A New Year and a New Focus

Do you pick a word at the beginning of each year? I have for the last several years.

In 2015 it was Thrive. Not entirely sure that year lived up to that, but I digress.

In 2016 it was Conquer. I wanted to conquer the fear that was holding me back in life and business. I did finally get to ride my ex-racehorse but then ended up losing him. And did make many new connections on the business front so maybe it worked.

In 2017 it was Persevere. I totally think I over thought that word, but I did make it through the year. There were lots of changes, but most of them were for the best.

So this year my word is Focus. Why? Because squirrel. I have been told I have too many interests and too many businesses, and maybe I do. But sometimes I just need to focus and get done the things that mean the most to me.

What does that mean? I will be writing here more. I will also be rebranding the Sierra Ranch site to be something different. I think something I have missed in the last few years is doing more writing and more living.

Let me know if you have questions about branding or rebranding your small business. I have done several in the last couple of years and would love to help your small business grow.

To Your Success, 
Deb Stowers

How To Research A Niche Market

Finding a Targeted Niche - Magnifying GlassGetting people to your website is a very important skill. It’s not just about writing content and generating a buzz around it, although those are important skills too.

If you area small business then you have your niche figured out.  If you are wanting to start something on the web or grow what you are currently doing then keep reading and find our how to grow in your niche.

The work begins way before you start writing on your site, as you need to find the perfect niche – the subject of your website. Niche research is about finding profitable subjects that are broad enough to write enough content about, yet narrow enough for you to become an authority on the topic.

A great way to establish the popularity of a niche market is to use the Google AdWords keyword tool. Simply type in the name of the niche and you will see the number of searches performed each month, along with lots of related keywords.

If you sign in to the tool, you will also see the average price you would expect to pay to advertise on the front page of Google for each term. This should give you a feel for how much money there is to be made in the niche you have chosen to research.

There are a number of ways to find out how much competition you will face if you launch a site in a particular niche market. For a very quick and broad estimation, simply search for the niche name in speech marks in Google.

The higher the number of results returned, the more competition is out there. Of course, this doesn’t give you much insight into the quality of the competition, just the quantity.

To get a more reliable indication of how tough a keyword will be to rank for in search results, there are free tools to download, popular ones include Market Samurai and Traffic Travis. These will analyze things like how many inbound links are pointing to sites already ranking for the niche terms.

This gives a far more accurate picture of competition, but can take a while to fully research.

By doing your niche research properly, you will save time and effort. Focusing on the wrong markets will usually result in poor results, namely profit. When you find a niche market with plenty of search volume, good advertiser spend and relatively low competition, you have truly found your niche.

To Your Success,
Deb Stowers

Creating a Tailored Marketing Plan

Marketing_PlanThere are numerous aspects involved in developing an marketing plan. From budget to end goal, website marketing is a long-term process.

It is also detailed process, which is the reason many site owners hire a marketing specialist to help them plan.  If you want some help with this check out our rates here.

To start, you must think about the major goal of the marketing campaign. Do you want to increase customer loyalty, boost brand awareness or sell products?

A correctly executed marketing strategy can take an e-commerce business to new levels if all steps are geared toward reaching that final goal.

Your campaign will be limited by your marketing budget. Many website owners start with a small amount of money, gradually increasing the budget to the highest, yet still comfortable level.

An marketing budget can be unlimited, and you may never reach your entire customer base. Stick with what you can afford, and work within your budget’s confines.

Learn about the direct competitors in your niche by searching for your website’s keywords. You will realize that some businesses are more competitive than others. And potential customers who are searching for services or products offered by your company will usually choose highly ranked websites.

Therefore, any site listed above your site is a competitor. Thoroughly research their services and products, and learn their strengths and weaknesses.

Make any necessary improvements to your website. Remember, a site is similar to a storefront. The more enticing the website’s design, the more traffic and sales the business will garner. Your services and products should not be carbon copies of your competitors, even if you must increase the quality of your items or include extras in your service packages.

Finally, identify the customer base you want to target, and advertise in places where they frequent. There are even some sites, particularly social networks, that will place business advertisements in front of a certain audiences to which the ads are targeted.

To Your Success,
Deb Stowers

How To Stay Focused In Your Home Business

Focus-On-Your-Dreams-300x236Working from home takes a lot of self discipline. It is important if you are going to be working from your home and running the business yourself that you understand how to stay focused with your home business.

One of the first things that will help you to stay focused is making sure that each day you sit aside a period of time to work.  When you don’t have a regular job to go to from 9 to 5 it can be difficult not to procrastinate.  You might find that you tell yourself that you will get to it later and then later comes and you still haven’t accomplished what you needed to for the day.

The next thing you need to do is remind yourself that it is still a job. This will help keep your focused on the fact that even though you work from home it is still your source of income and in most cases people need their source of income to get by financially.  So if you remind yourself of this you will be able to realize that you have to get things accomplished.

These are only a few of the many different tips you can use to stay focused with your home business.  You might find that some days are easier than others when it comes to focusing.  At times you might have to just step back take a break and then come back to what you were doing so that you have a fresh new outlook on the situation.

No matter what the situation is you have set your sights on your home business and you should remind yourself of this when the going gets tough so that you don’t end up just throwing your hands up and then regretting it later down the road.

I know how hard this is as I have the same focus problem when I work from home.  I was discussing this with my husband and found he had the same issues.  We are trying some new techniques and hope to get better at this.  Let us know what you have done to create a better environment to work from home.  Leave a comment or send an email.

To Your Success,
Deb Stowers


5 Services I Offer To Small Business

(This article was first published on October 18, 2012. Prices were updated on September 14, 2017.)

As a small business owner, you know about the power of being online.  I can help you for a small fee, you will save money compared to advertise offline.

There are many different options to being online.  Most will require you to provide some  updates and posts to keep your customers coming to your sites. This are as easy as posting hours of operation, special deals or sales, and other great events you have planned in your business   Check out these five ways to market your small business and that I can offer some assistance with.

Facebook Business Pages

Most folks these days are on Facebook and providing a Facebook Business Page is a great way to communicate with your customers.  Talk to your customers about how to “like” your page.  Post great deals or new items in stock and keep your customers up to date about what is happening in your business.  Creating a Facebook page for your business will cost $200 and I will show you how to update it.  We can arrange a monthly fee for updating a page.

Article Writing

I provide articles to small business owners who already have websites. This provides content for your site. And we all know that content is what drives your business.  You need to create a reason for the customer to spend money with you. I write articles in the business, engineering, horse and firearms related areas. Articles are $50 for 500 words.

Ebook Creation

Have you created some great content and want to make it into an report or book to give away or sell to your customers? It’s a great way to get new folks added to your list. I can help you create that book in PDF and Kindle formats.  Your book will be proofread and formatted for $100 per hour.

Site Building

I can build a site where you talk about your business. The best method of creating sites today is WordPress.  It is easy to set up and easier to maintain.  Posting articles or another information to the blog is a quick way to let folks know about sales or other events in your business.  Building you a WordPress site for your business will be $500. Anything besides the standard installation with four pages and a couple of posts will be billed at $100 per hour. I can help update sites that are not WordPress sites on a case by case basis and at the $100 per hour rate. The button is for the basic site.


Of course, any of this can be combined in a package containing site building, article writing, eBook creation, and your own social media presence all in one offer.  Just contact me for more information.  There are many other social media sites that can be added, as well as monthly maintenance. My going rate for hourly work is $100/hour.

Hope you enjoyed learning more about my services.  Let me know what you would like to learn more about.  Leave a comment or send an email.

To Your Success,
Deb Stowers