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Want to find out what your customers like, and don’t like, about your business? Or want to find out what your prospective customers want in a business like yours? There are many reasons why a small business would want to run a survey.

Writing test questions is a science. Analyzing survey data is a science. But hiring a professional may be out of the question. So if you go it alone, here are some tips:

  • Formulate a clear objective of the survey’s goals before you write the questions.
  • Send it to enough people so that you’ll get enough responses to come to an informed conclusion.
  • Start with general questions and them move to more specific ones. This is so you don’t “lead the witness”.
  • Ask about behaviors and not attitudes because actions speak louder than words.
  • Use close ended questions wherever possible. Lots of open-ended questions are hard to analyze.
  • The shorter the questionnaire the better. Keep it focused, keep it simple and keep it short. Five minutes or less is optimal.

    For samples of surveys, check out: www.esurveyspro.com.

    Click here for even more information on customer surveys.

    Create surveys using programs like: www.surveymonkey.com, spreadsheets.google.com or www.zoomerang.com.

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2010 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

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    SEO Business 80% Scam

    I’ve done SEO projects for several clients now and I’ve managed to get them all first page rankings on Google for the keywords they desired most. These are one-time projects, not ongoing.

    The more I study SEO, the more I have wondered what these big SEO companies do that charge ongoing monthly retainers in the thousands of dollars.

    Well now I have confirmation of what I have suspected. According to Peter Kent, the author of Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, “The SEO business is 80 percent scam.”

    In an article from Entrepreneur, “…experts agree that SEO firms are most worthwhile at the development stage of a website…” This is when they lay the foundation for solid SEO on your site. “Once you optimize the website and everyone on the team understand what needs to be done, there should be no cost moving forward…” Read more of the article here.

    Now that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of SEO firms that do produce quality work, but their monthly work beyond laying your SEO foundation should be focused on getting more links to your site (not just spitting out reports like some firms I know.)

    The basics for doing SEO is not hard. And they’re not secrets. I’ve scoured the Internet to find the best ones to do when you’re starting out. And I know these beginning steps work. They’ve proven themselves to me with each project I do.

    My ebook tutorial lays out the steps for DIY SEO (as well as a comprehensive view of what very small businesses can do to effectively market themselves using free and low cost methods).

    The ebook is currently on sale (as I’m completely rewriting it to convert it into an online class to launch late this year). Check it out!

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2010 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

    The Internet is flooded with articles about how marketing online provided tremendous benefit to certain businesses. But Hubspot did a recent survey to 2,500 of their customers to get the real scoop on what works for them. Check it out at: http://www.hubspot.com/charts/

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2010 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

    I’ve been a little stressed this week thinking about all the things I’ve got going on. Mostly about the Small Business Marketing on a Shoestring class that I’m writing to be offered by Ed2go later this year. The lesson I’m working on at the moment has been particularly slow moving. I just want to get it done and move on to the next lesson!

    So what did I do? I went for a run. We have a break in the rains here and it was a stunning morning. As I started my run I seemed to be chanting “busy, busy, busy” in my mind to the beat of my steps. And I kept thinking about turning around so I could get back to work. Not good.

    So I worked on clearing my mind. And then it happened. Ideas starting popping into my mind. And good ones. By the time I was halfway through my run (well to be honest I do a lot of walking too!) I had seven great ideas.

    None of the ideas are about how I’m going to get this lesson done and over with. Instead they will require even more work. But I am so excited about them and they will make the lesson so much better. Now I don’t feel as if it’s a heavy weight that I just want to get off me. Instead I can’t wait to work it all in.

    Creativity can be the spark and the fuel to motivate you and sustain you to the end. What do you do to get your juices flowing and your mind rearing to go? I’d love to hear. Post a comment below.

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2010 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

    What’s Stopping You?

    I was remembering back this morning about how long I thought about starting a business before I actually did. There was one moment that was a turning point for me and finally got me moving.

    I was watching The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch and there was a woman on his show who prior to making it big producing women’s undergarment accessories, was a psychologist.

    She said that for those who are stuck due to fear…I’m not qualified enough…I don’t know what I’m doing….People will laugh at me…etc. — there’s usually a person behind that fear. Put a face to that fear. Find out who is behind it. Is it a family member? Business colleagues? College classmates? Whoever it is, find out.

    Then imagine talking to that person and successfully turning them from a skeptic to a believer. It may not work the first few times but keep working on it. When you can convince your worst skeptic (yourself!) you’ve made a big move in the right direction.

    Become unstoppable!

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2010 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

    Do your friends on Facebook post where they have checked in about town? You see when they are at Starbucks or when they’ve checked into their gym.

    If your business has a retail store, you can set your business up to be geolocation-ready. Check out this article on Open Forum.

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2010 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

    Understanding how your customers found out about you can help you improve your marketing efforts. If for example you find that most of your customers are coming from word-of-mouth on Facebook and none come from the print ad you pay for in your local paper, then you’ve learned something that can save you money. And you can focus more of your efforts on what does work to increase your sales.

    Tracking this is as simple as asking your customers how they found out about you. Keep a tally of what you find out. Keep it in a notebook or use an excel spreadsheet.

    You can make it even easier by using a software program like CustomerCradle that allows you to record what your customers tell you in seconds.

    I am currently offering three free licenses for the CustomerCradle software. To find out how you can win one of these licenses, click here.

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2010 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.