Small Business Marketing Solution – Is Database Marketing Right For You

Database marketing sounds like something Wal-Mart or Amazon.com is fantastic at. And they are. But so are many small businesses down the street. My local coffee shop has one of the best database marketing systems in the world. Their order processing machines remember my favorite cup of joe and serve it up to me hot, on sight, without my even asking.Of course, their order processing machines are bipedal, with organic computers known as brains and eyes in lieu of optical scanners. Database marketing essentially seeks to emulate what the baristas at the Coffee House do naturally.So, how can you know if your company is a good candidate for database marketing? There are three essential questions to ask:1. Do you have best customers? Do you possess a group of customers that clearly drive more profits–not gross sales, remember, but profits–to your bottom line?2. Can you identify those customers?3. Can you reach those customers? Can you communicate with them, individually, and treat them special?It is extremely valuable to you, then, to answer the above three questions…after you answer this one:Are you already a successful database marketer?Many sole proprietors already are. So are thousands of sales reps. They are familiar with their customers, they understand their preferences. If they have under a hundred customers, maybe even fewer than 500, they know their names and their likes and dislikes and know which ones contribute the most to their pocketbook.But once a business achieves a certain size it becomes impossible for any one person to know all the customers. This is where the aid of the computer comes in. But, we don’t want to discuss tactics in this article. Rather, let’s simply focus on whether or not your company is a candidate for a database marketing program. And that means we need to devise some questions that help us answer each of 1, 2 and 3 above.Payment. Can you capture their individual financial contribution? Does everybody pay with cash or credit card, and then scoot out the door? Or do you invoice your customers?Communication. Do you know their name and address? Can you acquire their name and address? How about email address? Can you acquire it?Acquisition Method. Do you know how they heard about your company in the first place? Can you track and quantify how much it cost your to acquire that customer?Decision Maker. Does the person who actually buys from you control the purchasing decision? If you sell to consumers, the answer is probably yes; but if you sell to businesses it can get a bit more complex. In some industries even finding let alone reaching the true decision maker can be tough but–that’s the person you need to market to for you to be effective.OK, the above are entry-level questions to ask when evaluating if your small business is a candidate for a database marketing program. Again, the key advantage the application of a database marketing program affords as part of a small business marketing program is the ability to target best customers. You find those customers that send the most to your bottom line, and spend more of your advertising dollar on them.If you can’t identify and communicate with a best customer segment, then it is probably best to look at a mass marketing program, where you essentially spend the same marketing promotional dollars on each prospect.If you can identify these best customers, then you are ready to learn more about specific database marketing techniques.Remember: Brand (who you are) + Package (your Face to the Customer) + People (customers and employees) = Marketing Success.© 2006 Marketing Hawks

Need A New Website? – How To Vet A Website Design and Development Company

Few things are more important for a business nowadays than having a website that is fully functional, designed properly, and has a good user experience for customers. Customers now more than ever are checking online before making purchases, and learning about businesses on the Internet while considering hiring contractors for services, or buying goods from a variety of vendors small and large.Because of that, it’s critical that no matter the size of your business, you have a strong Internet presence that begins with an eye-catching website that you can be proud of and use to promote your products and services. But how do you go about building one and making it look good?Web DevelopersLuckily – there are web developers whose sole job is to do that for you. It is important, however, to be sure that you pick the right developer and choose the right website company to create a lasting and aesthetically pleasing site that can make you proud and get you where you want to be. Here are a few ways to ensure that you pick the perfect web developer for your business website:Look at a portfolio of their previous websitesThe first and simplest way to pick the right web developer for your business project is to look at a portfolio of their previous work. Any good web developer should have a portfolio online, and with it, you should be able to see what they have done and what they are able to do for you. It will give you a solid idea about whether or not you like their design ideas, and what you may get out of working with them if you choose to use them on your website.Is their web expertise in your form of business?Not all web developers are created equally, in terms of both technical computer training, and their design skills and graphic design opinions. For that reason, it’s important to note that you need to consider whether a particular web developer would be a good design fit for your business needs. If they have a background in high art and fashion concepts on the web, and you have a business that sells lawnmowers and needs a website, for example, you may not be the best fit for a workable and worthwhile site.Price Matters – but so does valueAlways get quotes from web developers about what they may charge you to work on your particular site, but let’s be clear here – while price matters, so does value. Look beyond what you have to pay on a sticker price for a site and figure out how you may gain value out of the site in the long term. In doing so, you can determine whether that price will be of value to you as a long term investment, even though in the short term (and with a strong web developer) that price may be high.Turn around times, feedback, and communicationAlways, always, always meet with a developer face to face before beginning a project. Communication, feedback, and turnaround times matter as the two of you work together on a product that you want. For that reason, it’s critical that you meet with them face to face to ensure you have recourse should something go wrong, and you have a good feedback loop and good communication between the two of you should anything happy or timing be delayed. Communication matters in web development like it does in few other projects for small businesses, so really make it a point to have good communication between you and the developer.Budgeting for the unforeseeableUnforeseeable things will likely happen when creating your website, from delays to other issues surrounding a variety of things. For that reason alone, it’s critical that you make it a point to budget for the unforeseeable – plan on spending even a little bit more than your developer’s quote just in case something goes wrong, or you realize you want more than you initially thought you did. Whatever the case, budget a little bigger on this project – it’s an important one and a critical thing for your business to survive in the 21st century.How to separate the good from the badJust like in any other industry, there are plenty of bad web developers out there. While we discussed looking at a portfolio as in the case above, there are other ways you can pick out good web developers, too. For starters, a web developer that has good ideas about how to link your site with social media apps and networks will be in high demand in this day and age – you will want to be able to connect with someone who is familiar with trends in the industry, and trends regarding websites in your specific industry and business area, as well. In addition, explore their website. Does it have a blog or article section? Do they write about technical website design and exhibit the industry knowledge required of an expert?From there, you will also want to talk to someone who has the educational background necessary to develop websites. It isn’t enough to start developing in your free time and work in your mother’s basement; developers must specifically know about PHP, JavaScript, CSS3 (or later, CSS4 and CSS5) and other important keys to web development that are learned as technical skills in school and through years of work and experience. Your project is important to you – you want a talented and skilled web developer to get the job done on your behalf.All in all, it can be a daunting task to pick the right website developer for your business. Above all, though, when you do it, it’s critical that you take your time and do it right – doing so will ensure that you get the perfect web developer who can give you what you want and, at the end of the day, leave you proud and excited with the result for your business.Knowing that, too, you can rest assured that your customers will not only love the design and layout of your website, but that they will be able to use it seamlessly and properly as they navigate looking to buy your products and more, growing your business and broadening your reputation.

4 Online Money Making Internet Marketing Techniques

The Online Internet world provides lots of inexpensive marketing, usually with full-colour images to go with text. Plus brand new multimedia components provide a little spice to the mix and boost online potential customers and purchases. Below I have listed some top Internet marketing procedures to boost your sales and earnings.1. DIRECTORY – build your own directory on a particular subject matter, putting your own classified ad or banner along the top of your site. Subsequently ask others to add their website links via a link exchange program, register themselves in your directory. This could end in lots of complimentary marketing for you as your directory grows with links across the World Wide Web. Enter “link exchange software” into your favourite search engine for assistance with setup.2. TEACH A SIMPLE COURSE – compose a straightforward step-by-step series of emails in your area of expert status. After that break it up into lesser segments and then place them a series of email within an auto responder with your advertisements integrated either at the top or underneath every message. Ask your website traffic to sign up through on online opt in form accessible through an autoresponder service. As people sign up to your list, they will discover far more in relation to you and your products and services.3. EZINE EBOOK – put out of your mind unimportant daily or weekly ezines. Publish one huge monthly e-zine in the format of an e-book, if at all possible as an Adobe .Pdf file. Add a generous amount of articles with every circulation and frequently featured areas like inspirational quotes, industry tips, favourite sites and advice from the pros. Furthermore add full-colour graphics, multimedia components like audio file links, if you like, and classified ads. At that moment you could charge a monthly fee, enclosing an yearly discounted package acquisition, and promote marketing spots on your ezine.4. TIP OF THE WEEK – Begin sending your customers your Tip of the Week relating to your own area of expertise, linking to your own products and services. You could set it up on your site in a targeted box, via auto responder, a blog, an RSS feed, an audio file or others means of communication. Add your own ad along with your tip for whichever product or service you want to target or maybe even your own online store for all. This will gently remind your target audience where to go to learn more.In summary, by using Internet Marketing techniques customized to fit your own products and services, you can reach out and increase your website traffic and purchase opportunities. Internet marketing can mean a more affordable way to grow your business.

A Look At The London School Of Fashion

What kind of passion do you have for fashion design? Is your style more traditional mainstream or do you like to think out of the box with an edgy style? Either way, the London School of Fashion (officially the London College of Fashion) could very well be the school for you. This well-known fashion school has an excellent reputation for producing top designers in shoe design, mens clothing, womens clothing and accessories. They also have top professionals in other areas of fashion such as fashion photography, fashion merchandising, fashion journalism, culture and communication, and many more.As a fashion student at the London school of Fashion, you will learn pattern cutting, garment production, designing in both manual and digital formats, the history of fashion, etc. The school is equipped with various high tech machines that you don’t find in most other schools. This gives students an opportunity to learn to use the latest machines that they would otherwise not have a chance to use until they were well established in the field of fashion design.The school encourages thinking outside the box to stretch the limits of the students imaginations so the students have the chance to stretch their wings and be truly creative in design. This gives the students a real chance to explore and find their own unique niche while still giving them a good grounding in tradition design. You can dare to be different.The tutors connected with the London School of Fashion are often successful working designers, so you have access to an invaluable resource here. Another extremely valuable resource is the work placement program where you get the chance to actually work in the field of design while you are still a student. This gives you experiences that will go a long way towards helping find a great placement after graduation in the exciting world of fashion and fashion design.If fashion is your career choice, check out the courses at the London School of Fashion. Expect to work hard and be rewarded with the best possible education in the fashion industry. Whether you are more traditionally minded or lean to the edgy side of fashion design, the London School of Fashion is the best place to prepare for a most challenging and rewarding career in the fashion universe.


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