Tag Archives: small business support

Using User-Generated Content to Drive Your Brand

User-Generated ContentWouldn’t it be awesome to have your customers and clients do the job of building your brand for you? That’s kinda’ what user-generated content (UGC) is all about. You may have heard it called consumer-generated content (CGC) or consumer-created content (CCC).

It’s any form of content, such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcasting, pins, digital images, video, audio files, reviews, testimonials, and other forms of media that are created by users of an online system or service, often made available via social media networks and other marketing channels. According to Offerpop, “Sophisticated marketers have incorporated User-Generated Content directly into their websites, email campaigns, and digital advertising.”

According to a study done by Nielsen, “92% of consumers trust online content from friends and family above all other forms of brand messaging. And they trust strangers second most—far more than they trust content from brands.” That’s because people care about what others say and have confidence in brands that tap into UGC. Continue reading

What to Do When Your Business Comes Down with the “Blahs”

Confused Man.Periodically, businesses come down with the “blahs.” This can happen through boredom, lack of motivation, or perhaps just an inability to know how to move the business forward into a new phase of growth and opportunity. Whatever the cause of the stagnation, it can spell real trouble ahead when the spark begins to flicker.

In fact, the failure rates for new retail and service businesses are surprisingly close to the often-repeated 50% divorce rate for marriages. So how can a business owner beat the odds and beat the blahs that come after the initial entrepreneurial excitement and honeymoon period fade?

As a business owner, you have to keep looking for exhilarating, new ways to reinvigorate your company and keep it moving and growing or it will wither and die.

Here are 9 ways to help re-energize yourself and breathe new life into your business: Continue reading

The “No-B.S.” Guide to Better Business Networking

depositphotos_60341981_s-2015No matter what business you’re in, interacting with other people and making connections (better known as networking) leads to success. It’s useful for learning directly from individuals you meet, and the association improves your own authority and personal brand.

For some people, the mere mention of networking makes them freak out. They are afraid of talking to strangers, not knowing what to say, how to act, or how to maintain the relationship. Some people come on too strong and bulldoze through networking… knocking down everything (and everyone) in their path.

I, on the other hand, feel great when I network and build real, authentic relationships (without all the B.S., smoke, and mirrors!). It’s taken years to learn the tricks to feeling comfortable and confident. Effective networking, whether in-person, on the phone, or online through email, social media, or on Skype, doesn’t just happen. It requires time and attention to make a positive and lasting impression.

Here are 9 insider tips to help maximize your networking success: Continue reading

11 Tips for Writing an Exceptional Email Signature

Depositphotos_44282101_s-2015Many people think of email signatures as an afterthought (especially small and medium sized businesses). Unfortunately, that’s a major missed opportunity to increase brand awareness.

Those signatures are a chance for you to:

  • Make it clear who you are
  • Make it easy for people to reach you
  • Give people a place to go to find out more—about you, about your business, or about something you’re working on
  • Leave a lasting impression

If you’re just putting your name and a point or two of contact information in your signature, you’re not taking full advantage of the opportunity to connect and engage with the people you’re emailing. (Don’t go overboard, either. Jamming your signature full of links and a lot of unnecessary information is just plain spammy and self-promotional. And, if you fill it up with too much stuff, your email is likely to get sent to the spam filter instead of being delivered to your target.)

Here are 11 tips for creating email signatures that are helpful and professional. Continue reading

Why Email is Such a Winning Tactic for Small and Midsize Businesses

Depositphotos_18530953_s-2015Email is a powerful driving force of change and action. That’s because emails contain information and (usually) a method to respond. Those two attributes make email a commanding business tool, especially for small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

Why email works like gangbusters for SMBs

According to a previous Solamar post, “Email marketing is a proven way to cultivate relationships with highly interested prospects. When they trust you with their email address, they are raising their hand and letting you know they’re interested. By staying in touch and providing valuable tips, insights, and useful information consistently, you’re setting yourself up to become a trusted, top-of-mind, go-to resource.” That is why SMBs have such successful email programs that get results and build business.

Another of our posts says that, “Businesses all around the world use email marketing to:

  • Boost sales,
  • Generate leads,
  • Strengthen relationships,
  • Increase website traffic, and
  • Build brand loyalty.”

No matter what your objective, you have to make sure each of your emails gets opened, read and acted on. When you do, your email works!

Keep in mind, too, that email is an affordable, efficient and flexible option for small and medium sized businesses looking to get their marketing message directly to their target audience and generate more business.

Most importantly, the measurability of the medium means return on investment (ROI) can be measured. The Email Marketing Manual states that, “Well-planned and targeted email marketing campaigns are likely to deliver far higher response rates, relative to cost, than telemarketing or direct mail, both of which require a large investment in resources and don’t offer the same detailed level of measurability.” Continue reading