Local Business Marketing Online

It may seem strange at first to hear that I recommend local Businesses include article marketing as part of their business marketing strategy.

After all an article written by a Minneapolis Pest Control expert may not be relevant to readers in Brisbane, Australia, or London and yet the article will be distributed worldwide once it is posted on an internet article directory.

It’s not likely even that a home owner fighting bed bugs in Madison, Wisconsin will call on this Minneapolis business. Why then bother?

Well, there are a couple minor reasons and one major. Let’s deal with the minor ones first.

The very act of writing an article tends to focus the mind. You know your business inside and out, but can you effectively communicate it to others? Writing an article can help you identify your unique selling proposition and put it into words. Now many business people can do that in a flash, while others will struggle with it at first.

Learning how to communicate in an article will help you in all other presentations and it has the great advantage of allowing you to rip up your false starts until you get a solid statement composed.

The second minor reason is that in addition to impressing your spouse or even yourself, you are now an author. And that in and of itself carries with it a perception of authority and expertise. Now of course you are an expert in your field, but your status as an author helps reinforce that image with others. And that’s a good thing.

But the real reason to write articles is the power article marketing has in raising your web page higher in the search engines. It’s not the article per se that matters, it’s the back link you get from the article directory that publishes your article. This by itself is good news, but the power of article marketing isn’t in just getting your article on the directories.

Far more powerful is the result of it getting it republished in many different blogs, and ezines around the world. A well written article, that makes a clear point and is easy or even fun to read is likely to be picked up by others. And each time it is, you get another back link to your web site.

There are many factors that play an important role in how well your web site is rated by Google and the other search engines. But once the basics are taken care of, the dominant factor is how well respected your web site is. The search engines measure this my taking note of how many other web sites are linking back to your web page and who those sites are.

Within a local market, like my home town of Minneapolis a doctor, photographer, dentist, window replacement contractor, etc doesn’t need to have the most popular web site in the world, just the most popular in the Minneapolis area. If they are they will rank higher than most if not all their competitors.

And since these days more people search for businesses online rather than via the Yellow pages as they did in the past, this is a significant advantage. An advantage that results in more new customers and more profits.

And that is exactly why I advise local business in the Twin Cities area and elsewhere to market their business using article marketing as a significant part of their business marketing strategy.

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Grandad, What’s a Business?

Grandad, what’s a business? This is a simple question but like many simple questions the answer is a bit more complicated than you might expect. Complicated but easy to understand if you let Grandad explain.

Quite simply, a business is a group of people who are joined together to sell something to bring in money, referred to as “income”.

A business can be very small, even just one person. This small business can have a legal form or the person can just consider himself (or herself) to be “self-employed”. Even a one-man business must bring in enough money to pay for his living costs. Otherwise he will need to get a job in another business or live on social security paid out by the government and that is no fun at all.

The size of business that we meet most often is as small as 2 or 3 up to as many as several hundred. These companies are often referred to as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They normally have a legal status such as “partnership” or “limited company”.

The big beasts in the business jungle can be very large indeed, often with thousands of employees and many millions of pounds income and are usually “Public Limited Companies” (PLCs). All these businesses are important and Grandad will tell you more about all these businesses in the next few days.

Let me tell you now about the money earned by a business, called “income”. This money must be enough to cover what are called costs or “expenditure”. Costs are all the expenses that the business incurs: the materials the business might have bought, rents, wages and money paid to other people. Costs can include a whole lot of other things such as computer cost, telephone bills, insurance, heating, transport etc.

The idea of a business is that income should be more than expenditure, If income is greater than expenditure, the difference is called a “profit”. If income is less than expenditure then the business is said to make a “loss”.

Making a loss is a BAD THING. If losses continue then the business cannot carry on and is said to be bankrupt. The business has no money to pay its bills.

Profit therefore must be a GOOD THING. Not everyone agrees but Grandad will explain as we go on why profit is a VERY GOOD THING.

There is an in-between result which is called “break-even”, which is not a loss and not a profit. Normally a business can survive in a break-even state but it brings problems that we can talk about later.

Grandad has not yet mentioned the greatest contribution that businesses make to all our lives – TAXATION. Businesses are a rich source of TAX, which our government needs to pay for schools, the National Health Service, roads, police, firemen, the Army, Navy and Air Force, old age pensions etc. Our politicians have great ideas on how to spend money but they have no money to spend unless businesses create TAX.

There is a tax called CORPORATION TAX which is charged as a percentage of the profit the business makes. However businesses create tax for the government in many other ways. Everyone who gets wages or a salary from a business pays INCOME TAX and the business pay NATIONAL INSURANCE for each person working for the business. No business, no wages, no income tax, no national insurance. Businesses charge VAT (Value added tax) on most things they sell They pay what they collect (less what VAT they have paid to other businesses) to the government. Owners of a business can take money out of the business in the form of what are called “dividends”: INCOME TAX is paid as a percentage of these dividends. Finally owners can sell a business to somebody else and if they do, they pay CAPITAL GAINS TAX on the sale. If a business buys insurance, it pays INSURANCE TAX. If it buys goods from abroad, it often has to pay TARIFFS to the government.

Corporation Tax, Income Tax, National Insurance, Value Added Tax, Tax on Dividends, Tariffs, Capital Gains Tax all help in paying for things we value such as schools, police, defence and the National Health Service. Without these taxes the government would not have enough money to pay for these things. By the way, businesses also pay COUNCIL TAX which pays for local services such as street cleaning, parks, playgrounds and many other things we take for granted.

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ERP and CRM – The Modern Tools That Will Keep Your Business Inside the Competition

This article is written to give you, being a business owner or a service provider, an idea on how the ERP and CRM really work. You could be an expert on these fields of technology already or it’s the other way around. But the thing is one day or another, you will be using these software or even today, there could also be an application ERP and CRM on your mobile phone or touchpad already that is helping you in certain ways. Without further adieu, the main objective of this article is for you discover more on how these virtual technologies will help you in setting up your business for success.

Introduction to ERP and CRM – Would they Make Sense?

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. There are thousands of ways to define it. But in a general sense, the definition is already on the words themselves – plan your enterprise resources. What makes it somehow new and alluring is the way it appears on WebPages, newsletters and eBooks. ERP is a technology system made to make business management simple, accurate and accessible to all users inside and outside the organization. By equating each feature with functions, it can be well understood as: simple is to a website, accurate is to programming and accessible is to internet. Use ERP software to your business and there is a greater chance of winning the market.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It is actually another version of ERP but this one focuses more on handling the people that gives revenue and profit to your business. Control your business operation using ERP and manage your clients using CRM; this is how it works. Get to know your first buyer by requesting him to fill out a simple form online. The product he bought, his name, the place where he lives and even his age; a CRM system captures almost every information that can be used to improve more your business operation. CRM is powerful.

Linking the Aspects of Your Operation into Concepts of ERP and CRM

The first question that an ERP expert will ask you if you want him to help you manage your business is “What is your business?” Your answer will actually give him the big picture. The nature of your business, the industry where you belong, the size of your business, your target market and the supplier of your products will also be asked. And then what’s next? Well, the main goal of a consultant is to recommend you the ERP module that will fit into your business. If your business is an electronic store, then you need an inventory system to handle it. If it’s a technical support team, then you need a database that will contain your list of products, product documentation and a library that can be accessed in seconds by your staffs. Every angle, every aspect and every process – all are integrated into an automated system that will simplify an operation of tasks.

Setting Up Your Business First Before Acquiring the Software

Your main objective should-be before acquiring an ERP and CRM software is to lay down your business objectives. They should be specific, achievable and never been done before by you. It is that for every objective, there is an ERP module and sub-modules that will make them happen. Certainly, a program sequence will run its script and produce a result that will satisfy a specific operation in your business. The challenge here is that you must believe with the power of programming and automation in order to make it work for you. These are the principles and concepts behind ERP and CRM. These are developed by great and well-experienced programmers. Well, basically not all are experts but certainly they have a common goal – make your system of operation easier.

Acquiring the Right (if Not the Best) Software Package

You can choose between cheap and expensive, one with full-pack features and another which is limited, developed by top corporations and created by a freelance programmer, and even a popular one and an old version of it. You are free to choose, anyway. But the main concern here is “Do You Know How to Use it?” If your answer here is NO, then you need at least an expert who will teach you how. If your answer is YES, then you are close to being RIGHT on your decision to purchase an ERP software package. That is good reason enough to go grab the software for your business. But it doesn’t just ends there. ERP and CRM are huge software and to implement them will also require huge money, time and people. Becoming incomplete with these resources, you can fail. Getting the right software is planning those three major business resources very well.

Step by Step Procedures on Acquiring ERP and CRM from a Consultant’s Standpoint

You are convinced that you really need ERP and CRM software in order not to be left behind. Acquiring these software is totally different from paying over the counter for the soft drink that you picked from the fridge. These are the right steps on buying software of such types. You can use them as guide.

1. Get the product name and review the basic features and specifications.
2. Get a free trial version, if not of the actual product but of the same product that is offered by the seller, and simulate it.
3. Read forums, ask questions to the seller and look on some product reviews. They will help you a lot.
4. Ensure that there is a product support – documentation, technical support and warranty.
5. Install it. Implement it. Make sure it’s working free of bugs.
6. Hiring an expert can be your option anywhere in the entire process but it highly recommended doing it right at the very start if you are a beginner.

Do You Need to Consult?

Consult only if you don’t know how to do it. Consulting is paying money to the consultant. If you can do it on your own, better. If you cannot, hiring an ERP and CRM consultant is much better. Test the consultant’s expertise by requesting a quote or asking challenge questions. If you’re lacking on time, people, idea and resources – hire a consultant. Paying for a consultant’s service is an investment. It can do a lot to your next quarter’s profitability.

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Web Marketing For Small Business – Insider Tricks Which Gets You Big Results

The number one trick to web marketing for your small business obviously is to hire someone that knows what their doing. As we all know being a business owner you’re flat out running your business, let alone take on the task of marketing your website.

But if you’re at a stage where you just want to learn a little bit more then this article will explain a few insider tricks which will get you some big results.

First of all you should be promoting your website wherever your name appears, this may be online as well as offline. The more people you get to your site the better. Because the insider trick I’m about to share with you includes people creating viral traffic to your website.

Alright… so now that you’re doing everything you can to promote your website you need to install options to your website that enables people to share your content, your offers or your products with their friends on other social networking sites.

Yes that’s right. You can install a Facebook share this button on your website or a link that allows people to share your site with their friends on Facebook.

Now just think about this. Let’s say on average people viewing your site have about 50 friends on their account. If this person makes use of your share button their network of friends YES all 50 will see the link on their account also. So in essence this one person has just promoted your business to 50 other people by the push of a button.

Now let’s say you’ve got just 10 people who share your link, that would be a total of 500 people that are exposed to your business. Do you see the power of this?

And all it takes is adding a share this on Facebook or tweet about this link or button next to your content on your website!

But we’re just assuming that each person has only got 50 friends, what if these people had 100 or 500 which is the amount of friends many people I know have.

This is a simple way to virtually distribute your message. And if you’re offering good content that is liked by a lot of people expect a rush of traffic to your website and ready to be monetized.

But to top this strategy off you can add numerous social bookmarking sites to do the same thing. The same way you added the Facebook button you can add social bookmark buttons to your site.

Think about it… you have just a few visitors share your content on several sites… your content would go viral.

But the key to making this work as mentioned earlier is giving away good content that a lot of people will like and will be willing to share with their friends.

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