Why You Need to Use Behavioral Segmentation

How do you current and potential customers find you? That is the conundrum for every company in today’s day and age. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to have a location, or to have a location that’s close to others who might add synergy to your business’s stability.

And while technology might seem like it would be an easy way to garner a wider, more solid core of customers, in fact websites and email aren’t enough either. Add to the mix social media (and the realization that one site isn’t enough either) and you’ve got a very confusing mix of how to reach people.

 But luckily, data has given us some insights into what we do need to know about our customers—not just where they live but what their lives look like and how their internal lives work, too. So how do you segment what you know and what you need to know? This graphic explains it.

Why You Need to Use Behavioral Segmentation

Unique Marketing: 5 Ways to Increase Sale for Your Business

Gone are the days when you could drum up business just by putting an ad in the paper. Today’s consumers expect a lot more flash and bang than the kind offered by old-school advertising. Here are just five ways to give it to them. 

Host a Challenge

Let your customers choose your new mascot by submitting pictures, videos and drawings. Ask them to snap selfies of themselves using your products or employing your services. See who can create the best hashtag for an annual event. Challenges are a fun way to engage your customers with your brand, and in addition to boosting your sales, they can also bring positive media attention to your company if they go viral. 

Participate in Social Media Trends 

Speaking of viral, you never know when that #ThrowbackThursday photo will get thousands of retweets. Don’t be afraid to hop on the bandwagon of whatever is currently trending. Businesses have gotten a lot of press from things like Gangnam Style parody videos, and the more that you put yourself out there, the more likely it is that you’ll strike a chord with the public someday. 

Hire Promotional Models 

You don’t have to run a clothing line to employ models for your brand. Promotional modeling can be a benefit in many different industries, and it’s something found at expos, conferences, trade shows and launch parties around the world. These men and women can do everything from promoting a specific product to bringing general attention to your brand. 

Offer Freebies 

Everyone loves a freebie, especially when it’s something valuable and not just a pen or key chain with your company’s logo on it. Think about offering doorbusters at your next big sale, or hand out high-quality gifts with the purchase of certain products. You might also choose to distribute prizes and rewards to completely random customers. Intermittent reinforcement is a powerful psychological tool. 

Consider Local Collaborations 

Sponsor a youth soccer league. Pair up with a non-competitor to offer mutual discounts on your services. You’ll find more customers by expanding your reach, and you’ll also establish yourself as a local, trusted brand by becoming a regular part of the community. People will think favorably of your business because they see your name every time that Junior hits a home run. 

Say goodbye to traditional marketing campaigns. Today’s businesses need to have innovative, forward-thinking ads that can capture hearts and minds despite the increasingly short attention span of society. Think outside of the box with your marketing efforts to ensure that people still notice you within the noise.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

5 Ways to Run a Successful Food Truck Business

Running a successful food truck business is a lot of hard work. Yet, many make the mistake of treating it like a hobby. If you are serious about making your food truck business successful, then follow these five tips.

Offer the Best Food

You need good recipes to make your food truck successful. Think about foods that not everyone in town is already serving. Then, find a great source of high-quality ingredients for those recipes. Prepare them to the best of your ability. Finally, test them out with people and incorporate their feedback until you have perfected them.

Get Quality Equipment

You will need to get quality equipment like stainless steel test sieves from a reliable supplier like newarkwire.com to run your business. Think about making a list of all the equipment that you will need to fix your recipes, and then get the equipment needed to prepare them. Buying quality helps to keep costs down in most cases as you will not have to replace them as often. Finally, consider buying more than one of each piece because equipment always seems to break at the most inopportune moment .

Employ Social Media

Part of the secret to running a successful food truck business is to connect with people on social media. It is a great way to let your customers know your location each day. Show them how great your food looks, so they are tempted to come to your location. Social media is also a great way to show customers the personality behind your company, so do not be afraid to post something funny or something that will tug at your customer’s emotions.

Be Dedicated to Customer Service

You need to be sure that your customers know how thankful you are for the opportunity to serve them. Start by offering them quality containers for their food and drink as flimsy containers can be hard to handle in an outside setting. Once they make the decision to order, then make sure to thank them for their order. If there is a problem, then correct it as quickly as possible. Remember that a satisfied customer will brag about your business to a few friends, but an angry one will tell everyone they know including posting it to social media.

Keep the Area Clean

While cleanliness is hard to maintain in any food environment, it can be especially difficult when running a food truck. Concentrate on keeping everything spotless. This includes the outside of your trailer as it will be the first thing that the customer sees. You and your employees also need to be sure that your personal grooming is above reproach.

Keeping these five tips in mind will help you run a successful food truck business. Now, go show them what you have to offer. Stay in a positive mindset and soon your customers will be hunting your food truck down to get your wonderful creations.

5 Ways To Encourage Customer Loyalty

Many companies focus all their energy on gaining new customers, but often it can be loyal customers that give businesses a steady income. If you want to get more customers coming back, here are just a few tricks that could help to encourage return visits.

Get to know your customers

Getting to know your customers can make them feel more appreciated and can build trust in your company. You don’t have to become friends with your customers, but being able to engage in a bit of small talk and understanding their needs can make them feel more comfortable using your company than any other company.

Keep ahead of your competitors

Loyal customers are likely to jump ship if another company is offering better value services or perhaps doing something fresh and innovative.You don’t want to get too obsessed with chasing competition – instead of trying to copy or outdo them, focus on creating your own unique selling point. This will help you stand out from competition and will give you your own pull factor that no other company has.

Reward customer loyalty with discounts

You can also encourage return customers by introducing loyalty discounts. A loyalty card or a points card could be one way of doing this – after a certain amount of purchases, they can get rewarded with a freebie. You may even be able to give away vouchers with a purchase that encourage people to come back.

Sell gift cards

Another way to encourage loyalty could be to sell gift cards. People will buy these gift cards for friends and family members,encouraging these people to make return visits to your company until all the money on the gift card is spent. Even if these gift cards never get used,you’ll still be making money out of them. You can design your own custom gift cards with your own branding on. These could be sold in your store.

Keep loyal customers in the loop with notifications

By keeping customers aware of deals and events you can encourage them to return. Mailing lists are one of the most popular ways to keep customers updated. This could involve emailing them information or texting them updates. In order to do this, you’ll need their email address/phone number and their consent – you use surveys and pop-ups on your website to ask customers if they’d like to join your mailing list. Social media can also be a great tool for keeping customers in the loop. Here you can post news on events and promotions. You can then encourage your customers to follow you on these social media channel in order to see these notifications.

4 Procurement Strategies for Small Business

Procurement in relation to small business takes on a much different meaning than it’s big biz counterpart. Sure, they both involve similar practices, but in small business, it’s generally approached by a single person or small group — the most pertinent being the business owner. Small businesses don’t have access to a team of interns or professionals to handle research, vetting and communication. Instead, they have to do it all themselves.

Already, a small business owner has many demands and challenges on their plate from staffing and inventory management to customer service. Procurement, then, tends to be a much lower priority. But it shouldn’t be this way. In fact, most small businesses spend between 45 and 65 percent of their sales revenue on the procurement of inputs. It’s a massive undertaking for any company, big or small, so it should be afforded the appropriate attention.

In light of all this, let’s explore some tips and strategies that small to mid-sized businesses can leverage during procurement.

1. Form a Business Consortium

As a small business, you just don’t have the same buying power and influence as a major organization, at least not by yourself. In some cases, this issue can mean that many potential suppliers and vendors are off-limits simply because they work only with larger outfits. It also means that when you do find a potential partner, you may not save as much because you can’t meet optimal quantity limits. Vendors and suppliers will often offer exclusive discounts and deals for ordering in bulk.

Much of this inconvenience can be remedied by forming a consortium between local or similar small businesses. By partnering with others who need the same supplies, you can instantly meet volume requirements for additional savings and hold much more potency when it comes to buying power. Even when volume discounts aren’t offered, you can still benefit from cost savings, because the total investment is split between multiple parties as opposed to remaining solely on your shoulders.

2. Maintain Supplier and Vendor Relationships

Long-lasting relationships, especially with suppliers and vendors, tend to come with many benefits. It can save a lot of time and resources, for one, that you would otherwise waste looking for additional support. There’s also something to be said for the buildup of trust between loyal partners, as you can generally speak more freely and openly with a strategic partner you’ve dealt with over an extended period.

Perhaps even more relevant is the point that you’ll likely be evolving and scaling your operations as time goes on. This process will come naturally as your business grows, of course, but eventually, you’ll make an effort to improve efficiencies or output or just look for potential improvements to make. Having a strong bond or relationship with your vendors and suppliers means that you can include them in this process as well. You might even be able to stretch more enhancements out of helping them achieve optimizations too.

Indirect spending can also be reduced or mitigated by working with a single or small selection of vendors. The money you would spend on research, placing bids or seeking partners — and even varying prices from working with separate parties — can be outright eliminated. In fact, improving your procurement process can result in cost savings of 25 percent or more from indirect spending.

3. Consider Outsourcing

Outsourcing — in its many forms — may not be for everyone. However, if there’s one area of the business world where it can offer incredible benefits, it’s for small to mid-sized businesses. Generally, these operations don’t have access to extended resources, staff or equipment, so it’s difficult to keep up with the current state of the market and scale accordingly for more demanding customers.

Outsourcing involves balancing the work and operations so that a more qualified, capable party handles the tasks that your small business could not. There are many opportunities, service possibilities and providers out there, including outsourcing companies for finances, strategic analysis, IT, security and cloud computing solutions. Even supply and vendor management companies are available and will handle all duties related to logistics and inventory management.

Taking advantage of outsourcing also frees up the time of your limited staff so that you can handle more important or pressing matters. Taking into account the sheer number of responsibilities you have on your plate, that benefit in and of itself might be worth the investment.

4. Employ the Right Technologies

When researching potential suppliers, having access to the right software and systems can be instrumental. Even beyond that initial phase, software solutions can help create job postings and handle bidding processes, reference qualifications, submit and process payments and cover general vendor management duties. Not only will this assistance significantly cut costs associated with time and resource investments, but it will also simplify the entire process, eliminating most of the manual activities you’d otherwise have to follow.

Out of 200 businesses surveyed, 50.72 percent said their biggest tech adoption challenge was cost, being that the solutions they might be interested in are too expensive. A further 40.58 percent said that they didn’t have enough time to invest into finding or testing proper solutions, while 26.09 percent said the tech is too complicated.

If those businesses actually invested time into finding proper tech-based solutions, they’d also find cost savings, more free time — which could be used in better ways — and much easier process management. The reality is almost exactly the opposite of what many claimed in the survey.

When considering all these tips and potential procurement strategies, it becomes much easier to see how a business owner or small team could handle their duties. More importantly, it’s not just about getting the work done, but doing so efficiently and accurately. You need the proper time to research, trial and build a relationship with potential vendors, if only to improve the quality of your own products and services.

Procurement should never be an afterthought, even for small business.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

Attention Grabbers: How to Make Your Business Stand out to Potential Customers

As a business-owner, you have the need to reach an audience and catch the eye of potential customers. If your business does not stand out, this can be a huge marketing nightmare. When you find new ways to grab the attention of consumers, this is when you have an opportunity to coax them into transacting with you for products and services. Consequently, your marketing efforts always need to be centered on how to grab your customer’s attention so that these transactions can become a natural part of doing business.

Paint Your Store

When it comes to grabbing the attention of potential customers, you really want your store to look different than all the other stores and buildings in your region of the market. By daring to paint your store a different color scheme than other retail outfits are employing, you will stick out in a huge way to passing traffic. It will also make your business hard to miss, because people will immediately see that your store looks unique.

Light up Your Parking Lot

A lot of times people are out shopping late at night, but they cannot easily identify entrances and parking areas. Overly dark parking lots are not only hard to navigate, but they are not inviting to customers who fear for their safety. By shedding adequate light on the situation, you make your location easier to navigate and safer for late shoppers too.

Using Banners

Signage is an important part of helping customers recognize your company both inside and out. One way to get your brand and enticing images before customers is to use vinyl banners. These banners will be attention grabbers outside, because they will wave about in the wind. They will also be eye catching on the inside of your store, because they can serve as a means to alerting customers to important products or deals. This can translate to a lot more revenue being generated too.

When doing business in this modern age, it is important to be clever in how you grab a potential customer’s attention. Your store must be made visible among all the competition. Additionally, customers must be able to find what they are looking for with ease. These marketing strategies will help any business become appealing to a broader portion of the market being addressed. This is one time when sticking out like a sore thumb to get noticed is a great idea. It is a tactic that makes businesses the object of consumer attention.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Seven Marketing Tips That Will Make Your Company Stand Out

Marketing tips for your business could be applied in any way that you want. You might try a few things that seem different and/or new age, and you could go for something that you think would be perfect for you. You could try something that allows you to engage with more customers, and you could create a new part of your business that will reach more people. You must be certain that you have uncovered a way to make your business better.

1. Start Your Own Video Channel

You must start your own video channel when you want to post something that reads like a commercial, and you could continue to make videos that will help explain how your products or services should be used. You will find that you have a number of people who come to your video channel because they like to keep in touch with your business. This is the easiest and fastest way for them to keep up with your company, and you could get very creative when making these videos. Moreover, YouTube is the most desired platform for both companies and the users. Utilize it to showcase your products and services by creating your own channel. Take an example of Youi’s YouTube channel and build yours to post interactive videos.

2. Sell In Marketplaces

You could sell in marketplaces where you are selling a product that is used by sports teams. You must find places to sell that will be the easiest for other people to find, and you will notice that using the marketplaces is a quick way to get people to come to your site exclusively. Do not be afraid to compete with other companies. Customers will abandon them when they call in love with your products.

3. Start A Blog

You must start a blog for your business, and you will find that the blog for your business is much easier to keep up because it is nothing but articles you have written for your customers. They could respond to your articles, and they will learn things that they did not know when they started using your products or services. You could start real conversations with your customers, and you might want to share your blog posts on social media so that people are coming back to your site.

4. Use Social Media

You must use as much social media as you possibly can to market your company. Everyone could find your company on one form of social media or another. You might not be familiar with places like Snapchat or Instagram, but you could hire someone to run the accounts that you have. You could reach a young audience with these forms of social media, and you could use a Facebook page as a way to build up information on your company. You must use social media to start contests, to make your business seem younger, and to avoid problems that people have with reaching younger demographics. If you start with a young person now, they will be your loyal customers decades from now if your company has progressed.

5. Purchase Ads That Target Customers

The ads that you have purchased will be targeted at the people that you know will buy from you. You could purchase ads that will find customers who will buy, and you could get the people to come to your site. You must create a landing page that will welcome these people when they come to the site. They could click through these ads to buy something, and someone who has your affiliate ads will make a commission on the sales. You are using affiliate ads that get other companies to try to sell your products, and everyone wins.

6. Create A Music Channel For Your Customers To Listen To

Your customers could listen to a music channel that you created because that channel allows you to give them something to listen to when they are using your products. You could build a channel as a lifestyle move for your customers, or you might choose to use the music channel as a way to share the personality of your business while you are creating new things. The people that follow your company might be interested in what inspires you, and they could listen to that channel all day every day because they are so invested in your company.

7. Use Local SEO

You must use local SEO to reach as many customers as you possibly can. You will find that local SEO is very easy to use when you are setting up tagging on your site. The tags that you put on the site should be used to show that you serve certain areas, and you must have your business page on Google completed. People are more likely to contact your company when they know that you are close by, and they might use your company if they know that you can come out to their area. You must be certain that your local SEO is done by an expert, and you must update any time your company gets bigger.

8. Honourable Mention: Write Guest Posts

Guest posts are a good way for you to post things to the Internet that are not on your website. It is much easier for you to use the guest posts to reach customers when you have a partnership with a company that will post on your site. You both can share some space, and you will both send customers in the other’s direction. You are generating goodwill with other companies, and you are getting free ad space just for writing an article.

Conclusion

There are many people who want to learn how to market their companies better, and they are hoping to use as many new age marketing advantages as they can find. Someone who is trying to have a better business must do all that they can to make it popular, and they should use the tips that are listed above. You could deploy one of these tips at a time, or you could make these changes here and there depending on what you have the resources to accomplish right now.