What is mobile marketing automation?

There have been a lot of new terms that business people, customer service representatives, and marketers have come to know over the last few decades. Take mobile, for example: Where once we used to be desktop or laptop based work spaces and free time, in the past few years mobile has re-made how we do nearly everything. And mobile has grown at a pace that few expected when it was first introduced. In fact, mobile-only users are now expected to top over 50 million in just a few years. That means those people may not even have a laptop, at all.

So marketers have to figure out how mobile users are different than other users, and marketers also have to figure out how to use automation when possible in order to make their more complex job easier. How do they do that? This graphic explains it.

What Is Mobile Marketing Automation?

5 Key Points of Successful Marketing Strategy

There is no other way to navigate the tumultuous world of marketing than to plan ahead of time and put everything down in writing. Things like promotion and branding are not something you can do sporadically, haphazardly, or in isolation from other core business aspects.

That is why a sound marketing strategy is integral to achieving success. It lays out objectives, means of executing them, and channels of message delivery. What is more, it fleshes out your ideas and visions and offers them to the scrutiny of market realities. So, it is time to assemble a skeleton of your strategy and set the foundation for long-term success. Here are the crucial moving parts you must have in place.

Goals as guiding lights

On the broadest level, marketing strategy is aligned with long-term business aims and aspirations. It supports strategic planning and takes an overarching view of the business organization as the whole. For this to really work, there must be a high-level of coordination across strategic documents and different departments and teams (especially those like sales).

Furthermore, a marketing strategy is supposed to define clear, specific, realistic, and measurable goals. Some of the most common objectives that companies pursue are increasing word of mouth, generating leads, retaining profitable customers, tapping into new markets, successfully introducing new product/service, etc.

Market research

Research is the cornerstone of any solid strategy. A thorough market analysis requires you to grasp multifarious factors such as the size of the market and its growth potential. Moreover, it is used to uncover target customers and gain deeper insight into their habits, behavior, spending patterns, lifestyle preferences, etc.

So, dive into demographics and historic online data. Another staple of market research comes in the form of competitive analysis. You should scope out what others are doing and try to draw lessons from their experience. Finally, focus on your own strengths and weaknesses, trying to emphasize the former and offset the latter.

Segmentation and targeting

The next stage involves making the leap from theory into practice. Namely, once you have identified your target customers, you have to segment them into different groups according to their varying needs and characteristics. This approach, which is the opposite of a scattergun tactic, will allow you to target with precision and come up with personalized and tailored solutions.

Ideally, you should get a clear idea of how your products and services match expectations and how you can offer something that others cannot.  Use your unique value proposition (UVP) and unique selling point (USP) to highlight the benefits that you have going for you.

Tools of the trade

Good communication is the key to really getting your messages across. This is to say that your strategy has to determine the key ingredients of your marketing mix, which is the combination of all the tools and channels you are going to use. The two mainstays are digital and traditional advertising and it is a good idea to employ them both in synergy, to your maximum advantage.

Thus, it would be wise to delight customers with tangible items like free catalogs, but also communicate via social media and other online channels. Use word of mouth PR, advertising, print media, shop displays, promotion, and whatever works in the context of your target audience. Investing in marketing is not the cheapest activity for companies,  but even if you are a freelancer you can consider applying for personal loans and start promoting your business ideas.

Keeping it in check

What is left is a system of checks and balances that hold your marketing strategy together. They typically fall into the marketing plan segment, a longer and more detailed document. So, set up a budget as well as a timetable for reaching objectives. Allocate resources optimally, where they matter the most and bring the maximum ROI.

Finally, designate tools for keeping track of performance indicators and evaluating the impact of your campaigns. You might want to take into account various telltale signs like the number of clicks on the page, time spent there, conversion rates, social signals, etc. There is an ocean of data out there and cutting-edge tools for gathering and processing it lie at your disposal.

On top of the game

If you want to piece through the marketing noise out there, work out a clear path of action and master the art of planning, designing, and implementation. Lay the groundwork for detailed market research and analysis. Use facts and figures as building blocks of your campaigns. Sketch the logistics of distribution channels and set the tone for how the products and services will be presented to people.

Monitor the results of marketing activity and achieve victories on both fronts, both the digital and ‘real world’. Bear in mind that your strategy is not set in stone. Things change fast, which means that you might need to make regular updates and tweaks to your plans and strategies. Using five vital elements, you should be able to spread the word, produce healthy recurring revenue, and get ahead of the pack in 2018 and beyond.

Guest author, Raul Harman, is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com

5 Audiences Your Business Should Cater to in 2018

The digital world is helping to wall off audiences from each other, creating niche markets that would not have existed in past business generations. This is actually a prime advantage for companies that are correctly placed to handle it. Here are five audiences that your business should cater to in 2018.

Millennials

The rising generation of young adults is quickly becoming the number one consumer in the marketplace. They are definitely in charge, and their total spend is only increasing. If you are not marketing to millennials, then you are missing a significant part of your sales, regardless of the industry that you may be in. Provide free Wi-Fi for customers, and offer online purchases and communication options. Millennials tend to prefer indirect communication and speed over anything else.

Women

Women have always been the number one spenders and households. It was a joke in past generations that they held the purse strings even though they did not necessarily have the highest income in the home. Will today, they have the highest income in the home in many cases. They also still hold the purse strings. If you are not catering to women, then you are definitely missing out. The feminist movement is putting power in the hands of new audiences, and commerce must move with it.

Geeks

Geek culture is quickly becoming much more mainstream than it was a decade ago. It’s becoming much more acceptable to embrace things like video games, anime, and fantasy genres. Focusing on this demographic can improve your sales quite a bit. If you’re a T-shirt company, consider following the example of sites like Capsule Corp Clothing by offering designs based on popular franchises, such as Dragon Ball tank tops. Your marketing outreach may benefit as well from using geeky franchises as inspiration.

Seniors

An often forgotten and overlooked audience, but one that is just as ready to spend money, is the senior citizen community. Baby Boomers will soon be the largest segment of the population in the United States. This is also true in many Western countries. Look to them for certain industries, and make sure that you do not keep them out while you are trying to market to one or more of the other groups mentioned here.

The International Community

There is no reason to limit your sales function to any geographic location. The Internet has given you more than enough power to move beyond any border and sell to anyone who is in need of your products or services. Make it happen internationally!

Guest author, Dixie Somers, is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

How To Launch Your First Physical Product

The world of business is changing. Years before, it could take a lot of time and thought in order for you to get your business off of the ground. You could spend years doing your research and raising the funding you need to create your product and put it out into the market. However, now, you can also work on your craft at the same time. Because launching a content website is often the first step. When you have a blog, social channel, or online magazine, you’ll find that you’re able to create an audience, generate an income, and really get your research together before you launch that product. Sometimes, you don’t even have the intention or launching anything until you discover that there’s a need for it. So, your next project begins. But when it comes to actually launching that physical product, how should you go about it?

  1. Use Your Research

As we’ve lightly touched on, your research here is going to be crucial. When you’re working with an audience that you know well, you’ll have a lot of insight into who they are and what they want. You’ll even have the data to back it up. So make sure you pull all of your analytics data and any feedback you have to work out what they want. You can even ask them directly, just to make sure that the first product you launch is exactly what they want.

  1. Source A Manufacturer

When you do know what product you’re going to go with, you then need to find your manufacturer. The beauty of the modern world is that you don’t have to do any of this in-house. You can work with a dedicated supplier that will design, produce, and ship this product for you. Just make sure you pick out a company that you trust, that you can work well with, and that you think will do the best job.

  1. Design Your Packaging

While this is all starting to take off, you’re going to want to decide on your packaging design. For this, you might need printed labels for the actual product itself, boxes or outer packaging, shopping packaging, and even tags. Regardless of what you need, just make sure that everything fits with your brand.

  1. Anticipate The Launch

From here, you’re then going to want to make sure that you’re ready for your product launch. A great way to do this is to build up your product launch email list. Not only will you get to see what kind of interest there is, but you can market directly to the interested parties when you’re about to launch.

  1. React

And finally, you have to be able to react too. When you see how well your product is selling, you’ll want to determine whether you need to place another order, or start to work out whether you should launch another product and when. By reacting to what your customers want, you’ll always be able to ensure that your products are a success.

Entrepreneurial Success – Learn as You Grow Approach

Have you ever noticed how much business people and entrepreneurs love to talk about their success?

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Screenshot from – Entrepreneur Post

The majority of these successful businesses and people barely talk about their failure journeys and struggle phases; for most of them, mistakes are swept under the rug and forgotten as quickly as possible. But do you know something? Mistakes can actually give us a chance to learn the basics for those courageous enough to embrace them.

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Screenshot from – medium.com/@brett1211

I love to interview minded people and when they tell me about their wild success journey and all the profits they’ve made, I often ask them to tell me what and when they did wrong. If they can’t name any of their past mistakes or start to sputter, I know immediately that I can discount most of what they’ve just said.

The Problem Persists in Following Someone Else’s Success

No doubt, success stories actually provide inspiration to me, to you, and to all of the entrepreneurs (locally or globally). The wrong side of the story is; continuously listening to others tell you how innovative or great they are can be a problem. How? You may start to believe that they must know the best way of doing something and whatever they did during the journey, was the optimal success path. When you internalize their way as the “right” way, you begin mimicking them instead of striking out on your own and finding a way to improve things.

In a recent conversation, I came through this question, “What is something you wish someone would have told you before starting your first venture?”

For me, the answer is “nothing”!

It doesn’t matter what anyone asked me; I’m the kind of person who believes in performing A/B split testing at every phase and I love experimenting things. I strongly believe what works for one person or organization might not be as productive for others, and on top of that, I would rather learn from my past mistakes instead of following tired advice from someone who has experienced success with their own ways. This is something I like to call a “learn as you grow approach”.

There is No Exact Formula; Don’t Rely on Others’ Suggestions

Having a “learn as you grow” approach means you never assume that someone has figured it all out. But that doesn’t mean that you know all the answers, either. Once you get started, anything can be improved upon, no matter how organized or widely accepted it might be.

After spending excellent 80 years of trade in natural fibers and wool, the 3rd generation of the Wood family actually wanted to expand into the online clothing segment. Everyone seemed to have their opinions about how they should embark it, but they didn’t care how it was supposed to be implemented. They just wanted to do it the most impactful way.

They combined their online branding expertise, their knowledge of logistics and operational efficiencies to develop their own methods while maintaining the ethics of the company.

It worked. A new extensive shape of business is being established for the next generation of Wood family to expand further in the modern era of British culture. Genie Recycling pays you the best price for recycling your unwanted accessories and clothing quickly and simply!

Bottom Line – Can’t we make mistakes? Yes, we may but we should view every mistake and potential defeat as an opportunity; opportunity to improve. This can give us the requisite flexibility and adaptability, to build an organization’s framework that can be easy to adapt changes and grow quickly.

A Learn-as-You-Grow Mentality Helps You Adapt

The fear of failure (also known as – “atychiphobia”) is the primary reason most of the entrepreneurs stipulate the “safer” way of running and organizing their businesses. They tend to follow so called best practices and tested methods to minimize the chances of failure. The question is – Is this approach make them invincible? NO.

Mistakes are inescapable, no matter which avenue you choose. You know the difference; entrepreneurs who love themselves to be guided throughout the process are less likely to adapt.

Imagine an antelope born and raised in a zoo. He learns from an early age when he will be fed and where he can roam. But what happens when he’s turned loose in the wild? He’s eaten!

People who can’t learn as they grow, who can’t challenge the status quo, show resistance to find creative solutions to the problems they face put themselves at an evolutionary disadvantage. The worst part is – they end up becoming part of the digestive process. Thus, they never reach their full potential and their start-ups are never as strong as they could be.

Conclusion

So, what does this mean? Don’t rely on others to guide you, to tell you how to run your business. Instead, adopt the learn as you grow mentality, and embrace every misstep as an awesome way to improve. This way, you’ll become more productive, more efficient, would be able to adapt anything, and creating solutions that are better than the conventional ones. And do you know something? When people ask you about your mistakes/success journey, you’ll proudly talk about the events that helped shape your start-up into something great.

BIO text – Shyam Bhardwaj is a professional SEO consultant and has worked with A-listed agencies including 4Point Digital, White Rabbit Marketing, and The Website Group. You can follow him on Twitter – @shyam_bhardwaj

The Worst Things Don’t Happen At Sea, They Happen Online!

Sailors are wrong about the ocean, particularly if you are thinking regarding commercial prospects. Most people think that the idea of the worst things occurring at sea comes from issues like drowning, or boats overturning. Actually, it’s a business warning. It means the worst things that can happen to your company occur on the waters. In the past, this may have been true. After all, one bad storm could have wiped the entire trading prospects of a company. These days that’s not true, and businesses will have more than a few eggs in a variety of different baskets. Businesses are diversified as much as possible to guarantee that one bad problem won’t kill the company.

As true as this is, if you look at the business market it becomes clear that the danger hasn’t disappeared, it’s shifted to a new location. These days, the dangerous waters are actually in the online realm. So, let’s look at some of the problems you can encounter with your business online as well as the best ways to handle them.

When SEO Attacks

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Image Source

There are a few issues you need to be aware of with SEO for your company. First, there’s the Google penalties. These little nuisances are a lot scarier than they seem, particularly when you discover they have names like Penguin and Panda. The penalties can actually cause your search ranking to plummet through the floor, and this will negatively impact the profitability of your business because no one will be able to find your site.

This is why you need to be careful about the type of SEO tactics that you use. SEO can be tricky, and it’s worth making sure that you don’t oversimplify it to the point where you start using blackhat forms of the service. An example of that would be stuffing content with keywords. Content, on the other hand, is a key way that you can build SEO and increase the ranking of your site the right way.

To do this, you just need to make sure that you are adding content that is relevant, targeted and written or produced to a high-quality level. This can be difficult, and that’s why a number of business owners now use professional writers for articles, video and infographics.

The other issue with SEO is a negative SEO attack. Here, a business that is competing with yours will use SEO to target your company and make sure that negative content surrounding your business appears when customers search your brand. It’s dangerous, it’s damaging, and it’s one of the reasons why you should always keep a check on the buzz around your business online.

This is just a couple of the issues you need to be aware of when marketing your business online Both are easily avoidable so let’s look at a problem that isn’t.

Hacks And Breaks

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Image Link

In the past, the biggest security threat yo your business would be someone smashing a window in your office or cracking the lock on the door of your building. Today, a hacker can break into your business and take sensitive data or valuable information with just a laptop. They don’t even have to visit your business address to do this. Now, what does this mean for your company with regards to security?

Well first of, you need to make sure that you do have the right insurance services such as risk management. It is crucial that you know how much risk there could be surrounding your business. This will determine the coverage your company needs as well as the price or premium that you will need to pay. Be aware that there are a lot of insurance plans that will not cover loss from a data hack. That’s why you’re going to have to be careful about the type of company coverage that you choose.

Aside from this, you should be explore a few of the security possibilities for your business online. Start off by looking into https. You will notice that this site does use https. What does that mean? Basically, the site is operating with an SSL, and this ensures that all the data transferred through the site is secure. It makes the site far more secure and is recommended for any site that transfers data such as passwords which these days is every single site and blog.

If you don’t want to make this change to protect your company or the interests of your customers, do it to protect your profits. Studies show that 83 percent of users will leave your site if it is labelled as insecure which it will be without an SSL.

Aside from this, you should be using the services of an IT support team. They will make sure that your business is constantly monitored and checked to see if there is an issue with a hack. If there is an issue they will correct it as quickly as possible and make sure that if customer data is lost then at least, you will be aware of it.

Damage To The Brand

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Pic Source

You should also be concerned about the possibility of damaging your business brand online. A variety of issues can damage your business brand online and the first problem to think about is poor customer reviews. Everything these days is susceptible to reviews and if you have a string of bad reviews, slowly but surely your customers will begin to disappear.

As well as customer reviews you need to consider business interactions. These days there is just no excuse for a business not communicating or failing to stay in contact with customers. Using social media, this should be easy, and if it’s taking up too much time, a social media manager can handle this for you, guaranteeing that customers feel connected. If your customers don’t feel like part of your business, they will pursue a relationship with another organization, perhaps one of your main competitors.

We hope you see now that the worst things that impact businesses occur online, not at sea.

 

 

 

How to Build a Successful eCommerce Brand

People are rapidly turning to online shopping, which makes it a perfect time to start an online business. However, there are probably hundreds of companies out there offering products that are same, or at least similar, to yours.

The good thing is that branding can be a lifesaver for your business. You have to stand out from the crowd and show people why they should purchase your products, and not the products of your competitors.

Your products might be great, and your website appealing and well-optimized, but that doesn’t mean that you will succeed. According to statistics, 55% of all eCommerce sales are done through branded stores, while 45% are done via marketplaces. Therefore, you have to build a strong brand in order to beat your competitors.

It’s time to take the first step towards your success.

Personalized, but safe service

Customer data points are very useful for personalization. The data is your gold because you will know what your customers want before they do.

So, include those data points in your eCommerce business:

  • Shopping Cart – recommendations based on the current content of a customer’s wish list or cart
  • Search Queries – recommendations based on search terms
  • Purchase History – recommendations based on a customer’s past purchases
  • Social Behavior – recommendations based on product rating, shares and likes

You can also recommend products based on geographic location and customer segmentation, such as demographic. Use this data to provide your customers with the best service possible. This will help you understand your customers and their relationship with your product and brand.

Are your customers mostly gift-buyers? How often do they buy products from your website? Look for patterns in your customers’ behavior because that is precisely what will point you in the right direction. Also, it’s always a good idea to personalize your product packaging. Many brands are doing it, and people seem to love it.

Since, as an online business, you will collect and retain sensitive personal information about your customers, you have to show them that their information is safe with you, especially when it comes to payment and delivery.

You can make your brand trustworthy and reliable by using payment card industry data security standards (PCI DSS). These standards apply to all organizations that store, process or transmit cardholder data, so your business should have PCI DSS compliance, too. However, keep in mind that, even though you are operating online, you still need to adhere to your federal and state privacy laws.

Engaging approach

The impression you make on people who come in contact with your brand for the first time is very important. Therefore, you should make sure that they see your brand in the best light.

First, you have to ensure that your customers can see and feel that they can engage with your brand.

Always ask your customers for their opinion. Give them an opportunity to review your products and chat with you. Use these options on your website and social media pages. 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend that brand to others. So, this will help you both increase brand engagement and attract new customers.

Next, you can turn your customers into brand ambassadors who will help you share your amazing story all over the internet. They are a powerful tool that will help you raise awareness about your company. The reason that brand ambassadors are so credible is that they don’t actually work for your company but are only huge fans.

Emotional connection with your target audience

If you want others to share your story, you have to give them a reason to do so. Tell them your story and engage with them on an emotional level. By giving customers a strong “why” you will provide them with something to believe in. Try to answer these questions:

  • How did you start your business and why?
  • What are your values?
  • What makes you different from your competitors?

People like to hear a story behind the products they buy. Get them to fall in love not only with your products but your brand as well.

For example, if you use your lifestyle as an inspiration for your brand image, you will attract people with similar interests.

If your vision matches your customers’ opinion, your fans will be dedicated to you. Actually, if you include this vision in your posts on social media and newsletters, they will be happy to share that with others.

Consistency as a branding tool

Did you choose your style? What about the color, design, style of writing, and other elements of your brand? Do your social media channels, emails and adds follow your style?

Once you determine your style, it’s important to stick to it. Use it consistently in all of your marketing efforts in order to become recognizable.

Your style represents your brand’s personality. It can tell more about your values then you think, and it can engage people on an emotional level.

Whenever you want to share something, ask yourself – is this consistent with your brand story?

Remember, your employees should also understand your style and vision. They have to represent your brand in the best possible way.

Conclusion

If you miss the opportunity to build a brand today, it can cost you your business. Products come and go, but if you build a personal brand, people will keep coming to your web shop.

Remember, brands are not established in a day, but these tips will help you get one step closer to success.

 

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.