Small Business owners hear the word marketing and quite often they’re not too sure what it means, or the full extent of what marketing can do for their business. Do not confuse business marketing with simple advertising. So unlike advertising that is a one-off effort, business marketing is a continued process with consistent efforts over a period of time. It is creating a community where your clients, customers and prospects all hang out, interacting with you and the wider community.Already 40 – 50% of people would have stopped reading by this point. “Community, I don’t need one of those,” is the typical response I hear.Imagine if everywhere you went, you heard people speaking about you, your business and your product and services. Imagine how many referrals you would get, imagine how many more sales you would make, imagine how much easier it would become.Business marketing put another way is simply building your profile. The more people that know about you and your business, the more that people will use it. So unlike advertising that are one off efforts, business marketing is a continued process with consistent efforts over a period of time.There are many ways to market your business including, videos, articles, social media, online and offline magazines, newspapers, blogs, email marketing just to name a few, but all of them only work when a consistent effort is put in.So what I’m saying is you can’t just decide to do it for a week and think, “Well my job is done”.On average a business owner should be spending 80% of his day on marketing and sales. I know through chatting with business owners that this number for most people is more like 30%. So where do we get caught up, admin.Creating a community of followers is extremely rewarding when done correctly. Not only do you know that you’re providing a great service or product but you’re helping to change lives for the better.A common thought by small business owners is that you need to be a certain type of person with personality plus to have such community. I disagree as it is purely a mindset on how you approach your prospects, clients and customers. I know to us everyone in our community is a valued person, no matter whether they are a client or not, it doesn’t matter. Being able to provide information, advice, tips and hints I see as a privilege.A mission for our community is to be able to interact with them, gain feedback from them and get them to start to interact with one another. We do this through social media platforms, blogs, video’s and articles.Business marketing should be fun, if you’re thinking that it’s a chore, or something you can put off for another day, then my guess is you’re probably not going to be real successful in the long run.To work out if you have a good community base ask the following questions. Do people respond to emails that I send out to a mass crowd? Do people write comments on my blog? Do people provide me with general information about themselves? Do people communicate on social media with me?These are all great ways to begin to understand how much of a community you really have. So what is it you could do today to start building a community around your business?
When I look at all the free marketing opportunities available to small or solo businesses today I’m thrilled. When I opened my first business 21 years ago none of them existed. Marketing was much more difficult and costly. Instead, now by simply working consistently and daily on the marketing ideas below you can create a steady flow of leads and clients.1) Social Networking: Facebook, LinkedIn, TwitterEveryone is using these hugely popular social networking sites, but not always effectively. Here is a basic social networking process to increase the results you get.1. Complete your business focused profiles at Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Don’t include intimate personal information.
2. Join Facebook and LinkedIn Groups where you can connect with your target market. Search using your most important keywords and only join groups with lots of members.
3. Make getting new “friends” a regular task. Ask members of these groups to become a friend or contact.
4. Link your blog and Twitter feed to your Facebook and LinkedIn profile pages so that each time you tweet or post the profile pages are automatically updated.
5. LinkedIn-answer questions that relate to your area of expertise2) Industry specific online groupsThere are many online networking groups that are focused on a specific industry, profession or interest. Yahoo, Google and Meetup (for local groups) all have thousands of groups in every imaginable category to choose from. Join a group if the members are your target market or the members have clients in your target market. Some of these groups are local but many have a broader reach.Participate by posting e-mails to the group that offer valuable information or comments so members get to know you. Then after a while you can offer them your products and services and they’ll be willing to take a look.Better yet, start your own Yahoo or Google Group and invite people to join. It’s free. Send invitation e-mails. Ask clients to invite people similar to them. You can even develop membership requirements that make people feel like they’ve been specially chosen to join an exclusive group. Then keep the group lively by posting questions that illicit a response from members. With these groups you get a unique group e-mail address and anyone who joins the group can post to the whole group.3) BlogDon’t even think about having a small business website without a blog. It’s rare that a blog wouldn’t benefit a business. Your blog should be:* Hosted on your website. WordPress and Typepad are the two best blogging platforms that can easily be installed and integrated into your website by your web designer.
* Using popular keyword phrases that people are searching for in your niche and use them in the title of your blog posts so you can rank for those terms in the search engines
* Updated regularly with simple tips, articles, insights or info, reviews of other blogs, books or products or interviews you conduct with people you respect and would like to know. How flattering to be interviewed for someone’s blog and what a great way to connect with someone influential you’d like to meet.
* Listed on all your marketing materials and e-mails
* Have your RSS blog feed connected to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, plus any other social media you use to get the word out each time you post.
* E-mail your subscribers when you post and encourage people to subscribe to your blog feed.
* Feedburner, Friendfeed, Technorati. These are just a few of the places your blog should be listed. Feedburner allows you to put a “subscribe to my blog” link on your blog.Blogging is a powerful way to offer valuable help to your prospects and clients and to interact with them since they can leave comments. Popular blogs often get more traffic than websites and the trend is growing.4) SquidooSquidoo was created by world renowned business marketing guru Seth Godin and is its own marketing machine. The search engines love Squidoo because it’s full of fresh content.On Squidoo you set up something called a “lens” which is similar to a profile. You can set up a new lens for each article you write and want to publish. You can also create or join groups on Squidoo. A good strategy is to do some keyword research to discover what people are searching for in your niche or industry and then name your lens or group using that keyword. Squidoo pages often show up when people do a Google search, which could definitely get you traffic. Don’t underestimate Squidoo. It’s powerful if you explore all of its functionality.5) Article directoriesPublishing articles like this one to article directories is still one of the most powerful ways to generate traffic and leads. Your articles can get picked up by publishers of online and offline publications and you’ll get complete credit. Plus people can simply search for articles on a topic and find yours. My favorite article directories are IdeaMarketers and EzineArticles — both dot com.6) Press releasesThere are literally hundreds of websites that accept free press releases for inclusion in their online publications or directories. Every newsworthy occurrence in your business warrants a press release-some examples would be a new website, new corporate client, upcoming event, new product or service or new employee.7) VideoIt’s quite easy to buy a Flip camera, take your articles and turn them into simple tips videos that you can post on YouTube and other video sites. Again, tagging the video with popular keywords will help drive traffic to your video. Include your domain name on the last slide so people know where to find you.All of these methods done CONSISTENTLY will drive a ton of traffic to your website at no cost. Once they’re there turn them into a lead by asking them to optin to your mailing list. Then begin showing them why they should hire you.
What is Travel Insurance? Why Do We Need It?To put it simply, travel insurance is a type of insurance that covers financial losses including medical expenses incurred while travelling within the country or internationally. Travel policy is designed to protect your health, belongings, and your finances during the course of your trip. While it’s a good idea to take out travel insurance on international visits, it’s also safe to check what your insurance covers.Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but even the most carefully planned trip can be complicated by unforeseen events. Whether it’s lost luggage, cancelled flights, or medical emergencies, an unexpected event can cause a financial crisis. Hence, it is essential to buy a good travel policy that can safeguard your journey and make your vacation a truly memorable one.Travel policy has always been perceived as an optional package. But, without the proper coverage, you may be followed home by a string of incidental expenses.How Can We Choose The Best Travel Insurance?Today, travel policies come with a variety of options but choosing the right kind of insurance policy is important. A good travel policy is one that covers you for what you need, and doesn’t charge you for coverages you don’t.While it’s a good idea to take out travel insurance on international visits, it’s also safe to check what your insurance covers. Remember, online travel policy only covers trip cancellations for certain reasons, including sickness, a death in the family, or severe weather.When identifying the best online travel policy for yourself and family, look for the following policy details:• How many family members / individuals are covered?
• What are the expenses covered?
• What are the different plans available?
• What’s the maximum coverage offered?
• Does the policy cover pre-existing conditions?
• Does the provider have a worldwide, 24/7 emergency contact number?
• Can insurance be purchased and renewed online?
• Is the policy applicable only when travelling abroad or even within one’s own country?
• Does the travel policy cover multi-trips?
• Does the policy provide coverage for adventure sports?What Should An Ideal Travel Insurance Policy Cover?While travel insurance policies come with a variety of benefits, the following are the necessary covers you should look for:• Medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad
• 24-hour emergency service and assistance
• Lost and stolen possessions cover including passport
• Trip cancellation coverWhile it is not compulsory, most travel companies usually insist on some form of insurance as a stipulation of their holiday product. Travel Insurance has always been perceived as an optional package. But, it covers several situations that guarantee you peace of mind. Business or leisure, remember to insure before leaving.