Small Business Marketing in an Hour

When you’ve got a small business, juggling all your competing priorities can feel exhausting. But what if you could market your business in an hour or less? You could attract new customers and help retain the ones you have. Here’s how to market your business online in less time than in takes to get a decent massage or cook a nice dinner.

This post is brought to you by VerticalResponse.

When you’ve got a small business, juggling all of your competing priorities can feel exhausting. But what if you could market your business in an hour or less? You could attract new customers and help retain the ones you have. Well, this isn’t one of those too good to be true tales… it’s reality, and in today’s post we’ll walk you through how to market your business online in less time than in takes to get a decent massage or cook a nice dinner.

Start with Your Website (20 minutes)

As you add new products and services to your business, you most likely update your company’s website. These additions are fresh content, which is great for lots of reasons. First and foremost, when a visitor comes to your website, they see new things that may cause them to make a purchase (ka-ching!), or you may pique their interest in something they haven’t purchased from you in the past. Fresh content is also a signal to search engines like Google that your site should be crawled, which can help your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and help your overall search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. When your site is optimized for both people and search engines, your site will be found more often in search results, leading more qualified visitors to your site, which should lead to more conversions (sign ups, purchases, donations or whatever your “success metric” is).

Email Marketing for the Win (20 min)

Now that you’ve got some fresh, optimized content, you’ve got to go out and tell the world about it. Well, maybe in this case, start with your email marketing list subscribers. Using an Email Service Provider (ESP) like VerticalResponse, you can quickly and easily send out an email to your list in under 30 minutes. Most ESPs have predesigned email templates you can use that are simple to customize with your company logo and content. Most also allow you to share your email content with your social networks with just a click or two, expanding the reach of your message to a broader audience. Your ESP will also provide you data about how your email performed, such as how many people opened your message or clicked on the links so you can make changes accordingly.

With the holidays right around the corner, there are heaps of opportunities to market your business and get new customers. VerticalResponse created an Everything Holiday site to help you. It’s got predesigned holiday themed email templates, festive call-to-action buttons you can use in your email marketing or on your website or blog, a fun email subject line generator that creates 18 subject lines for you in just a few seconds, plus lots more. It’s perfect for the time-crunched small business owner looking to market their business during the busy holiday season. Make a note that, during the week of Thanksgiving, there are five occasions to market around including Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. That’s a ton of marketing opportunity for your business!

Social Media is the Gas to your Content Fire (15-20 min)

With your website updated with fresh products, services and content, and your email marketing sent out, you’re ready to tackle the social media front. Half the battle with social media is making the time to do it, and the other half is having something to share with your fans and followers. If you create your content up front, you’re golden. And just because there’s a new social media network every day, it doesn’t mean you have to be on all of them. Spend your time nurturing the networks that make the most sense for your business. For instance, Facebook is a natural for most businesses since there are over 800 million active users, but Pinterest is growing rapidly and is a natural fit for businesses that would benefit from the image-centric social site that also allows you to add prices to pinned images and drive traffic directly back to your site. So, consider your social options and focus your energy and time on the ones that fit your business and customers best.

Do you still think you don’t have time to marketing your company online? Think again, because in less than an hour you could be driving new visitors, prospects and customers to your business!

verticalresponseThis post was contributed by Kim Stiglitz. Stigllitz is the director of Content Marketing at VerticalResponse. VerticalResponse Inc. provides a full suite of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses including email marketingsocial mediaonline event marketingpostcard marketing and online surveys. You can connect with Stiglitz on Twitter @Stiggy1.

Shoeboxed Power Tip #1: Submitting Receipts via Email

Learn how to submit eReceipts on the go and keep clutter from filling your inbox with this Shoeboxed Power Tip video featuring our Head of Product, Anjana Mohanty. Follow the Shoeboxed Power Tip series to maximize your Shoeboxed experience and seamlessly integrate our tools into your daily workflow.

Shoeboxed Power Tips are finally here! This series of how-to posts will help you use Shoeboxed in your fight against paper clutter. Each tip features a video or simple step-by-step instructions about how to integrate Shoeboxed seamlessly into your existing workflows and maximize your experience using our service.

Our first Power Tip features our Head of Product, Anjana Mohanty, who tackles her email inbox every day using Shoeboxed. As someone who’s always on the go (and never really stops working), Anjana is the perfect person to share a tip that will help de-clutter your inbox from wherever you may be. Without further ado, learn how to simplify submitting eReceipts to Shoeboxed by watching our first Power Tip video!

In this Power Tip, learn how to forward email receipts to Shoeboxed in just a couple clicks. Here’s how:
1. Create a contact in your phone called “Shoeboxed.”
2. Save your Shoeboxed email address under that contact.
3. Forward eReceipts to Shoeboxed from your phone in seconds.

Stay tuned for more Shoeboxed Power Tips to simplify your life and conquer paper clutter.

In the meantime, stay organized out there!
The Shoeboxed Team

Time Management Tricks to Get Organized Today

photo credit: technabob.com

All of your expenses have been reported. Your desk is clutter-free. Receipts have been scanned or mailed to the good folks at Shoeboxed.com. Heck, even your computer’s desktop is pristine! Now if only you could find the time to, like, eat something. Or go on a date.  If your physical environment is impeccably coordinated, but you can’t seem to get organized when it comes to your schedule, try incorporating a few of these handy time management tricks into the mix.

1. Give up

You’re never going to get it all done. The old adage about not dying with an empty inbox is true. Have you noticed how when you finally manage to ‘get it all done,’ the next task or project pops right up in its place? Accepting this fact, and expecting it, brings the kind of relaxed peace of mind that will help you get organized and enjoy your time while doing so.

2. Protect your Space

In your efforts to be accommodating or to get as much done as possible, you might allow others to interrupt you while you’re working, flit from one task to another, and get easily distracted as issues arise throughout the day. Get organized by getting protective of your time. Let co-workers or family members know you’ll be unreachable during certain times of the day, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes. You can also include your time constraints in your email signature, indicating how often and when you check your email. By letting others know you don’t check email after, say, 4pm, you’re off the hook until the next day, and you won’t feel guilty about not answering immediately.

3. Make Room for Problems

As you plan your day, schedule in some time for the unexpected. The only thing worse than packing your day with back-to-back tasks is not anticipating the inevitable surprises that are sure to arise. If you have a thirty minute video conference scheduled, give yourself a minimum fifteen minute time bubble to account for technical difficulties, tardiness, or other mishaps. Scheduling your to-do list first thing in the morning, and allowing more time than you think you need to complete each task, is a great way to get organized. You might even be able to take a lunch on your lunch break.

4. Get still

You don’t necessarily have to be typing, filing, or talking in order to be working. Time spent brainstorming, thinking, or taking a few deep breaths is just as valuable as the subsequent work that results. When scheduling your day, give yourself a few minutes every hour to step away from the computer, stretch, meditate, and get organized mentally.  When you do go back to work, you’ll be refreshed and inspired to tackle whatever is next on your list.

5. Quit

Set a specific quitting time that you’ll stick to, no matter what. Get the most important things finished earlier in the day, so when it’s time to go home, whatever’s left to be done can wait until tomorrow. Knowing that it’s not all going to get done today, and having a specific quitting time to look forward to, will do wonders for your organization and productivity.