How Small Businesses Can Successfully Reach Their Customer Base

The traditional sales funnel is dead, at least according to McKinsey & Company – a global management consulting firm. Replacing it is a circular sales cycle. It used to be that marketers could rely solely on direct mail and other marketing initiatives to “push” information to consumers. Since consumers’ information channels were limited, and research avenues were often hidden from the public, consumers relied on various marketing initiatives to make decisions about future purchases. Today, consumers can easily “pull” information to them online through social media websites and review-based sites like Yelp. This diminishes the power of focused marketing initiatives by companies. Consumers now rely on strong word-of-mouth over a corporation’s advertising campaign so if you want your small business to succeed, you’re going to have to change the way you reach your customer base. Continue reading

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Guest Post: The Value of Social Media Buzz

Today we’re featuring a special guest post from guest blogger Rachel Walker at FastUpFront which provides business cash advances for small businesses. Social media buzz is pivotal to the success of businesses both big and small but how does the marketing work for it and once you have an engaged customer, how do you get them to stay engaged with your brand?

I remember when social media was still in its infancy, with Facebook and Twitter leaping to become overnight social network sensations. Today there are a whole slew of social media sites which allow people to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on anything and everything- and businesses are working hard to keep up with the tweeting Joneses.

Savvy consumers use these platforms to share their opinions of businesses with one another, while said businesses scurry to leverage their social media reputations to attract more customers.  In the blink of an eye, social media has now become one of the most important marketing platforms worldwide. Now that we’re there, how does social media marketing work and how exactly does one keep a customer engaged with their fan page to keep that buzz going? Continue reading

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Help Your Small Business Dream Take Flight!

Where I grew up there is a little outdoor sporting goods store that I love to visit. It is sandwiched between a Mexican restaurant and an old magazine and tobacco store. Its location is nondescript and doesn’t get very much attention. However, once you’re inside – it is a whole new world. The sights, sounds and smells take you somewhere special. There are pictures of world famous climbers. They are always the first to have the newest climbing, skiing, and camping equipment. The employees actually use the gear they sell. They can tell you where the best snow is, or where the best campsite is. They recognize you when you walk in and will ask how the jacket you bought last winter is holding up. Sure, there may be illicit smells wafting from the employee break room, but that’s just how it is. That is what small businesses are- unique and custom tailored to the local community; providing a product or a service with you in mind. Continue reading

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2 Thumbs Up: How Small Businesses Can Shield Their Online Image From Bad Reviews

So it has happened; a company is suing Google for libel.

The Ballymascanlon House Hotel in Ireland is angry that Google’s auto-complete function immediately links the hotel with receivership, which is when another party holds some assets until the business’s debts are repaid. In other words, the Hotel is being perceived as in some sort of financial trouble, which isn’t the case according to the hotel. Representatives from Ballymascanlon have said this has hurt their business and demanded it be removed.

Google didn’t change it, as the auto-complete feature simply shows what Google users most often search for, and so the Hotel moved to litigate. Of course, the entire case Ballymascanlon is building is silly and will no doubt be thrown out, but it does show the impact online perception has on a business. The hotel has a 1,200-year-old history, and a lawsuit over something Google has little control over is now completely overshadowing it. Continue reading

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