A Local Phone Number in Another Country

Setting up shop in say Japan or the UK can be a pretty big expense for a small business, but offering a local phone number, giving the impression of a local presence, just got a little easier.

A new company called JetNumbers allows you to pay a set monthly fee and offer a local phone number, which directs to your phone, in a growing list of countries. Callers only pay for the local portion of the call just like they were calling a local number.

You can buy packages that come with minutes and get your phone number up and running with a few clicks. There are lots of companies out there willing to offer you International calling plans, but I like the local phone number aspect of this service and I think local, abroad prospects might as well. This could be a pretty simple answer for those small businesses offering products and services around the globe.

Is Pay Per Call Advertising Working?

Lots is being said about pay per call advertising but so little exists in terms of measurable results that it is still a little tough to know if this play makes sense for the typical small business.

The bottom line lies in understanding your lead conversion process – does it require a phone conversation with a prospect – and testing.

Marketing Sherpa continues its effective practice of presenting new stategies inside a case study or interview with a real user with this article – Initial Test Results From Pay Per Phone Call Search Ads

Technology Inventory Worksheet

A couple of days ago I wrote a post about securing the control of your domain name. This post sparked a lot great comments including one from Dalene Bradford who writes Charitable Thoughts – a blog focused on helping non-profit organizations. She points to an example of a large non-profit group that lost their web site for about a week do the very issue I described in my previous post.

She also points to a good checklist businesses can use to take inventory of their tech assets.

Secure Your Web Domain Name or Risk Losing It

I run across small business owners everyday that put all of their web assets, including their domain name, in the hands of a web designer or consultant. Web sites are easy to replace, valuable domain names are not. Make sure that you have ultimate control over your domain name or risk losing it or suffering some serious downtime if your web host goes belly up.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t trust your web designer, I’m just saying that for many small businesses, your actual domain name may be one of your businesses most important assets and you should treat it as such.

First a couple points that may need to be clarified.

Your domain name is just that, control of the name – bobsmith.com for example. Your domain host is another element altogether and is probably your web host. You assign who hosts your domain name by controlling your domain name. Many web designers or hosts will set all of this up for you including registering your domain name – you need to separate your domain name control from your domain host and keep it secure.

If you do not ultimately control your domain name – meaning you can’t log in securely and update your domain’s records, here is my recommendation:
Set up a free account with GoDaddy.com and ask your web host or designer to transfer administrative control of the domain to your GoDaddy account #. Once this is done you can use features at GoDaddy to give your IT person or designer access to make technical changes for instance, if you wanted to move to a new web host, but you need to control your domain name.

Should Small Businesses Care About Web 2.0 Marketing Tools?

I spend a great deal of time on this blog uncovering and reporting on new small business marketing tools. One of the hottest trends going is something called Web 2.0. I’m not really sure there is a good definition of what that term means, nor do I think it matters that much.

The fact of the matter is that there are some very good new advertising vehicles and tools that are evolving and changing both the advertising status quo and range of marketing opportunities available to even the smallest of businesses.

The problem for many small business advertisers though is cutting through the Web 2.0 hype to find creative, effective ways to use the new media tools launching every day. Sometimes over hype can lead small business folks to sit on the sidelines. (Blogging is a great example of a powerful new tool both fueled and cooled by over hype.)

I recently had a discussion of this very topic with HP blogger Eric Kintz, VP of Global Marketing Strategy and Excellence for Hewlett-Packard and one of their thought leaders in the web 2.0 space.

Eric and I started discussing this reluctance, decided to look at some Web 2.0 offerings through the eyes of a small business and explore some ways that real life small business are actually taking advantage of some new tools.

Below are five emerging trends that we think every small business should be aware of. Continue Reading

Lynda Is Teaching Me A Few New Tricks

The Lynda I’m referring to, of course, is Lynda.com. This site is a gold mine of software tutorials all set to Quicktime Movies in bite size chunks. A client of mine recently pointed this site out and I must say, I can’t believe I never stumbled upon it previously.

Here how it works. You pay a monthly fee and can consume all the training you can eat on specific software applications like Word and Excel or on things like web graphics, CSS and HTML. There seems to be something for just about everyone, from the beginner to programmer. The courses are broken up into short lessons and you can also buy a complete 3 or 4 hour course on CD.

I think everyone on the planet should know how to create a web site. So, if you don’t think you want to learn how, do this. Buy your kid a subscription and make them go through the courses on web design, CSS, HTML, XML and Cold Fusion – It may be far more useful than that college tuition you’re paying for!

Inc Magazine on Low Budget Marketing

Inc. magazine has an article online today that explores the notion of Low Budget, High Impact marketing. The Duct Tape Marketing blog is used as an example of using a blog as a low budget, high impact marketing too.

From the article:
His own experience as a one-person shop is one example. Without any advertising, the Duct Tape Marketing weblog has given Jantsch national recognition, through word of mouth, awards, and press coverage. His visibility led to a contract for a book to be released this fall.

Jay Conrad Levinson, Wonderbranding’s Michelle Miller and Email Marketer and Silverpop CEO Bill Nussey are also quoted.

A Great Way To Learn About Google AdWords

The Google AdWords advertising program is a very good small business advertising option when employed correctly – even for local small businesses. One of the keys is to learn as much as you can about how the program works. It can be a bit overwhelming when you get started.

Here’s my suggestion: Find about two hours some weekend or evening and go through a very nice set of multimedia tutorials created by Google. Once you have completed this step you will find that you know most of what you need to get started right.

Now, once you decided that you want to know the finer points you can move on to Andrew Goodman’s or Perry Marshall’s books on pay per click advertising.