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.
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.
Innovations in technology that have allowed the person to try their hand in business have also provided a plethora of opportunities for helping a business to succeed. Today, industries of all kinds rely on technology to maintain a streamlined service for their employees and customers. But is technology that important to business? The following list details some of the ways tech can be utilized to enhance the day-to-day operations of a business.
If you run a retail business, nothing can cost you as much in both your budget and sales than an unorganized inventory system. Thus, one of the most important features a retail business must have is a high tech point-of-sale system. According to Celerant Technology, learning how to use a retail POS is an important investment that can transform your business, so it's essential to utilize all the features available to you. These POS systems allow you to have a detailed and live report on your inventory. Consider introducing training for your employees to use this system as they will probably be the ones interacting with it the most.
Communication Tools and Apps
Communication apps and tools have saved thousands of businesses over the years. This is because information is a highly valued asset in business. Communication tools, such as Facebook Messenger and Instagram, can allow your company to take advantage of minute-to-minute opportunities. Also, video communication tools like FaceTime have provided small business owners the ability to negotiate via the internet with their clients or potential vendors. This alone has provided countless opportunities to less-established businesses, which, according to BroadVision, are opportunities that would not have been there if it weren't for these communication tools and apps.
Often, it is not the lack of marketing or sales that bring down a business, but the lack of accuracy within its financial records. Your own lack of organization can easily create issues with your local county or even the IRS. There are currently hundreds of financial software tools out there that have saved businesses from going through these ordeals. They often provide you with notifications dealing with your taxes and updates on changes to the law that could affect you.
Technology is not something people should fear as a tool that can steal jobs. It can supplement and enhance your team's efforts, opening the doors to a business' growth. Simply follow the list above to begin implementing these technology tools and suggestions into your own business.
The business world sometimes appears full of automatons. Working like a robot has the benefits of keeping an employee away from controversy, but the approach won't help someone wishing to get ahead. Standing out positively often leads people to success. How can you stand out under the bright light of excellence? Here are three ways traits that will help you to do just that.
Innovators and originators can achieve more than copycats. Small Business Trends explains that a business professional who brings something new and exciting to the table could create a trend that reaps incredible profits. Look at Tony Hawk, the skateboarding entrepreneur. Skateboarding remained a popular subculture for decades and spawned many cottage industries. Hawk, however, took things in a new direction and devised a billion-dollar skateboarding empire.
That said, originators will always deal with detractors. Great new ideas regularly face rejection. Radical and revolutionary ideas upset people stuck in a comfort zone. If you believe in your plans, don't let naysayers discourage you. Be flexible enough to withstand constructive criticism, and keep going forward to promote your ideas.
Sadly, integrity isn't always the most common trait among people in the business world. So, someone with integrity garners attention. Honest workers and managers are an asset to a company and the entire business world.
The idea of the corporate whistleblower typifies integrity. Meissner Associates says that finding out that the business you work for is engaging in fraudulent activity can put you in a tough position to decide if you should expose their wrongdoing, or do you remain silent. People with integrity usually make the right decision regarding whistleblowing. Let the image of the whistleblower be your guide.
The stereotype of business professionals focusing only on making money and selfish pursuits isn't always accurate. Unfortunately, many professionals do become self-absorbed and greedy. Would Bill Gates fall under that description? Microsoft's leader spent countless hours raising and donating money for charitable causes. While the average worker can't match Gates' monetary contributions, they can match his passion and attitude. Even doing "little things" for others could paint a tremendously positive picture of you.
The London Business School recommends that you allow your standing in the business community act as a way of doing good things. Explore philanthropical endeavors, and don't always focus on personal gain. Others will notice your selflessness. Ironically, you may experience career success by putting others' needs ahead of your own.
Success in the business world requires that you appear unique. Embracing endearing traits helps with this goal. Each individual has a set of personality strengths. Play to your strengths, and create the best quality work you can produce. Standing out requires more than fits and spurts of effort; apply yourself consistently in the workplace, and you will see good results.
Want to learn more ways to make your business stand out and thrive? Check out more content like this from our Video Ideas for a Better Business Life!
For many, the commute to work and back home represents a lot of wasted time. The longest average commute, each way, in the US is a little over 43 minutes in New York City. This adds up to over 9,000 hours a year spent sitting in a car or public transportation. However, your commute does not have to suck. Here are four ways to make your commute better and safer.
Use the Time to Learn Something
It can be helpful to use all the time spent commuting to learn something. There is a wide range of podcasts and audiobooks to appeal to anyone. Whether you want to catch up on the daily news, discover what is happening in the world of tech, or explore developments in psychology, educational audio entertainment can not only make your commute seem shorter but also convert time that would have otherwise been wasted into productive time.
Know the Blind Spots
When you drive the same route every day, it can be easy to go into autopilot and neglect safe driving habits. However, safety is vital and the most important part of driving safely is knowing your blind spots. Commercial trucks have many blind spots and when driving, don't assume everyone will turn their heads. Knowing where the blind spots of your own car are and being aware that others may not always check their own blind spots can reduce the risk of accidents and make your commute safer.
Plan Your Time
One of the biggest stressors during a commute is running into unexpected traffic and being late for work. Allocating extra time for your drive can alleviate this stress and make your drive easier. Additionally, leaving earlier in the morning can sometimes mean fewer cars on the road, leading to a safer and more relaxing drive. There are even apps available that will notify you when the best time to leave is so you will hit the least amount of traffic during your drive.
Disconnect from Your Phone
A key part of driving safely is ensuring that there are little to no distractions in the car. Cell phones, however, are a major distraction while driving and can severely increase the risk of a crash. Disconnecting from your phone can make your drive more relaxing, but more importantly, it increases the safety of your drive.
A commute, long or short, can be draining. No one likes to be in the car for a long time. However, with these tips in mind, you can make them safer and even enjoyable.
If you’re looking for something to listen to while you drive, take a look at this article that includes some of the best ways you can set up your phone apps and car to listen to music and podcasts while you drive!
Your new business is finally up and running and you feel like a kid in a candy store. You are happy, you have all your ducks in a row, and you feel ready for that first sale. Here are five things that you need to know in order to be successful in your business now and in the future.
It's About the Experience
Businesses thrive on customers having a great experience when buying a product or service, so it's up to you to make sure that this happens for the people that you serve. Make sure that your customer's journey is a pleasant one every single step of the way.
Providing a good experience for customers is important for future growth and success because these customers are going to be able to speak well of their experience with your business. They're also the customers most likely to come back repeatedly. The way you approach customers and communicate your brand can greatly impact your success. If you’re struggling with business growth, then you may want to examine your marketing strategy. Ultimately, customer experience is what will drive your business forward.
Reputation is Important
Being able to manage your online reputation is important if you want to have a successful business. Once you've established a solid customer base, ask these customers to review you on outlets like Google and Yelp. Also, you can politely invite them to send in video testimonials of their experiences with your business, which you can use for marketing on your website.
By utilizing customer testimonials to manage your reputation, you'll be able to gain new customers faster because you have built a trust factor with your audience. If you're concerned about asking your customers for testimonials, don't be. Your customers will love to be involved in the process of your success and offer you their perspective on their positive experience in working with you.
Your Mindset Holds the Key
Some people say that the key to success is knowing how to make a sale. The true key to success is in your mindset.
Your mindset holds the key to your ability to be able to market yourself well to your target audience. If you have limiting beliefs on how many sales per month you can make or how many clients you can work with in one year, then you'll see that come to fruition in your business. Train your mindset so that you're setting yourself up for success and eliminating limiting beliefs from the get-go.
Your Business Shouldn’t Be a Replica of Someone Else’s
It's very easy when you're starting out in business to play the comparison game. Especially if your business is a year old or younger.
There may be people who have been in business at the same time as you and you see them and feel like they're crushing it with their sales goals and client testimonials and pretty photo shoots.
The truth is, your business shouldn't be a replica of anybody else's business. Your business is a living, breathing entity of its own that is specific to you and how you operate and who you serve. Don’t try to copy someone else.
Be at Peace with Failure
While you may feel like failure is one of the worst things that can happen in your new business, that could not be further from the truth.
Use failure as a stepping stone to learn what you need to know to run your business successfully. Everything in your business that doesn't work out the way you expected it to has a solution on the other side of it.
By using these five things as guideposts in your business, you're setting yourself up for success and less frustration when failure hits.
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