Networking: Where to Look for the Best Opportunities

October 13th, 2008

Networking to some people sounds like a business operation, when, in reality, it’s more about being social in any environment you find yourself in. The woman next to you on a flight is networking when she strikes up a conversation with you about the weather. By the end of the flight, you’ve discovered she’s a boutique owner interested in the clothing line you just started. You exchange numbers. Aren’t you glad you decided to chat it up?

As a business owner, it’s important to socialize wherever you may be. You’re bound to run into someone that you can benefit from and vice versa. Networking relationships are born from simple day-to-day communication with people you’ve met for the first time. These relationships benefit both parties involved because each person listens, communicates, advises, and helps the other reach company and personal goals.

Know the type of people you are networking with to set goals for your conversations. Are you networking with potential clients, partners, employees, or sponsors? Your interaction, questions, and advice may be different for each person.

Where do you go to network?

·       Don’t forget, you can socialize anywhere. 

·       Industry events and organizations are great places to meet people with similar business goals, knowledge, interests, and experiences. The people you meet here could be potential clients, employers, or business partners. Many have had different industry experiences than you and can help you avoid future obstacles and further achieve your goals.

·       Joining a general business organization allows you to get free business advice, name recognition, and the opportunity to learn about the operations of other businesses. It also shows customers you’re a credible company because you are part of a recognized business organization.

·       Online newsgroups and discussion forums are hot spots for people from all over. Customers, business owners, and industry workers participate in the various online forums. It’s a great way to establish your expertise in the industry, get advice from others, and learn more about your target market. A simple online search will pull up dozens of newsgroups and forums related to your industry.

Generate success for your small business and sign up for Your Business Marketing Solution, a biweekly ezine packed with marketing articles, tips, and stats.

Press Releases: Get Your Company the Attention It Deserves

October 10th, 2008

If you’ve been marketing your business the same way for years now, it’s time to make changes and send your company soaring to success. Make the public aware you’re eager to lend your industry expertise and that you’re passionate about customer satisfaction.

Press releases provide an excellent opportunity to bring your brand name to life. If your business has remained at a steady rate for years now, the right press release can gain your company recognition, leading to growth and incredible success.

What makes a good press release?

·       Knowing what medium your target market is apt to use will allow you to structure your press releases towards those specific mediums and media members.

·       Newsworthy information will help you stand out to the media and public, to gain company recognition, and secure more business.

·       Press releases should encompass the elements that set your business apart from others in the industry.

·       Every bit of information in your press release must lend itself to the success and growth of your business. Let the public know you’re at the top of your game and are a solid investment for their time and money.

·       A press release must be newsworthy. News items include the following: new employees joining the team, involvement in the community, participating in fundraisers, important anniversaries, new and innovative products / services entering your market, important internal affairs, and much more. Your company deserves the spotlight as it goes through important changes.

Press releases need to sell themselves to the media, the crucial link between your business and the public eye. The media loves informative and edgy news, so flaunt it. Press releases require expert skills in writing, public relations, and selling. If you don’t have the right resources, skills, and time to create a powerful press release, hire a freelance copywriter to show off your company and all it has to offer.

For result-driven press release services, visit Michelle Salater Writing & Editorial, LLC.

Marketing Survey . . . Short and Sweet

October 9th, 2008

Dear Copy Doodle Readers and Those Who are New to my Blog,

I would love some feedback to the following questions:

1. What is the most important aspect in growing your business? And why.

2. If an expert were to offer free advice on two online marketing problems you face, what would those two problems be?

If you took the time to leave a comment, that would be great. Thanks for reading!

Green Marketing: Saving the Environment and Your Company

October 8th, 2008

Being green has never looked so darn good. The green craze is not simply a celebrity fad. It’s a growing national movement. Green Movement consumers are on the rise, passionate about saving the environment, conscious of health hazards in food consumption, and keen on decreasing energy consumption. All companies can contribute to the Green Movement, whether it’s through participating in a volunteer program, selling green services / products, or paperless marketing.

How your company can market green:

·       Have a credo of values section on your website, allowing consumers to understand the goals and inner workings of your company. Mention in your mission statement ways your company participates in green practices, such as using minimal packaging that’s recyclable, conserving resources, and using services / products that decrease energy consumption and waste.

·       Join an ecofriendly organization to certify your company as green. For example, if you are developing a new marina or revitalizing an existing one, join a volunteer program such as The Certified Clean Marina Program. Joining organizations shows consumers you are a certifiably clean marina and comply with environmentally clean standards.

·       Create a green conscious product / service line. We’ve all seen this in grocery stores, with a variety of organic meat and dairy products. Clothing stores are doing it as well, designing lines of clothes made from organic materials.

·       Research ways the world is going green and cater your products / services around some of the actions people are taking. Knowing how people are buying and consuming is important to the success of your business.

·       Create customer surveys focused on the Green Movement, and research the top things people are doing to save the environment.

To get more tips on effectively marketing your business and learn about our many result-driven copywriting services, visit Michelle Salater Writing & Editorial, LLC.

Economic Crisis: How to Succeed in Difficult Times

October 4th, 2008

Recent economic scares have placed fear into the minds of all business owners, big and small. It’s important during these times to think positively and put your best foot forward.

The key element to keeping your business alive is focusing on marketing strategies and thinking in the most positive light. We’re all going through the same thing. No one is alone. If you want to punch up business during these times, create ways to focus even more on what your target market wants. This economic crisis could be a good way for you to lend more focus to your marketing strategies and further delve into the minds of your target market.

This is a great time to obtain feedback from customers and get personal. Customer feedback can help you to create marketing campaigns with a streamlined focus, sure to capture any client in your target market.

The best way to get customer feedback is through customer surveys. Provide a link on your website to take a survey or email the survey to frequent customers. Customers may not have the time to take your survey, so find a way to make it worth their time. Provide them with an incentive, such as 20% off their next purchase, a free product / service or a free consultation.

Here are some steps in creating customer surveys . . .

·       Write a brief introduction to the survey, explaining to customers how their responses will help drive future company actions.

·       Notify customers taking the survey of your company ethics. Some questions may be personal and customers like to know they can trust you with information they’re providing.  

·       Focus your survey to a specific goal. For example, if you want to know what views consumers think about your service, tailor your survey to ask questions based around that central idea.

·       Create questions that are clear, easy to answer, and get to the point. Limit the amount of questions you ask customers. They don’t want to sit at a computer for 30 minutes answering questions.

Once you receive surveys from customers, identify patterns and similar responses. This should give you a greater idea of what your clients are looking for and allow you to provide it to them. You’ll see your sales go up and your business succeed in these times of economic struggle.

For more tips on how to market your business, sign up for Your Business Marketing Solution, a biweekly ezine filled with marketing stats, news, and tips.

How Blog Commenting Can Make Your Business Successful

October 1st, 2008

Blogging is an excellent way to get thousands of potential customers, increase website traffic, and boost company credibility. One thing many bloggers don’t realize is the importance of commenting on other blogs. This is an excellent way to get inbound links to your site, gaining you more potential customers. Commenting on blogs is a powerful networking tool in the internet community and should not be overlooked.

Your comments should . . .

·       Add value and your expertise to what is being said in the blog.

·       Give positive feedback. Don’t be a Debbie-Downer, even if you disagree with what the author is saying. It’s important to give constructive criticism.  

·       Peak the interest of the author and other viewers. Authors who are intrigued by your comment may want to visit your blog and comment themselves. This creates even more clicks to your site.

·       Contain links to similar pieces you may have written about the subject. 

·       Be relevant to the blog topic. Make sure you’re on a site where your target market would visit and be interested in what you have to say, relevant to the topic of the blog. People may get frustrated if they click on a link that is not relevant to the topic, possibly creating a poor image of your company in the client’s mind.

·       Have a link to your email and website below comments you make. When people viewing the blogs see comments below that intrigue them, there is always the potential for them to click on these links to view your site or send an email your way.

Visit Michelle Salater Writing and Editorial, LLC, for more marketing tips and view our many writing services.

Find Your USP and Use It to Leap Ahead of the Competition

September 30th, 2008

Message from Michelle

I just returned from an awesome conference in Miami, where I attended the Inner Game of Abundance Mindset Retreat with Fabienne Fredrickson and David Neagle. Needless to say, I’m high on life right now and excited for the future. Already, I’ve begun implementing changes and systems to reflect the vision I have for the future of my company.

It’s impossible to move forward if you don’t know where you’ve come from and where you are now. As I’ve been reevaluating my company, I’ve had to go back to the basics. Specifically, what makes my company unique? What makes my business stand out from the competition? Answering this in detail is so important because, if you can’t answer it, neither can your customers.

In this issue of Your Business Marketing Solution, we take a look at the importance of defining your unique selling proposition (USP) and why it’s essential if you want to grow your business.

Feature Article:

Find Your USP and Use It to Leap Ahead of the Competition

Competition. It’s inevitable, but not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, competition can push you to make your products better than they would be otherwise. Have you ever looked around and noticed it seems as if other businesses in your market are doing the same things you are to attract customers–the same type of advertising, the same type of deals, aimed at the same people?

How can you stand out? By having a USP.

A UniqueSelling Proposition (USP) is a short statement explaining how your company or product differs from your competitors’. It informs prospective and current clients why your product or service is the best option.

Many businesses fail to establish a USP, just as they fail to pinpoint their target market. These companies don’t recognize that customers want and need to be led down the sales path. Therefore, they don’t clearly state what makes them distinctive, so customers aren’t motivated to buy from them.

You must communicate a specific, compelling reason for customers to buy from you. If you don’t, you’re just another puppy in the window, jumping around pleading, “Pick me!”

Without a USP, your marketing and advertising will not be as effective as it could and should be. And you are leaving money on the table.

The first step in identifying a USP is to research your competition. Unless you know what else is out there, you cannot properly evaluate or showcase a USP. If you haven’t already, plan to research as soon as possible.

Study the competition’s website and marketing materials, noting each company’s history and mission, product features and benefits, and target market. Why do customers buy from them and what does the market want that they do not or cannot provide? Note gaps in their product or service offerings. If you have difficulty clarifying benefits, list the features and why a prospect requires or desires them. Those reasons are benefits.

The second step is to list and describe the major benefits of your product. Remember, your customer cares about his or her problem and how you can solve it. Pay attention to those benefits that appear distinctive or stronger than the competition’s.

Ask yourself, how will your product or service solve the client’s problem and does it satisfy the market gaps you identified? You should see a unique set of benefits for your product. If you don’t, think about what you could change to make these benefits clearly stand out.

It’s important to remember that you aren’t limited to a single benefit. Try to focus on one or two primary advantages at first. Chances are good your competition hasn’t thought about its USP, which gives you the opportunity to position your company as the solution provider.

You will want to differentiate yourself as much as possible; however, a USP claim must be truthful. Faking or exaggerating a USP will harm your sales and reputation and could cause serious legal or regulatory repercussions.

Communicate your USP far and wide–articles, brochures, press releases–and update your marketing materials as soon as possible. Also, train your sales staff in your USP and how they can successfully deliver your message to clients and prospects.

Want to see more marketing articles like this one? Visit Michelle’s blog,  Sumer Blog.

Tip of the Month

The following 6 ideas may help you discover or refine your USP.

  1. Could you decrease prices and be known as the lowest-cost provider? Or increase prices and gain high-end customers?
  2. Pricing and value are two different things. Would adding accessories, related merchandise, or free shipping enhance value?
  3. Is the customer able to compare apples to apples? Does your product or service have integrated features that the competition charges extra for (or vice versa)?
  4. Do you have a superior selection? If not, is it possible to offer additional colors, larger sizes, or personalization?
  5. Can you provide a more comprehensive guarantee or longer warranty?
  6. Companies often focus on sales and ignore service, but customers value premium support. Is your service world-class? If not, make it so.

What’s New

I want to give you a heads-up about my FREE teleseminar that will happen in November that will skyrocket your online company growth. In this call, I’ll show you proven strategies you can implement now to drive website traffic and increase sales quickly and with ease. I’ll be sending more detailed information about the teleseminar in the weeks to come.

Also, over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you more about how you can make 2009 the most profitable year, using your website to generate clients and cash without spending a fortune. You’ll be the first to know about my upcoming teleseminars and workshops on marketing your business online. So stay tuned!

About Michelle

Michelle Salater is an award-winning writer and owner of Michelle Salater Writing & Editorial, LLC, a copywriting company dedicated to helping small to midsized businesses increase their competitive edge, boost sales, and expand their online presence through stellar copy.

Michelle’s clients benefit from her seven-year experience as a freelance writer and her dedication to each client’s success. With an understanding of the business world, marketing strategies, SEO copywriting, and magazine publication, she offers a variety of copywriting services that address each client’s marketing needs. Her goal is to provide result-oriented copy, including web copy, SEO copywriting, ezines and newsletters, online articles, along with other marketing materials such as brochures, press releases, and ebooks.

Michelle resides in Charleston, South Carolina, with Mama Mia, a gorgeous dog she rescued from St. John, US Virgin Islands. She can be contacted at or 843-364-2401.

How to Maintain Brand Loyalty through Your Website

September 29th, 2008

All businesses strive to obtain brand loyalty and customer trust. Competition is fierce in the business world, and by working to build credibility for your company, more people will buy and stay loyal to your brand.

Websites are an excellent tool to solidify trust between the company and the customer. They’re an excellent commodity to have, even if they don’t provide sales transactions directly. For example, if you own a small shoe boutique and want a website but currently don’t have the manpower to accept online credit card purchases, don’t bale out. Websites can still benefit your company, providing company awareness and loyalty. Your website can entice internet users to come into your store and make the purchase. It’s worth the extra time and effort, even if you can’t receive sales directly from the site. 

A word of warning: a website can backfire if used incorrectly. Don’t jump the gun and try to sell, sell, sell. Your goal is to gain the trust of the customers and give them what they want. Show your visitors you care about their needs and want to satisfy them.

Here are a few tips on getting the right message across on your website:

·       Provide customers with product / service features that will make the decision to buy a simple, truthful, and fast process.

·       Accentuate the benefits of each feature and connect it to their needs.

·       Provide contact information that allows the customer to trust you’ll be there when necessary. If customers know you’re there to answer any questions and concerns and provide them with the best customer service possible, they’ll trust your business and continue working with you.

The key is to get inside the customer’s head. What is your target market looking for? What kind of tips and services can you provide for to ease them into purchasing your product / service? Many people compare products and information online to make a better purchasing decision. Don’t lose the customer to the competitor that provides useful tips and information about the product / service. Get on track, and you’ll see sales and brand loyalty increase.

Looking to punch up your web stats? Hire a webcopy writer.

Make More Online Sales

September 27th, 2008

Your website works around the clock to persuade customers to purchase your product without any personal interaction. However, many websites aren’t doing all they can to draw customers in and persuade them to act. This often occurs because companies do not know where their website falls in the sales process.

The sales process of your website is similar to the one you use in store—beginning with identifying the customer and ending with a customer relationship that will bring him or her back in the future.

The online sales process consists of . . .

·       Create a stellar first impression: First impressions are everything. Your website has to prove to your target that your products / services will satisfy their needs. The tactics you use on your site through words and design are equivalent to the store-based salesperson approach and must be executed to the highest degree of efficiency.

·       Promote features and benefits while answering customer objections: Websites must anticipate what questions a customer may have, and the copy should already have them answered. Once you’ve fully described the various features and benefits of your products / services, answer any customer fears and concerns. This allows the customer to make a better buying decision and recognize your company as thorough and knowledgeable. FAQ’s and customer testimonial pages can be used to get various answers across.

·       Close the deal: Make sure navigation to the purchase button is obvious and user-friendly. If you’ve gotten as far as getting them to purchase, it would be a shame to lose them during the actual purchasing process. To account for any skeptical customers, it would be beneficial for your website to recommend different products, utilize promotions, and reinforce benefits of the products / services.

·       Keep the relationship alive: It’s extremely important to keep past customers returning to your website / store. Thank you emails, coupons for future purchases, and excellent customer service all aid in maintaining future relations with the customer.

Not sure if your website could use a sales process facelift? Visit Michelle Salater Writing and Editorial, LLC, to learn how we can help you with our writing services. 

Time Management: The Key to a Happy and Successful Life

September 18th, 2008

Working hard to handle excessive work overload is a sure way to complete tasks. And increase stress. Finding ways to successfully manage your time can lead to a better work environment, happier personal life, and a more successful business.

Many of us find ourselves working late nights to finish work that we couldn’t manage during the day. Time management is about finding what to work on, when to work on it, and where. Effective time management means you need to break down and focus on what needs to be done to achieve your goals.

Time management elements consist of:

·       Eliminating Procrastination:  We all suffer from procrastination to some degree. It’s important to recognize when we’re doing it and develop a way to combat the urge. Procrastination occurs mostly from feeling as though a task is too difficult or too boring. Prioritize the important tasks you need to perform in list form, then find ways to motivate yourself to work. If you’re still having trouble getting in gear, make a list of the risks involved in not completing tasks or treat yourself to something when you finish two objectives on your list. If you’re overwhelmed by an assignment, brainstorm your thoughts and break the entire task into small pieces to work effectively on each.

·       Understanding Your Body: Throughout our daily lives, we may be more focused at certain times than others. It’s important to recognize these fluctuating levels during the day and define your tasks around them. Note when you feel most alert and focused and when you feel most tired. After a week of logging these feelings, you’ll most likely recognize a pattern. If you notice you’re usually more focused during midmorning, it would be beneficial to save your most important tasks until that time, making you more motivated to complete them.

·       Setting Goals: Having solid goals in mind will aid you in managing your time since you know where to focus your attention to gain success. Set a long-term goal to have an idea of where you’re heading, and use smaller goals to lead up to the main one. Achieving the smaller goals will build your confidence and motivate you to keep reaching for the future.

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