Social media isn’t just about viral videos or selfies. For consumers, sites and apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are playing an increasingly large role in their path to purchase.
This is why it’s so important for retailers to invest in social media marketing. Having a strong presence in relevant social networks not only gives you an avenue to communicate with your audience, it also allows you to stay in the radars of your customers. This in turn, increases the likelihood of a shopper choosing your brand when they’re ready to buy.
Instagram is one of the big four social networks, alongside Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It took what people loved most about Facebook, sharing photos, and turned it into a global phenomenon. An average of 55 million photos are uploaded to the platform every day, which means a lot of users and a big opportunity for brands that can harness Instagram’s power.
The results are in. If you’re not proactively listening to business online reviews, you might be missing out on key insights into how to grow an online business.
This consumer review survey by BrightLocal highlights how customer reviews play a vital role in helping businesses build trust with their audience.
A gift guide is one of the most powerful tools you can have during the holidays. It allows you to showcase your products, inspire shoppers, and stay top of mind throughout the season.
But it’s important to note that creating a winning gift guide takes more than just rounding up your products and putting them in a catalogue. Releasing gift guides is a tradition in the retail world, so you have to be creative with how you craft and market them.
Developing product and brand names that become iconic is an art, with a whole range of factors that need to come together at the right time. These include things that are in your control, such as the words themselves, and other societal elements that no one can predict. To give your new name the best chance of success, consider the following when creating a moniker for your business or latest product.
Branding is the emotional response your business evokes in its audience. It is more than a logo or a series of advertisements, it encompasses all the accumulated interactions your business has with customers. A brand is the core identity of your business and can be a powerful tool in ensuring your customers return, as well as recommend you to their friends and family. Successful branding is about capturing the hearts and minds of customers and turning them from people who use your product to advocates who go out of their way to choose you over a competitor. This loyalty is the foundation of many successful companies, from Apple to McDonalds, Coca Cola and many more.
As a small business owner, you should take any edge you can get when it comes to being successful. You never know what piece of advice is going to be the key to breaking your business wide open.
That’s why we launched our Make or Break? report,which looks into what makes businesses more likely to succeed or fail, in honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week. We want to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about your business.
Here’s a quick flow chart to help you decide how to take the next steps in your business.
In honor of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we want to celebrate women who are out there working hard on their businesses. We know starting and running your own business presents new challenges everyday. From getting funding, to keeping on top of your cash flow, to trying to be more productive. Every day it’s something new.
We asked 500 small business owners about how the run their business and the things they think about every day. We found that the women in our survey are constantly hustling for their business. Not only that, they tend to only turn to their accountant during tax times. We know that having a great advisor can be the key to maintaining a healthy business.
Take a look at some of the other findings from our survey:
The promise of free-shipping can seem too good to be true, and often it is suspected that the shipping costs have been absorbed into the price of the goods. This can sometimes be true, but with products that are available online direct from the manufacturer, it makes it harder for retailers to add their own mark-up. Competing on price becomes impossible and retailers have to find other ways to set themselves apart. Free shipping becomes the next logical step.
At Xero, we use the power of technology to foster innovation, connection and entrepreneurialism. To create beautiful work that makes a difference. This is why each month, we speak to business leaders within our like-minded community – to see how they apply similar values to shape their businesses, and their futures.
This month, we speak to Ted Gethen – founder of The Black Label Tailoring. Together with his business partner, Brendan, Ted has built a strong supply chain and opened four stores which give men the opportunity to dress with style and comfort, at a price point they can afford.
Ted tells us in his words why personal customer service has become the cornerstone of their success. And also how, in a world of internet shopping, their bricks-and-mortar business continues to thrive.
Does your business use telemarketing or fax marketing to promote goods or services?
If so, you need to be aware of your obligations under the Do Not Call Register Act External Site.
There’s no shortage of events this time of year, and it can be challenging to make your voice heard over all the holiday noise. Here’s how to get your event on people’s radar and turn it into a can’t-miss occasion.
Customer retention is the most important form of marketing. These are people who have already engaged with your business and their return depends on the quality of your products and the standard of your service. A loyalty program offers added value and a tangible reason to shop with your company again.
I used to think that LinkedIn was just a networking tool to keep in touch with business contacts, associates, colleagues etc. But all of this changed recently, when I came across an entrepreneur called Alex Pirouz.
I had the opportunity recently to meet with Nicole Crump the owner of Tactix Marketing. We were both speaking at a seminar for a client in the sales technology field. I discovered that Nicole spends a good amount of time showing SME’s how to put together an effective marketing plan. So I invited her to share some ideas on how to do this.
Great opportunities to grow your business are actually all around you.
Whenever a new business starts, it tries to consolidate by focusing on its native region, a market it is familiar with. It is a natural instinct to make the most of one’s home advantage. But sooner or later a moment comes when we realize that there is a need to move out of one’s comfort zone and explore other territories in search of growth. While it is a delicate task and the specifics will vary from case to case, let us list out a few basic strategies that should help you get started.
As a service business, you don’t usually need product photographs for a catalogue or online shop, but what you will need is a great photo of yourself. Images on your website help make you more approachable and real, and if you’re going to do anything online, you need a decent headshot to accompany your profile. From your website about page to your social media profiles and any article ever written about you by any publication, ever, you’re going to need a decent picture to use … and a selfie taken with your camera phone just isn’t going to cut it.
Before we consider the ways to optimise your website for local search, let's see what local search really is, and why it is important for your business: If you ever used the Google now feature on an Android phone, have you noticed how Google is able to return the results for places to eat around you, or popular shopping destinations in the vicinity? Similarly, have you ever wondered how Siri on the iPhone is able to tell you how many good Italian restaurants are in your neighbourhood? Another example is a set of listings you see on Google desktop search.
Developing a brand for your business means giving it an ‘identity’ or personality.
Whether you’re running a cafe, a landscaping business or you’re a virtual assistant, repeat customers and positive word of mouth are important to your business’s success. Here are some great ways to make sure your customers remember your business and recommend you to their friends.
Cash flow is a hot topic for any small business. We caught up with the people over at Fundbox, who know a thing or two about the importance of having cash on hand. Anna Eschenburg offered to give us the rundown on how to get better at lead conversion.
“Everything that can be invented has been invented,” said the Director of the US Patent Office in 1899. It was a breathtakingly naive thing to say even then. But many business owners today still make a similar mistake. They look at the market around them and assume it’s fixed. Having marked out their territory they believe nothing will change.
Business owners have so many distractions that it’s easy to… where was I? Oh yes, to lose focus. But there’s a way you can keep yourself on track.
No doubt you started your business for a good reason. It might have been to get rich, to escape the rat race or to challenge yourself. It might have been to change the world for the better. It might have simply been to generate a regular income while being your own boss instead of having other people tell you what to do.
A potential customer has landed on your website, and your home page has so far convinced them enough that they like the vibe of your company. But your site’s job is not done yet. Before they decide if you’re the right business for the job, your customer will click through to your service descriptions to make sure that what you offer fits with what they’re looking for.
Most of us today have very busy lives in our businesses.
So I like marketing tips that I can get quickly and put into action fast.
Customer expectations have changed rapidly for retailers, and the pressure to provide great shopping and checkout experiences is more critical than ever. In the last 5 years, it’s become clearer that you’re not just competing with the shops in your community – you’re competing on a global level with every online business. There’s even a new app that will send competitors’ coupons to your customers when they walk into your store.
I’m a big fan of simple marketing strategies that are easy to use and produce a noticeable impact on your sales results when you use them consistently.
And that’s why I love thank you cards
Thank you cards are easy to use, very affordable and work like magic.
When it comes to customer protection, New Zealand legislation sets a high standard, and recent amendments to the Fair Trading Act 1986 shifts the focus even more to doing the “right thing by the consumer”.
“Female customers? Make it pink.”
I once heard this sage advice in a product marketing meeting. It was said partly in jest – but only partly. Does that make it insulting, offensive, and sexist? Or was it a helpful insight into gender biases amongs consumers?
Opening additional retail stores is always an exciting endeavor. When implemented correctly, expanding to new locations enables you to tap into new communities, create more jobs, increase revenues, and more.
In other words, opening additional stores can catapult your business to higher levels of retail success. But in order to achieve that success, you need to plan your expansion thoroughly. Rapidly sprouting up new stores can do more harm than good if you don’t think things through.
Sales drive a small business forward, but too often they’re a sideline rather than a focus.
From owning and selling a small business to being CEO of a billion dollar company, I’ve seen sales from every angle. Here are my suggestions to grow sales by creating a small business where sales are a focus and customers keep coming through your door.
Having a big name retailer move in on your turf can be quite daunting. Retail giants not only carry the name recognition that draws huge crowds, but they also have resources and connections to drive down prices and offer tremendous deals.
I've learned a number of valuable marketing lessons over the last few weeks and I thought I'd share three of these with you.
In more than 20 years of writing for and about a wide variety of companies, I’ve noticed something important. The businesses that flourish are the ones that truly understand their customers – who they are and what they want.
As a merchant or a person acquainted with ecommerce, you might have heard such terms as “cross selling” and “upselling”. But if you think these are some sort of sophisticated novelties – they are not. These techniques have been used by many generations of traditional retailers and are still considered to be the keys to profit generation.
Are you a retailer (or retail sales associate) who’s struggling with how to approach shoppers? Worried that you lack the magic touch, or that you’ll come off as an annoying salesperson? Would you rather be awkwardly staring at your store’s point of sale software screen than actually talking to the customer in front of you?
The beginning of a relationship is always the best. You laugh at each other’s jokes, you look forward to every phone call, and you truly enjoy getting to know one another.
This guest blog is by Tim Campbell, the first winner of BBC TV’s The Apprentice and co-founder of the Bright Ideas Trust, a charity that helps people start their own businesses.
What ‘simple things’ can you do to improve sales?
Regardless of what is going on in the economy there are always simple things many businesses can use to improve their sales and profits.
Sometimes making more sales is as simple as talking to more potential customers about what you sell.
You offer a valuable service, a skill set or a must-have product. Whatever your business, your customers obviously turn to you for a reason. And when it comes to sharing a little knowledge, your customers will be ready and waiting to read something from you, in your own voice.
Congrats! You just finished setting up your online store. You’ve created winning product pages, put up some killer product photos, and you’re ready to start selling to the world.
We live in a social world. As much as some of us hate to admit it, social media plays a significant role in our everyday lives – from news updates to obscure selfies – the world is documented through social feeds.
Ever get that one product in that you just know will sell if people just get a chance to buy it quickly and easily?
One of the marketing e-zines I find particularly helpful is called ‘The Likeable Expert’. It is written by Michael Katz the owner of Blue Penguin Development.
One of the big opportunities for many businesses is the huge ‘hidden market’ for what they offer.
We understand that SEO can be a bit of a mysterious beast. So we reached out to our friends from Alpha Digital, to share some of their best practice tips to help you make your product descriptions SEO friendly.
Human beings are overwhelmingly visual. How could I say that? 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. Why are high-quality photos important for online retail?
There a simple creative thinking system that you might like to use to increase your sales fast. It’s called the 20 idea method.
It’s very rare for consumers to make purchase decisions without doing any research. Save for impulse buys, people generally take their time and consult several sources when they’re trying to decide what to buy and who to buy from.
What is your ‘Unfair Marketing Advantage Strategy’ going to be for the next 12 months?
In other words, what will you change (or do differently) so you get much better business results in the next 12 months with a lot less effort?
Agency-life can be a whirlwind. With client requests, impromptu projects, and ever-looming deadlines, simply retaining your sanity can be tough. But all hope is not lost.
When Heraclitus said “the only thing constant is change” in the 5th century BC, he probably didn’t have the internet in mind, but his words couldn’t apply more closely to any other field than to this one.
Change. Whether you’re someone who welcomes it with open arms, or you’re the type who tries to maintain the status quo as long as possible, change is inescapable. As the cliché goes, change the only constant thing in the world. And in retail, this statement couldn’t be more true, especially in the last few years!
Over the last five years, blogging for business has become an industry unto itself. With numerous companies all over the world vying for the top talent and the most pageviews, it’s no surprise that the top business blogs are those which can adapt and respond to the changing landscape of the digital world.
I’m sure we all remember using acrostic poems growing up. This week we’ve chosen to discuss the topic of customers in acrostic form!
As an agency working with brands to create engaging marketing and digital content campaigns, it’s important to keep up-to-date with the trends in the market.
Is THIS the year that you are going to concentrate on your inbound marketing and commit to creating a blog that generates results for your business? Great news!
Take a moment to imagine you’ve been given the task of being a mystery shopper for one night. Your job is to go in and assess multiple aspects of a venue: its employees, its food and beverage, the decor, the atmosphere – the works.
Here in the goRoster office we’re all about helping others. So, in keeping with that theme we’ve put together some useful tools that all of you can use no matter what type of hospitality business you work for!
“Data, data, data. I cannot make bricks without clay.” So said the irrepressible Sherlock Holmes in one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories, and so echoes thousands of business analysts and statisticians the world over.
A decision in the Federal Court this week serves as a timely reminder to all employers to ensure workplace policies are drafted in ways that do not unwittingly create exposures to legal claims by staff.
With Trades and Services businesses being so relied upon and necessary, we’ve put together some tips on how as a business you can stand out and run your trades and service business effectively. The tips apply regardless if you’re a plumber, electrician, cleaner, repairman or a security services provider.
80% of success is showing up – Woody Allen
He’s right, don’t you think? So much of our success—and failure—hinges on simply showing up. And the same goes for your business. When a potential customer searches for your product or service, your business needs to show up. How? Google Places for Business. It’s a powerful tool that ensures that your business shows up on a nearby customer’s radar.
Imagine you ran a coffee shop with great coffee, a cool vibe, comfortable seating… and no customers. Not an uncommon problem, and the classic solution promoted by social media experts would be something like:
“Create a Twitter handle and offer discounts to customers who follow. Broadcast weekly events and promotions via Twitter and engage with your audience to encourage them to come and bring their friends. More discounts to people who get their friends to follow. Create a mailing list; Tumblr; Facebook page; etc, etc.”
The parties to this arrangement are commonly known as the “franchisee” (the party obtaining authority to use the developed business model), and the “franchisor” (the party granting authority to use the developed business model).
In return for payment by the franchisee, the franchisor will provide initial advice, equipment and guidance, as well as ongoing support and other things such as products and packaging. Ideally, out of the franchise arrangement the franchisee obtains much needed support from industry leaders.
You’ve got a promising business model, the resources to make it work and somewhere along the way you’ve created intellectual property rights through innovation, branding and an earned reputation. This IP is a key part of the business’s growth, and a core asset. Structuring the business with IP in mind can prove critical in realising the complete benefits of IP. So how do you go about ensuring this?
With the spotlight on agribusiness and food technology sectors, we're leading the conversation about the life cycle of innovative ideas.
Presented by Senior Associate Jonathan Lucas and Catalyst Ltd Director, Janes Lancaster, this video highlights how to develop products and services with a long term vision, ensuring sustainable success.
A successful, solid sales process is crucial for small businesses. But seeing your cashflow through to completion is just as important. To achieve this, it’s vital that you have a strong invoicing process and an accounting system that’s intuitive, easy to use and complements your sales process.