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Small Business Ideas

How to Effectively Advertise Your Small Business on Craigslist

It’s very tempting to use Craigslist to advertise your small business. As it is advertising is usually pretty expensive, and in this economy you have to take every opportunity to squeeze as much business out of your advertising avenues as possible. With these tips on you can effectively market to your prospective clients without looking like a spammer, or breaking any rules.

#1 Follow the guidelines of the site:

One post every 48 hours for each service or item you have to post.

Post in the correct category, so people who are looking for you, can find you easily.

#2 Make your ad more effective:

Always use an image, but just as important, make sure it is a clean image that portrays what you are offering.

Do not use all caps, it is harder to read and people WILL skip over your ad completely.

Use numbers in your subject if you can, it will draw more attention to the ad. Ex: Save 10% on Landscaping is more effective than Landscaping services – Mowing, Gardening, Etc.

#3 Offer multiple ways to respond to your ad:

The truth is some people prefer phone numbers, and some prefer email, cover both sets of people by offering both options for communication.

#4 Provide a link to your website:

Every small business should have a website, and, at the very least it should provide the following information:

Photos concerning what you do

A list of services you offer

When you are open for business

Your contact information

An address to your business or more preferably a map

Keep in mind, the more professional your website is, the more likely a visitor is to respond to it

#5 Give them a reason to respond to your ad.

If you offer a percentage off, tell them to mention the ad when they call. You can also offer free services for referrals to your company, or give new customers a special service free of charge.

The main point is your ad needs to stick out compared to everyone else who is advertising on Craigslist. It needs to draw attention to itself without coming across as spammy, scammy or fake. If you can manage to pull this off, you should get some decent leads to your business when all you have invested is a bit of your time. And if you just keep reposting the original post it shouldn’t take much time at all, every 48 hours.…

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Money

3 Parts To A Successful Small Business Marketing Campaign

Do you own and operate a small business?
Would you like a marketing campaign that adds new customers in droves?
If so, then you must consider these 3 components before you send out your next marketing message. Leaving one of these out is like trying to paint a masterpiece without a brush… a canvas… or paint.
It’s practically certain to flush your marketing money down the drain.
See for yourself:
3 Pieces To A Successful Small Business Marketing Masterpiece:
1. What is your message?
What message are you trying to say?
All too often, small business owners get caught up in telling their audience how long they’ve been in business. How great they are. Where they got their training. What services they offer. What their hours are. Where they are located.
Yadda… yadda… yadda.
This is your standard business card marketing message.
And it’s as boring as a TV dinner.
Want to know what’s going through someone’s head, when they read these things?
“So what? Who cares? What’s any of this stuff got to do with me and my problems?”
Instead of sending a message focused on you… write a message focused on your prospect!
2. What media are you using?
What platform are you using to get your marketing message across?
Twitter?
A sales letter?
An email?
A postcard?
A sign?
Maybe even Facebook?
This becomes a problem when you have the right message… but you use a media your prospect does not use. If this happens, then your marketing will fail.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say your ideal prospect is retired. They own their home. They have grandkids. And they drive a high end automobile like a Lexus.
And you take a stab at using Twitter to attract this audience. And after some time, you can’t seem to figure out why you only have 6 followers. It might be because older folks do not use Twitter… and therefore the media you’re using is bad.
On the flipside, an older prospect probably reads their mail.
So sending them a sales letter may be a better media for this group.
3. Who is your market?
Who are you going after?
You can have the best message… use the right media… but you will fall flat if you target the wrong audience.
For example:
If you are trying to sell high-end furniture to someone who lost their job, then your chances of making this sale are slim to none.
That’s because jobless people may not have $5,000 to drop on a new sofa and loveseat.
You should find out who your ideal prospect is long before you send any marketing messages.
Once you do this, you should go after your prospect like a kid running to open a pile of presents on Christmas morning!
Think about these 3 marketing principles. And then implement them into your next small business marketing campaign. And watch as your ROI gets a boost.…

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Profitability

Bringing Small Offline Service Business Online – Helping Small Businesses Come Online is Profitable

Helping a small service business to come online is an excellent way to build a business for yourself. There are hundreds of thousands of small businesses that have very little online presence, and you can use the skills you have for online marketing to set them up as well. This will bring them more business while you develop your own system for doing this for others. This can be the start of a whole new business for you.
My recommendation is to do this for a friend or family member first, just to learn how to market in this way. I started by doing some publicity and marketing for my Rotary Club, and then I did it for a family member who works as a handyman. I Googled the handyman and saw that he was not listed on any of the first ten pages for his city and the term handyman. Then I began to blog for him, wrote several articles, and sent a free press release. Within just a few weeks he was on page one of Google for people searching in his city.
Once you have achieved some success, you can offer your services to others for a fee. Find out what they are spending for print advertising, and charge around the same amount. That way they can use your services for a month to see how well online marketing works for them. Typically small service businesses have no idea how many more people will be able to find them once they have an online presence besides a static web site.…

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Business News Articles

Small Business Advertising – Effective Techniques For More Sales

One of the big mistakes many small business owners make is to misunderstand the reasons for the failure of their advertising. It’s a fact most small business advertising doesn’t work, but the reasons are not always clear to the business owners themselves.
Most business owners rely on newspaper advertising. They put an ad in the local paper (or a specialist magazine if they’re a specialist company) and then scratch their heads when they don’t get any sales. Then they decide that advertising doesn’t work, when the real problem is not the advertising in general, but the particular type of advertising they’re doing. In short, they’re doing it completely wrong, mainly because they use “branding” advertising, which means a slogan and a logo, when they could get much better results by doing things differently.
Effective Small Business Advertising
So how do you do things right? There are many different techniques to use, but by following just the basic ones, you can usually get a decent return on your advertising budget. Here are those basic techniques that almost always make sure your advertising works.
Target your advertising. The first thing to learn is that quality is better than quantity. Many businesses use the local newspaper, and that can be a good medium. But for some businesses, it doesn’t work, because the local newspaper audience just isn’t interested in what they’re selling. This is mainly the case in business-to-business advertising. Most people who read the local newspaper are not business owners, and so a better approach would be to look at using direct mail or online advertising. Getting this right is the most important thing, so make sure you spend time getting it right.
Write your ads in the right way. As mentioned above, many businesses use branding advertising, which is usually useless at generating a response. A much better technique is to use direct response advertising, a type which asks the reader for a response, such as calling a telephone number, or visiting a web page. Direct response advertising always makes a particular offer, and that’s one of the most important things to remember in all your advertising. If you can, make your ad look like a newspaper article, with a proper headline and a story. People read stories, and if you make yours interesting, they’ll read it.
Explain the benefits of the product. In your story, tell people all about the product, what the benefits are, and why they should buy it. Don’t just rely on a slogan. Go into detail, and you’ll see a much better response.
The big lesson is that advertising can give you a great return when you do it properly. Most business owners don’t take the time and effort to create effective advertising, and the ones that do can really come out on top. It takes some time and effort, but the rewards are well worth it.…

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Google My Business

Small Home Business Ideas and Opportunities – Answers to Common Home Biz Queries

It is ridiculous, surprising and awkward at times, same home-biz queries manifest in different forms repeatedly. These are omnipresent and there for years – even before the great World Wide Web came into action. People have same doubts, difficulties, they go through the same learning curve and have same teething issues on home business ideas namely –

What type of home business can I start without any capital?

What work can I do from home?

How can I earn money doing part-time job?

What are the multiple sources of income?

How to earn money at home without being a computer expert?

These questions are coming from people from different walks of life, some of them highly educated, some post-graduates, others from recession-hit information technology stalwarts and experienced people irrespective of their age and background.

Small Home Business Opportunities

There are mundane jobs like stuffing envelopes, reading emails, data entries and surveys. Not that, you have to stay away from them, but you can utilize your business skills more effectively and make more money from the internet with better options like affiliate, multi-level marketing and exploring niche areas. People do not realize their potential- they are hesitant about the salesmanship, worried that they have never sold anything before; they have doubts on their ability to write, communicate and sponsor. You should realize that online business is different, you don’t need to call, plead for making sales, your email-sales-letter does the job. Follow-up is required but it can be through emails. You can combine online with off-line marketing but it is not a must. Your website does the selling to a prospect or a customer. The power of automated emails through Auto responder has lessened the burden of communication and follow-ups. Writing and communicating regularly is no longer monotonous and over-burdening, it can be automated and a series of mails could be sent to hundreds of prospects in a matter of seconds with Auto responder.

Many articles and success stories on internet give a false image to the newcomers, they get confused with the over-hyped predictions and delusions. People think that once they join an online business opportunity or setup their website, the cash will start flowing in and that will be the end of their woes. In fact, this is not the case and they get frustrated very quickly. One should understand that it is the beginning of the future that internet promises and the rewards of consistent efforts are amazing. Determination and commitment with the correct promotional methods to sustain and expand the online business are the required core skills. Online businesses are different, they are not ‘trial and error techniques’, they have to be learnt like any other businesses. There are no short-cuts for getting rich. You must be ready to learn and master hoards of new terms and terminologies – online promotions, search engine optimization, targeting traffic and the ultimate killer keywords.

Off The Beaten Track

The crux of the choice is whether you are ready to put money for your own business or you want to take another job from home, you need to decide. If you want to start a business, you need initial investment; a capital to build upon and the determination to spend countless hours each day to build it from scratch. A home base franchise may be small risk, but it costs money and the work is equivalent to working in a start-up company. If you already have a network, you can think of using this network for a home business. Freelancing is an option for people who have specific skill-sets, they can start honing the skills and market them. Writing software, designing tools, article marketing, graphic design, journalism, accountancy and several other specialized areas are in demand. Operating a home agency for several different niches is also something to consider. You can provide domestic help, do baby sitting, run cr?�che , offer gift ideas, do event management, conduct trainings, run home library and give travel advice. All this can be done from home with probably an assistant and a home computer with broadband connection. There is no dearth of finding out the “Pain Areas” and offering help, support for these areas through your website. Hosting your own website isn’t that scary and can be done without really going into Html specifics and computer expertise.

The internet keeps changing and the market too, but there is never a niche or an established area that you cannot get into. To get yourself established, you may have to offer something unique and address people’s problems. You can have the most rudimentary website but if the content is something that people are looking for and you have a great idea to support it, you are bound to succeed. Do the heavy lifting, research the market, craft …

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Business Website

Small Business and SEO

Small business owners are becoming more aware of the need to understand and implement the basics of SEO (search engine optimization). At the very least, you MUST know the basics but, then you run into, “what are the basics?”. That answer is only defined by the person answering it. And SEO is like most other forms of information — there is a lot of misinformation concerning the “how to” in building a campaign. So what do you do?
First of all, you MUST understand Search Engine Optimization is NOT a one-time event. Instead, it is a on-going for as long as you want to remain in the top searches on engines. Your work will be, at the very least, weekly and you will not see the fruits of your labor the next day or the week or maybe the month. Patient is the key as good results sometimes takes months to appear. That is not to say that some efforts will not be seen within days or weeks. Depending on your campaign you will begin to see some changes within a week. These changes will be your work in progress like backlinks added or new visitors to your website.
Staying current on SEO changes is necessary so that you can adjust your campaign. Search engine algorithms change regularly, so the tactics that worked last year may not work this year. Google made their latest change in April 2011. Learn as much as you can through online articles, blogs and resources.
Be sure to check you website analytics weekly if not daily. Both Google and Yahoo have excellent free programs. This will help you see what is working and what is lacking.
With all the SEO in the world it won’t help much if your web presence is not top notch. Bounce rate happens when a visitor visits your website and leaves after a few seconds without going any further. Ask yourself, “Is my site really one of the 10 best sites on this topic?” Be honest. If it’s not, make it better — the front page has to reach out a grab the visitor.
Things to include in your website:
– Include a site map page. Spiders can’t index pages that can’t be crawled.
– Make SEO-friendly URLs. Use keywords in your URLs and file names, such as (notice the “-” between the words).
– Determine your keywords which is the life blood of SEO. The basic question is “what would you type in a search engine if you were looking for your service/product”. Test out your keywords with actual Google, Bing and yahoo searches to see what is pulled. Look at the page source of the top listings to see what they place in their meta description, H1, H2, H3 tags, and anchor text.
– Organize Google AdWords suggestion tool or WordTraker to find keywords from website.
– Each website page should have it’s own group of keywords (don’t want pages competing for attention). Rule of thumb is if you have 30 keywords then you must have at least 10 pages to spread them out).
– Keyword density is the number of times the word is use – do not over do it. Text used in anchors also affects the density.
– Anchor Text is text within your linking or what you refer to this is your anchor text.
– Use basic headers and they must be located between and tags.
– Meta Title use some keywords and keep under 55 characters.
– Meta Description keep under 255 characters and must be a TRUE representation of website.
– Meta Keywords don’t stuff it as Google pay more attention to “description”.
– All JAVA scripts must be within tags, saved in a file called when calling lines of code.…

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Financial News

Local Search Engine Optimization – How Small Businesses Can Use It

Many business owners have realized that one of the most effective ways to promote their company and products is to create a website. This is a great first step, especially since this is a very technological world. People all over rely on being able to access a company’s website in order to gain more information about it, contact them, or even to order products online. However, a small business may only be able to promote their company to those whom they have met face to face or been in immediate contact with. This creates very little interest, and hence, very little traffic for the website. That is why small businesses and SEO can be used together to make a business more prosperous.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and is very important when it comes to promoting a company. There are several different ways to go about SEO for a small business. One of these ways would be for a business owner to conduct the SEO themselves.
Some simply SEO techniques such as article writing and site content optimization can be done by the site owner. This primarily involves created content for the website that is informative, and of high quality. It is also recommended that keywords be sparsely interjected throughout the site in order to attract the attention of users who are searching for a given topic. To go along with that, articles can be written pertaining to the topic that the business primarily deals with. Again, a few keywords can be added in order to help users find the article. When articles are written for small business and SEO purposes, it is important to include the website address or link somewhere within the article, at the end, or within the writer’s profile.
Another option that is available for small businesses and SEO would be to hire a professional search engine optimizer. These can either be entire companies or freelance workers. However, certain care should be taken when going this route. It is recommended that thorough research be done on the company or the individual. Some may claim to be helping a site, but are, in fact, doing very little to help whilst charging mass amounts of money. Furthermore, it is important to maintain control of a website. The owner should be able to go in at any time in order to change tags, content, titles, etc. It is important to ensure that the quality of the site be maintained while still promoting the site. Small businesses and SEO can be a great combination when used properly, but if no results are being seen, an investigation may be required. It is best if the SEO professional deliver a monthly SEO report in order to show what steps have been taken to promote the site as well as statistics showing how well their efforts have done.
Small businesses can use SEO in order to achieve first page rankings on major search engines. However, it should be noted that these things take time and overnight results are not expected.…