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Can Small Business Thrive In During Economic Downturns?

Feb. 14th 2013

The short answer is, of course.

In fact, large corporations often plan for such swings and use them to drive unprepared and distracted competitors out of business while massively expanding their own market share. Look around, you’ll see it all over the financial news nearly every day. Companies gobbling up the weaker, stealing market share, expanding their business.

So that’s not how you run your small business, we get it. You’re not a shark who measures their worth over who they can stomp on today.

That’s a good thing.

But there are some important lessons to learn from the extremes of the corporate world and from your fellow small businesses who not only haven’t panicked, they’ve put their heads down and pushed forward, making significant gains while others get distracted and falter.

First, there are several truths that you will need to embrace. They are critical to not only your business success, but its very survival.  They are as follows:

#1 Recognize that there are businesses and entities out there that profit from bad news. Beyond political and media ( to quote Don Henley,” She can tell you ‘bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye” ) who gain from stirring you into a frenzy by exaggerating or creating bad news, there are also entire segments of the markets who also attempt to use information to artificially deflate values of markets in the same ways as inflating them with hype. Essentially making bets on failures and hoping to tilt those odds in their favors.

Add to that microcosm markets on local levels that are often manipulated with disinformation.  An example? The owner or manager that purposefully tells a supplier that business is so slow that they’ll need better terms when their volumes haven’t actually changed. Or pretending they are on the ropes to discourage competitors from viewing them as a threat to pay attention to while they are working on a large deal (or even to try and discourage competition by making the market seem as if it were collapsing. If they really believed that, they would have shut down already.) Even handling employees can fall into the same pattern, feigning financial doom when perhaps the company is as busy or even busier than ever.

Of course, there are those companies that are truly in distress from being overly leveraged, have stopped selling or have tapped a market for products of service that wasn’t developed enough to support their business or has run its course without changes made by the company. But those are items that are present and true regardless of the economic climate.

Why is that important to know? It’s essential to understand that such informational sway is often just that, meant to profit others. If you can embrace that, knowing that there are some ( a whole lot of some, actually ) are using gloom and doom to run away with profits, then it becomes easier to focus on what you need to do to overcome and counter the message in a way that keeps your clientele engaged and buying.

Or perhaps it’s time to steal new clients from your distracted, psyched out competitors who have lost their focus caught up in the schemes and agendas of others designed to paralyze.

That brings us to:

#2 Selling. Ahhh..the bane of so many small business owners. They cringe at the thought of being called a salesman, conjuring thoughts of door to door encyclopedia and leisure suit wearing used car salesmen. But in times where #1 is in full force, that your clients and potential clients are being bombarded with fear and loathing, YOU MUST COUNTER! People still have wants, needs and cash. (They may not have the Monopoly money of the housing bubble, but you didn’t build your business to serve a collapsing fad, right?) Those people need to be convinced that their current needs and wants have nothing to do with what’s going on in the news. They are unique and insulated from what’s happening elsewhere and you have the best value for them, ready to serve their needs today.

That, my friends, is selling.

If you recognize that is a requirement, then you can make a plan to get there. If you think a shell-shocked public will just wander in and spend their money with no selling involvement from you, you should probably close your doors now and minimize your losses.

Not all sales are high pressure, fast talking and in your face. Informational selling works very well for many business owners and often, most who do this naturally, do not think that they are selling. But if you are talking about what you have to offer and why a customer should be comfortable choosing you, you are selling, so let’s get over that.

If you are unwilling to talk about why people should choose your business, expect that most will assume that there is no reason to choose your business and will keep shopping your competitors until they are convinced.

#3 Creating support for selling. We already established that selling is mandatory (and those that refuse, well, you should steal their customers! TODAY!).  Part of making any worthy sales plan will be to create the dialogue you want reinforced and support items to add legitimacy. You wouldn’t trust a vendor in a back alley with no signage or anything indicating permanency to be around tomorrow if you have a problem, right? How about the guy selling out of the back of an unmarked van?

Those examples may be legitimate businesses, but they lack any kind of sales support that would suggest that they were a remarkable mobile service or a trusted import mechanic. But those support materials can mean the complete shift of attitude and willingness to trust. Let’s say instead they discovered you through an online ad in a reputable place with a load of positive reviews, they visited your website, and learned more about your company then upon arrival were greeted by bright, easy to read signage. You handed them a well made business card, your estimates and invoices were computer printed with your logo on top and your in person dialogue was well prepared, friendly and knowledgeable.

Same businesses. Two very different outcomes.

That’s what sales support materials do for you. They add legitimacy and comfort for the new client. The kind of comfort, that if they feel they received a fair, trusted value, leads to them recommending family and friends with similar needs. Turning clients into unpaid salespeople. Can you afford not to?

#4 Reaching new clients. You’ve got your in person or phone pitch prepared, your physical sales support materials in place, an online presence established and production at the ready, now it’s time to reach out and become as visible to as many of your potential market as you can. Increasing your odds by embracing numbers and focusing your message to those that your experience says are ready to receive it.

Advertising and marketing.

This is an area that many struggling businesses will falter in. Some will mistake it as a replacement for their selling strategy or as their total sales strategy, some will not target market to their known audience, some will let others outside of their business completely craft their message and choose their audience while others will do nothing at all, paralyzed by indecision or a lack of understanding.

True enough, nothing can be a bigger black hole than spending on an ad or marketing campaign that does not target the proper audience, strays or meanders in its message, has no urgency, purpose or desired outcome beyond branding and is not backed by a solid sales conversion plan.

The freeway is littered with such examples as are radio, TV, newspapers and the web. Ads that may draw your eye for a moment, tell you nothing, ask you to do nothing and lose your interest just as fast, while you do…nothing.

It’s the hallmark of ads created by designers with no direction from sales management or worse, the complete handover of the message to the internal staff of the advertising channel with no input beyond name and address, maybe a logo and the name or image of the product or service.

Those are ads that fail. They fail because they are not tied to the businesses overall sales plan, meander and look, sound or feel foreign to everything else the business has going on and it won’t matter to the seller of the ad space, they will just stay focused on keeping their ad space full, selling to the next business.

YOU CANNOT BE DISCONNECTED FROM THIS PROCESS! You cannot simply turn over marketing to people who are not involved in your business and expect results. While they can bring valuable suggestions and insights along with the skill to produce a final product, the overall package must be a result of your vision and oversight. It must blend with all other aspects of your sales strategy and sales support materials and have a purpose for every single piece produced, focused on your end goals.

Do not let this become a black hole for your business simply because you feel you don’t understand the technical aspects of the creation or delivery. Ask why something is being done, be sure it meshes with your overall effort and end goals and always, ALWAYS be sure that you’re in charge of anything that represents your business out in the world.  Do not stray from your goals based on technical intimidation.


We hope you enjoyed the above information and hope that you may have gained valuable insights into some of the processes that small businesses are using to conquer their markets and expand their businesses, even in times of poor economic mood.

Best of luck with your endeavors and sales plans.

At DDA Media, we provide the sales support services , marketing materials and campaigns for small business. If it carries your logo or message, we make it, online or off. We create to fit the personalities and established styles of businesses to extend their reach.  If we can be of assistance to your business sales goals, please contact us today.

Posted by DDA Media | in Small Business Tips | Comments Off

MusicBusinessLesson.com taps DDA for new online presence.

Feb. 1st 2013

DDA Media builds website and social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus and Youtube channels for MusicBusinessLesson.com.

The site includes video welcome, automated eBook delivery and mailing list management and a full membership backend, including content management system, payment platform and private forums.

Additionally, DDA Media managed initial social user growth, social business networking schemes and populated content inside social media on all platforms.



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DDA adds custom Facebook app player for American Musicians Radio

Feb. 1st 2013

Expanding on the success of the DDA Media built custom Facebook app for Utah Musicians Radio, parent company American Musicians Radio engaged DDA Media to build for the American Musicians Radio Facebook page.

Once again, a custom tab featuring their live feed directly from their website was embedded alongside rotating sponsor ads called from their website.

Additionally, top of page banners and thumbnails were created for social branding.

American Musicians Radio Facebook Player

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DDA completes Facebook App for Utah Musicians Radio

Feb. 1st 2013


Utah Musicians Radio selects DDA Media to build out a custom Facebook app to create a tab on their Facebook Page that carries their live internet radio feed directly from their home website, allowing users to stay within Facebook and interact with their social media page while playing the radio feed.

The app draws rotating ads from their main site allowing universal usage across platforms.

Utah Musicians Radio Facebook App

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Will your website power your business or be a complete waste of time and dollars?

Feb. 1st 2013

We often hear, “I had a website built and it did nothing for us. We didn’t even recoup the cost of the build and so we just let it expire and die”. Does that sound like your story? Is that what you’re afraid of when it comes to making the step to an online presence? 
The first question we usually ask is, “What did you do to use it? How did you drive customers to it and use it to convert sales?” That’s usually met with blank looks or some mention of the web builder put them in some directories or made some linking scheme. Essentially, they let it expire and die from the moment it went live, long before they stopped paying the hosting bill.

The most important thing you need to understand about the web and building a presence here is that it’s a sales and marketing tool. No different than a brochure or tradeshow booth, signage on your building/vehicles or any other form of advertising. With the same rules as those other forms of marketing, if you leave that brochure in its box or those ad wrapped vehicles in the garage, you would expect them to do nothing. Online is exactly the same. If you spend no effort or time into making it visible in as many places as possible, putting it in front of people, you should expect no return.

If it’s not an extension of your marketing and sales plan and used as such, you shouldn’t be wishing for any kind of sales result. That means a unified, consistent theme to not only the way it sounds , looks and functions on its own, but everything else that your business sells and every way your business sells.

It won’t matter how cool it looks or the nifty cutting edge tech it has if no one ever uses it!

If you don’t approach it as such, it’s never going to deliver anything to you.

The days of simply having a page and thousands finding you seemingly randomly are over. There are hundreds of millions, if not billions of sites and pages out there now, all competing for eyeballs. What do you think the chances are of yours becoming the magical one that flourishes with no time promoting it?

The good news is, it doesn’t take a lot of time or energy to make modest gains in your visibility online. But like exercise, it has to become a regular habit, a continuing and deliberate plan of spreading the word where people congregate and keeping your message fresh and alive.

When you stop talking about your business, so will everyone else.

We’re often surprised that a web address doesn’t even make it to the voicemail message, front door of the business or even the business card. It’s not on invoices or proposal headings, stationary or envelopes.

Frankly, that’s crazy.Those, and many, many more, are some of the very minor or no cost ways of promoting your site through your regular daily activity…offline. Online, from classifieds, forums, blogs, social media, articles, etc., there is a dizzying array of free or low cost ways to make your business visible to potential clients, fans or customers. Add to that low cost, targeted marketing and you can really use the web in a way that was never possible (for the $ and timeframe) from traditional media for reaching new clientele. No printing or shipping costs, the ability to smooth or shift your message in an instant, to add motion and sound to augment or replace traditional printed materials and being available to billions of people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

The web has a lot to offer to those that put in a little effort.

So, what will it be for you this year? Will you take advantage of the power of the web and get into the game or will you prefer to remain invisible to your potential clients, fans and customers?

DDA Media builds web and social media solutions, along with traditional sales and marketing pieces, for small business that are driven by marketing and sales efforts first. If there isn’t a plan to make it act like a valuable extension of your business instead of a free floating, confusing mess, we won’t build it.

Join us on Facebook for continuing help in powering your business online and off. Let us help you extend and understand the tools you have available to you and how to use them wisely and effectively!

Posted by DDA Media | in Small Business Tips | Comments Off

Marketing Scams

Feb. 1st 2013

We’ll occasionally place details of scams in the marketplace here. You can watch for updates in our social media presence or check back here occasionally to see warnings and alerts.

If you see something you’d like us to warn others about, please send us a message through our contact form with the details and we’ll check it out!

Tis the season for end of year business related scams.
These crop up every year in a variety of forms intending to get lost in the shuffle of holiday thoughts and year end closeouts in AR departments. In the past, they’d appear in the mail looking like legitimate invoices for scammy directories or supplies but now, they’re even too lazy to regular mail (and possibly thinking, mistakenly, that if they don’t send through the mail they can’t be prosecuted for mail fraud) and instead trying to rely on businesses growing preference for paperless billing. They’ll be showing up in your email boxes sporting legitimate looking names with invoices attached and links to go and pay for your business ad.

Except there is nothing legitimate or even of value being offered, just scams. In fact, even today’s legitimate phone and business directories have very little to offer in the way of results by comparison to what you can achieve through independent marketing plans that can utilize the entire realm of media available to you. It’s just not the way people get information anymore.

So beware of the scams, report them if you like and save your hard earned business cash for things that will actually give you a return. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from your friends at DDA Media!

Posted by DDA Media | in Small Business Tips | Comments Off

To App or Not to App- Tips for the Small Business

Feb. 1st 2013

There is a lot of excitement around mobile phone applications (apps) these days and with good reason. Today’s phones have more powerful processors and faster data connections than ever before. People are buying and downloading apps for their smart phones at a dizzying pace and so it becomes inevitable that we get asked this question: Should I jump into the land rush and build an app for my website for the Iphone?
We need to make you aware that we build for mobile as part of our services, but our answers to this question, as they pertain to small business, may surprise you!

If you’re a small business and your intention is to drive more clients to your site and eventually through your front door, the answer is probably going to be a resounding NO! Why? To answer that, we need to look at how an app extends your market presence, how it can and can’t drive traffic where you want it and the costs vs. returns of building apps for mobile devices.

The first thing that you need to know is that when we are talking about apps, we are not talking solely about Apple. The Iphone, while very cool and certainly expertly marketed, is not the number 1 smartphone. Android far outpaces their sales worldwide with a plethora of manufacturers providing equipment for the operating system (OS).Add new competitors from Blackberry, Microsoft and other rumored platforms and you get a whole wide range of potential users.

Why is that important to know?

It’s important that you understand that an application built for one, doesn’t automatically work for the others. So to truly serve the mobile market, you are likely looking at 2 fully separate builds, possibly more and we’ll cover the impacts of that further below.

The second part of this equation is the misconception that your site cannot be visible to a smart phone if there isn’t an app. That simply isn’t true. All of these smart phone systems have an integrated browser. Those browsers can navigate your site just fine with the exception of Apple meets Flash driven sites(still…and this is a licensing issue, not a technology issue). Regardless of what Apple says about Flash being outdated technology unworthy of support, the truth is that it’s about competing technology licensing. Apple has a competing platform, just like Bluray vs. HDDVD, VHS vs. Beta, etc. and not only wants to trump their competitor, but they don’t want to be paying that competitor (Adobe) licensing fees.

The problem lies in the fact that Flash has already been used for years in millions of sites and isn’t going anywhere. In fact, more machines still run the nasty Internet Explorer 6, the default browser for Windows XP on more than 25 million corporate machines aone, which supports Flash but not html 5/H.264/CSS3 modern browser builds, than any of the mobile platforms.

Just like the other format battles, look for an eventual winner, or possibly one that usurps both and renders them both moot. That brings us to the next point.

Technology is always, thankfully, changing. What that means to you, as a small business owner, is that if you are to invest in building to a specific platform, in a rapidly changing area like mobile, can you get a return during the time that it’s a working part of the community or are you better sticking to generic web platforms that can be viewed on a wider variety of machines?

The answer lies in two places. Are you building a specific widget that you can sell in that market, that fills a niche and can expect to pay for itself? Or do you have enough traffic to justify the percentage of users to your site that are using that particular platform.

For instance, let’s say that (and this is a common number to most sites) the percentage of people that visit your site using an Iphone is 2%. Let’s assume that you have cool Flash elements that are not visible to them and so you are considering building a second version of your site as an app. If you have 1000 unique viewers per month, 2% equals 20 people. Let’s say the cost of your app build is $1000 and will be worthless in 18 months(due to platform changes, features, etc.). Knowing that those 20 people will also have the ability to revisit from another machine (like their mac) if they are truly interested in buying, how many sales do you believe you’ll lose based on those 20 people per month, minus those who will revisit on their other machines, matched to the percentage of people you currently convert from visitors to customers (1-3% is common) and the 18 month expiration. That math works out like this, as an example: 20 x18 (20 Iphone users per month x 18 months) = 360 users over the course of the app. If you were converting 3% of those to sales, we’re talking 11 people (assuming that they wouldn’t come to you another way). Does your average sale make up for the cost of building the app with just 11 people (in this scenario)?

Because most serious shoppers will also, or even solely buy from their primary machines (desktops or laptops), those numbers can become even more skewed against an app build for a small business.

So when DOES an app make sense?

Certainly if you have something that is currently in demand and you can sell in the app marketplace, recouping your costs. But that sounds a whole lot like the business of a software development firm and if that’s not the line of work you’re in, do you believe you’re as efficient at providing that service as those who are in that line of business? Are you taking away time from building your business to venture out into that? Those are questions that you have to answer in that scenario.

The next is about volume. If you have 20 thousand visitors per month, or 100, 200, 500 thousand or a million or more, then you can take the same costs and percentages, as we exampled above and plug in your new numbers. In that scenario, the number of viewers can tip the scales rapidly in favor of using those tools.

Thirdly, what about tools as an advertising or straight marketing piece? Say we have a stock brokerage firm or a mortgage lender. Instead of turning our site into an app, say instead we made a live rate or stock price checker, with specific information to our geographic area or expertise. Perhaps we’re the only one in the segment and we brand the heck out of it and use it to drive brand awareness and traffic to our primary website. In that scenario, the app has to be viewed as more of a brand awareness opportunity than a straight sales opportunity. This works for some marketing plans with larger budgets and time for results but may not for tighter budgets that require more immediate action to their efforts.

However you decide to use or not use these tools, it’s important to weigh costs vs. returns in a realistic manner, understand the alternate paths for users to get your information and incorporate everything into a clear marketing and sales plan, that spans ALL of your efforts, online and off, instead of rushing to new tech over excitement and/or the fear of being left behind.

Thank you for your time reading this tip, we hope you found it helpful in deciding whether a platform specific app is right for you or not. We invite you to comment here or through one of our social media pages if you have further questions and/or comments.

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Welcome to the new Damn Dirty Blog!

Jan. 6th 2011

Welcome to out newly styled blog area, the Damn Dirty Blog! Hang tight while we migrate content to pages here and add some new content that’s been building up.

Posted by DDA Media | in Uncategorized | Comments Off