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Howdy everyone in cyberspace. I’ve been getting some great feedback from people. It’s exciting that someone is actually reading the blog, so keep those cards and letters coming. Today I’m focused on a kitchen renovation.

I’ve been considering remodeling my kitchen for about a year now. UGHHH – I’ve done most of the house at this point, but now I have the big nut to crack – the heart of my house. The kitchen is about 25 years old, and badly in need of a modernization. Bonus renovating my kitchen will keep my home value in the current housing market. Once I started to put the plan together I realized what a daunting task this could become. Not only from the perspective of cost, but time, and inconvenience. I forgot having a major part of my house out of commission for a few weeks will cause chaos. Why am I blathering about renovating my kitchen? Well it is right in line with my topic of renovating a marketing plan.

I have a feeling that many business owners have the same impression about updating a marketing plan as I do about updating my kitchen. In their minds updating a marketing plan is as much fun as a deep cleaning at the dentist.

I found during consulting meetings many small business owners didn’t bother to create a marketing plan in the first place. WHAT?? You need to know where you want to go to actually reach a destination. Personally I don’t take a trip without a map, or at least an idea of where I want to go. Obviously if your in that boat there are lots of tools for you to create a plan. One that incorporates daily business needs with your future marketing expenditures. Remember time never stands still, and your marketing plan is a work in process. You’ll pull it out often – especially if you’re updating a piece of your marketing home.

Now let me touch on one of my favorite marketing tools – a website. Here are a few helpful renovation tips for a website.

Flash is a cartoon superhero, period. Please get rid of flash on a website, especially a landing page. Yikes, flash reminds me of my parents 1974 avocado green appliances. Trendy in it’s day, but out of favor in 2010.

Along those lines please get rid of audio features you can’t turn off. How many people are surfing the web during the business hours – Do you want to put them on the unemployment line?

Last pet peeve’s…old homemade website pages with tons of affiliate banner ads. Yes I have a few on the site, but they are useful to a customer who wants to “do-it-themselves” – I can’t control everyone’s marketing. Might as well give them some free ideas.

Nice part about updating a website – it can be your best tool for marketing. Flexible, easily updated, bottom line…there are a lot of new options in 2010. Use the web to your advantage with search engine optimization (http://www.bestseointown.com) look at the different types of optimization tools you can incorporate.

OK, I’ve taken a few deep breaths. I know that people instinctively hate change. Moving from a comfort zone isn’t a favorite activity. Remember there are some easy-peesy-lemonsqueezy ideas to put a new coat of paint on your website.

You can freshen up your website with a new theme. WordPress is a great tool, and even a novice can put new themes onto a website. I had one theme for a while, but eventually picked the one I’m using today. WordPress is a blog tool so you can put your thoughts out on the web in word form.

Last thought for today. By all means, make your website your own creative venture. Feature your USP on your little space of the universe. Let your customer’s know what you can do for them. They should be able to know within 10 seconds what you do, and WIFFM (what’s in it for them).

Happy Marketing – Make it a profitable week
Christine

P.S. – For those who wonder, yes I can be grammatically challenged (must have missed a few days in grammar school). So if you catch something please let it slide. I’m an internet researcher and marketing person, not an English teacher. :-)

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This was the recap of the blog I posted on Merchant Circle earlier this month.

Today business owners have so many more options in marketing. Questions that come up during conversations… “Should I spend my day blogging or checking Facebook? How about LinkedIn? Local website marketing? Is print dead or the best place for a bargain? Should I spend money on direct mail? What about my website – how much information should I put there? How often should I update information…” the list goes on and on. These are all good questions – while the answers are case specific – are you looking for visibility or sales?

Ahhh – so many questions, so little money (or time) to try them all. My first suggestion is “STOP TRYING MARKETING!”

Personally I hate the word try. Trying is weak, and you’re already expecting to fail (or receive minimal success). Both advertising sales people and consultants say “Let’s try this – or that” Business owners think “if it doesn’t succeed it was his/her idea – I’m just following orders…” Belch – time to get rid of that thinking.

Many business owners are confused about website marketing. Most of our consultations center on using on-line marketing to get the most out of a small marketing budget.

Traffic, visibility, hits, eyes – website owners call it different words, but it’s all about people clicking on a link to visit your website or ad. My opinion – most of the time branding a company through advertising is a waste of time. People buy from people, and the mood of the country is “don’t trust anyone, especially a business.” You can’t buy credibility with print, web or traditional advertising. Put a bio, picture and map – put a human face on your website.

Next idea for a business owner – have a happy customer or colleague recommend your business or services. Word of mouth advertising is really important for small budgets. One caveat – you can’t buy great press – but you can be devastated by bad web press.

Be aware consumers are brazen with their opinions on the web – it’s still anonymous and everyone has a comment. Many websites (Yahoo Local, Yelp, Etc.) allow consumers an opportunity to post their opinion about anything. One dissatisfied customer can blow-up the best website marketing plan with a low customer rating or bad opinion.

Last thought for today – have you developed a customer mailing list to share news? Write an an e-zine monthly, put a blog together. There are so many places in the world where you can control the marketing message for low cost. Those are usually really effective, but lower cost means a longer time frame.

Well that’s enough for today – Stay busy and make money.

To your success…
Christine Cavaliero

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Shark Tank Blog – August

August 23rd, 2010 | Posted by Christine in Shark Tank Blog - (0 Comments)

This summer has been brutal.  Heat, humidity, rain, more heat, no rain – yuck.  Customers have been MIA, unless you’re working with Air Conditioning or a vacation destination.  People are spending money again on themselves and their needs.

Something  business people can be thankful for – the economy has settled down – at least a little bit.

Summer is almost over so let’s talk about Fall – and how it correlates to a business cycle.

Fall is a mature product, or a core promotion.  Something that is a stable part of your marketing mix.  This is the 80/20 rule!  Most of your business is coming from a small group of customers.  They are the customers who know you, your products and services.  This is where you can really put your profits into overdrive.

We all know it’s easy it is to forget about these customers – that is until they begin to defect to your competition.

Idea #1 – Special promotions for your loyal customers.  Many business owners spend so much time, money and energy trying to get people to buy from them the first time.  Once they are your customer you can redirect some marketing money to keeping them happy, and making them buy again.  Pure Profit!

Idea #2 – People love something for nothing – give them free information – preferably “insider information.”  Give them the feeling of being in the know.  That’s where you can use articles, whitepapers, sales and hot insider how-to information.

Not that I’ve given you an extensive list – these are just a couple of marketing ideas.  Every business is unique so if you are  considering new promotions contact us.

Just a quick update to this blog post – I’ve been inundated with spam messages on this blog post so I’m going to close the comments. I like to hear from my readers (actual people please), but I’m going to have to add some spam filters to the entire blog.

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