Get Your Invention on the Market with the Big Ideas Worldwide Invention Contest!

Thomas Edison built the world's first large-sc...

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was quoted as saying that genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Inventors put in countless hours developing their inventions, but often the hardest work is getting the invention to market. So how can inventors and small businesses get help?

The Big Ideas Worldwide Invention Contest

During the month of February xClosure is running a national search campaign to find 5 products to market nationally. Winning the contest involves 3 steps:

  1. Fill out the application here before March 1st
  2. 10 finalists will present in person or via the web to a panel of live judges on March 21st
  3. 5 winners will be selected to have their product marketed

This is an opportunity to tap into the talent of an experienced marketing team. All product descriptions, details and files submitted are protected under a mutual NDA/non-compete/non-circumvent agreement to protect your idea and product.

So take 10 minutes to fill out the application at http://www.xclosure.com/application-page and good luck!

Small Business and Marketing [Infographic]

Most small business owners know that the internet is the future of their marketing efforts. That doesn’t mean that they’re all internet marketers or even marketers. Small business owners often start their business based on a particular skill, passion, or expertise that fills a need. That means that many of them are still left wondering how to leverage the power of social media and online marketing to get ahead.

Check out this infographic by SEO.com Small Business to get some quick facts and stats on the topic:

Small Business and Marketing - Infographic

Developing Brand Identity As a Small Business

Brand identity is the most vital organ a company depends on.  It lies at its innermost core, yet it should be the most easily accessible and recognizable feature of a brand.  Essentially, brand identity is the heart worn on the sleeve of a company.  It is the job of the company to develop and present your brand uniquely and effectively not only to the general public but also to your employees.  Granted this can pose many challenges, as there are many factors that go into creating a strong brand identity.  Image, time, and effect and three ways in which you can evaluate the effectiveness of your branding endeavors.

First, let us consider the brand image.  Be careful not to confuse identity with image, as people often do, for they represent opposite sides of a brand.  Identity is easy enough to define.  It is essentially what a company or brand thinks of themselves.  It is the internal representation of a brand.  Conversely, the brand image is what the consumer ultimately makes of a brand.  If a brand does not effectively and accurately define itself externally, then the image and identity become two very different definitions of a company.

It is a positive, strong brand identity that bridges the gap between the two and makes the brand image and identity one in the same.  For example, when you think of words that describe Levi’s, you will most likely come up with adjectives like jeans, quality, affordable, and American.  The Levi Strauss Jean Company has built a strong brand identity as a leading quality and fashionable provider of jeans.  This gives Levi’s an edge in their competitive and over-saturated market, as the consumer thinks what Levi’s intends them to about their product.  By consistently and effectively branding their company, the image and identity of Levi’s have become synonymous terms.

Another factor to consider when evaluating a brand is time.  Time can be a tricky component to deal with as brands that have not effectively communicated their true identity in the past have a much more difficult time in changing their brand image and consumer perception.  When a brand allows itself to be misunderstood by the consumer for too long it is natural to assume that the brand will suffer.  Like they say, first impressions take a few seconds to make, but they take years to change.

Conversely, time can positively reflect a brand as well.  Time is a trusted entity and consumers recognize that.  If a brand has maintained a positive image and continued to execute extraordinary branding techniques by correctly educating consumers on their identity, then time will prove to be a helpful commodity in assessing a brand.

By assessing a brand’s image over time, you are ultimately led to the effect.  Whether you are launching an advertising campaign to promote a new brand, re-branding a company that as fallen by the way side, or reinforcing a tried and true brand, or using a creative agency to enhance your image, it is important to assess your progress.  Have perceptions changed?  Are people excited to learn about this brand? Was this an effective campaign?  Answering these questions is important in the quest for positive brand identity.  But most importantly, you must never forget the consumer.  When all is said and done, it is their opinion of a brand that holds the most merit.

This article is a guest post by Tyler Hansen who writes for www.trafficado.com, a web marketing and design agency.

Developing Quality Backlinks for SEO

After working as a SEO Consultant for several years, I would like to share how can one create quality backlinks in this article. Establishing backlinks is one of the most significant elements for Search Engine Optimization. Nearly all Webmasters and website proprietors squander hundreds and thousands of dollars just to create incoming hyperlinks to their web sites hoping that their website pages will strengthen in ranking owing to the external links. I will share with you how one be able to construct valuable links to your website pages in this article making sure that you can simply utilize this idea to your Online site and have a exceedingly optimized website for Search Engines like Google and Yahoo.

One great way to generate backlinks is to obtain from authority internet sites. These links are considered highly trusted resources in Search Engines algorithm. If you are in particular professional association, it is easier to get the association to link to your business. Besides professional associations, you can also solicit for links from other service clubs or networking communities if you are part of them. I realize that one efficient way of creating backlinks is to have one of the bloggers who is in your industry to talk concerning you. This is faster and easier if you have something valuable to share in his / her blog. This technique is vastly useful in particular if that person is perceived as an authority in the industry. You can check out this blog of an independent financial advisor for an example.

The other links building technique that I propose is to take part in online forums that relates to your business. Just to illustrate, if you are a Web Developer, you may possibly discover that the SitePoint forum is a excellent platform to share your expertise and also develop your repute over time. At the same time, you can also include signatures in such forums to work as a link back to your business. This way, you are already building extremely applicable links to your site. Another technique is to submit your site or services to niche directories. These directories do not accept all kind of sites, instead, they are very specialized in what they want. You be able to search using Google to unearth such directories to ensure that you be able to add your website to their listing.

With more and more people blogging, this platform also serve as an fantastic approach for you to establish excellence backlinks to your websites. One technique you be able to make use of is to participate as a guest blogger and blog for another person. This is a win-win state because it not only assist that blogger to create value to the visitors, it also increases your visibility too. This approach, more people will know about you.

The final method you can use is the article submission. I once came across a site that specialize in buying gold coins, they are using this article submission approach to increase their popularity. You can also compose articles and submit to directories for publication. Nearly all article writers will include a link back to their websites at the very bottom of the article. This method may not be the best link building strategy but it will help your site gain some link reputation at the very minimum.

Building links is not a short term tactic or ‘do it once’ kind of thing. In order to achieve high and stable ranking across all Search Engines, you really should try to develop links persistently and for long term.