Devilishly Sneaky Ways To Leverage Your Competitors To Get The Message Out

It seems that no matter where you look, you see the same brands everywhere: Coca-cola, Facebook, PlayStation and even Microsoft. The reason for this is that these brands are in an epic battle with their arch rivals, including Pepsi, Twitter, Xbox and Apple. They know that if they relent and don’t put their logo wherever they can, their brand will suffer and their main competitor will rise.

Part of their strategy is, therefore, to put their name wherever they can. It’s all about exposure: getting their message in front of their customers for as many times each day as possible. Of course, doing that is no mean feat, but big companies are very good at finding sneaky ways of branding that many ordinary business owners would never think of. Here are some devilishly sneaky ways to get your message in front of your customers.

Start Disrupting Your Competitor’s YouTube Videos

If you’re new to an industry and you have established competitors, the chances are that they will already have a channel on YouTube, especially if you happen to be in a competitive sector. Rather than start from scratch, building your own channel (which could potentially take a couple of years) instead, piggyback on the success of your competitors. One of the cool things you can do on YouTube is get your content to appear as an advert that shows before a user watches your competitor’s videos. Big companies do this often. For instance, Sprint, a mobile service provider in the USA, started paying for adverts to appear before it’s competitor AT&T’s videos. The result was that it was able to get its branding to appear, every time somebody organically searched for its competitor.

Of course, to do this, you’re going to need to know a lot about the interests, keywords and demographics of the type of people who are interested in your industry. But once you’ve got that nailed, you can have your adverts appear before customers watch a competitor’s video.

Put Your Adverts In An App

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In app advertising is all the rage right now, and for a good reason. Adverts that appear in apps are actually a lot more effective than adverts that appear as banner ads across the top of a website. Why? Well, the major reason has to do with the fact that they can be tailored to the individual customer’s needs. Say, for instance, the customer just happens to be popping by your store, you can use in app advertising to offer them geo-based discounts, offers or incentives. Inside the app environment, adverts don’t even need to look like adverts: they can take the form of a conversation and can be melded into the aesthetic of the rest of the application, discouraging people from instantly dismissing them before they have been read.

Use Your Competitor’s Emails Against Them

Finally, you can remarket to people who have shown interest in your competitor’s site through email marketing. Find the keywords customers have used to target your competitor’s brand, and then include these on Gmail Ads.

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4 Tips to Getting Your Brand Seen and Heard

In order for your brand to get the maximum exposure it needs and deserves, coming up with myriad of ways to advertise it is imperative.

For instance, do you do much in the way of outdoor advertising? If not, you’re missing out on a great means to tell the public about your brand.

The same can be said for social media initiatives. Too many business owners fail to take advantage of all social media can offer them. Most notably, social media is in essence free.

Still another way to get your brand seen and heard is through your customers.

Those customers who can’t get enough of what you have to offer will oftentimes help promote your business through their word-of-mouth efforts. Such efforts can pay huge dividends for you, this as family members and friends of these customers get to know more about you, ultimately wanting to spend money with you too.

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities (and others) for you to get your brand noticed. With that in mind, are you ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work?

Be Smart and Aggressive in Promoting Your Brand

 So that you can cover all your bases when it comes to effectively promoting your brand, swing for the fences with these tips:

  • Outdoor Advertising

Even with millions and millions of people on computers and mobile devices at any given time of the day, don’t turn a blind eye to the impact outdoor advertising can have on your brand. When you use outdoor advertising to promote your brand, you have myriad of options in play.

For starters, you can turn to billboards, something that is sure to catch countless eyes in and around town. If you do opt for billboard advertising, keep them simple and sweet, avoiding a look that has too much for the passing eyes to catch in just a few seconds. Your ads can also adorn places such as buses and bus depots; taxi cabs tops and sides, subway and train stations, and even ride sharing vehicles.

Most importantly, have your brand’s message where consumers won’t have a hard time viewing it. One mistake to avoid is placing your advertisement where it gets lost in the shuffle. If you’ve ever seen a street corner during (and even after) political elections, you know all too well how too many messages can be missed or even tuned out by passersby. Always consider placement when looking at where your outdoor advertising will receive the most positive attention;

  • Web Advertising

Even as the popularity of mobile devices continues to soar, many brands still want their banner ads and other advertising vehicles seen on the web when consumers sit down to laptop or desktop computers.

You may even opt for pop-up ads, though keep in mind that some consumers literally detest these forms of advertisements, oftentimes leading them to click the close button as quickly as possible.

Lastly, make sure any ads you have on the Internet are properly formatted, along with giving consumers a reason to learn more about your product or service. If they choose not to click on your website and learn more about you, you’ve just wasted time and money.

Socializing the Brand Experience

  • Social Media

You can’t get much more free advertising than social media. By spreading your brand’s message on various social sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc.), you become a part of the social conversation.

Be sure above anything else to engage consumers when they leave you with comments and/or questions about your products and/or services. Too many business owners drop the ball when it comes to carrying on a social conversation, thereby leading to missed opportunities to potentially land new sales;

  • Customer Advertisements

Finally, encourage your customers to be part-time brand ambassadors. In doing so, they can spread the word about all your brand has to offer. If incentives are needed, giving them some discounts, the chance to buy products or services before they go on sale to the general public etc. are two good starting points.

Remember, without your customers, you would not be in business in the first place. Letting them talk glowingly about your brand is as good a recommendation as you can receive.

As you look this year and beyond to get your brand seen and heard more, how will you go about it?

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

Putting Your Customers First Never Gets Old

When it comes right down to it, your customers are the reason you even have a business to begin with.

Stop for a moment and think about where you would be if it were not for the dedicated customers who buy products and/or services from you on a daily basis. In many cases, you’d be out looking for work.

With that being the case, no matter what line of business you are in, you have to give customers the attention they want and deserve. To not do so opens you up to problems, some of which you may not be able to overcome.

In always putting your customers first, make sure you do it in a way that gives them reason to reward you over time too.

Happy Customers Tend to Be Longtime Customers

So that you keep your customers around for as long as possible, keep these tips in mind:

  • Customer service second to none – First and foremost, your customer service must be nothing short of stellar on a daily basis. Remember, it just takes on bad customer service experience to send many customers fleeing; fleeing that is into the arms of your competition. Yes, you will have some customers who will feel that they got short-changed in terms of the service your business provided them, but do your best to reassure them that is simply not the case. In the event there is an issue with the service you gave them, do your best to give them reasons to stick by you. One of the ways to do this is by providing them a discount on their next purchase. You may have to twist an arm or two at times, but it will prove worth it over the long haul, notably for your company’s financial health;
  • Your niche truly does matter – What line of work you’re in certainly plays a major role in how you go about customer service. For instance, if you reside in the transportation industry, you know all too well how important timely and satisfactory service proves to be. In many cases, you only get one shot with a new customer to provide them with a winning experience. Drop the ball on this and there is a good chance they drive off elsewhere for their needs the next time around. In the event you offer ride sharing technology for your customers, make sure it is working properly, not a recipe for disaster. With millions of people needing to get from one place to another on a daily basis, your ride sharing operations need to be stellar, especially when it comes to delivering on-time service. From making sure the drivers do their jobs to your riders getting picked up in a timely manner, the key is to put forth a smooth operation. When you do that, customers tend to come back again and again.

Let’s Make a Deal

  • Deals are always a winner – Finally, are you offering your customer specials as often as possible? Although you can’t continually be lowering prices, you should put deals out there whenever the timing seems right. For instance, if you have some long-time customers, do you reward them? If not, what incentive do they have to stay with you for years to come? You can give them periodic discounts when they bring in new customers etc. By doing so, you give them more reason to not only stay with you, but also look around among friends and family to see who else they can get to do business with you.

If you have been a little lax up to now when it comes to putting customers first, the time to change that has definitely arrived.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes about business topics on the web.

 

The E-Tailer’s Guide To Increasing Turnover

All online retailers will want to increase their turnover as much as possible during the next twelve months. That is how you will raise enough profit to expand and take your operation to the next level. The issue is that people without experience in this process often make the wrong moves. They spend lots of time and money on things that aren’t going to create the desired results. With that in mind, I’ve included some excellent advice on this page that could help you strive ahead. If you put these tips and tricks into action, I’m confident your turnover will reach new heights this year.

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Simplify your checkout process as much as possible

You need to make sure the checkout process on your website is as straightforward as possible. That will help to ensure customers don’t have enough time to change their minds before clicking the order button. Also, it means they won’t have to work hard to purchase from your company. There are lots of different ecommerce checkout solutions you could use. However, you’ll always get better results if you create something new. So, now is the time to get in touch with your web developers and explain your requirements. They will design a system that meets all your expectations for little expense.

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Provide a basic site design with easy navigation options

The way in which your website appears could play a significant role in the number of sales you achieve. Considering that, you should spend some time looking at the most popular ecommerce websites in the world. Amazon is the largest online seller at the moment, and their domain is incredibly simple. You need to follow suit if you want to dominate the industry. Make sure that even a child could work out how to find the products they need on their site. Add a search tool, and ensure your categories are refined as much as possible.

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Use technology to present information about financing

If you sell expensive items via your website, many of your customers might have to look elsewhere for financing deals. That is a major issue for you because that could take them a lot of time. So, you should use technology to your advantage and ensure they never leave your checkout page. There are platforms out there you can use to remove all the hassle and offer financing deals to your customers. You should help them to see the best solutions available in a matter of seconds. In most instances, they’ll just need to enter information about their earnings. The software will then make recommendations.

Put those tips into practice as you move through this year, and I’m confident you’ll increase turnover beyond any expectations. The basic rule of thumb is that you just need to make life easy for your customers. Don’t expect them to work hard to give you their money because that isn’t going to happen. You’re the one who has to make all the effort if you want to encourage more sales. With a bit of luck, you now have all the knowledge you require.

How Safe is Your Work Environment?

When you run a business, you have myriad of responsibilities awaiting you each and every day.

With that in mind, one of your greatest tasks at hand is making sure your employees have a safe workplace environment with which to do their jobs in. Unfortunately, some offices and other work related buildings across Canada are not nearly as safe as they can and should be.

So, can you step back for a moment and assess how safe your workplace is?

Do workers ever come to you with complaints regarding the conditions they deal with on a regular basis? If so, have you addressed and/or acted upon them?

Unless you run a one-person show, you rely on your employees for so much.

That said just how safe is your work environment?

Providing Your Employees with a Healthy Workplace

So that you are able to maintain a healthy workplace day in and day out, keep these tips in mind:

  • Safety around your office – For starters, look around your office to see if you have issues such as electrical cords sticking out, boxes that could easily tip over, poor lighting conditions, and piles of paperwork that could end up being fire hazards. Any and all of these matters could lead to injuries, some of which can turn out to be quite serious. It is also a good idea to have occasional fire drills, making sure employees know what to do in the event the real thing occurs;
  • Group disability benefits – Whether you want to admit it or not, some of your employees will be injured or fall victim to serious illnesses each and every year. As a result, having group disability benefits for your employees is a great idea. With such benefits, you do two things. First, such a benefits plan is a great recruitment tool when you’re looking to hire new workers. Secondly, such benefits help those workers currently out of work who’ve been injured or suffered serious illnesses while under your employment. By giving them a monthly financial lifeline, you allow them to get by as they await to return to work;
  • Keep sickness away – How many times have employees showed up for work, only to be sick as a dog? Yes, while you do not want workers falling behind on their workloads or taking advantage of sick days when they actually are not ill, coming into the office with germs galore is not good either. Especially in smaller offices, it can be quite easy to spread colds and the flu etc. from one worker to another. Before you know it, much of your team is under the weather. Encourage those with colds and the like to take a couple of days off to get better;
  • Safety outside the workplace – Coming to and leaving the office should be a routine process for all employees. That said be sure your workplace surroundings are as safe as can be. Whether you own the office building or just rent it out, you want a parking lot that has proper lighting and other safety features in place. If you can afford it (or your landlord if you rent office space), having security on the grounds is a good idea.

 Meet Regularly to Discuss Safety Efforts

Some business owners have regularly scheduled safety meetings with their teams, meetings that can prove quite productive.

While such meetings are not necessary on a weekly basis, think about having one a month (if you are not already doing so).

The meetings are great opportunities for department heads (and others choosing to speak up) to share their ideas on how to make the workplace even safer. It can also be an opportunity to discuss your current group disability benefits insurance offerings, allowing employees a chance to give their two cents on the plan they presently have.

At the end of the day, knowing just how safe your work environment is will prove one of your most important tasks. 

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

 

 

 

How to Build an Effective Shopping Cart for Your eCommerce Site

How much has the internet changed the way that you sell to your customers? If you’re like many companies, you probably started to take advantage of e-commerce as soon as you could, either by selling your whole line of products or services or by offering internet-only merchandise.
But whatever way you’re taking advantage of e-commerce, there are things that remain unknowable to you. For example, do you really know how many people get as far as loading things into a virtual shopping cart, only to abandon that potential sale? Some estimates place that number as high as 70 percent.
While there are a variety of reasons for abandoning an e-commerce site—some of which may have nothing to do with you—there are some website pitfalls that can make a retail sale via the internet more difficult. To learn more about how to optimize your site and move the needle to more e-commerce sales, not less, use the ideas in this graphic.

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How to Build an Effective Shopping Cart for Your eCommerce Site

9 of the Top Social Media Analytics Tools

Chances are that social media marketing in a major component of your overall marketing strategy. But, to find out if your social media marketing efforts are paying off and to identify areas where you need to improve, you must deploy social media analytics tools.

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The following is a list, in no particular order, of 9 of the top social media analytics tools.

1.    Cyfe

Cyfe is an all-in-one dashboard application that helps you monitor all your business data from one place. This helps you make better business decisions and save countless hours tracking your data. Cyfe lets you monitor individual departments, projects, multiple websites and anything else using dashboards. Once the social front, Cyfe has social dashboard thatallows you to pull data from popular services like Google or Facebook using pre-built widgets or custom widgets. Cyfe is free to sign-up but to unlock its full potential, you need a $19 per month subscription.

2.    Followerwonk

Followerwonk is a social media analytics tool that assists you to explore and develop your social graph. With Followerwonk, you can dive deep into Twitter analytics and find out who your followers are, where they are located and when they tweet. You can also find and connect with new influencers in your niche. Followerwonk has great visualizations that make it easy to compare your social graph with your competitors. It is also super easy to share your reports with the other people. Followerwonk offers a free account for one profile. For up to three profiles, pricing is $29 per month.

3.    Buffer

Buffer is a great tool to save on your social media tasks. With Buffer, you can schedule, publish and analyze all your posts in one place. Buffer also allows you to share your content at the most optimal time of the day so that followers and fans can see updates. This is in addition to other tools such as their image creation tool that allows you to create images with the perfect size and format for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Buffer is free for individuals managing one account. Pricing for teams and agencies starts at $99 per month.

4.    SumAll

As the name suggests, SumAll is a number crunching tool. With SumAll, you can connect  connect unlimited Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google Analytics accounts for you or your clients. You can then organize them into as many reports as you like from a single SumAll account. Pricing is $99 per month.

5.    Quintly

Quintly is not only a social media analytics tool but a benchmarking tool as well. With Quintly, you can easily see your numbers compared to your competitors’ and hence take action where you find you aren’t doing well. This is a great tool if you want valuable competitor insights and data. Quinty offers a free 14-Day trial for all packages and pricing starts at $129 for 5 profiles.

6.    Keyhole

Keyhole is one of the best analytics tools to track social conversations on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Their products include hashtag and keyword tracking as well as account tracking and reporting. If you want hashtag analytics, then Keyhole is definitely the way to go. Pricing starts at $132 per month.

7.    Klout

Want to know how influential you are on the social web? Klout measures your influence by examining your ability to drive action. To improve your impact online, Klout suggests shareable content that your audience hasn’t seen yet and track how retweets, likes, and shares change your Klout Score. The Klout Score is on a scale of 1 – 100. Klout is free.

8.    ViralWoot

Viralwoot is purely a Pinterest social media analytics tool. With ViralWoot, you can grow, manage and monitor your Pinterest account. Use ViralWoot to boost your Pinterest presence and get discovered by thousands of active Pinterest users across all types of niches.You can also increase your reach by scheduling Pins for maximum exposure and engage Pinterest influencers. Signing up is free but to unlock all the features, you need a paid subscription that starts at $10 per month.

9.    Addictomatic

Addictomatic helps you monitor your influence and online reputation. You can instantly create a custom page with the latest buzz on any topic. Simply enter a topic in the search bar and the tool finds the most recent articles, images, videos and news items from Google, Bing, Twitter and over a dozen other sources. The results are broken down into easy-to-navigate headers. Addictomatic is free.

Conclusion

There are many other social media analytics tools that you can use to make sense of your social media marketing efforts. But, these nine are definitely in the top tier.