Effective Marketing For Your Small Business

No matter what your niche may be, it is a common belief that marketing your business effectively can be somewhat of a headache that will require a considerable amount of planning, time and most importantly, money. When it comes to small businesses, effective planning is a must in order to help your business thrive and stay ahead of your competitors. Without a thorough marketing campaign in place, not only could your business go unnoticed by your target market, but you may lose out on sales to other, similar businesses.There is a misconception that marketing is more or less the same as advertising and is something which can be completed by just about anyone. Although marketing is incredibly easy to understand and apply to your small business, advertising and marketing your business are completely different and are both vital in order for your business to thrive and succeed. By adhering to the following steps, your business will not only benefit from a more thorough marketing plan, but also a more aggressive take on your current marketing strategies.Devise A Clear Plan: Before getting to the grind with any marketing campaign, it is imperative that you are firstly clear of what your goals are in regards to your small business marketing. Identify who your target market is to ensure that you receive optimized results and identify what the needs of these customers are to ensure that your products and services, thus your marketing plan, caters for these requirements.List Your Small Business: Directory listings- both on and offline- are a great way in which to optimize your business’ exposure. Yellow pages, local business directories and even online business directories can help you target both local and further afield customers (depending on your niche and capabilities). It is extremely beneficial to add listings both on and offline as often, when a customer looks for a business in an offline directory, they will often check the web for further information. Ensure that your listing is clear, concise and be creative with what you say about yourself. It is always beneficial to investigate into how other, similar businesses have listed their services for some ideas.Press Release Distribution: Press releases are a great way to get free publicity and what’s more, you do not need to help of a professional PR company in order to utilize this medium. By writing your own press releases and submitting these to various blogs and websites with added links back to your site, you can help increase your company’s awareness backlinks which in turn will increase your page ranking within search engines.Optimize Your Website: It is advantageous to frequently monitor your site in regards to your content, design and features. Keep your site up to date with current trends or trends that are used with competing businesses, and ensure that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is applied throughout the entire site to help increase your page rankings, thus your traffic. Always check the functions of your site and ensure it is easy to navigate as confusing sites will only result in lost sales. Sign up to social networking sites such as Twitter which can link back to your site as a way in which to notify consumers of your presence, increase your presence on the web and also help drive visitors to your site.Customer Contact: Many small businesses will, from time to time, experience a decrease in their sales which more often than not is due to lack of communication with their customers. By submitting monthly or quarterly newsletters or e-marketing letters, you can remind your existing customers of your services, notify them of your promotions and potentially even obtain new customers should your newsletters be passed on.Monitor Your Progress: Throughout the duration of your marketing campaign, it is imperative that you monitor your progress and clearly identify what works and what does not. Often, a business will waste money continuing with an ineffective strategy without investigating into why it does not work or how it can be altered. Not every marketing strategy will work for your small business, so eliminating those that will hinder rather than aid your business is crucial.Effectively marketing your small business is imperative in order to gain the success you desire, but by ensuring that all bases are covered, you could reap some exceptional benefits. Marketing is a board spectrum and those methods which work for your business may not work for others, and vice versa. However, by understanding the needs of your target market and being aware of how these needs can be marketed effectively, you are guaranteed to see success from your marketing efforts.

Publishing Choices For Writers – Self-Publishing Print on Demand, Introduction

Under the self-publishing umbrella, there are many options for writers when they are considering how they want to get their work out into the general public. Traditionally, authors were limited with either working with a traditional publisher, or finding someone to help them self-publish their work. As discussed in other articles of this series, there are many different ways for authors to get their work out there depending upon each author’s individual needs.In the past, whether an author worked with a traditional publisher or self-published, hundreds of their books needed to be printed at any one time. With the advent of new technology, writers can now actually see their work in print prior to printing without sticking them with too many unsold copies of their book. In addition, they have the option to print a copy of a book only when one is sold. Authors can do this through Print-On-Demand (POD) technology.


Print On Demand, as the name implies, allows an author to print as small a number of copies as they want, whenever they want, through a digital printing process. Because the book is being printed digitally, there is no need to set up the traditional offset printing presses, which would be cost prohibitive for a single or a just a few copies of a book. Once the set up is done for the digital format, it is done and can be used repeatedly whenever the need arises.Print On Demand solves many issues for new writers not being published by a publishing house. For example, prior to getting their work out to the general public, authors may want to have an advance review copy of their book for either their own review or to send to a book reviewer. Having an established book reviewer give a good review of a book prior to full printing is a good indication as to ultimately how many copies should be printed. In the alternative, a bad review might indicate the need to go back to the drawing (or in this case writing) board to clean up the work.Also, Print On Demand solves the storage issue for books for both a publisher and an author. In the past, whether published traditionally or self-published, when a book was done, there were copies hanging about until sold. Both publisher and author would have to warehouse them which could get expensive, although the author usually ended up with hundreds of books on their kitchen table or in their basement. With Print On Demand, a book is only printed when needed.


At the same time, in order to see a copy of their book in print prior to printing the larger number of copies, an author would have had to pay an absorbent amount of money to a printer to get the single copies. Now, it is usually just a small set up fee to the digital printing company and an author has a book in print.All the above are some benefits of Print On Demand. However, it is not the answer to all publishing ills. In the other parts of the POD series I will discuss some negatives that may be deciding factors on not going with Print On Demand publishing.

The Important Role Of Public Relations

Public relations is fundamentally the art and science of establishing relationships between an organization and its key audiences. Public relations plays a key role in helping business industries create strong relationships with customers.Public relations involves supervising and assessing public attitudes, and maintaining mutual relations and understanding between an organization and its public. The function of public relations is to improve channels of communication and to institute new ways of setting up a two-way flow of information and understanding.Public relations is effective in helping:* Corporations convey information about their products or services to potential customers* Corporations reach local government and legislators* Politicians attract votes and raise money, and craft their public image and legacy


* Non-profit organizations, including schools, hospitals, social service agencies etc. boost support of their programs such as awareness programs, fund-raising programs, and to increase patronage of their servicesPublic relations in present times employs diverse techniques such as opinion polling and focus groups to evaluate public opinion, combined with a variety of high-tech techniques for distributing information on behalf of their clients, including the internet, satellite feeds, broadcast faxes, and database-driven phone banks.As public image is important to all organizations and prominent personalities the role of public relations specialist becomes pertinent in crisis situations. Public relations agencies provide important and timely transmission of information that helps save the face of the organization. In the words of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), “Public relations helps an organization and its public adopt mutually to one another.”Experienced public relations agencies have formulation press releases into which they can plug the company news, as well as a targeted list of publications for their industry. Truly good public relations agencies generally have a good working relationship with key reporters, boosting their chances of getting coverage. Some public relations agencies deal only with large, established clients, while smaller boutique public relations agencies specialize in certain areas.At present public relations as a career option exists in private companies or government institutions that actively market their product, service and facilities. Public relations training courses are widespread in educational institutions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 122,000 public relations specialists in the United States in 1998 and approximately 485,000 advertising, marketing, and public relations managers working in all industries.


Most public relations practitioners are recruited from the ranks of journalism. Public relations officers are highly trained professionals with expertise and knowledge in many areas, for example shareholder management during a crisis, the evolving role of the in-house public relations professional, account management skills for public relations, an introduction to financial public relations, an introduction to consumer public relations, an introduction to public relations software etc.

Budget Travel and Hotel Considerations – Travel Industry Making Changes To Compete For Consumers

If you are like most Americans, you having difficulty saving money while prices are rapidly increasing; things like college tuition, food and fuel. So, when it comes to traveling you are looking to shave off costs and find ways to travel on a budget, and well, no one can blame you for that. What you may not be aware of or have not considered is that in the travel business; everything from airlines and rent-a-cars to tourist destinations and hotels are trying to find better ways to accommodate the budget traveler.


For instance, many airlines have had their fuel prices boosted to record costs and many family budget and business travel hotels are making changes in management and in their operations. Recently, Choice Hotels named a new COO and President; Stephen P. Joyce, 48. Additionally they named a new Executive VP of Global Branding. Why, because they know that they must hold their American clientele and find ways to cut costs, while still attracting their overseas travelers who are paying in high valued currencies.There are many ways to cut costs in traveling and staying on a budget and hotels, rental car agencies and airlines are working very hard to compete for fewer travelers with fewer dollars, while still retaining a profit. Easier said than done, especially when jet fuel has almost tripled in cost since 2000 and recently the number of families traveling on vacation is being cut by a good 35% this summer, all due to cash strapped consumers, credit crisis and outrageous fuel costs. Airline Industry analysts are predicting one or maybe two major airlines filing bankruptcy in 2009 and some hotel chains have pulled back construction of new hotels in many locations.