Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Social Media Fitness: Learn to Weigh the Progress of Your Social Platform

I finally went out and bought myself a bathroom scale. For years I had avoided weighing myself, saying things like “I go by the fit of my clothes. If they get too tight I know it’s time to lose some weight.” But the reality was, by the time my clothes were too tight, I had already put on 5-10 pounds and bought a new wardrobe.

Some fitness experts recommend you weigh yourself daily so you catch the weight creeping up at 1-pound gain not at 10 pounds. The same applies to measuring your social engagement activities. Are you making positive progress or just putting on the weight of more to do?

Now instead of a bathroom scale, I recommend you go out and buy yourself a fabulous spiral notebook. This will be used daily to track and measure your “Fitness Level.” Here are 5 simple things you can do without even breaking a sweat.

Plan your menu and set your weekly goals:

1. Plan your menu. Write down your content strategy each week. What events or promotions do you have coming up? What are 5-10 tips you can share with your on-line community? What ideas do you have for your blog? Having this content strategy is like having a bowl of fresh fruit out on the counter. You will avoid those mornings when you don’t know what to post so you go for the junk food…or unfocused content.

2. How many new “FANS” do you want to attract this week? Growing your fan base takes consistency. By posting great content you will get fans to STAY and ENGAGE with you, but you also have to let new people know that you have this community and that you want them to join in. If you use Facebook for personal and professional networking, share a post or two each week from your PAGE with your personal profile friends and ask them to join you. (Use the SHARE option on the bottom left of your PAGE, instead of SUGGEST TO FRIENDS so you can add a personal message.) Be sure you schedule a couple tweets telling people to join in, and if you send out an e-zine or newsletter, tell people how they can find you on Facebook.

3. How many new connections do you want to make on Twitter this week? We all know that it is not just about the numbers on Twitter. You must be strategic and target the audience you are trying to attract. Use search tools like http://Search.Twitter.com or go to http://Twellow.com to target specific industries or keywords.

4. How many posts will you commit to this week? Blogging drives traffic to your site and shows your expertise. Commit to posting at least once a week, but if you enjoy writing and can put out several short posts each week…even better!

5. Now at the end of each day take out your measurement notebook and track the following:

• How many new Facebook connections or new people who have LIKED your page do you have?
• What is the level of engagement? How many people commented, shared your content or LIKED your posts? This will help you determine whether you are meeting the needs of your community. Don’t worry if your numbers are low at first or on occasion. Catch the 1-pound weight gain and make adjustments.
• How many people clicked through from your PAGE to your website? (If you use http://Bit.ly to shorten your links you can track how many have clicked through. Using Google analytics on your site will do this as well.)
• On Twitter, how many FOLLOWERS do you have at the end of the day?
• How many people ReTweeted your content? ReTweets are the sign of great content being shared. When your community is not passing on your content, it is time to make adjustments to your posts. Keep track of what type of content DOES get passed along.
• How many comments did you get on your blog posts? This will help you keep your focus on providing great content, inviting comments at the end of your post with questions or even a bit of controversy.

So let’s get out that scale and start tracking our progress. You will learn a lot about what is working and what is not. Obviously, increased sales is the ultimate goal and should also be tracked (Where did this new client hear of you?), but don’t let your daily activities go unmeasured.

How are you tracking your progress? What works best for you? Share your wisdom with us!

Gina Schreck
President & Co-Founder of Synapse 3Di, LLC

Gina writes and speaks about technology and how we can use it to connect and engage with our communities. She is the author of “Getting’ Geeky with Twitter: Build Your Business and Manage Your Brand with Today’s Hottest Social Media Tool”, and she is also the host of GETTIN’ GEEKY, a popular web show that makes learning about tech tools a little less scary. You can find Gina on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Marketing on a Budget Part 4: Business to Business.... New Media

So what do you need to do differently if you are a business to business marketer.

In most cases, you will still want to focus heavily onyour website, SEO, and e-mail marketing. You will also want to consider Social Media for B2B. This is still very new, but the internet rewards first movers in many ways, and there are some clear opportunities for those who can navigate the unchartered territory.

Ask Questions and Listen

Where are your customers "hanging out" on-line?
Which media are influencing their purchasing decisions?
Depending on industry firewalls and security may rule out some media.

Establish Implement Your Strategy

Set yourself up to succeed. Choose a reasonable plan that is consistent with your resources. Even though social media is "free" it really isn't and for this reason alone, many plans fail.

Use Social Media to drive leads through e-mail subscriptions.

Mix Free content with paid content, and increase your revenue streams and opportunities.

Use Social Media to promote your events, meetings your attending, and tradeshows... this is a great way to connect..... and start the conversation.

Turn cold calls into warm connections. Use the search features within Linked In, Facebook, etc. to find people at specific companies or with specific job titles. Get introduced to these people, and then set up sales calls.

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your Small Biz Technocoach.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

5 Tasks You Should Outsource Today

Virtual Assistants are talented, on-call independent contractors who work with successful small business owners to help them generate more revenue, gain more free time and do the tasks they do best in their business, while outsourcing the rest!

Some Virtual Assistants are one-person shows, but Virtual Assist USA (owned by WSBA Member, Danielle Cuomo) is a multi Virtual Assistant firm that offers Virtual Assistants in every area a business owner could possibly need assistance with.

Below are 5 tasks that a Virtual Assistant can do for you:

1) Manage social media campaigns: A Virtual Assistant can create an entire social media campaign for you, or simply maintain the one you already have.
2) Build and maintain a website: A Virtual Assistant can be more cost-effective than hiring a marketing firm, which charge upwards of $5,000 per site.
3) Bookkeeping: Virtual Assistants, like the ones at Virtual Assist USA, often have many certifications in this specialized area
4) Create a public relations campaign: Public relations is something that so many small business owners often overlook, but shouldn't - because PR is free buzz!
5) Search engine optimization: Virtual Assistants will formulate an entire SEO plan for your website and ensure that you are visible on the search engines!

Virtual Assist USA is a Virtual Assistant Firm whose clients range from CEOs to mom-entrepreneurs… internet millionaires to start-up businesses. Learn more here: www.virtualassistusa.com

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Marketing on a Budget Part 3: Business to Consumer.... New Media

Now we are ready to get to the juicy stuff: Websites, Blogging, e-mail marketing, and social media. Many of these tools are free or very low cost.

Initially your website should just be a simple site, and contain basic information about your company, products, and services. Your website will validate your company. It is important to keep your costs low in the start-up phase. Keep in mind that you will likely want to make several changes within the first year, so do not spend too much time or money on the initial design. If your business and brand are established, it makes sense to put more resources into your website and to focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Many business owners steer clear of blogging because they feel they cannot make the time commitment. Blogging is an effective way to grow your business and build your brand. Start with a weekly post and recruit guest bloggers to ad value and take some of the pressure off.

E-Mail Marketing
E-mail Marketing still offeres tremendous return on investment. Some programs are even available for free. start with a monthly e-newsletter. Focus on great content - with teasers to drive traffic to your blog and your website.

Social Media
Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Foursquare, Flicker, Digg, and the list goes on........ If you are new to social media, start with a personal profile and a business page on facebook, as well as a LinkedIn profile. Use these tools to build your business connections, improve relationships, and engage your customers. Let your network get to know you on a more personal level, while focusing on your business.

Keep in mind that there is a cost to using any of these tools. Everytime you blog, post, or e-mail you risk your "friends and followers" losing interest. Everyone is overloaded with information these days. Keep the content interesting and relevant --and you will keep your audience.

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your Small Biz Technocoach.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Marketing on a Budget Part 2: Business to Business......Old Media

This week we will continue to explore "Marketing on a Budget" Some of the strategies from last weeks post may be good for your B2B Small Business, and some are not appropriate. This week we will take a look at specific strategies for the business to business market.

Get Referrals
Spend time marketing to and building relationships with people you already know. This takes less time and effort than cold calling, but depending on your network may not be sufficient to build your business. What is your referral strategy?

Cold Calling

This is a tried and true method that has survived the ages. To get the best results from your cold calls, you will want to have a script and a targeted list available. Be prepared to leave voicemails, handle objections, and more. There are many resources to help you target your list. Check out Pittsburgh's Carnegie libary website. A library card will get you access to some powerful databases. Warm calls are better, but more on that later. When cold calling, be sure to follow all do-not-call laws or you could get stuck with a hefty fine.

Speaking Opportunities
Create speaking opportunities. Research upcoming conferences and fill out speaker applications.

Develop Partnerships
Partner with other large and small businesses to cross-promote each other's products. Focus on businesses with similiar customer base.

Reduce Direct Mail Costs
Strategize for reducing costs include using postcards, use 2 color (instead of 4), consider third class mail, and most importantly really target your lists so you send less mail with greater probability of success

Reduce the Cost of Media Buys
Ask for discounts and Renegotiate contracts. Prices are almost always negotiable, and you may be able to get a lot more for your dollar.

New companies often make the mistake of hiring expensive advertising agencies that are not able to deliver low-cost marketing programs. If you are considering hiring, look for success stories specific to business your size.

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your Small Biz Technocoach.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Marketing on a Budget Part 1: Business to Consumer...... Old Media

The typical small business owner does not have a huge budget for marketing, especially in the early phases of the business. Yet, without new clients the business cannot survive or thrive, so marketing is a must. Here are some high impact - low cost marketing strategies to get you through the early years. This will be a 4 part series..... and I will start first with Old Media, because I think we are forgetting some tried and true marketing methods in favor of the New.

Neighborhood Marketing
Select a neighborhood or a few neighborhoods that you would like to target for business, and put together a campaign. Your campaign can consist of knocking on doors, leaving door hangers or small bags with info, menus, coupons, grand opening specials, refrigerator magnets, etc on the door. To get the best value for your efforts, try to talk with everyone in the neighborhood personally, and leave something every 2-3 weeks for the first few months. After you have "established" yourself or your business in the neighborhood, you can market less frequently incorporate some direct mail, and/ or hire someone to walk the neighborhoods for you.

Create Media Hype

Send press releases to all regional and local newspapers and publications. Create a "newsworthy" story for your business, and this will go a long way to help you build awareness for your business in the community.

Local Events
Find ways to promote your business inexpensively within the community; through fundraisers, festivals, conferences, chamber events, networking events, and more. Look for events with a large draw and low exhibitor fees. Use a personal touch to engage your prospects.

Celebrity Endorsement
Can you get the endorsement of a local celebrity? This may be easier than it sounds and free or inexpensive. Offer free products in exchange for their endorsement. Do you already have a well-known client? Ask your friends for help.

Consider Radio Advertising
Radio advertising is typically much less expensive than television, and allows you to target your demographic well.

Print Advertising and Direct Mail
Be very selective with print advertising and direct mail. Both can be expensive with minimal results when not used correctly. Consider using coupons as part of your ad. or direct mail promotion to help drive traffic to your business. Print advertising and direct mail are best reserved for those with a very focused market and a focused audience. If your audience is broad, and a publication or mailing list is broad... marketing dollars may be better spent in some of the other areas mentioned.

Next Week: Part 2: Business to Business...Old Media

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your Small Biz Technocoach.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Do you have any idea how many people you actually know? Kristen Wolf tells us that scientists have researched this question and discovered that on average a person knows roughly 2,000 people. And, he or she stays in contact with 500 of them on a regular basis. Who makes up the 2,000 people? Friends, families, colleagues, neighbors, clients, teachers, hairdressers, accountants and lawyers are among this group.

Networking, or creating contacts with people, strangers or acquaintances alike, has become a popular way of doing business in the last five years. Take a look around and you will see ever-increasing opportunities to meet people from all walks of life. Whether you are a business-owner, seeking work or already working, networking is a staple. It’s a fact that well-networked individuals have greater job security, will find new employment faster and have a steady stream of
prospects in the pipe line.

So, how does it work? First, you attend networking events. If you have never done so, ask a friend or associate to come along. If you don’t know where to go, check with people and find out where they network. You can check local papers, do a Google or Yahoo search of your area or call local chambers or business associations. Networking events are a bit like dances. If you are an introvert, then you will need good strategies for meeting new people. If you are an extrovert, you’ll take to networking easily.

Regardless of your personality type, there are rules about networking. And, even if you come home from a networking event feeling pretty good because your pockets are bulging with others’ business cards, you must follow up in order to turn those contacts into customers, clients or careers. Networking is about building relationships, which occurs over time. Just as with family and friends, the way to build and maintain relationships is to keep in touch.

Here are a few tips that will help you make the most of networking:

Most important, enjoy yourself and be yourself. There is no need to put on an act when meeting new people. You will click with some and not with others. That’s okay! You can’t network with everyone.

1. Write a simple note after you meet someone with whom you want to stay in touch. Handwritten notes are opened right away and it’s harder to throw them away. You've seen such notes tacked on bulletin boards. Be brief and mention something about your conversation that trigger the receiver's memory about you and where you met.

2. When you update your business card, send a new card to your contacts.

3. Update contacts on the progress and outcome of referrals they have given you. Send a thank you note or small gift for referrals.

4. Make matches. Put people together who can be helpful to each other or who have something in common. Ask them to let you know how the connection turned out. People who are known for their ability to make matches will receive more referrals from strangers.

Always give referral or support. There is plenty of work for all of us and it is always nice to be remembered as a generous giver. And, remember to have fun. It won’t take long before you become a seasoned, successful networker.

Barbara Schwarck leads Clear Intentions, an international people development company that offers Neuro Emotional Coaching™, training and assessment services to leaders and professionals who want to create exciting new possibilities for their future. To find out more about how to get rid of your leaky roofs or any other triggers or get a copy of Barbara’s book called From Intuition to Entrepreneurship: A Women’s Guide to Following Her Dream, visiting www.clearintentions.net.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It Will Only Cost You Your Time

How many times have we heard this expression “It will only cost you your time”? Many of us make great decisions with our money, but poor decisions with our time. As entrepreneurs we are often the sales, marketing, production, shipping, receiving and accounting departments for our company. We may also be the switchboard operator, the delivery person, and the janitor. In order to survive, thrive, and grow, it is crucial that our best energies be used for the right activities. Have you placed a value on your time?

The value of our time is a personal and economic decision. For some of us that number may be $8/hour (or less) for others it may be $200/ hour (or more). If you put a price on every hour, your priorities will suddenly become clear.

If your time is worth $25/ hr, treat every 4 hour project as if it would cost you $100. If you had to pay $100 to do every 4 hour project – you would only choose projects that would generate revenue greater than $100 or those that are the most meaningful to you and your family.

Take a look at your calendar with this same mentality. Consider professional, volunteer, and personal activities. What activities would you eliminate because they are too expensive? What activities should you outsource? I suggest you take an hour or 2 to walk through this exercise. It will be well worth the 50 bucks.

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your Small Biz Technocoach.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Set yourself up for success. How much Capital do you really need to get your business up and running?

A common mistake for many failed businesses is having insufficient operating funds. Entrepreneurs often underestimate how much money is needed and they are often forced to close shop before they even have a chance to be succesful. So how much capital do you really need to start your business?

Obviously each business is very different, and the start-up costs will vary, but the concepts are the same across the board. Here is some food for thought as you pull together or update your business plan. Most expenses can be broken down into these broad categories. When calculating labor and salaries, consider the cost of benefits.

• Technology Costs: Hardware, software, phone systems or cell phones, websites, internet access, security, and IT consulting.

• Administrative Costs: Business insurance, salaries, office supplies, licenses, permits, postage, rent, utilities, office furniture, professional fees and legal fees.

• Cost of Goods Sold: Raw Materials, Inventory, Labor, Equipment, shipping, and warehousing.

• Marketing Costs: Print collateral, PR, events, tradeshows, association memberships, salaries, sales travel.

Many companies differentiate between startup-costs, fixed expenses, and variable expenses. Start-up costs are one- time expenses associated with the start-up of the business. Fixed costs remain constant no matter what the sales volume is, while variable costs are a function of sales.

Once you have these categories and expenses detailed, you will need to determine how long it is going to take until you have enough sales to cover your operating costs. Be conservative in your estimates. It is common for business owners to underestimate expenses and overestimate sales. It takes many businesses months or even years, before they are fully able to cover the operating costs. Are you financially prepared for the long haul or do you need strategies to come up with additional capital?

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your Small Biz Technocoach.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guest Blogging.......Part 2

Congratulations! You used the suggestions from last week to land your first guest blogging gig. Now What?

  • Take time to review the blog and get a feel for the posts and the followers.
  • Use your expertise to develop killer content that will be relevant to the followers. This is the time to showcase your best talents, passions, and knowledge, rather than explore new subject areas.
  • Use graphics and visuals where appropriate.
  • Include Links to your blog and your website. Beforehand, you will want to ensure that your website and blog are updated and ready for the onslaught of visitors.
  • Promote the post ..... as you would your own blog.
  • Be sure to comment on other's comments to keep the conversation going.
Some ideas for promoting your guest posts.....

  • Facebook and Twitter are two of the best places to announce guest blog posts.
  • Include in your e-newsletter with a link.
  • For a different twist - create a short video announcing your guest post - post it on your website, social media, and e-newsletters.
  • Let your own blog followers know about your guest post.
Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your Small Biz Technocoach. The WSBA welcomes guest bloggers ; Contact Linda Handley, Executive Director WSBA for more info.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Guest Blogging... Part 1

Guest Blogging is a Powerful Way to Gain Exposure for you, your business, your website, your blog and more...

The most obvious benefit of guest blogging is increased traffic to your site. Guest Blogging is when you post on a blog as a guest author. You do not need to have your own blog to be a guest blogger. Guest Blogging is a tried and tested way to generate inbound links and traffic. Let's take a minute to explore some of the benefits and then get you started on securing guest blogging opportunities.

Guest Blogging is Free. This may seem obvious, but guest blogging is one of the most effective free ways to promote your website.

SEO. Whenever you guest post on another blog, you usually get the courtesy of 1 or 2 links pointed back to your website. If you make these links keyword-rich, you can really start to improve your website’s search rankings over time.

Reach New Communities and Topic Hubs. Depending on where you choose to post, you will be able to step out of your comfort community and share your story with a wider audience.

So, now that you are convinced, the question becomes....How will you find a Popular Blogger who is willing to publish your post? Here are some ideas.

1. Start building your portfolio by contacting guest bloggers you already know.

2. Do google searches to find opportunities. Use key words such as
"Become a contributor” or "Submit a guest post"

3. Use one of the match sites such as Bloggerlinkup or that will match guest bloggers with opportunities.

4. Do not ignore the small blogs Small blogs have fewer bloggers pitching thier guest post ideas. This means that your pitch will stand out more, and you will have a better probability of having your post approved.

Next week --we will cover how to get the most of your posting -- once you have found a blogger willing to publish you. With that said, the WSBA and Entreprenuerial Empowerment has current opportunities available for guest bloggers. Please Contact Linda Handley, Executive Director, Womens Small Business Association with your proposals.

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your Small Biz Technocoach.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Take the summer challenge: Strategies to Grow Your Business and Make the Most of Your Summer

It's the first week of June and panic slowly starts to set in. We are working hard to take our businesses to the next level, and we don't want to lose momentum just because it is summer. We need to challenge ourselves to work smarter in the summer months, keep the momentum strong, and enjoy the summer with our families. The challenge is to decrease hours spent and increase your profits at the same time.

  • Really take a good look at your regular tasks and activities with the plan to eliminate. Scrutinize your task list and eliminate all activities that are not contributing to growth or profits.
  • Only after you have elimated -- look to automate as much as possible.
  • Hire a Virtual Assistant - summer is a great time to try a virtual assistant - even just a few hours a week can make a difference.
  • Make Yourself portable - having both a laptop and a smartphone can tremendously increase your productivity and allow you to travel more.
  • Get up 1-2 hours earlier - Use this uninterrupted time to get a jumpstart on your day. It is often possible to accomplish 2-3 times the work in these early hours
  • Take and enjoy a much need non-working vacation.

Tips for Moms and Work-at-Home Moms

Summer is upon us and we still have the same amount of work, but children are now home. Here are some strategies to help you keep your sanity and thrive.

  • Take advantage of youth summer programming for several weeks. Even half day programs can provide much needed blocks of time for working.
  • Take your children to the library, park, pool, beach etc. Use your smartphone and laptop to work while they play. You can also use these opportunities to meet new people and network your business.
  • Plan several activities throughout the summer - this will act as a forcing mechanism for you to have your work complete and your children will have these times to look forward to.
  • Don't try to do it all. It is even more critical for moms to consider virtual assistants, childcare providers, and household help.
  • Give older children additional chores in the summer - be sure to start this very first week.

I look forward to hearing your strategies for success in the summer.

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your Small Biz Technocoach.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich - Expanded and Updated

I am a huge fan of Timothy Ferris and the 4-Hour Workweek. So I was really excited to see the new Expanded and Updated edition. This is a crazy-fun book jammed full of sound, practical business strategies. Even if your ultimate goal isn’t to work a “4-Hour Workweek” this book can provide a much needed perspective on your 40-60 hour workweek. It is about liberating yourself by eliminating, automating, and outsourcing everything that you can – so you can focus on what matters most to you.

If you are one of the millions around the world who bought the original version of this ground-breaking guide to lifestyle design, you might wonder whether the new edition provides enough value to justify buying it again. The answer: absolutely. The core foundation hasn’t changed; rather case studies, tools, and tricks have been updated. If you are a first time reader --- grab a highlighter and notepad. This is one book that you will actually want to take notes as Tim guides you through the process.

• If you are a business owner, you’ll learn how to outsource many tasks so you can enjoy life more.
• If you are an employee, you will learn to negotiate remote work arrangements and work less.
• If you are starting a new business, you’ll find countless ideas on how to get started.
• If traveling is your passion, you’ll learn how to run your business from anywhere.

This book is an essential read for anyone who wants to dream big and follow through with those dreams. As a working mother and wife, I think some of my fun was just living vicariously through Tim’s adventures, but I did manage to pick up some great business tricks and tips along the way.

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your SmallBiz Technocoach.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Changing Face of Facebook

As business owners, Facebook is something we all need to keep our eye on. The scope of Facebook, and social media in general, will change our lives dramatically. We need to be prepared to take advantage of the next opportunity. Here are some stats that will knock your socks off.

1. Facebook is the #2 most visited website – second only to google.
2. 400 Million Users -- ½ of which log-in every day
3. Average time users spend on Facebook – 30min/ day

At last month’s F8 conference in San Fransisco, there were some major announcements from Facebook. Here is a rundown of some of the changes and additions
  • Inside of Facebook the “Like” button has replaced the option to “become a fan”
  • The “Like” Button will now be available across the world-wide-web. You can now “like” any website site that has a Facebook Like button on it.
  • Facebook also announced the new Community pages. On each Community Page, you'll be able to learn more about a topic or an experience—whether it's cooking or learning a new language—and see what your friends and others in the Facebook community are saying about this topic. Facebook’s long term goal for these is to make them the best collection of shared knowledge on a topic. Interests and activities listed in a users profile will allow Facebook to recommend community pages to the user.
  • Of all the announcements facebook made , Open graph is the most far reaching. Open graph will affect both Facebook, and ultimately the world wide web. Any website that integrates with open graph can now tap into Facebook’s vast array of user data and preferences to create a more targeted, personalized experience for the consumer. A great example of this is the Levi’s website – “where friends find, like, and shop for Levi’s”

What is your business strategy for this changing media?

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your SmallBiz Technocoach

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

10 Great Tips to Build Your E-Mail Marketing List

  1. Place a sign-up form prominently on your web page. This should be visible on the first screen without having to scroll down. Use graphics to draw attention to this form. Ideally, you will want a subscription form on every page of your site.
  2. Offer incentives for signing up. The incentive can be simple and inexpensive, and most important should appeal to your target market. Would they be more interested in a free whitepaper, a coupon, or a free music download?
  3. Don’t ask for too much information. We need to balance our need for data with the customers need for privacy. Ask for name, phone, e-mail, and address, but only require name and e-mail. Some businesses may want to require more date, but must realize that this is at the expense of losing some subscribers.
  4. Incorporate the sign-up link into your e-mail signature. You may also want to include this in your employee e-mail signatures.
  5. Send Postcards. Postcards are an inexpensive way to collect e-mails for contacts you only have street addresses for. Include an enticement to get them to your website and sign up.
  6. Use Social Media to promote your sign-up form. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In etc. are great places to encourage sign-ups.
  7. Ask for subscriptions during on-line check out.
  8. Collect Business Cards at tradeshows or vendor exhibits. Attendees can be some of your most qualified buyers. Typically they have bought a ticket to attend, and they are there for a purpose.
  9. Host Workshops and Webinars. Better yet, partner with another business to double attendance. Attendees that sign up for a workshop and/ or webinar have a high level of commitment and will typically provide more information that the average opt-in requestor.
  10. Most Importantly - Pick up the phone. Call all of your contacts and ask them if they would like to start receiving your e-mail newsletter. This is a great opportunity to reconnect in the electronic age, and you might just pick-up a client or sale during the process.

Amanda Wodzenski is a regular blogger for the WSBA, and the owner of CRMastermind, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and e-mail marketing for Small Business. Visit her blog Your SmallBiz Technocoach.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Learn from Leaders from Around the Globe - Leslie Grossman

We were thrilled to speak with Leslie Grossman co-founder of the Women's Leadership Exchange. (www.womensleadershipexchange.com)

She is hosting a VIRTUAL EVENT on May 26, 2010. This is not your 1 hour teleseminar or webinar. This is a 5-hour virtual conference in streaming video on your computer - with amazing speakers from around the globe. And it's archived - so if you can't attend the entire event - it's accessible to you for 3 months.

The WLE Virtual Summit will enable us to bring women from all around the world together for a day of knowledge, tools, resources and connections -- as is possible only on the web.

The WLE Virtual Summit will feature:

* Live Keynotes
* Live Workshops with Q&A
* Networking Lounge with Live Chats and Private Conversations, Network matching
* Profiles and Business Card Exchange
* Exhibit Hall with booths, surveys, content information, interaction with booth visitors
* Conference Bag with goodies
* Resource Center
* Prizes

She is also an author of SELLsation. We asked her for her TOP FIVE THINGs TO DO TO PROMOTE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS.

Five things to do to promote your small business
1. Develop a 30 second elevator pitch that differentiates you from your competition
2. Use it everywhere - 1) when you introduce yourself, 2) when others introduce you, 3) in your signature on your email, r) on your website and in all your printed materials
3. Schedule at least one meeting each week with someone who could potentially be a source of referrals
4. Get on at least one non-profit board and commit to help the organization and build relationships with the other board members
5. Stay positive at all times - good things come to people who expect them!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Blogging - Does it really help ? - Virtual Assist USA

As the owner of a Virtual Assistant agency, Virtual Assist USA, I help clients accelerate their businesses. One of the first things I tell them to do is to blog, blog, blog. Their immediate reaction is often that they don’t want to do it – for a number of reasons. They don’t think they are a good enough writer, they don’t think they have the technical ability to do it – and the biggest question – does anyone care what they have to say?

Read on for my answers:

It Will Come to You When You Least Expect It To: I get that clients think that they don’t have anything to write about, or that their writing skills aren’t up to par. To the second one: it doesn’t matter! Your blog posts are not graded, but they will help you gain more exposure and search engine ranking. As far as thinking of something to write about: your business stands out, right? There is something about your business that is unique and that adds value to someone’s experience. To be in business for yourself, you have knowledge that other people don’t. Share! Another tip: People love lists. If you are a health professional, think: 5 Foods to Avoid. If you are a business coach, think: 10 Tips to Accelerate Your Business, and so on.

Keep Writing: Search engines will pick up your blog, as long as you write keyword-dense content and update it frequently. This is great for your search engine optimization! Considering that 80% of consumers and business owners search online before purchasing a product, search engine optimization (SEO) is integral to your success!

Learn About Your Target Market: Encourage your readers to write comments and they will. The reason for this is that those readers will share valuable information there – what they like, and don’t like, and what they are looking for. This is the perfect opportunity to reach a target market that you may not ever have the opportunity to communicate so directly with. Also, your blog serves as a sales tool for you – so tout your company’s success and what makes you stand out!

It’s Okay to Give It Away: I’ve heard some say that they don’t blog because they don’t want to give too much information away up front – or who would pay to work with them? I have found that not to be true at all. Make your information a “teaser” for someone to work with you. Show them how fantastic you are – at the end, you can even do a little shameless self-promoting and list 3 great reasons to work with you!


Virtual Assist USA is a Virtual Assistant firm that assists busy business owners build their business, grow their income and have more free time. We handle your marketing, social media management, public relations, e-commerce/shopping carts, blogging, bookkeeping, sales, customer service, web design and general administration.


mommynewsblog.com - Blogging Works !!

We were very fortunate to speak with Judy Massucci of A Mother’s Boutique in Wexford, Pennsylvania. Judy has a successful on line business that has experienced solid growth over the past few years, and she recently opened a storefront in Wexford, PA. A Mother’s Boutique carries maternity and breastfeeding clothing, nursing bras, breast pumps, slings, and breastfeeding accessories.

Judy saw a tremendous increase in traffic to her website when she started to Blog. Previously, Judy used Pay Per Click advertising to drive traffic to her site. Once she started blogging, she eliminated the pay per click expense, and she can barely keep up with shipments.

Visit Judy’s blog at http://mommynewsblog.com and Join us on Thursday May 20th to learn many of Judy’s key tips for success

Friday, May 7, 2010

WSBA is expanding to help and stimulate small and start up businesses.

The goal of the WSBA is to foster women's economic independence by helping them develop skills needed for entrepreneurial success through networking and education.

WSBA Board Members and leaders often talk about the issues that a majority of the members are challenged with. We are approached on a daily basis and and asked -

Who am I ? What is my Brand ? What is the best way to market ?

The next series of blogs will explore just that providing case studies to help you decide what is right for you.

One of our Board Members recently said, "that company doesn't have a marketing plan at all and they are just throwing up marketing to see what will stick"

Not a cost effective way to do business. Here is a resource that we find very useful from Entrepreneur Magazine.

How Much Is Email Marketing Bringing In?

Use this calculator to determine the ROI (return on investment) for your email campaigns. Based on your cost-per-contact, number of respondents and buyers, revenue and profit, your ROI will automatically be calculated. Use this tool to test different scenarios to see what works for you.


What a great tool.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Welcome to the Entrepreneurial Empowerment. Your resource for all things business. Written and maintained by Members of the Board at WSBA, Women's Small Business Association.
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