by John Eberhard

Well, we’ve finally passed Labor Day which means the summer season is officially over. That means I hope you had a nice summer, but that now it’s time to end off on the summer mentality and get down to business with your business.

Now I know everyone has been vacationing and spending all that extra money everyone seems to have these days. So all that spending has probably caused people to kind of forget about promoting their businesses. Yeah, that must be it.

Well, whatever the reason, many businesses have decreased their advertising and promotional spending, with some dropping their promotion altogether. And from my observation this has gotten more noticeable over the summer.

If the above describes you, meaning you have cut back on promotion or dropped out promotion entirely for your business over the summer, or earlier due to concerns over the economy, then I suggest you might want to reconsider that decision now. After all, in September, vacations are over, kids are going back to school, football season is starting, and in general everyone is getting back to business.

And it is basically a law that you have to somehow let your prospects and customers know you are still there. In other words, promotion in volume is still a necessary part of doing business, regardless of whatever is happening with the economy. And I’ll mention that all of my clients who are still promoting aggressively are doing well. So it’s time to ramp up your promotion, including your online promotions.

The Roadmap

Here are some suggestions for what you should do to gear up for the fall and increase your revenue and market-share:

  1. Blogging: I’ve been recommending blogging for over a year, as a great way to promote your business online. Once you set up the blog it is basically free. You post something, then send out a notification (called a “ping”) to all the blog search engines, and that drives volume traffic to your site. It’s best to post something at least once a week. Lately I’ve been setting up one main blog, then setting up other blogs on free blogging sites such as WordPress.com and Blogger.com, and linking them all together so I can post from one place and it goes out to all of them. Then send out a ping for each one. I call this “blogging on steroids,” without the dangers of a Congressional hearing.
  1. Email Marketing: You need to set up an email newsletter if you aren’t doing one already, and set up your website so that every time someone fills out a form to contact you or request information, their name automatically goes on that list. Then send out an email newsletter regularly, i.e. at least once a month or more often. If this is set up and you get every person who contacts you on that list, this becomes a powerful promotional vehicle, because it keeps your name in front of all those people.
  1. Facebook and Twitter: Start up accounts on these sites, then log in and start developing lots of “friends” on Facebook and “followers” on Twitter, so that lots of people will see your message. Then observe the types of things that other people post about. You can’t be posting “Buy my stuff, buy my stuff” all day long. You will annoy people and they will “unfriend” you faster than you can say “how come they didn’t buy my stuff.” Instead, just post things about what you are doing with your business. Such as “We are installing new plumbing for a client today,” or “Our clinic saw 100 chiropractic patients today,” or “Our software company sold 200 licenses today” and so on. In other words, you post things that are descriptive of what the business does so it reminds people of your business. I have found this approach to work extremely well and to generate leads. Some experts such as Ed Dale recommend posting links to interesting articles on the web, related to the topic of your business, and I see some other online marketing people following this lead.
  1. Other Social Media: You should also start accounts on MySpace and LinkedIn and do the same strategy there: getting friends and posting regular stuff about what you’re doing. There are also other social media sites that I would call the “second tier” social media sites, where you can also develop lists of friends and post updates, including Plaxo, Plurk, Mashable, FriendFeed, Xanga, Vox and more.
  1. Leverage Your Time: So who wants to log in to 10 different sites each time you want to post something. Not me. You? I didn’t think so. So start an account on Ping.fm, then hook up your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Plurk, Xanga and other accounts to it. Then post something and it goes out to your friends on each site. Ooh, the power! Save time and multiply the results of your efforts. Of course you still have to log in to each of your social media accounts to interact with people, add new friends and so on. But for outgoing communication, you can’t beat Ping.fm. I also use another site called Posterous.com now to post my blog posts to seven different blogs at once.

So now that the fall has begun, it’s time to get your online marketing in gear. 25, 54, 72, Hike! Good luck!