Category Archives: Marketing Tips

The Entrepreneur Map Is A Great Opportunity For Business Owners Everywhere

We recently discovered a new tool for entrepreneurs. We reached out to Justin Grounds, founder of The Entrepreneur Map (EM), and learned how this easy to use tool can help #Christian entrepreneurs everywhere! What is The Entrepreneur Map? It is a Google Maps / geo location based website application that provides free advertising and promotional tools for individuals, small businesses and entrepreneurs everywhere. The Entrepreneur Map is not listed as a Christian based business but we thought the promotional value of this free tool was too great not to report on.

Grounds explained, their current marketing process is this, when someone registers on the EM, they actively promote the EM in their specific geo location using social media marketing. This attracts other entrepreneurs, individuals and business owners residing in their location to visit the EM and view the new member’s information, promotional video and or banner, as well as other members in the web visitor’s location, and also to possibly register themselves. This increases the value for the members by attracting potential clients and contacts for the new member’s products and services.

 If you have an intro, demo, or promotional video – it will be featured and all visitors within a 30 MILE RADIUS of your location will view it – and it’s FREE! ~ Justin Grounds

We thought the Entrepreneur Map was a great opportunity for #Christian entrepreneurs to connect with like-minded customers across the globe. 316Marketplace.Com has witnessed the team at EM promoting businesses on all the major social media. This constant promotion provides much needed juice to fuel to direct traffic to these courageous entrepreneurs.

Going forward, in order to gain real internet traction and get the Entrepreneur Map name and services out there to be found by the millions of bootstrapping individuals and small businesses that would benefit from the free services that the EM offers, they will no doubt need to generate a paid advertising and admin budget.

Justin and his team wish to keep the EM services free for all who see the value of jumping on and becoming members. After all, it is mainly targeted at those who are endeavoring to build a business for themselves and their families in difficult economic times.

Do you have a partnership idea or a sponsorship offer for Entrepreneurial Map? Grounds remains open to ideas and opportunities and is focused on growing the scope and reach of the Entrepreneur Map.

We encourage #Christian business owners to prayerfully consider tools like the Entrepreneur Map or a local #ChristianBusinessDirectory like www.316Marketplace.Com. We pray that God may continue to richly bless Justin’s entrepreneurial endeavor and look forward to updates in the near future.

Innovate Web Development - Treating You With Dignity & Respect

In today’s competitive marketplace it’s imperative you have a strong web presence. Whether you have a bustling online business or a faith based non-profit you will need a web-site that can stand among the rest! The quality of your website oftentimes reflects the quality of the product you sell or the service you advertise. In speaking with many business owners we found the most significant reason for their lack of a quality web presence was twofold: cost and lack of expertise. The highly competitive market of larger companies forced prices upward, making it nearly impossible for smaller companies to afford the cost of a beautiful and highly functional website.

It was for this reason that Eric English founded Innovate Web Development five years ago. Not only is there a significant need within the web design industry to provide affordable web development services, but also to provide first-class custom support that treats everyone with dignity and respect.

The 316marketplace.com team recently met up with Eric at Tri-Pointe Coffeehouse in Omaha, a local Christian business. Eric’s passion to see small businesses establish a strong web presence as well as thrive in a highly competitive market is what makes Innovate Web Development so successful today.

In researching the needs of their clients, Eric found that far too many business owners have had  poor experiences working with other web development companies in the past. This has motivated Eric to provide the highest quality of customer support to all clients no matter what services they have purchased, no matter how long they have been a client, or whose company they belong to.

“We will never recommend things you don’t need, and will always treat you and your ideas with dignity and respect.”

~ Eric English, Founder of Innovate Web Development

It was apparent during our recent visit that Eric believes in beautiful web-designs. Many companies struggle with a balance between functionality and beauty. Eric and his team use their gifts and creativity to the customer’s benefit. During our visit we discussed their creative web development & design layout for Tripointe Coffeehouse. All their gifts glorifying God! 

Eric also recognizes the importance of faith within our local community. Faith is important to Eric and his team at Innovate Web Development as well. So, whether it’s through a special discount or some free advice Eric will support local faith communities.

Innovate has a strong desire to see local faith based organizations be successful!

You can count on Innovate Web Development to conduct themselves with high moral character and integrity. They will never recommend things you don’t need, and will always treat you and your ideas with dignity and respect.

We recommend you give Eric a call at 402-210-8136 and tell him the 316Marketplace.com sent you! 

 

 

Does your website work for you?

First things first.  You must have a web presence in the form of a website if you are a small business.  Nearly 50% of small businesses don’t have a website.

If you don’t have a website, you should reconsider, because people are not looking in the phone book any more.  A well known Omaha businessman I know once stated, “you have to be where the eyeballs are.”

If you do have a website, is it working for you? By work, I really mean, does it generate the desired action you are needing to increase your business?  Sell product? Generate a lead?  Introduce your brand?  Inform prospects?  Provide service?  It doesn’t matter if you are a contractor here in Omaha or a retail shop, the site needs to be your 24 hour sales person on demand.

Is your website helping you achieve the action most efficiently?  A website is not a one size fits all marketing piece.  Sometimes the web designer doesn’t understand this.  Just because the site looks like a work of art doesn’t mean that it’s ideal for the site visitor.

Mistakes small businesses make on their website:

No analytics-get analytics of some sort on the site so you can get a good idea of how visitors are navigating the site and what key words they are finding you with.  This is easy and free with Google analytics.

Basic SEO elements missing-if you haven’t had an SEO evaluation, this is often a good first step to diagnose some of the common problems with the sites visibility to the search engines.   Sometimes it’s simple and obvious like having the option to keep the site private in your WordPress settings, and sometimes its a much more technical issue that keeps a site from performing at it’s best in the search engines.  There are many aspects to SEO, but the basics can’t be ignored.

Light on the content-if you have been in web marketing for any amount of time, you have probably heard that “content is king”.  Well, the rules have not changed – content is still the best way to get your site ranked.  Content my be in the form of text, video, or photographs.  Ideally, you need a good mix of all of these to create compelling reasons for visitors and search engines to favor your site.

Who to call

At 316Marketplace.com, we specialize in the functional aspect of making your website work.  We can provide the assessment of overall site health and get you on the right track.  One size does not fit all, so we’ll tailor the plan to effectively make your site work the most efficiently for your business needs.  Feel free to contact us here.

Social Media Mapping in a Christian World

As Christian business owners, you have to embrace social media! Before you even start thinking about a social media presence, you have to make a commitment! You can’t expect throngs of followers & fans to find you overnight! Yes, you can still navigate these roads with a Christian spirit and mindset!

Most entrepreneurs start their social media presence with a blitzkrieg of posts, tweets and updates, only to quickly lose interest.

As the leader of your Christian business, it’s imperative you make a commitment….even it’s just to yourself. Acknowledging and agreeing with yourself that building a social presence could take a year or more, and then promising to invest the necessary time, energy and resources into it no matter what, will keep you on course for the challenges that lie ahead. (yes there will be plenty of challenges ahead)

You wouldn’t think of loading up the family and heading across the country without a map, fuel, and general vacation provisions! Would you? Having a social media presence is no different! Don’t worry, 316marketplace.com has developed a social media map to guide you along this journey! A 316 team member will be happy to send you a map!

Social media mapping prepares you to be active and engaged even when you feel your presence is stagnating. 316Marketplace.com strategizes with Christian businesses on all aspects of social media.

In the weeks ahead, the 316Marketplace team will address each stop along this journey. Today, we want you to consider how the following questions will impact your social media map!

Who is your ideal client? 

Who are your most popular types of customers? Are they college students, businessman, stay at home moms?

Where do your clients hang out?

There is little sense in being active across multiple social media platforms if your prospective clients spend most of their time on Facebook. Resources are valuable so we recommend focusing on one or two platforms.

Define your goal in using a specific social media platform?

Ask your team what you want to achieve! Do you want to increase brand awareness? B2B connections? If you want to increase engagement, then you would want a platform where you can post questions and images that will elicit a response. You’re interested in generating sales? Perhaps the use of Facebook “offers” is a good fit for your business! Your social media goal is your compass and will keep you pointing toward your destination!

Next week we will dive into the management of these platforms and delegating social media responsibilities.

Thank you for being a courageous Christian witness in today’s marketplace!

The 316Marketplace team.

https://www.facebook.com/316Marketplace?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/316Marketplace

 

Have a Plan for your Marketing

I have often heard it said, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  This is true in so many aspects of life, and in marketing your business it’s no different.  I have sat with literally dozens of business owners who had been doing the same thing for years without really planning, analyzing and then adjusting the plan.

The plan might have been “put an ad in the yellow pages” because that’s what I did last year.  Or it might have simply been “I know I need to get my business online, so I’ll build a website.”  Then they proceeded to build a website without thought to what their demographic was, how it was going to be promoted, or what supporting updates it was going to need.

This type of shotgun approach happens in businesses large and small.  How do you remedy this?  Once you have the marketing assessment completed, you’ll have a better idea of the weaknesses in your current plan, or lack of it.  Fill in the holes by putting together a calendar of annual creation of content on a monthly basis and the tactics you will use to promote that content, who will do it and the timeline for completion.  This makes it easy for you to keep people responsible for individual parts of the marketing plan accountable for the actions.

Additionally the plan should allow for fluid release of content as changes in the market take place, so you can play off of significant events.  It doesn’t have to be on as grand scale as Oreo’s twitter but it’s good to be able to be a little bit spontaneous.

At 316Marketplace.com, we love to help you with your small business marketing strategy, please contact us, we’d love to learn more about your needs and help you put together the all-important marketing plan for your local Omaha business or a national one to help your business grow.

 

Marketing Needs Assessment for Local Businesses

Once you have admitted that you have a marketing problem, it’s time to get an assessment of your situation.

analytics for web site trafficA good place to start is to add some analytics to your website to help you get a good idea of what’s going on with regards to the current traffic on your site.  It gives you a good baseline from which to begin and to measure your future efforts.  Some of the things I like to look at in analytics are search query terms.  This will tell me what terms users finding my site from in organic searches.  I also like to get an idea of the pages that people are entering the site on, and how long they stay.

Another area to assess is the presence of all social media assets the business has, or should have, based on the audience of consumers the web site is working to appeal to.  Does the business need a Google Plus page?  LinkedIn?  If the social media channel is present, is it accurate?  So many businesses we work with have started with some sort of social media, but it’s either not right for the given audience, or the business just gave up and stopped contributing to the social community.

Continuing, additional items to review when assessing your digital presence are the technology and on-page items of your web site.  Sometimes a complete overhaul is needed, and other times it’s really just a few simple tweaks to ensure that your site has some of the basic items like titles, and plenty of content related to your services.

Finally, take steps to determine if your web site is doing what you need it to.  Many times it’s not the obvious task of an e-commerce site, but soft selling by giving away information relevant to the needs of your audience, or collecting email addresses so that you can connect with your audience in the future.

If you need help with a Marketing Needs Assessment, 316Marketplace.com professionals can help.  Just contact us to set up an appointment for an evaluation.

Admitting you have a marketing problem - Step 1

“I am a small business, and I have a problem.”  The first step in any good 12 step program is admitting you have a problem, right?  Generally, the small business owner is stretched so thin, they can’t possibly keep up with all of the skills needed to properly provide an online presence.  Here’s a short list of common problems:

No web presence at all – no web site, no social media, nothing.
Why this is a problem:  Whether you want to acknowledge this or not, your customers are NOT using the phone book to find you any more – they are digitally connected in multiple ways, at work, at home, and on the go with their phones.  There is no getting around this.  Have at least a web site and a G+ page if you have a physical location.
What can be done:  A basic web site doesn’t have to be expensive and a Google Plus page can be set up to help indicate the basics of your business to Google.  This will help you be found locally.  See the listing of local results from Google for “Omaha Malls”

Example of how your business might appear in local results listings for Google.

Example of how your business might appear in local results listings for Google.

 

Minimal web presence, but not showing up for basic terms like brand or business name.
Why this is a problem:  You are missing out on people who are familiar with your brand or business name but can’t find you.  Eventually the prospective client will just give up and call the business who’s easiest to find.  

What can be done: Often small SEO changes can be made that can help provide you better exposure in the search engine results.

You have a business web site, but you have no idea who’s searching, how often, and for what information they are looking for on the site.
Why this is a problem:  If you can optimize the experience on your site by providing the items people are looking for, your phone will ring more often.  Web site analytics can tell you everything from where your site visitors are geographically located to how long they are spending on your site, to what search term they used to find you with.  This can tip you off to how effective your advertising is in different parts of the country, what new products you might be able to provide based on the terms people are searching for or why people are leaving your site without taking the action that you want them to.
What can be done:  Web site analytics can be installed easily if you don’t have this, and someone who knows how to interpret the numbers can gain much insight into your site visitor’s intent.

Your website is not mobile ready.
Why this is a problem:   Consumers are using their phone for almost everything digital now.  The statistics are overwhelming.  Your site needs to be ready to display the information a consumer is looking for in a mobile friendly format.  In fact, your search results could suffer if your site is not mobile ready, according to this recent searchengineland article.
What can be done:  A mobile website can be built-often this is a difficult task, but can be done easily if you have a worpress website and a good wordpress responsive theme.

Your digital presence is not a set-it-and-forget-it piece of marketing collateral.  You must keep it updated, relevant, and findable in order to keep visitors coming back.  It can be one of the best acquisition tools your business can have to bring in new customers searching for the goods or services you provide.

If you have questions or problems about the above ideas, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us.

Increasing local online presence - A 12 step program for digital marketing

We see common themes among local businesses we consult with on their digital marketing programs. This prompted us to put together a 12 step program for shaping up their local digital presence. Over the next 12 weeks, we’ll be covering 12 steps related to increasing your local online presence.  Why 12 steps?   Well, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

Admittedly, there is a lot to know and learn about digital marketing, and oftentimes small business owners are left scratching their heads wondering what to do because just the thought of getting started is so overwhelming. Others get caught up in one aspect of digital marketing, whether it be social media or SEO, or they get caught up in some of the mis-information that’s been dispersed about the various subjects.  More common, they are a step or 2 or more behind because the speed of implementation of a given idea is far too slow compared to their ability and the constraints everyday business ownership puts on them.

Some of the important topics we’ll be covering in this series are:  tips for ranking better locally, effective use of video, content and what it consists of, social media marketing, online lead generation to increase your business, paid search presence and email marketing.  These are all building blocks to a successful and consistent online presence that puts you in control of your digital marketing.

We are here to help, as experts in several fields, including owning several small businesses in Omaha, 316Marketplace.com is a great place to start by listing your business or letting us help further your local digital presence.

This is the intro to a 12 part series – feel free to follow along and get some insight into why you need a digital presence!