Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Need a New Weapon For Your Marketing Arsenal?

By Martin Stanford

One quality of successful internet marketers is their ability to quickly pick up on new forms of communication and apply these to their benefit. They're ahead of the pack. If you've been doing internet marketing long enough, your marketing strategy must be pretty well set up already. You may be ready then to add a new zing to your marketing efforts. If so, then you may want to consider Podcasting.

Although it can't strictly be called an innovation anymore because it's been around since 2004, still pod casting is something that internet marketers are not utilizing to its full potential. A relatively new form of online media delivery, podcasts are basically radio shows played over the internet. Podcasting allows you to select whatever content you desire and record it into an MP3 file. You then make the MP3 file available to your clients through RSS feeds. You can relay important information about your product in a podcast or do a review on a particular service. You might decide to do an audio instructional or a motivational speech. You can record interviews with authorities on your particular niche. The content is completely up to you.

Through podcasting, you can establish yourself further as an authority in your chosen field. As people listen to your podcasts, soon they will not only know your name but will also associate your voice to the product or niche you've selected. Another identifying element has been added to your marketing arsenal.

With a podcast, you have a potentially huge market. If you can create excellent podcasts that catch the attention of your market, podcasts that they feel they just need to share with others, soon because of word of mouth you may find yourself with a regular fan base. Podcasting can serve as a powerful form of viral marketing for you.

What's great is that you can create podcasts and distribute them all for free. All you really need is a computer, a microphone, and perhaps some audio editing software. Distribution is free. It's like having your own radio program without having to bear any broadcasting fees and no costly equipment to upkeep. Equally great is that your listeners don't need any fancy equipment to listen to you either. A computer with speakers is sufficient; an MP3 player is a plus.

So learn more about this technology, if you're not making use of it yet. It may just be the weapon you need in your marketing arsenal to help you attain dominance in your niche.

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Behind the Form - Google, The Deep-Web Crawl, and Impact on Search Engine Visibility

By Jeremy Shaffer

Crazy Things That Really Rich Companies Do

Kind of like that weird guy at the party with an acoustic guitar and the Pink Floyd shirt, Google is getting DEEP. Some would say...uncomfortably deep. After an already busy year, wherein Google released an open source mobile OS and a browser that's rapidly gaining market share, they recently announced that they had mapped the sea floor, including the Mariana Trench. And hey, why not found a school featuring some of the greatest scientific minds out there and see what happens?

So Google's been more visible than ever lately, and there's no doubt that this'll continue as they get their hands into more and more projects - but let's drop down a few floors and look at something that should dramatically affect the way Google's indexing programs ("spiders" or "crawlers") collect data, analyze websites and present the results.As much work as the BEM Interactive search engine marketing team puts into making sites appeal to spiders (and there's a lot we can do to make those spiders love it), the spider programs themselves are pretty straight-forward: hit a site's page index, check out the structure and content, and compare that to what Google has determined to be "relevant" or "popular."

But because of the way these programs are written, there are certain areas that they simply can't reach...namely pages that require human information, input, or action. As a basic example, there's usually a confirmation page after a user submits a "Contact Us" or "Newsletter Sign-up" form - this could contain a promotional code or some other kind of unique data.This dynamically generated content (this could also be a search results page, calculations or conversions, even the results of a symptom tool on a medical site) simply doesn't exist until the user creates it! Depending on the form you filled out, the resulting page is yours and yours alone - so try to ignore that tingle of omnipotence next time you Google something.

But search engine spiders can't understand what the form is asking for or the info being delivered to the user - and even if they could, how would they figure out what to insert in order to generate any relevant content? Drop-down boxes, category selection, zip code input - any of these forms can prevent data from being indexed. Collectively, this blocked data is referred to as the "Deep Web." By some estimates, the Deep Web contains an astounding amount of data - several orders of magnitude more than what's currently searchable. Since they chiefly rely on site maps and hyperlinks, search engines crawlers just can't find a way to access the information.

So can Google really expect to find, log and interpret this data? Well, between mapping the ocean and opening a school that will probably discover the meaning of life before lunch, Google did just that. Working with scientists from Cornell and UCSD, Google researchers (whom I can only hope will not become supervillians at some point) have devised a method for their spiders to complete and submit HTML forms populated with intelligent content. The resulting pages are then indexed and treated as regular indexed data and displayed in search results - in fact, at this moment, content gathered from behind an HTML form is displayed on the first page of Google search queries 1000 times every a second. The methods the bots are using are pretty cool, but I'm Nerd McNerdleson about that kind of thing. So we won't dive in to the technical stuff here, but check out the article if you're into it.

That's cool...NERD. But what does it mean?

Everyone knows Google loves relevance - their entire business model is built upon it. This technology is about pulling exactly what the user is searching for and immediately providing it without even requiring them to visit any page outside of the Google results page! Spooky.

Say that you're feeling under the weather. Rather than type in "symptom checker" and find a WebMD-type page, you type "coughing, runny nose, strange bubonic plague-like swelling" directly into the search engine. Google - who has already had their spiders hit every medical symptom form out there, query them in endless varieties and combinations, and determine the relevance & popularity of the results - immediately comes back with "You've got the Black Death" and you're set (or...maybe not).

From a retailing standpoint, many sites have functions to generate product lists based on user input. As it stands now, a shopper looking for a red, American-made minivan with under 30K miles would find the appropriate website, input his or her criteria, whereupon the website would query the database and return the results. If Google continues to move forward with their deep web crawls, this information could be displayed directly through their outlet of choice without the user ever accessing any site other than Google (if the user makes a purchase, does Google get a cut? Hmm...)

Obviously, this is a massive step forward in search technology and, in an industry that seems to change every hour, represents a new method of obtaining and presenting information. As web marketers, this is another variable, another challenge to consider in our work - how can we optimize pages that can be generated in a seemingly limitless number of ways? With search engines becoming increasingly more powerful and their data mining capabilities getting deeper, will there come a time when all data is presented through one aggregate portal? This may be years down the line, but the technology and the foundations are here now; forward-thinking businesses and web marketers need to be there as well.

Jeremy Shaffer, Web Marketing Specialist
BEM Interactive - Providing full-scope services in Website Design / Development and Web Marketing / SEO

Critical Skills For Sales Leaders - Asking Questions and Listening to Your Customer's Needs

By Ian Segail

"So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you... For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11:9-10)

Diagnosis - the process of identifying a pain or condition by its signs, symptoms, (finding out facts, information, and needs) and from the results of various diagnostic procedures.

Sensory acuity - the ability to gain awareness of another person's unconscious responses (to perceive another person's unconscious feedback- reading not just "what" they say, but "how" it is said.)

"Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice!" All professionals complete some form of diagnosis before helping their clients. If you want to be a professional, then so must you. In sales, this critical skill is called "Diagnostic Acuity". How do you say no to someone who has just offered to give you exactly what you wanted and needed? You don't, and that's exactly the point! When you truly know exactly what your potential customer is looking for, why they want it and how much they would be willing to pay for it, selling is easy.

How do you find out exactly what the customer wants and why they want it? You ask! The winning salespeople are the ones that have both the desire and the skill to determine what the potential customer wants and needs and why they want and need it. They have the skills to match those wants and needs to a set of potential solutions.

It would be virtually impossible to take a modern day sales course or read a book on selling and not be told emphatically "You have to first ask questions to identify the customer's needs!" Whilst by now most salespeople know this, knowing and doing it effectively are two very different things. The ability to ask skillful questions is absolutely mission critical in today's tough and globally competitive environment.

Diagnosis is mission critical Why is the ability to ask skillful questions so mission critical? Anthony Robbins says about questions that they are "the tools that open up the brain's knowledge, experience and memory banks."

Questions are the tools we as professional Sales Consultants use as a means to extract important information from the customer's perspective, and to learn more about what they perceive and think. When we don't ask questions effectively, not only do we assume we know all there is to know about the customer and their needs, we may never really uncover their true motive for meeting with us. In some cases, the customer has already done their "homework" and has already determined their buying criterion. For many of them, their purpose in meeting with you is to check with a range of suppliers to find which ones best meet their needs for the lowest cost. In many cases, they may even be comparing your organisation against an already approved supplier who has had the account for months.

Then there are those occasions where customers have a need that, at the point of your visit, they may not even be aware of. It then becomes your task to help them discover for themselves the latent need for your product/service. This is where the ability to ask skillful questions so critically important.

As with any other selling technique, the best salespeople are always aware of the way they ask the question making sure to "couch" it in such a way as to remove any hint of judgment, or coercion. They watch their own tone of voice, body language, and word choice. This is what's known as acuity.

Acuity is... The term 'acuity' refers to the actual physical ability of the sensory organs to receive input. A person's visual acuity refers to the person's ability to see. In persuasion, visual acuity is more than simply seeing what is in front of you; it is taking in all aspects of the customer: noticing their eye movements, their skin tone changes, their breathing, as well as their body language.

The body gives clues to the way your customer is thinking. Visual acuity is being totally focused on the complete picture in front of you. In selling, auditory acuity is the salesperson's ability to really listen and hear what is being said with accuracy. Listening correctly means avoiding making assumptions and guessing as to the customers meaning. Listening actively means clarifying, summarising, empathising, restating and paraphrasing in an effort to hear accurately.

When it comes to identifying needs and opportunities, as a professional salesperson it is critically important to understand the distinction between 'acuity' and 'perception'.

  • Acuity is the process of receiving all the input with accuracy. Acuity is only the gathering process of the content and physical information. It is not the interpretation part of the process.
  • Perception refers to the salesperson's ability to understand, or make meaning out of the sensory input received through their eyes and ears. Perception is the salesperson's interpretation of the content gathered. Perception should always follow acuity.

Diagnostic Acuity Capability is at the very heart of any successful sales process. When you question correctly, you search below the surface in an effort to discover and reveal the truth of what is really going on in the minds and hearts of your potential customers. Asking the right questions and then being in a position to prescribe exactly the right set of solutions to solve those issues is what professional selling is all about.

As one of Australia's leading authorities and coaches in sales management, Ian Segail has been involved in the coaching, training and development of sales managers and salespeople for over two decades.

Drawing on 25 years of experience in sales, sales management and leading an HR and training team, Ian brings a strong dose of fiscal reality and practicality to his works as a Sales Performance Coach.

Engaging directly with business owners and both novice and experienced sales managers alike, across a wide variety of industries and selling disciplines, the focus of Ian's work is to transform sales results for companies by improving sales management practices.

Ian is the author of "Bulletproof Your Sales Team: The 5 Keys To Turbo-boosting Your Sales Team's Results" and a number of business articles, business reports and white papers including "The fish stinks from the head!" and "Why Sales Training Doesn't Work."

Ian has an insatiable hunger for studying selling and people management and has passionately pursued answers to the question "How come some people can sell and most can't?"

Download Ian's latest white paper on how to recession proof your sales team in the next 90 days from http://www.salestutor.com.au/Content_Common/pg-Salestutor-Tools-and-Resources-Articles-and-Whitepapers.seo

Monday, March 30, 2009

6 Ways to Get Your Site Indexed by Today

By Cheow Yu Yuan

If your website is not indexed by search engines, it will not appear on the search engine listings. Therefore, when your website is live, the first thing you must do is to let the search engines notice your website and index it. In this article, let me share with you 6 ways to get your site indexed by today:

1. Submitting a XML sitemap to search engines. The xml sitemap includes links to every page of your website. It is a file that you can submit to search engines to get your pages indexed. By submitting your xml sitemap, you will notify the search engines about your website and index every page of it. You can upload your sitemap to Google by creating a free Google Webmaster account.

2. Create a HTML sitemap page on your website. A HTML sitemap is very different from a xml sitemap file. A HTML sitemap is a page on your website that is visible to your visitors. It will list down all the links to every page of your site. This allows visitors to navigate your site easily and allow search engine spiders to follow the links and discover all pages.

3. Place HTML text links on your website. Search engine spiders follow HTML text links to discover other pages of your website. Therefore, you must ensure that you use HTML text links for simple navigation menu so that search engine spiders can follow. Also, you should hyperlink keywords within your content and point them to other pages of your site. This is a good way to tell search engines what pages are important.

4. Directory submission. Submit your website URL to a list of SEO-friendly directories. DMOZ, Yahoo Directory and BOTW are important directories that you must submit your website to. It is, however, not all directory submission is free. Some may require you to pay a small fee for your website submission.

5. Article marketing. Write articles and place your website URL in the Author Resource Box. Then submit your articles to a few popular article directories. Once your articles are approved and published, your URL will be live online and this allows search engine spiders to follow the link to discover your website.

6. Using social websites. Social media sites are generally indexed regularly by search engines. So by placing your website URL on social sites, search engines spiders can discover your URL very quickly and index your new website.

Before a website can rank high and get organic search engine traffic, it needs to be indexed first. Search engine spiders are looking for new websites and pages every day. By getting a link on sites that get indexed regularly, it will ensure that your new website get indexed quickly.

Cheow Yu Yuan is the co-founder of OOm, an online marketing agency providing SEO Singapore services.

Find out more about SEO Singapore at OOm.

Please feel free to republish this article on your website, or distribute it to your friends or clients, as long as you leave the resource box intact.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Defined - Learn What it is and How to Do It

By Graham Andrews

Search Engine Optimization is a method used by website developers to make sure that the people surfing their sites would have a good as well as useful experience while they are surfing it. It also involves ensuring that search engines would give the site a high page rank and increase site traffic. Unlike other forms of internet marketing a lot of money would have to be spent for it to be effective, SEO is an inexpensive way to promote your site to other people.

There are many techniques falling under SEO which you can use. There are two basic techniques, White Hat and Black Hat SEO. The former is the acceptable one while the latter is generally frown upon because of its unethical ways. Though some would think that using the former is too slow when it comes to the results, they are still more of long term solutions as oppose to the short term ones by the latter.

For those that would like to do SEO on their own, here are some simple things you can do to increase your page rank:

Work with a keyword- A single page in your site should concentrate on a keyword or a keyword phrase. You do not have to make it long, just try and capture the essence of your page. What is it about? What is it that people would be attracted to? Once you focus on a keyword, use that frequently in your site though you should not overdo it. Use it in your content as well as in your title.

Content is vital- Even if your main goal is to use keywords, a good optimization involves excellent copy. Write something significant that the others might find useful. Though a lot of people find sites through search engines, it is still up to the content to help retain their attention. Once you have a good content, people would just be attracted to it and would possibly come back and visit in the future.

SEO is not an instant internet marketing solution. Though it make take some time for your page to show up in search engine results, once it does it can prove to be one of the most effective ways to get people to go to your site.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Graham_Andrews

Thursday, March 26, 2009

7 Big Business Secrets to Increase Your Small Business Success

By Mark Madson

Whether the economy is up or down, no matter what is happening in the world, most small business owner's work hard anyway. It's never been easy to start a business, nurture its growth and succeed in any line of business. It's competitive, more so in some industries than others, but every butcher, baker, candlestick maker or software developer started the same way - small.

There are an astronomical number of variables that are involved in any business success, certainly, but there are also some truisms that seem to apply always and everywhere. The primary ingredient in success, of course, is not genius, creativity, a college education or a lot of working capital. The key is persistence, pure and simple.

Of course, it pays to be persistent with some genius, creativity, a college education and a lot of working capital, plus a few other things. If you are starting or running a small business, much can be learned from those who have gone before you. Whether their firms grew to be international conglomerates or found their sweet spots as a profitable SMB (Small- and Medium-sized Business), business owners that have taken their companies from -smaller- to -bigger- can impart a great deal of useful information to you. You can learn a lot from them.

The following big business secrets to increase your small business success are not in any particular order. They do share a few things in common. They don't cost any money, not directly at any rate, and most are related to your attitudes, work habits and way of thinking. There's a proverb that says, -As a man thinks, so he is,- and there is much truth in it. Your attitude is one of the most important ingredients of your business success formula, assuming that you follow up the thinking and planning with action and energy.

1. Business plan: Just about every big business achieves and maintains its success by following a business plan. If you don't have one, you are courting disaster. A thorough business plan, besides being required by bankers and investors, is your map to the future, your primary operations manual and a major component of your firm's very identity. If you don't know how to create one, there are many free templates and much good advice on the Internet, as well as from the Small Business Administration and other sources.

2. Strategy: The business plan will contain an overview of your company's strategy and goals, but you should flesh these out more fully for yourself (and other employees, if you have any). One business analyst compares these strategic documents to a battle plan, indicating where to focus efforts and allocate resources, as well as pointing out the challenges and obstacles ahead. You need to learn how to think strategically.

3. Tactics: Tactics differ from strategy, in that they are the actual action steps that you take to execute the strategic plan. The strategy may be to capture business for your photography studio by marketing your service to schools in your area, while the tactics may involve personal visits, phone calls, e-mail, flyers or (better yet) some combination. Big companies have entire departments (marketing) devoted to developing promotional tactics.

4. Negotiation: Big companies negotiate everything, and some small business owners erroneously think that GM or GE can do so simply because of their size. But that is only part of it. Everything from financial matters to employee relations can benefit from firm, honest negotiation, regardless of the amount of money involved. As far as dealing with your own vendors when buying supplies, raw materials, etc., don't be afraid to negotiate everything - the price, discounts, delivery charges, restocking fees or any other cost. The same attitude should prevail in your dealings with your employees, if you have any. Good negotiators, like good salespeople, cultivate their listening skills, and listen even more than they speak. Listen closely to people, and they will tell you what you need to know to sell, manage or persuade them. They may not do so directly, so learn to -listen between the lines.-

5. Professionalism: It is great to have a comfortable, even casual workplace, as far as dress code and first names and so forth. The most successful big businesses have learned, however, to communicate to their employees the importance of professionalism. Although the term applies to several things - appropriate clothes, polite language, respect for others, etc. - primarily it has to do with an employee giving their employer a day's work for a day's pay. The balance is often hard to maintain in small firms, where everyone knows everyone else and people are in close proximity to one another. But excessive visiting, gossiping and talking on the phone are real profit-killers. You and your employees should all be subject to the same rule here, which can be reduced to a simple, -Work during work time, visit during breaks and lunch.- It's tough to break old habits, but productivity will suffer if employees are not attending to their tasks.

6. Efficiency: While professionalism means, among other things, working when you're supposed to be working, efficiency is achieved by working -smart.- One good example goes by many names, but the -4F Method- is catchy and easy to remember. It has to do with paper handling, which is not restricted to white-collar office workers. Shipping and receiving personnel deal with mountains of paper, too. Big businesses teach their employees variants of the 4F Method, which gives you four choices of what to do with a document that comes across your desk (or forklift) - Finish, Forward, File or Flush. You would Finish the report your boss gave you, Forward the memo about the meeting, File the receipt for the supplies you bought and Flush (throw away, shred, burn, whatever) last week's flyer for the receptionist's baby shower. Another big business tip that has grown in popularity concerning paperwork instructs workers to -Handle it once.-

7. Clairvoyance: All right, you're correct - no one can really predict the future. However, big businesses put a lot of brainpower into staying abreast of developments, and not just in their own industries. Obviously, companies whose management teams were aware of the problems showing up in various economic indicators last year (freight indexes, purchasing agent reports, manufacturing volumes, etc.) were at least somewhat better prepared for the credit crunch and layoffs of 2008 and 2009. You cannot bank on any psychic help (why aren't all psychics richer than Gates and Buffett?) but you certainly can stay on top of things, the most important of which are (1) what's happening in your particular industry, (2) what's happening in the U.S. and the world (economics, politics, trade, etc.), (3) what's happening with your finances and (4) what's happening with your customers' finances. Stay informed, stay involved and you will be able to navigate somewhat more easily through economic turmoil.

None of this is easy, and nothing is guaranteed to bring you riches. The list of -big business tips for small business- could go on for many pages, of course. If you adopt some of the thinking that has worked for others, however, you stand a better chance in the always competitive, always unpredictable world of business - whether your company is big, small or in between.

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Branding Marketing Guide

By Richard Dennis

In order to really get the value, attraction, and recognition of branding, you need to understand exactly what it means to spotlight your brand. It's a different consumer effect and response than regular advertising, and it's important to have a firm picture of what makes it so visible and unique.

Maybe the easiest way to clarify is to ask: What is the first thing you think of?

What is your first thought or awareness when I say, "Walmart"?

For me, I think of the short mission statement motto that has engraved recognition into my brain: "Save money. Live better." Second, I feel the presence of the smiling greeter when you walk into the store. You can depend on that Walmart tradition - someone is always there to welcome you. And third is the phrase, "everyday low price." Lots of stores use that positioning now ... but to me, it will always mean Walmart. That is a stand-out promotion for them, when I see those words in some competitor store, but still think of Walmart.

The second example that comes quickly to mind of a brand that has really creates an impression is Scott Ginsberg. You can find Scott at the website, HellomynameisScott.com. Several years ago, Scott decided to brand himself as the owner of the word "approachability." His goal was that anytime someone wanted to learn to be more approachable, they'd think of him ... or find him. The Wall Street Journal did a front-page article on approachability and featured Scott. If you Google "approachability," the #1 listing is a signature EzineArticles.com article written by ... Scott Ginsberg. And the article, of course, leads to his unforgettable website.

So branding is actually owning an idea in people's minds. Once you understand that, you can then work out a targeted plan to achieve it for your own business, online or offline.

Only results count. Richard Dennis submitted 20 short articles in 10 days. Result? Google lists 18 of the 20 articles in its top 4 search results. In fact, 14 articles are #1 ... against many millions of competing pages. See the proof at http://ArticlesByRichard.com, and get your free step-by-step plan for how you can do the same.

Meaningful Business Goals

By Nicole St-Aubin

Goals have a very strong motivational effect. They provide direction and focus to our work and a means of measuring success. To have a positive impact, the goal must be meaningful to the business owner; they must be continually reviewed and used when making business decisions.

A meaningful goal is one that is set after research and analysis. It involves looking at the product, target market and then determining the potential results. In some cases, this is a difficult process because an owner is eager to start working on their dream and may fear that the dream will not produce the business results they desire. It is important to have a realistic understanding of the business. Once an honest assessment has been completed, meaningful goals can be set and worked towards.

Once the goals has been set, they need to be reviewed and updated based on the company's results and the external environment. As the business matures, it becomes easier to predict future results and therefore easier to set meaningful goals but the external environment constantly changes. Developments in credit availability, supplier relationships and even personal commitments affect the business. A periodic review and update of goals is important to ensure the appropriate focus.

A meaningful goal is a decision making tool. New opportunities will always present themselves and sometimes it can be difficult to determine if these new opportunities will be a valuable addition to the business or a distraction. When you have set goals, you can evaluate the opportunity to determine how they can be exploited to bring the company closer to achieving their goals. If they do not bring a company closer to their goals, then they are a distraction and should not be pursued. The clearer the goals are, the easier it will be to make decisions.

Meaningful goals are goals that are set after careful analysis. Goals need to be updated as the business progresses and with changes in the environment. Once the goals are clearly set, they become a valuable decision making tool. Goal setting is an important, continual process that allows business owners focus their efforts on the areas that contribute to the long-term success of a business.

Statements and opinions expressed in article are those of the author.

Nicole St-Aubin is a Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA) and a consultant with Aim Business Consulting. Aim Business Consulting specializes in helping businesses make informed business decisions and offers a variety of solutions to improve business reporting and operations.

Nicole St-Aubin is located in Eastern Ontario and can be reached through http://aimconsulting.ca

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Four Ways to Market Your Business in 2009

By Bill Tamminga

Your success as a business owner or executive will be largely determined by how many high quality clients you can attract and retain. Following is a detailed discussion about how to use different sales and marketing techniques to draw attention to your business. The key to all of these marketing strategies is to provide good information to a targeted group of people. To see how large your target market is, simply google "consumer demographics" or "direct mail target market" and you will find several companies who will provide this service for you. These companies should be able to tell you how large your target market is and other helpful information including where your prospects live by zip code, how much income they earn, and more. You can use this service as a tool to gauge how large your market is and, if you buy the list, you can use it to fill your pipeline with the right kind of leads.

Now let's move on to four proven ways to market your business in the first quarter.

Seminars and Workshops

Seminars and workshops that offer quality information about your business, market, or industry, are becoming popular ways to build a client base. You can differentiate yourself by showing how clients how to use your services and how you fill a need that your competitors cannot. Do not be discouraged if your first seminars do not draw a crowd. If you find a systematic way to incorporate them into your marketing plan, people will show up over time.


Some service business owners have done well marketing their businesses through direct mail. Others I have talked to aren't fans of it at all. If you are going to do it, make sure you take the time to do it well. Your mailer needs to be eye-catching and to-the-point. Here are some pointers on direct mail advertising.

  • Use a targeted list.
  • Set an objective. Do you want prospects to call for a free consultation? Do you want them to R.S.V.P. for your next seminar? What type of action do you want them to take?
  • Write a good headline. Try to strike an emotion (pain and fear are often used) from the start.
  • Include a specific call to action. "The first 10 callers will receive...". "Call (555) 555-5555 now for your free consultation." Those are the types of words you'll want to use.
  • Test your mailing before sending it out to thousands of prospects. A random sample of 500 postcards or letters should give you a good feel for how the market will respond to that particular mailing.

Several companies have samples of quality direct mail pieces on their website. Google "direct mail sample" and a list will come up.

Radio Shows and Podcasts

Several top service business owners create regular podcasts or even host their own radio show. If you want to see what one of the best in the business is doing, visit John Dvorak's site called crankygeeks.com, click on "Episodes" on the left-hand navigation bar, and download the podcasts. Podcasts can be a great alternative if you don't want to go through the process of starting your own show.

Write Articles

If starting a radio show or podcast isn't your cup of tea, maybe article writing is more for you. Local business journals or newspapers are almost always looking for expert writers on a regular basis. If those channels don't work, you can publish your articles at a number of online submission companies.

Get a jump start on your marketing in 2009 by implementing at least one of these strategies into your business plan.

Bill is the creator of the GR Business Growth System and the author of Advanced Business Triage, a set of white papers that explain Bill's systematic business assessment and growth plan for service business owners and managers, high end sales professionals, and independent financial planners.

GR corporate training offers reasonably priced leadership, management, sales, and marketing courses. The course texts come from leading institutions including Harvard Business School, the University of Southern California, the Gallup Organization, and others.

Visit http://www.GoalRevolution.com for more information and to order your FREE subscription to the GR Newsletter.

Market Research For Small Businesses

By David G Johnston

If you are considering starting your own business then you need to have a good plan in place to how you will position yourself in the market and how you will operate. These factors are crucial for ensuring your long term success in the business. If you are planning to go to your bank manager for finance to launch your business then he is going to want a detailed business plan from you to be certain that you can pay back your loan in the long run. It is therefore vital that you carry out some market research to determine the viability of your business.

For a small firm or individual starting out you will not have the budget to pay a market research company to do the work for you, but you have an alternative. The most basic form of market research is to create a survey and there is no reason why you can't do this yourself.

Start out by creating a list of key points that relate to your business. If for example you were a car mechanic and decided to go it alone and run your own autoshop you may want to ask people questions like how far they have to travel for autoshop work, how much are they prepared to pay for an oil change, what is the best deal they have found on tyres, what problems they have encountered in the past whilst dealing with garages, how long they typically have to wait for a service, and so on.

If you want to cover more ground then you may want to consider contacting a university or college in your area of a youth group who may be willing to provide researchers for you to carry out your survey for a small fee on the basis that they get some educational value out of it also.

The main reasons you are carrying out the survey is to firstly figure out if there is a need for your particular business in the area and where best to set it up. You need to figure out if you can offer something new or different that people are looking for or would be willing to come to you for. In the above example, lets say you were a female mechanic. Your unique selling position may simply be that you find women car owners are reluctant to go to the autoshop because they don't like dealing with mechanics or they feel that they are being talked down to because the tendency is to believe that women don't understand the mechanics of a car. By offering your services you should be able to secure a good deal of the market in your area.

In your survey, try to have as many open-ended questions as you can. This way you can let your participants provide a much broader set of data and information and you may get both inspiration and a direction for your business from their responses.

If you are a small business and are interested in more ways you can carry out your own market research then perhaps you should consider paying a visit to our business directory where we have many similar tips and advice for business owners. Simply pop along to http://www.businessbuilderdirectory.com/market-research/ for more information.

First Impressions - Make Sure Your Website Follows These 10 Things

By Kimberly Reddington

When someone first visits your website, you have 10 seconds to WOW them. It is in those first 10 seconds when someone decides to either leave or look around. Here are ten things to think about when analyzing your website:

1. Your website should appear professional, clean and simple.

When you walk into a physical store, you are more apt to buy from a store that is clean, easy to walk around the aisles, sells quality products that are neatly placed on shelves or racks, and has a friendly yet well-established feel. Your website should have a similar look and feel. Avoid clutter, allow for white space around items and make it easy for the visitor to move around.

2. Your navigation should be easy and simple.

If your visitors are having trouble finding what they are looking for immediately, it is much too easy for them to return to their search and find a competitor with easier navigation. Keep navigation in a prominent location with simple to use tabs and links.

3. Select an attractive and comfortable color palette.

Learn what colors your audience prefers, as well as the impression you are trying to set off. If you want to relax your visitors, then use subtle and light colors. If you want to excite your visitors, then use vibrant colors. Stick to colors and shades that work well together. Use a color wheel to see which colors complement each other.

4. Create a branding statement and utilize that statement throughout the whole website.

Your business should have a special brand that makes you stand out from competitors. Your brand is your unique look that grabs your visitor's attention. Place your brand prominently near the top of your home page or landing page. Make sure to keep you brand throughout the whole site to give everything a consistent look and feel.

5. Display what your business is all about.

Your visitors will only spend 10 seconds perusing your site before deciding to move on. Make sure that they learn what your business is all about within those first 10 seconds. If your url or business name doesn't easily explain your business purpose, then make sure to create a tagline and use that as part of your branding statement.

6. Make sure that important "calls to action" are in places where the user can see them.

Most visitors will not read your entire home page. People tend to peruse a web page quickly. The use of colors and bolding can make important words and phrases stand out more and catch the reader's attention. Make sure that important links or buttons are easy to see, stand out, and are not too far down the page.

7. Prominently display quality graphics and images.

Graphics and other images on your website will grab your visitor's attention much more than text. Make sure that your images are high quality graphics and are optimized for fast loading.

8. Use photos to display the quality of your products.

Since visitors cannot pick up your products to look at them, they rely on images and graphics. Use attractive images and photos that are large enough to show important details.

9. Use stand-alone web pages.

Unlike a magazine or catalog, you cannot predict which web pages your visitor will read first, next, or last. Avoid having content in your pages that is dependent on your visitor having seen another page first. Make sure each page can stand on its own.

10. Test your navigation and links.

Test your completed design by showing it around to others. See how they navigate. Asking your testers open-ended questions will help you to get a feel for how they are perceiving your look and the navigation. Are they having trouble finding certain features of your site?

Your website may be your visitor's first impression of you and your business. Colors, images, fonts, text and other visuals will bring out certain feelings and thoughts the second a visitor views their first web page of your site. You want to be sure you are sending out the right messages that are inline with what your niche is expecting.

Kimberly Reddington, Moms in Business Thoughtleader for CereusWomen.com, teaches moms how to turn their skills and talents into a successful home-based service business and to find a balance between their business and their family. Discover Kim's popular special report by visiting http://www.CereusWomen.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Media Runs on News, PR Advice - How to Stay Newsworthy

By CR Ransom

One good thing is that media outlets are scramming for news stories to capture and keep their audiences. What this means is that right now is an excellent opportunity to receive some free publicity and almost everyone could use a freebie in this economy.

So just how do you impress the media today? Well, one thing for sure you better not be wasting their time. Virtually, every media outlet from television, radio, magazines, even blogs etc. are operating with fewer staff. They still have the same deadlines and massive work to do, but without as much help.

Your pitch has to be of relevance and importance. If not you will surely find yourself on a blackball list and believe me these days it will take even more than a phone call from President Obama to get you off.

There are some reasonable measurements to take to remain newsworthy. Following these steps will help to stay on the media's good side and off the blackball list.

1. Reality Check - Are you aware of what is going on in the news? Seriously, have you done a self reality check to make sure that you are up to date on the latest news happenings? You can't make the news if you don't understand what is going on surrounding the news. Trust me most reporters and producers know when you are out of check with reality.

2. Win-Win Match - In order to receive free publicity from a media outlet you need to offer win-win match solutions to cover news about you. Pitching a storyline that does not match a media outlet's target audience is the fastest way to land on a blackball list. Also make sure that you are pitching reporters who cover news related to your pitch. Reporters don't pass on news to other reporters because it fits their category better; they simply toss your bad pitch.

3. Create News - There are so many social media resources to create news buzz. Try starting a company blog, put some videos on YouTube, or connect with others on Stumbleupon or Twitter.

4. Promote News - Most story ideas in the media are created from a press release. Make sure that you actively promote news to attract the media to cover stories on you.

5. Monitor News - Staying on the pulse of rising news stories is an entry to pitch and promote news to receive coverage. When it comes to breaking news stories the media always seek topics on related subjects to add to the story.

Remember the media runs on news and you have to stay newsworthy to be of benefit. Keep pitching!

Receive FREE Public Relations Tips: http://mosnarcommunications.blogspot.com

"CR" Cataunya Ransom is the Co-founder of Mosnar Communications, INC. She developed a niche for Luxury PR & Global Marketing. Guiding clients on how to brand, market, and promote luxury products, events, and services. http://www.mosnarcommunications.com

Blog Success - Are You Addressing These 5 Critical Areas For Blog Success?

By Bill Underwood

There are five important components that have to fall into place and be addressed in order to have a prosperous blog.

Every single one of these are critical to your blog success because if you neglect any, then you might as well not even bother to get started. That may sound harsh but without a comprehensive plan, you'll just be so very unproductive for a long time to come.

Many, many, people who start a blog have little idea how to get traffic, attention, get into the search engines, or start making money and achieve blog success with their blogs if they have to figure it out by themselves.

Here are the 5 principle areas that are addressed by a winning blogger and blog:

1. The Right Mindset: Learn how to be a successful blogger from people.

2. Unique, Useful Content: You must learn how to develop appealing content for your blog that gets people talking, linking to you, and forces the search engines rank your blog highly in the searches.

3. Getting Traffic: It is important to learn all the latest techniques for getting listed in the search engines, building links to your site, web 2.0 marketing, social networking and a lot more. These are the techniques the professionals use and so can you, no matter what your blogging about.

4. Making Money: It is certainly in your best interest to learn the best ways to make the most money with your site, again, from people who are running many profitable blog sites.

5. Technical Guidance: Find a way to learn how to use how to sign up for hosting, blogging software, choose a domain name, and everything else it takes to start and maintain blog using the latest technology available.

Of course we have just seen the first steps, there is so much more to be revealed. There is more to running a successful blog than either technical or marketing know-how. There is some super comprehensive training available, the best is yet to be revealed.

At Blog Success Review, we invite you to access our free award winning blog authority black book and software. We have a behind the scenes video review of the best blog training system available at: http://Blog-Success-Review.com

Thank you from Bill Underwood and the Blog Success Network

Monday, March 23, 2009

Quality Vs Quantity

By Adrian Miller

The age-old debate of quantity versus quality - Is one truly more important than the other? For sales professionals, the answer is unequivocally NO! Quantity AND quality are both important if you want to succeed.

We've all heard the "experts" drone on and on about the importance of "quality" when it comes to leads. Isn't the concept of developing quality obvious enough? Of course, we'd all love to have only those leads in our funnel that turn into valuable customers. However this isn't always the reality.

What is frequently neglected or downplayed is the necessity for quantity. Like it or not, sales is inherently a numbers game. If you currently have three "quality" prospects, but you need ten new customers this month, you're not going to be successful. To reach your goal, a significant amount of time must simply be spent on gathering new leads.

To balance the demands of acquiring both quantity and quality in your sales funnel requires constant multitasking. Let one ball drop and your sales funnel will deplete. What do you need to do to maintain the balance necessary to keep the sales flowing? Here are a few helpful tips:

Regular Prospecting

Make it an absolute must to reach out to a set amount of new prospects each and every day. Let's face it - The more calls you make, the more opportunities you will discover. It's not rocket science!

Aggressively Network

As part of your regular routine to make contact with new prospects, networking must be a priority. You'll need to do more than just attend the quarterly get-together for your friends in the industry. Seek out online and in-person opportunities with enthusiasm. Help others by generously providing referrals and introductions and take advantage of any that you receive, too!

Don't Make Assumptions

Sometimes the best customers come from the most unlikely of places. Don't dismiss leads or introductions because you think they have little potential for you. Value every opportunity and find out as much as you can before you drop contact with anyone.

Keep Organized

Leads are valuable, so keep track of them efficiently. Develop your own contact management system and stay on top of where each lead is within your sales funnel. Don't let even one slip through the cracks because of an inability to manage the sales process.

Adrian Miller is President and Founder of Adrian Miller Sales Training, a sales consultancy that she launched in 1989. Adrian is also the author of "The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success" and is a well-known and highly regarded speaker and consultant. Always entertaining and rigorously practical, Adrian can energize and motivate your sales force to reach new heights. She also works with solopreneurs and professional services providers to help them grow their business using high-impact sales process. She recently launched a virtual business networking community that is garnering great acclaim: Adrian's Network. Check it out

Creating Your Brand Identity

By Kaye Marks

Collaterals are very common when marketing any business. Producing marketing campaigns such as custom greeting cards or brochures have become a mainstream practice for all businesses that it is crucial than ever to present one that can capture your audience.

Not only that, but your collaterals such as your greeting card printing, is significant in transforming your target clients into actual, buying customers.

When marketing your business through your custom greeting cards for example, you need to have a firm and strong identity for you to be successful. In fact, your brand identity is the key to having an effective marketing campaign (e.g. greeting card printing) work for you.

An 'identity' therefore is important. An 'identity' is a collection of your characteristics and qualities that make you different from the other companies in your industry. Your identity is what makes you unique because it reflects your particular talents and abilities. Your identity then provides your target clients the 'why' and 'how' they will benefit by choosing you as the company to solve their problems.

Sadly though, many businesses rely on the standard and generic qualities that have been used by many of the companies in their field. Often, they follow an established method of marketing that many target clients have a hard time distinguishing one group from the next. Even the use of superlatives have become very popular that almost all the companies are "aggressive", "the best in the field", offering "excellent quality" products and services. Moreover, many "go the extra mile" just so they can be the "only company" that can provide a particular service.

How then can a target client choose you for their needs if your marketing campaign can hardly provide your target clients with a compelling reason to seek you? Establishing an identity therefore is essential so they can separate you from the rest of your competition. Your identity emphasizes your quality brand that can match the needs of your particular audience.

To establish a solid and valuable identity, you need to know first what you can be known for. Do you have something unique to offer? Can you relay your firm's record of success? Do you have a particular business philosophy that worked very well with your clients? Being known for something distinct can go a long way in establishing your identity to your target clients. The key is to set your company apart by giving your target clients reasons to seek you for their issues and concerns.

Second, be sure to provide your target clients with who you are and what you can do. What is important for your target clients to know about you? Think about concerns and issues that your target market might have and how you are qualified to solve these problems. Then in your marketing collaterals such as your custom greeting cards, find a creative way to illustrate these qualities that your prospects can relate to. The key is to support your identity with important qualities to convince your readers that you can deliver the solution they need.

The point: by establishing your brand identity, you will have a better chance of distinguishing your company from the rest of your competition. Do not be part of a bandwagon. Be yourself and promote the brand that is YOU. In the end, you will be the one that your clients will choose because they know you are the right man for the job.

By establishing an identity, you will be well on your way to distinguishing your firm on the Internet and implementing a successful marketing plan. For help in shaping a unique, appealing identity for your firm, contact FindLaw to learn more.

Kaye Z. Marks is an avid writer and follower of the developments in custom greeting cards or greeting card printing industry

How to Write Eye-Popping Headlines

By Ray L Edwards

Your headline is the first part of the ad that your readers will see. If it is not attention grabbing and compelling then the rest of your ad does not get read.

This becomes even more important in email marketing since the subject line becomes the headline and is the only words seen for your email before it is opened. Most likely your email ad is sent out with thousands of other ads. Your headline must stand out if you expect your email to be even opened. This is becoming more and more difficult as time goes by.

For starters your headline should build curiosity and state your STRONGEST benefit.

Let us look at an example. Consider these 4 headlines for a bathroom cleaner. Everyone knows that this is a favorite part of any housekeeper's chores!

A. "Use this product to clean your bathroom."

B. "The best bathroom cleaner ever!"

C. "Amazing new breakthrough in bathroom cleaning"

D. "Cuts your bathroom cleaning time in half"

Now which of these headlines grabbed your attention? Probably C and D and not A or B.

For headline A, there is simply no benefit stated.

For headline B, maybe it is a little better than A but it borders on hype. Everyone would claim the same for his or her product so why should I believe you?

For headline C, The words used are emotionally charged, get you excited and wanting to find out more but that's all. No direct benefit is implied.

For headline D, the benefit is clearly stated and quantified -'in half'. This is important. However the words are not as charged as in C. Probably we can combine C and D to get an even better headline to read as:

"Amazing new breakthrough cuts your bathroom cleaning time in half"

One of the best sources of great headlines is your newspaper. The writers know that powerful headlines sell papers and they spend a lot of time on the headline. One of the most famous headlines ever was found some years ago in "The New York Post". It read: "Headless man found in topless bar!"

Now I am sure that got your attention!

Look in your own email box and see what headlines catch your attention and there you have another resource you can use.

Whatever you do, make your headlines count!

Ray L. Edwards is a freelance copywriter, copywriting coach, Internet marketing consultant and published author. He has made his clients millions of dollars online and can be contacted about his services at http://www.webcopy-writing.com

Sunday, March 22, 2009

SEO Rankings - Announcing 5 Tips to Gain the Best SEO Rankings

By Daniel C Smith

Achieving high SEO rankings through search engine optimization is generally regarded as a long term marketing strategy. What most people don't realise is there are plenty of niche's online with low competition where you could achieve first page google in a short amount of time. It ultimately comes down to using the correct techniques and following a system to conquer SEO.

Here's 5 techniques you can use to dominate SEO rankings in your niche:

1. Keyword Density. Almost everyone has a different opinion on which is the best keyword density to use. Another question you need to ask yourself, is "What type of web content am I targeting?" If you're looking at developing your own website, you might want to consider a density of at least 3%. Compare this to an article where there may be more restrictions on the density you can use.

2. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). If you've ever looked at how some of the top expert authors write their articles, you'll notice that they are jam packed with keywords. Not necessarily the same word but loads of different words that relate to their main keyword. Search engines factor in the relevance of a web page by checking how well the keywords relate to each other.

3. Target a different keyword for each web page. When developing your own website, one of the keys to high SEO rankings is to target a specific word per web page you have displaying on your site. You might have 10 different pages accessible on your website and if each is based around it's own individual keyword you have a much higher chance of achieving a first page Google ranking.

4. Choosing the right domain name. Always be sure to include your main keyword in your domain name. If your having trouble thinking of a domain name, try adding some of these words to the end of your wanted domain (elite, plus, edge).

5. Sitemapping. A sitemap is basically a blueprint of your entire website easily accessible to the search engines. The best location for this is on your root domain so just after the .com. Having a sitemap in place will allow your website to get indexed much faster. It's important to include Meta Taggs when creating a sitemap, to fully utilize your search engine exposure and gain best SEO rankings.

Do you want to learn how to achieve ridiculously high SEO rankings? Click here to watch these free video tutorials: SEO Rankings

Find the Best Web Host Service For Your Needs

By W. Current

In order to find the best web hosting service for your web-site you need do start by doing a little research. The problem is that if you are new to the Internet, trying to sort your way through the the hundreds of conflicting ads and claims can be pretty intimidating.

Why You Need A Web Hosting Service

One important bit of information that you need is to find out if the service you are considering will actually be hosting your site or whether they are just a reseller. Resellers just add another layer between you and the servers.

Once you have created a web site, you need to have it hosted somewhere in order for it to be live on the Internet. A web host has servers for storing your site and allowing people searching the Internet to access it.

Even if you find a great host, you still might have problems. Your website might end up being hosted on a server that gets blacklisted because of someone else spamming. Or you could end up on a server that is slow or has technical problems.

Normal Usage

Even hosts that claim to offer unlimited bandwidth and storage space have a little surprise hidden in their Terms Of Service. You may have to dig deep but often they will use phrases like normal usage.

This refers to the average usage of a normal small business so unlimited is a bit of a stretch. Make sure that you research the TOS or you may find your service suspended.

Control Panel

You'll be spending a lot of time tweaking your website so make sure that the control panel is easy to use.

Check to see if the host you are considering will show you a demo of the control panel to see if it is easy to use.


A good web host will have a good service department. Pretty much all of them offer e-mail forum and FAQ's help. You may want to make sure that they also offer a free phone service for those times when a problem is just too complicated to solve in an e-mail.


Search the net for information on the web hosting service that you are considering. People use forums and blogs to express opinions and insights that you might not find anywhere else.

The success or failure of your work on the Internet can depend upon the site that you choose to host your website

Use http://www.webhosting.bcurrent.info to do your leg work for you. Also watch for more articles by W. Current

Holding Onto Price in a Down Economy

By Mark Hunter

Discounting on price is not a sales strategy. It's an impulsive move made by desperate salespeople. In a tough economy, customers think and expect everything is going to be discounted. Because of this, salespeople feel it necessary to oblige the customer to close the deal. Unfortunately, however, this leads to a downward spiral, much like an addiction to an illegal drug. Once a discount is offered to one customer, it becomes easier and easier to offer it to another one. Before they know it, the discount is being offered to everyone. Like a drug, the "fix" is in the additional sales the salesperson is able to gain. However, just like with the addictive drug, there is a "withdrawal." Sales come at a reduced or a very reduced margin. To make matters worse, the discount ends up altering the attitude of the customer who now believes the real value of the product or service they bought is the reduced price and not the full one. Overcoming this mislabeled sales strategy of offering a discount can only be done when the salesperson is willing to change their way of thinking, despite how difficult it may be.

The first step necessary to correcting the salesperson's mindset is to help them believe in their ability to close the sale. Competent salespeople know why the customer is looking to buy and are able to capitalize on the needs the customer has disclosed. When sales professionals begin to feel the need to discount, it's usually because they don't believe they've established a solid reason why the customer should buy from them. They have failed to ask the right questions to get the customer talking and then avoided the critical skill of following up. When a salesperson has spent all of their time touting product features and not uncovering the benefits to the customer, their presentation may not include what the customer actually needs. Only when the salesperson has taken the time to probe deeper will they truly understand why the customer wants to buy. They need to ask the right questions and then listen to the responses. Then they will be able to capitalize on the information provided them.

The second step necessary to avoid the need to discount is to keep the message on the immediate return-on-investment the customer will receive when making the purchase. Keep in mind that businesses don't buy anything, they only invest in things. Every purchase made by a business is seen as an investment in helping them achieve their own goals. For this reason, the message must focus on the immediate gain that will result from their decision to buy. This emphasis is best brought out when the salesperson ties their questions into exploring how and what the customer expects to achieve immediately, as well as how they've measured results in other purchases they've made.

The third step is found in knowing how to respond when the customer asks for a discount or states that the price is too high. Salespeople need to be ready for these objections and not be concerned or disarmed by them. The first time the customer brings up this issue, the salesperson should not even acknowledge what was said. Often, customers feel an obligation to inquire, and once asked, they've done what they were "supposed" to do. The salesperson should only respond to the customer when they have brought the issue up for the second time, and the way they handle it is critical. They need to ask a question that is pointed directly at the most significant need the customer has. This will serve to shift the customer's thinking back to why they're looking to buy to begin with. After they respond, the salesperson should continue the dialogue with a series of follow-up questions designed to uncover even greater needs. The more the customer is focused on their need, the less they will be focused on a lower price.

Finally, salespeople must keep in mind that there will be times when they must be willing to walk away from an order. Although this can be scary and risky during these tough times, it's essential for them to believe they don't need every sale. Not only does walking away help them realize that there are other opportunities out there, it also serves to strengthen their resolve to hold their line and maintain the value of what they are selling.

Holding on price in a down economy is not easy, but it is doable, and, in fact, it is essential! When sales professionals believe in their product or service with complete conviction, focus on the immediate ROI, and ask the questions necessary to uncover the customer's greatest need, resorting to the mislabeled sales strategy of offering a discount will be unnecessary. Maintaining your pricing integrity in a down economy is truly a winning strategy because, in the end, profit margins are higher, the ability to service a customer is better, and the confidence of the salesperson is greater. Especially in today's marketplace, that's worth pursuing.

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter", is a sales expert who speaks to thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability. For more information, to receive a free weekly email sales tip, or to read his Sales Motivation Blog, visit http://www.TheSalesHunter.com

Recruiting For Less - Ten Proven Techniques

By Tricia Folliero

Hands tied when it comes to getting more money for recruiting? Although recruiting is a vital component to any growing company, economic worries are slashing many budgets. Here are ten cost effective ways to get qualified candidates through your doors.

1. Employee Referral Program

30-40% of all hires should come through a well-designed ERP. Statistics prove that by revamping your ERP, you could at least double your response rate.

2. Professional Associations

This is the best kept secret for connecting with highly targeted, highly qualified candidates. If you do a little research on the web, you can find a professional association that links with virtually every position.

3. Social Events

Look for recruiting opportunities at upcoming local social events such as antique fairs, balloon festivals, outdoor concerts, town BBQs, etc.

4. Boomerangs

Keep track of employees who've left your organization. Within six months to a year, contact them to see if the grass wasn't really greener on the other side.

5. Close Seconds

Candidates that you almost hired should be sent an occasional letter or company news brochure to keep your firm in their mind for a future match.

6. First Day

While the names of coworkers are still fresh in their minds, be sure to ask new hires if they have friends from their last employer who might be interested in making a change.

7. Retirees

Contact retirees six months to a year after they leave to see if they'd like to work part-time.

8. Bring your friend to work day

Have a company event and encourage employees to bring a colleague who might be interested in working there.

9. Acceptance

When a candidate accepts a position, ask them what helped them make a decision. This information can be used in attracting others for the same position.

10. Direct Mail

As people are inundated with digital communications, coming home to a funny or thought provoking printed piece may be the key to getting through to passive candidates. Use an open house for the call to action.

Tricia Folliero is a Vice President for Sanna Mattson MacLeod Inc. (http://www.smmadagency.com), a marketing and advertising firm, and directs their recruitment advertising division. She has more than 15 years experience in such areas as employer branding, recruitment marketing, hiring process re-engineering, web solutions and staffing technologies. She holds a BA in Business Administration from Stony Brook University, is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management, and serves as Chairperson of the One-Stop Committee of the New York State Department of Labor's Workforce Investment Board

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