How to Evaluate Small Business Marketing Software & Subscription Services

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If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve no doubt received calls or emails from sales vendors hawking their solutions for your business. Whether it’s CRM software (like Salesforce), marketing software (like HubSpot), subscription services (like SinglePlatform or Merchant Services through ResellerRatings) or some other “must have” program, you’ve no doubt been inundated with demos and free trials. And some of this “stuff” probably sounds good and helpful even.

But how do you know for sure? How do you know you’re investing in something worthwhile for your business rather than snake oil from a slick salesman?

Here are eight ways to evaluate the latest-and-greatest offers filling your inbox.
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Mid-Year Checkup: How Healthy is Your Small Business Marketing Plan?

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Hard to believe we’re half way through 2014. Summer schedules are just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean we should get lazy when it comes to our marketing plans, right? In fact, now is the time to perform a mid-year checkup. Here’s how to evaluate where you’re at.
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How to Attract Readers to Your Blog: 10 Important Tips

BLOG on speech bubble price labelsYou’ve created a blog editorial calendar that rocks. You write compelling blog posts, and you write them regularly. You’re poised to answer comments and engage with readers. Except there’s one problem. The only sound you’re hearing? Crickets.

So what gives? How do you attract readers to your blog? Here are 10 tips.
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Hello, Summer! 6 Tips for Making Employee Scheduling a BREEZE

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It’s the unofficial start of summer (thanks, Memorial Day), which means we’re all dreaming of those lazy, hazy days at the beach, right? Whoa, not so fast! Let’s get the employee scheduling “issues” cleared up first.

Here are some tips to make sure everything runs smoothly.
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Small Business Marketing Tips: 8 Ways to Leverage Customer Reviews

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There’s no doubt that word-of-mouth marketing is effective. According to a Nielsen report from 2012, “Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.”

In this 24/7 digital age in which we live, sharing our recommendations is easier than ever, and they can travel much farther than just between our family and friends, thanks to sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. But are these online review sites as powerful as traditional “verbal” word-of-mouth? The answer is yes.

Marketing Land cites a survey from Dimensional Research that concludes, “90 percent of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.”

And don’t forget about social media. An article from Social Media Today states, “New research indicates that Facebook is now the most trusted online source people use to get recommendations for products and services.”

OK, so maybe you’re now convinced asking for customer reviews and testimonials should be part of your overall marketing strategy. But how should you leverage these reviews and testimonials once you have them? Here are eight ideas.
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Summer Promotional Products Roundup

Tips for Brainstorming by the PoolIt was a long, hard winter, but we are finally, thankfully on the other side. Memorial Day is right around the corner. With it comes those lazy, hazy days of summer and fabulous promotional products that celebrate the season while advertising your business as you relax by the pool.

Here are some of our top summer promotional product picks for 2014.
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When Google Changes the Rules: 6 Strategies for Keeping Your Sanity

5 Signs Your Website Needs a MakeoverLast fall, the almighty Google made some significant changes to its algorithms, changes that have affected many businesses. Well, guess what? More changes are a comin’ because that’s the way it works: Google is constantly tweaking and refining its process.

Now, it might feel like Google changes the rules willy-nilly, but stop for a moment, and look at the situation from Google’s perspective. Its number one goal is to provide a rich and relevant search experience for users, one that offers up the most helpful content to a person’s search query. Every tweak it makes to its algorithm is done in an effort to accomplish this.

Yes, it’s that simple.

So, knowing that, you should be able to relax, right? No? OK, well here are six strategies to help you maintain your sanity.
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