31 Oct

Wishing You A Happy And Safe Halloween!

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 31.10.13 by John Meloche

Happy Halloween Canada! The staff, here at Synergy Marketing, would not only like to wish everyone a joyous time tonight, but also a safe one. While our blog is generally aimed at business tips for business owners, it is also aware that there is no more important business than the health and safety of your children. And with that, we’d like to provide you with a few quick reminders how to help both you and your kids have your best Halloween yet.

Yes, trick or treating is fun. But it’s imperative that you act as your child’s chaperone and oversee see all of their trick or treating activities. Unless another trusted parent will be escorting your children up and down the streets in search of candy tonight, be sure to be within visual distance of your child when he or she is out there all dolled up in either the cutest or creepiest costumes you could find.

On KidsHealth.org, there are number of other helpful tips. Many of these tidbits of information you may have already considered, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth reiterating. The following list will be especially important if your child is still in the process of locating a last minute costume idea for the trick or treating festivities tonight. Remember, safety first!

Choose a light-colored costume. Obviously, the lighter the costume, the more easily your child can be seen at night. If a dark costume is a must, add reflective or glow-in-the-dark tape to it, suggests the website. You should also do the same to your child’s trick or treat bag. This way, they can be seen at all times, even from far distances. After all, most kids won’t want their parents tagging along too closely behind.

Buy a flame-retardant costume. Most materials used for your store-bought Halloween costumes should be able to resist fire anyway. But, just in case you’re in the costume-creating mood, you’ll want to be sure to use materials that won’t burn. KidsHealth.org suggests nylon or polyester materials for this purpose. Making your own costume can not only be the safest, but the most unique way for your child to go. Be creative!

Try to avoid masks. Masks are easy. Masks are popular. But masks can also make it a lot tougher for your child to see and breathe. Advises the website, “use nontoxic face paint or makeup. Have younger kids draw pictures of what they want to look like. Older kids will have fun putting the makeup on themselves. Test the face paint or makeup on your child’s arm or hand before applying to make sure the paint doesn’t irritate the skin.”

Avoid contact lenses. Coloured contact lenses sure may look cool, but they can be dangerous. Especially if your child hasn’t had lenses prescribed by a doctor, you’ll want to avoid putting any in their eyes. In many cases, they can cause irritations that may lead to serious damage. No bag of candy is worth an eye infection. So simply say “no” to contact lenses of any kind.

Put a nametag — with your phone number — on your children’s costumes. This is an interesting tip that we’re hearing for the first time. But we like it. No matter what, your child will know how to find home or tell others how he or she can get there by having your contact information readily available. We certainly hope these tips will help you and yours have the happiest Halloween ever!

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30 Oct

Preparing Your Brand For The Holiday Season

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 30.10.13 by John Meloche

In yesterday’s blog, we began taking a look at a list of tips found on the Winmark Business Solutions website. In our ongoing quest to assist business owners throughout Canada with growing their businesses, we enjoy researching the internet to find a variety of helpful solutions from different business experts. Of course, we also like to see ourselves as advertising experts ourselves.

We ended yesterday’s blog commenting upon promotional gifts and their ability to help boost sales throughout the holidays. The truth is, promo gifts work wonders all year round. But arguably, there is no better time than the upcoming holiday season to give out promotional gifts. After all, it is the season of giving. Promo gifts help to establish a great rapport between business owner and customer.

The building of this relationship is meant to last well into the future. Because promo gifts provide both personal touches and helpful hands (our gifts are quite handy, useful items), they encourage loyalty that often turns into referrals. Of course, there are numerous ways to push sales throughout the holiday season in addition to handing out your promo gifts. Let’s revisit the Winmark Business Solutions list of tips to learn more.

Adjust Marketing. Naturally, it’s important to advertise all of the wonderful sales and discounts that you are offering. It’s also a part of showing holiday spirit to adjust your marketing to fit the spirit of the season. The more you can do to expose the holiday promotions that you intend on rolling out, the more chances you give your business to attract customers.

Adjust Business Hours. The biggest businesses tend to extend their hours during the holiday rush. Why shouldn’t you? Consider extending them to give shoppers more opportunities to buy from you. If you can open up early and stay open late, do it! Be sure to post your holiday hours on your business’ front door as well as on your website. Plug your extended hours through your social media pages too!

Make Sure Your Website is in Top Order. Speaking of your website, its importance should not be underestimated. It’s widely known that Canadian shoppers enjoy browsing online before visiting the physical locations of stores. Be sure that your business information is up to date, your sales are listed, your product information is clear and that customer support is made readily available.

Watch Finances. “It’s easy to get excited about the added sales during the holiday season, but remember to watch your finances closely,” warns Winmark Business Solutions, “With added sales come added expenses for production. Plan out how much extra you will be spending to accommodate for the holiday rush.” Of course, you don’t want to hire more staff than you need or spend more than you can afford on advertising.

All of the tips listed in our past two blogs can certainly help business owners who put them into practice. As well, ordering promotional products to make lasting impressions will assist your business in gaining customers for the long haul. To select the promo gift that is best for your brand, call one of our friendly and experienced Synergy Marketing sales reps at 1-877-748-9884.

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29 Oct

Getting Your Business Ready For The Holiday Rush

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 29.10.13 by John Meloche

Now is as good a time as any to begin talking about the holidays. When you think about it, the holiday season has technically already begun. Yes, we still have Halloween on Thursday. But when the first of November rolls around, it’s usually all things Christmas in the retail industry. So it makes sense to begin getting your place of business geared up for the rush that comes with the holiday season.

For some business owners, it’s the best time of year. The end-of-the-year holidays provide opportunities for sales to go through the roof in most industries. And for others, the upcoming holiday season presents cause for worry. Will there be enough supply for the demand? Will my business be able to handle taking on more staff? Will my company fall short of its expectations?

In an effort to help lessen the worry, we look to the Winmark Business Solutions website. On it is a list of simple tips for business owners to follow in order to have the most profitable holiday season possible. With just under two months to go until Christmas Day is actually here, the time is now to get rolling on preparing your business for the wave of new customers coming its way.

Educate Your Staff. “Make sure your staff knows how to handle the extra rush,” says the website, “Go over customer service techniques and what to do in a rush. If your staff is small, consider hiring temporary staff to get you through the season.” Having a strong team of employees will ensure that your customers are kept happy. This is important considering the increased possibility of customer dissatisfaction during busy times.

Stock Up. Naturally, it will be imperative that your business has enough inventory to keep up with the demand of shoppers throughout the holiday season. Be sure to contact your vendors to place orders on enough merchandise to get you through the next couple of months. The last thing you want is to have to disappoint customers who have come to you for specific items on their loved ones’ Christmas lists.

Show Your Holiday Spirit. Business is business. But it doesn’t always have to look that way to your customers. Remember that the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and good will. “Showing your holiday spirit tells customers you are ready for the holiday season and all that it brings,” says Winmark Business Solutions, “And shoppers look for good ‘holiday deals.’ Holiday spirit can lure them in to your business.”

Offer Promotions/Sales. There is likely no better time of year than the holiday season to introduce special discounts and sales on your most popular items. Competition will be more intense than ever as shoppers will be scouring for the best prices in the coming weeks. Don’t let your competitors steal your customers because they have more intriguing sales involving products that you sell.

In tomorrow’s blog, we’ll continue to take a look at some more tips from the Winmark Business Solutions website. Of course, there is likely no end to the ideas that business owners can employ to further grow their businesses during the holiday season. One thing is for sure, there is no better opportunity that the holiday rush to increase sales. We’ll also let you know how promotional gifts can assist!

To learn more or to order your promo gifts, call Synergy Marketing at 1-877-748-9884.

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28 Oct

Scare Up Business With Halloween Promotions

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 28.10.13 by John Meloche

Halloween is coming! And if your business hasn’t yet gotten in on the spirit of thrills and chills, it’s not too late. A fun day of the year (for most people anyways), Halloween presents a great opportunity for business owners to have a little fun. More importantly, the fun to be had entails engaging your customer base and doing something unique to attract more people to your place of business.

There are tons of ways to tie Halloween in to your company’s advertising plans. On the Small Business Opportunities website, there is a list of ideas that entrepreneurs can employ to make the most of their Halloweens this year. So don’t be afraid. There’s nothing to be frightened of. Take a look at the following tips and see if you can’t scare up some extra business this week!

Host a sale. Easy enough right? Although you can host a sale at any time of year, Small Business Opportunities insists that you “put a promo code on your website today offering 10% off all orders placed now through Halloween. If you have a brick and mortar store, offer a special sale and put a sign in your window to promote.” It’s as easy as decorating your store with Halloween creatures and colours and offering special discounts.

Decorate your online storefront with a Halloween theme. Speaking of decorating, finding Halloween decorations is easy. Not only that, but they are fairly inexpensive. Grab some pumpkins from the grocery store. Many sell them for less than a buck each! Get your kids to help you as they’ll probably be thrilled at the idea of getting your store Halloween-ready.

Host a costume contest at your site on Halloween. People are bound to be in costumes anyways. Why not promote that you are having a costume contest at your store? Offer any shopper who comes into your store wearing a costume an automatic discount. When the day is done, offer one of your lucky shoppers a grand prize. Many of Synergy Marketing’s high-end promotional gifts would make great prizes!

Give out Halloween candy. Suggests Small Business Opportunties: “Put an ad in your local paper that your store will be distributing candy from 5 pm to 7 pm on Halloween and this will get the parents into the store. Ask one of your more theatrical employees to dress up and they can distribute the candy – that comes with a 10% off coupon on the parent’s next purchase.”

Future discounts. In addition to offering a Halloween sale, grant your customers discount coupons that they can use after Halloween. That way, you’re not only encouraging customers to visit you this week, but you’re inviting them to come back during the very busy holiday rush that will soon be upon us. Be sure to announce this on your Facebook and Twitter pages.

As mentioned, promotional products make great prizes. Even if you don’t decide to use them as prizes, our inexpensive and handy gifts such as pens and key chains make perfect Halloween-week giveaways. The key, as always, is to encourage repeat business. Our gifts have been known to do that for decades. To order yours, call us up at 1-877-748-9884.

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25 Oct

Being Social On Social Media Is Good For Business

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 25.10.13 by John Meloche

In yesterday’s blog, we reviewed a number of ways that business owners can use social media the right way. And by “right way”, we mean being a good communicator. For the most part, it’s not always what you say through your social media profiles, but it’s how you say it. Coming off with an approach that is both professional and friendly at the same time is a good way to go.

But as Ian Lurie writes on Entrepreneur.com, it’s also about utilizing images and video. Social media outlets provide people with the unique ability to start conversations with people from all over the world. And those conversations can be about anything. As long as you are involved in the discussion, you can generate greater interest in your brand. Today, we’ll outline a few more ways that social media can be used to your advantage.

Buy advertising. Yes, using social media is generally free. But they also provide opportunities to directly advertise to users. In some cases, your Facebook posts may not appear in some followers’ feeds if you haven’t paid to promote them. Suggests Lurie, “Always use the targeting tools these platforms provide to avoid aimlessly issuing a single ad at the maximum audience size.”

Avoid me, me, me. This one is hard to do. Most people who use social media tend to discuss nothing but themselves. We’re all guilty of it. But as Lurie insists, you shouldn’t make every post about yourself and your company. He recommends an 80/20 split between non-promotional and promotional posts. That means that there are a lot of things you should be sharing on your profiles.

That includes answering questions. You don’t always have to start a conversation in order to be part of one. Use Google to look up the answers to certain questions and get in on the conversation. Voicing your opinion on relevant breaking news and other topics is another great way to get people to converse with you. The more people you get involved in conversations, the more chances you will get to promote your brand to more people.

Expand beyond your customers. While social media works wonders at promoting your business, it’s important to keep remembering that it’s all about being social. Don’t be afraid to attract an audience that exists beyond your potential customers. Remember that even those who don’t buy from you may end up telling others about you. Being interesting to a wide range of people will pay dividends.

Flattery will get you everywhere. Follow people you admire. There’s certainly no shame in that. It’s what you want people to do to you, right? And we’re not just talking about celebrities. We’re talking about other people who post and tweet interesting things that may be likely to respond or retweet things that you have posted. Be sure to do the same thing for them.

Advises Lurie, “If people post something you enjoy, make sure they know it with a retweet, like, favorite or share. If it’s really fantastic, consider posting a response on your own blog and link back to it. Over time, they’ll get to know you and will be more likely to spread your content.” Using social media to your advantage essentially means building friendships online. Good luck!

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24 Oct

Becoming An Expert Social Media Communicator

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 24.10.13 by John Meloche

Social media seems to be a hot topic this month. Well, to be honest, it’s been a hot topic for quite some time simply because social media are used to discuss hot topics! This week, we’ve been looking at articles that promote the use of social media for business marketing. Earlier this month, Ian Lurie wrote on Entrepreneur.com that using social media the right way, can get your business boosted in a big way.

It’s all about doing the “little things”, he says. And while admitting that there is “no shortcut to success”, utilizing your social networking profiles to the best of your ability will help to increase your brand awareness in ways you likely never imagined. This is especially true considering that following his list of tips will cost you absolutely nothing. Advertising your business for free can’t be a bad thing, can it?

It’s all about being a good communicator, Lurie says. It needs to be constantly reiterated that social media is all about socializing. As he puts it, it is “really a crowd of people talking – usually to each other.” So how do you “cut through the noise and really engage with people”? How do you avoid turning people off while simply trying to inform them of what your business does? Lurie offers his tips.

Write well. When you’re posting on your Facebook and Twitter profiles on behalf of your business, it’s important to not just use proper punctuation and grammar, but the right tone as well. You want to “write in a comfortable voice, not a formal one,” says Lurie. Keep it short and concise when possible and be sure you’re confident in what you’re saying before sending your message out into the world.

Use images when it makes sense. People do love their pictures. And as Lurie reports, posts with images get approximately two to three times more interest. However, you don’t want to add pictures to your posts simply for the sake of adding pictures. Make sure they are relevant to your post. Remember, they don’t all have to be directly related to your business. It’s all about getting people interested in your topic.

Utilize video. As much as people love pictures, they seem to love videos twice as much. Is it any wonder that sites such as YouTube and Vimeo are so popular? Nothing attracts an audience like an interesting video. Share videos that make sense. And while you’re choosing your videos, make sure that they are in keeping with the type of audience you are looking to attract. You don’t want to offend anyone.

Take advantage of all social networks. According to Lurie, there’s really no limit to the number of different social media profiles you can have. Facebook and Twitter are among the most popular, but there are several more sites out there. From Google+ to LinkedIn to SlideShare, there are various sites that can help your business expand its reach across cyberspace.

Respond immediately. “If someone asks a question or proposes an alternate viewpoint, answer them quickly,” writes Lurie, “This gives people the impression you care about their needs and are responsive.” It is also the entire purpose of social media. They give business owners direct links to their customers and the unique ability to keep in constant touch. Make use of this great invention!

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23 Oct

Using Facebook To Maximize Your Brand Awareness

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 23.10.13 by John Meloche

Each and every day, we post a link to the new entry in our Synergy Marketing Blog on our official Facebook page. The way we see it, it’s the least we could do to generate greater interest in our website. Naturally, the more visitors to our website, the more chances we have in interesting those visitors in the promotional products that we offer. This is one of the ways social media works.

It’s about interactions, not just advertising. Our blogs are meant to offer intriguing information as well as drumming up conversation. They are meant to invoke new ideas while sharing our expertise. As long as a conversation is being started, we feel that the ball will get rolling on the potential beginning of new business relationships. In yesterday’s blog, we discussed the importance of using social media in this way.

On Yola.com earlier this month, an article was posted discussing the merits of using Facebook to promote businesses. “In any business, your main priorities should include keeping your clients happy and maintaining an ever-expanding customer base. There are various ways of doing this,” started the post. It goes on to discuss ways that Facebook can help boost your brand.

Make “liking” your Facebook page easy. It’s important to get the word out about your Facebook page. That means clearly displaying its URL on your signage, banners and flyers. It means including it in the signature of your emails. You also want to place “Like us on Facebook” as a call-to-action on your website and other social media pages. The more links to your profile, the better!

Incentivize Facebook users. According to Yola.com, you should offer exclusive, fan-only discounts and deals to those who click “like” on your page. It’s important, of course, to update your page regularly, giving people reason to check it out on a regular basis. Recognizing these people will encourage them to truly appreciate you, making them want to give you their business.

Offer customers a “like” bonus or gift. Here is yet another excellent way to utilize the fantastic promotional products that Synergy Marketing offers. When you offer these gifts to those who “like” your Facebook page, it helps to stimulate repeat business and build customer loyalty. It could also help to spread a viral campaign to check your company out, says the website.

Use Facebook Offers. According to Yola.com, this is a great free feature that allows businesses to share discounts with their customers by posting offers on their Facebook pages. When someone claims an offer, he or she will receive an email that can be used at the business in order to get the discount. There are ways to create these offers on your profile in order to spread brand awareness and grow your customer base.

Use Facebook Ads. “Though it may cost you a small sum, taking advantage of the Facebook Ads to promote your business is a fantastic way to target your niche market. With Facebook Ads, you can decide exactly who gets to see your ads from a range of variables, including age, gender, location and even interests,” says the website, “Once you have your ad in place, you can test images, headlines and calls to action.”

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22 Oct

Making The Most Of Social Networking

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 22.10.13 by John Meloche

snAdvertising is important. We all know that. And using social media to advertise your brand is definitely a wise move. We all know that too. But do we know how to properly use social media to our advantage? The key to social media is to actually be social. Sure, we could go on Facebook and Twitter every day to simply plug our businesses, but would that actually work?

The consensus seems to be that it doesn’t. Instead of simply plugging away on social media, it’s important to actually engage people in conversations. Getting people talking is what will earn you “likes” and “followers”. And the more people you get to “like” and “follow” your company, the more opportunities you will have to turn them into buying customers. This is how social media really works.

Think about how generic advertising works. Do commercials really speak directly to you? On Entrepreneur.com, Tukan Das poses the question this way: “When was the last time you saw a billboard, TV or a print ad and said to yourself, ‘Wow that brand really cares about me and I am going to buy that product?’ Let me guess: Never.” Big corporations, asserts Das, prefer to “play it safe”.

In other words, bigger businesses tend to stay away from engaging with their customers in public forums. So giant billboards, television commercials, radio spots and print ads do all of the advertising for these companies – it’s all impersonal. There is no direct contact between customer and company. And in the increasingly-computer-savvy world that we live in, this type of advertising simply doesn’t cut it.

“Revenue from traditional advertisement channels are at an all time low,” reports Das. So the need to use social media to your advantage is clearly at an all time high. Not only is it proving to be successful, but it’s a lot cheaper as well. And by cheaper, we mean free! Setting up a Facebook and Twitter account costs nothing. What it will make you, however, has no limits.

“It’s important to not only look at social media as a channel to get your message out there but also as a way to truly build meaningful relationships with potential and existing customers,” writes Das. And with that, he provides a couple of ways that your company can make the most out of its social networking efforts. Make notes of these tips and see if they don’t help you.

Look beyond direct brand mentions. Be aggressive, he insists. People inquire about making purchases on line every single day. Too often, companies overlook these conversations. Don’t just monitor social media, get involved in social media. Take part in these conversations and offer examples of your expertise. Your “inadvertent” approach to advertising your business will pay off.

Start a conversation naturally. You don’t have to just join conversations, you can start them yourself! It’s like dating, says Das. Don’t try to come on too strong. Simply spark a meaningful conversation by asking a question. There’s no need to be too pushy. Don’t go for the sell too fast. Reel people in with intriguing conversation and they will be interested in getting to know more about your brand.

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21 Oct

Making An Impact With Promotional Gifts

Posted in Promotional Products on 21.10.13 by John Meloche

KEY-702_BIG-500x500A business owner never sleeps. Okay, sleep is necessary at some point, of course. But the entrepreneurial spirit never rests. Yes, that was a better way of putting it. Business owners from all over Canada have exhibited this spirit in the many relentless ways that they keep coming up with new ideas to forward their respective companies towards greater and greater successes.

At Synergy Marketing, we’re only too proud to be a part of that process. For many years, we have built relationships with business owners across Canada, knowing that promotion is a top priority. Promoting a business, however, is not the easiest undertaking in the world. It takes a great deal of research to know one’s industry. It takes a great deal of experience to know how to cater to one’s target audience.

But it doesn’t have to take a great deal of money. This happens to be one of the biggest misnomers about promoting businesses. You have to have a big budget to truly make an impact, right? Our promotional products have proven quite the opposite. Incredibly inexpensive when compared to traditional modes of advertising, promo gifts are excellent, cost-effective ways to make an impact.

In case you weren’t aware of just how pricey it is to get a commercial run on either television or the radio, we suggest you take a look into it. Most small business owners in Canada can’t afford. But, more importantly, even if they could, it wouldn’t be worth it. Commercials come and go within seconds. So the impact they tend to make when compared to their costs, just doesn’t cut it.

Promo gifts, on the other hand, are relatively cheap ways to make great impressions. Consider the fact the promotional products are actually useful items. The more useful your gift is, the more chances it gives you to promote your business. Pens and key chains are the perfect examples. Handy items that are used on a daily basis, these types of gifts work wonders when they carry your company’s name and logo.

Check out our PENS and KEY CHAINS!

Every time your customer needs to write something down, he thinks about you. Every time your customer opens her front door, she thinks about you. Promo gifts are excellent ways to stay on the minds of your most important clients. In addition, consider the fact that the giving of gifts is a kind gesture in and of itself. The impact you make simply by offering the gift will do a lot to warm your customers up to you.

Our experience has shown us that when business owners hand out promo gifts, they tend to receive greater senses of loyalty from their customers. The gifts not only encourage customers to keep coming back, but they also encourage them to recommend the business to their family and friends. At the end of the day, promo gifts do more than just advertise. They build relationships.

The building of relationships is integral to your company’s long-term success. And this is what has helped Synergy Marketing become the provider of Canada’s best promo products. We stand behind both the quality and the effectiveness of the gifts that we offer our clients. For more information on our promotional products or to place an order, give us a call at 1-877-748-9884.

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18 Oct

4 More Free Ways To Build Your Business

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 18.10.13 by John Meloche

ideas-to-promote-your-businessIn yesterday’s blog, we took a look at a list of tips provided by The Business Journal’s Helen Todd. Doling out a number of business promotion solutions that can be done for free, Todd’s list is one that bares resemblance to many others that we’ve come across on the internet. At Synergy Marketing, we feel that it’s important for business owners to do their research.

And we’re only too happy to do that research for them! For example, throughout the past few years, our blogs have examined numerous lists written by business professionals across the world. Naturally, there are many similarities between these lists. More and more, we’re noticing that one of the most notable similarities is the tip about using social media.

It should go without saying that Facebook, Twitter and many other social networking sites work wonders in helping entrepreneurs to expand the sizes of their audiences. Todd’s list is no different. But it certainly doesn’t begin and end with social media. In today’s blog, we’ll round out Todd’s list of tips for business owners looking to promote their companies at no cost.

Free directory listings. Social media sites aren’t the only way to utilize the internet to promote your business. There are other free avenues that you may want to consider in order to advertise your brand. “Be sure to claim your business in online directories such as Google Places, Yelp and Yahoo,” writes Todd, “There are also a ton of others, the Yellow Pages offers both free and paid listings.”

Your website. Now, of course, you can’t have a strong online presence if you don’t have your own company website. Sure, it’s great to be on Facebook and Twitter, but without providing links to your own site, it won’t do much good in the way of selling your products. It’s important to make sure your content is fresh, insists Todd. That includes setting up a blog much like this one!

Become an expert. To truly gain the trust and admiration of your target audience, it’s important to show off your expertise. That doesn’t mean being arrogant, it means offering your help in friendly ways that simply show that you’re an expert. This can be achieved through the previously-mentioned blog. Talk about what you know and what you’ve learned along the way. Regular updates to your site will help increase traffic as well.

Get involved in your community. Volunteering your time to important causes in the area where your business is located is a great way to garner favourable attention. It’s a win-win to both promote your business and give back to those who need the help at the same time. Align yourself with groups and associations that support worthwhile causes. It will end up supporting your bottom line.

Consistently brand your business. “Chances are your company already has a logo and a name,” writes Todd, “It should be on everything – correctly formatted. Your name and logo are the image that says who you are and what you do. Make sure it reflects your business.” Speaking of which, your name and logo should be on a quality promotional product. Call Synergy Marketing at 1-877-748-9884 to order yours today!

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