Posts tagged ‘Small Business’

EASY Personal Branding Tips: Why You Need a Personal Brand

Hello and welcome to Small Business EASY Branding Tips.  Brought to you by SSS for Success (EASY Brand Marketing Specialists), working to help Small Businesses Survive through EASY Sales.  This week’s topic is: “EASY Personal Branding Tips: Why You Need a Personal Brand”.   

I was recently asked the importance of personal branding, and today, I want to talk about Why You Need a Personal Brand.  Whether you are a business owner, or a job seeker, there is something to be said for the level of professionalism that you project to potential clients and/or prospective employers.
 

As a personal branding strategy, I would advise that you acquire your own personal email address (e.g. you@yourname.com), in addition to a website hosted at the domain of your name for both you, as well as for your business, if for no other reason than to be proactive, rather than reactive about what’s available about you on the web.

In this week’s podcast, I give an example of how I incorporated personal branding into my own life, and how it’s helped me improve both my personal and professional life.  What I did was take control of my name, Kindra Cotton, and the information on the web about me and what you find whenever you perform a Google search for my name.

I sought to script a better narrative about me on the web, by first creating my own personal web portal, then by using blogging, podcasting, and the other social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, that I already had in my arsenal.

Within three months, I was able to change the search results for my name from obscure references from several years ago, to what you see in today’s search results, which more than likely point you to my personal web portal, or one of the many blogs, online communities, or publishing platforms that I’m associated with, most of which still probably link you back to my personal web portal.

As a business owner, its important to me to script a proper narrative about myself and my company, and in this economy, I would think it would behoove the savvy job seeker to put their best foot forward and use the web as both a business card and a resume so that potential employers can learn about you from you.

And I don’t just say this because I have created a Personal Branding Special at my company SSS for Success (EASY Brand Marketing Specialists), because I created the Special to specifically meet an immediate need I saw in the market. 

Having your own personal brand is important because it helps you take control of much of what’s available about you on the web, since you put it there.  I’ve also found that I love when people contact me and quote stuff off of my blog or personal web portal.  It tells me that what I’ve put out there to be found in Google searches is working, and that people are learning a little bit about me ahead of time, so when they call me, they’re already “warmed up”, and this is a valuable asset.  

Also keep in mind that as a business owner, you can use your personal web portal as a compliment to your businesses’ websites, and provide yet another way to feed people to your business blog or site.

Reminder: Within the next few weeks, I’m going to have a podcast episode devoted entirely to questions and answers from you, my listening audience, so please submit your Small Business Branding Questions for that upcoming episode.  You can visit our website sss4success.com and go to the Contact Us page to submit your question, or reach out to us via email at “podcasts @ sss4success.com”, or finding us on Twitter (@sss4success), or leaving a comment below.  Don’t forget to stop by our Facebook Fan Page and let us know you LIKE what we’re doing.


Finally, if by chance, you would like to learn more about how EASY Sales can help your bottom line, then give us a call at 615-336-4325.

Have a great day!

Kindra Cotton

If the player above isn’t displaying, or working properly, you can also download the podcast from iTunes for free

By the way, Transcripts are now available upon request.  If you want one, please email us at “transcripts[at]sss4success.com“. 


How to Build Traffic and Enhance a brand with EASY Newsletters

Hello and welcome to the podcast for Small Business EASY Branding Tips.  Brought to you by SSS for Success (EASY Brand Marketing Specialists), working to help Small Businesses Survive through EASY Sales. 
This week’s topic is: “How to Build Traffic and Enhance a brand with EASY Newsletters”.  In a previous post, I talked about “The Basics of Branding and Why Anyone Can Do It”.  In that post, I detailed the 4-Step Common Sense Branding Strategy that I think most small business owners should be aware of when seeking to create, build, and enhance their company’s brand.  
Those steps were: 1st: Determining & Defining Your Brand. Step 2: Researching Your Market and Positioning Your Brand to Capitalize on a Sector of it. Step 3: Launching Your Brand. Step 4: Managing, Monitoring & Tweaking Your Brand (Note: That’s “tweaking” your brand, meaning make minor revisions, not tweeting your brand, which is more so a function that occurs under Step 3).  

In this week’s post, we talk about how to use newsletters and email marketing to build bring traffic either to your blog or to your website, and to enhance your overall brand, so we’ll specifically be talking about Steps 3 and 4. 

There are a number of reasons why creating and disseminating a regular newsletter is important for building traffic and enhancing a brand:
  1. It builds your reputation as an information resource to your core audience, and it lets your audience know that you know what you’re talking about.
  2. It keeps you connected with your audience, and it gives you the opportunity to stay relevant and provide useful information that your audience will appreciate.  
  3. If you sell things, or at one point will want to promote something, it’s a great way to have a “pre-sold” audience who trusts you and your opinions.
  4. It helps you build traffic and enhance your brand, while engaging in activities that help your bottom line. 
Here’s a brief rundown of what I discuss further in this week’s podcast.  Here are the steps you can take to get started with email marketing and producing a newsletter with very little money:
 
  • Establish a web presence (if you haven’t already): If you don’t have a website, visit this quick guide on Web Publishingmaximizingthenet.com/web/webpublishing.html
  • Sign up for an Email Marketing Service:  I’m currently using MailChimp under their “Forever Free” program that allows you to have up to 500 subscribers and send 3000 emails per month.  MailChimp is very easy-to-use and they have excellent support that is always timely and responsive to queries.  Feel free to click the badge below to get started with your “Forever FreeMailChimp Subscription.  Another option you have is one of the market leaders in email marketing would be Constant Contact.  They have monthly plans that start as low as $15 a month, and they offer a lot of additional solutions like online surveys, event marketing solutions that assist with planning events including tracking registration and payments for events.
  • Add people to your list (ethically):  I want to emphasize “ethically” because there are rules and regulations to how you can add people to your list.  For instance, just sending a blanketed business-related email to everyone in your email address book can be considered “spam”, especially if you did not acquire their email through a legitimate business transaction within the last 18 months. Remember: Do not randomly add people to your newsletter list without their permission.  
  • Use the tools of your Email Marketing Service:  MailChimp lets you not only see statistics on who opened your newsletter and when, but also what they clicked on, and if they forwarded it to someone.  You can set up automated messages or “autoresponders” that send a message to your mailing list (or even only a subset of the mailing list that you identify) at a specific time or date in the future. 
  • Create Interesting Topics: As a general rule of thumb try writing one (1) newsletter article per week, and work on creating “evergreen content”, which is “timeless” content that can be reproduced again over the years without much information that gets “dated” quickly.  One great tip I would suggest would be to write out in advance, 52 topics that you’d like to hit with your newsletter within a year. 
  • Watch the Analytics of Your Newsletter: Use that information and analyze it for what it’s telling you about your audience.  What do people click on most? What doesn’t get any clicks?  What type of subject lines get opened the least?  And be sure to integrate a feedback survey at some point, to get feedback from your subscribers and find out what they think of your newsletter directly.
Speaking of which, be sure to complete this “Small Business Branding Tips Blog Survey”, and if you’re a Small Business Owner that’s been in business for a while, please complete this survey as well.
Please keep in mind that we here at SSS for Success (EASY Brand Marketing Specialists) are always here to help, either by providing services as an “Email Marketing Branding Specialist” producing newsletters content and publishing them on your behalf, or via our Social Media & Technology Training Packages to help you get a better grasp on email marketing tools and how you can learn to use them for yourself.

Note: Within the next few weeks, I’m going to have a podcast episode devoted entirely to questions and answers from you, my listening audience, so please submit your Small Business Branding Questions for that upcoming episode.  You can visit our website sss4success.com and go to the Contact Us page to submit your question, or reach out to us via email at “podcasts @ sss4success.com”, or finding us on Twitter (@sss4success), or leaving a comment below.

Finally, if by chance, you would like to learn more about how EASY Sales can help your bottom line, then give us a call at 615-336-4325.
Have a great day!
Kindra Cotton

  

If the player above isn’t displaying, or working properly, you can also download the podcast from iTunes for free!

Blogs & Blogging | How to Build Web Traffic Through Information

Hello and welcome to this week Small Business EASY Branding Tip.  Brought to you by SSS for Success (EASY Brand Marketing Specialists), working to help Small Businesses Survive through EASY Sales. 

This week’s topic is: “Blogs & Blogging: How to web build traffic through information”.  In a previous post, I talked about “The Basics of Branding and Why Anyone Can Do It“, and detailed the 4 Step Common Sense Branding Strategy that I think most small business owners should be aware of when seeking to create, build, and enhance their company’s brand.  Those steps were: Step 1: Determining & Defining Your Brand. Step 2: Researching Your Market and Positioning Your Brand to Capitalize on a Sector of it. Step 3: Launching Your Brand. Step 4: Managing, Monitoring & Tweaking Your Brand (Note: That’s “tweaking” your brand, meaning make minor revisions, not tweeting your brand, which is more so a function that occurs under Step 3).

In this week’s tip, we’ll talk about how to use blogs to build traffic by providing relevant information to your audience on a timely schedule, including how blogging can be used as you launch, manage, and monitor your brand, so we’ll specifically be talking about Steps 3 and 4.

Blogging can be the way that you build your reputation as an authority on your topic, and by delivering timely content, you can insure that you stay relevant with your core audience.

Because so many people have blogs these days, many now think it’s intuitive, and everyone knows how to do it, but I still think that a tutorial can be useful to some, so I offer this one, with the slant on how it can be used to build and enhance your brand.

Here’s what you need to do to use blogging to build web traffic through information:

  • Choose a Blog Service: Consider free services like Blogger or WordPress.
  • Customize your Blog: Choose a template design that visually represents your brand and a domain name that is branded towards your company’s identity (e.g. blog.yourcompanyname.com or www.yourcompanysblog.com).
  • Incorporate Good Content: Set a blogging schedule, stick to it, and outline topics in advance for the weeks to come.
  • Allow Reader Comments & Feedback: This gives you a feel for what your audience is thinking and how you can improve content over time.
  • Cross-link and Promote other Bloggers: Be sure to read and get a “feel” for the blog before linking to it.
Speaking of feedback, we’d appreciate your feedback on our “SSS for Success (EASY Brand Marketing) Blog Visitor Feedback Survey“. 

Finally, please know that we here at SSS for Success (EASY Brand Marketing Specialists) are available to produce blog content on your behalf as “Social Media Branding Specialists” or via our Social Media & Technology Training Packages to help you get a better grasp on blog tools and how to use them for yourself. 

Feel free to listen to this week’s podcast by clicking the player below, downloading it and/or subscribing to this podcast series in iTunes, or reading the Transcripts of this week’s episode HERE, to learn more.




I hope you found this week’s tip helpful. 

Within the next few weeks, I’m going to have a podcast episode devoted entirely to questions and answers from you, so please submit your Small Business Branding Questions for that upcoming episode.  You can visit our website sss4success.com, reach out to us via email at “podcasts @ sss4success.com”, or finding us on Twitter (@sss4success).

By the way, if you’re a Small Business Owner that’s been in business for a while, please do us a favor and fill out that brief survey and tell us a bit more about your entrepreneurial experiences.  We’d really appreciate your input. 

Finally, if by chance, you would like to learn more about how EASY Sales can help your bottom line, then give us a call at 615-336-4325. 

Have a great day!

Kindra Cotton

The First Steps in Building Your Brand

Hello and welcome to this week Small Business EASY Branding Tip.  Brought to you by SSS for Success (EASY Brand Marketing Specialists), working to help Small Businesses Survive through EASY Sales.
This week’s topic is: “The First Steps in Building Your Brand”.  In a previous post, I talked about “The Basics of Branding and Why Anyone Can Do It“, and detailed the 4 Step Common Sense Branding Strategy that I think most small business owners should be aware of when seeking to create, build, and enhance their company’s brand.  Those steps were: Step 1: Determining & Defining Your Brand. Step 2: Researching Your Market and Positioning Your Brand to Capitalize on a Sector of it. Step 3: Launching Your Brand. Step 4: Managing, Monitoring & Tweaking Your Brand (Note: That’s “tweaking” your brand, meaning make minor revisions, not tweeting your brand, which is more so a function that occurs under Step 3).  

In this week’s tip, we’ll talk about the building blocks of your brand, so we’ll specifically be talking about Steps 2 and 3.

It’s important to lay the right foundation and know what you stand for with your company, what need you fill, and how you’ll go about fulfilling that need in a solution-oriented way that keeps your customers happy.  In completing Step 2: Researching Your Market and Positioning Your Brand to Capitalize on a Sector of it, market research is key because it helps you specifically define your target market, and it gives you a good idea of your standing in the market against your competitors.
Feel free to listen to this week’s podcast by clicking the player below, downloading it and/or subscribing to this podcast series in iTunes, or reading the Transcripts of this week’s episode HERE, to learn more.

I hope you found this week’s tip helpful.

Within the next few weeks, I’m going to have a podcast episode devoted entirely to questions and answers from you, so please submit your Small Business Branding Questions for that upcoming episode.  You can visit our website sss4success.com, reach out to us via email at “podcasts @ sss4success.com”, or finding us on Twitter (@sss4success).  

By the way, if you’re a Small Business Owner that’s been in business for a while, please do us a favor and fill out that brief survey and tell us a bit more about your entrepreneurial experiences.  We’d really appreciate your input.

Finally, if by chance, you would like to learn more about how EASY Sales can help your bottom line, then give us a call at 615-336-4325.
Thanks again for listening and have a great day!
Kindra Cotton

The Basics of Branding and Why Anyone Can Do It

Hello and Welcome to the second blog post and podcast for Small Business EASY Branding Tips.  Brought to you by SSS for Success (EASY Brand Marketing Specialists), working to help Small Businesses Survive through EASY Sales, where the acronym EASY represents our company’s ability to help small businesses: Establish the profile of their “ideal customer“; Analyze products & services to tailor them for the “ideal customer“; Secure the most effective ways to build and maintain customer relationships; and finally Yield an enhanced brand that increases sales by attracting more customers and repeat business.  


As the creator of the EASY Brand Marketing Program, and I thank you for reading this blog and listening to our podcast series.  I started SSS for Success (EASY Brand Marketing Specialists) because I saw a true need for the varied services that became part of the EASY Brand Marketing Program.  


As I got out and talked to people about what I do, I found that people who worked in places that sought to help small business owners, like Small Business Development Centers and Business Incubation Centers got what I was doing, but when I talked to small business owners themselves, I would often receive the “deer in headlights” look or a blank stare that told me that I needed to spend more time actually educating small biz owners on the need for branding (especially in the early stages) and how each of the steps of the EASY Brand Marketing Program are actually cost effective in the long- and short-term.  I also wanted to show how the results of incorporating the program early on actually improves your business because it brings you the increased sales that you need to help you stay in business for a long time to come. 


I decided to create this podcast series, because I wanted a platform to share weekly EASY Brand Marketing Tips, and hopefully help small business owners in the process.  This week’s podcast is titled “The Basics of Branding and Why Anyone Can Do It”.  (You can CLICK HERE to read the Transcript by scrolling down to “Episode 2).  


In this week’s podcast, I get into the specifics of what I like to call “the 4 Step Common Sense Branding Strategy” and I talk about what I think most small business owners should be aware of when seeking to create, build, and enhance their company’s brand:
  • Step 1: Determining & Defining Your Brand. 
  • Step 2: Researching Your Market and Positioning Your Brand to Capitalize on a Sector of it. 
  • Step 3: Launching Your Brand. 
  • Step 4: Managing, Monitoring & Tweaking Your Brand. 

I’m certain that there are very high-powered and high-priced brand marketing strategists and specialists all around who’ll argue against that title blog post/podcast, and its basic assumption that anyone can do it, but arguing that point is not what I’m here for.  I’m not a brand marketing strategist with “20 years experience at one of the largest ad firms in the nation“, or anything that would make other people’s heads start spinning with impressive titles and a litany of brand names they’ve worked for whose names we all know and love.

What I am is a person who is passionate about small businesses, and the steps that they need to take to stay in business so that one day they’ll be able to hire the big fancy expensive brand strategists when they’re ready to go to the next level.  I like to focus on the smaller, logical, and economical things that small business owners can do, based off of a few relatively simple steps that can insure long-term survival!

I like taking a more “common sense approach” to some of the things falling by the wayside within small businesses, unfortunately making them not all that “common” any more.  As an entrepreneur, I see a need in the market, and I’m seeking to fill it.

Those 4 Steps are a part of the “Common Sense Branding Strategy” I came up with, and while the concepts are “new”, how they’re applied and when is key.  I think these are 4 Steps that ANYONE could take to build their brand, and while it does involve a lot of work, it should be work that’s complimentary to what you’re trying to do within your business, so its hard work that’s well worth it.

Knowing the struggles and challenges that small business owners face, not just in being the experts that they are in their respective fields, but also having to be an “expert” in the administrative tasks in running a business, I created the EASY Brand Marketing Program to help small business owners address some of those “Common Sense Branding Steps”.  I believe in the EASY Brand Marketing Program, not just because I created, but because I know that it fills a need within the market of small businesses, and I feel that I’m the one with the brand that can help fill that need! 

Just about everyone has something of value that they can share with you, if you’re willing to listen.  So, I thank you for listening to me, and I hope you’re finding some value in my words. 

I invite you to leave comments below on this blog, visit our website sss4success.com, reach out to us via email at “podcasts @ sss4success.com”, or finding us on Twitter (@sss4success).

And if, by chance, you would like to learn more about how EASY Sales can help your bottom line, then give us a call at 615-336-4325. 

Thanks again for listening and have a great day!

Kindra Cotton


Click the player below to hear this week’s podcast:







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