Stop Cutting Costs! Increase Your Income Instead

When profit margins are slim, most businesses decide the best course of action is to cut costs. They limit their expenditure, trim their budget, and try to spend less and less. However, this isn’t always the best option. Instead, you should focus on increasing your income instead. How can you do this? Just look at these three ideas for inspiration:

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(Source: http://bit.ly/2nvgeSF)

Make As Much Money From Advertising As Possible

Advertising revenue is one of the best secondary sources of income for business. It helps keep your income ticking over, and can present huge profits come to the end of the year. The key is ensuring you make as much money from adverts as possible. How? By monetizing as much as you can. Get ads on your website, ads on your mobile app, you should even have a separate blog site and get ads on that too! One brilliant idea is to start a YouTube channel and monetize it. You can earn some serious revenue through YouTube, and it will dramatically increase your income. Plus, there’s the added benefit of helping reel in new customers and broaden your appeal with a YouTube channel too. The bottom line is that you must take advantage of ad revenue and use it to boost your income in any way possible.

Sell Gift Cards

Gift cards are a brilliant way you can boost your income without having to come up with a crazy new product idea. With a gift card, someone can spend money and get a car that they can only use with your business. Most people buy these for friends and family as a present on birthday or Christmas. They’re convenient, and benefit you in that you have one extra thing to sell and gain money from. It’s easy to get gift cards printing done and have some cards that look great and follow your business design ethos. Also, gift cards are brilliant for bringing new customers to your store too. A loyal customer might buy their friend a gift card, meaning they have to buy things to spend the money, a real win-win for you.

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(Credit: http://bit.ly/2nqYk6I)

Start Selling ‘Add-Ons.’

A great way to boost your income is by selling add-ons along with your main products. What this refers to are any additional things that can be sold to go with your main products. For example, phone companies sell smartphones, then they have loads of accessories like cases, headphones, chargers, etc. Look at your product and figure out what things you can sell to compliment them and provide something more for the customer. That’s the key with these items, they need to enhance someone’s purchase. A customer needs to feel like their main purchase is made better by getting an add-on as well. The good thing is, these items are usually much cheaper than your main products, which helps entice customers while keeping your income ticking over.

Focus on improving your income, and you’ll see larger profit margins without having to make sacrifices and cutting your budget.

If you’re looking for advice on how you can boost your personal income, then we’ve written a guide on that for you to enjoy too!

Why The Natural Connection Works Much Better Than Ad Bombardment

Every business needs to work at getting the most out of their target market. For a lot of businesses, advertisements are a crucial part of reaching more people and creating leads. When they’re targeted well, they are certainly good at doing that. However, a marketing strategy that relies entirely on advertisements is far from cost-effective or even time-effective. If you want marketing efforts that cost less and have longer-term benefits to offer, then you need to think about fostering the natural connection customers. You need to think about making your marketing inbound.

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Take part in conversations

When you get people interested in your brand and in your products, capitalize on them. The best thing you can add to a brand is positive word-of-mouth. For instance, consider asking for testimonials and building them up until you have enough to feature on your site to make good use of positive social proof. Make sure you’re working on keeping social media channels active and participating in conversations about the industry or other topics relevant to what you do. Don’t be afraid to even have a little fun with online communities. The personable, human approach on social media shows that there’s a human core to the business. That’s what makes a brand memorable.

Make your business easier to find

On the internet, you’re not just competing for the customer’s money but for the attention you require in order to convince them that your business is worth that money. Visibility is crucial and while outreach might inform more people of your business’s existence, you might be able to see more cost-effective results by targeting those who are actively looking for your services. Search engine optimization ensures that your site appears in those kinds of searches and in a better position than your competitors. Techniques like using meta-data properly, content marketing, and link-building as mentioned in http://theprauthority.com/link-building-and-why-you-need-it/ all contribute to giving you a place of prominence on search engines. It’s well proven by now that people trust what they see on the first page of Google much more than they do what they see in a corporate branded advertisement.

Have the site do more

The website is supposed to do a lot more than giving people information on what it is you do. It’s supposed to convert visitors into customers. As https://conversionxl.com/ways-to-increase-your-conversion-rate-right-now/ states, there are plenty of ways to create a site that is better at making customers. Elements like calls-to-action, clean navigation, and concise text providing a clear value proposition are all necessary. Too many businesses make their websites too complicated, too crowded, and not truly focused on the customer at all. A strong website can be a fantastic tool for building leads naturally if you use it right.

The best marketing strategies weigh heavily on the inbound side, using advertising when they can capitalize on a new offer or a seasonal high in the business. If you’re just constantly trying to throw ads out there, you’ll find that the customers you do win might not be enough to support your marketing costs.

 

4 Keys to a More Productive Small Business

Feel at times as if your small business is stuck in neutral? If that’s the case, there are some things you can deploy to try and get things moving once again in the right direction.

In running that small business of yours, you likely know all too well that budgets are usually tight, leaving you with little wiggle room unlike larger companies.

That said even a tight budget does not mean you are destined for long days now and in the future.

By getting the most out of your employees, resources, advertising and marketing etc. you can build quite a productive small business over time.

So, are you ready to see a more productive small business come your way?

It All Starts with a Plan

So that your small company doesn’t have to put a closed for business sign out sooner rather than later, remember the following four keys to more production:

  1. Employee production

Unless you’re running the show by yourself, you rely heavily on your workers to deliver results. As such, make sure you’re not only hiring the best people available, but also making sure they live up to your expectations.

Sure, you will make some bad hires along the way, but those hires should be minimal at best. By taking the time to thoroughly review each and every prospective employee, you stand a much better chance of getting the talent you require to run a first-rate small business.

Lastly, make sure you provide a working atmosphere that not only motivates employees to do well, but fosters teamwork.

Unfortunately, too many small business owners end up with offices that are fraught with disagreements, people looking out only for themselves and their paychecks etc. By creating a positive workplace, you’re much more likely to see positive results in the end.

  1. Your resources

What type of resources are you deploying in your quest to have a winning small business For example, have you decided to move forward with a mobile app for your small business?

As many other business owners can attest to, having an app in play has changed how they do business in a positive way.

One of the advantages of having that app is getting your brand out in front of current and potential customers 24/7. Another is being able to offer specials and loyalty rewards programs to the best of your clients. Still another benefit is the ability to display blog content and much more, information that consumers can access at their convenience.

Whether you decide to use an app builder to make your small business app or end up reselling and constructing apps for others, you really need an app in today’s digital age to be as successful as possible.

Never Sleep on Customer Needs

  1. Customer service

What type of score would you give your company when it comes to providing stellar customer service?

Much to their chagrin, too many small business owners have to admit that they’re not doing as good a job as possible in the customer service arena. As a result, they lose potential long-time customers in the process.

To make sure you and your team don’t drop the ball in this important aspect of being in business, make sure you do the following:

  • Treat your customers with respect and dignity
  • Give them incentives to keep coming back to you (specials and discounts, announcements of sales before they go out to the general public etc.)
  • Respond to their feedback, including feedback that ultimately is not always positive about your brand
  1. Monitor the competition

Although you undoubtedly are busy with your own small business, it never hurts to see what direct competitors are up to.

As an example, keep your eye on how those companies you compete with go about hiring talent, responding to customer issues, using social media to reach consumers, and utilizing technology to stay a step ahead.

While some things you observe won’t be all that informative, others could very well turn a light on in your head, a light that leads you to do what others are doing even better.

So that your small business can be even more productive this year and down the road, are you ready to do whatever it takes to bring in more customers?

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics on the web.

 

 

 

Make Your Business Loud and Clear to Consumers

Feel like your brand isn’t getting enough love from consumers? If that is your mindset, what do you intend to do about it moving forward?

Unfortunately, too many business owners do not do enough to get their brand’s name out and about. As a result, they pay the consequences in terms of sales numbers slipping. When that happens, the writing could be on the wall that one’s business is headed for a slippery slope.

So that you can make your business loud and clear to consumers, you have to make sure you are promoting it anywhere and everywhere.

This also means that your employees (unless you are a one-person show) are doing all they can to get the word out there.

With this in mind, is it time for you to make your business more loud and clear to consumers?

Working In-House and Outside the Office to Promote Your Brand

For you to get the most attention in and out of the office for your brand, remember a couple of important tips:

  1. Message and Your Employees

Without a clear and concise marketing message, how do you expect most consumers to find you?

Make sure each and every marketing message you send out has had some thought put into it. Secondly, it is also important to know your audience each time you reach out to them. Lastly, the vehicle or vehicles you use to transport your message (email, social media, texts, press releases etc.) also need to be thought out before you hit send.

As for the messengers, your employees and current customers (see more below) are two of your best resources.

When it comes to the former, be sure your workers are up to speed on a whole host of ways to make your brand as relevant as possible. Two such means are video conferencing and webinars for your business.

With video conferencing, you can greatly reduce one of the issues that many growing businesses run into.

That would be when offices are spread out both nationally and globally. When this happens, getting all the employees together as one can prove challenging.

By turning to video conferencing, you can bring your group together, allowing for both information and thoughts to flow freely. Best of all; the company feels like one big family.

As for webinars, this is another valuable tool that too many businesses fail to capitalize on. Webinars allow your company to spread your brand’s name online, with the added advantage that they are available in essence 24/7/365.

If you are not using webinars now, think about doing them sooner rather than later. In doing so, be sure to promote them anywhere and everywhere.

This is especially true on your social media channels, channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube etc.) that should be getting plenty of action.

  1. Message and Your Customers

As great as your employees can be at delivering your company’s message, never forget your customers.

By giving them some incentives to promote your brand, you can get more marketing bang for your dollar.

For instance, don’t take your long-term customers and/or those who spend a fair amount of money with you for granted.

You can offer them items such as rewards programs, first shot at sale items before they go on sale to the general public etc. In doing so, many of your customers will be more than happy to help spread your company’s message to friends, family, even strangers in some cases.

As you can see, your message and the messengers both play key roles in your company’s ability to be successful.

Take a step back and see where your brand might be coming up short at the moment. In moving forward, make sure your business is heard loud and clear by consumers. 

 About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business and marketing topics on the web.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Your Website Simple Is the Best Decision You Could Ever Make

Web design isn’t a complicated matter despite what many designers and freelancers would lead you to believe. People talk all the time about how to make your website more impressive or draw in a bigger audience, but the reality of it is simple: it doesn’t matter. This article is going to the best piece of advice you’ve ever read regarding business websites and hiring overpriced services.

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Cut the nonsense

Let’s put it this way; does adding loads of images and flashy things to your website increase the overall customer experience? You’re probably thinking up reasons or situations where some flashy menus or buttons could increase the user’s experience, but let’s face it, it’s pointless and a waste of time. Not only are those extra effects costly because it takes time to create, it’s also going to break many browsers that simply don’t support those extra features. Even if you’re designing a website to show off your freelance art portfolio, adding smooth menu transitions and using some kind of flash-based gallery viewer does not enhance the user’s experience—it just invites the possibility of errors.

Simple hosting plans lead to simple websites

The simpler your web host, the faster you’re going to get your business or website up and running. Hosts such as wizzhosting.co.uk make this their top priority; to get you started as soon as possible and with the lowest costs they can offer. A web host that offers far too many features isn’t going to be relevant to your interests. You shouldn’t be caring about all the plugins and modules they offer to make your website look flashy and trendy, you should be caring about costs, ease of use and how quickly you can get it running.

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Information overload

When someone browses a website they want to get what they came for. Even if you’re a blog that covers just about everything, your users don’t want to fiddle about with navigating menus to reach the content they want. The fewer clicks it takes for your viewers to reach the information they need, the more likely they will come back and the less likely they will leave in frustration. If it takes more than three clicks from the front page of your website to access your contact details, then you’re doing something wrong. Stop overloading people with information and focus on the customer experience.

Compatibility

A good majority of web users access the internet on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The simpler your website, the easier it is going to be to scale down your web pages to fit cleanly onto these smaller screens. Many web hosts offer basic scaling options, but at the end of the day, you’re probably going to have to redesign your entire website if you want to create a website that works well on both mobile devices and your desktop. This article at sitepoint.com explains a couple of simple ways you can make your website more mobile friendly. It’s solid, no-nonsense advice that everyone should be following.

How Adaptable Is Your Brand

All ventures worth a grain of salt should have a clear vision of where they’re heading before they get underway. This is the planning stage, where you define the identity of your business, how you’ll market it, and naturally who you’ll be marketing it too. Fail to do any of these things and it’s unlikely that your business will get very far. There’s nothing more damaging to an ambitious business than having too many open ended questions and not enough answers. But that is only your starting point, not how you’ll be operating. That requires a much more adaptable approach.

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Source: Pexels.com

The Look

There is only two brands that can get away with not changing the fundamental style of their brand, and they are: McDonald’s and Coca Cola, and even those two big players are facing more trouble than they’ve ever faced. For everybody else, a look has to be updated before it looks dated. What’s funny – no: annoying! – is that we’re so preconditioned to be adverse to change. Take a look at the fuss that’s kicked up every time Facebook subtly changes the layout of their homepage! But though you might love your initial design, as time moves on it’ll only look more dated…and then will only come back in style many decades down the line when it looks vintage. We’re sure you can’t wait that long to be a success. Change your style often.

Keeping Your Identity Loose

You should start out with a vision for your business; you should not religiously stick to it regardless of whatever else happens. Have you ever noticed how a band or television show takes a few years to really get into the groove of their sound/identity? You should be the same. Don’t hold on to the first idea you had, no matter how good may it be. While you can keep the general theme (say, in line with a cause you care about), the nuts and bolts of the business should always be under scrutiny and be able to be altered to suit needs. Besides from keeping things fresh, it’ll also keep the business fun for you to be involved in. As soon as you’re settled, you’re on the way down!

Changing As The Customer Changes

Ah, great! You have a clear, adaptable approach. You’ve set up your business in such a way that it’s always evolving, never static, always looking towards whatever is round its own individual next bend. That may be all good and well..but what about, you know, the people who matter – the customers? They’re what counts. As such, you need to be paying close attention to e-commerce trends to determine what people are spending are money on, and how they’re doing it. You’re one part of a massive society; and essentially, you’re unable to dictate anything (though give it a go!), so making sure you’re aware of the broader, wider trends will ensure you’re not left behind.

Agile Marketing

There are a few heads of companies out there who see their company’s social media accounts as the be all and end all of their success, and treat them accordingly, with the same level and care normally only reserved for a newborn baby. This is the wrong approach. Social marketing needs to be agile, adaptable, creative. Those who manage your social media account shouldn’t have a set list of rules they need to follow. They should be free to do whatever they want, more or less, following a set of loose parameters. If you give your workers a list of the exact type of posts you want, you’ll soon find your social media accounts to be a creative vacuum. However, give them free license to do whatever they please so long as they don’t break a few golden rules and you’ll have accounts bursting with exciting and creative content: which is exactly what you want!

Life is in Innovation

No brand, no matter how big or small, is able to make it through the murky business world without pushing the boat out and trying something new every now and again. Think of it this way: you’re not in the business of whatever industry you’re in; you’re in the business of innovation, of trying to do new things while at the same time keeping a firm eye on what has worked in the past. Keep your brand adaptable and you’ll have a business that is alive and ready to go in any exciting new direction that presents itself. And that’s your path to success.

Great Habits Breed Great Web Design!

As I’m sure you know, if you want any hope of getting your brand seen these days, you’ll need a well-designed and functional website. However, like many entrepreneurs, you may feel like your web design is missing something. Good design is all about pushing your available technology as far as it will go, and finding creative ways around various challenges. If you’re looking to improve your website in the long term, here are some great habits to get into…

Kindle Emotional Connections 

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Image: Max Pixel

If everyone behaved logically, and consumers flocked to the sites with the best functionality, it would make good web design so much easier. Unfortunately though, this isn’t the world we live in! It’s been proven time and time again that emotional connections in web design can be exceedingly powerful for giving any user the best possible experience. The aesthetic appeal of any website has a huge impact on how trustworthy and credible your site will appear, and the way the site makes your users feel will make your products or services appear more or less usable. Whether it’s through interactive features, simple aesthetics, or well-written content, go out of your way to make sure your web design fosters some kind of emotional connection.

Keep on Learning 

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Image: Pixabay

Web design, just like any skill, is constantly evolving. If you’re not all that experienced, it will probably take some doing to get your web design skills up to the same level of the pros. Even if you have a length of web design experience under your belt, constantly looking to better yourself is an excellent habit to get into. There are all kinds of ways to develop your web design skills as an entrepreneur, such as working at a qualification through a distance-learning company, regularly reading blogs from companies like iPage, watching video tutorials and trying out new techniques on a separate testing site. Different learning styles will suit different people, and you may have to experiment with different methods to find a mix that’s right for you. However you want to do it, make sure you’re constantly learning and developing your skills. This will make you a more effective designer in the long run, and will help you keep on top of the rapidly changing standards.

Choose the Right Idea, Not the Best One 

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Image: Pixabay

Although it may be a creative practice, web design isn’t an art form. There’s a lot of ways you can approach a design task, but as long as the purpose it serves is something to do with business, it can never truly be art. Let’s say that a light bulb suddenly flickers on, and you come up with a ground-breaking vision for an ecommerce store design that will revolutionise the way people think about websites. If your research shows that a lot of users prefer the comfort of a classic navigation layout, then don’t chase them away by reinventing the wheel. You don’t need to smother all your creative ideas, just make sure that you’re designing for the end user, and not for the artist in you!