Category Archives: Business Bites

Make Your Marketing Budget Go Further

Marketing often consumes the majority of a business budget. Unfortunately, there’s rarely enough money to cover all of the marketing expenses you want or need. The good news is that there are surefire ways to stretch your marketing budget and make it work harder for you without spending any extra money.

1 Repurpose Everything

Let’s say you spend a good chunk of change hiring someone to create an advertisement for you. You have the graphics and the copy and you publish the advertisement on specifically chosen websites or in periodicals. You can use this same advertisement to reach people via direct mail and email. You might even have it printed on post cards which you hand out at your next networking event. Or scan it into your computer and include it as part of your email signature.

Another example are the stock photos that you might purchase. Don’t just use them once and then let them collect dust on your desktop. Use them in as many ways possible to get the most bang for your buck. Repurpose email marketing messages into article marketing pieces or vice versa. With each marketing tactic, consider how you can repurpose it and use it in other valuable ways.


There are many facets of marketing that can be exorbitantly expensive. For example stock photos can run a company hundreds of pounds annually. Yet you can take a photo yourself for free – and get exactly what you want. Write your own marketing email messages and PPC advertisements. Sure, it may take you a little time to perfect your craft, however you know your audience and you know how to communicate with them.

3 Outsource to Freelancers

When you outsource marketing needs you have two choices. You can generally hire a specialty company to manage the task for you, or you can hire a freelancer. It can take more time to screen freelancers to find a qualified one, however you can save a significant amount of money by finding hidden talent on a freelance job site.

Finally, be sure to test and track everything. Continue doing what works and cut the rest loose. Only spend your time, money, and energy on proven tactics. Sure, you’ll need to continue to try new things. However, start them slowly, use them in limited amounts and keep tight control on the results. Test and track your data every step of the way to make sure you’re spending your marketing budget wisely.

Going the Extra Mile for a Customer

Without customers you wouldn’t have a business. It’s important to take steps to retain customers and keep them happy. Often going the extra mile means the difference between a loyal customer and one that only buys from you once. Here’s how to go the extra mile for a customer.

#1 Over deliver. Going the extra mile for your customer means delivering more than you promised. Have you ever ordered anything online and received it several days before you expected it? It’s a wonderful feeling when you have such a nice surprise. That’s how you want your customers to feel.

#2 Be available. How many times have you tried to get a hold of someone at a company only to get the runaround? You leave messages and send emails without any response. As a business owner you can go the extra mile simply by being available. Make it easy to contact you, or someone who represents your company. Offer several options including email and telephone.

#3 Make using your website or business as easy as possible. That means ensuring that your visitor or customer has all the information they need, and that all information is easy to find. Consider, in addition to a straightforward and easy-to-use website, having a FAQ page.

#4 Be ready, willing and able to apologise – even when you’re right. When it comes to your customer it generally doesn’t matter who is right. You want your customer to feel validated, respected and valued. An apology can often make things right. “I’m sorry,” are two simple words. It doesn’t cost you anything to say them. Yet it might cost you if you don’t say them.

#5 Offer the best product or service possible. Even if a customer isn’t satisfied, you can rest at night knowing you did your absolute best. And 99% of the time the customer will be thrilled with the superior product or service you provided. When you put your full effort into your business you’re going the extra mile for your customer. You’re doing everything in your power to ensure they’re satisfied. That’s the best you can do.

#6 Do the research. Take a look at your customer. What do they want and need from you? What can you do to surprise them? What extra value can you offer? What are their problems? When you can provide these things to your customer, you’re going above and beyond.

#7 Give them stuff for free. Who doesn’t like swag? Occasionally, just because they’re a customer, send your customers freebies. Give them a free report. Send them a coupon. Show the love.

Going the extra mile is good for your customer. And what’s good for your customer is good for you. Take some time to ensure your customer knows just how much you value them.

Finding Your True Business Passion

It seems every single book you read on business has one primary word of advice: do what you love. Passion, then, is very important for business success. It makes sense. If you love what you do and are willing to devote yourself to it, then you’ll have fun and success will follow.

However, it can be difficult to determine your true passion. There are probably many things you enjoy doing. Some of them might make great business ideas too. However, are they a true business passion? Here are a few considerations to make and steps to take.

Look to Your Past

Yes, you’ve changed and grown over the years. However, often the hobbies or activities that really stirred your soul when you were younger are still there. Your passions haven’t changed. Look back to your childhood, your teenage years and even college.

What did you love to do? What classes did you take just because you were interested? What books did you read? What were you hungry to learn more about? Write down any ideas that come to you. If you’re unsure, call a parent or a sibling and ask them.

Do You Have a Bucket List?

Your bucket list is that list of activities you want to do before you kick the bucket – before you die. Most people put their hopes, desire and passions on their bucket list. It’ll be full of things they’ve always wanted to do. For example, go skydiving. It’ll also be full of those dreams that never quite became goals. For example, write a novel.

If you look closely at your bucket list you’ll find there are hidden passions. Uncover those hidden passions. Examine them more closely. Is there a business idea that’s worthy of more research? For example, maybe you always wanted to visit the wine growing in Italy. That might be a great idea for a theme-based website or a money-making blog.

What Are You Doing Right Now?

Finally, take a look at the activities you engage in right now. What brings you joy and passion? What do you love to talk to other people about? Make a list of those activities and interests. For example, if you love college basketball and look forward to March Madness every year, perhaps there’s potential for an information marketing business. You might write a book on how to win the office March Madness pool every year.

Finding your true business passion isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Set aside time each day for a few weeks. Look to your past. Explore your present. Analyze your future. Chances are you already have some very profitable passions just waiting to be uncovered.

Starting Your Own Blog

Blogging is a wonderful way to start a business. It can work as your single point of internet business. Or you can use a blog to help brand your business and compliment a website. Regardless, starting your own blog is an exciting adventure. Here’s how to get started.

Step One: Choose your platform

There are many different blogging platforms. For example, WordPress is perhaps the most popular blogging platform. It’s free, easy to use and quite easy to modify to fit any needs. Spend some time reviewing the various blogging platforms. Check out Blogger, WordPress and TypePad. They’re the three most popular. Also, if you already have a website, find out what your website host provides. Some provide WordPress or their own blogging platform.

Step Two: What are you blogging about?

This is the fun part. Well, actually it’s all fun. However, deciding what your blog is going to be about can be quite creative. When deciding what your blog is going to be about, try to be specific.

For example, if you’re blogging about pets, that is quite broad. However, if you’re blogging about breeding puppies, that’s more specific. Unless you’re blogging for self-gratification, you probably want visitors. Visitors tend to return to blogs that are on specific topics that appeal to their interests. This takes us to the next step…

Step Three: Why are you blogging?

In most cases people blog because they want to earn money. Perhaps you’re using your blog as the foundation for your internet business. Perhaps you’re using it to brand an existing business. Before you complete any of the other steps, decide why you’re blogging. What’s the purpose for your blog?

Step Four: Set up your blog

In this step you’ll choose your domain name. You’ll choose hosting. And you’ll choose a blog template for your platform. WordPress offers hundreds of thousands of templates. You can also hire a designer to create a custom template for you. Or you can hire a designer to customize a template.

Another option is to simply choose a template that fits your needs, purpose and personality. Then hire a designer to create a custom header and/or logo for your blog. A custom WordPress header and/or logo should cost less than £150.

You’ll also adjust your blog settings in this step. For example, you can decide how many posts are shown on your landing page. You can also decide what the blog links look like. You may also want to install plug-ins and activate widgets to fit your blog needs. Common plug-ins help optimize your blog for the search engines. They also reduce spam comments. Plug-ins actually can fit just about any need you might have for your blog.

Step Five: Start writing

You’re now ready to start blogging. First, decide if you’re going to have any pages on your blog. An example of a blog page might be an “About Me” page.

One of the great things about blogging is that you can add plug-ins, widgets and change the template design to fit your changing needs. They’re infinitely customisable. You can add shopping carts, membership sites, product catalogues, video and audio.

Congratulations on your new blog. To your success!

Developing a Healthy Money Mindset!

Money is one of the biggest stressors people complain about. However, much of the stress is often self-inflicted. If you’re struggling with money, you can change your mindset. When you’re more positive about your money, it changes the way you manage it. A small change in your thinking can make a world of difference in your bank account.

Assess Your Limiting Beliefs

Money is one of those things you probably have strong opinions about. You may be aware of these opinions. You may not. Close analysis is required. Make a list of all of the things you believe about money. Write them down in sentence form.

For example, do you believe you have to work hard to get rich? Add to that list all of the things your friends, parents and relatives said about money when you were growing up. For example, did you hear your parents or grandparents say “money is a sin”? Don’t analyse your thoughts just yet. Simply write down what you believe and what you heard growing up.

Now, one sentence at a time, take a look. Do you really believe that sentence about money? Why do you believe it? Why not? What experiences support or disprove that belief?

It may take you several days to work through this list of beliefs. That’s okay. At the end of the list you will have a new belief system about money. Because chances are the things you thought you believed about money aren’t really true. For example, not everyone has to work hard to get rich. Some people are lucky. Some win the lottery. Some inherit money. Embrace these new beliefs. Use them to support your money habits and a positive mindset.


Affirmations are positive statements. For example, “Everything I do returns profits to me.” Use affirmations to help eliminate negative thoughts about money. You’ve just explored your limiting beliefs. Hopefully you’ve eliminated them. However, it can take time to erase them from your psyche. Use affirmations to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.

When you recognise a negative money thought, replace it with a positive one. Write it down and repeat it several times a day. Becoming conscious of your thoughts about money is the first step. Changing them to positive thoughts is the powerful second step.

Good Habits

Finally, embrace your affirmations and new beliefs to create good money habits. These don’t have to be major life changes. Small changes can make a big difference. For example, start setting aside £25 each week in a savings account. This small step can reap large rewards. Start paying off your credit cards by adding £100 to each payment. Again, a small step but one that can really make you feel positive about your money.

Money is a part of life. Changing the way you think about it can change your life. Take a look at your beliefs. Explore your thoughts. And embrace new habits that make a difference.

Stand Out As a Service Provider

More and more people are becoming self-employed. It’s a wonderful way to make extra money. It can also be a rewarding full-time career. If you’re following your passion and working freelance, you know there’s competition.

You not only compete to find good clients, you also compete to keep them. Paying attention to a few details can make the difference between a full schedule and having to hunt for clients. In short, you need to stand out as a service provider to build and grow your business. The good news is, if you’re dedicated, a few simple strategies can make a huge difference.

#1 Clear, consistent and easy communication

One of the biggest struggles for clients is finding a provider who communicates well. It seems like such an easy task. Yet consistently clear and professional communication can be a challenge for some.

Clear, consistent and easy communication means:

* Responding to your client’s emails or phone calls promptly. Don’t let 24 hours go by without a response.

* Responding professionally. Ego has no place in a client communication. Respect, get to the point, and be courteous and professional.

* Respond clearly. Email communications are easy to misunderstand. If you’re unsure your message is being communicated or received the way you intend, call your client. Or have a second party read your email for clarification.

To stand out, make sure each communication you have with your client is positive. Be enthusiastic about connecting with your clients. They’ll receive that enthusiasm and reciprocate.

#2 Professionalism

As a service provider your clients are looking for a few key features. They want their service to be provided:

* In a timely manner
* Without excuses
* Without additional fees
* To the best of your abilities

It’s not too much to ask for. And the truth is that many service providers manage this just fine. To stand out, go above and beyond what you promise. Give your clients a little extra. This can mean delivering a project early, giving them a little something extra that they didn’t pay for, or offering some useful information or advice.

#3 Get involved

Many service providers simply do the work requested and then sit back. To stand out, you want to get involved in your client’s success. Send them an email once in a while to say hello. Include a link to some information you think they might find valuable. Offer them a promotion. Connect with them on social networking sites.

When you are involved with your clients and in their community, you put yourself ahead of the competition. You create ‘front of mind’ awareness. Clients will think of you first when they have a need.

When you sit down next to review your business, take a look at what you’re doing to stand out as a service provider. Integrate follow-up methods and business strategies. Offer more value. Connect. Show your clients why they want to do business with you again and again.

Choosing an Autoresponder Service

Autoresponders are supremely handy tools. In fact, if you’re an internet marketer you probably can’t live without them. However, autoresponders are not created equally. Some offer more than others. Some are quite expensive. If you don’t need the bells and whistles, your money is probably better spent elsewhere. Choosing the right autoresponder for your business needs is important.

How Many People Are on Your List?

Many autoresponder services are free until your list reaches a certain number. For example, they might be free to use until you have 1000 subscribers. They then charge a fee per 500 or 1000 subscribers. So you’ll pay the same amount whether you have 1100 or 1900 subscribers. Once you go over 2000, then you hit the next fee level.

While you may be comfortable with the first few fee tiers, look ahead. Make sure the fees for that large list you’re going to grow won’t be exorbitant. Make sure the per subscriber fee makes sense for your business and your budget.

How Customisable Is It?

Some autoresponder services are very basic. Others seem to be infinitely customisable. Being able to customise the look and feel of your email messages helps brand. However, you might not need all those bells and whistles. Take a look at what you really need to grow your email list and profit. Then compare services based on those features.

Does It Offer the Features You Need?

Some autoresponder services are newsletters only. Others offer the ability to deliver digital files. Outline the purpose for your autoresponder. Make a list of the things you need it to be able to accomplish. Do you need to deliver files with your autoresponder? If so, then look for one that has that capability.

Is the Autoresponder Compliant?

It’s important for the reputation of your business to be CAN-SPAM compliant. Most autoresponder services respect that need. They offer the email list management tools and features to ensure you’re compliant. However, it pays to double check. Make sure they offer automatic unsubscribe. Make sure they also offer a double opt-in procedure.

Is It Easy to Use?

Take a look at some autoresponder interfaces and you feel as if you need a tech degree. They can be quite confusing. Others are simple and straightforward. Make sure, before you pay good money, that the interface is easy to use. Take a free trial. Watch the video demonstrations. If you need help or have questions, call customer service.

Finally, triple check the reputation of the service. You want to make sure the autoresponder service has a good reputation. You want to make sure they have good customer service. And you want to ensure they’re going to be around ten years from now. To your success!

Use Google Alerts To Monitor Your Business Presence Online

As a business owner, one of the most important pieces of information you can know is what people are saying about you. This is particularly true in the online realm. It’s bad enough when a single dissatisfied or unhappy customer complains about your business or service to their friends and co-workers. But it’s many times worse when that person takes to the internet and blogs about a bad experience they had with your company.

If you knew about that complaint you could probably take steps to fix whatever problems exist. You could change that person from a dissatisfied complainer into someone who might rave about your attentive customer service and your business’ desire to make things right.

What Are Google Alerts?

Google Alerts can help by delivering this type of information to your inbox automatically. It saves you precious time. No more scouring the internet for hearsay.

Google Alerts is a free service that continuously monitors the internet for specified keywords and terms. When it finds a web page that contains those words, it sends you an email notice.

Step One – Go to to set up your alerts. The first box on the page asks for the search terms you’re interested in. Do as you would do with a standard web search through If you want to search for exact phrases, use quotation marks.

As a minimum, set up alerts for your business name. Consider adding any common abbreviations or other names that your business is known by. Also set up an alert for your personal name. For example, Joe Smith.

Step Two – Choose your medium. Next you’ll be asked to decide what types of internet items you want Google Alerts to monitor. Your choices are: “Everything”, “News”, “Blogs”, “Videos”, “Discussions” & “Books”. Unless you have a good reason to be looking at only one type of information stream, select “Everything.”

Step Three – Select the frequency. You’ll then need to decide how often to receive your alerts. Your choices are: “As it happens”, “Once a day” & “Once a week “.

If the terms you’re monitoring are very specific or unusual, you can probably choose “As it happens.” Otherwise consider “Once a day” or “Once a week”. This will ensure your inbox isn’t overwhelmed with notifications.

Keep in mind that once your alerts are set up you can always go back and refine them. You may find you’re receiving too much or too little information from the service. You may also want to add or delete search terms.

The most effective way to use Google Alerts is to be active. When you learn more about what your customers are saying, you can change or add Google Alerts to make sure you’re getting as much customer feedback and discussion as possible.

Streamline your eBay Business

eBay can be a great business model to work from. It can also be a logistical nightmare. Many spend countless hours of their time managing tasks that could be automated. eBay offers automated features. These features cut your business management time in half. Combined with a few other tactics you can streamline your eBay business. Time is money as they say. Here’s how to get the job done:

#1 Automate your accounting. eBay works directly with PayPal. Between these two services you should have everything you need. Your accounting reports are generated through PayPal. Your shipping fees and invoicing are automated through eBay. It’s a quick and easy process. If you’re manually handling all of your billing, bookkeeping and accounting – stop! Use these automated accounting features to save time.

#2 Automate your inventory. If you’re selling tangible goods, rather than digital ones, automate your inventory. There are simple eBay inventory management software programs you can use. With them, you’ll never run out of stock. You can use them to plan your cash flow. You can throw away the manual inventory tracking system that’s eating hours out of your week.

#3 Automate your digital product delivery. If you sell digital products on eBay, like ebooks, consider using an automated delivery service. A program like Payloadz automates the digital delivery process and integrates with eBay and PayPal effortlessly.

#4 Listings. Create a listing template. Make sure it spells out everything. This includes all of your policies and procedures. Answer all questions up front and save time answering emails later. With a template all you have to do is cut and paste for each new item you’re selling.

Additionally, you can automate the listing process with a mass listing program. These programs integrate with eBay and automatically list and relist your items. They also send email notifications to buyers. You can use these email messages to ask for feedback and to notify a customer that they’ve won an item. You can also use them to request payment.

#5 Streamline shipping. Shipping can be one of the most time consuming aspects of selling on eBay. You can streamline the process with a shipping account. UPS, FedEx and the postal service all offer business accounts. Simply log on, print out your shipping label and leave the item on your porch. It saves a trip to the post office!

Take a look at your existing policies and procedures. What can you automate? What could be better organized? Often spending a few pounds on software or a service can save you money down the road. Explore your options. Streamline your business through policy change and software. Earn more money and time.

Succeed With Article Distribution

Article distribution is one of the most effective marketing tactics. It drives traffic. It can boost SEO. It can increase conversions. Make sales. Article marketing helps attain just about any business goal. There are some keys to optimizing your efforts.

1. Write quality content. Don’t let others fool you, quality matters. Regardless of your goals, it’s important to write quality content. That doesn’t mean it has to be up for a Pulitzer. Quality content is content that is easy to read. It provides valuable information. It solves a problem. Quality article marketing content is usually very specific. It focuses on a narrow topic that can be covered in approximately 500 words.

2. Use your resources. You have two key opportunities with most article distribution sites. You have a resource box. You also have a bio box. In your resource box include a call to action and a link to more information, a product sales page or a webpage. In your author’s bio include information about yourself. Use this opportunity to establish credibility.
3. Have a purpose for your article. It’s essential that your article marketing efforts have a goal. What do you want to accomplish? DO you want to drive traffic to a sales page? Do you want to grow your email list? Do you want to boost SEO? Are you trying to increase affiliate commissions?

Your goal will define your approach to article distribution. It’ll frame not only your content but your resource box information too. It’ll help you choose the right distribution sites. For example, if you want to boost SEO with article distribution. You’ll want to choose sites that allow search engines to follow your links. Some have a “No Follow” policy.

4. Rewrite your article a few times for different article sites. This tactic can help you make the most return on investment. Take care to ensure each article reads like a unique piece. Test it for originality using online tools. You can turn one article into a few more and multiply your results.

5. Test and track your results. In order to ensure you’re achieving your goals, test and track. Testing will help you learn which articles your audience responds to. You may also learn that one article distribution site works better than others. Repeat successes. Tracking your efforts will help you determine success. Use analytics to help you track.

Article distribution is used by successful entrepreneurs in every niche. Define your goals. Create your article marketing plan. Then use your resources to take action. You can hire people to manage the submission process. You can even hire people to write or rewrite your content. Finally, test and track for maximum success.