Dawn At Your Service’s Blog

Seeking Local Website Promotion Ideas

Different types of marketing work for different businesses. The table below lists the different types of tactics that I have, or currently practice in my virtual assistance business website and specialty directory of niche directories. My expertise is in increasing traffic and page rank. I also utilize these strategies for clients. This works well for an online business, but how effective is it for conversion when your target audience is local? What types of Internet Marketing or Website Promotion are effective strategies for something like a heating and air conditioning business or a painting company? Is it worth their time and effort or money to utilize these approaches? If not, where do you think they would see more bang for their buck?

Type: Purpose:
Article Marketing To build credibility, visibility & website traffic (people are naturally curious about the author), and increased back links.  A valuable article in a valuable directory is highly recognized by search engines.
Back linking (An external website that links to your website.) Search engines determine a website’s importance by the amount of “good” sites that link back to them. Posting comments on other blogs relevant to your website using a signature is a good way to increase back links.
Blogging To increase credibility, inform the readers about the person behind the business and their expertise. Fresh content is highly recognized by search engines. Informative and/or entertaining compositions attract people and increase traffic.
Directory Submissions-Major Directories To increases visibility, search engine recognition and website traffic.
Quality Directory Submissions-general & specialty directories To increase back links (Watch out for “spammy” directories.)
Forum Participation To build credibility, business relationships and back links (using a signature).
Micro-Blogging To gain exposure, announcement portal, build relationships and gain credibility as an expert in your field.
Search Engine Optimization Add title tag, meta tags and modify content arrangement and keywords.
Social Bookmarking To gain quality back link(s), niche specific increased visibility (based on relevancy) and increase traffic. Works well for valuable blogs.
Social Networking Sites To gain exposure, announcement portal, build relationships and gain credibility as an expert in your field. Increases back links.
Press Releases To builds visibility and exposure. Generally feeds through news which is good for an SEO boost and temporarily increase web traffic. Increases back links.

June 12, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Business Management, Marketing, Time Management | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time Management Tips for the Growing Business

A growing business can be both exciting and stressful for the owner. Here are some time saving tips to help things run a little smoother.
(These tips may not apply to all businesses.)

Scheduling

Be realistic about turn over time and don’t stretch yourself too thin. When juggling multiple projects, it is better to tell your clients that you will have their assignment(s) completed in 7 days and get it to them in 3, rather then telling them it will be completed in 3 days and getting it to them in 7. It is important for your clients to understand that they are not your only client. They are business owners themselves and should understand that ALL client assignments are a priority and each deserves equal attention. Granted some clients are more laid back than others. But that should not be a factor. Each client is valued equally and should be treated the same way. Hopefully your clients respect you enough to understand that.

Prioritize Time

Most people have certain times in the day when their energy levels and focus are high. Tasks that require the most concentration should be scheduled during those periods. Save the tedious and repetitious tasks that you could do in your sleep for the periods of time throughout the day when you feel like you’re hitting the wall.

For example, I feel my most creative and focused in the morning after I’ve had my cup of coffee and energy friendly breakfast. Assignments that require a lot of thought and concentration are usually attended to at this time. If I wait until later in the day when my brain is fuzzy and my eyes start to hurt from staring at the computer all day, it will take me twice as long to accomplish the task.

Consolidate Tasks

Multi-tasking comes natural to me and consolidating tasks is a tactic I have practiced in every career I have ever been in.

Kill 2 birds with one stone. If you have different clients with similar tasks, working on them in bundles can be time efficient. For instance, if you have images to scale for multiple clients, do them all at once. (Hopefully you have a convenient time tracking tool like myhours so you can keep it up in a separate window and track how long you spend on each client.) Rather then opening and closing your image manipulation program and document files several times, open them up, scale all of the images and BAM, you’re done. Although it may only save you a few minutes, every minute counts.

This is also a big help for me when I submit to website directories, create networking profiles or submit articles. This tactic works best for niche specific businesses.

Another example for consolidating tasks is when you write an informational e-mail or forum post, use an elaborated version for a blog post, newsletter or article. Chance are if one person was interested in the information, others are too. This is a good way to consolidate some of your marketing strategies, saving time and creative energy.

Avoid Distractions

Turn off the Television. Just having it on in the background causes your brain to work harder and sucks a little juice from where you need it most; whether is be reading, logic, artistic etc…

Turn the telephone ringer off. OK, this may not be applicable when you’re trying to run a business so rely on your caller i.d. Save conversation with chatty girlfriends for your free time. My friends know that I’m not trying to be rude when I don’t answer their calls during the day. I’m working and my boss prohibits personal phone calls. 😉

Close out your E-mail. Check e-mail at specific times of the day and keep out! E-mail is a big time distraction for many business owners! We can get lost in it all day long and wonder where in the world the day went. Luckily for me, I don’t have a problem closing Outlook. I have to or I won’t get my work done.

Shut down TweetDeck. Twitter can be extremely distracting. Allow certain times of the day for “play” or as we call it….marketing. Let your brain focus on one thing at a time. All of that beeping from TweetDeck compels us to check if we missed something and can cause quick and easy tasks to drag on for hours.

Outsource

Micro business owners often see slim to no profit in the beginning stages of ownership. We are excited to start rolling in the dough and the idea of outsourcing  feels undesirable. But the important thing to remember is customer loyalty grows our businesses. If we provide efficiency, reliability and excellent customer service, our clients will not only give us more business in the future, but refer us to their friends, family and colleagues. When we take on more work then we should manage, our stress bleeds through correspondence, we fall behind on response time, deadlines and often make mistakes. Outsourcing is an investment. It costs money to make money. And the highlight of outsourcing is it’s only necessary during high peek times. We won’t be crazy busy all of the time. And our chances of experiencing lulls will reduce if we take good care of our clients, even if it means sacrificing a little profit from time to time.

Eat Energy/Focus Food Frequently

Yes, this is actually coming out of my mouth! The reason why is because it works! When you’re blood sugar starts to drop, fatigue increases and concentration plummets resulting in tasks taking much longer then normal. Focus and energy result in higher productivity.

The energy food theory is accurate and has worked wonders for me by eliminating crashes throughout the day. Reducing coffee has also helped reduce headaches and energy crashes. Balanced meals and snacks work well. I need protein combined with carbs or I feel very sleepy. I snack on granolla bars, yogurt with nuts and granolla, crackers and peanut butter, and string cheese wrapped in ham or Turkey. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids also improve energy and concentration. Everyone’s body is different so it’s important to decipher what works best for you.

To learn more about energy boosting foods, click here.

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Business Management, Time Management | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Relaxation Maintains My Sanity

Relaxation photoWorking from home, staring at the computer 8-10+ hours a day, managing a family, running a household and working part time on the weekends can really put my brain on overload! Sometimes by the end of the day I almost feel as though I hear a sizzling sound in my mind.

I have a ton of responsibilities and obligations, but it is mandatory I take at least 3 days a month off! (Yes, I should probably take more. At this point though, 3 have been rejuvenating enough.) When I refer to “days off”, I’m talking about not going to my parents for dinner, no laundry, no cooking dinner and NO COMPUTER! I don’t necessarily have to be a couch potato (although that is what I usually do), but allow the brain a little time free of major stimulation. Give the poor organ a rest during consciousness every once in awhile!

In addition to taking days off free of responsibility, it’s also imperative to take time for yourself. As a parent I know how impossible that seems. Most of the time I have a small someone handing me the toilet paper when I’m using the bathroom. I know “me” time is far and few between. But in order to maintain sanity, “me” time is necessary! Taking a bath, painting my nails, watching my favorite show or a movie alone, doing anything in silence feels so liberating. Going out to eat with a girlfriend or running to the store to buy myself a new outfit or even better…shoes, makes me feel happy and refreshed.

There is ALWAYS something to do and fitting in time for myself is absolutely a challenge. Being the organizer that I am, I pencil in “days off” or “Dawn time” as I would any other task or appointment. I consider it to be a very high priority and generally don’t budge unless it’s an emergency. I have no problem telling my friends or family “NO”, I can’t do something because I’m busy doing nothing that day. I don’t feel bad and they understand. Reason being….If Mommy’s not happy, nobody’s happy!

January 27, 2009 Posted by | Time Management | , , , , , | 4 Comments