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Posts Tagged ‘Bootstrapping Tips’
Submission Doesn’t Always Mean Obedience

How Article submission Can Create Business

Stating that the Web has forever changed business is a massive understatement. The amount of customers available to a business like yours has exploded with people from all over the world able to access your products any time of day. However, every business is taking advantage of this new market and crowding has become a significant problem for businesses trying to stand out in search engine listings and against other competitors selling similar products.

Though it may seem like spending loads of money on advertising is the only way to really get ahead and standout in search results, this isn’t true. In fact, you can stand out amongst your competitors, come up higher in search listings, and generate greater interest in your product line all at the same time. How to do this is simple—take your remaining cash budget and throw it down a wishing well! Okay, that’s obviously not what I suggest, but sometimes the frustration of new business ventures makes you feel like that’s the only why. But for a much more realistic approach, you can write and submit articles about your business subject.

This doesn’t mean write sales sites for your business—you’re already doing that and everyone else is too. The way to stand out is to take advantage of the other great utility the Web has provided consumers—information gathering. When people are interested in something, they search the Web for information. Even if they are buying a product, prospects won’t just look up sales websites, they’ll look for purely informational sites for objective opinions free of any sales pressure. For example, if they want a bed, they’ll want to know what types of beds are out there; if they want cheese, they’ll want to know health info; or if they’re interested in widgets, they’ll want to know what one is even before they think of buying.

Here’s where you and your business come in—you create this content for customers. Whether it’s setting up an entire website for information or submitting articles to a larger service, by generating content on your area of expertise, you increase the amount of traffic to your specific business area. Furthermore, you become a resource for not just products, but for information. This means more potential customers are coming to your websites, and more content means a greater chance of appearing on search result listings without extra money spent on advertising. Best of all, you position you and your business as a source of expertise on whatever you sell. Customers trust you for all the valuable information you’ve given them and they know you are competent about your products rather than just a business doing a sales pitch.

However, you can’t just put any content on the Web. Find out what customers are interested in when it comes to your products. Give them great content that isn’t only about your products specifically, but how to use them, maintain them, or enjoy them best; stated in a general way. When you write these articles, providing information about the subject should be the primary goal. Your business should be a small footnote at the end, reminding customers if they’d like to see some great products related to this subject, they can find them at your website.

Using these guidelines, customers will become excited and informed about your product realm, and they’ll remember which businesses helped them along the way. For you and your business, you’ll see greater interest, Web traffic, and better search results in a way that makes you stand out among competitors.

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In addition, I haven’t seen many comments on these articles lately. As much of an absolute marketing mastermind I am, I’m sure I bring up arguable points once in a while. And as I’ve said before, I always welcome suggestions on future articles. Please feel free to drop me a line if you think of something you’d like to learn more about or introduce for discussion. Thanks!

There’s no Shame in Being a Guerrilla

So what if people look at you funny, there’s nothing wrong with being a guerrilla. Look at it this way, you get to scratch yourself wherever and whenever you want, how great is that? Alright, alright, so maybe you don’t want to be an actual guerrilla, but if you’re a bootstrapped business owner, employing guerrilla marketing is sure to help you stretch your budget and tap into some awesome potential.

Where do you start? First, don’t concern yourself with thinking outside the box, forget the box altogether. Because by trying to come up with ways to think outside the box, you naturally start to align yourself with thought patters similar to other businesses trying to think differently. So, the key then is to think differently without thinking differently. Ha! How do you like that notion?

The point is, you’re all creative beings and hold an infinite amount of potential—you simply need to take a few minutes to relax and tap into your inner thoughts. You’ll be surprised at what you allow your brain to come up with when you give it a chance to plug into the subconscious and recall your past experiences and pair it with your expansive knowledge base. After you’ve given yourself some time to meditate and think deeply on how to make your business stand out, grab a pen and paper (or keyboard) and just start writing down all the different ideas that pop out of that beautiful brain of yours.

The key here is to allow for a stream of consciousness. As soon as you begin to question the legitimacy or plausibility of the ideas you come up with, you’re going to start suffocating the creative process—similar to waving your finger at your brain and punishing it for expressing itself. This is one of the leading reasons businesses have so much trouble being different, they don’t allow themselves creative license. Open yourself up and you’re going to love what you come up with. And you’ll be able to multiply your mental results by getting your team together and brainstorming together. If you’re truly a small business and don’t have any employees or teammates, then buy your friends a couple of beers and ask if they’ll come over and help you brainstorm. (Don’t have too many or they’ll have you convinced that standing on the corner naked screaming your site’s URL is a good idea.)

Here are a couple of quick ideas:

Fundraisers: There’s no shame in setting up a charitable event or fundraiser to garner lucrative exposure for your business. You will create the chance to help out a good cause and to get your name out in the public.

Chamber of Commerce: Many businesses seem to have forgotten about the good ol’ Chamber of Commerce. Joining this organization provides you with the opportunity to help your community while creating great business contacts.

Contests: Think of some contests that you can offer up to your business prospects and local community. Whenever you get people actively involved in something, you significantly increase the likelihood of lucrative conversions. Besides, they’re fun!

Who Do You Know?

Shiny wrappers promising delicious treats inside, perfectly tied bows sealing seductive sweets within, colors of the rainbow catching the eye at every angle…I’d like to address the kid-in-the-candy-store phenomenon and how it applies to your marketing (more specifically, how it shouldn’t apply). Through my years of experience of working with my clients and trying to educate them on their marketing and working with a bootstrapped budget, I’ve noticed that they really appreciate it when I slap their hands and help them slow down before they burn through their budgets like a chocolate-smeared kid blowing through his allowance in a candy store. Granted, there are some very effective marketing methods out there today, but without the occasional hand-slap, you might get as excited as a child and buy up every shiny new marketing solution that you see.

First, the following is not supposed to be considered a popularity contest, and by no means am I claiming to be the coolest guy out there-well, my five-month-old son may think I’m pretty cool! But what I’d like to ask you is: Who do you know? I don’t want to know if you’ve ever seen James Woods in a Starbucks or if you’re the type of person who gets the thumbs up from everyone you pass. I just want to see if you can develop a list of people you know. Why develop a list? Because, whether you’re a first-year small-business greenhorn or a veteran badass, creating a contact list is one of the best ways to get your marketing wheels rolling. And…uh huh, you know what’s coming here…it’s free!

Instead of buying the first shiny marketing package that catches your eye, set aside a significant period of time and develop a list of all the people you know. By first creating a list of contacts that you can solicit and present your business to, you’ll be taking advantage of verified, warm leads; leads you didn’t have to spend a single marketing dollar on. The first phase of creating your list should be done through a stream of consciousness, writing down every single name that comes to mind. Subsequently, you’ll use a filter and qualify each of the name’s you’ve written down. Try categorizing them into Direct Purchase, Referral Prospects, Barter Candidates and Sleepers.

  • Direct Purchase: Who on your list is ready to buy? Which names did you write down that fall under your classifications for your ideal client?
  • Referral Prospects: Want to double or triple your new contact list? Then ask yourself “Who do they know?” For example, let’s say you’re a used-car salesman. Okay, so you’ve got your brother on the list, but he’s always been a new-or-nothing kind of guy and though he loves you, refuses to buy from you. Instead of testing this familial tie’s strength, simply think of who he knows or ask him if he thinks any of his friends might be interested. No matter what industry they’re in, business owners would do well to view their company as a network marketing company or an MLM. Look beyond the surface; there are many levels to a solid business.
  • Barter Candidates: Who on your list could you trade services/products with? Perhaps your neighbor doesn’t need a car at this time, but you can still ask him if he’d be willing to trade you a few hours of his skills for some car repair discounts you get through your vendors.
  • Sleepers: These are the people you just can’t seem to categorize. Perhaps you only briefly met them on the street once and don’t have an actual relationship with them. Either way, you should never assume a contact is worthless until you’ve made the effort to market to them.

Just as we encourage equality in society, so shall it be with your business. Never assume anything about your prospects or contacts until you’ve dealt with them directly-after that, you can judge them as much as you’d like.

Look for our future feature article on follow-up to help you capitalize on your contact list.

Doing and Knowing What You Love

Doing what you love seems deceptively simple. We should know what we love, but we often confuse this with what others expect us to love, what we do to fill our time, and what we merely like.

Our friends, family and society have expectations of us which vary greatly. If you look at practically any program on television, you will see what society currently expects us to want and love. These images influence our behavior, even if we do not completely understand it.

Sometimes we are pressured to make our hobbies into more than they are. My friend Jen is a crafter in her spare time. She has a flair for making adorable dolls, but once she started taking commissions, her hobby became a chore. In this case, Jen didn’t really love what she was doing. Making dolls was a pleasant time filler, but it was little more than that.

When you truly love what you do, you get a sense of joy the moment you begin. Something you love will energize you and make you feel better about yourself, what you’re doing and life in general. Loving your business will bring harmony into your life; in and out of your workplace.

If you know you love what you do and are still working at making it a business success check out the article titled “From Passion to Profits”.

Bootstrapping Business Arsenal: Play the Friend Card

Sometimes, when business problems have you completely stumped, in the words of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, you need to use a lifeline and phone a friend. While we often think that the road to success is traveled alone, our friends can give us the strength we need to take the chances that will lead to larger goals.

If you work alone, you can only rely on the skills you possess. You have no one to buoy your spirits when you are discouraged or to share your successes. Our friends often know our abilities better than we do. Where we see ourselves through a lens of self-criticism and doubt, our friends see a strong, smart, able-bodied compatriot. Don’t keep your business life a secret when you are having trouble; talk out your troubles with a friend and brainstorm solutions. You never know when creativity will strike. Every situation has its power teams, and with some experimentation, you and your group will find your way to the top.