Small Business Diva

November 26, 2008

Winning Ways With Competitions

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 9:15 pm

While reading the Poss Bloss blog just now I came across the Winners Are Grinners post where the winners of three competitions are announced.

Competitions can be a great way of attracting new customers or subscribers, as well as a way for potential customers to sample some of your products or services. Plus they can be a fantastic way to promote your business.

If you choose to run a competition, spread the word far and wide. You can promote the competition on other web sites and blogs, in newsletters, in flyers… there are even numerous web sites that are solely for the promotion of competitions. If you have valuable prizes or some unique aspect to your competition it’s also worthwhile sending a media release to relevant media outlets.

Just a final note… if you are running a competition of any type, please check the regulations specific to your state as permits or approvals may be required.


October 16, 2008

When Customers Want What You Don’t Have

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 4:57 pm
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How many times does someone ask you for a particular product or service that you don’t supply? Sometimes it’s not viable for you to provide that product or service, but do you take time to consider it?

I was recently chatting with a group of friends about how difficult it can be to get a particular health product. Each of us had a similar experience with a variety of health products – none of the local health stores sold them, nor did any of them have any suggestions as to where we could find them. In my case, another friend also uses the same product and found a supplier across town who has online ordering facilities. I now buy my supplies through this store, as do several other friends I’ve recommend them to.

Mind you, if the local store had offered to try to locate and stock the product, or order it in for me, I would have recommended them to all my friends and they would have increased their customer base and sales. In fact, I no longer buy anything from them as I can now get everything I need in one place… without even leaving my home.

Annette Piper makes the most stunning gemstone jewellery and has received many requests for rings. Although she didn’t make rings, she does now! This is a perfect example of listening to what your customers want… and giving it to them.

Here’s to your success in business,


October 6, 2008

What Is Market Research And Why Is It Important?

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 12:34 pm

What is market research?  Why is it so important to success in small business? 

These are important questions to answer for any small- and medium-sized business (and indeed large companies as well). Unfortunately, it is not at all uncommon for small business market research to be ignored or not completed fully. This often spells the downfall of small businesses, as they are out of touch with the wants and needs of motivated buyers.

The Danger of Assumptions

Many small business owners assume that they understand what their customers want and what motivates them to buy. But without accurately testing the market you can never be sure. There is a danger involved in assuming that you know what your client-base wants and what motivates them to choose one supplier or provider over another. The danger is in missing your target audience and not connecting with them. That loss of connection means a loss of business or sales, and for many, ultimately business failure.

Rather than assume you know what your core target group wants, be sure! The only way to be sure is to test your market through thorough market research, and find out precisely how to incite them to action, and excite them about your business.

What is Market Research?

One of the greatest reasons small businesses fail to effectively complete market research is that they are unsure about what it is.

In simplest terms, market research is finding out what people want and will buy (whether that be services or goods), and how much they will pay for it. Thorough market research consists of testing and evaluating the market through different means to determine the demand, usefulness and likelihood of acceptance of a product across different demographics. It answers very specifically who will purchase a product or service based on characteristics such as:

  • age
  • gender
  • location
  • income
  • other variable characteristics

Armed with this data, business owners can very narrowly target their audience and clientele, and thus can commit resources, product development and advertising to connecting with this audience and very specifically serve their needs. Market research helps small businesses plan for every aspect of promotion and sales, including:

  • price
  • advertising and marketing
  • product features and development
  • improvements and modifications

A common mistake made by many small business owners is that they may become too personally ‘attached’ to their ideas. It is essential to maintain objectivity in marketing matters and use the research to support the most effective strategy.

Understanding market research and its importance is the first step towards taking full advantage of it. The next step is to learn how to perform it effectively and accurately so that you can capitalise on this very important business tool. Know where market research falls into your business strategy, and learn how to make the connections with your core group that will translate into business success.

Here’s to your success in business,


August 26, 2008

Good Looking Eco-Friendly Bags

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 1:33 pm
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Reading through My New Shiny Shoes’ blog I came across these gorgeous eco-friendly bags – Envirosax.

In an effort to be more environmentally conscious I have been using eco-friendly bags for a few years now. Not just for grocery shopping, but also just for carrying ‘stuff’ from one place to another.

I have to admit, I sometimes cringe at the standard boring yet brightly coloured bags (bright colours that clash with whatever outfit I’m wearing!) If you are looking at producing environmentally-friendly bags for your business, why not consider something a bit stylish? If your budget doesn’t stretch to something this good you can always charge a small fee for them. Just think… if you make them fashionable enough, people will shop with you just to get your bags!

Here’s to your business success,


August 18, 2008

Clever Marketing

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 2:00 pm

How many times do you see a marketing idea and think, “Wow! Why didn’t I think of that?” or “I wonder who came up with that idea.”

I saw this image while reading the Tonic Gifts blog and just love it.

Clever Marketing

Clever Marketing

What a clever marketing idea this is. Often it’s things that are a little out of the ordinary, wacky or unusual that stand out. Next time you’re planning your marketing for the year ahead, try to think outside the box a bit.

Here’s to your success in business…


June 30, 2008

The Power Of Samples II – Blue Zamboo Sample Boxes

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 10:08 am

I have previously written here about the Power of Samples as part of a business’ marketing plan. While reading the My Day Off blog I recently came across a great idea – the Blue Zamboo Sample Boxes.

For just $19.99 + postage, you can purchase a Blue Zamboo Sample Box with a selection of samples from companies such as Beauty Banquet, Dream Candles, Cool Things, Princess Chic and more!

This is a great way to trial products (and it would make for a nice gift for someone too).

Here’s to your success in business,


June 9, 2008

What Do You Do When Someone Is Disappointed In Your Product Or Service?

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 6:04 pm

While reading the Pink Heels blog I came across a post about Jennifer’s disappointment with the Wii Fit Yoga. Reading this made me think… what do you do when someone expresses their disappointment in a product of service you provide?

Some businesses will offer a refund, others will apologise that the buyer was unhappy (note – not necessarily apologise for the product). Then, when the customer has left, they may dismiss the matter entirely.

If someone expresses their disappointment in one of your products or services, by all means do what you can to rectify the situation and build your customer relationship. But after that, don’t take it to heart nor dismiss the dissatisfaction. Seize this opportunity to learn and improve.

First, is the customer’s dissatisfaction warranted? Have other people made the same statement? Have others asked for a refund?

Then it’s important to look at how you can use this feedback to make sure the mistake doesn’t occur again (if in fact there was a mistake made) or to improve your product or service.

In the case of Jennifer’s feedback, if the maker’s of Wii Fit Yoga were to read this post, how would they react? It would definitely be worth their while to take that feedback on board and look at how they can improve the Wii Fit Yoga, thanking Jennifer for her valuable feedback.

By doing this, you are not only showing your customers that you are listening to them, but you’re also ensuring that you provide a high quality product.

Here’s to your success in business…


April 30, 2008

Business and Christmas Promotions

Business Mums Network are currently running a survey all about businesses and their Christmas promotions, and they would love your input.

It will only take 2 minutes and the questions may even give you some ideas for your own promotions.

Please head over to the survey and share your experience… and on behalf of Melissa at Business Mums, thank you.

Here’s to your success in business,


April 28, 2008

Getting Crafty

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 3:27 pm
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On Jenni’s Papercraft Designs blog today she shared with us info on a great site for those who enjoy craft activities – Living Creatively.

This is a fantastic site for those who enjoy craft (I enjoy thinking about it, but whatever I make never ends up looking as good as it did in my head! I think I’ll stick to writing).

What particularly caught my attention about this site is their innovative way of encouraging other sites to link to them. In addition to some great competitions, anyone who links to them goes into a draw to win an advertising package worth $5,000AUD! How good is that?

If you’re into craft, that’s got to be worth checking out. For everyone else, could you use a competition to encourage visitors or links to your site?

Here’s to your success in business,


April 22, 2008

Planning Your Trade Displays

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 12:48 pm

Annette Piper has a post on her blog where she talks about planning to attend the upcoming Ironfest which got me thinking about expos.

Displays at expos and trade shows can be a great way to promote your business, products or services and to meet new customers and potential customers. They can also be a good way of meeting fellow industry professionals.

Many of these expos don’t come cheap so if you’re going to pay to be involved, you want to make sure you get the most for your dollar.

Before you start packing your display products, first decide what you want to achieve from the event. Do you want to sell lots of products? Maybe your aim is to gather contact details for leads… possible customers. Or do you want to educate the public about your products or industry? Knowing this will help you plan your display.

Here are a few tips for next time you have a display:

  • If your main aim is to collect contact details of leads, consider holding a competition for people to enter, then ask if they would like to be added to your mailing list (always ask permission before adding people to your marketing list).
  • Make sure your stand is clean, uncluttered and attractive to your target market.
  • Have something on your stand to encourage people to come over to you – a bowl of lollies, giveaways, lots of colour and excitement.
  • Don’t just sit behind your table and wait for people to come and speak with you… go to them, stand to the side of or in front of your display and smile while greeting people walking by.
  • Check with the organisers as to whether they will supply quality covers for display tables. If not, make sure you take your own.
  • Product samples or ‘Special Expo Discounts’ are a good idea too.
  • Don’t forget to take a camera so you can get some great pics of your display – you never know when these might come in handy.

Here’s to your success in business…


April 11, 2008

Look before you link

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business,Tips & Tricks,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 2:31 pm
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On Melissa Khalinsky’s blog she includes a post about Links to Your Site, talking about five ways of attracting traffic to your site. I love a comment she includes in her first tip:

“…there are many sites who are happy to do a link exchange. Before requesting an exchange, look at the site closely to see if they do exchange links.”

Great tip Melissa. I would like to add to that by encouraging people to request to link only with RELEVANT sites. I have received so many requests from people to be linked to my site, either a reciprocal link or one-way. Unfortunately, most of these requests come from businesses that have absolutely no relevance to my sites – totally different products/services, totally different markets.

Link away… just keep it relevant and appropriate.

Here’s to your success in business…

April 9, 2008

The Essential Business Guide

Diva Promotions have just launched their Essential Business Guide, full of practical tips and information for running a successful business.

The Essential Business Guide

To get your hands on this, you can download it now for free from one of my sites – Jacaranda Business Support Services. It’s on the left hand side, under the heading Who wants some free stuff?

It contains great articles from various authors on a wide range of topics about running a business, including one by Yours Truly, explaining the basic differences between PR, Advertising and Marketing… and which is best for you.

Here’s to your success in business…

April 4, 2008

Do You Have Tips to Share for Successful Live TV Interviews?

Filed under: Communication,Marketing Tips,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 8:15 pm
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I received a wonderful phone call from one of my clients yesterday. I recently wrote a media release for her and she was ringing to tell me that shortly after sending it out, she received a phone call from one of the major, prime-time TV shows to say that they would like to interview her live next Tuesday.

How exciting for her!

I quickly sent her a few tips to help her prepare but I would love to hear more. I know there are a lot of experienced business people who read this blog… have you ever been interviewed live on prime-time TV? Can you offer any real life tips and suggestions, particularly ways to appear confident – including how to remember your name and what your business does – when you have 1,000,001 butterflies doing a jig in your stomach?

I’d love to hear your ideas.

Here’s to your success in business…

March 5, 2008

5 Tips for Online Article Submission

Filed under: Communication,Marketing Tips,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 7:32 am

This post on Melissa Khalinsky’s blog has some useful tips about online article submission.

If you submit articles online, this is definitely worth reading as Melissa knows what she’s talking about – she manages The RepOZitory – an Australian article submission website. I believe these tips are based on the most common mistakes she sees in articles that are submitted to them.

Here’s to your business success…

February 18, 2008

Using the ‘net to Improve Your Business

Those of you who are in Brisbane may like to come along to the next Business Growth Session where Heart Harmony’s Ingrid Cliff and myself will be running a practical workshop on just a couple of the many online techniques you can use to improve your business.

You’ve probably heard about SEO, affiliates, etc… Ingrid and I will focus on two of the lesser known methods that can have dramatic results on your visitor numbers and page rank. Best of all, they’re really simple – almost anyone can do them!

The Business Growth Session is on Monday 3rd March, 2008 in the meeting room at Chermside Library. BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL! Full details are available on the website.

Here’s to your business success…

January 22, 2008

Do you compare?

Filed under: Communication,Marketing Tips,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 10:22 am
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Jacqui at Rainbow Designs has a wonderful post on comparing that I urge you to read. What she writes is so true – how often do we compare ourselves with others? Our blogs, our businesses, our homes, our… everything!

Comparing can sometimes be beneficial but generally, I find it’s much better to focus on being the best, unique you that you can be. It’s all about finding your own personal style and putting that into everything you do.

A few years ago I was part of a team who presented a publishing forum. The speaker before me was so ‘out there’ and everybody loved him. He was really over the top and the audience was so hyped and motivated after hearing him. Thankfully we had a tea break between his presentation and mine.

I was really concerned that I wouldn’t be able to live up to his style and was rethinking my delivery – how could I present more like him? And to make it more difficult, I was presenting on the legal and technical issues! How could I make that more exciting?

Well, I decided it was too late to make changes and I just got up and presented in my usual style. Surprisingly, everyone was glued to my every word, taking lots of notes. Some of the feedback we received later – and some at my prodding 🙂 – was that the audience didn’t want more than one energetic section. They liked my presentation and found it just as useful as the other speaker before me.

So there was no need for me to worry and compare. Yes, it’s good to see what others are doing, to learn from them and improve. However sometimes two people – or two blogs, two presentations, two businesses – can be totally different and neither one is better than the other. They’re just… different.

Embrace your uniqueness!

Here’s to your business success…

December 29, 2007

The secret to getting the media to come running to you

How many times have you heard people comment on how difficult it is to get a press release read by the right media representatives, or how hard it is to get good editorial and TV coverage? I don’t know about you, but I hear it all the time.

It’s true… media outlets receive so many press releases each day that many go unread. Many more don’t even make it past the headline. Would you like to know how to get your press release read or better still, how to get the media to come to you, wanting to give you coverage and promotion?

I’ll let you in on the secret…

Simply give the media what they want.

“Yeah, simple,” I hear you say. “How do I know what they want?”

In all honesty, most areas of the media – print, radio, television, Internet – are always looking for good content to give their readers, viewers and listeners. Start by listing your target market and what publications they read; what shows they watch; what radio stations they listen to.

Next, read those publications, watch those shows and listen to those stations. Get a clear idea of what their style is and what they might be looking for. Now, how can you provide what they are looking for?

Most publications aren’t really interested in a new business because there are new businesses every day. But if you can show them HOW your business can BENEFIT their readers/listeners/viewers, you’re in with a chance. You need to find a unique story angle. What problems might their readers/listeners/viewers have that your product or service can solve? For example, there has a lot of talk around here recently about how easy it is for children to go missing. Let’s say you specialize in a product that can reduce the incidence of a child going missing, or that can help track them quickly. Write a press release that highlights the issues surrounding missing children, focusing on the emotions involved, rather than adjectives about how fabulous your product is. Then go on to state that there is a product available that can help minimize these incidents and give information about your product and its benefits.

Do not use your press release as a chance to advertise your product. That simply won’t work. You need to demonstrate a solution to a problem.

Next, make the journalist’s job as easy as possible. Journalists are very busy people. The easier you can make their job, the more inclined they are to cover your story. Give them good quality information; include a quote or two (journalists LOVE quotes); make sure you provide clear contact information for yourself, or whoever they should contact for further information; let them know that you’re available for an interview.

Once your story has been published or aired, send a brief note or email to the journalist involved to thank them, and let them know that you’re happy to help them next time they need information regarding your area of expertise. Once the journalist knows of your expertise and experiences how easy it is for them to work with you, they’ll come looking for you.

This is just the tip of the iceberg but I hope it helps you. Good luck – please send me the details of all the media coverage you get!

Here’s to your business success…

December 19, 2007

What do you wish you knew before you started your business?

It’s almost Christmas and as a special thank you for everyone who reads and posts comments on my blog I’d like to give you a gift.

For the last couple of months I have worked alongside 15 talented business owners to write an eBook full of handy tips, ideas and guidance for successfully running a business. Each business owner has contributed their own article about what they wish they had known before they started their business. Hopefully these articles will give you some ideas and help prevent you from making those same mistakes.

We’re giving this to you for free… nada… zip… zilch. Plus, you’re welcome to give it away to anyone else you think would benefit from reading it. The only stipulation is that you cannot alter it in any way and you cannot sell it.

For tips on time management, marketing ideas, balancing work/family, business ethics, niche marketing and lots more download your gift – What I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Business.

Happy reading!

Here’s to your business success…

December 3, 2007

Free worldwide shipping – part of great customer service

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 10:04 am
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Recently I helped one of my clients write their company’s Customer Service Policy from scratch. They sort of had an idea of their customer service policies in their minds, but nothing was formal and nothing was written down.

I really enjoy writing policies like this because my clients have to sit down and think about their overall aims and objectives, their image, their customers. As we progress, they gradually come up with innovative ideas and form clear guidelines as to how they look after their customers, loyalty programs, how they can add value for thier customers, etc.

So when I was reading a blog post at Annette Piper Jewellery yesterday, her post about free worldwide shipping really caught my attention. Annette explained that she recieves so many lovely comments from international would-be customers however the cost of shipping her exquisite jewellery overseas prevented many of them from buying. So… she introduced free shipping. What a great idea!

What do your customers want that you don’t already provide? Can you offer that to them? Let me know what unique ideas you come up with.

Here’s to your business success…

November 26, 2007

The Power of Samples

Filed under: Marketing Tips,Small Business,Tips & Tricks,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 4:09 pm
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Another great, low-cost marketing strategy is to give away or show samples of your products or services.

In one of my recent posts I mentioned the divine promotional chocolate bites I bought from Moments in Chocolate, individually wrapped with my logo and contact details on them. When I saw the website for these I thought they looked good; I might be interested in ordering some… one day. But when I received some free samples, that was it! I was hooked and ordered straight away.

If you want to increase your marketing efforts, think about ways you can offer samples of your products/services.

Sometimes it’s not possible to give a sample of your work. For example, Etched in Memories (a business that creates exquisite pieces of jewellery, keyrings and name tags with your special photos, words or design expertly engraved) recently posted about their samples. It’s not practical for them to send free samples of their creations but they do offer a samples page on their website. Perhaps this is something you can do?

Etched in Memories Sample

You could also consider offering a 30-minute consultation for free or a report, guide or booklet.

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