Increase Your Reach
Infuse Your Marketing With Technology

September 2003

This month's Increase Your Reach provides a straight look at web site building tools which are marketed at small businesses and bundled with many web hosting packages. I am also reviewing the web service I use to get digital photo prints. The first in a three part series of articles about virtual professionals is here, and I will share a resource for using writing to market your business. And lastly - I'd be lost without happy clients so I've included a short case study about the approach I took to an unusual design project this month.

Truth About Site Building Tools
Most business owners today know that having a web site is an essential component of marketing. In the past, the choices were to hire a professional web designer, hire a local teenager to create a site for mall money, or learn to do it yourself. In the last few years, the options for small businesses to get a site developed have changed dramatically. Now there are sophisticated "site builder" tools available to small business owners, bundled with many web hosting packages.

This month's feature article takes a look at both sides of using site building tools, and lets you know what the benefits and downfalls of using this approach might be.

Learn more about the pros and cons of site builders...

Review: Shutterfly
Once you get used to digital cameras, it's hard use anything else without eagerly looking at the back after every shot, to see how it came out! As much as I have loved having a digital, getting the pictures off the computer was always tricky - I printed them myself but if it rained, they bled. So, I decided to try out Shutterfly.com. And after seeing a long line at a Kodak photo kiosk in Walmart the other day, snaking down two aisles, I thought maybe some of you would be thrilled to hear of this alternative, too!

Always on the look out for "user friendly" sites to tell people about, Shutterfly.com was one of the easiest I've seen in some time. You upload pictures right off your hard drive to the site and organize them in folders. Then you can select quantities, sizes, and even create a caption that will print on the back of each picture. Give the secure site your credit card info and in only a few days, you will have beautiful pictures delivered right to you. Any time, you can log back in, order new ones, and send them to other people. You're not limited to photos - you can print postcards, note cards and even calendars! Shutterfly is a fast, affordable way to get high quality reproductions of your digital photos - you can even stack your account with bulk purchasing ahead of time so you save money with discounts. And, here is a chance to try it out for FREE!

Get 15 FREE prints!

Virtual Professionals: Snap Shot

Earlier this summer, I developed a detailed survey aimed at virtual professionals - people who work for themselves using computers to communicate with clients and colleagues they may never meet face to face. An invitation was posted on a wide variety of business related forums, hoping to get a good spread of industries and demographics. Seventy people responded during a 3 week period. First in a series of three, this month's article is a snapshot of the virtual professional community as it exists in 2003 - who VPs are, how they got there, and what their work life is really like.

Read the Virtual Professionals Snap Shot...

Writing to Market Your Business
We've all heard that by defining your niche and writing articles, you can increase name and brand recognition, build credibility, and establish yourself as an expert.

Well, it actually works! I recently had two of my articles published in the Albany Business Review - one based on my virtual professional survey and the second a condensed version of the online business networking article I featured here last month. As a result of that, I now have an opportunity to be interviewed on a national radio show, and an invitation to contribute to a published anthology! How cool is that!?

I can't stress enough the potential of writing as a free way to market your business. By the author of a popular new book called "Get Slightly Famous," here is a free resource on how to get started!

Read more about getting "slightly famous"

Happy Clients
My client, Lorraine, wanted a European style calling card to represent her consulting work, and her wish was to put a Hudson River School oil painting on it to reflect the view from her office. I suggested she purchase the rights to the perfect stock photo, and I would turn it into her very own unique oil painting for the card. And because she owns the final "painting," she could have it enlarged and framed, or even put on note cards if you wants (hey, this is a good job for Shutterfly, come to think of it!)

Click here to see the case study!

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2003 All Rights Reserved - This newsletter is intended to be read and passed around by entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations interested in electronic communication, design and technology. Please don't reproduce this document or its contents without full credit to Eileen Parzek, SOHO It Goes!

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