3 Areas That Your Small Business Should Invest In

3 Areas That Your Small Business Should Invest InThere are staples and initiatives that every business needs in order to succeed. From marketing efforts to employees and equipment, you’re going to need to pay it forward in order to gain results. After all, the nature of business is to make investments.

However, the question lies in understanding where to make those investments and when to pull back. Read on to discover three areas within your small business that, with a little understanding and tact, will prove your efforts to be worthwhile.

Marketing

No matter how amazing your business offering is, it won’t mean much if no one is aware of it. Marketing is essential for any business that wants to bring in new business while educating and entertaining a consumer group. However, when it comes to setting a budget, where should you save and splurge?

Ad campaigns (consisting of flyers, banners or direct mail) can provide you with a return on investment both in a growing customer base and a more solidified brand image. The key to making your investment worth it is to have a consistent message across the board that speaks to your niche’s needs and wants.

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8 Guidelines for Effective Video Marketing

8 Guidelines for Effective Video MarketingPeople love watching videos. With almost 1 billion active users, YouTube has become one of the most visited sites online. Many businesses have discovered the immense potential of video marketing and are now using it to promote their products and services – here are some tips which will help you derive the biggest benefits from video marketing.

1. Understand your audience.

Before posting any video, you need to get familiar with your target audience. What are their ages? What are they passionate about? What problems are they dealing with? What kind of videos would appeal best to your audience? Once you have answers to such questions, you will then be able to carry out an effective video marketing campaign.

2. Think outside the box.

There are thousands of videos on YouTube competing for people’s attention. For your video to stand out of the crowd, you will need to think out-of-the-box. Come up with a creative and radical concept which will capture the imagination of your viewers. You can get some inspiration by looking at what others have already done and borrowing some ideas. However, don’t make the mistake of duplicating entirely the work of others.

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4 Essential Elements to Building Your Business’ Bridge to Conversion

4 Essentials to Building Your Business’ Bridge to ConversionIt’s one thing to get people’s attention towards your business, but what use is having all the recognition in the world if you can’t influence them to actually engage with your business? Once you’ve got them at your site, you need to give them a reason to stay there and click on a link to register an account, subscribe to a newsletter, order a product, or even just look around and find out more what it is you do.

But how do you accomplish this? Here are four fundamental elements that you need to build on to start getting conversions on your company website.

User Experience

How your target audience feels about interacting with your website is one of the very first things that you need to take into consideration. Your site needs to provide the information your visitors are looking for. It has to be easily navigable for different devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, etc.), browsers and connection speeds while still maintaining a credible and compelling design that reinforces your business’ brand.

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How to Hire a Social Media Freelancer

How to Hire a Social Media FreelancerAs an entrepreneur, marketing is one of the most important parts of your business. Over the last decade, social media has “liked” and “favorited” its way into being a critical means to reach an online audience, regardless of industry. Rather than hiring on another full time W-2 employee, consider hiring a social media freelancer to help unlock your brand’s social power.

Pre-Hire Tips

Work your network

More than ever, there are people qualified to manage social media channels for a small business. There are most likely people within your own network to work along with, especially freelancers who handle multiple clients. Feel free to use sites like odesk.com or freelancer.com, but a referral is always best.

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5 Ways to Market Your Small Business

5 Ways to Market Your Small BusinessBoth large and small businesses struggle with finding the best way to market their products or services. While all kinds of companies use similar marketing techniques, the way small businesses apply the techniques will be different due to the smaller demographic and customer base. There are five basic ways small businesses can market themselves effectively.

1) Give your customers free stuff

The customer should be rewarded for their loyalty and support by getting free or discounted stuff. Businesses can put coupons in community mailers or offer coupons on receipts for future purchases. Coupons in mailers can help draw new customers to your business while receipt coupons keep customers returning every week to get deals and free items. Use these methods to offer customers free trials or free samples as well. Offering customers the chance to try out a product or service will make them more comfortable purchasing it in the future.

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The Importance of Online Transparency in Business

The Importance of Online Transparency in BusinessThere was a time when big brands had a lot of control over how they were perceived and how they were portrayed in the media. Consumers had limited options when it came to communicating with brands, and the companies themselves had the power to create demand for products simply through being good at PR. Those days ended with the advent of widespread internet access and the rise of social media. Today, the power is in the hands of the consumer.

People now expect to be able to have two-way conversations with brands. Bad products are ridiculed, and news of poor customer service or unethical business practices spreads quickly.  Good news travels fast too, and even small gestures can go viral and have a huge impact on your brand’s bottom line. There is also a new generation of influencers in the form of bloggers, YouTube users and internet celebrities – and any bad experiences they have with a brand will be shared with their followers and are sure to make a big impact there.

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Why Peer Recommendations Matter for Your Business

Why Peer Recommendations Matter for Your BusinessThere was a time when word of mouth was the best way to spread the buzz surrounding a service or a product to potential customers. Now more than ever, word of mouth advertising has come back into vogue through social media. By harnessing the power of tweets via Twitter and status updates on Facebook, you can inspire your current customers to make peer recommendations to their friends and neighbors, which increases the bottom line of your brand for the long term.

If your company has little or no money available for advertising or marketing, social media represents a powerful tool to get the word out about your product or service. A customer referral from a satisfied patron to his or her friends can carry far more weight than even the most persuasive or expensive advertising. Best of all, you can launch and manage highly effective social media campaigns without blowing your company’s budget.

By encouraging your present customers to spread the word about the great products and services you have to offer, you can save money on advertising, while generating trust among potential customers. As a result, you can concentrate your time, effort and money into producing the best possible products and services. With the winning combination of excellent offerings and trusted peer referrals, your company has a better chance of enjoying a healthy profit margin now and in the future.

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10 Best Apps for Entrepreneurs

10 Best Apps for EntrepreneursYou know what it’s like to start and run your own business.  After all, you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re in good company.

According to an recent article from Forbes, the ranks of entrepreneurs around the United States are continuing to grow.  As they change the face of the working world as we know it, they need the latest technical gadgets and gizmos to help them stay on track, provide great customer service and, most of all, keep those profit margins climbing.

This is where apps come into play.  Some are free, while others have nominal price tags.  Most are never used, or used just once, after they are downloaded. However, there are a few valuable apps out there that entrepreneurs around the country couldn’t imagine their lives without.  Those are the apps you need to have on your smartphone or tablet, especially if that’s what your competitors do.

Here are 10 of the hottest apps that men and women who have started their own companies wouldn’t leave home without.

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How to Integrate Social Media and SEO to Drive Brand Awareness

How to Integrate Social Media and SEO to Drive Brand AwarenessAs the owner of a small business, you know what it’s like to have a lot on your plate. Some days, it may feel as if you need a small army in place just to keep up with the way you need to market and brand yourself – not to mention making a profit and paying attention to your customers! Well, I’ve got a secret to share with you: you don’t need an army. All you need is a thirst for knowledge. The trick is to stay on top of trends and when things move, move with them!

Working in the marketing industry, I’ve come to understand that it is never about one thing or the other, it is about how all of the pieces of the puzzle come together to form the big picture. Ten years ago, your business might have gotten by with some television commercials and perhaps an advertisement or two in your local newspaper, but times have changed – how can you compete and stay on top today?

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