Webinar: Marketing Without Money

ICYMI: The first of our free 3-part, “Building Your Business Webinar Series” presented by AnyMeeting, Comcast Business and SCORE, “Marketing Without Money” is available as a recorded webinar.

Hear from SCORE mentors Tom Patty and John Pietro to find out how you can use million-dollar marketing ideas on a zero-dollar budget. Learn the strategies of big budget marketing to grow your small business, how to get more customers and increase your response rate without spending a dime.

Tom spent over 21 years in the advertising business and retired as President of Chiat/Day, one of the most creative ad agencies in the country. John has over 40 years’ experience in marketing, advertising and promotions. He helped create the famous “Where’s the Beef” campaign for Wendy’s.

Watch the webinar now.

Building Your Business Webinar Series

am-comcast-score-webinar-imageJoin us for a free 3-part Building Your Business Webinar Series, presented by AnyMeeting, Comcast Business and SCORE, a non-profit association supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration with over 11,000 volunteers dedicated to helping small businesses launch and grow. Check out the sessions below and register today.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Part 1: Marketing Without Money
  • Tuesday, February 24, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific Time
  • Guest Speakers: SCORE mentors Tom Patty and John Pietro
Join SCORE mentors Tom Patty and John Pietro to find out how you can use million-dollar marketing ideas on a zero-dollar budget. Learn the strategies of big budget marketing to grow your small business, how to get more customers and increase your response rate without spending a dime.
Tom spent over 21 years in the advertising business and retired as President of Chiat/Day, one of the most creative ad agencies in the country. John has over 40 years’ experience in marketing, advertising and promotions. He helped create the famous “Where’s the Beef” campaign for Wendy’s.
REGISTER

 

Part 2: How to Develop a Business Plan in 6 Easy Steps

  • Tuesday, March 24, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific Time
  • Guest Speaker: David Albright, Small Business Mentor, SCORE
A business plan is an essential road map for business success, but few small businesses ever complete a plan due to over-complicated approaches that entail too much theory, writing and detail. This webinar will give you pragmatic, straightforward tools for setting goals, developing action plans for achieving them, measuring how you are doing on an ongoing basis and adjusting accordingly.

 

David Albright is an active SCORE mentor with extensive experience in the consumer products industry including being President of Pepperidge Farm, Inc., Godiva Chocolatier Worldwide and Glacial Confections, a start-up venture. He currently consults with venture capital firms on the food and confectionery industries.
REGISTER

 

Part 3: The Many Ways SCORE Can Help You Succeed in Business

  • Tuesday, April 21, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific Time
  • Guest Speaker: Bridget Weston Pollack, Vice President of Marketing & Communications, SCORE
SCORE is here for the life of your business. With free mentoring, training and resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners,SCORE is committed to helping you succeed – whatever your business goal! With more than 10 million people served by SCORE since its inception in 1964, SCORE works with you to provide you with customized, unbiased assistance – no matter what business stage you are at. Join this webinar to learn about the ways that SCORE can help you today.

 

Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the SCORE Association. In this role, Bridget is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR, and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies for the organization to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services.
REGISTER

 

Why SMBs are ready for a new Web Conferencing pricing model

Small business owners are a creative and resourceful bunch.  In my experience, they are able to get what they need done quickly and on a shoestring budget.  That means piecing together a solution that works, even if it’s not quite perfect – it just needs to work.  We’ve seen this in our industry with customers putting together a free conference calling service, with a screen sharing service, with a video conferencing service – to make a solution that sometimes works for them.  In other cases, when the small business owner shells out the cash for a more integrated, business grade solution, there may be a propensity to share that account with a few colleagues, because it doesn’t really make sense to pay for multiple accounts when they can just share one.

Well, I’m proud to say that today at AnyMeeting, we’ve launched a product that will free our customers from having to make such compromises.   Introducing: AnyMeeting Company Pro.  With this new solution, everyone in your small to medium enterprise can have their own AnyMeeting account, which comes with everything they need for productive collaboration and online meetings.  That means they get an ‘all-in-one’ solution with integrated phone conferencing, video conferencing, web conferencing, screen sharing, recording, mobile access and much more.  Very importantly, we’ve also priced Company Pro so competitively that there’s no need to share accounts – which just feels better for everyone.  When it comes to business grade online meeting tools, no competitor offers a tool as easy to use and specifically built for small to medium businesses, at such a competitive price.  Let’s do a quick price check:

10 Users on GoToMeeting: $4,680 per year

10 Users on AnyMeeting: $1,500 per year

Annual savings: $3,180 or almost 70% less

What this means is that your entire organization can now become more productive, efficient and responsive in all that they do.  Your sales team can better pitch your product, better demonstrate your value proposition and better elaborate on their proposals – all from their desk.  Your marketing team can conduct more marketing webinars, more focus groups and have more meaningful engagement with outside resources.  Your professional services folks can meet more often with clients, better collaborate on requirements, and more frequently communicate on progress and deliverables – all from their desk.

At the end of the day, an increase in productivity for your entire team truly benefits the business’ bottom line.  Nationally, the average knowledge worker’s salary is about $40K – with some regions being substantially higher.  For less than 1% of their salary, doesn’t it make sense to give every knowledge worker in your organization the tools that have been proven to increase their productivity?

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.

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.

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

Wrapping up another great year, AnyMeeting closed out its popular “Small Business Toolkit” webinar series for 2012 with its last guest webinar from Chris Bechtel, director of marketing for AnyMeeting.  A 15 year digital marketing veteran, we would like to thank Chris for presenting “Tips for Growing Your Small Business with Digital Marketing and Social Media.”

We’d also like to thank the more than 400 registrants and attendees who participated with great questions and comments. Chris’s webinar provided a fast-paced, interactive webinar that introduced smart and effective strategies for growing a small business through digital marketing and social media. If you were not able to attend live and would like to view the recording, just click: Recorded Webinar to Grow your Small Business.

Calling all Coders, AnyMeeting is Hosting a WebRTC Hackathon

If you are an engineer, designer, product manager, marketer or entrepreneur, AnyMeeting has a great opportunity for you.  On January 26th, AnyMeeting will be hosting a hackathon based around the emerging technology known as WebRTC.  Seeing WebRTC as a major disruptive force in the world of Real Time Communications, AnyMeeting is encouraging those interested to come together and work on building a new project, product or service involving the technology in a 12-hour hack session.

At the end of the session, competing teams of contestants will be able to present and answer questions on their projects for a chance to win a grand prize of $5,000.  Small prizes will be awarded to two runners up teams as well.

For more information on the “AnyMeeting WebRTC Hackathon,” how to register and sponsorship opportunities, please visit our AnyMeeting EventBrite Page.

AnyMeeting Joins American Express in Supporting Small Business Saturday

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there is Small Business Saturday.  Started in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.  The effort helps drive sales to small businesses on one of the busiest holiday shopping weekends of the year.

Along with American Express, Small Business Saturday is supported by a host of advocacy groups, political officials and corporations throughout the country.  This year, AnyMeeting is getting in on the fun and has become a corporate sponsor of Small Business Saturday.

So, help AnyMeeting and American Express support small business on Saturday, November 24th.  For more information on how you and your company can get involved and what opportunities are available for small businesses, click here.

AnyMeeting Success Story Finalist Presentation: Jeff Bartholomew, ACN

Jeff Bartholomew submitted a success story describing his experience using AnyMeeting as a tool to help grow his business as a regional director for ACN, Inc. A network marketing company, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications and essential services for home and business. Jeff has been using AnyMeeting for over a month and further discusses his experience with AnyMeeting as a meeting tool for his business.

“I’m on the east coast and I have a team across the country, across the North American continent, and I’m able to do webinars regularly, three, four, five times a week. I can conduct trainings, briefings, presentations, communicating with my team and it’s been an incredible tool to help build my business. There is no way I would have been able to do this without AnyMeeting.”