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6 Ways Small Businesses Can Improve SEO

The fact that most searches for products and services begin on the Web, makes visibility a top concern for businesses. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is a frequent topic of conversation amongst today’s marketing gurus. But is there a practical application for small businesses whose budgets and time are often limited? Is there a way to boost visibility without breaking the bank?

In her article, “6 Uncomplicated Social SEO Tips for Small Businesses,” Constant Contact’s Social Media Community Manager, Danielle Cormier, outlines simple ways that small businesses can increase their SEO results.

Interested in getting better search results? Give us a call. We can get you noticed.

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Finders-Keepers: Help More Web Searchers Locate You with Local Listings

If you own a small or mid-size local business, you know how important it is for online searchers to find you when they enter keywords such as “take-out pizza Poughkeepsie” or “welding services Duluth.” In fact, 70% of searchers use local search to find offline businesses, according to Google. You’ll help these searchers find you – and benefit your business, too – by claiming your local listing. In fact, if you operate a brick-and-mortar business, there’s a good chance a local listing has already been created for you by a search engine, online directory or social media site. To establish or “claim” your local listing, you’ll work with search engines and directories to verify all key facts of your operation (e.g., location, hours, phone, payment methods, business category) to thereby signify “ownership” of it. The good news? It’s easy. And the better news? You can do it at low or no cost! Begin with a Googl ...

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The Art of Cold Calling in the 21st Century

Cold calling has been a sales staple for decades.  But in today’s world, more and more businesses are replacing phone conversations with electronic ones. Does that mean cold calling is a thing of the past? Not necessarily. Cold calling is actually one of the most targeted, efficient and effective ways to reach potential customers. And nothing beats having a real conversation with a prospect. But it has to be done well. Here are six tips for turning cold calls into hot leads: 1. Plan ahead. Know who and when you will be calling. Carve out an hour each day and stick with that routine. 2. Do your homework. Before starting a cold calling campaign, create a profile of the ideal prospects you’re trying to reach. Where are they located?  What challenges or issues do they have that your product or service can solve? Doing homework on the person you’re calling will make a huge difference. This can be as simple as doing a Google search on the comp ...

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It Pays to Get Personal! Boost Your Mail Response Rates with Variable Data Printing

Variable data printing – or VDP – enables you to create unique mailing pieces based on your target’s interests, buying habits and other factors. Responses to such highly personalized campaigns average more than four times that of generic, same-to-all messages, reports Caslon, a digital print consulting and research firm, in their 2012 response rate report. With VDP – a form of on-demand printing – you’re able to customize text, images and offers from one mailing piece to the next. In fact, you’re limited only by how much information is in your database. Some examples: Do your records distinguish between those who have never ordered vs. those who are frequent purchasers? With VDP, one mailer may feature a First-Time Special Offer whereas your next could include a Special Repeat Purchaser Discount. Alternately, do you know which customers of your sporting goods store are hikers as opposed to canoeists? Mountain trail or meandering river, VDP lets ...

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What Works – and What Doesn’t – in Direct Marketing?

Testing can help you put the stamp of success on your next mail campaign This week, we’ll address some of the most common questions from small and mid-sized businesses, organizations and nonprofits in regard to testing mail campaigns. Why test direct mail? The short answer is because you can. With other media such as outdoor or radio, you often have to dive right in. But with direct mail, it’s relatively easy – and potentially cost savvy – to dip your toe in the water before fully committing yourself. What should I test? Many test their mailing lists to see which one is most effective in gaining responses. Another popular test subject is the offer. Which works best, a dollars-off offer or a percentage discount or a free trial? You also can use testing to evaluate headlines calls-to-action, formats and campaign timing. How do I test a mail campaign? Perhaps the easiest way is to create “test cells” to compare key variables of your campaign. You might, for example, d ...

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Inbound marketing? Outbound? Low-cost strategies to achieve the best of both!

Many businesses and organizations today are enamored with “inbound marketing.” Web-focused, it capitalizes on consumer reliance on search engines and social media to influence brand awareness and preference. But what about “outbound marketing?” Centered on demand generation, its strategies include broadcast, email, outdoor, print, telesales, trade shows and other outreach methods. So, inbound or outbound, which do you choose?  We recommend both. Many marketers are, in fact, successfully “marrying” the two disciplines to drive greater results. Here are examples of outbound tactics that can “humanize” you to prospects identified through your inbound efforts. Best of all, it doesn’t take costly broadcast commercials or print ads for you to reap the rewards: Pick up the phone and make a call; after all, the price is right. Before dialing, be sure to draft a script and practice reading it in a conversational tone. Call between 8:00 and 9 ...

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When it comes to Promotional Products, Choose Wisely

The effective use of promotional products is more than just handing out a mug or a magnet at a trade show. After all, the purpose of these items is to build awareness of your brand. So make sure the items you’re putting your company name or logo on are a complement to your company’s image and make a positive impression. Here are four key points to consider when purchasing your promotional products: Give them what they want. The best promotional products are the ones that have value to the recipients and ones they will use every day. Items such as sticky-notes, note pads and pens work well for most businesses. Farmers and construction workers might enjoy receiving a cap. People need them, use them daily, and they’re relatively inexpensive. Maintain the quality. Promotional products are a direct representation of your company. You want people to associate you with quality and value, not cheapness. And while that doesn’t mean you need to buy $20 items for every customer, you do nee ...

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Promo Products Make a Lasting Impression

Using promotional products as part of your marketing strategy is a proven method to increase brand awareness for your company. Promotional merchandise is popular at trade shows but can also be effective for sponsorships and events, customer loyalty programs, business referrals, holiday gifts and employee recognition. Here are five benefits of having promotional products as part of your marketing mix: Brand recognition: Studies show that nine out of ten people say they remember the company name on a promotional product they received. By customizing an item with your logo, that a customer or prospect can use in his or her everyday life, you’re able to keep your business top of mind. Longevity: When customers receive promotional products, they tend to keep them for a long period of time. In fact, it’s estimated that the average time a promotional item is kept in a business or household is seven months. This increases the brand awareness of not only the person using the promotional item, but a ...

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The Power of Promotional Products

Apparel. Flash drives. Ball caps. Pens. Mugs. Promotional products are a valuable communication tool for building your brand, recognizing employees, boosting sales and marketing company events. As part of an overall marketing or communications program, they grab attention, generate goodwill and reinforce messages. Planning is critical to the successful use of promotional products. Here are some helpful guidelines for developing an effective program: Define a specific objective. The first step is to clarify your purpose. Is the goal is to build excitement for a new program, recognize employee achievements at an annual meeting, or increase traffic at a trade show? Determine your target audience. Consider who you are trying to reach with your promotional items. Make sure the item is useful or meaningful to its intended recipients. Create a central theme. An event or marketing promotion will be most effective with a central theme. The theme and the promotional product should tie in with the objectives of ...

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Using Google+ to Help Build Your Brand

Many companies have embraced a social media strategy that includes Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Google+ should also be considered as part of the mix, and here’s four reasons why: 1. Boost your search engine rankings – Because Google wants more people to use Google+ they actually reward businesses that are active on the site. By creating a page, linking it to your website, including a badge on your homepage that links back to Google+, and posting regularly, you will enjoy an SEO boost. 2. Benefit from seamless integration – Google+ integrates with other Google products such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Maps and YouTube. Creating a page and syncing everything having to do with your business to this page will streamline your web presence and boost the performance and visibility of each. 3. Be a stand-out in the community – Google+ communities are great forums for discussions. Entering or even starting discussions in different communities can help build brand awareness and est ...

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