Archive for the ‘General Interest’ category

Does Online Marketing Work?

May 14, 2013

Small Business Content Marketing (for the timid)

Author: Brenna Pearce

Online marketing does work. You just have to have a plan.

As you already know if you’ve been reading my blog, the majority of Canadian small businesses don’t even have a website. Of those that do, most are more likely to use social media only for posts and updates for their customers, instead of actively marketing their brand, values, and vision to future customers. Sadly, most don’t recognize the value of blogging used in conjunction with a great content marketing plan in growing their companies. Most who do have websites are also missing out on a huge opportunity to increase revenues and inbound leads because they treat their websites as billboards instead of a vital part of an active, dynamic, online marketing plan.

Having seen this time and again, I’ve decided to put together a short ebook that outlines the basics of creating a content marketing plan. In the guide, you’ll discover:

  • Why you should be taking advantage of online marketing
  • How to use various online marketing methods together
  • Some fantastic worksheets to get you started thinking about your brand and its relation to your content marketing plan
  • And much more.

If you know someone who owns a small business and who could benefit from this book, please pass on the link below.

To download your free copy, please visit:
http://www.pearceenterprise.ca/online-marketing.php

It’s Time to Tone Up Your Business (shameless promotional post)

May 2, 2013

Tuyb pic 1Small business owners face many challenges in these troubled economic times. Many entrepreneurs feel frustration about trying to find new customers and increase their revenues. Money management and growth are particularly challenging.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business notes in its April, 2013, “Business Barometer” http://www.cfib-fcei.ca/cfib-documents/rr3289.pdf report that the overall business outlook across Canada “inched downward”. On a scale of 0 to 100, Ontario scored a 63.4, slightly above the national average of 62.4. According to CFIB, the norm is about 65 to 70 when the economy is in growth mode. Still, BMO reports in its 2013 Small Business Confidence Report http://newsroom.bmo.com/press-releases/2013-bmo-small-business-confidence-report-reveals–tsx-bmo-201304020863821001 that many businesses are optimistic that the economy will improve (34%), while the majority believes it will be unchanged  (50%) or worsen (16%). This is a bit more pessimistic than 2012.

The CBC featured a story recently, “10 Surprising Stats About Small Business in Canada”, that included a survey of small business owners and asked, among other questions, “What is your biggest challenge in running a small business?”

Here are the responses:

  • Cash flow – 51 %
  • Marketing – 21%
  • Work-leisure/Family – 18%
  • Managing staff – 10%

If you’re in the Ottawa area this month, you might want to consider attending the Tone Up Your Business event, taking place over the weekend of May 18-19. This series of workshops will radically transform how you approach all aspects of running and growing your company.  Our groundbreaking concept, drawing from facilitators in multiple disciplines and recently featured in Ottawa’s own Tone Magazine, offers a transformative, personal approach to success for today’s small business owner.

I will be facilitating a workshop covering the vast potential of blogging, content marketing, and ebook writing in the digital marketplace. It’s an ‘aha!’ moment when you suddenly realize that you can use your online presence as more than just a billboard or to share pictures; you can actually increase your revenues. If you’ve been using your website as a billboard and not making the best possible use of content marketing, you need to be at my workshop.

I’m proud to be a part of this event. I think you will start to look at your business in a completely different way afterward. Not only will you learn more about online marketing, but the other three workshop presenters are all innovators in their fields, and in helping small businesses succeed.

Heather Garrod, owner of Planet Botanix in downtown Ottawa and an influential member of the health and wellness community for many years, will teach techniques for finding lucrative opportunities through marketing, networking and event participation activities. “I think many people don’t realize that they can use the Big Three—Marketing, Tradeshows, and Networking—to leverage maximum potential for growth,” observes Garrod. “When they know the secrets, they can really jump-start their businesses.”

Trevour Strudwick, CEO of The Insight Studio, is a Corporate Trainer, Public Speaker, Motivational Coach and Occupational Hypnotist. “You will learn astonishingly simple, yet powerful techniques that will rapidly transform those internal barriers and limiting beliefs; namely, the fear of success, fear of failure and beliefs around the level of success you deserve,” promises Strudwick.

Attendees will also learn many exciting wealth creation and money management techniques from Business Consultant, Trainer, and Coach, Roy van der Mull, of VDMA Training and Consulting. “There is an art to making money, to keeping it and to allow it to grow,” says van der Mull. “Once you know the seasons of how money flows, it can only do one thing: flow towards you. It is not a secret, it is a matter of mind.”

As you can see, we will be covering the most important concerns expressed by small business owners and highlighted in the CBC story. If you’re looking for a way to kick-start your business, find new opportunities, and increase revenues, you definitely need to be there. In fact, you can’t afford not to be there.

More information and registration is available at www.insightstudiocanada.com. I hope to see you there!

Tone Magazine

Batman’s Butler Asks the Right Question

November 14, 2012

The Batsuit of Batman Begins, worn by Christia...

In the film, “Batman Begins”, Alfred the butler asks a dejected Bruce Wayne, “Why do we fall?” The answer: “So that we can learn to pick ourselves up again”. Why am I quoting Alfred the butler? The answer: because, in a way, this same principle applies to small business blogging. Many small business owners have tried blogging without seeing any real success from their writing activities and have let their blogs fall. Why do blogs fall? I think it’s because they haven’t asked themselves that one crucial question: “Why do I blog?”

So why do we blog? The answer to this question should be straightforward, but, paradoxically, isn’t for many of us. People blog on an almost infinite array of issues, but all blogs can be distilled into one basic, common principle: communicating important information of interest to other people.

What is important to you, however, may not be that important to a lot of other people. The trick in blogging effectively is realizing what ideas you have in common with the highest number of people possible, strangers in essence, and sharing important information about common concerns with them. This is especially true in small business blogging.

For example, I thought about what I wanted this blog to be about for quite a while. There are so many websites offering advice to would-be bloggers. I decided, after reviewing a number of local business blogs, that there was a real need for advice on how to blog as well as why a small business blog is a good thing. The important information I want to share with as many people as possible, those who I think share common concerns, small business owners, is how to make blog posts unique to their business and use them most effectively to generate new business. I believe this starts with writing well and writing strategically (i.e. with a definable purpose).

So, small business owner, why do you want to blog? Here are some of the reasons why small business owners should start a blog:

  • Improve search engine results (visibility)
  • Establish your industry expertise (credibility)
  • Influence social media platforms (networking/visibility)
  • Get customer response (engagement)
  • Answer common questions that many customers ask (FAQs)

Almost everything that goes on in your business is part of a subset of one of the above principles. Your blog helps you to articulate your business philosophy, your dedication to customer service, your unique selling proposition, and so on, to a very wide potential audience. A blog is more like setting up a table on the sidewalk and talking to random passersby to directly engage them in a conversation than it is like a newspaper or other traditional media advertisement. That’s why it has to be good. You want people to listen to you, not ignore you.

You can find all kinds of information on the Internet about how to start a blog and how to market it effectively. There are tips on how to share your blog on social media, how to syndicate your content, learn search engine optimization tactics, and discover where you can go to find blog space. Fewer blogs concentrate on the basic mechanics of strategically writing individual blog posts and writing them well. Fewer still concentrate on doing this when you’re a small business owner trying to blog for a local customer base.

Small business owners need this information. It’s a common concern for many (even if they don’t know it yet). Doing a great job marketing your blog doesn’t amount to anything if you’re highly visible but also highly irrelevant or boring. That’s why I blog. I want to help small business owners pick themselves again up in terms of their business blogging.

We will be looking at some of the other tips I mentioned above in future posts related to marketing your blog. These things go hand in hand with the essential purpose of small business blogging, which is generating new sales leads. However, my main concentration is how you, as a small business owner, can write well and engage your readers. This, in turn, will lead to increased interest in your company and to new sales. You won’t find any flashy gewgaws or doodads in these pages; just straightforward information that will help you write better and be more interesting to a greater number of people who need your products and services.

Now that you know why you blog, why you should blog, and you know there is help out there, pick yourself up again and start blogging well.

Today’s Title: I chose today’s title because, as I was asking myself the question “why do we blog?”, Alfred the butler kept whispering in my memory: “Why do we fall?”. I guess it was the similarity of the wording that evoked the parallel with the concept of small business blogs “falling” and Alfred’s “Why do we fall?” question.

Do you have a small business blogging question you’d like to see answered? Let me know in the comments section below, email me using the contact form on my website,  or drop by and leave a comment on the Pearce Enterprise Research Facebook page.

Visit Pearce Enterprise Research today to discover how we can help your small business blog generate new sales!