You’re Crazy Not to Be Using LinkedIn for Your Business

LinkedIn should be ranked among the big three of social media sites, right with Facebook and Twitter. But LinkedIn is actually more valuable for your small business because in contrast to its rivals, this social-media site focuses specifically on business. Quite simply, you won’t have people on LinkedIn posting about how good their oatmeal tasted today.

How smart businesses are using LinkedIn

You operate a business. Your time is scarce. So why should you worry about LinkedIn? Listed below are some ways your peers (there are 1.3 million small-business owners on the network) are using it to their benefit:

  1. Sharing wins: Promoting your successes is just good marketing. It makes you look good to prospective customers. And with 2 million C-level executives utilizing the site, you might find yourself with a few influential new friends.
  2. Getting referrals: LinkedIn makes it easy to get peer and client endorsements for the work you are doing. Best part? When someone endorses you or writes a testimonial, everyone within your network sees it in his or her activity feed. This kind of social proof is the BEST way to get new business.
  3. Finding new talent: If your small business keeps growing, you’ll definitely need to hire new employees. LinkedIn is a great place—scratch that, it’s the BEST place—to find new players to add to your team.
  4. Promoting events: LinkedIn’s event feature is a game changer! It’s never been easier to spread your message and boost attendance for upcoming events. You can also use their service directory to find a caterer for your gathering. Simple.
  5. Boosting website traffic: A little-known secret about LinkedIn is that it’s very influential with Google; if you have a presence on LinkedIn, you’re apt to see a jump in search engine visibility, too. More clicks = more customers!
  6. Getting answers: LinkedIn is a goldmine for advice on operating a successful business. You can uncover great advice from some of the savviest business minds in the world in LinkedIn Answers and Groups. There are over 2000 groups focused on small-business-related topics.
  7. Finding investors, vendors and partners: It’s a networker’s paradise. Whether you want some capital, a new accounting firm, or a business partner, you’re not going to find a better resource than LinkedIn.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, people. Pay a visit to LinkedIn and set up a page for your small business. Trust me; IT’S WORTH YOUR TIME.

5 Proven Mobile Marketing Strategies for Businesses on a Budget

Local mobile marketing can be a virtual goldmine!

But you wouldn’t realize it studying the marketing activities of most local businesses…

The age of the smart phone has arrived but many small local business owners are still in the dark ages. They are playing catch up with their customers and their behavior. An interesting Web.com survey showed of 500 small business owners showed on 26 percent of respondents invested time and money in optimizing their site for mobile devices! What does this mean for small businesses? It means this is a excellent time to stand out from the crowd. The mobile customers are ripe for the picking and you’re in prime position to reap the rewards!

Since we are now seeing more than half of all searches happening on a mobile device of some sort, the time is now to take advantage of this. Listed below are five proven ways mobile marketing can help small businesses on a budget.

  1. Optimize the Site for Mobile Users – Google did a survey and found that 61 percent of consumers will leave a website if it is not properly optimized for mobile users. Without a mobile optimized site, the rest falls by the wayside. The site needs to be mobile friendly and available on all platforms.
  2. Look into Mobile Ads – Mobile ads are cheap and efficient. This may sound surprising but right now lots of the inventory goes unsold every month which keeps the prices down. This makes it a prime time to jump in and explore the concept of mobile advertising.
  3. SMS and Push Notifications – SMS messages (text messages) have a great open rate. According to Frost and Sullivan, they are opened at an amazing 95 percent! Push notifications are also an execllent method to stay in touch with your clients who choose to opt-in.
  4. Combining Mobile and Your Social Media – Nothing says social media like real-time connections with your customer base. This is the latest trend and the smallest of businesses can get in on the trend by combining their social media site with a mobile devices. Combine specials, events, coupons or just link a YouTube video to create buzz. Then Tweets and traffic will soon start coming to your web site. Next thing you know your site’s search engine ranking will start climbing and so will your Google . But the best part is, you’ll be connecting with your client base in a real-time way and they will provide you with valuable feedback.
  5. Location Based Marketing and Passbook – Your small business must be found on the web. Up to now, it meant Foursquare and Yelp. While this still is true, you also have to begin investigating new technology like Passbook in addition. Passbook is a great new app that enables its user to keep all kinds of things like boarding passes, gift cards, coupons, store cards, coupons and all sorts of mobile payments.

The most important thing for local businesses is to gather knowledge and constantly keep learning. Remember, it doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t need to be extravagant. You just have to begin where you are and never stop learning.

5 Things You Can Do to Move Your Business Ahead of the Competition

Anyone who’s tried understands that small business marketing is not for the faint of heart. Promoting your small business depends upon doing certain things and doing them effectively. The amount of competition we face nowadays is breathtaking, and working out how to get your pages delivering online is tricky.

Here are five necessary steps to get ahead of the game!

  1. Create a Marketing Plan – A comprehensive marketing plan is crucial to success. You don’t want to leave something to chance. It should be well planned. Map out every marketing element, and how you plan to get it done. At the very least, it should paint broad strokes to success.
  2. Social Media Marketing – Not just a time waster! Social media is often an enormous source of website traffic and new business. As reported by MediaBistro.com, 91 percent of experienced social marketers see improved website traffic due to social media campaigns and 79 percent are generating more quality leads.
  3. Build a Mailing List – MarketingProfs.com reported emails averages a ROI (return on investment) of $40 for every $1 spent. This far exceeds keyword ads ($17) and banner ads ($2). Don’t be misled into thinking collecting and building an email list is dead. If you don’t build a list, you are failing to build your business! You just can’t afford to leave such a large source of potential profits for your competition.
  4. Video Marketing – Connect with all the local traffic that’s out there in search of your business. Video marketing in this space is a relatively untapped vein, and having a simple video advertising your wares on page one of Google may result in tons of traffic and authority coming to your web site! According to the research company Forrester, any given video stands about a 50x better chance of appearing on the first page of Google than any given text page.
  5. Gain a Mobile Presence – Microsoft reports that by 2014 mobile browsing will overtake desktop browsing. If your company does not have a mobile presence, then you will become invisible. Therefore your small business’s website better start optimizing for mobile users and it should do it quickly. Right now, the numbers are encroaching on the 50 percent mark. Are you ready?

Don’t Make the Mistake of Going It Alone!

No one is a superhero and you don’t have to be. The realm of online marketing is always changing and evolving. You need to learn what is working now, learn from the best, and hire the best outsourcing you can find. In the end, it will pay off greatly!