It’s the beginning of a new year, which means a fresh start and endless possibilities! For small businesses, a new year brings opportunities to explore different avenues for growth and success. A major consideration for many small businesses is investing in social media, but it can be overwhelming. Social media is a continually evolving landscape, but understanding the essentials removes the complications and makes it easy for anyone to seamlessly use social media marketing.
When we think about servers, a few things may come to mind. In the past, the first image was often of stuffy server rooms that constantly needed to be kept cool and dry, and where a small problem could send a business into free fall for hours or days until the system could be repaired.
Today, however, many companies have never even seen their servers, because server virtualization is rapidly becoming the dominant model. Physical servers have proven to be too great a problem from an infrastructural upkeep standpoint.
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.
Is your marketing campaign sufficiently visual? Images are at the core of modern marketing, but it’s important to grasp the full extent of visual marketing strategies now available, from traditional photography to the increasingly popular infographic. It’s no longer enough to stick to just one form of visual content.
Luckily, putting extra energy into your visual material will be worth your effort, since blogs featuring appropriate image content accrue 94% more views than those without such content. But, of course, some of these visuals are more powerful than others. It’s important to play to your content strengths.
If your business has a website, you face a monumental challenge. When a new customer visits your site, you have less than a minute to convince that customer to stay. Fifty-five percent of those visitors will leave less than 15 seconds after arriving. This puts the burden on your business to convince those customers to stick around.
“With attention spans seeming to get shorter every year, site design has to be more compelling than ever,” says Tomas Gorny, CEO of business communications provider Nextiva. “If you aren’t designing your websites to captivate potential customers, your competition probably is.”
Content marketing has become synonymous with successful businesses over the past few years. However, it remains an anomaly to many. Today, we’re going to dive into what content marketing is and how it can significantly impact your small business. Let’s start with the basics.
What is content marketing?
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action,” according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Blogging has morphed from a small side business to a booming and lucrative industry. Thousands of people are making their living just from blogging with the help of sponsored content and affiliate marketing. The impact and influence of effective bloggers is staggering, and is a fantastic marketing force for small businesses.
Beyond the financial benefits of a successful blog, for small businesses, they offer a place where consumers can find answers to questions and the business can be known for its expertise and guidance. Blogs provide a place for businesses to showcase their offerings as well as their understanding of their audience and its needs. Blogs also allow businesses to backlink to their websites, which increases traffic, SEO rankings, and helps convert traffic into tangible business leads.
Small businesses need small goals; that sounds trite, right? While it may sound ‘cute’, it’s actually quite true for businesses of any size. Small goals are not a reflection of the ambition or overarching strategy of a business, but rather speak to the strategic way a business approaches its long-term goals. Small goals enable businesses to chip away at large objectives and celebrate their wins along the way. It takes time and effort to get a business up and running in a sustainable way, so taking time to note accomplishments of any size bolsters morale and helps you refocus on the bigger business goals. Jack Nickell, the owner of Threadless.com, perfectly summarizes what it takes to start a company:
I have to admit I have never been very good at writing Calls To Action. Some people seem to have this preternatural skill, getting customers to click effortlessly. For me, it was always a major struggle. One that held me back for a long time, keeping my content from ever reaching the potential I knew it could.
Thankfully I have gotten over that hurdle. What pushed things in the other direction was learning about click triggers, and how they can improve your CTAs almost instantly.
We recently touched on the importance of customer experience and how companies large and small are tuning into this relatively new business area. However, with the advent of customer experience, we can’t forget about good old customer service. Customer service is a company’s backbone, and plays a central part in any business’s success. Yet, in these ever-changing times, traditional customer service methodologies are no longer making the cut. Customers have higher expectations, there is greater competition in the market, and support is no longer an ancillary entity, but rather an integral part of the customer experience. As consumer demands increase, innovating with the changing atmosphere is necessary. As a small business, it’s the time to up the ante and refresh your customer service strategy.