Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category
This is a guest post by Karen.
Karen Boyarsky is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @boyarskykareni.
Starting a Business? Overlooked Advertising Methods to Start Right
Starting your own business can be an exciting time in your life. From having a boss to being the boss it’s a big change but a step in the right direction. You will be in control of every decision that must be made in order to start and run your business smoothly. Most importantly you will be responsible for the decisions associated with advertising your new business. You can’t make money if nobody knows you are there.
In the business world today there are several outlets for advertising, both online and offline. Those who adapt to today’s technology and consumer trends will be successful. Those who don’t will find it difficult to create impact now and in future. There are the obvious methods of advertising such as billboards, flyers, TV and radio commercials, and ads in the newspapers and magazines. However, there are other methods that are often overlooked. When you are mapping your marketing strategy, take these overlooked methods of advertising into consideration.
Advertising on cars used to be seen mostly in the custom car industry. Now you can see cars advertising everything from tax services to websites. For your business a low cost car wrap can be a rolling billboard. You can fit it with your brand, logo, contact information, and even products. The space on a car or van is vast enough to get all the information you want to market in a single wrap.
Social media may not be overlooked by many larger companies, but many smaller businesses don’t want to invest the time and effort into properly utilizing the various social networks. This is a huge mistake as the following of social networks is in millions. By creating a company Facebook page, Twitter account and Google Plus account, you can spread your message, services and products globally and for free. Out of all the companies worldwide, only 21,655 companies utilizing Facebook, a few more on LinkedIn. That means there is plenty of room for competition.
When you see a blue shirt with a yellow name tag, you think about Best Buy. When you see the brown shirts with the brown shorts, you know its UPS. Employee uniforms are a great way to get the public thinking about your business.
With the average commute time in the US being between 25-35 minutes, your brand can be seen coming and going from work. Employee uniforms can be seen during lunch breaks, running errands before and after work, and throughout your business. This is a low cost method of advertising with a one-time cost. You can order your uniform shirts online with your brand, like those offered over here.
If you have never heard of street team you may be an innovator in your area. Many larger cities have teams of promoters that hit the streets to spread the word about their businesses. These upbeat cheerleaders draw crowds, engage the public, and get you message across. You can choose to pay per sale, per signup, per lead, or a base salary. Their overall intention is to get your local public to think about what you have to offer face to face. Creating a street team is as simple as hiring people or an established street team. ProMotion outlined 20 tips for planning a street team promotion. Though many street teams promote clubs and social events, every business can benefit from promoters getting the word out.
It seems every industry has a convention. Yours will be no different. Participating in conventions and industry gatherings is a great way to promote your brand. Research your industry and sign up where yearly conventions are held. Creating a booth to showcase your products or services to the public is a great way to generate leads. Exhibit USA offers tips on attending and budgeting for your first convention. As with anything else, it is all about location. Signing up early for a convention in your industry may give you the optimal booth space for converting the passer-by into a lead.
Everyone loves getting something for free. Swag is a small branded gift you hand out to generate leads. The most common include everything from pens, to refrigerator magnets, to USB flash drives. They are inexpensive, useful, and keep your potential customers thinking about your company whenever they use or see it. Swag is a necessity if you decide to attend a convention or event. Simply explaining your company will leave room for forgetting. You can order swag for a fair price depending on what type you choose and the overall effectiveness in marketing makes up for the cost.
Starting your own business doesn’t have to leave you in the dark. You know what you want to sell, the brand you want to create, and with research, effort and a little startup cost, you can know how to market it. Consider alternative methods of marketing your brand, products and services as you utilize the more obvious to have a well-rounded marketing strategy.
This is a guest post by Carmen.
As an entrepreneur, you know that social media marketing is a great way to get exposure for your business and to build connections with your customers. You probably already have profiles on some of the major networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
However, there are a few social media networks that you may have heard of, but may not yet have joined because you don’t think that they’re right for your business or you don’t think they’re very influential, and as a result, you could be missing out on a lot of opportunities for your business. Here are three social networks that you may be overlooking for your business (but shouldn’t):
You probably know that Pinterest is a juggernaut on the social media scene, but unless you sell crafts or teach people how to do nail art, you might not think that your business can use it to your advantage. The truth is that every business can (and should) be using Pinterest to promote their brand and get more traffic back to their site.
If your business is not inherently visual — covering topics such as crafting, cooking, or fashion — you can still use Pinterest. Some possibilities include sharing infographics, pinning unusual or compelling images to interesting blog posts, or creating boards that create a lifestyle image for your brand. For example, if you write about finance, you can create pins that show what a life of financial freedom would look like.
For a long time, Instagram was a way for hipsters to share cool images of their lunch or their Starbucks order. However, it has quickly amassed a large user base, and more businesses are taking notice. This year, it was acquired by Facebook, and the marketing potential for the site has grown exponentially.
Like Pinterest, you may feel like your business has no way to use Instagram if it is not visual in nature. However, you can use Instagram in the same ways you would Pinterest, creating photos of your brand’s lifestyle or values instead. You can also share photos of yourself or your staff, helping to build personal connections, as well as photos of your business working in the community or at industry events. Instagram is also a great network to host customer contests.
Stumble Upon has some similarities to Pinterest, except users recommend whole websites instead of just pinning images that lead to websites. You tell the site what you are interest in, and then you can “stumble” through similar web pages, discovering content that might interest you.
Stumble Upon is a great site for getting more of your content in front of more people. No matter what your business is, you should create a profile on the site and actively stumble your own content and other related content that users in your target audience would enjoy. You will quickly build exposure for your brand and drive traffic back to your site.
The social media landscape is always changing, and you have to stay ahead of the trends if you hope to take full advantage of the opportunities that social media offers you. If your business is not yet on these three social networking sites, it should be.
Do you use Pinterest, Instagram and Stumble Upon for your business? Share your experiences and your tips for success in the comments!
This is a guest post by Amy.
Amy Nielson is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @NielsonAmy.
Many people who operate a small business think that they can use their car for company purposes and they will still be covered by their personal auto insurance policy. But in reality, if you get into an accident while using your car for business, your insurance company will likely deny your claim. The reason is because commercial use of vehicles entails a much different risk than personal use. In a commercial context, vehicles can be used to transport goods or people, and they can come with equipment used to operate a business, which means the insurance company could be responsible for many more damages if an accident were to happen. In fact, many business uses can actually be against the terms of your personal policy. That’s why many business owners need commercial auto insurance, which is easy to obtain and can cover you in a variety of circumstances.
1. The Types of Businesses That Need Commercial Auto Insurance
There are a myriad of small businesses that use vehicles, some less obvious than others. Delivery services are a big one – the delivery of newspapers, pizza, flowers, or anything in between. If you are using your vehicles for transport, commercial auto insurance is especially important. Taxi services, airport shuttles, and limousine companies are just some examples. Even if you’re not using business vehicles for clear-cut purposes like those, any vehicle that is owned or registered to a partnership or company needs to have commercial auto. Also, any altered business trucks or vans with equipment installed need to be insured commercially. It is always helpful to talk to an insurance agent or broker at http://www.carinsurance.org.uk/ about your region’s guidelines if you’re not sure.
2. Key Differences Between Personal and Commercial Auto Insurance
The most important difference between personal and commercial auto insurance is that commercial auto insurance covers the driver, while personal auto insurance covers the vehicle. In many cases, commercial auto insurance covers multiple drivers. It’s in the company’s name, and the company can specify which employees are covered under the policy and can drive any vehicle that is used for business purposes. The types of insurance you can get with commercial auto is very similar to personal auto, however. You can opt for liability, damage and theft coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, and medical. And just like personal auto insurance, rates for your commercial auto policy can increase or decrease based on a number of factors. More established businesses will likely pay less, but even if you’re just starting out, you can become established later on in the eyes of the insurance company.
3. Ways to Save Money on Your Premium
It fitting commercial auto insurance into the budget for your small business is a stretch, there are ways to make sure you get the most value. If you have been in business 3 years or more, you will typically pay about 5 percent less on your auto insurance than other companies. You can also save roughly the same amount by paying your premiums in their entirety instead of in monthly installments. You can also try raising your deductible and lowering your limits. You might be surprised how much even a slight lowering of claim limitations creates much lower premiums. The best way to save money, however, is to make sure your employees are safe drivers. When you put workers with clean DMV records on your insurance policy, you will save much more than when you include more at-risk drivers.
4. Deciding Who Can Drive
If vehicles are a crucial part of your business, such as with delivery services or shuttles and taxis, then you are obviously looking to hire only the most experienced drivers. Hopefully, they are over the age of 25, another factor that can save you money on insuring them. If vehicles are just one element of your business, you still want to make a clean driving record one of your imperatives for new hires. Don’t insure employees you’re not comfortable with, both behind the wheel and in the office. It only takes one mistake to cause loss to your company and drive up your insurance rates. Make sure you work with them on keeping the vehicle safe and secure in a garage as opposed to on the street.