Social Marketing Mama by Nic Soto / @MamaPR

Press Release Media Distribution Internet Marketing Services
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Sunday, January 31, 2010

In this hypercompetitive business world, are you doing everything you can to stand out? small business marketing
Internet marketing doesn't have to be complicated: smallbusiness strategy free consultation @mamapr

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Top Ten Strategies for Improving your Online Business for More Sales (Part 1 of 3 )

How do you profit in the new year when the previous year was such a complete flop in online sales?

When your retail sales have been pretty much non-existent the previous year, and you're trying to do all you can to make a profit in the new year with what you have in funds and time.

You ask yourself. How can I prevent a repeat?

Like most entrepreneurs, many believe all one needs to do is submit their site to Google, MSN and Yahoo, perhaps exchange a few links here and there - and like magic traffic will just start spilling in.

Think that's all you need to do to make your online business profitable?

It doesn't take much time for those very same people to realize it's not that easy. Is it?

So, how do you profit in the new year when the previous year was such a complete flop in online sales? Well, I got good news. What happened in 2009 or the previous year is not an indication of what will happen this year.

This year will be different for your online business. Better, in fact.

True, a website is most effectively positioned when it's connected to a successful brick and mortar business.

However, you can still be a leader in your industry even without prior brick and mortar success. But there are some components you need to have in place to go from slump to success.

I'll share with you my top ten list for the best ways to turning more profits in the new year.

I call this list, 'The Vital Ten'.

By implementing the following tips into your daily business practices you are sure to increase your business revenue.

'The Vital Ten' for Internet Business Owners

1. Payment acceptance options. Hard to believe but there are still thousands of online businesses out there that have only one option, and its usually the longest method. With the many options available to online business owners, try integrating one or more such as a virtual payment method or shopping cart.

2. Keeping it fresh. When was the last time you updated anything on your site? Search engines like newly updated information and will come around more when they have something new to index. I update my site weekly, if not more. Don't get left behind because you didn't put in the time to keep your site up to date.

3. Offer something more. You can establish a presence online and become a valuable go-to site in your industry when you share the wealth and add free helpful content and information to your visitors. I don't know about you, but I am more inclined to buy from a site that offers something a little more than "2 for 1".

4. The Internet has global reach. It is not uncommon for online business to sell in foreign markets. Most of the entrepreneurs I have worked with sell in at least two other countries. While some businesses are completely digital and can sell worldwide, others have physical items that need to follow special overseas shipping guidelines and may cost a little more. However, its worth checking into.

5. What was that catchy slogan again? For your online business to be a success, consumers must be able to remember your brand. A logo and slogan can go a long way. Make sure its present on all pages and in your communication such as through payment transactions, invoices and emails.

6. Learn from your competitors, especially the big corporations. Do this, make a list of all of your competitors, including everything from large corporations to smaller kitchen table entrepreneurs. If they have also have websites, visit each one and gather as much information about their products and services as you can, including rates/prices, customer service policies, delivery methods,warranties as well as their return policies. If some of your competitors do not have an online presence, it is perfectly legitimate to call the company and ask for the information from one of the customer service representatives. You may find that you are missing a lot pieces to the puzzle that may be stalling your visitors from clicking on that buy now button.

7. Are you offering a good selection? Assortment selection can be a turn-on or a turn-off for your potential buyers. If Website #1 has over 100 items to choose from, and Website #2 only has 5 items. Who do you think they'll choose? While some new businesses cannot offer more when they start, its a good idea to maybe partner with another business to cross sell each others merchandise to fill up your site so it doesn't look so empty. I'm not saying place a 1000 items, but it couldn't hurt to add to your selection. You don't want to clutter your site, but you also don't want to have a lot of empty white space.

8. How would you like to have that delivered? Ever go to a site and all they have is regular snail mail as a delivery option. Offering several delivery options could help boost transactions. Still offer the regular postal delivery option, but also the other guys too. Some customers actually prefer the other guys. Get yourself organized by setting up a station at home for instance with a packaging area that will have everything you need to include for each shipment (invoice copies,boxes,tape,scale,etc.) perhaps even adding some extras like a free keychain or pen with your company logo/name/site(these items are great and can be purchased at a bargain in bulk)

9. Trust matters. When you're new in the game of online selling and not very well known, its easy to lose customers to a brand that is. The one thing I see the most with lesser know businesses and brands is the lack of usage of 'trusted digital certificates" and content that shows the buyer that its safe to purchase on your site. Use Paypal? Let them know by visibly adding the 'Paypal verified' logo. The bigger brands have earned the public's trust, so now you must do the same.

10. Do respond to your email inquiries in a timely manner. You may be running your business from home, raising a family or trying to balance your real job until your business takes off. This may very well be the case for you, but if you receive an email from a potential customer and not respond for days, guess what. They've already moved on. I try to respond within 12-24 hours with every email I get. Even if they don't wind up buying from you, they may just recommend you to someone else. It pays to respond quickly, and be very helpful. Set-up a couple of accounts to make sure you are organized, such as Sales@ .... Questions@ and so forth for your business email accounts. Don't forget to add a nifty Contact Form on your site as well.

Just know that everyone's experience selling online is going to be different based on their particular circumstances, customers needs and demands, their budget, products, and sales team. But by staying the course and implementing these vital tips to increasing your online profits you will turn that slump into a success.

Tune in next time for Part 2 of my 'Top Ten Strategies for Improving your Online Business for More Sales'

Nic Soto is the co-founder of Public Relations Depot, a family owned PR marketing company based in Chicago,IL. Affordable Press Release Writing, Mass Media Distribution, Brand Visibility, Link Building and Search Engine Optimization. Helping entrepreneurs reach their business goals since 2001.

Public Relations Depot caters to new and small businesses who are seeking more budget friendly alternatives to increasing their visibility, harnessing free publicity and improving search engine rankings.

Contact Nic today for a free small business marketing consultation.

Follow Me: @MamaPR
My Blog: Social Marketing Mama
My Company: Public Relations Depot
My Favorite Biz: Jeanette's Patisserie

Posted via web from MamaPR's Posterous

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

200 Tips on How to Teach Kids Entrepreneurship

I started very young on the road to self-employment and into the world of entrepreneurship with the help of my parents and grandparents who each owned mom and pop shops around Chicago. Aside from learning what earning and saving a dollar really meant. I got an early start in business operations, accounting and management to help better prepare me for what was expected if I wanted to one day be my own boss.

Here is a great list of almost 200 tips (you may recognize my smiling face on there!) on how to teach kids entrepreneurship !

If you're on Twitter please RT this wonderful list as well as follow me, I'm @MamaPR:

RT @TPEntrepreneur A list of almost 200 tips on how to teach kids entrepreneurship Please RT!


About me:
Nic Soto is the co-founder of Public Relations Depot, a family owned PR marketing company based in Chicago,IL. Catering to small business owners since 2001. Public Relations Depot offer affordable Internet SEO Marketing and Digital PR services: Press Release Writing, Mass Media Distribution, Brand Visibility, Link Building and Search Engine Optimization.

Contact Nic Soto today!

Follow Me: @MamaPR
My Blog: Social Marketing Mama
My Company: Public Relations Depot
My Favorite Biz: Jeanette's Patisserie

Posted via web from MamaPR's Posterous

Monday, January 18, 2010

Top Ten Retail Website Design Mistakes You Need to Avoid

How your online store design could determine the number of visitors who ultimately buy from you. Learn the Top 10 website design mistakes you need to know.

You may think that merchandising an online store is pointless right? I mean, its a website, upload some photos and add some description and you're all set. Well, not exactly. How your online store design will determine the number of visitors who ultimately buy from you. Here are some proven steps to help turn more visitors into buyers.

Merchandising a brick and mortar retail store is key to pulling in passerby' s as well as getting them to buy. But how do you "merchandise" an online store? The answer is simple. The same way you would set up your physical store. When an online visitor reaches your website the first thing they'll notice is your home page (think of this as a front door of a brick and mortar). First impressions mean everything. We've all been taken back by a store (online or off) that is poorly merchandised and cluttered from one end to the other. Too many racks, merchandise on the floor and the whole place looking like it was hit by a tornado. Your online store could also be poorly merchandised and turning away potential sales.

Here are some key steps to cleaning up your retail internet business to help boost revenue and return customers.

1. Remove all the clutter from all web pages that only take away from your own products. This could be from having too many links (and broken links), too many affiliate ads and banners and finally - remove the multitude of photos that have nothing to do with your site.

2.If you are running a business- look like one. Don't use backgrounds that are only really meant for social site profiles. The blinking stars background is not how you want to represent your business. Use a solid color background along with your business logo on top. Of course you'll want to make it look great - but lets keep the social site backgrounds where they belong - on social sites.

3.Make sure your price points are clearly visible and are reflected correctly through-out your entire site.

4.Never use your home page as your entire "About Us" platform if you are a retailer. There should be another page dedicated for this. Simply inserting a paragraph about how you started the business and using the largest font possible on then placing that on your main page will only turn potential buyers away.

5.Use flash effects/animation sparingly - there is no need to use every flash animation you have come across and placing it all over your website. Its distracting - you want your potential customers to focus on your merchandise.

6.Organize your site and make it easy to navigate. Make it easy for visitors to find your contact information, shipping/returns and privacy policies, email newsletter sign-up and so forth.

7. View your store from a customer’s perspective, and step into their shoes and shop your own store.

8. Offer discounts in your virtual store, and make sure they are visible to the shopper.

9. Customers make an additional purchase when they are inspire to buy cross merchandise items.

10. Be seasonal and integrate current holidays such as Valentine graphics to sell merchandise for February 14th, etc.

By following these easy to apply merchandising tips to your virtual retail business, you will start converting more visits into actual sales.

About the author:
Nic Soto is the co-founder of Public Relations Depot, a family owned PR marketing company at based in Chicago,IL. Affordable Press Release Writing, Mass Media Distribution, Brand Visibility, Link Building and Search Engine Optimization. Helping entrepreneurs reach their business goals since 2001.

Contact Nic Soto today!

Follow Me on Twitter: @MamaPR
My Blog: Social Marketing Mama
My Company: Public Relations Depot
My Favorite Biz: Jeanette's Patisserie 


Posted via web from MamaPR's Posterous

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Top Three Marketing Strategies and How to Use Them Effectively

I've been in business for myself for over 20 years now, and along the way I have helped many new comers to the world of small business marketing successfully market their products. While my first venture did not fair so well, I did learn a lot about marketing myself and what would be expected of me and my business if I wanted to succeed as an entrepreneur and successfully generate a salary for myself that could allow me the financial freedom of working for others.

Small business owners are a unique group of individuals, are we not? We spend hours on end searching for ways to acquire new customers and improving our business practices. Small business marketing can be a walk in the park for some entrepreneurs, and be stressful for others. I'll go over the different marketing strategies most used, and what kind of results each can have on your business.

The key of course is to understand what types of marketing for small businesses are out there, and which are right for your business, budget and goals.

It's a new year, and if you have yet to settle down on a marketing strategy or plan, I encourage you to do that now, right away, before you send your marketing budget in so many directions that you lose grip of it.

Choose small business marketing strategies that fit with your overall goals and simply be consistent with it. You'll come find soon enough that your small business marketing budget will be better controlled and produce more results and increase product sales in the long run.

I'll share with you several small business marketing methods I have used that have had different results, a couple you may already know, while the other may seem a little foreign to you. Don't worry, I'll explain each..

I can't stress this enough. It's important to choose the marketing strategies that'll work the best for your small business. By doing so, you'll be in a better position to point your marketing budget in the right direction and hit closer to your target audience.

Let's start with "Blanket Marketing", normally utilized by bigger corporations, basically means spending your marketing funds on advertising to all target markets, no demographics involved or filling a void...just market to any and everyone it can. Companies and businesses choose this method for magazine or newspaper advertising. Unless money is no object to your budget, this method has no control of who your message is reaching, however it does have the result of reaching a larger consumer pool. The cons to this strategy is COST. Using the blanket method will cost you a pretty penny and at the same time you won't be reaching who you really want to. YOUR target market. I mean that's the whole point right? You want to reach those who would be more likely to buy your new clothing line or your new soft drink, or maybe you have an amazing new product altogether that a certain market would be interested in. THOSE are the consumers you want to reach.

Moving on to "Targeted Marketing", I'm sure you've heard of this one before. A method in which you choose a specific target market (or demographic) and only focus your marketing there - not over here. THERE.

The beauty about target marketing is that you are more likely to increase interest and revenue be reaching the right people. Sounds simple enough, but many businesses are missing the mark and prefer going the route of blanket marketing, hence losing a lot of potential profits and wasting valuable energy. I don't know about you, but losing money is not why I got into business for myself.

So it pays to have a market in mind, and work on reaching that audience.

And finally, marketing your business through social networks.

SMM (Social media marketing) is when you promote your brand/business by making your presence known within social media networks (such as Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Myspace, etc). Building your fan base, getting followers and increasing your friends list.

You have to keep in mind that the key to social media marketing is that it's not really there to provide instant business, but rather increase your business or brand visibility to ultimately convert "friends" into buying customers. You can also blog and post in forums to try and harness some new business. The con side however is that social media marketing can be a lot like blanket marketing. This method, when used properly can also improve your search engine visibility.

So there you go, all you need to do now is figure out which marketing is right for your business and focus your energies there. The payoff will be that much better!

About the author:
Nic Soto is the co-founder of Public Relations Depot, a family owned PR marketing company at based in Chicago,IL. Affordable Press Release Writing, Mass Media Distribution, Brand Visibility, Link Building and Search Engine Optimization. Helping entrepreneurs reach their business goals since 2001.

Contact Nic Soto today!

Follow Me on Twitter: @MamaPR
My Blog: Social Marketing Mama
My Company: Public Relations Depot
My Favorite Biz: Jeanette's Patisserie 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Entrepreneurs turning their soap making hobbies into a lucrative business

Do you love to make handmade soaps, or have you always wanted to learn? If you do, then chances are you'll love the art of soap making, its widely popular, lucrative and desired by so many. Soap making has created a new generation of artisans and has changed significantly in the last decade. It can be an exciting and enjoyable hobby that can easily turn into a satisfying business, especially if you're interested in creating your own line of unique soaps with added aromatherapy benefits.

Soapies Supplies, a great resource for soap makers, was founded by Bronson Shafer and Kelley Perea-Shafer, a successful husband and wife team. Established nearly nine years ago when Kelley, an avid soaper, was looking for quality products for her own line of toiletries and soaps when she quickly realized this was a niche that needed to be filled and so, Soapies Supplies was born.

From colorful beginnings the day they launched on March 2nd 2001, has since expanded their assortment of soap making products offering high quality materials at a value that is ideal to its buyers. Soapies Supplies is quickly becoming one of today's most successful brands in the U.S. inspiring its customers, new and returning, with an array of choices to turn simple ingredients into little pieces of art.

"We want to be your one-stop-shop for all your soap making needs. " says Soapies Supplies co-founder Kelley Perea-Shafer.

Soapies Supplies commitment to stocking quality soap making supplies, and providing an excellent customer experience and guidance, has helped fuel Soapies Supplies growth from its modest beginnings.

Soapies Supplies categories include:

large selection of containers
base and specialty oils
flavored oils and fragrance oils
creamy butters
raw materials such as almond meal
citric acid and sea salts
soap molds
colorful line of jojoba spheres
silicone lined wood soap molds
soap cutter system

New products recently added to their line include: Colorants ~ Princess Line, Labstastik Formulas, and Princess Soap by the Loaf.

Soapies Supplies is simply ideal for anyone who wants to maintain a steady relationship with a soap supplier over the long term.

For more information about Soapies Supplies, please visit

Upcoming Events:
Special guest Debbie of (from San Diego) will be teaching an all-day Melt & Pour Soap Making Boot Camp on Jan. 16th. Plans of introducing a new assortment of classes is in the works from Soapies Supplies over the coming weeks ahead. Learn more at

About Soapies Supplies:
A leading provider of base and specialty oils; essential and fragrance oils; creamy butters; raw materials such as almond meal, citric acid and sea salts; soap molds; equipment and tools; (e)books and (e)classes; numerous and varied containers as well as an amazing line of colorful jojoba spheres.

Soapies Supplies was established March 2, 2001.

For more information, or to request an interview please contact:
Kelley Perea-Shafer, Co-founder, Soapies Supplies |
480.443.4011 | Scottsdale, Arizona |

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Blog: www.SoapiesSupplies.blogspot