Wednesday, January 25, 2012


E-commerce isn't for every small business, but if things are slow in your physical locations, you may want to consider getting your feet wet with a few product offerings that you can post at good prices.

If you're ready to start offering products online, you'll need  an option to merge your physical location to your online offerings. Blue Heron Moon Web Consulting has an E-commerce option that melds an in house software with a web presence. We can help you with a software that handles inventory management, newsletter subscriptions and promotions, blogs, news, and forums.

This solution works for those businesses with the need to manage inventory for purposes other than just website sales. Call us today for a consultation.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Top 5 Secrets to Coming up on Top of Search Engines

Seems like there are more experts than ever who can put your business on top of the search engines for a fee. And there are more businesses that are willing to dish out the dough to be at the top. Being on top isn't about magic; it's about work and depending on just how much competition your business has online it may require a whole lot of hard work.

So here's five ways that can help you begin:

  1. Put up a website, publish it properly and update it frequently. You will not do very well without fresh and up to date information. 
  2. Start a blog, make sure it's linked to your website. Blog regularly.
  3. Have a Facebook, Twitter, and Google page. Link them all to your website, blog, and each other. Post regularly.
  4. Yahoo, Google, and many yellow page sites offer free listings with links back to your website. The more of these entities you sign up with the more likely you will appear when someone searches for your products and services. 
  5. Make sure your location, your information, hours of operations, and any other information is up to date in all the sites where your business appears. You'll want to have this information managed and monitored.    
The internet is a web of information. The more that you contribute to the web the better your business shows up in that web. Not magic. Just hard work that any business can benefit from.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Profound Changes need to be Given more Thought

Government censorship of the internet is being discussed in Washington. The regulations being proposed have the potential to lock up data, information, and prohibit our ability to market, advertise, and demonstrate our products and services on our websites.

Read about the regulations here.

An internet protest is occurring on many sites today. Wikipedia is purposely down and is providing a convenient link so that you can voice concern to Washington. Access the link here.

Please join the voice to keep the information on the internet free and flowing since the government has other tools to use to prosecute the true copyright violators. Movie and Music Industries can and should use existing laws and not impose restrictions on small businesses that don't violate those copyright laws.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Search---flowing your Physical Service with your Web Presence

I like to shop locally; not only does shopping local provide local opportunities to all the locals, but I dream of a day when Main Street, once again, becomes that place where service is king, opportunity is abundant, and everybody knows your name.

Finding a new or unique product can be a corundum though. Take my search for a first time purchase of a package of fabric batting to make the center of a few potholders. My search lead me to a brand. I searched for that brand and the search resulted in 3 local stores within a few miles of my location as well as a couple of places to order online. Unfortunately when I got to store one they didn't have the product and seemingly had never heard of it. Not good. After I returned home, upon further investigation, the store in question had a larger, online presence where you could order online; apparently this corrupted my search for a local supply. I was disappointed in the retailer---they weren't that type of small main street business that I like to frequent anyway.

But this larger retail store is having problems and closing stores in this tough economy. A lesson it may be too late for them to learn is service is really the key to continuing business and customer loyalty---especially in today's changing retail world. They would have had a loyal customer as well as a sale if they would have had a knowledgeable staff empowered to get on their own website, order the product I needed and have it delivered to their store, saving me the shipping charge, as I would already be making two trips to their physical location.

Instead they received  no sale, no customer, and I am left with the feeling that, although the store was an icon of previous generations---one that taught me what good service is, this is a retailer that has seen better days and may deserve it's ride into the sunset.      

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cell Phones bring sales

According to a recent article on Market Watch the majority of cell phone users are searching for services and products online and these users feel the smart phone is a really handy device to use to make a purchase.

The good news is that most smart phones know where they're located. A phone will give information locally first and then branch out depending on where that phone's user is if that user allows for certain GPS location searching. This means that local small business can be on equal footing with all the big competition around as long as the proper keywords and web marketing is in place.

Because security is a concern for these online users it's important that your website offer a Paypal option for payment as it is viewed as more secure over traditional credit and debit cards. And for the 3 out of every 10 who don't feel comfortable making purchases online---be sure your physical location, phone, and hours of operation are prominently displayed on your website and are kept up to date.      

Monday, January 9, 2012

Making up that email

An email template may be something that you will be considering for the new year. Even if you use an email service like Constant Contact you can add your own code, graphic, and links so that each email is consistently yours. If you are considering updating your template you might considering adding these components for a more polished  and useful correspondence:

  • Each email should contain your name, address, email address for responses and comments, and your logo.
  • You can update your emails to include links back to specific areas of your website. Why not provide a link to your web calendar of special events, blog, and home page?     
  • Every email should contain a link for those wishing to unsubscribe.  
  • Do you have a gift for your customer? A coupon or piece of information---a how to or an "inside your industry" tidbit keeps customers opening and reading your emails. 
  • Advanced notice to events and sales creates an "insider's club." Everyone likes to belong.
  • Make sure that links to your social media are included. Customers will not miss a chance to find out what's going on with you and when you get that new product in that the customer didn't know they needed.
Your template can be copied over for each email you send out---meaning that you only do it once and simply add the specifics for each program. Using the same template also creates branding. When I see the Martha Stewart aqua-green color on a gray background I know the email came from Martha Stewart's companies---I don't even need to see her picture or logo. I also know she has something to give to me---a piece of information, a new product, a tip or event. And more often than not, no matter how busy I am, I take the time to open it up and see what she's got for me today.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Your customers are waiting for you to catch up

My hot water heater is on the fritz. I'm afraid it is long past time to replace so last night I searched online for a company to service it. The water heater has been so bad for so long I'm really serious about replacing and if I had found a company that allowed me to obtain an estimate and schedule an appointment online and they were reasonably priced, they would have had a sale for no additional work.

I like doing business this way---it saves a bunch of time and phone calls---back and forth and missed. It's easier to plan for my expense-----maybe the cost will be so much that I need to limp along with my old one for another month.

The only problem is that not one company came up with a website in my area. I'm a customer who is waiting for a company to fill a need. And there are at least 5 small businesses in my immediate area that missed an opportunity last night.

What are other customers doing? Probably going to a big box store....      

Monday, January 2, 2012

January Website Updates

January is the perfect time to update that website---make sure your copyright information is updating and replace those pictures of old products with the new 2012 versions.

Not only does updating your website keep it fresh but it also refreshes your position in the search engines. And with the weather outside being so frightful, your customers can shop with you from the couch.

Happy New Year!