Categories: Sales & Marketing

Sell More by Adding Variety

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 31

People buy more jelly beans when they're offered an assortment of colors. This is true even if all the different-colored jelly beans taste exactly the same. After reviewing 50 experiments...

Get a Second Chance for a Good Impression

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 30

When it comes to handling customer complaints, consumer-behavior findings support the notion that you only have one chance to make a good first impression. If you respond quickly to address...

Plan Website Improvements for the Holidays Now

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 29

The holiday shopping season means more traffic and larger sales volumes, but it also heralds an important, seasonal change in overall shopping patterns taking place on your site, as well...

The Case for Location-Based Marketing

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 25

Location-based mobile marketing delivers text messages to consumers on their phones when they are near your store and in a mindset to make a purchase. It's the perfect nexus of...

Use Mobile Marketing to Generate Leads

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 24

Mobile campaigns allow marketers to zero in on their target audience and maximize their ad spend, selecting recipients by carrier, device manufacturer, and location. These days mobile advertising is accessible...

Small Business's Part in Big Government Spending

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 18

Even though we are looking at government budget cutbacks, public agencies still need to purchase goods and services. Here are four tips to help you navigate the world of public...

Marketing Across Mobile Devices

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 16

In today's mobile world, it's no longer enough to have either a single mobile website or app. Consumers want to be able to access information wherever, whenever, and on whatever...

Combine E-mail and Social Media for True Engagement

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 15

In today's highly connected world, effective marketing is no longer about broadcasting content and promotions. Talking at your customers doesn't fly. Social media have changed the way businesses connect and...

When in Doubt, Focus on the Product

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 10

I used to obsess over ad success and SEO conversion rates. I spent my time looking at advertising and marketing from every angle I could think of. When I felt...

Is Your Voice Mail Greeting Costing You Business?

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 08

The only interaction many of your co-workers, customers, and prospects may have with you on a given day is your voice mail greeting. Quick gut check: Does your current greeting...

Use Your Website to Grow Your Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 03

Your website is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have. By itself it may not produce the results you're looking for, but when combined with your other marketing...

Connect Your C-Suite to Your Customers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 02

Executive team members can benefit significantly by putting customers first and getting to know them better. Here are suggestions for making the connections happen: 1. Move research from ignored to...

Put Audio Content on Your Website

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 01

It's no secret that one of the most effective ways to engage customers and prospects online is through compelling content on your website. When working on making your site better,...

Turn Your Business into a Book

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 26

What problem does your business solve? That's the question you need to answer if you want to turn your business into a book that attracts a whole new set of...

Make Better Use of Facts About Your Customers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 22

Review the impression you are sending customers and prospects at all touch points and make sure your message is clear and consistent. In addition, make sure you have the ability...

Fire Undesirable Customers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 20

It's difficult to think of customers as simply not worth your time, and firing some—especially when you're a new business owner—seems preposterous. However, there are going to be (if they...

Turn Prospects into Customers with E-mail

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 15

E-mail marketing is an essential part of any marketing mix for businesses looking to further connect customers with their brand. When done effectively, e-mail drives a site's return visitors and...

Use Social Media to Keep Your Customers Loyal

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 14

Sure, you want the phone to ring off the hook with new customers. After all, new customers mean more sales revenue, right? Whether you own a restaurant, spa, or CPA...

Check Instructions with Elderly Customers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 13

Don't forget that the elderly are an increasingly important target market. And don't forget that the elderly forget more than younger people do. Researchers at the University of Michigan and...

How to Measure Your Return on Social Media

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 27

Do you know how to measure the return on your investments in social media? Every day we measure returns on our marketing investments. We create e-mail campaigns, attend trade shows,...

Build More Intuitive Self-Service

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 24

Organizations across industries continue to encourage and deliver more self-service options via websites, kiosks, and automated phone systems in order to cut live-support costs and give consumers more control over...

Budget Your Social Media Program

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 21

Business marketers already know the value of social media in connecting with desired audiences. However, there is a lack of information to guide marketers on how to measure the true...

Spending on Ads vs. Investing in Customers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 10

Generally speaking, advertising is considered an investment, not an expense—but it still isn't the best choice for most startup companies. Advertising will nearly always get you customers. To truly build...

Maintain Good Customer Service at a Fast-Growing Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 02

For any startup or small business, developing a standard of top-quality customer service is essential to maintaining relationships and growing a client base that is passionate about your business. However,...

Enable Secure Commerce Through Facebook

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 31

Facebook has become far more than an online destination to share pictures and dole out birthday greetings. Users now access thousands of applications and games, conduct surveys and polls, and...

Engage Your Clients in the Hiring Process

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 26

Hiring a new employee is scary, especially since firing that person can be a major hassle if things don't work out. If, like most entrepreneurs, you don't have a human...

Network to Find New Clients

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 18

Several years ago, a friend and I were having a conversation about how difficult it is to meet new people (in his case, to date). "Yeah," I said, "it's not...

Set Marketing Ethics Guidelines

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 17

As we engage more directly with our customers through social media, it's more important than ever to be trustworthy. As a starting point, here are seven rules for ethical marketing:...

Improve Your Direct Mail Marketing

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 13

If you're like most small business owners, running your business is not a problem, but marketing may be. When it comes to best practices, creating relevant and personalized communications are...

Raise the Bar on Customer Service

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 04

Every day people everywhere interact with customer service representatives across industries, from the local grocery store cashier to the Fortune 500 airline flight attendant. When spending time and money, these...

Resist the Allure of Multiple Brands

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 28

If you think multiple brand names will make your company seem bigger, think again. It's tempting to create multiple brands, But if we think of a brand as a business...

Love Thy Customer: Let Us Count the Ways

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 27

When was the last time you were truly delighted as a customer? A colleague of mine was given a cookie after she bought her daily lunch at our favorite local...

Don't Squander Time on the Wrong Marketing Tactics

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 25

How do you determine which marketing tools and methods make the most sense for your customer base? Below are some questions to ask yourself before you spend money on marketing...

Why the Rules of Old-School Marketing Still Apply to New Media

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 22

With two teenagers at home, I hear the terms "old school" and "out of touch" more often than I care to tell you. But being old school isn't always bad...

Draw More Attention to Your Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 21

No matter how busy you are, here are three things you can do today to get more attention for your business. In all, it should take less than 30 minutes....

Retire Your 800 Number

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 14

Let's face it. The number of smartphone users is growing every day. In fact, 81 million smartphones were sold worldwide in 2010, a 96 percent increase from a year earlier....

Engage Your Website Viewers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 13

People's opinions and memories are controlled by representational systems or the use of their most preferred sense to interpret the world around them. The majority of people fall into one...

When It Pays to Offer an Inferior Choice

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 07

Sometimes a client or customer is frozen into indecision because of tradeoffs among the prices, features, reputations of the brand and vendor, and predicted ease of use, among other qualities...

Where to Put Products You Want to Sell Quickly

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 06

If you're a retailer, you probably have certain items you want to sell more than others. It might be because these items carry high profit margins or come with promotional...

Use Low-Price Guarantees Strategically

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 05

With so many consumers currently placing extraordinarily high importance on price, many retailers are promising a payment or credit if the customer later finds a lower price on an item...

Give Loyalty Programs Momentum

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 04

Retailers are discovering that the effectiveness of frequent shopper and customer loyalty programs is fading. Findings from research studies at the University of Southern California and the University of Pennsylvania...

Participate in the 'Social Economy'

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 24

Deals of the day and other performance-based online promotions available through companies such as Groupon and LivingSocial are gaining traction with consumers. Perhaps you're considering how to get in on...

Avoid a Leaky 'Sales Funnel'

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 21

A leaky sales funnel means that you end up spending more money to create fewer sales. Do you need to patch any of these areas? 1. Weak lead capture. How...

Cultivate Existing Customers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 17

It's a maxim of marketing: Retaining a current customer is easier, wiser, and less costly than attracting a new one. Your loyal customers are the most important—with "loyalty" defined by...

Measure Customer Satisfaction

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 15

You have spent a considerable amount of time and resources creating a fantastic customer experience. Now, how do you measure the satisfaction and loyalty of your customers in order to...

Trumpet Your Values

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 14

"We pride ourselves on ethics," Mark Wolverton, president and chief executive of Lush North America, told me during a recent interview about the cosmetics company's growth from one small store...

Make Sales to Businesses as Effective as Sales to Consumers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 11

Large businesses such as Amazon, Dell, and OfficeMax use e-commerce for business-related transactions, so why not use it for yours as well? With more users online than ever before, your...

Smart Marketing Without Added Expense

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 10

Although many business owners are still hesitant to move away from snail mail or the phone for marketing, others are rapidly discovering that e-mail marketing is one of the most...

Improve Your Customer Service Training

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 09

Almost all customer service training includes roughly the same instructions for dealing with unhappy customers: listening without interruption and the need to empathize, validate, apologize, take responsibility, and agree on...

Get the Most From Your Paid Search Budget

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 07

While paid search such as Google AdWords can be a great way to attract visitors to your website, it can be difficult to determine the cost-effectiveness of these programs. We...

Why Your Business Isn't Getting Leads From LinkedIn

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 04

I am amazed at how many small businesses do not take full advantage of social media, which—as the Internet did two decades ago—allows any business to compete with larger, more...

The Hyperlocal Opportunity

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 25

These days small businesses are sharpening their focus on hyperlocal advertising and marketing, an attractive option that presents an opportunity to engage with customers at the optimum time and place....

Harness the Competitive Spirit

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 24

Everybody wants to win but all-too often, small business owners do not make proper use of contests and other competitive events to draw customers into their businesses. Let's look at...

Take Customers Behind the Curtain

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 23

I recently saw an ad featuring a young girl who went through life-altering treatment at New York Presbyterian Hospital. The tagline of the campaign: "Amazing Things Are Happening Here"—the implication...

Conquer Contact Overload

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 15

Feeling snowed under by the sheer number of contacts you need to wade through every day? Not sure which contact to call on next, or which task should take precedence?...

Evaluate Your PR Firm

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 09

You're an entrepreneur. You have an idea that creates a new social media category, redefines philanthropy, or transforms social sharing for mobile commerce. You believe support from a PR firm...

Stop Playing Defense on Social Media

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 03

Most companies today still use social media to play defense. Social customer-relationship-management implementations have been focused on discovering customer complaints after they happen, either via message boards or tracking conversations...

A Digital Marketing To-Do List

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 02

As consumers continue to increase the time they spend online across a proliferation of digital devices, businesses of all sizes are taking a hard look at the best ways to...

Create Landing Pages That Deliver Sales

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 28

Landing page optimization is an increasingly important marketing tool for small business websites. Yet most businesses see only single-digit conversion rates from their landing page campaigns. This is in large...

Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 24

Today people are more connected to the Internet than ever before. That may sound obvious, but the numbers are truly staggering. Every day, Google receives around 500 million search requests....

Why Small Business Owners Need a Blog

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 21

If you're a small business owner, you may have taken the plunge and put up a website. Unless you're selling direct from the site, the chances are good that nothing...

Make the Logic Clear for a Reluctant Shopper

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 20

Let's say we're dealing with a reluctant shopper. After identifying the product or service that we're convinced will best meet the needs of both the shopper and the business's bottom...

Design Comparative Ads to Fit Shopper Psychology

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 19

In media advertising and store-based signage, we might choose to market a product by comparing it with alternatives. "Buy our house brand because you get a larger package size for...

Encourage Customers to Buy Innovation

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 18

Pioneering products and trendy clothing fashions usually carry higher profit margins than older versions. To sell innovative items, appeal to distinctive purchase triggers. Venturesome innovators say, "I want the latest...

Head Off Anger Over Price Increases

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 17

These days, most customers are especially sensitive to any increase in price for the items they regularly buy. Sometimes customers accept a price hike and move on, but in other...

Drive Web and Foot Traffic

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 14

While big-box retailers spend millions to grab attention with sales and promotions, many small business owners struggle to keep up. But having a strong online presence and a strategy for...

When a Customer Is Injured Using Your Company's Products

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 13

Everyone has heard of the crisis involving the Toyota recall, but many small business owners don't realize crisis management skills are important for them as well. Big companies like Toyota...

Drive Customer Loyalty in 2011

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 10

In today's crowded marketplace, creating loyal, engaged customers is more important—and more challenging—than ever. Here are some tips for overcoming the challenges: 1. Don't treat loyalty like a program. Instead,...

Create Effective Marketing Materials

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 04

The days of the simple, hard-copy marketing brochure are being replaced by digital promotions via websites and social media. Many of the marketing principles that were proven in a paper...

Protect Your Brand. It's Your Most Valuable Asset

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 30

Business news is saturated with talk of the power of the brand. But what does that really mean for a small business? Consider for a moment that your brand is...

Win Over Difficult or Combative Customers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 28

Eventually, all small business owners are faced with a customer who's ready for conversational battle. Sometimes there is good reason for these combative conversations; sometimes there isn't. Either way, when...

How to Sell More of Everything

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 27

Whether you're selling products, services, or ideas, every small business owner wants to sell more. The three most effective ways to do this are to connect emotionally, establish credibility, and...

It's Back to the Future for Small Businesses: Communities

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 21

Social networking is often overlooked by small businesses for one of two reasons: Either owners don't understand social media and what it can do for them or they have more...

Making Marketing Campaigns Work on a Local Level

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 20

Trying to reach local customers is the marketing category in which it is most important to create a personal look and feel in your messaging materials. Personalization reminds consumers that...

Encourage Customers to Complain

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 17

TARP has researched customer complaint behavior for over 30 years. More than half the time, your customers will not tell you when you have alienated them but will simply go...

Avoid Assumptions That Undermine Customer Service

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 16

Great service assures you keep customers and allows you to charge a premium for your product. But when trying to achieve consistently good service, most business owners make three mistakes:...

Marketing During the Holidays

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 10

With the holiday season upon us, there are many sales and marketing strategies that small business owners can leverage to expand revenue base and improve business. Here are a few...

Start a Social Community for Your Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 07

Today it is commonplace to find large companies such as Reebok's GoRunEasy.com and MarthaStewart.com using white-labeled online communities to engage consumers and draw them into brand-specific conversations. Why can't your...

Slow Your Selling to Speed Your Customers' Buying

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 03

Almost anyone who is trying to sell has been taught that a faster pitch means a faster close. In fact, the reverse is true. No matter what it is you're...

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 25

In the 1960s, the Grateful Dead made a series of difficult, often-unpopular decisions in order to differentiate the group from competitors by providing the highest-quality service to fans. In so...

Turn Website "Browsers" Into Buyers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 22

We all know consumers are spending more time and money online, so your website is often the first (and sometimes last) interaction you have with them. Unfortunately, many companies continue...

Good Business Starts with Your Story

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 18

Something I learned early on as an entrepreneur and small business owner is that starting and maintaining a successful business depends on how well you understand and tell your company's...

Get Your Employees on the Social Media Bandwagon

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 10

A recent online survey found that when companies look to ramp up social media initiatives, many turn in-house first. This is even more likely for small businesses with limited resources....

Transform Yourself from Vendor to Expert

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 08

In today's world your customer is bombarded with marketing messages. The more you tout your product or service, the less likely your audience is to believe you. So how do...

Turn a Standard Presentation into a Sales Tool

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 04

Every business cranks out a lot of presentations, probably more than they can count. Are these slide decks boosting branding, driving customer engagement, and increasing sales? Presentations are second only...

Use Body Language to Build Rapport

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 03

People don't buy your products, your services, or your brand. They buy you. Whether you're negotiating with suppliers, managing staff, or speaking directly with customers, it's vital that you create...

Plain Talk About Innovation

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 02

You can have the greatest idea in the world—which doesn't matter if you can't persuade anyone of its value. An idea, however innovative it may be, is not useful until...

Don't Keep Your Customers Waiting

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 27

No one looks forward to home service appointments. Remember the last time your cable or Internet went out? It is maddening to sit at home waiting for the service technician...

Customer Service Gets Social

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 22

Much is being written today about the relationship between customer service and social media. Online microblogging sites such as Twitter and features on LinkedIn and other networking sites enable any...

Make Your Advertising Content Matter

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 21

John Wanamaker, a department store mogul from the late 1800s, once lamented: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don't know which half." If...

Succeed in a Down Economy

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 20

There is much discussion about the importance and power of small business in political, media, and business circles. Collectively, we are seen as a major driver of the economy, yet...

Three Common Mistakes on Lead-Capture Forms

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 19

Let's talk about the nitty-gritty of lead-capture forms, also known as Webforms or opt-in forms. These babies can be a real friend to us. While we're busy doing other things,...

Capture More Leads on Your Website

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 18

Let's pretend I just gave you a stack of crisp $10 bills, 100 of them. Now let's go sit down by a cozy fire and review the last 100 visitors...

Foolproof Your Customer Loyalty Program

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 15

According to a study conducted by Bain & Co., although 80 percent of companies believe they offer a superior customer experience, only 8 percent of their customers agree. Based on...

Retain and Engage Customers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 13

No matter how well-conceived, simply building a website is no guarantee that customers will come to your site. Most businesses spend tremendous time and money to get a visitor one...

Engage Cause Marketing to Promote Small Businesses

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 08

After my own battle with prostate cancer, we aligned our company over the past year with breast cancer awareness in a cause marketing campaign. It opened a new sector of...

Make Better Promotional Videos

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 07

Businesses of all sizes are turning to videos to drive conversation, traffic, and sales. According to Internet Retailer, e-commerce website visitors who view product videos are 85 percent more likely...

From Ad-Based to "Freemium"

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 04

When you're the owner of a business you worked very hard to build, giving away anything for free can make your heart skip a beat—but that doesn't have to be...

Use Online Surveys to Increase Customer Loyalty

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 27

Surveys are a great way to show your customers that you value them. Surveys not only enable you to stay connected with your customers, but they also can provide valuable...

Maximize Marketing Dollars with Tracking

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 15

More than ever, marketers are expected to deliver targeted campaigns with measurable results that refine messaging to specific audiences. As more money is being spent on Internet, mobile, and e-mail...

Reach a 'Cautiously Optimistic' Generation of Consumers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 14

Consumers have emerged from the economic downturn with a new mindset. When it comes to spending, they're proving to be more methodical, practical, and proactive than in years past. Some...

Make It Easy to Choose Two

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 10

Can't decide between the peach and the cherry ice cream for your cone? Then have a scoop of each. Researchers at Yale University find that by encouraging your shopper to...

Understand Shoppers' Attitudes

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 09

Making a sale often requires that you and your staff change shoppers' negative attitudes into positive ones. According to research from University of Michigan, a shopper is usually asking themselves...

Give Loyalty Program Members Prestige

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 08

Customer loyalty programs—sometimes called frequent shopper programs—reward customers for their continuing business. When well-designed, the loyalty programs motivate customers to keep coming back in order to obtain the rewards. Overall,...

Hire Bilingual Staff for Bicultural Shoppers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 07

Business owners often assume that if a prospective customer is able to speak two languages, the prospect is equally comfortable carrying out transactions in either language. But the truth is...

Improve Your Chances of Winning a Business Award

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 06

Competition for awards is intense, and the best companies or products don't always win. At times, the judges determine winners by what information the nominator submits and the wording of...

Win Lifelong Customers Through Better Marketing

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 03

The chaos of small business life makes it especially hard to win lifelong customers. I'm talking about those customers who don't buy from you just once, but who come back...

Understand Multilingual Search Engine Optimization

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 01

You have a small business. That certainly doesn't mean you think small. Nor does it mean your customers reside in a small geographic area. Global business is for everyone these...

Become an Expert in Your Field

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 30

Specialization has become a sign of the times. Largely as a result of Internet search capabilities, buyers can purchase goods and services on a highly targeted and specialized basis. Let's...

Responding to Bad Publicity Online

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 27

Every business loves social media marketing when customers are raving about them in Facebook status updates and Twitter tweets, but what happens when there's some bad press on a social...

Timesavers to Manage Your Social Media Presence

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 26

When it comes to social media marketing, one of the biggest fears small business owners have is the time commitment. Yes, the majority of sites have no hard costs associated...

Empower 'Superfans' with Super Access

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 25

Congratulations—you have customers who tout your products and services to everyone they know. They're your evangelists, the people marketers covet for their word-of-mouth referrals. How do you make sure these...

The Art of Creating 'Superfans'

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 24

The goal of every company, be it big or small, should be to foster passionate fans who sing the praises of the company, products, and services to everyone they encounter....

Freelancers Should Provide Solutions, Not Services

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 23

If you're trying to figure out a good idea for a small business, start by looking at a problem you can provide the solution to. I thought about this recently...

Customer Service Isn't Dead

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 20

As the Internet becomes more and more prevalent in our everyday lives, customer service should be top-of-mind in every transaction. Brick and mortar stores continue to thrive exactly because they...

When Your Customers Set the Price

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 16

On the morning of her 41st birthday, author Danielle LaPorte posted a promotion on her blog and then went to the spa in her home city of Vancouver, B.C. She...

Reach the Right Customer with the Right Message

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 12

When small business leaders launch an e-mail marketing initiative, it might seem like a small consideration, but developing the right subject line for the e-mail message can be the biggest...

Launch a Successful E-mail Marketing Campaign

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 11

Research by the Direct Marketing Assn. estimates that for every dollar spent on e-mail marketing, an organization brings in $43.62. With the potential for that kind of return on investment,...

The Three Elements of an Inspiring Pitch

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 09

I've met with many inspiring leaders who have successfully pitched their brands in the face of intense competition. Their presentations share three qualities. They are understandable, memorable, and emotional. 1....

Make a Good Impression Over the Phone

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 03

For small businesses, a lot can transpire in a conference call: Deals get made, ideas are debated, and sensitive negotiations are conducted. Or worse: None of these things happen, because...

Lost and Found in Translation

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 27

These days, a growing number of small businesses translate material into other languages for global consumers. New technologies streamline the process in many ways. Still, it seems to me that...

When Multivariate Testing Is Better than A/B Testing

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 26

Marketers know that testing and tracking different elements of their campaigns is the best way to understand what works with their intended audience. Common methods for running controlled experiments range...

Brand Management in the Age of Social Media

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 21

The notion that you can manage your brand by simply crafting messages onto print and digital materials and then handing them down from headquarters is becoming more outdated every day....

Offstage Drama Hurts Your Brand

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 20

I'm often called to do crisis communications work for major corporations that find themselves in a bind or damaged by an event in their industry. Unfortunately, by the time I...

Ensure Brand Consistency

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 19

Developing a strong brand is critical for long-term growth and success. However, building a brand isn't easy and maintaining its consistency is even harder, especially when implementing new marketing channels,...

Get Customers Back After the 'Daily Deal'

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 16

Daily deal sites provide small businesses with an opportunity to attract new customers. The real value in making such deals is in gaining returning customers. Here are five tips that...

Before You Agree to a 'Daily Deal'

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 15

For small businesses owners, sites such as Groupon.com and Coupons.com provide an effective advertising platform to reach new local customers. Such sites work by offering would-be customers the opportunity to...

Six Social Media Sins

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 09

Social media are not intended for you to syndicate your corporate message. Social media are here to facilitate open and honest dialogue with other individuals. If you are not open...

Three Ways to Raise Your Prices

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 06

Chance are that you started your business because you love to do the work. Whether it's massage therapy, yoga instruction, or business consulting, you were taken with the idea of...

To Get the Most Out of Conferences, Follow Up

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 24

Perhaps you've recently attended a few conferences and now you're anxious to get back to the work that has piled up on your desk. Remember, you went to the conference...

Conference Success Requires Careful Planning

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 23

Before you decide to attend any conference or expo, think about what you expect to come back with—be it contact names, research, or partnership opportunities. Use this goal to determine...

Don't Overlook Your Biggest Brand Advocates

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 17

Branding efforts often focus on the external audience and not on the internal audience, but it's important to remember the brand inside. Internal adoption of the brand—and the message, clarity,...

Creating a Brand Requires Discipline and Vigilance

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 16

You must "brand your brand" or someone else will. Brand equity is all about consistent delivery and correlating communication, including both verbal and visual dialogue. Inconsistency is the face of...

Why Regular Follow-up Improves Business Perception

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 31

In a recent new-business meeting, a potential client pointed out a trait we try to instill in all of our employees: the ability to provide timely and effective follow-up. This...

Your Brand Is a Verb, Not a Noun

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 19

The "ing" in branding is more than just three letters or a grammatical term. Keeping a brand active, lively, and in movement is a vital yet often overlooked part of...

Find the Value in Networking

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 21

Networking is a term that is often misunderstood. Business owners know it is important but often don't fully understand how to do it effectively. Most business owners go into networking...

Top Mistakes Business Owners Make When Networking

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 20

Business owners and sales professionals understand the importance and value of business referrals. The problem is that few understand how to get consistent, qualified referrals. If you are attempting to...

Effective Pricing Strategies to Improve Profits

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 19

Current turmoil in the financial markets, highly competitive markets, and downward pressure on product prices strain the profits of companies both large and small. Now more than ever, companies must...

Understand SEO

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 16

Search engine optimization is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the Internet. How does a company get ranked on the first page of Google? Contrary to what many people...

Social Networking Lessons from Kindergarten

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 09

When you stop to think about it, the rules of social networking are really about being a good person—basic human behavior that even a child can understand. Most of what...

Shift from Canned Monologue to Constructive Dialogue

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 05

Networking events are jammed these days with Walking Billboards: hard-selling, attention-grabbing, in-your-face, walking, talking advertisements. No one in their right mind wants to be talked at and sold to while...

Web Site Design Is Easier Than You'd Think

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 23

Businesses have about 90 seconds to make an impression online. With so much riding on brief encounters, many organizations incorrectly assume Web design will be a complicated and drawn-out process...

Great Presentations Are Your Best Calling Cards

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 22

Powerful visual presentations with great charts and graphics can make all the difference. They are critical to winning new business. They reinforce your brand and build your reputation. Visuals can...

Expanding Your Mobile Marketing Vision

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 17

With more than 276 million mobile subscribers in the U.S., the mobile marketing opportunity is real and it's here for your company right now. But as you consider how your...

Is It Time to Mobilize Your Business?

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 16

The eyes of the mobile world are focused on the battle between Google and Apple. While many of us are busy comparing device features and the depth of App Store...

Pricing Strategies for Challenging Economic Times

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 15

During challenging economic times, companies often struggle with pricing strategy. While pricing may seem simple, the strategy behind it can be very involved. Here are a few tips to consider...

Find a Payments Strategy That Fits Your Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 09

While the U.S. government has made investments to help buoy the economy, small business owners know they must find ways to control their own business viability. One such way is...

Bring Your Business into the Future

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 08

It is important to make sure you have the right processes and core components in place to ensure that your business will not just survive but flourish in the coming...

Improve Your Relationship with Customers and Partners

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 23

One of the biggest compliments my company ever received was when a competitor said, "We do what A Plus Benefits does." I believe that this is a direct result of...

Give Your Customer Service a Web Makeover

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 08

Small businesses with limited staff and resources can easily get overwhelmed when it comes to responding to their customers. Using homegrown tools and spreadsheets can get frustrating and jeopardize the...

Socialize Yourself

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 04

With the boom of social media sites, advertisers have been given another great way to tap into already existing markets and build on current conversations. With more than 300 million...

Why Product Demonstrations Matter

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 22

A key element in selling your product or service is demonstrating its capabilities. Potential customers expect company representatives to understand and know how to use the product and be able...

Improve Internal Communications

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 21

I believe that one of the most overlooked details in business is an organization's ability to communicate internally and make sure everyone is aligned and on the same page. In...

Go Global to Increase Sales

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 04

Companies are looking overseas to tap into global trade for a number of reasons. Among these are avoiding the risks associated with focusing on a single market, capitalizing on new...

How to Repel Customers from Your Web Site

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 03

Having an online presence is imperative for small businesses to both attract and retain customers. But if you don't pay close attention to the design and upkeep of your site,...

Social Media: Listening Is Not Enough

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 30

Small businesses can gain tremendous branding and sales benefits from launching social media marketing programs—and it's not even that hard or costly. After all, the first step to get in...

Launch an Online Contest

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 27

Your business may already have a Facebook Page or a Twitter account. Perhaps you've even posted some videos to YouTube and launched a company blog. But few small businesses have...

Examine Pricing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 18

The recession has created new competitive conditions. Led by the consumer who will no longer pay full retail, the discounting mentality has moved down the supply chain. Every business is...

Be Loyal to the 'Customer Experience'

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 10

Small business owners have always had to focus on streamlining and improving efficiencies in order to stay competitive and remain afloat—but what about creating solid competitive advantages by improving the...

Low-Cost Ways to Acquire Customers

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 05

Customers are the lifeblood of any successful business. In fact, according to a recent PartnerUp survey of more than 800 small business owners, customer acquisition was seen as a top...

How Social Media Can Actually Work

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 23

William Faulkner once said that writing a novel is like trying to build a henhouse in a hurricane. Navigating the burgeoning nebula of social media—and actually leveraging it in your...

B2B E-mail Marketing in a World of Spam

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 22

E-mail can be one of the most cost-effective tools for a marketer. Messages are delivered instantly, and response time is generally fewer than 48 hours. E-mail works for both inbound...

Marketers: Get Introspective and Effective

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 21

The effect of a reduced marketing budget doesn't have to be less marketing. As you experience what may be unprecedented cuts, keep in mind that this is an opportunity to...

High-Impact Marketing on a Limited Budget

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 20

The pressure is on in this troubled economy, and never has the spotlight (and scrutiny) on marketing departments been more intense. Expectations are high, and the stakes are even higher,...

Leverage the Web for Marketing Purposes

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 12

In creating a marketing plan that utilizes the Web, remember that the key is not to displace solid approaches to marketing and public relations but rather to integrate new tactics...

Creating a Multi-Approach Marketing Plan

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 09

In coming up with a viable marketing plan that works in today's business climate, it's important that you don't stick with just one approach, as the market is constantly changing....

Rules of the Road for Your Marketing Plan

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 08

When starting a marketing or PR plan for your small business, first consider these five fundamental rules of the road: 1. Don't bite off more than you can chew—particularly if...

Test Out Different Types of Sales Reps While in Startup Mode

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 06

It hardly needs to be said that when hiring it's best to find ambitious go-getters—those seeking upward mobility and growth opportunities within your organization. Creating the right staff, especially a...

Business Owners Must Have a Sales Mindset

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 05

All the operational expertise doesn't mean a thing to a small business owner if there are no customers. Business owners must bring a sales mindset to any new or existing...

Branding Does Not Require a New Logo

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 11

Branding is a hot topic—but what does it really mean? Branding is the impression that you leave on everybody who interacts with your company at every touchpoint. Therefore, it's critical...

Strategies Marketers Can't Afford to Ignore

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 08

As we continue to muddle through the worst economy many of us have ever seen, it can be tempting as a marketer to avoid rocking the boat and sticking with...

Do More Marketing and Achieve Better Results with Less

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 07

While the spring and summer rally on Wall Street and the various proclamations from many leading U.S. economists declaring the end of the recession give reason for optimism, the truth...

Listen to Your Customer's Stories to Improve Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 02

Social media are here to stay, and businesses of all sizes can take advantage to better serve customers, inform product development, and strengthen marketing. So how do companies start leveraging...

It's Time For Your Brand to Get Social

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 01

Social media has revolutionized the way brands engage their audiences. Smart advertisers know consumers live their lives online and increasingly are flocking to conversational media platforms—not just as a means...

To Generate Sales Leads, Develop an Inbound Marketing Strategy

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 31

Finding new customers used to involve expensive marketing programs like direct mail, events, or telemarketing. But these outbound efforts only surface one or two leads out of every 100 target...

Join Your Customers In the Cloud

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 26

Twenty years ago, customer service was all about picking up the phone and having a conversation with an expert who could help with any concerns. Today, more than 50% of...

Don't Rely on Age-Based Categories to Market to Women

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 20

Defining a female audience by age is a time-honored marketing tradition. It's simple, and at a glance, gives what would seem to be a snapshot of the target consumer. But...

Cover All Your Online Bases

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 19

In the current business environment, old and new businesses alike need to digitally connect with customers to effectively cultivate their brands. We live in a digital age, so your business...

It's Not About You, It's About the Customer

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 18

A few weeks ago I conducted a follow-up sales seminar with a client. I was attempting to reinforce the behaviors I had earlier emphasized that would cause what I call...

Get the Most Out of Your Communications Efforts

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 12

Whether the medium is Twitter, Facebook, a podcast, or a corporate blog, there have never been more outlets available to companies looking to engage in dialogue with their stakeholders. In...

Align Sales and Marketing Efforts to Increase Profitability

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 05

Sales and marketing materials are often wasted because of inconsistent messages between the two. The sales department may be thinking, "marketing does not know what I need to say to...

Design a Winning Ad on Facebook

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 30

Never designed an online ad before? If you’re finding yourself watching "Mad Men" for inspiration, the following tips are designed to help you create ads on Facebook that are surprisingly...

Build Your Business in Your Local Community, Not Just Online

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 24

Using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, many small businesses have been able to increase their Internet presence and online footprint. However, when it comes to building meaningful business relationships, face-to-face, personal...

How to Promote a Business Event on Twitter

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 15

While businesses of all sizes look for ways to leverage Twitter, Web-savvy event promoters are using this hot social networking tool to sell out their events. Here's how: 1. Create...

Create Momentos Muy Simpáticos

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 09

Profitable companies enjoy high levels of customer retention and are joined at the hip with the people they do business with. These companies measure the quality of their relationships at...

Become Your Customer's Best Option

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 06

In fat or lean times, the greatest way to build business and strengthen relationships is to become the best option for your customers. Consistency and responsiveness are paramount to becoming...

What to Remember When Pitching a Sales Prospect

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 23

How many times have you received a sales call in which the other person only wants to tell you all about what they're selling? Despite new savvy marketing efforts to...

Prepare a Strong Elevator Pitch

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 17

Ever find yourself in a room with a key prospect and you couldn't succinctly explain your business to her—in less than a minute? Perhaps you rambled on, never getting to...

Find Out If Perception Is Reality

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 16

How do your customers and prospects perceive you? Do you know this based on fact (meaning you've asked them directly or had a third party find the answer for you)...

Identify Partners That Support Win-Win Relationships

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 15

In challenging times, one of your best resources for new leads can be companies that target the same audience that you do yet offer complementary services or products. By leveraging...

Help Prospective Customers Find Your Web Site

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 10

With continuing advancements in search engine technology and changes in user behavior, it is essential to ensure your Web site is search-engine-friendly. By implementing the following fundamental organic search engine...

Improve Your Site's Rankings

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 27

With more and more Web sites going up daily, it's often hard to break through the noise on the Internet and move up the rankings. It becomes increasingly more difficult...

Make Your Web Site Pop

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 26

Web sites have become one of the most important aspects of a company. They do far more than just hold your place in cyberspace and tell people who you are...

Form a Business Alliance

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 18

Some businesses spend a good deal of marketing dollars and energy figuring out who their customers are, what they desire, how much they are willing to spend, how satisfied they...

Listen to Your Customers

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 07

I've found that many companies have a tendency to focus so much on selling their product or service that they forget to listen to what their customers are telling them....

Know Your Market Before Developing Your Product

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 06

There seems to be a commonly held belief that to create a successful business one must develop a product first and then find the market. This, in my opinion, is...

Make Your Word as Good as Gold

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 05

It used to be that business agreements could be sealed verbally or by handshake. Today, nothing gets done without a signed contract. While a contract locks a company into a...

Securing Government Contracts

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 01

One of the biggest challenges for small businesses interested in working with the government is a lack of information on how to get started! Prior to jumping into the government...

Practicing Competitive Intelligence

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 27

There have never been more communications channels available to businesses looking to promote the value of their product or service. Likewise, there have never been more channels for competitors hoping...

Why Should Selling Be Optional?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 20

At a recent conference, I wasn't surprised by the reaction of workshop delegates when they figured out that we recommend eliminating commissions and paying salespeople salaries. I didn't present this...

Is a Brand Actually Worth Anything?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 17

If we take the word "brand" at its original meaning (the trademark or distinctive name identifying a product), it seems fair to assume that brands can acquire some intrinsic value....

The Myth of Branding

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 16

Today's exaltation of the word "brand" is based upon a widely held premise that brands create sales. This is bogus. Brands do not create sales; great products do. The false...

When Higher Conversion Equals Lower Sales

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 15

There's an assumption that underpins the design and management of most sales processes: that conversion is the primary driver of sales. But this assumption is erroneous. In most sales processes,...

Strategy for Tough Economic Times

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 14

As the economy slows, it's likely that your firm's order flow might slow, too. It doesn't need to, though. If you can improve the performance of your sales function to...

Remember to Think Local When Marketing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 13

Many small businesses have been able to increase their Internet presence and online footprint with tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. However, when it comes to building meaningful business relationships,...

Determine When to Use Social Media

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 08

If you're trying to figure out how your company might take advantage of the social media revolution, you've got to start by finding and monitoring the relevant conversations. But don't...

Use Social Media to Track Customers and Prospects

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 07

With the pervasive adoption of social media, no doubt your customers and prospects are out there. They are sharing their opinions and ideas in unaided, natural conversations. More important, they're...

Define Your Social Media Strategy

Posted by: Nick Leiber on April 06

Written by Jay Henderson It seems like every article I read these days is talking about how great, important, and transformational social media is. According to Forrester Research, more than...

A Search Engine Marketing Campaign Primer

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 25

These days, we are all looking for ways to reduce expenses, increase margins, and generally make our businesses work smarter. There are a few simple tactics you can use to...

Understand Your Web Site's Marketing Potential

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 23

As the economy continues its downward slide and companies slash budgets left and right, marketers are forced to do more with much less. For businesses of all sizes, the Web...

Develop a Selling Plan

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 19

As a sales professional you need to ask yourself if you've established a rhythm that will drive the results you're looking for. Start by taking a look at your selling...

Slowing Down to Go Fast

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 18

Many sales professionals have the bad habit of assuming what their customers' needs are and thus missing valuable opportunities to expand their business. I find this especially true when the...

Determine What Sets You Apart from Your Competition

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 10

Business owners know that if competition was limited to companies that have a product or service exactly like theirs, the business environment would be a friendlier place. But companies compete...

Research on a Shoestring Budget

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 09

The U.S. economy has hit hard times and short-term growth isn't going to be easy for most of us business owners. While it's tempting to cut back on your sales...

View Your Business from Your Customers' Perspective

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 04

There are many methods you can use to gauge customer opinions about your business—such as asking about the quality of your products, services, or processes, the benefits you offer, your...

Reacting to a Shift in Spending Patterns

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 03

Small business owners shouldn't be quick to hit the panic button during economic slowdowns. Remember, business won't immediately grind to a halt. For many small business owners, you're more than...

Getting Noticed as a Thought Leader

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 28

Gaining attention in the media can help your company build market awareness. One way to stand out in today's busy media environment is to contribute your expertise. But positioning yourself...

Why It's Time to Invest in Innovation

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 26

As we prepare for the next decade, the recession and financial crisis will play a major role in driving the innovation agenda. Most companies will cut R&D and development budgets....

Demonstrating Your Company's Commitment to Sustainability

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 19

As we head into 2009, new examples of wind and solar energy initiatives are popping up everywhere. More and more companies are looking for ways to reduce energy spending and...

Making Up for a Slowdown in Premium Goods Sales

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 13

Premium pricing is bringing down retail giants. If you're a small retail store dependent on premium goods, track your premium-priced products and innovate on how you package and sell these...

Don't Fear Online Customer Reviews

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 12

Online ratings and consumer reviews have become an important element of many people's purchasing process. Customers increasingly rely on online word-of-mouth in making everyday buying decisions. While small business owners...

Sweat the Small Stuff to Drive Revenue

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 09

As with many absolutely valid aphorisms, "Don't sweat the small stuff" makes perfect sense in one context and yet is completely wrong in another. The expression is usually followed by...

Increase Market Share with Better Customer Service

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 08

If you lead any kind of service business, the conditions are ripe for you to be the next big winner emerging from the current economic stall. Here's how: 1. Think...

Repackage Your Services for Smaller Wallets

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 07

Everyone from cleaning services to high-end consultants needs to repackage their services to keep cost-conscious clients. To do this, focus on essentials. How do you know what is vital to...

Educating Customers Is the Key to Success

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 09

In an economic slowdown, we sometimes prequalify that all of our customers are pulling back, waiting for things to improve, not interested, or don’t have the money now. Thinking in...

Are You Visible When Prospects and Customers Are Shopping?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 05

You have no control over the state of the economy or the potential loss of revenue and profits that may occur. You do, however, have total control over the way...

Maximizing Trade Show Leads

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 03

There are many benefits to attending an industry trade show. You scope out the competition, network with potential partners and customers, get feedback from attendees on your products and services,...

Increase Revenues While Decreasing Costs

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 13

In an uncertain economy, your customers may be watching their pennies. If you are working to increase your profits, you may feel like you are swimming against the tide. However,...

Setting Your Marketing Budget

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 03

Creating an effective marketing program means investing in it on an ongoing basis regardless of how good or bad business is. Investing a percentage of revenues is a common way...

Using YouTube to Promote Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 21

YouTube, at its best, is a free medium where low-cost productions garner millions of views and get picked up on newscasts. Does your campaign have potential? Here are three approaches...

Getting the Most Out of Your Online Advertising Dollars

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 14

Online advertising has become an increasingly important part of the small business marketer's toolkit. With the receding economy imposing budget cuts for large and small businesses alike—especially any program aimed...

Ways to Stimulate Ideas

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 10

There's a famous direct mail offer that began: "They all laughed when I sat down at the piano, but when I began to play...". In our studio, we consider stepping...

Why It's Smart to Delay Categorization

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 09

Sometimes the noun that describes what your company is is very different from the verb that describes what your company does. As consultants whose work integrates strategy, design, communications, branding,...

Using Loyalty Programs to Compete with Big Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 29

With the softening economy driving budget cuts across the board, many small businesses are left wondering how they can compete with the deep pockets of large chains. Consumers are watching...

Negotiation Ideas Worth Remembering

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 04

What you give and what you take from a negotiation is proportional to the magnitude of the agreement you're working on. So while forgoing minute details in small deals may...

The Benefits of a Customer Survey

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 03

If you've never systematically surveyed customers' views on your organization, you probably don't know what they are. We all need customer feedback to assess the performance of our salespeople, the...

Invest in a Marquee Customer Program

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 27

Customer satisfaction is one very concrete measure of business success. But being able to "package" this satisfaction fully for the benefit of future business prospects is a powerful way to...

Support Your Sales Staff

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 19

Make sure sales representatives have adequate training. They should have a thorough understanding of how your products or services can help potential customers. The following suggestions will help you manage...

Image Makes the Difference

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 15

I believe the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" is true. The image or mental picture your customers have of you, your employees, and your business can dramatically...

Connecting with Customers

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 14

How do you know what your customers say about your ability to deliver excellent customer service? How do you measure satisfaction? While the job of marketing and advertising is to...

Marketing in Tough Economic Times

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 13

You have no control over the state of the economy or the potential loss of revenue and profits that may occur when times are tough. You do, however, have total...

Develop a Selling Cadence

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 12

A "selling cadence" is a carefully organized process, containing regular recurring actions moving toward a sales goal. In a customer-service environment, it's important to get the cadence right. Think of...

Think Easy Number, Not Easy Phrase

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 11

Common marketing wisdom used to lead companies to secure vanity or custom 800 numbers to make it easier to respond. The theory was that people could remember "1-800-New-Home" and similar...

Blog to the Bloggers

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 08

Adding a blog to your company's Web site is a great way to bolster your online marketing effectiveness. However, you should put aside dreams of directly building a broad readership...

The Benefits of an Expert Newsletter

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 07

The oldies but goodies of company communications are making a comeback. Now that e-mail blasts top many lists of marketing tactics, direct mail is regaining its effectiveness. And now that...

Cultivating Rising Stars

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 14

We consider young team members on the client side of a consulting engagement to be ideal prospects as annuity clients as their careers mature. As bright stars take new positions,...

A Simple Model for Branding

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 11

We have adopted a simple model for helping clients think more expansively about bringing their brand experiences to life. Our model builds on the familiar visual aspects of a brand...

The Case for Direct Mail Marketing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 08

As more and more of one's work and personal life shifts into the digital zone, it's easy to consider abandoning direct mail marketing initiatives. But it's important not to be...

When Advertising, Appeal to Senses

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 07

You don't need to be a big company to make a big impact in advertising. But you do need to be smart about how to catch people's attention—and that means...

Using Video to Market your Small Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 02

The production and distribution of video has long been a mainstay in the marketing campaigns of global brands, governments, and NGOs. Now, thanks to the Internet, small businesses can also...

The Key to Marketing Any Product

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 20

Whether you are marketing an existing product or introducing a new product into an existing space, you need to present the "whole product." Not just the primary product offering, but...

Advertising Basics

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 19

If you're spending money on advertising, you need to have a compelling offer. Even though they've been around for decades, "X% off" coupons are still an effective advertising tool. However,...

Your Growth Rate Is Key to Selling Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 16

Buyers are demanding greater growth in the companies they consider acquiring. Your company could have 85% profitability, but if your growth rate is anemic you will still probably get passed...

Why Call Tracking Makes Sense

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 13

I often hear small business owners ask, "How can I best use call tracking?" and "How will it help my business?" One key benefit of call tracking is that it...

Discontinuing a Product Line

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 21

Sometimes you discover that a product that once generated revenue and was beloved by customers and staff no longer holds the same viability in the marketplace. You now face a...

Outsourcing Your Marketing Services

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 14

Have you ever considered outsourcing some, or even all, of your marketing? Doing so can help you achieve your business goals if you don't have a marketing department, or it...

How to Make the Most of Your Database Lists

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 13

If deals are the currency of good partnerships, then lists are the currency of good marketing. Without good lists, good content, and good timing, you'll quickly find your company among...

How to Combine Direct Mail with Online Marketing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 12

Today, the highest-impact marketing campaigns strategically combine direct mail with online marketing to yield impressive results. If direct mail is well targeted, conceived, written, and designed, it has a much...

When Competitors Copy Your Marketing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 09

In the marketing industry there is a lot of follow-the-leader being played. During my 23-year marketing career there have been countless times when I'd make an aggressive move, just to...

Market Research Through Customer Profiles

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 06

A marketing plan must be highly detailed and also explain what strategies you will use to reach out to customers. Before you can develop a strategy, however, you need to...

Delivering Value to Your Customer

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 05

Understanding your customers' values will lead you to develop products and services that can provide high profit-potential for your business. While you already believe your services or products are superior,...

Making Your Marketing Run on a Shoestring Budget

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 29

If you are a startup in a competitive marketplace, you probably don't have enough money to engage in branding, but you must have funds allocated to generate leads. The question...

Keep Your Customers Coming Back in a Down Economy

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 23

As the recession sets in and consumers continue to tighten their belts, retailers and restaurants are left wondering how to pull more customers through their doors. While many merchants' immediate...

Creating Customer Evangelists

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 22

Having a customer who comes back to you time and time again is great. But even better are those customers who tell their friends, write positive reviews, and blog about...

Treat Your Customers Like People, Not Invoice Numbers

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 21

Think for a minute about the companies you're loyal to. It could be the neighborhood pharmacy where the pharmacist knows your name. Or the coffee shop where the barista starts...

Pricing Strategies

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 15

Want to price your product right? Start by going shopping. Find out what your competitors are selling, and for how much. If you can, buy the competing products, take them...

The Real Currency of Networking

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 11

Networking is an essential activity for any successful entrepreneur. However, while almost everybody networks and eagerly hits all the big events with a fistful of business cards, ultimately the success...

Customer Retention, Online and Offline

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 09

Typically we think of promotions as a way for new customers to learn about our business. So it's worth remembering that retaining customers and growing revenue within your existing client...

Brand Reinforcement, Online and Offline

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 08

As audiences continue to fragment, integration is increasingly essential to the success of a promotional campaign. One-off promotions and offers have less of an impact on your prospective and existing...

Leveraging Consumer-Generated Marketing Campaigns

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 24

Branding is one of the most important tasks for a business, yet it can be one of the most challenging. Building a brand, conveying the brand to the public, and...

Call Tracking Can Gauge Ad Campaign Effectiveness

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 03

Measuring the effectiveness of any promotional or advertising campaign has always been a challenge for small businesses. Knowing the money invested in an advertising campaign is delivering solid ROI (return...

Don't Be Afraid to Advertise

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 28

People do not buy what they do not know about. Advertising informs potential customers about the availability of your products or services. To avoid wasting your time and money, you...

Escaping the Tyranny of Price Competition

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 27

For U.S. manufacturers, competing on price with companies that are exporting goods from a low-wage-paying country is nearly fruitless. While you expend effort and know-how on shaving a percentage point...

Tell Your Story with a Product Marketing Specialist

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 26

When people buy a given product, they are often buying the story of the product, which includes why and how it is going to make their life better. Unfortunately, most...

Set the Right Goals for Your Sales Team

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 25

Your sales team will make or break your company, so you need to make sure the drum beat they march to matches the financial goals of your company. Setting the...

Why the Greatest Roadblock to Growth Is Your Sales Team

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 21

Most sales teams produce a small fraction of the sales they need. This does not necessarily mean they are slacking—they simply may not have the right tools to do their...

Social Media's Impact on Your Offline Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 19

You may think not having an online presence means the Internet does not have an impact on your business. The truth is consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet for...

Tips for Successful Cold Calling

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 30

Cold calling. Even the name is chilling, and you're not alone if you dread the process. In fact, many people consider cold calling the most intimidating aspect of the sales...

Use Your Instincts to Close a Sale

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 26

When involved in a conversation, have you ever had the feeling that your companion was not being completely honest and up front with you? While many people have felt this...

How to Conduct an Effective Sales Meeting

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 21

The purpose of a sales meeting is to prepare your sales staff to sell. Yet all too often sales meetings turn into boring lectures and redundant wastes of time. Meetings...

Finding Your Place on the Mobile Web

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 09

In an increasingly competitive business environment, staying connected to your customers is more important than ever. As mobile Internet use goes mainstream, it will change the way consumers communicate—both with...

Finding New Sales Prospects

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 17

Prospecting is crucial to small business survival. In order to grow, your small business will need to expand its customer base. But even loyal customers eventually use other suppliers, so...

Effective Affinity Marketing Programs

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 08

Affinity marketing is promoting an established brand's products or services to a niche audience. The challenge with affinity marketing is finding the right audience. However, once found, the audience has...

Get More Bang for Your Ad Buck, Part II

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 05

As more and more companies are looking to utilize the power of social networks for advertising and marketing purposes, there are a few considerations to keep in mind: •See beyond...

Get More Bang for Your Social Media Buck, Part I

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 04

Small businesses are beginning to look at social media and bloggers to help reach a very targeted audience, but many are struggling when it comes to knowing how to tap...

The Biggest Mistake in Selling

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 21

The biggest mistake in selling is believing that if you can just tell your prospect enough about your product or service, if you just get the chance to "make your...

Positioning Your Brand

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 20

Most places I go, I'll ask someone in a company, "If you could put one idea about your business directly into the mind of a prospective customer, what would that...

Think About Your Prospective Client's Ego

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 18

When working with a prospective client, it is imperative that you consider his or her ego in the process. As you make the sale, you want to come across as...

Remember, You're in the Sales Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 10

No matter how good you are at whatever you do, your small business will die without sales. In today's oversaturated market, you cannot afford to sit around and wait for...

Maximizing Revenues in Mobile Advertising

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 23

A recent study conducted by Harris Interactive and Ingenio revealed that more than four out of five U.S. adults own a mobile phone compared to only about seven in ten...

Generating Repeat Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 22

The biggest sale you make with a customer probably won't be the first one. In fact, it's usually the third or fourth sale that takes place after you have earned...

Small Screens Signal Big Opportunity for Businesses

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 21

An inherent difference between mobile and PC environments is that mobile advertisers are assured that an extremely high percentage of mobile users who conduct Internet searches intend to immediately act...

Branding: A Key to Your Success

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 02

During my 28 years in the commercial printing industry I've come to realize that branding is one of the most important components to any business, as it allows a company...

Fulfillment Firm Fundamentals

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 14

In direct-selling lingo, "fulfillment" covers everything from taking the order to packing, shipping, and processing the purchase for payment. You can fulfill orders yourself or you can outsource these duties...

Top 10 Public Relations Mistakes

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 12

The goal of public relations is to portray your business in the best possible manner. This can range from establishing yourself in the market to damage control. Unlike advertising, your...

Seven Low-Cost Marketing Ideas

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 05

Growing companies trying to figure out how to make a splash in the marketplace sometimes pay consultants thousands of dollars for advice on the subject. And they get suggestions that...

Metrics for Measuring Ad Campaign Effectiveness

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 22

Advertising is not an exact science. There's no precise way to measure the success of an ad campaign. You can't, for example, determine how many sales dollars are generated by...

Delivering Quality Customer Service

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 14

As small businesses grow, owners often find it difficult to efficiently handle customer support and service calls. Yet that is often the service that most affects customer satisfaction and the...

How Podcasting Is Used

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 08

Currently, most who are familiar with podcasting are technically savvy, but it is clear that podcasting will be more than a passing fad. Many businesses are adopting podcasting and employing...

Guerrilla Guide to Trade Shows

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 01

While strolling through the show, look for an ally. If you can find a suitable partner, offer to split the cost of a booth at the next trade show. Explore...

Paying Your Sales Reps

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 25

Many small companies are tapping into or dove-tailing with existing sales channels with limited results. Assuming that the company is linked to the correct sales channel, the problem may be...

Sell It Before You Build It

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 05

In the movie Field of Dreams, the advice to Kevin Costner's character was "If you build it, they will come." This is precisely the wrong advice for building a company....

What People Are Saying About You Online

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 04

Today on the Web, there are literally thousands of reviews on small businesses that range from restaurants to health spas, retail stores, and real estate agents. More and more consumers...

Asking for a Higher-Than-Standard Rate

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 02

There is a right way and a wrong way to ask your clients for a higher-than-standard rate. To do it successfully, you must show the client that you are worth...

Cut Your Communications Costs

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 19

Trim down your operating budget by reevaluating your communication tools. With the combined cost of smartphones (BlackBerries, Treos, etc.), the numerous service plans needed, and a constant flood of new...

Communicate Strategically

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 07

Map out your communications strategy with outside consultants, such as a public relations or analyst relations team, before you talk to any media or analysts. It's important to know what...

Educating Outside Salespeople

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 21

To educate your company's outside salespeople, start by putting yourself in their shoes. For example, understand what a retail clerk selling your product needs to know to help a customer....

Naming Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 15

When new ventures start, founders struggle to find an appropriate name for their business. Names are subjective and, as a result, a "right" answer does not necessarily exist. One thing...

Five Good Reasons to Do a Mass Mailing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 06

In-house mailings are a great way to stay in touch with your customers—and to contact prospective customers. Mass mailing, in small-business terms, ranges from sending out a dozen invitations to...

Answer Your Phone Calls

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 15

A key consumer turn-off is the business that doesn't answer its phones, even during normal business hours. People might be used to calling the major U.S. chains and being trapped...

When a Customer Calls

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 10

Many small-business owners are well aware of the importance of greeting customers as they walk in the front door of their business. The traditional pleasantries—"Good morning," "How are you today?"...

Learn Regional History 101 Before You Go Abroad

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 13

Going overseas to sell your product or brand is a far cry from taking a vacation. Even so, learning as much as you can about a country's culture and history...

How Do I Find the Right Branding Company?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 07

The companies that create branding and identity are often difficult to distinguish from graphic design firms. How can I find and decide on the right company to help me brand...

Finding a Point Person While Selling Abroad

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 06

New potential business opportunities are popping up in areas of the world that were once off limits. Our company, Mechtronix Systems of Montreal, has made successful inroads into countries like...

Boost Your Sales by Accepting Credit Cards

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 05

Accepting credit cards is becoming a must for entrepreneurs and small businesses in today's business environment. There are numerous social, demographic, and technological factors combining to make plastic the payment...

When Selling Abroad, Start Slowly

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 03

American companies are aggressive—sometimes too aggressive. Meetings are often brief, to the point, and focused on a particular problem or agenda item. While this approach may work well back at...

Are You Doing All You Can for Your Business?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 30

Internet advertising has mushroomed into a billion-dollar industry, and this means great things for scrappy small-business owners. The rise of new Internet advertising tools and technologies make it possible for...

Do You Measure Your Advertising?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 30

If you think back in time, 10 to 15 years ago measuring local advertising performance was significantly less important than it is today. Back then small businesses could assume that...

14 Reasons Small Businesses Need Both a Logo and Marketing Materials

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 26

Experts urge small business owners to "brand" their businesses with a logo and a set of consistent marketing materials. But they rarely explain the reasons behind this advice. Here are...

Make Waiting Interesting

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 23

If you have customers who have to spend any time at all within the walls of your business, now is a good time to consider implementing digital signage. The concept...

Savvy Networking

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 17

Everyone knows that it's important to spend time networking in the places where potential clients are likely to be. But sometimes that can cause real problems, if you arrive at...

Tips for Using E-mail

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 12

Although e-mail is considered less formal than paper correspondence, your business messages should convey a professional tone. Remember these e-mail etiquette tips the next time you send a message: 1....

Eight Collateral Marketing Items Every Small Business Needs

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 11

Over time, you'll want to provide information about your company to lots of different people, including employees, investors, existing and potential clients, and the media. Your company's success may depend...

Getting the Best Results with Direct-Mail Marketing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 10

Direct mail can be a high-powered, cost-effective marketing tool. Tie direct mailings to other marketing efforts like local advertising, networking, or public relations efforts. Here are a few pointers that...

Overcoming the Home-Based Business Image

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 03

Although home businesses are becoming more and more accepted, some people still question their credibility. Image is part of marketing and can be especially important for a home-based business. Build...

Building Your Referral Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 20

Referrals always begin with providing your current customers with prompt, reliable, quality service. If they're happy with you, they'll be happy to spread the word on your behalf—often without you...

Learn What Keeps Your Customers Up at Night

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 14

Sometimes there's just no substitute for good old-fashioned communication. Just ask Adrienne Lumpkin. She'll tell you customer relationships were key to the success of Alternate Access, the Raleigh (N.C.)-based computer...

10 Marketing Tools for Home-Based Businesses

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 05

Owners of home-based businesses sometimes view marketing as an unnecessary expense, but nothing could be further from the truth. Because a home-based business doesn't have a storefront for passers-by to...

Understanding Your Target Market

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 27

No business can be all things to all people. Instead, you must reach specific customers and satisfy their particular needs. As an entrepreneur, you must identify those customers and understand...

How to Advertise, Cheap!

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 25

Advertising is expensive, so know why you are advertising and what you want to accomplish. Evaluate your advertising carefully, and measure its effectiveness. Here are a few suggestions for making...

Offering a Toll-free Telephone Number

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 22

Providing a toll-free telephone number can be an effective customer service tool and a savvy marketing strategy for many small businesses. Most long-distance carriers provide toll-free numbers at reasonable rates....

Customer Satisfaction Means Brand Awareness

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 08

How many times have you called a company only to be treated as though you're bothering the people there? Or a company representative agrees to call or meet you at...

Tips for Closing a Sale

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 03

Many entrepreneurs have little or no experience in outside sales. Finding new prospects and explaining features and benefits -- the stock-in-trade of salesmanship -- can be difficult for a non-sales-oriented...

Make Yourself Known

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 20

Here are some ideas for making your company more visible in your local community: 1. Create an advisory board representative of your customers, even if they're kids, and publicize it....

Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 04

For entrepreneurs, creative thinking can be an important and effective marketing tool. Always be on the lookout for innovative and inexpensive ways to promote your business. Use new combinations of...

Online Marketing: Hiring vs. Outsourcing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 24

If you've got the time and inclination, doing online marketing yourself will be more cost-effective than hiring a dedicated employee or outsourcing to an agency. In the beginning, however, there's...

Measuring the Success of Your Internet Marketing Campaign

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 15

The success of an Internet marketing campaign can be measured by its conversion rate. Depending on your site and your type of business, your conversion rate may be based on...

The Two Little Words Your Customers Love to Hear

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 10

What are the two little words you can say to all of your customers that will immediately endear your business to them and guarantee they will be your customers for...

Marketing on a Shoestring

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 03

For entrepreneurs, creative thinking can be an important and effective marketing tool. Always be on the lookout for innovative and inexpensive ways to promote your business. Use new combinations of...

Sell, Sell, Sell

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 01

When starting a business, your No. 1 goal should be sales. Marketing and advertising are often too costly for most new businesses, so sales will have to be generated the...

Spiff Up Your Sales Skills

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 22

As an entrepreneur, it's important to be good at selling yourself and your product or service. And good sales skills mean more than just having good people skills. Developing good...

Three Common Closing Mistakes

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 08

Successful entrepreneurs often come by selling naturally. But closing a tough sale requires more than a winning personality. As any sales veteran will tell you, closing can be tricky, and...

Understanding the marketing and sales sequence will get you more clients

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 16

Think of your marketing as a short flight of stairs into your business. First you help prospects understand the problem you solve, then you explain the solution you provide, next...

Battle Plans for Guerrilla Marketers

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 14

Never forget that 70% of business that's lost is lost due to apathy after the sale. The opposite of apathy is follow-up. Follow-up not only reduces your marketing investment, it's...

Stop Selling to Increase Your Sales

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 01

If you want to get your prospects' attention so they will contact you and buy from you, let them know how you can help them. Few people like to be...

Understand Your Customers

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 11

Focus relentlessly on customer experience. In my business that means the hotel-guest experience. I've taken what I've learned from guest feedback and codified it in design principles that govern everything...

Don't Let Your Prospects Forget You

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 08

Prospects are more likely to buy after the fifth or sixth contact, and some take even longer depending on what you're selling. Use your marketing system to stay in touch...

Motivate Your Customers to Stay in Touch

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 31

To close more sales, try motivating more prospects to contact you. The first step in generating qualified leads is giving people a reason to contact you. Take a lesson from...

A Guerrilla Strike on All Possible Targets

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 27

Crafting an effective guerilla-marketing campaign requires reaching out to three critical targets and carefully allocating the proper amount of marketing resources to each. Your first target market is your universe...

Anticipate Negative Responses

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 24

All responses can be anticipated. That means salespeople who've been selling for more than a week can prepare for -- and be ready to turn around -- the vast majority...

Perfect Pitching

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 14

Don't pitch business on the laurels of your client's brand, but on the specific solutions you provide them. Diversify your skill set. Offer many solutions. Don't project one process, or...

Be an Unrelenting Marketer

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 11

Marketing isn't an event as much as it's a process. It's the never-ending process of moving members of the universe onto your prospect list, then motivating these prospects to buy...

Give Your Company Some Wiggle Room

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 10

Don't spend your time creating marketing and new business materials in the first year -- focus instead on your client relationships. In the first two years, our company tripled its...

Make Your Pitch -- and Don't Be Afraid to Move On

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 07

Keep your cold calls short. Any prospecting call that exceeds two minutes is probably too long. Say who you are, say why you're calling, and suggest a specific date and...

Give Everyone the White-Glove Treatment

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 04

Treat every customer like they're Microsoft -- you never know where one sale will lead you. That means give advice freely, answer questions honestly, and make it easy for customers...

Be Patient and Don't Get Discouraged

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 03

Client relations and communication are my two most important priorities. I constantly remind myself to really listen to my clients and show a sincere interest in what they need. That...

The Importance of Loyalty

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 28

The difference between true customer loyalty and mere customer satisfaction is like the difference between lightning and lightning bugs. Loyal customers spend up to six times more than satisfied customers...

Invite Customers In

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 23

Think of your marketing as a short flight of stairs into your business. First, you help prospects understand the problem you solve, explain the solution you provide, establish your credibility,...

Connect with Your Customers

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 14

Marketing and sales are about making emotional connections. Ultimately, people select products and services based not only on the business at hand but also on their emotional needs. Great salespeople...

Identify Organic Growth -- and Build Upon It

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 08

Look at what end of your business is growing organically. Find out where things are flowing naturally, and then veer in that direction. Don't push the side of the company...

Convince Customers to Preach Your Gospel

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 01

There are only three ways to increase sales. Increase the average transaction amount. Get your customers to purchase more frequently. Or get more customers. But if you can create a...

Sometimes You Have to Work for Free

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 25

Give away your services for free and do pro bono work in the community. For me, I've found it's one of the best ways of marketing your business -- it...

Stand Out from the Crowd

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 23

The most important thing is to get your positioning as "right" as possible. You want to be perceived by your target market as better than the competition on some attributes...

Never Stop Marketing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 19

Marketing is a process, not an event. Marketing is absolutely every bit of contact any part of your business has with any segment of the public. Guerrillas view marketing as...

Don't Get Distracted

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 17

Really understand what your core competency is. What do you really do best? Focus on that. Being all things to all people is not a good strategy. Position your product...

To Boost Sales, Stop Selling!

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 15

If you want to get your prospects' attention, the first thing to do is let them know how you can help them. Few people like to be sold, but every...

About

Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.

To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.

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