Small Biz Lessons from the Olympic Games

I hope you enjoyed the recent Olympic games as much as I did. There’s nothing quite like seeing years of perseverance culminate in an Olympic medal.  

Thinking about Olympic success, I realized there were many parallels to succeeding in small business. Below I’ve shared three of my insights.

Small Biz Lessons from the Olympic Games 

Consistent, long-term effort: In interview after interview, I heard the athletes talk about their hard work over many years. Many athletes were not instantly successful. As small business owners, are we seeking instant success?  Or are we patiently building our businesses with perseverance over time?

Evaluate and Improve: During the games, I saw athletes constantly evaluating their performances, looking for small ways to improve. They sought advice from their coaches and teammates. Likewsie, are we taking the time to evaluate our small businesses? Are we seeking sage business advice?

Enjoy the Ride:  The network commentators often talked about how relaxed or uptight the athletes were. Evidently, athletes perform best when they relax and have fun. I think that’s true about most endeavors. Do you want to succeed in the rollercoaster ride of small business? Then remember to love what you do!

Do you see any other parallels between the Olympics and your quest to build a business? If you do, then please drop me a line and share your wisdom. 

Still Marketing Like It’s 2015?

Recently we updated our email template . . . again! Yes, it looks very similar to the update we did last January. So why would we update again? (Hint: Read on!)

3 Reasons to Update to a Mobile-Responsive Template

1. Mobile-friendly is no longer enough. It may have been okay in 2015 to use a template that was designed with mobile devices in mind (think one-column, limited pictures, etc.). However, it is now a best practice to choose a template that is actually coded to reformat itself depending on the reader’s screen size. Our new mobile-responsive template actually increases font size and moves pictures around as necessary for increased readability. Mobile-friendly templates are out. Mobile-responsive templates are in!

2. Your readers expect it.When email doesn’t look good on a mobile device, 75% of your readers will delete it, and 30% will unsubscribe. Remember: More than half of all email is now being opened on a mobile device.

3. It’s easy to upgrade to mobile-responsive emails. If you’re using an email service provider like Constant Contact, you already have access to dozens of mobile-responsive templates at no additional charge. Need help finding those templates? Schedule a complimentary consultation with me by clicking here.

7 Reasons to Work at a Small Business

Al GonzalezIn a recent survey by Constant Contact, more than half of small business owners said they feel they can never be away from their business. In fact, more than 40 percent said they don’t take vacations. Yet, an overwhelming 84% of small business owners said that they would do it all again. Read on to learn some of the reasons why you and your peers love what you do.

What’s Great About Working at a Small Biz?

– Having a wide variety of challenges and experiences -Rick R.

– Being in control of my own destiny -David M.

– Having time to do the things I need to do -Suzanne E.

– The autonomy to do what I feel is right and to respond quickly -Franklin B.

– The freedom and flexibility -Michelle W.

– The power to work more efficiently — my people know the boss is accessible. -Kimanh D.

– The chance to be creative and be the one making business decisions -Elaine B.

3 Ways to Be a Better Business Writer

In business, clear communication is essential. So in this blog post, we’re featuring business writing tips (plus a BONUS!) from our colleague Wendy Alexander of wendywrites Writing & Editing Services.

 3 Ways to Be a Better Business Writer

1. Be clear. Avoid a big word if a small one will do.
Choose “know” if this will be clearer than “am cognizant of.”
Choose “start” or “begin” if this will be clearer than “commence.”

2. Be positive, even when you are communicating a deadline or requirement.
Poor: We do not hold reservations after 10 p.m.
Better: We hold reservations until 10 p.m.

3. Be specific. Avoid abstract language (and the use of “it”).
Vague: I will send it in the near future.
Specific: I will send the draft on Friday.

BONUS:  Be a writer who uses the active voice. Avoid the constructions “there were,” “there are,” “it is,” and “it was.” Active voice uses fewer words and is clearer and more direct.

Passive: The report was written by the consultant.
Active: The consultant wrote the report.

Happy Marketing!

Announcing “Marketing Know-How” Webinars

 Your life is busy! That’s why we created “Marketing Know-How” webinars. These focused, 30-minute webinars deliver timely information on a single subject that you can use right away.

Please join us for one, two, or all three of these sessions in 2015 for prizes and learning.

Thursday, January 15:  “Marketing Know-How”:  Writing Subject Lines that Get Emails Opened

Wednesday, January 21:  “Marketing Know-How”:  Creating Emails that Get Action

Tuesday, January 27:  “Marketing Know-How”:  Mobile-Friendly Emails for 2015

Blogging – Your Guide to Getting Started

BlogRecently, I consulted with Jeff Hamric of Sacramento Appraisal Group about his email marketing. As part of our discussion, he shared that he uses his email newsletter to drive traffic to his blog. Take a look. Jeff is doing an amazing job.

Have you been thinking about starting a blog for your business? Perhaps you want to get started but don’t know how?

Constant Contact provides a lot of educational resources, and we are always on the lookout for gems we can share with our newsletter readers such as this ebook about blogging. Read the Guide.

 Don’t forget: A blog and an email newsletter are a perfect combination. A blog is a great way to get content for your email newsletter.  And your email newsletter can drive people back to your blog.

Say it with Pictures!

Poppies and mountainAre you including images in your marketing? If not, you need to start leveraging the power of visual content. Studies show that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. Read More

Below are four free (or almost-free) sources we use.

Canva

Calendar pictureFor $1, we created this picture to promote the launch date of our Giving Back Program, using the online design software of Canva.

 

Freeimages

Previously called stock.xchng, freeimages.com allows users to contribute, share, and download high-resolution photographs and illustrations free of charge. When Celia and I launched our partnership on a shoestring budget, we found most of our website photos through this site.

Big Stock (Pro Images)

If you want to shop for the perfect image from millions of photos, check out Big Stock. You receive one free image a month. If you want to purchase images, you may do so from their website or directly from within a Constant Contact account.

Aviary

Aviary is a free third-party image editing tool built right into Constant Contact. After selecting a free photo in Constant Contact, you can crop it using Aviary–and even add your own quote.

Blog

Maureen_Marketing_Moment_NewsletterMany of the blog entries below are excerpts from Maureen’s Marketing Moment, a short email newsletter filled with small business marketing tips. Join the worldwide Dudley & Nunez Community and receive marketing tips by email.

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Taking Your Brand Beyond a Logo

When you think of branding, do the golden arches come to mind? Or perhaps that famous Nike swoosh?

While these are good examples of visual branding, you need more than looks to build a solid brand. According to brand strategist Maria Ross, “Brand is the story you tell and the position you occupy in people’s minds. There are markets and target audiences for everything but it’s your job as a business owner or marketing leader to be crystal clear . . . .”

3 Ways to Build a Solid Verbal Brand

–Set the Tone: Do your words leave someone feeling your brand will improve your customer’s life? How? Don’t leave people guessing. Even the nicest customer wants to know, “What’s in it for me?”

–Match Your Audience and Culture: Do your words fit your industry, your target audience, and your company’s culture? For example, at Dudley & Nunez, our verbal brand might best be described as “friendly expert.” Therefore, we need to keep our communications helpful and accessible. (No ultra-specialized techno speak here!)

–Be Consistent: Just as you wouldn’t switch out your logo each week, your overarching messaging should stay consistent within your communications. So, for example, if you want people to know you’re a chiropractor specializing in sports injuries, deliver that message repeatedly to solidify your verbal brand.

Privacy and Social Media

In recent years, businesses have been adopting social media in record numbers. In fact, Social Media Today reports that 90% of small businesses are now actively engaged in using social media.

So, how do you get your business out there while still protecting your privacy?

–Consider keeping separate personal and business accounts. For example, create a business Facebook Page to post business pictures and tips. Then share your more personal pictures in your personal Facebook account just with family and friends.

–Set up privacy settings and restrictions when applicable. Most small businesses will want the majority of their social networking to be public. After all, the point is for prospective customers to find you! However, some purposes are better served with restrictions. For example, if you are compiling a list of prospective clients on Twitter, don’t make it a public list viewable by your competitors. Or if you are a moderator of a LinkedIn group, you may want to restrict access to members who contribute and reject those just trying to spam others.

–Above all, remember that whatever you tweet, post, or blog is potentially public. Even social networks like Snapchat that claim anonymity have learned the hard way. If you wouldn’t say it to your boss, the pastor next door, AND your mother, don’t preserve it for posterity.