June 29, 2012

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week

I’ve been so busy with running my company that I’ve hardly had time to share great links, so today’s update is a bit long. Before I get to it, I wanted to tell you that one of my favorite biz coaches, Sarah Shaw, is doing a free conference call on July 10th about how to get your business to $1 million. You can sign up for it here.


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May 4, 2012

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week

Want to see your products in TV and movies? This week only Lauren Aseff is spilling her secrets about how to get your products into TV and movies. The offer ends TODAY, so don’t miss out.

Here are my favorite ecommerce, small business and marketing reads of the week:


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March 30, 2012

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week

Filed under: Link Love — Tags: , , , , , — Meredith @ 9:17 am

Happy Friday! Here are my favorite marketing and small biz reads from the web this week:


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March 16, 2012

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week

Before I get into today’s links, I wanted to let everyone know my apparel & accessories company, Ex-Boyfriend, is doing a charitable fundraiser for homeless animals. As an animal lover, this is a cause that’s near and dear to me. Anything my readers can do to help would be greatly appreciated! Check out the details on how to help.

Now on to the links…


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March 2, 2012

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week

Filed under: Link Love — Tags: , , , , , , , — Meredith @ 8:54 am


Below are my favorite reads from around the web this week:


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January 6, 2012

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week

I’ve been so behind in sharing links. The holidays were crazy busy and my Smaller Box updates get a little behind. I realize today’s list is a bit long but it’s chock full of great stuff. Here’s what I’ve read that you should check out:


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November 11, 2011

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week

Filed under: Link Love — Tags: , , , , , , — Meredith @ 1:20 pm


Happy 11/11/11 everyone! And it’s Friday, woot!

Here’s the best stuff I saw around the business blogosphere this week:


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September 20, 2011

Getting Customers Psyched to Photograph Your Product & Share It On Facebook

Filed under: Case Studies — Tags: , , — Meredith @ 5:52 am

One of the things I love most about business blogging is sharing really creative marketing ideas with my readers. I hope these finds inspire you to do something awesome to bring excitement to your brand and products. Today, I want to share Old Bay seasoning’s clever campaign that got fans taking pictures of something as mundane as a spice tin and posting it all over Facebook.

The Campaign:
Old Bay seasoning invited its fans to “photobomb” Old Bay. Their Facebook page declared “Bold Never Gets Old. Upload a Photo and Prove It”. Fans were asked to photobomb a pic with Old Bay and post the photo to Old Bay’s wall. Uploaded photos that scored the most likes would be shared in a special gallery and might even become the official Old Bay profile photo.

Why it Rocks:

  • Gives fans a reason to engage with a fairly mundane product in a creative new way
  • Makes fans part of the brand, using their user generated content as product photos
  • Gives Old Bay social proof, loads of fans photographing their product can’t be wrong
  • Celebrate’s fans’ creativity
  • Gives fans fun new content on the brand Facebook page to enjoy
  • Makes Old Bay part of the conversation on Facebook, when fans upload a pic to the wall their feed is updated saying they posted to the Old Bay’s wall, giving fans’ friends reason to check out Old Bay’s page.

What You Can Learn From It:

  • Any type of product or service can be turned fun and social media-friendly.
  • Connecting with fans goes beyond selling them a product, you can get them excited about your products by looking at them in a new light.

What can you do with your products or services that engages customers in a new way?

 


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June 29, 2011

7 Little Tricks For Making Your Company Look Like a Big Deal


Ever hear the expression “dress for the job you want”? What it means is, if you keep showing up to the office in cut off shorts and ratty t-shirts, people will think you look like you belong in the mail room and that’s where you’ll stay. If your business is, figuratively speaking, dressed like a ragamuffin, it’s always going to be one. If you want to run a million dollar business, then fake it til you make it. Below are 7 ways you can make your business look like a big deal:

1. List your Phone Number
Real businesses have phone service. If you want to look like one, include a contact number on your website, ideally some place easy to spot. It says “we’re a real company, with real staff waiting to take your calls.” Even if you can’t man your phone line 24/7, have a professional voice mail greeting that implies that customer calls are returned in a timely fashion. (And then actually return the calls in a timely fashion.)

There are dozens of services that provide phone numbers for small companies. You can even get a free number from Google Voice (though it does have Google Voice branding on it). If you are willing to spend a little, you can get a toll free number for less than 10 bucks a month.

Bonus: Having a phone number ups your website’s trust factor, an important component of conversion rate optimization. People want to give their money to businesses that seem trustworthy. Having a phone number listed makes your business seem more like it can be trusted to take a credit card number and deliver products.

2. Have a beautiful web design
Not just any old website will do, you need a website that looks really great. Having an attractive professional website makes your business seem successful. It makes journalists more willing to write about you. It makes wholesale buyers more interested in doing business with you. It makes consumers more willing to trust you.

If you’re thinking “web design is hard” or “a web designer is expensive”, consider all the money and opportunities you’ll lose by having a terrible website.

3. Have great product photos
Great looking product photos are an extremely important part of your company’s image. Don’t bother with indoor lighting and a cheap camera. You want your photos to look compelling. Like a great web design, great product photos impress all kinds of online visitors from customers to the press.

If you want to take your own product photos, do some research to see how other people have staged photos of similar products. This will give you ideas on how to stage your photo shoot. Then be sure to work with proper lighting, so photos don’t look murky or gray. Finally, do some retouching in a program like Photoshop, so your photos look perfect.

If you’re not up for all this work, consider hiring a professional photographer to shoot your items. There are even photographers that specialize in doing product photography and will shoot your products for a pretty affordable rate, usually charging per product photo.

4. Merchandising
Merchandising products on your website in a variety of ways is useful for several reasons. It makes your product catalog seem bigger and it makes shopping for products easier. I wrote a detailed piece for Design Sponge last year on ways to merchandise a shop. You’ll notice a lot of bigger companies merchandise their online stores using the same strategies.

5. Publicity
Getting a mention from a major media outlet is not only a great way to increase brand awareness and give your sales a boost, it also makes your company look important. These placements give you credibility with both retail customers and wholesale customers, so they’re a valuable boon to your business if you can get them. Once you’ve scored them, you can use them on your website, adding logos like “as seen on” to product pages and your home page.

Not sure how to get publicity? Check this out, I’ve written a very detailed how-to.

6. Engaged Social Media Followers
Want to convince media outlets, wholesale buyers, competitors or potential new retail customers you’ve got an army of rabid fans? Of course you do, and social media makes that easier than ever. By truly engaging your fans on sites like Twitter and Facebook (instead of just selling to them), you can get them to talk to you and about you, thus making your fans seem like they’re crazy for you.

Some tricks that help:
- Ask questions that prompt responses
- In your product packages, include a note that asks customers to share a photo of themselves using your product on Facebook
- Take photos of fans at live events using your products and tag them on Facebook/share them on Twitter and Flickr
- Shoot videos of live events and interview your customers. You can just ask a couple of quick questions such as “what did you buy from [insert brand name] today?” or “what did you enjoy best about today’s event?” Then post to Youtube and let fans know they’ve been featured.

7. Product Presentation
If you’re just shoving your products into a mailer with an invoice print out from Paypal, STOP IT! You’re leaving the customer with the impression that you’re simply a transactional seller and not a real brand to be remembered. You want every customer who gets your package to remember it, so make sure your packaging isn’t an afterthought. This includes creating a stylish branded invoice and adding other little details to make your brand seem like a big deal. This can include hang tags, branded products or little freebies like branded vinyl stickers. These same rules apply to samples that go to the media. If your shipment looks impressive, it’s going to make an impression on anyone who gets it.

Bonus Tip for Wannabe Big Shots: A lot of small businesses who sell online take Paypal. It’s super easy and inexpensive to implement. The problem is, it makes you look pretty small time. Having the ability to take credit cards makes you look like a bigger company. If you’re a Paypal junkie, consider their virtual terminal product. It’s a nice all-in-one solution. This isn’t your only option, of course. A little research on merchant accounts will help you find plenty of other vendors that enable you to take credit cards online. And you need not completely ditch Paypal. Accepting both cards and Paypal is a great way to look professional and satisfy customers who have a preference for one of those two payment methods.


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June 24, 2011

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week

Filed under: Link Love — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Meredith @ 12:28 pm


Happy Friday! Below are my recommended reads this week from around the web:

Lastly, I wanted to recommend checking out Kyle-Beth Hilfer’s legal blog. She covers legal issues that pertain to small business and creative professionals. Add it to your feed reader for great insights on this important topic.

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