Why You Need to Revolutionize Your Customer’s Experience

When a business owner builds their website, the focus is often on their preferences in terms of the technology and functionality and the visual design. While this is obviously a great place to start, it should not be the main consideration. What’s more important? The customer’s needs and expectations. Simply creating a website and expecting customers to flock to it and the orders to start flooding in is, unfortunately, rarely a successful strategy. To make a lasting impression on visitors and to convert them to customers, a website’s structure and design should be tailored to deliver the best possible customer experience.

Technology

A website is built on a foundation of seamless and intuitive technology which customers don’t even think about when they’re browsing or purchasing. The average customer does not consider how the website works, but they expect fast load times, clear navigation, and a simple buying process. When a page takes too long to load or the website fails in some way, customers will become frustrated and will probably take their business elsewhere. For those working in the supply chain, for example, who are looking to improve their communication with the suppliers they supply to, utilize the right technology to let you do this. Visit weaveability.com for expert support and advice.

Design

The design of your website is what wraps the technology up and makes a website visually appealing. The first impression customers get of your brand is often your website so it’s really important that it represents your brand and conveys your business’ ethos and what you do. However, it’s not enough for a website to simply look good. The best websites are striking, yes, but they are also created with the user’s journey in mind. You want to lead the user’s eyes towards particular areas of your site and a designer can do this with graphics, lines, and colors. Visitors will form a judgment about your website and therefore, your business within seconds. Make sure that they have a clear path to follow, which leads nicely into usability.

Usability

Within the design and the technology of the website, you need to place content which is easy to consume for the user. Words, images, and icons should guide users through the website through clear navigation and compelling call-to-actions that establish your business as trustworthy and an authority in your field. The website’s usability or lack of it can and will prevent customers from making a purchase.

Influence

The next level up from usability is the influence of a website. This means that in addition to making the purchasing process convenient and clear, you also employ tactics to lead buyers through the sales journey. From providing information, comparisons, addressing concerns, reinforcing the benefits and guiding them towards a purchase. The purchase may not be immediate, but if the influence is effective, they will return at another time. Tactics may include a sincere and helpful tone or personalization, which builds trust and reassures the user. It’s not intended to be manipulative and should never be deceptive; you should understand the customer’s needs, what represents usability to them and talk directly to them.


Four Great Reasons to Invest in an MBA

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Category : Education , Taining

If you’re considering going to graduate school, then your main priority is probably being able to apply for high-paying, well-respected careers once you’ve graduated. An MBA, or masters of business administration degree, is one of the most sought after and respected qualifications in the business industry today, with MBA graduates often able to take their pick of the best career opportunities, find opportunities faster, and choose from a wide range of different fields, schools, and industries. However, graduate school is a big decision to make with a huge price tag, so if you’re considering investing in your studies, it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons to make sure an MBA will be worth it.

#1. Job Opportunities:

If you have your heart set on going to graduate school but aren’t sure what to study, then an MBA definitely makes sense if you have any interest whatsoever in the business world. An MBA isn’t just any old graduate degree; it will enable you to get a wide range of well-paying job opportunities that would not be available to you with any other qualification. And, one of the unique features of this program is that it will provide you with a well-rounded knowledge of the entire business industry, including management, entrepreneurship, marketing, finances, and much more. It’ll change the way you think and make you an asset to businesses worldwide.

#2. Cost:

Investing in a master’s degree is not cheap, so you’ll want to make sure that at some point you’re going to be able to easily earn back the amount you paid for tuition, and then some. If you’re worried about struggling with student debt and being unable to pay it back, an MBA is one postgraduate program where you’re less likely than any other graduate to have financial trouble. Students often choose less costly options like an online Touro MBA, which are of the same quality as a campus-based degree.

#3. Job Security:

The master’s program that you choose will have a huge bearing on your future career for years to come. So, one hugely important factor that you will need to consider before you make a choice of program is the kind of job security that you want for yourself. The last thing that you want is to commit a few years to studying only to find that once you graduate, there isn’t much available in terms of meaningful, permanent work. Since MBA graduates are in very high demand around the world, you’ll find that many businesses save their best positions for an MBA.

#4. Career Changes:

Your choice of a postgraduate degree program will usually be a decision that’s based on your future career choice. However, it’s not uncommon for people to change their career at some point in their lives. You might want to try something new in the future, and an MBA would be the perfect choice of a degree program to facilitate this. While it is focused on the business industry, it provides you with a wide, varying knowledge of the industry, allowing you to thrive in several different business career types.

If you’re thinking of investing in a master’s degree, there are many reasons to choose an MBA.


3 Tips for Promoting Your Leisure Industry Business on Social Media

In this day and age, social media has become a massive industry when it comes to promoting any business of any size. The leisure industry is known as an area of business that focuses on entertainment, recreation, tourism, and sport-related services and products. People love to talk about this industry because it brings a lot of joy and excitement into their lives, plus visually, it is very appealing and interesting. When you have a sturdy social media strategy, the companies in this sector can utilize and position their business as a helpful, friendly source that can be trusted. To get the most out of promoting your business on social media, here are three tips you should follow.

Strengthen PR Campaigns

A public relation (PR) campaign has the ability to create a long-lasting impact on the reputation and public image of your brand. Due to social media’s ability to reach out to and engage a big number of clients, it is the perfect channel to develop and increase the strength of the public interest in PR stories. The way you go about this needs to be planned out well for the best results. It can be hard to promote some niche businesses on social media. For example, with a business like Galaxy Multi Rides, a specific customer needs to be targeted because the product they sell has to appeal to commercial buyers, not residential clients.

Use Groups to Build Interest

Using platforms like Facebook for direct opportunities is a great way to build active communities around local interest groups. Facebook groups can be used to promote local events and offers and can give more information about these promotions. Using a photograph or video is a great way to grab the attention of the group’s followers. Another thing to remember is that the offer doesn’t cost anything. A lot of people try to sell through social media, but this is a common mistake. Social media should be used to engage people, not sell to them. As time goes on, you can build suitable conversion mechanisms to change social engagement into many sales.

Make and Share Vlogs

Online videos are a fantastic way to grab the attention of people. It has been noticed that people are more likely to engage in a video online than read any kind of written content or watch television. Videos allow you to interact and connect with your audience on a personal level. This is because it literally puts a face to your company and you can use it to show your potential customers exactly what you have to offer. Creating these videos can be good fun and have the potential to bring colleagues closer together. They can also get very creative and imaginative, which can contribute to the fun side of things.

Understanding how to promote your leisure business over social media in an effective way can do wonders when it comes to marketing your company. You just need to make sure you start off on the right foot and continue on the right path. The way you approach social media can be complex, but it can perform miracles when done correctly.


Four Ways to Reduce the Cost of Running a Corporate Fleet

Reducing cost and expenditure is a massive priority for the majority of businesses, and even more important when your company owns and operates a fleet of vehicles. Operating a cost-effective, efficient fleet often relies on the expertise and knowledge of fleet managers, who need to pay close attention to observing various industry trends as they evolve over time. This will ensure maximum fleet efficiency in addition to helping keep costs as low as possible. Here are some of the main steps that fleet managers can take in order to keep expenditure low while maximizing productivity and efficiency levels.

#1. Insurance:

Ensuring that every single fleet vehicle and driver are adequately insured is at the top of any fleet manager’s priority list. The right kind of fleet insurance policy will ensure peace of mind that both vehicles and drivers are protected in the event of a road traffic accident or incident, in addition to covering vehicles against theft, loss, and accidental or criminal damage both on and off the road. And, the right insurance will protect your company in the event of a lawsuit or claim brought against you. Fleet insurance is a necessary expense, but there are varying price levels available. Each time insurance is due for renewal, shop around to ensure that you are getting the best deal.

#2. Telematics:

Telematics are a great investment for your fleet that will help you save a significant amount of money in the long run. These devices not only make it easier to track the location of your drivers at all times when they are on the road to improve efficiency, they can also be used to determine risks by logging each drivers’ habits on the road. Issues such as harsh braking, accelerating in lower gears, sharp turns and speeding can be picked up by a telematics logistics device, making it easier for managers to understand the areas of concern that they need to bring up with each driver. In the long run, telematics devices make for more contentious, safety-aware fleet drivers, reducing both risks and costs.

#3. Fleet Size Reduction:

Reducing the size of your fleet is one of the most effective ways to cut the operating costs. If it is possible to do so, reducing the number of vehicles that are used for your fleet should be done on a regular basis. Regularly assess your fleet to make sure that it is operating as efficiently as possible, and whether adjustments can be made to cover the same workload with a lower number of vehicles.

#4. Vehicle Upgrades:

Both operation and maintenance costs will easily add up when running a corporate fleet. You may want to consider investing in upgrading your vehicles to ones that are both cheaper to run and maintain, such as electric or hybrid vehicles which will lead to fuel cost reduction, easier maintenance, and lower carbon emissions. Although this is likely to be a large expense in the short-term, the long-term savings for your fleet will be significant.

Corporate fleet operations can be costly, but there are several things that fleet managers can do to maximize efficiency, productivity and safety while keeping costs low.


How to Gain Financial Stability for Start-Up Entrepreneurs

Category : Start Ups , Startups

As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to balance business and personal finances, especially when you are on the brink of a big business idea. To secure financial stability for both yourself and your business, read on to discover the best ways to do this and ensure that you can maintain your finances for the future.

  • Consider Personal Finances

Although you may be focused on the finances of your business, it is just as vital to focus on your personal finances to ensure that you can maintain security through the trials of the first business year. If you are struggling to manage your personal finances, you should aim to speak to a financial advisor who can help you to establish the best ways to invest and balance your personal finances to protect your family, such as taking out credit starter loans.

  • Create a Business Plan

One of the best ways to look after your finances in your businesses’ first year is to create a comprehensive business plan which can help to track and predict your business expenditure and profits. Business plans should not only detail the start-up costs of the business, but they should also make predictions as to the expected profits in your first year and how you will manage your money. By creating a business plan, you can then establish goals and targets to work towards improving your financial situation. 

  • Separate Personal and Business Finances

Another option that you need to fulfill in order to protect both your finances is to separate both your personal and business finances in terms of bank accounts and credit cards. This will help you to budget for your business and your personal life by enabling you to see how much money you have to spend and reinvest in each at a glance. Not only this, but this can greatly help you when it comes to your tax returns as you will then be able to easily check your expenditure.

  • Keep Up With Global Finances

To secure financial stability, you should also keep up to date with financial news websites and periodicals from around the world. This will help you to make predictions on the financial outcome of your business and ensure that you can implement changes that can help you to succeed in terms of financial hardship and recession. Through keeping up with the situation in terms of the exchange rate and stability of the banks, you will be able to make changes and prepare for the effect on your business.

  • Track Your Expenses

You can also gain financial stability through tracking your expenses, as this will help you to establish how much money you are spending and how you can cut down on this. Finance tracking apps are excellent for this purpose as this allows you to make a budget, store all of your transactions and can even make predictions on your financial situation in the future. If you are spending more than you are bringing in, then you need to implement changes immediately to secure your business’s future.


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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Source

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


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