When your traditional marketing is not working - brainstorm with us! We focus on relationship marketing - and show you how to use these low-cost ideas to explode your business.

Lies Your Mother Taught You

Why Copy-Writing Matters                                                                          

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

LIES Your Mother Taught You: 

Talk is Cheap

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Words Will Never Hurt Me

It's the Thought that Counts

Remember these sayings? They may work on the playground - but they'll destroy your business! (and I don't think they worked on the playground that well, either!)

Consider this scenario: Your business is selling Vita hearing aids - which of the following headlines will get the most attention on a Seniors website?

     1. Vita Hearing Aids are built with adjustable compression ratio, digital control, and NO peak clipping! Free trial offered to qualified individuals.

     2. Suzy Q, Audiologist, graduated in the top 3% of her class and volunteers at the Senior Center on weekends! Have her fit you with a Vita hearing aid!

     3. Your small Grand-daughter is singing you a song she wrote herself - too bad you can't understand her! Try a Vita Hearing Aid (for free) and hear what you're missing!

While all three statements may be true - and may have a place on your website - #3 will have folks clicking for more information! Why? Because you answered their primary question: "What's in it for ME?"

Jump Start Your Business - with Twitter!

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson
Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that allows you answer the question, "What are you doing?" by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called "tweets", to your friends, or "followers." The short format allows quick communication, and the ever expanding network of "followers" opens up your circle of contacts. Twitter can be downloaded (free) from, and accessed through the web, cell phone, and various programs (also free) such as Twhirl and Tweetdeck.

If you're shaking your head and muttering right now - I understand. I'm not one to jump into new technologies, especially those that involve me communicating with large groups of people. It seems silly - and rather high-schoolish. I was finally dragged into the Facebook arena and have only recently found the business value that the social network offers. I use Facebook primarily to keep up with friends and community organizations - but I've begun creating an identity for our online publication, Mid Shore Life, there as well. MSL is now a group on Facebook, with a slowly growing number of fans. I can send messages to all these fans, alerting them to events and businesses I want to promote.

I was not eager to jump into the "Twitter World", but I finally signed up using the screen name "MidShoreLife". My goal was to find another way to promote the events and businesses on Maryland's mid-shore. I wanted to find other local twitterers, but the website would only let me search for specific names or offer me celebrity and large business twitterers. (I'm now following Brent Spiner and the Discovery Channel)

Blogging for Business

An Explosion of Energy!An Explosion of Energy!Breathe some life and excitement into your website and business - start Blogging! Done well, the Blog (short for Web log), can establish your expertise, gain loyal followers, bring you more business - or become your business!

That's right! There are many blogs that exist solely to provide specific information to their readers. They then make revenue from ads or businesses who want to reach the blogger's audience. Hobbyists and homemakers have earned income blogging about knitting, model trains, crockpot cooking and saving money.

Traditional businesses have established a better connection with their customers by regular blogging. Car dealers have chatted about vehicles and service promotions, insurance agents have kept customers returning by offering insurance advice along with a dash of humor. Accountants and finance experts can blog about saving money, investing money, diversifying assets, and more. Whatever your business - you have information that can keep your readers coming back for more. And that, my friends, is what builds long term relationships!

Non-profit businesses can also benefit from blogging. Anti-violence groups can continually update their site, giving ongoing advice and support to victims. Churches can talk about their

Growing Your Business in a Bad Economy

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

There's no way to sugar-coat the news - the economy is in a slump, and everyone is feeling the sting. Many retail businesses are closing their doors, non-profits are scrambling for funds, companies are down-sizing and savvy entrepreneurs are gearing up to make the most of the economic turmoil.

That's right - the time for small businesses, home businesses and entrepreneurs to grow their business is NOW! We have the flexibility to reduce overhead (we really didn't need all that extra space and stuff, anyway) and focus on solving problems for our customers. Your customers are feeling the bite of the economy, too - focus on helping them improve their bottom line. By helping them ride out this economic roller-coaster you'll be gaining a lifelong friend and customer.

Um....are you saying I should work for free? My family still needs to eat, too!

No, you can't give away your services and products - but you can give away information, advice and support. And yes, that means that you won't be getting paid for your time - but you will be building relationships. Which translates into long-term customers.

Great rhetoric. Now give me something I can use.

Umm...ok. Let's brainstorm for different businesses:

Is Your Website HURTING Your Business?

Don't Hurt Yourself!Don't Hurt Yourself!Is your website helping or hurting your business, turning away potential customers and sales?

Maximize your website returns by making sure your website checks out on these four basic points:

Our eyes like things simple – preferably black text on a white background – and don’t make the typeset too wonky, either! If you want customers to run away from your site – in droves – put your text on a multicolored, textured background. The only way to read such text is to highlight it – and really, that gets old, fast!

Quick Page Loading
Don’t put a lot of features and large pictures on your page that makes pages load slowly – not everyone has the fastest download times, or unlimited bandwidth. Especially on

The TEN Biggest Website Lies

By John K Johnson

Lie #1: Community oriented small retail stores do NOT need a website!
Lie #2: A website should double or triple your sales in just a few weeks!
Lie #3: You can create a great website – all by yourself – for next to nothing.
Lie #4: You need an expensive, professional website to be taken seriously.
Lie #5: You’ll have to spend a lot of time and money on SEO.
Lie #6: You’ll have to spend a lot of money on SEM (Search Engine Marketing) to make your website stand out!
Lie #7: Once your pretty, functional and informative website has gone live – you’re done
Lie #8: It’s expensive & time consuming to keep your website current.
Lie #9: To be successful, you must have Flash animations, amazing graphics and professionally written copy.
Lie #10: It’s easy to sell on the web!

Read the full story to see why these are all lies.

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