Feeling Rusty? 3 Awesome Trainings to Boost Your Marketing Power

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by marketing jargon? Do you wish you had an easy way to learn all the things you need to know to promote your small business effectively? Are you in charge of “content creation,” but you find yourself feeling lost or uninspired?

Well, guess what? Here are three low-cost and free training opportunities (two online and one in person) that can give you the knowledge you need to market your business with more confidence.
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Updating Your Small Business Employee Handbook: 7 Tips

Supporting Your Local Community
OK, ‘fess up: when was the last time you revisited your small business employee handbook? Did Facebook exist? Did Google? Hey, we know you’re busy juggling ten zillion things, but how about making a commitment RIGHT NOW and updating the darn thing?

Here are seven things to think about as you revise and reissue this important document.
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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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Small Business Marketing Tips: 8 Ways to Leverage Customer Reviews

Your Company’s Online Reputation
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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Showroom Design Ideas to WOW Customers

When it comes to designing your ultimate retail showroom, you need to think beyond the physical space itself and the products you sell. You need to think about the story you’re telling potential customers.

Yes, you read that right: your showroom should tell a story.

Now if you’re thinking this sounds a little too frou-frou for your tastes, hear us out.
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Should I Offer Free Shipping? Weighing the Pros and Cons

Hiring a Marketing ConsultantWe all know how powerful the words “free shipping” can be to consumers. In fact, this report suggests that online shoppers are more likely to respond to free shipping offers than price discounts. And this infographic is full of compelling points as well, including these two gems: people buy more when they’re offered free shipping, and more than one third of online shoppers would NOT make a purchase without free shipping.

But is it a smart strategy for your business? Here’s some food for thought.
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