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.

 

 

 

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.

Expert Marketing: How to Get Your Company to Stand out from Your Competition

Getting your business to stand out from your competitors is essential if you want to succeed in business. While you must have a quality product, great customer service and a reasonable price, that may not be enough to encourage people to visit your location. Here are some ideas on how to market your business so that you stand out from your competitors.

Create a Voice-and-mobile-friendly Website

While you probably already have a website, it is essential that it be voice friendly. Making your website voice-friendly allows the user to find your business using their home devices like Alexa, Google Home and Amazon Echo. Use phrases that are naturally spoken, make sure that you list your geographical area and use long-tail keywords. In order to make your website mobile friendly, you should make sure that your website can be viewed on any size device, pick a font that is at least 14 pixels and use high-quality images.

Be Active on Social Media

Being found on social media is essential to separating your business from that of your competitors. Know what social media platform your customers prefer and make yourself visible there. While you will want to post regularly, you will also want to make sure to interact with your target audience. Spending time showing that you care about their concerns and ideas is a great way to build customer trust. When others see customers bragging about your products and services online, then they will want to check your business out.

Build and Upkeep a Unique Building Design

When a customer arrives at your location, they should instantly get a great first impression before they ever walk in the door, get signage companies to put up a new sign that is clearly visible when customers are approaching your business from any direction. Keep the exterior of the business beautiful by painting and landscaping. Make sure that your customers have ample parking and can get in the front door easily. Ensure that the windows are clean and that the sidewalk is free of all trash.

Get Involved in the Community

It is essential that you are involved in your local community. You may want to team up with other business owners to sponsor an event. Join the local chamber or other business organizations. Regularly donate part of your proceeds to a worthy cause while making sure that your donation gets attention in the press. Offer to be a public speaker at events along with contacting local news organizations to offer to be their local expert on topics related to your business.

Using these ideas and your own ingenuity will help you stand out from your competitors. Keep your focus on doing the right things for your community and your business will succeed. You will need to make sure that they can find you when they look on the internet.

All The Signs That Your Business May Not Be As Strong As You Think

Are you sure that your business is doing as well as what you think it is? Sure, it can be quite difficult to tell when you are busy all the time trying to run the company; you could find that there is no time for you to take a step back and review your business objectively.

If things aren’t going quite so well, though, there are often some telltale signs that start to crop up. These following ones are some of the signs that happen in the early stages of a failing business. Do you recognise some in your own business? If so, it may be time to find some solutions!

You’re Repeating Mistakes

Entrepreneurs need to learn from their mistakes quickly and move on. And that’s nothing to worry about – we all make the odd mistake from time to time. However, if you seem to be continually making the same mistake without realizing it, then there could be an underlying issue with your company. So, it’s important that you try to get to the bottom of repeated mistakes as soon as you can. Otherwise, it could spell the end for your business.

Your IT Is Outdated

IT and tech are incredibly important to companies these days, no matter which of industry or sector they are in. Does your IT infrastructure appear to be struggling? It could be because it is dated. If this is the case, it’s worth finding a company that offers managed IT services and can help you update all your tech. Not doing this could damage your company’s productivity and efficiency, which won’t help you keep up with competitors.

You’re Struggling To Pay The Monthly Bills

There’s no denying that financial problems within your business are not a good sign. If you find that you are scrabbling around for money at the end of the month to pay all your bills and employee wages, there will certainly be some urgent improvements that need to be made. Simply reviewing and altering your budget could help you see areas in which you can save money. Otherwise, now might be the time to try and source some new investment.

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The Employee Turnover Rate Is Really High

Unhappy employees are going to jump ship very quickly. If you replace these employees without improving the company, then the new hires will also leave not long after they have arrived. So, take a look at your business through the eyes of your employees and see how things could improve. Perhaps you just need to offer regular reviews or make sure you focus more on employee well-being?

The Media Aren’t Interested In Your Business

There needs to be constant chatter surrounding your business. If the media aren’t talking about you, and no one is mentioning your brand on social media, then there is something wrong. Thankfully, an effective PR campaign can often fix this.

Fingers crossed that none of these problems affect your company for too long and that you can get back on the road to success!

It’s Your Business Event, But You Can’t Cry If You Want To

We’ve spoken before about why live events are so good for your business. Whether you’re hosting a stall at an event or going solo with a festival of your own, it doesn’t get better for flying your business flag. A well-planned and executed live event will get everyone talking. And, you should never underestimate how far word-of-mouth can take you. In fact, many businesses hail this as the most important marketing method you’ve got.

Given those high stakes, it’s no wonder events like these can get stressful. Many business owners go without sleep for a week in the lead up to something like this. The trouble is, sleepless nights and stressful days aren’t going to leave you at your best. And, your best is less than you need to be if you’re going to make the right impression. It’s fair to say, then, that you need to do what you can to reduce the stress of the experience. And, we’re going to look at how.

Plenty of time to set up

Admittedly, setting up early isn’t always possible. But, if this is a private event, there’s no reason you can’t set up a week or two before. That way, you can kiss goodbye to last-minute disasters which leave you flustered and out of whack. Instead, set up bit by bit and deal with issues as they arise. Even if you aren’t able to set up until a day or two before, invest in utility truck beds and extra bodies which can help speed things up. That way, you still stand to be ready with plenty of time to spare. And, that’s essential if you want to be in the best headspace for the day.

Get enough staff on board

Often, these events will happen at the weekend. And, you may usually survive on skeleton staff if any when Saturday rolls around. But, you NEED to make sure you have a large enough team to deal with your event. That means calling in your whole workforce and getting temporary workers on board. The last things you want on the day are long queues and leaving customers because your team can’t deal with the demand. Instead, give everyone plenty of notice to work, and get onto an agency about as many temp workers as you can afford.

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Schedule time to enjoy yourself

Enjoy yourself at a business event? Are you joking? No, not at all. There’s nothing funny about the idea of enjoying your efforts. What’s more, customers will warm to your company even more if you’re out there having fun with them. That doesn’t mean slacking off, of course. But, as well as ensuring your day runs smooth, scheduling your time means you and your team will have time to grab a hot dog and soak up the sun. This will make your team happier to work, and will wash away any stress you may feel. And, that can go a long way towards sending the right message to your customers.

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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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.

4 Social Media Metrics Your Business Needs to Track

Simply having a social media account is not enough to grow your business. Just like everyone else, you probably want to get more followers, more likes, more retweets, more click-through, etc. But are all of these things going to help you boost your business?

In this jungle of social media metrics, it could be confusing for you to choose which metrics are actually important for your company. But don’t look at this in a bad way. You have a lot of data in your hands, so use this data in order to understand your audience.

Luckily there is a solution. Take a look at these four metrics that will help you achieve growth.

Engagement: Do people actually like your content?

How many times did someone take action on your posts? Sharing, clicks, comments, reactions – all of these things matter.

These actions validate your content and they will show you if your posts are important to your target audience. If you keep tracking these metrics, they will help you plan your content strategy and see what kind of post you should create, but also which post you should avoid.

The simple step is to use average engagement rate that will take your metrics a step further. It will show you a true value of your content and how it impacts your followers. You can also identify optimal time for engagement. Knowing when your audience is most active will raise your engagement, so keep tracking and post when they are online.

Never underestimate your competitors because you can learn from them. See what kind of content works for them by tracking their engagement rates.

Mentions: Does anybody talk about your brand?

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All mentions are important, whether they are written in a positive or negative manner. Your goal is to promote actual online conversations and discussions, but try to give your best to induce positive reactions.

For starter, you should become a part of that conversation and show people you care about their opinion. But when it comes to monitoring mentions, you should use these metrics in order to find out how many people are talking about your brand and more importantly – who is talking. A simple step that can inspire you to boost your mentions is to take a glance at your competitors’ mentions. Don’t steal their idea, just let yourself be creative. People will value your uniqueness.

Nevertheless, if you are having a trouble with social mention monitoring, you can always hire a professional to do the job for you.

Conversion: Do you have enough traffic to your website?

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How many people took an extra step and visited your site via your social media page?

Tracking a total number of conversions will show you if your social media strategy achieves its purpose. To convert, you need to engage people by giving them a strong call-to-action. You can use analytic tools such as Google’s URL builder and collect all important data about the specific link. This will help you realize what kind of social media content is attracting the greatest amount of traffic to your page.

So, track the number of conversions that happened within a month or a week and match the data with particular content. These valuable metrics will tell you how fast your business is growing. So, if your conversion numbers aren’t where you want them to be, you can do something about that immediately. Start looking for new trends and change something in order to improve your strategy.

Sentiments: Do people like your products?

You can actually get into the mind of your customers while you are online. With a little help of sentiment and emotional analysis, you can track online conversation from all social networks and see how people feel about your products.

You would probably love to see just positive comments, but tracking negative ones will help you improve your business. A sudden spike in negative sentiment will show you what you should change. Moreover, you will be able to resolve this problem and calm people down. Maybe your brand is well-liked, but there is always a room for improvement.

These metrics bring as to a whole new level of marketing. Sentiments and emotional analysis will help you create a positive social media presence your business needs.

Track What Matters

Everyone obsesses over how many followers they have. Yes, it’s nice to have a large number of followers, but that doesn’t matter as much as you may think. What you want is for people to become familiar with your brand and your message. You want them to go to your website and buy your products. So, use these metrics in order to get to know your audience and grow your business.

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.