Small Business Tips
November 19th, 2013
The U.K.’s electronics review site Expert Reviews raved about our WorkCentre 6605DN multifunction printer.
The WorkCentre 6505DN received five stars (out of five) in a recent review. The device was praised for its print quality and impressive touchscreen interface that rates “among the best” seen by the website’s reviewers.
With its fast color output speed, exceptional print quality and optimized ease-of-use, the WorkCentre 6605 is ideally suited for small, busy workteams.
November 12th, 2013
According to a study by advertising consulting agency Borrell Associates, of 1,300 small-business owners, 72 percent planned to boost or maintain their mobile-ad spending this year. Of those, 65 percent expected to increase such spending by up to 30 percent.
With the near ubiquity of mobile Internet connectivity and a rapidly improving online shopping experience for mobile-device users, it’s clear there’s a major shift underway in how consumers choose to conduct their purchasing.
The small businesses that ride the crest of this new wave will put themselves in position to drastically increase their brands’ reach and gain new revenue streams.
But how do you go about properly implementing mobile advertising?
The article “5 Crucial Mobile Advertising Tactics For Small Businesses,” courtesy of openforum.com, provides helpful suggestions you can use today to open your storefront to countless new customers.
The entire article is worth reading, but one tip, “Think Local With Your Keywords,” is particularly noteworthy because of its simplicity and potential impact:
“Perhaps one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to benefit from mobile advertising is to ‘not advertise’ at all and use local mobile searches as your form of organic advertising instead.
As smartphone users increasingly use GPS and apps like Google Maps, along with search terms to find local services and businesses, being optimized for these types of searches can benefit your physical foot traffic exponentially.
To give you an idea of how important local mobile search is to your business, consider these statistics:
- Mobile searches for restaurants led to a 90 percent conversion rate, with 64 percent visiting within an hour of the search.
- 74 percent of mobile users used their phones to get ‘real-time location-based information’ directions, up from 55 percent the previous year, according to the Pew Research Center.
- Mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop search by 2015.”
Powerful stuff, to be sure.
November 7th, 2013
Once solely the domain of Twitter, hashtags have become ubiquitous. We see them used in all types of media, from TV commercials and print ads, to YouTube videos and every popular social media platform.
Today, the hashtag is much more than something used by marketers to help target audiences find relevant content—it’s become ingrained in our pop-culture vernacular. And because of that, it’s far too common to see hashtags being used incorrectly.
But when used properly, the hashtag remains a powerful tool in a marketer’s arsenal—one that’s capable of greatly increasing the chances that potential customers will be drawn to your brand and end up paying for your products or services.
But how do you ensure your small business has the right strategy in place?
You could turn to your favorite search engine and enter “how to use hashtags for marketing” or any similar keyword combination. But the results will likely overwhelm you.
Instead, I suggest starting with this helpful article, courtesy of Search Engine Watch. The author provides a fantastic overview of how hashtags came to be what they are today, and gives painful examples of some prominent hashtag-usage faux pas. There’s also a thorough primer on how to ensure your business uses them as effectively as possible going forward.
From the article: “When you optimize conversations, content, and updates with hashtags, they become more visible to others on social media platforms and search engines. A simple click or search for a hashtag will display those using that hashtag in conversation – instantly identifying an audience with common interests. The potential for using the hashtag is limitless and can be leveraged across platforms, or uniquely on each social platform.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts regarding hashtags. Do they annoy you? Do you use them as part of your company’s overall marketing strategy?
I encourage you to read the Search Engine Watch article and then return here to share your feedback.
Thanks for reading.
October 15th, 2013
A small business can be confident it’s doing everything right with regard to safeguarding its critical data, while overlooking one key vulnerability: the company website.
That’s the primary takeaway from this Small Business Computing article, which should serve as a wakeup call for any small business committed to preventing their data from becoming compromised.
Regardless of the security measures in place that provide end-to-end malware protection, network safeguards and a comprehensive BYOD-security policy, sufficient emphasis must be placed on ensuring a secure online presence.
According to the article, “The IT security battleground has a new front. Rather than launch fruitless attacks on fortified networks, hackers are targeting the websites of small business. And they’re succeeding.”
It seems that while a small business might be doing everything else correctly, when it comes to its website it’s often the basic default security settings that are implemented despite the more robust options typically offered by web hosting providers.
There’s simply too much at stake for such risk-taking.
From the piece, “The results of inaction can prove catastrophic. Nearly 60 percent of small businesses that fall victim to a cybercrime shutter their doors within six months … Like many consumers living paycheck to paycheck, many small firms can’t afford to have their cash flow interrupted.”
Another disturbing—and potentially fatal—outcome of a website-based malware infiltration is a small-business’ website being blacklisted by Google.
“On average, the search giant blacklists 9,500 websites each day. Getting blacklisted by Google can, in effect, render them a non-entity to the world at large,” says the article.
And while uncomfortable to ponder, the implications of such an outcome could prove irreparably damaging to a company’s reputation and bottom line.
I encourage you to read the Small Business Computing article in its entirety to learn more about the ways in which you can ensure your small business is doing all it can to stay protected from the countless outside threats that wish to do you harm.
Thanks for reading.
October 8th, 2013
In an earlier post, “Simple—and Affordable—Steps for Gaining a Google Advantage,” I discussed my rationale for so often raising awareness of new trends and emerging developments as they pertain to small businesses and online marketing.
It’s simple, really: Big businesses need to stay active online to sustain their brand identity. Small businesses need to stay active online to sustain their livelihoods. Thus, one of the most important points of focus for today’s small-business marketers has to be developing a winning content marketing strategy.
So when I find content during my daily trolling that’s likely to benefit my audience, I try to make a point of sharing it with you.
To that end, two of today’s finds come from the experts at Search Engine Watch.
Both articles discuss Google’s recently updated search algorithm, Hummingbird, which promises to dramatically alter search optimization strategy. With its release, Hummingbird has shifted the algorithmic focus from keyword-centric search results to results that occur according to the breadth of a website’s online influence measured by the number of organic referrals it receives.
In “What ‘(Not Provided)’ & Google Hummingbird Mean for Small Business SEO,” the author discusses the small-business-specific implications, and how the new algorithm “…clears the path for small business owners to generate high-quality content that really answers questions.”
And I found this Search Engine Watch article particularly interesting, especially the section that discusses the ways in which Hummingbird search rankings place greater value on judiciously used hashtags in blog titles (thus the “#SmallBusinessSolutions” in this post’s title) and when sharing content on Google+.
In this video courtesy of The Moz Blog, the presenter does a nice job explaining what online marketers can do to maintain favorable search rankings despite Hummingbird’s updates.
I hope you find the content I referred to helpful, and please don’t hesitate to return to share your SEO and/or content marketing success stories, or examples of what you’re doing to change your online marketing strategy in light of the Hummingbird update.
Thanks for reading, and happy marketing.
October 4th, 2013
David Bates, Vice President, Marketing and eCommerce, Xerox North American Resellers
When I visit small companies, both as a Xerox executive as well as an individual customer, I am always struck by the constant pressures, dynamic environment, and multiple tasks that owners and managers have to deal with. Although we think technology makes most things easier, it also adds layers of complexity that take attention away from why they got into business in the first place. Therefore, next week, I am excited to bring together SMB leaders in Philadelphia to discuss and tackle the common pain points when it comes to technology.
Our “SMB Dreaming Discussion with Gene Marks” includes participants from businesses ranging from less than 30 employees to more than 300. It’s a diverse group with company expertise in manufacturing, information technology, advertising and more. Gene Marks, small business owner, best-selling author and contributor on the topic of SMBs, will moderate the discussion and share insights from his experience.
Our Dreaming Discussion creates a unique opportunity for SMBs to candidly discuss and brainstorm opportunities to simplify the way work is done. Specifically, we’re going to discuss the growing trend toward mobile workforces and the challenges and opportunities that come with it, especially the importance of securing devices and making sure employees have the right tools to work away from the home office. We’re also going to discuss the pain points of administrative workflows and how to manage invoicing, documents and more. And lastly we will focus on how to get the most out of technology investments, and how it’s critical to invest wisely in a product or service that will keep up with business demands and deliver accordingly.
It’s going to be a terrific discussion and I look forward to sharing the ideas discussed. Look out for a video series here on this blog in the days and weeks after the event, and you can also follow (and get involved in) the event in real time on Twitter. Simply follow @XeroxOffice and monitor the official #XeroxSMBDD hashtag prior to, during and after the event.
Stayed tuned, only six days until the dreaming begins!
September 30th, 2013
If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ve seen lots of articles that deal with the ins and outs of content marketing.
The Content Marketing Institute defines the term as such: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
You probably know by now that content marketing should be an integral component of your overall marketing strategy. That’s especially true if you conduct business online and have an e-commerce site whose search rankings you push organically, and to which you can direct your content audiences for more information about your products and/or services.
But if you’re new to the content marketing game and need help, you could easily become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available online. Type “content marketing help” into any search engine and you’ll see what I mean.
Which is why I found this Search Engine Watch article so remarkable. In it, the author provides details on the key considerations when building your first content marketing strategy, from the basics to developing a strategy for your subsequent efforts. I think you’ll find it quite helpful.
From the article: “Whether the main goal of your site is to make a little extra cash each month or your site [is] the main hub of your business, your content conveys your message, establishes your brand, and converts potential customers into sales.”
I encourage anyone who’s kicking off their content marketing activities to read the entire article, and then return here to share comments.
Thanks for reading, and happy marketing.