How Can My Small Business Achieve a Significant Online Presence?

The internet has changed our lives dramatically over the last couple of decades. It has changed our behaviour as consumers (meaning that businesses have to keep up) and one way they can go about doing so is being visible online. One thing small businesses struggle with is competing with more established companies, as an entrepreneur you need to show people that you’re reliable and trustworthy- and that they will have a good experience shopping with you. One way you can go about this is by having a good online presence; when a customer types your business into a search engine, they need to be able to see that you’re very much present and that everything is being run correctly. Here’s how you can go about it.

Get Your Website Right

When you’re a small business without much money to start off with, it’s tempting to want to cut costs on things like web design and have a go yourself. But while you may be able to knock up something that looks ok, it’s always going to lack that professional edge. If you want to make a good impression on customers and clients, you absolutely need to invest in a decent website. It needs to look good, be properly laid out and free of clutter and spam. It should be fast to load and free of errors. A web designer will be able to create something custom to you, so do some research and look through a few designers portfolios. Your website represents your business online, something that looks tacky will do nothing but put people off- after all, if your website is poor its easy to assume that the rest of your business is run the same way. We’re all guilty of thinking this way, how many times have you clicked off a website because it looked a little DIY or it was slow to load? It’s not something that would make you want to part with your money.

Have an App Created

Lots of smaller businesses still aren’t reaping the benefits of what an app can do for their business, meaning rightnow you have the chance to get ahead. Research how much does it cost to make an app and work this into your budget, it’s an investment that could mean big returns for your business. An app makes you look smart and professional, and for now it puts you ahead of your competition.

Get Social

Social media is one of the biggest things to come out of the internet in recent years. It’s something that business owners have been able to take advantage of, as it allows you to get closer to your customers and to communicate with them in a more informal way. You can quickly answer queries and questions, you can share positive comments, reviews and customer photos of your business. You can share marketing materials to your followers including sales, deals and discounts and you can run giveaways and competitions (which will increase your following further). Having a good following and being responsive on social media is a great way to improve your online presence.

Ask Customers For Reviews

Reviews really can make or break your business. When you’re thinking of shopping with a new company but are a little unsure, what’s the first thing you do? Chances are it’s go online and check the reviews. If you were already on the fence, a few bad reviews are going to sway you and lead you to go and shop somewhere else. Great reviews on the other hand will give you confidence, if most others have had a good experience then it shows that you probably will too. As a business owner, you should be investing time into building up your reviews. Ensure you’re putting out a quality service every time, and if there are any problems they should be dealt with quickly and professionally. You need to come to some kind of agreement where your customer is left happy, this will prevent them from leaving you a bad review. You can’t provide any compensation for positive reviews, but you can politely ask and if people have had a good experience with you then chances are they’ll be happy to leave you one. As well as adding a review tab to your Facebook business page, ask people to review you on a third party site like Trustpilot. These reviews are well respected as you have to sign up and verify your identity to post and so you know that anything posted is truthful- not just a company writing their own positive reviews! Another way you can get impartial reviews is by working with bloggers, if you send them out a free product for example they will review it fairly- of course if your product and business is good then it will be a good review. Having lots of reviews online when customers search increases your online presence and can sway anyone who’s a little unsure into making an order.

 

 

 

Easy Business Growth Strategies to Follow Right Away

It is difficult to grow a business and requires considerable effort. You must begin by handling your own marketing, sales, corporate compliance, taxes and customer interactions. You can grow your business efficiently and quickly with the right perspective, hard work and a good growth strategy. The strategy you choose will impact your profits and the bottom line of your business. The value you build must be honest and help your customers. Your foundation should be based on genuine caring.

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The Sales Funnel

Building your sales funnel is the first step in growing your business. This will help your business become automated resulting in easy and fast growth. You will have to put in some work on the front end but once the process is established it leads to smooth sailing. You need to think about the different types of funnels such as high-ticket coaching and free shipping offers. To establish growth, you must have an automated selling machine for your business.

The Customer Management System

It is difficult to manually track your transactions and becomes harder as your business expands. The best solution is a customer management system. There are numerous types available depending on your business type. There is software based in the cloud, accounting software, sales and marketing software, etc. You need to figure out which software will best suit you needs and run with it.

The Competition

You must take the time to research your competition to assure your offer reaches your target audience. There are different platforms available but they all provide competitive intelligence. This is the way to see your competitor’s ad copy, landing pages and every stage of their funnel. You will reveal your competitor’s online strategy and their longest running ads. Emulating these ads will help scale your business. If the add was effective for your competitor, it will work for you as well.

The Loyalty Program

A good loyalty program will increase your sales. Acquiring a new customer is three times more expensive than selling an existing customer. It costs a lot of money to acquire new customers. You can retain customers with a customer loyalty program. You need to provide your customers with an attractive incentive. This can be anything from free shipping to buy one get the second product at fifty percent off to five-dollar coupons. You can also try to arrange different kinds of wellness programs like health tips seminars, informative session on ‘what is calisthenic’ and how to maintain health. These programs may increase their loyalty towards your brand as it shows that you care. When your loyalty program is accessible to your customers, your sales will soar.

The New Opportunities

When you analyze any new opportunities, it will help you understand the demographics for your business better. This includes your distribution channels, analyzing other industries with potential, foreign markets and your direct competitors. Your analysis will reveal dozens of opportunities with immediate potential.

The Email List

An email list is an excellent way to grow your business quickly. Once you have a lead magnet, an email list and a sales funnel, your customer base will begin to increase. You must provide a good incentive for consumers to subscribe to your email list. The more creative and unique you make your emails, the better the results. There are also excellent online tools available to help you manage your list efficiently.

The Strategic Partnerships

Forming a strategic partnership with the right business will make a big difference. This will enable you to reach a wide variety of customers much faster. It can be difficult to identify the right companies. Find the businesses that compliment what you do, make contact with them and propose a business venture beneficial to both companies.

The Franchise Model

If you already have a successful business but are looking for fast growth, considering franchises. A franchise model is complicated and will require significant research, expenses and marketing knowledge. This being said, this is an excellent opportunity to procure growth extremely quickly.

The Diversification

Your offers should be diversified. Your business should include any complimentary services or products appropriate for your customers. This will help expand your business and achieve growth. Look for any new opportunities available in your niche. You need to figure out what you can sell your clients to add extra value to their purchases.

The Passive Income

Passive income streams are incredibly beneficial if your margins are razor thin. This will enable you to make errors without losing everything. The ample resources provided by a passive income will help your business market excel and achieve growth more quickly.

The Business Acquisition

One of the best ways to grow your business quickly is to acquire other businesses. You need to look for businesses or competitors in industries that will compliment your business. These acquisitions can be used as a launching platform to scale your business at an increased rate of growth. Do not limit yourself to just looking inside your industry, look outside of it as well. You will find the potential for numerous opportunities.

International Expansion

You may be able to use your existing offers for international expansion. Your offers may scale well for Europe, Mexico or Canada. International expansion is an excellent opportunity if you have an offer capable of converting. There will be costs involved but the potential for future profits is astronomical.

The Webinar

A webinar is a great way to promote your services or products. This is also a way to establish fast business growth. A webinar will help you reach a large audience extremely quickly and is an automated selling tool for everything your business has to offer. A webinar will help captivate your audience and make sales automatically.

Conclusion

Growing a business takes a lot of hard work but the results are well worth the effort. Following the above tips will help ensure your hard work pays off. Remember your goals and celebrate every milestone.

Consider These Digital Marketing Tips for Online Success

Research has shown that over 70% of Americans buy products online in a period of one month. With Internet you can check out various products and services online and decide what is best for you even though you will buy the products at a physical shop near your home. If you are a business person, you have to strategically plan how to market your products and services on the digital platform. This has proven to be a challenge for some brands, but that does not mean there is no way to make it work for you and your business. Here are some tips that will ensure your online venture is successful.

Establish your website blog

A blog helps you to connect with your target audience and you can post your blogs across social media networks in order to attract attention to your website. You can make use of certain keywords to help advance your SEO hence more people will be in a position to click your site because it moves higher in the Google search results. When you write a blog post, you are able to connect with other bloggers and thus gain more brilliant ideas on digital marketing. On the website, displaying USPs and explaining how it functions can convert your website visitors into customers because they are able to know how your business brochures and the products can reach them.

Collaborate with same customer-based businesses

Small business entrepreneurs should partner with similar customer-based businesses but ensure that those you partner with are not your competitors. Partner up with another business that is complementary to yours rather than a competitor who might steal your clients. For example, a mason and an electrician. Write about the value given to customers by your partners and give reasons why you support those values. Make a point of sharing this with various companies and ask them to enlighten their audience on this information. Consider establishing a deal with your partners on customer referral and when customers visit your partners businesses, they learn about your business even if it is by word of mouth. By doing this, both of the businesses will be at an advantage.

Sell your business on social media

It is important to share your values, ideas on improving your business, ways your customers can acquire your products on social media because so many people are on social media and this creates a great platform for your marketing. Some of the social media platforms that you should target include; Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. On Instagram for example, consider using Instagram stories or hashtags to promote your products. The stories appear on the Instagram home page hence making it easier for your audience to spot them. Twitter and Facebook live chats will enable you to engage with your targeted audience. Through these chats you can be in a position to understand your customers and get their opinion on your products moreover you will be able to grow your business.

Pay attention to your local customers

Let us understand this with an example. If you are a real estate entrepreneur, consider offering home renovation finance to your customers. They are more likely to accept your services if you fulfill their more than one needs. See how other businesses are doing in your local market and ensure that you give the best services or products to your local customers. You can also give back to the local community by sponsoring sports teams etc. Those that benefit will mention you when they are discussing issues with their friends hence more customers are channeled to you.

Come up with a logo

In digital marketing, a logo is fundamental because it usually passes crucial information to your target audience. Make sure your logo is eye catching with proper graphics and a few words on both print and digital. Your logo should essentially explain what your business entails. It can pass a message of your values, your brand promises, your mission and your professionalism. Your logo talks a lot about your business so you should pay special attention to making one that is worth it. Work with a skilled graphic designer to come up with a logo that best suits your business.

Obtain your customers Email Addresses

Almost all adults in the United States of America have Email Addresses and this tells you that you can reach a large number of them using Email. This will enable you to pass all necessary information to your customers with no hitches whatsoever and create a connection between you and your customers. All that you will require is Internet to convey your important messages including changes in your services and products, bonuses or offers and your general business developments. On your website develop a form where your customers can fill in their names and email addresses.

Use information graphics as well as animated videos

Make your service page interactive and showcase how your product is beneficial. For instance, if you check Ford’s newly launched SUV, it has a 360-degree interactive graphics tour. These graphics not only attracts viewers to spend more time on your service page but also increases your conversion rate.

Having an informative funny animated video can also boost your business. Take time to create interesting videos for your audience. People will share your videos on social media and this will reach a lot of people. The videos attract more viewers and this may help simplify a complex business. For kids stuff for example you should focus on advertising your business using animated videos. All kids are lovers of animations.

Provide relevant information to other bloggers

Always be keen to provide useful information to any kind of visitors on your site. If influencers and journalists log into your site and they are able to get meaningful information, then it is to your advantage because they may mention you in their blogs too. This way you gain popularity among so many people.

Digital marketing is very important for any business to grow and gain trust from its customers. Pay proper attention to providing quality information on the Internet in order to benefit from digital marketing. Digital marketing is cheaper compared to other forms of marketing because it doesn’t require a lot of resources. All you need is a computer and Internet! All business marketers should opt to go digital on their marketing techniques in order to achieve the best out of the business.

4 Ways Surveys Can Help Build Your Startup Company Strategy

Running a startup business is, in fact, quite difficult. Aside from trying to find a way to make it on the market, there are also a lot of challenges and obstacles startup owners face. It’s also quite complicated to fully understand whether or not your business idea will succeed on the market and if there’ll be any demand for your products or services. What’s more, startup businesses usually lack the sufficient funds to conduct extensive and thorough market research.

Luckily, where there’s a will there’s a way – and that’s conducting surveys. That way, startup owners can obtain the necessary information that will help them create a good strategy, without investing too many resources into it. In addition, you can rely on relevant data you’ve obtained directly from your target audience and potential customers. Simply put, you’ll be able to make more strategic and smart decisions. Here are a few ways surveys can help you build a startup company strategy.

Identifying your target audience

As mentioned before, startup businesses are generally not funded enough to conduct in-depth market research. You can assume who is most likely to be interested in your products and services, but you can’t know for sure nor do you know anything important about those potential customers. However, the key to success is knowing all there is to know about your target audience. Fortunately, surveying people doesn’t involve a hefty investment at all.

When creating a survey for your research purposes, make sure you include questions that will shed light on your audience’s demographics, overall interests, preferences and expectations. This will help you familiarize yourself with your target audience and understand their needs as consumers. That information will help you improve your products or services, so that you’ll have a better product/market fit for your startup. You can conduct the surveys both online and in person. Just make sure you analyze the data properly in order to extract vital information from it.

Tracking customer satisfaction

If you’ve started to build an online presence for your startup and also started making sales, it’s important to know how your audience perceives you so far. Customer satisfaction is essential for business success. The main reason is that if your customers aren’t happy, your reputation, bottom line and chances of success may drastically decline. That’s why it’s important to follow-up with your customers after interactions, sales and other activities.

Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask your customers for feedback. You can offer a simple incentive to your customers and ask them to participate in paid surveys online. That way, in exchange for their feedback, your customers will gain something of value in return. This will help you gain information that will assist you in improving your customer service and support. Not only that, but it will show your customers that you’re making an effort and that their opinions matter to you.

Testing products and features

Every business looks to grow and develop further by introducing innovation. Adding features to your products or services may be a good way to boost engagement with your customers, but it may also backfire if not done properly. If you want to add something new, it’s safer not to surprise your customers, but instead, ask them for their opinions. You can conduct a survey where you’ll describe new features to customers in detail and ask them what they think about it.

If your audience is generally pleased with the improvements, you can move on to the implementation stage. If not, you should avoid it altogether. That way, you not only show your customer that you care and that their best interest comes first when designing new features, but it also saves you time and resources on developing features that might fail from the start.

Assessing your marketing performance

When launching a marketing campaign that has a purpose of promoting your startup business and inspiring your audience to engage, it’s always a good idea to track important metrics and key performance indicators (KPI). However, without a general input from the customers themselves, you can’t be absolutely sure how well-received your marketing campaign actually is. It’s very risky to keep an ineffective marketing campaign running.

That’s why you should turn to surveying your audience once again. Ask for feedback on your marketing efforts and encourage customers to speak up. Make sure you ask the right questions, so that you can gather the most valuable information from the answers. Their feedback will provide you with information on how to improve your content, promotions and offers. In short, it will help you improve your marketing campaigns, so that they become more efficient in delivering value to both your customers and your startup.

It’s no secret that many startup businesses have difficulties maintaining their growth while trying to figure out the best approach to stand out on the market. That being said, surveys can be quite beneficial to startup owners, especially when they lack the means and the funds to conduct proper research. If you ask the right question from the right people, you’ll gain valuable information that will help you develop an exceptional startup company strategy.

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

Tech Is Taking Over Customer Care

In the past, your employees were your most important tool or resource for dealing with customer issues and making sure that they were completely satisfied. Today? It all comes down to the tech. While employees certainly still have a role to play here, it’s the tech in your company that is going to determine whether your customers are satisfied with your level of service.

There are a few reasons for this. First, the advances in technology have made it the best solution. With new tech, you can communicate with people, highlight information and take personal reactions out of the equation. This actually makes a business model more efficient and effective because the time of your staff can be spent elsewhere in other key areas. Let’s look at some of the tech that can be used and examples across industries.

E-commerce Online Interactions

In the past, if a customer wanted to speak to an employee or member of your staff online, they had two options. Either, they could call your company or send an email. Neither were particularly beneficial. Numbers were constantly clogged up with customers while emails did not provide the best response time.

Today, customers can access live chats through your website if you have the necessary software. With the right software, you can make sure that customers can immediately talk to someone on your team but that’s not all. Customers can also find information they need from automated response before they ever think about speaking to a member of your team.

Feedback

Customers may need feedback particularly if they have used a service you have provided. They may also want to provide feedback to your company. There are lots of ways companies do this using technology today, but let’s explore the medical industry in particular. The medical industry is a rather special case because rather than customers they have patients. But patients still interact with staff like doctors and nurses, so they still require customer care. With a mobile hospital cart computer workstation, patients can see their diagnosis on screen, provide feedback that is directly input in an automated system and even communicate with their doctor. The tech used here speeds up processes in hospitals, dealing with the critically long wait times that plague hospital halls.

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Online Discussion

Finally, you can use the online world to provide your clients or customers with the chance to communicate with you. Using the latest software, you can think about giving your customers various opportunities to not only discuss their opinions of your business but communicate with your company in a more personal way. Customers want to form connections with the businesses they buy from, and this is important. It will gain you loyalty and trust for those key repeat sales that will keep your company moving.

Similar tech can exist on shop floors as well, this time in the form of physical equipment. In some shops, you can now purchase items yourself. Once purchased you may then gain the chance to give feedback and leave your thoughts about the business. It’s a highly streamlined way of allowing customers to complete the process of purchasing while also interacting with your business.

Just Calling To Tell You That Customers Aren’t Happy With Your Phone Service

You may be surprised to see this post. After all, literal interaction with customers has slipped right down the priority scale, hasn’t it? Now, we’re all about social media and the best website to impress. THAT’S the way to make a success of what you’re trying to do. Isn’t it?

In many ways, online interactions are now crucial to success. This is how most customers shop. But, many businesses are getting on top here and still failing. Why? Because they’re failing to take into account that some customers prefer old interaction methods. High-street shops may be on their way out, but phone calls will always be relevant. Some customers just aren’t willing to Tweet and wait to hear back. They either don’t know how or don’t have the patience for it. And, to cater for those individuals, it’s essential you stay on top of phone-based interactions.

 

Yet, many new companies fail to take this aspect into account at all. It’s difficult to blame them when they have so much on their plate. But, to make sure customers don’t hang up on your business efforts, consider the following reasons for failure on the phone front.

Long waiting times

Given that instant gratification is the focus of modern business, it should come as no surprise that long waiting times are a no. There will be times when a small wait is inevitable, and customers understand that. But, anything over five minutes could lose you business. To make sure that doesn’t happen, consider your phone operations. Everyone in the office should have a phone by their side. That way, they can answer calls when the primary phone operators are busy. What’s more, you should head to sites like www.esudo.com and implement VoIP (voice over internet) capabilities. This will ensure that, even when out of the office, you staff are available to answer calls.

The wrong introduction

Even if waiting times aren’t a problem, answering calls in the wrong way will lead to disgruntled customers. As can be seen from sites like www.thebalancesmb.com, it’s essential to answer in a warm and enthusiastic manner. You should also state your name and company. And, you should brief your staff on these pointers, too. Much of this is common sense, but don’t assume they’ll do this without your asking. Take time to train each new employee on this issue.

Customers can’t understand you

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Wikimedia Image

Not being able to understand what someone’s saying down the phone is frustrating. And, this is an issue which many companies struggle to overcome. But, if customers can’t understand what your colleagues are saying, they aren’t going to buy. They’ll simply grow frustrated and put the phone down. To make sure that doesn’t happen, put efforts in place to make your phone calls as clear as possible. Give staff members headsets to block background noise. Make sure, too, that they know to pronounce every word well. These small steps will make a massive difference to the customer experience, and could seal you that deal.

Five Unusual Ways Of Staying In Touch with Your Customers

If you would like to market your company in a competitive marketplace, it is important that you choose your communication methods that make you stand out from the crowd. If your advertisement is displayed among dozens of others, it will make little or no impact. When Facebook advertising started, companies that jumped on board were winning customers. Now, however, you need to try harder to stand out. Below you will find a few unusual ways of staying in touch with your customers and marketing to them.

1.    Postcards

To really get your message across and show your appreciation to your customers, it is important that you keep in touch in a unique way. If you can keep a record of all your clients’ birthdays and special occasions, you will be able to surprise them with a unique postcard, reminding them that your company is there for them if they need it. At the same time, you can also use postcard marketing to send out promotions and special discount codes.

2.    Video Messages

If you would rather automate your marketing processes, you can create a video series and fill your autoresponder sequences with informative and educational content your customers will appreciate. Even if you are only sending out a branding message about moving to a new office, or positive changes in your company, you are giving your audience a chance to connect with you on a personal level, and you can strengthen your relationship with clients.

3.    Voice Recordings

A great way of making your marketing and branding messages stand out and get noticed is sending voice recordings to your customers. If you use any instant messaging service, such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Slack, you can send out recorded messages, Personalize your content to each customer’s industry, so they feel that you are talking directly to them,

4.    Faxing

While some people believe that fax services are old fashioned and modern businesses should no longer use them, they can make a huge difference in your marketing and communication campaigns. You can sign up for an online faxing account and create unique letterheads, getting your personalized messages across this way. Because you are not using email, your message will have a much better chance of being read than simply creating regular newsletters.

5.    Text Messages

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Image via PxHere

A great way of getting in touch with local clients is text messages or push messages. Both of the methods will allow you to deliver the short announcement or promotion directly to your customer’s phone. As most of us check our phones multiple times a day, this can be a great way of enticing your clients to visit your shop for a discount or asking for feedback, recommendation, or simply informing them of the changes in your opening hours.

If you would like to make sure that your promotional and branding messages get noticed by your target audience, it is important that you are using unique communication channels. These will enable you to personalize your message and reach out, increase your conversion and open rates.