I think social media is one of the best ways for a mom with a small business to get noticed online. Before social media took off, I relied heavily on Google Ads (often expensive and not always worth it), news releases and search engines to drive traffic to my sites. But now I use Twitter, Facebook and blogs to promote my online business to a much wider audience for a fraction of the cost. The cross-promotion activity possibilities between them are limitless.
My favorite social media promotion right now is Facebook pages. They're so easy to set up for your business. Just a few clicks and you've got a page on one of the hottest platforms on the net. It's like a blog and a discussion forum all in one. No software to learn, no domains to buy, no hassles with tech issues. And best of all it's free! If you don't have one yet, you need to get busy and get one started.
If you have any questions about how to use social media to promote your business or set up a Facebook page, just ask them in the comments and I'll be happy to answer them for you.
Editor, Moms in Business
If you want to make enemies, try to change something. ~ Woodrow WilsonHow to Write With a Knife http://bit.ly/LgKVP
Summer's just starting and some people are already singing the ain't got no business blues. But if you work it right, summer can be a wonderful time to get new business, make new contacts, and set some goals for the fall. Here's some ideas for kicking the summertime blues and making the most of the warm months ahead.
1. First things first. Take some time off! It may seem counter intuitive, but taking some down time is crucial to the health of your business. A change of scenery, new experiences, and a chance to slow down and really relax will help you to recharge the little gray cells and increase your creativity.
Be sure to keep a little notebook (I use Moleskin journals in bright colors) or voice recorder (I use the Recorder app on my iPhone) handy to keep track of those smashing ideas that will come up during your down time.
2. Do some training. Summer is the perfect time to take a class and learn a new skill or master a software program that will help your business grow. Check out the offerings at your local community college or university, subscribe to an online training site or take a teleclass. Some ideas -- if you want to learn some new software, check out the online tutorials at Lynda.com. If you want to expand your entrepreneurial mind, consider a teleclass with Barbara Winter of Joyfully Jobless on brainstorming or outsmarting resistance.
3. Network everywhere! Just because you are on vacation doesn't mean you can't network. Stay open to connecting with people no matter where you are and always be sure you have your business cards and info with you to exchange with your new friends.
4. Set some goals. Summertime is perfect for creating or rethinking your business goals. Use this time to write down your goals for the rest of the year or check the progress of the goals you've set and tweak them a bit.
5. Host a fun summertime sales event! Do something fun for your customers to increase business -- if you have a retail store throw a customer appreciation party and invite your customers to come and bring a guest. If you have an online business, you can run a contest or offer a free teleclass.
Finally, be bold this summer and break out of your comfort zone. Your bottom line will thank you for it!
"A goal without a plan is just a wish." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Mom opens skateboard shop at son's request: This mom’s, like, totally rad http://snurl.com/fvma7
7 Ways to Spice Up Your Resume http://snurl.com/fy1oo -- I especially like #5. Replace the objective with a value summary
Must read: How to Start (or Start-over) Building Your Personal Brand http://snurl.com/fsw86
Tweetdeck Gets Facebook Integration http://snurl.com/fvlig
How to create a Facebook fan page http://snurl.com/g5e0v
I love Tweetie! http://snurl.com/g2j75 It's the best iPhone Twitter app I've found so far.
The NY Times on how Twitter makes people smarter, faster & more efficient http://ow.ly/2YrG
Goal setting tips we can learn from our dogs: Forget About It Being a Dog-Eat-Dog World http://snurl.com/fsvzc
The Psychology Of Color In Marketing Materials http://ow.ly/2S5H
But how do you find your uniqueness, and how do you communicate it once you've discovered it ? Here's five ideas to get you started:
1. Tell your business story. By telling people your story about your unique business journey (why and how you started your business), people will start to make a connection with you, especially if they can personally relate to your story. After all, people like to do business with people that they like and trust and can relate to. Your story will help them to decide if they want to do business with you. Just be sure to keep your story true, consistent and authentic and you'll make the connection.
2. Make it personal. Tell your prospective customers and prospects what you offer that is different and better than anyone else. In other words, answer the unasked question lingering in their minds, "What's In It For Me". Maybe you offer fast delivery, or personalized services, or a unique system or training program that you designed. Whatever it is, make sure it's something that's perceived as truly valuable.
3. Think out of the box. Get a copy of Seth Godin's "The Purple Cow" for ideas on how to make your business truly remarkable. And read his blog http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ regularly to stretch your marketing mind with a fresh perspective from a master marketer.
4. Target a niche market. Select one or two niche markets to focus on. Develop a marketing campaign designed to get their attention that focuses on what's important to them. How do you find a good niche? To start, list the niches that you are part of yourself. This makes it easier for you to figure out what that group's needs and wants are and also makes it easier for them to identify with you.
5. Think service. Providing excellent customer service and going that extra mile will definitely get you noticed. Answer your phone messages and emails promptly, fix problems with a smile and always keep your word.
Moms in Business
by Linda Locke
Editor, Moms in Business
Whether you’re new in business or not, one thing’s for sure . . . networking is an essential part of building your business. The more well-known you are in the business community, and the more people who know about you and your business, the more referrals you are likely to receive.
Networking provides the exposure you need and is especially important for those who work at home to keep them from becoming too isolated. The contacts you develop through networking continue to grow and expand until you have a web connecting you to potential clients throughout the community. When your net starts working, you’ll begin receiving calls from people you’ve never met, who are associates of associates. It just goes on and on. To facilitate this happening, you must tell everyone you meet who you are and what you do.
Most of us are shy about tooting our own horn. But when you’re in business, especially your own business, you must learn to toot your horn regularly.
Develop a 30-second commercial which simply and concisely explains what you do as well as the benefits of your products. Make sure it’s easy to understand. Here’s a sample:
“Hi, I’m Sue Brown, an executive with the Maximum Energy Company. I market a line of natural herbal supplements that make you feel great and help you lose weight quickly and safely. I also offer a complete business system for women who would like to learn how to earn a good part-time income working out of their home.”
To prepare your 30-second commercial, make a list of the benefits of your service or product and incorporate them into a description of your business. Use the above for an example. Test it out on an associate to make sure it’s clear. Then practice, practice, practice.
When you meet someone, whether it's in an elevator, at a business mixer, association meeting or business luncheon, your 30-second commercial quickly tells them who you are. Then you can find out who they are and exchange business cards. Your goal at mixers and trade shows is to connect with as many prospects as possible, so limit your contact time to about five minutes. You might want to make a note on their business card based on your conversation. Later you can review your notes to determine which ones to follow up. Make a phone call to arrange a meeting to get to know one another better.
Remember, the best networking comes from developing business relationships. The more you know about each other and your businesses, the better you can serve each other’s needs. Develop a contact file and a regular plan to help stay in touch with prospects. If you publish a newsletter, you might put them on your list to receive it. Or, you could send a brochure, which describes your products and/or business opportunity. If you happen to come across a newspaper or magazine article which may be of interest to your potential customer, you could copy it and pass it along. And, I guarantee you’ll be remembered if you call with a referral which may bring future business to your prospect.
Think of the potential business out there. What are you waiting for? Practice your commercial. Grab a stack of business cards.
And get your net working!
Rhonda Abrams, a USA Today small business columnist and the author of The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies, has written a terrific article on how entrepreneurs can perfect their business networking pitch.
So the next time someone asks you, "What do you do?" you'll be ready.
I love networking events, but sometimes I come away from all these meetings thinking that I've wasted my time since I did a lot of chatting, but didn't really make many solid connections for my business.
So here's some good tips on how to make the most of your time spent at networking events.
Editor, Moms in Business
If networking at trade shows and conferences is on your to do list this year, here's some great tips from Scott Ginsberg, the Name Tag guy:
"You’ve just walked into a trade show or conference. You want to meet certain people, talk to them about your company, and get some leads. Where do you begin?
Here’s a mini-guide to networking, with plenty of tips from Scott Ginsberg, AKA “The Nametag Guy.” It includes:
3 tips on preparation
5 tips on what to do during the event
3 tips on follow-up
How to keep in touch"
Read more here: How to Network at Conferences and Trade Shows: Mini-Guide