Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tips for Small Business - Pinterest

Pinterest is a mega scrapbook, that's for sure but can be very valuable for small business. Here are some great times we gleaned from the internet on how to make your pins, "Pinworthy" and draw customers to your door or website:

No. 1: Make your website Pin-friendly. Users can “pin” items to their personal boards by using a downloadable “Pin It” widget. To encourage consumers to engage with your company’s content, Etlinger suggests having a “Pin It” button on all content on your site, similar to the buttons that enable users to share content on Facebook or tweet it on Twitter.
“Having the pinning symbol is a fantastic intelligence tool,” says Etlinger, because it can show business owners what content is resonating with viewers online.
No. 2: Organize your content. Pinterest enables all users to create themed boards. Alexis Krisay, a partner at Serendipit Consulting, says businesses should organize content by theme, making it easier for other users to find and browse content.
“If you’re a home d├ęcor shop, organize boards so you have a home accessories board, a couches and chairs board and a pillows board,” says Krisay.
No. 3: Brand your pins. While it takes more time, the experts agree that branding the photos that are uploaded to Pinterest is worth the added effort.
“By including your logo on photos, when users share that photo, they’re sharing your logo,” says Krisay.
Etlinger agrees that businesses should use branding as much as makes sense. A logo in a corner is a subtle touch, while a huge watermark over the image may turn off some Pinners.
No. 4: Include shopper-friendly information. Compared to other social sites like Facebook or Twitter, Sterling says Pinterest users approach the platform with a shopping mindset. To take advantage of that, he and the other experts suggest including as much “shopper-friendly” information as possible, describing the product or service featured.
“Put as much detailed product information as you can without it looking hard or difficult,” advises Etlinger.
Drawing from real-life client experiences, Krisay says she has a realtor client who started including information about the homes he was showing (price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc.) and doubled the number of direct leads on his website.
No. 5: Engage the community. Krisay advises her clients to spend approximately an hour each day on social media, dividing the time between various platforms like Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Aside from uploading new photos of inventory, the experts say business owners should seek to become active in the online community.
“Don’t follow people to get follows,” says Sterling, “but be actively involved in a sincere way.”
This might include repinning content that is relevant to your boards, answering users’ questions on your items or commenting on other users’ content.
“Think of this as a way to create broader and richer relationship with current and potential customers and friends,” says Etlinger.

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We Offer a Continual Schedule of Affordable Workshops, Conferences, and Special Events 

Each one is designed to teach practical, hands-on small business management skills
Visit our website at www.csi.edu/isbdc and click on Workshops to see what's new for 2014!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

US Economic Census Survey - Taken Every 5 Years - Webinar on October 11

Click the following link for the first in a series of webinars on how to complete the 2012 Economic Census Survey; which is mandated by federal law.  Every business in the US will receive a survey in Nov or Dec and you have till Feb 2013 to complete and return it.   You can take part in this webinar now to learn more about it and why its required and how it can assist your business.  Follow the link here =>:   Webinar on October 11

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ASBDC Biz Blog: 3 Things You Need to Run a Successful Local Deal

ASBDC Biz Blog: 3 Things You Need to Run a Successful Local Deal: Are you considering getting into local deals (also known as daily deals), or just want to brush up on the basics ...

ASBDC Biz Blog: It’s True: Direct Mail Still Matters

ASBDC Biz Blog: It’s True: Direct Mail Still Matters: With the hype surrounding social media and digital marketing, you might be surprised to know that the old-fashioned direct mail piece will bring in more new customers than email will.

ASBDC Biz Blog: Keeping Your Inventory Management Up to Snuff

ASBDC Biz Blog: Keeping Your Inventory Management Up to Snuff: Maintaining inventory might just seem like an annoyance you tend to as supplies run low or customers order something obscure.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Competitors and Customers…Grow and Sustain Your Business

Smart business owners not only know their competitors, but learn from them.
1.      Why would a customer buy from you rather than one of your competitors?  What makes you unique?
2.      Print out the key webpage from each of your primary competitors, black-out who they are and put them on a page together.  What’s different?  Who is doing something really different?
3.      A competitive analysis should include as many of your competitors as possible and should show:
·         How your business is different and better with factors including: Quality, Service, Price/Value, Creativity, Flexibility, Knowledge,  Innovation, Prestige
·         Ways in which your business is the same as your competitors
·         Strengths and Weaknesses of your competitors…how are they performing?  Strong or weak and why.
·         What are the pricing differences?  Product and price comparisons should be assessed.
·         How do competitors promote their business? 
·         Create a chart to capture your findings.


Competitors
Product & Service Offerings
Distinctive-Creative-Innovative
Offerings
Quality
Price
Business Flexibility, Process (easy to do business)
Customer Service
Promotion





























Customer Analysis
·         What are the attributes of your current customers?
·         Can you define your customer profile?  Do you have multiple customer profile groups (customers that have similar attributes that can be grouped)? 
·         Define your “ideal” customer
·         How does your customer profile(s) and definition of “ideal” customer compare to that of your competitors?
·         What attracts customers to you … to your competition?
·         What keeps customers coming back for more, and making referrals to you…how about your competition?

Template by:
Debbie Winkler, Business Consultant
Idaho Small Business Development Center