Entrepreneurial

Mix it up: Trends and fads in email marketing

– Melanie Attia is the product marketing manager for Campaigner email marketing. The views expressed are her own. –

In business, there are fads and there are trends. While fads help pay the bills in the short-term, a good small business understands the longer-term viability of its products and services that will be for sale in the seasons to come.

The same holds true for marketing. It’s essential for growth and these days marketing trends continue to shift from offline to online programs.

According to the “2010 Lead Generation Optimization Key Trends Analysis” from CSO Insights, budgets for direct mail declined 29 percent, while 54 percent of businesses increased budgets for email marketing.

Campaigner, an email marketing company that works with small businesses, recently surveyed its customers and found similar results. Thirty-three percent responded they were going to continue with their email programs in 2011 and 61 percent responded that plans were underway to increase the use of email in their marketing efforts.

5 reasons your website isn’t attracting leads

USA/- Lisa Barone is co-founder and chief branding officer at Outspoken Media and a contributor to Small Business Trends. The opinions expressed are her own. -

So, what are your big Internet marketing plans for the New Year? Will you be investing more in social media? Will you start blogging? Will you take a more proactive stance with self-promotion? Whatever your online marketing plans, the end goal is likely to attract more people to your website in the hopes that the influx of new eyes will translate into new customers, new leads and new opportunities for your business. However, you won’t be able to do any of that if your Web site is turning people off, instead of turning them on.

Below are some very common reasons small and medium-sized business (SMB) websites fail to attract customers and how to avoid falling prey to them.

Top 10 tech investing trends for 2011

– Dave McClure is a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and the founder of Internet seed fund 500Startups. He has worked with companies such as PayPal, Mint, Founders Fund, Facebook, LinkedIn, SlideShare, Twilio, Simply Hired, O’Reilly Media, Intel and Microsoft. The views expressed are his own. –

Over the holidays Silicon Valley is a ghost town while most geeks and venture capitalists are busy hitting the slopes at Tahoe or playing Angry Birds Holiday Edition.

If you haven’t had enough football or eggnog yet, stop reading this blather and go watch some grown men beat the snot out of each other while drinking yourself into yuletide stupor. If that doesn’t sound more appealing then you’ll just have to settle for my crazy tech predictions for this year.

Top 10 challenges for CEOs in 2011

– Charley Polachi is the co-founder of Boston-based executive recruitment firm Polachi, Inc. The views expressed are his own. –

1. In 2011, CEOs will be challenged with balancing expectations for earnings per share (EPS), which in most cases are already set, and their investors’ growing impatience for top-line growth. To grow, CEOs have to invest again. But if they invest, they could miss EPS estimates. The CEOs who walk this tightrope successfully will pull away from the pack and outperform their peers.

2. Maintaining momentum in the slow growing market. Solution is innovation.

3. European governments and their economies continue to perplex – look at Greece and Ireland. Who’s next? Finding efficient ways to get revenue internationally through distributors and partners instead of employees may be the way to go.

Hot healthcare investing trends for 2011

– Dr. David J. Brailer is the chairman for San Francisco-based venture firm Health Evolution Partners and served as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology under President George W. Bush. The views expressed are his own. –

2011 will be a chaotic and unpredictable year for investors.

We will see the first big changes of health reform play through – regardless of what the incoming Congress does. No one can predict what health reform means, particularly alongside the dwindling of the financial crisis and the ongoing jobs bust. The only sure thing is that 2011 won’t be a replay of the last two years where safe deals got done and a lot of companies traded from investor to investor.

Here are a few trends – and a few pitfalls – to pay attention to:

1. Please, no more meaningful use. Health information technology has been hyped into the stratosphere, and every entrepreneur is trying to raise capital while they can. Many are spinning their wheels because they mistake the investment bubble for their own shrewdness. The market will figure out in 2011 that federal subsidies will happen far slower than planned or that they may be cut back by a deficit-hawk Congress. Once the bubble pops and people get their feet back on Earth, deals will start to happen again. There are some very good health information technology companies coming to market in 2011 and they are going to rock healthcare in the coming years.

Access trumps ownership in 2011

– Lisa Gansky is the author of “The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing” and the Mesh Directory live. The opinions expressed are her own. –

Disturbed by the sight of dead Christmas trees lying on the curb after the holiday, Los Angeles-based landscaper Scott Martin had an idea. Why not rent people living Christmas trees?

He set up a website and offered different types of live trees in a variety of sizes. Customers specified which tree, what size and on which day it would be delivered and where. Scott and his team also offered decorations for the trees they rented. After the holiday, each customer selected a day for the tree to be picked-up and Scott and his team even recycled the gift wrap and packaging. The trees were either returned to the nursery to be cared for and sold later or donated. An all around joyful holiday win for the customers, Scott and team, the community and the environment.

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