Small business owners who are engaged in PPC campaigns to promote their e-commerce websites are taking advantage of a technology that, when carefully calibrated, can bring them a large amount of qualified leads at proportionately much lower costs than other forms of marketing, such as mailer campaigns. Be aware that certain keywords can become much more competitive during the Holiday season. Small business owners who have set their PPC campaigns to auto-bid on keywords should be aware that during periods of peak activity the prices of keywords can be artificially stimulated to become much more expensive than usual. If you are going to be running PPC during the holidays, make sure you set your bidding cap at a price that you are willing to pay for each click, bearing in mind that not every click through is going to result in a conversion. Do the math to calculate what your business can afford, and at what point you will make a profit. If you leave your

Small business Saturday, falling between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is the small business answer to slashed prices at big box stores created by American Express in an effort to boost awareness of local businesses and their contributions to the economy. Local business owners should take advantage of the social media campaigning that Amex invests in to promote Small Business Saturday, which continues to grow nationally. When combined with a positive forecast for this year’s holiday spending, both in brick and mortar locations and online, business owners would do well to remember the date, November 29th this year, and prepare for it by rallying their neighborhoods and other local business owners to get on board. Plan a promotion. A discount is what your customers will be expecting, so get ready now preparing a door-buster that will bring business to your location. Think of something that is popular and can be discounted without your business taking a loss, since this item may be the purchase that inspires your

It’s a week into October, and the Halloween season is here. While not a commercial powerhouse in the same way that the Christmas shopping season is, Halloween season still is an exciting time for entrepreneurs and a perfect testing ground for assuring that their holiday marketing is tuned up and on brand before the rest of the holidays come along. Incorporating some holiday fun into your business is a great way to get your customers feeling closer to your brand, allowing them to associate the season with your business via your participation. It’s about helping to create long lasting relationships and memories with the customers you have. Try creating a seasonal logo. Your logo should be one of the first things that your customers think about when thinking about your brand, representing your company with a single, easy to recognize and easy to remember emblem. When you take your logo and incorporate a holiday element into its design, it is a fun way of associating your

The Fall is the beginning of the time of year with the highest concentration of major holidays, and with multiple religious and secular holidays coming up, there is plenty of room for seasonal marketing directed towards a wide range of demographics. Small businesses often report their strongest sales during this time of the year, bolstered by holiday shopping and also the movement of Americans across the country to visit family and friends, so being prepared to win business with clever marketing is of the essence as competition becomes more intense. As today marks the official transition to Fall along with the Autumnal equinox, planning now to make the most of the Fall is highly important for making the most of the season and avoiding underwhelming performance. Review sales histories and make cash flow predictions. Small business owners should take steps to prepare for the potential influx of business by creating a prediction of their cash flows and inventory needs. While alternative capital can allow a business

According to, Google is searched on average over 40,000 times every second. dwarfing the total search volume of all of its closest competitors combined. Current SEO hinges on making a business and its website as palatable to the search engine as possible. In the case of small businesses, many times the goal of SEO isn’t to appear in the top results for a query globally, but rather, to appear in more targeted local searches that are more likely to be coming from someone who is able to physically come and visit their business or purchase something on an e-commerce part of the website. Directly pertaining to how this local search works is Google Plus and the business pages that can be claimed using its local feature. Thanks to the new, informally named Pigeon update from Google, changes are being made that may make local pages on Google appear more frequently within local search results. Claim your business’s G+ page to begin filling it with

In a recent article on MarketWatch, a Google statistic was cited stating the 80% of consumers use local search when trying to learn more about businesses in their area, and half of those who did that search on their phones will wind up walking in to the business within the following 24 hours. The same article goes on to point out the large number of business owners who aren’t taking advantage of their local search potential and essentially leaving money on the table or allowing other businesses the chance to win it. Business owners need to realize that the internet is the new main street. Where businesses used to be discovered only in the physical world, our society is rapidly turning that metric on its head. At this point more and more consumers will go to the internet first when they want to figure out what to buy. Consumers can even be spooked when they don’t find a business website. In many areas, it has become

Local businesses have a few things going for them, from their ability to quickly shift strategies, to the fact that most American consumers appreciate local brands and the contributions they make to both their communities and the economic diversity of their areas. Take for example two Rhode Island favorites, Del’s Lemonade and Naragansett Brewery, whose combined product, a shandy beer exclusive for the Summer, has been a major hit. These two local mainstay brands combined their marketing to create a wildly popular product. While both of these companies have grown to serve markets beyond their hometowns, the principle behind their strategic decision remains something that smaller business owners can take note of and incorporate into their own strategies. Create a joint branded item. In the spirit of the Del’s and Gansett’ union, business owners can reach out to complementary businesses to sound out whether or not they would be interested in pursuing joint branded products. The benefit of this is that when one item is sold,

More exposure means more opportunities to attract business, but apart from getting the quantity of impressions they need, business owners should also pay attention to the quality. This is particularly true when you are looking at the results of paid digital marketing campaigns, but really, any chance to attract traffic from a group of viewers who are more likely to be interested in your business and what it has to offer is precious. Most of the time, business owners will have to pay to get their message put in front of a targeted group like this, for example, in a banner ad, but there are plenty of marketing services out there that are free, and in the case of local directories, they are also very valuable. Every free directory service is worth listing yourself on. Business owners should be aware that, even if they personally don’t use a listing site when they are looking for something, there are many people out there who do. Additionally, the

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