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 Newsletter – “a written report, issued periodically, typically by a business, institution, or other organization, that presents information and news to people with a specific interest in the organization or subject”  (http://www.dictionary.com).

Hmm…well when you put it that way it sounds a little old-fashioned. Old-fashioned or not, the fact of the matter is that a properly written newsletter works with a little modern-day tweaking. Fortunately, gone are the days of actually printing, labeling and mailing hundreds of hard copy newsletters. I can remember vividly doing this for one of my businesses years ago before emailing was the preferred method. Oh how I dreaded that day of the month. I loved writing the content but the printing and preparing for mailing made it an audacious task. It’s so much simpler these days. From the receiving end, there’s no more keeping up with the hard copy and not having it with you when you need it.

 Last month’s blog discussed the importance of a great, user-friendly website. Now, it’s time to knock it out of the park with a strong social media presence. Think of social media and your website like peanut butter and jelly. Alone they are both good, but together they are great! That is why it’s so important to hire a professional that is able to maximize both by making them function individually all the while functioning together as one strong marketing tool. Oh sure, it seems like something that is easy enough to keep up with…..at first, but then you get busy running your business and before you know it, a week has gone by and then another and then a month or two. All of a sudden, your target audience forgets your business. I have outlined a few basic social media points to get you going:

Did your mom ever say to you, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Mom we love you, but unfortunately, we can’t help not to judge a book by its cover when we’re talking about websites. I’m certainly not insinuating that a company is not a great company that doesn’t have a good website, but to potential customers it does establish a preconceived notion before ever speaking to the business. How many times have you not done business with a company because their website left a lot to be desired? For me, it’s too many to count. The simple reason is that the website didn’t give me the information I needed when I wanted it and someone else’s did. As a matter of fact, just this week I was looking for caterers for an event I’m hosting out of state. I found several via Google and looked over all of them. After speaking to all of the caterers, I found that I had a bit of a bias toward the one that had the better website and that’s who I ultimately ended up choosing.

Do you think branding is something just for big corporations? Think again. Whether you’re a small business, an individual selling your wares on Etsy or a large business setting yourself apart with a brand is probably one of the single best business decisions one can make. How can a small business accomplish this on a small business budget? The question you really should be asking yourself is, “How can I not afford to brand myself?” This is the first in a series about creating your brand. This installment focuses on your logo, colors and signage.

Have you heard the news? Google announced that websites are now required to have an SSL certificate in order to avoid being flagged as an unsecure site to all Google Chrome users.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a security protocol used for transmitting private documents via the Internet. It ensures any data passing between the secure link between a server and a client is encrypted and remains private. It’s pretty standard security tech when dealing with the transfer of private information over the web, although there are a lot of websites that don’t have it.

If you stopped to read this, chances are that it probably does. Yes, the picture is a little extreme -  but that’s how people view an outdated site. You have probably shopped around and looked at your competitors sites to compare and contrast. Some of them may be worse, some of them a little better; and then there are the ones that make you feel like you’re shopping for a Lamborghini when you currently drive a 1987 Yugo. You assume they must cost a fortune and dismiss the thought that your site could look that good. In reality, your old or outdated site can be easily updated without costing you an arm and a leg.

Ned the Newsletter Nerd

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