Take Your Marketing to the Next Level with eTailing curriculum

Online marketing is key for all businesses, even those who aren’t selling online. As Tom Cochran from Atlantic Media, best said it, “If you don’t have a digital presence today, you don’t exist.”


Online retail capacity, or e-tailing, remains a rapidly growing trend.

“It is important for all small businesses to put an online marketing strategy into full speed,” says Connie Hancock, UNL Extension Educator. “More and more, customers are looking for 24/7 access or ‘always-on’ capacity to shop, buy, and receive customer support and service.”

With this changing landscape for retailers, North Dakota State University (NDSU) and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Services teamed up to provide rural and small-business owners with an educational program, “eTailing: Taking Charge of Your Online Presence,” at http:go.unl.edu/etailing.

This new self-help program is designed to help business owners understand e-tailing and make plans to incorporate on online marketing strategy into their total marketing strategy to reach existing customers as well as expand their reach for new customers.

“It is important for business owners to understand two things: First, e-tailing is not an option,” says…

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Small Business Saturday 2013 – Nov 30th – It’s Time for Action!!

Small Business Saturday logo

Small Business Saturday

As I was getting ready to write this article, I noticed an article that discussed K-Mart was opening at 6 am on Thursday for Black Friday. The day before I read about many more stores opening at 8 pm on Thanksgiving.

Can a small business owner compete and, if so, how? You can and you should. Last year, an estimated $5.5 billion was spent with small business owners on that one day alone.

First, don’t panic. You still have time to get ready. Small businesses have had competition for years and many of them have found ways to stay in business and grow.

That said, you do need to make some plans. Are there some specials you want to focus on that day? Some business owners are working together in a cooperative effort. I have read that some are focusing on making the day a mini-party, celebrating who they are and treating their customers to maybe hot apple cider and a treat. What is the story or message you want to sell. Certainly part of it is joining into the national effort. Free materials are available online. Just search the term “small business Saturday.”

This is a great time to use social media. Send regular messages through the social media you use. If you haven’t started an online marketing effort yet, maybe now is the time. There will be lots of press about this event. Connect with it. Engage in the conversations. Start building your brand and reputation.

Engage your customers to provide their stories. Get permission from those customers who have sent you a thank-you to use their words, pictures and maybe video in your efforts. Nothing sells as well as loyal ambassadors.

And as you work on your own business, contact other small business owners. Become your local champion for this effort. Take pride in who you are. Small businesses remain a key element in our economy.

The last thing on your list of things to do is start getting ready for Small Business Saturday 2014. Don’t make this a one-time event but the culmination of a year-long effort. Remember, successful businesses are not in a sprint. They recognize that starting, growing and maintaining is a marathon, or even more like a steeple chase with hurdles, water jumps, and uneven terrain.

Small Business Saturday is coming. Make it a great day for visibility, awareness, and sales for you and others like yourself.

Your Business has an Online Reputation!

Trust attributes

Photo (CC) by Intersection Consulting, Flickr

Every business owner knows that their business has a reputation, both good and bad. They know people who have thanked them for their help and they know customers have left angry (but they probably don’t know them all as we, as consumers, sometimes don’t tell the owner but we let everyone else know).

In the days of traditional media, statistics suggested that a satisfied customer told maybe five people about a good experience. However the dissatisfied consumer may tell as many as 20.

Well today information about the reputation of a business can be found online. Even if it isn’t in one of the online review sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor, people make comments on their Facebook page or in a tweet about their experiences. And, as in the case of United airlines and others, some of these incidents become wide spread, or “go viral.”

There are tools that a business owner can use to help him or her monitor what is being said (see https://www.openforum.com/articles/online-reputation-management-tools/). Yet research suggests that many small business owners simply do not take the time or don’t consider it a priority. Not watching what is being said about your business though brings great risk. No longer are 20 people hearing about a poor experience but all of that person’s hundreds of friends. And if a comment is made, just starting multiplying that by their friends and their friends, etc., etc. Thus you can see not paying attention is perhaps letting the snowball start rolling down the hill until it devours your business.

And if nothing is being said, don’t assume that is a good thing. Being there is the first requirement. But more and more, people want to check out your reputation. Online reviews are a quick and easy way to begin to develop a trust relationship with the consumer. You need to work on developing those online reviews. Encourage them from current customers.

Bottom line: 1) Know your reputation. 2) Encourage your customers to share their online reviews.

Small Business Marketing Trends for 2013

I love reading SmallBusinessComputing.com – they have some great ideas and thoughts about helping Small Business Owners with their online marketing journey.  Sometimes due to so many other good reads I don’t always get to the best articles and ones I like to share – this one in particular emphasizes some things that we have been telling businesses in our educational workshops and so therefore I am going to take some time and go into some more detail about each of the trends!  The article Top 5 Small Business Marketing Trends for 2013 highlights 5 Trends:

  1. Mobile Marketing Is Here and Now
  2. Content and Content Promotions is the New SEO
  3. Email Marketing:  Focus on Mobile Optimized Messages
  4. Personalize and Customize Ecommerce Marketing
  5. Social Advertising is Hot

Tune if for more Mobile Marketing but in the meantime read the article – Top 5 Small Business Marketing Trends for 2013

eXtension – Winter Webinar Series begins January 10

eXtension – Entrepreneurs and Their Communities

Winter Webinar Series
Second Thursday of every month
2:00 p.m. (ET); 1:00 p.m. (CT); 12:00 p.m. (MT); 11:00 am (PT)
Connect to webinar – https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/etc-cop

January 10 – Getting Action from Website Landing Pages

Ever wonder why some online businesses seem to have all the luck – well it may not be luck after all! Their content marketing payoff may be because their ‘landing pages’ encourage the customer to take ‘action’. Your landing pages can mean the difference between profit and loss! Learn how to send your customers to the right page and create the appropriate call to action!

Presenter – Jay Jenkins, UNL Extension Educator

February 14 – Top 10 Trends and Cool Tools in Social Media

Julie Fox joins us again this year for a popular session on what’s new in social media. This fast moving session goes beyond the latest statistics to demonstrate what’s working and show you how to benefit from the latest social media trends and tools.

Presenter – Julie Fox, Ohio State Extension

March 14 – Pinterest for Your Business

Just when you thought you’d gotten a handle on social media by getting on Facebook and maybe giving Twitter a try, along comes Pinterest. Pinterest is now the number three most-popular social network in the U.S., behind only Facebook and Twitter, according to Experian’s Digital Marketer Trend and Benchmark Report.  Thru this webinar an introduction to what Pinterest is and why you should use it for your business will be presented. Also discussed will be setting up a Pinterest account, how to interact, and how to create pin boards.

Presenters Tara Gross is a young entrepreneur and owner of Country Drawers in Cambridge, Nebraska and Connie Hancock is an Extension Educator from UNL Extension.

Check us out on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/eXtensionentrepreneurs

To learn more about other eXtension educational programs – https://learn.extension.org

eXtension Entrepreneurship – http://www.extension.org/entrepreneurship

Mark your calendars! The eXtension Entrepreneurship webinar series continues with some very timely topics. All webinars will air monthly on the second Thursday at 2:00pm (ET); 1:00pm (CT); 12:00pm (MT); 11:00am (PT).

No pre-registration is required and there is no fee to participate. About 10 minutes prior to the start time simply go the Adobe Connect Pro meeting room at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/etc-cop. You will be presented with a login screen that has an “Enter as Guest” option. Enter your full name then click “Enter Room” to join the conference. You will be able to hear the audio directly from your computer’s speakers.