A Social Media Presence Isn’t Enough – Brands Need Engagement

August 1, 2014

Check out this recent article from ClickZ on where social media falls short as a marketing tool:

A new report from Sprinklr finds that simply developing social media platforms isn’t enough for brands — conversing with customers is to the key to avoiding alienating them.

Just about every business uses social media these days, but are they using it in the right way? Many aren’t, according to a recent report from Sprinklr, a company specializing in social media analytics and management.

In fact, while 80 percent of companies believe they deliver superior customer service, only 8 percent of customers agree, according to management consulting firm Bain & Company. And a lot of that comes down to social media engagement, which is increasingly important to consumers.

If a consumer contacts a business with a question or complaint, they typically expect a response within the hour. However, a Social Media Marketing University (SMMU) survey conducted in February shows that only 17 percent of businesses respond to customer complaints via social media within that hour time period and a surprising 21 percent of businesses never respond at all, which often leads to customers feeling negatively toward brands and sharing their bad experiences with their social networks.

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6 Things You Need to Do to Save Your Business from Disaster

July 31, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on the habits, behavior, and mindset you must maintain to keep your business afloat.

As an amateur racecar driver I am keenly aware that sooner or later you will have an accident. It’s not a question of if, but when. Even for the most successful racecar drivers, the odds of having an accident at some point in their career are 100 percent. It’s going to happen. The only real question is, how severe will the crash be? Running a business is similar to driving a racecar. Sooner or later your business will experience rough times, where sales and revenue struggle, customers flee, and the situation seems bleak. I know from my own 30 years of experience that there are moments when the high of success is tempered by the stark realization that things are slipping away from you.

What separates the ultimate winners from the defeated is what happens after your business has begun to spin out of control and hit the wall. Long-term success means being able to withstand these bumps in the road and taking the necessary steps to get yourself back on track and up to speed. Here are six things that I believe can save your business and will help you avoid disaster when things get difficult.

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What Is the Best Time to Send Marketing Emails?

July 30, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business TRENDS on timing your email marketing campaign effectively:

Email marketing can be a powerful tool for small businesses. And it seems easy enough – create content, send to your email list. But there are actually more things to consider if you want to get the most out of your email marketing efforts.

One of the things you can do is send out emails at a time that is optimized for your target audience. To do this, you need to first decide who your target audience is. And then you need to figure out when those people are most likely to read their emails.

Luckily, MailChimp’s Chief Data Scientist John Foreman recently shared some insights about the best times to send emails to various groups.

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Content Bubble: Does Anyone Know Whether Content Marketing Works?

July 29, 2014

Check out this recent article from ClickZ on the legitimacy of content marketing:

Brands are jumping into content marketing with hope, but without the proper metrics to gauge results. Can brand content lead to sales or conversions?

The content marketing craze has put a lot of marketers back into the bad old John Wanamaker days, where they can’t tell what part of their content marketing spend is working – or if content marketing works at all.

According to the B2C Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America report, produced by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 90 percent of B2C companies are using content marketing. (The study includes most kinds of content, including blog posts, social media, and articles on company websites.)

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The Trick to Capturing More Customer Leads on Your Website

July 28, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on using your website to generate sales leads:

This post explores strategies to improve online customer acquisition for service-based small businesses. It includes simple additions to improve conversion rates on your own website, along with paths to cost-effectively drive visitors to your website. Taken together, the goal of the website improvements along with traffic growth gained from new online marketing channels is to cost-effectively and sustainably increase customer leads and grow your base of new customers.

This post is the first of a 3-part series that explores the following topics for maximizing inbound lead generation for service-based small businesses:

Part 1: The Trick to Capturing More Customer Leads on Your Website
Part 2: Create Compelling Website Content That Drives More Leads
Part 3: 8 Key Marketing Channels to Grow Your Website Traffic and Increase Leads

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Does Your Company Suffer from a Weak Website?

July 25, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on the importance of optimizing your company’s website:

Are you doing the bare minimum when it comes to your small business website? Just having a website is no longer enough (if it ever was). You’ve got to take action to get potential customers to discover, engage with and buy from your business. And that means creating an integrated online marketing plan where all parts of your Web presence work together.

Deluxe Corporation recently polled small business owners to find out what they’re doing online. Here’s some of what they found:

Small business owners say word-of-mouth is their most important way of engaging with customers (73 percent). However, they don’t seem to realize that social media has become a crucial part of word-of-mouth. Just 21 percent say social media is an important way to engage with customers; in comparison, 40 percent say business cards are.

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How 3D Printing Is Speeding Up Small Businesses

July 24, 2014

Check out this recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek on the benefits of 3D printing to your small business:

Since David Friedfeld took over ClearVision Optical from his father in 1985, he’s seen most eyewear manufacturing move overseas. The 120-employee company, based in Hauppauge, N.Y., is bringing a small piece of it back. Last year, Friedfeld purchased an entry-level 3D printer for just under $3,000. He still does the bulk of his manufacturing abroad, but he can now print eyeglass prototypes in-house.

The device “has taken three months off our production cycle [and] allowed us to stay closer to the market,” he says. “We are able to get far more creative.” He’s so bullish on 3D printing that he’s planning a design-it-yourself website that will allow customers to build their own frames, try them on with facial recognition software, and then click to have ClearVision print and ship them a few trial pairs.

That kind of enthusiasm seems contagious among small business owners who are trying out 3D printing technology, says Daniel Levine, a consumer trends expert and director of the Avant-Guide Institute. He’s been following 3D printing closely for several years, though he says the technology only jumped into mainstream consciousness about two years ago, when the first affordable printers became available.

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What is Webrooming? Boost Your Retail Sales

July 23, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on “webrooming” and how it can help retail businesses:

Are you a small retailer in a cold sweat about showrooming? This trend where customers browse in-store but then buy products online, began striking fear into retailers’ hearts a few years ago.

Who wants customers coming in, trying on or feeling the products you offer, and then buying them at a deep discount from Amazon or some other site?

The trend was especially unsettling for small, independent retailers. While big national chains with huge volume may be able to afford to price-match online sellers, independents are less likely to be able to do so without losing their shirts.

But a new report from Merchant Warehouse suggests that instead of stressing about showrooming, small retailers should welcome “webrooming.”

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