5 Tips for Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Most business owners know about word of mouth marketing. “How do I get people to talk about my product/brand/company?” is a common question we hear. Today we’ll look at five ways you can start and see some instant results in your marketing efforts.

1) Ask Your Customers the Hard Questions

These aren’t difficult questions, but sometimes the answers might be tough to hear.

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5 Tips for Naming Your Small Business

Starting a small business website is stressful enough – you have to worry about a business plan, funding, suppliers, your market, marketing and all the rest. But unless you have a great name that fits what you are doing, it won’t matter how large your margins are.

Your business name is the core of your brand. Is it memorable? Does it have personality? Does it explain the service/product you are providing?

Entrepreneurs not only have to worry about having a catchy name, but its search engine optimizability, potential misspellings, and embarrassing alternate meanings. (You probably don’t want to make our list of the 50 Worst and Most Embarrassing Domain Names Ever Purchased!)

Here are five basic guiding principles as you start to figure out how to make this all-important decision:

1) Do a search for the name you have in mind – is it available or already being used? Can you legally use this name in your state/province?

2) Is it unique, short and/or easy to remember? Does it describe or indicate what your business does?

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Get Cheap Business Stock Photography

Looking for some new images for your website? Right now AppSumo (it’s kind of like Groupon but specific to web apps) is offering a great deal well-suited for small business owners.

PixMac, a stock photography website, has put together a package designed specifically for business. Depending on your industry, these images may work well for your website, brochures, ads, etc.

It’s a limited time offer, but for only $25, you get 33 business-focused stock images – regularly valued at $250!

Interested? Check out the deal:
$25 for $250 worth of business stock photos

5 Tips for Choosing a Great Accountant

Image by epSos.de
Image by epSos.de

Tax time is coming up and while many of us use small business tax software and our own brains to figure it all out, you might have hit the point in your business where you’ve decided it’s time to hire a pro to handle your numbers.

Finding the right accountant is just as challenging as hiring the right in-house employee. You need to trust them with some of your most treasured data and you want to feel comfortable doing so.

Here are 5 tips for making sure you are happy with the accountant you choose:

1.    Ask for Referrals

Just like you would ask a friend about their Physiotherapist, Doctor or even Hairdresser, ask business people you trust (and who have good financial records) about who they use to manage their numbers. Consider talking to people in your industry and start generating a list of accountants with great reputations.

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Add a Twitter Plugin on Your Website in 30 Seconds

twitter
Image by Rosaura Ochoa

Twitter is a “real-time information network” that allows people to connect with others that they find interesting. For example, business owners like you can quickly share information with people who are interested in what you have to offer and you can begin to build relationships with potential customers.

If you’re not using Twitter to help grow your company, there’s no better time to start than now!

Twitter Plugins

When you tweet your messages for the world to see, the messages are normally confined to Twitter’s own website and are viewed by those who have subscribed to receive them. As an extra bonus, Twitter also offers a plugin which allows you to install a widget on your own website to display tweets.

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Why You Need a Proofreader

Image by adactio.
Image by adactio

Mistakes happen. We’ve all been in a situation where we carelessly overlooked something and it’s caused an embarrassing situation. While most of these faux pas happen in our personal lives, from time to time it affects business. This morning we received a Change of Legal Name letter for a business we’ve worked with in the past. It’s a nicely written letter on beautiful new letterhead with a funky new logo. The problem with the letter is two-fold:

  1. They don’t state anywhere in the letter what the previous name of the business is. Although we’ve now figured it out, it took more than three people to narrow it down.
  2. There’s a typo in the URL in the big bolded area where they list their contact information.

Yikes. If you’re sending out a notice like this, you want to make sure it goes out without a hitch and people aren’t left scratching their heads trying to figure out who you are. This letter probably should have been passed around a bit before it left the building.

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How to Use Facebook Social Plugins on Your Website

1273169132_facebookFor those who have been under a rock for the past few years, there’s a social juggernaut called Facebook which has captured an audience of over 500 million people. Facebook is a fun place to catch up with your friends, post photos and videos of your vacations, and to simply socialize with all of your connections in a convenient place.  The ability to tap into this vast resource would be hugely beneficial for any e-commerce website.

Luckily Facebook offers you, a website owner, the ability to add some of their own functionality to your website, plus it’s much easier than you think!

Figure Out Which Social Plugin is Right for You

The first step is to head on over to Facebook’s developer pages and determine which plug-in best suits your needs.  There are many to choose from, like the simple, yet effective “Like Button” which shares pages from your site to the users’ Facebook profile, and the “Comments” plugin, which allows users to comment on content on your site and have it reflected on their Facebook profile to be displayed to all of their friends.

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How to Use Your Customers to Boost Your Bottom Line

istock_000006304060xsmallYou have a great product or service. You’ve taken it to market and it’s doing well. But could it being doing better? Are there steps towards growth that you haven’t yet thought of?

Maybe it’s time to talk to your customers.

They are the people that experience your business firsthand. They’re (mostly) objective and see things from the outside – they have a perspective that you can’t have, no matter how much you think you can.

Here are a few things that you can learn from your customers:

1. The state of your customer service
The impression you leave on a customer can help (or haunt) your business for the rest of its existence. In this day and age of sharing experience and reviews online, a bad customer experience can do a lot to damage your earning potential.

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