Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How to Plan Your Next Event

Event planning isn't rocket science, but it can easily be overwhelming if you've never done it before or if you are in charge of a large event. I've found that event planning can be easier to manage if you break it down into bite-size chunks. For example:

- Clearly define the event
- Where will the event be?
- Who will attend the event and why?
- What's the purpose of the event?
- When will it be? How much time do you have to plan it?

- Outline a budget and funding sources. Is it for-profit or not-for-profit? What is your break-even point?

- Identify key functions - marketing, promotion, fundraising (if needed), planning, logistics, refreshments, volunteers, etc.

- Calculate timing. Start with the event date and work backward to see when things need to be done. If you have an event six months away, what needs to be done the week before? the month before? three months before, etc.?

- Create a committee or core group of volunteers to help iron out the details. Let each person take a role that suits their skills, talent and availability. Meet regularly but make each meeting productive with clearly defined goals.

- After the event, host a fun "recap meeting" to get input from the parties involved. What worked well? What could be improved upon next time? Did you achieve your goals?

Good luck - it isn't as hard as it seems when you break it down into manageable tasks.

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Neuts

Follow me on Twitter: VirtuallyYourz
Find me on Facebook, Biznik and LinkedIn

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Are you doing a quarterly marketing review?

Are you monitoring your marketing efforts on a quarterly basis? If not, you should be, particularly in this economy. Why? You need to know what's working and what's not, so you can figure out what shifts need to be made.

For example, where are your advertising dollars going? Are you doing it regularly? If not, you may be wasting your money. If you are advertising consistently, are you choosing the best media (online, radio, TV, print, other) for your business?

Also, consider your current and new customers. Are you getting the kinds of customers you want - your dream customer, for example? If not, what do you need to do differently? It could involve creating a new brand, adding new products or services, or simply advertising in places where you will get "face time" with your prospects.

What tools are you using to market your products? Are you taking advantage of social media tools like blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Biznik, Plaxo, Digg and other sites? Could your business benefit from one or more of these tools?

No matter what you're doing, you want to be sure to review it quarterly and to try to measure it if possible.

If you aren't sure where to begin, talk to fellow business owners, ask a marketing consultant or discuss your options with your local small business development center, branch of SBA or SCORE. Marketing doesn't have to be expensive, time-consuming or overwhelming. It is a question of considering your options and what works for you and your customers. Then track it, evaluate it, and change it as needed.

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Neuts

Follow me on Twitter: VirtuallyYourz
Find me on Facebook, Biznik and LinkedIn

Friday, May 15, 2009

Seven Free Ways to Promote Your Blog

So you've finally started that blog you've always wanted. You have the occasional reader, but not the type of traffic you'd hoped for. There's a quick fix for that - promote your blog. Here are seven free ways to do that with little or no cost to you except for, of course, your time.

1. Twitter - Tweet your latest blog posting on Twitter.

2. Facebook - Link to your latest blog posting on Facebook or, better yet, create a business page and automatically link it to Facebook so it updates whenever your blog does.

3. Linked In - If you have a profile on Linked In, you can also have your profile automatically updated with your latest blog postings.

4. Biznik.com - Add your blog address to your Biznik profile.

5. E-mail signature - Add your blog address to your e-mail signature.

6. Marketing materials - The next time you update your marketing materials (biz cards, letterhead, brochure, etc.), be sure to include your blog address.

7. Encourage comments - On one of my blogs (http://www.ilovekent.net), I offer a monthly drawing for three $10 Kent Station gift cards for qualifying posts. Winners are chosen randomly from those who post each month.

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Neuts

Follow me on Twitter: VirtuallyYourz
Find me on Facebook, Biznik and LinkedIn