Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SWOT Analysis -the key to business planning!

by Orla Leydon of Office and Training Solutions Ltd.

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses (internal to an organization) , Opportunities & Threats (external to an organization) and is a popular method for helping businesses take stock of their current situation and support decision-making.

The SWOT analysis process……

Step 1 – In the here and now… List all strengths that exist now. Then in turn, list all weaknesses that exist now. Be realistic but avoid modesty!

Step 2 – What might be…List all opportunities that exist in the future. Opportunities are your potential future strengths. Then in turn, list all threats that exist in the future. Threats are your potential future weaknesses.

These CONDUCTING A SWOT ANALYSIS questions will provide a basis for this analysis and will help greatly when brainstorming to thoroughly identify these strengths and weaknesses

Step 3 – Plan of action…Review your SWOT Analysis Grid with a view to creating a structured Action Plan to address each of the four areas. In your action plan remember to 1) Allocate timescales, tasks, people responsible, finances and 2) Build in a review process…when, who how…this is VITAL!

In summary; Strengths (maintain, build and leverage), Opportunities (prioritise and optimise), Weaknesses (remedy or exit), Threats (counter)

Good luck with your SWOT and dont hesitate to contact Orla on 086 3807802 or orla@ots.ie if you would like support to facilitate this process.

Established in 2003 Office & Training Solutions is a FETAC approved training provider and a vibrant and innovative consultancy practice.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Using the Right Keywords - The Key to Success Online!

By Louise McDonnell of http://www.2Market.ie

So you want your website to be found by potential customers? Well, the first thing I recommend for my clients, is to research what words and phases people are using for searches relating to what they are selling.

Don’t use guesswork!

I come across companies all the time that use words throughout their websites, that they think people are using to search for their products. Not only that, they also monitor their websites’ performance in Google vis-à-vis these words and phrases.

But what if you’re optimising your website for the wrong words and phrases?

Google takes the guesswork out of this important task by providing a tool which clearly reports how many searches that actually took place for whatever word or phrase you select. Not only that, you can monitor monthly searches for any country in the world.

So whereas “Irish Gift Store” had 1600 searches in Google in the USA in December, the term “Irish Gifts” had 33,100.

Similarly “slimming tablets” had 8100 searches in Ireland in January 2011, whereas “diet pills” had 5400 and “slimming pills” had 1300.

This tool will identify the best selection of words and phrases to use. It eliminates guesswork!

So before you write the content of your website, choose your meta titles, description or analyse your performance in Google – make sure you research what you want to be found for!

The Google Keyword Tool will also show you monthly variations for your keyword searches – thus allowing you to plan your online advertising campaigns. So my client selling diet pills will run a campaign in January and May when searches for their products are at their peak.

So – what are you waiting for – check out Google’s Keyword External Tool at: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

Friday, February 11, 2011

5 Tips for Marketing your Business During the Recession

In our latest blog Louise McDonnell of 2Market gives us 5 tips to help you market your business in difficult times.

1. Look After your Existing Customers: Remember it's 8 to 10 times easier to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one! So think about "customer service", "moments of truth" and product or service "add ons" . Make sure everyone in your business is out to impress your customers.

2. Email Marketing: Email marketing using specialist software is cheap and effective. You can email customers or potential customers and track who is interested by monitoring the number of times your email is opened and links are clicked. This will help to identify your hottest targets!

3. Search Engine Optimisation: Keep your website content up to date, ensure your page titles, description and metatags are accurate, investigate possibilities of increasing "backlinks" from other relevant websites to your own. Ranking high in the search engines is a very cost effective way to drive traffic to your website.

4. Social Networking: This involves using social networking sites to generate traffic to your website. The underlying principle is that people make recommendations to people they know. You can then expand your network through your contacts' contacts.

5. Public Relations: Public relations adds credibility because stories are perceived to have gone through a third-party – a journalist or editor – rather than the companies making their own claims'. PR translates into your company getting “free” editorial coverage in a publication rather than paying for advertising space. The materials generated as part of your public relations activities can have multiple uses as a means of fulfilling your campaign objectives. For instance, press releases can be posted on your website or used as part of an online newsletter. Public relations is cost-effective when compared with other marketing techniques, particularly advertising. But remember that “With Advertising you Pay and with PR you Pray!” – Coverage is never guaranteed.

Call Louise McDonnell on 096 37777 or feel free to fill out an online enquiry form at www.2market.ie.