Category Archives: Tip of the Week

Lisa Hephner

Optimizing Small Business Marketing Content for a 2016 Audience

Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Tip of the Week

content_marketing
Knowing your customers and engaging with them on their terms is one of the most important ways to ensure that your small business marketing campaigns are successful. However, the technology and media landscapes are changing so quickly that it can be hard to keep up.

It is disheartening to realize that the website you spent countless hours and dollars developing just a couple of years ago may now be so hopelessly out of date that it is actually costing you customers. Similarly, the simple straight-forward marketing messages you may have used quite successfully in the past are quite likely no longer performing nearly as well.

What’s going on? A new study from Adobe, The State of Content: Rules of Engagement for 2016, helps explain some fundamental shifts in the marketplace, as well as confirms some time-honored truths.

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Lisa Hephner

SEO for Small Businesses: 15 Stats, 10 Resources, and 1 Free Tool Suite

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in Tip of the Week

seo
How’s your small business Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program doing? What…you don’t have one? That’s a problem, because SEO continues to be one of the most cost effective ways to attract new customers and to remain engaged with your existing customer base.

Read on to learn why SEO is such an important tool for driving traffic to your small business website, learn about online resources covering a wide variety of SEO strategies and tactics, and get a free SEO software suite you can use to implement and monitor your own small business SEO program.

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Lisa Hephner

14 Great Sites for Software Reviews and Free Downloads

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Tip of the Week

devices
The Tip of the Week posts often include reviews of freeware that I think you may find useful. I search for this software using resources anyone can access, if they want to take the time to do it. Hopefully, you have been able to use some of my finds to make your own life easier. However, I know that everyone has individual needs, and the search for useful, time-saving, productivity-boosting software can be never ending. So, this week I’m going to let you in on some of my go-to sources for software reviews and free downloads.

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Lisa Hephner

How Secure is Your Small Business Email?

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Tip of the Week

locked_email
When it comes to email security, there are two main areas to consider: security in transit, and security at rest. Email transit security protects your message as it moves across the Internet, from the moment you hit send to the moment it hits your recipient’s inbox. At rest security typically involves protecting all stored versions of your email content. An additional concern is identity validation, which provides proof that an email you receive (or more importantly, that your customers and prospects receive from you) was actually sent by the person or company in the “From” field.

While it is certainly important to protect your own confidential information when sending email, it is perhaps even more important to ensure that your small business customers trust the email you send to them. Use the following tips to ensure that your email is secure and trusted from inbox to outbox.

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Lisa Hephner

Small Business Lessons from Shakespeare

Posted by on April 26, 2016 in Tip of the Week

shakespeare
Last Saturday, April 23, marked 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare the man. The words of William Shakespeare The Bard live on; and those words, written hundreds of years ago, are still amazingly relevant to the lives we live today. That may be a testament to Shakespeare’s gift; it may also simply be proof that however much society transforms and evolves, people remain fundamentally the same.

As a proud English Major, I couldn’t let the anniversary go unmarked in this Tip column, especially because Shakespeare’s words have so much to offer small business owners—and I’m not just talking about Merchant of Venice, though that’s a good place to start.

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Lisa Hephner

Great Customer Service Can Be Hard to Find

Posted by on April 19, 2016 in Tip of the Week

contact_us
Some e-commerce giants like Amazon hide links to online chat and customer support phone numbers, while others like Netflix put contact numbers and Chat buttons front and center. This informal review of the Alexa top 10 shopping sites finds that when live help is easy to find, it is very easy to find; and when it is buried it is well-buried.

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Lisa Hephner

Small Business Lessons Gleaned from the Strangest Things

Posted by on April 5, 2016 in Tip of the Week

learning_brain
Small business owners have a tendency to be passionate about what they do. As part of this passion, they also have a tendency to relate everyday life experiences to that business; sometimes in quite unusual (and in some cases rather tenuous) ways.

I’m not talking about the typical tales of how a mother/father/child/grandparent/mentor/{insert other influential person here} taught them valuable business lessons. I’m not talking about the endless posts on small business lessons learned from cats, dogs, and other pets. And, I’m also not talking about the many pithy posts bloggers seem never to tire of publishing about “Small Business Lessons Learned from {fill in the blank}.”

I’m talking about personal stories from your fellow entrepreneurs explaining how they leveraged seemingly unrelated life experiences to help their small businesses succeed. While you might not have thought to analyze the situation as the authors do, the small business lessons they reveal can be useful to overcoming the day-to-day challenges you face in running your small business.

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Lisa Hephner

ACH Security Requirements for Merchants

Posted by on March 29, 2016 in Tip of the Week

ach
As a merchant, you’ve probably heard about the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), to which all companies that process credit card transactions must not only adhere, but with which they also need to annually certify compliance. However, you have likely not heard as much talk about NACHA (National Automated Clearinghouse Association) ACH security requirements because there is no official certification process for merchants associated with them.

In fact, there are a number of security requirements included in the NACHA rules for ACH processing that apply to for all businesses initiating ACH transactions (Originators in ACH parlance). These rules apply to any business that processes ACH transactions

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Lisa Hephner

Easter Eggs for Small Business Marketing

Posted by on March 22, 2016 in Tip of the Week

eggs
With Easter fast approaching this Sunday, this week seemed a perfect opportunity to discuss the value of Easter Eggs for small business marketing efforts. While this may bring to mind hidden colored hard-boiled specimens that go unnoticed under your couch until the smell becomes unmistakable sometime around Memorial Day, that’s not what this Tip is about. Nor is it about the many varieties of chocolate eggs that are laid in abundance this time of year (though one can’t argue with the marketing value of gifting these luscious confections to customers).

Today, we’re discussing the media related Easter Egg—a hidden gem in a video game, DVD, software program, website, or even published article or piece of computer hardware—designed to surprise and delight the people who find it.

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