small business marketing

 

Small businesses have dominated the e-commerce space since the pandemic’s shop small movement, which has continued to thrive well after. With the rise of social media shopping features, making purchases has never been so accessible. At the click of a button, impulse shopping has become the norm, and captivating first-time buyers has become crucial to businesses competing in the very saturated e-commerce world.

 

Many factors can make a business stand out, even in this highly competitive environment. With the right tools and mentality, your small business can hold customers’ attention in the e-commerce market and make those impulse shoppers return for more!

 

Analyze Fierce Competition


While scrolling through social media or browsing the internet, you’ll quickly realize there’s a business for anything and everything. The harsh reality is that your small business doesn’t stand alone, even in niche markets. In 2021, NASDAQ estimated that 17 million new small businesses would enter the market by the end of 2022. The number of small businesses will continue to grow as entrepreneurship is skyrocketing in the business world.

 

The rapid growth of the small business phenomenon should be a driving factor when analyzing your competition. To come out on top, you’ll want to evaluate where your business currently stands against competitors. One of the best ways to do this is to look at what’s performing well in your industry.

 

Ask yourself these questions:

 

  • What are other businesses offering?
  • How are popular small businesses staying relevant?
  • Who are these businesses reaching?

 

Looking over the results of your research will help you determine where you should focus on improvements and invest your resources. Afterward, you can gain up-to-date insights from your website by assessing your demographics, profits, and the effectiveness of your outreach. Identify the gaps between your competitor’s successes and where you could be lagging behind.

 

Build Strong Connections


Content marketing is a small business’ secret weapon. By identifying the resources buyers use in their shopping or decision-making process, content marketing can be an effective way to grab the attention of any impulse shoppers that come across your online store.

 

To implement a media strategy for your content marketing needs, analyze which of your platforms has proven to be the most impactful at driving sales and develop a plan of action for the underperforming platforms to increase your traffic there.

 

Part of your strategy should include joining communities to support other small businesses. Perhaps you’re thinking, “but aren’t those my competitors?” Competitor or not, strength is in numbers, and support for other small businesses can help your business grow. As a small business owner, you know that running a business isn’t always easy, so being able to collaborate with other small business owners by showing online support can open the door to networking and audience-building opportunities.

 

Marketing your business in ways that demonstrate social awareness will leave a lasting impact on your consumers. Embracing and implementing customer values will set you apart from big box retailers. As a small business owner, you’re able to make deeper connections with your consumers. Customizing and personalizing their buying experience is something big retailers aren’t able to provide anymore. Keep this in mind when trying to market and network, as you don’t want to lose sight of why you started your business. Making a profit can be your target goal, but maintaining a customer-first mentality will not go unnoticed!

 

Keep Them Wanting More


Once you understand the role your small business can play in the e-commerce space, you can take steps to implement practices that keep the flow of returning customers consistent. The experience you provide to customers should be your number one priority.

 

1. Listen

 

Here is where all the analyses you’ve gathered should come into play. The customer behavior you observe on your website will provide you with insight into what your consumers are gravitating towards. If you notice one or more products aren’t selling as well as projected, dig deeper and look at your customer reviews. Your e-commerce site should have a designated place for customer feedback. This is your customers’ space to tell you what you’re doing right or where you need to have a second look. As the saying goes, “the customer knows best,” and of course, you’d like to think your product is the greatest, but to grow your business, you’ll need to embrace constructive feedback.

 

2. Incentives

 

Social media has a significant impact on the consumer buying process. A good practice you should put in place is staying as active as possible on your business’s social media accounts. Consumers love when companies acknowledge their photos, comments, or reposts. Any interactions you make with your followers will keep them engaged in what you’re offering and keep your business active on their feed.

 

Incentives don’t always have to be a social media interaction. A promo code or a gift-with-purchase can be another incentive technique to explore. A first-time shopper coupon code when a customer signs up for promotional emails or text messages is a call to action many e-commerce companies utilize to inform customers of future sales or product launches. It’s a little ‘thank you’ that customers appreciate and can convert those on the fence about making a purchase. Gifts of complementary stickers or handwritten notes in your packaging can show customers that you take pride in your small business and make their purchase feel like it was personally acknowledged.

 

3. Usability

 

A website with user-friendly features can be the driving factor in customer retention. Shoppers look for websites that have clean layouts with easy-to-use navigation. Cluttered product photos can be misleading, and no one likes a website with pages that don’t load. Review your site analytics to determine how your domain can handle the audience you’re bringing in during your busy season. Take your time building your e-commerce site and plan a design that’ll encourage customers to browse your entire website and grab the attention of interested impulse shoppers. It’s a space for your product portfolio to shine, so don’t skimp on optimizations and personalizations.

 

Inventory & Shipping Management


At this stage in your e-commerce journey, using tools to monitor your orders and keep track of inventory will be your best friend; but sadly, most of the tools you’ll need come with a cost. You can try to manage this aspect of your business without them, but as your business grows, it’ll become harder to keep up with the demand. Opening a small business line of credit can help you offset the costs of fees, software subscriptions, and domain purchases that your e-commerce site will require.

 

The organization you put in place is the key to a happy customer and a stress-free small business owner. You can manage your inventory by making a spreadsheet that links to your e-commerce site to easily update your stats in real-time and keep track of what’s in stock and what’s selling out. An updated inventory sheet will alert you when changes happen and help you communicate with customers on low-stock announcements or when you need to introduce a new product.

 

Buyers expect fast shipping times and easy access to track their orders. There are several tools you can use as a small business owner to stay on top of your packages transit and arrival times:

 

 

It can be hard to satisfy customer demands when the product is no longer in your control, but providing them with updates can ease any frustration they may have.

 

Being proactive in the e-commerce world through maintaining customer relationships and facing your competition head-on will give your small business room to thrive. You have the tools you need to leave your mark in the small business industry, so good luck and happy selling!

 

 

 

 

Digital Marketing

 

Digital marketing can be daunting, especially for small businesses who may not have the budget of the likes of Coca-Cola or Netflix to spend on marketing campaigns. Even so, there are plenty of digital marketing options that small businesses can implement to boost their brand awareness and reach new customers in innovative ways at a low cost or even free. Here are seven digital marketing tips for small businesses!

 

1. Set Up & Maintain an Active Google My Business Listing


A Google My Business (GMB) listing is a free and easy way to make your small business more visible online. By taking a few minutes to set up your listing, you can improve your chances of being found by potential customers searching for businesses like yours. An active GMB listing can help you build credibility and trust with potential customers.

 

Your Google My Business listing is often the first point of contact a consumer has with your brand. You should maintain an up-to-date profile with photos, correct address, website, and social accounts.

 

Also, you can showcase your latest promotions through Google My Business posts and keep consumers up to date on your offerings. This is also a good channel to share your latest blog posts. Consider incorporating making Google My Business posts the same time you post your social content. By doing this, you are expanding your presence on the search results page, which is like real estate gold!

 

Also, be proactive in getting customer reviews! People care about and trust the first-hand experiences of other customers. Encourage existing customers to leave you a review– you can then repurpose it into testimonials for your landing page or social feed!

 

2. Focus on the Right Social Media Channels


Small businesses need to focus on the right social media channels. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin by trying to do everything. You’ll only end up feeling overwhelmed. There’s no point in wasting time and resources on a platform that doesn’t align with your customers.

 

Do research to determine where your target persona spends time online, and focus on those. For example, if you’re a healthcare supplement brand for seniors, you probably don’t need a TikTok account. Facebook and Google ads might be a better fit for that demographic. Time is money, so don’t waste time on channels. In addition to being present on the right channels, posting relevant and engaging content is also important. It’s a great way to engage with your followers and customer base!

 

3. Build Trust Through Content


To build trust with potential and current customers, you should write blogs highlighting your value proposition and addressing users’ pain points. By providing quality information, you can position yourself as an expert and thought leader in your industry and earn the trust of those who matter most to your business.

 

Producing original content for your website and blog will directly contribute to your SEO.

 

4. Use SEO to Grow Organic Traffic


SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, is a strategy every small business should work on. The objective is to increase organic traffic to your website. This can be done by optimizing your website for specific keywords, creating backlinks, and ensuring your website is mobile-friendly. Additionally, you should ensure that your website loads quickly and is easy to navigate. Following these tips can increase your chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages, ultimately leading to more website visitors.

 

More website visitors also means more potential business!

 

5. Invest in Digital Advertising Campaigns


Aside from working on an organic strategy, we recommend running paid ads simultaneously to maximize brand awareness and drive website traffic.

 

More businesses are turning to online advertising rather than traditional media because you have more control over the campaign, ad spend, and tracking results. All ad platforms collect data such as impressions, clicks, etc., enabling you to measure how the ad performs. TV commercials or radio spots aren’t able to track audience behavior as detailedly as digital. With these data insights, you’ll figure out what imagery and messaging of your ads are well-received by your audience. You can continue to create effective ads by analyzing the data.

 

Digital ads allow for granular audience targeting, so have a strategy for people are different stages of the customer journey and deliver relevant ads to them!

 

Paid Search, Paid Social, and Display ads are the essential three most brands should be running. As mentioned in the previous point, focus on your target demographic’s social channels. Some other channels include video, native, audio, Over-The-Top, Digital Out-Of-Home, Metasearch, and more.

 

Digital ad campaigns can have different objectives, such as getting clicks to your website, driving conversions (lead generation or sales), increasing brand awareness, and so much more. When running a small business, this can be complicated and overwhelming. That’s why we recommend considering partnering with a digital advertising agency that can help you strategize, set up, and manage these campaigns. Investing in paid ads would increase sales, and more people would know about your brand.

 

6. Lead Generation Will Go a Long Way


Generating leads is an integral part of marketing and sales for any business. Encouraging people to voluntarily fill out a form to provide you with their contact information takes trust, and you should be offering something of high value worthy of their time. It might be a seven-day trial of your software, a downloadable resource, or a promo code–pair it with a landing page and highlight the benefits of your service offerings!

 

By collecting a list of contacts (which is proprietary to your business), you can use it for other digital marketing strategies, such as email marketing or uploading it as an audience list for paid ads. You can utilize it to foster client relationships and promote loyalty programs etc. The possibility is endless. So be creative and brainstorm how you can encourage people to want to give you their information!

 

Working with a top-notch digital marketing agency will help you generate leads from multiple channels. For example, when you pursue SEO aggressively, you will see a lot of leads being generated organically and you getting the same in the form of your website’s contact form. The same holds true for PPC ads, as well as social media marketing. The only thing that you need to watch out for is that you work with the right digital marketing agency. To connect with the best, please visit website.

 

7. Retain Customers with Newsletters


Email newsletters should be a staple in every brand’s digital marketing strategy. They are great mediums to share updates and new promotions. It also ties in with lead generation. Consider segmenting your audience based on behavior or interest. For example, if someone downloaded an eBook from your website, they might be interested in resources and tips, so create drip campaigns or specific content catered to their interests. Who knows, they might convert to a customer later down the road!

 

By informing people of your brand and offering value (blogs, tips, discount codes etc.) on an ongoing basis, will create loyalty over time. We recommend a weekly newsletter, don’t spam people’s emails too frequently. You gotta make people want to look forward to receiving your emails in their inbox, right? Here is Mailchimp’s guide to writing email newsletters for you to get started.

 

There you have it! Digital marketing covers so much ground, but we wanted to highlight these seven as they are foundational to any successful digital strategy. Check out Brandignity’s blog for more tips and resources like this!

 

 

small business social media marketing

 

Social media marketing is an excellent way to grow a small business’s customer base. It’s a low-cost strategy that can reach millions of people. Despite these benefits, many business owners are unsure how to get started or what to do with social media.

 

Choosing which social media networks to use as a small business owner may be likened to going to an all-you-can-eat buffet and being served on a dinner roll-sized plate. Here’s a guide on using social networking sites as tools to help your small business develop.

 

1. Come Up With A Plan


It’s simple to get started with business-related social media. Most people are all familiar with the technologies because you utilize social media regularly. Creating a Facebook Page for your business, starting an Instagram account, and starting a Twitter account are all entirely free. Before jumping in head first, keep in mind that any successful business strategy starts with a well-thought-out approach.

 

You may utilize social networking platforms for free. However, the time and effort required are still an investment in your company. You have no notion what you’re doing if you don’t have a plan. It implies that there is no means of knowing whether or not you are getting a return on your investment. Consider putting together an introductory social media strategy. It guarantees that all of your social actions help your organization meet its stated objectives.

 

2. Research Your Target Audience


To successfully target their wants and interests, the next stage in developing a social media marketing plan is to define your buyer personas and audience. Consider who you want to contact and why, as well as how you’d categorize them all together. Furthermore, social media analytics may provide a wealth of helpful information on your followers, their locations, and their interactions with your company on social media. These insights allow you to fine-tune your strategy and target your audience more precisely.

 

You can decide the type of material that will attract the followers and consumers you seek by researching your buyer profiles and audience. You’ll also learn to develop exciting material that keeps your audience interested. Take caution not to push yourself too far. Instead, concentrate your efforts on networks that your target audience currently uses.

 

3. Know Your Competitors


Your competitors are almost certainly using social media, which means you can learn from their mistakes. You may do a competitive analysis to find out who your competitors are and their strengths. You’ll have a good understanding of what your business requires, which can help you set your own social media goals. It will also assist in the identification of future customers. Social listening is another way to keep track of your competitors. Conduct social media searches for the competitor’s firm name, account handles, and other relevant keywords.

Find out more about the information they’re providing and what others have to say about it. You may see changes in how your competitors and industry leaders use social media as you track. You might also notice different campaigns that you can study and help you form your strategies.

 

4. Decide On A Social Media Platform


Consider how many social media accounts your company can effectively manage and maintain, and then pick the networks with the most activity for your target demographics and current consumers. The following are a few well-known platforms:

 

Facebook

 

Many business owners consider Facebook to be the most effective social media platform. It is not only one of the most sophisticated business platforms available, but it also has a large user base, which is ideal for brand exposure.

 

Instagram

 

Restaurants, boutiques, and retail enterprises are good candidates for this platform since they produce much visual content. It’s an excellent method for using images and video content to highlight your company’s capabilities.

 

Twitter

 

For business-to-business (B2B) transactions, Twitter is a highly effective marketing channel. Leads can be connected to resources, notified of new goods, and more using the platform. It’s also an excellent place for customers to ask questions, voice their issues, and interact directly with their favorite brands.

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest is a competitor or complement to Instagram because it has visual content that users may “pin” to their own personal boards. The beauty, fitness, home products, food, and retail industries are among the most popular on this site.

 

Linkedin

 

The world’s premier professional social networking site, LinkedIn, is usually referred to as such. It can engage with customers, hire new employees, and form alliances with industry partners. It’s a terrific place for B2B social media marketing because it’s a business-to-business network.

 

Tiktok

 

TikTok democratizes content uniquely and innovatively. Unlike other social media sites, where content is prioritized based on the poster’s popularity, TikTok has confirmed that follower counts have no bearing on what content appears on your feed. TikTok is still regarded as a market pioneer, both monetarily and in marketing. You’ll have less competition as a platform newcomer, with fewer household names vying for the same target audience.

 

Youtube

 

Nearly 2 billion people have signed up for YouTube. It is the most effective social media tool for building corporate culture and training and demonstrations. YouTube may be a fantastic tool for communicating with clients if your company can produce its video content. YouTube allows you to host videos that may be integrated on your website in addition to direct platform views. The use of visual information to catch the attention of website visitors is incredibly successful. It’s a convincing argument to sign up for a YouTube account.

 

social media marketing tips

 

5. Establish Your Brand’s Authority


Establishing authority is the most critical aspect of social media marketing. Followers of the page want to know that you are a trustworthy source of information. They should see you as someone who has a lot of knowledge and understanding of the issue and someone they can go to for help. It’s also important to keep in mind that social media is primarily visual. Consider it a virtual magazine.

 

While the written content is essential, the accompanying image has a considerably higher impact on recruiting new clients, catching their attention, and directing them to your page. Include useful infographics, charts, vibrant photographs, and designs in your posts. To keep the feed looking orderly and pleasant, utilize the same color palette and design style throughout.

 

6. Use A Social Media Calendar


Creating a social media calendar should be the first step in every small business’s social media marketing strategy. Create monthly or weekly calendars and designate different content categories to specific days of the week. You have complete control over how often your content and platforms are published.

 

Keep up with the changes in social media policies and algorithms and adjust your material accordingly. Facebook, for example, has announced a tweak to its algorithm that would boost postings from family and friends while de-emphasizing business messages. ‘Saves’ now have a higher priority in Instagram’s algorithms than comments and likes.

 

7. Create Unique Content


The quality of your content will determine how you handle social media marketing. You should now have a good idea of what content you should create based on your goals, target audience, and brand identity. You’re also sure of your understanding of which networks to cover. Consider what your competitors are sharing and how you may sell your products differently. Additionally, take advantage of the platform’s features. You may use Facebook live broadcasts to convey the most up-to-date information about a product launch or to advertise a deal, for example.

 

You can also create content with the help of current customers and promoters. It can be done by reposting their material or encouraging them to use a hashtag to share their own product-related experiences and photos. Finally, use current trends to your advantage. Trends in social media shift quickly, especially on short-form video services like TikTok. Do not be scared to join, but go with caution.

 

8. Evaluate Your Development Frequently


You’ll never know how successful one campaign is compared to another if you don’t keep track of your efforts. You can put everything into perspective when you get a bird’s eye view of your social media activities. It entails reviewing your best-performing content and changing your campaigns as needed when your content fails to meet your goals. The majority of social media is, without a doubt, a learning experience. Real-time campaign data allows you to make minor adjustments to your social media marketing plan rather than making large-scale, time-consuming modifications.

 

Data vigilance is at the heart of successful social media marketing. You may be reactive in the near term to maximize the effectiveness of your current efforts and then proactive in the long run by incorporating these lessons learned into your next plan redesign. You can use your data to see if your KPIs are in line with the overarching aims of your company or if they need to be altered.

 

Takeaway


Social networking could be a powerful instrument for enhancing your business strategy and increasing revenue. You can use the metric to determine what works best for your company and examine it. A few minor tweaks to your social media marketing strategy might significantly impact. Some firms might take months—or even years—for success on social media. You will have no issue conquering social media marketing if you are devoted to learning from your mistakes and using what you’ve known for future initiatives.

 

Small Business Marketing Automation

 

Small businesses have lower annual incomes, fewer employees (usually less than 50) and limited resources. Not to mention, small businesses are constantly under pressure to compete with larger enterprises with much larger marketing budgets.

 

In the competitive world of today, if a small business wants to sustain in the market, the only way this can happen is if it can achieve more with less.

 

Therefore, technology and automation are the two methods businesses can employ to achieve more with less; it can help them cut costs and increase efficiency. Unfortunately, many small businesses still don’t understand the necessity of marketing automation that could help them spread their thin resources optimally.

 

What is marketing automation?


A business cannot survive without marketing its products and services in today’s time and age. It needs to showcase its products to the right consumer market for success. On a daily basis, marketing personnel engage in repetitive tasks that includes sending emails, crafting engagement strategies for social media, creating subscription lists, writing blogs etc. Each of these tasks takes time and effort – both of which can be minimized with the help of marketing automation software.

 

However, the magic of marketing automation is not confined to everyday marketing tasks. The main goal of the software is to generate leads, nurture them in a highly personalized manner and convert prospects into customers and first-time customers into delighted, loyal ones. This sounds complicated, time consuming and expensive; but in reality, it is the very opposite.

 

In short, the top functions that marketing automation offers to organizations are;

 

  • Lead scoring
  • Targeted emails
  • Website integration
  • Customer profiling
  • Lead nurturing

 

Amazon is a great example of this;

 

  1. Amazon sends emails requesting customers for product ratings and reviews a few days after a product is shipped. This is a great way to assess customer satisfaction levels and also provide useful content for the website.
  2. Amazon uses marketing automation to display more shopping choices on its webpages based on a customer’s recent purchases.
  3. Amazon also shows you what other people have bought and what is popular on the website. This helps customers make additional purchases.

 

Marketing automation is growing leaps and bounds with each passing day. A report published in April 2017 states that 49% B2B companies are using marketing automation. Moreover, 91% users agree that marketing automation is vital to company success and growth.

 

Marketing Automation

Image source: emailmonday.com

 

Why should small businesses adopt marketing automation?


As mentioned earlier, small businesses are weighed down with many predicaments. At the small business level, it is not a priority to automate marketing practices, budget constraints being the main reason. 25% UK companies have revealed that they face marketing challenges due to budget limitations.

 

However, marketing automation can benefit small businesses even more than large enterprises by giving them a chance to compete with the big fish in the industry.

 

According to Nucleus Research, marketing automation resulted in sales productivity increase by 14.5% with a 12.2% decline in marketing overheads. Hence, with the help of marketing automation, small businesses can decrease costs while increasing productivity levels thereby optimally utilizing their marketing budgets.

 

Below are some reasons why small businesses should adopt marketing automation;

 

1. Smaller sales cycles

 

Marketing automation helps close deals and leads to final consumer purchases. Hence, the time gap between a consumer expressing interest in a product and the purchase is significantly reduced with the help of marketing automation.

 

Organizations claim that the process of converting leads into customers is much faster with marketing automation. Aberdeen Group State of Marketing Automation 2014 research states that 88% companies are successful in converting leads to sales with marketing automation. These statistics will surely help small organizations achieve their sales targets faster and more efficiently.

 

2. Increases productivity

 

With the help of marketing automation, a small company can better leverage its employees and can experience a much needed boost in productivity levels. This is because a software can take care of marketing tasks that are repetitive such as sending emails to customers, conducting surveys, developing strategies to enhance customer experience, overseeing online advertising etc. HubSpot offers a wide variety of tools that can automate many of these processes.

 

Moreover, the software provides innovative solutions for mundane tasks. This gives the marketing team an opportunity to concentrate on other tasks that require human skill and attention.

 

Hence, small businesses can benefit a great deal by using marketing automation. In other words, business can now get much more out of existing resources.

 

3. Enriched customer retention

 

It is vital to engage customers at every step of their lifecycle in a pertinent and customized manner. However, customer retention is a constant struggle for companies. Marketing automation has a solution for this business dilemma as well. One of the main functions of marketing automation is to turn leads into customers and first time customers into loyal ones.

 

Marketing automation keeps customers engaged and updated via personalized emails. Using customer data, small businesses can now understand exactly what a target audience segment requires at a given moment and provide exactly that. ‘Being available at the right place and the right time’ increases purchases and thus the bottom line.

 

Also, advanced marketing software are able to gauge customer intentions and predict understand a customer is looking for and tries to encourage them to buy what they want in a shorter span of time.  One such marketing automation software that helps with customer retention is known as Windsor Circle. It uses customer history of purchases to create personalized marketing that connects with the customer on a deeper level, thereby ensuring that the customer keeps coming back.

 

4. Helps with lead conversion

 

Generating leads is easier than understanding and converting them. However, marketing automation is able to deduce the web pages that a lead visits, emails they open and products that interest them. This vital information can be put to great use by displaying only that content to a lead in which they showed interest. This way, you can nurture leads and convert them into loyal, returning customers. Infusionsoft is a great software, built especially for small business aimed at boosting sales by gathering leads

 

5. Monitoring marketing campaigns

 

Former campaigns, whether on ground or social media, need to be evaluated for their successes or failures. This task, albeit important, ties up useful resources in calculating tedious numbers and analyzing data.

However, marketing automation software such as TEO (TargetEveryone) can do this job efficiently for the company. TEO uses measurable data to track expenses of a campaign as well as the ROI. It also monitors and analyzes the response rate received following a campaign to deem whether it should be continued or not.

 

These are just a few ways small businesses can take advantage of marketing automation. However, if used to its maximum potential, the sky is the limit.

 

Author:

Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer. She loves to read and write article related to health and lifestyle, sometime on health-tech as well.  She is crazy about choclates and you can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia

Mobile Website Design

Image Source: Flickr/Dominik Syka

As we all know, mobile is totally the ‘thing’ right now. And for good reason—the connected world is starting to lean on their smartphones more than their desktops, a change that is stirring up online marketing. You’ve been told that you need a mobile optimized website for your business, and you do, but be careful! Not all mobile optimized websites are built the same.

It’s not enough these days to simply strip all the images off of your content landing pages and offer up the text in a mobile-friendly format. Small businesses need to connect with customers immediately, and it is the role of a mobile optimized website to make this easier for them. Those that don’t, lose you business. The following two attributes are necessities for small businesses:

Tap-to-Call

When customers arrive on your small business website from Google, Yelp or Urban Spoon, they need a quick, easy way to immediately get in touch with you. Don’t make it hard for them by not providing a phone number, or providing it but forcing them to copy it, exit the browser, load the phone app and paste in the number. Instead, a good mobile optimized website has a tap-to-call button right at the top of the homepage.

Tap-for-Directions

Many mobile users use their smartphones’ GPS to find new locations. I know I do. Make this process easy for them by including a tap-for-directions button above the fold. Including your address on page is not enough. Customers are looking for ease of use, or they very well just may go to your competitor, who makes this process easy for them. Install a button or link that opens up their navigation app like Google Maps or Apple Maps, and automatically plots directions to your property.

If your businesses mobile optimized website has neither of these things, you need to call your web developer ASAP and insist that they are included. Until then your website is broken, and you’re missing out on new mobile customers every day. Now, these aren’t the only parts of a high function mobile website, which should also include image optimization and minimal background scripts to aid in faster page loads, but in my opinion, a mobile optimized website for businesses is useless without an easy way for customers to make phone calls and plot directions.
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Author Bio & Dossier

Brandon M. Dennis is the Technical Marketing Manager at buuteeq, the digital marketing system for hotels. He manages buuteeq’s SEO, paid media channels, social outreach, and the company blog. You can connect with him on Twitter @buuteeq.

Small Business PPC

Image Source: Flickr/Gerald Rich

Pay Per Click advertising is an extremely powerful and highly effective marketing tool. Whereas billboards, television adverts, newspaper and magazine pieces and of course radio exposure are all great tools they do take time and significant effort to transform into a solid sale or lead. A PPC agency will help businesses to stand out from the crowd in a place where instant ordering and contacting people is not only possible but even probable, and that place is the internet.

The top 5 reasons that PPC is so right for your small business is:

Your Budget

When you start out in any type of business it is essential that you make sure that people know who you are, where you are and what you offer. It is also important that you don’t overstretch your advertising budget as start-up and smaller businesses rarely have huge amounts of cash to use for this therefore there needs to be a budget in place that yourselves and the PPC agency agree on in order to set realistic goals with the aim of getting you what you want and need. Unlike some advertising forms PPC advertising is still an effective marketing tool regardless of the fact that it doesn’t require a large amount of funding.

PPC and Geography

Having local support for your business is important for anyone however for bricks and mortar businesses located in a town for example, local support is vital for the success of the business. Fortunately your PPC agency is able to combine PPC with geo-targeting which increases local community visibility.

PPC is Quick

A quick fix isn’t always best in business however when it comes to small business start-ups PPC campaigns are fantastic at giving your business a quick boost and building immediate levels of traffic which in turn starts to bring profit in quicker. Over time your other slower to build yet very effective marketing strategies will start to show results however in the meantime you will have already started to build visibility.

PPC is Specific

As a small business you need to stand out above the bigger names and brands in order to get noticed. If you have a very defined niche then PPC agencies will be able to use this to further increase the success of your campaign as specific search terms, which also tend to cost less per click, are going to find you more targeted traffic which is most like to turn into a solid lead or sale.

PPC is Convenient

The beauty of having a Pay Per Click agency working on your behalf is that the advertising campaign will literally run itself in a sense, not requiring you to do anything to maintain it. Small business owners rarely have extra hours in the day so this cost and time effective method of targeted advertising is ideal.

Attribute to: Jag Ture

Jag has been writing for over 5 years. Her sales and marketing background at PPC agency, Cayenne Red has helped her write informative articles in areas including digital marketing; specifically, PPC, SEO, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media Marketing.

Small Business Visibilty

There can be no doubt that online marketing is a growing field. In fact, throughout these tough economic times, the digital sector has continued to show strong growth. Of course, much of this increase in uptake can be attributed to larger companies – the multinationals who had the foresight to stay ahead of a rapidly changing online landscape, as well as a size-able budget to implement their plans.

These big corporations tend to have in-house online PR and marketing staff, meaning that they are ready to adapt to new situations. Smaller businesses don’t have this ability, and in fact, they probably don’t need it. But it should be regarded as essential for every business to have its own website and preferably a number of social media profiles. Many small business owners have recognised this, and have become a part of the new digital economy. What benefits are they enjoying?

Establishing a Presence

Local Online Presence

The most basic reason for small businesses to get on the web is that they are expected to do so. In a time when we are depending upon the internet more and more for a wide variety of tasks, the average customer will not be searching the Yellow Pages for local companies. Instead, they will be using a search engine. Your company will be invisible to many potential customers if it lacks a website. Now that so many of us are turning to the online world for products and services instead of walking into the town centre, your website is your shopfront. A basic site with information on your services and contact information is cheap and easy to set up, so there’s no excuse!

Communicating Effortlessly

Social media platforms are a great way to establish a link with potential consumers. Not only do they add another form of online presence over and above your website; they put you on the same plane as the people you want to sell to. Social media marketing is effective for two reasons. Firstly, you are communicating with your target market via a medium that they have chosen to sign up for, and which they probably spend deal of time on. Secondly, there is great potential for viral growth. Social networks are a fantastic resource because when a customer ‘shares’ something that you have posted, they are implicitly endorsing your business. Their contacts are then more likely to view you in a beneficial light, thus making them more likely to also interact with your profile.

Easily Publicising Incentives

The viral potential of social networking makes it child’s play to attract more traffic and, hopefully, sales. By running a competition for a comparatively low-value item, such as a free cinema ticket or something from your shop, you can achieve massive exposure. Do this by requiring each entrant to ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ your page before they can be entered into the draw. Once again, you are receiving a subtle endorsement from each entrant, and you are making it more likely that increased numbers of people will be exposed to your messages. This is because once they have ‘liked’ your page, consumers will see your status updates in their home feed.

Author:

Thomas Jones is Content Manager for I Say! Digital, the outsourced SEO specialists. Though he mainly takes care of copywriting and content creation services, he is training to become a social media consultant. In his spare time, you might find him brewing his own beer and talking politics.

Ideal Shield
 
Now don’t get us wrong, we understand that Google AdWords is not for everyone. For some businesses it does work better than for others it just depends on your profit margins and business model. In this recent Google video one company by the name of Ideal Shield is using AdWords to work for them in an amazing way. Creating a profit flow of about $22 per each $1 dollar spent on the Google AdWords platform. Nice gains right there if you ask me. The point we are making is that they wouldn’t know that was possible if they didn’t give it a chance.
 
Google AdWords is worth a shot for every business to try out. You should at least give it a chance before you write it off.
 

 

Twitter for Marketing

I’m sure you’re no stranger to the old “your business should be on Twitter” lecture. Everyone has a Facebook or Twitter page now, and they expect companies to have one, too. In truth, to really see success as a business in this digital day and age, you need to connect with your customers on a personal level; Twitter helps you do that.

But how do you make it effective? What are customers looking for when they “follow” you? Let’s take a look at a few ways to effectively use Twitter as a marketing tool for your business:

Always Provide Value

Every Tweet you post should provide valuable information for your followers. Whether it’s important industry news, a new company product or service you’re launching, or a behind-the-scenes photo of your staff, your customers should get something out of it. It should be something they need to know or will enjoy as a fan of your company.

Also keep in mind that the content of your Tweets should be something shareable, something your users will want to pass on to their friends. In the Twitter world, the more re-Tweets you get, the more people who see your company name and logo. Who knows, maybe you’ll go viral?

Be Conversational and Welcoming

Though you’re using Twitter as a marketing tool, don’t be too pushy with your promotions and marketing messages on your account. You’re bound to turn off your followers. Instead, use a more conversational tone and approach your followers as equals when posting content. Ask them questions, start discussions and engage them. The great thing about Twitter is that it personalizes a company; no longer is it some big, cold corporation. It has a face, a voice and a personality. Twitter breaks down the typical wall between a company and its customers; embrace that.

Give It Love and Attention

Twitter takes time. You can’t just put up a page and it expect to take off; it takes work, effort and planning to truly make it a success. When starting off on Twitter, you should plan to spend at least an hour a day on it: post a few updates, respond to any @replies or messages you get, and maybe send out a few fun or interesting re-Tweets. Don’t let your account fall by the wayside!

Watch your Timing

While posting regularly is important, when you post is important, too. Believe it or not, there are certain times that are better than others for posting Twitter content. For example, studies show that Tweets sent out Monday through Thursday in between 1 and 3 p.m., just after lunch, see the most clicks and re-Tweets. On the other end, updates sent out after 8 p.m. any day, or after 3 p.m. on Fridays, see a steep drop in clicks and re-Tweets.

Offer Exclusive Content

The best way to gain new followers on your Twitter account is to offer exclusive deals or content. Start a weekly Twitter contest or begin posting monthly deals for your followers. This will encourage new fans to join and will ensure you keep the old ones happy.

About the Author

Eric Stauffer is an online marketing expert and small business advocate, his firm helps small businesses by reviewing companies like PayPal Here and Square Up. For more information please visit http://www.cardpaymentoptions.com

The world of SEO can be a strange place if you do not understand how the search engines operate. There are many great startups out there but it can take a certain amount of skill to really understand how to drive traffic organically to any site that is fresh out of the gates. It is important to understand that SEO is a long term process and can take time to really see the fruits of your labor. Don’t be discouraged though, there are some great techniques any new website can tackle in order for Google to look at your website in a slightly different light.

In this Google SEO for Startups video our friend Maile Ohye discusses a few things new startups can do to make their site just a bit more sticky in the search space.

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