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What Small Businesses Need to Know About Developing a Brand

What Small Businesses Need to Know About Developing a Brand
What Small Businesses Need to Know About Developing a Brand? If I asked you the name of your business, you could probably respond without a second thought. But what if I were to ask you about your brand? What is the story you would tell, the mission you want to achieve, and the unique characteristics that set your business apart from your competitors? You’d probably need a bit more time, but it would be time well spent. Branding is a powerful tool. It can turn first-time customers into loyal followers and long-time customers into word-of-mouth marketers. Branding, when done masterfully, is the reason we apply “Chapstick” to soothe dry lips, eat “Popsicles” to cool down on a hot day, and “Google” the answer to life’s most pressing questions. Needless to say, brand identity is an important component to your business.     Picture Courtesy : 4 Compelling Brand Stories You Should Be Telling   How Can You Grow Your Brand? Its clear brand development is important, but how do you build it into your marketing efforts? There are numerous answers to that question, but the following often represent the most common and impactful way to increase brand awareness: Content Marketing: In many circles, content is considered the leading way to do everything from improving organic search results to, as you guessed it, increase brand awareness. Through this method, well-curated articles, blog posts, videos, white papers, etc. are used to increase brand credibility. Content is then distributed through various channels, including email, social media, and on the brand’s website or blog.     Picture Courtesy: 18 Types of Content Marketing You Can Use To Grow Your Business Ultimately content works to show your brand as a source of knowledge, whether it pertains to industry trends or customer needs.   Social Media Advertising: Social media allows business owners to leverage posts, shares, stories, and comments to engage directly with existing and potential customers. While much of that interaction is free, there are additional paid advertising options that can help small business owners take advantage of social media advertising to increase reach.   Picture Courtesy: Best Social Media Management Tools – No More Social Media Babysitting Many social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat offer paid advertising opportunities that base ad placement on user data. This can place your brand in front of a specific audience base or target user.   Charitable Initiatives: Companies like PetSmart, TOMs, and REI have long attracted customers through their dedication to philanthropic initiatives. By doing so, they’ve associated their brands with a specific mission – helping pets, clothing children, or saving the environment. When “giving” initiatives are leveraged correctly, they highlight your brand’s mission and show your commitment to goodwill. As such, your brand gains notoriety among audiences that share similar interests or philanthropic goals.     Picture Courtesy: Top 10 Best Free SEO Tools To instantly Improve Your Google Ranking in 2019   Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Today, SEM refers to any type of paid search efforts and has become an umbrella term used to refer to pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-click (CPC) marketing strategies. Through this method, you purchase ad space on search engine result pages (SERPS) on Google, Bing, etc. Instead of ranking organically for specific keywords, SEM allows your brand to show up at the top of a SERP, presenting your brand to highly targeted audiences. You Know How to Grow It, But How Do You Pay for It? While each of these methods can help you increase brand awareness, they often come at a price. Social media and SEM ads are often paid promotions that are based on the number of clicks. Content...
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Which Digital Channels Deliver the Best ROI

Which Digital Channels Deliver the Best ROI
Which Digital Channels Deliver the Best ROI ? Are you in the process of finalizing your digital marketing strategy for 2019? Are you contemplating on the budget to be invested across digital marketing channels? Then read on… Before you decide which digital marketing channels you should focus on, it is but imperative that you completely understand how each one has performed for the past recent years. Just as you wanted to utilize the channels that will get you the most out of your time, you also want to make sure that you will only be investing in channels that will deliver the maximum  ROI for your money as possible.   Selecting the right combination of channels is crucial for ensuring the success of your overall digital marketing campaign. Disruptive Shift In Digital Strategy – A Study by Ignite Visibility San Diego-based Ignite Visibility recently released a new study which highlights a growing shift in digital marketing. The study surveyed businesses in six revenue brackets – under 1 million, 1 to 5 million, 5 to 10 million, 10 to 20 million, 20 to 50 million and over 50 million – in order to gain insight into how they would be investing in digital marketing over the next two years. Additionally, the study analyzed which digital marketing channels would be most popular. “It’s incredibly important to be forecasting ahead and making sure you have the right digital strategy,” says Ignite Visibility CEO John Lincoln. “ We’re dedicated to bringing best-in-class insights to the industry so marketers can have the most effective strategy in place.”     The findings reveal an overall shift toward online marketing channels across all business categories. They also reveal that many smaller businesses still struggle to effectively measure ROI and conversion rates. Furthermore, social media is by far the hardest channel for businesses to manage. “We’re seeing a large shift from offline to online because digital channels are more trackable and generally produce a higher ROI,” continued Lincoln. In the study, we also say clear divisions in the business size and type of digital marketing channel they liked the most. But overall, social media marketing seemed to be a big pain point for all marketers.” To view the full study visit Ignite Visibility (New Study) 300 Marketers Reveal Disruptive Shift In Digital Strategy – Ignite Visibility Study reveals key findings in how marketers will shift marketing dollars through 2021. Key analysts: Karen Schwartzman, Content Manager Ignite Visibility John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility In this study, Ignite Visibility interviewed 300 marketers categorized by business sizes of under 1 million, 1 to 5 million, 5 to 10 million, 10 to 20 million,…   Blogging remains as the top content marketing strategy 53% of marketers say blogging is their top content marketing priority. The most successful marketers spend 40% of their total marketing budget on content marketing. The average for all respondents is 26%. Content marketing revenue will exceed $300 billion by 2019. Here are some of the biggest challenges when it comes to content and email marketing. Limited internal resources 28%, lack of strategy 28% and lack of content 23%.     Paid Search and Mobile Marketing As of July 2018, 90.46% of people use Google as a search engine. Bing is 3.13% and Yahoo is 2.21%. SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. 18% of local searches done on mobile devices lead to a sale within a day. In 2017, 48% of 1,200 global digital marketers say on-page SEO is still considered to be the most effective SEO tactic.     Facebook Advertising There are now more than 50 million small businesses using Facebook...
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5 Authentic Ways to Make Money With Your Blog

5 Authentic Ways to Make Money With Your Blog
5 Authentic Ways to Make Money With Your Blog One reason that so many people want to work from their homes is that there is no need for a large financial investment to begin an online business. One doesn’t need to invest heavily in product development. Those who have expertise in almost anything can begin by simply writing an e-book and promoting it or obtaining a website and promoting products that are produced by others.   Think of the people who promote products that are produced by others as the “modern version of the old door-to-door salesman” except instead of knocking on one door at a time they knock on the doors of millions of people at the same time by way of the Internet. The Internet isn’t called “The Information Super Highway” for nothing. A person can make a very good living selling nothing but information on it. The populations of every industrialized nation in the world have learned that if you want to know anything about anything, you get on a computer and ask the question. They have also learned that you must pay for special information and they are more than willing to do just that. A person who has special knowledge of a subject and could be considered a ‘guru’ has a market for selling that information on the Internet. All that needs to be done is to set up a website, publish the information, advertise and sell the information. I have categorised blog revenue generation through five main categories: AFFILIATES ADS SERVICES SPONSORED POSTS PRODUCTS AFFILIATES Did you know – You can make money from affiliates on day 1 after you launch your blog! Most large companies have affiliate programs and when you sign up, you get a special link. If someone makes a purchase through your special link you stand to get a commission. These commissions range from a few pennies to over $100.  AFFILIATES I have compiled a list of popular companies that offer authentic affiliate programs: Amazon – You can recommend any product on Amazon and if your reader makes a purchase through your link, you get a commission. ShareASale Flexoffers Commission Junction Rakuten eBay Affibank Shutterfly Target Toys R Us StitchFix Bloomingdales BigLots Walmart TJMaxx Burlington Dillards Macys Clickbank You have to make a call as to which affiliate program will suit your content niche and apply accordingly. So that you can seamlessly integrate the ads that will compliment your blog content. ADS When you build traffic to your blog you can get a steady stream of income from banners and advertisements on your blog. They are super easy to setup, but you need a fair amount of traffic to make money from this option. Google Ads Mediavine Sovrn AdThrive SERVICES There are numerous methods to offer your service online. From virtual voice lessons to exercise classes! Many bloggers do consulting or social media management to make money online. If you are a beginner, you could become a virtual assistant for a pro blogger and learn all there is to blogging while you are getting paid. Okay.. now the list  of services you can consider… Virtual Assistant Consulting- in the area of your expertise Freelance Writer Proof-reading Online Coach Home Décor Personal Assistant Online Personal Stylist Facebook Live Exercise Classes (Instagram is a great way to collect subscriptions for your Facebook Page.) Voice Lessons (Use Skype or Google Hangout) Virtual Party Planner Cooking Assistant/ Recipe Reader Sleep Training For Babies Breastfeeding Support Group Working Mothers Coach and Motivator Healthy Living Coach Personal Diet Mentor Yoga or Pilates Live Classes List of Email Marketing Services Please understand that intelligent blogging first...
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How to Avoid Cash Flow Problems as a Small Business

How to Avoid Cash Flow Problems as a Small Business
If you own a small business, then you’re probably no stranger to cash flow issues. In fact, 21% of businesses claim that cash flow problems were significant issues, potentially leading to closing down. One of the best ways business owners can ensure success is by carefully managing cash flow. Because no matter how great your business plan is, your business won’t survive if you run out of money. What Causes Cash Flow Problems? Before you can get a handle of your cash flow issues, you have to understand why they occur. Here are three common reasons why cash flow problems may arise: Unnecessary Spending Many business owners have head the old adage that you have to spend money to make money. Unfortunately, this belief has caused many ambitious business owners to overspend. Not all business expenses equally as important to your operations. Consider the cost-benefit of each expense. Overestimating Future Earnings Optimism is a great trait but it needs to be paired with a healthy dose of objectivity. It’s important to forecast your sales based on previous earnings and data. By not counting on future earnings that may never show up, you can prevent overspending. Inconsistent Sales Some businesses have occasional spikes in sales followed by months where they sell next to nothing. Trends like these cause problems with budgeting and makes it difficult for business owners to make operational decisions, often choosing to survive off of their “good” months. Get started with Flexible Funding today! Flexible Funding provides payroll-funding solutions in addition to back and front office support services as well. Flexible Funding works with staffing companies to implement the right staffing-industry software solutions for each client’s unique needs to create the best solutions and to save you time and money -from off-the-shelf accounting packages like QuickBooks and Sage 50 Accounting to in-house custom-built financial accounting software tools. Whether you are a start-up or an established staffing agency looking for best business practices, Flexible Funding will find the right solution for you– from payroll and invoice processing to W-2 preparation and filing, background checks, custom reporting, and so much more.   Tips for Avoiding Cash Flow Problems Cash flow problems are a reality for nearly all business owners but there are ways to manage them. Here are five ways to mitigate your cash flow issues: 1) Take Out a Short-Term or P2P Business Loan A short-term business loan can provide the capital you need to run your business and pay for any expense, from inventory to office furniture. Short-term business loans have a high rate of approval even for businesses with limited credit history. You’ll receive the money faster than you would if you took out a traditional bank loan, which can be extremely helpful if you have immediate needs. Sometimes the application process can take as little as 24 hours. One of the first places to check for business loans as a business owner would be Small Business Administration. Or, if you prefer to bypass the government, you can try a peer-to-peer business loan. These loans are funded by individual investors through a lending platform. However, these loans usually require more frequent payments, and you will likely end up with a higher interest rate. 2) Use a Working Capital Loan Working capital loans can give you the cash flow to cover crucial operational costs like rent and payroll. This gives you the flexibility to invest in your company’s growth and still cover day-to-day expenses. Unlike other business loans, working capital loans don’t require that you state your reasons for taking out the loan. However, you will have to repay this loan quickly and your loan may have a...
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How to avoid These 16 Cognitive Bias Traps

How to avoid These 16 Cognitive Bias Traps
“If there’s something you really want to believe, that’s what you should question the most.”  ― Penn Jillette To efficiently run a business, it’s necessary to think on your feet. You are required to make thousands of decisions and judgment calls daily. And while there is a wealth of information at our fingertips and communicating with colleagues or employees across the country takes only seconds, all this can lead to an information overload. In order to manage a business productively, we rely on mental shortcuts that allow us to get around this overflow of information. These mental tricks can also help us get around limits in memory, time, or a lack of information. These cognitive biases are necessary to help us make the sheer number of decisions necessary every day. However, cognitive biases can also lead you to make poor decisions and judgments regarding your business. Because they allow you to make decisions that don’t rely on logic, they can hold you back from doing your best work as a leader. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the common mental traps that you fall into as a manager of a small business. As your decisions can have a major impact on your bottom line, being more aware of your unconscious biases can help you find more success as a manager. For example, many people struggle with planning and scheduling projects. It is common for tasks to go out of scope or miss their deadlines. This is in part due to a cognitive bias called the “Planning Fallacy.” This bias causes you to underestimate the amount of time it will take to complete a task. However, once you are aware of this tendency, you can plan more time for your assignments than you think you will need and meet your deadlines. To help you in all your small business decisions, check out this infographic Fundera created on some of the more common biases and how to avoid...
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