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Month: November 2012

Reputation Marketing & Your Small Business

Have you ever considered that your reputation may be tarnished and you don’t even know it? What are people saying about you offline and online? Are all your markting efforts being sabotaged by a disgruntled employee or competitor?

All your fancy TV ads, blog & Facebook posts, Tweets, and direct mail are for nil if bad reviews keep popping up all over the place. This is where reputation marketing comes into the grand ole’ scheme of things.

Reputation marketing is still relatively new and is growing leaps and bounds as more and more search engines and citation sites are jumping into the review game. And don’t expect this game to get any easier anytime soon. It’s heating up and just getting interesting. 

In my previous post about Local Marketing I mentioned the foundation. This is usually where the trouble starts, but not always.

Sometimes there’s a rogue element like someone in the business or associated with it who is having a bad streak or is possibly disgruntled. The foundation is really strong but this one person is wreaking havoc, leaving a trail of dissatisfied customers, lost opportunities and plummeting sales.

Could it be you, the owner or manager, who is creating all the collateral damage? Or maybe your partner or senior manager?

These are the questions we need to ask you, the small business owner, because your online reputation can and will have an impact on your company moving forward.

Simply just posting reviews online is not going to make it all good. You need to have a simple plan for building your reputation online and then the foundation to support the plan.

You see it all comes back to the click and mortar again, doesn’t it. In the offline world you, your partner and your staff need to do the work to keep the foundation intact. From answering the phone and emails to posting on social media sites and meeting with people in person. It all comes together as people create their opinions about you and your company and then spread the word, good or bad.

If this seems too simple that is because it really is. This is not rocket science here but there are best practices and ways to do accomplish the plan and grow your business.

The bottom line is that every prospect and lead you come in contact with can either have a positive or negative impact on your business. These people you deal and work with everyday are the ones who will post and share their experiences online with other people.

Reputation marketing, or what some call reputation management, is the key. Yes, it is the key for small businesses to attract and connect with new prospects and existing customers. Reputation marketing (I prefer this term) is where small businesses can make it or break it online.

That’s why you need to be working on your foundation and reputation at the same time. It’s an ongoing process that requires work and planning.

So get started now and touch bases with the Small Biz Mechanic if you need a little help fixing the foundation or bad reviews.

To your reputation marketing success!

Dave Krygier


Micro Finance & The Harvest of Hope

A few years back I was introduced to the world of micro finance through a gentleman on a treadmill. I wrote about this episode in a post called Micro Finance. Yep, I was feeling creative that day(Not!!).

And so today I want to continue with insights about the world of micro finance but also mention the Harvest of Hope project.

Here goes…

When it comes to helping and encouraging small business owners from around the globe,     there is no better way than through micro-finance. This allows us to reach those people that really desire to own and run their own business. They are not looking for a handout, but are looking for opportunity.

Now this may come as a surprise but many small business owners who are located in certain countries don’t have the ability or resources to secure funding for their business, and this is where micro finance comes into the picture. One of the latest numbers I came across is that micro finance is a $70 Billion industry! That really got me thinking about all the business owners I know, and how they could connect with other business owners in need.

As a small business owner you already know what it’s like to go through the startup process. You’ve been there and done that. Maybe the process went smoothly (probably not) and maybe there were lots of bumps and bruises.

Your business may be flourishing and could even be struggling due to the economic challenges of the last 5 years, but for as little as $25 to $50 you can have a positive impact on a small business owner.

The point I am making here is that you can make a difference no matter what your situation is.

Here’s how…

Micro Finance Organizations

There are many different micro finance organizations out there but the two that I highly recommend are Kiva and World Vision. Kiva’s focus is micro finance where as World Vision also offers other programs and services.

Now Harvest of Hope on the other hand is operated by the folks at Partners International out of Spokane, Washington. This project is more than just micro finance, it’s reaching people who need help in their day to day lives.

I’ve personally met with and worked with the senior management and they are a top notch organization that literally partners with people around the globe. Their Harvest of Hope project is just one of many that is having a positive impact and is reaching people in areas that need the most help. You can check out their site at http://harvestofhope.org.

I want to encourage you to research and check out these organizations and if you find it in your heart to support a fellow small business owner or individual, then do it. Your support will make a difference and help change lives one person at a time.

Make a difference, change a life and bring hope to those in need.

Dave Krygier




Email Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Even with all the new social media sites, text marketing, video marketing, blog marketing and every other kind of marketing, email marketing is still one of the best ways to communicate and connect with your prospects, subscribers and customers.

But why is it that the emails sent by retailers and service businesses seem to be the same ole’ broadcast with a drab layout and too much information.

This hasn’t changed much since the late 1990’s. In most cases all you will see is sell, sell, sell, sell – blah, blah, blah… It’s a tragedy that I see all the time. From big corporations to the smallest of small businesses, the list is long.

Now you can avoid this if you are going to build your subscriber and customer list by using email marketing.

When it comes to Email Marketing Strategies for small business, here is one you might consider:

With this strategy the idea is to Captivate the Subscriber(who may also be a customer) so he or she really looks forward to receiving your emails. Below are three different examples of how you can do this.

1. Write a Story Board just like you would if you were creating a mini-series for Television. Not that you have to be a screenwriter, but you need to tell the story over a period of time, breaking it down into little gems and nuggets to keep the subscriber’s attention.

2. Write Often and Daily if possible. The more often you write the better you’ll get at it. This method basically goes like this: write an email every day and insert it into your follow- up sequence. The goal is to eventually have an email arrive in your prospect’s or customer’s inbox every day. With this method you effectively polarize the reader, capture their attention and if your content is interesting, they will stay subscribed and purchase your products, services or information.

3. Write in Blocks as this creates continuity. So if you are going to write about indoor organic gardening, then write a series of 10 to 20 messages that covers the topic from A to Z or tells the story. Simply create an outline about the topic and then translate this outline into the individual emails. This method works well with number two from above and you might find that your blocks will fit with certain emails, if they are within the same niche or business category.

No matter what email strategy you use(mine, your own or some other marketer’s), I recommend that you utilize an email auto-responder versus your own email program like Outlook or Gmail. There are lots of reasons for this, but primarily the email software allows you to keep your database up to date, track and sequence your messages and provide a vehicle for permission based marketing.

With all this said I hope you take your email marketing seriously and develop relationships with your prospects, subscribers and customers.

To your email success,

Dave Krygier

Mobile Marketing & Your Small Business

Mobile marketing is becoming a force to be reckoned with and I hope your small business is riding this technological wave to bring you more leads and customers.

Marketing online is shifting to the mobile platforms and those businesses that are taking advantage of this shift are, and will see both traffic and conversions if they know how to adapt, attract and capture.

This past October Mobile web traffic passed the 10% mark for the first time ever.

Mobile accounted for 10.3% of total web traffic in October 2012. Believe it or not this figure is about double the 5.6% at the same time in 2011. This total does include both mobile devices and tablets.

Now with that said, The Big G still owns 89 percent of the Mobile Search Market but Apple fans still represent 60% of the mobile web browsers, whileThe Big G’s handsets make up 26%. This leaves Blackberry, Opera Mini, Symbian, Msoft IE with the balance of the mobile browsing out there. This last group is a small percentage and who would have thought that Blackberry would be in the back of the pack, considering they were one of the first to the party.

Ok – enough with the stats.

My questions to you about mobile are these…

1. Is your business mobilized? Meaning, is it ready to attract and capture searchers in the mobile environment?

2. If Your Small Business is ready and you are mobile enabled, then are you staying on top of what to do next and maximizing all your opportunities.

So this leads me back to the question; What does it mean to be mobile?

Here are the simple answers:

1. Your site needs to display properly on a mobile device. And this means that it needs to be simple and fast to navigate, which only a mobile site or fully responsive website can do. Two, three or four simple touches. Or maybe more if you are ordering takeout or a double tall frap with no whip and extra hot. 🙂

2. You need to show up in the search engines and especially when a mobile user is searching for your business. Keep it simple and do the work so your business is listed on all the search engines, directories and citation sites.

3. You need to be actively utilizing marketing avenues like ads on mobile devices and mobile apps that stay planted on your prospects and customers mobile device screen top. I would say desktop but that just doesn’t make sense does it?

So if you find yourself stuck in the mobile mud and need some help getting unstuck, then contact the Mobile Marketing Mechanic and his team will pull out the gear to get you mobile in a jiffy.

To your mobile marketing success,

Dave Krygier

PS – The stats I mentioned above were not pulled out of a hat but are quoted from Netmarketshare. So they get the stat gathering credit.

Increasing Sales in a Tough Economy – 2 Proven Steps

Increasing sales in a tough economy is not as difficult as many business owners make it out to be. Although it can be tough if you keep doing all the things that have not been working or performing like they used to.

One guy I met with recently mentioned how the business he worked for was having some troubles and the owner had to go work for someone else! This was troubling for me considering that this small business had a decent sized customer list. But what was even more troubling than that was the foundation of the business sounded like it had some major issues.

Yes, my reader, I am again mentioning the foundation – that base which all small businesses are built. That base which can deteriorate over time unless the owner continues to maintain and repair it.

To begin to increase thy sales, thou must have a solid foundation that is free of cracks and can handle more business.

Now this article is not about the foundation, but know this: to increase sales during a tough economy you need to be able to bring in more business and not have it evaporate as fast as you bring it in.

Here are the two steps that I mentioned in my title:

1. Market to New People utilizing Reviews and Testimonials as the base that which you launch from. In other words – let your customers spread the good word about your business. Help them spread the word about your business. Help them share with others and then have a vehicle to bring them back to you.

2. Market to Existing people (your existing customers, clients or patients). These people already know you and your business. You’ve already done the work to attract and capture them. Now all you need to do is implement one of more of these four tactics and your sales should increase.

a. Up Sell Your New Customer at the time of sale and after the sale. This creates additional business. If you don’t have an upsell product, service or information, then create one!

b. Keep in Contact with your customers, clients or patients. Email is the best way and text messaging also works well for certain businesses.  BTW – share more than you sell.

c. Ask for Referrals at every turn. This is a gold mine if you just ask at every opportunity that arises.

d. Follow up with your customers, clients and patients after each and every sale. This may seem like a simple thing to do and it is. Keep it simple – a phone call, thank you note, email or Candy Gram. Whatever method you choose, make sure to do it consistently.

Ok, enough for today.

One thing I always want to reinforce is that everything I mentioned above I have personally done at The Tiny Store, ad agencies, consulting and working with small businesses. It all works – you just need to do the work and get ’er done!

Increasing sales during these very tough economic times can be done if the business owner and management are willing to do the work. Start and test with one tactic and then move onto the next one. It’s a building process and is worth the time and effort.

To your continued success,

Dave Krygier