Customer relationship management vector

Small business budgets can be, well, small. Whether you’re in the beginning phases of a new business or are an established entity, budgets are tight and every penny is allocated to a specific function. When it comes to marketing budgets, they are often non-existent. Yet, marketing continues to scale the ladder of importance when it comes to small business operations.

The real question, then, is how does a small business integrate marketing efforts with minimal budget? One practically free means of marketing is to enlist your current customers as unofficial brand advocates. Tapping into your captive and loyal consumer base offers your business endless opportunities to increase brand awareness for minimal spend.

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Brand name compilation

Naming your business can be one of the most challenging pieces of launching a business. There is so much equity tied up in a name, how it correlates with your logo, and the emotions and connotations it stimulates from its audience. One can easily fall down the rabbit hole while trying to pick the perfect name.

Fortunately, we’re here to help! There are a few tried-and-true tips to narrow your search and come up with a long-standing name for your business. While many of you already have a business name, you may be considering a rebrand or renaming, and these tips apply to you, too.

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Website Text Vector

For your small business, your website plays an important role in establishing credibility and enticing people to become consumers. It is a primary method of verification among the public, and people don’t take website appearance lightly. If you’re an established business, your website is expected to reflect your level of professionalism and legitimacy. In fact, according to the Vistaprint Digital Impact Report on Online Identity,

“45% of people are unlikely to buy from a business with a poorly designed website.”

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2015 Recap for 2016

We are only one day away from 2016, which means that we have become a bit nostalgic about the last year of content we have created for you.

In a digital world, tips, tricks, and tools are often being changed, updated, or have disappeared. However, we think the following articles we’ve written about web design, digital marketing, SEO, branding, and your small business growth this year will be helpful in preparing you for a happy and successful 2016.

So to get ready for the year ahead, dive in, and reflect on what we’ve learned from 2015:

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brand identity quiz cover

The foundation of a successful small business is the understanding of who you are, and differentiating yourself from the rest of the businesses already out there.

In order to accomplish this you must explicitly identify your brand to reflect your true self through every piece of content that your customer may come across; whether that is your website, your social media, or even just a flyer found in the neighborhood. Many businesses struggle to build a successful brand identity, but when done correctly the results are astounding.

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foresters_example_site

When you build your own website with user-friendly tools (like Webs, of course) it’s easy create a good website. But what takes a website from good to great? A cohesive, thoughtful brand represented throughout the site experience. A great example of this comes from today’s Webs user example site, The Foresters.

The Foresters is a pop punk band made up of three teenage brothers from Bethany Connecticut. Evan, Hayden, and Liam Nork have just released their third album, Sun Songs, which we thoroughly enjoyed listening to on their website!

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Brand Personality Chart

Earlier this month Sarah talked about how to name a business.  After you’ve carved out a name for your business, you should think about defining more of your corporate identity. After all, it makes a lot of sense to have a holistic business identity that encompasses your business name, brand, logo, and design aesthetic. Your corporate identity should carry a consistent message across mediums – from digital to print and back again. A fundamental aspect of this business identity is its brand personality.

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Bullseye - Content Marketing Mission Statement

Looking to get started (or start fresh) in content marketing for your small business? You’re in luck – we picked up some great tips at Social Media Examiner’s recent Social Media Marketing World conference and we’re dying to share!

The first session we attended was with content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi. One of the takeaways we most wanted to share with you from the presentation is the idea of creating a content marketing mission statement.

Long before you create a blog, brainstorm topics, or write your first blog post, it’s critical to make sure that you (and anyone else who will contribute) know exactly what it is you’re setting out to do. If you aren’t sure, how can your audience be?

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Google Glass

Everyone knows that in order to make an omelet, you have to crack a few eggs. Apparently that old adage is core to Google’s development strategy, according to a company representative speaking about Google Glass at SXSW.

According to Mashable, Astro Teller, head of the Google X division from whence Glass came, told the crowd “if you want to make a ton of progress, you have to make a ton of mistakes.” He was referring, of course, to the somewhat bumpy ride that Google Glass has had since its introduction.

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YouGov BrandIndex BestBrand Logo

Each year, research firm YouGov BrandIndex polls millions of people to track the public perceptions of thousands of brands. They release their findings in annual and mid-year BestBrands reports – and 2014’s is out now.

It’s important to keep in mind when looking at the last below, that these are not the most valuable brands – that kind of metric is likely to stay more stable over time (barring ground-breaking innovations or PR nightmares). To put together the list of Best Brands, YouGov asks respondents, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” This not only measures the respondent’s own awareness of the brand, but also gets at their perception of the perceptions of other people toward a brand.

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