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Article posted: 1/28/2013 6:00 AM

From website videos to mentoring, new ideas to consider

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Website videos almost certainly will raise your business' standing on Internet search pages. That's reason enough to finally commit to video as part of your marketing program, but there are other reasons, too:

Videos provide an opportunity to touch your marketplace. You can use your videos to demonstrate a new product, discuss new services or, with you as company spokesperson, offer insights, perspective and information that are pertinent, useful and not available elsewhere.

In that sense, video makes your company appear to be an idea leader.

New videos -- weekly, monthly, whatever your schedule can accept -- allow you to email both customers and prospects with an announcement that a new video is available on your site. Give them the website address, but also include a link directly to the video.

It takes only a little more effort to create a YouTube channel where your videos can live in perpetuity -- and be discovered by others interested in the information you provide.

Three things are key when it comes to web videos: They don't have to be expensive, although they do need to give a positive impression of your business; the content must matter to your audience; and you need to tell your e-list when new content is posted.

There are other notions to investigate, too:

Explore podcasts, which lack the pizazz of video but, in an audio-only format, are less costly and can serve a similar outreach purpose.

Talk to your web designer. Make certain your site looks as good on an iPad or Smartphone as it does on a laptop or PC. A site designed for older technology does not necessarily translate well to smaller screens.

Moving your business? Celebrate your new space with an open house for customers, suppliers and prospects. You can get by with subs and soft drinks if budget is an issue, but take advantage of the opportunity to reach out to people who should get more than a change of address notice.

Elmhurst College has a mentor-protg program that connects business owners or executives willing to share what they've learned with college students looking for advice. According to Larry Carroll, executive director of the college's Center for Professional Excellence and professor, business administration, the mentor's role is to help the protg-student prepare for the workplace.

There's no pay; this is a giveback opportunity -- and a chance to connect with some bright college students.

The college also offers an internship program. Interns can be a good source of low-cost but eager-to-learn help; one of my students turned an internship into a full-time job, a benefit for the student and company both.

Internship programs are fairly common, but Elmhurst is the only suburban college I know that has a mentoring program.

Jim Kendall welcomes comments at JKendall@121MarketingResources.com

2013 121 Marketing Resources Inc.

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