small business websites anchorage alaska

Neglecting Small Business Websites Can Significantly Impact Sales

“Vistaprint Digital Report Reveals Poor Design, Outdated Information and Lack of Necessary Detail are Top Website Turnoffs for Consumers.” Which of these does your small business website fall prey to?

Poor Design

By designing the site yourself, you risk wasted time and energy on a poorly designed site. Even if you have a low budget, it’s imperative that your investment is utilized wisely. Having a site redesigned improves the quality of your leads, the communication with your clients, and their trust in your business.

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Social Media Advertising Benefits for Small Business

Social Media Advertising Benefits for Small Business

Small Businesses leverage social media differently than Enterprises, according to HubSpot, however that doesn’t mean that small business can’t utilize it to help level the playing field.

Small companies were likely to spend 2x as much of their overall marketing budget for online advertising on social sites. Whereas Enterprises were much more likely to spend marketing between social media and outbound marketing (mailing, phone marketing, direct mail, tradeshows, etc…).

Social Media Advertising Benefits for Small Business

Small Business need to focus on key components of their marketing efforts which include:

  • Improve brand recognition and  community visibility
  • Creating opportunity for more website traffic and gathering leads
  • Increase and improve customer loyalty by engaging consumers and using social media marketing to assist with customer service

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BUILDING YOUR ALASKA BUSINESS BRAND TIP #5

TIP #5 DEVELOP THE RIGHT BRAND VOICE | 10 TIPS FOR BUILDING YOUR ALASKA BUSINESS BRAND

There are so many things you’ll have to say to your target customers. It is true that what you have to say is very important, but how you say it is also equally important. A brand voice doesn’t mean the theme songs, jingles or sound effects used for a brand. It is the language you use to reach out to your customers and send messages about your brand to them. It involves the tone of your communication, the words you use and your style of writing. Ensure that your diction and sentences are well structured and free of errors.

A brand voice works together with your brand name and logo and your social media networks. A good brand voice should be strong, clear, purposeful, consistent, engaging and motivating for your customers.

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BUILDING YOUR ALASKA BUSINESS BRAND TIP #4

TIP #4 DEVELOP A GREAT BRAND NAME & LOGO | 10 TIPS FOR BUILDING YOUR ALASKA BUSINESS BRAND

A strong business brand should be easily recognizable. Your brand name and logo is a very essential part of your brand. It is the visual representation of everything your brand stands for. From your brand values, to your mission to your standards and everything that defines your business brand.

Brand recognition starts with your name and your logo. It is very important that you get this right and clear from the onset and come up with a brand name and logo that will stand out and represent what your brand depicts. You should also take your target customers into consideration when developing a brand name and logo. Will your brand name and logo be appealing to them? Will they be able to easily relate with it? Will it be able to seal the trust you already established with them? Will it reflect your brand personality? You really need to provide positive answers to these questions when settling for a brand name and logo. This is why you should take your time to decide the best name and logo for your brand.

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BUILDING YOUR ALASKA BUSINESS BRAND TIP #3

TIP #3 DISTINGUISH YOUR PRODUCTS & SERVICES | 10 TIPS FOR BUILDING YOUR ALASKA BUSINESS BRAND

Actions, they say, speaks louder than words. That is also very true in this case.

, I know a lot of effort was put into defining your brand and developing a strong brand community. But you cannot afford to disappoint your customers at this stage. It won’t be pleasant to find out that the brand that is all over the place is a flop and an empty barrel that is just making noise. Oh no! That is a very bad step for your business brand and can crash your business before it even starts.

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BUILDING YOUR ALASKA BUSINESS BRAND TIP #2

TIP #2 DEVELOP YOUR BRAND COMMUNITY | 10 TIPS FOR BUILDING YOUR ALASKA BUSINESS BRAND

Developing a brand community of loyal customers should be a top priority for any successful business brand.

At this point, you don’t have to rely solely on adverts, adverts and adverts to promote your brand. You also need to build a strong community that will help to enhance customer experience.

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TIP #1 DEFINE YOUR BRAND | 10 TIPS FOR BUILDING YOUR ALASKA BUSINESS BRAND

In order

At first, defining your brand may seem pretty easy but you need to realize that it involves critical reasoning, decision making and data collection. You need to develop a well-crafted statement about what your brand represents, your brand standards, the type of products and services you have to offer, your target customers and what should be expected.

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brand and marketing

5 Ways To Build Your Brand and Marketing In 2016

Brand and marketing for 2016 is the talk of the town. Read up on 5 ways you can start building your small business brand today.
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content marketing

How Content Marketing Makes You Look Like a #Boss

Content marketing and its importance to your business brand, is growing. Ensure that your business is on pace with the trend and implement it effectively.

Content marketing is the useful, informative, and creative way to build relationships with your customers with your brand and your business.
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6 Misconceptions of Small Business Ownership

So many misconceptions about being self-employed and owning your own business. Here are a few I’ve experienced in my business life that maybe you can connect to also.

Misconception #1 of Small Business Ownership: Obviously, You’re Rich

Anyone who is an entrepreneur, or has started a small business of any kind, has had to deal with the perception that because they own a business, they must be rich. Oh how I wish this was true. And, logically thinking, if it was, then the small business failure rate wouldn’t be running at around Y1-25%, Y2-36%, and Y3- 44% (staticbrain.com).

Business Failure Rate

Although, most start-ups begin on varying budgets, the idea here is that most entrepreneurs are entering into this area of their lives because of one of two things. Either necessity, or passion. The biggest being passion. Most entrepreneurs will tell you that it’s the elusive desire to work for themselves, provide a much needed product or service, or the freedom of being their own boss.

I actually started my business in design from a desire of both necessity and passion. My necessity pushed me further into growing my business and that passion kept me consistent in my desire to grow as a business owner. Both for financial and personal freedom.

Whatever the reason may be, assume that at the start most entrepreneurs are barely making ends meet. That most are definitely fearful of what their financial future looks like. That they have risked a great deal in order to have taken this leap to pursue their passion in entrepreneurship.

So to be safe, this would not be the best time to be hitting them up for a loan. In fact, if you are friends or family with a new small business owner in your circle….take them to lunch. Trust me, they will appreciate it.

Misconception #2 of Small Business Ownership: You Have Copious Amounts of Free Time

It’s not unreasonable to think that self-employed individuals definitely have some flexibility in their schedules. As a matter of fact that’s one of the greatest benefits of working for yourself.

However, don’t confuse that with “copious amounts of time” it’s just not reality. Honestly the opposite is true. Especially if you’re building your business with sweat equity. You literally don’t have “hours” you work because you are willing to work at any hour for pretty much any client. Ok, well that doesn’t sound great, but you know what I mean.

As a designer, the term “starving artist” takes on an entire new meaning. I understood that I was willing to take any job, any specs, and pretty much at any rate just to get SOMETHING in the works.

Anytime you perceive “free-time” in all reality is lost opportunity to work.  Small Business owners will learn either by reading what I’m saying, or learning the hard way, that they have to stay busy. There is always work to do, even if it’s building your business. You should always be your first client.

Misconception #3 of Small Business Ownership: As Long As You’re a “Friend” We Won’t Charge You

I mean you’ve been a friend since 1st grade why wouldn’t I give you something for free? Well, probably for the same reason that you can’t go into your job and give them a week worth of free employment. If the purpose of your business is to make money then I will charge you. You won’t get free work, whether a friend or family member. If you’re making money in your venture, then expecting free design work really isn’t fair.

One lesson I learned early is if you DO discount a rate, show it on the invoice. Not to let the client know how much they are saving, but to show the value of the work they received. Nothing hurts your business worse than you undervaluing your product or service. Sure it may be necessary to cut your rate, put a product on sale, in order to get the customers attention….but don’t do it blindly. Make sure your client knows they got a deal. Yes, even friends and family.

Misconception #4 of Small Business Ownership: We NEVER Work for FREE

Ok, so I’m not a complete stickler. I’d be lying if I said I never work for free for friends and family, but I’ve found a way to incorporate that into some specific boundaries that I have established for myself and my business.

The first area that I work for free for friends or family are life events. Graduation Announcements, Wedding Invites, Funeral Programs etc….. I WILL design these for free. I don’t know why, I’ve just never felt right about charging for these. Maybe it’s the sentimental part of me, but if I can be a part of the atmosphere of the event, then I’m more than honored to do this work. That one for me was always a no brainer.

The Second, I am open to consider doing free work for ANY company/business/event that is a not-for profit business. It’s at my discretion and according to my availability. I do like to take on pro-bono work at least a few times a year, or when business is slow. It’s also a great source of inspiration because most non-profit work, in design at least, serves to be a great source of design exploration.

There’s a ton of freedom with design work in this field because the majority of people you are working for appreciate you helping them, and it feels good to do it. I’ve heard of designers using this as a means to gain exposure for their business. idk, I guess that’s ok, a free plug. But if you’re doing pro-bono work it should be done without any strings attached (and that means no notoriety). Of course, you find your boundary and work within them.

I think it’s important to not turn into a tyrant or scrooge, when you become a small business owner. Which means staying faithful to the friends and family that were faithful to you. Give back from your passion what you can. I’m not saying give away at the extent to damage your business venture, but “give-back” should constitute at least some value of your services and yes the recipients of that should be your closest friends and family members and those within the community that could benefit from what you do.

Misconception #5 of Small Business Ownership: You Need a Job? We’re ALWAYS Hiring

For some reason it seems like if you own a small business, long lost friends, family members, ex-colleagues, and old high school sweethearts…. reach out to you in order to find employment. U.S. Small Business Administration show small firms employ just over half of the private-sector workforce and created nearly two-thirds of nation’s net new jobs over the past decade and a half.

Now with that kind of figure, of course one would assume that we’re always hiring just because our neon open sign is lit, and we have purchased our business license. NOW, let’s understand that the term “small business” is a broader term on a national level than the small business I’m discussing.  The SBA considers firms with fewer than 500 employees a “small business.” I’m discussing the mom & pop shops and the one-woman shows.

It costs money to hire an employee. Even one, and even minimum wage. There are taxes involved and most of the time the help we need isn’t in the menial tasks that we COULD potentially hand off to someone else. We need help in the areas that are usually more technical, more strategic with a specialized skill set.

So, is the first line of jobs available for my business going to be someone who can answer my phone, send out my invoices, or respond to emails like an administrative assistant? Not likely, because what I need are skill sets that will expand upon the businesses and services that I’m offering or wanting to offer my clients.

So for a designer, I’m looking to hire employees like an accountant, business strategist, blogger, content strategist, web developer. These as you can see are all specialized skill sets. Once I’m in a place to not have to answer emails personally to clients, well then this blog will no longer apply.

Misconception #6 of Small Business Ownership: Clients Shmiants

I swear it took me YEARS, and I’m not exaggerating to say YEARS to convince my family (especially my mother) that I had legitimate “clients”. That my design business was no longer just something I did for fun. That I literally worked with large corporations and legitimate business heads in areas of technology, real estate, service industry, media, etc…

For some reason, it’s hard for people to see the person I used to be, and the business person I’ve grown into . Honestly, I’ve had a tendency to keep my business and my family separate for a lot of the formidable years of  business growth, because I didn’t want my already insecure spirit to be shaken. It’s hard being in business for yourself. It’s even harder to not have the people closest to you fully on-board with your vision.

Keeping your business plans, your expectations, hopes and dreams limited to a trusted “few” is something I highly recommend. Your business is honestly to be protected, and sometimes that protection needs to be implemented against a well meaning Aunt Sally, that thinks your business hopes are “cute”.

Until a point where your business is speaking for itself, so to say, keep it under wraps. Even Jesus was kicked out of his hometown because those that saw him growing up weren’t geared towards seeing him as anything other than the child he had been. This is a great lesson for business as well. Keep it under wraps. Let your family and the outside world see it’s growth from their own perspectives. All in due time.