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Staying Atop of Emerging Trends: Marketing Strategies that are an Absolute Must for Small Business

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Having you been thinking that because it’s small business, you can’t go big when it comes to marketing?  Well, it’s time to rethink that position.  Since the Internet boom and the virtually limitless opportunities it has opened up for e-commerce of all kinds, the business landscape as we knew it has undergone a dramatic shift.  No longer are wide-reaching and successful marketing campaigns the sole domain of huge corporations with equally huge marketing budgets.  To the contrary, it’s the companies that stay well ahead of the proverbial curve who reap the most benefits.  And what’s the best way to do that?  By creating a savvy, aggressive, and creative marketing game plan to put your small business over the top.

Cultivate a Strong Online Presence

Develop a Professional – Looking Website

It simply can’t be stated enough; every small business should have a professionally designed website.  As they say, content is king, so be sure to keep your website content fresh, current, and updated.  In addition, a small business website that has plenty of dynamic and interactive features will have web users to flocking it in droves.  This is not to mention the valuable word-of-mouth referrals you’ll receive on behalf of your customers.  Simply put, a website is the perfect tool for a small business to create tons of value for its customers.  This value can come in the form of updates about special offers, discounts on products and services, and advertised promotions.

For lead generation purposes, be sure your website has an “opt in” page for inviting visitors to join your mailing list.  Later on you can use these e-mail addresses to increase your customer base and further market your products and services.  Last but not least, learn the value of search engine optimization and how it can drive traffic to your website.  This includes using analytics to study traffic patterns, test usage trends, and refine your webpage layout.  It doesn’t matter how fancy your website is if you’re not getting traffic.

Embrace the Advantages of Social Media

Showcase your Expertise by Blogging

Blogs are the preferred communication method used by today’s Internet generation, and are an exceedingly valuable tool for small businesses to stay connected to their customers. Maintaining a blog can help your personalize the message you send to your targeted consumers, and offer an alternative to reading dry copy about products and services.  Also, blogs increase traffic, and traffic increase visibility.  By providing expert knowledge, tips, and advice through your blog posts, you lend considerable credibility to your small business.  Let’s face it; customers want expertise, and not general knowledge.  Use your blog to set yourself apart, and build customer relationships.

Facebook

Facebook, the social media phenomenon, currently has over 100 million daily users.  For small businesses that both embrace and utilize social media, having a Facebook page is a definite plus.  The way that savvy small businesses can market themselves using Facebook is by generating buzz amongst consumers in an effort to boost traffic.  This is first accomplished by developing a business Facebook page.  They’re very simple to create, and as a bonus, they’re totally free for now. Here are some new Facebook plugins.

When your page goes up, make sure it’s loaded with useful information, and features plenty of photos, videos and promotions for your small business.  Also, choose a profile picture that captures the image you want your customers to remember about your business.  If you need to edit the image to take advantage of the photo space or crop a picture, you can use the photo editing tools right there on your page.

The next thing to do is build up a large following.  One easy way to do this is by using one of Facebook’s Social Plug-in Widgets to promote and advertise your blog and website.   If your budget allows for it, you might even want to buy a Facebook ad towards your webpage’s promotion.  Or you can always just buy some Facebook fans to quickly boost your following.

Keep in mind that the Facebook pages that have the most success are the ones that are down to earth and real.  Even if the ultimate goal of your content is a call to action, you still want to establish a genuine human connection with your visitors.  You can do this by engaging people in a friendly and informal dialogue, or sharing action photos of yourself and your family doing what you love.  This personal touch will go a long way towards helping your business grow and gaining customers.  The key seems to be not getting overwhelmed by the rapid growth and the sometimes complex nature of social media, but instead resolving to tackle this burgeoning marketing tool head on.

Twitter

Twitter is one of the most effective social media and networking tools out there if you know how to use it.  It’s not just about popularity or gaining followers, but more about using Twitter and your blog in conjunction towards a common end.  Your main focus should be on putting a together a high quality page, deliver timely and relevant tweets in line with your brand, and using Twitter as a link to your other social media.

A good habit to develop is linking to a couple of trending and relevant resources at the start of each day.  This can include your small business’s information, like a particularly pertinent blog post or press release you want to get out there.  And don’t be afraid have your employees interact and tweet on your page.  Also, be sure your Twitter handle is posted anywhere you also list your website address.

LinkedIn

More than an average resume site, LinkedIn is actually the largest business network in the world.  In fact, LinkedIn resources are so search engine friendly, that a search of your name will probably deliver a result on the first page of Google.  Due to LinkedIn’s powerful reputation in the business industry, having an account means instant credibility.  So be sure you have a profile, and have it linked to both your blog and website.

Optimization of Mobile Technology

Staying abreast of emerging technologies and developing trends is absolutely critical to the successful marketing of any small business.  But more than just keeping up with new developments, your small business must take it a step further and aggressively implement these innovations.  Optimization of mobile technology is one such example.  Today, mobile devices far outnumber traditional PC’s as the electronic tool most widely used for web surfing, personal communication, and online shopping.  Hence, having a sound mobile marketing plan is a surefire way to promote your business.  With the growing number of consumers who use their smart phones for locating local businesses, having your business listed with Citysearch, Yahoo! Local, Yelp, and Google Places is crucial to having a well -thought out marketing strategy.

Capitalize on Information Marketing

Audio/Video

The use of testimonial videos is proven to be a sound strategy in marketing any small business.  As they lend your business hard to gain credibility, videos are both simple to create and simple to promote.  Word-of-mouth referrals and heartfelt recommendations help your potential customers steer clear of gimmickry, and instead deliver impactful, personal feedback.  Two great ways to use video to promote your small business is hosting a webinar (web seminar), and creating YouTube videos that showcase the value your business offers.  And don’t overlook audio marketing; podcasts that hit on industry-specific topics or deliver marketing messages to your customers are equally important.

Also consider putting together an E-book that contains valuable information for your customer base.  Since the introduction of digital readers like the extremely popular Kindle, offering downloadable content like workbooks and guides are becoming an excellent strategy for marketing small businesses.  Be sure your E-book covers a relevant topic that offers value, and make it available for download from your website.

Using technology to successfully market your business is actually more art than science.  What this means is there is no right or wrong way to reach the customers you want.  Instead, it takes savvy, creativity, and even a bit of daring from time to time.  Try some of strategies suggested here and you might be surprised at how much business shows up at your doorstep!

Summary

Remaining ahead of the curve is not easy strategy to implement for many small businesses.  However, by aggressively utilizing and taking advantage of emerging technology and marketing trends, you can cause your customer base – and bottom line – to skyrocket.  There are several ways to go about it:

  • Solidify your businesses foothold online by creating a professionally designed website, while using the latest search engine optimization techniques to drive traffic to your website
  • Make liberal use of social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs to speak directly to your targeted consumers.
  • Employ a mobile optimization strategy to serve your customers who rely heavily on mobile devices
  • Take advantage of information marketing.  Use videos, podcasts, and E-books to develop credibility, offer value, and set your business apart from the competition.

This guest post was written by Edmond Hong, who is an experienced expert in the field of marketing strategy for small businesses.  He holds honors degrees in both Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from University of California. Both the New York Times and the Age Australia Business section have featured his articles. He owns a website where marketers could buy facebook fans to promote their business online. He currently resides in a sunny, seaside suburb in St. Kilda Melbourne, where he both develops marketing books and provides coaching to entrepreneurs in his free time.

My name is Foxy, and my job is to sniff out the good guest bloggers from the ones who aren't. This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for BloggingTips.com, please contact us.

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10 Strategies to Ensure a Strong ROI on Your Email List in 2019

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Even in today’s world of countless digital communication channels, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach current and potential customers. When done correctly, building and maintaining an email list can yield a high return on investment. Do it wrong, though, and you risk alienating subscribers and wasting your time, energy and resources.

So how can you ensure that your email marketing efforts pay off? To find out, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following:

Email lists can be quite a potent tool, but they’re not always worth the investment. What step is crucial for making sure the email list you’re preparing to build will generate a strong return on investment?

Email marketing

Here’s what they advise:

1. Give Subscribers What They Want

Email software programs can be very expensive, especially when you hit 10,000 monthly subscribers. The best way to generate a decent return on investment is by giving subscribers what they want and providing value, whether it’s an exclusive promotion or a great piece of tip-driven content.

Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC

2. Build a Funnel

You can get immediate ROI from an email list if you build it with a sales funnel designed to pay for the cost to acquire the email. This funnel walks people through a series of offers that are very valuable to them and allows them to purchase immediately. Then create promotional calendar to give them more value and offers, so they stay on your list and continue to give ROI. – Monica Snyder, Birdsong

3. Use Gated Content

High-quality gated content attracts the right subscribers. You want subscribers who are interested in what you sell, and publishing content valuable to that niche is an excellent way to qualify leads. It can be expensive — good content costs money to create and promote — but you’re far more likely to attract subscribers who convert than with less focused methods of building a list.

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

4. Use Triggered Emails

To boost the ROI of your email marketing, use triggered emails. Triggered emails are automatically sent to subscribers when they take a certain action. So, if a customer abandons their shopping cart you can send a triggered email right away to convince them to return to buy. Triggered emails will allow you to message subscribers at the perfect time so they’ll be more likely to take action.

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

5. Hire a Talented Copy Writer

An email list is only valuable if it generates sales either directly or indirectly for your business. The most effective tool for consistently generating sales via email lists is good copy writing and a deep understanding of the psychology of your subscriber base. A good copy writer will be an expert at this and help you to squeeze every dollar out of your list by keeping open rates high.

Justin Faerman, Conscious Lifestyle Magazine

6. Make It Easy to Sign Up

Have a simple to use, easy to find page where people can sign up for your list on your website. Don’t hide it or make it difficult to find; it should be rather obvious.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

7. Segment Your List

Email marketing can generate up to $44 for every $1 spent, which is among the highest ROI you can find in marketing. It’s the one channel where you retain complete control of your brand and core message. So it’s critical that you have a healthy email list, which is organically sourced (no purchased lists!), and segmented so you can send relevant content to specific groups of subscribers.

Ismael Wrixen, FE International

8. Maintain It

Building an email list is imperative, but it can get out of hand very quickly. Many people have more than one email, which might be hard to keep track of. You want to make sure your email list is updated with the most current email of your leads and customers. Also, be sure to remove any duplicates. This can skew your estimates and reports, which can affect your conversions and business strategy.

Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

9. Keep It Small and Niche

We create small email list of very targeted audience, generally based upon the industry, geolocation and job title. This allows us to target them with very specific messages. These email list works out better than larger lists. We have been doing it for the last four years and we have learned that smaller lists have better ROI than larger ones.

Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

10. Build High-Quality Lead Lists

Having the best email drip campaign will not get you the results you need when the messaging does not resonate with your leads. If the lead lists are also low quality, then that will be an issue. Always build highly targeted lead lists based on your ideal customer profile and have them verified by your sales development rep or outsourced SDR team before sending your emails. Once verified, you won’t waste money.

David Henzel, TaskDrive

f you enjoyed this expert round-up article, I recommend you also take a look at our latest how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts around the world.

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Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Which is Better in 2019?

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Out of all businesses, 83% claim digital marketing works for them. When it comes to traditional marketing vs digital marketing, which is better?

People think traditional marketing works better than online marketing. It’s still easier to determine your ROI (return on investment) with digital marketing.

Here’s what you should know about digital marketing vs traditional marketing:

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing 101

What is traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing uses offline advertising and promotions. This includes television, billboards, telephone calls, and radio. Print ads, direct mail, promotional gifts, and brochures are also popular methods.

Digital marketing happens online. It uses images, videos, and custom content. SEO marketing makes this content easy to find on search engines.

Don’t forget about social media marketing. You control who sees your ads with digital marketing. Digital ads then appear on social media feeds and websites.

Pros of Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing connects with consumers. It exposes your product/service to new audiences.

Traditional advertisements make strong brand impressions.
Consumers remember print ads better. The same goes for commercials.

Brochures are easy. Use free flyer templates to make custom flyers.

Cons of Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing costs more money. After all, you make advertisements using materials.

There’s no interaction with consumers. You also can’t measure engagement.

It’s hard to determine an ROI with traditional vs digital marketing.

Traditional marketing has limited reach. It’s good for reaching local consumers. Digital ads reach people all over the world.

Measuring engagement is easier online. So is reaching target demographics. You can also connect with consumers easier.

Digital Marketing Madness

Digital marketing is taking the world by storm. You reach more people with digital marketing than with traditional market tactics.

With digital marketing, you’re placing your brand into a consumer’s daily life. The majority of people spend time online. Television viewership and magazine readership are declining.

It’s a better option for a smaller budget. Unlike traditional marketing, you pay as you go along with your campaign. There’s less financial risk involved with digital marketing.

It’s easier to attract, identify, and generate leads on social media. Social media campaign metrics tell you exactly how many people engage with your ads. These metrics tell you which ads are most effective and which ones aren’t.

It’s also easier to customize digital ads for specific demographics. Digital ads usually don’t need physical materials. You only need visual content and quality copy to make effective digital ads.

Online marketing lets you engage with consumers easier. You can respond to tweets and other social media posts. This makes consumers feel a more personal connection with your brand.

Consumers can also give you direct feedback about your service/product/ads online.

Embrace The Digital Marketing Trend

Out of all marketers, only 61% believe their marketing strategy works best. In the battle between traditional marketing vs digital marketing, digital marketing is winning.

Only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. It’s true: traditional marketing also generates leads and conversions. Still, leads and conversions are easier to track with digital marketing.

Boost your business by learning more about social media. Your brand will thank you for it.

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The Top 3 Promotional Items Your Business Should Be Using

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When it comes to promoting your blog or brand, handing out promotional items is one of the most effective ways to do it. People love free stuff. If you give them something useful for free, they’ll love you, too. This also works well for branding yourself as an expert, or showing off your best content and expertise through your blog.

And each time they use your useful product, they see your brand name. This repetition will leave your brand imprinted in their memory.

While there are many ways to purchase company schwag and bags with your brand name on them, some products will have better success than others. For example, if you’ve ever been to an affiliate or marketing conference, just take a look at the tables that are getting all the attention, and people are flocking to for the free gifts.

Making sure you have a great exhibit it also key. Imagine having one like the Avengers Infinity War showcase below?! This would really wow your audience and leave a lasting impression.

So what are the top promo items to give out at the next trade show? Read on to find out.

Runners Up: Pens and Flash Drives

Before we get to the top 3, promo pens and flash drives deserve honorable mention. Both are cheap and extremely useful. And both can be customized in really cool ways.

Though they’ve been around a long time, flash drives have many benefits that are still relevant today. But as useful and appreciated as flash drives are, their use has declined since the introduction of cloud storage technology.

Promo pens are the most common promotional item. There are many creative ways to distribute them even outside the trade show setting. Entire volumes can be written about using promo pens to market your business.

But let’s face it: no one at the trade show will be excited about pens. And even the coolest pen won’t last longer than a year.

Still, promo pens and flash drives (and flash drive pens!) are a decent cheap option. But they’re not the best.

The following items, however, are sure to wow trade show attendees and get lots of use for a long, long time.

1. Mobile Device Chargers With Power Banks

Device chargers are super useful items that your attendees will use every day. These will be very much appreciated. BUT, if you’re not careful, handing out chargers can backfire for a couple reasons.

For one, you can buy these for a dollar. That means your attendees may already have 3 of them. For two, your trade show may have 3 other booths handing out chargers.

If you’re handing out chargers alone, be competitive. Make sure they are the high-quality ones and not the super-cheap kind.

Better yet, one-up everyone at the trade show by handing out fully-charged, portable power banks with your chargers. These babies make your promo chargers immediately useful.

Anyone at the trade show with a dead phone battery can connect to one of your power banks on the spot and get a few more hours of use.

These will be very appreciated. And it’s doubtful anyone has “too many” power banks.

2. Reusable Water Bottles

Why not be super helpful and environmentally-friendly? Thirsty trade show attendees need to stay hydrated. With reusable water bottles, you’re filling a need and reducing plastic waste.

It will do well for your conscience and your image to do good to the environment. And you can set up refill stations so people keep coming back to your booth. Besides, these are a really great item to hand out anywhere, not just at trade shows.

3. T-Shirts

If you’re anything like us, you’ve never turned down a free shirt. Even if it’s not your favorite, you can still use it as pajamas, workout clothes, even drying your car after a wash.

Plus, we apparently don’t throw them out. A study by the Advertising Specialty Institute found that T-shirts are the most-owned promotional item in the U.S.

But if you really want to steal the show, be awesome. That is, get creative and funny and pump out a variety of fun, branded shirts people will actually enjoy.

You can even set up a laptop with a camera and a printer to make personalized photo shirts. You can also allow attendees to use photos from their phone.

These fun shirts will cost the same as the lame ones you were planning to make, anyway. And, as we said, they will be used regardless.

Steal the Trade Show With These Promotional Items

Do you want to waste time and money pushing unpopular promo items nobody wants? Or do you want to show up with the best promotional items at the trade show and wow attendees and competitors alike? The choice is yours, but we really suggest you choose the latter.

Use these top promo products at your next trade show for the win!

Now check out 11 Brand Building Basics For Entrepreneurs.

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