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Should you pay to promote your Facebook posts? Consider advice from small business owners who have done it. Social networking giant Facebook rolled out a new feature in May 2012, aimed at helping you boost your social power by offering the option to promote your posts to the site. Essentially, a promoted post allows you to pay a small fee (typically around $ 10, but it varies based on the number of fans your business page has) for a post to be broadcast to a larger audience of users. But should you pay to promote your Facebook posts? Is it […]

Before you set prices, consider these strategies to determine dollar amounts Pricing your products is one of the most important—and tricky—decisions you’ll make as a small business owner. What if you price your product too high or too low? It doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might be making it. To help you ease your markup headaches, we asked Becky McCray, owner of a liquor store and author of the book Small Town Rules: How Small Business and Big Brands Can Prosper in a Connected Economy for her tips. Here are 3 things she says you should take […]

These tried and true methods can help you drive sales and acquire new customers.. Sponsored Facebook posts. Blogging. Viral videos. In the age of the Internet, there’s no shortage of 21st-century marketing channels to generate buzz for your business. But after all these years—and the innovations in marketing they’ve brought—there are still some tried and true old-fashioned methods that yield results for your small business. Here, owners and small business marketing experts share their proven old school methods for gaining attention—and market share— in a crowded marketplace. 1. Try hard copy. It’s easy enough to get a client’s email address […]

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Better your business by finding people to shadow and critique your services. Small business owners may balk at the idea of launching a mystery shopper program, often seen as the staple of giant retail chains and a costly service provided by market research companies. But you can create your own fleet of secret shoppers that provides you critical feedback about your business and even helps you market your product or service. Here’s how one small business owner, Georgette Blau, founder and owner of On Location Tours, which provides tours of television hotspots in New York and Boston, did it herself. […]

Learn how to bring exposure to your business by cultivating relationships with bloggers. Oprah may never feature your small business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get free advertising for your product or service. How? Build relationships with bloggers, many of whom have fiercely loyal readerships who are open to product and service-related posts. It can help you build your brand and move product in the process. “Everyone wants to make headlines on USA Today, but what most people don’t realize is that they will probably gain more traction by getting covered by industry blogs in their particular fields rather […]

If you play music at your business, follow these tips to avoid thousands of dollars in fines. As the owner of a small café, boutique or shop, you want your establishment to have the perfect customer-friendly vibe. So you plug your iPhone, Android or mp3 player into your sound system, and cue up your favorite playlist. No problem, right? Wrong — that is, if you haven’t purchased the proper music licensing. Joy Butler, a Washington, D.C., attorney who advises clients on music licensing, says small businesses can rack up thousands of dollars in fines for failing to adhere to copyright […]

3. Google Analytics Joel Gross, founder and CEO of Coalition Technologies, a Los Angeles website design firm, swears by Google Analytics. Like ClickTale, It’s a piece of code you can paste on your site that tracks data such as page views and unique visitors. Gross’s 24-employee company installs it for every client, many of whom are small business owners. “If you don’t have this installed, you’re blind,” Gross says. Google Analytics may sound complicated, but Gross says it’s extremely user-friendly. The service allows you to track everything from what specific groups of customers spend, what device they accessed your site […]

Many military veterans apply skills they learned in the military to run successful businesses—and you don’t have to be a veteran to do the same.Army vet Darcella Craven uses techniques she gained as a communications specialist every day in St. Louis as executive director of Veterans Business Resource Center, where she trains both veterans and civilians to start nonprofit businesses. Compared with civilian folks, she says, veterans aren’t as fazed when times get tough.The sooner you accept that you’re facing a difficult situation, Craven says, the sooner you can adjust to those changes.Veterans reveal four key qualities that help their […]

A new report by Symantec shows that small businesses are increasingly the targets of cyber theft, with 36% of targeted attacks during the first half of 2012 directed at companies with 250 or fewer employees. Many small business owners consider their business too small to be a target, which is a mistake because hackers know that small businesses have more capital than the average individual. “Cyber criminals are business people, too,” said Arild Jensen, owner of Secos Security, a Granada Hills, Calif., firm that specializes in cyber security for small businesses. “They’re going to go for the easiest, most rewarding […]

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