How can small business owners make their companies stand out from the crowd? Finding effective, easy-to-execute marketing strategies can boost your business by helping you engage your customers while attracting new ones. Here are some proven ideas to help your business thrive!
(BPT) - With over 30 million small businesses in the U.S., it's tough to stand out from the crowd. Successful small businesses turn first-time customers into repeat business, building momentum and growing sales.
How can you achieve this? Marketing. Finding effective, easy-to-execute marketing strategies can boost your business by helping you engage your customers while attracting new ones. Here are some proven ideas to help your business thrive:
Engage first-time customers
Show new shoppers that they matter. Send welcome emails and recommend products to complement what they bought. Offer special deals to keep them coming back.
Utilize positive customer reviews
Did you know over 60% of consumers read reviews before buying? Reviews can include ratings, testimonials, photos, videos and more.
Treat reviews as marketing gold, sharing them with customers and prospects to build trust and increase sales. You can generate and integrate them into your website, on social media and other marketing efforts.
Turn shopping carts into opportunities
Let’s face it, plenty of potential customers add items to their online shopping carts and never check out. While these “abandoned carts” seem challenging, they're an opportunity.
An effective way to convert abandoned carts into sales is by drawing on the power of customer reviews. Adii Pienaar, vice president of commerce product strategy for the email marketing platform CM Commerce, says small businesses can change their fortunes with this approach.
“Our most successful small business customers don’t just send a reminder email to shoppers about items left in their carts,” said Pienaar. “They take it a step further and include positive reviews and ratings about that product with the follow-up, knowing how much importance buyers place on others’ experiences. By featuring personalized product reviews for abandoned cart items, there can be a recovery rate of 5-10%.”
Spark interest with special offers
Entice new and returning business by offering discounts, encouraging shoppers to give your business a try.
Also, if you don’t have one already, create a loyalty program for frequent shoppers, or a referral special for those inviting friends to your website or social media.
Shoppers don't want mass emails treating them like just another number. Small businesses that tailor emails based on each customer’s shopping experiences and interests are far more successful in driving sales.
Creating customized content may sound complex, but it all comes down to how you organize your customer list. For example, segment your customers by which products they’ve purchased, then use this information to inform them how to best use their products or remind them when it’s time to re-order.
Personalization really pays off when you incorporate dynamic content — information that changes based on a person’s interests — in promotional emails. Use a customer's previous purchases and shopping interests to generate ideas on products to complement items they already bought. For example, recommend a similar flavor of cupcakes to ones they ordered before.
These proven marketing approaches can springboard your business to success. But, how do you get started?
Marketing has greatly evolved, with many new, easy-to-use tools. You don’t need to be a marketing expert, technical whiz or creative designer to use them.
For example, CM Commerce is an email marketing platform designed for small ecommerce businesses. It can easily create professional email campaigns to enhance and grow your business.
To help small business owners, CM Commerce features pre-built email marketing recipes for everything from welcome emails and newsletters to abandoned cart reminders and more. Business owners can follow these guidelines and put their email marketing plans in place with a single click.
“I always recommend small business owners invest in email marketing,” said Pienaar. “It’s a cost-effective way to establish your brand and regularly reach your customers and prospects. Most importantly, email marketing has the potential for huge returns and can truly make your business stand out.”
For more tips and ideas to grow your business, visit The Marketing Resources Hub.
Sales positions have changed more in the past decade than any other time in history, becoming more complex, competitive, and tech dependent than ever before. This article explores three ways that sales positions have evolved and how you can adapt your business to account for these changes. This will help ensure that your business continues to be successful throughout the sales evolution.
Being a salesperson has always been a challenging yet rewarding job, but the position is a lot different than it was in the past. Sales positions used to be simple. You had a product, and you found a buyer. Just like that, the commission checks were rolling in. However, in these modern times, sales can be more complex. Here are three ways that sales positions have evolved and how you can adapt your business to account for these changes.
With the explosion of technology, there are so many programs and devices designed to enhance the sales experience. In fact, it's rare to find a salesperson that isn't using some sort of technology, such as handheld credit card readers, laptops, cellphones, and more. In order to keep your sales team up to speed, your company should provide access to all of this technology, rather than assuming they will invest in it by themselves.
Perceptions of Salespeople Have Changed
As with any industry, some bad apples in the sales industry caused many negative stereotypes about salespeople. It's like a stain that seems to linger no matter how hard you try to clean it. You must protect your business from these bad apples. There are some attitude and personality traits you can test for. It would be a good practice to test all of your salespeople, so you don't end up with bad apples staining your company's reputation.
More Competition Than Ever Before
Technology keeps consumers connected with each other, but it also keeps businesses connected with consumers. Now advertisements can be tailored to buyers without a salesperson needing to be present. Often, this means that by the time a salesperson gets around to pitching to a potential new customer, this person has been bombarded left and right with competitors. Now salespeople must work harder than ever to gain a customer's loyalty. You can't stop your competitors from advertising, but you can make sure to advertise just as much to bridge that gap between your salespeople and consumers.
It's true that sales positions have evolved over a short amount of time, but your salespeople don't have to be left behind. The three tips above are easy to implement within your business and your sales team. This will help ensure that your business continues to be successful throughout the sales evolution.
Not sure how to transform your business to be more tech-savvy? We recommend reading this article next.
Today, to stand-out and gain not just customers, but to gain loyal customers, you need to deliver superior value to them - and provide them with what they truly value in the service equation. It is no different in the hotel business. In fact, delivering outstanding service is absolutely crucial today, literally 100% of the time. Here's what business and leisure travelers are truly looking for today.
Whether someone is traveling for pleasure or work, they want to be comfortable in your hotel at the end of the day. Not all hotels are built similarly or function the same way. Some are better quality than others. The different features that a hotel provides are referred to as its amenities. These could encompass anything from free Wi-Fi to a hotel pool in which guests can swim whenever they want. Depending on what they’re looking for, amenities will often determine the hotel that people choose, so your hotel should at the very least provide the following basics:
Good WiFi and Cell Coverage
More and more hotels, cafes, and buildings are providing free Wi-Fi to their guests. Just because WiFi is available doesn’t mean it’s of good quality. There are a number of ways that you can improve the technology of your hotel. There are systems that reduce cellular dead zones so that customers can stay connected on your property. There’s nothing worse than a spotty connection that drops out all over the place.
Basic Kitchen Appliances
A small refrigerator can make a big difference in how comfortable a hotel room is. Guests aren’t going to be grocery shopping for the week, but it’s convenient to have somewhere they can store snacks or leftovers from dinner. A microwave allows guests to heat up their food. A lot of people don’t like to eat out the entire time that they are away from home. These small kitchen appliances can make a huge difference for guests.
A lot of people like to work out on a daily basis to keep up with their fitness level and mental health. When away from home for work or vacation, a gym facility on-site is very beneficial to guests. You don’t need to have a ton of expensive equipment available, but a few treadmills and cable machines can help people get their workout in for the day.
A lot of a hotel’s success relies on word of mouth from previous guests. It is also helpful if people want to return to your facility the next time that they are in town. Having as many amenities for your guests as possible, particularly the technology-related ones, will help increase your positive reputation and bring more guests to stay at your hotel. If people don’t feel like they were comfortable or had enough conveniences available to them during their stay, this is the reputation you will form in the hospitality industry. So to give your hotel the best chance of success, consider including amenities like the ones listed above.
An employer's top responsibility is to create a workplace that is as safe as possible. This article examines what companies should do to minimize the chances of a workplace accident.
Companies that don't make employee safety a top priority may have a hard time attracting or keeping quality employees. They may also struggle to find customers who are willing to put up with their inability to take safety seriously. Let's take a look at what companies should know about minimizing the chances of a workplace accident.
Create a Culture of Safety
It is critical that everyone within your organization understands the importance ofminimizing accidents in the workplace. Everyone from the owner to the person who takes out the trash should look for hazards and try to mitigate them. Ideally, management will make themselves available to employees who want to offer suggestions or report hazards. Managers and ownership should also make sure that they take accident reports seriously and that they don't retaliate against those who report an accident. While employers are not required to hold an injured worker's job while he or she recovers, it can be a good idea to do so as it shows loyalty to a quality employee.
Who Makes the Rules?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is one of the key federal workplace safety enforcement groups. Many businesses focus heavily on being OSHA compliant and failing to do so could result in heavy fines and other penalties. In some cases, companies could be forced to close until they have fixed any issues that OSHA inspectors find. States may have their own version of this agency, and these state agencies typically enforce rules that are similar to those set at the federal level.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Employers are encouraged tolearn from their mistakes as doing so can minimize the chances of an accident happening again in the future. For instance, if an employee slips on a wet floor, it may be a good idea to purchase shoes with specialized soles. It may also be a good idea to review policies related to machine guarding or any other relevant policy after an accident occurs. Ideally, your company will opt to improve those policies or offer employees more training to help them understand their responsibilities in a given situation.
An employer's top responsibility is to create a workplace that is as safe as possible. Even if OSHA or other regulatory agencies didn't exist, there are many benefits to creating a safe workplace. A key benefit is a happy workforce that is loyal to its employer and more productive overall.
Here is another article you might enjoy: Top Tips For Women Just Entering The Workforce
The recent movie, Ford v Ferrari, shined a spotlight on the innovations brought about by competition between American and European car companies (also chronicled in the documentary, The 24 Hour War). But do you know the real extent of how these historical innovations impact not just the car industry, but well beyond today? This article provides insights on the critical developments brought about for companies and consumers alike by Ford, Toyota, and Mercedes Benz.
Three car companies instantly come to mind when you think about how the auto industry has changed in the 19th and 20th centuries. Read on to find out more about these historical innovations.
According to Autodesk, Ford revolutionized the way that cars were manufactured on assembly lines. When the Ford Motor Company was able to reduce the time that it took workers to build a car from over 13 hours to under 45 minutes, cars became affordable to almost everyone. In Ford's early years, the company also managed to cut the number of parts required to build a car to 45. Ford also was one of the first to use slides and trolleys so that parts were precisely where they needed to be for workers to use them efficiently. By breaking down the process of building a car into steps, Ford changed the way that cars were built everywhere.
Toyota revolutionized the industry by coming up with Just in Time manufacturing, which is often called the Toyota Process. The principle behind Just in Time manufacturing is making only what is needed, in the amount that it is required and at the time that it is needed. Toyota, however, was not content to stop there. The company developed a system that purposefully always looks for ways to improve their process. They also implemented the Five Whys Process. The process starts by asking the question of why at least five times. The result is a process that avoids problems and can create solutions. By asking five why questions, mistakes in thinking are often eliminated. These processes have helped to fuel the company's innovation, as seen in its wide range of models. According to Santa Monica Motors, Toyota now has over 70 different models listed under its namesake brand.
Mercedes Benz traces its company history back to the first practical automobile that was built by Karl Benz. More recently, however, it is credited with developing multi-skilled teams, according to Auto Design & Production. The advantage of this approach is that people with different areas of expertise get involved with the car’s design, production and evaluation. Therefore, Just in Time principles often reserved for assembly lines can be built into the process from day one. Application of the Mercedes Benz principle also allows more models to be constructed using the same parts.
These three car manufacturers have revolutionized the way that cars are manufactured. You can take their principles and apply them to your manufacturing facilities. If you are a shopper looking for a new car, then you can be thankful for these manufacturing principles as they allow you to have a new vehicle at a lower price.
Here’s another article you might like: The hottest accessory-friendly vehicles on the road
The challenge of entering the corporate world presents unique challenges for women. Here are three areas of concern for females going into the world of work - whether in their 20's or 50's - and expert advice on how to not just survive, but thrive in today's environment.
Women face unique challenges in the workplace that can hold them back from reaching their full potential. Whether you're in your 20s and just starting out or have finished your degree and are preparing to re-enter the workforce, here are some excellent career tips that are all about empowering you in your professional journey.
Know Your Value
Unfortunately, companies are often invested in their own well-being. They consider employees expendable and have high, fixed expectations that cause employees to question their own competence and self-worth whenever they fall short. Do not play down your talents or abilities in an interview or around co-workers. Although it is intimidating, speak up for yourself when others try to speak for you or tell you what to do. Bullying comes from bosses, too, and far too many supervisors abuse their authority and use it as a way to degrade employees, especially females.
Research the positions you're applying to extensively. Learn about the average salary, and make sure you're being offered what your skills are worth. Do not undervalue the potential of your own contribution to a company, and don't speak passively about your achievements. Even if you are entering the workplace with limited experience, speak strongly about your passion, abilities and greatest strengths.
Safety can be a challenge for women in the workplace. Understand that workplace bullying and sexual harassment is never your fault, but you are not forced to just deal with it. Addressing the last point, by knowing your own value, you can set clear boundaries and know how to respond when they've been crossed, or you've been violated. Workplace harassment, especially of sexual nature, is not always as obvious as you expect. Know what kinds of attention cross the line. Inappropriate comments, off-handed remarks, and flirtatious messages passed off as "jokes" are unacceptable. Avoid going in storage closets, parking garages, or stairwells alone, especially after-hours. Workplace safety for women is a major topic of discussion in every industry, and it improves only when women take stands against unwanted behaviors.
Many women either have either a passive or aggressive communication style. The former is rooted heavily in frequent apologies, unspoken feelings and not knowing how to say no to something you don't want to do. Aggressive communicators are defensive and always on-guard, prone to conflict and believe they have to "strike first" and stand their ground to avoid being taken advantage of. You do not have to be "nice" to everyone. Being courteous and respectful is important, but your need to be kind to others shouldn't enable them to be unkind to you. Take ownership of your feelings by using "I" statements. Say "thank you" instead of "sorry," and make eye contact when you're talking to or listening to others.
Getting started in your career can be challenging, but there are tools like the ones above that can help you to succeed. You are a valuable asset to companies out there—you just need to be able to help employers see it. Embrace the opportunities you'll have to learn and grow, and don't let anyone take your power and you’ll be able to better succeed as you enter the workforce.
Expert Advice for Entrepreneurs from Google for the Christmas Season (and Really, for Anytime of Year!)!
(BPT) - Small businesses have a major impact on their communities: 67 cents of every dollar spent on small businesses stays in the local economy. But when it comes to growing their businesses, nearly one in four small business owners say marketing is one of their biggest challenges. As small businesses prepare for the holiday rush, they are investing in digital marketing to reach new customers and stand out online.
Below are a few easy, effective ways to grow your business during this busy time of year from Kim Spalding, global product director for small business ads, Google:
1. Be discovered and build a website
People are increasingly searching for small businesses. In 2019, search interest in “mom and pop shops” hit a three-year high.
To make sure holiday shoppers are finding your business, Google My Business is a free and easy way to help businesses show up in Search and Maps. Businesses can attract customers by creating a profile where they can update their store information (like their holiday hours), create free posts that promote a special holiday offer or event and reply to reviews. Platforms like Wix and WordPress also offer free accounts that help small business owners build mobile-optimized and budget-friendly websites.
Once you have a website, adding a basic map or store locator can help customers more easily find your store by showing them your store’s location on a map and giving directions.
2. Make it easier to sell online
Ensuring customers’ online holiday shopping experience is easy and seamless is critical. Shopify is a complete commerce platform that lets you start, grow and manage a business. Shopify enables you to sell in multiple places including web, mobile, social media, online, marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations and pop-up shops.
3. Reach more customers
Small business owners have a lot on their plates — especially during the holiday months — and finding the time to create engaging content can feel impossible. Hiring a copywriter from services like Fiverr frees up time for small business owners to focus on running their businesses while expert freelancers draft copy to attract customers.
A simple way to reach customers quickly, Smart Campaigns, created specifically for small business owners, takes 15 minutes to set up, and can help small businesses create and optimize ads to attract customers to their website or Maps. Smart Campaigns saves small business owners time by optimizing their budget across Google Ads to deliver the results they crave.
Expanded Local Campaigns can help businesses increase foot traffic by surfacing Promoted Pins that appear on the map when users are getting directions and planning their route to a destination.
4. Get a customized online business plan
Even though most business owners know their customers are on the web, 80 percent still aren’t making the most of digital tools that can help them reach more customers and work more efficiently.
Google for Small Business is a free, one-stop shop to help small businesses simplify how they select and use the online tools that can help them reach more holiday customers and work more efficiently. First, business owners input their business name, answer a few questions about their business and select a goal. Then, they receive a step-by-step, personalized plan of recommended products to help them stand out online.
Growth for small businesses isn’t always about doing more, it’s about getting things done in less time, with less complication and less worry. This holiday season, these tools can help businesses thrive by providing the support needed to connect with more customers and meet goals.
Freight shipping, also known as freight transport, is the transportation of goods in bulk that can be achieved by various shipping methods, including trucking, air carriers, and ocean carriers. Unlike small-parcel shipping, freight shipping often measures the goods by weight or the number of pallets or containers. Freight shipping is responsible for much of how goods get from one point to another and ultimately reach their destination. Here are a few little-known complexities of the freight shipping process that have a big impact.
How It's Packed
How products are packed for the freight shipping directly impacts whether the goods arrive at their destination in good condition. Freight shipping can involve several types of shipping containers, including wood boxes, wood crates, steel containers, wire containers, and bulk containers. If the container is a wood box or crate, then a forklift or pallet jack is used to maneuver the container. Depending upon the type of product in the container, interior protective packaging can be used to provide additional support during shipment.
Testing Before Shipping
Before products are shipped, they can be lab tested to ensure that the freight package items are packed well enough to protect against any hazards. Testing is ideal for type one products, which are factory packaged and involve one type of product. The testing process subjects packages to forces such as compression, shock, vibrations, and extreme temperatures.
How It's Paid For
How freight charges are paid for is complex and often based on weight. The charges can be paid for by either the buyer or the seller, and which one is responsible depends on the Freight on Board (FOB) designation. The designation describes the point in the transaction where the shipment becomes the buyer's property. If the FOB is designated as FOB Freight Collect, the buyer pays for the shipping costs. On the other hand, if the FOB is designated as Freight Prepaid and Add (or FOB Destination), the seller is responsible for the initial shipping costs, which are ultimately passed on to the buyer. Several types of shipping costs can impact the total amount due. Such costs include pickup fees, security surcharges, cargo insurance, peak season surcharge, customs clearance, and container-cleaning fees. Some people prefer freight factoring so that they don't have to worry about it.
The freight shipping industry is complex and has many different facets. Those who use freight shipments often need to consider how the product is packed, whether lab testing is necessary, how the shipment is paid for, and more.
Here’s another article you might like: What does the shortfall of truck drivers mean for the economy?
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