Join Our Shop Local Directory Extra Exposure For Your Business

During this unsure, difficult time thanks to our unseen but deadly enemy COVID19, many small businesses are learning to navigate a new normal and are finding ways to re-invent what they do, move ahead and prosper. After what we have all been through it is no longer enough to survive, we need to find ways to thrive.

And what we, at Shop Local Directory have done, is establish extremely affordable membership tiers to make getting extra exposure for small businesses easier and more effective. Our directory comes without the hefty initial fees, monthly fees and yet more fees for add on services.

Instead, we offer a very affordable yearly fee for small business owners to promote their businesses.

And what comes with that affordable yearly fee?

Depending on the level you choose you get some or all of these benefits:

  • Expert search engine optimization
  • Ability to receive online reviews from your customers
  • You can network with other businesses
  • Link to your website and social media platforms
  • Generate business leads
  • Upload audio and video files to promote your business
  • Create coupons – events – job listings – classifieds
  • Upload photo albums and property listings.

Find out more by checking out Our Shop Local Directory here. During the sign up process you will be prompted for your coupon code which is MMLLC.

Any questions let us know. Text us at 201.753.1677.

7 Tips For Retail Adjustment to COVID19 and Survival

The world as we knew it in early March of 2020 is over. Life will never be the same after the devastating onslaught of the deadly COVID19 pandemic which was and still is ravaging the world. Despite this, the retail sector can rise from the ashes like the phoenix with an adjustment in mindset and a new approach to flexibility and innovation.

The retail sector has been hit particularly hard. Prior to COVID19, retail was starting to get pummeled and feel the pressure from online shopping. Now, the retail sector is facing one of it’s biggest, if not it’s absolute biggest challenges. How to stay alive.

As society begins to slowly recover from COVID19, people are reluctant to come out and mingle. Yes, they want their state governments to reopen the parks, because getting out in fresh air and nature is good for the mind, body and soul. Going shopping in the mall……….. eh, not so much.

Most people see the common sense in social distancing. And in a mall you are not going to get that. In a restaurant you are not going to get that. And who really wants a resurgence of COVID19? Who wants to take that chance? Nobody I know. Better to shop online via e-commerce and let UPS and Fedex and USPS deliver.

Retail Shopping After COVID19

Here are 7 tips for those of you in the retail sector so you can survive and one day prosper again.

1 – Re-purpose your current brick and mortar facility

Depending on what you sell in your physical location, re-purpose your store to become more of a mini manufacturing and shipping facility. If  you are in the food business, you can accommodate some shoppers properly socially distanced. However, that’s not gonna float the boat. Offer take out and delivery, or if you can ship your food product, start taking orders and shipping out. Other types of businesses will need to brainstorm and see if this is a viable means of keeping your ship afloat. If you can ship out or take local orders and deliver your products, give it a whirl.

2 – Close your brick and mortar facility

There is no shame in doing so. If you cannot make your shop become financially sustainable, shut the doors before the whole operation starts sucking the life out of you. However, no matter what you sell in your store, you absolutely MUST consider step 3. It ain’t over yet.

3 – Re-purpose your retail brick and mortar business into an online business

This will, down the road, save your business. There is some time, effort and planning involved, but well worth it. Don’t sit on this option too long. Make it happen.

4 – Consider your online options

Depending on your product, price point and ability to ship economically, you have many good online options. Your own e-commerce website, Etsy (handmade, vintage or supplies), eBay and Amazon. Don’t jump into any one option without careful consideration. They are NOT one size fits all.

5 – Build your empire slowly one venue at a time

I have so many new clients who have jumped into this option without advice and consultation and found themselves neck deep in waters they don’t understand how to navigate. Easy does it folks. You don’t want to drown.

6 – Build your brand

Nothing is more important than for you to build your brand. What does that mean exactly? Establish a memorable logo and tagline, and even if you need to trademark your identity, do it. Figure out who you are, how you want to attract customers, and express that in a consistently memorable way across your venues and throughout social media.

7 – Build your influence and your customer base

As you grow, you’ll be building your influence and customer base. As you do this, you can move on to the next phase of another venue to sell on. Start small, get a foothold and then you can move on to play with the big boys in their playground.

What is the new future for the retail industry during and post COVID19?

Online. E-commerce. Period end of story. Either your online endeavors will accompany your brick and mortar efforts and help you float the boat, or, your online endeavors will open up a whole new world order for your empire.

ecommerce

You will need a trusted advisor to help you set all of this up. Someone who is an expert in their field. Expert doesn’t mean top dollar it means top quality and top of the line knowledge. You get what you pay for.

We are in business for 20 years. Navigated many of our clients through the crash of 2008. Very few decided to throw in the towel.

Here is how Maureen McCullough LLC can help you:

  • E-commerce website design – easy for your customers to find what they want, pay for it, and leave testimonials and reviews
  • Website maintenance for enhanced security and to “keep it fresh”
  • Customized Etsy shop design
  • Customized eBay store layouts
  • Establishing your brand – one of the most critical ingredients in your plan for success
  • Highly optimized SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website, Etsy shop, eBay store, or Amazon listings
  • Ongoing optimized SEO tweaking – an absolute necessity in an ever changing, highly competitive fluid environment
  • Product descriptions and product titles – this is a science unto itself, if you want to rise through the ranks, for best visibility
  • Email marketing campaigns to reinforce your brand
  • Social media marketing – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn
  • Listing in a trusted Shop Local Directory for maximum exposure
  • Personalized consulting targeted for your business, your targeted audience, and your business goals
  • Longtime experience as an Etsy, eBay, Amazon and WordPress expert

Contact us today to learn one on one how we can help you and your retail business to not only survive COVID19 but prosper!

Call or text us at 201.753.1677

Contact us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NJdesignseomarketing/

Contact us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/maureen-mccullough-llc-marketing/

 

Would You Benefit from a Business Coach for Your Business?

Bergen County New Jersey personalized business coaching, start up and business expansion consulting. Our innovative strategies position you for success.

You will learn more from us in a one or two hour session than you could ever learn by trial and error. We keep things simple and straightforward. You walk away with a comprehensive business plan tailored to the needs of your business and your goals for growth.

 

small business growth

 

Business Coaching, Start Ups, Expansion Consulting – Take advantage of our 18+ years of knowledge, expertise and know how.

Time is money – why waste it and end up incurring more costs due to mistakes and wrong or outdated information? That’s why you go to a pro, so you can be guided, taught and empowered.

Business Coaching Basic Topics

  • Website advice – domain names, types of website hosting, e-commerce, SSL certificates and more
  • Branding, logo creation, it’s all about sending the right message
  • Social media – which venues are right for your business?
  • Social media handles – cohesive across the board branding
  • Trademarks
  • Packaging and package design
  • Product photography
  • Business cards, brochures, catalogs

What Business Coaching and Consulting Topics do we cover?

  • Start Up Businesses – all phases of development, funding, staffing, deployment, launching, and beyond
  • Existing Businesses – existing business issues, reputation management, business growth and evolution
  • Just an Idea Phase – exploration of all possibilities for your idea, including all listed under Start Ups above
  • Supplier and Wholesale Sourcing
  • E-Commerce – vetting the right online e-commerce venue for you
  • Location, location, location – vetting the right retail location for you
  • Contract Review
  • Business Plan Development and Review
  • Kicking It Up a Notch or Two – Is it time to grow and expand?
  • A/B testing and Market Analysis – what’s working, what’s not working and why
  • Streamlining your processes so you can work smarter not harder
  • Reputation Management

Call or text us at 201.753.1677 today. We provide business coaching and consulting to small businesses across the United States.

Your Website is Costing You Hundreds of Dollars in Sales

Whether you are an attorney, small law firm, online retailer, or a small business providing goods or services to your customer base, the very idea that your website is costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in sales is quite the scary thought.

Many people think that their website is simply a set it and forget it tool. They couldn’t be more wrong.

ANY business owner worth their salt takes the time with their web designer or marketing agency to be constantly adding to their website, either visually with pictures or blog posts, tweaking the content, keeping their eye on their competition and implementing new offerings and features.

And ANY business owner who is truly interested in their business will spend most of their time actually running their business, not playing with a website builder with limited functionality, no interactive features and cookie cutter design. Business owners who try to cut corners with a cheap website builder end up with a less than stellar website full of broken code and no curb appeal by which to gain new clients.

small business growth

Constant evaluation of what your business offers will also prompt you, the small business owner, to diversify your offerings. WHY? To keep up with trends, competitors, to get ahead, to put yourself in a valuable niche with your customer base. This helps you add to your customer base. Which means you are making more money. Instead of losing money.

Why is constant interaction with your small business website important? Adding new product, new pictures, new content, new offerings, and new blog posts keeps your website fresh both for potential and current clients / customers and also for search engines like Google.

Consistent activity on social media – be it every day or once a week – is very important as well. The key to social media is CONSISTENCY. Being consistent, posting and sharing on a regular basis gives your audience a reason to look forward to your activity and therefore be in the know of what’s going on with your company.

Considering your website to be a set it and forget it tool will cause it, and your customer base, to wither and die. Much like a business that refuses to diversify it’s offerings, that business has absolutely no back up to lean on when the main offering dries up.

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to make thousands of dollars and grow your business. But you do have to put into your business in order to get what you expect out of it.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

WordPress – What Your Website Manager Should Know …..

and if they don’t, it’s a problem.

For example. Changing the password. Sometimes we don’t write things down properly. Such as a password. We miss an uppercase letter, and write it down lowercase, we interpose the numbers and symbols, it can go on. Bottom line, that new password you just set up doesn’t work. It can get frustrating.

Or, you may not receive the password reset email. Or it may still be going to the email of the former manager, if you are taking over a site. Or your email may be hiccuping. What to do?

wordpress logo

Every website manager worth their salt should know how to handle this.

They should know that you can change the password in your phpmyadmin back end.

But they don’t know how to get in there. What???

Again, if your website manager is a true professional, they would know that the wp-config.php file holds all the info. And that they need to login to their hosting account to access their CPanel to access the File Manager to see the wp-config.php file. Which will tell them how to login to phpmyadmin.

From there, they can change the admin contact email address, they can change the password, they can fix quite a few things.

Resetting a WordPress password should not turn into a crisis. It should be done transparently, and professionally.

Otherwise you’ve got a problem with your website manager.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

As WordPress design experts, we’ve not only designed and developed WordPress sites, we’ve moved them, transferred them, exported and imported databases, fixed database issues, and so much more.

Own a Start Up? 7 Tips for Taking the Next Step

So you own a start up business. You came up with a great product or service and have had some success with it. You even have a website and a great domain name.

What are the next steps to taking your business to the next level?

  • Establishing Your Brand
  • Deciding which segment of the market to target
  • Retail, wholesale or both – what are your realistic capabilities?
  • Product or service production and refinement
  • Selling on multiple venues – what is appropriate for you?
  • Refining your presentation from a personal approach to a professional approach
  • Setting realistic goals for the future

Setting Realistic Goals For the Future ~

This is listed last however it is something that you will find is constantly evolving over time. It is also a point that you need to keep in the back of your head at all times. As your business evolves and grows, suffers setbacks, changes direction, starts growing again, you’ll find that your realistic future goals will need to be adjusted as well in order to keep your business on a healthy path way to success.

Establishing Your Brand ~ Brand Recognition

Your eventual “brand” that you establish is what sets you apart from all other companies and businesses that might be offering / selling the same or similar services or products that you do. It makes you identifiable visually to the consumer and makes you stand out from the pack.

Your brand is the visual message you send out to all who see it. Careful planning needs to be given to the visual, the colors used, the headline, and the tagline. Color psychology plays a big part in your branding as does your message.

Your branding will be used on business cards, brochures, company letterhead, social media, signs, and more. That’s huge.

Deciding Which Segment of the Market To Target ~

If you offer a product, who is your target market? Retail, consumer, wholesale? Sell directly to consumers via your website? Open a retail brick and mortar store? Sell wholesale to distributors and retail businesses, essentially becoming a supplier?

If you offer a service, the same question applies. Will you offer your services from your home office, going out to meet with clients? Will you open an office on Main Street so the clients can walk in and come to you? Does your pricing structure lend itself well to offering service packages, bundling services?

You can always open yourself up to more options as time goes on. Starting out, this is a critical decision. Make the wrong decision and the life of your business hangs in the balance.

Retail, Wholesale or Both – What Are Your Realistic Capabilities?

This step ties in directly to the one above, your target market. It also addresses a key point. If you offer products, are you in a position to offer them wholesale? Can you keep up with supply and demand? A business that cannot keep up with supply and demand gets a bad reputation and often closes down.

If you offer services, there is a supply and demand issue there as well. Can you keep up with regular on demand services for your clients as well as those carefully crafted packages and bundled services? How many clients can you realistically deliver to in a day? In a week? On time and high quality services are of premium importance.

Product or Service Production and Refinement ~

Over time, as you become more successful, you will see products or services that will need to be refined as the business evolves and customer needs evolve. Some products or services will need to be deleted from the lineup. And new offerings are always a possibility based on customer need and demand.

This important point will become the bridge by which your business crosses over to either becoming more successful or staying stagnant and eventually dying. Don’t turn a blind eye to this. It’s part of the heartbeat of your business. A regular review of products and service offerings is your best bet.

Selling on Multiple Venues – What is Appropriate For You?

We are assuming you already have a website. Again, products or services makes no difference, multiple venues will open up doors for your business. The big question is, which venues are right for what you offer?

This is a critical step and not to be taken lightly. Just throwing your products or services to the wind will do more damage than good. This usually happens when a business is motivated strictly by making as much money as possible quickly (dare we say it – becoming money hungry) instead of carefully crafting a brand, a reputation that can be trusted and doing their due diligence – research.

Research, vetting and making a plan is so very important when expanding out to multiple venues. This needs to be manageable, and cost effective and in line with your business plans and goals.

Which will it be for your business? eBay? Amazon? Etsy? Your own e-commerce website? A combination of some or all?

Refining Your Presentation From a Personal Approach To a Professional Approach ~

This is the “grow up” phase you must learn if your start up is going to take off successfully. It’s time to stop thinking of it in a personal sense, as “me”, and think of it and treat it in a professional sense, always as “we” and “our”. You are a company now, out to make your impressions on the world and attract new clients, customers and businesses. Start acting like a company and not as a personal endeavor you hope people will like.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.