Choosing the Right Keywords

What is the single most important thing you can do to insure the success of your website? One of the answers is to choose the right keywords.

Choose the right keywords.

imagesWhy is that, with all of the highly effective search engine strategies that we can employ? It’s rather simple. If you don’t choose the right keywords, all of your other strategies won’t help you at all, because those strategies build on top of choosing the right keywords.

Let’s look at it from the point of a view of a searcher. A searcher visits one of the major engines looking for your goods or services. He types in what he considers to be the most important topic, or keyword, for his search. Up come the results, ten per page.

If you haven’t taken time to choose the most effective keyword phrases, you may have done something like use the name of your company as your main keyword. If your company has significant name recognition, like Sony, that’s fine. But, if your company is like the vast majority of companies on the Net, optimising the page for the name of your company has just cost you some business.

Choose the most effective keyword phrase for your page!

How on earth do you choose your important keyword phrases? First off, don’t depend on yourself to choose the right keywords. Your searchers are probably not finding you the same way that you’d think they’d find you. Instead, ask your customers or someone outside of your business what they would type in the search window when looking for your site.

Optimise each page separately.

When working with search engines, consider the focus of each page separately, because the engines do. So, if you want top ranked pages, create content-rich information pages that centre on one or two topics only, and use those fine-tuned topics as your keywords for that page.

Don’t try to optimise a single page for every keyword that’s important to your business. It just won’t work. Instead, create separate content-rich pages and utilize your other keywords in that manner, and bring additional traffic into your site.

Let’s look at some tips on how to choose keywords.

Stay away from general keywords.

Take your keyword ideas and fine tune them based on each page of your website. While it’s tempting to choose very general keywords, like “computers,” don’t do it for a number of reasons.

First off, the competition will be fierce. And, more and more searchers are realizing that they can fine tune their searches and cut out never-ending search results by searching for phrases rather than single keywords.

Also, research has shown that when a searcher wants to purchase something, he conducts extremely fine tuned searches to find it. In other words, if he’s searching for a DVD title by a particular actor, he’ll search for the exact title or under the name of the actor, rather than simply “DVD.”

So, while having a web page that ranks extremely well for a very general keyword seems like the ideal situation, keep in mind that you may get more traffic, but you won’t necessarily get more sales.

Consider your individual goods or services.

imagesSome excellent keyword choices are the names of your individual goods and services. For example, if you’re a professional writer, create pages that advertise your services, such as “ghost writing” or “technical writing.” Creating a page for the very general keyword, “writing,” actually may not get you the business you want.

By the same token, don’t use trademarked terms for your competitors in your tags. Trademark lawsuits are springing up faster than blemishes on a teenager’s face, and you certainly don’t want, or need, to find yourself in the middle of one.

Take a general keyword and add a specific word to it.

If you can only think of very general keywords, start with a list of those keywords, and then add specific words to each one. For example, if you ‘re an artist, take the general keyword of “art” and add a specific word or two to it, based on your particular business. So, your keyword phrases may be “art lessons for children” or “modern art.”

Consider regional keywords.

Does your business cater to a particular region? If you have a restaurant in London, for example, your keyword phrase should contain the name of the city or state.

Different terminology?

Do people from other regions use different terminology when searching for your keyword phrase? If so, utilize that terminology in your tags or on your page, or create a separate page. For example, in the South, people call “shopping carts” that you find in grocery stores “buggies.”

What keywords are your competitors using?

Search for your competitors’ sites and see what keywords they’re using. Do NOT copy their tags or anything else. Simply review their pages to see if they might be using a keyword phrase that could be helpful to you.

Once you’ve determined your keyword phrases, don’t stop there!

As mentioned earlier, just because you think that a keyword phrase is perfect for your page, doesn’t mean that it is.

The bottom line here is, we’re after traffic to our sites. Even more to the point, we’re after paying customers! So, if our keyword phrase is so fine tuned that no one is using it, it will do us no good, even if we have a number one ranking for it.

On the other hand, if our keyword phrase is too general, we may get traffic, but we might not get paying customers.

In Closing

If you spend time choosing the best keywords for your web pages, it will add up to traffic and sales for your online business!

Business Planning Is Everything

BECOME THE MASTER OF YOUR LEARNING CURVE

Research the lives of all of the “gurus.” The one thing that
you will learn is that my own experience is not unique. Most of
the high earners on the Internet experienced a learning curve
very similar to my own, business planning is everything.

Chances are that your curve will also be similar to mine, but it
is my hope that you can get to the top faster than even I did.
Three years was a long time to struggle, but every ounce of
struggle was worth the reward I have finally received.

In order to shorten your own learning curve, you must do a few
things differently than the rest of us did. You must become the
master of your learning curve.

THE SHORTEST DISTANCE BETWEEN TWO POINTS IS A STRAIGHT LINE

There is only one way to shorten the curve on the Internet:

You must plan to succeed!

Here is the deal. Most people put up a freebie website and select
a few affiliate programs to add to their website. Right out of
the gate, most people are running for the finish line without any
real plan in mind.

After a few short weeks, people begin to see the writing on the
wall that says, “This is going to be a long hard road.”

People check their hit counters daily for six weeks before they
realize that getting traffic to their free site is going to be
tough.

At this point, they begin developing their first batch of
advertising. Then they spend countless months finding places to
show their advertisements for free. Some make an even more
drastic mistake by blowing thousands of hard earned dollars on
their new and untested ads.

These are the people who will learn the facts of life the hard
way.

In time, they will learn how to make their advertising work for
them, but most will earn very little money from their affiliate
programs.

At this point in the learning curve, most people throw up their
hands and walk away from their dreams in utter disgust. Instead
of a walking away point, this should have convinced the
struggling online entrepreneur that they were simply traveling
the wrong road.

YOU MUST PLAN TO SUCCEED

From day one, you must begin to learn about the nuances of web
promotion. Read everything you can get your hands on. Don’t just
read the hype, back it up with the opinions of others who have
reviewed the same programs before you came along. Learn from
their mistakes and successes.

As you begin to learn, you must also look to make a decision. Do
you want to step into a pre-built program that is designed to
help you to succeed, OR do you want to create a completely new
program of which you are the sole owner?

If you decide to step into a pre-designed and complete turn-key
online money-making venture, then you must select the right
venture to step into. If this is your decision, I encourage you
to check out the Plug In Profit Site at:
http://www.HomeBusinessTips.com/main-34270

If you decide to go the journey on your own, then do all of the
necessary research, planning and preparation that is needed for
your success.

PREPARE TO SUCCEED

Decide what you think you would want to do, and then figure out
how your planned site will generate a real income.

Internet old-timers know about hundreds of corporation domains
that existed with IPO millions, but did not have an actual money
plan that could sustain their business model. Most of these
companies were among the hundreds of companies that bellied up in
the 2000 dot bomb experience.

Don’t blindly believe in your plan. Research others on the web
who have undertaken similar business models and see if they have
survived. Study your competitors in depth to learn what is
working for them and what did not work for them. To better
understand what has or has not worked for competitor websites,
check out their time lapsed progressions using the Wayback
Machine: http://web.archive.org

Once you have determined your money plan, then you should
undertake the development of a business plan and a marketing
plan. Utilize professional assistance if you need to do so. While
creating your plans, make a determination as to which domain name
you think would be best, then register it along with a hosting
account. You can do this at Host Then Profit in Step 2 on this page:
http://www.HomeBusinessTips.com/main-34270

Once you have developed your business planning and marketing plan and
have run them through several revisions, then it will be time to
buy your domain name and to begin work with a site designer and
developer. You may need to have your domain sitting on a web host
for your site developer, but this is not always necessary. While
they are doing their work, enlist a copywriter to help you with
your site sales copy.

When your site designer and developer have your site working, you
should then undertake significant testing to make sure everything
works as planned. It is much harder to fix problems on a
operational site than it is to fix problems on a site that has
yet to be launched.

When testing is done, then you should fill in your sales copy and
then shoot for launch. Of course, you already have a marketing
plan in place, so your preparation here will be simply a matter
of putting the pieces of the puzzle into place.

You are finally ready to open for business. Don’t be afraid to
spend the money to bring your dream alive. Time can replace money
in the goal of starting a profitable online business, but money
invested can shave years off of your company’s growth.

Effective Facebook Marketing Strategies

Lets discuss Facebook Marketing & what new effective strategies can be used by Business Owners on this massive social platform site.

imagesFacebook has changed the rules again, it has now altered algorithms to enhance user experience via posts that are displayed on an individual’s news feed. This change is set to dramatically affect the way that businesses can conduct successful marketing campaigns on the site. Facebook will now heavily restrict posts that recycle previously used ad content, posts which push for viewers to buy a product or install an app, and content that pressures people to enter contests without any sort of context or frame of reference.

Facebook has decided to implement this change as a result of a recent user poll. Facebook was quoted on the matter as stating, “As part of an ongoing survey we asked thousands of people how they felt about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”

Basically, if the content a business is posting is promotional, expect organic distribution to fall drastically.

In order to assist small business owners in redefining marketing strategies for Facebook, here are the best practices for remaining on follower’s timelines.

Follow Facebook’s Advice

Facebook is constantly improving upon existing algorithms, much like Google’s are updated periodically. For one to truly reap the benefits of this powerful marketing mecca, it is best to just play by the rules, otherwise, you won’t reach the folks you aim to communicate with.

Many valuable pieces of information and insights can be harvested from the Facebook for Businesses Page posting Tips and Best Practices reference page. Some of the things discussed here that will help a business preserve organic reach are:

Post Frequently: Consistency is key. Don’t shy away from posting regularly. In fact, posting quality content (that is not promotional) on a steady basis will help ensure that your audience is seeing your posts. A great idea, which Facebook recommends, is to develop and adhere to a content calendar.
Utilise Fresh Text and Images: It should be widely known at this point that images are critical for content posting. It simply won’t be seen without an eye-catching image or video. It is also important to remain timely with posts. Post content around large holidays or events, but still keep the material focused toward the target audience. Remember, if it’s all about you, few will see it. Make it relevant to the masses and your organic reach will grow.
Target Posts Accordingly: A myriad of targeting options is available on Facebook. Businesses can target audiences based on age, gender, location, and so on to reach the appropriate demographic for content. Simply go to “Settings” and click on “Post Targeting and Privacy”.

All of these key tips are easy to do and free to implement. By following the groundwork that Facebook has already laid out, your business is one step closer to social media prosperity.

Embrace Ads for Promotional Efforts

While the alterations to Facebook’s algorithms will defiantly impact the reach of promotional content, Facebook ads will continue to be an appropriate channel for this. In the Facebook survey, many users are not bothered by promotional advertising. It only seems to become a nuisance for people once those posts begin to congest news feeds.

In Facebook’s third quarter of 2014, a flooring $2.96 billion in advertising revenue was acquired. The fact is that this avenue of advertising is marvelous as Facebook has the ability to present custom adverts to custom audiences, which could prove to be a huge score since only interested demographics will see the ad. Additionally, Facebook ads stand a higher chance of generating conversions than promotional posts do.

Facebook is More Than Just Social Media

Facebook is without a doubt a powerful and prominent source for developing awareness around a brand. The platform, however, should be utilized for much more than just spreading the word about a business.

As promotional efforts in content begin to die down for this social arena, businesses should shift Facebook pages to be a customer service tool. Many well-known businesses, including Zappos.com, have already adopted this strategy. This will help to establish more of a connection with customers in a space that most already feel comfortable in, and possibly prefer. In fact, one recent Accent Marketing report shows that one third of the 1,000 consumers surveyed have used Facebook as a customer service portal.

Looking at Facebook as more than a place to promote and publish materials will allow businesses to generate an increased level of engagement, trust, and brand awareness in consumers.

The plain facts are that social media is evolving, and fast. Soon enough promotional content might completely be a thing of the past. Consumers will be able to shop and make purchases on the platform, and most all businesses will provide customer support through Facebook and social destinations like it.

These platforms are capable of so much more and are no longer merely tools for socializing and lead generation. Forget the promotional content and look to the future. Invest time in adjusting your social campaigning efforts to fit in with Facebook’s new changes to ensure your social media presence remains relevant and visible.

How have you best used Facebook to increase the productivity of your small business?

Building Link Popularity

Search Engines are the gateway to the Internet, they are the first tool that potential customers use to find the products and services they need. This is why building link popularity is so important. If the customers do not find your website, you have no possibilities of making any sales.

You are probably wondering what the blazes are popular about a link! Link popularity refers to the ranking assigned to your website by the Search Engines, and it determines the ranking your page gets when keywords are entered into a Search Engine. So, you’re probably wondering, how do I make my link popular?

link strategySearch Engines are discretionary, giving status and ranking to sites that have links to their pages from related, quality sites. It’s a simple formula, but a very important one. Google created the system, and now virtually all the most popular Search Engines employ it to rank your web pages in their indexes.

The more commonly used your keyword is, the harder it will be to achieve link popularity, but without achieving this step, it is almost certain your site will never rank highly on any Search Engine. But don’t be discouraged; there are tried and true ways of achieving link popularity using the most competitive keywords.

There are a few things you should be aware of. The first is that just linking up with a large number of other websites will not achieve link popularity. In fact, it may have quite the opposite effect. This is particularly true when pertaining to websites that are nothing more than “link farms” – pages containing line after line of indiscriminate links. Search Engines may aggressively discriminate against your website if you are associated with a link farm, so steer clear of them!

The next thing to bear in mind is the quality of the site you are linking to. Never link to a page you have reservations about your visitors seeing. The last thing you want your website to appear as is indiscriminate and cheap. Linking to sites of poor quality will only lessen your link popularity, if not completely destroy it.

So let’s get to what you need to do to achieve supreme link popularity and improve your rankings to stellar status on all the popular Search Engines.

The first step, and the fastest way to get your foot in the door, is to get a listing in a popular directory, such as Open Directory Project and Yahoo. If your site is business-related, you will want to be listed on Yahoo, and despite the fact that it will cost you around $300 a year, it will be money well spent. If your site is non-commercial, the listing will be free, but it will take time and follow-up to actually get it listed. Open Directory is gives you a free listing whether you are business-related or non-commercial, but be prepared to make a lot of follow-up inquiries before you see your site listed.

You are aiming to get listed in the highest level of appropriate category, and this just takes some common sense. For example, if your company ships Alpaca wool from an Alpaca farm located in the middle of Nowhere, Tiny State, do NOT submit your listing to “Retailers from Nowhere, Tiny State.”

BIG MISTAKE! All you have to do is look a little deeper – and submit your listing to the “Fine Alpaca Wool” category. You will not only associate yourself with culture and quality, but you will be listed in a national category.

link buildingThe next step after you have attained directory listings is to locate other quality sites that will increase your link popularity. Try to find sites that are in some way related to yours, so not only will your link popularity increase, but your customer base may also be expanded. You want to avoid your competitors and look for sites that are useful to your site’s visitors. Let’s look at the Alpaca Wool site example. Linking up to a site that sells knitting supplies would be helpful to your visitors, and the chances of the knitting supply site wanting to link up to your site are also greater. By linking to a related site that will be relevant to your website’s traffic, you are increasing both of your site’s business prospects – and both of your sites’ link popularity.

Not all sites want to link to other sites, so you will have to do some research when you are looking for possible linking partners. Google is an excellent starting place for your search. Make sure you enter keywords that you think quality customers will also enter to find your own site. Remember, your criteria are quality, highly ranked, non-competing websites that have a links or resources page. Go to these sites and objectively assess them. Look at the quality of the product, the graphics, and the ease of use. Then check out the other sites they are linked to, and determine if your own site would fit in with the crowd.

When you decide you have found a good prospect, you must set out to woo them. The first thing to do is to add a link on your own links page to their site. This is an essential first step; it shows good faith, and ups your chances significantly of their reciprocity. After you have added their link, you must contact the webmaster of their site. Since this is almost always done by email, you want to make sure it is immediately clear that your message is not junk mail. This requires that you tell them right off the bat that you have added a link to their page on your site. A hook like this almost always insures the reader will read
on.

Next, be sure to be flattering and let them know how much you appreciate their website. Make sure you emphasize that you have actually visited their site, and that their site is not just a random pick. Give them the address of your links page, and ask them to check out the link for themselves. It’s a good idea to mention that they will not only benefit from the increased traffic your website will direct their way, but you will also increase their link popularity. Briefly, explain why link popularity is so essential, but do this in a sentence or two so you don’t sound like a professor! Finally, tell them you would greatly appreciate if they would reciprocally add a link on their own links page to your website.

Go through this process with as many appropriate sites as you can find, bearing in mind the criteria of quality and non-competitiveness. After you have emailed all relevant sites, be sure to check these website frequently to see if they have added a link to your page. Give it about a month, and if no link appears, try another charming email. Then give it another month, and if your site is still absent from their links page, it’s time to remove their link from your own links page. The only time you want to pursue a link further than this is if you believe a site is crucial to your link popularity and your business needs. Just remember to keep all your communications complimentary and cordial.

Then set up a schedule to check your ranking in Search Engines frequently to see if your link popularity has improved. This is not achievable in the blink of an eye. It will take some time and a good deal of work. There is no way around the labor-intensive quality of improving your link popularity, which is why Search Engines regard it with such importance.

By the way, make sure you have a beautiful, streamlined site or you will never persuade anyone to link up to you. Be prepared to keep plugging away at this process, as long as it takes, until you achieve link popularity stardom!

To build your customer list take a quick look HERE

Facebook Advertising Solutions

We all know, Facebook advertising is a great way to promote your brand & business. With 1.49 billion monthly active users, Facebook can launch a company to success in no time flat, if done correctly.

fb2

Facebook advertising is a great way for any online or offline business to raise their brand awareness, social presence, and ultimately sales & conversions. Many smaller companies however, just don’t have the funds to launch a successful advertising campaign. Believe it or not ads are not the only solution for boosting awareness and gain a social following.

With all sorts of great information and tools available online, small and large business owners & marketers are capable of building a meaningful digital existence without having to break the bank.

Below are five helpful tips and tricks to get your posts seen by a larger audience while never spending a penny.

1. Post Awesome Content

While this is obvious to most, many still commit the marketing sin of posting below par content that is riddled with keywords in the hope of ranking well. This simply does not work at all.

Once you understand what posts have been working well for you and your audience, you can replicate this formula to develop more highly shareable posts. But you don’t simply want to match previous success, you want to surpass it. In order to do so, take the success blueprint that you have already established and ask yourself a few key questions:

What gets people talking and excited?

What is currently trending in your niche?
How can your post be useful and valuable to your community?

In answering these questions, combined with the insights you have already harvested, you are sure to create an outstanding post.

2. Analyse Your Top Ten

Facebook page insights is an invaluable tool for gaining intimate knowledge about how certain posts are received by your audience. By utilising this tool you can rank your posted content by likes, comments, and shares to understand how successful the post actually was.

Once you have established a post ranking, seek out patterns and trends of those that were most successful.
Is subject matter similar among top ranking publications?
Were these posts accompanied by images?
What can be learned from the comments section of the updates?
When all of this information has been harvested, you can then use that knowledge to influence upcoming updates.

3. Target with Intent

fb3One of the beautiful things about Facebook is the ability to target posts. Administrators of pages that have over 100 fans can target updates to specific audiences based on various different categories; gender, age, relationship status, educational status, location, and more.

For posts to be targeted organically, be sure to select the “Allow targeting and privacy options when I create posts on my Page” option within your page settings. Once selected, a targeting icon will show at the bottom left of the publisher. This essentially means that posts that pertain to fans in a specific location or whatever else won’t be hidden by fans outside of that segment. In turn this allows for a higher percentage of folks targeted by these posts to like, comment, and share them.

4. Timing Is Everything

There has been a massive amount of research conducted around this topic. IT doesn’t matter if you are simply trying to create more local hype around your brand or establish a global social media presence, the timing of your Facebook posts is a critical element.

Typically, early mornings and nighttime (around 8PM in the time zone you are targeting) are the best times to post since this is when most people are not working and have time to browse their newsfeeds.

But generalisations just won’t do here; what time is best for your fans? To find out when the optimum time to post is for your audience, check out the Posts report within Facebook Insights.

Additionally, your brand should be frequently posting on the weekends as well. Generally speaking, most people have much more free time on the weekends to surf Facebook and other social media sites, so this is a great time to post. Plus, most brands don’t post as heavily on the weekends so this will give you an edge as well.

5. Email Marketing Tie-In

Many brands have a substantial email list that blasts are regularly sent out to. This is a great opportunity to tie-in and help promote one of your top ranking posts by linking to it in the email. Since this content is already “fan approved” your email subscribers are more apt to like, comment on, or share it with their Facebook friends as well.

As you can see, there are many ways to leverage Facebook’s marketing muscle without spending tons of cash. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. The key is knowing how to utilize and optimize their existing tools.

What other free page-boosting tips have proven to be effective for you?
Do you believe it’s possible to reach the masses without spending on Facebook?

Content Nitrous Review

Just thought I would put together a short insight into a new product coming onto the market on Tuesday August 24th 2015 called Content Nitrous by husband and wife team Omar & Melinda Martin. The target niche is geared towards, content marketing, traffic generation and content optimisation.

So What Is Content Nitrous?

Well simply put it is a system used to enhance websites and make money, this is fact not theory. They have been doing this for years and now want to reveal their secrets to the world. It has been tested on membership sites, download pages, and funnels. It has been perfected by their team of progammers to automate it, giving them a copy and paste short code for WordPress that pulls in the money. The code can also be customised to suit your requirements.

Content Nitrous Features.

The sytem has already been used on some of the biggest product launches in the Internet Marketing Industry in the last few years. The software will do things on autopilot such as; increase long term marketing profits, inject life in to any launch bottom line and also decrease your support headaches. You can check out their video on the site.

You will get the content nitrous ebook, MP3 audio course, four part video training course and the “StepBox” WordPress plugin.

So Why Do You Need It?

Imagine you had a simple short code that you could paste on to your thank you page or download page of your website to quickly add hundreds if not thousands of dollars to your bottom line over and over again. This is the kind of product that you will use constantly to improve and grow your business long term, this is the real deal.

Your customers, visitors will love the value that this simple system will add to your site, customers will keep flooding back for more.

 

How Safe Is Your Affiliate Link

 

Discover Why Affiliate Links Are Vulnerable and Why Most Affiliates Lose Up To 30% Commission Without Even Realising It. Check This Out For a Solution To Stop Losing Commissions.

During a recent product launch, Chris and his team discovered something quite SHOCKING.

According to their server logs, approximately 10% of visitors were landing on the sales page, immediately switched browser!

Despite the fact that they purely monetise offers with affiliate traffic, they have a constant 10.7% non-affiliate purchases on almost every launch.

They found this is mostly down to users switching browser and sharing the raw, unaffiliated link with others.

With WP Link Shield, affiliates never need to worry again as the url in the browser is always the affiliates link.

NEVER Worry About Broken Affiliate Links Again

 No one has the time to keep track of all their affiliate links. Many offers expire and from time to time visitors will see broken domains and pages.

WP Link Shield automatically detects dead links and broken sites, then redirects traffic back to your site, where the visitor is presented with a live offer list of your choice automatically!

You need not do anything, the plugin does a regular scan at your interval choice that identifies problems and redirects dead, expired and problematic links.

  • Prevents Commission Losses By Link Sharing And Browser Switching
  • Blocks Unwanted Exit Pops
  • Increases Link Trust By Natural Keywords And Site Branding
  • Auto Detects & Redirects Broken Affiliate Offers
  • 100% Social Media Friendly – Yes, These Links Work In FaceBook And Twitter
  • Boosts Social CTR With Full Meta Control
  • Instant Social Sharing To Twitter & FaceBook
  • Add Scarcity To Any Affiliate Link
  • Add Bonus Reminder Bar To Any Affiliate Link

WP Link Shield Is The Only Link Cloaker With Automated Commission Protection

Get The Competitive Edge

Whenever consumer spending is slowing down, you need to defend your market position and maintain your competitive edge. Here are ten ways to keep ahead of the competition and how to stay ahead of your rivals.

Know the competition. Find out who your competitors are, what they are offering and what their unique selling point (USP) is. This will identify the areas you need to compete in, as well as giving you a platform for differentiating yourself.

Know your customers. Customer expectations can change dramatically when economic conditions are unstable. Find out what matters to your customers now, is it lower price, more flexible service, the latest products? Revise your sales and marketing strategy accordingly.

Differentiate. It’s essential to give your customers good reasons to come to you rather than a rival. Your USP should tap into what customers want and it should be clear and obvious, no-one should have to ask what makes you different.

Step up your marketing. Make more effort to tell people who you are, what you sell and why they should buy from you. It doesn’t have to be expensive; marketing can range from posters in your window and leaflet drops through to advertising campaigns in local media.

Update your image. Simple steps such as painting the front of your premises can make your business look more modern and inviting. But look also at business cards, stationery, your website, branded packaging, clothing and so on. Does your image reflect your USP?

Look after your existing customers. They will be your competitors’ target market. Provide better customer service by being more responsive to their needs and expectations. If feasible, consider offering low-cost extras such as improved credit terms, discounts or loyalty schemes, remember, it’s cheaper and easier to keep customers than to find new ones.

Target new markets. Selling into a greater number of markets can increase your customer base and spread your risk. Consider whether you can sell online or overseas, for example. Are there groups you’ve never targeted before who might be interested in your offer? Don’t waste time marketing to people who won’t be interested, however.

Expand your offer. What related products or services might your customers be interested in? You might even consider diversifying into another area, many cafes have successfully offered Internet access, for example.

Be the best employer. Skilled, motivated staff underpin vibrant, growing businesses. But attracting them means more than paying a competitive wage, people are often more impressed by a good working atmosphere and benefits such as flexible working and structured career development.

Look to the future. Businesses that plan for growth are more successful than those that are happy to stay still. Keep up with developments in your sector, follow consumer trends, invest in new technology and crucially, have a clear idea of where you want to be in one, three and five years’ time.