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How Powerful is the Online Presence of the Franchise Opportunity You’re Investigating?

By FranchiseKing, Guest Blogger
Published: October 2, 2012 Updated: September 26, 2016

Due diligence, the research part of buying a franchise, includes several different things. If you’ve never worked through the process of researching one before, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll miss something.

And, it all starts by knowing what to ask.

Franchise research encompasses a lot of different things. Some of the obvious ones include:

·        Learning about the operation

·        Contacting existing franchisees

·        Figuring out the financials

·        Checking out the competition

·        Visiting franchise headquarters*

But, there’s another thing that you need to do, and it’s something that you can’t afford to miss. You need to find out if the franchise concepts you’re investigating have a robust online footprint. It’s not that difficult to do. Here’s how:

1.      Do a search on Google or Bing of the category the franchise concept is in.

For example, if the franchise you’re looking into is a food franchise that specializes in burgers, type “burger franchises.” See what comes up first. (Actually, see what comes up on the search engine’s first page.) Is “your” franchise listed?

2.      Website

How does their consumer website look? Is it easy to use? Would a consumer feel that it was professional looking? Does it represent the brand correctly?    

3.      Social media accounts

Does the franchisor have a LinkedIn Company Page* set up? Do they have a Facebook Page-with daily activity? How about Twitter-are they set up there, too?

4.      Reputation

Check out local review sites like Yelp and Local.com. What are customers saying about the franchise business you’re thinking of owning? Even if there’s no location near you, you can still find reviews from other areas of the country.

5.       Press releases

You need to find out if the franchise marketing department submits a steady stream of news to the major press release and media websites. It’s an important thing to do for two reasons:

·        Press releases are a great way to attract the attention of local and national media. They can open the door for franchisees to get some needed ink in local publications, which is always welcome because it can bring in new customers.

·        Press releases also attract the attention of search engines. Search engine spiders are scouring the web for new content and stories, 24/7. Frequent, well-written press releases can significantly benefit the online presence of a franchisor.

What should you do with this newfound information?

Share your findings with the person you’re working with at franchise headquarters. If there’s anything that jumps out at you about their online presence, point it out.

For example, if there seem to be a lot of negative reviews of the franchisor’s product or service, find out why? Maybe they’re isolated incidents?

If the franchisor’s website was hard to find when you did your internet searches, you need to share that with the franchisor. If you had difficulty finding their website, your potential customers will, too. Find out what the marketing team is doing to improve the website’s visibility.

If the franchisor doesn’t seem to be very active in social media, find out why. Social media marketing isn’t new anymore.

It’s perfectly okay to ask questions about their online presence. Most of your customers are going to find you on the internet. It’s up to you to make sure that everything possible is being done at the franchisor level to create and maintain a powerful online presence.

These days, if your business can’t be quickly and easily found online, you lose. 

 

*Non-US Government website

About the Author:

FranchiseKing
Joel Libava

Guest Blogger

The Franchise King®, Joel Libava, is the author of Become a Franchise Owner! and recently launched Franchise Business University.

SBA Learning Center

Humphry Slocombe: Promote using Free Online Marketing

Humphry Slocombe makes premium ice cream in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA. With flavors such as Secret Breakfast and Pistachio-Bacon, it creates a vibrant social media following around the world. It uses social media to inform its customers on new menu items and to gather feedback.

The IRS Small Business Tax Calendar - A Handy Tax Planning Tool for All Business Owners

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: October 1, 2012 Updated: January 27, 2014

Need reminders about key tax filing and reporting dates? Have questions about business taxes in general? Then you might want to check out the IRS’ free Tax Calendar for Businesses and Self-Employed.

Navigating the tax year as a business owner is no small feat, whether you are a freelance, start-up or growing small business.  The tax landscape is ever-changing with new legislation and tax provisions impacting small businesses year-round.

Updated frequently, the IRSTax Calendar for Businesses and Self-Employed contains useful reminders of key business tax dates you may need to be know.

The calendar is available in a variety of formats:

  • Online – Simply bookmark the link and it will load information in Spanish or English for the current month. You can also skip through tabs for previous and upcoming months, as well as view last year’s key dates. A filter option allows you to sort and view tax dates and event types. For example, employers can view the very specific requirements they must comply with, such as depositing payroll and FUTA taxes, reporting tips, and furnishing 1099 and W-2 forms. You can also filter by monthly depositor or semi-weekly depositor. You can even set up an icon on your smartphone for easy, mobile access wherever you are.  
  • Desktop App – This version of the calendar, also known as the IRS CalendarConnector, can be installed directly to your desktop so you can access it while offline. Updates are installed automatically the next time you connect to the web.
  • Subscribe to or Dowload For even more ease-of-use, you can also subscribe to or download the calendar and incorporate it into Microsoft Outlook, Mac Calendar, on your iPhone or iPad, or any other .ics calendar format.

More Tools from the Tax Man

Other helpful IRS tools offered specifically for small business owners include online video tutorials on a wide variety of tax issues, a retirement plans navigator and more. This earlier blog has the scoop – 5 Essential Online Tax Tools for Small Business Owners from IRS.gov.

 

 

About the Author:

Caron_Beesley
Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

6 Ways Your Small Business Can Get More From Webinars and Virtual Events

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: September 27, 2012

Technology moves fast these days. Sometimes it’s hard to keep pace with how it can help you be more successful in business – boosting productivity, saving money and improving collaboration.

This SBA guest blog from SmallBizTrends’ Anita Campbell, 4 Ways Technology Helps you Run Your Business, offers some useful tips and recommendations on how technology can help you redesign your business processes to be more efficient and save you money.

Many of the innovations Anita mentions are still rather new – tablet computers, cloud computing, and online software apps – but there is a technology that has been around for years that can still help deliver business success: the webinar!

Webinar or webcast technology has been around since the 90s and has become a staple in many business marketing toolkits, but the good old webinar can do lots more for your business. Here are some tips for getting more from your webinar platform and its more sophisticated cousin – the virtual event.

Use It As a Post-Sale Educational Tool

Marketers often use webinars to showcase products, educate sales prospects and generate leads. You can also use webinars as post-sale learning opportunities for existing customers – where folks can learn without leaving their desks. Have subject matter experts lead virtual learning webinars so that customers can learn about things such as industry trends, new innovations and overcoming topical challenges. Remember, though, it’s not a sales pitch.

Whether you use webinars to complement or even replace field seminars, they can help position your business as a genuinely helpful brand and establish you as the go-to expert in the field.

Use Webinars to Improve SEO

When it comes to driving traffic to your website, content is king, and archived webinars are a great way to improve your company’s search engine rankings. Whether it’s a product demo or an educational event, look for ways to broaden the visibility of your webinar content. Besides posting your archived webinars to your website, link back to them from social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon, and promote them on your own social media channels. Post the slide deck to social sharing sites like SlideShare or author STREAM.

Integrate Webinars with Marketing Automation Systems

If you already have or are considering investing in a marketing automation system such as Eloqua, HubSpot or Marketo, get more from your webinar activity by automating your email invites and tracking registrant information, reminders and more. Most platforms offer sophisticated querying to track leads from the source (email, newsletters, sales efforts, etc.) and get real-time registration and attendance metrics in your automation system for dashboard reporting.

Virtual Events

Webinar technology has blossomed in recent years to enable businesses to host virtual events that mimic the traditional tradeshow or conference experience, complete with online exhibit halls, auditoriums, virtual hosts, streaming webinars and more.

Virtual events can be used for a variety of purposes. Many larger businesses use them to complement traditional user conferences or seminars and extend the reach of the event to users across the country or even the globe.

Virtual environments can also replace in-person meetings with partners or customers. For example, you can offer new product briefings or reseller training through a virtual event. You can set up multiple tracks easily, and integrate live briefings and product demos.

Popular virtual event platforms include INXPO, ubivent and Intercall, among others. As with webinars, much of the content can be pre-recorded and archived for “always-on” viewing. A virtual event can really extend the conversation beyond the initial event, offering a place to go to look up product information, meet and chat with your experts.

Product Launches

Wondering how to get maximum visibility and impact for a new product launch? Use webcasting to create a hybrid event or even replace a live product launch event. Many webinar platforms and virtual environments let you integrate social media interaction and live Q&A to ensure maximum engagement.

Employee Training and Communication

Is your team virtual or scattered? Use webinars as part of your employee learning program or as a way to keep them informed of company developments.

How have you used webinars or virtual environments in your small business? Leave a comment below!

About the Author:

Caron_Beesley
Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

6 Things You Need to Know About Starting a Business as a Minor

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: September 26, 2012 Updated: August 15, 2017

Are you, or do you know someone, under the age of 18 who is interested in starting a business? Whether you are building the latest web app or buying and selling on eBay, young entrepreneurs face the same opportunities and challenges as their adult counterparts.

But as you might expect, there are also some tax and legal considerations to bear in mind.

Here are answers to some FAQs about starting a business as a minor (the definition of which varies by state).

1. Can a Minor Form an LLC or Corporation?

Forming an corporation or LLC is something many businesses consider as a way to separate their personal assets from their business assets. Can a minor incorporate a business? Corporate laws vary by state, but all states require the principals of a company that incorporates to be 18 years or older.

One option is to have a parent to act as an authorized signer – but remember, the parent becomes liable if their dependent is negligent in performing the duties of the business. Another option, permissible in some states, is to have the minor become a shareholder in the business or serve on an advisory board. Shareholders can be of any age and in the case of minors, their share may be held in trust.

The bottom line: Be sure to consult a local attorney about incorporating a business as a minor.

2. Can a Minor Sign a Contract?

Contracts are an essential fact of life as a business owner, whether you are signing an agreement with customers, partners or suppliers. A minor can sign a contract, but in most states they are not considered legally competent to enter into a binding agreement, meaning they can disaffirm the contract – rendering it void.

3. Can a Minor Get a Business Loan?

The “disaffirm” condition mentioned above keeps many lenders from entering into a loan agreement with a minor. Likewise, insufficient or poor credit history may also make it difficult to find traditional financing.

Credit cards are also limited to individuals who are 18 or older, although minors can apply for a credit card under their parent or guardian’s account.  Again, the responsible adult party is liable.

There are other options for financing a start-up that don’t involve formal business loans; borrowing money from family or friends, for example, is a common option for minors. However, it’s important to structure these agreements to prevent conflict. This blog explains some key factors to consider: 6 Tips for Borrowing Startup Funds from Friends or Family.

4. What About Paying Taxes as a Young Entrepreneur?

If you have started a business and made a profit, then you may need to pay income tax and self-employment tax to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), although some teen businesses such as lawn mowing and babysitting are exempt from self-employment taxes. If you have earned income from your business, you should file you own tax return instead of adding your income to your parent’s return.

The IRS offers tax guidance for young entrepreneurs, including resources to help you determine what taxes you need to pay. If you are selling products that qualify for sales tax, you should also consult your state revenue office to understand your obligations and obtain a sales tax permit.

It’s also extremely important to maintain good records of income and outgoings, as well as receipts. This will help you accurately track your finances and claim the right tax deductions against your expenses.

Check out SBA’s Guide to Small Business Taxes for information on all aspects of managing and paying your taxes.

5. Can a Minor Claim Copyright?

According to Copyright.gov, "minors may claim copyright, and the Copyright Office issues registrations to minors, but state laws may regulate the business dealings involving copyrights owned by minors." Copyright.gov advises that you consult a local attorney for specific guidance.

6. Can a Minor Register a Trademark?

It depends on your state’s law. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, if you can validly enter into binding legal obligations as a minor in your state, and may sue or be sued, then the application may be filed in your name as a minor. Otherwise, applications must be filed in the name of a parent or legal guardian, clearly stating his or her status as parent or legal guardian.

Where to Find More Information

For more information about essential steps involved in starting a business, such as registering a business name and getting the right licenses or permits (even home-based businesses require permits), read these 10 Steps to Starting a Business. In addition, check out SBA’s Young Entrepreneur Guide for links, online training and other useful resources.

There are also organizations in the community dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs start up and succeed, such as local Small Business Development Centers and other community resources.

Related Resources

About the Author:

Caron_Beesley
Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Are You Facing A Business Plan Event?

By Tim Berry, Guest Blogger
Published: September 25, 2012 Updated: September 26, 2012

For years now I’ve thought of business planning in terms of the special case that I call a business plan event.

The business plan event is when you have to produce a business plan for some specific business hurdle or gateway. For example, a startup looking for either angel investors or venture capital needs a business plan to give to interested potential investors. And a business applying for commercial credit needs a business plan to present to the loan officer at the bank. Some other business plan events are the sale of a business, a divorce affecting ownership, and applying for a merchant account to be able to process credit cards.

The world of entrepreneurship and small business divides into two groups: those that need a business plan because they have the business plan event, and those that don’t need the plan for the event, but can still benefit from business planning as part of the normal management process.

Which are you?

If you have that business plan event coming up, I recommend you prepare the business plan to best address the specific needs. Here are some obvious cases:

  • A business plan for investors should include information on the management team, the opportunity, scalability, defensibility, market potential, growth potential, and exit strategy.
  • A business plan for commercial lenders should include information supporting the business’ ability to repay loans and cover interest. Evidence of stability is very important. Owners’ backgrounds and credit ratings usually matter a lot.

Furthermore, with business plan events, the form of the business plan depends on the nature of the event. When you’re developing the plan for some specific outsiders to process, the best thing to do is to ask them, specifically, what they are looking for.

  • In some cases, your outsider will want a document printed on paper and organized for easy reading, with a table of contents, executive summary, and appendices.
  • In other cases, your outsider will be perfectly happy with a business plan published on the web, password protected, but updated behind the scenes and available whenever the reader wants. 
  • In most of these cases, brevity is important. Make sure the formal plan is easy to read and organized well enough to make it easy to find the different kinds of information quickly.

And what if you don’t have that event? Theoretically, at least, in that case you don’t need a business plan. But you do still want a business plan to help manage your business. It may not be a document-it may not be polished and edited-but it should still summarize your strategy and what is supposed to happen. It’s for you, not for outsiders. It’s about optimizing management by setting goals, objectives and performance measurements and then tracking results, reviewing and revising. The plan becomes the first step in a business planning process, which includes staying flexible and reviewing and revising monthly.

And that plan, for you and your team only, can stay on the computer, not be polished, and help your business. 

About the Author:

Tim Berry
Tim Berry

Guest Blogger

Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software and bplans.com, on twitter as Timberry, blogging at timberry.bplans.com. His collected posts are at blog.timberry.com. Stanford MBA. Married 46 years, father of 5. Author of business plan software Business Plan Pro and www.liveplan.com and books including his latest, 'Lean Business Planning,' 2015, Motivational Press. Contents of that book are available for web browsing free at leanplan.com .

Could You Finance Your Start-Up with a Microloan?

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: September 24, 2012 Updated: September 3, 2015

Not sure you have enough money to start a business? Before you raid your life savings or remortgage your home, you should know about some possible alternatives.

According to the Kauffmann Foundation, the average cost of starting a new business from scratch comes in at just over $30,000. Of course, the actual number depends on many factors, such as your industry, business model, and even the state where you’re located. To help you ascertain what it will cost you to start your new business, take a look at this earlier blog: How to Estimate the Cost of Starting a Business from Scratch.

If you determine that your start-up venture is going to cost you somewhere between $500 and $50,000, and your savings just aren’t enough, you might want to consider a microloan. Why? Many start-ups and new small businesses often find they may not qualify for a traditional small business bank loan.  Without a proven track-record of 3-5 years under your belt and/or established business credit, many banks simply won’t take the risk.

What is a Microloan?

So how is a microloan different? Microloans are typically offered to businesses with smaller start-up capital needs (usually less than $50,000). Unlike traditional bank business loans, funding is typically provided via community-based, nonprofit microfinance institutions.

Anyone can apply for a microloan, although these loans often favor people with low cash reserves or poor credit as well as those in rural or disadvantaged communities. However, many micro-financing institutions also offer specific micro-financing programs for women-owned businesses, environmentally responsible businesses, veterans and specific business-types.

How to Find Microloans

Microloans are available from a variety of institutions dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and start-ups, including:

o   Working capital

o   Buying inventory or supplies

o   Buying furniture or fixtures

o   Buying machinery or equipment

Local SBA Offices can provide more information about how to apply. Read more about the SBA Microloan Program and find out who’s lending.

Before You Apply for a Microloan

Don’t overlook the importance of a business plan when it comes to applying for any type of loan. Your lender will expect to see that you’ve done your research, understand your market, have a clear plan for success, and that you can demonstrate how and when you will repay the loan. SBA’s Writing a Business Plan guide can help.

You should also make sure you are aware of your credit score, and once you are up and running, take steps to establish your business credit score as soon as possible. For tips read: 6 Ways to Establish and Maintain a Healthy Credit Score for Your Startup or Small Biz.

Related Blogs

 

About the Author:

Caron_Beesley
Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Meet Christopher Shawn McKeehan, Program Manager, Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs

By janied
Published: September 20, 2012

 Shawn MckeehanWhen a friend or family member asks what you do to help small businesses, what do you say?

SBA assists with creating and fostering of small businesses through financial, technical, and contract assistance.

What’s your favorite thing about what the SBA does for small businesses?

SBA leverages public and private partnerships to benefit small businesses. 

Is there a particular small business “success story” that comes to mind when you think about how the SBA helps people?

There is no particular story that comes to mind. However, SBA has this way of teaming together with our partners to meet the latest economic and customer demands. One example is when SBA launched the LowDoc Pilot Loan Program to assist lenders and small business alike to more easily access much needed capital. SBA has continually been able to work with our partners to provide easier, simpler ways of providing assistance.

Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners out there?

Expect the best, plan for the worst, and never lose faith in yourself.

 

 

About the Author:

Should I Apply For A Small Business Credit Card?

By Marco Carbajo, Guest Blogger
Published: September 20, 2012

A small business credit card should always be the credit card you use when making business purchases. Transactions such as paying for gas in a company car, buying office supplies or taking clients out for lunch are all acceptable ways to use a small business credit card.

When it comes to personal credit cards, you should not use them for business expenses. This can potentially jeopardize the protection of the corporate veil because you are co-mingling funds. Did you know corporate veil piercing is the top litigated issue in corporate law today?

That’s a scary thought because statistics show that of the 65% of small businesses using credit cards, only 50% of those cards are actually in the company’s name.

In addition, each type of small business credit card serves a unique purpose and offers its own array of features, perks and benefits.

A common mistake is applying for a card without first identifying the needs of the business. Will the card be used primarily for air travel, automotive or daily purchases? Do you prefer the option to pay off purchases each month or carry a balance? Will the company be issuing cards to employees or will there be a single cardholder?

These are important questions that give you an indication of the importance in defining purpose. Without purpose you can end up obtaining a small business credit card that costs more and benefits you less.

Some of the benefits of a small business credit card include:

  • Easy financing: Rather than waiting for an approval for a loan, lease, or line of credit, a business credit card lets you purchase items immediately. No explanations are required and there are no limitations on what you can purchase with your card. As long as you make the minimum payment each month and don’t exceed your limits, it’s a great option for quick cash.
  • Fast Access to Cash: If your company needs cash fast, then a small business credit card can be a life saver. Typically, the cash advance limit on a business credit card is lower than the spending limit, but the ability to access cash immediately is extremely convenient.
  • Track Expenses: Managing your company’s expenses becomes much easier when you completely separate your personal and business expenses. With a small business credit card, all your purchases are recorded, making it much easier for your bookkeeper during tax time. Also, most business credit cards will issue year-end statements that categorize your annual expenses into specific categories.
  • Control and Manage Employee Spending: Issuing small business credit cards to employees can offer many tax advantages. However, it is important to select a card that offers you the ability to control spending and set limits.
  • Business Perks: Business credit cards offer a variety of benefits for companies such as travel assistance, purchase protection, cash back rewards and insurance protection.

Many business owners have multiple cards with each one designated for certain purposes. For example, one card for employee expenses, another for business necessities, etc. Either way, it is helpful to have two or three small business credit cards available. Take the time to research, compare cards and reap all the benefits a business credit card has to offer.

About the author

Marco Carbajo is CEO of the Business Credit Insiders Circle (http://www.businesscreditblogger.com), a step-by-step business credit building system providing credit recovery, lines of credit, business credit cards, trade credit, and funding sources.

About the Author:

Marco Carbajo
Marco Carbajo

Guest Blogger

Marco Carbajo is a business credit expert, author, speaker, and founder of the Business Credit Insiders Circle. He is a business credit blogger for Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp, the SBA.gov Community, About.com and All Business.com. His articles and blog; Business Credit Blogger.com, have been featured in 'Fox Small Business','American Express Small Business', 'Business Week', 'The Washington Post', 'The New York Times', 'The San Francisco Tribune',‘Alltop’, and ‘Entrepreneur Connect’.

How to Influence Your Customers’ Pre-Purchase Research

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: September 20, 2012 Updated: September 27, 2016

When it comes to purchasing products as consumers, our buying behavior typically falls into two buckets:

1. Impulse purchases (e.g., that garment that caught your eye at the store)

2. Planned purchases (TVs, cars, cell phones, tablets, vacations, home renovations, etc.)

 The key difference between these two purchasing models is the length of the sales cycle – and it’s an important distinction for business owners to know. Why?

The sales cycle for impulse purchases is obviously the shortest. While branding, marketing, merchandising and pricing come into play, it can be difficult to influence spur of the moment purchases. But when it comes to planned purchases, the sales cycle starts long before the customer steps foot in your store or visits your website because these consumers, increasingly, are querying the web to inform their buying decisions. In fact, according to HubSpot, 44 percent of online shoppers begin their branded product research by using a search engine.

How can small business owners reach these buyers and influence their purchasing decision earlier in this new, elongated sale cycle? Here are some strategies that can get you in front of the buyer during the pre-purchase homework stage.

Proactively Monitor Social Media to Get Your Foot in the Door Early

First, you want to monitor your own Facebook and Twitter feeds for questions directed to you as a seller.  It’s also important to get out there and find potential buyers based on online conversations they’re having about a product. How can you do this? Essentially it comes down to monitoring keywords and then chiming in when you see a relevant query.

For example, I recently issued a query on Twitter asking for recommendations for small business web hosting services and was surprised to receive multiple responses from people who weren’t my followers. By monitoring keywords, in this case “small business web hosting,” these savvy businesses were able to track conversations and chime in with information about their products or services. Use www.search.Twitter.com to set up keyword searches. You can even geo-target Tweets within a certain distance from your business. You can also use popular and freely available social media monitoring tools to automatically monitor Twitter, Facebook and other networks by keyword and organize these quickly for easy viewing.

Alternatively, set up Google Alerts to search online for keyword usage relating to your products and services, as well as your customers’ needs and challenges. Be specific about the words you use and keep refining them until you get the best results. Sit down with your sales team and get their input for keywords and pain points.

Become an Information Powerhouse

If you write a business blog, you know the importance of being the go-to source for information in your industry. Whether you are directly or indirectly promoting your products and services as a solution to customer needs or challenges or using your blog to educate your buyers – keep doing it! Even better, expand your content strategy to include white papers, case studies, webinars, infographics and e-books.

Your goal is to educate potential buyers and help inform their decisions early in the sales cycle.

Gear your content to the challenges and pain points your consumers have – this will drive your visibility in online searches and position you as a credible resource. For example, I could, as a customer, enter this phrase in a search engine: “tips for finding the right small business web hosting service.”  There’s a good chance that blogs or other content focused on this service will rank high in my search results, and help with my homework. That’s what you want to do for potential customers.

If you are stuck for topics, talk to  your sales team for insight into customers’ needs and consider converting some of their sales tools into marketing pieces or blogs and vice versa. Product comparisons, demos, and so on are useful tools for influencing buyers.

Lastly, once you’ve developed content, think of ways to get the most exposure for it. Add links to it from product landing pages, social media and e-newsletters.

For ideas on how to develop your online content strategy without too much stress, check out these blogs:

Good luck!

 

About the Author:

Caron_Beesley
Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

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