Advertising and Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to marketing and advertising your business, it is essential to develop a good marketing plan. Even the most solid plan, however can still fail if it is not implemented correctly. Avoiding these common advertising and marketing mistakes can help.

One mistake that many businesses make is to not market to a defined group or demographic. While it is important to appeal to a wide target audience possible, failing to identify your key demographic will keep your business from reaching the customers who are most interest in the product or service you have to offer. Focus your advertisements to appeal to your target audience, and you will naturally attract more business.

Effective marketing is based on a cohesive advertising strategy, so once you develop a logo and theme for your ads and promotions, make sure that you stick with it. A marketing strategy that is inconsistent will make your company look unfocused and unprofessional. This does not mean that you should focus your advertising and marketing efforts on one medium, however. Many businesses make this mistake because they are unfamiliar with certain mediums.

Don’t allow unfamiliarity with technology to hinder your marketing campaign. Make sure that you utilize all available media sources whenever possible, including television, print ads, radio, and online advertising. Many businesses fail to utilize online advertising tactics because they are unfamiliar with the technology. If this is the case, be sure to take the time to learn, and search for sites that make it easy for you to upload your video advertisements, even if you have little or no experience with this type of medium.

In the process of trying to attract new business, don’t make the common mistake of neglecting your repeat customers. Repeat customers make up an estimated 80 percent of most revenue, so be sure to target your marketing campaigns toward them as well. If your marketing message is unclear, however both new and repeat customers will be confused. Consistency is the key to achieving brand reputation.

The most effective marketing and advertising campaigns take into account the measure of their marketing results, so be sure to keep close track of what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to try new things and to discard ideas that don’t work for your business. Remember, the best marketing strategies are the ones that evolve and grow over time to meet the changing needs of a business, its target audience, and emerging technology.

To learn more about advertising online and other online marketing tips visit our site.

Expand Your Business With Blogging

Statistically speaking, you’re likely reading this outside of normal business hours. Am I right, or am I right? Why? Because if you have a life (okay … admittedly many people don’t) the majority of your time is spent away from the office and outside of normal business hours. Usually, when the sun goes down you are already out the door. Frazier has left the building.

But the sun never sets on the internet. It operates 24/7/365 for online and offline businesses both. There are no doors to unlock and no lights to turn on. The doors are always open and the lights are always on. No brick; no mortar; no time clocks.

There are so many important online tools for both marketing (presenting your company and product to the market) and sales (trading that product/service for revenue) … if you’re not using them you’re soon to be extinct. Even the US government figured that out. Filed any corporate taxes lately? Most companies now do it online (it is called EFTPS, if you’re at all curious).

Low-to-No Cost – Many of the online resources available for your business are usable with no cost and can offer great results. Calculate the ROI on that: small investment (mostly in your time) and great results. Infinite ROI? No, not quite. But as a business owner if you use these available tools correctly it will make a difference in your business. Put another way, if you are not using online tools for your business, the wolves are at the door and your house is made of sticks. Not brick and mortar; sticks.

Blogging is increasingly being used to effectively to present businesses and products to the market. Websites like Blogger and WordPress make it possible to share value – your knowledge and experience – through blog posts. Helpful blog posts on relevant content establish you as a leader and creates a relationship that your consumers don’t normally get from just visiting your website. Just today in a phone conversation a client said, “I was so glad to see you are a real person!” The personal touch works.

Need a great example? Go look at 3PAR’s company blog called “StorageRap” (www.storagerap.com). No, I’m not associated with 3PAR in any way. But Marc Farley is awesome at what he does for the data storage industry. Take special note of the value that he delivers. Yes, it comes with a heavy dose of opinion, and more than a bit of controversy, but that is the whole point of blogging! Ever read a boring blog post … more than part-way? I rest my case.

If you are venturing into a company blog, ensure it has a clear objective. Brainstorm with colleagues on ideas of what to write and how to represent the company. Then just to it.

Don’t be stingy. And don’t be a twit. – Contribute to the communication in meaningful ways. A terrific way to increase your network is to be active and to comment on others’ posts. Respect the poster; comment on the post. Remember that a single post could be read by thousands, some of whom may take great interest in you and the products you represent.

Don’t Abuse the Blog – If you use your blog correctly, clients and consumers will appreciate your information and insight. But consistency is key. Deliver value to your business community by remaining active in blogging and in social networking forums. Don’t hold back. Give more, and you will receive more.

Brian Moore is a business coach and mentor that assists serious entrepreneurs in building a profitable online business with multiple incomes streams. Brian and his team have assisted hundreds of people in generating profits that exceed $250K or more in their first year. For more information and to contact Brian, visit: http://www.meetbrianmoore.com

Article Marketing Blog Help

Article marketing is said to be a great way to generate money online in this day and age. It is actually being used by authors to promote their books or ebooks as well as it is also being used by businessmen in marketing their products and services. But don’t you know that you can also use article marketing even if you are not a certified author or businessman? You simply have to come up with good quality article contents which you need to post on your own website or weblog. As a matter of fact, one of the best ways to be a successful article marketer is by being aware on how to do the article marketing blog.

A blog is actually a web page or site which can serve as your personal journal wherein you can write anything and everything that you want. You can write your personal views and opinions about some things which can be of great help to other people. In point of fact, you can create your own blog and use it for article marketing purposes and gain extra cash eventually. You only need to make sure to arm yourself with some of the basic article marketing blog tips. The following are some blog help tips which you can consider to be successful in the realm of article marketing:

• Place your blog on a main website. This is essential in order to easily acquire more web visitors. You can actually choose a keyword or keyword phrases that would best describe your page and make your chosen keywords to be your blog’s title. You also have to see to it to create a URL for your own blog site.

• Link your blog to all of your articles. This is important in order to acquire greater traffic. All you need to do is to include your blog’s URL to all of your written articles. Furthermore, you should make sure not to publish your articles instantly on your blog. You only have to write on your blog some little explanations or remarks regarding your articles, its purpose, as well as its basis and link it directly to your original website.

• Do the link exchanging. Exchanging links works in a way wherein you are going to include on your blog the lists of online article directories, sites, newsletters, or even other blog sites which publish your articles. This is in fact another way on how to generate web visitors and traffics through other useful sites.

• Put a comment box on your weblog page. This is somewhat helpful in order for you to be aware on how people respond to all your written articles either on your blog site itself or to your original website. You need to accept all kinds of comments whether good or bad and consider all those comments when it comes to improving your blog, website, and articles to attain success in the realm of article marketing.

Indeed, you can use a blog in order to do article marketing and gain instant cash. You only have to keep the aforementioned article marketing blog tips in mind in order to ensure success in the long run. After all, the tips mentioned above are believed to be truly helpful and can be done without much effort at all.

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Should You Guest Blog?

Plan and simple, yes you want to guest blog, but you want to be picky about the sites you are guest blogging on. I say this because you want to make sure your blogging on a site that is actually going to help you get target traffic to your site. You don’t want to waste time and energy creating a blog post on say SEO (which is your specialty) on a blog that is dedicated to preserving Barbie. The point of guest blogging is that it is a win win for the webmaster and the guest blogger.

I am sure that you are not really interested in what guest blogging does for the webmaster at this point. You want to know what it is in it for you. That is the focus on this post. So here we go, the first benefit of guest blogging is that you get instant exposure to your blog. Let’s say that you just launched a new site that you are really excited about and you know offers great benefit to visitors. You want traffic now, not in a few weeks or months. Find an authority site or other site that is reputable in your niche, contact the webmaster and offer to guest blog for them. You blog post will offer informative content and a plug about you and your website.

The second benefit is that exposure you gain. If you don’t have a business that you are trying to promote, but skills you want to offer to hire… guest blogging can help you there as well. When you guest blog on a site, as I said above, you get to do a little blurb about you and what you do, and from there you can direct people to a place where they can learn more about you.

The third benefit and reason as to why you should try to guest blog is that you get a link back to your blog. We have talked in the past about how important back linking is. This is a great way to increase your rankings with links from reputable sites.

Notice that I have mentioned reputable sites. You want to look for sites that have a good ranking, because you know that they are getting traffic. You also know that they are getting crawled by the spiders on a routine basis and that what they say on that website is trusted by people in the niche you are addressing. You don’t want to waste your time blogging on a site that isn’t getting more traffic then you currently are, or worse yet, they are not getting traffic at all.

There are a few rules that you need to keep in mind in regards to your posts. You want to make sure that your post fits into the category of blog you are posting on. Remember, Barbie isn’t going to care much on how to SEO optimize. The blog post that you create must be original and unique. You can’t post an article that you wrote and posted elsewhere.

Also, we are talking about your reputation so you really want to post only articles that you have written. If you are going to farm out the blog posts writing then make sure that you have proofed what is said in the article. The last thing in the world you want to do is make yourself look bad or the website you are guest blogging on.

Finally, when you guest blog if you are going to use a link in your post, it must be a link that is related to the website you are writing for. You should NOT use your own affiliate links. This is just poor taste and not only will the webmaster kick you to the curb, it will get around in the industry that “type” of person you are and you will have a hard time getting another guest blogging spot.

Neil Bartlett is the founder of MyIMCoach.com. My IM Coach provides aspiring Internet Marketers with Tips and Techniques for getting started and/or improving their marketing skills. To learn more INSTANTLY grab his FREE report “How To Make It Online”

Free Marketing and Free Advertising For Your Business

We all know that marketing and advertising is essential if one wishes to build a successful business. No matter how great your product is or how fantastic your company is, if no one knows what you are or what service you can provide then you are effectively invisible. So once you have your business you need to tell the world about it and this is where your marketing and advertising comes in.

Now before you rush out to spend a fortune on marketing firms let us look at some very simple and free ways to promote your business. This will of course assume that you have a company website. If you do not then you should design one or have one designed for you. These methods may sound simple and they may sound incredibly obvious yet they are tools that can increase traffic to your company website and can draw much needed attention to a particular product that you are trying to promote.

1) Articles

Sounds simple enough yet article writing is an often overlooked form of advertising. It is great for highlighting a particular product or service. Obviously the main body of the article would feature the service being offered and would list all the reasons why this service is essential and why this service can be best provided by your business. The article would also contain links to the particular page on your site that features this service or product. The beauty of the article is that you will on most occasions be allowed to provide links to your business within the author’s biography box at the end of the article. Once your article has been written you can then submit it to online article sites and to article directories. Traffic to your company website can be generated by this form of advertising and your monthly visitors will increase as you add more articles.

2) Forums

Forums are great at generating traffic. However, this must be approached correctly or you will loose much needed credibility as soon as readers think you are a “spammer”. There is nothing worse than seeing an endless stream of one line postings promoting a business idea. No matter how good the offer may be or how genuine, people will switch off. A site such as Yahoo Answers can be invaluable. You will look for a relevant question and give a good answer. Only then will you throw in a link to your website. Again just posting something like “click here for a good business solution” will provide no immediate help and will turn visitors away. However, if you present a good answer that provides real time solutions you can then add your link from a “to find out more…” perspective. Your credibility will thus increase as readers see that you are offering genuine help. Again any biographical information will provide links to the company website.

3) Incoming Links

Now this is specifically geared toward generating website traffic but at the same time it can increase your company profile and credibility. Maintaining a page of business links just for the sake of it does not do much for your page rank. This is especially true if the links are irrelevant to your business. Even relevant links are not that helpful if they are there just as a reciprocal token. If possible try to gain inbound links from respectable websites such as university or other educational websites. Anything coming from a government website would be beneficial too. Again you would present yourself to the relevant organisation and give them a good reason for them to link to your company website. What would they benefit from the link and what would their visitors benefit from seeing a link to you? Try to avoid link farms for they just provide a list of irrelevant reciprocal linking that do nothing for your page ranking or your credibility. In fact they will do more harm than good.

4) Company Blog

The use of a blog is great for keeping your current customers up to date. Here you can provide latest information including new product releases or new projects that the company is starting. One must never forget the customers that you have and a company blog is a great way of keeping them in the picture and remaining loyal customers.

Here we have looked at only four possible marketing and advertising methods, yet they are four methods that can be very successful in the long run. They will also cost you nothing except perhaps the odd paid listing in a good directory.

All of this will take time to establish, however when these methods have been used for some time you will reap the benefits. Always maintain your credibility though and of course your enthusiasm and your patience.

John Hewitt is a full time freelance writer. He has worked in many fields including music, the restaurant industry, film work and as an RSPCA animal welfare officer. If you would like to see more of his articles and poetry then please visit http://www.john-hewitt.com and feel free to sign up to the RSS feed.

Exhibition Display Stands

Exhibition display stands play a very important role for a successful exhibition. They are available in various types, designs and styles. They are inexpensive and easy to install.

If you are taking part in an exhibition and want to promote your company’s product in best way, it is essential to choose the best marketing and advertising strategies. You need to work a lot to make your exhibition display attractive and different from the crowd of other exhibitions. Exhibition stands are the best way of creating a different atmosphere for your exhibition.

Different kinds of exhibition display stands

There are various display stands, which can be used in your exhibition to give it a different and stylish look:

  • Brochure stands are the best way of presenting your product, its services and sales message to the interested buyers. Brochures, fliers and catalogues with eye-catching colors, designs and messages are in great demand now days. Brochure stands are very reasonable and easy to use. Brochure stands are durable as they are made up of metal that withstand the rigors of exhibition.
  • Banner stands are another exhibition stands that are used in various trade shows, exhibitions and displays. Banner stands are compact and light weighted which makes them easy to install. These banner stands are available in various styles and sizes. Graphical banners are also a good way to display the products and services of your company.
  • Hanging displays is another way of attracting the customers even if they are far away from your booth. They are available in various styles and sizes. Some of the very common styles are triangular frame hanging display, circular frame hanging display and quad frame hanging display. Use of hanging displays makes a good impression on the potential customers and attracts them to visit your booth.
  • Conferences, exhibitions and presentations often prefer Pop up Stands as they come in large variety and styles. Pop up stands are dynamic solution for promoting the products of your company. They are light weighted and are available at reasonable cost.
  • Trade show truss systems provide you everything you need in a portable Truss Display, are extremely versatile, innovative, are a great value for your Trade show dollar and extremely quick and simple to set up.

Factors influencing display stands

While choosing an exhibition display stands, various factors are considered such as the size of the exhibition, re-usage of the stands and the budget. Depending on your requirements, you can choose the display stands.

What you need to have a successful exhibition

Higher efforts you make to your exhibition, higher profits you will earn. The way you present your exhibition display stand shows how creative and successful you are as a company owner. Though standing in an exhibition is not at all an easy task, but with your creative imagination, you can make your exhibition successful. You should plan about your exhibition in advance, so that you can make use of quality display stands thereby working on your advertising, marketing, and cataloging the products. This helps makes it easy for the customers to choose the best products in a hassle free way.

Thus, you must have come to know the importance of exhibition display stands and why they need to look attractive. They are the best source of increasing traffic on your booth resulting increased sales. — Fred Jafarzadeh

Graphic Display Systems

With a quality graphic display system, one can easily manage the display of goods. Get the best graphic display system and enhance your product marketing.

Need to have a sophisticated yet appealing display system

When there is a time to create an appealing and promoting graphic display system for your exhibition or trade show booths, it is imperative to have a professional, attractive and conveniently assembled and disassembled display system. Each person may be concerned with making the trade show backdrop a versatile one along with adding extraordinary and catchy graphics.

Trade shows are a great chance to exhibit different products and services offered by a business and that too in the most effective manner. The main aim of such exhibits and graphic systems is to draw the attention of various prospective customers. Displaying one’s products at an exhibition or trade show in an effective manner will definitely help to generate various new leads. Therefore, it is highly imperative to ensure that the display systems added are of high quality graphics and other appealing messages.

Displaying one’s products through graphic display system can also contribute in reconnecting with the old customers along with getting a new customer line at the very same instance. The color scheme and type of the products highlighted on the display systems along with the nature of business play a vital role in the overall designing of the exhibits at a trade show. There are various modular graphic systems also available that helps in acting as a stand-alone banner for displaying various products and services of a company thereby establishing the uniqueness.

Excellent graphics to be added in display systems

Well-designed graphic displays can be efficiently used in order to display the brand name and logo of the products. This will definitely contribute in more sales and better branding. Standard graphic displays are very famous and are generally found behind the podiums at most of the trade shows or conventions. The folding frames of such standard displays are normally made of aluminum or fiberglass tubes. The entire frame is brilliantly covered with various display and graphic panels in order to provide the visitors the best of display systems and grab all their attention. These graphical displays can be showcased in various color combinations and then laminated for complete protection.

There are printed graphic display systems as well that does not involve any extra graphical panels to be attached on the frame. These display systems are widely admired and demanded as they have the brilliant facility of creating a highly professional and sophisticated backdrop. The fabric used in such printed systems is both flexible as well as durable so that they can be conveniently folded and unfolded.

Promoting one’s business through graphic display systems

The fabric banner graphic display systems are the best low cost solutions in order to create a graphical wall, serving as the back of any trade show or exhibition space. Various messages, images and other promotional items may be added in these display systems in order to hold the interest and attention of the customers along with promoting and describing the company’s goals, motto or services. It is important to have rugged, innovative and patent designed graphic displays that are completely backed with a lifetime frame guarantee feature in order to ensure a trouble-free exhibition time.

For more information contact Capital Exhibits for all your Graphic Display Systems http://www.capitalexhibits.com or call 866-730-3746

Advertising and Effective Promotions

In any economy, the most important aspect of a business is their marketing mix. For small businesses and large corporations alike, it is important to get your name out and build brand equity and awareness. Although everyone is feeling the pressure of limiting expenditures, it is important to remember the old saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” You must spend, but spend wisely. It is important to continue to attend tradeshows, advertise and keep your product or service fresh on consumers’ minds. It is also essential when performing everyday business endeavors, such as sales calls, to keep watch on your brand message and alignment. To strengthen the message of your brand you must employ the basic marketing mix. Advertising and more specifically promotional items are key component to a business’ marketing mix.

Promoting new or existing products will strengthen your brand in addition to boosting sales. Promotions can also be the most cost effective way to maintain and build brand awareness. The key to promoting is to integrate the promotion with the brand identity. For this to be effective, you must work with companies that will offer unique items relevant to your product. Many companies like to leave customers or prospects with something they can keep on their desk or reuse. In this case, personalization is a key factor when choosing these leave-behind items. If it is personalized, they will continue to see your companies name and become more subconsciously familiar and aware of your brand. This familiarity will cause the consumer to become more comfortable with your product, which works in your favor for both a high impact and low impact purchase. An example of the perfect promotion comes from a local Pittsburgh bank. During the opening of 10 new branches they gave new account holders customized paint can coin banks filled with chocolate chip cookies. This was brilliant for a number of reasons. Not only was it a nice gesture for the patrons, but also after the treats are gone it will be reused. This gives the promotion holding power. The idea of a coin bank is also inline with the brand position of the savings bank.

Small inexpensive gestures that set you apart from the competition are going to leave a lasting impression on consumers. Smart marketing and advertising are important to a company’s growth. Low cost advertising tools that integrate your brand identity are the most effective way to continue to compete in any economy.

http://www.applecookies.com
To learn more about these and other economical promotions, visit the above website.

The Current Advertising Market is in Meltdown

With audiences disappearing, TV rates plummeting and clients cutting already slender budgets, perhaps we should be rejoicing that the days of hype and excess are finally over.

The advertising boom of yesteryear will forever be associated with the credit boom. Just as the values of that economic system are now discredited, so to will be the values of the marketing and advertising boom that went with it.

In the future we will no longer have high regard of advertising/marketing that is mass-produced. We will be amazed that Clients, like Guinness, will have paid 15 million pounds for the production of a TV commercial.
Marketing is everything a company does to acquire customers and maintain a relationship with them. Even the small tasks like writing thank-you letters, playing golf with a prospective client, returning calls promptly and meeting with a past client for coffee can be thought of as marketing.

The all-embracing concept of marketing has been lost on a lot of companies, resulting in a poisoning of the well, a deeply ingrained lack of trust that, now has become an enormous obstacle to overcome:

Marketers have spammed, lied, deceived, cluttered and ripped us off for so long, we’re sick of it.

Which means that even if you have a really good reason, no, you can’t call me on the phone. Which means that even if it’s really important, no, I’m not going to read the instructions. Which means that god forbid you try to email me something I didn’t ask for… you’re trashed. It’s so fashionable to be skeptical now that no one believes you if you attempt to do something for the right reasons.

Like all those packaged-up bundles of bad debt, contemporary advertising had no fundamental value. It was misplaced faith in future economic growth that drove up the values of 30-second TV commercials!

The Clients spent so much money on advertising because they believed that they were living in the best of times and that it was all just a one way street – upwards! We all now know all this wasn’t true.

In the years to come this advertising will be seen as the ultimate symbol of the economic fairyland we have been living through in the past five years, an era in which the world lost touch with its sense of value.

These were not masterpieces of advertising, they were the icons of idiocy.My recently published book “Television killed advertising” is now available @ Amazon Books UK. In the book I detail just how much more effective interactive communication is when compared to conventional advertising and details the results of a research investment in excess of £5 m. It also discusses where we went wrong in the past and where we are going to go wrong in the future unless we learn the real meaning of the word “communication.”

Having invested over $10 million in independent research, Paul Ashby is ideally suited to present the case for the widespread use of interactive marketing communication. The research investment has proved conclusively that one exposure to an interactive “event” is far more effective in all key measurements, than traditional advertising. Paul made this investment because has established that Interactive Communication, properly executed, can be totally accountable, unlike all forms of advertising! You can contact Paul at: paul.ashby@yahoo.com

Discover more on http://interactivetelevisionorinteractivetv.blogspot.com

How to Maximize Being “Connected” on Social Networking Sites

Imagine tapping into more than 35 million professionals in over 200 countries and territories worldwide for possible new sales leads, to gain insight from other industry colleagues about upcoming industry trends, and to simply connect with so many different options. This is the amazing reality of social media.

Social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Digg offer you some top-notch professional and business connections that you would never be able to access otherwise. LinkedIn alone boasts these 35 million professionals. So more and more VARs are logging on and logging in to find, be introduced to, and connect with like-minded people to accomplish their business goals. You’ve no doubt heard of LinkedIn and these other social networking sites, and you’ve perhaps even created an account. You recognize the value of being involved in this viral network. Someone asks you if you’re LinkedIn or on Facebook and you say, “Sure.” But quietly think to yourself, “I’m not sure what I should be doing though.”

You’re not alone. So let’s take a look at some of the ways to maximize social networking to your advantage.

First, the network that you develop for yourself will consist of your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know, and so on and so on. It’s similar to the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” where you are just a few connections away from key people. It’s the ultimate in networking, and you’re doing it virtually instead of at a Chamber of Commerce mixer or an annual meeting or trade show where you are limited by the physical attendees. In theory, you could be meeting future customers while lounging in your pajamas. Not only will you find partners and business opportunities, but they will find you too!

Now that you’ve set up your account, what do you do next?

1. Put on your sales hat and start selling you! The first step on any social networking site is to create an intriguing and informative profile about yourself and/or your business. Approach this like building an online resume, only you’re creating it within an already developed template. Start with four or five words that sell what you have to offer – let people know not only what you’ve done in your career, but also where you’re headed. One word of caution – don’t just cut and paste your resume into the profile field. It’s great to include that, but you must go beyond the standard resume. What are you passionate about? What are your core values? What makes your business different from your competitors? Why should customers choose you for their VAR? Social network sites elevate resume writing to the creative “self sell” it should be. You are sharing more than just your professional experience – you’re selling the whole package.

2. What details do you include? People do business with people so include a photo of yourself. Remember, a picture paints a thousand words so you’ll want to look professional but approachable in your photo. Lounging on your friend’s boat with an umbrella drink in your hand probably isn’t the best way to tell your story. But being in a stiff suit might not be either. Find a photo that you’re comfortable with and that speaks words about who you are as a professional VAR. Let people know how you want to be contacted. Do you prefer email? Maybe communicating through the social networking site for awhile works fine but do you want to communicate more directly? Or do you want people to call you out of the blue? Be specific about what’s acceptable (and what isn’t) for networking with you. The more honest you are about what you’re hoping to accomplish, the better your chances of connecting with like-minded people.

3. Start building your network. This could be “friends,” “connections” or other terminology depending on the social networking site. But the bottom line is, one connection usually leads to another as you build out your network farther and farther into this vast community. One good way to judge whether or not you want to make a connection with someone is to decide whether or not you would take a phone call from them during your busy day. If you would take the call, then invite that person into your fold. If you wouldn’t, you might want to think twice about the invitation.

4. Maximize the connections you make. Pose questions and answer others. Informed sources will chime in with their information. You become a resource for others. Recommend customers, vendors, and colleagues whom you know and ask them to do the same. Aren’t you more likely to do business with a vendor that is recommended to you by a trusted friend or business partner? The same rules apply here, too.

Of course, when you make yourself public, there are possible dangers and pitfalls to watch out for as well. People can spam and say negative things about you or your business. But that works both ways so never, ever leave negative feedback in public domain. You also might find “leads” on your doorstep that you don’t want or won’t fit within the network that you’re building. And lastly, don’t oversell and build yourself up too much.

The bottom line is that you have an amazing opportunity to develop connections and build quality leads and relationships in these communities. Using social networks will allow you to not only grow your business financially, but it will also enrich your business experience as you learn new and innovative ways to approach business from your peers.

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)