Tag Archives: small business

Monday Marketing Mash-Up: Social Media News You Should Know

Social media changes: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
They’re all beginning to look the same

Looks like all social media sites are making tons of changes. Here are some recent changes that affect small businesses.

Facebook has removed a number of features, including sponsored stories — which is great, because we’re all tired of those sponsored “your friend likes this page” updates. But I’m sad that they’re killing questions (though why not call them polls, Facebook)?

Here’s the announcement by Facebook and a nice explanatory post on HubSpot. What does this mean for businesses? Now you can’t waste money promoting what someone did on/to your page or content.

The other big Facebook change is the introduction of hashtags: this could really change the game for Facebook, by making search and discovery much easier. Marketers, start optimizing your Facebook posts!

Twitter’s adding analytics. This is really cool, but no idea when this will be rolled out to all users. For businesses, this is will help to see what tweets are working and whether you’re just wasting your time (even if you’re not using Markitty).

Twitter has started 2-step log-in verification, and so has LinkedIn.

Speaking of LinkedIn, you can now share media files in your updates, so start sharing those photos and presentations. LinkedIn also previously added the ability to add visual content to your profile (or page). 

With these updates and having added the ability to tag people, LinkedIn’s begun to look eerily like Facebook and Google Plus. And Facebook’s trying to be more like Twitter, earlier with timelines and now hashtags. Which begs the question: if they’re all the same, should we bother trying to be present on all of them or just focus on one? Or maybe automated cross-posting is the answer (please, no).

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Facebook Hashtags: Tips for Marketers and Small Businesses

facebook announces hashtagsThe big argument for using Twitter for marketing has been that you can see what others are talking about, even if they are not in your network. Facebook is out to change that.

Facebook today announced its much awaited feature: Hashtags.

“Starting today, hashtags will be clickable on Facebook. Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion.”

Continue reading Facebook Hashtags: Tips for Marketers and Small Businesses

Common Marketing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

I wrote on YourStory about marketing mistakes I find myself making repeatedly and see most often in others as well.

Here are some ways to avoid making such mistakes:

  1. Study the data. Be careful you don’t misinterpret it, but make sure you’re looking at it and can figure out what it means. 
  2. Ask your customers. Make sure you’re talking to them and know what they really think, and not just what you think they think. But of course, they need to be the right customers.
  3. Talk to people who’ll ask you the hard questions: be it a partner, advisor, or a friend.
  4. Don’t lose sight of your vision. Don’t change something just because someone suggested it: see if it fits into your vision of your business.
  5. Measure your productivity. Are you spending time on the right things?
  6. Question yourself constantly. Why are you doing [something]? Are you making the right assumptions? Is there a better way of doing this?

Tell me: what are the mistakes you try hard not to make?

The Most Important Marketing Metrics for Small Businesses

In our interview series, we asked marketers and entrepreneurs we admire about their marketing practices. One question I asked most people was about metrics: what metrics do they measure or think are most important for small businesses should measure?

Website Metrics

If your website is also your product (content sites like Ask A Manager and YourStory, product startups like AppSurfer, e-commerce sites), website metrics are of paramount importance.

The AppSurfer team tracks website metrics regularly, especially engagement-related metrics: pages per visit, bounce rate, etc.

We met Jubin Mehta of YourStory recently, and he told us that YourStory focuses on the number of unique visitors — not total visits or page views, but the number of readers.

Continue reading The Most Important Marketing Metrics for Small Businesses

Monday Marketing Mash-up: Managing a Business While Parenting

Mother and daughterI’m not a parent, but I’m in awe of those of you who manage a business and are parents of young children. So this week, here are some tips from other parents who’ve been there.

Sahil Parikh inspired this list with his Productivity Hacks of a Startup Dad: tips that can be useful to all of us, even those who aren’t parents.

I love that building a routine doesn’t work for him (since I keep trying and failing at establishing a routine myself) and that he doesn’t follow general or world news (another practice I’ve been following for a couple of years that makes me feel ignorant but less stressed out). I don’t use email notifications either, though  I don’t follow any of the rest of his tips (I do want to follow the first one though, but again, routines seem to be beyond me).

On Women’s Web, Monalisa Saxena writes about managing her business while she was pregnant: a nice set of tips that would probably work for any scheduled downtime, whether a long vacation or maternity leave.

Continue reading Monday Marketing Mash-up: Managing a Business While Parenting

6 Free Tools for Creating Product and Promotional Videos

Are videos part of your content marketing? If not, they should be. Be it a quick product demo, a walk through your facility or office, a testimonial from a happy customer,  a training video for some complex feature of your product or an introduction of your team — videos are a great medium for all of this.

But getting professional videos done is so difficult and costly that most of us shy away from it. We recently created a bunch of videos of our product and team, and in the process, discovered that it’s not as difficult as it seems.

There are a number of easy and mostly free tools that you can use to create different kinds of videos quickly. Don’t expect the production quality to be really great, but this will serve the purpose for the most part.

Take a look at the videos we created here, and below is the list of tools we used.

1. Powtoon

Powtoon - Create professional looking animated videos and presentations

Continue reading 6 Free Tools for Creating Product and Promotional Videos

Closing The Loop: Merging Online And Offline Marketing

You probably have a Facebook page for your business if you are a restaurant or an established retail business. How do you promote your page? How do you reach out to the same people online who are already coming to your physical store?

Most businesses rely on their customers (or prospects) to find them online and like their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. But why not actively close this loop? Let’s look at examples of some businesses in Pune who are doing this.

1. apniChai asking their customers to like them on Facebook

apniChai is on Facebook

Continue reading Closing The Loop: Merging Online And Offline Marketing

Are Facebook Pages Worthless or Are You Doing Social Wrong?

Often, we tell business-owners that just because someone liked your Facebook page doesn’t mean your posts show up in their news feed. Usually, they are shocked to know this. This blogger on Forbes found out the hard way:

Once we started posting on our Facebook page, we were shocked, shocked, to see that not all the users that liked our page were seeing our posts. For example, with over 6,000 likes on our page, a typical post would only be seen by fifty to several hundred people. To reiterate, only 1% to 5% of the people that liked our page saw our posts.

But does this mean Facebook pages are a bad investment for small businesses, as the title of that post says? No.  Continue reading Are Facebook Pages Worthless or Are You Doing Social Wrong?

Weekly Reading: The Power of Focus

Marketing FunnelWe talk often about the power of focus here on the Markitty blog and in person. This blog post explains better than I ever could why this is even more important for small businesses.

If you want 1% of a market, you need to get everyone in that market to at least visit your website.

This ties in with the marketing funnel in our “measuring marketing” presentation. Start from the number of customers you want to meet your revenue targets and work backwards to the number of prospects you need to reach out to. You might be surprised.

Continue reading Weekly Reading: The Power of Focus

Welcome to YourStory Readers

If you’re coming over from YourStory, welcome!

Markitty is an online software tool that recommends actions to improve your online marketing. Markitty pulls together stats from your Facebook Page, Twitter profile, and Google Analytics account, and gives you recommendations based on your recent activities and results.

You should get Markitty if:

  • You are a small business (restaurant or retail store or business services or florist or anything, really), and
  • You have a Facebook Page, Twitter account, website with Google Analytics (at least one of these) for your business, and
  • You want to make better use of online marketing.

Here is a video demo.
Continue reading Welcome to YourStory Readers

Online Marketing Workshops in Bangalore and Chennai

I’m doing two online marketing workshops with Women’s Web.

Want to get more out of your blog, or Facebook page? Wondering how to get your website visitors to buy? How to track marketing results and figure out what’s working for you (and what isn’t)? This workshop is for you.

This workshop will help you decide on the best online marketing channels for your business, how to use them effectively, and how to track performance and make decisions based on marketing data. This is meant to help you go beyond just scouting for Facebook likes or Twitter mentions, or more visitors to your website, and instead, focus on converting those visitors and interactions to actual results: whether in the form of sales, registrations, enquiries or any other result you are looking for.

Here are the dates:

These workshops are for women entrepreneurs, and I’m very excited to be meeting some of the members of Women’s Web’s smart, engaged community.

We’ll stay in each city for a few days to catch up with friends and contacts there, so if you are in either and want to meet up, leave a comment or send me an email at umnana@markitty.com.

How to Set up Google Analytics for Your Website or Blog

Do you know how many people are visiting your site and where they are coming from? Do you know how much time they are spending on your site and what content they are looking at?

It’s easy to get answers to these questions, and as a business-owner you are missing out on very valuable information if you aren’t looking at this regularly. Google Analytics is a free (and most widely-used) tool that you can use to track visitor and usage information  for your website or mobile application.

Track Website Traffic Using Google Analytics

Continue reading How to Set up Google Analytics for Your Website or Blog

Presentation: Interpreting Marketing Data

On April 20th, we conducted the third and the last session of our marketing workshop for start-ups and small businesses in Pune.

We talked about how to interpret online marketing results and make better business decisions by understanding the impact of various marketing activities on your data. Looking at a single metric like site visits or Facebook likes could lead you to make wrong inferences, which we demonstrated with a small case study.

Here is the presentation from the workshop for those who could not attend.

For more marketing tips from us, sign up below.

The Markitty Story: in the Hustler’s Words

Unmana wrote about how we decided to get started with Markitty: here is my account of the product development so far.

Gathering courage

I had done a bit of coding more than 10 years back, but since then my exposure to the technical side was limited to managing software projects, data analysis, and occasional experiments with SQL or Excel macros. Building a SaaS product of our own was a task I had never imagined taking up.

Outsource or build in-house

We didn’t have a lot of money to hire a great outsourcing vendor or to hire a senior technical lead. We did try looking for someone who could be a technical co-founder but that was not going to be easy.

Unmana and I had both worked in geographically distributed teams for a long time and understood the communication overheads and leakages that need to be dealt with in such a setup. So we were very clear from the beginning that we wanted to have a local team and dedicated developers who can work closely with us. Apart from the cost, culture was the biggest driver behind this decision.

Continue reading The Markitty Story: in the Hustler’s Words

Weekend Reads for Better Marketing: Get Involved with Your Community

I have been thinking about community a lot lately. Nilesh wrote on YourStory.in about marketing lessons from our Office Hours for the Pune startup community.

Contribute to the community you want to be part of. There are many ways of adding value – you don’t have to be in the organizing committee to do that. Reach out to the people who are running things and they would be more than happy to get a helping hand.

Find things you can do well – we knew that we would not be able to help much with organizing community events and we like more focused conversations than open ended gatherings. Office hours gave us that opportunity and filled an important gap.

Online Marketing Workshop with Pune OpenCoffee Club
Nilesh talking to participants at our online marketing workshop with members of Pune OpenCoffee Club

Continue reading Weekend Reads for Better Marketing: Get Involved with Your Community

Presentation: Measuring Marketing Performance

On Saturday, we conducted the second of a three-session workshop on marketing for small-business owners for members of the Pune Open Coffee Club.

Unmana presenting at Marketing Measurement workshop for entrepreneurs

We talked about setting marketing objectives based on the business challenges you are facing, and how marketing can — and should! — help not only with getting the word out about your business, but nurturing your followers and leads till they become customers, and nurturing customers and encouraging them to stay with you.

I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions we had: and if you were there, thank you for being an active participant! And here’s the presentation.

Continue reading Presentation: Measuring Marketing Performance

Using LinkedIn for Business: Interview with Ed Steinberg, LinkedIn’s first Relationship Manager

Edward_SteinbergWhen I first knew Ed Steinberg, he was the head of human resources at the company I was then working at. Since then, he’s gone on to do interesting things, becoming LinkedIn’s first Relationship Manager and working there for several years before moving on to training other sales people on using LinkedIn effectively.

I asked Ed for tips on using LinkedIn that small businesses can use. Read on! My questions and comments are in bold.

Let’s start by talking about you: tell us about how you landed up in LinkedIn and what your role has been.

I worked in Human Resources for a long time, 15 years or so. My primary responsibility was hiring. I realized that referral hires made the best hires and helped grow a company from 4 employees to over 500 people. I had opened up offices on 3 continents and hired a tremendous group of employees.

While working as Global Head of HR at StarCite, a LinkedIn rep came to my office to sell me Corporate Solutions. When I realized what it was, I saw that this was a large extension around the concept of referral hiring that had worked so well for me. It made perfect sense!

Continue reading Using LinkedIn for Business: Interview with Ed Steinberg, LinkedIn’s first Relationship Manager