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5 Ways to Market a Small Business More Effectively

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Small businesses must use a different rulebook with marketing compared to large corporations with deeper pockets. It’s necessary to look at how to effectively market the brand using fewer resources. Considering the impact of each marketing plan and comparing the plan to the results is important here. The business cannot afford to strike out too often or revenues won’t grow that year and could go into a decline.

Here are 5 ways to market a small business more effectively.

Redesign the Website to Make it Stickier

Websites are the lifeblood of many businesses. It’s the public face. While their Facebook page may get some visitors, it usually doesn’t generate as many as the business website. Facebook users don’t always convert into customers either. This is where counting the number of followers on social media or social shares becomes a metric that businesses find difficult to quantify in terms of revenue or bottom-line earnings. However, the website is under your control.

If your website is older than a year or two, it probably requires a redesign or a completely new one. The goal should be to make it easier to use and stickier, so visitors stay longer and buy more. If you’re using a premium WordPress theme, consider getting a custom theme designed. Hire a web designer to create a new design from scratch.

Look at the existing site to see what parts of it are working well and which are falling flat. Check the analytics to determine which pages are visited the most and have a longer dwell time. Finalize what elements to retain and those to discard. Consider whether parts that weren’t working well could be retooled to make them genuinely useful. Run through several versions of a site mock-up to narrow down what you want before agreeing on the final design to be produced.

Optimize the Website for CRO

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a big topic. The idea is to work on your sales pages to improve the number of customers who make a purchase or carry out the target action like opting into a newsletter. CRO helps a small business earn considerably more from the same web traffic by adjusting the page layout, imagery, written copy, and more.

Dan Siroker from Optimizely.com wrote “A-B Testing,” an excellent introduction to using A-B testing on your website and to test which marketing campaigns were the best performing. Using repeated A-B testing while iterating through different possibilities, a CRO specialist can find the best images, written copy, or layouts that visitors respond to.

Running tests on a smaller scale as an in-house operation is possible too.  It won’t likely be as effective, but it can certainly help to rule out marketing offers that are woefully ineffective before losing money after their implementation. Google Optimize is a new tool to try out too. Also, landing page software is adjustable to use A-B versions of pages to test how they perform, Email opt ins, special offers, and discounts rates can be adjusted to get the best success rates.

Professional Photography is a Must-Have

The images used on business websites must be suitable. A lot of people tend to pick generic stock photos with groups posing as executives while holding a prop like a clipboard. It’s totally unconvincing. Everyone knows a stock image when they see it and it hurts CRO. Visitors often don’t return a second time to the site and abandon the brand.

Think about what photos you’ll need and book a professional photoshoot. You may want to use an outdoor venue or book time in a photo studio. The professional photographer should offer client proofing too. Client proofing allows you, the business client, to see the photos that they’ve taken. This can be either through a secure connection on a website or by using an app.

Ensure you get a smooth process when client proofing by using the photography tools from format.com, they have a site builder to create an online portfolio. Their business client can view the images, mark the ones they like, download a sample, and add useful feedback. There’s also a free iPhone app available from the App Store used as a website builder to put the photos online and view them conveniently while on-the-move. The photographer can make tweaks to the images and add filters to adjust the lighting. Once the images are finalized, they’ll be ready to use on the website.

Attend Business or Industry Expos

While the business may not have the budget to place a booking as an exhibitor at a popular business or industry expo, key staff members can still attend. This is particularly useful if the company is focused on business to business transactions, rather than selling direct to consumers.

Practice the elevator pitch. It’s that 30-second pitch about what the company does and how it helps other businesses. It needs to be well written, easy to remember and repeat. Make a recording of it to keep on a smartphone in case of nerves and a faulty memory. Practice the elevator pitch until it’s memorized. Don’t forget to bring a power bank to ensure your smartphone doesn’t die as it’ll be needed to add new industry contacts and pull up the pitch recording when needed.

Anyone attending this type of event should be well prepared in advance. They need to have enough business cards to not run out, especially when attending over multiple days. It’s helpful to carry some marketing materials that would usually be handed out from an expo booth. This way, the staff member can reach into their messenger bag and pull out the right material to hand to an interested person at the event. Just because the company doesn’t have the budget for a booth at every expo, doesn’t mean they cannot do some ad hoc marketing!

Use YouTube for Video Marketing

Many companies are using video to put a personality and face to the brand. Develop an internal team responsible for producing creative short videos to upload to a business channel on YouTube. The idea with the videos is not solely to promote your products by filming them in close-up detail. Take the approach of providing guidance to people interested in your industry, products or services. Find ways to be useful to viewers by answering their questions and solving their problems.

While you can talk about your products or services, it doesn’t hurt to recommend those of other companies too. Whilst this may seem like a bad idea, today’s reality is that people know when they’re being sold to. Other businesses and consumers are far smarter about marketing techniques than in years past. They don’t appreciate a sell-sell-sell approach. Mix it up.

The recommended marketing solutions above aren’t that costly. Depending on how large your website visitor traffic is or how much your YouTube channel grows in the first year, there’s the potential to expand the customer base and sales volume. The focus with the ideas is based around cost-efficiency over flashiness. Small businesses cannot usually afford a big splashy event to promote a product launch; they must focus on perfecting the smaller details and getting more creative. That is, until they become a large brand that can afford bigger marketing campaigns targeting a greater market share. For now, one step at a time.

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Marketing

7 Advantages of Web Push Notifications for Marketing

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A web push notification is a message with some text, logo, image and up to three buttons, that appears on top of a current web-page.

What follows are seven reasons why you should use web push notifications as a marketing channel.

1. Segmentation

Previously, marketers could send browser notifications only to their entire contact list. Because of this, many users received unnecessary and annoying information.

But now advanced providers allow sending personalized web notifications to different segments of the contact list.

With their help, eCommerce brands can send to website users

  • relevant and personalized messages
  • through all popular browsers
  • on mobile and desktop devices.

2. High Delivery Rates

There are only a few reasons why a web push message may not reach users:

  • a user has blocked notifications from the website,
  • the device was turned off,
  • the subscriber didn`t have access to the internet.

But these situations are not too common, that’s why the delivery rates of web push notifications range from 50% to 90%. Even if the browser was closed or the device turned off, users could receive a notification the next time they open their browser.

3. Ease of Use

Push notifications are a perfect way to quickly deliver messages and to encourage users to visit the website.

It only takes a few minutes to create a web push notification You just need to briefly formulate the main idea, add an attractive banner and a CTA button.

4. Content Personalization

Automatic substitution of personalized content in the notifications will help you capture the attention of your subscribers much more better than ordinary bulk messages.

For example, call the subscribers by their first names.

However, it is better to use more complex personalization. You can insert an image of the product that the user has abandoned in the cart or the number of the order which he or she has made.

5. Automation

Web push notifications provide a good opportunity for automating regular communications between a user and a brand. You can use them

  • as a part of your onboarding campaigns,
  • as abandoned cart reminders,
  • as transactional notifications.

In fact, with advanced marketing automation services, you can set any event that triggers the automatic sending of a web push notification.

Most often, online businesses use email or SMS as marketing channels. Push notifications don’t replace but complement them.

Advanced automation systems allow you to use multiple channels in a single marketing workflow, for instance, an abandoned cart workflow. This significantly increases customer engagement and the chances that the user will take the target action.

6. Branded style

You can design your notifications in the style of your website. Use branded colors and add your logo to the notifications. For example, this is how you can add your logo and a product image in eSputnik.com.

The branded style of the message will attract the attention of your users, and they will be more likely to perform the action you want them to take.

7. Customizable lifespan

Push notifications have an “activity time” that you can set manually. Due to this, you will not annoy your users with outdated information, for example, after the promotion has ended.

Conclusion

Web notifications can be the perfect solution for fast and reliable customer communication. They are delivered as soon as a user opens the browser, even if he or she doesn’t visit your website.

Considering all this, segmented web push notifications can become a new powerful channel in your omnichannel marketing strategy.

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Marketing

What Every Entrepreneur Should Learn from these Famous Logos

Coming up with the best possible logo is very important. Many companies have struggled to find a logo that communicates the essence of their brand. If you are looking for inspiration, you need to look at some of the companies that did it right. Of course, you don’t want to outright copy of their design approach. However, you can get a sense of the approach that they took and why it worked so well.

Here are some famous logos and the lessons that you can learn from them. You shouldn’t have any trouble replicating one of these logos when you need one for your own brand. There are plenty of great logo design tools that can help you out, like this logo maker tool from Designhill for $20. This tool uses state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology to execute the most intricate design algorithms. It can create hundreds of logos in minutes, which makes it easy for you to choose the best ones for your business.

Target

Target has a very simple logo. It is basically just a bull’s eye made from two red rings and a white one conjoining them. This is a simplified version of its original logo, which had three bands of each color.

This logo clearly communicates its message for two reasons:

  • The logo is an obvious image that conveys the theme of the brand. The company’s name is Target and the logo is it target itself. It couldn’t be clearer.
  • Target uses very few design elements in its logo. New entrepreneurs and graphic designers might think that this is a drawback. However, this is actually one of the reasons it is so effective. People don’t want to try to make sense of overly complicated designs. Simplicity is usually best.

Target’s logo has gone unchanged for nearly 15 years, because it works so well. Their own research shows that most customers recognize it at a casual glance.

“Target’s telltale logo was first revealed in 1962, streamlined in 1968 and has since evolved into one of the most recognized symbols in North America. No, seriously — a 2003 Target study found more than 96 percent of American shoppers know what that bold, red Bullseye represents.”

Apple Computer

Apple Computer’s logo has evolved significantly over the past 43 years. It has evolved in a way that you wouldn’t expect. Instead of becoming more complex, it has actually evolved into simplicity. The 1976 version of the logo was a very complicated drawing of Isaac Newton. One year later, it was a vector-based design of an apple with six different colors. Today, the logo is still an apple with the same contours that the company has used for nearly half a century. However, the logo is completely black. It no longer uses a mixture of different hues and vectors.

Apple realize that its logo was a lot more memorable if people could recognize it at a glance. This worked a lot better using a simpler logo, which is why the Isaac Newton cartoon gave way to a basic picture of an everyday apple.

Google

Google is one of the newer companies on the New York Stock Exchange. However, its logo is already one of the most famous in the world. The company has the most popular website on the planet, so a couple billion people see it every single day. Due to its high visibility, Google couldn’t afford to get its logo wrong.

Google is another company that has thrive by using a slick, simple design. Its logo is basically a text version of its name. It has multiple colors. There is one subtle difference that people wouldn’t pick up on at first glance. One of the letters is green. It is the only letter that does not have a primary color. This is meant to signify simple differences that make the company unique. Nonetheless, the overall design is very easy to understand, even if the metaphor is lost on most people.

Use the KISS Principle for Logo Design

Designing a good logo doesn’t need to be hard. You just need to find the simplest approach possible.

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Marketing

Lead to Conversion Digital Marketing Strategies That Matter in 2019

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We are already nearing the second quarter of the year, so it’s appropriate to point out how fast time flies! For sure, if you’re aiming to scale your business, you will have to move fast in order to make the most of this year.

It all boils down to the strategies and approaches you are using to maximize your brand’s presence and attract new business. In terms of digital marketing, there are several approaches you should consider in order to drive quality leads and convert as many prospects as possible across all channels.

For your business to stay competitive, you will have to use the right strategies in order to drive the best possible results. Here are a few of them that matter this year.

1. Use an omnichannel approach

We all know what multichannel marketing is, but what about omnichannel? For sure, this is a new trend that has the potential to mold the digital marketing sphere into a more audience-centric discipline.

Companies using this approach are able to effectively chart client interactions across the buyer’s journey, using a more analytical approach to incorporate customer expectations across every audience touchpoint. For sure, using this strategy can effectively accomplish better results than simply creating and sharing content through as many platforms as possible.

2. Invest in integrated marketing

No doubt, managing a digital marketing campaign involves plenty of resources to pull it off. Other than that, you also need to manage all the different platforms, which is already time-consuming at best. With an integrated marketing approach, you can unify all your audience engagement efforts without spending too much time and money on repetitive activities. All it takes is sound research as well as help from an experienced company. Lead to Conversion, for one, can help you build a highly effective method of engaging leads wherever they are.

3. Enhance your site’s loading speed

Aside from creating effective content, businesses this year will have to optimize their sites and make them user-friendly to their prospects. Along with great web design, websites should also be functional and for that, it shouldn’t take them more than three seconds to load.

Sure enough, sluggish loading speeds are inimical to your specific digital marketing goals as people are unwilling to waste precious time waiting for information about your product or service. If you want to keep them from bouncing off of your website, you might want to reduce the number of HTTP requests that your site generates. You should also keep your site as lightweight as possible by compressing images and graphics, and using less code.

4. Invest in marketing automation

Automated marketing systems are nothing new but it’s clear that businesses are investing heavily in platforms that are valuable in terms of content creation and distribution. These have become more important than ever, considering the fact the businesses will need to stay vocal in order to remain relevant amid increasing competition.

There’s no better time to improve your digital marketing efforts than now! For sure, you still have months to go before your business closes out 2019 on a positive (and profitable) note!

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Marketing

Digital Marketing Tips Specifically for Small Businesses

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When it comes to advertising and marketing themselves online, small businesses all have to deal with the same problem: how do they make their business seem large in the even bigger pond that is Google?

This is where digital marketing can be helpful. But there are some online marketing tips and tricks that, while wonderful for larger corporations, just don’t cut it when it comes to smaller sized companies. So here are some digital marketing hacks designed specifically for small business owners.

Don’t think big

The internet is a big place. And while this can sometimes be beneficial, it can actually hurt when it comes to small businesses. You don’t want to think too big and market to a larger audience than your geographical location, so stick to marketing to local customers.

An easy way to do this is to claim your business on the local search directory, Google My Business, which is free and operated by Google. You want your business to show up on Google results when people make relevant searches in your area.

In addition, do not forget to include geographical keywords, also known as geo-tagged keywords, on your website. You’ll want to be as specific as possible, so always include the city, state, even county you are located in. The more you have these phrases on your pages, the more people in your actual area will be drawn to your website, and the higher the likelihood that they’ll convert into business for you.

Go mobile

More and more internet users are browsing the web from the comfort of their mobile phones. In fact, 85 percent of customers have shopped online from their smartphone, so why wouldn’t you want to target this audience?

Having a mobile responsive website not only gives you access to these people, but it gives you the flexibility of reaching consumers when they’re away from their computer. So when they’re on the couch, out getting coffee, or even taking a walk, they could also be checking out your business.

Explore remarketing

Remarketing is the act of marketing to people who already know about you. This means the people who are following you on social media, who signed up for email advertising lists, and return customers. You should invest in this method simply because it is a good idea to stay on the forefront of your customers’ minds at all times.

Considering the sheer amount of digital information people consume every day, it’s a good idea to send out marketing materials to these people to ensure they remember what you offer, how you can help them, and what benefits there are by choosing your business. There are many digital marketing agencies who can help you with this, so look into Straight Marketing LLC reviews if that sounds like a possible option for you.

Create visuals

We all know that content is king when it comes to creating a digital marketing campaign. However, you’ll want to stick out from your competitors by creating visual graphics and video content to boost your strategy and stand out from your competitors. This means creating infographics, interactive blogs like quizzes, and informational how-to videos.

Customers have a very short attention span when they are using the internet, so create content that is visually appealing, attention-grabbing, and offers them a benefit for interacting and watching.

Choose one social media channel

For small businesses, there is such a thing as too much social media content. Instead of focusing on a holistic social media content strategy, focus on just one social media platform. You’ll want to choose one, such as Instagram or Facebook, and create awesome content and engagement to build up your followers and brand awareness. Only then, once that is starting to work for you, should you broaden your horizons and change directions.

With these tips in mind, any small business will be on their way to creating an online presence to rival their competitors.

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Marketing

Achieving your digital goals

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The world of digital media and marketing has come a very long way in a very short time. Less than twenty years ago the internet was in a fledgling state, there were websites and ecommerce was even a thing, but penetration was low, connectivity speeds were low and overall the digital world was still very much second to more traditional approaches. But no longer.

With the rise of smart phones and advancements in the fibre optic space it is now digital that is front and centre and dominating the world of media and marketing. So, if you are looking to build a brand or market a product, digital needs to be a core part of your plan. But how do you do this? Here are a few tips to help set you on the right path.

Partner with experts

It is okay to not be an expert in everything. So many successful people get to where they are by recognizing what they don’t know and partnering with those who do. The key here is to understand enough to realise how important digital communication is and to then find a digital marketing company that fits with your mindset.

In your search, look for relevant information on their websites. for instance, view their customer reviews of service or like this one their WME case studies. Remember when working with suppliers it’s a partnership. For it to work you need know enough about them as they will need to know about you and your business, so together you can develop and implement strategies that will help to grow your brand.

Not a nice to have

A digital strategy is not something that is nice to have. It cannot be an after-thought. It needs to be front and centre and a key part of your integrated marketing plan. Your website is probably the first touch point that potential customers will have with your brand and the way you present and package yourself online needs to fit seamlessly with how you do so in print or broadcast. The old way of having multiple teams handling different platforms is a thing of the past, it is now about integrated solutions and digital is very much at the centre.

Stay up to date

Read and stay up to date with the latest developments in the space. Digital is evolving rapidly, and it is very easy to be left behind. Quite simply there is no room for complacency. An old adage suggests that if you want to stay first then you have to practice and work as if you were second. So read, attend conference, network and experiment. Think big, act fast and fail quickly. This is the way of the digital era, to move slowly and to not try hard enough is to wither and die.

Assess constantly

Digital is awesome in the sense that everything is trackable and can be reported on. So, don’t just allocate budget and watch it disappear slowly but surely if it is not working. That’s how things were done in the past. Now, you can look at what responses your campaigns are getting, you can tweak and adjust in real time and you can modify and change accordingly. If a campaign is working well spend more; if results are bad call time. These are all decisions that can be made in an instant based on the data that digital channels have available for you.

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4 Tips for Organizing an Impactful Conference or Event

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Professional conferences and events are fairly common occurrences, no matter your exact industry. But this doesn’t mean they have to be “dime a dozen” – so common and frequent they offer little unique value to attendees.

If you go through the work of organizing a conference or event, you want it to make a real and lasting impact on all who attend. Here are four tips to keep in mind during the planning stages.

Plan Around Event Objectives

Start by asking yourself: What do we want attendees to take away from this experience? Only then can you set concrete goals and objectives to make your desired outcome a reality. Your theme, goals and objectives will guide other logistics like who you invite to speak, where you hold the conference and what types of sessions you plan.

The more specific your objectives, the better. It’s possible to break a broad idea like “environmentalism in business” into subcategories, like waste reduction, eco-friendly business practices, sustainability initiatives, creating an environmentally conscious company culture, etc. It’s possible to break down these subcategories, even – with more focused topics like corporate recycling initiatives, harnessing solar power, going paperless, educating employees, etc.

Charting out ideas from broad to specific will help you assess which topics are most in line with your event goals.

Curate Your Speaker Lineup Carefully

There are many professionals willing, or eager, to speak at any given conference. But you want to do more than find people to fill slots on a schedule; you’re aiming to curate a lineup of engaging, knowledgeable presenters with valuable information to impart on an audience.

There are a few ways to go about securing speakers for your event. You can approach people directly, explaining the nature of your event and why you feel they’d be an excellent fit. Or, you can put out an open call for proposals and sift through submissions.

Whichever strategy you choose, start early. As one conference creator notes for Smashing Magazine, quality speakers get booked up far in advance.

Build in Networking Opportunities for Attendees

Furnishing a lineup of great speakers is key. But the value your conference attendees derive also depends on who they meet – the lasting connections they make. The best way to help foster these important connections is by building in networking opportunities.

Want to get people talking? Start by using an audience response system like Poll Everywhere to incorporate networking activities during and between presentations. An interactive icebreaker can help create the camaraderie people need to start talking to their neighbors. A team trivia session is a great way to help attendees bond with others in the spirit of friendly competition.

Carve out chunks of time in which people can have a snack, grab a cup of coffee, explore the venue and strike up conversations with others. This “down time” is actually very productive.

Harness Social Media Before, During and Afterward

When people have questions nowadays, it’s almost reflexive to check social media for updates and helpful links. Make sure your conference has a comprehensive social media strategy in place for marketing, providing information and aggregating user-generated content.

As Small Biz Trends points out, events are increasingly “harnessing the viral power of their audience.” People will surely be posting, tweeting and blogging up a storm. Make sure you’ve publicized conference hashtags, and are using your platforms to engage with speakers and attendees alike.

Above all, an impactful conference or event is one from which attendees walk away having learned actionable information and met relevant people. Set objectives, curate a winning lineup of presenters, make it easy for people to network and create a central communications hub across social media platforms.

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