onlinereviews_thumbsOnline Reviews are promotions for your business written by your current or past customers. Some reviews are delivered through online video, but most are written and presented through websites, blogs and social media accounts. Your customers share their experiences with your products and services in order to help other consumers make educated buying decisions.

Online reviews are powerful promotional tools because they backup the claims you make about your own business. You can tell potential customers how great your products are and how reliable your services are, but they are going to listen to the experience of another consumer before they take your word for it. This is because you have something to sell them, but your customers have nothing to gain by telling the truth about their experiences.

What about Negative Reviews?

Even if you have an excellent product or service, you may run into a dissatisfied customer or two. You may not know that they are dissatisfied until you convince them to write a review, and you won’t like what you read in that review. Rather than getting mad or acting defensive, use this as an opportunity to correct your mistakes and win them over.

Consider the validity of the negative review and offer complimentary products or services. Open a dialogue with the customer by asking what you can do to correct their experience with your business. You may turn that negative review into a review that glows with positivity if you react in a professional manner.

Promoting Reviews for Business Growth

Encourage your current and previous customers to write out a review regarding their experiences with your company. Even if they only write a few words or a couple sentences, their support for your business is valuable when new customers come along and wonder about the legitimacy of your business. You can give incentives to those who write reviews, but never withhold that incentive if you receive a negative review.

Promoting reviews from your customers is easy. Display the reviews on your website or allow customers to enter their reviews directly onto your website. Promote the reviews further by using them in social media and blog posts. This gets the word out that your business is legitimate and has a lot to offer customers.

Consumer reviews are excellent market research tools. If you find customers routinely complaining about the same thing, you know that area of your business needs improvement. When you receive compliments on one area of your business on a routine basis, then you know that area is one of your strengths.

If you pay attention to the opinions expressed in these reviews, you can use this insight to make important decisions regarding your business. For instance, you may go ahead with a new product because a similar product was wildly popular with your customers and you see that demand is high. You may also decide to invest more money in customer service or packaging if those areas are routinely criticized in customer reviews.

Yes, there are some fake reviews floating around online. That does not mean that reviews are not powerful resources for your business. Embrace real online reviews, listen to your customers, and watch your business grow.

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Linked In is often grouped with Facebook and Twitter as a social media website, but it is quite different from most sites within that category. While you can connect with past, current and future customers through Facebook and conduct valuable market research, you can use Linked In for your business in many other ways:

  • Perform competitor research by connecting with professionals from competing businesses.
  • Learn more about job applicants before you interview them.
  • Connect with talented people from around the world who might become investors, employees, partners or simply inspirations for your business.
  • Listen to viewpoints from professionals around the world concerning critical aspects of your industry.
  • Expand brand awareness through effective online marketing.
  • Get your company name in the minds of influential people within your industry.

In order to get these benefits from Linked In for your business, you need to actively participate on the site. This takes time, but if you dedicate even 30 minutes several days a week, it will help your business over time. It all starts when you setup your profile. Complete it thoroughly, including a professional, recent picture of yourself or someone who represents your business well. Your profile should share recent or upcoming events that are newsworthy. All information should remain up-to-date and accurate. Pay attention to the description of your business because the beginning of that section will show up in search engines when your Linked In page is displayed in search results. Make every word say something substantial about your company. Add links to your business website and blog along with compelling descriptions for those sites. Use the space for descriptions and resumes to present samples of your work and highlight the strengths your business has to offer. If you’re going to mention your weaknesses, turn them into strengths. Imagine this profile will become your first impression to millions of people around the world. What do you want them to know about your business? That is what should be the central focus of your profile. Time to Integrate Into the Community Once you have a powerful profile ready to present your business to the world, it is time to become an active member of the community. Start with the following actions:

  • Search for professionals you already know and invite them into your network. Do not include friends and family members unless they work within your industry or are somehow connected to your business.
  • Seek out other professionals you may want to get to know and invite them into your network.
  • Explore Linked In groups and join those that catch your interest. Look for discussion and networking groups dedicated to your industry, professional organizations and regional networking groups. Actively engage in these groups so you become known.
  • Start updating your status with exciting or interesting news related to your business or industry.
  • As people join your network, look at their connections and invite some of them to join your network.

Once you become active on Linked In, you will start to receive invites to connect with other networks. Don’t get desperate and connect with everyone. Select those that will help you benefit from Linked In for your business. As you speak out in forums and engage other professionals, you will receive higher quality invitations. You never know when one invite could become a positive turning point for your business.

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One Today by Google

We love Google but we love supporting non-profits even more. Here are 2 links to posts that can help you engage or get started with One Today by Google.


Google One Today, Where Social Networking and Environmental and Social Responsibility Meet

Today with so many good causes and so many things that require our attention, finding the best non profit to which we’d like to donate is becoming more difficult. Information overload is the order of the day if you simply search out a non profit or a cause online.In many cases the information is not entirely correct and we may end up donating to causes which are not as legitimate as we might wish them to be.

Getting Started With Google One Today – Social Networking for Non-Profits from Google

Google Non Profits has recently opened a new way to get noticed and a innovative way with which to raise funding for your non profit. With some minor restrictions as to which non profits may become involved, Google is now inviting new or aged nonprofit companies to create their own projects and to register to use One Today. One today is the ultimate in fund raising by the use of social media and social networking campaigns.

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why-your-businesses-should-embrace-email-marketingSo, does email marketing still work? YES! Email marketing is one of the best and most promising methods of getting your message out to the people who want and need to see it. The problem is that getting people to give up their email these days can seriously cut into your time and require a great deal of energy.

People are sick of getting email that they don’t want to the tune of several thousand a day. Add to that the new laws that are in play now as well as restrictions in other areas and you’ll get why so many people have given up the very thing that can make them the most money.

How Profitable is Email Marketing?

When done correctly, that old adage “the money is in the list.” is still true. Your email marketing can be as profitable in many cases as your sales website. The problem is that many people don’t do it correctly and when the don’t , the result is that your products don’t sell and your name is mud.

Email Marketing Rules.

The changes in online marketing are more than just minor. Regardless of what you’re doing, the rules by which you’re doing it have changed dramatically. The penalties for accomplishing things incorrectly can be rigid. In some cases they will amount to no more than a loss of your website, your livelihood and your money. In other cases they can rack up fines in the thousands of dollars and may actually cost you jail time and earn you a record.

One of the things which has changed is email marketing. Where once it was the powerhouse of the internet and the major saying was, the money is in the list, today that is only true if the list building and the email marketing are correctly and legally accomplished.

Email marketing laws have changed.

The Can Spam Act which was passed into law in the United States in order to proved the means for people to halt the email influx from marketers has some specifically requirements for email marketing and provides for specific penalties if these methods are not strictly adhered to.

In spite of the name, the Can SPam Act doesn’t just cover email that is sent it bulk. It also covers individual commercial messages–that is to say any message that offers information about a product or service. This means that you are going to have to be very careful with the email that you send out. The specific requirements are that the emails must not be false or misleading in the header, they must not use a subject line that is deceptive, you must offer your personal location and you must immediately identify your message as an advertisement.

Whats the Bottom Line?

In light of all of the things that are different about email marketing, one of the best things that you can do for yourself if you’re still interested in reaping the rewards that email marketing can offer is to get thee hence and find a campaign manager and a marketing company to give you a hand with all of those things.

While email marketing is hugely profitable, if it’s done incorrectly–and make no mistake, many companies will do it incorrectly, it reflects badly on you in a big way. Just because the tools are out there to let you maintain a list and to send out regular emails to your list members doesn’t mean that you’re doing it correctly and it doesn’t mean that you’re an email marketer.

If you wouldn’t try DIY surgery, why would you try to send out your own marketing campaign when the good name of your business could depend on it?

Hire a Professional!

Professional campaign managers and email marketers have a few things that the rest of us don’t. Professional sales campaign writers who are going to create text for you that pays off in a big way and a great deal of experience in the best way to set up a campaign to make money for your company while saving time in the process.

If your email campaign is correctly accomplished the result could be amazing and the rewards infinite. When done incorrectly, the results could be a big fine and a big headache. The next time you’re considering an email campaign, consider an expert to handle it for you.


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Local AdvertisingMany small businesses or single party sellers believe that a website is an expense that they don’t need and that advertising or SEO is a service which won’t assist them in increasing their sales.

Local vs Global-Can SEO Really Help?

One of the most common myths about the small or mid-sized business is that because they are only doing business in a small local area, that online advertising is not necessary or desirable. The small business owner is often taken in by this myth and doesn’t promote the website or use local SEO or SEM to locally market their business. This is detrimental to the business owner in that they are not well branded and it is detrimental to their bottom line as well. In this climate, who can afford to give away sales?

How People Find New Venders

Whether you are local or global, people are looking for you. Most of those people, statistically are looking for you online. Consider how you and your family may search. If you’re looking for a new product or service, chances are that you’re using local search online to find that product.

Even something as small as a pizza restaurant is being searched in local areas more than a thousand times a day. Many searches take place while people are on the road actively ready to spend money on a local business.

Making sure that you’re online and able to be found means making sure that part of that business comes to you and your company.

Why Advertise Online?

Local people have the idea that the internet is global in nature and local businesses are overlooked. In fact, if you are using the right text and the right keywords local advertising will increase their business in a big way.

Very often searches take the form of –for example–“Omaha fast food.”

Your competition is–by and large–online and working to attain that local traffic and to edge out their competition. Statistics from the marketing industry, specifically from Marketing Land tell us that:

  • The retail industry will spend more than 9 billion dollars on digital advertising this year.

  • Most of that advertising and targeting will take place online.

  • More than 60% of people look for a business online, even if that business is locally owned and operated.

  • If you’re not online, you are leaving nearly sixty percent of the new business on the table.

  • Local SEO is necessary in order to compete with the other businesses in your area.

  • Local business marketing brings in more than 25 billion dollars in new businesses per year.

How much of that business can you afford to pass up before your business is overshadowed by those who are using online and digital advertising?

Advertising Methods

Local SEO and local business marketing using your own website, social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are going to help to improve your visibility and to brand your business.

More than one method of advertising is necessary for your business growth. This is true even if you own and operate a very small business. Your competition is marketing to the local area. The trend is to advertise locally and that is a trend that can be expected to continue and to grow. The internet, social media marketing and online marketing is the wave of the present and certainly of the future. Those of us who are in business today either ride the wave or sink.


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Local Business AdvertisingThe business world has been a little shaky for several years. Beginning to pick up slightly, the economy is still slightly turbulent for small business. We’re all looking for ways to run our business with the lowest costs vs the highest efficiency that we can get. Today, with so much up for grabs, it’s certainly not the time to be cutting back on your budget for advertising, but it is a good time to reevaluate it to ensure that the budget that you do have is being used to your best advantage.

Local business advertising is done the best and cost effectively online. It is considerably cheaper-even if you have to hire someone to write your copy or content for you–to advertise online using content to help you to become more visible. In fact, in many cases online advertising is free of charge. The right content and social media copy will go a long way toward helping your company and your products to become more visible and more profitable.

The reality is that local businesses in particular need to advertise online. If your prospective customer can’t find you, they are going to find your competition.

Your small business website is in place, but is it working for you? Does your local business website help to increase the volume of your sales or to broaden the scope of your business? Is it visible, easy to find and does it reflect well on your company?

If it doesn’t then maybe it’s time for a few changes. Even if you’re only doing business in a small local area, your prospective customers are online and actively looking for someone who is in your business. If they can’t find you, it stands to reason then, they are going to find your competition.

The Right Content and Keywords

Ensuring that they can find you means taking a few steps to make that more easily accomplished.Using some localization, adding some local keywords to your content is a good start. People don’t typically search for a local business by using global keywords. For example, if you were seeking a Nottingham carpet cleaner, you would type in just that. Using keywords such as those in your online content will make you easier to find.

Consistency in Advertising

One of the things that you can offer is a consistent business listing that sees every website reflecting your business address and phone number updated and current. No matter how you have them listed, every website should list them exactly the same in every instance. One of the reasons for that is that it is a distinct red flag for a prospective customer to see a website listing that gives two or three different addresses or phone numbers for the same business in various places.

Small businesses who move a great deal or who change their information frequently may be businesses who are not above board. They tend to make companies or individuals think twice before hiring them.

Know Your Competition in the Local Area

The chances are good that you have some local competition who is vying for the same business that you are. Know who they are. The best way to do that is to have a marketing expert in your corner who can help to research not just the main competitors but those who are up and coming and may be more competition in the near future.

Get Help With Your Marketing

While we all hear that SEO and SEM isn’t rocket science, if you’re consistently being beaten out in the SERPs by your competition, it’s time to get some help with local business seo and your local business website in order to create a more visible and more profitable future for your company.


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Start-up marketing budget

Most small start-ups have limited marketing dollars, which means that marketing on a budget becomes a priority. When marketing money is limited, every dollar spent needs to provide your start-up with results. However, just because a start-up has a small budget does not mean that it is impossible to enjoy incredible results. To make the most of a limited marketing budget, here are a few start-up marketing ideas that offer results and savings.

Idea #1 – Stick to Marketing Campaigns that Work

One of the best startup marketing ideas to follow when trying to stretch your marketing budget is to stick to marketing campaigns that work. When a marketing campaign provides results, avoid scrapping that campaign just to try something new. As long as consumers are reacting positively to these campaigns, keep running them. While dated information may need to be updated, throwing out existing copy that provides results is a waste of money. Ads can continue bringing in results for years, so stick to campaigns that are working. If the campaign becomes ineffective, then it’s worth the money to change marketing tactics.

Idea #2 – Make the Most of Every Ad

For small start-ups marketing on a budget, it is important to make the most of every ad. Ads are expensive, especially if you are just using them for space advertising. While some of your money may be used for space advertising, making the most of the ads you use is important. In fact, those ads can be used in multiple ways to get the marketing message out to the company’s target audience.

One option is to order reprints of ads, handing out the ads to existing customers and potential customers. Ad reprints may be sent out with company literature or may bed use as direct mail items. Ads can easily be turned into product data sheets or even used to create education material. Once money is spent on an ad, use it to its full potential, finding different ways to use those ads repeatedly to save money.

Idea #3 – Save Money with Modular Literature

Another of the startup marketing ideas to try is using modular literature. Modular literature allows companies to create a single brochure layout that can be tweaked to fit the needs of specific products or marketing campaigns. Most sections in modular literature will remain the same, while a few sections may be tailored to feature specific products or reach out to a targeted audience. Creating separate brochures can quickly become expensive, so modular literature offers startups the ability to save money while still creating quality literature that meets specific market needs.

Idea #4 – Don’t Allow Other Companies to Dictate Your Promotions

Small startups often make the mistake of looking at the brochures and other literature offered by other companies. However, allowing other companies to dictate your promotions is a big mistake that will make marketing on a budget nearly impossible. Most startups do not need fancy brochures or mailers. Focus on promotions that focus on the needs of your market instead of looking at what other companies are putting out to their customers.

Idea #5 – Consider Automation for Lead Generation

Lead generation is an important part of marketing any startup. Many new startups find that using marketing automation software offers great benefits and helps maximize your marketing budget. With automated lead generation software, it’s easy to send out messages automatically that will both capture and nurture your leads, starting at the first inquiry and working with leads until they result in a sale. Automation allows you to increase productivity and reduce the amount of money you spend on lead generation tasks.

Idea #6 – Check Out Startup Events

More than likely, you’ll be able to find startup events in your area where you can talk to other individuals starting a business and individuals that have similar interests. These events offer you a great way to begin networking. In many cases, you’ll meet individuals that can help you with your startup. Not only will you get valuable information, but these events often are a wonderful place to find marketing companies that can help you successfully market your startup.

Idea #7 – Use a Marketing Firm

Sometimes startups make the mistake of trying to do everything in-house, thinking that it will be the cheaper option. However, using a marketing firm can actually provide a better return on investment. Marketing firms have experienced professionals that have the skills and knowledge to help you market your new business. Most business owners do not have the marketing expertise needed to come up with the best marketing strategy while sticking to a tight marketing budget. By hiring a marketing firm, startups can work with professionals that are experts in marketing, ensuring that the marketing dollars spent bring a big payoff.

Idea #8 – Partner with Other Startups

Many startups are dealing with marketing on a budget. Partnering with other startups on promotional campaigns can save money for everyone involved. While companies should avoid partnering with competitors, doing promotional campaigns with non-competing startups may offer great results. For example, if your company makes custom candy products, consider partnering with other startups that make custom products, such as custom clothing, shoes or even jewelry.

Idea #9 – Make the Most of Each Piece of Content

Make the most of each piece of content to keep your marketing expenditures low. Copy, photos, videos, layouts and illustrations can often be reused in some way. By reusing each piece of content already in place, a significant amount of money can be saved. For example, photos used in a brochure for your startup could be reused on a website or website copy could be reused in company flyers or brochures.

Idea #10 – Stick to the Budget When Hiring Creative Content

Sometimes start-ups need to hire creative content, but when doing so, stick to the company marketing budget. While it’s important to look at credentials of the individuals being hired, it’s also essential to look at their fees and whether they fit the start-up’s marketing budget. While a top photographer for a publicity photo could charge more than $1000 per day, it’s possible to find quality photographers to shoot a publicity photo for only a fraction of that cost. Whether hiring photographers, writers, consultants or other creative talent, ensure that the cost fits into the current budget.


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Google One Today

Getting Started with Google One Today

Google Non Profits has recently opened a new way to get noticed and a innovative way with which to raise funding for your non profit. With some minor restrictions as to which non profits may become involved, Google is now inviting new or aged nonprofit companies to create their own projects and to register to use One Today. One today is the ultimate in fund raising by the use of social media and social networking campaigns.

Social networking, as we all know, is a very powerful way to make a statement today about your products and services. It can be equally as helpful for those things which you want to promote and to ensure that people who will donate can find and view the things that you have done and desire to do for the world around you. One Today makes it easier to accomplish those things by putting your non profit in front of the people who will help you to accomplish your goals.

What is Google One Today and How Can it be Useful to You?

One today is a mobile application that permits your non profit group to build and to feature different campaigns or projects for which you need funds.

The idea behind One Today is that your company can benefit greatly and your customers and those who donate can make a vast impact by just donating one dollar a day.. which is where the name, One Today comes from. Whether your non profit provides laptops for children or nursing care for adults, you can use One Today to help spread the word about your non profit and to find ways to fund your activities or services.

How Does it Work for Those Who Donate?

One Today is only available on Android and the parties who use it to donate to your project or service will be sent a receipt after their donation is made. Those who donate more than 250 USD will even be credited with a tax deduction via the certificate that they get from Network for Good at the end of the year.

Getting Started with One Today

In order to use One Today for your own nonprofit, just a few simple steps will get you started on your way to receiving funding and notice by the use of the application. Getting started is as easy as filling out the application and setting up projects in the One Today area.

Filling out an application to be included in the One Today app is easy. Typically just your non profit designation and your number can be used to find out whether or not you qualify for adding your project to Google for Nonprofits and hence to One Today.

Fundraising is easier with One Today. For non profits to get started you must be a member of Google for Non profits. You’ll have access not just to One Today, but also to Google Grants and many other perks for non profit groups.

Your approval normally comes to you in a day or two and allows you to connect with the people who are most intersted in your projects and your causes. One dollar can make a big difference in your world, particularly when those one dollar donations come to you by way of social networking users who are spreading the news about your cause. Lower the cost of your nonprofit advertising and reach the people who can help you most with One Today for Google nonprofits.

Sign up today and find out what One Today can do for you!


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