Food Product Ready for the Shelf? 4 Packaging-Design Strategies

Only sell food products that are ready for the shelf. It takes some marketing skills to know what sells and good strategic skills to find out how to improve sales. Review 4 different ways to create effective packaging designs. 

Clear Design 

Your package design should clearly identify what type of product it contains, leaving no ambiguity. Also, create packaging with large fonts and images that can be seen by visually impaired people. There are millions of people who cannot see correctly either up close or far away. They are more likely to put the product back if they cannot read the labels. Also, larger images are seen as more visually appealing by shoppers. 

Bold Colors 

Some advertisers place human faces on their packages to appeal to different demographics of people. They want to appeal to people’s emotions by showing sad or happy faces. Those techniques work, but the most effective one of them all is the use of colors. Everyone enjoys looking at colors, and shoppers love buying colorful items. Use a variety of colors to represent an entire line of products. Some companies stick to one or two colors like black or gold to appeal to the visual senses. 

Eye-Catching Messages 

The best advertising is bold and catches the attention of viewers in a unique way. It’s the most effective because it gets the most amount of attention, whether it’s good or bad. Some companies and organizations are known to make their ads controversial to attract attention to certain social problems. The same idea of using specific words or images to attract people can be applied to designs for food packaging. You may also consider including messages that highlight consumer preferences. Whether your product is gluten-free or dairy-free, be sure your product undergoes nutritional profiling so you can back up these statements on the packaging.

Ease of Use 

Consumers always avoid products that are difficult to use. These include wine bottles that cannot be opened or closed easily, glass bottles that slip out of the hand too easily, and pump bottles that eject too easily. The problems may seem trivial, but companies can lose countless customers by not fixing problems with ease of use. No one wants to struggle with a complicated item when an easier, and cheaper, one is ready for purchase. 

Every product seller in every industry has many competitors to deal with. The growth of online businesses has made it harder to compete and win. Making bold packaging designs for your products is one way to grab the most attention from consumers. Make it a top priority to promote good advertising through packaging.

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

Why Does Content Work For Some And Not For Others?

The online space is witnessing increasing deployment of focused content by companies to drive better user engagement and build awareness of one’s brand. The reason is obvious. Content marketing is proving to be a profitable proposition for creating brand appeal among niche users and reaping rich dividends.  The creation and distribution of meaningful, relevant, informative, easy to understand and implement, consistent and purposeful content can turbocharge your brand’s scalability index.

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Content marketing done in right perspective not only attracts and retains customers but also triggers word of mouth promotion by satisfied evangelists. With content, you are actually making the potential buyers more empowered and intelligent which motivates them to make informed and conscious purchasing decision in your brand’s favour. The underlying theme is that, if you keep providing your prospects with valuable and actionable information, it would get reflected in the form of steady traffic to your site and higher conversions.

Have Companies Benefited from Investment in Content Marketing?

Yes.

Stats from various studies show that the lead generation for content is 3x more compared to outbound marketing whereas the money pumped in for content generation and deployment is 62% lesser.

Additionally, content works because it is in demand. This demand for content can be seen in the online audience – a vast majority of people in the demographic class of 18-50 years prefer online news and content to secure the latest information. As a result, the growth in leads for SMEs which have their own blogs has been reported to be 126% more than those counterparts which don’t believe in blogging. In the USA alone, about 61% of online customers have made their purchasing decisions after going through fact-driven recommendations in blogs.

What Makes Content A Successful Strategy For Brands?

If you go by market-based insights, the reasons would be quite straightforward but many:

  • Good content has the right balance of short and long tail keywords which prompts the search engine crawler to index the related sites for all relevant search queries.
  • Quality content must be posted at frequent intervals; delayed or staggered posts are perfect catalysts for driving away your prospective buyers.
  • Content shouldn’t just be limited to your own blog. To make it work, target high authority sites and build your authority through guest posting.
  • Believable content has to be relatable and authoritative so that readers can rely on the information shared and become experts in navigating problems.
  • Exciting content never lets the focus of readers stray and grasps the short attention span through shorter paragraphs and extensive use of visual creatives.
  • Strong content is never overwhelmed with unnecessary words just for fulfilling the expected length.
  • Readable content uses easy to comprehend words and simple sentence constructs. Good content also eliminates the use of jargon.
  • Marketable content does not repeat ideas and never sports cookie-cutter characteristics.
  • Unique content is plagiarism free; even if ideas have to be borrowed, they are presented with a fresh perspective.
  • Engaging content allows sufficient scope to gauge the sentiments of readers and measures the resonance of ideas shared through user polls, reviews, social media shares etc.
  • Compelling content needs to be interactive and addressed to the readers in a manner that they find it more personal than advertising-centric.
  • Content works more effectively when you give your audience the choice to pick from different formats. This means videos, podcasts, blogs, infographics etc.
  • Updated content always gives reflection to activities of importance that have happened for your brand. And is attuned to the current industry trends.

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Why does Content fail to Deliver for Some?

If your brand fails to leverage the potential of content optimally for rich returns, it must be suffering from one or more of the problems outlined below:

  • The content might be pushy and/or advertising-centric.
  • It might not be working because it offers no real value to readers.
  • If the content is outdated, irrelevant and inconsistent with your brand’s vision- it won’t get you any engagement.
  • Your content could not be working because it might have plagiarism issues. Such content invites penalties from search engines.
  • When content lacks strong and catchy headlines, it fails to catch the reader’s interest. So even if your content is giving really valuable information, it might get skipped because it lacks an engaging structure.
  • Content containing spelling and grammatical errors doesn’t work for the audience.
  • When statements are not backed by facts, they harm your credibility. To make this work, you should link your content to high-authority and reliable sources.
  • When content does not have relevant keywords that would help the search engines categorize it properly, it fails to gain visibility.
  • Content that lacks any thought-provoking characteristics is also bound to fail.

Now that you have realized the apparent bottlenecks that are withholding your content from producing that killer’ effect, it is time to give your content strategy the much-deserved facelift. Skip the don’ts and work on the dos to get the most out of your content strategy.

Matthew Booth is the Global Marketing & Operations Director at SMEGoWeb, a global brand which has helped more than a thousand businesses achieve their online goals. With a decade of agency experience, he is now set out to share his marketing knowledge to help companies refine their digital strategies.

 

The Long Game And Short-Term Concerns: The Ways To Help Minimize Business Weakness

It is an ongoing process, understanding your weaknesses. It can be quite eye-opening to discover what you once thought was a strength, but is actually a weakness in the grand scheme of things. Because running a business requires you, in essence, to clear new paths, to push new boundaries, and to continually explore the horizons, it’s these processes that leave you open for attack. This is why so many young companies refuse to take the risk, either because of financial implications, or they believe that playing it safe will translate to a better version of the long game. But, it is vital, during the infancy of your business, to have a spring clean of sorts, to find out what the best ways are to go about this, and how can you fix yourself up and move on?

The SWOT Analysis

It’s a very simple way to start out. A SWOT analysis (short for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) is a structure that can easily help you to break down the problems. Put simply, you are able to find out what you do really well first, and what you don’t do well second. The overriding idea of taking this structure is to gain an overall appreciation of your business, not just internally, but how you fit under the larger business industry magnifying glass. This is quite a task, but as soon as you start to break down issues such as business mergers, supplier problems, as well as the pesky technology developments, then you can begin to come up with an action plan to ensure your business does better. It certainly sounds like a big task, because it is. But by putting yourself and your business through the wringer, and going through every detail with a fine tooth comb, there are going to be some harsh realities to face up to.

Analyze The Data

After a SWOT analysis has been completed, it’s time to look at the results you gathered. It all depends on how you go about completing this analysis; you may want to open it up to your employees, so they can give you their true opinions from the ground floor. Beware with this, depending on the ship you run, people may not feel inclined to come forward. If you are encouraging honesty, you had best be prepared for a wakeup call. It’s one of those issues that can be incredibly thorny because it can result in a lot of repressed emotions bubbling up to the surface. In going about this approach, what one person views as a strength, the other might view as a weakness, and this is absolutely fine, because it really lays bare what your employees think about the business and how it operates. Pleasing your employees can be a difficult task, but sometimes, these issues can boil down to something that is easily fixable. Technology issues or poor organization are two things that can be fixed with an action plan, as well as a proper information technology security policy. Luckily, there are various resources available now that covers both issues, if you were to visit www.bswllc.com you can see one example of an organization that implements various plans of attack to save a business, from the productivity aspect, to the technological issues. Analyzing the data is one of the difficult approaches to undertake, because to do it properly requires time, effort, and money. And if you are concerned that it is going to be a major investment, it is far better for you to implement it one bit at a time. Doing it this way will help keep up your employees’ morale, because nobody likes major change, but it’s important to keep your eye on the bigger picture. Sometimes, analyzing your weaknesses can bring up results that are a little too close to home…

Look In The Mirror…

Sometimes, fault can lie with us and us alone. And this is a very devastating thing to admit to ourselves. There are many entrepreneurs that feel that, in order for the business to fly, that they have to exercise total control over every single aspect. But this does one of two things, firstly it doesn’t help you in times of emergency, because you are the fundamental card in the proverbial house of cards, and so the business will fall apart, but secondly, it communicates to your employees and your deputies, that you don’t trust them. So how can you get past this? If you look on www.tonyrobbins.com there is the story of Usha Patel who took the opportunity to identify her own individual strengths and use these to benefit the business. Essentially, it’s taking the SWOT analysis structure and turning it on yourself. But if this feels like an incredibly psychoanalytical approach, you are heading in the right direction. In any business, whether you are running a store, a factory, or a trendy startup, the problem can sometimes live with you and your own attitudes, not just to motivation, but to the business as a whole. We are all guilty of feeling overprotective over our babies, and this is something we all need to learn how to relinquish. It can take some time, but if you are the weak cog in the business, it’s far better for you to fess up and make positive steps in the right direction. It’s not pretty, but it’s essential.

We can view our business in terms of a month to month progress, or we can look at it as the long game. The long game is a far more productive mindset to embed, not just in your employees, but in yourself. And so, when it comes to addressing potential weaknesses, as well as the very tangible ones, it creates an attitude within the company to do well. Emotional investment is something that can yield positive and negative results, and whether you are doing a SWOT analysis, or you are ready to hear from your employees what they really think of the business and how it is run, consider it to be a stepping stone to a much better environment and a far more positive business.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Tips for Creating Your Own Brand & Getting It to Grow

More people are realizing the benefits of entrepreneurship. As a result, many people are building their own brands to achieve professional dreams. If you’d like to do the same, understand that it’s a process. There are a few things you’ll want to practice and implement in order to achieve success. To lay the foundation, start with these four tips.

Create a Website, a Business Bank Account and Business Cards

If you put the necessary systems in place, you won’t have to scramble later on to get things done. Start by purchasing a domain name. Create a simple website. Even if you don’t have technical skills, you can easily use a template and create a professional-looking site. Register your business as an LLC. Get a tax ID number and a business bank account. When you’re operating with money, you don’t want to mix up personal finances with business finances. Also, once you’ve solidified your contact details, you can put all of the information on your business cards. Details like your website, email address and telephone number should be on the business card.

Create Offline and Online Marketing Strategies

Don’t make the mistake of solely focusing on online marketing strategies. Create a mix of offline and online strategies so that you can build through multiple portals. If you’re selling an incredible hair product, reserve tables at hair shows. Do your best to promote your product at different events and allow your presence to serve as an offline marketing strategy. Some online strategies include building a social media presence, developing an email list and maintaining a consistent blog.

Be a Walking Billboard for Your Brand

If your company is a clothing retailer like Capsule Corp Clothing, for example, make sure that you wear the clothes that you sell. If your latest line includes fabulous Dragon Ball tank tops, wear new pieces from the line every day. You should serve as a walking billboard for your brand. When people look at you, they should know that you are proud of your business and that you represent your business. The same goes for your employees. If you represent it well, more people are likely to buy into whatever you’re selling.

Develop Habits of Professionalism

Always be professional, timely and considerate. Be responsive to various inquiries that people have. Be reliable and operate within integrity. When people see that they can trust you, they’ll do business with you. Make sure you do this with every single interaction because each interaction speaks volumes.

Look at entrepreneurship as a marathon. Most people operate as though entrepreneurship and brand-building are sprint races. When you develop a mindset that understands that you want to build a brand that lasts more than 20 years, you’ll be able to pace yourself and create a sustainable business.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

6 Catastrophic Mistakes An Entrepreneur Can Make In Their Business’ First Year

What makes a great entrepreneur? There are numerous theories on the subject. Is it their hard work, dedication and commitment? Is it their invention, imagination and ability to think outside the box? Is it their ability to parse metric data and use it to keep their finger on the pulse of what their customers want and need? Or could it be their ability to motivate and rally their employees; helping them to work with gusto towards a shared goal. Ultimately, these are all extremely important but it’s arguable that the most important quality of entrepreneurship is…

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Image by Pixabay

Just start.

There are lots of people out there, right now, slaving away in jobs they despise who have a great idea for a business. They have spotted a gap in the market, devised a concept for a product for a product or service that neatly fills that gap and they have a clear vision in their heads of how that can be extrapolated into a living, breathing, working SME. They may have cobbled together something resembling a business plan in their free time. They’ve had some preliminary thoughts about what their business’ mission statement might be and how it would be reflected in their branding. They might even have crunched some numbers to create a reasonably accurate cash flow forecast. But they never reached the point where they reached out to sources of funding or even registered their business’ name. Why? Because they were paralyzed by their fear of the unknown. This perfectly natural and perfectly human impulse may be understandable but it can keep potentially successful entrepreneurs stuck on the path of wage slavery; languishing away in jobs where they’re underpaid, underappreciated and undervalued when they could be at the head of a thriving enterprise.

By far the most crippling of fears when it comes to starting a business is the fear of failure. After all, the numbers are not on the side of nascent entrepreneurs. We’ve all heard that 50% of SMEs fail within their first four years and we’re paralyzed by the fear of what will happen if we fall within this damning statistic. But here’s the thing…

There’s nothing to fear but fear itself

If you have a fantastic idea for a business that would benefit your local high street, create jobs, fill a gap on the market, benefit the local economy and liberate you from a job you despise, it behooves you to overcome your fear of failure and at least attempt to make your business a reality. Very often, failure in small business is not the end but simply a blip on a long learning curve. At worst, you will be made bankrupt (although this is certainly not an inevitable consequence of failure in small business). But in most cases bankruptcy is not the end of an entrepreneurial career. Some of the most successful people on the planet have been made bankrupt at least once.

That said, failure is never an appealing prospect. If we can forego the expense and emotional turmoil that come with failure in small business, so much the better, right?

Learning from the mistakes of others

The beauty of living in the digital age is that we have unparalleled access to a wealth of information which can give you and your business the inside track. As well as learning from our own mistakes (an inevitable and necessary part of small business) we can benefit from the mistakes of other nascent businesses. While there may be no surefire way of avoiding failure in the world of small business (if there were, everyone would be running their own SME), there are certainly commonly made mistakes that you can sidestep when you plan your operations and strategy around avoiding them. Here we’ll look at some of the commonly made mistakes made by businesses in their first year and how you can prevent your business from replicating them…

Under investing to insulate profit margins

When many entrepreneurs start out, they do so with one goal in mind… turning a profit. So long as the numbers are in the black month or month that means the business is going well, right? Well, not necessarily. As important as it is for small businesses to guard against irresponsible, reckless or vanity spending, it’s also vital that they avoid under investing in their enterprises. Under investment in personnel, capital investments like software or equipment, or maintaining / renovating your premises can impede your business’ growth. Unless you’re prepared to invest in better infrastructure for your small business it will only ever stay small and its scope will be limited. While you should certainly learn to walk before you can run and it can be counterproductive to set out with growth in mind before you know how to facilitate that growth sustainably, you should avoid the temptation to under invest in your business for the sake of insulating your profit margins.

Small businesses need to be agile and adaptable and if you fail to invest adequately, you may fail to capitalize on opportunities that come your way and your competitors will leave you in the dust.

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Dipping into personal funds to finance aspects of the business

Separating personal and business finances can be a real learning curve for nascent entrepreneurs. When you have a lot of passion and personal / emotional investment in your business it only makes sense to put your money where your mouth is… but this can be a serious mistake. Not only should you have separate accounts for your personal and business finances, you should take pains to ensure that one doesn’t bleed into the other. Otherwise you could find yourself on a slippery slope.

Trying to do a grade A job with grade B materials

In your first year of business, the name of the game is reputation. With such a plethora of competition out there, prospective customers need a reason to choose your business and not the legions of others who do exactly the same thing. This means that your reputation must be beyond reproach. While a big part of this is in how your employees deal with customers and the experience that your customers can expect, let’s not forget that you can’t do a grade A job with grade B materials. If you work in the construction industry, for example you know that you wouldn’t compromise on materials or make rush decisions when building the foundations of your project. You’d go to HelitechCCD.com and invest what you had to in materials that are right for the job. Otherwise, the whole thing could come tumbling down and take your reputation with it. Whether you’re in construction, catering or content the principal remains the same.

Spending too much time “at the coalface” and too little time on strategy

Entrepreneurs tend to have a proactive and hard working nature and when they see their employees struggling, their first instinct is to roll up your sleeves and join them at the coalface. But while noble in its intentions, this approach can be counterproductive in a number of ways. It can make your employees dependant on you at best or at worst turn you into the kind of relentless micromanager that employees hate to work for. Moreover, this is rarely the best place for you to invest your time and efforts. As the CEO of your business, your time is better spend in your office, concentrating on the strategic running of your business rather than day to day operations. It’s your responsibility to analyze your performance metrics and use them to influence your operational strategy month by month.

Having a resistant approach to new technology

Technology these days moves at a blistering pace. Investing in your technological infrastructure is rarely cheap and often requires an investment not only of capital but of time and effort as you and your employees get to grips with the software and hardware that your business needs to succeed. Thus, when equilibrium is achieved between a business and its tech, it can be extremely tempting to resist technological change. But technological change is an inevitable part of doing business in the 21st century. You need to maintain an agile approach to tech and be prepared to throw out the rulebook when a technological advancement necessitates an overhaul of your operations. If you resist technological change you could end up a dinosaur in your industry, like Blockbuster video in the age of Netflix. If this involves a prohibitively expensive overhaul of your IT or tech infrastructure, you may wish to consider outsourcing your IT operations. Not only will it insulate you from a lot of the cost of staying current, but your tech solutions can be scaled up as your business grows.

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Image by Flickr

Failing to keep an eye on the competition

As important as it is to stay ahead of the curve, keeping your eyes too closely on your own work can be counterproductive. Your business does not operate in a vacuum and competitor analysis is an essential component of any sound business strategy. If your competitors offer something you don’t, run a promotion that you don’t or offer the same services at a price you can’t match you can’t assume that your customers will remain loyal to you.

Steer clear of these common pitfalls of first year businesses, however, and you stand every chance of laying a firm foundation for success.

 

 

 

 

How to Make Your Growing Business More Competitive

Your business needs to be able to compete in its industry like never before. Today’s companies are competing with businesses who have truly milked every advantage imaginable to stay at the head of the pack. Your business cannot be behind in this process. Once a business starts to pull out in front of other competitors in their industry, they cannot afford to lose ground. They must keep up this momentum to remain a strong industry leader. The following are a few ideas to help your company compete on a whole new level.

Employee Upgrades

As the needs of your business change, you will need talent that can keep up with the pace. Sometimes you have to let employees go who are not cutting it to make room for new staff upgrades who can competently stay on top of the learning curve necessary to help improve company performance. As you weed out weaker employees who cannot keep up and replace them with stronger employees who can, you will find each department providing your company with the edge it needs to compete at a whole new level.

Offer New Benefits for Employees

More than ever before, companies are trying to keep employees by making work a fun place to be and offering benefits they and their families can enjoy. Beyond just the job’s salary, many employees stay loyal to companies who can provide dental, vision, and health benefits, as well as 401(k) programs. Take a look at the benefits you currently offer and see if implementing something like paid lunches, paternity leave, or life insurance might sweeten the deal for those you hire.

Expanding the Business

One way to make a huge competitive move is to expand your business to new locations. The more locations you are able to expand into and keep running with solid quarterly revenue, the more competitive you will prove to be in your industry. With every new location that you establish, this is a whole new revenue stream to help your business obtain the funds to react to the strategies other competing companies are using.

Conclusion

Competition is at the heart of modern business. If your company is not in it to win it, then it will start to lag behind other competing companies. Your company should always be poised to swoop in on any opportunity in the market that will ensure a competitive advantage. These opportunities are what will help your company to pull out in front of the other companies you are competing with in your industry or marketplace.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Build Your Bottom Line with These 4 Surprising Business Strategies

When it comes to tracking your company’s growth, very few numbers are as important as the bottom line. As a business owner, you should constantly be on the lookout for new ways to increase your bottom line without sacrificing your core ideals. Here is a quick look at four proven tactics that will boost your bottom line no matter which industry you are in.

Hire a Good HR Team

According to one recent study, companies are now spending more money than ever on litigation costs. There is no surefire way to completely protect your company from all legal troubles, but hiring a good HR team could help you avoid a wide variety of issues. Your human resources team can help you come up with a comprehensive plan to avoid expensive problems such as workplace injuries and unlawful termination lawsuits. They can also gauge employee satisfaction and reduce your turnover rates.

Focus on Cheap or Affordable Marketing

Traditional advertising mediums such as television and radio spots are still effective, but smaller companies don’t always have the resources for those types of campaigns. A strong online presence will allow you to reach millions of people from around the world at a fraction of the price. At the very least, your company must have an eye-catching website and active social media accounts. Those spaces will give current and future clients multiple ways to easily contact you if necessary.

Create a Knowledge Base

If you are losing clients because of inefficient support, then you need to work on a solid knowledge base. Depending on which industry you are in, your clients might benefit from any mixture of white papers, how-to guides, and online video tutorials. Creating that content and then offering it to clients for free will also reduce the amount of time that your employees spend on customer support. Those guides and videos are especially important if you are providing a product or service that has never been seen on the market.

Build Camaraderie with Team Meals

Many business owners are surprised to hear that corporate catering can be an extremely powerful tool when used properly. Instead of sending your employees off on their own to have lunch, you might want to consider scheduling at least a few communal meals a year. In addition to potentially receiving tax deductions for those meals, you are also going to boost your staff’s efficiency and improve company culture. Offering healthy meals can reduce sick days and increase productiveness as well.

No single growth strategy is going to work for every business, and that is why you need to test out at least a few different options. As you try out these various tactics, you should carefully track their success to see which are working and which can be left behind.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.