Category Archives: Marketing

4 Ways To Reduce Unnecessary Small Business Costs | Davinci Virtual

4 Ways To Reduce Unnecessary Small Business Costs

Reducing unnecessary small business costs doesn’t have to be complicated. Often, cutting out unnecessary expenses can go a long way toward improving your bottom line. A variety of considerations, such as going paperless and utilizing virtual office spaces, to marketing online, can add up and make a huge difference. If you’re looking for ways to maximize profitability and efficiency by while reducing costs and overhead expenses, keep the following steps in mind.

1. Go Paperless

The cost of paper might seem minimal when compared to other expenses, but it can add up to a large sum over time. Going paperless is not as drastic of a change as it might seem to some business owners. In fact, you can perform your daily functions in virtually the same way—without the extra cost. Technology has come a long way over the last few decades, and competitive businesses are taking advantage of new tools and services to run more efficiently and effectively.

2. Explore Virtual Receptionist Services

Being a business owner is demanding, especially if you’re just starting out. Although you might be doing a great job at balancing everything on your own, it doesn’t always come across in the most professional manner to prospects and clients. By doing everything yourself, from answering phones to closing deals, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to missing out on the small details of business management. This is where virtual receptionist services can come in handy. Live receptionist services provide highly qualified receptionists that are capable of doing much more than simply answering the phone. These receptionists give specific and detailed information that clients or prospects need in order to have a positive experience with your company. Having someone that’s able to take care of calls professionally lets you focus on other important matters.

3. Utilize Virtual Office Space

Leasing a space can be a big expense. If you’re only holding meetings and conferences with clients and prospects once in a while, leasing a building with extra square footage is unnecessary. However, having a professional atmosphere is an absolute must to the profitability of your company. In situations like this, utilizing virtual office spaces is a great solution. You get all the benefits and perks of the space, without the overhead cost and maintenance. Reduce the unnecessary costs in your business and reserve your virtual office space today.

4. Start Marketing Your Business Online

Technology is taking over every aspect of our lives—and it’s no different when it comes to business. More and more businesses are opting to market online rather than outbound and direct marketing methods. In large part, online marketing is much cheaper. Print ads and direct mail pieces are expensive and don’t allow you to measure the clear results of your campaign. With online marketing, you’re able to track data directly to a prospect or client and can personalize your campaigns more effectively, all while saving money and improving your overall ROI.

Small businesses are becoming more and more common across the country. From one-person shops to a handful of employees, these businesses are able to compete with, and outperform, some of the most well known competitors in their industry. In order for smaller businesses to thrive, they need to be mindful of the bottom line as well as make smart decisions when it comes to spending. These four tips are essential to reducing unnecessary business costs and remaining profitable for years to come.

Working From Home? Seven Reasons You Need A Professional Business Address

Working From Home? Seven Reasons You Need A Professional Business Address

The variety of today’s small businesses runs the gamut—from tech start-ups, to gardening services to law practices. And while each type of small business has different needs, they share some of the same concerns. Dealing with distractions—the dog barking next door, the doorbell ringing and family demands (they do know you’re working, right?)—can be challenging. Certainly every small business needs to be taken as a serious competitor in their respective markets to succeed.

Have you considered what a virtual, professional business address could do for you? Imagine an office that allows you to work from home but gives you more options for client meetings other than gathering around your kitchen table. There are countless additional perks that a virtual office brings, and we’ve compiled seven ways you could benefit from a professional business address from Davinci Virtual Office Solutions.

1. Receive Deliveries And Messages

A professional business address gives you the option to have your clients and partners deliver items to a professional office rather than your home. You can then pick them up personally or have them forwarded on a scheduled basis wherever you want. Clients also have the option to leave messages for you which will instantly be forwarded to you.

2. Market Your Business

Do you need another cost-effective way to get your business name out there? You can use your virtual professional address for business licensing or registration and market your new company address on search engines and Internet directories.

3. Gain A Physical Presence

A Davinci Virtual office gives you the credibility and image of a well-known business location.  At many of our virtual office locations your company name will be added to the lobby directory. And, over time, with a virtual, professional address your business will develop a presence in the community.

 4. Expand Options For Where You Work

Working from home, in the same space, can get monotonous. Mix it up by renting a fully equipped office at your business address. Use the Davinci online reservation platform to browse rates and features. Whenever needed, you can reserve your workspace by the hour, day or week – instantly – online.

5. Provide A Personal And Professional Touch

Your clients will be treated as though you worked at your professional business address every day. When they arrive for meetings or just to drop off a package for you, Davinci Virtual Office locations offer a lobby greeter who will welcome your clients to the office and provide them with assistance.

6. Get Meeting Spaces With Cutting-Edge business Services

Do you have a big meeting coming up? Rent a state-of-the art conference room at your professional business address. Meeting rooms are fully loaded with LCD projectors, network connections, computer access, TV/DVD players, video conferencing and catering.

If you have need to conduct meetings in multiple locations, Davinci gives you access to over 3,000 meeting rooms around the world. This allows you to collaborate with prospects and clients in an environment that is designed to project professionalism. You can reserve a meeting space by the hour or by the day in every major city throughout the world.

7. Give Them An Expert Communication Experience

A Davinci Virtual Receptionist can answer your phone calls, take messages, make outbound calls—even engage in lead generation. Combined with a lobby greeter at your physical address, your business will offer a very high level of communication to your clients. 

It’s More Than An Address

When you partner with Davinci Virtual Office Solutions to gain a virtual, professional business address you’ll be gaining more than digits and a name. At a very cost-effective rate, you’ll have the tools to project the right image, close deals and expand your business.

Get more small business tips by following Davinci Virtual Offices on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Top SEO Tips for Small Business Owners

For those who are just starting to learn how to do internet marketing, SEO is one of the most important topics to cover.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is all about getting your Web site to the top of the search engine results. Different SEO techniques will increase the visibility of your Web site to search engines, usually by increasing the amount of Internet traffic that it receives.

Most SEO tips and methods are focused on Google. That’s because Google continues to be the leading internet firm in the world. A large fraction of web users rely on Google as a search engine and also for many of its other services. It also offers a lot of applications that can help in finding a reputable spot for your Web site in search engine results and listings.

Before taking on a myriad of SEO tools that are available online, it would be best to know the SEO basics. A good grasp of the SEO basics will help you climb your way to the top despite constantly changing rules and search engine functionality. Start by learning how search engines operate then create a checklist of the things that you can do to boost your ranking. Your checklist should include the top keywords that can lead to your website, getting lots of links and creating quality content.

Here are Tips on Getting Started with SEO

If you’re getting started on how to do internet marketing, you’ve probably run into the term ‘search engine optimization’ or its common abbreviation ‘SEO’. SEO is the practice of optimizing your website so that it ranks well in search engine results like Google. The target is usually to get into the first page since many studies show that most internet users don’t go beyond the first page of results.

As an internet marketer, SEO is definitely something you should be interested in. Here are five SEO tips that should help you get started.

Know what keyword phrase to optimize your site with.

The first step to SEO is finding out what keywords you are optimizing your website for. For example, if you are marketing your dentistry practice in San Francisco, the likely keyword phrase that your potential customers use for searching your service is ‘dentist san francisco’.

Don’t fret, knowing the right keywords don’t need to be guess work. Google Adwords Keyword Tool can give you a list of the most searched keywords that are related to your niche.

Article distribution.

The easiest way to do article distribution is by setting up a blog. All you have to do is write articles that are related to the company or product you are marketing and post them while including a link back to your Web site.

You can also submit these articles to Web sites like ezine.com, but be sure that they have your Web site links.

Get into social media.

Search engines love social media. Having a page on Facebook or an account in Twitter is a great way to boost your ranking. Just remember to place a link back to your website.

Submit your Web site to Google.

Google allows for free submission of URLs if you want to be added to its directory. While it doesn’t guarantee a listing, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try.

Submit your home page URL to the Google directory and the Googlebot will explore (or crawl) the rest of your links.

These tips were submitted by InternetMarketing-Alchemy.com.

Check out this YouTube video for even more tips:

New Widget Makes Collecting E-mail Addresses Simple

If you’ve been reading this small business blog for any length of time, then  you know I’m a big believer in Internet marketing. E-mail marketing is part of that.

However, one of the obstacles with e-mail marketing is finding an easy way to collecting e-mail addresses of potential new customers in a spam-compliant manner. Indeed, a recent Constant Contact survey revealed the number one thing that keeps small business owners up at night is attracting new customers.

Constant Contact didn’t gather that information for the sake of having knowledge. The company has actively moved to solve the problem via a partnership with Web site builder Yola.

Here’s how the strategic alliance benefits you: With the drag of a mouse, you can collect e-mail addresses on your Web site—or on any landing page you create for special online marketing campaigns—using a new widget from Yola. The widget lets small businesses add a “Join My Mailing List” box to their Web sites without the need for any special knowledge about coding.

Essentially, adding a customizable Constant Contact Join My Mailing List box is as easy as dragging and dropping the widget onto a Web page. The widget will automatically update your e-mail marketing lists with new e-mail addresses collected from your Yola Web site.

Of course, the catch is you have to be a Constant Contact customer. If you work with another e-mail marketing company, see if they have a similar tool. Transferring your e-mail lists isn’t always the easiest move to make. But if you need these sorts of widgets and value-adds and your current provider isn’t offering them, it may be time for a change.

Customer Loyalty: The Trust Factor Matters

How important is customer trust for small businesses? More important than you might think, according to a new research from Pitney Bowes that explores the role of trust in customer relationships. Indeed, trust is one of the leading influences.

Specifically, the Pitney Bowes study revealed that customer communications drive more than 20 percent of the overall trust a company receives. That trust, in turn, impacts the length of the customer relationship and profitability. Overall, the study results show that trust can drive up to 44 percent of customer loyalty, reinforcing the theory that long-lasting customer relationships are absolutely critical for business success.

“Trusted brands build upon each interaction to enable lifetime customer relationships—every customer interaction—in person, on a Web site, with direct mail, or with a call center —is an opportunity to build or break trust,” says David Newberry, Chief Marketing Officer of Pitney Bowes Business Insight.

What does this mean for your small business? According to Pitney Bowes:

  • Customers are looking for companies that can provide high quality customer care which in turn gives them a feeling of being well looked after.
  • Companies are also looking for a high level of competency and etiquette from front-facing employees.
  • Companies can reach out to customers and exchange opinions about products and services by using digital technologies and social media.

Check out this quick video on customer loyalty marketing for some strategic tips for your small business:

How to Navigate Google’s Changing Algorithms

SEO. It’s an acronym that wasn’t on the radar screen of most small businesses 10 years ago. But in an age when consumers are turning to search engines to find everything from products and services to news and various other types of information, you can’t afford not to put SEO, or search engine optimization, on your radar screen in a hurry.

Many companies large and small rely on behemoth Google for search engine marketing. But with its ever changing algorithms how can businesses adapt to SEO winning strategies? It begins by understanding how Google ticks. According to ThomasNet, a SEO press release distribution service firm, Google makes over 350 algorithm changes every year.

With 97 percents of industrial buyers beginning their OEM, MRO and services purchasing process online, ThomasNet experts say it is critical for SMB industrial companies to learn how to adapt their online marketing strategy—including their Web site, search engine marketing and search engine optimization—to minimize risks and maximize opportunities.

That’s why ThomasNet is recommending a free whitepaper called, “Reliance on Search Engine Optimization for Industrial SMBs is a Slippery Slope.” The white paper explains the four major Google algorithm changes since April 2010, outlines their impact to search results delivered on Google, reviews the implications of these changes to industrial businesses who promote themselves online, and provide recommendations for succeeding in the ever-changing world of online search.

No matter what industry your small business is in, you can glean some valuable insights into how to SEO your Web site and its content around Google algorithms in this white paper.

In the meantime, here are a four general SEO tips any small business can put into practice:

  1. Do your keyword research.
  2. Develop value-added content.
  3. Optimize for local search.
  4. See what keywords your competitors are using.

And here’s a video with some additional SEO insights:

Why Your Small Business Must Have a Web Site

The first web site was published 20 years ago today. Can you believe it? Still, recent studies show that a large number of small businesses still don’t have a web site.

And that’s a big mistake, according to many small business marketing experts. Brandon Yanofsky from BlistMarketing.com, is one of them. As he sees it, small businesses that don’t have web sites are missing out on three big benefits.

1. People are looking for your product/service online.
People are now using search engines to find products and services. The only way a small business can appear in the search engine results is if they have a Web site, Yanofsky says. “If you have a website, your potential customers will find your business,” he continues. “If you don’t, they’ll find your competitors.”

2. People are looking for YOU online.
In addition to searching for products and services, Yanofsky says consumers are also using Web sites to get in contact with small businesses. If they need a phone number, they won’t look in the Yellow Pages. Instead, they search for the company’s Web site.

“When [a plumber's] customer had a leak in their house, they went online looking for his phone number,” he explains. “But because he didn’t have a Web site, his customer wasn’t able to find his phone number and called his competitor instead.”

3. It’s the best way to spend your marketing budget.
Out of all the advertising and marketing methods available to businesses, Yanofsky says Web sites are the most effective and efficient. Compared to other forms of advertising, a Web site is much cheaper but yields more results.

“One of my clients was spending thousands a month on advertising,” he says. “When they finally got a website, they stopped running the advertising and still had more clients. They lowered their costs and increased their revenue.”

Some small businesses may be ready to take the next step: mobile Web sites. Everywhere people are using mobile devices to surf the Web for information. It is more important than ever for businesses to have a mobile website, especially one that presents essential information quickly and displays it in a way that helps website visitors find what they are looking for while on the go.

Traditional Web sites are designed to be used in a desktop computing environment, with a full browser, large monitor, mouse driven navigation and in a mostly sedentary context. By comparison, the mobile user has a small screen and limited navigation tools. Businesses who do not accommodate the mobile user are losing out on the most rapidly growing informational market segment in the world today.

“Having a mobile presence for your business is essential in today’s competitive market,” says Gary Hughes, president of SoFlaMobi LLC, parent company of South Florida goMobi. “More and more people are relying on their mobile devices to find information they need while out and about.”

Here’s a quick video on how to build a web site yourself:

Vimeo PRO Makes Quick Video Marketing Affordable for Small Business

Have you ever heard of quick video marketing? It’s one of the most effective online marketing vehicles known to small business.

Online video continues to experience explosive growth. Consider the sheer statistics:

The “Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2010-2015″ shows that video will account for 50 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by the end of 2012.

Nearly 60 percent of viewers watch video before reading text on the same Web page and are more likely to make a purchase, according to a December 2010 Forbes Insight survey.

And this year, 83 percent of small businesses plan to use social media channels for their business, reports eMarketer.

With the web rapidly moving from text to video, small businesses need to adapt to the shift in technology or quickly become irrelevant or less impactful to their consumers who expect to see video everywhere online. Now, Vimeo, a high quality video sharing company, has launched a professional level service that’s affordable for small businesses looking for a hosting solution for their quick video marketing materials. Dubbed Vimeo PRO, the service is now live.

“Until now, quality video hosting has been expensive, confusing, and extremely difficult for a small business owner to understand. Small businesses have fallen between the cracks of free video services and massive enterprise video solutions,” says Dae Mellencamp, general manager of Vimeo. “Vimeo PRO resolves the contradiction that best-of-breed video quality and hosting can also be easy and affordable.”

Vimeo PRO is priced at $199 for 50GB of storage and 250,000 plays as a flat annual fee. At that price, the idea is to help small businesses compete with larger companies. The service offers features like high video quality, customizable portfolio websites, extensive video player customization, video review pages, advanced statistics, social media sharing and broad privacy settings.

Production companies will be able to create many separate portfolios and share rough cuts with clients. Restaurants can show their atmosphere and signature dish preparation online to potential diners. Real estate agents can provide home hunters with higher quality housing previews. And, even doctors can create private groups to educate patients and medical students.

This is a step above YouTube. It might not be necessary for every small business, but if you are looking for tons of features and high-quality, Vimeo PRO is the way to go in the quick video marketing space.

Check out this video for a few quick tips on quick video marketing:

How Social PR Can Help Your Small Business

Public relations campaigns have always been one of the main streams a medium, or large business would use to reach out to their prospective clients.

The idea is simple: Get inside the everyday life of potential clients, without making it look like an ad, using a clever trick or two, at times. As the Internet progresses, more companies are finding out that their best target audience could be regular participants in an industry-related social network or a blog.

This makes it incredibly easy for just about any company to deliver their message to their target audience, with laser precision. This new opportunity gave birth to a totally new way of performing public relations.

Aptly named “Social PR” or “Social Public Relations”, this marketing field is quite new, but is quickly proving to be one of the most viable ways for promoting a business today. As

Grindvision Team CEO Steve Weiss puts: “It is a waste of time for all businesses to have accounts on social networks like Twitter, or Facebook if there is no consistent message or engaging content that interests the masses.”

One of the latest ways to leverage social PR is the Google +1 button. The Google +1 button is an easy way to publicly ‘vote’ for a piece of content online. When a business “+1′s” their press release published on Online PR Media, one of many press release distribution services, for example, those following their recommendations will see the press release higher in the search results and noted as recommended.

“The Google+ network is poised to be the next big social network for sharing and connecting online,” says Tara Geissinger, Co-Founder of Online PR Media. “We’ve always been committed to incorporating the most trending news sharing features at Online PR Media, so it was only natural that we add the Google +1 button to our published press releases to make it easier for readers to connect with their Google network.”

How Small Businesses Can Land Major Corporate Clients

Major corporate clients. I’ve got them. From Microsoft to PR Newswire to Ryder to Pitney Bowes, I work with plenty of major corporate clients. And so can your small business.

“Unfortunately, many small business owners and independent consultants shun the idea of attracting corporate clients, whether it’s because they just left the corporate world or because they believe they can’t really reach people through the corporate world,” says Bernadette Doyle, a marketing coach. “But the fact is, landing just one corporate client can pay the bills for months to come and give an entrepreneur the ability to reach a huge number of people all at once.”

The fact is corporate clients are spending money—and lots of it—with small vendors. In fact, a recent study discovered that the largest companies in the world spend a combined $1 trillion with third-party companies. So the question is, how can your small business tap into this revenue stream? You might try taking Doyle’s advice. She’s helped others tap into this profitable flow.

Doyle is offering a free online workshop called “How To Attract Corporate Clients” on Thursday, July 7. This is a 90-minute class that will cover such topics as:

  • How to “get your foot in the door” without cold calling, networking, or waiting for referrals
  • Why “small” doesn’t have to be a disadvantage when approaching large companies (and actually has a number of hidden advantages if entrepreneurs know how to play it the right way)
  • Why cold calling can kill your small business—and the strategies you need to use for maximum growth instead
  • How to play and win the “internal politics” game
  • How to shorten the sales cycle

If you can’t make that online seminar, check out this Wall Street Journal article, with tips that include: (1) Make sure you’re reaching out personally, (2) Partner with complementary businesses, and (3) Hire well-connected talent.