18 Inexpensive Ways To Market Your Business

Have you ever hit a lull in your business?  It can be frightening. It can cause panic when you don’t know where your next job, client, or project is going to come from.  In this blog post, I will share with you 18 Inexpensive Ways To Market Your Business so you can always keep your pipeline in flow.

Some of these ideas will be good reminders while others will conjure up a reaction of “why didn’t I think of that?!?”

  1. Networking – it is the most effective, by-word-of-mouth advertising available.
  2. Volunteer to be a speaker in community networking meetings.  Approach this without a selling attitude. The more you can help the people in the room by sharing free advice, the more you tend to position yourself as an expert and the “go-to” person in your field.
  3. Get involved in trade shows.
  4. Follow up!  It’s time to pull out that shoebox of business cards hiding under your desk and follow up with all those people you were going to follow up with originally.  Take this one step further and set up a follow up system for you and your business.
  5. Guest blog.  Write an article full of value and ask your network partners if they would like to use it on their blog or in a newsletter.
  6. Create a downloadable or printable guide or checklist in exchange for an email list.
  7. Host a free workshop to help get your name and brand out there.
  8. Offer free consultations.
  9. Collaborate on a promotion or advertisement with other complimenting businesses.
  10. Start a monthly newsletter staying top of mind with your customers.
  11. Stand out in your industry and send handwritten thank you cards, birthday wishes, etc.
  12. Consider starting a podcast, it’s a great marketing tool!
  13. Share samples whenever possible.
  14. Facebook live is a great way to reach new people.  Consider starting a weekly show. It only has to be 3 – 7 minutes long.  Use this same strategy on Instagram too!
  15. Write an eBook and use it as a tool to grow your email list.
  16. Develop a customer referral program.
  17. Hold a contest.
  18. Consider doing a “pop-up” at a non-competing business.

What creative ideas do you have?  Let us know about them!

The Marketing Rule of 7

What is the Marketing Rule of 7?

The Marketing Rule of 7 dates back to the 1930s.  It was developed as a tool for advertisers to remember that consumers needed to see a company or brand’s message at least 7 times before they would even consider buying a product or service.  Today, some suggest that the number 7 is no longer valid in today’s marketing and advertising world. With the ever-growing popularity of social media and the opportunity for businesses to share content to laser-targeted audiences with the touch of a button at any given moment, the number 7 ends up looking more like a “20”… at the minimum.

Since we need to be speaking to our target audience on a more regular basis, there are some best practices we should follow to ensure we are hitting our “20” in the most productive ways.  Those best practices are:

  • Understanding Your Audience – Get laser focused on who is most likely interested in your products and/or services.  Talking to “everyone” and “anyone” will certainly guarantee your message getting lost in the noise of everyone else’s marketing.  Know your ideal customer by identifying what keeps them up at night and how you uniquely solve their problem for them.
  • Defining Marketing Message – Now that you know who your ideal customer/client is, determine what your message is and how you will communicate it to them.
  • Execute with Consistency – Since, more than ever, we are fighting for airspace on all media platforms, we must take action and be consistent with our brand message to our targeted audience.  Without consistency and execution, our messages are sure to be lost.

Marketing is not a “one and done” practice, execution, and consistency requires an unwavering commitment to the process.

Now that you know what you need to do to communicate to your audience, you need ideas and marketing vehicles to help you hit The Rule of 20.  

Don’t miss my FREE marketing resource guide: Local Lora’s List Of Logic (20 ways to get your marketing message out). Click here to download it today!

Are You Stopping Short?

Keep It Local Member Debby KevinGuest Blog Submission From:
Deborah Kevin
Writer, Editor, Storyteller

The 90s television show Seinfeld is known for how it changed conversations, and one can immediately connect with someone of like mindset by using phrases such as “sponge-worthy,” “master of your domain,” “no soup for you,” “shrinkage,” and “a dingo ate my baby.” Not only was the show hilarious, but it was also sticky.

There’s an iconic scene in a Seinfeld episode (“The Fusilli Jerry,” Episode 107) where Kramer stops short while driving George’s mother from a doctor’s appointment. George’s father freaks out and accuses Kramer of “stealing his move.”

In the context of Seinfeld, stopping short is when the driver is on a date and hits the brakes in a faux emergency and puts his arm out as if to stop his passenger from hitting the windshield when what he really wants to do is feel her chest. (Yes, it’s creepy and not in alignment with today’s feminist standards, but putting a protective arm out often happens when there are children sitting in the passenger seat, too—at least in my car.)

What does this have to do with your business?

You could be stopping short with your ideal clients.

Here’s what this looks like:

  • You develop a great program that will solve your ideal client’s biggest nightmare but don’t release it
  • You write all your marketing copy but never publish it
  • You start to second guess yourself (Hello! Fraud factor)
  • You gather momentum but abruptly shift gears to focus on something else
  • You do the do-si-do between options

Do any of these sound familiar?

I know I’m guilty of stopping short. A colleague of mine calls this the ‘busy bitch syndrome.’ Like when I develop great content or a kickass program but move onto something else instead of releasing it (anyone else?). Busy-busy-busy. I kept busy and thus hoarded my gifts.

Once I realized what I was doing, I had to make a choice: step up or step away. I opted for the former and put in place bumper guards to keep me in the game.

Here’s how to combat the stopping short phenomenon:

  • Commit to a launch date and ask someone to hold you accountable
  • Get clarity on your marketing goals, have someone edit your materials, and keep your promise to send the goods out
  • Create positive affirmations and read them out loud to yourself several times a day
  • Join a mastermind group of people who will cheer you on, talk you off the ledge, and support you unconditionally

I’d love to hear your insights regarding the stopping short phenomenon and how you’ve successfully combatted it in your business. If you’d like to chat about your marketing copy and how it make be supporting your “stopping short” activities, I’d love to chat. Click here to schedule time on my calendar.

6 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Blog

Everywhere we go, we hear that if we are in business, we need a blog.  The real question is, do you know why? In this week’s blog post, I will outline 6 reasons why you need a blog for your business, like…yesterday!


A blog is a GREAT way to connect with your customers.  Blogging about your product or service gives your customers an in-depth look at what you offer and it gives them the opportunity to ask questions about your offerings.


SEO.  Search Engine Optimization!  Search engines crave keyword-rich, value-driven, website content.  Blogging is all about delivering keyword-rich content teaming with value!  


A blog is a great starting place for social media content.  Social media is geared towards smaller more “snackable” pieces of information.  Imagine how many “tweetables,” Instagram, and Facebook posts you can come up with just from one single blog post.  Ninja tip:  When you repurpose blog posts for social media, don’t forget to direct your audience back to the blog for more detailed information.


Blogging is a FANTASTIC outlet for telling your brand story.  


You have the opportunity to monetize your blog if you chose, adding another stream of income to your business.


Blogging can help you stay focused on your content marketing strategy.

Ready to get started blogging?  

Here are a list of blogging best practices:

  • Your first step should be to make a list of topics to write about
  • Make blog entries value-rich
  • Identify keywords and use them naturally in your blog post – avoid mentioning a keyword just for the sake of using a keyword in your post
  • Be consistent.  If you elect to blog once a week.  Stick to the schedule. Don’t approach blogging haphazardly
  • Write in batches and schedule your posts to hit your blog – this practice saves time…trust me!
  • Have fun!  If you don’t enjoy writing, consider delegating the task to someone on your team or outsourcing the job to a copywriter

Happy blogging!

3 Ingredients You Need For A Kickass Brand Identity

True confession.  I jumped into my business without putting together a full, blown out, brand strategy.  There. I said it. How many of you have done the same? Or, how many of you are trying to figure out what your brand is or…maybe you are still wondering what the heck a brand really is?!?  Today you are in LUCK! I am going to give you the 3 main ingredients you need for a KICKASS brand identity.


INGREDIENT #1:  Your Overall Brand

Even if you have never deliberately sat down and developed a brand outline, your business has a brand.  How is that possible? It’s possible because, from the moment you started your business, you either consciously or subconsciously set a standard of expectations for your company.  Each time you provide a product or service to your customers, they have told themselves a story about what they can expect from you each time they deal with you, your employees, your service, and your products based on how your business is presented to them.  Your brand is both a glimpse into your business as well as a lasting memory and it is the message your company sends out into the public.


It’s important to get this ingredient down perfectly…use the branding action step below to help you.


Branding Action Step:

Take a few minutes to write down:

  • What you want your business to be known for (this can be things like:  quality, value, pricing, speed of service, friendly, etc.)
  • What types of memories you want people to have after dealing with your business
  • What makes your business different from competitors in your field
  • The core values you find

Be as detailed as possible when defining your brand.  Remember, your brand is the idea, thought, emotion, concept, that comes to mind when someone thinks about your business.  

Once you have a clear idea of how you want your business to be perceived, you have a good foundation for a powerful brand.  Share your brand definition with everyone who works in your business so they are clear on your company’s brand messaging.


INGREDIENT #2:  Identity

Once you are clear on what makes up your brand, you need for your brand to be instantly recognizable.  You worked hard on developing what you want to be known for, now it is time to claim your identity in the marketplace.  Become instantly recognizable by putting these things in place:

  • Have a logo professionally designed for your company
  • Choose colors to represent your brand.  Hint: research things like “the psychology of colors” to determine if the colors you have selected are in tune with your brand
  • Develop brand rules by creating a style guide, spelling out the exact colors, fonts and sizes to be used in documents, online, in social media, etc.


INGREDIENT #3:  A Brand Story

A strong brand tells a story well.  Below are some of the things your brand story should include:

  • What your business does…and why (your company’s mission)
  • A connection to your customers (a problem you empathize with and you can solve)
  • What makes you different from the competition (your unique solution)


Once you have these three ingredients in place and you and your employees are using them consistently, you are off to a great start when it comes to defining a recognizable brand.

This 1 Thing May Make ALL The Difference In Your Marketing Efforts

Lately, there has been A LOT of buzz about email marketing campaigns and email lists. The 3 reasons listed below are just a start to the many benefits of having your very own email list.

If you don’t have an email list and an email marketing campaign in place, you are missing out on opportunities. Find out why…

3 Reasons Why You Need An Email List

Conversion Rates. Since you already have a relationship with the people on your list, they already know, like, and trust you. With those 3 things working in your favor, product and service conversion rates are much higher than any other form of digital marketing.

YOU are in the driver’s seat. With an email list and an email marketing campaign in place, you have control over what your audience sees and when they see your content. You are not dependent on algorithms or paid advertising with an email campaign in place.

This one is HUGE. You own your list of contacts! There are so many uncontrollable variables when it comes to making and maintaining connections on social media and sending traffic to your website. For example, you can be crushing it one day and then tanking the next because of an algorithm change you have NO control over. Your email list is the one thing you have control over that allows you to stay in contact with the members of your list and nurture the relationship you have created.

Don’t miss out on any more opportunities. Start building your email list and stay in touch with your tribe!

~ Local Lora

Is You Business Card Serving Its Purpose? 7 Things Not To Overlook When Designing Your Next Business Card

When branding your business, there is one key element you should not overlook. Your business card. Your business card sets the tone and the expectation of what people will experience when they do business with you. It is the face of your business that you leave behind after meeting someone.  Do you think your business card is serving its purpose?  Find out when you look at the following 7 things not to overlook when designing your next business card below!


The first thing someone will notice about your business card is how it feels in their hand when you hand it to them. Is it firm, substantial, and rich feeling or is it flimsy, thin, and cheap? The texture of your business card sends a message about your business and brand.


The font you choose for your business card is critical. Simplicity and consistency is key when it comes to branding. Choose fonts, sizes, and color palettes that are clear, easy to read, and are in the same font family as your logo. Avoid small font sizes as well as script and cursive fonts. While script and cursive fonts are pretty and some believe they send a message of elegance and class, they can also create confusion if they are difficult to read. There are other ways to send a message of elegance and class through things like your logo, color palettes, and cardstock texture.

Contact Essentials

Make sure people know who you are and how they can get in touch with you. Always include:

  • Your name
  • Your title
  • Phone number

Digital Connections

We are a digital world! There are LOTS of ways we connect with people through the internet. While it is not necessary to list every avenue someone can use to get in touch with your, it is a good idea to list some critical basics like:

  • Email address
  • Website
  • Up to 3 social media platforms, more than that may cause overwhelm

Color Palette

Determine a business card color palette for fonts and design elements that are consistent with your brand colors. Remember, you want your business and brand to remain recognizable regardless of where your business is seen.

Company Name, Logo, and Tagline

Have the person who is designing your business card make space to prominently display your company’s name, logo, and tagline. Remember, maintain color palettes and font selections so that your brand is easily recognizable.

Call to Action

Now that your business cards are in the hands of the people you are meeting, give them a call to action. Some call to action ideas may be to invite them to:

  • Call you for a free 30-minute consultation
  • Download a free product, eBook, report, white paper, printable, etc.
  • Sign up for your newsletter to get valuable coupons
  • Join a value-driven Facebook group that you moderate
  • Connect somewhere on social media
  • Something that helps you further the connection you have just made through your business card

Bonus Tip!

Request a mock-up or a printed proof of your business card. Seeing a printed version will call out some elements that may need some attention or revision. A printed version always looks different than what you may see in a digital version.

Now that you have seen these tips when you look at your current business card, what is it saying about you and your business?

3 Things You Can Do To Up Your Instagram Game

Instagram is gaining LOTS of popularity these days and with good reason! Many accounts are seeing huge successes, gaining customers, and increasing social engagement through this one social app. Since the major algorithm change Facebook experienced earlier this year, we have noticed a huge shift in how people are using social media. Some are abandoning Facebook altogether while others are spreading their wings and dabbling in different Facebook features, yet others are exploring social platforms they’ve never tried before. One of the platforms that is gaining a lot momentum is Instagram. Why? In a word…simplicity. With its simple interface, users are able to upload, edit, and caption an image in seconds, PLUS they get immediate results and exposure, making it wildly popular.

Get in on the social momentum!

Do you want to get in on some of the Insta-action? We have 3 tips/best practices you can use to “Up Your Instagram Game” in this week’s article.

TIP #1: Go for authenticity rather than photographic genius
Instagram is the one place where stock photos generally get overlooked. Part of Instagram’s appeal and allure is the fact that you get an “in-the-moment” look into someone’s life. The most viral images are those that truly stop a moment in time, intriguing the user to want to know a little more.

TIP #2: The perfect caption
Once you have captured the perfect moment, give the user the “more” they are looking for. Give a text written explanation of the picture you are sharing. Think of your Instagram post as a micro-blog. This is your opportunity to draw the user in, offering them just enough information to encourage them to engage with your post through a heart or a comment. Comments are gold and should be your main goal. Why? Comments are the start to some pretty good conversations and engagement.

TIP #3: Let’s get exclusive
A great way to get your audience engaged and keep them coming back for more is to set the stage for exclusivity. Give them a reason to follow you on Instagram (IG). Create offers, discounts, freebies, downloads that they can only find on IG.

BONUS TIP: Instagram stories
Start dabbling in Insta-stories. Video snippets of you, your product, and service. These glimpses into your business life tend to captivate audiences. Don’t go overboard with Insta-stories. 3-5 snippets per day is a good place to start. Any more than that turns into a real-time commitment for the user, causing them to drop off and not follow through to the end of your Insta-story sequence. Play around with stories and soon you will be able to gauge your viewers, how many snippets will work best for your brand.

The most important thing to remember when using Instagram is to have fun and be you! The more people can see the real you and authentic content, the more your audience will grow, connect and engage.

~ Local Lora

© April 7, 2018

9 Tips To Get Your Business Back on Track

Have you ever felt “stuck” when it comes to your business?  I mean really stuck… Like, the type of stuck that happens when your industry changes, you move to a new city, “life” happens forcing you to re-evaluate or change your business model.  How do you make sure you make the transition and make it a successful one? Well, you are in luck! Below are 9 tips to get you and your business back on track.


Overall Plan

This could possibly be the hardest step in the process especially if you are in a new city or you need to “reinvent” yourself.  Creating a new plan or changing a plan that hasn’t been working can be a daunting task, especially if you are unsure of which path or avenue to take.  When you are unsure of where you should go next, let passion lead the way. Discover what part of your business you are most passionate about. Then, create multiple streams of income around that concept or idea.  What products or services can you create around those passions? Start brainstorming ideas and then grow them from there.


S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Once you have your products and services mapped out, assign S.M.A.R.T. goals to each product and service.  S.M.A.R.T. goals are those goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Following S.M.A.R.T. goals will help you stay in line with your overall plan.


Marketing Plan

Now that you have specific S.M.A.R.T. goals in place, it’s time to let the world know about the products and services you provide.  How will you market your business? Use a diversified plan, one that includes digital marketing, social media marketing (paid advertising on major social media channels) and traditional marketing efforts.  


Pop-Up Events & Workshops

Using special pop-up events and workshops are a great way to give people a taste of what you offer.  A great way for your pop-ups to get exposure is to get involved in through networking organizations, a local chamber of commerce, civic organizations, etc.  Offer to be a value-rich featured presenter.


Marketing Materials

Invest in leave-behind marketing materials.  These should be value-rich leaving the reader wanting more and compelling them to get in touch to learn more or get more information.  A great way to do this is to direct them to a website or landing page that captures their email information in trade for a download or access to valuable information.

Stop Working For FREE

Initially, this may be a good plan to get your name out there and to build a portfolio.  Now that you have some proven work, it’s time to collect your worth. If pro bono work is a part of your marketing plan, give yourself a budget.  Only allow yourself to provide X amount of donations (donations of time, products or services) a quarter or year. As you grow, your donations of time and talent can marginally grow with you.


Designated Workspace & Hours

This is so important!  It will help you stay motivated and focused if you have a dedicated area where you will work.  If you spread your workspace out all over the house, it will be difficult for you to stay organized and you will be easily distracted by tasks and household chores.


Invest In Yourself

The best way to grow your business is to invest in yourself.  Take the time to educate yourself, learn new things, and stay on top of trends.


Grow A Tribe

Use social media to reach your tribe.  Facebook groups are a great way attract like-minded people who are in search of your products or services.  It is also the ideal venue for you to interact and engage with them on a regular basis.

The above are the 9 things I turn to when my business needs a little boost as well as a positive mindset.

Why Video Is More Important Than Ever To Your Social Media Marketing Plan

We are a little more than 3 months into 2018 and have seen some drastic changes when it comes to social media.  Almost every major platform has changed its algorithm which has marketers, entrepreneurs, and businesses scrambling to figure out what the new social media marketing system is and how to automate it.  What was working in 2017 has come to a screeching halt due to regular algorithm changes.  This is why I believe video will be more important than ever to your social media marketing plan in 2018.

While people are scrambling to find the answers, I’ve been watching to see what has been gaining businesses the most exposure.  The one constant that I am finding to be an effective way of marketing in 2018 is video. Here’s why…

“To ensure you social media marketing efforts are a success, you must embrace video.” ~ Lora Shipman

Social media platforms are working hard to improve the user or audience experience.  They are looking for ways to keep:

  • Audiences or users on the platform for as long as possible
  • Users engaged and active on the platform for extended amounts of time
  • Audiences interacting with each other – the more they interact with each other, the longer they stay on the platform

The one thing that does all three of the above, is video.  People love to watch video, comment on it, react to it, engage with it and engage with other views.  The exact formula the social media platforms want. The more you use video, the more you will be rewarded with exposure by the social media platforms.

Before you get started with video in your social media marketing strategy, understand that not all video is created equal.  Before you can understand how video is weighed, you must recognize the 4 main types of video you can use on your social media accounts.

Social media video can be broken down into 4 types or forms:

  1. Pre-recorded video
  2. Live video
  3. Disappearing video (video that only lasts for 24 hours)
  4. Animated video (still images put into motion, looping video)

Each social media platform or channel views video differently and gives each type of video a score within its algorithm.  But, if I were to rank the various types of video, I would say the following pecking order would work well to get you the most exposure.  Why this particular order? In a word…ENGAGEMENT.  Engagement is always going to be the key in any algorithm.  The more people engage with a post, whether it be a photo, text, or video, the more weight it will carry.  Engagement tells the social media platform how important the post is to people. If it has a very high engagement rate, the social media platform will give it more exposure.

  1. Live video – While a live video may not have viewers at all at the start of the broadcast, the social channel will invite audiences or people you don’t even know to help you get more viewers.  The fact that viewers can have a conversation with the broadcaster through the comment section adds to the engagement rate. The more the audience engages with the broadcaster, the popular the video becomes.  Additionally, those who take the time to watch a video on the “replay” tell the social platform that the content is important and desirable.
  2. Disappearing video – This creates a fear of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  When viewers see that a disappearing video is available, they will do what they can to see the content before it is gone (usually within 24 hours)
  3. Pre-recorded video – This type of video doesn’t have the same allure or sense of urgency as live or “FOMO” video may have which causes it to carry less weight.
  4. Animated video – While this type of animation or video may capture someone’s attention or “stop the social screen scroll,” it does not compel people to interact with the content as much as a live video or disappearing video might.

When creating a video marketing plan for your business, take the time to evaluate all the types of video you can use.  Create a plan that incorporates all types of video mentioned above so that your social channel is interesting, fresh, and exciting.  Above all, stay consistent with your plan. This is where most social accounts fail – lack of consistent content made available to their audiences.

~ Have a profitable week.