Webinar Recap: “Strategies to Boost Your Sales” from Part 2 of the free webinar series, “Accelerating Your Business Growth”

Part 2 of our free webinar series, “Accelerating Your Business Growth” entitled “Strategies to Boost Your Sales”, presented by AnyMeeting together with Comcast Business and SCORE, featured speaker Carleton Smith, the former Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Harris Corporation, a Fortune 500 company with worldwide operations. During his forty year business career, Carleton managed turnarounds, acquisitions and mergers, and worldwide sales and marketing for companies and divisions in difficult markets with demanding customers and tough competitors. Carleton has been a volunteer business counselor with SCORE in Austin since 2006.

Carleton’s insightful and engaging presentation is designed to help small business owners and marketers learn how to accelerate sales by:

  • Expanding your distribution channels,
  • Building and motivating your sales team,
  • Benchmarking,
  • Using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to manage and retain customers.

Get insights and listen to actionable advice as Carleton engages the audience in live Q&A.

Whether you are just starting your business, looking to accelerate your growth or simply want to gain an edge to get your business to the next level, you won’t want to miss out.

Watch the full webinar recording here.


Want to view and download the presentation from the webinar complete with Carleton’s resources? Get it from Slideshare.

Be sure to check out the other webinars from this series and sign up for the latest webinar today!

Five Easy Content Marketing Wins for Small Business

photo_614_20051201Producing great content that appeals to people beyond your established audience is an increasingly vital part of the marketing mix. But contrary to what some might have you think, doing it successfully doesn’t have to be big budget and it doesn’t have to be massively time consuming.

Here are five ways small businesses can produce and promote great content.

1) Make the most of your meetings

Meetings of all kinds produce a wealth of interesting content which is often cast aside after it has been used for its original purpose. However, with just a little bit of re-purposing it can be given a new lease of life.

If someone makes a presentation on how they managed to generate a 30 per cent increase in organic traffic, why not take their slides, tweak them if need be, and then upload them to a service like Slideshare so other people can learn from your expertise?

Success stories of any kind always attract views and shares. You just have to decide how much you want to tell people.

2) Promote content via your existing network

A large part of a successful content marketing campaign is finding people who are willing to share what you have to offer. But most small businesses already have a network of contacts who only need a little encouragement to pass on your wisdom. It’s just a case of making it worth their while.

The best way to do this is flattery. To go back to our first example, if your SEO success was achieved with the help of a particular tool, let the company in question know about the slideshow you’ve created and that it mentions just how great their product is.

This means they’ll be more likely to share it with their audience, exponentially increasing the reach of your presentation.

If you can create valuable content that is relevant to your all your business partners, then you should make some big gains that are hard to beat.

3) Share your internal stories

Want international media coverage and thousands of websites linking to you? All you have to do is fall down a sinkhole and then have your wife write about it like the crew at Golf Manna.

Admittedly, that’s a little bit drastic but it goes to show you never know how interesting what happens in your company will be to other people.

Don’t expect everything you do to go viral, but what might seem like an insignificant event in your company’s day-to-day life can often be turned into something more interesting.

If you’re running a charity event, make sure you tell the local press about it. You might end up with some coverage (be sure to ask for a link back to your website if they run the story online) but you’ll also gain a valuable contact in the form of a local journalist who can promote your future successes.

You can also contact the charity you’re raising money for and offer to provide them with photos of the event so they can feature them on their site.

None of this may feel like marketing in the traditional sense, but it is a valuable way to increase awareness about your company.

4) Learn to love free tools

If you don’t have the budget to invest in monthly subscriptions for the leading content marketing tools, track down the free alternatives and make the most of them.

Buzzstream, a package which allows you to identify people who might be interested in publishing contact you’ve created and track your relationship with them, offers a wide selection of free tools which can be used to start a basic content marketing outreach programme.

The SEOMoz toolbar, which is also free, can be used to evaluate whether it is worth your time trying to get a site to link back to you. A guide on how to use the metrics you’ll see can be found on the SEOMoz site, as can a huge archive of valuable tips and how-tos.

These free tools can be used in a very basic way – to help you track down people who might be interested in promoting your content and to see how powerful their site is, both vital parts of content marketing.

5) Avoid shortcuts

Content marketing can be made easier, but it can never be made simple. There are a huge number of pitfalls awaiting the unwary small business taking its first steps into the world of content marketing.

Stay away from lost cost packages that promise cheap articles or a huge number of links – they’ll do you more harm than good. You should be proud of the content you create and promote and if you’re not then you shouldn’t expect other people to be interested in it.

Companies that have met with success on any scale have a lot of useful information to share and it’s this, rather than articles that cost a penny a word, that will help extend your reach as a business.

Guest post written by Will Stevens of 123-reg a provider of domain names and cloud hosting services.

The Blind Side of Marketing Part 3 of 3

Football can teach some valuable business lessons

By Christopher Telles, Founder, MarketVouch

This is a special guest post by one of our AnyMeeting users. Want to write for the AnyMeeting blog? Get the details.


In part 1  we covered the correlation between football and small business regarding the use of planning and strategy to protect their most valuable investment from the blind side. In part 2 we covered the creation of a marketing plan to help small business owners create a game plan to help them acquire new customers.

As a quick refresher the blind side in football or in business is the point you are the most vulnerable. For small business owners this point is most often in the area of marketing. Like in football, the blind side can be protected by engaging the biggest, strongest, and fastest marketing actions in your small business. The marketing plan actions serve as your protector.

Once you have a marketing plan defined you will need to populate it with elements to proactively target new business. These elements can range from a single source to multiple sources. In marketing these elements are referred to as marketing channels (although not necessarily the same, the term sales channel is sometimes interchangeably used in its place). These channels are where marketing actions take place just as the linemen on a football team take action to execute plays.

We’re going to look at five marketing channels that can be implemented to help you increase customer acquisition and increase revenues.

In his book “Guerrilla Marketing” Jay Conrad Levinson states that Guerrilla marketing is “everything you do to promote your business”. It’s written in the first paragraph on the first page and this couldn’t be truer today.

Promotion can be anything such as picking up the phone and calling ten new prospects a day, hiring a flash mob to promote your brand, or sending a tweet. Guerrilla marketing actions can be one of the least expensive and most effective ways to promote your business. If you aren’t already using Guerrilla marketing actions then you’re missing out. Pick up a copy of this book today. A used copy of the most recent version is $6.07 on Amazon. This will be the best marketing expense you could ever incur.

Depending on the complexity of your selling proposition you could consider teaming with an outsourced sales company. These companies offer sales services on an ad hoc basis. The service could be engaged to help you introduce a new product/service or help to revive sales of an existing product/service. Find a company that you feel comfortable with and can work within your budget. Look for a company that will take on some of the risk through a partial pay for performance fee structure.

Email marketing is alive and going strong. If you have a list of current and former customer emails you could build email marketing campaigns for as low as $8.50 per month. Many of today’s email companies have easy to use email creation templates that allow you to produce high quality html emails. Insert pictures and links to help get customers to visit your website. Email has a high ROI and can be a good source for new customer acquisition. Constant Contact, Vertical Response, Mail Chimp, iContact, My Emma, and Godaddy are a few good companies (I have no affiliation with these companies).

Social media marketing is one of today’s least expensive forms of advertising. If you’re new to social media or haven’t yet started using it for marketing then just know it’s easy to get started. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and some other social media networks all have the capacity to put your business in front of millions of potential customers. Each has their own rules on how you can use the network to promote your business, but the take away should be that you can start for free or for very little money and the results you receive could very well be worth the effort.

The latest innovation in marketing has come in the form of daily deal sites. The daily deal industry is changing the way small business finds new customers. Many consumers look to daily deal sites to find new products and services and receive discounts to try out new businesses. But as a small business owner you should look to daily deal sites for marketing support and as a marketing channel to help you find and acquire new customers. The cost of acquiring new customers using a daily deal company can be lower than the customer acquisition costs using other forms of marketing and advertising. (disclaimer: I own and operate a B2B daily deal website)

As a small business owner you need to protect your company from the blind side. Your company’s marketing plan is the left tackle of your offense and it’s what protects you from where you’re the most vulnerable. Select your marketing channels wisely and measure the actions they take to find and acquire new customers. Tackle your marketing plan head on and start producing new revenue from new marketing channels actions.

The Blind Side of Marketing Part 2 of 3

Football can teach some valuable business lessons

By Christopher Telles, Founder, MarketVouch

This is a special guest post by one of our AnyMeeting users. Want to write for the AnyMeeting blog? Get the details.


In part 1 we covered the correlation between football and small business regarding the use of planning and strategy to protect their most valuable investment from the blind side.

As a quick refresher the blind side in football or in business is the point you are the most vulnerable. For small business owners this point is most often in the area of marketing. You can protect your marketing blind side by engaging the biggest, strongest, and fastest marketing actions in your small business.

Like in football, marketing can only work well when there is a game plan. This plan starts with senior management assigning each marketing action a responsibility just like a head football coach assigns assistant coaches responsibility for a portion of each game. These assignments are then passed on to the team members responsible for executing the assignments. This would be the players in football and marketing personnel in business.

If you’re a small business owner you need a marketing plan. Without one how will you muster an offense that is going to consistently produce revenue gains? Let’s take a look at creating a marketing plan that can help you acquire new customers.

Small business owners should regularly review their marketing plan. If you don’t have a plan then you should make it a priority to create one. The marketing plan doesn’t need to be extensive but it should help you answer the following questions:

  1. Where are you now? This will establish a benchmark to measure new results.
  • What have you been doing to market your business?
  • How much new revenue comes from existing marketing activities?
  • What is your current customer acquisition cost?
  1. Where do you want to go with new marketing?
  • Establish a realistic revenue goal for new marketing actions
  • Assign new marketing actions to existing or new marketing channels
  • Set marketing goals to measure actions, weekly, monthly, or quarterly
  1. How will you get where you want to go? Ask yourself some questions:
  • How did my largest competitor capture market share in their early days?
  • What are my competitors doing that I am not currently doing?
  • What can I do to make measurable changes to capture more customers?

A marketing plan will help you assess how best to budget marketing actions before you start spending time or money, and it can serve as a plan you can share with your team.

Your marketing plan is the way to change the game and places you in a position to gain new customers and increase revenues. Without a marketing plan a small business is left to the vulgarities of fate. You can control the fate of your business by using an easily created and easily implemented marketing plan.

In part 3 we will cover five marketing elements to help you implement your marketing plan, acquire new customers, and grow your business.

The Blind Side of Marketing Part 1 of 3

Football Field
Football can teach some valuable business lessons

By Christopher Telles, Founder, MarketVouch

This is a special guest post by one of our AnyMeeting users. Want to write for the AnyMeeting blog? Get the details.


Autumn is officially upon us and with this comes the beginning of collegiate and professional football. As fall begins and football becomes the subject of choice I’ve started to think and talk about the correlation observed between football and small business in the use of planning and strategy to protect their most valuable investments from the blind side.

The blind side in football was made famous by a movie of the same name starring Sandra Bullock. The blind side is the side of the field where the quarterback is most vulnerable, the side he can’t see when he drops back to make a pass. Football teams draft special players and pay them big money contracts to play the position that protects this blind side. The left tackle position is occupied by the biggest, strongest, and fastest linemen on the field

Small business owners need to think and act like the general manager of a football team. They must make wise choices to protect their franchise investments. The blind side in business is the area you are most vulnerable and for many small business owners this is marketing. As a small business owner you would be wise to find the biggest, strongest, and fastest means to produce new revenue to protect your blind side.

Like millions of Americans I enjoy watching and analyzing football plays, but in my case I can’t just watch football without analyzing the strategy used to execute each play.

My enjoyment of football comes from watching the offensive line execute and open holes for running backs and protecting the quarterback. This is the result of watching my son try to squeeze through holes opened by the 300+ pound offensive linemen. Linemen are big, strong, and agile. They can move their robust bodies all over the field while executing plays. Many fans only follow the ball and this causes them to miss the small execution steps of the linemen.

Marketing is the offensive gain plan for business. Without marketing a company would not receive new revenue gains to help it grow and prosper. Likewise a football team will not win if it does not gain yardage and score. Marketing actions are like linemen on a football team. Marketing works in the trenches making small contributions and when combined with the efforts of the rest of the team it produces measurable gains.

Like in football marketing can only work well when there is a game plan. In marketing this is called a marketing plan and it can determine whether your company experiences success or failure. A good marketing plan can be simple to create and simple to implement.

In the second part of our three part series we will take a look at creating a simple marketing plan and how this plan can help your small business acquire new customers. In part three we’ll investigate five marketing elements to help your company increase revenue and grow.