Tag Archives: Small

Small Business Branding for Online Entrepreneurs

Small Business BrandingWhen It Comes to Small Business Branding, You Are Your Brand

Here’s secret successful marketers know and where small business branding comes into play: customers don’t buy a product. They buy you.

Your personality. Your experience. The unique qualities only you possess.

There was a time when “branding” meant a corporate-looking logo and a slick catalog, but in today’s online marketplace, the real value is not in appearing to be a big company, but rather in just being you. And your personality shines through in a variety of ways.

I was at a conference recently where some of the top experts in the field of small business branding were teaching us how to effectively brand what we do online. Here are some tips they shared that you may find useful:

Your Authentic Voice

How you speak and write and even how you act on camera or in an audio interview has the power to instantly identify you to your audience. You can see this in action if you scroll through your Facebook feed. It’s easy to know who has posted a particular image or status update, just by recognizing the voice with which they generally speak. This is crucial to small business branding.

Here’s an even more important aspect of your “voice” though: it has the power to attract a specific audience. In recent years, a few high profile coaches and product sellers have become celebrities of a sort, largely because of their harsh, “don’t hold back” language. Ash Ambirge over at The Middle Finger Project makes no apologies for her use of offensive words, and her fans love her for it. And those that don’t? Well, as she says right on her home page, her site and services are “not for humorless bores.”

Snarkiness and foul language is not the only way to go, though. Carrie Wilkerson has built her brand almost entirely on her ability to be kind and generous. She always has a nice word, never appears defeated or overwhelmed, and is an inspiration to her fans and clients.

While very different in their approach, these two women have one thing in common: authenticity. It’s clear that if you were to meet either of them in person, they would speak and act exactly as they do online. And their brands are stronger for it.

Your Story and Small Business Branding

How did you get to where you are today? The backstory – which to you might seem boring and uneventful – is a powerful tool that can help solidify your brand and attract just the right audience.

Melissa Ingold tells of being a struggling single mother, and of creating an online business rather than simply choosing to work one dead-end job after another. Her success is an inspiration to her audience, and is a huge part of her branding.

Kelly McCausey speaks often of how she got started online when she was looking for a way to earn just a few extra dollars every month to keep the lights on. Creating graphics at $5 each quickly turned into a full-time online career.

Gary Vaynerchuk is an example of someone whose personal brand somehow became a little bigger than life. He says”…

“For those that don’t know me, in my earlier days as a budding businessman and entrepreneur, I took my passion for wine and turned that into one of the biggest shows and channels on YouTube. That show landed me appearances on The Conan O’Brien Show, Ellen, CNN, etc. while amassing a social following of millions and establishing me as a “guru” (I’m not a guru) of sorts in the Social Media, Marketing, and Personal Branding worlds. From there, I became an early investor in platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook and co-founded VaynerMedia, which is now a 600 person digital agency that represents the social presence of brands like Pepsi-Co, General Electric, and Anheuser-Busch InBev.”

And my story includes details of how I worked for twenty years as a classroom teacher while simultaneously working in real estate. After multiple bouts with cancer and a serious work injury I was ready to change my life completely and became an online entrepreneur.

Your story doesn’t have to be dramatic, and you certainly don’t have to share more than you’re comfortable with, but it does have to be yours. Be your true self, and you’ll never have to worry about attracting the right audience. They will self-select, and your perfect client will find you.

I’m Connie Ragen Green and I work with new online entrepreneurs to help them get into profit as quickly as possible with information products, affiliate marketing, marketing for small businesses, blogging, authorship, and more. Download your Online Entrepreneur Blueprint and get started right away.


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Content Creation Marketing for Small Business

Content Creation for Small Business MarketingContent Creation Marketing for Small Business

I was reading a post by Ron Tester, small business marketing expert at Do This Not That Marketing, and in it he shares eight trends of content consumption that are noteworthy. I would like to elaborate on his fifth trend, the need for content to be multimedia in nature:

“Content Needs to Be Multimedia — Video, infographics, images, audio, eBooks, articles, blog posts and more should all be used together to create a storm of new content that works together to promote the products and/or services that you want to promote. Content can still be repurposed into new forms, but you need to put a unique spin on it. This is such an important trend, even I am creating videos. Believe me, I wouldn’t be doing it if people weren’t wanting it.”

Read this over a couple of times to make sure you understand the power of Ron’s words here.

I couldn’t agree more and would like to include one of my “lifestyle videos” from my YouTube channel to show how I use video to get my message out to the world.

I also repurpose my posts into articles, audio trainings, podcasts, and short reports on a regular basis. I learned while working as a classroom teacher that people have different learning styles, and I have kept that in the back of my mind over this past decade that I’ve been an online marketer and entrepreneur. Think about how you can use audio, video, and other types of written content to share and promote your products and services.

Content creation marketing for small business is a worthy endeavor and must be implemented regularly for best results. Learn more about the small business marketing course taught by Ron Tester and myself and join us in the member’s area.

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Road Trips to Enhance Your Small Business Perspective

Road TripMy small business perspective was recently enhanced. Earlier this summer I took a road trip across the country. Over the course of twenty-one days I covered six thousand three hundred miles and traveled through seventeen different states. What began as a convenient way to meet with clients located far and wide became a case study in how small businesses operate in different regions of our great country. I highly recommend that you do something similar, even if only on a small scale to get the benefit of interacting with business owners and customers in a variety of situations.

My first stop was at a Cracker Barrel restaurant located in Flagstaff, Arizona. It had been years since I had patronized this chain and I longed to see if it was as I remembered it from more than twenty years ago. When you first enter the building you find yourself in their country store, filled with items from the past. As you work your way towards the restaurant it’s apparent that everything has been strategically placed to make you feel right at home.

From the employees dressed in clothing from a hundred years ago to food that is both delicious and reasonably priced, Cracker Barrel bends over backwards to make customers feel like family. It made me question my own methods of doing business online and in person and made me think twice about my small business perspective. Do my own clients fell like family or more like paying customers?

My next stop was at a Motel 6 in Winslow, Arizona. I had not called ahead to make a reservation, nor had I gone online on my smart phone to see if they had a room available for that evening. I was met at the front counter by a woman who greeted me with a smile. She not only made me feel at home, but asked if I’d like an accessible room or one closer to the office.

Also, she offered to let me look at the room first before committing to it. This motel was located right next to the railroad tracks, as many Motel 6s are, and she assured me there would be no noise once I had closed the door to the room. She was correct. Considering my total bill was less than sixty dollars for that night’s stay, I was quite satisfied.

These experiences continued as I crossed the country over the next three weeks, and I came to expect the very best in customer service and amenities. I was disappointed at a Super 8 motel in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, outside of Tulsa and left a one star review on their website within the following twenty-four hours to share the details. In this day and age of social media and review sites businesses simply cannot afford to offer less than acceptable goods or services.

The Kroger grocery store I shopped in Knoxville, Tennessee also went out of its way to provide me with a superior experience. And when I was in need of a prescription in Memphis, it was the kind and helpful people at the Walgreen’s pharmacy who made my day one to remember. And the gas station in Charlottesville, Virginia had employees who washed my windshield and offered help with directions to my next destination. This was yet another reminder that we do business with people, not with companies or corporations and that these people can make or break the reputation of a business one transaction at a time.

This was such a valuable learning experience for me that I plan to take another road trip next summer. There is nothing like putting yourself out there to see exactly what it’s like to do business in unfamiliar locations and surroundings. When I came home I had a small notebook filled with ideas as to how I can improve my own business practices.

By now you can see that seeing the U.S.A., whether in a Chevrolet or another make of vehicle can be an excellent way to get an up close and personal view of how business really works. Make a plan to take to the open roads and observe your own experiences so that your own business will benefit when you return.

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Marketing Your Small Local Business

Marketing Your Small Local BusinessMarketing Your Small, Local Business

I’ve been marketing for small, local businesses since 2007, and this actually got me started as an online marketer. Marketing your small, local business online is an excellent way to get more targeted prospects into your physical location and purchasing from you on the internet.

Neil Patel shares some excellent information on marketing a brick and mortar business here. In his well written and thought out post Neil breaks down the process into Days 1 through 10, Days 10 through 25, and Days 25 through 30. As expected, he emphasizes the importance of creating high quality content, and this is Step 2 of his 3 Step Basics plan. He states:

“One of the fallacies many entrepreneurs believe is that simply having a website with some on-page SEO is enough.

But that’s not how Google works, and that’s not how people work either.

If you want to attract new customers and build a loyal fan base, you need to place a premium on creating and curating high quality content.

Content is huge.

But how does this apply to marketing a brick-and-mortar business? Here’s how…

Let’s say you own a coffee shop in Boulder, Colorado.

You take the first 2-3 days and pay to create your website—design it to look great and navigate easily. Then you set up your Facebook page.

Now, it’s time to start populating your website and your social media with killer content.

Continuing with the coffee shop example, the next step would be to start writing articles or filming videos based on your niche.

You could write an article about the best locations for growing coffee or about 3 unconventional brewing methods you can try today, or you could film a video showing people how to do cappuccino art.

The list of things you can do is endless.

By creating this content you will improve your chances of ranking on Google, and you will also start providing free value to customers, which will increase their trust and their desire to give you their business.”

I agree with him completely on this point and this is why I created my Really Simple Content Marketing training course recently. If you are interested in marketing your small, local business you will want to make creating high quality content a top priority. The content you add to your website or blog will serve you for years to come. Think of this as a marathon and not a sprint and you will set yourself up for great success.

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I’ve Been Nominated For The Small Business Book Awards

The Small Business Book Awards

Once again my writing has been nominated for the Small Business Book Awards. Because I published two books during the qualifying period, both of them have been nominated. This happened once before, two years ago when I wrote one book and co-authored another, and they were both nominated as well.

This year almost two hundred books are in the running. Mine are both in the marketing category, as you would expect from someone who is an online marketing strategist. I had almost forgotten that I had published both of these books during 2015, and that’s because one was published in January and the other in October.

Write Publish ProsperWrite. Publish. Prosper: How to Write Prolifically, Publish Globally, and Prosper Eternally teaches you how to to write a book, publish it yourself, and create a business based on your topic. In this step by step and detailed training, I show you how to write a full length book in the next four to six weeks and turn that information into an online business.

Book. Blog. Broadcast: The Trifecta of Entrepreneurial Success is theBook Blog Broadcast blueprint that will take you step by step to the life and business you want and deserve through strategies I have used for almost ten years. In it you will learn how to use your book, your blog, and your broadcasts to build a lucrative online business.

Having my books nominated for this prestigious award is meaningful to me for a variety of reasons. Writing can be a lonely process, and knowing that your thoughts and ideas will be shared with people all over the world alleviates this feeling. I live to help others achieve their goals, and my writing has enabled me to do that with a much wider audience. I appreciate Anita Campbell from Small Business Trends for starting the Small Business Book Awards and including authors like myself in what she is sharing.

Self-publishing has allowed me to add a new dimension to my life and to my business. My publishing company, Hunter’s Moon Publishing continues to grow and serve other authors and entrepreneurs as they get their messages out to the world.

If you are reading this before the end of the day on May 11, 2016, please vote for my books by clicking on the titles below:

Write. Publish. Prosper: How to Write Prolifically, Publish Globally, and Prosper Eternally

Book. Blog. Broadcast: The Trifecta of Entrepreneurial Success

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