Promoting Your Small Business
By: Peter Walters
Promoting your small business is important...no, actually it’s essential to your success.
But where should you start? Do you need a marketing director with 20 years of experience, or could a college intern do the trick? How much money is needed? Do you need a full time designer on staff?
These are all questions that should be swirling around your head as you begin to think about promoting, marketing and otherwise advertising your business.
Here are three simple areas to focus on as you get started.
While it seems obvious, many companies neglect to give their website the attention - both through design and user interface - that they should.
This is your first avenue for self-promotion, and can either be a driver of sales, or something pithy and throw together, as if an afterthought. If you’re in the second camp, it’s time to make some changes. Where do your eyes go first when you get to your home page? Is there an immediate call to action-- and if there is, does it reflect your top priorities (i.e. sign-up, purchase, etc.)? Your website should be bright, compelling and draw customers deeper in to learn more. Tease them with surface level information about what you do. The longer a potential customer spends on your website, the greater the likelihood that they will convert and make a purchase or sign up.
Your website also should link to your blog. Be sure to include relevant and highly searched SEO keywords so you’ll rank higher on Google’s search!
2) Email Blasts
While some strategists argue that email is going away, the numbers seem to say otherwise.
Just check in your inbox to see. Bet there’s a lot of companies trying to sell you things, right? It’s telling that presidential campaigns rely heavily on email blasts to get both money and votes. Sending marketing emails effectively is another matter altogether, however.
The more personal, relevant and “human” looking and sounding, you craft your message, the better. While only an estimated 10% of marketing emails are even opened, that’s better than none at all. Email blasts are inexpensive, immediate, measurable and direct.
3) Social Media
If you’re not using social media...wake up!
Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are the top tools you should be using. Each has their own purpose, but each is important. With these tools you can target, and speak directly to your customers, and acquire new ones through very targeted ads. How many Likes does your brand’s Facebook page have? Twitter followers? Play with the Facebook Ads Manager to run short trials of various types of ads. Segment your target audience with different copy and images to see what sticks most. Engage customers and share interesting pictures or articles on Twitter. Take beautiful pictures of relevant things and post them to Instagram.
Social media offers a fantastic, largely free opportunity to get your business name and values in front of a huge number of people. This could be someone’s full time job, so it would be wise to take it seriously.
At the end of the day, are you doing all you can to promote your small business?
About the Author: Peter Walters is a freelance blogger for various sites, including the Huffington Post and ripoffreportadvice. He is also the Director of Business Development at Two Degrees Food and lives in San Francisco.
Giving efficiency the full throttle at NASCAR
The NASCAR organization has long been synonymous with speed, agility and innovation. And so by extension, partnerships at NASCAR hold a similar reputation. One such partner for the organization has been CDW – a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to businesses, government, education and healthcare customers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. CDW provides a broad array of products and services ranging from hardware and software to integrated IT solutions such as security cloud hybrid infrastructure and digital experience. Customer need is the driving force at CDW, and the company helps clients by delivering integrated services solutions that maximize their technology investment. So how does CDW help their customers achieve their business goals? Troy Okerberg, Field Sales Manager - North Florida at CDW adds “We strive to provide our customers with full stack expertise, helping them design, orchestrate and manage technologies that drive their business outcomes.”
NASCAR acquired International Speedway Corporation (ISC) in 2019, merging its operations into one, new company moving forward. The merger represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences while developing strategic growth initiatives that will drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans. CDW has been instrumental in bringing the two technology environments together to enable collaboration and efficiency as one organization. Starting with a comprehensive analysis of all of NASCAR’s vendors, CDW created a uniform data platform for the data center environment across the NASCAR-ISC organization. The IT partner has also successfully merged the two native infrastructure systems together, while analyzing, consulting and providing an opportunity to merge Microsoft software licenses as well.
2020 turned into a tactical year for both organizations with the onset of the pandemic and CDW has had to react quickly to the changing scenario. Most of the initial change included building efficiencies around logistics, like equipment needing to be delivered into the hands of end users who switched to a virtual working environment almost overnight. CDW’s distribution team worked tirelessly to ensure that all customers could still access the products that they were purchasing and needed for their organizations throughout the COVID timeframe. Okerberg adds that today, CDW continues to optimize their offering by hyper-localizing resources as well as providing need-based support based on the size and complexity of their accounts. Although CDW still operates remotely, the company commits to adapting to the changing needs of their clients, NASCAR in particular. Apart from the challenges that COVID-19 brought to the organization, another task that CDW had been handed was to identify gaps and duplicates in vendor agreements that the two former single-entity organizations had in place and align them based on services offered. CDW further helps identify and provide the best solution from a consolidation standpoint of both hardware and software clients so that the new merged organization is equipped with the best of what the industry has to offer.