3 Things to Know About Loyalty Programs

Photo by Charles Koh on Unsplash

3 Things You Need to Know About Implementing a Loyalty Rewards Program

What’s the smartest way to earn solid returns on your company’s marketing investments? In order to build recurring, long-term income from sales more and more companies are implementing customer loyalty programs.

It’s a fact that retaining customers costs far less than acquiring new ones, and people who already know your brand are more apt to purchase from you again.

Statistics show that established customers spend more per purchase, are happier with what they buy, and are a prime source of positive word-of-mouth advertising.

Loyal Customers Should be Rewarded

It makes sense to devote marketing muscle, and dollars, to existing customers. Every company does what it can to bring in new business, but because existing customers spend more and stay longer, there’s even more reason to market to them.

Loyalty programs aimed directly at your existing customer base are the ideal way to make these “golden” customers happy and keep them coming back.

What are the key benefits of loyalty programs like these and how can marketing professionals get in the game quickly?

  • First, you don’t have to start from scratch. You can learn from companies that have been playing this approach for decades, and playing it very well.
  • Second, you should look into using mobile apps to maximize the effectiveness of whatever type of loyalty program you choose to employ.

1. Loyalty Program Keep Customers Happy and You In Business

If we start to list all the benefits of loyalty programs, we could fill a whole textbook easily, so let’s boil it down to the benefits that all businesses experience.

When you develop your loyalty program, focus on the following benefits it will bring you:

It’s all about returning customers, not getting new ones

A good loyalty program will be specifically tailored to the needs of frequent customers, while one-time shoppers won’t benefit much from it.

If you want your marketing dollars to go where they’re most needed, that means they’ll be spent on the customers who always return. Those one-time buyers or shoppers who only show up for major clearance sales will not, and should not, be your primary loyalty program users.

You’ll get more feedback on what’s good and what needs improving 

Loyal customers tend to be much more vocal than a one-shot or infrequent buyers. That means you have more opportunities to engage them in writing, over the phone, and through text.

An engaged customer is ready and willing to hear about new products, special sales, seasonal bargains and other “inside” promotions designed for the loyal buyer.

You’ll be able to increase the value of shopping carts

Marketing to loyal buyers offers endless opportunities for companies to ramp up their average shopping cart amounts. You can offer discounts on related products and accessories, or suggest exclusive bundles.

After a certain amount of time has passed since their last purchase, consider rewarding the loyal buyer with a low-cost extended warranty or similar add-on.

You will be able to use the data you gather to predict trends and surges in demand:

The data you collect with various digital tools on loyal buyers can tell you all sorts of things about how to structure your other marketing efforts.

You can use comprehensive customer data to determine what items are best-sellers, which ones have seasonal cycles, and what new products might be profitable.

2. Loyalty programs help increase customer retention rates

Reams of data and marketing studies have shown that customer loyalty programs help keep the most frequent spenders in your camp.

In fact, such programs deliver revenue increases to the tune of 5 to 10 percent. Loyal customers spend 5 to 20 percent more and buy 5 to 20 percent more frequently than so-called “casual,” or one-time customers.

How an App can help you Keep Customers

Business owners should never neglect the potential effectiveness of mobile apps as part of the loyalty program scenario.

Consider that upwards of 90 percent of the time that people spend on their devices takes place within particular apps. On top of that, app development has become streamlined and widely accessible too.

Mobile apps do two things very effectively: they super-charge rewards programs and augment the current relationship you have with your customers.

Starbucks was one of the first big companies to use a mobile app as the central point of its customer loyalty program.

It’s allowed the coffee giant to collect massive amounts of useful customer data and calibrate its marketing efforts to the smallest detail. They left nothing to chance. 

3. How you Reward Customers Plays a Big Role

There are hundreds of ways to fine-tune a loyalty program. Here are the top choices among marketers who are familiar with the playing field:

Keep your Rewards Versatile:

All customers appreciate choices, and that rule applies to rewards as well. Most companies with successful loyalty programs offer between 5 and 20 different rewards and cycle part of the offer regularly.

Make rewards neither easy nor difficult to obtain.

There’s no sense in offering a reward that’s too hard to acquire or takes months to earn. Most customers won’t think much of such a loyalty program. They will also place no value in rewards that are too easy to obtain. Make your rewards reasonably challenging to earn and people will appreciate them more.

Build a “loyalty ladder” based on a number of purchases or amount spent.

Try to reward “more loyalty” with better and better items or rewards. It only makes sense to differentiate between someone who spends $100 and $1,000. That’s why all super successful loyalty programs have reward ladders.

Loyalty Pays Off For Everyone

Loyal customers keep you in business. Nurture the relationship you have built with them by going above and beyond to keep them happy. Each of their purchases should remind them that you appreciate them returning to you over and over again.

Let them know about new deals and sales via your own app. In a marketplace where consumers are already connected to mobile apps they like, it makes perfect sense to make a brand-related app the centerpiece of any loyalty program.

Author bio: Ashley Wilson is a freelance writer interested in business, marketing, and tech topics. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.


6 Tools That Will Bring a Digital Transformation to Your Small Business

Photo by Maria Agudo López on Unsplash

When you started your small business, writing out your daily to-do list and using a simple spreadsheet for most tasks was probably fairly simple and expedient. As your business grew, however, and you added staff, it wasn’t enough anymore to do what was easiest for you. Now you had staff, contractors, vendors, clients and suppliers to think about. Customers are also living in a digital world and expect the ease and convenience of digital tools.

There is no doubt of the need for even the smallest of businesses to embrace digital tools, but making the switch is not quite so simple. Just using digital tools is not enough, you need to make sure you have the right tools for your business. Here are 6 digital tools that can help make your business’ digital transformation a smooth one.

1. Trello

Trello is a visual project management app that can help keep your entire team on the same page and allow you to see at a glance where different projects stand. With Trello, you can create lists and quickly move items from list to list. Trello allows you to quickly see where bottlenecks are happing and move tasks to get things moving again.

2. Slack

Slack is a robust team communication and collaboration app that allows you to quickly search for keywords or phrases, create different channels for different projects, teams or conversations. Individuals can be notified of important information on a different channel they may need to be aware of without being bogged down by a lot of details they don’t need. No matter how small or large your team, Slack can keep everyone in the loop.

3. Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the most robust programs you will find to handle all of your email marketing needs. From newsletters to campaigns, Mailchimp allows you to sort and filter lists to tweak, hone and fine tune your campaigns or set it up once and forget it. Mailchimp is one of the very best tools for busy small business owners.

4. SocialPilot

Social media may be one of the best things to ever happen to small businesses. Even the smallest of businesses can run effective social media marketing campaigns and use their social media accounts to create connection and build a loyal following. But keeping up on social media can be a challenge. Hootsuite is one of the most well-known social media management apps but it can also be prohibitively expensive. SocialPilot can do almost everything Hootsuite can do at a much more pocket friendly cost.

5. Office 365

Not all the best tools are new tools. Some of the best tools you may have been using for years, but don’t fully understand their full capacity. Most people are familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, but Office has expanded to include an entire suite of business tools including OneDrive, Exchange and Microsoft Teams. With low monthly subscription Prices, today’s Office may have all the tools you need at a price you can afford.

6. Zipbooks

Quickbooks has, of course, become one of the biggest names in accounting software, but that doesn’t always make them the best. In fact, many small businesses do not need all the features that Quickbooks has to offer or the price tag that comes with it. Zipbooks is a free accounting program that gives you all the tools and analytics you need to take your business to the next level and it’s made just for small businesses. Not only will Zipbooks help you keep your books, but it will also automatically send invitations to clients to leave reviews and provide smart insights about your most loyal and profitable customers.

One of the challenges of digital transformation is creating a smooth streamlined system from all the many tools that are available. In many cases, there are multiple apps and programs you can use that will accomplish the same thing. The important thing is to find the right one for you. If you use Office 365, you might find it more convenient to use Yammer than Slack, but you may prefer MailChimp over Outlook. You will, of course have to choose between a number of paid and free programs, but ultimately the goal is to find the best solutions for you. In some cases, it might be better to pay a bit more for one program that can accomplish 3 or 4 tasks than to use three different programs to accomplish those same tasks.

BIO: Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters


Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

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Category : Marketing

Technology evolves every year. From new and improved features, cutting edge gadgets, and further refinements to algorithms, the domino effect is that the marketing landscape is constantly changing over time. What has worked one or two years ago may not work today. So the name of the game for brands and marketers is adaptability. The upcoming trends present more opportunities in terms of audience growth and visibility, but the fact of the matter is also that the market is getting saturated. Because of this, staying ahead of the crowd can easily be the difference between taking the lead or falling behind in profits in 2019. Take a look at some of the trends thought leaders in digital marketing have predicted for this year.

Mobile Optimization is a Top Priority

Google announced last year that it would be rolling out mobile-first indexing, an algorithm update that would prioritize the mobile versions of websites in determining search rankings. And with the surge in mobile users online over the past few years and projections that anticipate even higher numbers this year, this was a wise move. Digital marketers would do well to make mobile marketing development their focal point in 2019. This means much more than just having a mobile version of websites. Page load speeds for mobile sites and advertising content that’s optimized for vertical views are crucial areas that need attention.

Video Marketing

The increasing shift of internet users towards mobile has contributed to the rise of video marketing and vice versa. The impact of video is such that even Google made changes in its search algorithm to include video snippets in search results.

Natural Language Processing and Voice Search

Combined with the increased presence of mobile online users and smart devices that use AI, voice search through Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant has seen huge growth. For brands and digital marketers, this means that creating content with the use of long-tail keywords in ways that closely mimic natural speech and user intent is crucial to gaining and maintaining marketing success online. For a more in-depth look at what is about to come, here’s an infographic on digital trends set to take the stage in 2019, originally published on SERPwatch.io. Check it out and get informed about everything you need to know on the subject.

Best wishes, Josh Wardini.

Josh Wardini, Community Manager

About me Location Incapable Internet Enthusiast | Re-Designer of the World Around | Bodybuilder trapped in a Computer Geek’s Body. 


Alternative Dispute Resolution – A Way to Save Face and Money

Category : Uncategorized

You would be surprised at just how easy it is for a disagreement to occur even amongst the most reasonable of partners. The biggest issue with this is the fact that people often have the wrong mindset and try to win the argument. You need to understand that ‘winning’ an argument doesn’t mean anything as long as you lose money, the trust of a partner and reputation in the business world. In other words, it’s not just about a conflict resolution, it’s also about damage control and there are several ways for you to save both face and money during this conflict.

1.     Arbitration

The first method you should use to dispute resolution is the so-called arbitration where both sides agree to entrust the conflict resolution to a third party. The problem with arbitration is the fact that it forecloses any subsequent court options, meaning that the decision is final. The arbitrator needs to govern their decision-making process based on the (written) mutual agreement of the parties and give a good enough reason for the decision in question. There’s also an option known as expedited arbitration, which involves a sole arbitrator. This allows for the process to be wrapped up a lot quicker. The problem is that this is usually a good idea if the case is simple and straightforward.

2.     Mediation

By far the most effective method of dispute resolution is the process of mediation and there are several reasons behind this. First, it’s an informal dispute resolution, which means that there is no involvement of the legal system in the process. In the case where such a thing is possible, it’s definitely a good thing. Second, due to the fact that it allows parties to agree upon the solution on their own, it increases the chance that both parties will be content with the process. Keep in mind, though, that, in this scenario, some legal aid would be more than necessary. This is why you need to hire help in the form of a specialized law firm like Stevensen Business Lawyers since someone with previous experience in such matters might be.

The reason why mediation is so great, however, isn’t due to the way in which it resolves the conflict but due to the aftermath. You see, an arbitration will provide you with a resolution as well but, if the latter party isn’t satisfied, there’s nothing to persuade them to continue working with you. Also, chances are that this one-sided solution will earn you some negative word of mouth recommendations. That is, of course, in the best case scenario where the arbitrator decides in your favor. If not, mediation will at least allow you to impact the decision.

3.     Expert determination

If the situation is very technical and both parties are convinced that they’re in the right, they could opt for expert determination. Here, both parties would choose an individual or organization they hold in high regard and agree that the determination is legally binding. Naturally, before this, both parties would hire their own independent expert in order to see if the ruling will be in their favor. If not, it’s highly unlikely that this will be their method of choosing. Due to the nature of this conflict resolution method and the fact that it’s something that both parties have to agree upon, this method is a lot less common than the above-discussed two.

4.     Knowing your objectives

In the very title of the post, we’ve mentioned the importance of saving time and face. For this, you need someone who is fair, cost-efficient and confidential to manage this entire procedure. Also, you need someone who knows that your main objectives are to preserve a long-term relationship with your partners, which will make them take diplomatic approach to this entire situation. However, you also need someone with authority in order to ensure that this process isn’t repeated over and over again. This is why finding the right outside help may not be as easy as you would want it to be.

In conclusion

A simple mistake in conversation or a misinterpretation of a contract and you suddenly find yourself in a massive problem. The worst part is that it might not be as easy to say who it is to blame. You see, with the most legal system, if there’s an ambiguity in the contract, it’s the maker of the contract that’s in the wrong but the term ambiguity, on its own, is fairly hard to understand. This is why you need to know all your options for a dispute resolution, in order to pick the right one


5 Steps to Creating a Brand-Building Blogging Strategy

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Imagine you walked into a restaurant and were simply handed a long list of everything the restaurant had to offer. Appetizers were mixed in with entrees, which were interspersed with desserts, salads, specialty drinks and even beer and wine offerings. The likelihood is, you would find this highly frustrating and unless their cuisine was absolutely divine, you would likely not dine there again. The point is, it doesn’t matter how great what you have to offer is, if you make it difficult for clients or consumers to get what they need, you won’t stay in business long.

A blog can be a great marketing strategy for a number of reasons, but if your blog isn’t strategically designed and organized well, it will largely be a wasted effort. Here are 5 steps to creating a brand-building blogging strategy. 

1. Consider the need 

No business is likely to succeed if no one needs or wants what they have to offer. The same is true of your blog. Before you sit down to write a blog or contract content, you need to consider what it is your clients and consumers want and need. If you are a large business, you can conduct market research, but even the smallest of business have access to an almost unprecedented look into the minds of their clients and consumers via social media. The best way to figure out what they want is to read everything they write. You can check reviews on both competitor websites and your own as well as doing keyword searches to see what people are writing. If you want people to read your content, you need to address the actual issues they are having or meet a need that they have in some way. 

2. Create a blueprint 

Once you know what people want to know about, you want to create a comprehensive guide. Not only will you want to link to other sites, but you will want to make sure you also provide plenty of internal links to other content on your site. You also want to make sure you aren’t posting blog after blog covering the same topic, which means you will want to create a schedule for when you want to post certain blogs about certain topics. Almost all businesses and industries will have certain hot topics or controversial issues. You don’t want to simply avoid these entirely, but you do want to weigh in carefully. You should pepper in your hot topic posts sparingly with your helpful hints or educational posts. 

3. Contract or create a range of content 

Blogs don’t need to just contain written content. In fact, you can draw a much wider audience by using video, animations, infographics and even compelling photos. You may even use a wide range of sources to create your content for you. Yes, you can repost a video created by someone else, but you will get far more mileage out of creating one or having one created for you. There are a wide range of sites like fiverr where you can contract to have videos or animations made or make your own with services like Animoto or Moovly

4. Use a multi-user organizational system 

Whether you are creating your own content or working with others to create content for you, you will want to develop a system for curating your content that can also help you post, move and organize your content. For instance, you may have a blog on tap that is scheduled to post later in the month, but an industry event suddenly makes it immediately timely and relevant. If you are using a system like Office 365, you can use OneDrive to collect and store content, as well as allow multiple users to edit or curate content. You can automate emails through outlook and see in a glance what is scheduled to post in an Excel spreadsheet. When you need to post something that becomes immediately relevant, you can access it from anywhere, post it, send it out in a mass email and update your spreadsheet so everyone can see at once the changes you made. 

5. Test, tweak and develop 

A good strategy is always going to be interactive, largely because your audience is unlikely to respond in ways you expect them to, no matter how much research you put into developing your strategy. The good news is that advanced analytics can actually tell you how your content is landing with your audience. Analytics can tell you who is interacting with what content and how and where it is being shared. The best part about modern analytics is that it can actually follow content across platforms to tell you how and where it is being shared or interacted with the most. This will give you a better idea of who your target audience actually is, so you can tailor even more content specifically to that audience. You may have an idea going in of who your target market is and you may create content for that market, only to be surprised that you are an even bigger hit someplace completely unexpected. Analytics can help you see what is actually happening versus what you originally thought would happen. 

There are few things in life that will ever be effective without a good strategy. We create to-do lists because they help us effective organize how we accomplish our daily tasks. A restaurant menu is divided into sections to help you effectively and efficiently find what you are looking for. Without a good blogging strategy, you are likely to find yourself without an audience.

BIO: Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters


Latest advances in wearable technology and whether that is good or bad for health

Category : Design , Mobile Apps , Technology

Wearable Technology is the latest trend in the fitness and healthcare industry. Everyone is interested in knowing more and more about the individual and family’s health. This change in the approach, lifestyle may be because of the internet, which is spreading the latest updates of industries like fire or due to the medical expenses that have increased in manifold during last few years.

The electronics designed give you information about your weight, blood pressure, sleep quality and issues, calorie intake to manage diet, oxygen levels, exposure to UV rays, sitting position, heart rate, diabetes control, continuous glucose monitors, medicine dosage, or medical aid needed are worn on body parts like arms, wrists, thighs etc. are known as wearable’s. This technology has opened a new world of information in bits understood by the user and not just the medical professionals.

In last five years, we have seen tremendous growth in the wearable technology. Wearable technology has a history of past few centuries, but the electronic aspect integrated from 2002 onward has changed the use from just wrist watches that show time to the Apple Watch that gives health updates.

The wearable technology is widely used in health, wellness, and medical fields. The smart wearable technology is constantly re-innovating with help of technological advancements like Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Machine Learning. The market categories that this advance technology includes are smart watch, smart band, smart glasses, fitness devices, earphones, wearable cameras, activity trackers, and smart clothing

Companies that play a major role in innovating to introduce wearables to the market are Apple, Atlas, Adidas AG, Fitbit, Google, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, Nike, Samsung, Sony, Garmin, and Xiaomi.

There are many products but the few ones that will change the way to think and live are as under:

  1. Aira: It can guide the blind with the voice interface of this wearable that describes the path, its challenges, turns, cab, door position, events, decorations, climate, people the blind person comes across, restaurants, food choices, medical stores, traffic and weather information and every required piece of information with this wearable eyeglasses and a concierge-esque service incorporated.
  2. Cyrcadia Health’s iTBra: This smart bra that is able to keep track of breast health conditions and rhythms in the breast tissue with the inbuilt sensors to record and identify the breast cancer and other issues. Though the success rate of this wearable is 87%, at least it will help women to take breast checkups in case of any discrepancies found.
  3. D2™ Charlie aviator: Garmin International’s D2™ Charlie aviator watch will be used by the pilots of the United States Air Force, it has high-sensitivity WAAS GPS-enabled that incorporates global navigation capability, provides rich and colorful moving maps. It is back-up to the other navigation tools on the aircrafts.
  4. Google Smart Contact Lenses: This smart wearable will benefit the people who suffer from diabetes; this technology takes tears within a person’s eye to measure the present glucose level in a body.
  5. Proteus Discover: This is a wearable with ingestible sensors, which is a small patch sticker applied to the body. Proteus Digital Health provides details on a mobile device of this patch once activated. It works differently to unlock unusual health patterns, take accurate decisions on medication treatment and its effectiveness and even change of dose or eradicate medication. The patients and doctors both can access the data relating to hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes.
  6. Smart Stop: This is a smart device developed by Chrono Therapeutics helps people to stop smoking with the embedded with sensors that will sense changes in the body and put into motion algorithms that sense that a person is craving for a cigarette and nicotine. It will then deliver medication to the person to truncate the craving.
  7. Tactix Charlie:  This GPS wearable by Garmin that combines specialized strategic operations with mapping-enhanced navigation, full-color TOPO mapping, and advanced fitness training features to monitor wrist-based heart rate, and advanced features that are built in and will help activities for any type of adventure.
  8. Quell Relief: It is the healthcare wearables with smart technology is like knee brace but differently engineered to give you the stability and relief that you expect out of a brace and the embedded sensors allow to gather and access information that can be accessed through an app. It is Bluetooth and iOS compatible. The device battery works to give you pain relief for over 40 hours continuously and then need to be charged.

The market research forecasts for the global smart wearable shows rise in CAGR at 40.8% between the years 2012 to 2018 and the global wearable technology market sales would raise to 245 million devices while the market size to reach US$ 25 billion by end of 2019. Research shows the smartwatches to rule the volumes of wearable sales. In near future “Hearables,” such as Apple Air Pods, and Glucose monitors will top the sales of wearables by 2022. The increasing number of manufacturers in electronic wearables is outcome of declining margins in Smartphones.

The innovation in wearable products, improve quality, precise prediction, real-time data, new data presentation, better display screen, data transfer to Smartphone, shrink in size of electronics and its reduced prices are the factors that are making technology benefits available and more reliable.

Devices that use technology for healthcare development will increase the average life expectancy with the alerts from wearables identifying problems, suggesting ailments check, and data transmission to the medical practitioners. Timely actions will help to save on medical expenses.

Interesting facts of innovation and market trend yet do not prove the electronic wearables safe for human wear. Any electronic device is prone to overheating, user data security, and bio-compatibility of the wearable has been a concern for quite some time.

The above-mentioned issues found in sub-standard products can be harmful to humans hence devices that match the quality criteria approved by the government can be used fearlessly. The user data has always been of great interest to the companies, manufacturers, and competitors but user awareness has compelled them to store but not sell this personal data. Battery and sensors can malfunction, if the wearable devices dropped frequently, battery is overcharged, exposed to water etc. that applies to every electronic device.

The devices that use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are safe, as per the views presented by technological experts and medical professionals; majorly the radiation comes from the 3G/4G connected devices.

Whether it is general awareness or a trend any technology if utilized for betterment of mankind and adopted in right manner can work wonders.

Guest Blogger

Harsh Arora is a proud father of four rescued dogs and a leopard gecko. Besides being a full-time dog father, he is a freelance content writer/blogger and an educationist, with more than 6 years’ experience in the field of content writing.


Steps You Can Take to Start Your Own Company

Starting a company from scratch is not easy, but it is always worth pursuing if it is your dreams and aspirations in life. Many entrepreneurs will decide to take this leap of faith on their idea, but what are the exact steps that they follow in order to start the company?

This question will always be at the back of your mind if you are in the process of pursuing your business ventures. Having a good idea that sets the groundwork for the company is always the first step, but there are many other considerations to keep in mind.

Do you know what your business name will be? How will you fund your company? Who are the people that will be working with you? These questions, and more, should be asked.

Starting with the idea
If you don’t have a good business idea, you can’t start a company. For some inspiration, you can always take a look at what startup ideas are floating around the market, but you always need to find a way to be more unique and offer a competitive edge.

Otherwise, why would people choose to purchase your product or use your service, if another business that is more established is doing the exact same thing? Don’t rush this part of the process, and even if it takes a year or longer to finesse the details of your structure, then that is exactly what you should do. Consider even getting the opinion of your friends and family members, once you feel as if you are getting closer to the launch of the company.

Branding such as business name and logo
Once you have perfected your company idea, you will need to start taking steps in order to brand your business. What will you name it? Once you decide on this, you also have to register the name.

Moreover, what will the logo look like? What color schemes will dominate the website and product packaging? There are a number of branding concerns that you should determine.

You should consider getting the help of a designer that will make everything look visually appealing, as well as a copywriter that can help you with the written portion of your brand. After all, a catch phrase that leaves a lasting impression on people could be just what you need in order to steer your start-up towards success.

Find a means of funding it
Finding a way to fund your company is always important. The good news is that there are always a number of approaches you can take here!

For starters, finding an investor is one option. However, this also means that you must convince someone that your company will succeed, and they must see the value in it in order to provide you with the necessary money.

On the other hand, obtaining loans can be a much easier alternative. There are tons of financial institutions that provide small personal loans, which can also be delivered right into your bank account in only a matter of minutes, if not seconds. When you are just starting off, this can be exactly what you need to do in order to kick start your business into motion.

Keep in mind that the goal is always to become self-sufficient and learn how to make profit from your business product or service.

Growing your team
Although every single company has an entrepreneur that laid the groundwork for the business, there are countless other individuals that are responsible for the success of the enterprise. A leader is still necessary for the sake of direction, but every single employee that is hired will have an important role to play.

That is why you should hire the right people for the job, and moreover those who believe in your company values.

You can’t assume that you are an expert in every single field, and that is why you should also defer to other people that are working for you for their advice. After all, you did hire them for a reason.

Market it
Learning how to market your business is a key component of your brand awareness. If no one knows about who you are and what you do, how can you possibly expect to make any profit from your start-up?

Having a strong online presence is one step, but there are a number of campaigns you can run, and initiatives that you can invest in that will help you grow your audience. Some of these can include:

• Public relations
• Social and digital marketing
• Attending industry relevant events

Keep in mind that you should always target your specific audience members, in order to see the best results coming out of this as well. If you create gardening supplies yet are running campaigns directed at people who are interested in baking, you are simply losing money and will not achieve the results you want.

Set long-term goals
Every single company has certain goals that it is working towards, and you should thus determine yours. There is a difference between short and long-term goals, but both are important to lay out. Of course, profit will be one, but what do you want your relationship with your customers to be like, for example?

Be realistic about what you can achieve in a certain amount of time, and if you find that you aren’t hitting your benchmarks, it could be time to re-evaluate your business strategy.

Starting your own company is no walk in the park, but it is also a very doable endeavor. Simply take a look at the number of start-ups that pop up each year!

Of course, starting a business, and gearing it towards long-term success are two very different scenarios. Every single entrepreneur will want to achieve the latter, and that means they must think strategically about everything that they do. It’s better to take your time finessing your company idea, instead of rushing through anything. Moreover, don’t forget about the importance of finding hard-working employees that believe in you and the company idea. No organization can become successful with only one person running the entire show.


How To Prepare Your SEO For The Holidays

How To Properly Prepare Your SEO For The Holiday Season

It feels like we’ve barely had the time to do any of the things that we have planned for this year, and another holiday season is already at our doorstep. While you have certainly already begun your own preparations for the period that is to come, the big question is, what have you been doing to ensure that your business drives as many customers as possible and makes the most sales? Specifically, what efforts have you put into your website, social media, and other channels, especially in terms of search engine optimization?

November is coming to its end, and it may be too late to make some big changes. As you are probably aware, SEO requires a certain period of time. So, if you have been planning for a huge search engine push during this season, you should stop and think a bit smaller. Because, the time for huge efforts has passed, but there is still a large number of things that you can do to attract enough people so that the holiday season doesn’t end up being a complete waste for your company. You’ll be facing a challenge, but you have to do what is in your power.

Update titles and product descriptions

Making sure that your product descriptions and titles are up to date with the holiday season is one of the most important steps that you need to take in order to make sure that you drive the desired traffic. The reason for this is because they directly affect click-through rates. You need to do more than just pack them with keywords so that search queries pick them up. You must also think about how they are going to work for the users themselves.

Think about the quality of what you write, be specific, and put the keywords where they fit naturally. Of course, this time you’ll think about more than just your regular audience. You will have to focus on titles and descriptions that target gift-shoppers. Let people who may not even have any idea what your product is about know all they should about it by presenting it as the perfect holiday gift.

Consider whether your server can handle the traffic spike

During the holiday season, it is pretty expected that all websites that play their SEO and marketing games right are going to get a whole lot of traffic. This means that it is very important to have that extra bandwidth that can handle the sudden rush of a whole lot of customers. This may not be something that you need to think about during the rest of the year, but right now it is crucial that your website can handle the traffic spike.

Therefore, you really need to have a web host that enables you to make quick changes. The package that you are using needs to be scalable, and you must make sure that your website doesn’t suffer any downtime, because if it does, you will lose a lot of customers, because of the fact that every minute matters.

Festivize your pages

Of course, according to experts at All Web Design, it is essential that your website, as well as all the other channels, have a properly optimized holiday theme. It is important that you avoid the pitfall that a lot of businesses oversee, and it is using a theme that is too big and takes way too long to load. The fact is simple – your website needs to load in no longer than three seconds. If it takes any longer, your bounce rate will significantly increase, and you will lose customers to your competition. You should also make sure that you implement some of the current web design trends that people love to see on websites.

Furthermore, don’t forget the fact that a whole lot of your users will be buying your products via their mobile devices. We live in the era of smartphones, where you simply cannot allow yourself to make your website’s UI and UX unfriendly for mobile users. So, the festive theme that you have chosen for your pages needs to be mobile-friendly as well. Mobile devices will have even more trouble loading heavy themes, so make sure that you test the holiday version of your website on various devices before you publish it. It needs to be as optimized and compressed as possible.

Evaluate and take notes for the next season

After all the effort that you’ve put into optimizing your website the best you can for the current holiday season, you should take notes on what worked well for your business, and what didn’t. Evaluate every aspect of your website’s performance during this period so that you can do even better next year.

All the data that you gather will be extremely useful for creating new strategies. Maybe this year you won’t be as prepared as you could have been, but at least you will learn how to significantly improve your approach for next time. After all, once you have certain aspects established, you can reuse them and improve them every other time that you end up needing them again.

The holiday season is just around the corner, so if you haven’t begun your preparations early on, there are some aspects regarding SEO that you are too late for. However, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a whole bunch of other things that you can do to achieve some great results during this period. And, in the end, you need to take notes on what worked well, so that you can do it even better next year.

Guest Blogger: Nick Brown

Nick is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged on projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business, and marketing resource. He is an aspiring street artist and does Audio/Video editing as a hobby.


Link Building Best Practices for 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Link Building in 2018

Though mobile might be king, people still rely heavily on search engines. Whether they type out their search, or they ask their voice assistant, people search for things all the time. Perhaps they want an answer to a question, check what times a place is open, or simply search for a service or company that they need at the moment. Google will give them results, and chances are they will be happy enough with the first, second, or third result.

J.R. Atkins helps with link building

If you are not in these top three, or worse, not on the first page at all, then you might as well not exist in the eyes of Google. The ranking is not entirely out of your control, either. You can take several meaningful steps to rank better in the eyes of Google, allowing you to gain more traffic from the search engine. One such step you will need to take is link building.

1.    What is Link Building?

Link building refers to guest posting. It means you either write content for another site or have an agency write that content for you. These articles, videos, and even infographics need to be unique, engaging and optimized for SEO. The more diverse your backlink profile, the stronger it will be. The only characteristic you need to look out for is the trust factor. Sites that have been blacklisted for using spam techniques by Google are not a good fit. Small bloggers to big-time news agencies, however, are.

2.    What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the steps you can take both on your own site and off-site (with link building) that will work towards improving your site’s ranking on search engines like Google.

J.R. Atkins helps with SEO

3.    How Do You Stay on Top of SEO?

With new updates to the algorithm every other week practically, it is important that you invest in ongoing SEO services. If you don’t, your good ranking can fall behind because of some change to the algorithm that you haven’t kept up with.

4.    What is the Difference Between White Hat and Black Hat?

The reason why your ranking will fluctuate is that Google changes what it looks for to help its rankings. Before, it used to be the number of backlinks. Now it is the quality. Google will also look at factors like site speed and security as well, so it is important to stay within their guidelines and be the shining example of the perfect site.

J.R. Atkins offers white hat SEO

5.    How Do You Link Build?

Link building, before you get too excited, is actually quite difficult. It is time-consuming and will require the use of several expensive applications in order to manage. If you do not have the resources to take this on, then it is much better to rely on professional link building services. That way you can benefit from experience and ongoing monitoring to ensure that your link building efforts stay within Google’s guidelines.

Link building will never go away, but it has become more difficult as time goes by. Quality articles, quality publishers, and an emphasis on manual outreach are all goals to live by. If you don’t have the tools or resources to do this yourself, hiring an agency to do them for you is your best bet.


Everything You Need To Know About Investing In Video Content

Content marketing is still the name of the game in 2018, but standing out with great content is not as easy as it used to be.

J.R. Atkins Video content

Image credit: MaxPixel

With millions of blog posts published every single day, businesses can no longer rely on their company blog to supply the inbound traffic and leads they need.

The solution? Investing in video content.

Many companies are pivoting away from text-based content marketing and taking steps to improve their video marketing game, and for good reason. According to a report by Cisco, in 2021 as much as 81% of global internet traffic may be video-based. Here is what you should know about the benefits (and downsides) of investing in video content, as well as the best ways to start using it in your business, web design, and sales funnel.

The benefits of investing in video content

There are plenty of positives to including video content in your strategy. Below we’ve detailed the many great reasons why your business should be investing in this type of content.

Increase your conversion rates

Websites that use video content boast an average conversion rate of 4.8%, which is pretty high compared to the 2.9% conversion rate of websites without video. Plus, when it’s used as a part of a wider content marketing strategy, you can generate more leads, which gives you a bigger number of potential customers to convert. The people who find you because of your visual content are already primed for conversions, which makes the job of your sales team much easier.

Boost brand awareness

Consumers would much rather learn about a product by watching a short clip than read a blog post or consume other forms of text-based content. Video content is eye-catching, snappy, and provides instant gratification for the user.

Marketers see a 54% increase in brand awareness when they start using video content as a part of their marketing strategy. So, if getting the word out about your business is your main focus right now, then you should definitely invest in this type of marketing.

Improve your SEO

Google loves visual content, too. Companies who use video content get an incredible 41% more visitors from organic search traffic than companies that don’t.

If you are operating a niche business, then SEO-aware video content is a great way to drive relevant traffic to your website and help you own all the relevant niche-specific keywords words. While blogging is another great way to do this — vlogging and video content will actually help you expedite the process.

Build video content into your website to help drive traffic: if you’re an online pet store, then you can include videos answering questions about your pet products, offer pet-care tips, share animal awareness videos, and even curate crazy pet stories. Or if you are running a local accountancy practice, you can create video content on the latest tax regulations, startup guides, or financial ‘how to’ explainers to position yourself as a friendly voice of reason. This works in a number of ways: it keeps visitors on your site for longer, which helps you to rank better on Google. Plus, adding keywords to video titles, descriptions and alt text also helps with on-page optimization.

Include a video transcript and break it down into mini blogs and soundbites.

If you can improve your SEO game enough, you may not even need to spend any more money on paid advertising in the long run. It’s a win-win.
Help users understand your product
Business who use explainer videos or how-to guides reported that this content helps their visitors understand the product much better.

Why is that so important?

If your prospect understands exactly what your product does and who it is for, you will have an easier time guiding them to the “Buy” button on your website.

Moreover, if your product is not the right choice for them, they will be less likely to waste the time of your sales team with a call that ends up going nowhere.

In fact, 81% of responders reported seeing an increase in sales after incorporating explainer video content, and 53% said their support calls were reduced. The better your customers’ understanding, the more efficient your sales team will be at getting them to buy it.

Improve your operations

Not all video content has to be customer-facing. If you want to increase efficiency, you can also use it to support internal operations, such as your employee onboarding process. Don’t make your new employees read through a twenty-page manual — show them an entertaining video instead! Plus, if you create content around your company culture, it could double as an effective recruitment tool as well.

Increase social media reach

If social media impact is your goal, look no further than video content: it’s a versatile marketing tool, perfect for social media. Facebook has become especially video-centric in the last couple of years, and Instagram Stories and Snapchat are also great places to informally promote your products or services too.

The downsides of using video content

All of that sounds great, doesn’t it? The biggest downside of creating video content is the upfront investment it requires, both in terms of time and money. While it possible to use just your iPhone camera to create engaging content online, professional-looking video content will often require a much larger investment.

For example, if you want to create an “About Us” video for your homepage, you have to think about how much you are willing to spend. Pre-production costs (scripting, location scouting, props), production costs (lighting, sound, shooting) and post-production costs (editing etc) all add up quickly.

But as we know, if video content is done well, there are many benefits to your business. So if you want to rise above the competition, you need to start thinking about how to incorporate high-quality content using your available budget.

How video content can fit into your business

48% of marketers are planning to add a YouTube channel in their marketing strategy next year. However, YouTube is not the only way to go.

You can start by creating a “Welcome To Our Company” short piece for your landing pages. Or you can turn one of your monthly Q&A blog posts into a vlog and publish it on your company website.

Some examples of video content include:

 Product demos and reviews
 Tutorials
 Vlogs and interviews
 Customer testimonials
 Onboarding guides

Don’t forget about simpler forms of video content either — the filming features in Snapchat and Instagram are really easy to use even if you are just starting out.

People also tend to expect simpler video formats from Facebook Live events, as well as webinars. If you are just starting out, those platforms are perfect for you. Just prepare your talking points, set up a camera and go!

Video content is definitely an investment you need to make if you want to boost your marketing strategy. But it’s wise to take into account the initial investment. While you can hire a camera guy and an editor for cheap, you have to remember that high-quality content will be a far more successful part of your marketing strategy that poorly-made content.

If your business does not currently have the bandwidth to produce effective video content, you can absolutely start small. Posting behind-the-scenes videos on Instagram stories can go a long way when it comes to building brand awareness.

What did you think of our video content post? Let us know in the comments below.


Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. For tips and news in e-commerce, marketing, and design, check out her blog, Victoria Ecommerce. Victoria loves to help store owners get the best return on their e-commerce businesses.


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