Defending Your Reputation When The Knives Come Out For You

When you own a business of your very own, your reputation is everything. It’s what makes your clientele choose you over your nearest competitor. It’s what engenders a sense of trust in the brand you have created and in you; the guiding hand behind it. Thus, when the knives come out for you and others seek to besmirch your good name it can have disastrous consequences for your brand and your business. You must defend your good name with every ounce of might you can muster. This is a battle on several fronts. You must not only be reactive and deal with threats to your reputation as and when they appear, you must also lay a firm foundation to limit your liability and protect your reputation from damage. Here are just a few of the measures you can take…

Hire a lawyer with a sterling reputation

No matter the size of your operation, it behoves you to find a sterling legal team. If someone accuses you or your business of malpractice, the outcome in court is more than likely to spill over into the court of public opinion (which can be notoriously unforgiving). A good legal team will mount an aggressive defense on your behalf and ensure that the truth comes to light. See Brian Zeiger for more information. Of course, prevention is always the best cure, which brings us to…

Make sure that you have the right insurance

If you have a physical place of business, it goes without saying that you need some form of public liability insurance to protect you if a customer or client injures themselves on your business.However, businesses are increasingly investing in reputation insurance to insulate you against a wide range of risks to your reputation and to help employ potent damage control measures. While entrepreneurs can be gun shy when it comes to the prospect of more overhead costs, the right insurance is absolutely essential in protecting your operation and your reputation.

Deal quickly and decisively with social media complaints

Every customer service policy should have a comprehensive and effective customer complaints policy at its core. However, in the social media age, people are much more likely to air their grievances in the public forum of social media than submit an official complaint.

The longer a complaint is left undealt with on social media, the more potential damage it can cause to your reputation. It’sup to you to deal with these types of complaint quickly and decisively. Set up a Google alert to help you to respond quickly. Address the complaint publicly. Be sure to apologize and demonstrate your willingness to make amends.

Know the needs of your target market

While you may enjoy the regular custom of your target demographic now, make no mistake, they will turn on you if they feel that their needs are being neglected. Lose focus and you may find yourself the focus of negative buzz which will almost certainly result in a loss of sales.

Take the steps to guard your reputation and you will not be pushed off the path to prosperity.

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.

3 Ways the Internet Can Make or Break Your Home-Based Business

The internet has absolutely transformed how companies do business and how consumers purchase products. This transformation has been dramatic and has affected all sectors of the economy. If you ignore how the internet has changed commerce, you will likely be left in the dust of competitors that have implemented the internet to expand their reach to consumers.

However, despite the benefits of the internet for businesses, selling your product online from your home isn’t necessarily easy by any stretch of the imagination. There are a lot of common mistakes you need to avoid. With that in mind, below are three ways the internet can make or break your home-based business.

SEO

One thing that can make or break your home business on the internet is SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO includes the strategies that are utilized to obtain a preferable ranking on the major search engines like Google.

Google processes about 1.2 trillion searches a year. It’s how nearly everyone on the planet finds what they want on the internet. If you have poor SEO, it can certainly hurt your bottom line significantly. Definitely make fine tuning your SEO a priority. You also need to adjust your SEO over time since Google is always tweaking its algorithms.

Downtime

However, there are other issues apart from SEO you need to worry about. One of them is downtime. Downtime refers to times when your website can’t be loaded by visitors or refuses to operate properly. Downtime is a serious issue that causes businesses to lose millions a year. Most often, the cause of downtime is a higher volume of traffic than what a website’s hosting account is designed to handle. Make sure to search for web hosts and internet providers that will grant you the bandwidth you need to ensure that your website is always online and available to customers.

User Experience

Lastly, even if you obtain a high ranking on Google and avoid downtime completely, you can still fail. Part of this may be the fact that your website’s user experience is poor. This may happen, for example, if your website is hard to navigate. Today, most people surf the web on their smart phones. If your website scrolls from left to right instead of just up and down, most smart phone users may get frustrated. Make sure to test your website’s user experience on multiple different platforms.

Overall, running a website for your online business isn’t easy. Your success isn’t guaranteed. However, if you make sure your website has strong SEO, is always online and produces a good user experience, you can significantly increase your chances of success.

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.

Starting a Business: How Bring A-Game in Your Marketing Campaigns

If you are a new startup, then it is essential that you bring your A-game to your marketing game before you even have enough experience to really know what you are doing. That is why it is essential to consider the different components of a campaign. Here are some tips on different marketing components along with basic tips you need to consider.

Television Ads

Almost 90 percent of adults see at least one television commercial every day. Therefore, it can be an important way to let customers know about your product. Using experienced TV and film actors can help deliver a powerful message. Consider which stations are most likely to connect with your target demographic.

Social Media

Social media can be very useful in building company trust as people often use it to find out more about your entity. People often check their favorite social media platforms multiple times a day, so make sure that they see you interacting with your customers when they do. Hiring a brand ambassador or influencer who already has a following can be key to building your audience quickly.

Website

Your company needs a well-organized website. With about 50 percent of all traffic coming from mobile devices make sure that it is optimized for all types of devices. Customers are unwilling to wait for your website to load, so make sure that your landing page loads in under a second. Make sure that your content is informative and well written.

Radio

Depending on who is in your targeted audience, radio can be a powerful way to reach them. Work with an experienced advertising director to create advertising that will capture the essence of your company in under 30 seconds. Then, play your ads on stations where your targeted audience is found.

Newspaper

While some insist that newspapers are dead, they can be an important factor with some targeted audiences. If you are trying to build a local business in a community that still has a newspaper, then advertising there may bring people in your business’ front door. Additionally, if your niche market has a popular newspaper, then appearing there can be a great way to build your brand’s authority.

The right mixture of each of these components depends on your targeted audience. Get to know them and you will learn where your marketing dollars will be most effective. Then, hire the best experts that you can to deliver marketing that will connect instantly with your target audience.

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

7 Growth Features You Can Use To Stand Out In Crowd

7 Tips on How to Become a Top Business Competitor

If you’re just starting, or well into the business world, you would know to start up and maintaining a business is not easy. There are plenty of obstacles you will encounter along the way that you will need to overcome. It’s all about the effort you are willing to invest in your business that is going to make it succeed. A business is like a machine you have to make sure all of the compartments are well managed and looked after, or it will slowly deteriorate.

Decide on a Niche

One of the biggest decisions you can make as a business owner is choosing your market. Establishing what and who you want to sell to can help determine the projected outcome for the first years sales. You want to make sure you can create your own path in that market, it will give you the upper hand against the competitors. For example, there is a company that provides their clients with game show buzzers and other equipment.  Employee satisfaction is always the first and foremost growth tactic, so coming up with an idea of providing them with entertainment is undoubtedly out of the mainstream. It’s always helpful to think out of the box or do some research to find out what you can do differently from the others.

Providing Top-Notch Customer Service

Consumers are attracted to a company that provides value. Quality customer service goes a long way. Not all companies hold their employees to the same standard, and that is why it is key. The first representative your consumer speaks with sets the tone and establishes the impression of the company at that moment. You want to make sure that the consumer is treated like a valued friend or family member. That is why it is important to show your employee appreciation and acknowledge their hard work. The more you invest in the culture of the company, the better the morale and service of the employees will be.

Developing Your Company Brand

You want to make sure that your brand reflects your values. Transparency is important in a company, it allows the consumer to feel confident, also adds an element of trust. The only way to gain credibility is by keeping up the high standard of quality you have provided from the beginning. When the majority of competitors start to slack on their performance is when the business suffers the most.

Become Solution Oriented

You want to develop a loyal customer base. The consumer wants will feel secure in knowing that there are multiple methods of contact in case there are any problems. It is always a good idea to plan out the possible problems that may occur in advanced so that you have a solution ready. The more efficient the resolution, the higher the probability of the consumer’s returns.

Use Upselling to Your Advantage

Upselling is a technique that is used in a variety of different brands. It makes the sale more appealing to the buyer. Promotions are used to boost sales, they also help with the retention of consumers. About 34% of in-store consumers prefer and use the promotions they are sent from companies they have previously bought from. Everyone likes to save a dollar or two when it’s possible. You can also consider creating package deals, or periodic sales if your market allows.

Create a Footprint Online

E-commerce has taken the free enterprise market to a new plateau. You can now expand your brand from national to international quickly and from the comforts of your home. It also creates a convenience for those individuals that don’t have the opportunity to physically go into the store. The goal is to always make any exchange between the company and the consumer as smooth and simple as possible. The internet provides you with so many different methods of advertisement. The website also gives you the opportunity to personally and create an engaging environment for the consumers.

It is always a good idea to make the website user-friendly, for individuals that are not as technically savvy as others. Also, another element a lot of consumers like is when they have the ability to give feedback. Good reviews bring in more customers. Allowing them to express themselves also makes them feel as if their opinions matter to the company.

Find Ways to Reinvent the Company

Every so often you have to update and readjust to the standards of current society. Every company goes through a facelift, where they change or almost reinvent themselves. It’s usually a positive change and a sign that they are trying to keep up with the times. Innovation is another key component to keeping your brand relevant. Never stop doing your research on methods to grow or expand your business and products.

As an entrepreneur, you want to keep in mind the brand you create is a reflection of you. It doesn’t take money to create your own individuality within your market. You just need to instil your values and effort into your brand, and your company will exude originality.