10 Ways Webinars Could Be Building Your Small Business

This is a guest post by John Jantsch – Duct Tape Marketing

iStock_000034684846_SmallSmall business owners have a lot on their plate. You know running a business is no easy feat. Because of all the time constraints being put on you, it is easy to relegate marketing to the back burner.

Sure, you write blog posts and create content whenever you get a few free hours or need a break from the business side of things. Bigger marketing tools, such as webinars, though, are for a time in the future when you’ve grown a lot and can better justify taking the time and effort necessary to host a webinar that is valuable to your customers.

If done right, however, webinars can be an integral part of your content marketing strategy for many reasons. They can also be used in multiple ways. The effort you put into a webinar can result in not only great leads, but can also be the foundation of multiple pieces of content. Here are 10 reasons to hold webinars as part of your small business marketing plan.

  1. Networking. One of the best ways webinars can help you is through networking. Unless you do all your webinars yourself, you will likely need some help. Finding someone to host a guest webinar for you is a great way to expand your network, and when you give them a little bit of publicity, they might reciprocate by asking you to help out on one of their webinars.  
  2. Contacts. Webinars is one of the best content marketing tools if you want to gather a list of potential clients. Most webinars have you sign up ahead of time. Once the viewer has registered, you have all of their contact information. So even offering a free webinar can ultimately make you money in future sales.  
  3. Prestige. Even the word webinar sounds fancy. Everybody has a blog and a Twitter handle, but not everybody offers webinars. Seeing them listed on a site or having them pull up in a Google search can add a little prestige to a website that just might make the product you are selling seem a little bit more legitimate and trustworthy.
  4. MultiPurpose. When you create a webinar, you can multi-purpose it as a blog as well. All you have to do is add a line or a paragraph about the webinar and then insert the webinar, or a link to it, in the post. That way, you get two content marketing posts for the price (and time) of one.
  5. Communication. Hosting a webinar is a great way to communicate with your target audience. Webinars are interactive, so not only do you get a list of contacts by hosting a webinar, you get to hear, and answer, real customer questions.
  6. Research. The interactive component of a webinar has another important consequence. The questions that people ask during webinars show just what their concerns are. Answering those questions during the webinar helps foster communication, but examining those questions in more depth at the end of the webinar gives you valuable research into future webinar and social media topics as well as what people are looking for in your service.
  7. Money. While a lot of people host webinars for free, you can charge for them as well. Even if only one out of four of your webinars are for profit, this is one of the only content marketing strategies that can actually make you money by their very existence.
  8. Social Media. Hosting a webinar does not have to be done strictly on top of your other social media campaigns. You can Tweet about the webinar and use your other social media outlets to promote it.
  9. Accreditation. If your webinar is geared towards professionals who need accreditation hours (e.g., lawyers), you can go through the process to set your webinars up with credits, which will make them much more likely to sit down and pay attention to what you are teaching.
  10. Repurposing. Once you have a few webinars under your belt, you can update what you already have with new information instead of starting from scratch.  

Plus, here is a bonus for you. In addition to all of the above, webinars are just a really good way to build up brand recognition.

Creating Webinars

While thinking about creating a webinar can be daunting, it does not have to be. There are many tutorials, and even webinars, that can walk you through the steps. If you just are not good with that type of thing or simply do not have time, you can still take advantage of these great marketing tools. Think about using a marketing service that could help you create them. You’ve got to spend money to make money, after all, and the small cost of marketing can make you a lot of money with the new business it will supply you.

Sign up for a free 14-day trial with AnyMeeting’s Webinar Pro and get started with your first webinar today.

Spring Cleaning for Your Small Business

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Many small businesses face transitions and sometimes it is hard to embody change. But with everything in life, change happens constantly, and when we embrace it we end up realizing that it is likely for the better. Employees come and go and often times, people we come to trust and rely on, move on, whether it be for a new career, a higher paying job or a new city. Perhaps you lose that long term client you have relied on as a major source of income, or you end a partnership that hasn’t been as fulfilling as you would have liked it to be.  As business owners we often feel alone, like we are the only ones who really care about that idea we had way back, when it was just a twinkle in your eye. Let’s face it; it can get lonely at the top of the ladder!

So, what do we do when we are staring right in the face of transformation? Panic can easily set in and as a result we can quickly lose our way and even our business! Sometimes a good spring-cleaning to get rid of the old and make space for the new is just what a company needs.

Here are some great business spring-cleaning tips to help you transform in a positive way!

  1. Evaluate your retention rate: If you are in the business of ongoing clients and you are noticing that your retention rate has dropped, it may be time to seriously pay attention to customer service. A good way to understand why your clients are leaving is to have them fill out a client satisfaction survey. Maybe it is time to evaluate what type of clients you really want. Losing clients is not a great feeling, but perhaps the transformation means that it is making way for the ideal client to enter. Decide exactly what type of clients you are looking for and then focus on targeting your sales and marketing to them.  Once you get them in the door be extra nurturing to ensure they feel valued.
  2. Efficiency is Key! Sometimes we hold on to employees because let’s face it, letting someone go is not fun. But losing money on lack of efficiency can ultimately make or break your business success. Start evaluating everyone’s value in the company and how efficiently they work. Are they utilizing their time to the fullest? Or are they spending their hours lounging on Facebook? Be firm with your expectations, everybody is replaceable and there is a big pool out there of talented people who are eager to work!
  3. A new look goes a long way: Not only do we have to evaluate our external environment but when we want to create positive change we also have to look at ourselves as well. When was the last time you did a visual makeover? Is your site remnant of the period when the dot-com was all a hype? Don’t be afraid to invest in a new image, re-launching to your audience shows that you are strong, current, and here to stay! Plus, it will at least get people talking and going to your new and improved website. Which means bringing back awareness and possibly new clients. ☺
  4. Get back to basics: Remember what it was that you loved to do and the reason you started this company and get back to that passion. As time goes by we often find ourselves moving farther away from our trade and more into a management roll. Rarely do people start a business with the dream of becoming a “manager” normally it is because they have a talent or skill that they can share with the world and make a living off of. So start reliving those days and take back that momentum and motivation. This will also help you with the staffing transition that we mentioned above, if you are short on staff, now is the perfect time to get your elbows dirty and retrain yourself!
  5. Run lean and mean: It’s time to clean up everything that you don’t need in your business that is access overhead. Scaling things back is key to increasing profit margins. Go through your company with a fine tooth-comb, you will be surprised at how all the little expenses add up! Once you eliminate the unnecessary clutter you can find room to free up some money and build back equity.

Spring is the perfect time to get excited and start rebuilding and restructuring. If you are in a transition period, then this is the perfect time to evaluate where you have come and what new opportunities, policies and services you can implement to improve your overall infrastructure. Every opportunity for change is an opportunity for growth!

Beautiful things bud in springtime :)

The above article is a guest post by Sari Gabbay, founder, president and visionary at U2R1, a branding, design and marketing agency. To submit your own blog post or article for consideration, learn more here.

Five Easy Content Marketing Wins for Small Business

Producing 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.

BYOD. Bring Your Own Device? Or Bring Your Own Disaster?

cell phoneThe concept of “bring your own device” (BYOD) is an unstoppable trend especially in the small business space. It’s a winning combination as companies save on hardware and training costs while improving employee satisfaction. However to embrace the power of BYOD, businesses must ensure that they have adequate protections in place to counter the associated security risks.

The first step in enhancing your small business security posture with regards to BYOD is to lay out a clear policy. It should define access methods and mandate the use of company authorized applications and security tools for employee-owned devices that access company resources. Mobile device security is relatively limited today, but standard techniques such as VPN access, setting up a pin code to access the phone, installing a security application, and the ability to remotely erase data off a stolen device will be enough to deliver basic protection. Make sure any security and data protection steps you take conform to compliance mandates such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, or GLBA. These are often industry requirements.

Embrace BYOD with confidence to explore everything the new mobile world has to offer, and do it safely. To help, all AnyMeeting customers get free mobile phone security check-up free of charge delivered by 24/7 Techies. Send an email to AnyMeeting@247techies.com and schedule your session today or call toll free 1-888-294-7201 for assistance. 24/7 Techies delivers online tech support to small businesses and consumers nationwide. Support is delivered remotely by taking control of the customer’s computer or mobile device while the customer watches.

 

Note: This is a guest post from 24/7 Techies. To submit your ideas for guest posting on our blog, send email to press@anymeeting.com.

10 Easy Small Business Marketing Tips for Increased Visibility

Marketing your small business can seem like a daunting task, and sometimes we just need a little guidance to set things in motion. Here are some tips that you can easily implement into your monthly routine to ensure that your brand is communicating properly with your target audience.  Follow these steps and you will be on your way to better engaging your audience and achieving better success!

1) Be personal and authentic in your communication – With social media at the forefront of marketing and communications today, it is imperative that you communicate on a personal level. People are more inclined to participate with your brand if they know there is a real live person behind the brand identity who cares about them. Newsletters are more appreciated if they’re written from a personal perspective, addressing the individual with expert advice that can help the audience reach their goals.

2) Leverage your Network – your friends, colleagues and social network are your biggest asset. Ask for referrals and testimonials from people you know or have done great work for. We are more likely to purchase a product if our friends have had a great experience with it. Create a “Friend Referral Program” or provide other incentives — like deals, discounts and rewards on your services – when people say good things about your company. Doing this consistently will greatly expand your network reach to a genuinely interested audience.

3) Google rankings – As we all know, getting to the top of Google can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Have no fear: there are lots of ways to build your search engine rankings without blowing your budget. Our number one recommendations? Put your business on Google maps: this is a great way to get to the top of the list! Generate quality content that your target audience can learn from or be entertained by. Being consistently active on Twitter and Google Plus are fun, easy ways to increase your Google ranking, while adding shareable links to your Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest posts drive traffic to your website or blog. Today, the best way to rise to the top in search is to consistently produce content that is relevant (use your keywords here) and shareable.

4) Create your own TIPS – People like tips! A quick, fun list is a great way to provide useful information to your audience. If you want to kick it up a notch, create a video for them! Video is a great way to show the face behind the brand, creating an indelible personal connection.

5) Photos are king – People love to share inspirational, sarcastic and funny photos. Join the trend by putting together some current text and quotes that appeal to your crowd and the type of people you think would appreciate it. This is a great way to access your fans’ network without being “markety.” People will see who created the image and share it via the original source (you), creating brand visibility and adding a few likes along the way. Plus, you’ll probably make someone’s day!

6) Collaborate with the competition – Working with other like-minded business owners can help promote new ideas and products. Because your audience already exists on social media – and so does theirs – collaborating is a natural and friendly way to seek out social media users who are interested in learning more about the products or lifestyle you offer.

7) Create contest giveaways – People love to win things! Especially if those things are highly valuable, unusual or difficult to acquire. Make sure what you’re giving away is a conversation starter, something that people want to tell others about. Use Facebook ads to further promote your contest, as the ads employ a targeted tagging system to ensure you’re reaching the right people.

8) Knowledge is power – Know your audience and your competition. Follow the old corporate adage: don’t try to be something for everyone, aim to be everything to someone. Before you jump in the deep end, learn to understand whom it is you’re communicating to and what value your product or service can add to their lives.
To do: create online polls using Survey Monkey, pay attention to Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, and most importantly, listen carefully to responses. Offer an incentive for participating, like a free coffee or a gift card from Tim Horton’s. Speaking of listening, keep your ears open to what the competition is doing. Be bold and willing to stand out and strategize over the long-term!

9) Partner with a charitable organization – Choose a cause you love and partner up with an organization whose mission is similar to yours. Get your staff and team out there helping out with a soup kitchen, throw an event and split the proceeds, or host an auction. You’re already a good Samaritan, so why not share your social consciousness with others? This alone helps your brand stand out and become a valued part of your community.

10) Capture information – Almost every message you put out there should come with a call to action. Add a newsletter sign-up form to your website, make a database of loyal clientele, and reach out to them on a regular basis. Offering incentives – “Sign up to our newsletter and receive 10 tips to…” or “Share this contest for more chances to WIN..” – is the strongest way to get your audience to participate, and it lets you find out what works for different segments of your market niche. Show them that you are grateful: a simple reward goes a long way.

 

The above article is a guest post by Sari Gabbay, founder, president and visionary at U2R1, a branding, design and marketing agency. To submit your own blog post or article for consideration, learn more here.

SEO Marketing Killed Paper Directories: Why

By Claudia Somerfield, ReputationChanger.com Reviews

Before the advent of the Internet, paper directories were one of the few means of advertising available for businesses to use to attract new customers. While this type of advertising is still used, companies are looking for more advanced platforms to expand their business globally. Over the years, SEO marketing and online directories have developed, offering useful tools that make them superior to paper directories. In this article, we’ll take a look at the reasons why SEO marketing has effectively killed paper directories.

Interactivity

Unlike a paper directory, social networks allow companies and consumers to interact with each other. Consumers can directly link to your Facebook page to receive continued updates and exchange their opinions about the product. Unlike with the old paper directories, you can also update your web page instantly. Consumers’ opinions can be immediately incorporated into new strategies.

Global Audience

In the past, a company’s marketing approach was confined only to the local community. With SEO marketing, you can reach the global audience. It is easy for anyone with an internet connection to go online and search for the best restaurant or latest fashion store in the area. Consumers can use any of the search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo! to look for their favorite product and immediately get the results. In other words, having a global audience can promote sales for companies that engage in ecommerce.

More convenient

Today, people rarely have time to catch their breath, sit alone and flip through a directory for some information. For instance, if clients need information on multiple things, they have to flip through multiple directories. This is a time consuming task and will clutter their work space with bulky paper directories. Search engine optimization helps consumers to access relevant information instantly, no matter where they are. If they are on the go and need information fast, instead of running home they can just whip out their smartphone or tablet and access the required data.

Speed

Likewise, SEO marketing is an efficient method for a client to find a company. Flipping through a paper directory consumes their precious time. If a client wants to discover the working hours of a company, he has to spend a lot of time making calls to the company. Also there is no guarantee that the company on the other end of the call is what he was looking for. If it is not, he has to repeat the procedure for other companies until he finds the right one. With SEO marketing, he can easily figure out if it is the right company with just a click of a button.

Analytics

How can you really keep track of how many clients have read your marketing messages when you have advertised on paper? Although thousands of people have received the paper, not all of them have spent time looking at the ad you have published. With SEO, you can find all sorts of records. You can find out how many clients have visited your site, how they were directed to your webpage and so on.

Easy to Update

When you advertise through paper, you can update your ads only on its next edition. This takes a long time for the updates to reach your audience. With SEO, it doesn’t take more than a few clicks and keystrokes to update your content.

With all these benefits offered by SEO marketing techniques, you no longer need to rely on paper directories to get the word out. If you want global recognition for your business, SEO marketing is the best way to go.

UpComing Webinar: Tips for Growing Your Small Business with Digital Marketing and Social Media

How valuable would it be to learn about the latest, smartest and most effective strategies for growing your small business through digital marketing and social media?  Small businesses have more ways to communicate and engage with customers than ever before.  Everything including mobile, Facebook and blogging is “fair game” for businesses to use to reach their customers – and customers can talk back!

Join us Wednesday, December 5th at 11 am PT for the next free webinar of our “Small Business Toolkit webinar series, and get answers to these and many other problematic and promising issues in small business marketing.  Our own Chris Bechtel, Director of Marketing for AnyMeeting, will lead a fast-paced, interactive webinar that will address a wide range of critical small business marketing issues and help bring your strategy up-to-date.  Chris is a 15 year digital marketing veteran, consultant and growth hacker.

Only 200 spots are available – so sign up today.  Make sure you log into the webinar early – attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis.  A recording of the webinar will also be made available for all those who register.

5 Easy Ways to Create Content for Your Business Blog

Moving in to fall, AnyMeeting continued its popular “Small Business Toolkit” webinar series with its latest guest webinar from Tom Treanor, veteran marketing expert and founder of Right Mix Marketing.  A frequent user of AnyMeeting, we would like to thank Tom for presenting “5 Easy Ways to Create Content for Your Business Blog.”

We’d also like to thank the more than 200 attendees who participated with great questions and comments, and the over 1400 people who registered. Tom’s webinar provided valuable insight on ways to create great blog content faster and easier, so you can spend less time blogging and focus more on your business.

If you were not able to attend live and would like to view the recording, just click: Recorded Webinar to Create Content for Your Business Blog.

AnyMeeting Success Story Finalist Presentation: Connecting to the Heart

Canfei Nesharim (Hebrew: The Wings of Eagles), which educates the Jewish community on environmental protection, submitted a presentation entitled Connecting to the Heart.  The organization is made up of over 300 change agents around the world, who use materials to educate their Jewish communities.  Canfei Nesharim used AnyMeeting to organize a series of webinars to help change agents learn how to organize more effectively in their communities.  Evonne Marzouk, the organization’s director elaborates further on their experience with AnyMeeting.

“We love AnyMeeting and often recommend it because of its easy-to-use design, helpful ways of sending invitations and reminders, and the ability to integrate video conferencing.  We have often recommended AnyMeeting to other colleagues because of the excellent services – really good stuff for a free service!”

“We also organized a series of trainings for facilitators of a Leadership Training. This is an excellent example of how we used video conferencing to create a comprehensive, four hour training, and then used AnyMeeting for subsequent follow-up training calls.  We especially appreciated the video integration so the participants could see each other during this training, which required a higher level of intimacy within the group of people who were spread across the United States (Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Maryland, etc.).”

UpComing Webinar: 5 Easy Ways to Create Content for Your Business Blog

Join us Wednesday, October 10th at 11 am PT for the next free webinar of our “Small Business Toolkit” webinar series, and learn some easy ways to create content for your business blog. Tom Treanor, a veteran marketing expert and founder of Right Mix Marketing, will highlight 5 different ways to create good blog content faster and easier so you can spend more time on the business and less time blogging.  All registrants will also receive a free copy of Right Mix Marketing’s “Blog Idea Generation Toolkit.”

Only 200 spots are available – so sign up today. Make sure you log in to the webinar early – attendance is on a first-come, first –served basis.