Utilizing your hidden sales team.

How many hats do you wear at your business?

No matter how well you perform as the main salesperson for your business, there will always be certain key salespeople available who can communicate the benefits of your products or services better than anyone.

Are you recognizing and rewarding these important people?

Are you encouraging them to reach out to as many prospects as possible?

Are these key salespeople loyal to you and your business?

Do you even know who these critical salespeople are?

my refferals

You should. They are your customers.

Customers are the most overlooked and under appreciated marketing assets a business has. And just like regular sales employees, your customers need to be motivated to sell on your behalf.

Aside from answering a specific question from a friend or family member, people rarely start up a conversation about a positive experience they had with a business. It just doesn’t often happen. Customers will tell an average of nine people about a bad experience with a business and no one about a good experience.

reviews matter

If you sit for an hour in the waiting room at the doctor’s office you will tell people about it. If the waitress brings you a roast beef sandwich and you’re a vegetarian you will be sure to mention it when you go home. But when the doctor sees you right away and the waitress brings you your salad it doesn’t cross your mind to say a word about the experiences to anyone.

So if good service and reliable products don’t motivate your customers to spread the good word about your business, what does? Have you tried asking your customers to sell on your behalf?

It’s like asking someone to dance.

Take a deep breath

    Work up the nerve

        And Just Ask!

Ask your customers to mention your business to their friends and family. Ask your customers to share with you their friends and family members who could benefit from your services. If your customers are pleased with their experience then they may be willing to share some names and numbers with you.

There are more organized ways to request the assistance of your customers as well. Implement a formal referral program. Every time someone comes in and mentions that a current customer referred them, reward that current customer. Keep track of referrals in your customer database and enable customers to accumulate significant discounts. Provide the business-generating customers with free services as a sincere thank you. Recognize them with a hand written thank you note. Heck, reward them with cash.

Present each customer with an offer to meet with, give guidance to, or advise anyone important to them who might have a need for your services or products. Mention that there is no expectation of purchase, but a desire to offer the value that your customer appreciates to his or her friends, family, and coworkers.

A loyal customer who brings in new customers is incredibly valuable to your business. You are spending a specific amount of marketing money to bring in one customer, except now with referrals you are acquiring more than one customer. With a successful referral program you are slashing your marketing costs per customer.

Implementing a successful referral program is the highest leverage marketing tactic that you can carry out.

Blackhat SEO: The Dark Side of SEO Marketing

What is Blackhat SEO and how should my business handle it?

spammy seo techniques that can hurt

Blackhat search engine optimization (SEO) is an area that generates lots of interest from website owners the world over. While many webmasters despise the techniques by black-hatters, just as many website owners feel that black SEO techniques are the best way to get ahead in the enormous sea that is the internet.

“Illicit techniques that manipulate search engines to try to rank a site higher are considered blackhat techniques that violate our Webmaster Guidelines. Do not pay for links pointing to your site to be placed on the internet with the intent of passing PageRank and manipulating Google Search. These links may be called sponsored links or paid advertising, hidden in HTML, or inserted as optimized anchors in articles, comments, and footers.”

Source: Google

 

My personal opinion is that blackhat SEO is only good temporarily or for projects that you can spare to loose. Websites using blackhat SEO techniques will eventually be banned by the search engines. However, used properly, blackhat SEO techniques can be very effective for a fairly long time.

 

Since search engine optimization, better known as SEO, is all about getting one’s website listed at or near the top of various search engines (Google being the most important search engine of the bunch), it behooves every website owner to understand and use all tools available to him to accomplish this. Blackhat SEO techniques, despite how some webmasters feel, are effective SEO tools that should at least be investigated by webmasters. Even if a webmaster does not agree with, nor want to use blackhat SEO techniques, he must understand such techniques.

 

What are some Black Hat SEO Techniques seo companies are using that you NEED TO AVOID?

If you are involved at any level in search engine optimization or even internet marketing in general, do yourself a huge favor and at least understand what blackhat SEO is.

ds9 design ideation of marketing and seo

Marketing for Small Businesses, Cheap or Free Ideas to Get Your Name Out

If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’re on limited funds

ds9 design ideation of marketing and seo

You know there is a need for marketing to bring in customers. It tends to be a Catch-22, need customers for money, but need money to appeal to customers.
There are resources out there for either free, or cheap marketing to drive customers to your business. You just need to know where to look.

 

  1. Press releases in your local paper are generally free. You need to let everyone know that you just added a new product or service, or even if your business is involved in a charity event. Talk about how your business will benefit customers. You can also

 

  1. Join organizations and network. Usually there is a minimal cost, but what better way to get out and meet people? Try checking out your local Chamber of Commerce, Women in Business organization or even an organization related to your hobbies. Most cities have a Meetup community. You can register on the site then select which groups you would like to join. Here in Fort Lauderdale we have a suprisingly active start-up community. You can also join some online communities on Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/smallbusiness/ is a good place to start. Get to know people and you’ll be on their mind when they need your services!

 

  1. Donating one of your items to a raffle or for sale in a charity auction is a great way to get your name and product out there. You’ll be remembered for your good deeds as well.

I use handwritten notes to reach out to prospective clients and to say thank you to vendors and clients. Email is too easy to ignore. Phone calls can be invasive and are more challenging to schedule for me. Letters are hard to ignore and not invasive.

Source: The Forgotten Power of Handwritten Notes

Running a small business is difficult as it is, and there is always the budget hanging over your head on where to spend money, and how to do it efficiently. Try some of these steps, and it will help keep your name out there.

fort lauderdale seo experts on usps

Quick and Free Things you can do today to boost business: What is a USP?

DS9 SEO Fort Lauderdale on Unique Selling Propositions

Your USP is your “Unique Selling Proposition”. It’s your number one reason why a potential client or customer will benefit from your business. If you have not thought of a USP yet, take a look at some examples below.

“A Shoe for a Shoe, And a Smile”

Toms Shoes are inexpensive and offbeat. This isn’t enough to make them stand out in the competitive shoe business. Their killer USP is that with every purchase they send a brand new pair of shoes to children in need.

“We’re number two. We try harder”

Avis, the budget car rental company also has an interesting USP.
They were able to spin their unfortunate position as the second largest car rental company. With the help of Doyle Dane Bernbach, this campaign helped moved Avis’ market share from 11% to 35% in just four years.

“ You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free”

Moving our agency from New York City to South Florida has brought us closer to Domino’s Pizza. Its’ no Brooklyn slice but it fills the pizza void in between business trips. Their USP is direct and to the point
This does not roll off the tongue but is an amazing unique selling proposition. It spells our their guarantee in a clear and concise manner. A side note on why this is no longer used, apparently the drivers were having incidents with car accidents trying to deliver within the time period.

How do I create my own USP?

 

 

FINDING A WEB DESIGNER AND NEGOTIATING RATES

So you’ve decided to take your business to the next level, and invest in a website that will generate sales for you 24/7.

The decision in investing in your business could be tough at first, but when you look at the numbers you’ll find that Online Shopping is set to increase by 62% in 2016.

The truth isn’t just in the numbers, when was the last time you’ve made an important business choice without Googling it first?

The confusion often sets in, with all the choices for setting up or upgrading your website. What will get you the most “bang for your buck”?

If you’ve read our past posts on the Squarespace/Wix Case, you’ll know that having a properly developed website that generates sales can’t be done overnight or with a generic website. Why would you want your site to look like 100,000 other ones?

Non-Tech oriented (and even tech savvy folks!) have all heard or experienced the beautiful world of being taken for a ride in billable hours. Let’s be honest, you probably felt ripped off the last time you took your pc to a repair shop, or your car to a mechanic.

The reason for this is simple, there is no way to “Prove” how long your project actually took.

The same is unfortunately true in the field of webdesign.

In this article I’m going to discuss some things to not only improve the quality of your projects, but lower the cost of your website.

1) Prepare: Before meeting with your web designer, think about what you’ll need for your website. Do you have your logo already made or do you need one to be designed? Do you have all the text and content for your website or do they need to do copy-writing? It’s even more helpful to bring 5 examples of sites you like, and 5 examples of websites you don’t like. This step will save hours in the designer process, and will result in a higher quality website.

 

2) Ask: Schedule a meeting with your web designer of choice, and review their portfolio. Find a project similar to what you want, and ask how many hours it took them to complete it. If a brochure website for a local business took 60 hours, and you’re looking for a simple display website for your main street shop, why would the estimate read 100 hours?

 

3) Plan: After presenting the information you’ve prepared, your web developer should be able to work up a time estimate, with each item itemized. A bad web designer will lump everything into one item, assuming you have no idea what it is. This is where their “fluff” billing will kick in! Ask a lot of questions, and have them explain each part of the design process

4) Review: Some web developers will choose to review half way through the project, some will just present a final project. We prefer to take a more interactive approach and allow the client to view the project as we build it. We’ve developed a client relation portal called “IO” which allows you to review, request edits, and approve project files live as we are building. A support ticket system is also integrated for an issues that you’d like to bring up.

THE WIX / SQUARESPACE CASE

If you have a new startup or business, then one of the best things you can do to gain exposure and increase the number of sales is to create a professional website that will represent you in the online world. There are multiple ways you can do this, as you can either opt for a custom website build that’s more professional or a generic WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) builder such as Wix or SquareSpace that will use templates and other pre-fabricated designs.

While the latter option might seem more convenient because of the lower costs that it implies, the reality is, as with anything in the design field; You get what you pay for.

When a person comes to a business site, he/she wants to see something different or unique that will represent that business. This is why you need to opt for a custom built website that can be developed for your unique specifications. In addition to that, a custom build website will increase sales conversions and increased bounce rate.

On the other hand, pre-fabricated websites created by SquareSpace and Wix provide you with a multitude of templates that are already used by tens of thousands of other people all over the world. While this may work for personal sites, your website is the face of your business. It is important to stand out, and have an automated sales man to showcase your products.

Would you want your product to be displayed in a bargain bin at TJMaxx, or a display case at Bloomingdales?

Another important thing when it comes to website design is, of course, SEO (Search Engine Optomization). Having your website optimize for search engines is crucial if you want to gain the best results and rank in front of your competitors. How would you like to define the exact demographics (Age, Income, Interests, Location) your website is viewed by? With a generic WYSIWYG site, this is simply not possible.

You need to have an optimized layout that simply can’t be achieved through using pre-built themes such as the ones provided by Wix and SquareSpace.

If your business grows, using a website created with Wix and SquareSpace will cost more in the long run. Upgrading to meet your demand will be difficult and highly limited, which means that you will have to opt for a professional build that will cost you a lot more because of the existing information that needs to be implemented into it.

In conclusion, we recommend any small business owner to opt for a professional, custom made website design instead of opting for a template based website created with SquareSpace and Wix. Not only custom built sites show more professionalism but in the long run your website will be easier to manage and upgrade, which might save you a lot of money. Don’t go with the cheap option and face immense charges in the future, instead opt for the professional way that will help you increase your profits.