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Summer Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

This is a Guest Post through Postrunner by Beth Longware Duff who writes about small business merchant resources. For more information, click here.

Summer will be here before you know it, which means hot times, cool vibes and unique marketing opportunities for small businesses that are versatile enough to take advantage of them. Latch onto the laid-back attitude that prevails this time of year and use it to your advantage to reach out to current and potential customers.

Regardless of where you do business, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers the following five strategies to keep it booming right through to the fall:

  1. Take Part in Summer Festivals and Fairs

Everyone loves a good time, so sponsoring or participating in a local community event not only brings you together with customers in an unpressured environment, but it can work wonders for your brand as well by getting your products or services out for all to see. As an active member of your community, you should be familiar with ongoing events and know which would best serve your marketing objectives. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great resource, as are the local newspaper, community flyers and town website.

  1. Take Your Customers Out

A long-time common practice in the corporate world, small business owners should consider hosting an activity for their valued loyal customers and vendors. A barbecue in the park, chartered fishing expedition or a visit to a nearby attraction, show or sporting event are all outings that they’ll truly appreciate when you’re picking up the tab. Perhaps best of all, customer entertainment expenses are tax deductible as long as there is a clear business purpose for them and business discussions are held at some point during the event. More information about business tax deductions is available from the SBA.

  1. Take Your Business on the Road

By going where the customers are you can extend your reach, supplement your revenue and increase your brand recognition. Running a concession at sporting events, local carnivals and festivals and other tourist attractions can help you make the most of the summer season, and it’s easier than ever with mobile and wireless solutions that make accepting credit cards quick, easy and secure no matter where the sales occur.

  1. Sponsor a Contest

Everyone loves the chance to win something for nothing, and contests are a great way to raise your visibility in the community and gain publicity. Get your employees involved by asking for their contest ideas. A few suggestions include a cook-off or eating contest sponsored by a restaurant, a yard makeover by a landscape designer, or a pet show by a groomer or veterinarian. Be sure to make the prize(s) something that’s directly related to your business to keep customers coming in after the competition, and promote your contest with a blend of traditional and new media—and don’t forget to post the name and picture of your winner(s)!

  1. Dress Up Your Website

It’s advisable to update your company website on a regular basis to keep it fresh and to showcase your newest products and services. Some summer graphics and seasonal content are simple adds that keep your site relevant to your customers.

Make this summer a memorable one for your business and your customers, and have a little fun while you’re at it!

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Tips on How to Get on Google Places

Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator)

Google (Photo credit: Aray Chen)

You may notice when you get on Google and type in a business, the first results you’ll see are for local companies. For instance, if you are in Phoenix, Arizona and you want to find a local hardware store, the listings at the top of the page will include a few stores in the area along with the address and contact info. If you’re a business looking to get ahead, you can be among these local listings. To accomplish this goal, learn how to get on Google Places.

Creating and Using an Account

Google Places is a part of Google that allows you to enter in your business on the web. Your business listing will be easily found through google.com and Google Maps. To get started, enter in the URL http://www.google.com/places. When it pulls up, you’ll be asked a few questions about your business so just enter this info in before proceeding. You’ll be able to edit this information later. If your business appears to be on the same street as another business, Google may ask you if the listing already exists. You should click either “Add Listing” or “Claim Listing.” Then you’ll be asked to input all the extra details about your business. You can upload videos, photos, and logos as well as enter in payment methods and hours. Hit “Submit” when you’re satisfied with what you’ve entered. Your next step will be to verify the listing you have created. You can verify via phone or mail. Phone is the recommended strategy since it’s faster and mail means waiting two to three weeks to receive verification. Once you’ve picked your method, click “Finish.” If you chose to verify by phone, a green box will appear that informs you Google is calling you. Don’t miss this brief but important call. Google is calling you to give you a pin number you will need to enter in to proceed. If you miss the phone call, you’ll have to contact Google again since it will likely not call you up again. Type in your pin in the field under “Your Businesses.” You should be finished at this point. Expect to see a confirmation page from Google and see your listing online in about a week.

Other Helpful Tidbits

Now that you have your account set up, you still may have a few remaining questions. For one, you may be concerned about how to optimize your listing so more Googlers will see it. You gain more viewers by adding as much info as possible to the listing. Include photos, business hours, a website link, and a description of your establishment. Your listing will be matched to more searches this way. You’ll also get better business if customers know they can go online to get directions, coupons, updates, and customer reviews. Fortunately, Google adds more information to your listing found from other website and online directories so some effort on your part is spared. To get more out of Google’s services, you can invest in AdWords, Google Earth, Street View, Panoramio, Google Analytics, and other Google apps. Now you should understand all the steps for knowing how to get on Google Places.

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11 Ways to Optimize Instagram For Businesses

Any business can leverage its social media presence to promote products and enhance brand image. A newcomer in a specific industry, for example, might use Facebook or Twitter in its initial promotion strategy to connect with a market that is within reach. Businesses that already have mature markets, on the other hand, may find that their social media presence helps them retain customer loyalty because it further enhances customer experience.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are all powerful social media sites good for businesses but Instagram lets you connect with your market through photos. You showcase the creative and laidback side of your business and this definitely creates a whole new experience for your market. Here are 11 useful tips to help you optimize Instagram (IG) for your business:

1. Showcase your products through creative shots

 starbucksfeed - feeltheheat

Your Instagram is not an extension of your product catalog. Post product photos in different perspectives, lighting, and filter.

2. Work on getting more followers

Be visible. Post photos regularly using multiple hashtags descriptive of your photos. Like photos and post comments on other people’s accounts. You can also follow other accounts and follow-back your followers, but you don’t have to do this to everyone.

3. Post photos that relate to your product’s image or business’ core values

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This photo from AT&T’s instagram feed showcases important personal connections by keeping in touch through technology. Cultivate the imagination of your followers and let them associate you to both abstract and tangible things that enhance the image of your brand.

4. Optimize your Instagram profile

Using a few words, creatively tell them who you are or what you do. Include links to your website and other social media accounts.

5. Show your IG feed on other social media sites

instagram logo

Another way to increase your visibility and widen your scope is to connect your IG account to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and other social media sites you are subscribed to.

6. Use appropriate hashtags

For example, your photo is of a pair of sneakers standing on a forest trail. Hashtags: #hiking #shoes #sneaker #weekend #holiday #nature #trail #Saturday #fun. Joining these trends increases your visibility and lets you explore your creative limits.

7. Caption your photos

Concise and catchy captions amplifies the emotional appeal of your images.

8. Join hashtag trends

throwbackthursday

One popular hashtag right now is #ThrowbackThrusday, which lets users relive memories by posting old photos. Photos must be as old and funny or as mad as #MondayMadness. Other examples of trending hashtags are #tgif #FollowFriday and #SundaySelfie.

9. Take advantage of current events

Think how you can relate your business to the different events, holidays, and celebrations you observe.

10. Create contests in Instagram

kenzo photo contest

Create fun contests for your followers and let others know that by following you, they could also win delightful prizes.

11. Re-post your followers’ photos of your products

Take pride in your followers’ loyalty by reposting interesting photos to let your users know that you appreciate them. By doing this, you also let others know that they can be featured if they post photos with your products.

These are just some of the ways to improve your presence through Instagram whatever your business is about.

Author Bio:

Sasha Murray is a Literature student and a freelance writer from LA. She writes for the school newspaper, education-related websites, and http://www.bestessays.com/doc_essay.php about writing, literature, social media, and travel.

Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy governs the manner in which Rukhaiyar Media Group collects, uses, maintains and discloses information collected from users (each, a “User”) of the http://www.rukhaiyar.com website (“Site”). This privacy policy applies to the Site and all products and services offered by Rukhaiyar Media Group.

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We may collect personal identification information from Users in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, when Users visit our site, register on the site, subscribe to the newsletter, fill out a form, and in connection with other activities, services, features or resources we make available on our Site. Users may be asked for, as appropriate, name, email address. Users may, however, visit our Site anonymously. We will collect personal identification information from Users only if they voluntarily submit such information to us. Users can always refuse to supply personally identification information, except that it may prevent them from engaging in certain Site related activities.

Non-personal identification information

We may collect non-personal identification information about Users whenever they interact with our Site. Non-personal identification information may include the browser name, the type of computer and technical information about Users means of connection to our Site, such as the operating system and the Internet service providers utilized and other similar information.

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Rukhaiyar Media Group may collect and use Users personal information for the following purposes:

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Some of the ads may be served by Google. Google’s use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to Users based on their visit to our Site and other sites on the Internet. DART uses “non personally identifiable information” and does NOT track personal information about you, such as your name, email address, physical address, etc. You may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy at http://www.google.com/privacy_ads.html

Changes to this privacy policy

Rukhaiyar Media Group has the discretion to update this privacy policy at any time. When we do, we will revise the updated date at the bottom of this page. We encourage Users to frequently check this page for any changes to stay informed about how we are helping to protect the personal information we collect. You acknowledge and agree that it is your responsibility to review this privacy policy periodically and become aware of modifications.

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Contact us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this site, please contact us at:
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This document was last updated on September 11, 2013
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