The Community News and Information roundup is here again. Taking the pulse of the online small business community, we look at the concept of putting service before sales and the secret of underdog marketing.
Service Should Come Before Sales . (Proforma Blog)
It goes without saying that when you visit a potential customer, especially for the first time, you’re looking for a sale. But perhaps you should be looking for ways to provide customer service from the beginning too, says Gina Zahran. Take the time to learn what your prospect really needs and whether your product will fill that need.
Underdog Marketing Has Its Advantages  (Capture Commerce)
One of the challenges of being a small business, especially a new one, is that many of your competitors are already entrenched in the marketplace. And they have customers already using their products and services. So it’s pretty ironic that this can also be one of your advantages too. Tom Shivers discusses the definition of an underdog with the BizSugar community .
Email Marketing Remains a Key Technique  (High Road)
Kent Garner asks whether email marketing is still a priority in your business. There’s a reason for the question. Email continues to be the “workhorse” of online marketing. So unless you’re collecting customer email addresses and are fully maximizing this resource, you’re missing an important component.
Make Sure Your Advertising is Delivering Its Message . (Neuromarketing)
To this neuroscientist, advertising is more than a persuasive art. Its effectiveness can be measured right down to the length of the message. Important components include grabbing the audience’s attention, engaging them emotionally, and giving them something to remember.
There’s a Reason Your Team Doesn’t Like Meetings (SmallBizDay)
Sure it could be the fact that you don’t have a well enough defined agenda. And it could also be the fact that, as a result, your meetings aren’t as productive as everyone would like them to be. But the real reason is probably much simpler. The competitive edge that keeps your people at their best may also be hurting their ability to collaborate as a team.
Perhaps You Need a Project Manager . (Young Upstarts)
There are obviously qualities a project manager can bring to your organization that won’t be available otherwise. So once you’ve decided you need such a person on your team, veteran project manager Russell Harley makes these suggestions about how to find the right one. As with anything, Harley says, you must start by deciding on the qualities you’re looking for.
It Starts With a Strong Brand . (Success Center for Entrepreneurs)
Businesses need a story, an explanation of who they are and where they come from. Here Randall Hampton explores just how brands are made. It’s an important idea for your small business to consider, especially if you’re just starting out. Do you have a strong brand? And what does it tell your customers about you?
Journalism Is the New Marketing . (ThursdayBram.com)
Advocacy journalism is a radical departure from the way the news has been covered up until now. It can refer to the work of activists, say, in support of a cause they feel to be just. But it could also serve your brand’s purposes. Bram discusses the implications of this new approach to journalism with members of the BizSugar community .
Startup Advice for the Beginner . (Small Business Finance Forum)
Author and financing expert Tiffany C. Wright has made a career of buying up existing businesses and scaling them. So when it comes to her adventures in starting up a new business, its all unexplored territory for her. Here Wright shares some of what she’s learned. And these ideas can apply to marketing your business too. See this discussion in the BizSugar community .
The Dangers of Undercharging . (Rhonda’s Virtual Office)
Another question that might come up when you start out is how much you should charge for your products and services. This applies not only to virtual assistant services, which are the kind of businesses Rhonda Holscher is discussing here. It can also apply to almost any venture you launch.
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