Advertising has been a major part of business endeavors for centuries. It started hand-drawn flyers in general stores and saloons, and today, its online presence is astounding. Nowadays, three dimensional marketing is taking the world by storm, and here’s how you can leverage it.
For most people today, the very first advertising they can remember is TV or radio ads. This was long before the internet was in everyone’s household, and marketers knew that the best way to reach people – other than newspapers, magazines, and billboards – was to show them products and services during their favorite programs. It worked well, but the limitations of the media meant that advertisers couldn’t really pick and choose the best ways to deliver ads to viewers.
They had access to 15- or 30-second time slots, or “commercials,” that would be shown at regular intervals throughout programs. These slots were (and still are) incredibly expensive, so in order to really maximize their marketing dollars, marketers made certain that ads generated some sort of emotional response in viewers or listeners. Sometimes the ad was shocking, sometimes it was hilarious, and sometimes it made no sense – whatever the marketers believed would leave a lasting impression.
When looking at marketing as if it were a two-dimensional object, the two dimensions represent reach and frequency. These were the two most important factors in a successful marketing campaign. Their entire goal was to reach as many people as possible as often as possible in order to “burn” the brand’s image into viewers’ or listeners’ minds. One can’t work without the other, either.
If the ad showed 10 times a day but was only played during late-night television when everyone was already in bed, then it certainly had the frequency, but it didn’t have the reach. On the other hand, if viewers saw the ad right in the middle of the most popular primetime sitcom, but they only saw it once and never again after that, the ad has the reach, but it doesn’t have frequency. As a result, marketers chose to stick to a strategy they still use today – they repeat the exact same message across all channels, in every location, and at any time.
With the introduction of the internet, the entire marketing landscape started to change. Thanks to cookies and non-identifiable information collected from the billions and billions of people who surf the web, it is now possible to deliver very specific ads to very specific groups of people with a strategy known as targeted marketing. Better yet, marketers can now retarget people who have already purchased from them with another specific advertisement that is tailored specifically to their history with the brand.
This gave marketers more power than they had ever had before, and thanks to that power, frequency is no longer as important as it once was. Instead, today’s marketing campaigns tend to focus on marketing in the third dimension. Marketers no longer have to “burn” the images of their brands into customers’ minds. Instead, they can make their messages more meaningful to several individual segments and deliver them in the third dimension.
The third dimension of marketing is time, and for most companies who leverage it appropriately, it is far more effective than sheer frequency. You can deliver your marketing messages to your customers and leads over time in several different ways, too. Drip marketing is an older but still effective way to do it; just create a lead magnet, get people to sign up for your email list, and send them messages. You can also tag individual people with cookies in their web browsers to learn more about their behavior before, during, and after they interact with your ads or website. Once you have cookies in place, you can deliver incredibly personalized messages to individual users.
Third dimension marketing often uses the AIDA process, as well. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action, and it’s a good outline to follow.
To understand how marketing in the third dimension really works, it may help to think of how a used car salesman becomes successful. He doesn’t immediately bombard someone on the lot with the key to a random car because he wants to sell it. Rather, he takes his time and gets to know the customer and his or her needs, and he understands that most people won’t make up their mind about a car purchase in five minutes. They need time. He may ask the customer how many children she has, what sort of features are important, how much fuel mileage she wants to get, what she wants to spend, and more. Chances are good the customer will go home and think it through.
Because the used car salesman knows the customer will think it through, he hands her a card and asks her to call him with any questions, and he may even ask to call her later to see if she’s had time to decide. He’ll ask her if she wants to take a car that meets her needs for a test drive. He’ll negotiate the price with her. These things take time that traditional two-dimensional advertising just can’t offer, and for the most part, digital marketing works the same way.
Marketing in the third dimension might seem complicated, but to summarize, it’s all about foregoing frequency in advertising and instead making sure you are sending the right messages to your leads and customers throughout the entire sales lifecycle. The third dimension is time, and with a little bit of know-how, you can leverage it to your advantage.
Chatbots have been an interesting technology for a long time. Back in the beginning days of the internet, many instant messengers had some function of a chatbot, usually able to do simple searches to assist their users. You could ask what the weather was like outside, the time, or to look up the phone number of a local pizzeria.
Then, for a time, chatbots were left behind. They didn’t really fulfill a need in our world of technology other than to entertain us with silly responses like those from Cleverbot.
That has all changed, though, with the announcement from Facebook of their interest in using chatbots in conjunction with their Messenger services. Very quickly, chatbots have become a buzzword in social media marketing, with many being excited about the possibilities.
But, are chatbots the right fit for your business? Here’s what chatbots are exactly, and how they can fit into your marketing.
Chatbots are software designed to allow an artificial intelligence (AI) program to interact with humans. This interaction can be done through text, like instant messenger chatbots of old, or through voice commands like Siri or Alexa.
Chatbots can fulfill a variety of needs. They can handle simple tasks like texting a friend for you while you drive, helping you find a movie on Netflix, ordering an Uber for you, or communicating and affecting IoT devices in your home.
The only limitations chatbots have is how complex their AI programming is. A more advanced AI can handle more complex requests and act more human. The ideal goal is that it would be impossible to tell if you were communicating with a human or a chatbot.
One simple use for chatbots is to utilize them in customer support. Twenty-four-seven support is always a great feature for a business to have, but can become expensive to supply. But, chatbots could provide some form of customer support after hours.
Now, current AI technologies are limited, so customer support chatbots can’t handle highly complicated requests. If your customers often come with in-depth problems needing to be solved, chatbots might not help. But, if many complaints are simple in nature and can be solved by a chatbot referring them to a webpage with the solution, or by explaining it themselves, it could be valuable.
If you do decide to utilize a chatbot, be transparent about it, and have an option where, if the chatbot cannot solve the problem, a customer can have their case forwarded to a human customer support representative.
Chatbots are designed to help fill a role, and one major role in the sales world is helping customers find the exact product they are looking for. It’s why sites like Amazon recommend products similar to what users search to help them find the perfect fit.
But, chatbots could help this process by helping customers identify the qualities they are looking for in a product and recommend ones that fit. A good example of this kind of chatbot is “And Chill,” a chatbot designed to pick out what to watch on Netflix based on your tastes and preferences.
This style of chatbot would flourish for an eCommerce site with tons of products. By asking questions and determining things like desired price range, a chatbot could find and lead customers to the perfect product to fit their needs. It’s even possible for a chatbot to remember those preferences, so if the customer comes back, the chatbot can better serve them.
Another aspect to be aware of is that, in the future, chatbots will have an impact on marketing, even if you don’t create one. As virtual assistant chatbots like Siri and Alexa become more prevalent, marketers will find ways to target them.
As people ask these helper chatbots for answers, they will have to pull their answers from somewhere. Some might pull from a private database, but most will use a search engine to find the answers.
So how do you ensure your content is chosen? Well it would make sense that chatbots would choose their answers like how Google creates Featured Snippets. They want answers that simply answer the question but go into further detail with research to back it up.
Similar to Featured Snippets, chatbots could help drive traffic to sites that get selected to provide answers. Optimizing your content for search engines is a needed part to get featured by a chatbot.
You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need to get a chatbot? My business already has an app that nobody uses.” And the answer is that apps and chatbots serve very different purposes.
In today’s world, apps are used to accomplish a task of some sort or another. Businesses create apps to do tasks more efficiently, both for their own work and for customers to use. Those tasks could range from checking Facebook on a phone to entering large amounts of data. Apps make tasks more accessible than they might be on a webpage.
Chatbots instead fill a role of a human being providing a service. Sure, you could contact Netflix and ask for recommendations on what to watch, or your could use a chatbot to do it. You could spend time searching the web looking for the right gift, or your could ask a chatbot for help finding it.
Chatbots aren’t right for every business. In fact, there are a lot of businesses it doesn’t work for. Just like the app craze when smartphones came out, not every business needs a chatbot. Right now, the biggest industries to benefit from chatbots are eCommerce and independent software developers who want to sell them to fill a niche.
Another point to take in consideration is that AI technology is still in its infancy. Of the chatbots on Facebook’s messenger app, 70 percent of all requests were not fulfilled. Now, even the best AIs will still get confused from time to time, but that high percentage shows the tech still has a way to go before it’s feasible.
As of right now, it’s not recommended you build a chatbot, but keep your mind open to the future. It’s clear that Facebook wants it to become a new way companies interact with consumers. Chatbots have a lot of potential, but are not ideal in their current state.
Chatbots are refining the customer experience for brands. Knowing what chatbots are, how they can help your digital marketing efforts, and who is already using them is vital to nearly every industry.
Chatbots had their humble beginnings directing customers through a gauntlet of steps after calling a business’s customer service. And though those chatbots are still very much in use, new, more innovative chatbots have emerged.
These chatbots are meeting consumer demands, streamlining marketing processes, and driving sales and profits for many brands. Driven by deep learning processes, the chatbots of today and the future learn over time, and deliver faster results.
“Chatbots — computer programs designed to engage in natural conversation — are taking off, with companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and even Pizza Hut experimenting with bot-to-human interactions,” according to CNET.
Chatbots are versatile, from customer support to acquisition and retention. They are deeply involved in buyer funnel tasks, which is of great importance to marketers.
Let’s take a deeper look at why marketers need to bring AI chatbots into their digital strategy.
Chatbots are one form of artificial intelligence. Through deep learning processes, they can deliver data and information to customers at lightning speed, drive conversions, and streamline employee workflow.
Using deep learning processes, chatbots create layer upon layers of data in the developer programmed neural networks. The more layers, the more intelligent a chatbot becomes. This makes them more efficient and effective over time.
“They can store, synthesize, and recall lots of information, like your credit card number or home address, to help make your life easier,” Biz Carson of Business Insider explained. “They can even anticipate what you want before you ask.”
This is especially powerful for marketers, since chatbots can assist in maximizing marketing efforts and refine the overall customer experience. The most intelligent example can be found on Facebook Messenger through the use of branded chatbots.
Branded chatbots like the ones used on Facebook Messenger are changing how brands target and connect with consumers. In fact, many tech experts believe that branded chatbots will replace apps in the not so distant future.
This theory can be attributed to smart device users falling out of love with downloading apps. Apps take up storage, drain battery life, and many tech fans are simply tired of swiping back and forth from app to app.
Mike Isaac of The New York Times explains, “The bot revival is also taking place at a time when people are growing tired of individual apps. As a result, brands in search of the best way to talk to consumers are now pairing off with some the world’s dominant messaging platforms — and their chatbots.”
The efficiency and effectiveness of branded chatbots leaves little to be desired for marketers and brands. As consumers begin ditching apps, marketers need to find fresh way to connect with target audiences.
Facebook allowing brands and media outlets to use their Facebook Messenger chatbots is a fantastic example of the emerging bot revolution. Expedia, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and Uber are among the current users of Facebook Messenger chatbots.
In 2015, Uber announced, “Powered by Uber’s API, Messenger now enables its millions of users to sign up for Uber with one tap and request a ride, all without having to leave Messenger or download the Uber app.”
Connecting brands to consumers is only one key feature branded chatbots are serving up. They are also refining the customer experience by enhancing service and support.
Due to the mobile state of things, consumers are demanding information faster than ever. These demands are being met by chatbots, since most customer service issues can be resolved quite easily.
Call times can be shortened, service and support issues can be resolved via chat, and information is delivered quickly and accurately. This boosts brand satisfaction while freeing up human personnel to take on more pressing tasks.
Instead of human personnel spending countless hours analyzing data, AI chatbots can do it at lightning speed and with unprecedented accuracy. Having faster and more accurate customer data analysis can speed up time to market, drive sales through target marketing, and overhaul all your marketing strategies.
“Chatbots can be programmed to track purchasing patterns and monitor data from consumers,”
AJ Agrawal of Forbes explains. “This tells a company which products to market differently, which to market more and which to redevelop for relaunch.”
When your branded chatbot converses with a customer, the bot will begin gathering key details about the customer and develop a personalized buyer funnel. This allows for more personalized ads to be sent to that customer in an effort to convert.
The true potential of AI chatbots for marketers has yet to be unveiled. However, chatbots are an undeniable force of power when it comes to connecting brands with their target audiences. And savvy marketers are onboarding chatbots as a result. Is AI part of your digital marketing strategy?
Nick Rojas is a self-taught, serial entrepreneur who has enjoyed success working with and consulting for startups. He concentrates on teaching small and medium-sized enterprises on how best to manage their social media marketing and define their branding objectives. @NickARojas
Due to the rapid pace of innovation within the industry, the digital marketing landscape is subject to constant change. As a result, digital marketing professionals must be able to quickly adapt their existing strategies while also developing new and innovative strategies of their own.
At QASymphony, the pace of innovation is so palpable that its influence is felt by team members in each and every department. As a result, the digital marketing team is responsible for more than just the creation of new and innovative strategies; it must also keep pace with the software testing tools and test case management innovation taking place throughout the many other departments housed within QA Symphony’s Atlanta offices.
Although most professionals in the digital marketing industry understand the necessity of possessing such a diverse and innovative skill set, there are still a number of questions commonly posed by clients as well as industry peers. The unique challenges faced by QA Symphony’s digital marketing team make them especially qualified to offer their insight and expertise regarding some of the most common questions posed by their industry peers as well as those that make up QA Symphony’s diverse client base.
The questions and answers that follow represent just a small sampling of some of the most common questions digital marketers encounter in their profession. Despite the relatively small sample size, each of the following questions and answers help to clearly illustrate the impact of the rapid pace of innovation in the digital marketing field while also providing important insight and guidance regarding the most effective tools and analytical methodologies currently available to B2B companies and digital marketers.
Above all else, B2B companies must recognize how important it is to utilize digital tools based on the specific goals and objectives each individual company is trying to achieve. In the overwhelming majority of circumstances, companies that incorporate a broad array of digital tools into their approach to marketing are more likely to enjoy consistently outstanding results.
At QASymphony, for example, our marketing efforts have earned a great deal of praise for the innovative and cohesive approach in which our campaigns have consistently succeeded in raising awareness and generating new leads through the use of all available channels and mediums. These same campaigns have also been able to stimulate substantial growth within the company pipeline while simultaneously enhancing revenue.
The best strategy for reaching a company’s ideal target market naturally begins with a clear definition of the target market. It is too often the case that a company’s target market is either ill-defined or overly broad, which is inherently inefficient and places severe limitations on the overall effectiveness of any digital marketing campaign.
Although plenty of data analytics are available for determining the overall effectiveness of a digital marketing campaign, conversion rate is still the most salient measure of digital marketing efficacy. Quite a few benchmarks are also useful in determining the efficacy and overall reach of an individual campaign, but selecting the most relevant benchmarks to incorporate will largely depend on the digital marketing campaign’s primary goals and objectives.
Budgetary allocation is best determined on a case-by-case basis, as a multitude of factors should be considered when investing in a digital marketing campaign. Of course, clearly defined goals and objectives will make it much easier to determine how to approach a digital marketing campaign in a manner that yields the greatest possible return on investment.
We all are used to think that we have some expertise in modern digital media. That’s because most of us are using social media on a daily basis. However, a mere usage does not mean we have an advanced expertise about the industry because there is so much more that we can learn.
Experienced digital media marketers agree that there are some particular principles, or laws, that need to be learned in order to understand the industry and be able to operate a business in it. In this article, we are going to review these laws and bring you up to date with the latest strategies in digital marketing.
In social media, like any other type of digital media, quality is better than quantity. For example, you might have even a million followers on Twitter but it won’t help your business because they can easily stop paying attention to your profile and disappear. However, if you have only 500 followers who are interested in your tweets, share them, and keep the conversation going, your business is much more likely to flourish.
In simplest terms, influencers are those users who have a good reputation and can impact the decisions of others. Your business will greatly benefit from them if you promote your content using their help. The reason for this is simple: many people read their posts, so you will gain access to a wider audience. Reaching more people is one of the most important strategies for any business, and influencers are perfect for that.
Business used to be very different because the brands talked and customers listened. This has changed because in the digital media industry, you have to listen to the audience. By reaching out to them, you will discover their preferences and needs, the factors that are critical for designing products and services. People talk only about things that interest them, so if your products do not add value to them, you will end up in the club of failed brands.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Like the people who built it, you must be patient because a great business does not develop overnight. Even though it is possible for some brands to achieve incredible growth and hit a 5-year target in nine months, successes like this are very rare and you should not rely on thinking that you will catch lightning in a bottle so easily. Instead, it is a better option to commit to your business and work hard every day. This way, you will build your success and appreciate the business, which is way better than giving up after several months.
I-am-an-expert-in-everything approach is not going to work here. According to this law, you should figure out your ideal operating area and focus on it. For example, if you run a professional writing service, your social media page should contain articles related to this area; for example, essay structure, anti-plagiarism techniques and so on. If you don’t have sufficient expertise, feel free to hire outside help.
This law says that building relationships with customers online is just as important as having met them in person, so no one should be ignored. Acknowledge every person who reaches out to you because it is your job to make sure that your brand has a good reputation among people who contacted you. Who would want to deal with a company that treats customers badly, right?
It is great when other share and talk about your content! Now, it’s your turn to return the favor. You must be a customer-oriented company in all senses if you want to achieve success in digital media business. All you need to do is show your customers that their content is interesting and relevant as well by sharing and talking about it with others.
Imagine the situation: you have shared some content on Facebook and people liked it. Some of them tried to ask you some questions regarding the content, but you did not respond. How do you think these people would feel? Right, ignored. To avoid being replaced with some other businesses that care about relationships with the customers, you should always be available for any kind of inquiry.
This law should be embraced because an interesting content is very likely to be shared on other social media platforms. Thus, your business should encourage the viewers to share the content you produce. There is a great bonus in all this for you because Google appreciates shared content and ranks it higher in the search results. This means that you open another way to find you online.
An apparent promotion of products and services may cause a negative or neutral reaction in viewers simply because it does not add any value to their online conversation. Therefore, you should focus on creating value for conversations by sharing relevant content. This way, people will notice that you pay attention, which is critical in digital media marketing.
Everyone likes new stuff. Why shouldn’t they? New means different and never-been-done-before. When a company prepares to launch something new, there’s always excitement in the air. This energy is usually paired with coffee because there’s a lot of behind the scenes work that needs to get done. It may seem overwhelming at first, but there’s a reason your business is putting in so much effort for this one thing. The bottom line is that your brand believes in this product. The whole team gets involved and has some part in the product launch. It’s like you’re all preparing to give your audience one big present. It has to be just right; the actual present, the timing, the wrapping paper, all have to be appropriate for the occasion.
To keep your business organized, these 10 marketing tactics will help your team find and deliver the perfect present.
Thorough research is how your business will create a strong foundation for its product launch. First and foremost, your team needs to understand how this new product will do in the market. What unique needs does it fulfill? How has your target audience reacted to similar items? What makes your product different? Strap on your deep-sea water gear and research the depths of the ocean. Knowing the answers to these questions and becoming more familiar with your end users will contribute to a successful product launch.
Your team must devise a plan that matches the magnitude of your product. Product launches are all about the excess: the media, the press, the marketing. There are many different components you must account for. Creating a plan that incorporates short term and long-term goals will keep your team in check.
Is your product a need or a want?
Selecting either/or means your branding has to be persuasive. Why does your audience need your product? Why should your audience want your product? Jason Nazar of Forbes says:
that in order to persuade someone you need to have the right context and timing. This is your wrapping paper. It should not only grab their attention but intrigue users to inquire more on their own time.
Take this opportunity to extend beyond your existing audience. A new product from your brand will undoubtedly bring back loyal consumers, but you never know who might get drawn into the mix. Don’t limit your business to what you know. Instead, experiment with your advertisements to appeal to new users as well. Try different placements or times for your ads. Broaden your range!
Get creative with how your team is going to build brand awareness for this product launch. Email marketing is an effective tactic that drives more conversions than search and social. Your team can even personalize emails and be rewarded with higher transaction rates. Find new and creative ways to communicate with your target audience.
Influencers are powerful because they’re real people giving their honest opinions. Find people who connect with your company and who believe in the product you’re about to launch. Connecting with your users through influencers is communicating by word of mouth. This tactic has a 37% higher retention rate than traditional marketing strategies experiment with your advertisements to appeal to new users as well. Try different placements or times for your ads. Broaden your range!
Image source: Forbes.com
Practice what you preach and actually use your own product. In order to love others, you must first love yourself. The same applies for your business’ product launch. If you want your users to love your product, you must first love it yourself.
Social media is a great tool for any sized business if you’re looking to increase engagement. On average, Instagram has over 80 million shares a day and videos on Facebook get an average of 89.5 shares overall. One of the wonders of social media is that it enables brands to stay leveled with their consumers and speak digital natively. Get your audience involved in the product launch by giving them something to talk about! Check out this blog post for more information on social media best practices.
After the launch of your product you want to make sure it stays relevant. Make a video that shows your team using the product in different ways to entice your audience. Use Facebook Live or stream the product on Instagram to keep your audience on their toes. As Edward Costa, a content writer for digital marketing agency, Aumcore, writes, “Creating content that is evergreen is just one side of how to successfully use Facebook Live, another is actually engaging with viewers when the broadcast is on.” In other words, make it two-way conversation!
Whether it’s a consistent buyer or a new customer, make sure your business is keeping in touch! Invite your audience to keep up with news about your company through a newsletter. Tell them to follow your accounts on social media. Ask them to post a photo with your product and like it! What’s important is that you’re maintaining the relationships.
Hopefully, these ten marketing tactics will help your next team with the next lift off. Here they are again:
Maintain relationships with all your end users by keeping in touch.
Therese Palmere is currently a senior at the University at Albany with a Corporate Communications Major, she has a background in guerilla style marketing for the nonprofit sector and content writing for Aumcore, a SEO Agency based in New York.
As any marketer knows, being bold can get you and your brand a lot of attention. But any attention isn’t necessarily good attention, so it’s important to be strategic when taking risks. You want your bold marketing to elevate your business, not alienate your audience. If you’re trying to figure out how to strike this delicate balance, here are a few tips from brands that have done so masterfully.
T-Mobile recently unveiled an innovative program, T-Mobile ONE, which offers a flat rate for cell services and an unlimited data plan with no hidden fees. The company has marketed this new offering through many avenues, but one of the most notable was their Super Bowl commercial. In the commercial, actress Kristen Schaal spoofs the “50 Shades of Grey” series by talking about the pain that other carriers cause their customers.
This was a risky move, because it dabbles in a pop culture phenomenon with overtly sexual underpinnings. But the move paid off. T-Mobile kept this commercial appropriate for the family-friendly Super Bowl, made it humorous (and therefore memorable) and successfully showcased its own attributes against those of its competitors. The takeaway is to consider tying your marketing campaigns into pop culture themes that give your brand a chance to show its relevance, strengths and sense of humor.
Another chancy marketing tactic is to admit to prior failure. This is exactly what Domino’s did when it launched a campaign that acknowledged its poor reputation. The company took a transparent approach to admit past mistakes and share with customers the exact ways it would be overhauling its recipes and ingredient lists. The campaign totally worked, and Domino earned countless new customers in the process.
When you apply this sort of marketing approach to your business, tread carefully. The key to making this work (and not work against you) is to make sure you’re well beyond the failure that you’re discussing. You must be able to explain a good reason for why the error happened, and be ready to share a concrete plan about how you’re rectifying it. If handled elegantly and truthfully, this can be an effective bold move to make.
One more way to embolden your marketing efforts is by becoming a force for good. This is exactly what Dove did when it launched its Real Beauty campaign. More recently, the company came out with a new spin on it, called My Beauty My Say, which is a social media-based campaign intended to empower women. Women are encouraged to share stories of when their looks held them back, along with how they overcame it. This has been resoundingly embraced, and has again put Dove on the map in the eyes of its key audience.
If you want to create positive change for a social issue and get your brand noticed like Dove has, there are a couple things to keep in mind. While this works best if you’re already a notable brand, you can still be bold if you’re not. Make sure you’re contributing to a social cause that your customers will care about, so that you ultimately get noticed by the right people who can become buyers. Also, your campaign should really be focused on the “good” it is intended to do. If it looks like it’s only for publicity purposes, this type of marketing can backfire.
So the next time you’re looking to make a splash with your marketing, consider being bold like these companies have. You never know, it might just be a matter of time until other brands want to mirror your tactics!
So, let’s say you finally decided to give all of your ideas a try and started your own startup. Everything seems to be working properly despite your fears and risks that were likely to arise on your way. The only question remaining is how you can keep up the good job and stimulate the growth of your startup.
No wonder that you worry about such things, considering the fact that a lot of people (or even if not so many) work for you and put much faith in what you do and where you lead them. So, not to turn out to be a failure, let’s see what steps you can take to help your business grow, develop, and aim for taking the leading position one day.
8 growth hacking steps which will help you build your startup.
You have started this business for a reason and a very clear one. As time flies and your company starts growing, you will have many opportunities to shift to a new purpose or consider adopting a new vision. However, we highly recommend you keeping an eye on what you set as a goal first and staying true to it.
Don’t let outsiders convince you to change direction.
No matter whether you are looking for proofreading and editing of content for your company’s website or searching for help with launching a marketing campaign, only hire professionals. High quality content, as well as the right marketing strategies, are extremely important for the promotion of your business. It may be small yet to risk it all by giving the job to people not quite familiar with the matter is not a good idea.
So, employees like HR managers, copywriters, marketing specialists, and sales managers must be highly qualified and totally in love with what they do in order to promote a quick growth of your business.
As a young business person, you will notice that there are many opportunities out there for you! However, you should make sure you don’t chase all of them. Many of them will not bring anything good to your business, and can only steal your focus so that you will lose some precious time you were supposed to spend on the core goals.
Thus, don’t be afraid to be picky when it comes to new opportunities.
When aiming for the stars, you need to have someone who will keep you in reality. Besides, if you are new to the market, you might not know all the pitfalls and traps on your way to success. So, seek the advice of people who know this niche very well and whose experience you consider valuable.
In case you don’t want to seek the help of a professional advisor but rather want some help from the experienced business people in this area, make sure not to contact your rivals, as it is not likely that you will get proper help from them. So, look at people from neighboring niches and see if they can assist you in any way.
However, no matter whom you ask for help, it is a true blessing for your business.
On your way to the ultimate goal, you will find yourself having many opportunities to invest in things which might or might not speed up your business growth. However, we ask you to remember to invest in things which will not only bring you a few bucks now but will also turn out to be long-term investments and bring you profits over time. This implies paying attention to the marketing strategies you select as well as to new developments of business you come up with.
Even if people working for you have a lot of experience in the area, you won’t benefit from their experience unless they are on the same page with you. You need to make sure they realize what goals you have and why exactly you want to achieve them. Training and team building sessions can be a real help for you here.
But, if despite all of your efforts an employee does not seem to be following your goals, you should fire them and find someone who will support you and become proactive on the way to the ultimate goals you set before them.
Are there companies out there which you can be partners with? What we mean here is that you can try integrating your product with those of other businesses and see whether it will have the positive impact. You can split the profit and get your product promoted thanks to the connections and strategies of other businesses.
Thus, always look for partnerships and don’t be afraid to offer them to people from neighboring niches. You should show how much you believe in your product and let them see how great it is!
With the professionals on board and a long-term strategy in mind, you are likely to achieve a lot. However, on your way to the ultimate goal, you might find things which can slow you down or derail you. You have to keep track of such things.
All the big businesses have a rule of evaluating what they do and how they do it every now and then, but it is even a bigger necessity for smaller businesses like yours. What prevents you from achieving more? What keeps you behind your rivals? What are your strengths and your weaknesses? Make sure to pay proper attention to such things for the sake of your business growth.
Running a startup can be a scary experience because you are responsible for many people. You face risks and have to be always on the watch for pitfalls. However, by using simple principles like the ones we described above, you are likely to achieve more than ever and make your dreams and hopes come true. So, save these tips and see your startup grow in no time.
When information is paired with a visual, people remember 65% of what they read even three days later. When you’re designing a website, keep in mind that there are certain processes that translate better as a visual.
On an average day, consumers are overwhelmed by data. News feeds pop up on our smart phones, there are ads on social media, more ads on the radio, print, billboards and television. It is difficult to come up with something that stands out from the crowd and grabs the viewer’s interest.
One way to get your message out is by creating visualizations of key data so those particular facts stand out. This also gives the reader’s eyes a break from lines and lines and lines of text.
When it comes to showing a process on the web, visuals can move your reader from A to B and make key points clearer. There are some rules of thumb you can follow that will make your process representation shine.
Some processes start on step one, circle around, and restart on one again. You can show a simple circular relationship in processes by doing a Venn style diagram.
Usabilla takes the web design process and breaks it down via a visual embedded in the description. Showing the process in a circle explains how everything connects. The reader starts with Phase # 1 and moves around the circle.
For some processes, it makes sense to add a background that represents the process you are trying to show. If you are mapping a course, or encouraging the creation of something, show that thing in the background and then create your visual data on top of it.
A good example of this type of data visualization can be found in the graphic Pike’s Peak Process. This page explains the process of climbing Pike’s Peak and shows the map set on top of a visual of the mountain. The benefit of this is that the reader can picture himself or herself climbing up the mountain while reading about the process of doing so.
You can represent a process that goes from Step 1 to Step 2 and so on by making a graphic that shows the process.
Take a look at APG Exhibits’ ordering process page. They clearly show you the steps in a green capsule to the left with a step number inside. This draws the eye of the reader and makes it clear which step he or she is on. You can incorporate this method into designs of processes that have steps. The benefit for the end user is that he or she will move smoothly through the process without confusion about what to do next.
An infographic presents images that show the reader as well as text, statistics, and graphs. This is a powerful way to communicate with your reader. In today’s busy world, some people will look at an infographic over an article because it is a quick way to digest information.
One example of an excellent infographic can be found at Bit Rebels. This infographic shows the process of what happens when traffic comes to a standstill. By using cars stopped on a road, it becomes clear immediately what the information is about. Facts are placed to either side explaining the process of a traffic jam.
The benefits of using an infographic are numerous. Not only will your readers easily understand complex ideas, but others may share your infographic (be sure to put your website address and/or business name at the bottom). This can create more buzz for your website.
Do parts of the process overlap and converge? You can show this by overlapping circles of different colors. This clearly shows the site visitor which parts overlap and what happens when they do. The colors and overlaps are just an excellent visual reminder of the text you are sharing.
A good example of intersecting circles can be found at Push. The circles are animated and swing in to converge on a portion of each. In the center is the letter “C” which stands for consumer. As the site visitor scrolls down, she will see that C=Consumer and an explanation of what they do for the consumer. The process continues as you scroll down and the different converging concepts are explained in more detail.
This method works well to grab the consumer’s attention. Once you have the user’s attention, you can go into greater detail.
Another option is to place a graphic in the center that represents the process and then text explaining the process around the border of the graphic. This works well if you use a header explaining the step in the process and then a few short lines of text for additional detail.
A good example of this technique can be found on designer Deda’s website. She offers a graphic of her process that shows the stages of the process clearly.
Another option is to show the steps to the process in a chronological order from the top of the page down. This works well for things such as recipes, DIY instructions and processes that have very clear steps that are followed one after the other and don’t necessarily overlap.
A good example of this type of process shown as visual data can be found at Fix in their description of how to make a candle. There are actually several visuals on the page, from how to choose the type of wax to actually making the candle. The images illustrate what the user needs to do and the text offers more detail. The benefit of this type of explanation is that people who don’t like to read the directions might still know what to do.
Showing a visual representation of a process offers many advantages. How you choose to show the reader depends upon the process being presented and your viewing audience. These seven tips will get you started, but be open to trying different types of visual data to make your point.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
Small business owners and managers are always searching for ways to ensure the success and growth of their company. Businesses have to go where their customers are already looking to do this. In today’s world, that means connecting with customers online.
Most businesses already have a website, so we’ll be focusing on how to leverage this existing asset. Let’s explore 7 ways you can help customers find your business using the web.
If you’re serious about obtaining more customers for your business, one of the most important things to do is optimize your company’s visibility on the Internet. This is how you ensure that customers are exposed to your business and website in their search. There are specific strategies you should be employing to optimize your level of online visibility. These include:
SEO is an online marketing strategy that involves using various services to ensure solid rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO is a technical process that involves many elements, including:
When pursuing an SEO campaign, its best for most businesses to consult with a professional. Going about it the wrong way can trigger penalties that bury your website in the search results. If you want to learn more about SEO, here is a good place to get started.
A popular strategy that many businesses use to increase online visibility is content marketing. This is a two-step marketing process.
The first part involves the creation of brand-building content that will attract the target market’s attention. Digital writers use numerous strategies to accomplish this objective, such as the inclusion of eye-catching infographics, publishing blog posts and educational content.
The second part of content marketing is promotion. In today’s completive market, simply publishing content is not enough. Promoting the content through SEO, social media and even paid advertising is required to ensure your target audience is seeing and consuming it.
Another technique that can be used to help your company attain the level of visibility necessary to generate more brand exposure is online reputation management. This strategy involves utilizing various techniques to ensure that your brand’s online image is positive and powerful across the web.
One Forbes article noted that the reputation management process should involve researching your brand name to ensure that it is not bogged down with a negative reputation. This involves checking search results, social media posts and online reviews. You want to make sure that potential customers see your business in the best light possible, wherever they may find it.
A fourth methodology that can be used to make your business more visible online is the use of SMO techniques. This approach helps optimize brand awareness on popular social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Because there are likely thousands of people in your local community who use these channels regularly, you want to make sure you have a strong, positive presence on them.
While not all businesses will be on every social media site, it’s a good idea to be on Facebook and Twitter at a minimum. Posting and tweeting regularly, combined with Facebook and Twitter ads, is a great way to increase your brand awareness. Only 10% to 20% of what you post should be promotional. The other 80% to 90% should be content that is engaging, educational or entertaining. You want your business to become part of the online community, and not be ignored for over-promoting.
After you have implemented the strategies necessary to optimize your online visibility, it’s important that you take additional steps to convert these individuals to leads and customers.
Beyond using your website to encourage potential customers to contact you, online reviews are incredibly important as well. With 86% of consumers taking time to read online reviews, this is one of the best ways to convert casual browsers to leads and customers.
However, most businesses are not fully utilizing this. Many individuals will likely be willing to complete an online review (as long as they are happy), but you need to make the process easy. Here are some tips that can help you realize this objective:
Don’t simply ask satisfied customer to go online and post a positive review about your company. Let them know exactly where they’ll need to go online to access your review profile on Google, Yelp, Facebook or any other review site you are targeting. A good way to do this is to simply ask them to go to the site you want them to leave a review on and search for your business name. This is easier to do than typing in a long URL directly to your business listing.
Instructions to leave a review can be sent via email, printed on a receipt or on a separate printed business card. If you are requesting reviews via email, then simply requesting a review and including a clickable link to your review profile is enough. Be sure you ask your customers to leave the review. Be polite and don’t just tell them what to do.
One of the best ways to ensure that a satisfied customer writes a review is by requesting it directly after a purchase. This helps ensure that the positive nature of the transaction is fresh in the customer’s mind
You will want to make sure the reviews are left from customers’ personal mobile devices. Review sites track internet connections. Reviews coming from your office or store over and over will get removed or flagged as spam.
In the case of requesting reviews via email, it’s a good idea to send a follow up 3 to 4 days later if the review has not been left. People are busy so a friendly follow up will help get your business more reviews coming in. Best of all, there is no financial cost to do this.
It’s important that customers are able to find you online. This requires your business to show in search results, have regular social media activity, be consistently publishing new content and actively managing your online reputation and reviews.
However, the reality is that most businesses do not do this – at least not with any consistency. Following these 7 steps and making it a normal business process will put you far ahead of your competition over time, and help ensure you dominate your local market.
Eric Welke is a Cofounder and the President of RenegadeWorks. RenegadeWorks provides online reputation management software and referral marketing software for small businesses. Eric is passionate about helping businesses succeed in an ever-changing digital world. Follow Eric and the RenegadeWorks team on Twitter @RenegadeWorks