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Get with the Marketing Plan

June 30, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on the importance of a marketing plan:

Today, so many small business owners are using informal, free or low-cost marketing methods—such as social media—that it may seem as if traditional aspects of marketing have gone out the window. But if you think writing a marketing plan is as old-fashioned as writing business letters on a typewriter, think again. A new study by Marketo reports that small businesses with marketing plans are more likely to be successful.

The study found that overall, 66 percent of companies have marketing plans. However, among small businesses, only 54 percent had one, compared to 81 percent of small businesses.

Companies with marketing plans were more likely to feel satisfied with their marketing teams, to market more often and to feel that they achieved their marketing goals all or most of the time.

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5 Ways to Boost Your Retail Sales This Summer

June 27, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on how retailers can boost summer sales:

For many retailers, summer isn’t exactly the high season. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a bust.

With summer about to go into full swing, have you thought about how you’ll boost business for your retail store this season?

Boost Summer Retail Sales
Get Outdoors

If your store is in an outdoor mall, on a city street or other location with an actual outdoor entrance, foot traffic is likely to increase as more people take advantage of the nice weather to stroll outside.

Draw in these passersby by taking your business outside, too. More than just window signs, which are easy to ignore, use signage that juts out onto the sidewalk or walkway so it can’t be missed. Tie a few balloons to a sidewalk easel promoting a sale or new summer merchandise. Also consider putting out water bowls for dogs so their owners will stop a moment in front of your establishment to refresh their pets.

Sponsor or Participate in Local Events

Find out what events will be going on in your community this summer that are relevant to your customer base. Then figure out how you can participate.

For instance, is there a marathon or walkathon where your sporting goods store could set up a booth to sell fitness gear? Even if the event rules don’t allow you to sell products, you could still market your business by donating water bottles, handing out sports drinks (along with coupons for your store) or becoming a sponsor.

Tap Into Tourists

Does your local area enjoy an influx of tourists in the summer? To capture their dollars, see if you can partner with local businesses that cater to tourists, such as hotels, bed and breakfast inns, restaurants or tour companies.

Ask the business owners if you can cross-promote by putting brochures, sale notices or business cards in their locations (offer to do the same for them, of course). Find out about advertising on their websites.

Does your city or chamber of commerce print maps for tourists? Often, these include local businesses as landmarks, or ads from local businesses. See if your business can be included in the map and/or advertise on it.

Throw a Party

Create excitement by hosting a summer event at your store that includes free giveaways, music, refreshments, face-painting for kids—whatever activities make sense for your store.

Mail and/or email your customers party invitations that can be redeemed for a discount or a free gift with purchase. You can make the event exclusive by focusing on VIPs outside of normal store hours, or open it to the public.

Make it a Group Effort

Market your store with other business owners in your shopping center or on your street by hosting a summer sidewalk sale. (Check zoning regulations or shopping center rules before planning this, of course.)

Everyone sets up tables outside the store with merchandise at extra-deep discounts. You have more stuff inside (at both sale and regular prices) to attract customers into the store. You can add to the fun by getting local restaurants involved to sell “tastes” or snacks outside, too – this energizes shoppers and keeps fussy kids happy.

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10 Tips to Craft a Sizzling Ecommerce ‘About Us’ Page

June 26, 2014

Check out this recent article from Entrepreneur on making the most from your Ecommerce website:

If you’re like most owners of e-commerce companies, just thinking about writing your “About Us” page is enough to make your head spin, your knees buckle and cause you to take to your bed for a week – or even two – with a cold compress.

OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but crafting a powerful pitch and a compelling story ain’t easy.

That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that you only have one chance to make a great first impression – one chance to build a relationship with your customer and gain his or her trust.

The About Us page of your online store is extremely important and if you use it right, it will help you increase sales. E-commerce shoppers want to know more about who they’re buying from and the only place they’re really going to get that information is on just one web page – your About Us page.

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Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Ignore Customer Reviews

June 25, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on the importance of customer feedback:

Twenty years ago, few people could imagine a world where clothing, cars, and even homes could be purchased without face-to-face interaction with the product. In today’s online marketplace, however, even highly complicated or expensive products can be negotiated and purchased with just a few clicks. A variety of factors have overcome the need for “touch and feel,” from lower prices to faster turnaround to the widespread presence of customer testimonials and reviews.

With the continued growth of online reviews, reputation management is becoming increasingly more important for e-commerce businesses and startups. That being said, many companies overlook their online reputation or simply do not have one. Customer reviews directly impact a business in a variety of ways, from revenue and conversion improvements to advancements in operations and service. It’s crucial to stay informed of your online reputation and to even make efforts to enhance it. Here’s why:

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So Your Facebook Post Views Dropped, Huh?

June 24, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends offering a possible explanation for seeing a decline in Facebook views:

Have you noticed your Facebook post views dropped dramatically in the organic reach of your Facebook fan page?

If you’re not sure with what’s going on, take a few minutes to click around your Facebook Insights. You’ll find the link on the top bar in your Fan Page admin panel. Take a look at the recap of your Recent Posts Published. You’ll get the full picture of which posts are connecting with your fans by checking your Reach and Engagement numbers.

So what happened to all those Facebook marketing messages that you were posting that were getting Likes, shares and comments from your fans?

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