small business marketing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10867/all en-US 16 Simple Ways to Keep Customers http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/16-simple-ways-to-keep-customers <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/16-simple-ways-to-keep-customers-julie-rains" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/16-simple-ways-to-keep...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/16-simple-ways-to-keep-customers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013014699Small-2.jpg" alt="Couple shopping" title="Couple shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Keeping your best customers coming back for more is essential to running a successful business. Some businesses serve recurring needs and others, less-frequently occurring ones. A full-service accounting firm or a grocery store will most likely have a steady flow of customers, whereas a disaster-management company or costume shop will tend to attract one-time customers.</p> <p>Both business models have challenges to encouraging loyalty and staying relevant. Either way, there are simple yet effective ways to keep customers:</p> <p><strong>Be a Trusted Advisor</strong></p> <p>In the <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/how-sales-has-changed-in-the-information-age-julie-rains">age of information abundance</a>, which includes one-size-fits-all recommendations and conflicting messages, customers value sources of consistently trustworthy and <em>personalized</em> advice. Time-pressed, they also want to make sound decisions quickly. Techniques to shape the customer experience and dispense expertise succinctly yet effectively include:</p> <p><strong>1. Present carefully-selected merchandise</strong>, broad enough to cover a range of needs and style preferences in key categories but not overwhelming in choices. Retail shop owners can make options manageable by hand-picking items for the sales floor and offering consultations for special orders. E-commerce merchants may offer a deeper selection but provide online filtering tools for ease of locating items.</p> <p><strong>2. Make purchase proposals with recommendations appropriate to customers&rsquo; applications.</strong> Customers want to make independent decisions, but your expertise will allow them to save time in analyzing loads of research and drilling down to features most pertinent to their needs. And, because they do not have to buy and test multiple products before finding the one that performs as desired, customers may be able to save money on pricier purchases.</p> <p><strong>3. Help customers to get results.</strong> Make sure your customers use correctly, integrate appropriately, and immensely enjoy products and services purchased from your company. Sell complementary items or partner with complementary vendors to provide a one-stop shopping experience.</p> <p><strong>4. Deliver sophistication but avoid complexity.</strong> Customers often have divergent expectations, desiring to be part of the solution while looking to your business to solve their problems. Find ways to streamline the decision-making process in ways that do not short-circuit customer involvement or compromise integrity of solutions.</p> <p><strong>Grow with Your Customers</strong></p> <p>Your customers will look elsewhere if your business does not keep pace with customers&rsquo; growth. Consumers advance in knowledge, accomplishments, and maturity (hopefully); likewise, business customers grow in volume, capabilities, quality demands, and market reach. Ways to achieve organic growth for your business and better serve customers include:</p> <p><strong>5. Adjust to the needs of customers that are growing in size and sophistication. </strong>Keep approaches that attract new, entry-level customers but upgrade certain products, services, processes, etc. to serve larger and more complex accounts.</p> <p><strong>6. Create, package, and sell offerings that support higher and higher levels of performance. </strong>Some customers will strengthen and hone their capabilities rather than simply grow larger and more complex. Find ways to facilitate excellence in their endeavors.</p> <p><strong>7. Innovate.</strong> Launch new lines and fine-tune existing items. Repurpose products, develop new products, or envision new uses of intellectual property.</p> <p><strong>8. Make business changes that reflect changes in the competitive environment and customers&rsquo; buying habits.</strong> Integrate <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/how-to-cash-in-on-long-lasting-fads-julie-rains">long-lasting fads</a> into your offerings. Adopt competitors&rsquo; ideas that are easy to implement or seem especially profitable. Reconfigure pricing structures.</p> <p><strong>Connect with People</strong></p> <p>Customers like associating a business with a human face, not just because they like the warmth of interaction but because they feel that there is a person who is attending to their best interests. Appealing to the emotional component of decision making reinforces the validity of customers&rsquo; decisions to purchase from your business.</p> <p><strong>9. Be accessible. </strong>Be present at your place of business, your customers&rsquo; place of business, or public venues as well as available by phone, email, or social media. Being accessible is different than being available 24/7.</p> <p><strong>10. Connect with customers on a personal level without getting too personal.</strong> Engage in conversations that will enable you to understand customers&rsquo; timelines, budget constraints, motivations, fears, and priorities. These insights can translate into better recommendations and more precise communications. Share your experiences so that customers can be aware of the rationale for your approach to serving them.</p> <p><strong>11. Connect outside of the workplace.</strong> You don&rsquo;t have to attend every community event or industry trade show. But you can be involved with select activities that are meaningful to you, your business, and your customers. As a result, your business can stay top of mind among customers.</p> <p><strong>12. Serve your customers&rsquo; friends and business partners.</strong> By expertly handling referrals and consistently delivering results, you&rsquo;ll naturally deepen relationships.</p> <p><strong>Keep Doing the Basics</strong></p> <p>The basics can be boring but, generally, execution is simple and cheap. No matter how great the marketing message, first-time customers will not come back if the basics are ignored.</p> <p><strong>13. Make sure doing business with your business is easy.</strong> Respond to questions, take orders, and fill orders according to specifications.</p> <p><strong>14. Maintain the capacity to serve customers.</strong> Make sure your capacity fits the lead times and requirements of your customers so that you can deliver when promised, as promised. In some cases, you may need to expand facilities, hire more staff, get more equipment, or outsource production; or decide which customers you want to keep <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/money-pitfalls-of-the-big-sale-julie-rains">if the cost of keeping up with demand outweighs lifetime value of customers</a>.</p> <p><strong>15. Keep customers informed.</strong> Update customers on special offers, product improvements, and policy changes. Reach out to regulars just as or more often than making appeals to prospects.</p> <p><strong>16. Assure quality of merchandise and services.</strong> Quality should be embedded in all of your processes (consultations with customers, solution design, testing, etc.). At the very least, check quality before you ship product or deliver services. Poor quality will obviously lead to returns and claims but, more insidiously, will result in losing customers forever.</p> <p>Be attuned to what your customers, competitors, and industry thought-leaders are saying and doing in order to define the specifics of the simple ways that your business will keep customers. Prioritize and execute: Train your staff to interact effectively with customers, encourage your team to keep up with trends, connect or send others to connect, and delegate the basics.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/16-simple-ways-to-keep-customers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster&#039;s Demise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-personal-issues-no-one-at-work-needs-to-hear">10 Personal Issues No One at Work Needs to Hear</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center communication customers small business small business marketing Thu, 24 Feb 2011 23:58:51 +0000 Julie Rains 489470 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Entrepreneurs Should Care About Google Suggest http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/why-entrepreneurs-should-care-about-google-suggest <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/why-entrepreneurs-should-care-about-google-suggest-chris-birk" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/why-entrepreneurs-sh...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/why-entrepreneurs-should-care-about-google-suggest" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009782493XSmall.jpg" alt="Typing at computer" title="Typing at computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="245" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Entrepreneurs take great pains to cultivate and maintain a strong and squeaky-clean brand online.</p> <p>The concept of online reputation management has become increasingly crucial in an age of Yelp reviews, anonymous blog comments, and rampant social networking. It&rsquo;s imperative that company leaders respond rapidly to negative reviews and online complaints.</p> <p>Many entrepreneurs and marketing experts are clear on the need for consistent and thorough online reputation-management strategies. But even the most well-seasoned veterans are grappling with an emerging battleground: Google Suggest and its cohort, Google Instant.</p> <p>This automated-suggest feature is in some ways changing the way we search online. Google Suggest provides users with search-term suggestions shaped by local and global search patterns. Google Instant predicts results as the user types.</p> <p>For consumers, it&rsquo;s a keystroke-saving function that at times seems to double as a mind reader. But for companies, Google Suggest can lead to some serious reputation and brand-image problems. Combating them requires a commitment to make online reputation management an essential element of future marketing efforts.</p> <h3>The Perils of Google Suggest</h3> <p>The concern is one of control.</p> <p>Negative Google Suggest terms associated with your brand can immediately turn off potential consumers. Some companies have already seen phrases like &ldquo;scam&rdquo; or &ldquo;is a rip off&rdquo; become attached to their names in Google Suggest.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a more extreme example in a search related to telecom giant Comcast. Imagine, for the sake of example, that the user planned to search &ldquo;Comcast ISP,&rdquo; with the latter term short for &ldquo;Internet Service Provider.&rdquo; Before the user can type the P, here&rsquo;s what Google Suggest returns:</p> <p><img alt="Google search" width="500" height="105" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/google_search.jpg" /></p> <p>Needless to say, slow, issues, and terrible are all words you probably don&rsquo;t want associated with your company.</p> <p>Granted, Comcast is a multibillion-dollar behemoth, one of those companies that consumers love to gripe about. But local businesses and more community-focused entrepreneurs certainly aren&rsquo;t immune.</p> <p>Google Suggest gathers information from multiple data points. The famously tight-lipped company doesn&rsquo;t provide a full break down, but likely sources include page content, frequency of the search term, and feedback from the news and social media spheres.</p> <p>The continued use of local search data may soon bring the headaches of Google Suggest to smaller doorsteps. All it might take is a few unhappy customers who take to blogs, review sites, or other locales to publicly complain about your &ldquo;scam&rdquo; or your &ldquo;horrible&rdquo; product or service. Suddenly, a visit to Google turns into a brand management nightmare.</p> <h3>Tips for Handling Google Suggest</h3> <p>This is one of those areas where, to borrow a sports cliché, the best defense is a good offense. Here are a few tips for warding off potential problems with Google Suggest and <a href="http://reputationmanagers.com/blog/google-suggest-google-instant-bad-for-reputation/">online reputation management</a>:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Be Vigilant</strong><br /> Social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter have ushered in a new era of interaction between consumers and business owners. Instead of writing letters or berating customer service representatives, today&rsquo;s aggrieved consumers head straight to the web.</p> <p> Entrepreneurs need to be on top of their online reputation. Set up <a href="http://www.google.com/alerts">Google Alerts</a> and detailed Twitter searches to scour company mentions. Respond quickly to complaints and questions and go as far as reasonably possible to rectify customer issues.</p> <p> Don&rsquo;t let negative reviews and blog comments linger without a response. If someone bad mouths your company in a comment field or blog post, ask the site owner for an opportunity to reply.</li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p><strong>Be Proactive</strong><br /> Unashamedly embrace self-promotion. Pump out good news about your company via press releases, blog posts, and social media feeds. Showcase your customer testimonials. Flooding the market with positive news can help counteract some of the negative comments.</p> <p> Consider buying additional web domains to safeguard your company from attacks by spurned consumers or even nasty competitors. See if &ldquo;CompanyXscam.com,&rdquo; &ldquo;CompanyXreviews.com&rdquo; and other variations of your brand are available and snatch them up. Use them to show off your glowing customer reviews or just keep them offline and out of mind. We pursued this exact track for our <a href="http://www.vamortgagecenterreviews.com/">VA loan company</a>.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s also probably a good idea to refrain from repeatedly searching things like &ldquo;Company X scam.&rdquo; The last thing you want to do is create your own negative feedback loop.</li> <li> <p><strong>Be Honest</strong><br /> Admit when you&rsquo;ve messed up or failed to live up to your high expectations. Be transparent with consumers, both prospective and returning. It&rsquo;s unrealistic to expect every customer is a satisfied one.</p> </li> </ul> <p>For most companies, isolated negative comments and reviews on blogs and websites are simply part of doing business. You can&rsquo;t make everyone happy. But Google Suggest and Google Instant make it worth trying.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/why-entrepreneurs-should-care-about-google-suggest">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-improve-your-online-reputation">6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Online Reputation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-the-chromebook-crush-windows">Could the Chromebook Crush Windows?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-website-sucks-heres-what-to-do-about-it">Your Website Sucks: Here&#039;s What to Do About It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cloud-computing-and-your-wallet">Cloud Computing and Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center Technology branding Google small business small business marketing Sun, 23 Jan 2011 20:01:38 +0000 Chris Birk 457887 at http://www.wisebread.com White Papers: Tell (and Sell) Your Story http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/white-papers-tell-and-sell-your-story <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/white-papers-tell-and-sell-your-story-chris-birk" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/white-papers-tell-and-sel...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/white-papers-tell-and-sell-your-story" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000006073966XSmall.jpg" alt="Man holding a white paper" title="Man holding a white paper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Entrepreneurs cobbling together a list of business resolutions for 2011 should reserve a spot for an underutilized yet increasingly powerful marketing tool: white papers. These educational tracts have become essential &mdash; not to mention influential &mdash; information products that can boost your credibility and marketing capabilities.</p> <p>Nearly three quarters of business leaders read at least one white paper every six months, according to a November 2009 study from Eccolo Media. The same study found that 84% of respondents considered white papers moderately to extremely influential when it came time to make purchasing decisions.</p> <p>Consumers and business leaders alike are awash in a cluttered sea of marketing materials. Well-crafted white papers can cut through the fog and illuminate your company and the targeted solutions you can offer. That kind of clarity and purpose of vision is more important than ever before. Decision makers and potential purchasers crave simplicity, authority, and authenticity. Great white papers can help business owners strike that delicate balance.</p> <h3>What Is a White Paper?</h3> <p>Ask 10 different business leaders and marketers and you might get 10 different answers.</p> <p>Traditionally, white papers were the realm of bureaucracies and government officialdom. White papers were seen as informational and analysis-based, used to help persuade readers regarding a position or a solution.</p> <p>Over time, business communicators adopted the concept. Today, companies, corporations, and small businesses all use white papers to spotlight their brands, convey key information about their products, and carve out competitive space.</p> <p>They&rsquo;re typically documents of substance, anywhere from four to 10 pages and beyond with graphics and illustrations. Consider them research papers written with an eye on the bottom line.</p> <p>Rooted in education, these messaging tools are meant to provide readers with unique information they can&rsquo;t find elsewhere. For example, longtime search marketing firm iProspect publishes <a href="http://www.iprospect.com/about/searchenginemarketingwhitepapers.htm">a laundry list of white papers and studies</a> for consumers and influencers in its sphere. Global real estate firm CB Richard Ellis has <a href="http://www.cbre.com/USA/Services/Global+Corporate+Services/white+papers.htm">its own line of white papers</a> geared toward the distinct needs of its clients and prospective partners.</p> <p>A quick perusal of well-written white papers leads to an immediate conclusion: These aren&rsquo;t glorified sales sheets.</p> <p>The phrase &ldquo;white paper&rdquo; conjures an image of credibility, due diligence, and careful consideration. Consumers and business leaders will expect a white paper to offer a high degree of quality and expertise. These documents tackle specific issues and questions. They provide insight and concrete solutions. They illuminate trends.</p> <p>A top-tier white paper requires a commitment that can tax some busy entrepreneurs. Making time to write these can prove difficult. Paying for their creation isn&rsquo;t cheap. But the best white papers can serve as significant brand boosters and lead generation machines.</p> <h3>Tips for Maximizing White Paper Potential</h3> <p>You can&rsquo;t just sit down and bang out a white paper in 10 minutes. These take forethought and planning, not to mention a deft writing touch.</p> <p>Entrepreneurs also need to ensure they&rsquo;re harnessing the power of the web and social media to bring eyeballs to their white papers. And, of course, that they&rsquo;re intelligently collecting and utilizing the contact information that can come from releasing a downloadable guide.</p> <p>Here are a few tips for maximizing your white paper potential:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Tee up the right topic:</strong> Consider your target market, your vertical, and what corners have yet to be exhaustively covered. Find a way to interject your own expertise or solutions into existent problems. Look ahead to product launches well down the line and examine ways to lay the groundwork for solutions. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to offer some insight on a current hot issue.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Make it sing:</strong>
The writing must be top notch. Half of respondents in that Eccolo Media survey from last fall said that good writing was either very or extremely influential. Entrepreneurs can hire companies like <a href="http://www.icopywriter.com/">iCopywriter</a> or even individual journalists or writers to produce white papers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Limit the hard sell:</strong>
The best white papers provide information, illumination and general solutions and insight. Avoid blatant marketing and self-serving prose. Focus on consumers and prospective partners and ways their needs can be met.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Take a journalistic approach:</strong>
Don&rsquo;t be afraid to interview experts in your field as well as in your own company. Garner as much pertinent information as possible to fully flesh out your particular argument or your white paper as a whole.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Consider the time:</strong>
This is in terms of both the content-production side and the reader&rsquo;s precious time. Excellent white papers take a good chunk of time from conception to publication, so don&rsquo;t expect 10 or even 20 hours to be enough in some cases. Also, aim for a final product no longer than eight pages.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Make a great landing page:</strong>
Build a crisp landing page for your white paper. Consider creating a short video that explains the paper and guides readers through an overview before they download. Capture email addresses through the download process and start building a marketing list.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Push them out:</strong>
Businesses can essentially syndicate white papers through several outlets and websites. Some are costlier than others. For example, a basic white paper sponsorship at technology hub <a href="http://www.techtarget.com/html/pr-Stelzner_11_17_04.htm">TechTarget</a> ranges from $10,000 to $15,000 for a three-month posting. You can also use white papers as incentives and giveaways in pay-per-click advertising campaigns.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Don't stop at one:</strong> White papers can steamroll once you start. And that can be an effective component to an overall marketing strategy. Crank out a half-dozen to 10 white papers and build a separate Education Center or Resource Center on your website to house them.</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/white-papers-tell-and-sell-your-story">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster&#039;s Demise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center small business small business marketing white paper Sun, 16 Jan 2011 20:44:00 +0000 Chris Birk 442275 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Website Sucks: Here's What to Do About It http://www.wisebread.com/your-website-sucks-heres-what-to-do-about-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-website-sucks-heres-what-to-do-about-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004538509XSmall.jpg" alt="Looking at a bad website" title="Looking at a bad website" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your website could suck, and you could not know it. You might be catering to too wide an audience, making it difficult for people to navigate the site and understand your product, or simply have a sloppy design.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve recently come across some resources that can help with these (and other) common challenges for web-based entrepreneurs:</p> <h3>E-Book: <em>Why Your Website Sucks &mdash; and How to Fix It)</em></h3> <p>Co-authors Andy Hayes and Kelly Erickson bring a wealth of complimentary experience and knowledge to the table with <em><a href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=804491&amp;c=ib&amp;aff=21326&amp;cl=69395&quot; target=&quot;ejejcsingle&quot;">Why Your Website Sucks &mdash; and How to Fix It</a></em>. Andy has carved a niche for himself in the travel and tourism industry, providing new-media solutions to travel industry professionals as well as producing his own travel guides and related services. And Kelly&rsquo;s expertise lies in creating the ideal customer experience with tools like integrated graphic design.</p> <p>The focus of the guide is to help you improve your conversion rate (turning people who land on your site into paying customers), and a consistent theme throughout (and one that applies to any business &mdash; online or otherwise) is target marketing. The authors identify (in detail) the different personality types of customers, their traits, how and why they buy, pros and cons of working with each personality type, and how to design your website to cater to each group. I particularly enjoyed this breakdown and identified with the various personality traits of customers.</p> <p>After establishing the different customer profiles, the authors detail each stage of the buying cycle for each personality, going into how best you can cater to them to keep the customer interested and ultimately moving towards a sale.</p> <h3>Tips to Improve Your Customer Conversion</h3> <p>Without giving away the meat of the guide, here are a few tips I learned that I found to be useful:</p> <ul> <li>Forget about design. A pretty website won&rsquo;t do much for sales if your language doesn&rsquo;t speak (pardon the pun) to your ideal customer. &ldquo;Terminal vagueness&rdquo; is a plague that can kill your business if you&rsquo;re not watching out for it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You&rsquo;ve got three seconds to grab your customer and convince them to stay on your site. Make sure your site name, tag line, and bright shiny objects are enough to accomplish this task.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Not all customers will land on your home page first. How do your other pages measure up in terms of navigation?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your menu is key to keeping customers moving towards a sale.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Grabbing your readers above the fold is important. But what are you doing to entice them to scroll down? (This section ties into each customer profile nicely with examples of effective copy.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Busy sidebars<b> </b>are not always good.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The &quot;Most Common Mistakes&quot;<b> </b>chapter at the end was a favorite, with lots of great learning points based on realistic examples.</li> </ul> <p>I was especially surprised to learn that distracting pop ups, flash animations, pictures, and video that you see on many sites these days don&rsquo;t hold nearly as much impact as I would have thought given the sheer number of sites that have these features. (Personally I find them annoying, but I figured I was the only one turned off by them).</p> <p>I enjoyed the overall tone of the book. Both authors throw some personal flair into the guide, and it&rsquo;s a relatively easy read with plenty of examples drawn from their experience. Although there is a travel industry bend to the guide, it seems that the principles of customer conversion and website design are universally applicable.</p> <p>At the end of each chapter you get an &quot;A.S.A.P.&quot; (Anti-Suck Action Plan) which summarizes the key learning points you can take away. There&rsquo;s also an accompanying <em>Anti-Suck Action Plan Workbook&nbsp;</em>that works in tandem with the guide, offering exercises and suggestions to complement each chapter. I think that if you use the workbook and follow all the exercises and suggestions between the guide and workbook, your site will improve.&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=804491&amp;c=ib&amp;aff=21326&amp;cl=69395&quot; target=&quot;ejejcsingle&quot;">Why Your Website Sucks &mdash; and How to Fix It</a></em><br /> Pages: 126<br /> Cost: $37.99<br /> Extras:</p> <ul> <li>Anti-Suck Action Plan Workbook<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bonus recording of a 51-minute interview with Naomi Dunford (expert on small business marketing) about emotion&rsquo;s role in online marketing<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Money-back guarantee (no questions asked) within 90 days</li> </ul> <h2>Other Options to Make Your Website Suck Less</h2> <p>Although I love reading e-books, I also find that execution can be a challenge. For this reason, I am a fan of consulting services, as they&rsquo;re personalized assessments with actionp lans that include a degree of accountability. If you&rsquo;re not a self-study sort of person or aren&rsquo;t sold on the effectiveness of e-books, here are some consulting options:</p> <h3>TOP (Travel Online Partners)</h3> <p><a href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=804491&amp;c=ib&amp;aff=21326&amp;cl=69395&quot; target=&quot;ejejcsingle&quot;">The authors of </a><em><a href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=804491&amp;c=ib&amp;aff=21326&amp;cl=69395&quot; target=&quot;ejejcsingle&quot;">Why Your Website Sucks</a></em> also offer a consulting service. Their website audit service is quite popular, along with other options like SEO and social media marketing. You can start with their <a href="http://www.travelonlinepartners.com/products-and-services/consulting/self-assessment">free assessment</a> to see what resources will work best for you.</p> <h3>CGMK Consulting</h3> <p>CGMK Consulting is another consulting-based service in the travel and tourism industry, spearheaded by Nomadic Matt and Christine Gilbert. (You may recall that I&rsquo;ve written about some of Nomadic Matt&rsquo;s e-books; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-e-books-to-help-you-make-money-travel-and-change-your-life"><em>How to Make Money with Your Blog</em></a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-world-travel-and-blogging-about-it"><em>Secrets to Successful World Travel</em></a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-world-travel-and-blogging-about-it"><em>How to Build a Travel Blog</em></a> before; and about Christine Gilbert&rsquo;s work <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2010/08/practical-guide-to-going-digital-how-to-break-up-with-your-cubicle-for-good/">on my own site</a>. Both Matt and Christine are intrepid travelers who work in a fully <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/location-independent-career-basics">location-independent</a> manner, so they practice what they preach by making a full-time living online.</p> <p>Their services range from quick and specific <a href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=794692&amp;c=ib&amp;aff=21326&amp;cl=42880&quot; target=&quot;ejejcsingle&quot;">e-mail consultations</a> ($50) or <a target="_blank" href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=806869&amp;c=ib&amp;aff=21326&amp;cl=42880&quot; target=&quot;ejejcsingle&quot;">phone consultations</a> (1 hour for $100), to segmented packages assisting you with issues like SEO, marketing, blog design, and monetization. They top-out with the full-deal <a target="_blank" href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=806870&amp;c=ib&amp;aff=21326&amp;cl=42880&quot; target=&quot;ejejcsingle&quot;">Complete Package</a> ($650) to help you build your web brand from scratch.</p> <p><em>Note: I have not personally tried either TOP's or CGMK's consulting services myself, so I can&rsquo;t attest to the value of either service. I am simply offering them up as options for people who prefer personalized advice to the generic tips of an e-book.</em></p> <h3>Not in the Travel and Tourism Industry?</h3> <p>Although both of these consulting companies target the travel and tourism industry, they acknowledge that any web-based entrepreneur can benefit from what they offer. &ldquo;The principles of SEO and marketing are the same and can be used in any websites. We have contacts in the travel industry, but we can teach you the skills you need to make it in any industry,&rdquo; says Matt Kepnes of CGMK.</p> <p>Andy Hayes of TOP admits that although they target the travel and tourism industry, their actual market is much larger. &ldquo;About 35-40% of our customers are not in the tourism industry. The principles and guidelines we teach are universal, and the feedback we get is that although our examples are tourism, these are still very useful to companies not in tourism.&rdquo;</p> <p>And as noted before, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ramp-up-your-business-by-specializing">specializing (target marketing)</a> is a great way to create a niche in which you are a sought-after expert, but is not a limitation against working with people outside of that market. It appears that both TOP and CGMK are examples of this principle in practice.</p> <p><em>Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-website-sucks-heres-what-to-do-about-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fantastic-phone-services-for-people-on-the-go">Fantastic Phone Services for People on the Go</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster&#039;s Demise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Three</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ways-blazing-internet-speeds-can-save-you-money">5 Ways Blazing Internet Speeds Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-apps-for-business-owners-on-the-go">5 Apps for Business Owners on the Go</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Technology small business marketing website consulting website improvement Mon, 13 Dec 2010 14:00:07 +0000 Nora Dunn 375835 at http://www.wisebread.com Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster's Demise http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1000864_39487552.jpg" alt="Sorry We&#039;re Closed " title="Sorry We&#039;re Closed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a common perception among business owners that adding an online presence to an already existing brick-and-mortar business is a no-brainer.</p> <p>That's not surprising. Marketing gurus have been touting the power of the Internet for years and given its exponential growth and success, there's been no reason to argue that strategy. But the recent bankruptcy of the video giant Blockbuster has caused many of those same experts to take another look at that philosophy as we try to figure out what went wrong. After all, Blockbuster should have been the easy winner in the video rental war, certainly beating out its smaller &mdash; and online only &mdash; rival, Netflix. Instead of coming out on top, Blockbuster has been reduced to a case study. Netflix on the other hand, is as stable as ever, currently trading well above $100 per share.</p> <p>So, what went wrong? Does this mean that going online isn't a good idea after all?</p> <p>Quite the contrary &mdash; having a web presence is still a very smart move and remember, it wasn't the website itself that resulted in Blockbuster's demise. Instead, their fall is being attributed to a number of factors that range from excessive operating expenses to a lack a proper planning to, well...a severe case of complacency.</p> <p>The truth is, there are a number of things that Blockbuster could have done differently and while your company's fiscal footprint may not be nearly as big, there are still lessons to be learned.</p> <h3>A website is just a website</h3> <p>Simply having a website doesn't automatically make it successful and by the same token, there's no guarantee it can save a struggling business. I can't count the number of clients that have come to me wanting a website, only to become frustrated when they don't see an immediate increase in sales.</p> <p>Success on the web requires the same research, effort, and attention as your physical location &mdash; something that many brick-and-mortar businesses overlook. While Blockbuster's website was certainly more than just a static presentation it was at least for a while, neglected and somewhat painful to manuever. Blockbuster took several years to actually integrate their online offerings with their physical storefront and then discovered after the fact that running such a program would cost much more than they had anticipated.</p> <p>As a result, they increased the prices of their Total Access program while simultaneously decreasing the benefits, upsetting many of the loyal customers they had in their existing base. Netflix of course, had already figured out how to streamline online delivery and reduce expenses, making them the obvious alternative for disgruntled Blockbuster customers.</p> <h3>Don't just follow the crowd</h3> <p>Blockbuster wasn't just slow to enter the world of online video rental, they also failed to capitalize on their unique selling proposition once they arrived.</p> <p>With a large and loyal customer base, Blockbuster should have entered the online arena like gangbusters, touting the obvious advantage they had over Netflix &mdash; rent online, return at the store. But Blockbuster didn't do that. Instead, they made their grand entrance by copying what Netflix had already done...except that Netflix was doing it better and cheaper.</p> <p>By the time Blockbuster got around to distinguishing themselves from the competition, Netflix had gained quite a bit of steam, not to mention quite a few of Blockbuster's customers.</p> <h3>A leader can be toppled</h3> <p>But perhaps the biggest mistake in the Blockbuster saga is their obvious reliance on their past success.</p> <p>For years, Blockbuster was the frontrunner in video rentals and unfortunately, this &quot;can't touch us&quot; kind of success affected their ability to see the bigger marketing picture and thus, the potential threat that Netflix posed.</p> <p>The world as we know it, is changing. Customers are looking for easier, more effective ways to get things done and technology has been happy to oblige. As a result, companies from every industry are having to rethink their marketing approach, giving serious consideration to the possibility that their biggest rival might not be the competitor down the street, but rather a faceless, virtual store with lower overhead and a clear understanding of how the internet and its users work.</p> <p>Even law firms and CPAs, industries that were once seemingly exempt from such traditional marketing concerns, must now compete with do-it-yourself software programs and downloadable forms, both of which offer the client the same end result but at a fraction of the cost. This sink or swim ultimatium has become painfully clear: either join the technological revolution or be left far behind.</p> <p>It's no longer enough to simply offer a set of services or products &mdash; you must be diligent in your efforts to show customers why your version of those services and products are better than the alternatives.. even (or perhaps especially) when those alternatives are online, non-personal solutions.</p> <p>The bottom line is that the marketing gurus <em>were right</em> &mdash; you must have a website to compete. But it will be your ability to embrace this new way of doing business &mdash; not the virtual real estate itself &mdash; that determines your ultimate success.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fee-fighters-fighting-for-low-credit-card-processing-fees">Fee Fighters: Fighting for Low Credit Card Processing Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Financial News Blockbuster internet marketing small business small business marketing Mon, 04 Oct 2010 13:00:12 +0000 Kate Luther 253701 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Three http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/computerlab.jpg" alt="apply online" title="computer lab" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;">Previously, this series for finding freelance jobs covered what you needed to do to prepare yourself for freelance life in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-one">Part One</a>; where to find the clients in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">Part Two</a>; and in the last article of this series - I'll give you some tips for actually applying or bidding on the freelance jobs you find.</p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><b>How to Apply or Bid for Work</b></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Applying for freelance work is an art form in itself &ndash; once you master the techniques, you'll be on your way to a thriving freelance business. Applying for work on job sites and contacting potential clients directly involves a different process than bidding for work on freelance bidding sites.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><b>Bidding for Work</b></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">When you use a freelance bidding site to &ldquo;bid&rdquo; on jobs, you are rarely asked to provide a complete resume. The trick is to sum up your abilities and answer any questions their job specifications indicate within a paragraph or two as you are placing your bid. A sample bid response for a freelance writing job involving writing 10 articles for a blog about fish that are due on March 15</span></span></font><sup><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">th</span></span></font></sup><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"> might read something like this:</span></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-left: 0.99in; margin-right: 0.99in; margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><span style="font-weight: normal;">I am a freelance writer and fish enthusiast &ndash; I would love to write 10 articles for your blog on the topic of fish. I can write and deliver ten 100% unique articles on or before March 15</span></i></font><sup><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><span style="font-weight: normal;">th</span></i></font></sup><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><span style="font-weight: normal;">, completely free from plagiarism. They will be spell checked and ready to post to your blog upon receipt. Thank you for your consideration.</span></i></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Notice there isn't a ton of information in a &ldquo;bid&rdquo;. If you have experience directly related to the topic, you might mention that. In this example, if you have an aquarium in your home, or worked for the local fish store, that might spark interest in the buyer because you are already familiar with the topic. In most cases, you can write articles on topics you aren't familiar with simply by doing research, so it's not a requirement for the majority of writing jobs. </font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">The most important aspects to include in a bid for a freelance bidding site are to show you understand the assignment (10 articles before their due date, 100% unique), and to write your bid without typos or spelling errors (particularly if you're applying for writing work!) There are many non-english speaking service providers bidding on the same work (and often at rock bottom prices if the buyer's currency is worth more than the providers currency), but you would be surprised at how many don't take the time to spell check or proof read their bid.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><b>Apply for Work</b></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">On the other end of the spectrum, when you find assignments posted to job sites or when contacting a potential client directly, you need to use a different strategy for applying. These situations expect more information from you in order to consider you for the work.</span></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">It's a great idea to create a resume, summary of qualifications, or professional experience document that can be used for all freelance work you apply for. It doesn't have to be boring like the resumes you made as a high school student &ndash; and in fact, it is in your best interest to jazz it up a bit to stand out from among the hundreds of other people who may be applying for the same jobs!</font> &nbsp;Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-noticed-on-craigslist">10 tips for landing a gig online</a>, by Wisebread's Andrea Dickson. &nbsp;These tips are excellent and will help you with your applying or bidding process!</p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Use your freelance logo if you have one, and don't be afraid to use decorative fonts for the headings of categories on the document. If you have links to work samples that are accessible online, include a few so the prospective client can click and quickly see something you've worked on. You may want to include a small, professional head shot of yourself as well just to make it a bit more personable.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">When you apply for work, write a &ldquo;cover letter&rdquo; email (or follow the instructions given in the job listing for how to apply), and include your resume or professional experience document. It's a good idea to paste it into the email directly as many businesses will not open email with attachments. You can always include a short note in your closing that you are happy to forward your resume or any other information upon request.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><b>Getting the Job</b></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">After you start applying and bidding for work, you will start to get responses from the prospective clients. A freelance bidding site is your opportunity to get selected and get the just based on your &ldquo;bid&rdquo; alone; while most freelance jobs from a job site or direct contact will not hire you from your first contact alone. Expect to exchange a few emails and maybe even talk on the phone once or twice before you are selected as the freelancer for the assignment. Be professional with every communication you have with the prospect, and be sure to treat each client as if they will generate hundreds of new jobs for your freelancing business &ndash; because you never know which clients may turn into long term clients or your biggest referral source for new clients.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">When you've gotten your first client and completed your first job &ndash; be sure to follow up with the client to see if he or she has any additional work you could provide. In fact, add the client to a mailing list and make it part of your routine to contact clients once a month or so after you do work for them, just to remind them you are still in business in case they have a need to hire a freelancer again. This is how you turn a one-time client into a repeat client &ndash; which is necessary for<a href="http://empoweringmomblog.com/2008/11/4-ways-to-increase-your-income-as-a-freelancer/"> long term success in the freelance world</a>.</font></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster&#039;s Demise</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship applying for work entrepreneur finding freelance jobs how to land a freelance job Making Extra Cash small business marketing Fri, 15 May 2009 13:55:47 +0000 Debbie Dragon 3153 at http://www.wisebread.com