12 Reasons You NEED a Blog Now!

Champion Assistants Blog ServicesOne thing that I can truly say here is that there is nothing on the internet that will do your business more good than having a quality blog site.  If you do not have a blog site it should be your number one priority, even before you do a website for your company.

Google recognizes the strength of a blog site and these sites help you get high ranking in Google’s view.

For an easy blog site you can set one up in WordPress.com and initially it will do all you could ask for.  There are so many benefits of having a blog site that I almost don’t know where to start so I am going to list many of them for you:

1.           It is cheap way to promote your business, products and services – you can set these sites up and run them for free

2.           You can send people to this site from anywhere else on the web, especially the social sites where you be connecting with people interested in your business

3.           You can add up-to-date information

4.           By adding to the site each day or at least 3 times a week you will have customers coming back for more information

5.           You can give opinions on anything in your industry

6.           You can interact with people as they make comments on your site

7.           You can survey people to find out what they want

8.           You can link this site to any other site or promotion that you have

9.           It is more friendly than a website

10.        You can link to other compatible sites and this is good for getting Google rankings

11.        You can set up categories so that clients can easily find what they are looking for

12.        You can add graphics to make it more interesting or use photos of business events

Be aware of the fact that if you want to sell on your site you would need to upgrade it to a paid site.  You still need to keep your postings short and to the point to keep people’s interest.

Seattle Businesses – Don’t miss this brand and marketing workshop!

Maria Ross - Marketing and Brand Expert

Maria Ross - Marketing and Brand Expert

Defining a brand strategy is essential for all businesses and a task that many small business owners find daunting.  To be successful in any economy or market, businesses need to have a defined niche and a sound strategy for how they are going to position themselves in the market place.  Regardless of how good a product or service may be, positioning and perception make all the difference.

Taking the time to define a marketing and brand strategy are a wise time and money investment that will pay off quickly.  Two of Seattle’s big brand and marketing dynamos, Maria Ross, Marketing Director for Red-Slice and Whitney Keyes of Whitney Keyes Productions, are holding a workshop to guide you through the marketing maze and help you find practical and creative ways to attract new customers  – and keep the ones you have loyal to you.  The workshop is being held February 11th, 2009, and is an excellent opportunity to get practical strategies from Seattle marketing dynamos.  For more information about the workshop, just visit: Branding Workshop.

Best,

Heather

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5 Basic Elements of Targeted Marketing

tragetThere are many styles of marketing, but only one that truly works in all applications. That one style is known as Targeted Marketing. Targeted Marketing uses information and planning to reach the right people at the right time. Below are the five basic elements to effectively and efficiently utilize this style of marketing.

1. Know Your Audience: Just like you know your products or services, you likely know who will benefit from them the most and why. What problem does your particular product solve? Are there any other problems that that same product solves? Who has these problems? Bingo, you have found your target. Now you must learn about your target market. What are there habits? Where do they shop? What media sources do they use frequently? Why do they hang out? What do they like and dislike? Knowing your audience in this way will help you to focus your marketing efforts toward them in an efficient manner. If you were trying to reach an 80 year old man you wouldn’t post an ad in Vogue would you?

2. Optimize Your Efforts: For every company this element will vary slightly, but the general emphasis here is to make sure the tools and information you have available to your clients are working for you. If you have a website, make sure the content is updated on a regular basis, the metadata is accurate and accessible including keywords and a site map. The same goes for brochures and other informational leaflets. The information needs to be accurate and honest and the appearance needs to be clean. No one likes looking at something that hurts the eyes. If there are too many bells and whistles or too many vibrant colors you are going to lose your audience. Simple is usually best!

3. Be The expert: Develop the ‘Know, Like, Trust’ effect by becoming an expert in your market. Write articles, have free information available, be honest and upfront. If you have the opportunity to share something that you know and enrich someone else’s business/life they will become a source of referrals down the road.

4. Plan Your Attack Strategy: Whit the information you now have you should be able to formulate your marketing plans. Know what you are willing to spend and where you want to spend that money. Figure out if your going to use mail marketing vs. email marketing and know where you are going to get your mailing lists from. (It is always best to use a source you can trust) Know what keywords are best for finding your information online. Figure out where you need to be so that your customers will find you instead of you having to hunt for them.

5. Befriend the media: The media is a huge source of referrals and are more than happy to learn about new inventions, new techniques, new anything. Use the media to your advantage by sharing information. Think of this as an extension of both elements 3 and 4. You are more of an expert in the public mind if the media mentions you or your business. Press releases, on air spots, and other media events should be a part of your attack strategy.

These five elements take planning and effort to be successful. Just as you wouldn’t leave the house without your keys, you don’t want to start your marketing with only one element in place. Figuring out who your marketing needs to reach, where to find them and how best to reach them makes a huge difference in any marketing plan.

How To Delegate With Authority

Have you ever heard the old expression “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? Well that expression is absolutely true. It’s also true that it wasn’t built by one person either. A team can accomplish much more than any single person ever could. It may be in some of our natures not to want to delegate. The urge to handle everything ourselves may be caused by a desire to control or it may be a trust issue. Letting someone help you can be tough, it can be even tougher when it’s your own company that’s being worked on.

Most people have the goal of expanding their companies into something bigger and more successful. The thing that they need to keep in mind is that no really big company is 100% run by one person. Companies like these are powered by teams of people, not individuals. Having a team in your company can help you too. The bigger a company becomes, the more delegating becomes important. Here are some tips that any team leader should follow.

Make sure your team is composed of specialists. Each member should excel at something. The idea is to make your team good at everything they need to be good at. Think of a sports team. In any sports team, each position is filled with someone who excels at that position, not someone who only understands the basics of the game.

Communication is key! If you have a great team, but there is no communication, all of their skills are wasted. Everyone will be working, but there won’t be any unity. This defeats the entire concept of teamwork. Any team that lacks communication is just a group of individuals and will not work as a team.

A great team requires great leadership. Any team needs a leader who can motivate the group, foresee problems and take corrective actions when needed. A leader can’t just sit back and expect the team to be self regulating.

Best,

Kristi

Heather Nelson featured in Seattle Times Career Section

Heather Nelson featured in Seattle Times

Heather Nelson featured in Seattle Times

I think everyone remembers their first job – whether it was the low pay, long hours or seemingly menial work.  From humble beginnings we emerge!  My first job was at Nordstrom as a cashier hired to work the busy seasonal sales and holidays.  It was quite a lot to take on, and I learned and adapted as quickly as I could.  I suppose we never know in the beginning where our lives and careers will lead us, and it’s always interesting to take a mental look back at the path we’ve followed.

The Seattle Times actually featured my story in their My First Job Career Section column.  Over the years I’ve transition from cashier to sales and marketing staff to project management at some the world’s largest IT companies.  Today, I’m a happy business owner and virtual assistant.  It’s great to remember those days and think about how far I’ve come along the journey!

Please share your experiences with me, too!  I’d like to know what you went through in your first job!

Best,

Heather

The Intricacies of Selling in Japan

The Japanese are very forgiving of foreigners especially when it comes to not fully understanding all of their customs and cultures.  They prefer not to have one-on-one meetings and will wait until there can be multiple people at the business meeting.  It is important to be respectful because if you make a bad reputation for yourself, it will take a long time to change the bad image that you have made for yourself.  Through building of relationships, a company can obtain many referrals, since it is all based on trust.  Selling online to Japan is a market that is really taken off and that companies should jump on.  There are requirements to being successful in this arena.  The customer service must be impeccable.  This includes understanding what Japanese consumers want and need from their products and services.  Quality is a top priority in their decision making.  However it is also important to understand the language, so if someone speaks Japanese that would be much better.  What would be considered a harmless product in the United States could be perceived as offensive in Japanese culture, so this is something an American company must tread lightly on.  An example of this is, on Valentine’s Day chocolates and presents are given from the female to their boyfriends, husbands, etc.  But the male counterpart must wait a month until it is White Day to reciprocate the presents.  If a company fails to understand this, it could be detrimental.  Also, the different age groups can vary among how to target those markets and the customs that they hold dear.

A great resource for this topic is Market to Japan.  They provide marketing consulting to firms exploring into Japan.  Check out their website at: http://www.markettojapan.com/

Doing Business in Japan – Intimidating and Challenging!

Doing business in Japan can be intimidating to foreigners who do not understand their culture or their business habits. This is not a barrier to doing business in Japan though. There are just a few things that a foreign business person needs to know before they travel to Japan for business. First and foremost, depending on who you are dealing with, the entire meeting may be spoken in Japanese. This may be the case, especially if you are dealing with a smaller domestic company. However, if you are in a meeting with a large company, the people you speak to will likely be fluent in English. Understanding Japanese or at least having an interpreter is definitely a plus when doing business in Japan The meetings will be very formal and there will be very little small talk as there are in American or European meetings. Sometimes these meetings can appear cold to foreign business people. The Japanese executives will politely exchange business cards, listen to your presentation while taking notes, ask some questions and leave. This has nothing to do with their interest, it’s just how they conduct meetings. One thing that can be said about Japanese culture is that it is very polite. During the meeting you will be treated in the most polite and respectful manner, so it is important that you do the same. Outside of a meeting room, the Japanese will continue their tradition of politeness by entertaining their business guests. They will often take foreign executives out to dinner even if they have no intention of doing business with them. Sometimes this can happen several times in a row and give the foreign executive the wrong impression that their Japanese hosts are interested when they are not. One aspect of the Japanese business culture that makes it more favorable than others is their sense of loyalty. If you are a trusted business partner or associate of a Japanese company, you can expect them to stand by you through good times and bad. They have a strong sense of loyalty in both their business and personal lives that is very admirable.

A great resource for this topic is Market to Japan. They provide marketing consulting to firms exploring into Japan. Check out their website at: http://www.markettojapan.com/