Sunday, August 24, 2008

Five Ways to Shine as a Professional Writer

My article "Five Ways to Shine as a Professional Writer" is featured on The Cuckleburr Times this week. Learn five ways to set yourself apart here:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What is your biggest marketing challenge?

For some of us, our biggest marketing challenge is knowing what to do. For others, it is knowing how to do it. If you aren't an expert but need a little help, there are thousands of written and online resources to try. A few of my favorite books are:

Complete Publicity Plans
Small Business Marketing for Dummies
Marketing for Dummies
The Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide

For my favorite websites, check out my links in the right hand margin. ---->

Don't have time to read but need to beef up your marketing now? Contact your local Small Business Development Center for a consultation, sign up for a marketing class at your local community college or contact your local Chamber of Commerce or downtown association for a referral to a marketing consultant in your area.

Marketing doesn't have to be flashy or expensive to be effective. Instead, it needs to get the right message to the right audience at the right time. Not sure where to begin? Shoot me an e-mail and I'll be happy to point you in the right direction!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Social Media Resources

I found this great summary on of the most popular Social Media sites. The summary includes information on Blogging, Social Bookmarking, Social News, Social Networking and more. Thanks to Jennifer Manlowe for sharing this great information. Check it out here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Choosing the Right Advertising Venue

Yesterday I met with an advertising rep for a local biweekly newspaper. I was interested in her rates, demographics, etc. for some local clients who might find her market appealing. She reminded me of a few key points when advertising:

- Choose relevant publications based on your audience. If you are a retail business, advertising in a local newspaper makes sense. If you are advertising to businesses, however, a publication targeted to businesses is a better choice.

- Consistency is key. Getting your message out there once a month or once every six months is not enough. You must regularly get your message in front of your target customer for them to remember who you are and what you have to offer. They might not need you now, but if you are top of mind, they'll remember you at the right time.

- Rates are often based on frequency. You get a better deal on your rates when you run more than one ad. Ad packages are designed to reward you for frequency and to ensure you get the best results because you're being consistent.

- Many publications will create your ad for free. Take advantage of this opportunity to have an expert design your ad for you. It's included in the price, so you might as well get the biggest bang for your buck.

- Ask about special packages. Some publications will offer special deals to certain businesses - restaurants, for example - that they want to encourage to advertise with them.

Virtually Yourz,


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Top 6 Marketing Tools for Retail Businesses

Although some retail business owners are very marketing savvy, a lot of retailers don't know where to begin. Others simply don't have time to do the marketing in addition to their other responsibilities. For those business owners, I offer my Top 6 Marketing Tools for retail businesses:

1) You need a website, no matter how simple. It can be a blog like this one, or something more elaborate with your business name as the domain name,, for example.

2) Advertising. When times are tight, people often stop their advertising but this is the time when you most need to advertise. If your advertising isn't working for you, try a different publication or a different market. You need to consistently reach the right market with the right message.

3) Networking. This can include membership in organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, your local downtown association, or the local chapter of a group like BNI or it can be an online network like LinkedIn or Biznik. Network with like-minded professionals and share referrals.

4) Rewarding customers. The 80/20 rule tells us that approximately 80% of our business will come from 20% of our customers. That's why every business should have a customer referral program to reward its very best customers. It could be including them in a special monthly promotion, posting a customer of the month photo on the wall of your store, or recognizing them with a Client Appreciation Event. Make sure they feel appreciated and they will continue to shop with you and refer their friends to your store.

5) Community involvement. Like networking, community involvement is a great way to meet other members of your community and to spread the word about your business, even if it is only subtly. Try sponsoring a local sports team or relevant school club, volunteer at the local Food Bank, join the PTA or a local church organization. When feasible, volunteer your time or your services.

6) Shout your news to the world. At least 3 to 4 times a year, issue a news release (also called a press release) to let the community know what you've been up to. Anything that's newsworthy will do - a business anniversary, addition of a product line, a new professional certification, key staff hire, upcoming event, or participation in a nonprofit organization. I recommend you submit the release to your local media, relevant industry-related groups and online. You'll be surprised at how affordable it can be to get widespread coverage and to keep your name "time of mind."

To your success,

Dana Blozis
Virtually Yourz

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New Tagline

As a growing business, it is important that I market myself properly so prospective clients have a clear view of who I am and what I can do to help their businesses succeed. To that end, I have created a new tagline which will appear on my business cards and website soon:

Virtually Yourz - The marketing and PR solution for small business

I hope this tagline will make it easier for people to understand what it is I do that benefits them. What do you think?

Virtually Yourz,

Friday, August 1, 2008

Define Your Dream Customer

To make the most of your marketing dollar, every business needs to have a firm grasp on its target customer. You probably already have a good idea who your customers are, but what about your dream customers? Who are they and what traits do they have in common? For example, where do they live, what products or services do they buy, and what wants or needs do they have?

For Virtually Yourz, my dream customer is a small business owner who doesn't have the time or expertise to do his or her own marketing. They are males and females, usually between the ages of 40 and 60, of varying income levels, and have usually been in business for two years or more. They are most interested in my marketing and PR services (versus my writing and marketing). Some want help gaining more visibility for their business through press releases, while others want help with marketing planning. Now define your dream customer and develop specific strategies to address their wants and needs. Good luck!

Virtually Yourz,