Twitter Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

Twitter is undoubtedly the most popular micro-blogging website and one of the most effective social media tool for marketing your business. In mere 140 characters you can connect to a large chain of individuals. Therefore it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to leverage this remarkable online platform for communication and conversation.

Below are some very simple tips that help you in using Twitter effectively for your small business:

1. Learn What People Are Saying

If you are one of those who blindly tweets without learning what others are saying about your business, then it is high time that you re-consider your marketing strategy on Twitter. You must be aware of what people are;saying, not only related to your business but also to your niche; remember it is an interactive platform. You can use applications like search.twitter.com to search for tweets related to certain keywords, you can also register with Tweetbeep that will send you emails whenever someone mentions you company’s name or a word/phrase that you choose to be informed about.

2. Intelligent Tweets

You may want to let people know about what you’re eating or when you’re sleeping, but don’t go tweeting about your daily routine all the time. Sure such tweets adds the element of personalization but then again, too much of it becomes irritating for your followers. Also, if you continuously go bragging about your business, it will seem as a spam. Therefore, tell something that people can use for their good, only then will they trust you, follow you and actually listen to what you are saying.

3. Converse and Interact

Conversing is the key to marketing your business on Twitter, don’t just talk at people, interact with them. Reply to tweets, retweet if you like something and let them know that you are a part of a community not an individual entity blabbering about a product or service that they have to offer. Remember, it is a social network. Apart from talking about yourself, you also aim at sharing interesting links which will not only win you followers but also retweets for your self, thereby expanding your reach. You can check out this Twitter Dictionary to have a better understanding of Twitter lingo.

4. Be Generous And Promote Others

This is another very effective marketing strategy where apart from promoting yourself, you can let your followers know about other businesses or individuals that you appreciate. This way you not only help others but also have a very bright chance of them promoting you to their followers as well. As I said before, Twitter is a massive online community, people love to learn and tweet about others (ignoring many self-centric souls).

5. Thanking Those Who Follow You

Even though Twitter is a public forum, it still gives you an option of sending direct messages to your followers. It is advisable to send thank you messages to those who follow you, it not only makes you a better person but lets them know that you actually care about your followers. But, it would be achingly time consuming to send notes to each of them individually. This is where automated messages comes to the rescue, all you have to do is create a template automate it send it to your new followers. Try using TwitterDMer, it not only automates your messages but also lets you customize specific details like website, name or location of your follower.

Outsourcing Tips For Small Business Owners

Small businesses can definitely get lots of benefits from outsourcing. Many business men and women turn to experts from outside to work on whatever specializations are required on their businesses. This allows the business owner to focus on critical aspects and parts of the business.

Just like bigger companies, small business owners turn to outsourcing for services such as human resource, accounting, and more commonly, customer service. While it takes time to invest on the right vendor, build business relationships with a business partner, and allow employees to adjust, the benefits are worth all the trouble of waiting. There are ways to evaluate outside experts’ ability to perform better. You can also compare how cost effective outside experts is in relation to your staff that operate in-house. Here are some ways to do that:

• Create a comparison on the amount of time it takes for outside workers to finish a specific task. This should be in relation to your staff, if you have any.

• In terms of tasks, can you rely on outside experts to carry on the responsibility of finishing what they are expected to do with little supervision? Can you trust them to work one hundred percent efficiently?

• How much will small businesses save from hiring outside experts? The idea is hiring outside experts will help you cut out on office upkeep and expenses. Many outsourcing companies have specialized agents who can provide quality services.

Those are some of the good reasons why outsourcing can be a good investment for small business owners. If you have finally decided to go for it, here are some tips on how to succeed in this venture.

• The best strategy is to keep the operations or any field that are part of the main mission of your business. The rest can be outsourced specifically those areas of operations that do not involve strategic planning.

• Make sure you evaluate the service provider the same way you would evaluate an applicant. See to it that important questions have been answered and you have consulted other clients for feedback.

• Be upfront about your requirements and deadlines. Make sure schedules are clearly discussed.

• Do not use price as a factor for choosing a service provider. Do not go for the cheapest or the most expensive. You will need an assurance of quality service and great results.

• Look for companies with business experience fitting with your business. This is very true for complicated technical projects that require certain specialties and experience.

• Define your milestones clearly. Create a clear work plan so you can have clear goals and baselines.

• Be up front about negotiating the work and the tasks. Be clear about who owns the products once they are done. This is especially true for contents written by writers whose works appear under somebody else’s name once they are published online.

• Review the portfolios that are returned to you. As a small business entrepreneur, you will have to closely monitor the results and see to it that you get the results you want from the outsourcing company you are partnering with.

Please review these tips carefully as they are good initial considerations for outsourcing. By outsourcing wisely, your business could gain a competitive advantage over other businesses in the same industry.

Small Business Failures – Causes and Prevention Tips

Every year, more and more entrepreneurs experience small business failures. The reasons behind these seemingly sudden deaths vary. However, these causes are avoidable if you know how. As early as now, you can take measures to prevent your business from dying on you.

Read on to learn the causes of small business failures, and how to prevent them.

Cause # 1: Poor Management

One of the major reasons for small business failures is poor management. I’ve heard so many stories about entrepreneurs being too laid-back that they succumb to mediocre management.

A word of advice: Small businesses may be easier to manage than large multi-national companies, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need your attention any less.

When you let your guard down, that’s when you start missing some of the most crucial details. Customer service disappoints… Your own employees steal from you… Overall quality simply isn’t worth it anymore. The best thing to do here is to remain dedicated to your work. Have every minor detail go through you first.

Cause # 2: Poor Location

Starting a business isn’t just about having the capital to set it up. It’s also about knowing where to put it up. Lack of careful planning leads to small business failures. For example, you can’t exactly start an ice cream business in a place that is always cold and stormy, or in a place where no one eats ice cream at all.

In order to avoid wasting time and money, make sure you conduct a serious study on the nature of your business and where it would most likely thrive. Conduct a feasibility study or a survey. Do everything you can to prepare yourself before the business actually materializes.

Cause # 3: Poor Marketing

Build it and they will come. Yeah right; if it’s only that easy. But you can’t just start a business and expect people to know what it’s all about.

Unless you practice your marketing chops or at least generate a bit of buzz, don’t expect to be flooded by customers. In fact, don’t expect to have any customers at all. At most, all you’ll have is a curious bystander or two. Even word-of-mouth requires you to do something to get people to talk.

Every business has a different gimmick to get people to come to them. The most reliable would be to advertise in the local newspaper or to give out flyers in the street. Others like to play loud, catchy music to get people to notice them.

With these tips, you don’t need to fear small business failures. Yours will go on living and growing for a long time to come.

5 Important Small Business Website Design Tips You Need to Know

1. Write out a clear idea of the purpose of the website before you begin any work on it.

Most people skip this step because they think it’s obvious, it’s important. What is the number one purpose of your website? To bring in new customers? To advertise current promotions and specials? To build trust potential clients before even meeting them? Or simply to keep up with the Joneses?

All are valid reasons for having a website, and most likely you will want to take advantage of all of these, and more, benefits of having an online presence. But unless you have a clear idea of the number one result you want to get from your site, it’s unlikely you will manage to achieve that.

2. Stay objective.

It’s tempting to fall madly in love with your new virtual ‘baby’, especially if you built it yourself. But beware… Down that path there be dragons.

If your number one goal is to bring in new, paying customers to your business each month and if the search engines don’t know you exist because your website code is too difficult for them to understand, they won’t be able to send you visitors which will hopefully turn into customers down the line.

Or if 90% of the people who come to your site get lost and can’t find what they are looking for, they will leave before you are able to convert them into customers.

3. Decide early if it’s important to get free search engine traffic.

If it is important to get free traffic, then your designer/developer needs to know that as early as possible, as it will affect how they code the website.

In fact, if it’s important to you to then the first thing you should be doing is making a list of keywords, or search terms, that you think your future customers will use to find you on the internet. (If you wait to do that step until some or all of the pages are built, your designer will need to spend extra time changing things, which is money out of your pocket.)

4. Be prepared to work a bit.

I know, everyone says that building a website is a must and it will really help your business, but the real truth is that you get out of a website exponentially how much you put into it. Even if you have hired someone to do the technical stuff, the you still need to give them some of the content. Testimonials are great and often overlooked on small business websites, probably because it takes more time and effort to contact customers and get something written up.

Also, writing a few articles or blog postings about things you feel strongly about will not only help your traffic results but it goes a long way to building trust with the reader before they ever meet you.

5. Pick a good website designer.

First, be sure you have at least done step 1 and step 3 above. Once you have a good idea of what results you want to get from your website and whether or not good search engine traffic is important to you, then you will find it easier to know when you have found a good match or not.

Be sure to look at the websites in their portfolio to see if you like their style.