Make every day Small Business day

American Express has created a merchant promotion declaring  today, the day after “Black Friday,” “Small Business Day”  for the second year. While drawing attention to the benefits of doing business with Small Businesses it’s simply geared to move the needle one day. I suggest all small business owners make every day “Small Business Day” and in doing so make the rest of the year dwarf AE’s efforts to move the needle one day.

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Creating retail holiday buzz without being a Scrooge

It’s tough. You are in business to make a buck by providing worthwhile products and services and the end-of-year holiday season can make or break many your businesses. So how do you create a message, handle a promotion, or produce marketing that rises above the noise, draws in a large crowd and encourages community involvement? It’s not that hard really.

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Buy Local but maybe not for the reasons you think

Being the student of economics and dynamic systems I am, the “buy local” mantra never really sunk in with me. It didn’t help when a brilliant local economist confirmed my suspicions stating that it actually hurt the community more than it helped to reward merchants based on their locale more than on their ability to be competitive.

So for years I have been shaking my head over the feel-good proposition to forego doing business with national or regional chain stores with their usually better-than-wholesale-pricing and broad selections and instead seek out stores with usually higher pricing and less selection just because because they have local ownership.

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Credit unions need to rise up and be ready for “Bank Transfer Day”

Occupy Wall Street has been all the rage for weeks so I don’t think I need to say more about that. But there’s no real commercial winners or losers except for the poor merchants whose front doors face the makeshift campgrounds. But more recently, and maybe a little less known, is a movement culminating this November 5th called Bank Transfer Day that may make prepared credit unions big winners.

Like OWS, BTD is rooted in an emotionally driven social media foundation. It has over a thousand twitter followers and over 25,000 followers on Facebook.

Mainstream media has started to acknowledge the groundswell of interest in this . So are the credit unions reacting? I did a quick scan to see which of local credit unions are doing anything specifically geared towards BTD or if they are open on Saturdays as a regular course of business and here’s what I found:     Continue reading “Credit unions need to rise up and be ready for “Bank Transfer Day””

Is your website broken? 3 common mistakes.

A quick search in Google, Bing or Yahoo! can tell you if your web site is taking advantage of the millions of searches being conducted each day.

A lot of businesses have bought a domain and used some build-a-website-quickly tools in order to be found online. As a result, their websites look nice but don’t come anywhere near doing what they need to do, attract prospects. But some of the most commonly missing pieces can be easily found and fixed. They are:    Continue reading “Is your website broken? 3 common mistakes.”

Don’t waste your time and money on marketing

Source: sugarmonster via Flickr

I’m a cheapskate by nature. That means while I may miss a good opportunity now and then because it is too expensive, it also means I always gravitate towards the most effective and efficient marketing methods. That’s what I do for my clients in an effort to gain them Fortune 500 visibility and strategy on a mom-and-pop store budget. Even back in the days when I sold advertising, if I thought the client was asking me to waste their money (e.g. when they’d say, “Let’s run a couple ads and see what happens”), I preferred to forgo the commission than to be party to wasting their money.

This rationale is behind the design and pricing of one of the first Continue reading “Don’t waste your time and money on marketing”

Would you know if your customers were being ignored?

Quick, show of hands, how many of you would be comfortable leaving your store unattended while you were out making deliveries? No one? Hmmm… interesting, because that’s pretty much the equivalent of what so many companies are doing right now.

A very interesting article gave the following real world example (I’ve seen this happen time and time again):

John [customer] is irritated because he dialed in to a customer support department and was put on hold for 30 minutes. No one ever answered his call. He goes to the brand’s Facebook page and leaves a comment expressing his anger. No response. He then tweets at the brand’s Twitter profile. No response. So he writes a blog post criticizing the heck out of the brand and shares it all over the social Web. Still no response.

This situation really resonated with me since it is one of the very dangerous scenarios we protect our clients from with Whatcom Marketing’s Social Media Management services. We monitor for online comments, both praise and criticisms, and respond to ensure the customers’ needs are recognized and depending on our clients’ instructions, handle the issue (“We are so sorry to hear of your experience. Your account has been refunded.”) or assure the customer that they’ve been heard and a response is forthcoming (“We are so sorry to hear of your experience. We’re going to have someone in charge contact you right away.”).

Are you leaving your store unattended and customers ignored? Locking them out isn’t an option. Call us today.