The April 30, 2014 deadline is quickly approaching for the public to vote for their favorite small business makeover pitch videos. Winning businesses will receive prizes and free publicity to improve their small business productivity and transform their challenges into successful opportunities.
In “BizClips: The Small Business Productivity Makeover Video Contest” (www.bizclips.score.org), one small business will win the grand prize, valued at $3,500. The Contest is sponsored by SCORE and Brother International, a premier provider of print and communications products and services. The Contest celebrates SCORE’s 50 years of helping more than ten million small businesses learn how to start a business, grow, and achieve their business goals through free business assistance and education.
See 50 small businesses pitch their fun, serious, and entertaining stories in 30-60 second videos, each describing their unique need for a business makeover and how SCORE and Brother could help them.
The public can vote once a day at http://www.bizclips.score.org/entries. Public votes will count for 40 percent of the small business contestants’ overall scores. Contestants are promoting their videos and asking their friends, family, customers and supporters to help by voting and spreading the word. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on April 30, 2014.
The top 25 vote-getters will become finalists, gain significant and free national media exposure, and win a Brother P-Touch prize. The grand prize winner will be selected by a panel of small business experts to receive a business makeover with up to $2,500 of products and services from Brother. The grand prize winner and a companion will be flown to Washington, D.C. in September2014 for a special national announcement and awards ceremony at the 2014 SCORE Awards Gala. The grand prize winner will also have a professional business makeover video created to be shown at the Gala and promoted by SCORE. The winner can use the video for its own promotion, too. The total value of the grand prize is $3,500.
“We encourage everyone who wants to support our small businesses to vote in BizClips by April 30, 2014. Together with Brother International, we look forward to helping make the winning small business better, stronger and more productive to meet its challenges,” said Ken Yancey, SCORE CEO.
BizClips, The Small Business Productivity Video Contest launched on November 25, 2013. Help small businesses turn their challenges into opportunities. Complete details are at www.bizclips.score.org.
What marketing methods work best for small business owners to find and keep customers? A study by Huzzah Media polled small business owners and here’s what they found.
By far the top way small business owners engage with customers is their websites, cited by more than 80 percent of entrepreneurs. Next is the Yellow Pages, cited by more than 65 percent, followed by social media, used by nearly 55 percent.
Attracting new customers means nothing, of course, if they don’t buy anything, so the study also asked small business owners where most of their sales come from. Repeat customers are by far the biggest source of revenue for more than 43 percent of entrepreneurs, while new customers account for about 19 percent of revenues.
Interestingly, “word-of-mouth” is cited by 36 percent. In other words, new customers driven by existing customers’ recommendations are the second-biggest source of revenue—more than new customers who come to a business from other sources.
Along the same lines, when asked what marketing method is most successful for them, a whopping 52 percent of small business owners cite “friend referrals.” In comparison, just 33 percent say advertising is their most effective marketing method.
Clearly, most small business owners have a baseline online presence (that is, a website), and most also use social media (although there’s definitely room for improvement there). But few take their online presence to the next level by using tools such as customer loyalty programs and mobile apps to their fullest extent. These can be great ways to increase word-of-mouth, retain existing customers and drive new ones.
So why aren’t small businesses using them? Primarily, they don’t have the budget (42 percent) or time (27 percent) to deal with expanding their online presence. In addition, about 18 percent admit to confusion about mobile apps, loyalty programs and social media—they’re either “overwhelmed” by the idea of doing more digitally or “don’t know where to start.”
Small business owners in the study are clearly aware that mobility is the hottest trend right now. If they had the budget and time to make a change, more than 40 percent want to add a mobile ad campaign while 21 percent would optimize their websites for mobile use. In reality, optimizing your website for mobile users doesn’t have to be costly.
Finally, consider adding a loyalty program of some kind. With so much of the average small business’s revenue dependent on existing customers, it only makes sense to reach out to your customer base with rewards. There are more options than ever before for loyalty programs, from simple punch cards to sophisticated (yet affordable) mobile apps that make it easy to track customers’ shopping habits.
Want to take your online presence to the next level? Your SCORE mentor can help. If you don’t have a mentor, get online at SCORE to get matched with one, stat.