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Free Tools for Improving Online Security

Free Tools for Improving Online Security

Many small-business owners fall below what some people call the “security poverty line.” Bootstrapping entrepreneurs can be especially vulnerable to hackers because they don’t have the money or personnel to buy, install and maintain the fancy security products large companies take for granted.

On the hunt for easy pickings, hackers are attacking these security-poor businesses, typically with indiscriminate, automated assaults that could be stopped by basic security tools and computer hygiene. Seven in 10 of the cyber break-ins analyzed in Verizon’s 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report occurred at organizations with 100 employees or less.

The good news is that it can be surprisingly easy and inexpensive to mount a quality defense on a budget. We spoke with Grady Summers, a vice president at Mandiant Corp., an Alexandria, Va.-based information-security firm, and former chief information security officer at General Electric Co., to assemble a list of easy-to-use, free tools that any company — including those without a technology staff — can use to create a comprehensive security program to protect its network, computers and data.

While no security program is perfect, applying these free tools can defend against the most common attacks. “A small business with a part-time IT person could probably do this in a day,” Summers says.

Defend your network.
Most of the threats to company networks come over the Web, Summers says. He recommends using filtering software to block dangerous websites, including “phishing” sites designed to trick unwitting employees into falling for a scam or infect their computers with malware.

San Francisco-based OpenDNS offers a free, cloud-based Web filtering product that can protect a single PC or mobile device, or an entire network, from known phishing sites. OpenDNS’s paid services offer more security features and the ability to block porn and other sites companies may not want people to access while in the office.

To find any weak spots on your network, run a scan. Lumension Security of Scottsdale, Ariz., offers a free vulnerability scanner for checking networks of 25 or fewer computers. It can identify software vulnerabilities and misconfigurations that could put you at risk.

Also, scan your website for security vulnerabilities. Hackers often break into customer databases by striking company websites or hack sites to plant malware that will infect visitors. Qualys, a Redwood Shores, Calif., security company, offers FreeScan, a free tool for detecting security vulnerabilities in Web applications and finding malware infections and threats in websites. Users are limited to five free scans.

If you have a capable in-house technology staff, you also may want to consider using Security Onion, a compilation of free tools for intrusion detection and network monitoring.

Secure your computers.
Protecting computers on your network starts with firewalls and antivirus software. Free basic firewalls now come with Windows and Mac computers, so make sure they’re turned on. Antivirus protection will require a download.

Among the most popular free antivirus programs is one from AVG. Another is Microsoft’s free basic security product Microsoft Security Essentials. It’s made for consumers and businesses with 10 PCs or fewer. And firewall giant Check Point Software of Redwood City, Calif., has a free security suite that includes antivirus and a ZoneAlarm firewall that monitors traffic leaving your computer, as well as standard inbound traffic. In addition, U.K.-based Sophos offers free antivirus software for Macs.

Eliminate security vulnerabilities by applying the free fixes software makers regularly issue. To make that easy, use automatic update features for MicrosoftApple, Adobe and other products you use. Windows users can make sure all their programs are current by using the free tool FileHippo.

Protect your data.
Full disk encryption software can make company and customer data on your devices unreadable to unauthorized people. Free open-source software TrueCrypt is available for Windows, Mac and Linux machines and can be used to secure data on thumb drives and other storage devices. For Mac, Apple offers free full disk encryption dubbed FileVault2 to users with the Lion operating system.

If you have particularly sensitive information, Summers recommends creating a special encrypted area for that data with its own password. You can create this sort of encrypted “volume” with TrueCrypt and a similar Apple feature.

Also back up the data on your computers in case of loss, theft or damage. With Mozy, you can backup two gigs of data for free offsite and encrypted in Mozy’s data centers.

10 Best States for Starting a Business

10 Best States for Starting a Business

To encourage residents to start their own businesses, U.S. states are investing in entrepreneur mentorship programs and pumping up their high-tech workforce.

Maryland, Colorado and Virginia are the three states most supportive of innovation, according to the fourth annual Enterprising States report out this week from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a Washington, D.C., based business advocacy organization.

The study measured five aspects of policy including exports and international trade, entrepreneurship and innovation, business climate, talent pipeline, and infrastructure. U.S. states were ranked for their performance in each category. Also, the study measured and ranked overall economic climate and growth in each state. Utah earned the title as the top performing state overall for fostering business growth and creating jobs. It ranked in the top 10 of every policy ranking and came in third overall in economic performance.

As part of the report, the Chamber of Commerce prepared an interactive map where you can click on any state to see how it stacks up in each category and why.

Here are the top 10 states ranked for entrepreneurship and innovation, as measured by the number of high-tech businesses in the state, programs that support entrepreneurs, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) job concentration. Each state that made the list has something unique to offer resident entrepreneurs.

  1. MarylandThe Maryland Entrepreneurs Resource List is a networking tool for connecting experienced tech executives with young startup entrepreneurs. The University of Maryland Baltimore County’s ACTiVATE initiative, supported by the state’s Technology Development Corporation, gives female entrepreneurs over a year of support and guidance as they launch their tech startups.
  2. Colorado: In addition to attracting hikers and bikers, the Western state is a hotbed for high-tech businesses and ranks fourth in the country for the number of new businesses born. Also, it has a relatively high concentration of STEM jobs and in the last two years has bolstered its high-tech workforce with an additional 1,100 software programmers, 840 engineers, and 675 science research jobs.
  3. Virginia: In addition to having the highest concentration of STEM jobs of any state in the U.S., Virginia has been home to the Center for Innovative Technology since 1985. The CIT’s mission is to promote technology-based economic growth in the state and is focused on getting money to more entrepreneurs in the very early, seed round of funding.
  4. UtahThe Utah Science, Technology, and Research initiative (USTAR) at the University of Utah, which is dedicated to turning research at the state’s universities into commercial businesses, received $6 million in funding in 2012. Also, the state and the Governor’s office teamed up with Weber State University to offer entrepreneurs courses, mentorship and affordable working space in a program called Startup Ogden.
  5. Massachusetts: The New England state, home to some of the most prestigious research institutes in the country, including Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a hub for STEM jobs. Also, in 2012, the state legislature passed a bill that will allow the Massachusetts to invest in several long-term research and development activities, provide $1 million for paid internships in startups, and another $1 million for a program to mentor entrepreneurs about how and when to access venture capital funding.
  6. Texas: The Lone Star State has more than 2.2 million small-businesses accounting for more than half of its private sector jobs. Also, since 2009, Texas has ramped up its STEM workforce by 34,000, primarily in the computer and IT fields.
  7. WashingtonImpact Washington supports manufacturing in the state and has a specific program targeting small manufacturers. Also, manufacturers can get access to funding through the state’s Washington Economic Development Finance Authority’s Industrial Revenue Bond program. In addition to its support for manufacturing, the home state of software giant Microsoft has a high percentage of STEM workers, with notable concentrations in engineering, science and computer workers.
  8. Arizona: The Southwestern state hosts the Arizona Innovation Challenge each year where it gives out $3 million in awards to entrepreneurs. Also, the state encourages investment in small Arizona businesses by granting tax credits through its Angel Investment Program, which it has budgeted $20 million for through 2016. Also, Arizona has a Fast Grant program giving winning entrepreneurs funding to use to hire expert consultants and test new products. The goal of the program is to help startups transform an innovative new product or idea into a money-making venture.
  9. Georgia: Atlanta is relatively active city for venture capital, with 54 startups getting money in 2012, according to the National Venture Capital Association, the venture-capital industry association. The capital city’s co-working space, The Atlanta Tech Village, has a waiting list of more than 100 people, a sign of the city’s active startup culture. Also, the Georgia Department of Economic Development runs a training program called Entrepreneur-Friendly Communities where it teaches local communities how to encourage and foster small-business growth.
  10. Florida: While Florida doesn’t have much to brag about when it comes to encouraging innovation, the Sunshine State has the highest business birth rate in the U.S., helping it to narrowly secure a spot on the entrepreneurship list. Also, the state has a very high growth rate of self-employed individuals, including the addition of 59,000 personal finance advisors since 2002, 39,000 property managers, and 38,000 securities and financial services individuals.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s report is released in conjunction with the Chamber’s Small Business Summit, happening in Washington, D.C., this week, and was prepared by the economic-research firm Praxis Strategy Group.

Bank Lending to Small Business Slips, Crowdfunding on the Rise

Bank Lending to Small Business Slips, Crowdfunding on the Rise

New York-based crowdfunding platform Kickstarter broke its previous record for the most any single project has raised in April with Pebble, a watch that synchs with your smartphone. So far (the funding round is not over yet), the watch has raised more than $9 million from over 61,000 backers. And while alternative funding appears to be on the rise, loan approval rates at the best banks across the nation have slipped, according to the most recent analysis from Biz2Credit, an online marketplace that matches small and medium sized businesses with lenders.

Banks with more than $10 billion in assets approved 10.6% of loans in April, down from the 10.9% approval rate in March, according to the report released today from New York-based Biz2Credit. That also marks a continuing decline from January and February of this year, when big banks approved 11.7% of small business loans.

Smaller banks, or those with less than $10 billion in assets — recently the bright spot in an otherwise challenging lending market for small businesses — approved 45.9% of loans last month, down from the 47.6% in March and February this year. Approval rates at credit unions also dipped slightly to 57.4% in April from 57.9% the previous month.

Part of the decline was attributed to a decrease in the number of loans demanded by small businesses and because the terms of loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration changed in April, according to Rohit Arora, CEO of Biz2Credit. In an effort to stimulate the lending market, the government had temporarily sweetened the deal for SBA-backed loans for both the lender and the borrower. Those “sweeteners” expired in at the end of March.

However, while all other categories of lenders tightened their approval rates, the Biz2Credit “alternative lending” category — including account receivable financiers, microlenders, Community Development Financial Institutions, and merchant cash advance lenders — held steady and even showed slight gains compared with earlier this year. Approval rates for alternative lenders held their ground at 63% in March and April, but were up from the 62.5% and 62.4% approval rates in February and January respectively.

Meanwhile, crowdfunding, the term coined for raising small amounts of money from large groups of investors, has also increased in popularity as a source of funding for startups, thanks in part to legislation passed earlier this year that’s expected to help the industry grow even more.

A report released today from massolution, a crowdsourcing and crowdfunding research firm, showed that crowdfunding platforms across the globe raised $1.5 billion in 1 million campaigns last year. In 2011, the largest geographic market was North America and the most popular sort of crowdfunding was donation-based crowdfunding, where an investor gives money without expecting anything in return.

Karen Mills to Leave the SBA

Karen Mills to Leave the SBA

Karen Mills, the head of the Small Business Administration, has told President Obama that she will be leaving her position.

Who will replace Mills remains unknown. The White House is making no personnel announcements today, according to an email from White House spokesperson Inouye Shin. Mills said in a letter to staff that she will stay on until the White House has named a replacement.

Mills served as the 23rd head of the government agency that is charged with representing small business interests in Washington. She was sworn into her position in April 2009.

In a nod to the important role small business plays in the economic recovery, Obama elevated the Administrator to a Cabinet-level position in January of 2012. The announcement was made as part of a larger proposal from the White House to merge the agency with five others in a bid to make government more efficient. The president would need Congress to sign off on his broader plan to streamline agencies, and since the announcement in January 2012, there has been no further action on the proposal.

Mills came into the SBA as the recession had choked off pipelines of credit to the nation’s small businesses. During her time at the SBA, she worked to implement various stimulus measures to improve access to capital. In its 2011 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, the SBA supported more than $30 billion in lending to more than 60,000 small businesses throughout the U.S.

$2 Billion Cut from Fed Loan Program Affecting Small Business

$2 Billion Cut from Fed Loan Program Affecting Small Business

A federal program that had the potential to extend $4 billion in credit to small-business and community-development lenders has been reduced by half. The program’s fate underscores how difficult it can be for the government to get much-needed capital to entrepreneurs.

The CDFI Bond Guarantee program, signed into law through 2010’s Small Business Jobs Act, is still waiting for a round of Congressional approvals. Because the program is only budgeted for $1 billion a year through 2014, the delays have shaved $2 billion in funds from the program.

The government office managing the program confirmed today that it doesn’t expect to issue credit until 2013 because of a “legislative requirement” typical of a new law of this sort. The CDFI Fund, a branch of the Treasury Department, said it is moving as “efficiently and responsibly” as it can. Especially in an election year, there is intense political pressure to safeguard taxpayer dollars and not add to the growing deficit.

CDFIs, or Community Development Financial Institutions, are nonbank lenders that work in underserved communities and provide financing to small businesses that are turned down by traditional banks.

How Entrepreneurs with Social Vision Secured Venture Capital

How Entrepreneurs with Social Vision Secured Venture Capital

Fashion-forward friends Neil Blumenthal, David Gilboa, Andrew Hunt and Jeffrey Raider aren’t your bargain-basement eyewear types. The four University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of business alumni always preferred designer frames and lenses that ran about $500 per pair–a fact they lamented.

“Most glasses are marked up between 10 and 20 times what they cost to manufacture, and that just didn’t make any sense to us,” Blumenthal says. So they set out to refocus the industry.


How ‘Working Spouse’ Rules Can Save a Company Money — And Headaches

How ‘Working Spouse’ Rules Can Save a Company Money — And Headaches

A robust benefits package, with options that include spouses and other family members, can be an important tool in recruiting and retaining the best employees. But without clear policies that spell out your company’s guidelines with regard to working spouses, divorce and other issues, your business could end up incurring needless expenses or damage employee relationships, says Matthew McDermott, an employee benefits consultant with Landmark Group of Brighton, a Rochester, N.Y., insurance agency and benefits consulting firm.

One of the key areas where employers can save money is by creating working spouse “carve-outs,” says Jeffrey Kraut, an independent certified public accountant from Commack, N.Y. In other words, the company sets a policy that if a working spouse has the option of health insurance through his or her employer, he or she must take advantage of that plan rather than choose his or her spouse’s plan.

“At one company where I worked, we actually sent notices to all employees saying that if the spouse could provide proof that he or she was covered under another policy, we would give them a check each year the spouse was covered elsewhere for $1,000,” Kraut says. Since coverage of a spouse could cost several thousand dollars a year beyond the employee’s contribution, that hefty sum made financial sense, he says.

Companies also need to have clear policies for adding and removing spouses and other dependents from policies, McDermott says, especially in emotionally charged situations like divorce. McDermott says he’s seen situations in which an angry spouse wants an estranged husband or wife removed from a policy immediately. Those extreme reactions are not wise and could leave the business open to liability, especially if there is a legal provision that the spouse maintain coverage until a certain point, such as when the divorce is finalized.

“In this type of situation, I’ve seen companies prohibit action until the next open enrollment period or until there is some type of legal document that outlines everyone’s responsibilities regarding coverage,” he says.

Any policy or guideline must be in compliance with state and federal laws, McDermott says. Once the employer is sure that compliance requirements are met, Kraut says, the policies need to be put in writing and made available to all employees.

Small Business Health Care Stuck on Hold

Small Business Health Care Stuck on Hold

When it comes to health care, small-business owners aren’t making any fast moves.

Faced with higher premiums again in the year ahead, many business owners have found themselves in a holding pattern. They’re concerned about the rising costs and the possible impact of health reform, but unsure about making any changes until they have more clarity or options.

Mitch Goldstone, the president and CEO of, a photo scanning service in Irvine, Calif., plans to continue paying 100 percent of his 19 employees’ costs for medical, dental and vision coverage, even though premiums are expected to jump 18 percent, or roughly $18,000, in 2012.

While he considered sharing the costs with his employees in 2012, he worried that some people would opt out, putting their own health at risk and raising the per-person cost of the company’s group plan. “I didn’t think that the usurious rates that the health insurance companies are charging should be punishing my employees,” Goldstone says.

Waiting to see
He and many other business owners are waiting to see what impact the Affordable Care Act will have on them. Nineteen percent of small employers say they are either “likely” or “very likely” to terminate plans after state insurance exchanges go online in 2014, according to a November survey by Mercer, a benefits consulting firm in New York. The insurance exchanges would offer uninsured consumers a choice of health plans with information about the costs and benefits of each option.

A Proposal to Expand Health-Care Tax Credits for Small Businesses

A Proposal to Expand Health-Care Tax Credits for Small Businesses

President Barack Obama’s 2013 budget proposal includes a measure that would make a health-care tax credit available to more than a hundred thousand additional businesses — giving those owners more cash in their pockets at a time when the economy is still ailing.

If Congress approves the proposal, not only would more businesses become eligible for the tax credit, some that are already eligible would get more cash back. In 2011, the health care tax credit is estimated to have helped 360,000 small businesses that provide health insurance to two million workers. Under the President’s proposal, the tax credit would benefit 500,000 small businesses that provide insurance to four million employees.

The landmark health-care law — called the Affordable Care Act — that was passed in 2010 included a set of temporary tax breaks to help the nation’s smallest businesses deal with the surging costs of health-care premiums.

“Right now, small businesses across America pay an average of 18 percent more to provide health insurance than large businesses,” Karen Mills, the administrator of the Small Business Administration, and the newest addition to the President’s cabinet, said in a blog post yesterday.

The current health-care tax credit is available to businesses that have fewer than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers, pay at least half of the cost of their workers’ health-care premiums and pay an average annual wage of $50,000. Part-time employees count proportional to the hours they work. The percentage of health-care premiums that a business can claim increases step-wise the smaller a business is and the fewer employees. So, a business with fewer than 10 employees and average wages less than $25,000 will get the maximum allowable credit. The credit is 35 percent of what the business pays on premiums this year and next and increases to 50 percent in 2014.

The problem is that as the health-care tax credit currently stands, a big chunk of small business owners don’t qualify. And, according to a survey conducted by the Small Business Majority at the end of last year, 33 percent of employers that don’t currently offer health insurance said they would be more likely to do so because of the tax credits.

Under the President’s revised proposal for the tax credit, businesses with as many as 50 employees would be eligible to receive a tax credit and businesses with as many as 20 employees would be eligible to receive the maximum credit. Also, the President’s proposal makes the phase out schedule for the tax credit more generous and eliminates a couple of onerous requirements for small businesses to be eligible for the tax credit. For example, the President’s proposal would eliminate the current tax credit requirement that limits the employer contribution to the average premium for the state. The goal is to streamline the process of applying for the credit.

Should the expanded health-care tax credit pass muster with Congress, an additional $14 billion in tax credits would be available over the coming 10 years. That’s a tough sell for many in Congress, as there’s a deep opposition to boosting government spending.

What’s more, some Republicans in Congress aren’t convinced that expanding the tax credit would fix anything. “The current small business health care tax credit is too narrow and temporary, and expanding it to more businesses wouldn’t solve its other problems, such as unawareness of the credit or the benefit being too small to bother calculating,” said Rep. Sam Graves (R., Mo.), the Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, in an emailed statement. “The health care law should be repealed in its entirety immediately,” he added.

But that’s not what Mark Hodesh, the owner of Downtown Home and Garden, in Ann Arbor, Mich. would tell you. Thanks to the existing tax credit, Hodesh banked $9,125, which he says is circling right back into the economy. Hodesh joined Administrator Mills on a conference call with reporters to tout the benefits of the tax credit. He has 11 full-time employees, seven of whom opt to participate in the health insurance plan, which he has offered since 1998. But in the last ten years, his premiums have skyrocketed 300 percent.

“That is just staggering,” Hodesh told Entrepreneur. “We couldn’t raise the prices we charge for merchandise to keep up with it, so it was a real squeeze, but this Affordable Care Act helped immensely.” The hefty tax credit was enough to encourage Hodesh to hire another employee.

The Essential Guide to Marketing Strategy

The Essential Guide to Marketing Strategy

Having a great marketing strategy in place is key to the success of any business. Without a marketing strategy, you lack focus. And without focus, you will, quite simply, fail to reach any of the goals and objectives that you have set. Failure to plan is planning to fail.

Marketing is not a standalone, one-off activity. It is made up of several different components that are necessary throughout each and every stage of a business’s endeavours – from long before a sale is even made, to long after. With so much going on, it is essential to have a strategy in place.

Marketing Strategy Definition

Investopedia defines a marketing strategy as the business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective leads and turning them into customers of the products or services the business provides. Generally, it involves the company’s value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements.

Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Campaign

When it comes to marketing, there can be some confusion over the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing campaign. They’re both the same thing, right?

In short, no. Your marketing strategy framework is more of a high level, overall strategic plan that is connected to the entire brand, and its organisational objectives. Whereas marketing campaigns are much more focused, short-term initiatives set out to achieve a very specific goal. Your marketing strategy should be used to help inform your marketing campaigns. A marketing strategy encompasses the bigger picture. A marketing campaign, on the other hand, describes the logistical details for each specific project.

But that is an entirely different topic for another time, so let’s get back to focusing on your marketing strategy…

Why Do I Need a Marketing Strategy?

In an environment that is subject to frequent and unpredictable change, you might wonder, why should we have to focus so much energy on developing a long-term strategy that is likely to need amending anyway?

Well, the answer to that is: without a strategy in place, we don’t have repeatability or scale.

The Importance Of A Repeatable Marketing Strategy

Whilst your marketing strategy might require regular adjustments or tweaks, it provides you with a template of where to start and makes it easier to see similar or improved results from each campaign without having to completely reinvent the wheel. It also creates stability and a sense of predictability within the marketing department.

Christopher Penn cleverly compares a marketing strategy to a menu; a menu is a repeatable process and a framework. For example, if your dinner menu during the Thanksgiving holiday is typically made up of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn, and pumpkin pie, then it is probably fair to assume that this is going to be more or less the same each year. Yes, you might change your methods, or recipes or even add in or take away an extra item or two, but the core plan remains the same.

As marketers, our ‘menu’ probably looks similar each quarter, as we work towards a comparable outcome of brand awareness or lead generation, using our variety of ‘dishes’, from email marketing to SEO (search engine optimisation) to PPC (pay-per-click advertising), and so on. Whilst our recipes are adaptable and can be altered, the menu is more or less the same, allowing us to have more free time to spend on improving our recipes, rather than changing the menu each week/month/quarter/year.

The Importance of a Scalable Marketing Strategy

Once you have a solid marketing strategy in place that is repeatable, you can now also use it for scale. So in other words, you could share it with another employee, team, or division of the company. That way, the entire company is able to adopt the same marketing strategy for all of the products and services you offer. This will help to keep everyone on the same page and allow for consistency across all of your marketing campaigns.

Let’s go back to Penn’s Thanksgiving example one more time…

Imagine you were super busy on the run-up to Thanksgiving, and you hadn’t found a minute to properly plan out your holiday dinner, and so your neighbour shared theirs with you. This would be extremely helpful and save a lot of extra stress and time. Instead of having to focus on the why and what, you can now simply focus on the how. And if this menu was a success, then you might want to share it with your own friends and family. So this one menu is now helping many homes prepare great dinners.

Taking this back to your marketing strategy…

With an effective plan in place, that is both repeatable and scalable, you are free to focus your efforts on improving the strategy and making it work, rather than wasting a lot of time that you don’t have, worrying about what the strategy is going to be.

The more defined your target audience is, the better your marketing strategy will be as you’ll be able to create all of the brand marketing content, messaging, and ads with them in mind. As time goes on, and you gather more insight, you will continue to gain a deeper understanding of who exactly falls into your target audience. So don’t be afraid to learn as you go, and be adaptable to change, as you might find you need to go after a different group of customers to those you originally set out to reach.

And no, before you ask, your target audience simply cannot be everyone. Unless of course, you’re Amazon, who after 26 years of establishing themselves as e-commerce royalty, have earned the ability to target everyone and anyone they want.

Is There a Difference Between Target Audience & Target Market?


It can get pretty confusing when you see the terms ‘target audience’ and ‘target market’ being used interchangeably, and many marketers unknowingly assume that they are the same thing. Whilst sometimes they may be the same for your business, this is not always the case for others, so let’s quickly take a look at the differences.

Target Market

The target market is essentially the general group of people who will use and consume the products or services you offer. These people may share demographic characteristics such as age, gender, income, and job. For example, the target market for nappies and baby wipes is babies and toddlers of all genders. Additionally, the target market for a luxury beauty salon might be women and men of a certain age, that come under a specific salary bracket and live in a particular location.


Target Audience

The target audience is whoever the business expects to purchase their product or service. If we use the earlier example of nappies, the product itself is aimed at the babies and toddlers but, of course, they aren’t going to be the ones making the actual purchase. In this circumstance, the advertising and marketing efforts should be directed at the target audience, which is made up of the parents and guardians making the purchase.

Your target audience can also be a subset of your target market; these are people you are trying to reach as part of a particular marketing communication or promotion. For example, a luxury beauty salon might be offering discounts off a number of anti-wrinkle treatments. As these treatments are generally age-specific, there is no need to target your entire market. Instead, your target audience can be made up of those who are within the right age bracket.


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