Two Important Website Design Elements: Photography and Designers

We just finished building one of our best websites yet for a local restaurant called Captain's Quarters.   The client was ecstatic about the results which made me start thinking about what made this website build so successful for us and the client.  Two important website design elements stood out on the project, great photography and designers.  First off,  a big shout out to our great designers, my partner Brad Howard and Mark Malik. The second element was all the great photography this client made available to us.  It literally took me days to sort through all the photography and categorize it for the designers to use. I know what you are thinking as a small business owner, "I don't have the budget for professional photography and I don't have any designers on staff" so this doesn't help me.  Well, here is a few tips on how to incorporate these two important elements into your website without breaking the bank. Good Designers There are a ton of graphic design freelancers out there who will do work on the side on the cheap.  Search sites like elancer or vworker.   Ask to see their portfolio of work and make sure to look

Small Business Marketing Workshop

Please join us on September 18th for the Go Fetch Marketing Workshop You will learn the answers to these ten marketing  questions and lots more. How do I incorporate social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest) into my business and how important is it? Should I revamp my current website or build a new one? What is the difference between domain and hosting and which vendors should I use for these services? What marketing items can I handle myself? What marketing items do I need to outsource? What are some successful and inexpensive marketing campaigns, tricks, and tips? How do I handle advertising sales people and what should I ask EVER advertising sales person? What are QR Codes and are they right for my business? What is search engine optimization (SEO) and how do I manage it? How do I get the best return on my investment (ROI) when my marketing budget is small? The first two hours of the workshop will be classroom style discussion and then we will have a complete hour for Q&A. No question will go unanswered. Space is limited to 30 participants so grab your seat fast. Tickets to the workshop are $35 and

Should You Offer Coupons on Daily Deal Websites Like Groupon?

As a consumer, I always glance and sometimes buy coupons from daily deal websites like  Groupon and Living Social.  It is hard to pass up a great deal that is emailed to you everyday. As a business owner, I have always questioned whether the ROI (Return on Investment) is worth it.  I have spoken with lots of businesses that say they often break-even on the coupon offer because they have to give a large portion of the proceeds back to the daily deal websites in fees and they have to sell a lot of coupons.  Despite the low ROI on the coupon, as a business owner, you might think as long as you break-even you might be able to earn new customers that become repeat buyers so it is still worth it. Although the jury is still out on this new marketing tactic, I am starting to question the true ROI.  Check out this new article published in the Business Daily and share your thoughts with us.

Growing Your Email List

In addition to having a sign-up form on your website for visitors to register for your email list, I saw a great idea in a little local ice cream shop the other day.  If you have a retail store put a small laptop computer at the checkout area that allows people waiting in line to pay to add their own email address to your list.  This avoids the hassle of having to ask them for it, it is definitely opt-in, and you know the email address is inputting accurately.  This is a great option for coffee shops, ice-cream shops, restaurants, etc... where people are standing around waiting for their coffee, ice-cream, or order to be filled.

Network for Entrepreneurial Women

If you are in the Louisville area and interested in connecting with other women entrepreneurs please check out NEW out.  It is very low key, free to attend events, and is a great resource for information and guidance.  Make sure to sign up for their email list so you receive invitations to their monthly events.

Another Inexpensive Marketing Campaign

I was on my way to my brother's house for the annual 4th of July celebration with the family and as I pulled into his upper class neighborhood I noticed little American Flags in the yard of every house right beside every mailbox.  Wow, I thought, his neighborhood is so fancy that the Home Owners Association put out flags in everyone's yard to decorate for the holiday.  As I pulled into my brother's driveway, I looked down at the flag in his yard and noticed that it had a little 4x6 postcard attached to the flag pole which was advertising a local real estate agent that worked the area.  What a great marketing idea.  This real estate agent was being very clever.  He knew if he put the flags in everyone's yard by the mailboxes with his little advertisement attached, that no one would take them down because it was for the holiday.  My brother informed me the flags had been up for several days.  Who doesn't want an American Flag in their yard on the 4th.  This concept would be good for companies that are targeting specific neighborhoods, income levels, etc...  Maybe you are a high end landscaper looking to get

Every Door Direct Mail or EDDM

I went to pick up some mail last week at the post office and saw a flyer about a USPS marketing program.  Wow, this seems to good to be true.  It is called Every Door Direct Mail or EDDM.  This is a program the USPS offers that opens up a whole new opportunity for busines owners to target specific areas in the local market without the need / cost of purchasing mailing lists or mailing permits (postage).  This can be a huge savings for businesses that are trying to target consumers (B-C) in a specific geographical location. You can use Every Door Direct Mail to… Target a location without an address list Send out local mailings or national campaigns Build more traffic Find new customers Increase revenue Reduce mail preparation costs It is perfect for businesses like restaurants, retailers, auto dealerships, attorneys, doctors, lawn service companies, landscapers, home improvement companies, etc...   You can mail as few as 200 pieces or as many as 5000 piece for only $0.142 per piece (I assume that doesn't include the cost of printing the piece).  Now that is a deal.  For more details check out this information on the USPS website and good luck.

Easy and Fun Easter Marketing Campaign

Here is a quick and easy easter marketing campaign I came across yesterday.  This is particularly a great campaign if you own a retail store or if you are in the service industry but have a bricks and mortar store that customers visit.  I went to get my haircut yesterday in a swanky salon (rare treat for me) and when I went to go pay for my cut the receptionist told me that if you booked my next visit I was allowed to pick an easter egg out from the basket.  Each egg had a coupon and a piece of candy in it.  The coupon is good for the next time I visited the salon.  My coupon was actually very good offer,  50% a hair color.  Any ladies out there reading this blog will know how expensive hair color at the salon is.  Anyway, now I just have to keep my next appointment and show up for a hair color for 50% off.  Nice deal and a little easter fun!!  Throw a basket of eggs on the counter and give some coupons out.  It will bring satisfied customers and a little Spring Cheer to the day!  Good luck marketers.

Thank You Promotion

We just launched a low budget direct mail / email campaign for a client that is B to B.  They sell a medical product that is often taken out on a 30-day trial and then purchased by the customer.  They have had huge success with 30 day trials and very rarely is their product returned (i.e. most 30 day trial customers purchase the product).  As a test campaign we are going to send out a letter and email to all 30 day trial customers at about 10-15 days into their trial run and thank them for using the product.  In that letter / email we are going to have a call to action where if the customer orders a second product during the trial period we will offer a 10% discount and free shipping. I will keep you posted on the results of this campaign.  We think it will be a hit because most 30 day trials turn into permanent customers and a lot of those customers order more than one product.   This is just another low budget marketing campaign that you can implement yourself.  If you have a lot of customers that are either up-sell customers or trial customers give this type of campaign some thought. Hope this post spurs

QR Codes for Marketing

QR codes are going to take off in 2011.  With all the new applications for them and the fact that the majority of mobile phone users are have a smart phone now this is a new form of marketing that will finally be adopted by the masses. I have been researching and reading about various QR codes and I personally like the Microsoft Tag codes but the experts say stick with QR codes that are more generic so that smart phone users don't have to have a specific app on their phone for scanning (e.g. if you use a Microsoft Tag the audience has to have the Microsoft Tag Reader app on their phone to scan it). Click here to read a good article on how to implement QR Codes For those of you that don't know what QR Codes are here is a brief explanation What are QR codes? They look like this: They come to us from Japan where they are very common. QR is short for Quick Response (they can be read quickly by a cell phone). They are used to take a piece of information from a transitory media and put it in to your cell

Case in Point

Hello everyone.  Per my previous post on 1/21 in regard to hosting and domains I have a client who called me on Monday with the problem I was talking about in my post.  Actually it was my brother who owns two businesses. Here is what happened.  He set up a website for one of his businesses over 6 years ago.  I didn't design or help him with that website.  This is the smaller of the two businesses he owns so he doesn't really work on it day to day and never paid attention to the website or the email accounts tied to the website.  The company that put up the website for him handled the hosting and email set-up.  He called me on Monday asking me for his email password to get into his "squirrel mail" (a webmail platform). He apparently forgot that I didn't set up the website/email for that business.  When I told him he needed to track down the website hosting provider who put up his website he didn't seem to know who to call, or even remember the name of the company that did it.  I am sure he finally hunted down the website designers and got the information he needed

Website Hosting and Domains

Hopefully within the next few weeks I am going to write a FAQ on website builds.  In the meantime, I have to clear up some confusion that 90% of my clients have.  Most small business owners don't understand the difference between hosting and domain registration.  These are two completely different items that each and every website owner must understand.  Here are the basic definitions: Hosting: A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their own website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server they own or lease for use by their clients as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. Web hosts can also provide data center space and connectivity to the Internet for servers they do not own to be located in their data center. Domain: Domain names are used to identify one or more IP addresses. For example, the domain name represents about a dozen IP addresses. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages. For example, in the URL, the domain name is Now that you know the

Direct Mail Does Not Have to Die

I know, direct mail is almost dead or at least everyone but mailhouses think so.  Well, I am somewhere in between.  Sometimes I think it is dead and then sometimes I do a campaign for a client and WOW, the ROI is incredible.  So, here is my approach.  A VERY well thought out campaign with a specific goal in mind can work if executed correctly.  The biggest mistake my clients have made is trying to do a campaign on their own and they have no clue about sizing, offer, demographics, postage, etc... and their campaign bombs and then they swear that direct mail is dead.  I ran across this short and informative article about direct mail that is useful for a beginner.  Bottom line, think long and hard about direct mail and your goals.  The most expensive part is going to be postage so make sure you understand how bulk postage works.  For truly great direct mail I would recommend hiring an expert to help with creative, list, printing, data management, and mailing.  By the way, the most successful direct mail campaigns for my client base have been campaigns that are up-sells to current customer bases.  Good Luck and please share

12 Days of Christmas Email Advertising Campaign

I got a very clever email the other day from a local retail store.  I have purchased from them before so I am now on their email list (remember: It is very important to keep your customer data files clean and up to date).  Anyway, they started a 12 days of Christmas email campaign and each day they send out an email highlighting an item in their shop.  There is a coupon attached to the email for a 10% discount on any item.  I like this concept and I find myself checking gratis online casino the email everyday just to see what they have highlighted in the email.  They tie the copy for the email into the song so it is very clever.  If I were managing the campaign, I would take it a step further and provide a discount for each item highlighted and then on the last day of the campaign highlight a very expensive and high end product with a HUGE discount.  Perhaps build up the suspense and make each and every item bigger and better everyday building up to the "grand finale".

Finding Topics to Blog About

You started your blog and you have the best intentions of blogging everday about something.  The first couple days go well, maybe even weeks, but then the inevitable happens.  You run out of things to blog about that are relevant to your business and fresh.  Well, problem solved.  Sign up for Google Alerts.  This great new service from Google will send you an email everyday on topics you request.  Here is how it works: Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc Casino En Ligne.) based on your choice of query or topic. Enter the topic you wish to monitor, then click preview to see the type of results you'll receive. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include: monitoring a developing news story keeping current on a competitor or industry getting the latest on a celebrity or event keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams Very cool and very handy when you run out of things to blog about.  Good luck with that new blog.

Naming Your Small Business

I meet small business owners who always second guess their business name. The choice of a name for your business in today's technologically advance internet world is more important than ever.  Business owners need to consider the impact of their name on future marketing/advertising on the internet.  They need to consider if the domain name is available, if it is easy to spell, easy to remember, numbers in the name, etc...  For those business that have been around before the internet their name is something they can't change and they just have to make it work in this new world of marketing and advertising but for those of you that are just starting out do some research and understand the impact your business name will have on future marketing campaigns.  Here is a good article to help guide you through the process.