marketing

Bergen County and Regional Area Small Business Owners Participate at America’s SBDC New Jersey Internet Marketing and Sustainability Business Boot-Camp

 

Contact:

New-Jersey-color-with-band973.353.1927

press@njsbdc.com

 

April 13, 2016 (Hackensack, NJ) – The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers network’s E-Business Program sponsored an intensive, three-day Internet Marketing and Sustainability Boot-Camp, April 5-7. The specialized sessions were conducted 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. each day so that there was plenty of opportunity for learning and networking among the small business owners/entrepreneurs along with business experts and co-sponsors participating.

 

The three-day series of seminars were co-hosted by the NJSBDC at Bergen Community College and held at the Bergen County Administration Building in Hackensack, NJ. Other event co-sponsors included the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Rutgers Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative (EPI), Seton Hall University, Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Rising Tide Capital.

 

The specialized training seminars were composed of virtual and live events including several panel discussions, forums, and interactive Q & A sessions concerning:  E-Business sales, marketing, website development and overall digital strategy; business disruption, disaster recovery, and business continuity planning; strategic planning to guide business growth; and preparations for the big, NJSBDC network-sponsored Annual Internet Marketing Week 2016 to be held at Rutgers Business School from October 17 – 20.

 

“We brought everyone together on an array of important business topics to assist small business owners at enhancing their business operations,” said Sunny Kancherla, senior consultant/director for NJSBDC network’s E-Business program. Kancherla is CEO of Business Learning Tree. “Digital strategies are important in this day and age and our program focused on some key areas to help small business owners navigate and learn about its key components.”

 

Presenters and experts who shared their ideas and answered questions from the boot-camp participants included: Vincent Vicari, center director of the regional NJSBDC serving Bergen County; Marcela Zuchovicki, president and chief executive officer of Jalima & Associates; Alejandra Giron, loan officer at The Intersect Fund; Sean C. Hairston, chief executive officer, Medina=CITI; Nancy Barlow, president of The Barlow Group; and Steve Gomez, executive director of the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation. Additional experts participating at the event included:  Stanley Robinson, LinkedIn consultant and copywriter, SHR Marketing, LLC; Luis DeLaHoz, vice-chairman board of directors, Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Dan Garcia, chief executive officer and founder of Sociamerica, Inc.; and SBA Lead Business Opportunity Specialist Dominick Belfiore,

 

Local eateries and a company which was established with the help of the NJSBDC program, Senor Sangria, provided refreshments for the well-attended curriculum series. In addition, special scholarships for NJSBDC’s E-Business Certification Program were provided to attendees who completed instructions on a Facebook dynamic created by the E-Business program’s consultant/director Kancherla. Jalima & Associates, headed by Marcela Zuchovicki, also sponsored a prize for a contest on Twitter dynamic information. The winner of that contest was from SA Auto Repair, receiving a restaurant gift card.

 

“We were glad to have co-sponsored and assist with the event itself,” said Vince Vicari, regional SBDC director at Bergen. “It’s always rewarding to share and impart knowledge with the small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to further empower their companies’ development and growth.”

 

“We expect to schedule other similar events throughout the state,” said Brenda Hopper, chief executive officer and state director of the statewide SBDC network. “This is a win-win for everyone.”

 

“Our sponsors, co-sponsors, business trainers and experts make these kinds of specialized events and sessions knowledge-packed and provide the best learning environment and networking opportunities for those seeking to develop and grow their own businesses,” added Deborah Smarth, America’s SBDC New Jersey chief operating officer and associate state director.

 

About America’s SBDC New Jersey (NJSBDC)

The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers network, one of the first pilot projects in the nation, has provided comprehensive services and programs for small business in New Jersey for 37 years; SBDC experts help businesses expand their operations, manage their growth, or start new ventures. Expert staff and practicing business consultants help small business owners and entrepreneurs to develop business plans, find financing, accounting and financial analysis, identify new markets, initiate marketing strategies, find procurement and international trade opportunities, learn green sustainability practices, commercialize technology and develop an E-commerce presence. This non-profit network, a federal-state-educational partnership, leverages funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the N.J. Business Action Center (BAC), the educational institutions that host the 12 centers as well as other private sponsorships and additional private/public grants. The NJSBDC Headquarters, located at the Rutgers Business School in Newark, NJ, oversees the network which is an accredited member of the national network of America’s SBDC. Up to 1,000 centers and satellite offices serve small businesses across the country, generating jobs, new businesses and economic development. Visit www.njsbdc.com

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5 Essential Internet Marketing Tips to Grow Your Local Business

 

Article by Jeanmarie Tenuto

From the local, family-owned restaurants to physician practices, to auto mechanics to local franchisees, online marketing is so simple, very effective and quite affordable.  It has now become essential in growing the business.  Here are some tips that will show you how to begin growing your business through internet marketing:

 

 

  1. Reach More Customers with the Click of a Button

With one click, you’ll put your business in front of prospective customers who are ready to buy and make it easy for them to choose you.  Here are just a few ideas of tools and techniques you can use:

  • Content creation and publishing
  • Email marketing
  • Coupons and deals
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media and reputation management
  • Business listing management

 

  1. Be the Center of Conversations

Spread awareness about your business by publishing your content across the web. Here is a list of some of the places your marketing message could be distributed to:

  • Newswires, like NearSayand Google News
  • Coupons and deals sites, like 8Coupons.com
  • News publishers, like Google and Bing
  • Email directly to your subscriber’s inboxes
  • Social media accounts, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+
  • Ratings and review sites, like Yelp and Google My Business

 

  1. Create Loyal Customers in Minutes a Day

Establish a presence for your business on major social media and review sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Yelp.

  • Build followers by using Facebook advertising and keep them engaged with regular posts and updates.
  • Prioritizing and organizing social media posting and advertising, messages and customer reviews by using social media management system for brand management.

 

  1. Increase Your Ranking on Major Search Engines

  • Make sure you are monitoring and adjusting, (when needed), your business in local searches.
  • Manage your business profile across business listing sites, apps and map sites to boost organic search and ensure customers get the right information every time.

 

  1. Identify Your Goals and Stay on Point

Whether you want to increase new sales or build existing customer loyalty, stay on point and don’t waver.

  •  Create a consistent business profile to use in online directories
  •  Review keyword selection
  •  Choose a topic for your monthly article

Download the 10 Tips to Generate More Positive Reviews


How to Market Your Small Business on a Budget

You don’t need to have a colossal budget to make huge waves in your marketing efforts. Small businesses learn how to be creative and efficient with less every day, and you can, too. The key is understanding your audience, what motivates them to buy your product, and what it is about your brand that people love. When you can hit home with these elements and make enticing offers for your audience, you can be an effective marketer on a small budget.

Here are a few tips for fine tuning your strategy.

Create a Plan

It’s amazing how many small business owners start a marketing campaign without having a clear strategy first. It’s like going on vacation without any direction in mind: no hotel to stay at, no reservations for a restaurant, and no tickets for attractions. Before you start any marketing campaign, create a plan that details your goals, how you plan to get there, and who you will target. It helps to make small goals leading up to your larger ones so that you always have a clear direction and won’t waste money.

Leverage Your Community

Hopefully you have some loyal fans of your brand. These are your best influencers, and their word will mean more to other people. Encourage your online community to share your blogs on social media, join in conversations online, write reviews of your business, etc. You’ve already built a relationship with these customers, so use them to bring in new business – it doesn’t cost a dime.

Offer Coupons, Promotions, Discounts, Etc.

Your business doesn’t lose money when you offer a small reward for stopping into your store and making a purchase: a free item, a chance to enter a drawing, and 15% off a purchase, just to name a few. These are nice ways to reward your existing customers, bring in new leads, and boost sales. A quick social media blast gets the word out. Or, do something nice for customers who stop in such as free lemonade and cookies.

Networking and Referrals

Another inexpensive but effective marketing tactic is networking and asking for referrals. Reach out to your current customers and ask them to bring a friend into your store for a discount. Also, contact other businesses in the area. Could your hair salon pair up with a nail salon and offer a promotion or competitive package? This won’t cost a thing, and it will secure your relationships with other businesses and introduce you to new markets.

Become an Authority

You know your business, you know your audience, so you are an excellent person to contribute articles. Think about some of the most common questions your customers ask and use them as a basis for your content. Aside from time, it won’t cost you anything to create the content. Of course, you can hire a writer and pay for the content, but imagine how many times that one piece of work can be repurposed? It’s money well spent! Post the articles to social media and watch yourself grow into a trusted authority.


Paid Search vs. Organic Search: Which Is Better For my Business?

The websites that appear at the top of the search results get that placement for a number of reasons, and chance isn’t one of them. Do you know where your business appears in the search results?

Search results are critically important to your business since 80 percent of web traffic comes from search engines like Google and Bing. Studies show that people tend to interact with businesses whose ads appear near the top of the page, whether they are paid or organic. If your website doesn’t come up until the 3rd or 4th page, you’re not going to be seen by many people, and you won’t be getting many clicks.

In order to land a top spot in the SERPs, you need both paid and organic search. These are the two strategies that influence your placement, but they are executed differently.

Paid Search vs. Organic Search

When you do a quick search, you’ll find that the search results at the top of the page and on the right-hand sidebar have a yellow box with Ads posted above them. This makes it easy to distinguish the paid ads from the organic search results. All entries listed under Ads are paid for. All of the other entries are organic, meaning that the business is a popular entry with good SEO that matches what you searched for.

The best organic results will be listed at the top of the SERPs, but paid ads will always appear at the top of the page with the goal of drawing attention, clicks and revenue. Paid search is effective because users do tend to look only at the first few results.

Pros and Cons to Paid Search

The obvious advantage to paid search is that your website gets more visibility. This can be especially helpful if you have a new website that has yet to build up SEO. It takes time to have good search engine optimization, but if you’re looking for immediate results, you can pay your way to the top. Additionally, paid ads have the option to target a particular audience, such as those in a certain region, age bracket or income.

The disadvantage to paid search is the cost, although you can set your budget in advance and only pay for ads that are clicked on. Still, as soon as you stop paying for the ad, you lose your spot. And sometimes customers don’t trust ads as much as organic listings, so they may pass you up anyway.

Pros and Cons to Organic Search

Organic search offers long-term value. Users place more trust in organic ads and are more likely to click on them. Once you are able to get high rankings in the SERPs, you’re more likely to keep your spot and see better click-through rates, trust and credibility. You may not have as many options in terms of targeting, but this is the only way that you will land on the first page of the search results without having to pay.

The biggest drawback to organic search is that it takes time and resources. You will need to continually develop new content and use the best SEO practices. This is why paid search and organic search make a great team.

Which is Better?

When you combine both paid and organic search, you have a winning strategy. You can work on creating relevant, engaging content that follows your customers through the buying funnel and practice good SEO that offers long-term value. This will help your website retain its placement. Yet since you may not have time on your hands, you can get your business to the top with paid search and have the ability to target specific markets. Paid search is great for immediate results as well as boosting leads and sales for particular events and seasons.


5 Signs You Should Invest in a Marketing Plan

An alarm doesn’t sound off when your small business is ready for a marketing plan. You may start to see the signs slowly, but it’s hard to admit when it’s time to invest in a new strategy. This is especially true when you don’t understand the various methods of online marketing and the whole thing feels unfamiliar. But remember all the empowering quotes about change, and if you don’t change with the trends, your business may fail to thrive.

Here are five good signs that it’s time to invest in a marketing plan.

1. Decreasing Foot Traffic

 

Have you noticed that foot traffic in your store has been decreasing? It may not have anything to do with the products you carry or the employed staff. More and more people are researching businesses and products through their mobile devices, and this includes when they’re out driving around. With an online presence, people will be able to find your store, and a strong marketing plan will help your business turn up in the search results. Otherwise, you’re going to lose customers to your competitors.

2. Unengaged Customers

 

The brands that do best online are those that have engaging communities. But these communities don’t grow on their own. They need to be cultivated by the company and its products.. Taking the time to build a community is worth every effort, as your customers are some of your biggest influencers. Your marketing plan should include growing communities on social media, engaging fans and followers, and connecting customers with each other.

3. Sales are Dropping

 

When sales start to drop, the last thing you want to do is take on added financial pressures. Yet marketing is the lifeline of your company, and you don’t have to go into debt to have a plan. Investing in marketing is the most effective way to make your brand stand out and thrive in a competitive marketplace. If you don’t invest in a new campaign and sales are already dropping, you’re looking at trouble ahead.

4. Growth is Dormant

 

Most businesses hit a plateau at some point, and it takes a change in strategy to break through the phase. The best way to improve growth is by making your brand stand out. How can you accomplish this? With marketing. It may be time to expand your reach, strengthen your online presence, update your logo, or create new advertisements. Just make sure that you have a strategy in place, otherwise your marketing efforts could be wasted.

5. Quality Leads are Lacking

 

It’s hard to create customers from nothing, so if your business is not generating quality leads, it’s time to amp up your marketing efforts. Good advertising strategies bring in quality leads, and you can then work on increasing conversion rates. While not all leads can be converted, you can learn from those who don’t convert. These customers can shed light on why they didn’t choose your service and what other products interest them.


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