Small Business Digital Marketing Blog

When starting a company it is important to figure out not just how the team will work together, but where the team will work together. Lots of factors will drive this decision, including what type of company you’re launching, who your customers are, how large your team will be, what your budget is, and where in the world you plan to start your business. Today there are tools galore which enable a startup to work smarter, faster, and cheaper and these too will color your decisions about your physical space. But good planning, a flexible vision, and smart budgeting can go far in helping you to save money, build and retain a strong team, and create a great working environment. Here are 10 things for you to consider as you start the hunt for space: 1. What kind of company are you starting? The first question you’ll need to answer is a simple one: what kind of business are you in? Are you a B-toB? B-to-C? If you are a professional services business with constant client visits, your needs will be very different from the retail business down the street. Consider what your business does as you consider what kind of space (and how much) you’ll need.
I recently got a phone call from an entrepreneur whom I respect and who runs a company that I hope will do great things one day. He had pitched me in the past and I told him that for a variety of reasons his company was too early stage for me but that I would happily keep track of their progress. He started the call by telling me he had exciting news. He was about to be featured in a major US news magazine as one of their “hot” picks. I think my response surprised him, “Really? Is that why you called? To update me on your PR? That’s what you’ve got? PR? Save it for someone who cares! What progress have you made in your business?” I don’t think that’s what he was expecting. Entrepreneurs get so used to friends and family congratulating them on their press coverage that they forget sometimes that this isn’t real. A positive news story means NOTHING about the core performance of your business. A good friend of mine was features on the front cover of the LA Times business section with a glowing article. He had 2 weeks’ cash left in the bank and was facing massive layoffs or potentially bankruptcy. Press doesn’t mean anything other than free advertising. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very pro PR but please see it for what it is and don’t think that smart or experienced people are going to see it as any more than it is either. Our call recovered and we spent the rest of the time talking about the development of their management team and their product. But it got me thinking about how often entrepreneurs overplay their PR so I thought I’d try to offer some advice and how to play PR with VCs (or more broadly with customers or business development partners)

1. Press coverage really matters

– The good news – your press coverage really does matter. I know that most people will tell you that they aren’t influenced by what they read on TechCrunch but the reality is that people are way more influenced by what they read in the press than they even admit to themselves.

The Facebook Marketing Series is supported by Buddy Media. Now that Facebook will no longer allow your brand to hide comments from your followers, knowing the right strategies for moderating is paramount.  Everyone has to eat, and 700 million of those people are also on Facebook. Naturally, there are a lot...

Successful businesses know that to develop long-term relationships with their customers, they must find  ways to build trust. This is not as easy to do as it sounds. According to the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer study, U.S. consumer trust of companies dropped 8 points from 2010 to 2011. In fact, this trend seems to be worsening. According to a new University of Melbourne study, online shoppers are 30% less loyal to online businesses than in 2007. The good news is that businesses can improve their trustworthiness. The University of Melbourne study also found that Internet consumers are 20% more trusting of websites than they were five years ago. According to Dr. Brent Coker, the author of the study, the increase in online consumer trust is largely linked to the visual appeal of websites.

People always seem to want to know "when." When will my new furniture be delivered? When will my printer be fixed? When will my call for software support be answered? If you provide customer support, service standards provide a formal way to communicate this information. Service...

Very often when we’re pitching a new piece of business, the prospect starts to wonder out loud about whether everything that could be done for them on the marketing front is being done. It’s not an unreasonable line of inquiry. Far too often, however, that line of inquiry leads to a terribly silly question being asked: “What’s the one thing we could be doing that we’re not doing that’s going to turn everything around?” Marketing professionals working inside companies tell me they regularly hear the same thing from their executives. In short, these people are wondering if there’s a marketing silver bullet. While there may well be intelligent and high-value marketing options that are not being pursued, I have never found an instance where some single initiative would magically turn things around. Marketing simply doesn’t work that way.

"The World According To Steve" is a special section of our blog devoted to leadership faux pas, institutional chaos, and flailing attempts to save sinking ships.  Fueled by reader experiences, we encourage you to submit your own "Steve-isms". When employees don’t trust leadership, organizations pay the...

SUMMARY: To wrap up another year of B2B marketing, we’ve reached out to seven marketers and industry experts to offer you six tactics based on marketing lessons learned in 2011. Read on to find out what our expert sources said about lead generation, lead scoring and lead nurturing; inbound SEO; letting your customer tell you how to market to them; and making that personal touch truly personal.

by David Kirkpatrick, Reporter

This past year was another exhilarating ride through the world of B2B marketing. Once again, we split the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit into East and West Coast versions for a total of four days filled with actual case studies from your peers, actionable advice, and teachings based on our extensive research and surveys of practicing marketers. The newsletter line-up from 2011 featured a very wide range of case studies and how-to articles across digital, and even a few traditional, marketing channels. To wrap this year up, I reached out to seven marketers and industry experts and asked what were some of the key lessons learned in 2011 and requested one marketing tactic from each of the sources. The result of this outreach effort is presented below. I hope you find something in these six tactics that can help your marketing efforts in 2012.

Tactic #1. Lead Nurturing: Reengaging prospects with video

Attivio, an enterprise software developer, specializes in search and business intelligence technology. A key challenge for Drew Smith, Director of Online Marketing, is educating the market about Attivio’s product and value proposition. A more pressing direct challenge was aiding a 10-person sales team make best use of a messy 28,000-lead database.
Public speaking is a daunting thought for the vast majority of us, so in the light of my upcoming presentations (more info at end of post) I thought I’d brush up on my public speaking skills, especially considering the talent of the other speakers. Below I’ve gathered some public speaking / presentation tips from some of today’s most experienced talkers. In Cameron Moll’s article 20 tips for better public speaking, he states that:
The art of speaking is roughly 51% entertainment, 49% meaty content. Your primary responsibility is to entertain a room full of people. This doesn’t necessarily equate to jokes and magic tricks, but it does mean that the content of your presentation, and the delivery of that content, should be compelling and engaging. Keeping the audience eyes’ on you rather than their laptops benefits both you and the audience.

Businesses often ask me "but what can I do today to help my business"?  Take a look at this list that took us 4 minutes 39 seconds to create.  Ideas and possibilities are endless! Hire a designer to create a modern website Take advantage of social media Update...