Top 5 Efficient yet Cheap Promotional Ideas for Your Business

You can have a unique fantastic product that meets the most important needs of the people and rises far above anything your competition has ever made but if nobody knows about it, it is completely worthless. And that is where good marketing comes into play. However, not every business can afford high-end celebrities in TV commercials and expensive online campaigns. Fortunately, with the internet and some smart traditional marketing strategies leveling the playground, it is possible to promote your business even when working on a small budget. Here are five ideas to give you some inspiration.

Publish quality content

In the world of modern marketing, content marketing is the king. Unlike many other promotional strategies, such as those that include billboards or ads, good content never gets old. It constantly gives the readers something to come back to, which means it is a once-written commercial that lasts forever.

Great content isn’t just a marketing strategy. It complements almost every other online marketing tool – from improving your SEO performance and enhancing the value of your landing page to providing source material for social media marketing and helping you build relationships with other industries.

Among the numerous positive effects of successful content marketing, we have to point out the influence it has on driving new traffic, building a reputation, influencing conversion and encouraging trust in your business. Also, when coming up with a good content marketing strategy, you need to have in mind that content is evolving, so you should definitely include quality images and videos into your blog.

Engage your audience through social media

It is no secret that social media marketing plays a vital role in every business’s marketing strategy. However, if you are doing it just to be part of the crowd, then you are not doing it well. The businesses with the most followers on social media and the most feedback aren’t lucky, they simply have a thought out strategy, which includes getting to know the rules of the platform and the audience active on it. Regardless of which platform we are talking about, the most important thing to do is to engage your audience and encourage communication. That way, you can build a connection that leads to loyalty and trust.

Use infographics

We live in the era of information overload, and the last thing the web audience needs is long articles packed with endless data. But what to do when you want to say something meaningful about your line of work or your company? It’s simple: use infographics. Infographics can present information, knowledge and data in visual and interesting manner.

Moreover, using infographics is a great way to build brand awareness and send a message to a wider audience. Besides, infographics have undeniable SEO benefits. Also, a quality infographic needs to be simple and unique. It has to produce high impact with minimal text and it should pack a creative punch. Finally, it has to be easily shareable.

Put it on paper

Traditional marketing might be a bit drowsy, but it is far from being dead. The main reason why businesses should occasionally turn to it is because no one is expecting it, and the competition surely isn’t doing it. It is also the reason why there are many cheap printing solutions available. You can print handouts, flyers or brochures. Also, if you want to prevent your promotional material from ending up in the trash, try to keep it informative and creative.

Here are some basic promotional material design tips to help you stay on the right track:

  • Function before form (information needs to be clear and visible).
  • Keep the text concise.
  • Contact details must be instantly noticeable.
  • The visual aspect accompanies the text (you can’t sell perfumes and put a picture of a cake on the flyer).
  • Be subtle but not dull.
  • Make the image, color and heading the most striking elements.
  • Use different shapes.
  • Transmit the mood with color.
  • Make it a keeper with great pictures and some good tip.

Become a guerillero

If you are looking for an advertising strategy that requires low investments yet yields maximum results, look no further than guerilla marketing. The purpose of this approach is to represent your business in an imaginative way that will surprise the customers, draw attention to your company and create a lasting impression and a social buzz.

Guerilla marketing strategy doesn’t require a lot of money, just a substantial amount of creativity, energy and time. To achieve the best effect, first you should know who you are targeting with your campaign. Capturing attention is your second objective, but it will be worthless unless you can align the creativity with the purpose of the campaign. Some of the small-business-friendly guerilla marketing strategies include graffiti (not on other people’s property), pop up shops, free samples, sidewalk chalk, projecting video on a large outdoor wall, flash mob and gamification.

As you can see, cost-effective marketing is doable, and if you play your cards right, you will surely attract new loyal customers and increase the revenues.

 

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Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

Get To Know Your #SEO

Any small business, blogger or start-up, needs to be online. Improving your online presence is a sure fire way to get more customers and more awareness for your business or brand. So as well as being on social media channels, and having a website, what else can you do? One of the biggest things of late is increasing your search engine optimization or SEO. In basic terms, that is all about how well your site ranks on a search engine. There are many ways to market this, for example creating ads to gain traffic. But that is really SEM (search engine marketing), rather than SEO. So let’s get down to business and talk all things SEO. Understanding it is a must for your business.

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Content is King

There is no getting away from the fact that search engine, in particular, Google, loves new content. So first off, you need to be blogging on your website if you’re not already. Creating new content and sharing it online regularly is a great way to drive traffic to your site, especially if your content answers people’s questions or is relevant to current affairs, for instance.

Know Your Keywords

The content that you produce should also contain some certain keywords, as that is what will help people to search for what you have written about. Avoid stuffing keywords on every line, though. It does need to have a focus. So looking into the keywords that people have used in the past to find you, is a great way to know what people are looking for. A company like ignitedigital.com could be doing that kind of thing for you if you’re not sure where to start. These keywords are important, though, as it is important for branding and knowing your customer base.

Get Your Website Up To Scratch

If you have a slow loading or responding website, then that can be detrimental in a couple of ways. First of all, it can put off potential customers. But second of all, it can affect your SEO ranking. So get your website looked at by a professional if you feel like you need to speed things up. An article by kissmetrics.com shows that around forty percent of internet users will click off a site if a website isn’t loading quickly. That is a heck of a lot of potential customers to be losing!

Check Your Site URLs

The URL of a website can affect how well a site is ranked. If you are clicking on articles or certain product pages, then you need to check what your URLs for those pages are. It needs to be short, around three or five words long, as well as being clear and to the point. Avoid using words like it and and in a URL. Being specific will help when search engines ‘crawl’ your site, to know what kind of content you’re producing. When search engines understand that and know the kind of content that you produce, then you will rank higher.

That Blogging Business: Being Bigger, Better & Bolder With Your Blog

The modern world is amazing. Years ago, not many people would be able to take their hobby, and transform it into a business. Yes, some people would take their passion for sport or writing to a professional level, but not everyone. But that’s to the internet, chasing after your dreams is more possible than ever. Some people do start a blog with the hopes of transforming it into a legitimate business, but a lot of people start out with a passion for their niche or the simple love of writing. If you were in the latter camp, but you want to think about making your blog a business, let’s take a look at how you can make that happen.

Growing Your Readership

The first thing you need to be able to do is think about growing your readership. Because if you want your blog to be a business, you need customers. And it’s going to be your readers that will become your customers, so you should start to think of them in that way. If you’re going to make some real money out of your blog, you need to grow your audience. To do that, you need to set some clear strategies to follow now and in the future.

Improving Your Content

At the same time, you should always be thinking about how you can push your content to the next level. If you’re serious about growing your audience, you need to make sure you can provide some value to your readers, and you can do that with great content. Whether you think of new and innovative ideas or try to come up with posts and topics that haven’t been covered before, you should find that better content will help to push your business forwards.

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Being Innovative With What You Offer

Sometimes, the thing that’s going to help to take your blog off as a business, is innovation. Just as in the business world, you need to be able to give your customers something different. See this as something additional to, or complementary to, the content you provide. Over time, you may want to create a product, until then, you may want to offer downloadable items that can add more value to their experience on your site.

Planning For Progression

You also need to be thinking ahead as much as possible. It’s important to know where you want to go in the future. For this, you may need additional funding from somewhere like businessloans.co or to even look into taking on staff. But it’s important that you’re able to think about where you want your business to be, in order to get it there.

Connecting With Clients

But your readers aren’t going to be the only customers you have; you’re also going to want to land advertising clients too. Although your readers can buy products from you, and drive things like your affiliate or media advertising revenue, advertisers can also contribute a large amount to your income. So you need to think about connecting with clients as entrepreneur.com shows us as early as you can, even if it’s just laying the foundation for future business.

Keeping An Up-To-Date SEO Strategy

SEO is evolving all the time, and like every other facet of digital marketing, it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down! While some of the changes that are always in the works may be intrinsically beneficial to your business, if you’re not up to date on the way SEO is developing, you’re certain to fall behind your close competitors. Unless you work in marketing, making sure your SEO strategy is current can feel like a mountain of a task. However, there are various habits you can adopt that will help you assure your SEO is always up to date. Here are a few of the best tips for ensuring effective and up-to-date SEO.

Keep It All Integrated

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SEO used to be completely divorced from content marketing, and blogs emphasising the importance of high-quality content weren’t nearly as ubiquitous as SEO services promising to optimise your content, usually through keyword stuffing. While people know better these days, there are still a lot of entrepreneurs who see content marketing and SEO as completely different things. In order to accomplish sustainable marketing, you need to have a fully integrated approach, and your SEO needs to cover every little facet of marketing. This means that you’re thinking about the way your target market is searching throughout your entire branding scope; social media, blogging, press releases, and even traditional marketing in some cases. The point here is that the topics covered in any given platform should be consistent. You can integrate your marketing more easily with certain tools that can be used to analyse data, and draw conclusions from it. Botify crawler has often been praised as a game changer in this niche. While it’s important to know the kinds of topics your target market are searching for, you must never overlook what your customers are actually interested in learning, and how your content can help them. By integrating social media as part of customer engagement with any of your content, both online and offline, you can become much more intimate with the likes and dislikes of your target market, and plan your future content accordingly.

Use Synonyms, Rather than Keywords Only

Google has evolved massively in recent years in terms of understanding some of the synonyms that commonly go along with keywords. For example, the phrase “inventory management” may be high-volume according to Google AdWords, but the world’s most popular search engine can now also grasp phrases like “inventory software” or “inventory control”. Previously, people creating content needed to find a perfect text URL, and then use it to link back to certain sites, or certain pages of their blog. Today, the situation is almost completely reversed. Google knows when you’re trying to pin down that exact match. If you wind up doing it too often, it will appear as if you’re trying too hard. You should start using keywords for only around 20 to 30 percent of all your link anchors, and using brand names, or even a phrase like “learn more” or “click here” for the remaining proportion. Google will now recognise the synonyms tied to each keyword phrase, and see it in context, getting some idea of what the content is talking about in a given page. The take-home point here is that you can’t afford to write content intended solely for the search engine’s algorithms anymore. When you’re writing content for humans, search engines are much more likely to understand, and Google is getting better at this all the time!

Achieve the Right Frequency

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Finding an achievable and consistent frequency with your posting is everything in terms of modern SEO. Every brand hoping to make it in the modern arena needs to be constantly creating, publishing, and promoting great content. Integrated social media strategies are obviously a big part of this, as this is among the most effective channels for spreading awareness of the content you’re putting out there. Going back to our first point, you don’t want to fall into the trap of seeing social media as wholly distinct from your SEO plans. By viewing your company’s social media presence as a platform for distribution, where sharable content and, to a certain degree, hashtags are the currency, you’ll add a lot of invaluable support to your overall content marketing efforts. The better the quality, and usefulness of your posts, the better they’ll perform when shared on Facebook, Twitter or any other channel your target market happens to use. Regardless of how good your content is, it’s absolutely crucial to come up with a dependable schedule. This will get more readers into the rhythm of your posts, and hopefully, create excitement in the right circles when something new is coming up. Just don’t make your schedule too demanding, and end up publishing poor-quality content just so you can hit deadlines.

Keep an Eye on the Technical Details 

As Google becomes more and more intuitive, it’s still worth noting that there are various technical factors you need to bear in mind. Google’s ultimate aim is to link people up with the things they’re searching for as efficiently as possible, and therefore make it easy for the business owners and content creators providing it. However, until they polish their plans off, a large part of SEO is going to be down to coding and other more “techie” details. You don’t have to enter a distance-learning course, but it can certainly pay to keep yourself familiar with some of the more accessible technical details, and learn how to manipulate them. Using keywords in your URL, coming up with web-friendly headlines, and most importantly of all, load times, are all going to have an impact on how SEO-friendly your site is.

As Google’s algorithm keeps speeding into the future, bear in mind that the purpose is to let consumers form connections, answer their questions, and find the kind of product or service that they’re looking for. Bearing this in mind, and maintaining a strong emphasis on constant improvement, will have your brand well on its way to success!

 

 

 

 

Time to Put On Your Design Thinking Cap

Why should your enterprise embrace design thinking? Design thinking employs both brain hemispheres. It uses rational, critical logic as well as creativity to focus on solutions. Adopting this methodology helps decision makers optimize their choices. It offers a way to attain better outcomes.

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This article explains why entrepreneurs should embrace this methodology to enhance decision-making.

Why Does Design Thinking Matter?

You won’t need to apply design thinking to tackle every minor obstacle, of course. Instead, you’ll want to employ this approach whenever you seek innovative answers to perplexing or challenging questions. Typical situations that call for design thinking include:

  • Unexpected market disruptions;
  • Revitalizing corporate cultures;
  • Developing new business models, and more!

By applying this methodology through a consistent, well-structured iterative cycle, you’ll discover creative ways to offer greater value to your customers. These transformations foster healthy business expansion and growth. A series of uniform steps enable this iterative paradigm to promote desired changes: (1) careful observation; (2) identifying innovation opportunities; (3) brainstorming creative solutions; (4) conducting appropriate testing and (5) refining solutions.

Putting Customers First

Design thinking revolves around placing customers in a paramount position within your business framework. Previous generations of business executives adhered to the slogan: “the customer is always right”. Implementing creative design thinking requires your enterprise to uphold a slightly different motto: “the customer always comes first.”

The process of making customers a focus of your attention involves several important steps. These considerations fit together in a holistic way:

Identify The Customer

Your enterprise must clearly identify your customers in order to develop useful innovations on their behalf. Market research assists this process.

Conduct Market Research

Market research typically entails many steps. Use this business tool to learn more about the underlying problem your product or service addresses.

Personalize The Customer Experience

Today, customers value personalized assistance. Finding ways to enhance the customization of a service or a product has benefited many small businesses recently.

Develop Measures For Success

Your enterprise needs to establish clear markers for evaluating your success in addressing customer needs. Creative design techniques can help your organization contribute tangible value if you can measure the results effectively. Determining the value of a good or service to the customer helps you achieve this vital result.

Identify Customer Problems

Design thinking involves engaging with your customers proactively. You’ll need to understand the way problems impact them and develop empathy with them to better appreciate their experience using your goods or services.

Use Ideation Techniques to Identify Problem Solutions

Ideation techniques (such as brainstorming) followed by targeted customer feedback assists many businesses. Enterprises employ these tools in devising solutions for perceived problems. Used effectively, this approach can help your design team improve the customer experience.

Produce a Prototype

You’ll want to generate prototypes to enable your team to conduct preliminary market testing, perhaps with the assistance of focus groups. Development teams may then use this information to refine prototypes.

Test And Refine Solutions

Testing and tweaking proposed solutions in an iterative process holds value. It enables you to identify ways to enhance customer satisfaction.

Towards Enhanced Collaboration

Developing a genuinely collaborative, positive organizational culture won’t replace promoting creativity and innovation with design thinking. However, by implementing this methodology, your enterprise enables collaboration to flourish. By placing the needs and interests of the customer first, everyone focuses upon a shared goal.

Design thinking helps enterprises revolutionize and democratize group work environments. In the past, a speaker’s seniority or rank within a hierarchy often determined the value decision makers placed upon proposed innovations. When organizations adopt creative design thinking, this prioritization changes radically. Instead, an idea’s potential value to customers determines its significance.

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In order to supply superb customer service, everyone within an enterprise committed to creative design thinking works together as a team. The process of making changes tends to build group consensus. While disagreements do occur from time to time, the overall goal of placing the customer first provides a unifying basis for informed decision-making. This result holds many byproducts, which benefit the organization: a highly motivated, enthusiastic workforce; decreased job turnover; enhanced individual job satisfaction. Ultimately, this group effort produces better results for the enterprise as a whole.

A Worthwhile Achievement

Creative design thinking empowers business enterprises to serve customers more effectively. By focusing on customers as a priority, everyone in the organization achieves a greater sense of fulfillment. This process helps generate revolutionary innovations while also forging stronger organizational cohesion. Consider implementing this facile management cycle to infuse constructive changes into worn, tired business systems.
Author Bio

Heather Redding is a part time assistant manager and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys swimming and reading. Street photography is her newly discovered artistic outlet and she likes to capture life’s little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.

Using SEO And Social Media To Grow Your Business This Year

Using SEO and social media isn’t just an option these days; it’s a necessity. If you want to make sure that your business grows at the rate you want it to, then focusing on your strategies for these things is a must. This year, social media and SEO are more important than ever. SEO is now all about making the experience a customer has with you as pleasant as possible, from the moment they land on your site right down to the purchasing process. It isn’t about manipulating the search engines. Social media is so popular that you’d be missing a huge trick if you didn’t incorporate it into your plans. Let’s take a look at a few tips and ideas that are going to help you grow your business.

SEO Can Improve Your Social Media Campaigns

SEO and social media are not two different things. SEO can actually improve your social media campaigns when you are smart. You may already know the importance of analysing the right keywords for your industry and niche. Just about any internet marketing SEO company will tell you the same thing. If you don’t use the right keywords, you’re not going to attract the right audience, or as big an audience as possible!

You can make sure you are utilizing both by using the keywords you discover on your social media profiles; on LinkedIn, on Facebook, even in the tweets that you write. Obviously you don’t want to get spammy about it, but you should definitely make sure you include them where possible to help give you a boost.

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Make Sure You’re Dedicated To Social Media

Social media is no joke. It takes real planning and dedication for it to work! You need to make sure you listen to your audience, as they are going to give you many clues on how you can make this work. You also need to make sure that you’re sharing relevant messages. Once you’re doing that, you must make sure others can share that message too. When you’re sharing interesting, relevant stuff, others will naturally want to share it.

Social media marketing can be one of the most cost effective marketing tools to help you build authority. You just need to make sure you get it right. A few blog posts and status updates are not enough to make it work. Making sure you use the appropriate platforms and post at the right times is crucial, along with content that’s going to draw people in. Here are some bullet points so you can make sure you get it right:

  • Only start with as many platforms as you can handle. If you can’t keep up, don’t start another platform. This is why so many business owners choose to invest in a social media manager.
  • Make sure you’re posting at the times your audience are most likely to see it.
  • Make sure you include pictures with your posts. They make people want to read more!
  • Make sure you actually speak to your audience. Use their language!
  • Always be consistent. Consistency is key to making this work.

Read on for even more tips!

Be Helpful

Make sure you’re not just looking to receive with your content. You should aim to give. Help out your audience. This will make them far more likely to come back to you and choose to buy from you. The hard sell really isn’t attractive! Share your knowledge. This might seem scary, but it really will go a long way to helping you establish yourself as an authority. Don’t be a knowledge hoarder, as it won’t help you at all!

Always Include A Call To Action

Although you’re not going for the hard-sell, actually including a call to action really will go a long way to helping you get what you want. If you post a piece of great content, why would you not ask your audience to give it another share? Including a call to action actually works, so the last thing you want to do is forget it. This could be a simple ‘liked this? Share it!’ at the end of your post.

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Engage With Your Audience

Social media is all about being social. What does that mean? Make sure you’re actually engaging with them! Ask them questions, answer their questions, start discussions and conversations. Make sure you reply. Engaging with them is the key to nailing social media. It makes them feel like you care, and helps you to build a stronger relationship with them overall. When you build a relationship with your audience, you get brand loyalty. You should reply to comments that are both positive and negative. You need to make sure you have the same ‘brand voice’ throughout. Ensure you don’t take negative comments personally, either. Always reply professionally and aim to fix whatever the issue is in the best way possible. Making sure you give the best customer service this way will help you to get far more recommendations and word of mouth reviews.

Start A Blog Right Now

If you haven’t got a blog, you need to start one. Right now. A blog takes time to establish, but it’s so worth it. If you can build your online presence, this can help you to get a huge number of followers. Your blog can be used to share interesting stuff and tips regarding your industry, products, services, etc. You can answer questions your customers always want to know the answer to. If you make your posts good enough, there’s a chance they’ll go viral. Although you shouldn’t count on this, getting lots of shares is still possible. Starting a blog is mostly about social media, but the more quality content you create, the more it helps your SEO campaigns too.

Get Involved With Video Marketing

Thousands of people search for videos on the things they want to know. Videos also allow you to present your information in a more attractive, shorter amount of time, and allow you to show your personality more. To do this, you can use Youtube, Vimeo and other video sites.

It’s important you take the time to build your channel and ensure informative videos. Your videos should be attractive, so you need to make sure your equipment is pretty good. You don’t need to invest in the best of the best right away, but you should have a clear picture and sound. Knowing how to edit your videos is also key to getting it right.

Offer Discounts And Deals On Social Media

Offering exclusive deals will help you to get more follows and shares. They don’t have to be huge, and of course you don’t want to do this all the time or you can easily lose custom the rest of the time. You don’t want to cheapen yourself! You could even offer discounts for people who recommend you to a friend, and run social media competitions. Competitions like this are extremely popular!

Use The Right Tools

You can use tools to make your social media campaign a little easier. You can use things like Hootsuite and Post Planner to give you nudges and post for you. Automating your posts is a must if you want to save time and be able to focus on your business. You can get tools to alert you when somebody interacts with you, so you can reply virtually right away. You’ll never miss a mention! You can also schedule your posts to go out at the right time, so you don’t have to login and logout multiple times throughout the day. Always analyze what is working for you too, so you can do more of what is and scrap what isn’t. It’s easy to get a picture of which posts are being responded to the most.

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Consider Paid Advertising

Paid advertising will cost you a bit of money, but there are many benefits that make it worth it. It’s an investment, as the money will likely come back to you in the form of sales. It’s one of the various forms of social media marketing that can encourage growth. Be creative and make sure you come up with your own strategies though, rather than copying others. When you decide to use paid advertising, you can make sure you’re targeting people who have an active interest in what you do, or those who fit your target market. For instance, if you sell products for newborns, you can get your ads to target new parents.

Make sure you’re using SEO and social media together to grow your business this year. Whether you’re a small local business or an ever growing corporation, you need to utilize these things to make a big impact. Making sure you create a budget for it is crucial; you don’t want to be doing all of these things yourself, as it can get stressful, confusing, and take time away from what you’re good at. Remember; anything you invest will always pay off when you get more conversions.