Category: Business

Do I Need a Press Release?

A press release is a great marketing tool. A well-written press release will convey news to your audience about what is up and coming in your small business. The problem is: we don’t always know if we need a press release or not. Maybe you just want to post about a calendar event? Perhaps you’re going to be a merchant at an upcoming vendor fair. Reasons like that may not be worthy of a press release. If you are still questioning yourself about writing a press release, read on!

We like to think that anything important in our business is press release-worthy. Ask yourself “what am I trying to convey?” Is it something that you would see in a newspaper? Is it even news? If you can tell your news to someone in person, thinking they’d find it interesting and informative, there’s a good chance you’re leaning towards needing a press release written. If you think that your information may just be a little flat and lacking, you’re better just putting it out in a message to your email list.

Press releases generally need to fill one complete page. The page cannot be filled with fluff; you need to have an interesting story that takes up about 4 paragraphs. If you don’t have enough information to do this, odds are you don’t need a press release. Writing a press release also takes time to execute properly. Do you have enough time to write one, or to hire a writer to create one for you?

I Definitely Need a Press Release
Now that you’ve determined that you do in fact, need a press release for your small business, there are a few “musts” that have to be part of the construction.

A Solid Headline– Don’t give away all your information in the headline and sub-headline. Think of a good heading that will make your press release sound interesting.

A Bad Headline for a Press Release:
Company Sells Waterproof Oven Mitts to Housewives (it doesn’t even sound interesting, though the product may be valuable and of interest).

A Good Headline for a Press Release:
Company Offers New Product to Reduce Risk of Kitchen Burns (it looks professional and will gain the interest of the reader).

List Your Lead– many people like to put valuable or key information at the bottom of articles. This entices your viewers to keep reading. Press release writing is not like article writing. You must put your news in the first paragraph.

Straight Facts- there is no room in a one page press release for junk. Every word you write must be about the story or news you want to convey.

Speak in the Third Person– even if you’re writing the press release about your company and you’re the CEO, you have to refer to your business as the business.

Press release writing, in general, is fairly simply. It’s knowing when you need a press release as part of your small business design that’s the tricky part. Just remember: if it’s not news, no press release is needed.

Year-Round Holiday Promotions for Your Small Business

It’s always important to make sure you stay ahead of the game regarding your small business. This means taking advantage of every opportunity to boost your sales. Every holiday is a great occasion to promote your product or service. Mother’s Day is quickly coming up on May 8th, 2011. Unlike the big holiday season, these smaller holidays often leave people shopping at the last minute. They’re not thinking about Mother’s Day sales weeks ahead of time. That’s why it’s up to you to promote your Mother’s Day specials early and remind them not to forget Mom, or your website!

Timely promotions as part of your small business design is essential growing your clientele. Want an easy way to endorse your business? Consider the simple art of newsletter design to let those on your email list know what specials your company will have for Mother’s Day shoppers, or any holiday. They are not difficult to create and it’s really efficient at getting your information across to interested parties. What’s the difference between constructing a newsletter as opposed to just creating a newspaper ad or a social networking ad? It’s not that those are bad ideas either, but when you present a newsletter, you can share a lot more information than you can cram into a small, pricey ad space.

Electronic newsletters are great because if you make them yourself, it’s free! You can include everything you want your customers to know about: your promotional deals, your contact information, website link and even coupon codes. There’s no postage needed and no paper wasted. It’s a very smart way to promote small business success.

It cannot be stressed enough that when holidays or events roll around that can bring in revenue, you need to be well-prepared, ahead of time. This doesn’t mean a week before Mother’s Day; if your small business newsletter hits inboxes promoting free shipping, you would probably be too late. Try shooting for the 3-4 week mark. Finding that sweet spot that isn’t too early or late to contact customers can be discouraging, but the payoff is worth it.

Now, just because your newsletter or ad is out there for potential customers to see doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. You need to make sure your website is ready as well. Do this by making sure the promotional material or deals are listed on your homepage. Why else is this important? It not only reassures your newsletter readers that the promotion is valid, if they pass your website information on to other potential clients who didn’t get the newsletter, they’ll want to make sure they’re at the right place.

Every holiday is a reason to celebrate your small business and promote your products or services. Stay on top of upcoming promotions and let your clients know about your specials in a timely manner. If you’re interesting in learning more about newsletter writing, check out a helpful article on how to properly write newsletters for your business without having them sent to SPAM folders.

Wow Your Customers with Website Design Techniques

If you’re in the small business realm, you know just how important having a well-designed, consumer-friendly website can be. The hard part is knowing what small business website design techniques are going to get you the most business. It’s one thing to have a great website, but it’s another to have one that works well for small business sales. Let’s look at a few, good methods you can implement into your business to make sure you’re taking care of the customers.

There is an unusual acronym to remember some great ways to keep your customers in mind while constructing/updating your small business website: CRAP

Consistency: Common flow/feel as visitors browse your website

Repetition: Use appropriate repetition of imagery and text throughout

Alignment: A place for everything, and everything in its place. Don’t stick anything on the website for the reason of just “having it on there.”

Proximity: Make sure you group appropriate parts of your website together. Can your clients find what they need, easily?

Color is an important aspect of your small business design. Although consistency is important, choosing the right colors are a must to help you get the sale. Customers shop with their eyes; use colors that complement each other. You want them to be agreeable with the nature of the website, but not overwhelmingly bright or annoying to look at. You also don’t want a bland color palate. Try to pick one bold color, keeping the contrasting colors more neutral.


Many small business websites have advertising space they can control. You really want to make sure that any advertising you have on your website is relevant to your small business. If you sell handbags, your best advertising would also be in accessories, clothing, cosmetics and so on. If you have a family member who has a tree stump removal business, they have no purpose on your website, family or not.

Finally, your patrons want to know what’s in it for them. Save a webpage to talk about you and your business; leave the rest to cater to the shopper. Talk about what they’re going to get when they do business with you. Make sure to mention everything from a detailed description of the product or service, right down to your mission statement, guarantees and return policies.

As much as we may pride ourselves on the time and love we spend on our small businesses, we have to remember that the consumer tends to be a bit more “selfish.” Their concern is a getting a great deal on a product or service on a website that’s easy to use and good-looking. Remember: If you don’t take care of your customers…someone else will.

Small Business Advertising Success with Facebook

There are 500 million people using Facebook. If your small business does not have a company account or Fan Page on Facebook, you are potentially missing out on a considerable amount of revenue. Almost every genre of small business owners, from pet grooming to dry cleaning have a Facebook page to promote their business. Why is taking the time to maintain a Facebook page such a good idea? Great question!

Your basic Facebook account is FREE. That makes the price right for small businesses. Not only is it cheap to use, it’s very simple to maintain. You can make a page that simply has a picture, contact information and status updates informing your friends and fans about upcoming specials. Stop by your Page once a week or so to add new friends, answer any messages and handle general Facebook account housekeeping. Take your Facebook account to the next level by incorporating your small business website blog for viewers to read. Update as much or as little as you like. You can allow visitors to post on your Facebook small business website, or turn off the wall function and only post information from the business’s end. You can pay to have your business show up on the side panel of Facebook. The cost varies however, but you can read more here: There is a minimum charge of $5.

Low Maintenance
As mentioned before, using Facebook as an advertising tool for your small business design is great because it takes very little time and money to maintain your page. You could realistically update it once a day or once a month. You’ll get back what you put into it. Another reason Facebook is so great to use to promote small businesses: people will find you! That’s right; you can search for friends and family to add as friends to your page, but others in your area or network will find you on their own. Your time spent on lead generating will be greatly reduced with Facebook.

Remember: Facebook is a great tool to advertise your small business website, but don’t over post. When you’re putting status updates on there more than once a day, people begin to get turned off by over-advertising and will hit the “hide feed” button associated with your content, meaning they will never see updates posted by your business page. You don’t want this, so posting often should mean just a few posts per week. Also, keep your Facebook page dedicated towards your small business, not your personal opinions. A quick way to lose your fans is to post something that has nothing to do with your business. Don’t argue politics or get into debates on your Facebook page, you’ll make yourself and your business look bad; plus you’ll never convince the other party to see your side, so don’t bother.

Use Facebook wisely to promote your small business by incorporating your website blogs, videos and upcoming events related to your business. Enjoy the fruits of this social-networking wonder and benefit from the business a well-maintained Facebook small business Page can bring.

Interacting with Your Target Audience

International Women’s DayKnowing your target audience is a critical element in a small business. By understanding what their needs and wants are, you can improve your service or product. What better way to meet people than to venture out into the world and find them! Do you know where to look?

If you’re selling something that targets women, don’t forget a very important day: International Women’s Day is March 8th and a lot of communities will hold vendor fairs. If you stay current with the event news in your area, you can sign up and be prepared to meet and greet your audience. Of course, you always need to ask yourself when meeting potential clients in this type of atmosphere: what’s in it for them? A colorful banner and a friendly smile is a good start to a vendor fair booth, but we all know the goodies are what get attention.

Try to find something even better than the standard business card to hand out. Find something that you can easily take to the event that not only has your contact info, but people are likely to hang on to it because it serves another purpose. For example: a massage therapist has a booth at a women’s fair to advertise her services. She hands out a stress ball with her name and salon number to her targeted audience; it’s relevant. What are other cheap products? Magnets, key chains, pens, notepads and more. They don’t have to be useful AND related to your business, but useful to the target audience means less likely to be forgotten or pitched.

How much can you prepare ahead of time if you’re going to be at a certain event or function? Well, you can never be too prepared! If you’ve signed up to be a speaker or rent a booth at an event, don’t sit by and let the event organizers do all your advertising for you; take matters into your own hands. Perhaps you’re doing newsletters on a regular basis and have an email list built of both clients and potentials; send an announcement out to let them know when and where. Also, toss in some promotional deal that makes the event stick in their mind. Something like: the first 50 to stop by the booth get a coupon for 25% off. If someone was on the fence about your product, a coupon could sway them into giving it a try.

Remember: it’s an important part of your small business design to know your target audience. When you can’t speak to them in person, be online looking at forums and blogs relevant to your business. Listen to what people say. Take the time to get to know them and you’ll be able to provide a better service or product.