With the holiday season not too far in the distance, I would like to dedicate this week’s Example Site Wednesday to online shopping. As it is every year, web stores and online purchasing have proven to be dominant means for shopping. This is great for all of you small business owners with online services and products to sell!

Let’s take some time to check out Play Pretty, an online store specializing in handmade clothes for toddlers, and just how effective a good web store can be.

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For anyone scratching their head and wondering why we’re bringing this up just days after the Fall equinox, read these words of wisdom from Michael Klein, Adobe’s Director of Industry Strategy:

“At this point in time everybody is locked and loaded in many shapes and forms. If you haven’t already had a launch date of September or October, you’re probably late for this holiday season.” (CMO.com)

Now, if you’re reading this blog, you’re likely a small business marketer with a good deal more agility than a company like Adobe. So don’t panic if you’re not “locked and loaded” just yet – but this is definitely the time to get moving.

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On Monday we talked about the value of great online reviews and how to get more of them. The tradeoff (because there always is one) is that you also open yourself up to negative feedback in this process. Positive reviews and a solid presence online are well worth the price, but it’s important to know how to deal with negative reviews when they rear their heads. After all, a well-handled bad situation can do almost as much good as a positive review!

No matter how great your company and services may be, there will always be complaints. Inside Facebook has identified the major causes for complaints as:
– Delays in shipping a product
– Faulty or damaged products
– Poor service or perceived rudeness
– A public relations crisis

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Happy Wednesday Everyone! For this week’s edition of Example Site Wednesday, we will be taking a look at D’Natural and their website dedicated to selling African jewelry, clothing, accessories and a variety of other custom-made African goods.

So, you want to sell goods on your website, but you’re not sure what some of the best practices are for doing so? Let’s take a look at some of the successful ways D’Natural uses certain site tools to effectively sell their items…

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In a lot of small business marketing articles, you’ll be advised to decide which is more important to you: quality or quantity. And while that can be good advice in some situations, your online review presence is not among them.

Of course you need quality, 5-star reviews – that’s a given. But be aware that the value of those reviews is largely determined by the number of reviewers. A study from Search Engine Land revealed that while people tend to read only 2-3 of your available reviews, the credibility of your star rating is greatly increased when it’s echoed by more reviewers.

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People often envy those who are able to work from home, noting how much easier the workday would be if they could do the same. However, a recent study by OnlineDegrees.com suggests that working from home is on the long list of things easier said than done. (See infographic below)

When asked where they are most productive, the highest proportion (37%) of the telecommuters reported that they are actually more efficient at the office than at home. Home was the choice for 29%, and the rest reported a mix of the two.

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Another Wednesday has arrived, which means there are only a few days left until the weekend! It also means that we have another delightful website to share with you for this week’s Example Site Wednesday. Today, we showcase Lennox Tartan Design and a beautifully composed website, dedicated to interior design and consultation.

Lennox Tartan Design does a praiseworthy job creating a brand and image. From consistent color schemes to a catchy slogan, Lennox Tartan uses various tactics to effectively brand themselves on their website. Here are a few tips you can follow to brand yourself just as successfully:

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When faced with the ever-growing list of social media sites, it’s sometimes tempting to turn tail and run. But the latest research suggests that it’s much better to maintain an active presence on just a few leading sites than to walk away from social media entirely.

A recent article on Vistaprint’s Microbusiness Perspectives blog details three key reasons why small businesses should invest in social media. In brief, they are:

– Relationships
– A Real-Time Scorecard
– User Demographics

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Whether you’re just starting out or thinking about re-imagining your business’s brand, taking the time to create a well thought out and cohesive identity for your business is crucial. A recognizable, appealing identity helps your customers better understand who you are, and ensures you’ll stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Below you’ll find the 6 key steps to having a great small business brand.

Do you love your current brand identity? Has it stayed the same over time or did you make changes as you grew?

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