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Small Business Success Index 4

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73 marginal
Capital Access 67
Marketing & Innovation 65
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Computer Technology 73
Compliance 92
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Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

How to Apply Marketing Strategies to Attract the Best and Brightest When You’re Hiring

November 10th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

Though I currently have two superb interns, I know that eventually I will have to write a job description and craft an ad to hire my first employee.  Because I’m a marketing person, why not apply some marketing strategies to attract only top quality applicants?  Why not indeed!  Finding great candidates for a job opening is basically lead generation.  You need to define your target market, position the job and your company in a way that is most attractive to your target market, and promote it through select channels.

Here is how to apply marketing and lead generation strategies to attract the best and brightest candidates when you are hiring:

Define your target market

Write a profile of your ideal candidate, and make it as detailed as possible.  Include:

  • All job experience, education, and certification requirements
  • How much supervision they will need
  • Traits they’ll need to thrive: motivation and energy levels; creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving skills; familiarity with specific technology, tools, and methods; sales and business development skills, etc.

Sell that job!

Write an energetic, attractive, and clear one-page description of the job that lists all responsiblities and expectations.  Action verbs, adverbs, and adjectives are your friends!  Be sure to specify what, if any, job requirements are non-negotiable.

Include a request for a cover letter and portfolio of work, if applicable.  If the job is a creative one and/or requires a great deal of critical thinking or problem solving, create a hypothetical situation and ask all candidates to describe (within a specified number of words) how they would address the situation/solve the problem.

Position your company as a great place to work

If your company is growing; the job is challenging; there is a great opportunity to learn new skills, lead projects, and grow with the company; the work environment is casual; employees can bring their dogs; telecommuting is allowed…mention it!

List all aspects of the company that make it especially attractive.   Start with your location and include information on your office building, qualities of the neighborhood, access to public transportation, and convenience to restaurants and shops.  Discuss salary and benefits in as much detail as you’re comfortable sharing.

Promote the job

Skip the large online job boards.  Post the ad on your website, relevant professional interest listservs, niche job boards, your Facebook page, and industry-specific LinkedIn groups.  (I would avoid Twitter unless you have a very industry-specific following.)  E-mail the ad to clients, business partners, and professional associations; include a note requesting that it be forwarded appropriately.

Image by Flickr user HiredMYWay (Creative Commons)

Numbers Don’t Lie: Why You Need to Use Social Media Marketing

October 6th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

The good folks over at HubSpot put together a great presentation on social media stats and sound bites that should convince you, once and for all, that you can’t afford to ignore social media marketing anymore.

Global Internet Users

The number of global internet users worldwide is, in a word, huge, making your potential audience very big no matter what industry you operate in, who your target market is, or whether you sell a product, service, or combination of both.

North America: 252,908,000

Latin American/Caribbean: 179,031,479

Europe: 418,029,796

Africa: 67,371,700

Asia: 738,257,230

Australian/Oceania: 20,970,490

Social Media Users

The volume of information being shared online is staggering.  In 2009, 90 trillion emails were sent.  The biggest, most popular social media platforms are not only generating a tremendous amount of information as well, but they’re also being used by tons of people.  Again, this translates into a lot of potential customers.

There are 550 million Facebook users and counting.

Blogs on the Internet number 126 million.

Since 2006, over 10 billion tweets have been distributed on Twitter.

Every day, 2 billion videos are streamed on YouTube.  Every. Day.

Even though I have the tendency to sound off on the fact that so much is written about social media at the expense of marketing in general, I happily acknowledge that social media is the future of marketing and advertising.  Not only is it where the people are, it’s an easy way to share information about your company to a targeted audience and track the return on your marketing investment in the form of new clients.

Social Media + Lead Generation Opportunities = New Clients

Podcasting: The Underused Marketing Tool with Big Potential

August 2nd, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

Jay BerkowitzI recently watched a video (online of course) that featured Jay Berkowitz, CEO of the internet marketing firm Ten Golden Rules.  He was talking about social media, which he is wont to do, and mentioned podcasting as a great online marketing tool simply because it is so underutilized.  I found this bit of information intriguing and decided to blog about podcasting for several reasons. 

  • First, as he pointed out, podcasting is a one way social media tool, unlike Facebook and Twitter (when they are used properly). 
  • Second, there are few competitors so it’s a relatively easy market to dominate once you pick your topic.
  • Third, I am sick and tired of hearing nothing but Facebook and Twitter this, Facebook and Twitter that.  At this point, articles on those social media platforms are redundant and boring. 
  • Fourth, podcasting is a creative medium and can be used in a variety of ways.
  • And fifth, a series of podcasts is a great way to position yourself as a thought leader on a specific topic and can really drive some traffic to your site (and hopefully convert some leads into clients).

 To quote Jay directly:

There are very few podcasts on any topic, but there are now millions of iPhones, iPods and iTouches – 25% of users download podcasts. It is a great way to build a following with an audience looking for this content, very few competitors are podcasting. You could also add the shows to your website.

Now, please forgive me if we have gotten this far and you’re scratching your head wondering what on Earth a podcast is.  It’s an audio broadcast, or, to put it another way, a song with no singing, only talking.  You can listen to it online or download it to listen to on your iPod or other MP3 player. A podcast can be short or long, include one person’s voice or a few people’s, and actually, it could include music if you’re so inclined.

Here’s how you could use a podcast: 

  • Distribute a weekly podcast that includes a secret word or phrase to receive a special discount on a product or service.
  • Create a series of educational podcasts on a specific topic that would be of interest to your target market.
  • Use podcasting for PR and release news in a more personal, immediate way.
  • Advertise new products or services using your most persuasive sales skills. 
  • Replace one blog post a week with a podcast. 

To create a podcast, you need some software.  I’ve certainly listened to podcasts, but I’ve never made one.  Google to the rescue!  A quick search on podcasting software resulted in this nice little list of 2010 Podcast Software Reviews, which is very comprehensive.  Underneath the long chart comparing the features of 10 podcast software programs is a tutorial on what to look for in podcast software.  Good information to have for a newbie. 

I’m curious to know if any of you have used podcasts for marketing purposes, and if they’ve been successful.  Leave a comment and let me know!

Guys in Business: Transforming a Seasonal Business Into a Year-Round Business

June 28th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

When people find out my brother, Nikolas Pattantyus, is a massage therapist, they exclaim, “Wow, you’re so lucky!”  Yes, I tell them, I would be lucky if he lived nearby.  Nik owns and operates a massage therapy practice based in the beach resort of Avalon, NJ.  He also, as my mom and I like to say, lives the life.  Upon graduating from high school, he knew himself well enough to have the wisdom and audacity to skip college.  He traveled to surf and snowboard (he even lived in Samoa for 5 months), and he worked when he could, mostly during the summer at restaurants in Avalon and Stone Harbor, which share a barrier island. 

Nik lived a frugal, free-spirited life, but he also knew he needed to get serious and find a career.  Six years after kissing academia goodbye, Nik enrolled at the highly regarded Utah School of Massage Therapy in Salt Lake City.  He had found his calling, and he set up his business, 7 Mile Island Massage, in the summer of 2001. 

From the end of May through October, Nik works up to 10 hours a day.  Since most of his clients live 1 ½ to 2 hours away in and around Philadelphia, he has decided to cut back on the off-season travel, live in Philadelphia during the winter, and focus on growing his business into a year-round enterprise. Here’s how he’s doing just that.

Nikolas Pattantyus

Nikolas Pattantyus

Why did you decide to go into business for yourself?  How long have you been in business?

The decision was easy.  I like being independent and doing things on my own terms.  I started the business when I was still in massage school ten years ago.  When I began doing market research on the South Jersey shore (Avalon, NJ to be more exact), I found a niche in the market; there wasn’t a single massage therapy business in the county providing outcalls

Operating a seasonal business means intense work for a short period of time.  How do you balance the need to work a lot with not exhausting yourself?

I make a point of scheduling time for myself each week to stay in top physical condition.  I try to get to the gym at least 3 times a week, surf as often as possible, and get a massage every two weeks.  It’s a physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding job, so I need to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone else.

What have been the benefits and drawbacks of owning a seasonal business?

Having the time and flexibility to do what I want in the offseason is both a benefit and a drawback.  Another big drawback is finding skilled therapists to work with me.  Competent and knowledgeable therapists are difficult to find, especially those willing to do house calls at the beach for only a few months a year.

How have you transitioned to owning a business that operates year-round? 

Most of my clientele live in the Philadelphia metro area, so I have started sending text messages or calling my clients to let them know I’ll be working in their town or neighborhood that day. 

What outreach/advertising methods have you/do you use to grow your business?

The only paid advertising I do now is the Cape May County phone book.  Most of my business is repeat business, but I also generate business through word of mouth and my website, which is optimized for search engines.  I do some networking but I don’t have a Facebook page or use Twitter. 

Thinking back on the lean winters, would you have done anything differently?

Yeah, for sure.  I used to fill my head with different places I wanted to travel to during the winter; I had no intention of being in the Mid-Atlantic area at all.  My clients would always ask me if I was going to be around Philly during the offseason, and I would always say no.  I set myself back taking that approach but I’ve learned that by making myself available all year and staying in touch with my clients throughout the year has increased my summer business with my regulars.

What are your goals?  Where do you see your company headed? 

I plan on finding dependable, quality therapists I can employ during the summer and growing my offseason business to the point where I can keep them busy in the winters, either in Philly or at the Shore or both.

If you could give one piece of advice to a burgeoning entrepreneur/small business owner, what would it be? 

Explore as many different advertising mediums as possible and track them to see which works best.   Do what you can to get new clients without selling yourself short and do whatever it takes to accommodate existing clients because positive experiences will generate good word of mouth traffic.

Dare to Be Different

June 16th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

I recently saw an eye-opening slide during a webinar on marketing.  Around 40 photos of smiling, laughing, and generally happy children, adults, and families were arranged in a grid pattern.  The next slide showed the names of the companies who used those images in their advertising.  I was naively thinking those images belonged to car companies, Disney, theme parks, hotels, tourism offices, and the like.  Nope, most were associated with huge multinational companies that you would never associate with laughing, let alone children.

With so much advertising, messages, and branding competing for our attention, why are companies so afraid of being different?

Check out websites for banks.  They all look the same, totally cluttered with much too much information on checking, savings, and money market accounts.

Ask a friend to blindfold you and walk you into the lobby of a big hotel chain.  Take off the blindfold.  Any idea which hotel you’re now standing in?

Visit the local mall next time you’re traveling.  Ten bucks it looks almost exactly like the one back home, even if you’re in a totally different part of the country.

These situations can be applied to most industries, from airlines to grocery stores to jewelers.  There are exceptions, of course, and not off-the-wall, only-in-big-cities exceptions.  You’ve got:

  • Jet Blue with their great snacks, cheerful employees, and satellite TV.  We haven’t flown them in a couple of years, but both of my young children remember Jet Blue.
  • Whole Foods with their commitment to local, organic, and sustainable foods, excellent customer service, and décor that is not inspired by a prison.
  • Tiffany & Co, with their employees who are discreet, elegant, and gracious.  Even as a young twenty-something, I was treated like a queen when browsing.
  • Houston’s Galleria mall, with an indoor, year-round ice skating rink and plethora of upscale shops.  Awesome people watching, too.
  • Kimpton Hotels with their funky décor, complimentary happy hours, and intimacy a 500 room hotel could never match.
  • ING Bank with its scrolling, interactive navigation bar that pulls you in and dares to make banking exciting.

Take a look at what your competitors are doing and figure out how you can distinguish yourself from them.  You don’t have to do anything weird, just do something different: a light-hearted blog, contests, offers exclusively via Twitter, scrolling photos on your website, video testimonials from customers, bold colors and graphics, marketing that shuns all hackneyed business terms.

It’s not that hard, but so few companies are willing to go that extra mile.  They all end up as paint-by-numbers, cookie cutter companies, and the customer is left choosing the lesser of the evils, the one that’s more convenient, the one that’s cheapest.  Is that any way to win customers, inspire loyalty, or generate leads?

Women in Business: Transforming a Shoe and Accessories Store at the Beach into a Year Round Shopping Destination

May 12th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

My parents, God bless them, had the foresight to buy property in the early 1970s in what has become the exclusive beach resort town of Avalon, NJ.  One of my friends “down the shore” owns the adorable designer shoe and accessories shop Boutique Bellissima.  Because it’s a seasonal town, operating a successful and profitable business poses its own set of unique challenges.  Here’s the story of how Danielle O’Hara got into the shoe business, what she’s done to reach clients and build her business, and what advice she’d give to burgeoning business owners.

I was working as a realtor in Spring of 2006 when I found out that the local shoe store was for sale! I was so super excited as I was a Fashion Merchandising Major in college at FIT in New York and the real estate thing wasn’t going quite as planned.  Owning a boutique was my dream. I didn’t expect an opportunity like this to come up so soon after graduating college and moving to Avalon. I thought it was now or never so I jumped on it. I made the decision to buy the store in early summer and worked at the shoe store all summer long. To complicate things just a little, I found out I was pregnant two days after making settlement on Bellissima. The store was all mine in September.  

Being my own boss has been both a blessing and a challenge for me. Although I love the freedom that comes with owning my own business, I find it hard to manage my time and balance responsibilities. It took some time for me to give up control and delegate tasks.

Reaching—and Keeping—Seasonal Clients

Boutique Bellissima Named 2008 Best Women's Accessories by Fox Philly

Image courtesy of Boutique Bellissima

The previous owner of Bellissima spent a lot of money on print advertising. When I first bought the business I continued advertising in local Avalon publications as well as publications that targeted the greater Philadelphia and South Jersey area. I found this to be extremely expensive and not very effective. My situation is unique in that I am a seasonal store in a resort town. I was trying to turn my store into a year round business by advertising to areas north of Avalon where there are more “year round” people. Getting local support has been a challenge to say the least.

I am now more focused on advertising to my summer clientele. I still use print advertising but stick to it only in summer months when my customer is already here to see it. I have a website and also use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote the store. Facebook has proven to be very effective. I post pictures of all new merchandise that comes in the store weekly. I sell a lot this way but I also get my customer excited to get to Avalon to come shopping at the store.

Lessons Learned

Honestly, the only thing (and it’s a major thing) that I would have done differently is that instead of buying an existing store I would have started from scratch and opened my own store. I would have been able to create my own image from the beginning rather then keeping up with an image already in place. I would have also researched the shoe business a little bit more before I decided to buy the store. This business is extremely challenging because of the exorbitant inventory costs.

Diversify to Grow

My immediate goal is to diversify my product offering to appeal to a broader customer base. I am bringing in some smaller ticket items such as jewelry, small leather goods, candles, bath and body, and children’s shoes and clothing. I think this will increase sales tremendously this summer as well as bring different people into the store. I am hoping this will drive shoe sales also.

Ultimately, I would like to open a second location in a populated more year round area. I would like to be known as an accessory boutique rather then just a shoe store. I would also like to expand on my baby and children’s merchandise. A little less shoes and a little more of everything else so there is something for everyone at every price point. 

Hiring and Customer Service Are Key to Success

My advice to a small business owner would be to hire people to do all of the mundane tasks so you can focus on what is really important in your business. I have learned to hire people to do the smaller tasks so I can focus on buying the merchandise. This is what I am good at and this is what will drive my business. I cannot be consumed by all of the daily tasks that add up or I will lose focus on my main objective. You have to pick one aspect of the business that you are strongest at and keep your focus there.

Another piece of advice is to keep building great relationships with your customers. I have so many customers that are now friends. Building a business is all about building relationships. Providing exceptional customer service is something I take great pride in.

 As told to Monika Jansen.

How to Leverage Facebook for Inbound Marketing Success

April 15th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher
Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

As we continue our monthly theme of Inbound Marketing we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about Facebook. If you are on the web and do anything social networking related, you have probably heard of Facebook.

It started out as a social network for college students and then opened up to corporations and then to the general public. Over time they opened up their back-end and launched the F8 developers platform and the gold rush of games and all kinds of applications launched.

This was the catalyst for millions of people who never considered getting on a social network before. I will be that you probably have a Facebook profile and you might have even let your mom be your friend (if you are on Facebook you will get the joke). You can probably guess that the impact of Facebook is staggering but I will bet you don’t know the real size and reach of this social network that seems to be a place some people live and play (even while at work). Here are some basic stats from their site:

  • More than 400 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • More than 35 million users update their status each day
  • More than 60 million status updates posted each day
  • More than 3 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week
  • More than 3.5 million events created each month
  • More than 3 million active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 1.5 million local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 20 million people become fans of Pages each day
  • Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans

Yeah, that is pretty impressive isn’t it? This is why this is the new tool for marketers to leverage and create an outpost for their inbound marketing activities. While I could write a book on Facebook (and many people have) there are a few things that you should be familiar with as you explore Facebook and incorporate it into your inbound marketing strategy.

Facebook Groups

The concept of groups have been around for a long time and they are a basic way to gather people together. Groups have an advantage in that any group member can send out “bulk invites” to their friends which means that this is better for growth via viral marketing. You can message your members via a private message and you can host a discussion and use the wall like you can do with a fan page (more on fan pages in a minute). However, you can’t get statistics, use social ads (more on that in minute too) or create related events or invitations.

Bottom Line Use: Groups are generally better for hosting active discussions and getting attention quickly.

Fan Pages

Fan Pages are the most popular feature on Facebook because of a primary function that it has over any other function on Facebook – fan pages are visible to everyone, even unregistered vistors and are indexed by Google. Yes, that is sweet and fantastic for reputation management. Facebook pages also let you use vanity URLs – CAVEAT: These vanity URLs can only be set once and you can’t change it once you set it. The allow for inclusion of Facebook applications, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you feel about Facebook apps. You can message all members via updates, get statistics, create events and promote the page with social ads.

So you have probably deduced that this is your home page on Facebook and people are creating pages for companies, products, celebrities and just about any brand or wanna-be brand that is looking to build a community around it.

Bottom Line Use: You can see that fan pages are fantastic for building long-term relationships with fans, readers, customers and anyone else that you want to connect with.


While advertising has been in social networks forever, it is how many social networks business models operate. However, with the growth of the F8 developer platform and the incredible growth of its use base it is really a self-contained ecosystem. This means that people can run ads within Facebook to advertise their pages (and any other web page) within Facebook.

The advantage of these “Social Ads” is that from your profile they know everything you let them know (age, gender, religion, interests, relationship status, location) which makes advertising super-accurate and with ongoing attention, better results than almost every other type of advertising.

Bringing it “Back to the Hub”

As you work through your inbound marketing strategy think about how this content outpost can help your business. This can bring people to your site and be the place they discover you and your brand. What I want to emphasize is that one tool is not better than the other and your organization could use all three of these or just one but at the very least I would recommend that you sign up for one and begin experimenting. But take note, you need to have dedicated resources to participate and update the site.

Are You Utilizing Facebook?

Are any of you readers out there using Facebook Groups, Fan Pages or Social Ads in your current social media strategy? We would love to hear your perspective and experiences to share with our readers.

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Marketing, the Small Business Success Index, and You

March 19th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business released the findings of their Small Business Success Index survey on February 16.  The index is designed to track the competitive health of the small business sector over time, and the results are always interesting.  Scores in 6 categories are graded; marketing and innovation got a C-.  Let’s see why: 

From celestehodges on Flickr[S]mall businesses perceive themselves at a disadvantage in marketing and innovation.

That statement surprised me, because one of the key findings of the survey was that small business owners have embraced social media: social media usage has increased from 12% to 24% in just 12 months.  Since social media is widely seen as an excellent tool to level the playing field between big, multi-national companies and small, me-myself-and-I businesses, it would seem to me that the small business owners who are using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (the most popular social media sites) are doing something right with their marketing strategy. 

But then I read this: 

Common marketing methods for reaching potential customers include print advertising (37%), email marketing (24%), social media marketing (19%), telephone sales (18%), direct mail (17%) and broadcast advertising (14%).

I honestly do not understand why so many small businesses still use print and broadcast advertising.  I considered advertising in a local magazine for business women last year.  But then I realized how tiny the chance was that potential customers would not only see my ad but remember it, too.  I’d have to invest a lot of money to run that ad every month. Think about it: what if your potential customers don’t have time to read that newspaper issue, or listen to the radio that week because they’re on vacation, or watch TV because they lost cable during a big snowstorm?   You just spent all that money, and what kind of leads did it generate?  If you’re getting a great ROI using traditional advertising methods, good for you, but if you’re not, time to talk to a marketing strategist, who will save you time and money (in the long run).

Back to social media:

The majority of small business owners who use social media (58%) feel the medium has so far ‘met expectations.’  Another 12% feel it has ‘exceeded expectations’ but twice as many, 26%, feel it has ‘fallen short of expectations.’ 

The fact that 70% of small businesses are finding new customers, engaging with current customers, and generating awareness with social media is encouraging, as it proves that integrating social media into your marketing efforts is worthwhile.   

Half of users, though, said social media has used up more time than expected.  Yes, it does take time, but it is time well-spent.  Being able to so easily connect with people who want, need, and/or use your company’s product or service is an amazing opportunity that was not possible just a few years ago.  Embrace technology, don’t run from it.     

I am active on Facebook (professionally only—I do not use it for my “regular” life), Twitter, and LinkedIn, and I write blog posts for Grow Smart Business.  You need not be active on a handful of sites, though.  Pick one or two and stick with them.  There are lots of guides, white papers, and articles online that contain valuable information on how to use social media effectively.  Spend an hour or two on research, and either put together a new marketing strategy yourself or, like I said above, hire an expert to help you.

Best 2010 Superbowl Ads, Small Biz Branding and 35% off Hosting and Domain Transferd for $6.99

February 8th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

Every Superbowl, there are two types of people who watch – those who watch for the commercials and those who watch for the game and see the commercials as bonus content. Many companies get ad space and work hard to create those that truly are memorable. One of my favorites are from about 10 years ago during the height of the dotcom era. The commercial where kids say things like “I want to file all day” or “I want to work my way up to middle management” was classic and the cowboy wrangler who was herding cats instead of cattle was just plain hilarious.

This year, we had some great examples of destined classics. We will talk about them in a bit along with what you can learn from them in your own small business.

But first our own kinda Superbowl commercial spot…..

Big Game Branding for Your Business – Shuffling to Renew or Transfer Your Domains

For this 2010 Superbowl, Network Solutions has put together a special offer for Sunday and Monday. $6.99 domain names and 35% off hosting packages so you can use Network Solutions to help with branding your small business. Check these out:

25% 35% off hosting – Use code HOSTSOC001

New Domains $9.99 – Use code SUPERDOM06

Domain Transfers for $6.99 – Use code DOMSOCIAL3

REMEMBER: This is only for 2010 Superbowl Sunday and Monday

Visit to take advantage of these offers

….Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post

Great Use of Branding a few tips that Small Businesses can learn from without spending $3 million bucks

1.) If you are looking for awareness, be ok with laughing at yourself

A commercial with Jay Leno and David Letterman… together! This was as shocking as it was hilarious. Following the NBC late-night debacle that saw Letterman constantly poke a lot of fun at his former network and current rival, Jay actually appeared alongside Dave in an advertisement for his nemesis’ show. This was the best PR move Leno could possibly have made. This shows that you can get awareness, get positive image for your brand. It also proves that Oprah can bring anyone together.

2.) Humor done right can leave a memorable impression

Betty White is comedy gold and only during a Superbowl ad seeing her get sacked and play football only to be charged up by a Snickers bar shows you that if you do humor right you can increase brand awareness. If you aren’t good with humor it can go horribly wrong. Check out the video below and look for the Abe Vigoda cameo.

3.) Simple can usually have the best impact

When you are a small business, you usually feel the need to shout and get out there with every channel to let people know who you are and what you do. However, sometimes the simplest and most understated things can speak louder about your company and brand than any one with a mega phone. This is done extremely well in the Google ad below that walks you through an entire relationship via search terms in 60 seconds. Truly brilliant.

Just as a final reminder…..

Big Game Branding for Your Business – Shuffling to Renew or Transfer Your Domains

For this 2010 Superbowl, Network Solutions has put together a special offer for Sunday and Monday. $6.99 domain names and 35% off hosting packages so you can use Network Solutions to help with branding your small business. Check these out:

25% 35% off hosting – Use code HOSTSOC001

New Domains $9.99 – Use code SUPERDOM06

Domain Transfers for $6.99 – Use code DOMSOCIAL3

REMEMBER: This is only for 2010 Superbowl Sunday and Monday

Visit to take advantage of these offers

….Hope You Enjoyed the Game!

5 Better Ideas than TV Spots — Even if You Have Enough Money for a Super Bowl Ad

February 6th, 2010 :: Thursday Bram

A Super Bowl ad comes with a price tag of about $3 million dollars this year. Even if you have enough money in your marketing budget to pick up a 30-second spot, there are alternatives that can offer more bang for your buck than a televised ad, no matter how big an event it’s shown during. Considering how many people fast forward through the commercials, it’s time to explore other options.

  1. Get involved locally: That money you were going to use on advertising? Consider spending it on a community project instead. Not only will you get warm fuzzies for the impact that your business has, but it will also offer you an opportunity to get your community talking about your company in a positive way.
  2. Create a resource that will help your customers: When most customers have a problem, they don’t watch advertising or even start looking for brands. Instead, they’ll start searching online for answers to their questions. Creating a website that offers those answers is on a whole different budgetary level than a Super Bowl ad (right now, a domain name can be had from Network Solutions for $6.99 with coupon code DOMSOCIAL1), but can convert customers far more effectively.
  3. Sponsor a niche publication: With $3 million in your pocket, you can afford to sponsor an entire issue of a magazine that goes out to your primary demographic. You can reach out to the people most likely to be interested in your product or services. Even with a smaller budget, it’s easy to sponsor a targeted online publication for a month or two, allowing you to reach out to audiences already interested in what you have to offer.
  4. Build a social media campaign: While it’s tough to predict what will go viral, creating content (such as videos) that online users can easily share is a a good source of traffic if you sell your product or service online. One of the best examples is the ‘Will It Blend‘ videos from Blendtec — they consistently attract attention, day in and day out.
  5. Put on your own event: Getting your customers out for an event — whether we’re talking about a focus group or a big conference — offers an opportunity to make your customer base feel like they’re stakeholders in your success. The more personal connections you can build, with customers or members of the media, the more likely they are to recommend you to their friends, families, and listeners.

Big companies are realizing the dropping value of a Super Bowl ad. Even Pepsi is opting for one of the options on this list: For the first time in 23 years, Pepsi did not buy a Super Bowl spot. Instead, the company chose to use the millions of dollars that would have gone to the Super Bowl spend towards the Pepsi Refresh Project. The project is offering grants to organizations and people making positive impacts in their communities, effectively integrating Pepsi into local communities.

Speaking of the Super Bowl and marketing, Network Solutions has a couple of great deals you might want to know about:
For this 2010 Superbowl, Network Solutions has put together a special offer for Sunday and Monday. $6.99 domain names and 25% off hosting packages so you can “shuffle” on over to start or keep using Network Solutions as your small business solutions provider. Check these out:

25% off hosting – Use code SUPERDOM06

Domain Purchase/Renewal for $6.99 – Use code DOMSOCIAL1

Domain Transfers for $6.99 – Use code DOMSOCIAL3

REMEMBER: This is only for 2010 Superbowl Sunday and Monday
Visit to take advantage of these offers.
And enjoy the Super Bowl!

Photo by Flickr user Fluzo