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 Named Top 100 Champion in 2013 Small Business Influencer Awards

We’re thrilled to announce that Shoeboxed has been named a 2013 Top 100 Champion in the Small Business Influencer Awards! We’d like to give a big shout-out to our friends at Fujitsu and ScanSnap for nominating us for the award.

Top 100 Champion Small Business InfluencerWe’re thrilled to announce that Shoeboxed has been named a 2013 Top 100 Champion in the Small Business Influencer Awards! We’d like to give a big shout-out to our friends at Fujitsu and ScanSnap for nominating us for the award.

The Small Business Influencer Awards are designed to recognize the unsung heroes of small businesses – those who support and encourage entrepreneurs and small business owners, and help them achieve success and stay successful. The Champions are chosen based on a combination of voting by the small business community and a panel of judges steeped in the small business market, who considered the contributions of the nominees over the past year toward:

  • advocating on behalf of small businesses,
  • providing products or services that address the unique challenges faced by small businesses,
  • revolutionizing how small businesses do business or how they solve business challenges,
  • helping small businesses grow,
  • or otherwise impacting small businesses in a significant way.

We are honored to be a part of the Top 100 list and sincerely appreciate all of our users, fans and partners that voted for us in the Awards. You can see the full list of winners on the Small Business Influencer Awards site.

On-the-Go Accounting with Outright & Shoeboxed

As an entrepreneur who is always on the go, Sean Ogle needed a simple and mobile way to keep up with bookkeeping and accounting. He found a solution in using Shoeboxed and Outright. Check out this User Success Story for details on Sean’s paperless, moving target lifestyle!

With Shoeboxed, there has never been one “best” way to use our service to stay organized. And after processing over a billion dollars of expense data since 2007, we say that from years of firsthand experience!

Shoeboxed takes enormous pride in serving clients from around the country and across the globe, all of whom use our service in a myriad of ways to fulfill a whole host of organizational needs in both their personal and professional lives.

“I travel 3-4 months out of the year, so to be able to use Shoeboxed anywhere in the world has allowed me to stop stressing as much about record keeping and focus more on the business itself.”

-Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle 1Introducing: Sean Ogle

Profession: Business builder

Location: Everywhere!

Website: www.seanogle.com

Twitter: @seanogle

Shoeboxed: Hi, Sean! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. Let’s start with you telling us a little about yourself and your business.

Sean Ogle: Sure! My name is Sean Ogle and I’m the creator of a site called Location 180. The site is all about teaching people how to build lifestyle businesses that allow them to work from wherever they want and generally do more of the stuff they like to do.

In keeping with this theme all of my small businesses are around my interests: Entrepenurship, photography, and most recently, golf.

SBX: Sounds awesome! Have you always wanted to run your own business? How did you get started?

sean ogle headshotSO: I’ve always known I’d wanted to be an entrepreneur. This started in college when I did everything from selling concert tickets, to having my own house painting business, to making t-shirts.

About two years into my job as a financial analyst I realized I wasn’t getting any closer to having a real business of my own. So I left, moved to Thailand for seven months and started learning how to build businesses online.

SBX: Wow! That’s quite a change of pace. So now that you’re doing what you want to do, tell us your favorite part of your job, and the most stressful.

SO: My favorite part is the flexibility. I can work whatever hours I choose, and if a cool opportunity comes up I’m usually able to take advantage of it. That said, income can certainly ebb and flow. So the most stressful times are the ones where sales slow down and you’re wondering if they are ever going to start up again!

SBX: That’s definitely something all small business owners face! Another challenge is dealing with finances. What did you do with all your documents before Shoeboxed? How did you stay organized before using our service?

SO: Ha, I wasn’t that organized before your service. I had a giant pile of receipts that I had to sort through during tax time, and I’m sure I missed plenty of them.

SBX: Well, we’re certainly glad you found us! How did you hear about Shoeboxed and decide to take the plunge?

SO: A couple friends of mine started a site called Taxreceipts.com, and they told me about the service. One of them is a tax attorney and gave me a little scolding on how I needed to keep better track of my receipts – I’ve been using Shoeboxed ever since!

SBX: Tell them thanks on our behalf! :) So now that you’re a regular user, can you tell us about how you use Shoeboxed to manage your business?

SO: Sure. I almost completely rely on the Shoeboxed Receipt & Mileage Tracker on my smartphone. Once a receipt goes in my pocket, there’s no telling when, or if, it will be seen again. Shoeboxed makes it so easy to take a photo right after every meal or purchase, and know that it’s all stored in one place for whenever I need it.

I also manage my books with Outright, so the fact that Shoeboxed works with Outright is a nice bonus.

SBX: Awesome! We’re glad to hear you’re taking advantage of one of our partner integrations. Can you tell us a bit about the value you’ve found in Shoeboxed? Maybe you could elaborate about how we fit into your business and lifestyle.

Sean Ogle - Location 180SO: No problem! I try to be paperless everything, so to be able to take something that has traditionally always been about paper and send it to the cloud is really important for me. I travel 3-4 months out of the year, so to be able to use Shoeboxed anywhere in the world has allowed me to stop stressing as much about record keeping and focus more on the business itself.

SBX: That’s fantastic– we’re honored that we can help your business grow! Okay, last question. Do you have any helpful tips for our users or small business owners that are trying to get organized?

SO: Don’t wait until the last minute. In the past I’d do an entire year’s worth of organizing the week before tax day. Spend a 20 minutes a week making sure everything is accurate, and you’ll be much happier in the long run.

SBX: That’s great advice, Sean, and thanks again for taking the time to chat with us! We’re thrilled to be a part of your small business owner on-the-go lifestyle.

Are you a Shoeboxed user who has a success story and would like to be featured on our blog? Then we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to Emily at emily@team.shoeboxed.com for more information.

Until then, stay tuned… and stay organized!