Thursday, December 29, 2011

When Your Internet Presence Outlives You

In the past few years, several of my friends and business associates have passed away. From time to time, I get notices from LinkedIn or Facebook that I might know them or it’s their birthday. Although it brings a smile to my face to think of them, it also got me thinking that perhaps they didn’t let people know the necessary information to take their web sites and social media sites down in the unfortunate case of their death.

Today, a huge portion of business is done online, and the business’s web site will live on despite the death of the business owner. Small business owners, being self employed, often don’t have a plan in place for anyone to take over when they’re gone. An obvious problem could arise if part of that business includes generating income online. When they are selling products and use an automated payment option, some orders may be paid for but not filled. This could carry on until the website expires.

It’s a smart idea to create a list with your web site, web host, log-in information, passwords, e-mail accounts, internet services, and social media sites as well as contact information to any vendors or supplier, credit card companies, banks and other pertinent accounts. This information should be kept somewhere safe and a designated person should be able to access it upon your death. This person will then be able to notify the appropriate people, as well as take down your internet presence.

If your business is more complicated and has business heirs, a will and succession plan should be in place to ensure a smooth transition or wrap-up to the business. Any estate planner can give you more information on that.

What does this have to do with marketing? Nothing. It was just on my mind.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Out With the Old and In With the New!

There is no better time than the year end to do an overhaul of the marketing you have in place for your business. Below is a checklist of things you can do to give your business a fresh, new makeover for 2012:

1. A Marketing Strategy is a living document that changes monthly, weekly and even daily as your business evolves and adapts to your business environment. When was the last time you updated your plan? Don’t have a marketing strategy or business plan in place? Now is the time to create one. Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Marketing expert Sandy Barris discusses the value of creating a marketing plan in an interview from July 2010 at

2. Does your company have a memorable brand or logo? Or is your logo old and outdated? Do you need to enlist the help of a graphic designer to create something fresh and new that reflects your business. Diane Krueger, the Brand Identity Artist at Contagious: Cure for the Common reminds us that a company’s logo is the starting point of the entire corporate image.

3. Are your marketing materials consistent? Does your logo or brand carryover onto your business cards, brochures, website, blog, Facebook fan page, etc? Linda Kleist of Identity Graphic Design talks about the importance of consistent branding.

4. Are your social media sites up-to-date? When was the last time you updated your profiles and contact information on Linkedin, Facebook, etc? Is it time to post a more current photo? Are you getting the most from your social media efforts as you market yourself and your business? Marketing and social media expert, Beverly Cornell, covers the whole gamet of social media’s do and don’ts.

5. How long has it been since your website was updated? How many hits are you getting to the site? Not a lot? You might want to have a professional revise the content, adding key words that will get you found on search engines (SEO) such as Google. Kevin Van Dette, President of Affordable Website Specialists, talks about all this and more in his 2010 interview.

6. Do you currently have a blog? Is a blog right for you and your business? Are people reading or listening to your blog? Corey Perlman, author of "eBootCamp", describe blogging in concise and easy to understand language.

7. What are you doing to drive traffic to your website, blog or other social media sites? Do you send out an e-newsletter on a regular basis linking to your website? In a second interview, Corey Perlman gives tips on how to use e-newsletters as an effective marketing tool as well as a means of keeping yourself in front of customers and business associates.

8. How current is the information in your database? Over this past summer, I purged my database of the old and outdated contact information. I was shocked as to the extent of job changes, out of state moves, and businesses that had closed in the past year. You probably will be amazed too.

Have a Happy New Year!