Tag Archives: Small Business

Digital Marketing for Small Businesses

I found this interesting white paper that discusses digital marketing from, of all companies, YP – rebranded Yellow Pages advertising:  YP_SmallBizFacts_WhitePaper.

Here’s an excerpt from the publication:

“…small business marketers know what works for them. 77% of business-to-consumer SMBs have acquired a customer through Facebook, compared to 60% from a company blog, according to HubSpot. Business-to-business SMB marketers found LinkedIn most effective, delivering new customers to  65% of respondents, followed by company blogs (60%), Facebook (43%), and Twitter (40%).   Frequency of blogging makes a difference—92% of respondents who blogged daily got new customers through their blogs.”

digital marketingDigital marketing has become the largest percentage of Southeastern Admin’s business.  We help our customers with email campaigns, blogging and social media posting.  When meeting with small business owners, I try to impress upon them the need to communicate with their customers.   There are so many FREE resources out there to stay in touch!  A few are:  MailChimp, Pinterest, Facebook, Google Plus, and local community sites.   Consistent communication is crucial and will produce ROI, but you must dedicate the time to make this happen.

For those that don’t have the time and/or don’t want to have to learn the new outlets, having a virtual assistant is a huge advantage.  We work 1:1 with business owners to determine what will work best for them and within their budget, and then we ensure that the message is getting out consistently.  Once a relationship has been established, most business owners find that we can assistant them with a multitude of other projects.    We place a high value on these relationships, and have built a network of trusted professionals in different service areas who may also be of assistance to our clients.

Lora Zibman |  www.Southeastern Admin.com   |   770-609-0904770-609-0904

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Content For Facebook – Fast!

This month I wanted to talk about the advantages of using an RSS (Rich Site Summary) Feed Reader.

rss feed

We’re all busy, and Facebook can become a chore.  If you frequently visit the same sites for content for your Facebook reposts, or if you sign up for their newsletters which then clogs up your inbox, STOP!

If the site or blog that you frequent offers RSS feeds, use them to consolidate all new articles into a single Reader site.   This way, you just log into one site and pull off all the content you need in seconds versus minutes.   You will know it’s fresh (no more posting 3 day old articles) and you won’t get sidetracked.  It’s easy to get lost once you hit a trade website, clicking on other articles that have nothing to do with what you want to post.

You can categorize the feeding sources, so if you post about banking and, more specifically about lending, you can create separate categories.  You can also create personal categories to stay up-to-date with your interests/hobbies.   Then just find the right article, open it, copy the URL and post to your page – easy peasy!

A friendly reminder that if you use posted content for your blog, plagiarism is a no-no!   We all know that it takes quite a while and focused-thought to create a blog post.  If you repost someone else’s content, you need to give them full credit as well as linking back to the original article. You can though, use the feeds to find news trends and then write about that subject from your own perspective.  Don’t forget to activate RSS feeds on your own site as well to gain more traffic and exposure.

If you’re already familiar with RSS feeds, then you undoubtedly know that Google is pulling the plug on it’s Reader.   If you haven’t already migrated from Google, you need to do so before July 1st.

A great, free Reader is Feedly. This is feed site only.  You can also migrate your Google feeds to Feedly.   For directions, click here.   Again, make sure you move them somewhere before July 1st.  There are a lot more Readers out there, so look around and find one that best suits your needs.

If you were an iGoogle user, I found an article listing other alternatives that you might want to check out.  I might blog about one of these later.   I am so disappointed that they are doing away with the feeds – I used iGoogle to keep all my information on one page (my feeds, Gmail, Google Calendar, Facebook, etc.).

Still don’t think you have the time?   Call Southeastern Admin to manage your Facebook and Blog posts.

Lora Zibman

http://www.SoutheasternAdmin.com | 770-609-0904

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Marketing Focus

Thank you for the positive response from last month’s Newsletter.  To follow up, we thought we’d provide you with a Marketing Plan Template to help get you started on the path to great marketing and keep you focused.

Click here for your free Marketing Plan Template, and make sure to frequently check our blog and Facebook pages for more tips and resources.

YOUR MARKETING PLANMARKETING FOCUS
Your day-to-day business marketing activities are likely to be focused on communicating with potential and existing customers.     A Marketing Plan sets out how you will put your strategy into place and will help you stay focused.  Be sure that your Business Plan and your Marketing Plan are in sync.

Set Objectives, Budgets and Deadlines
An effective Marketing Plan must set clear objectives that will help you toward your long-term strategic goals.

Timing
Start by building a schedule by identifying key times of the year when customers plan the next year’s budget or seasonal purchasing peaks.  Examples would be Spring and Summer breaks if you run an auto shop, or Christmas if you run a gift basket business.  Time your marketing campaigns to fit with these dates and look for other opportunities, such as trade shows.  If there are significant gaps in your marketing schedule, fill them out with cost-effective activities to help maintain customer awareness (newsletters, email or mailing campaigns, etc.)

If you rely heavily on a small number of crucial customers, consider developing individual account management plans for them.   Key accounts merit regular personal contact (phone calls, meetings, business entertainment, etc.).

Marketing Mix
In addition to marketing communications, your Plan should span the full mix of marketing activities.  An example might be developing new products and/or building your distribution network.   You will also need to plan for any price increases or tactical moves, such as an end-of-season sale.

Be sure to note in your Plan whether you intend to give your staff sales training or introduce new CRM (customer relationship management) technology.  Maybe you need to find more efficient systems or measure customer satisfaction.  Including activities like these in your Plan helps ensure that they are identified as priorities, and that you dedicate time and money to them.

Branding Considerations
Branding is more than your choice of corporate color, logo and catch-phrase.   Branding is best defined as your customers’ experience when they engage with your business, so it extends to such things as how you and your employees dress, how you greet your customers and email communication – the entire experience!

Think of branding in terms of a restaurant that you frequent. You go there because you know what’s on the menu, what it will taste like, what type of service you will receive, and how much it will cost you.   It’s the same for your customers.

Before you can develop your brand identity, you need to be sure that what you want to tell your customers about your business and your offer matches what your target customer segment wants, and what you can actually deliver. Successful businesses realize the importance of having a world-class brand and making full use of its potential.

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Secrets to Finding Cheap and Free Labor

Thanks to one of my networking friends, I was introduced to a great new Meet Up group, the Atlanta Business Academy for Women, run by Belinda Mays.  I really enjoyed this networking event as it was just not the regular meet and greet, but there was actual valuable content imparted.

Have to admit that I was initially intrigued because the title of the meeting: “The secrets to finding a full staff of cheap and free labor”.  While Southeastern Admin is not free  (sorry to let you know) or cheap (in terms of the quality offered), I thought the business owners who were interested in this topic and attending the meeting might also be interested in my services – Capitalist that I am.

I came away with some good information that every small business owner could use.  Belinda points out that all of us have “chores” that could/should be outsourced so that you can stay focused on what’s important to your business.  Some of these include:  Affiliate Program Setup, Blog Content, Bookkeeping, Budgeting/Forecasting, Data Entry, Lead Generation, Event Planning, Email Campaigning, Research, etc.

Others are more task based and involve technical skills at a certain level:  Website Design, Graphic Designing, Animation Creation, Photography, Ghost Writing, Branding and Publicity, etc.  For the more technical skill sets, you could set up an internship program!   However, it must be a win-win for both you, the business owner receiving free/cheap labor, and the intern, receiving ownership and credit for the project, and allowing them to further hone their craft.

Make sure that your intern is also getting benefit from the experience.

Make sure that your intern is also getting benefit from the experience.

Remember that as a small business owner, you must compete for interns with the likes of Home Depot, Coca-Cola and Baker McKenzie.  Your posting for intern position should be professional and make your intern want to work for your company.  Go online to Monster or CareerBuilder and look at similar postings for paid positions.  Make sure to list specifics for the internship:  how long will the position be required;  the degree they are pursuing and/or necessary skills required; and is it paid or unpaid.

Does your intern need to come to your place of business?   There are plenty of ways to connect via phone, the internet, web meetings, etc., so don’t limit yourself to local colleges and universities.   Some good online posting sites are: Internmatch.com, Internships.com and rsinternships.com.   Does your project involve multiple facets?  You might need more than one intern to complete the project (i.e., a website designer, a graphic designer and a marketing major).

During the interview process there are some important steps to remember to find the quality intern you require.  The answers to these questions will build to filter out the candidates that will not be a good match for your needs.

  • First provide a brief overview of you and your company’s services.  Before explaining the position in depth, find out what their career goals are and what they hope to gain from the experience.   Do their goals fit in with your overall requirements?
  • Next ask them what assignments they need to fulfill their goals.   Again, do these assignments fit in with your requirements?
  • If their goals and assignments fit in with your needs, now you can begin to detail the duties, and tie them in with their goals, ensuring that your candidate sees the benefit in working for you.  Find out how many hours they can dedicate to your project each week and when they can be available for project review meetings.   Again, you want to create a win-win situation, allowing them flexibility so that they can work efficiently and want to complete the project at no or little cost to you.
  • If everything is a fit, ask them if they would like to be considered for the position and make sure to send them your intern program contract.   This contract should include:  contact information of all parties, term dates, compensation (if any), duties, reporting instructions, location and scheduling (onsite or virtual and expected work hours), any equipment required for them to complete the assignment (are you providing any, or are they expected have their own), and a Nondisclosure agreement that will be signed by all parties (don’t forget this crucial step).

The way you treat the interns is critical to the win-win deal; do not expect them to pick up your cleaning or go get your lunch, treat them as though they were an actual employee (just without the salary).

Think about offering bonuses, based on their completing certain tasks.   Belinda lets her interns choose their own title.  How great of a draw is that?  Imagine listing on your resume that you were the Marketing Director for a company while attending college?  If you are a small business, and you wish to delegate all of your marketing programs to your intern, then this would in actuality be an accurate title.

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