Saturday, July 18, 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
There have been so many changes in the merchant services indusrty since the Economic Crisis of 2008. Even if you are an experienced user of credit card processing equipment, you need to keep updated on the industry, if you are a retail business owner.
Many bussiness owners have not converted you credit card processing machines over to the new EMV technology which will take effect on October 15, 2015. Unfortunately, the merchant services industry is a highly regulated industry, since the banks process the credit cards and ensure business owners receive their profits and assess the fees for their services.
I reported the publisheing of my new book, Retailers Guide to Merchant Services, in the last posting. I am recommending it for retail business owners. If you would like to stay informed about the new legislation, join my mailing list for the latest update. You can sign up at the link in the previous sentence at the top right corner or on this website.
Monday, May 4, 2015
Monday, March 30, 2015
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Due to a change in algorithms on Google (Panda) it is a good idea not to rely solely on Google for marketing your products and services. This change has been known to put some big name companies out of business. It is caused by Google posting advertisements in the side bar when people search for your products and services. These postings are apparently causing people not to look any further than these ads. Also, Google is promoting its own products. If you have not done so already, it would be a good idea to submit your websites to other search engines, such as Yahoo, and Bing. Compare your listings on these sites to see how much visibility you have.
Just like you diversify your money when you invest money, we should be diversifying our marketing practices to get the best possible results. Some prospects prefer certain search engines or media when con ducting research on the Internet. Therefore, we should conduct research to determine the best place to locate our target markets. If we know who is most likely to purchase our products and services, and where they go to research or buy products, then we can position ourselves to be there when they are looking.
The market does change, and therefore, we need to change with it. This is why we become involved in social networks, blogs, forums, groups, and various search engines.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Thursday, February 19, 2015
- Is my business on the first page of my town and state, province, or country?
- Is it included in the top ten listings on the page? What number is it listed on the page? (It will not have an actual number listed, you will have to count the number of listings before yours.) If it is not in one of the first three, then you have some work to do.
- Who is your competition? (Your competition may not be the best provider in the town, but he/she may be listed toward the top of the page because they know how to optimize their site for the search engines.)
- While you are there, examine the page to see who your competition is and take a look at their website(s). This will give you some valuable information about their businesses.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Every business owner struggles with attracting customers to their storefront or online business. Lets face it. If there is no traffic, there is no business. Marketing is a skill which must be pursued wholeheartedly, otherwise the business owner will find himself having to close the door of his business.
Internet marketing is very complex. There are so many tools and so many strategies which change because of upgrading or because of the marketing trends, There must be a demand for his/her products and services and the business owner must know who wants them. He must also know where and how his customers are likely to hear about his products and services. Learning the proper way to ask for contact information for your mailing lists will ensure that you never run out of people to contact about your products and services.
List building becomes a challenge. The business owner must pursue many avenues for acquiring contact information on his/her customers. One way is to attend events and collect business cards from as many people as possible. Believe it or not, business owners need products and services as well. When approaching business owners or anyone out in the public, it it important to have a one minute "elevator" pitch memorized which will give the prospect a brief summary of what it is that you do. Write the speech and practice it several times at home or in your office before you go out to see people. This will give you confidence in approaching people about your business and asking for a business card or contact information. Always be prepared to have important information for their business, such as an article or flyer which will help them.
Another way of gathering contact information is to install a contact form or subscription box on your website or blog and offer a free e-Book, or white paper about some aspect of your business. The contact form should have a space for the name, e-mail address and website of blog URL. The book can be anywhere from 25 to 65 pages and it must have a title which is going to grab their attention. Compelling content about some aspect of your business, product or service which could solve their problem could be a great way to attract prospects. When the customer completes the contact form and sends it to you, the e-book should be programmed to automatically send the material to the prospect. There are e-mail marketing services and auto-responders which can help with this process.
There is another way of gathering contact information and that is through networking on the social media sites. All business owners should be active in several social media sites. Through posting interesting and relevant content, the business owner can determine where the interests lie for the prospects and start a conversation with them about something that matters to them. You can send letters, chats or direct messages to them. It is better to start o conversation on a positive note before you ask for their contact information. Asking too soon or lacking tact could end the conversation abruptly and ruin your chances of ever doing business with the person.
fter you have acquire the contact information, you must have a database to store them, such as the contact list in your persnoal or business e-mail program, a CRM, or an auto-responder program. The list should be organized alphabetically and according to products or services that would interest them. These are ll good ways to acquire names and as you become skilled in this area, you will discover other ways of acquiring contact information.
Friday, January 23, 2015
If you are posting to several social media platforms, it is a good idea to incorporate a system which will save you time that you could spend on other operating your business. There are automation tools that you can use to post to your networks and still remain in touch with them. The proper use of automation will help you streamline your activities and still produce quality content.
As some of us have discovered, it can be very time consuming to post content in the social media, especially if we are working with five or more accounts. We have dozens of social networks to choose from and after we have selected a few which will meet our needs, we will have to develop a strategy for posting. We will have to determine the best time to post and the number of articles, videos, or other content that we wish to offer to our followers. We will usually begin posting manually until one day we realize that we are beginning to get overwhelmed with this process. In that case, there are a number of dashboards that we can use to save time in posting and that will offer timely and quality content to the followers. We should be posting our own content as well as quality content from industry sources. We will have to post our content manually.
A dashboard will allow us to program our posting through a feed to our social networking account. There are some dashboards which allow us to manually post several pieces of content in advance and there are some which we can program to produce content based on a topic which we can select. Depending on our time constraints, we can choose content which is appropriate for our audience.
The content that we choose should be a combination of content from industry sources, our own content, and something which humanizes our followers experience with us. We can advertise as much as we want about our businesses, but unless we can find other more credible businesses that support what we do, we will have little credibility with them. We should still post manually and not use dashboards to answer our followers or customers.
Here is a list of dashboards that we can use:
Each of these dashboards will make it easier for us to post our content in the social networks. Some will post at specific times, some will post at designated times, and some will not allow manual posting. Some are designed to handle multiple accounts and some are only designed for manual posting where you can post several pieces manually to be posted at a later date. Depending on your schedule and the number accounts that you have, you can choose one or more of these dashboards to meet you specific needs.