Big Priorities for Small Business

  • By Ray Valladares
  • 26 Jan, 2017

Creating, Communicating and Delivering Value

Small business digital marketing is more important than ever. If you thought small business marketing was placing ads in a free publication, it's time to think again.

As defined by the American Marketing Association marketing is: "the activity and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large."

​Buying advertising space in any periodic publication is just one very small component of marketing your business, especially in today's digital age. Marketing begins with how you answer your phone, to how your service is fulfilled, to what you say and is said online, both positively and negatively.

An easy way to visualize marketing is to think about building a new home: First you'll need the property, then an engineer or architect, a carpenter, electrician, plumber, roofer, flooring contractor, painter and a general contractor. Each of them is unique in function and purpose, but collectively building your new home becomes a reality. Consider your general contractor as your public relations person, your electrician as your market research person and your painter as your advertising person. Individually each serves a purpose, together their consolidated efforts unify your message.
For most small business owners, running your day-to-day operation takes up most of your time. Staffing and work schedules, payroll, accounting, supplies and meeting deadlines during your busy day doesn't leave you with any extra time to plan and work on a marketing approach for your business.

A Big Priority for Small Business

Digital marketing has become a big priority for those small business owners who try to stay ahead of their competition.


Your company's website is an investment in your business and should always be considered your most valuable asset in marketing. Ensuring a user friendly, easy to read design which utilizes responsive layouts, are a perfect start. If you aren't aware, Google expanded their mobile first ranking order back in April 2015, so if you haven't switched over to a Mobile Friendly Google Approved Design, you should make it your top priority. Your small business website is also the place to include your business reputation, whether you have been in business for 40 years or have 10,000 Facebook Fans, and share this important information with the consumer, in an easy to find location and always available.

Testimonials or mentions in the press, as they establish a strong reputation by exhibiting recognized attention, are a valuable reference. Professional, accredited, certifications and nonprofit community organization seals confirm training, professionalism and community support. Visitors to your website trust businesses who are active on Social Media as it brings credibility front and center, aligning with your business website. Lastly, your Terms of Conditions or Privacy Policy brings everything together for visitors to trust your business as it openly describes website usage.

Social Media
Social media has become the mainstream marketing channel. Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest continue to compete for market share across all ages and demographics.  According to Pew Research , 65% of adults used social media in 2015 including 35% of adults 65 and older.

Email continues to dominate despite the popularity of Social Media. Email applications vary between mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers but one thing is certain, email apps are always front and center on the users home screen.

Research conducted by the leading internet, science and technology center, Pew Research Center stated "those who use the internet found email the most important digital tool at the workplace. Some 61% of workers say it is very important".  There are many ways, both on and offline, to build a list of email addresses but never ever purchase a list, no matter how good the offer sounds. Purchased lists are often associated with spam.

Telling your small business story was once only told by a local journalist who worked at a newspaper or magazine, which people paid to buy single copies and purchased annual subscriptions. Those days are long past and now you're in control.

Today, video is a massive marketing tool thanks to mobile devices and mobile apps. Small business owners, who leverage well thought out plans, discovered that video marketing is not a fad. Personalized, focused video content is very affordable, bringing much added value to your social media, website and email channels.

Keep It Simple
Let's recap and keep it simple. Begin by investing in your most valuable digital asset, your company website. Next, make your plan to include each digital channel into your website, encompassing all your brand assets to ensure you reach your goals. Still don't know where to begin? Contact us now and we will meet with you, free of charge. 


By Ray Valladares 15 Aug, 2017
The butcher, the baker, the furniture maker. All have a company page on the leading social media platform, Facebook - and so they should. 
By Ray Valladares 14 Apr, 2017

We love being a part of a local tradition with seasonal business owners when they re-open. We were  honored again to be part of opening day at the Chicken or the Egg. Very grateful of all our clients and partnerships. I hope you enjoy this short video as much as we enjoyed working on it.

By Ray Valladares 01 Apr, 2017
I am super excited to see local seasonal shops re-opening and honored to be part of the big day at Shore Good Donuts . We are very grateful of all our clients and partnerships. I've been dreaming of donuts all week after working on this video project.
By Ray Valladares 23 Mar, 2017
Anyone can make one:
For better or worse, anyone can write a blog post about anything they want. Everyone has a voice and the best voices will rise to the top.

The writer can show their personality:
In blog posts, the writer has more leeway to add in their voice and personality than other types of writing.

Blogs are a great form of mass communication:
You can help people, learn new things, entertain your audience—the possibilities are endless and amazing. Blogging opens up all of these to a very wide audience.

You can make money:

Get the right blog going and you can make a lot of money through advertising and sponsored posts.

It allows people to craft better thoughts:
Instead of reading haphazard, uneducated Facebook statuses, it’s much better to see people’s thought process in a well-written blog post.

You can establish a community:
Blogging allows you to connect with other individuals who share the same interests. Sharing ideas and opinions within your community helps establish yourself as a thought leader.

Good for SEO:
Keeping content on your site fresh and relevant, you can use your blog to boost the search engine ranking (SEO) of your site and your business.

It brings people back to your site:

If your blog is strong enough and updated regularly, people will come back looking for more and bring traffic back to your site as well.

It’s free:
It costs you a grand total of zero dollars to post to the blog, so if you have something to say, there’s nothing to stop you.

You can establish yourself as a thought leader:

A blog is a great place for your original thoughts, and it can be a wonderful way to show off your individuality. If people like your ideas, you can become a thought leader in your industry!

What else do you love about blogs? Let me know!
By Ray Valladares 26 Feb, 2017

Tech sites and news outlets like Newsy are reporting on the latest data leak to hit the internet.

Websites and iOS Apps running on Cloudfare were leaking data between September 22, 2016 and February 18, 2017 through session tokens, API's, passwords and private messages to random requesters.

Familiar names like Dropbox, Yelp, ABC News, Meetup, OKCupid, FitBit, Fiverr, and Uber are all on Cloudfare customers.

Click the button below to view and download a list of iOS Apps which may be affected and click here to learn which websites may have been affected.

To be on the safe side, I recommend changing all of your passwords at least once per year and never use the same password twice. For an extra level of security, use two factor authentication .

By Ray Valladares 17 Feb, 2017

The once untouchable internet company, Yahoo continues to lose in a big way. Despite these loses, Verizon is continuing with their plans to buy the tech company.

Once again, Yahoo issued a warning to some of their users that their accounts "might have" been breached. This time it was forged cookies, which allows access to private information without knowing users' credentials.

Cookies are those pieces of code stored by browsers to keep track of whether a user is logged into a password-protected account or not.

Does this sound familiar? Last December, Yahoo made public a separate intrusion resulting impacting more than 1 billion accounts in 2013.

If you haven't already taken the time to secure your account by adding 2-Step Verification. This extra layer of security requires you to sign in with something you know (step 1 - your password) and something you have (step 2 a code sent to your phone).

To learn more about multi-factor authentication, visit Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

By Ray Valladares 12 Feb, 2017

Remember that feeling you had when you finished building that special Lego village, car or truck? You couldn't wait to show your parents "look what I did".

While enjoying my first cup of coffee this morning, a big smile suddenly came over me while I was reading  the latest business news on FoxBusiness dot com . Recalling years ago when playing with Lego blocks and searching for just the right piece.

Well, if you haven't heard the news, Lego is back! According to the annual Global 500 rankings report by Brand Finance , Lego regained the title of the world’s “most powerful brand,” beating out Google. Could you imagine beating Google at anything?!

The article continues on about massive earnings in the billions, sluggish sales at the box office, the Chinese Market, etc. I think you know where I'm going with this, bla bla bla.

For me the lesson learned is more important than the millions of dollars earned. But don't get me wrong, I could do a lot with some of those millions.

Peel away the layers of the article and you'll discover the most important point, the Lego Company, as big as it is, a global company employing  thousands of people is focusing a lot of their attention to telling their own story, the heart of their business. We like to say it in another way at Rayve On , "getting back to basics."

Any business can do this, and should take the same approach by focusing on their own story. "But I build houses, I don't have a story." Yes you do, you just lost it along the way.

I'm not suggesting that you need a pile of cash to hire a film crew to produce an epic movie like " The Lego Movie ."

What I am saying is that your business strategy should always focus on your "story", marketing that message on and offline, being consistent across all channels. When you do this, the story will flow easily between you, your customers, their friends, their friends of friends and the feedback will be rewarding in many ways.

Your business is your brand, and your brand story is more than what you tell people when you meet them first. It's their experience, what they believe by working with you, shopping at your showroom, speaking with your associates and the signals they send during that interaction.  Trucks, billboards, brochures and ads in the newspaper don't tell your story. The picture of your brand is made up of feedback, facts, feelings and experiences, which really tells your story.
By Ray Valladares 30 Jan, 2017

Sure, we could just use marketing methods our fathers before us used in their small businesses; allocating a small fortune each year into local phone directories, free booklets that leave ink on your hands, fridge magnets, billboards and diner place mats.

However, you just don't know who is putting up your magnets or if anyone is actually reading the booklets or if it just gets thrown out in the recycling bin.

Basically, traditional marketing means sending out an expensive blind message with no way of measuring the results

Instead, email is very cost-effective, and it also allows you to measure your results in real-time.
By Ray Valladares 29 Jan, 2017

The term has become synonymous with searching for something online, from any device at anytime of the day, from wherever they are; at home, at work, on the job site, stuck in traffic, anywhere. In fact, I'm certain you know exactly what I mean. If you don't have a website, prospective customers and consumers will make a decision to dismiss you right from the start. They believe your business doesn't reflect the kind of company they want to do business with or spend their hard earned money at. It is this very reason you're missing out and your competition is beating you every day that your business doesn't have a website.

With this in mind, consider these five reasons why having a website is so important.

1. Your Customers Expect It.
If this was the only reason on the list, I think it would be enough. Consumers and future customers expect businesses to offer online content about who they are, what they do and how long they have been doing business, and most of them want to go straight to the business website for that information. They're not going to an ad in a free magazine, they're not going to social media or to Foursquare, they want to go to your website for your information.

2. It Provides Social Proof.
Ninety percent of consumers claim that online reviews influence their buying decisions.  

You could rely on Facebook, Google, Yelp, and other review sites to provide insights into your small business reviews for your brand, OR you can kill two birds with one stone on your own website.

Potential customers are searching for your business online and including customer testimonials on your own website is a great way to make a first impression.

3. You're In Control.
Everyone knows that we cannot control what others say about us on social media, but we can have a significant influence on public perception by creating our own personal story through a business website.

​A company blog helps business owners continue to bring their message, mission, and personality to the forefront of their target market way faster than any print advertisement.

Plus, future customers can take action immediately on your website, such as calling your business phone, completing a service application, sharing on social media and signing up for special offers only available through your email channel. Try to make all that happen in a tiny black and white ad!

By Ray Valladares 28 Jan, 2017

We've all been there. We start the year off with a grand plan to organize our social media, email marketing, print material, annual events and budgets, only to be side tracked or derailed by the day-to-day operations.

​Before you know it, a month has gone by and you're knee deep into the daily grind of staffing, inventory, budgets and preparing for tax season.
We often advise our new and existing small business owners about the steps they can take to break out of this cycle and get on the path to success.

By Ray Valladares 27 Jan, 2017

​Facebook announced the social network will begin phasing in longer videos in the News Feed through an update to their algorithm.

The update was based upon more actions being taken on videos including duration of viewing, enabling sound and switching to full screen to name a few.

How does this impact My Page?

The social media giant continues to tune the platform to be more video focused and advises page admins to focus on the story they're telling and not duration.

By Ray Valladares 26 Jan, 2017

Small business digital marketing is more important than ever. If you thought small business marketing was placing ads in a free publication, it's time to think again.

As defined by the American Marketing Association marketing is: "the activity and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large."

​Buying advertising space in any periodic publication is just one very small component of marketing your business, especially in today's digital age. Marketing begins with how you answer your phone, to how your service is fulfilled, to what you say and is said online, both positively and negatively.

By Ray Valladares 10 Nov, 2016

Millennials like over 60% of companies on Facebook, including Nike, Apple, Disney and Victoria’s Secret. What's motivating them? It's as simple as supporting the company or brand they like.

In fact, Millennials are more likely to act on a sale if a coupon or discount is offered on a social networking site and Facebook users are more likely to make a purchase online after liking or sharing something according to a recent study, conducted by the Center for Marketing Research (CMR) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth .

Additional findings include

  • Facebook users are more likely to make a purchase online after liking or sharing something than are the users of Twitter or Pinterest
  • Hair, Beauty, and Apparel is the top category of purchases made across social networking platforms
  • Pinterest users are more likely to use a “buy” button (or “buyable pins”) than are Facebook or Twitter users
  • More than 40 million businesses now have pages on Facebook making it a popular place to like a brand or company.
  • Twitter has seen a decrease of 7%

Purchase after Liking and Sharing
Millennials connect with social media purchases on Facebook. Forty-One percent of the surveyed with users accounts indicated they made a purchase of some type on Facebook after liking or sharing.

What are they buying?
Purchases were performed on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest after sharing something online and Millennials clearly prefer to buy goods in the category of Hair, Beauty and Apparel. This is the category where the most purchases were made across the three platforms studied, accounting for roughly half of all purchases. This is consistent with studies conducted in previous years.

The Conclusion
This is a normal way of life. Social Media is simply as normal as using a microwave in daily life. It impacts where they go, what they do, what they buy and where they shop. There is evidence that the companies and brands that they like and follow over time as does their preferred way to make purchases. Mobile devices have become central to their social influenced purchases since Millennials are now able to connect with companies/brands wherever and whenever they want.

By Ray Valladares 01 Oct, 2016

Calling all Yahoo users. By now you have heard about the 500 million Yahoo accounts that we're hacked and the importance of changing your account password.

However, you may not know that you should also unlink all your mobile devices which are connected to your account.

To change, recover or reset your Yahoo password, visit their help page and follow the step by step instructions.

If you have forgotten your Yahoo password, you should use the Sign-in Helper  to reset your Yahoo password and regain access to your account.

Remember, never use your birthday or a password from another account.

By Ray Valladares 23 Aug, 2016
Fast forward to September 1995 and I am very fortunate to be in Princeton New Jersey working with great minded entrepreneurs, PHD's, MBA's and visionaries building an online payment systems to process transactions to and from Fortune 1000 companies. Today most of you reading this are using its patented technology components to bank online.

Life has been amazing.

Happy Internet Day!

Thank you Sir Tim Berners-Lee
By Ray Valladares 16 Apr, 2016
If you are, you may want to consider uninstalling the software. According to TrendMicro a leading security software maker, a bug rated critical was discovered that could be used to attack computers when a user unknowingly opens a corrupted file or visits a malicious website.

Reports have been published that Apple is ending support for the product AND the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team has issued an alert that the un-patched software places users at an increased vulnerability to attacks.

For Windows PC users, your only option is to uninstall the software since support has ended. Mac computers are not impacted by the bug.
By Ray Valladares 26 Feb, 2016
The first post after many site iterations, so here we go. After being on the right side of a corporate M&A in 2011 I found myself asking how I can best use my 15 years of corporate technology experience to help small businesses reduce operating expense.

From an old table in my laundry room, I began marketing our first app, My LBI Life,  in 2012, creating a highly cost-effective mobile marketing solution for local small businesses. Demand outpaced our space and in 2016, we relocated our operation from a tiny room in Ship Bottom to our new headquarters in the heart of Stafford Township, New Jersey.

At the heart of our business; we are genuine, fun, community driven, customer focused and different in everything we do, at a fair price. And as we always say: “We’re in this together.” This is why we’re here, to help small business owners make sense of the whole social mobile scene.

We may periodically have guest bloggers, but for now just look for posts from yours truly. Your comments and feedback are welcome. Be nice, be considerate, and be friendly. It’s that easy. Any comment that I feel doesn't meet these simple rules can and probably will be deleted.
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