marketing is actually detrimental as it’s quite possible your audience may only be warming up to your messages about the time you threw in the towel!

4. No Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Maybe placing this at the bottom of this list may give you the impression that you can really overlook this but that is indeed fallacy. In fact, this is probably the biggest culprit why many business owners sabotage their marketing efforts without even realizing it.

Why do you expect someone to buy your product or service instead of all the other products or services available to them?  Have you figured this out?

You should be able to figure out what is unique and better about your product or service, and then found a compelling way to communicate this in your marketing message. Business experts all agree that no matter how great a marketing plan may be it will be of no use if you have not clearly defined your USP.  Therefore marketing without a clear Unique Selling Proposition (USP) will only be wasting your time and your money.

How to Banish Marketing Sabotage and Succeed With Your Business Promotions

1. Develop a marketing plan – Of course this is obvious from the foregoing. As a business person your number priority should be to develop a marketing plan every year.

2. Write objectives – Write at least one objective that states what results you would like to achieve with your business over the next year.  And, write at least one objective for every marketing activity you undertake, that states what results you would like to achieve from that activity over the next year.

3. Stay the course – Check in on your progress toward your objectives every three to six months, but give your plan a good nine to 12 months to work.

4. Determine your unique selling proposition and make sure it is represented clearly and in a compelling way in everything you do.

5. Don’t try to be “everything to everyone.”  Focus on a few specific benefits and a specific audience.

6. Track all of your marketing activities so you know exactly what is working and what is not working.

7. Don’t rely on one marketing activity. Employ a mix of several marketing activities to reach more people more times.

8. Create a system to help you stay on track with your marketing activities every month and to help you plan ahead for future activities.

9. Create a realistic budget based on a percentage of your projected revenue, or the dollars you have available for marketing and stick to it.  Marketing is an investment in your business. You have to spend enough to make progress but not more than your business can financially support.

10. Understand your environment – The economy, competition, the strength of your particular industry, your prospects’ situation.  You have to understand them all so you can create an effective plan to either overcome obstacles or take advantage of opportunities.

Take away: A marketing plan built on a clear unique selling proposition with the right objectives is necessary if you don’t want to sabotage your marketing success. A well thought out plan based on the guidelines above will ensure that your business stand a much greater chance of succeeding.  All of these activities are part of a good marketing plan. And no business that wants to succeed should be without one.

Over to you: Do you agree that business entrepreneurs need a well figured out marketing plan to succeed marketing their business online? Let’s have your take on this in your comments.

6 Online Business Ideas to Make Money in 2018

Still struggling to make money online? Are you stomp on actualizing your online dreams?

How about if a digital entrepreneur and multi-millionaire, who has walked the path you’re about taking will take you by the hand and guide you on your journey?

Alright, in this post I want to share with you a video where Sarah, the video editor at Wholesale Ted and Mark Ling, a multi-millionaire and co-founder of SaleHoo reveal 6 online business ideas you can start today to make money online.

Enjoy the video…

Video Transcription

Sarah: Hey, guys. It’s me, Sarah, the video editor at Wholesale Ted and in this video, I’m gonna give you six online business ideas so that you can create your own small digital business. Now, of course, my subscribers here at Wholesale Ted can probably guess what some of these ideas are going to be. But I think even my subscribers might be surprised at some of these ideas, especially idea number four.

The great thing about a lot of these ideas is they require very little startup money. If you’re willing to put in the work, then you can create your own small online business as well. And I’ve actually got a special guest with me on this video today, Mark Ling. Mark Ling is a multi-millionaire who owns several successful digital businesses.

He’s also the co-founder for SaleHoo which is actually how I met him. And plus, he’s also a New Zealander like me so be aware, he also has a funny accent. Now, there are two people that have massively influenced my life. It was Ted who changed my life by teaching me the world of e-commerce and it was Mark who changed my life by teaching me the world of affiliate marketing. So I’m really excited to have him on this video today.

All right. Let’s jump straight into it…

Idea number one, start a YouTube channel

A lot of people ask me this exact question, “Sarah, if you’re a successful online seller, why do you even bother having a YouTube channel?”

Well, I’ll tell you why. It’s a form of income diversification. I learned very quickly early on that income diversification is very important, which is one of the reasons why I teach multiple business models on this channel. And I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty profitable. Every month, this channel makes tens of thousands of dollars.

How?

Well, let me tell you now. It is not from AdSense. In fact, as you may or may not have noticed, we actually have AdSense turned off so we get no AdSense money at all.

YouTube AdSense usually pays around $1 to $2 per 1,000 views. In the previous 4 weeks, Wholesale Ted had 278,000 views. If we had AdSense on, then that means we’d have made between $278 to $556.

We also regularly get emails from people that want to do sponsorships on this channel. I’ll tell you now, I always turn these down. Yes, I do promote and I recommend products on this channel but I only promote and recommend products that I use and believe in. I’m not gonna sell my soul for $250.

Given that those are the two common ways to make money on YouTube, how are we able to make tens of thousands of dollars every month with less than 100,000 subscribers and the answer is simple…

It’s through affiliate marketing.

Now, Mark is going to give you a deeper explanation as to what affiliate marketing is very shortly but let me give you a quick rundown.

Affiliate marketing is when you promote someone else’s product and if somebody purchases the product because of you, then you get a commission cut on the sale and this is usually tracked through a unique URL which shows that the person bought because of you.

For example, on this channel, we have a video which shows you how to use Jungle Scout to find great products to sell on Amazon. And in the video description of that video, we have an affiliate link to Jungle Scout. And this isn’t some big secret. In the video, I give a very clear disclaimer that the link in the video description is an affiliate link.

When it comes to affiliate marketing, honesty is the best policy. Why? Well, because when you recommend a product and you’re getting a commission cut on the sale if the customer purchases it because of you, then obviously, they’re going to become skeptical. Are you just recommending it for the money? So don’t be dishonest and create more distrust by hiding the affiliate link and pretending like you aren’t getting a commission cut for the sale.

Be upfront and honest. The other way that we create trust is that we show how we use these tools in tutorial form so that others can see that they are genuinely helpful, that they are useful, and that they are worth purchasing. Not everyone will use your affiliate link but if you provide genuinely useful advice in your video, then a lot of people will use your affiliate link as a thank you for the time and effort that you spent creating it.

Another way that we build trust is that the majority of our videos don’t even use any tools or have any affiliate links in the description. We only use tools if they are relevant to the video. We focus on providing genuinely great content. And it’s funny. If you focus on creating great content for the viewer and you treat money as a secondary concern, then what you’re gonna find is that you’re gonna make more money because when you do recommend products, people are actually going to trust you and that is actually a great lesson for anyone who is starting a business.

If you start a business on the basis of helping people rather than cheating people, you’re going to go much further. If you go and you cheat people out of some money, then sure, maybe you’ll make a quick buck but they will go and tell others and your reputation will be trashed. But if you sell and recommend products that genuinely help people and fix their problems, then not only will they go and tell others that you helped them but you will also create repeat buyers.

But, I digress.

The point here is that if you want to start a YouTube channel, do not start it with the focus being on getting money through AdSense or through sponsorships. Instead, look for more lucrative ways to monetize and usually, that means that you’re either gonna be selling other people’s products through affiliate links or, if you’re even more bold, you can sell your own products.

And, of course, don’t make crappy videos that are just designed to sell stuff. There are no shortcuts here. You have to make good videos.

All right…

Let’s switch over to Mark so he can tell you more about affiliate marketing.

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Mark: Idea number two, become an affiliate marketer. Thanks, Sarah. Yes, affiliate marketing is hugely profitable. I make tens of thousands of dollars from affiliate commissions every month. Here’s a screenshot of just one of my ClickBank accounts and as you can see, that in the past 4 weeks, I’ve made over $20,000. And in just 3 months, I generated over $47,000 from commissions selling a product that is in the supplements niche.

So, what is affiliate marketing?

Sarah touched on this briefly but I’ll explain it a bit more now. Affiliate marketing is when you don’t have your own products to sell and instead, you sell someone else’s product. And when you make a sale, you get a commission for it. So sales are tracked through a unique URL. When someone clicks on that URL, they get cookied. That cookie then tracks them and it means that the merchant can tell if somebody bought the product directly after clicking their link.

So what this means then is that you don’t need to have a product of your own to sell. You can actually start making money online by selling other people’s products. What it means is that you just need to focus on generating traffic from people who might be interested in buying the products that you are promoting.

Now, Sarah has already explained how having a YouTube channel can be one really great source of traffic but there are lots of others out there too. Some examples include Facebook advertising, Google AdWords, free search engine optimization traffic, having your own email newsletter list, social platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, and more. And you’ve got two main options. The first is that you can direct your traffic directly to an offer. For example, Sarah directs people directly to buy Jungle Scout in her video. And sometimes, like in the case of that example, it is best to do that.

But usually, it’s best to actually direct that traffic to a freebie offer like a free eBook. Let’s say then that you are really into organic gardening for instance. So you decided to promote products related to this. What I would recommend you do is create a free eBook to help people who are also interested in this.

So it might be something like “The Seven Steps to Creating an Organic Garden.” Then, when people get their free eBook, require then that they give their email address and that they opt-in to receive your newsletter series. So in this newsletter series, you should send them lots of free, helpful information about organic gardening to prove that you’re an authority and that they can trust your recommendations and to build a relationship. But, you should also use this newsletter series to recommend great products that are related to organic gardening that you think that your subscribers will like and find helpful. And, of course, when you do that, you can use your affiliate link. By instead directing traffic to your free eBook, you’ll capture their email addresses so that you can remarket to them again and again instead of just one-off, which is why this method is so powerful and so lucrative.

Sarah: Idea number three, reselling items online.

This method is really simple. It simply goes going out there and finding items in the real world that are really cheap and then reselling them on sites like eBay and Amazon. For example, this is Pokémon Leaf Green version, which, by the way, includes the Game Boy Advance wireless adapter, which is a big deal. Now, I picked this little bad boy up at a garage sale for about $30. Now, if I were to resell that on the New Zealand version of eBay, which is called Trade Me, I could get anywhere from $70 to $100 for it. Now, I don’t do this business model anymore but I like to keep these video games around for nostalgia because this was my first foray into online selling.

[eaa_show_ad ad=”my_in_post_content”] Now, if you go to thrift stores, to garage sales, to Craigslist, and even to buy and sell Facebook groups, you’ll often find items that are priced lower on there than their going price on eBay and Amazon. If you want to get even more sophisticated with this method, you can do something that’s called retail arbitrage. This business model is when you find items priced lower in retail stores than their going price on Amazon. You then go and buy up all the stock in that retail store and then ship it into Amazon. For example, here in New Zealand, we have some candy called pineapple lumps. Now, I can go and buy this at a supermarket for $2.99. Now, that’s in New Zealand dollars. If you convert that to United States dollars, it costs just $2.16. But on Amazon, they are selling for over $8 in U.S. dollars. Now, you may have noticed that I specifically mentioned Amazon for retail arbitrage and not for eBay and this is for two reasons.

One, there is a great culture of buying brand-new items on Amazon than there is on eBay so it means that the prices are usually higher. And two, Amazon has an amazing program called Fulfilled by Amazon. This means then that you can take the items that you’ve purchased, ship them into an Amazon warehouse, and then they will pick, pack, and ship out the item to the customer when they order it. I used to do retail arbitrage myself when I was younger. It’s something that I no longer do anymore. I explained why in my video that is aptly called “Why I Quit Retail Arbitrage.” The main reason is because of the fact that it’s not a scalable method since you always need to be sourcing items. And that’s because of the fact that you’re usually sourcing discounted stock from a store so you never know week-to-week which items are gonna be discounted in a store.

But even though it wasn’t right for me, that doesn’t change the fact that if you scale this method as far as it can go, you can still build a six-figure business. And it’s actually really easy to get started. That’s why I included it on this list of best online business ideas because of the fact that it’s very newbie-friendly. All right. Let’s move on to the next business idea and this business model has made Mark millions of dollars.

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Mark: Idea number four, create and sell your own digital product with the help of affiliates. So, remember how earlier I was discussing affiliate marketing and how you can promote someone else’s product and get a commission cut for the sale?

Let’s flip that on its head. Why not, instead of promoting someone else’s product, you make your own product and then affiliates promote it for you? That’s what I do. I have several products, one of them that I co-own is called Manifestation Miracle and it’s a self-development course and it makes me tens of thousands of dollars every single month. And the best part is I don’t have to drive traffic to it because my affiliates are doing that for me. The business model is simple. Create a great product then place it on a marketplace like ClickBank.

ClickBank is a site where merchants can list their products and affiliates go to ClickBank looking for products to promote so this is how they discover your product and how they start promoting it. If you make a great product that has a high-converting sales page, then you’ll be able to attract affiliates to come and promote your product for you.

And it’s very passive and hands-off. And get this, by having your own product, you now have a list of customers and their email addresses. So take me as an example. I have a huge customer base for Manifestation Miracle. I know that these people are willing to buy personal development courses. It means that I’m then able to use that email list to promote other self-development products to them that they’ll be interested in and it means that I’m able to use my email list, which is built for me by affiliates by promoting my products, to then promote affiliate offers and make even more money. And it’s honestly the best of both worlds and it’s a fantastic online business idea.

Sarah: Idea number five, dropshipping.

Okay, okay. Although my subscribers here at Wholesale Ted probably expected this to make the list and I can’t help it. It’s a really, really good business idea. Dropshipping is a great business model for beginners because it means that you can sell items online without having to buy them in advance. You see, you usually have to buy items in advance when you sell them online. Take business idea number three, retail arbitrage. To do that, you need to go to a retail store, purchase discounted stock, and then go sell it. But with dropshipping, it’s different. You list items that you have not already bought.

To do this, you find dropshippers and these are suppliers that, well, are willing to dropship. You see, most suppliers won’t dropship, of course. They require you to purchase items in bulk and then you go and ship them to your customer. But if a supplier is willing to dropship, then what they’ll do is let you purchase items individually and then they will ship that individual item out to your customer.

So what you do is you list items that the dropshipper has for sale but you put a markup on that price. And then when the customer purchases the item from you, you get to keep the difference in profit. One really, really good thing about this business model is that it requires very little startup money because of the fact that the customer has already purchased the item from you in advance.

Now there are two methods of dropshipping that I teach on this channel. One of them is called “How to Start an AliExpress Dropshipping Store With No Startup Money” and I’ll have a link to that video in the description below. The other method involves dropshipping on Amazon and I have a video for that, titled, “Making Money With a Dropship Business.” And, of course, I will have a link to that video in the description below.

Okay, let’s switch back to Mark so he can give you our final idea for creating an online business.

Mark: Idea number six, private labeling your own physical products.

I don’t just create digital products like courses and eBooks. I create and manufacture my own physical products too. For example, one of my products is a knife sharpening stone and another is a vegetable spiralizer.

This method is simple. You simply import products cheaply from China and you resell them on Amazon or via your own website for massive profits. By selling them on Amazon, you get to take advantage of the Fulfilled by Amazon program so you can let Amazon manage and handle the orders for you, making it very passive. The reason why it’s called private labeling is because you place your own logo and branding on the item. This increases the value of the item so that you can charge an even higher price for it. Yes, it requires you to put money upfront to buy items in advance but it has the huge advantage that you don’t need to worry about managing customers’ orders.

Plus, it’s pretty neat to be selling your own physical products with your own brand. Here’s an additional bonus tip. You can increase your margins by back-ending them to a relevant digital offer. For instance, if you were selling dog leashes, you might wanna upsell people to a dog training guide that they can purchase instant online access to. Or you may wish to affiliate to someone else’s offer if you don’t happen to have one of your own to upsell to.

Sarah: All right. Those are our six online business ideas. If you have any questions about them, be sure to ask them in the comments section below and we will answer as many questions as we can. If you liked this video, I’d appreciate if you gave it a thumbs up and subscribed to us here at Wholesale Ted for more great videos about making money online. And if you would like to start your own online business but you don’t know how, then you should be sure to download our free eBook, “How To Make $10,000 a Month Online With Dropshipping.” You’ll find the link on how to download this incredible, life-changing eBook in the video description below.

Ted: Hi there. And thanks for watching this video, created by us here at Wholesale Ted. It is our mission to help everyone start and grow their own online business. That is why we’ve created a simple eBook which shows how anyone, yes, even you, can make $10,000 each and every month with dropshipping, even if you don’t have startup money. And best of all, we’re giving away this eBook for free. And yes, we really mean absolutely free. So, if you’d like to get this potentially life-changing eBook, simply click on the link in this video description and get it now..

Click here to get started with SaleHoo

4 Effective Strategies for Managing Your Small Business Accounting Books

That more and more are taking up the entrepreneurial challenge by starting their own businesses is no more news. In fact, with the economic recession pushing more people into the labor market this is indeed a good thing.

However, starting your own comes with its own . There is so much to be managed and except you manage things well, that dream success can become illusive.

Managing your business books as a small business

Now, one of the areas you need to manage very well if you want to succeed with your is the financials. You need to manage your business books properly if you desire to see the good results.

While you don’t have to be some financial expert to do this correctly, fact is, if you plan to be your own accountant, there are many tax pitfalls you can fall into during the upcoming year if you are not aware of them.

While balancing your own books can be a viable way to save money, tax and bookkeeping errors may cost you a great deal in fines and lost time. The way out is to have a workable system that will help you manage your business books effectively.

No matter the size of your business, you can avoid a lot of mistakes by practicing a few simple accounting strategies. In this post I want to share with you a few proven accounting strategies that will help you manage your business books and succeed doing so as a small business.

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Strategies for Managing Your Business Books Successfully

1. Plan Ahead

Panning ahead is essential to manage your business books well

One of the most effective strategies for keeping an efficient bookkeeping system for business can be to plan carefully from the start. Read and review different types of accounting software and be aware of new rules that might affect you as an .

As MVU Online reports, technology is changing accounting practices and you must be quick to adapt. Once you find a system that works for you, create an accounting schedule so you can plan to do certain tasks on certain days to remain consistent.

2. Track Business Expenses Carefully

Knowledge about taxes is important for succeeding with your business

When you balance your own books and handle your own tax information, you must remember to record business expenses carefully and truthfully.

Some business expenses may include office furniture and supplies, gas for a vehicle you use for business, and shipping supplies. If you , you may even be able to claim certain utility bills, such as heating, lighting, and wireless internet.

Record usage each day and keep all business receipts in one place so you can access them easily.

3. Seek Training

Get training to succeed with your business

You do not have to be a financial expert to do your businesses’ books, but it may help you to take a few accounting classes or a seminar to gain a bit of additional know-how. If you are planning to be your own accountant in the long term, you may want to consider getting a master’s degree in accounting, especially if you plan to grow your business quickly.

If you are considering the pursuit of a master’s degree, New England College offers a variety of graduate degrees in accounting. Having additional education from this institution may help you keep up with different types of accounting practices. NEC also offers online forensic accounting degrees, which may help you find a job if you decide to switch careers later on.

4. Include Taxes in Your Business Budget

Never default in tax payments

While it is always exciting to make a profit with your new business, you should remember that not every dollar you make will remain in your wallet. Taxes must be paid, and when the time comes to pay them, they might take you by surprise. However, you can avoid this by budgeting for your taxes all year long.

One way to save for your taxes is to open a separate account for the money and save about twenty percent of your monthly income for taxes. By tax time, you will not have to scramble to find the money elsewhere.

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Conclusion

As a small business owner being your own accountant will definitely save your business money, especially if you are running on a shoestring budget during that difficult first year. But it’s important that you brace up for the challenges this throws your way. You will need to carefully plan and ensure that you keep up with new tax rules and regulations as this is essential to your continued success.

As long as you stick to these strategies, managing your business books yourself will be enjoyable and less tasking.

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Blog Marketing: What Every Small Business Owner Should Know!

Over the years blogging has become an essential tool for business online promotion. Unfortunately, many small business owners, till this day, still look at blogs as personal journals. Worst still, many others simply consider blogs as some social networking tool that is popular among young people out there in cyber space!

If you have that opinion back in 1995 you would be correct but not today!

One thing you can be sure of today is, Blogging Has Evolved!

The question is no longer, should you blog? Rather it is, do you have a blog?

Let me say it categorically that if as at this day you’re not blogging, as a small business entrepreneur, then you’re missing out BIG! And so, you must move from defining blogs as personal journals. They are presently powerful marketing tools. Savvy business owners are using blogs for brand recognition, connecting with clients/customers and of course, create more opportunities for their businesses.

But in this blog article we are talking about blog marketing.

Small business blog marketing tips

So,

What Is Blog Marketing?

It is important that we have a clear understanding of what blog marketing is for us to better appreciate its benefits. Over the years I have to tried to really get a grasp of this. I want to say that of all the definitions of blog marketing that I have come across, I think this clearly captures the true meaning:

Blog marketing is any process that publicizes or advertises a website, business, brand or service via the medium of blogs. This includes, but is not limited to marketing via ads placed on blogs, recommendations and reviews by the blogger, promotion via entries on third party blogs and cross-syndication of information across multiple blogs.

As you can see blog marketing involve a whole lot of things. But for this article I will restrict myself to the aspect that is concerned with using your business blog to directly market your business online. This consists of creating blog articles and using same to drive traffic to your business website.

Why Blog Marketing?

There are various benefits your business can get from blog marketing. Please read this article to understand some of the reasons why you should add a blog to your business website.

But to really understand the importance of business blogging, here are some stats that will interest you:

  • B2B marketers that blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not.
  • Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.
  • Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
  • Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.
  • By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human.

As a small business owner it is sure you wouldn’t ignore such stats, or do you?

 5 Tips for Effective Blog Marketing

Here are some ways you can ensure good results from your blog marketing efforts:

1. Link Your Business Blog to Your Website

If you have a website for your business, link your blog to it. This is a good way letting your customers/prospects know you do blog. This could create an immediate surge of traffic to your small business blog thereby making it popular in a short time.

2. SEO Optimized Content

When you are marketing a blog, you pretty much do it the same way that you would market a website. It is going to need keywords, and content. You can write the content yourself, or pay someone else to write it for you. That part is totally up to you. However, you will want to be sure that the content is decent and something that your readers will want to read. This will keep them coming back.

Make sure that the content is written from special keywords that you choose. You will also want to become familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO will help you to optimize your blog to get a better ranking with the search engines.

3. Exchange links with relevant sites

Once your blog is up and running with the right keywords and some content published, you will need to get it out there some more. Link exchanges are wonderful for marketing your small business blog. You want to try and exchange links with sites that are relevant to yours, but not in direct competition. If you try to exchange links with sites in competition with yours, you are going to find that many of them will turn you down in fear of losing business to you.

4. Submit To Blog Directories

While this may not really make much impact today but it is not a bad idea to do this. There are many online directories that caters specifically to blogs. Submitting your business blog to these directories is a big part of small business blog marketing. You can pay some directories to list your blog URL in their directory under the specific category that it falls under. However, some of these even have specific qualifications that you must have to get in. Follow all of the application steps, and you should be ok. Just do not try to submit your blog to a directory that it does not qualify for, or fit in.

5. Make Your Business Blog Truly Interactive

This is important for small business blog marketing. For example, if someone leaves a comment on your blog, acknowledging and responding to it make your blog a truly interactive platform.

You can also comment on other blogs that are relevant to yours, and leave a link to your blog as well. This will help bring in visitors to your blog, and you will begin to see more and more traffic.

Conclusion

Small business blog marketing is something that anyone can do. It’s not rocket science. Having a blog and keeping it up to date with the latest information is not hard. All you need to have is a plan and you will be set to market any type of business from your blog. Whether you are selling a product or a service, it does not matter. A blog that is marketed the right way will be beneficial to any business whatever it might be.

How to Start a Small Business on a Budget

Quick guide to starting a business on a budget

Can you start a business on a budget that is less than $1000 in our today’s economy? Of course, that may seem impracticable but it is not beyond the realm of possibility.  The truth is, many have successfully built flourishing businesses starting on a shoestring budget.

In this post I want to highlight a few tips on how anyone starting as low as $1000 can creatively build a business from scratch.

1. Your Choice of Business

Starting a small business on a budget or $1000 or less will greatly depend on the type of business you are going into. The fact is that there are some businesses that demand a whole lot of capital. If you are going into a business that requires thousands of dollars to start then jumping in when you don’t have the capital will amount to digging your own grave.

So, if you’re considering starting a business on a budget you definitely need to choose the right type of business.

2. Have a Strategic Plan

Starting a business on a shoestring budget is indeed a tasking Endeavour. Every ounce of your mental and physical power will be needed to make things succeed. To avoid being a wreck along the way you will need to have a plan that will not only allow you to work smart but also ensure that the money start flowing in  as soon as possible. If you are offering a service you must make sure that clients settle your bills as soon as you complete your job.

3. Go Lean

There is always the tendency to have a big office when you are starting a business. Of course, this is good as you will want to look professional and successful to potential clients. However, if you want to make a success of your business on a shoestring budget then you must avoid that temptation. You can however start from the comfort of your home but then design some good looking and professional business cards. Use your home phone as your business phone but ensure that you present a professional appearance when communicating with clients and customers. To ensure that you do not fall into situation where you forget what you are doing, set up a separate corner in the room for your business dealings. This way, you will always beware that you are in business.

Related Reading: How to make money online on a shoestring budget!

4. Use No-Cost Advertising

Advertising your business is a must but you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to do so. Seek out free advertising mediums for your business. Use online community boards, free advertising websites and possibly personally deliver business fliers in your community, if your business is targeted at your locality.

5. Collaborate

Whatever your target market there are other no-competing businesses you can partner with to exchange leads. You need to be creative in this. Look at the type of business you are running and consider other non-competing business that share similar customer bases with yours. Reach out to them and strike some form of partnership so you can directly refer customers or out-rightly exchange business leads

6. Get a Website/Blog

A website is one of the cost-effective ways of marketing your small business in today’s virtual economy. You can get a domain name and reliable webhosting anything from $10 – $30. If you lack the competence to setup your website, there are places online that you can get someone to do it for a very small fee. Most importantly, do not forget to add a blog to your website. This will allow you to use content marketing to drive consistent traffic with ease. Check this offer to see how you can have your blog set up for your for free.

7. Maintain a Positive Mindset

Attitude is everything. This is something that many take for granted. The fact that you are starting on a low budget can bring up a lot of challenges. These challenges could be so daunting that sometimes you just want to throw in the trowel. The only antidote that will help you in times like this is your mindset. Being able to positively motivate yourself no matter the situation will help you keep moving despite the challenges.

Conclusion

Going into business with enough money to drive your ambition is really great but where you have the right business idea but you are short of the cash, you can always start on a budget. If you’re thinking of taking this route, the above tips will definitely come handy. Though you may be starting on a low budget never lose sight of the fact that you will be trading your time for this shortage in capital. So, true is, your time would be the capital you will be investing. So what is your time worth to you? The value you put on your time will determine how much work you will be ready to make your shoestring startup succeed!

Google Places Optimization Tactics That Will Help You Win More Business!

Do you have a local business? Are you presently using Google places for that business? How about Google places optimization, are you effectively optimizing your Google places listings to help you attract and win more business?

Want to know how, right?

Then read this piece and you will discover some powerful ways you can become more successful using Google places optimization for your business!

Google Places for Business

Google business pages, Local SEO

In recent times, more and more consumers have turned to using local searches when shopping on the internet. Indeed, this could be attributed to the increase of the use of smartphones and other mobile devices. Consumers using their mobile hand held smartphones now use the search engines to locate businesses where they can, quickly and easily, meet their essential needs.

This should be of interest to you if you have a local business because using Google places for that business is now a vital thing. But more than just having a Google places listing, optimizing your listing will increase the chances of receiving more clicks.

Google places, a recent Hotspot launch by Larry Page and his company Google, has made the search engine to enter into the local recommendation space. With recent enhancements and changes, you can now see a map clubbed with local businesses over their advertisements just at its right side. The combination of Hotspot and Google Places is helping consumers in making buying decisions and on patronizing different local businesses.

Now, more and more businesses are turning to Google places and this is really making marketing on Google Places very competitive. For this reason if you are using Google places, it is important that you device creative and optimization ways to make your listings stand out from the competition. Taking such a position will help you win more business and also take your business to the next level.

Here are some powerful ways you can win more business through Google Places optimization.

1.    Ensure your Google Listing comes with 100% score

You can find more than 20 different fields in the Google Places listing. Unfortunately, a majority of businesses do not care to fill these different fields. Hence what you see at the end is a wide margin in the Google Places’ first page results.

Making sure to fill every necessary field when listing your local business, will give you leverage over your competition.

2.    Optimize your Google places listings through clients’ review

If you have ten different local business competitors in your market with all of them carrying 100% scores over your listing, do you know what Google would use to rank all these businesses?

The only one element of your profile which is open ended in a majority of cases is certainly the review section. If you have more number of reviews from your clients, this will certainly help you in winning the battle at the end. Hence it’s imperative to encourage your clients to write some reviews on your Google Places listing.

Of course, these reviews will also give your listing some SEO bite since your keyword phrase (possibly your product or brand name) may be used a number of times on these reviews!

3.    Incorporate product or service related keywords in listing description

When using Google places, businesses are expected to list one or two cities or suburbs that are concerned with their target audience. This is a good place to use your relevant keywords. You can optimize your Google places listings by simply implementing proven SEO principles while writing your description.

4.    Ensure you are listed in the local phone book

This may sound a bit weird to you; however, the fact is Google has a knack for looking at some established sources when generating their ranking results. One of these is local business information like the local phone book. This stands to reason therefore that, if you are not listed in your local phone book, this will limit your ranking in the first page.

5.    Ensure you are listed in all the top directories

Just like the phone book, you are supposed to be listed in all the major directories including Bing, Yelp, Yahoo, Hotfrog, Best of the Web, and Foursquare. In order to find out your score simply visit Getlisted.org, it will also help you in taking benefits from the free listings at all the top search engines.

Wrapping It Up

The above Google Places optimization tactics are not only important but has become mandatory in today’s cut throat competition. If you want to give your small sized local business some internet marketing power then abide by these tactics. Use them any day and they will help your business listings to remain visible on the first page of the SERPs!

Over to you: What other Google places optimization tactics have you ever used? Feel free to share your experiences, or questions if you there is any, in your comments below.

Small Business Blog Marketing Failures And How To Overcome Them!

With the increased popularity of blogs, many small business entrepreneurs now use this powerful tool for promoting their businesses on the net. Even off-line business entrepreneurs are not left out as many of them now use blogs to build a following online for their offline businesses.

Unfortunately, many of these entrepreneurs are new to blogging and do not know how to effectively use small business blog marketing. As a result of this many of them end up without any appreciable results. In this article I want to highlight 3 of the top reasons why many small business entrepreneurs fail with their business marketing blogs and also offer some tips on how to overcome them.

But First, What Really Is Business Blog Marketing?

Small business blog marketing help

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that not all who blog about making money blogging really know the different ways of making money online with a blog. But it’s simply the truth! There are actually 2 broad ways of making money with blogs. These are (1) as a pro-blogger (taking blogging as a profession where the blog is your primary means of income) and (2) as a business blogger, using your blog as a tool in promoting your business on the net.

So business blog marketing is actually a marketing strategy that consists of blogging about your business in order to build up a follower-ship that will ultimately become customers and clients.

This marketing strategy has been proven to be effective for getting your business out there for increased popularity.

Of course it’s this effectiveness of blogs in promoting your business on the net that has moved many entrepreneurs into starting their own small business blogs.

Unfortunately, blogging generally requires a lot of work! Gaining a large readership for your business blog requires much of your attention and a big dose of patience. And this is where many entrepreneur bloggers give up their dreams because  many of them started with the wrong notion that making money online does not involve much work!

But that indeed is a wrong notion. Any experienced blogger knows that coming up with ideas and creating content to update a blog on a regular basis takes not only time but brain power! And without this constant updating you don’t expect your blog readers to keep coming back for more.

3 Reasons for Small Business Blog Marketing Failure and Their Remedies

1. Lack of Time for Updating the Business Blog:

As mentioned above, business blog marketing is a busy affair and may take you away from other business chores. Many entrepreneurs never consider this before adding a blog to their business website. Even off-line business entrepreneurs who start a business blog with the mind of getting more clients online rarely think of this. When however, they soon realize that much of the time devoted to creating content, updating the blog and interacting with blog readers could actually be used for attending other aspects of the business many soon abandon the blog.

Of course there are a few ways to overcome this problem. But, I’ll suggest just one here and that is, hire some help!

I think this is very important especially if you’re a service business entrepreneur. Your time is valuable and therefore you cannot afford to devote all of your time to updating a blog while the day to day running of your business suffers.

There are different options online on how you can get a constant flow of blog content created for you. It may interest you to know that I offer professional SEO web content writing service dedicated to helping you get high search rankings for improved brand visibility and increased website traffic. You can hire my services to create your content for you. Besides, you can also post a project here and allow freelance bloggers bid on your work.

Taking this approach will greatly increase the effectiveness of your small business blog marketing. You’ll have more time to attend to your existing clients/customers and also be able to reach out to more prospects thereby enlarging your market reach!

2. Challenges of Not Being a Writer:

This is another problem that faces many business entrepreneurs who wants to market their business online with a blog. Successful blogging is really about constantly writing good content. Without good content, no one will want to come back to your business blog after their first visit. Besides, good content will help your business blog to rank high on the search engines which is good for your marketing. So good content is indeed key to the success of your business blog marketing.

But not many business entrepreneurs are good writers! Though many of these ones have ideas of what to write about yet they lack the ability to package these ideas to really market their business. You must understand that this is crucial because when people visit your business blog their impression about you and your business will be determined by the content you put on the blog. Just writing anything and posting to your business blog could actually hurt the performance of the blog. it is therefore important that you find some ways of getting good content created for you.

Our suggestion above can also be used to overcome this problem, that is, hiring some help. And if you’re looking to get customized professional service then it’s important you check out my professional SEO web content writing service.

Of course, thousands of content writers abound on the net that will be willing to help you for a token fee. It doesn’t matter your budget, there is just a writer that fits your budget. Find examples of what others are doing here.

3. Lack of Basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Knowledge:

How many off-line business entrepreneurs really know anything about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? What about the small business entrepreneurs marketing online, how many of them know how to effectively use SEO strategies to rank their business websites and blogs?

It may be true that one of the reasons for using a business blog is the SEO advantage of blogs but with the competition today much needs to be done for a blog to rank high on the search engines. This is where basic SEO tactics comes in.

Now, I don’t advocate leaving your search engine optimization in the hands of someone else no matter experienced that person may be. Besides, many of the firms offering search engine optimization services on the net cost an arm and a foot. But there is a better route you can go that is, studying everything you can find on SEO.

Frankly, this will help you immensely but cost you less! You can actually get good resources from Amazon.com at a cost that will surprise you. For example the  Search Engine Optimization For Dummies is such a good SEO resource you can get from Amazon.com.

So instead of paying through the nose to get some seo expert to handle your business blog seo needs, you can, with just a few dollars, get the knowledge you need. The good thing is that this knowledge can be used in other ventures later on. You must realize that using SEO will help you succeed with your small business blog marketing to the fullest extent possible as  optimizing your blog posts will get you results that you will love.  So do not overlook SEO when building your small business blog.

Conclusion: Small business blog marketing can really be done by anyone if these issues are handled well. The benefits of business blog marketing to entrepreneurs on the net should motivate entrepreneurs to overlook the great work involved and incorporate it into their marketing mix right away.

Over to you: What other factors do you think are responsible for entrepreneurs failing with small business blog marketing? Share your thoughts in the comment below.

3 Steps To Succeeding In Your Self Employed Business!

After a careful search I’ve come to realize that the dream of many of us who are online is to be self employed. We want to escape the office politics. We desire freedom to do our own thing and succeed doing so. Though many of us have this dream all along, the advent of the internet and the economic reality around the world today has made this dream of self employment a thing of urgency.

I don’t know about you but this is the reality for me. That is why I’m always seeking to understand what it takes to make this dream a reality for me. Already, the Small Business Administration (SBA) reports an estimate of 580,900 new small businesses being opened every year. Of course, this number does not include the self employed one-person entrepreneurships that pop up all the time, mostly online.

From their records the SBA, reports that two-thirds of these estimated 580,900 new businesses being started every year, survive at least two years and 44 percent survive at least four years. And of course the two key factors responsible for this survival and ability to thrive is the owner’s education level and reason for starting the firm in the first place. I do hope you’ll mark that!

Business success tips for small businsses

Now, there are definitely thousands of legitimate home based businesses that any one who wants to be self employed can choose from. But the truth told is that your success in working from home does not depend solely on the home business opportunity you pick. This can be seen from the SBA report. You may have been told it is the best opportunity ever. But your success depends mostly on one person and that is YOU!

This therefore shows that if you must succeed as a self employed entrepreneur, there are specific steps you must take to realize your dream. This does not mean you’ve to understand everything before stepping out to start your own business. All you need is the basics and as you go along you simply need to build on what you know and dedicate yourself to learn more. So if you will truly want to join the group of the successful home business, self-employed entrepreneurs, all you need is to concentrate on answering the following questions. Get yourself a pen and a paper or create a blank note pad on your computer (if you’re more keen on using your computer) and provide answers to these questions.

Step 1: What Is Your Business?

This definitely is the first question you need to answer. But unfortunately it is a question that is not easy to answer for many. You must know that your business is not just your product or the service you offer. You should be able to define your business in the light of what benefit your product will give your customers. For example, think about the clothing business. When your customer buys a T-shirt their mind is not just on the T-shirt, they are buying an image, a feeling. So when you’re thinking of your business you need to be able to define your business in terms of what the business will offer your clients and customers. Think of convenience, comfort, peace of mind, self esteem etc. this will help you build a brand that will easily stand apart from your competitor’s.

Step 2: Who Is Your Market?

This is another crucial step that you must focus on. Having defined what your business is, you need to know who need what you’re offering. How much you know about your target audience is key to your business success. You need to know what they do, where they hang out, whether they are online or off-line, what television programs they watch and of course a few more things that will help you truly define your target market. If you’re able to correctly answer this question you’ll save yourself many a heartache when it comes to devising a marketing strategy.

Step 3: What Should Be Your Marketing Strategy?

Having known what your business (brand) is and who your consumer is, the next step is to determine how you’re going to reach them. If you’ve answered the first two questions above, the question of your marketing strategy will simply take care of itself. When you know where your customers hang out, you should be able to know where to advertise. Knowing who they are will determine the voice of your brand. And of course your knowledge of the market will help you set prices that are reasonable for your market demographic. It is reasonable however to find out where other businesses from your industry are already advertising as they would have tried and tested many options before settling with the ones they are using. And on how much to charge for your product or service, it is advisable to keep your charges fairly low at the outset in order to attract as many customers. Once you’ve been able to create a buzz and the word of mouth is in your favour you could then raise your fees.

Your dream of being self employed running your own business working at home can become a reality if you’ll focus on these areas. It is important to realize that you may make mistakes along the way but don’t let that deter you. Stay positive no matter what happens. Don’t beat ourselves up. Count it as an experience you can learn from. Besides learning from your own example, seek advice from those who have done it. Read books written by self employed entrepreneurs who have braced the odds and have succeeded in their own businesses. You too can make it.