We develop an online marketing ecosystem tailored for your business.

Posts Tagged ‘success’

Formalizing The Internal Promotion Process For Your Small Business

By John Joyce on February 21, 2013 - Comments 0

Promoting Your EmployeesIf your business is in growth mode and you’re ready to promote from within, you need to develop a formal process for identifying, interviewing and elevating your star players.  There are many reasons why you would choose to search internally as opposed to looking for outside candidates as highlighted by this list from the NFIB.  The continuous theme here is the fact that you need to formalize a process to ensure a systematic approach:

  1. Management should meet with employees being considered for promotion and discuss possibilities with them. An employee should never be promoted without first having the opportunity to give input regarding increased time commitment, increased or changed job responsibility and overall career direction.
  2. Promotion from within should not be approached in a random fashion. Career paths and the potential for promotion should be laid out for employees even during the hiring process. This sets up a systematic channel for promotion, organizes management as they look for potential employees to promote and minimizes the potential for jealous behavior.
  3. When two or more employees are vying for the same promotion, it’s essential that those who lose out do not feel that any hidden agenda was involved. The entire process should be transparent. Don’t wait until the big company meeting to make the announcement—leaving those who didn’t get promoted surprised, disappointed and possibly embarrassed.

Now, you’re a small business, so the process shouldn’t become overly intricate and cumbersome but it needs to be consistent.  Let’s face it, it’s not like you’re picking the next Pope.  (see below)

 

 

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Small Business Saturday – November 24, 2012

By John Joyce on November 20, 2012 - Comments 0

Smalll Business SaturdayMake sure you visit your local small business establishments this Saturday to celebrate their success and commitment to your local community.

Small business owners are excited about Small Business Saturday—some 34 percent say it’s the most important shopping day of the holiday season, compared to 24 percent who cited Black Friday and 14 percent who cited Cyber Monday. (Thirty-seven percent said all the days were equally important.) Eight out of 10 expect their sales to increase compared to Small Business Saturday last year.

Get more details over at Revenue Architects now.

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50% Discount for Small Business Technology Tour In Boston

By John Joyce on October 19, 2010 - Comments 0

The Small BizNest invites small business owners to attend the small business technolgy tour

Friends of The Small BizNest are eligible for a 50% discount on admission to the Small Business Technology Tour in Boston next week.  Ramon Ray, founder of Smallbiztechnology.com, has put together a great series of events to educate growing companies – whether you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner – in how to use technology as a tool to grow your business.  The next event will be taking place on October 25th at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center. (NERD)

Check out our latest newsletter for more information on enrollment and other cities where you can attend this great event.

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Be The Subject Matter Expert: Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part XVI

By John Joyce on May 5, 2010 - Comments 0

Raise your hand and answer questions so people know you're the expertIf you know the answer to a question, you had better raise your hand and let everyone know that you are a subject matter expert.  There are plenty of prospective customers out there looking for answers and all you have to do is share your experience and knowledge with them.  I use a service called Lotusjump (affiliate link) which automates the process of finding questions that pertain to specific keywords I have entered into their system.  Not only do I benefit from positioning myself as being knowledgeable in a specific area, but each answer posted is now an inbound link to my site.  There is a modest monthly fee for this service but it saves you a bunch of time and teaches you how and where you should be investing your SEO resources.

You would be surprised how many prospective customers are asking questions on sites like Answers.com and Yahoo Answers.  And, for the most part, they’re more than happy to award you “the best answer” moniker for taking the time to give thoughtful and insightful answers.

Much like blogging, it might take you awhile to find your “voice” and style for answering questions but this will develop over time.  The most important thing to remember is that you don’t want to be the “blah, blah, blah, hey look at me” guy/girl.  Here are a few guidelines for effectively highlighting your knowledge and experience:

  1. Make sure the question is clear.  Don’t be afraid to ask for quick clarification.
  2. Get right to the point.  Don’t yammer on like Ron Burgundy about being “a big deal”.
  3. Be authoritative.  You need to do x, y and then z.   Don’t do a, b or c.
  4. Tell them why.
  5. When possible, insert links to your site, white papers, etc.

Online Marketing Ecosystem

Although it isn’t included in the image to the right, LinkedIn is another great place for you to build your reputation as an expert.  Since this is a business site with millions of members the competition for “best answer” is substantial as compared to the standard answer forums.

Take a look at these sites to get an idea of the questions you can expect and study the responses of the people who have given the best answers.  It’s not that complicated.  People have questions and you have answers.  So, get to work!

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Is The Outlook For Small Business Awfully Good Or Just Plain Awful?

By John Joyce on April 13, 2010 - Comments 0

Good morning/afternoon, my name is John/Jeff and I would like to empower/scare you with some scientific research data that illustrates how great/terrible the outlook is for small business owners.

Yesterday, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), SCORE, and the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), along with Constant Contact, released survey results stating that Seventy-nine percent of small businesses revealed a confident to neutral outlook for the U.S. economy over the next 12 months.

Key findings from this survey of nearly 7,000 small business respondents are as follows:

– Small businesses anticipate growth in 2010

– Small businesses are doing more with less

– Small businesses look for new efficiencies as costs increase

– Small businesses question government support

However, this morning, the National Federation of Independent Business monthly business index stated, “U.S. small business owners have little confidence in the economy and are in no rush to hire or expand, despite signs the recovery is picking up”.  The interpretation of this number is extremely negative and points to a lack of confidence in the economy but, more importantly, a realization that Congress and the Obama administration have offered nothing to help small businesses grow during these difficult times.

So, what does this mean?  Are things good or are they bad?  I’ve begun to just chuckle at this type of seemingly impossible conflict of data collected from the same overall pool.  I’m sure both are scientifically sound but to have such disparity in results is confounding for business owners.  Should we double-up or start building the fallout shelter?

Maybe we should just stop reading the news.  Either way, the only thing that matters is your personal experience and, in many cases, what your instincts tell you.  We all have to be cautions in uncertain times but must also recognize when to take risk and build our own foundation for recovery and growth.

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Get People Talking About Your Business: Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part XIV

By John Joyce on April 7, 2010 - Comments 0

You need to get people talking about your business.  Period.  Your product/service must offer an experience that compels customers to talk about you and recommend your business to their network of contacts.  Of course, there’s a flipside to this equation and that’s when someone has a negative experience with your business and they decide to share that information on social networks.  If you experience the latter, don’t run and hide; address the issue head-on and diffuse the situation within the same public forum it began.

To get started, visit each of these sites to determine if your business is listed and what people are saying.  Claim your business, manage the conversation and address issues as soon as possible.  You can’t make these sites go away so your best bet is to develop a strategy to make them work in your favor.  This is an yet another social medium that isn’t perfect and is continuously evolving and your strategy will have to do the same.

customer reviews and ratings services for small business

Click to see interactive online marketing ecosystem.

By now you’ve heard all the hoopla about Yelp having “long faced criticism that it gives preferential treatment to businesses that advertise with the company.”  Although Yelp maintains that there is no connection between the two, they did announce significant changes to the service this week.

Service providers like Yelp have proven how lucrative the local search advertising market is and Google is currently testing Enhanced Listings in Google Local Business Center that would allow business owners to create a unique, differentiated listing.  Google’s beta service currently offers the following:

  • Add yellow tags to promote coupons, a photo of your business, and more.
  • Stand out in local business results on Google & Google Maps.
  • See your performance in your account anytime.
  • Cancel anytime. Pay just $25 a month.

Will Google face the same scrutiny as Yelp?  We’ll have to see how this plays out but, if Google can collect $25 per month from a large percentage of small business owners, there’s a good chance we’ll see this rolled out in the near term.

The bottom line for businesses, especially “local” businesses, is to be aware of all these feedback sites and to monitor your reputation regularly.

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Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part X: Vertical Communities

By John Joyce on March 25, 2010 - Comments 0

Effective Use of Social Networks for Small Business OwnersFacebook and similar networks where “socializing” is truly the main objective can be ineffective marketing platforms for many businesses. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a fan page for your business but, what I am saying is that you have to prioritize the amount of effort you provision for each online marketing vehicle based on simple ROTI.  (Return On Time Invested)  For each network, you must ask yourself 1) How do you find your target audience? 2) How do you convey your message in a way that is meaningful to them? 3) Should you be marketing to people who have become members of the mafia or have started a farm? (you know exactly what I’m talking about)

Wouldn’t it make more sense to put your effort into a network of like-minded business people who are actually interested in professional networking, business deals and partnerships? I have been using LinkedIn since 2003 when it was in beta and it is, by far, the most effective business networking tool I have ever used.

Vertical Social Networks for Small Business

Click image to view interactive online marketing ecosystem

Of course, the only way to know which network is best for your particular business model is to test both platforms.  An easy way to do this is to run some simple advertisements on LinkedIn and Facebook.  You set all demographic criteria to narrow down your target audience.  You can also set a daily limit for spend and choose to pay per click (PPC) or per thousand impressions (CPM).

Building your marketing ecosystem is a balancing act where you must test, evaluate, rinse and repeat.  It’s important to build your online presence but it’s even more important to optimize your efforts which is a perpetual learning experience.

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Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part VII: Feedback And Comments

By John Joyce on March 16, 2010 - Comments 0

If you want to develop the “persona” of your small business, you have to make sure your audience is easily able to interact and share their thoughts and feedback with you. It’s also important to deliver engaging and, in some cases, polarizing and provocative content that will motivate people to interact. Finally, once you spark conversation and debate, you still have to maintain some semblance of control over the process so I have listed several tools available to help with this process:

Comment Management Tools

Click on Image to View Interactive Online Marketing Ecosystem

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Introducing The Interactive Online Marketing Ecosystem

By John Joyce on March 11, 2010 - Comments 1

In an effort to offer the most value to our readers, we have created an interactive map of the Online Marketing Ecosystem. There are so many marketing technologies available that we felt it was important to present your options in one central location. This will be a “living” map and will be updated as often as needed – as long as you’re willing to share your ideas and suggestions with us.

Here are some simple navigation tips:

  • Click and drag to move around the map
  • Hover over the small arrow next to the name of each tool to see/follow the external link
  • Click zoom in/out buttons at bottom of the window
  • Click “full screen” button to view in a browser window

Thanks!

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Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part VI: Friends And Family

By John Joyce on March 9, 2010 - Comments 0

Social Networks For Small Business

Click Image to View Interactive Online Marketing Ecosystem

This one’s going to be quick based on the fact that most people are already Facebook users and understand the power of the platform.  As I have said over and over again (sorry for being a broken record), you have to present your business information in as many places as possible and that includes social networks.

As was illustrated in my last post, you can automate the process of spreading the word across different platforms without actually having to manually do so within each application.  If you don’t want to post your marketing outreach on your personal page, make sure you create a fan page in Facebook and only post there.  Either way, your friends and family are great resources for creating word of mouth momentum.

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