Blogging for business icons

 

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.

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Large lightbulb vs. bunch of small lightbulbs

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:

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Call to Action vector

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.

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Customer Service Vector

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.

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World and Blog Icons

We’ve talked a lot about web design and best practices for setting up a professional business website, but once that’s complete, what do you do next? Generating traffic to your beautifully crafted website is the next hurdle to overcome. This is where backlinks come into play. Simply put, backlinks are inbound hyperlinks from one website to another website.

You may be thinking, “How is this relevant to my business?” Well, every backlink to your website increases your site’s popularity and pushes it higher in SEO rankings for your industry or niche; they improve your credibility and authority within the marketplace.

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Monthly agenda with sticky notes and pencil

Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up social media accounts for your business and are gaining followers and increasing engagement daily. Your hard work is paying off, but do you feel like social media management is becoming a full-time job, on top of running your small business? With the numerous platforms available, all which have different functionalities and requirements – cue Twitter’s 140 character limit for tweets – it can be a cumbersome undertaking. You may find that you spend a shocking amount of time on this one piece of your business. If you’re nodding your head in agreement, then keep reading!

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Gold medal with ribbon

Customer experience (CX) has become a hot topic over the past few years and with good reason. Superior customer service is no longer a primary requirement for attracting and retaining customers. The customer’s experience must be stellar, memorable, and positive in order to provide the traction previously supplied by white glove customer service. How the customer is left feeling dictates their impression of a brand and impacts whether or not they will return to the business. “When people make purchases today, they want that purchase to make them feel a certain way,” says Daniel Newman, President of Broadsuite.

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Small Business Exposure Vector

Getting off the ground as a new small business is a challenge all its own. Sure, you’ve got great products and a solid business plan. You’ve got the passion and the drive to succeed. But marketing your small business is absolutely vital for sustained growth, and especially when you are just starting out. You simply can’t expect customers or clients to find you unless you’re getting your business in front of them.

Here are a few tips each new business should consider for getting that exposure:

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Coding Vector

About a month ago I attended the OWN IT Summit at Georgetown University. The emphasis of the one-day conference was on how women can “own it” in any industry of interest by facilitating conversation between female leaders and millennials. The brilliance of the program is that it is fully administered by the undergraduates at Georgetown.

During the ‘Innovation Panel’ held between columnist Kara Swisher, fashionista Maddy Maxey, former eBay CMO Richelle Parham, and technologist Anthea Watson Strong, they mentioned an all-female hackathon occurring in the DC area.

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10 Step Business Plan Infographic Screenshot

All entrepreneurs start out with a vision; a vision for a fantastically successful business that makes a difference.

But to make that vision a reality, having a clear business plan to reach your goals is essential.

To help you, Washington State University created an infographic that guides you through creating the perfect plan for your business.

The graphic outlines key questions to ask yourself before searching for investors, applying for business loans, or trying to improve your existing business.

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