The constant uncertainty of a startup can be somewhat quelled by enlisting the talents of an experienced startup consultant who can share his/her expertise and provide advice that will help point your business towards success. While it can be helpful to use a consultant with experience in your industry it isn’t necessary.
When you first open your business, you may be full of optimism. It may even be a smashing success for the first few months or even years. However, every company faces difficult times.
Today’s business world is extremely competitive. There are fewer barriers to entry, and it is easier for anyone to build a website or sell products online through marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon. In an ideal world, strategic planning and strong leadership could prevent a rough patch from happening. But, as a business owner, you may know firsthand that some factors are simply out of your control. The economy could take a turn for the worse or the market could shrink. It’s not a matter of “if” tough times happen, but “when”.
When it comes to SEO, links are even more important than ever. These days, it is virtually impossible to rank well without external links pointing back to your site. Google’s ranking algorithms now weigh the quantity of links pointing to your site, along with authority of the websites linking to it. In other words, if there are tons of highly reputable websites linking to your website, then you will get an SEO boost. That means if you write a blog post that the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, and Forbes all suddenly decide to link to, expect your rankings to get a serious boost practically overnight.
Did you know that most people have already slacked up on their New Year’s resolution? In fact, only 8% of Americans will even achieve their goals this year.
If you stop hitting the gym you might gain few extra pounds, but if you slack up on your goals in business, you could lose clients, a competitive advantage and incredible team members.
Many successful CEOs, founders and executives will tell you that the secret to business growth is to hire the right people. Employees play a vital role to your business in more ways than you may realize.They contribute to company growth, not just through their performance or the work that they do but as brand ambassadors. Although it is seen as cliche, the first question that most people ask when they meet someone new is: What do you do? Our careers and the companies that we work for form a significant part of our identity.
When it comes to social media, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy. Rather, your social media strategy should be developed and executed with specific goals in mind. In other words, you need to think carefully about what you are trying to accomplish. Is the objective to promote your products? To offer a channel of communication and customer service to your customers? To increase your brand’s visibility? Here, we’ll break down four social media goals and why they are valuable to your business.
You’re blog subscribers are increasing by the day, your social media stats are killing it, and your content marketing strategy is kick ass too, but you still aren’t seeing the marketing results that you have planned for. (Sound familiar?) Perhaps you’re in need of something different – Something outside the box. We’ve rounded up 7 creative marketing ideas to amp up your marketing and provide you the ROI you are looking for. Every business is different, which means there’s no one size fits all, but these tips can be adapted to fit your specific needs. So stop asking yourself “what else can I do?” and without further ado, let’s look outside the box...
Owning a business can offer tremendous rewards, both personal and professional. It also holds unique challenges that not everyone is prepared to face. The good news is that you can learn how to handle those challenges; the bad news is that, in all likelihood, nobody ever taught you how. A traditional education is good for many things—I hear yours was excellent—but it tends not to address some important realities about life as a business owner.
Your restaurant has been around for decades. There are tons of memorabilia on the wall and grandpa is still in the back going through the books like he always has, but it's time for a change. Customers want to come in to use their credit card or Apple pay, but you're stuck in the stone age. So what's stopping you? You're afraid that Grandpa is going to hate the new technology and your business will suffer during the integration of a new Point of Sales (POS) system.
So you’ve got a thorough understanding of the advantages of international eCommerce, but how do you deal with the problems that arise, and how do you prevent them from happening in the first place?
For starters, let’s identify a few of the challenges.
Overcoming Customer Fears
The biggest challenge with international eCommerce is dealing with customers’ fears as they consider making a purchase from your company. Understanding these fears is essential to succeeding in online commerce.
Starting a business is a serious undertaking. If you have viewed our previous blogs on testing your idea and making it official, you may know that you have a viable company. You may have all the legal requirements and paperwork that says you are an official, real-life business. However, your work is far from done.
One of the most difficult challenges for entrepreneurs and business owners is how to monetize and generate revenue on a consistent basis.
It can take years to transform your idea into reality, and even longer until you start to generate considerable profit. To get started, ask these questions:
Everybody loves a great deal. According to Social Media Today, the number one reason that people follow brands on social media is to learn about and gain access to exclusive discounts and promotions.
In fact, 56% of respondents in a 2016 survey said they connect with brands to receive regular coupons and promotions. Consumers want to know about offers, sweepstakes, discounts and coupons, and there are dozens of reasons why you should consider sharing them.
Why Promotions Matter
Promotions and discounts influence purchasing decisions. They give your customers incentive to buy more and keep coming back for future purchases. They can help attract new customers and build brand loyalty. Still not convinced you need well-crafted promotions? Here are a few key statistics you should know:
● Over 80% of shoppers say they utilize more than one promotional channel to make purchases. (Market Track)
● Coupons are the most sought after type of promotions from consumers, based on a survey by Placed and RetailMeNot.
● In 2016, 92% of consumers used a coupon to make a purchase. (PRRI)
● Of that percent, 87% of Millennials, 91% of Generation Xers and 96% of Baby Boomers used coupons for purchases in 2016. (PRRI)
● Almost half (49%) of consumers will switch brands to take advantage of a promotion or coupon. That number jumps to 60% for mobile coupon users. (GfK MRI The Survey of the American Consumer)
● 83% of consumers have made an unplanned purchase based on a promotion they received.
● 60% of consumers love to receive digital coupons or codes and 50% are likely to visit in-store if they receive one
Even though consumers are attracted to deals, what is considered a “deal” often varies.
Types of Promotions
Deals can come in many different forms. Some of the most common that businesses offer are:
● BOGO (buy one, get one free)
● Free shipping with purchase over a certain amount
● Free gift with purchase
● Percent discount on purchase
● Loyalty program or member discounts
● Free samples with purchase
● Bundled value sets
The type of promotion(s) that you use depends on a number of factors, but you should primarily consider your goal and target audiences.
Selecting the Right Promotions for Your Business
For businesses, it can be a challenge to figure out which promotions generate the most interest and provide value to customers. If you aren’t promoting the right offers, then you could be dumping funds and resources into efforts that yield little to no results.
However, the latest research and surveys can give us some insight into which promotions today’s consumers are drawn to most often. For example, every age group is receptive to promotions, but how they find and use them differs.
● Millennials use coupons just as much or more than their parents.
● According to a Bloomberg report, 90% of Millennials use some form of coupons.
● Millennials search for coupons in: groceries (93%), beauty and cosmetics (69%), clothing (62%), household (60%), and restaurants (57%)
● Millennials are also the age group leading the use of digital and mobile promotions. Based on estimates from eMarketer, there are 121.3 million digital coupon users in the US.
Digital and mobile promotions are becoming more popular among all age groups. That doesn’t mean people aren’t willing to cut out some coupons if the discount is worthwhile, but keep in mind extensions like Honey, social promotions and sites like RetailMeNot.
How to Market Your Promotions
Once you decide which promotions you want to run, you also have to figure out the best way to get the word out. Should you offer print coupons, online or mobile? Should you send them with direct mail or email? A Facebook ad or website banner? Perhaps you want to do a combination of different channels? When deciding, keep these tips in mind:
1. Email is the preferred method to learn about promotions.
One of the most effective ways to reach consumers and share promotions is email. Research from PwC reports that 58% of global consumers prefer to receive discounts and promotions through email, 20% through print sources, and 10% through text message.
Another US-based survey found that email is still overwhelmingly the most preferred method to learn about promotions (60%), but direct mail isn’t far behind (54%). Including promotions in email newsletters is a cost-effective way to engage with your customers and boost sales.
You can use a mix of channels to share your promotions, but keep your audience in mind. For instance, text messaging is still in its infancy and may not be the best way to reach out to US consumers. However, mobile promotions are thriving, especially amongst Millennials.
2. Free shipping is a must for online retailers.
When it comes to online promotions, free shipping is a huge influence. Based on a RetailMeNot holiday survey, the top three reasons consumers are likely to spend more money with a retailer is when they offer free shipping (31%), a percent off the total purchase (28%), or a specific product deal (17%).
In a recent study by UPS and comScore, 77% of shoppers said, "free shipping remains the most important option during checkout". Over 60% of shoppers even said they would place additional items in their cart just to qualify for free shipping. Another 2016 survey found that percent can climb to 91% around the holidays.
3. Consider a loyalty program.
One-time promotions can spike your engagement and sales, but if you want to keep that momentum, then you should have a plan in place. One option is to develop a loyalty program for customers. This helps you build more long-term customer connections and sustain the benefits of promotions over time. Loyalty programs aren’t for all business, but there are clear advantages to consider:
● In a global PwC 2016 retail survey, 91% of participants said that they are a member of a loyalty or rewards program.
● 70% of respondents said the top benefit for joining loyalty/reward programs was member-only discounts and offers.
● A CFI Group survey found that the biggest influence for signing up for loyalty programs, according to 93% of consumers, was access to special promotions.
When loyalty programs offer tangible and clear perks, customers are not only willing to sign up, but have a more positive perception of the brand.
Promotions are a highly effective way to engage customers, generate interest and increased sales, but use them strategically. Offering too many promotions can dilute the value of your offers and brand. When it comes to loyalty programs, one of the main incentives is that it gives a layer of exclusivity.
It is important to preserve your brand’s value and integrity by limiting the number of promotions, coupons and other offers customers can use at a given time. Placing your promotions strategically throughout the year will generate more response than if you offer them all the time. It is important to know which deals are the best for your business, goals, and audience. Successful promotions can take a lot of time and planning, but if managed well, they can produce impressive returns. For professional advice on crafting engaging promotions, marketing them and connecting with your audiences in more meaningful ways, reach out to 10twelve today.