Three tips for Marketing Success

Marketing tips

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Marketing is the skill of telling the right people, the right message to get them interested in your brand and products. To do this effectively, you have to stay ahead of the curve, constantly updating how you convey the message and where you are sharing it. 

Be mobile
If the strategy that you are using isn’t optimized for mobile technology, then that is a massive part of the market that you are missing out on. Over 2.1 billion people have smart phones, and they check them almost 50 times a day. This gives you, as a marketer access to these people, even when they are the go. Marketing strategies that include downloadable apps; including games, mobile search ads, in app advertisement, and even SMS vouchers.  Remember that the advantage of these types of marketing tools is that they are much more likely to reach the individual users that you have identified as someone with the potential to be interested in your product, which can make a smaller, more targeted campaign effective. After all, it all boils down to getting your message in front of the right people. 

Be relevant
It’s also vital that your marketing materials are relevant to the audience you are targeting to make them successful. To do this, you first need to identify the type of person that you are looking to market to, including factors such as gender, age, physical location and other attributes.

Then, the next step and is where the technological advancements come in is to use a more advanced CMS that will allow you to deliver content specific to particular users. Remember in modern IT, savvy marketing lets you reach fewer customers overall but the customers you do reach are more likely to purchase from you.  

Be interactive
Technological advances provide us with rich marketing opportunities. In particular, it allows an element of interaction that was previously unknown. This is so useful because if potential customers are interacting with content about your product, then they are already showing a level of commitment or strength of feeling that can be harnessed and ultimately converted into sales.

People can watch videos, play games, vote, comment and ask questions across several platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, and through live videos and webinars. This level of interaction is a great tool for marketers to use because it creates an ongoing dialogue and relationship with a highly-motivated target audience. By interacting with a smaller, more engaged audience base, you have an opportunity to gather information which can further inform future marketing campaigns as well as future product development.

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How Can Small Business Owners Take A Vacation?

Out of the office for vacation. Closed sign.

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Taking a vacation when you’re a small business owner is tough.

Irritatingly, it seems like it shouldn’t be. In fact, in the abstract, it seems like it would be easier to take a vacation as a small business owner than it would be if you were an employee. As an employee, you effectively have to ask permission to take leave. You have to coordinate your schedule with other employees, book only available and permissible dates – it’s not fun. When you’re in business for yourself, however, then the only person you need to ask is you.

That’s easier said than done, though because 70 percent of small business owners don’t see time off as a vacation from work. That’s pretty depressing, but for anyone with their own business, it’s probably not much of a surprise. When you’re the one in control and your business is absolutely reliant on you, just walking away from your responsibilities and clients can be very difficult.

Rather than making this article a cautionary tale of how you must take a break – because that’s patronizing – let’s instead focus on how you can make a holiday as good as possible. The simple truth is that we do all need a break sometimes, but it’s impossible not to acknowledge many small business owners can’t just take their hands off the wheel so they can spend time in the sun. Acknowledging this, how can you make the most of your time away, so you have a chance of feeling refreshed – but your business success is guaranteed too.

  1. Clever Technology Unless you’re going to be trekking through remote jungle, the majority of places you’re contemplating going on vacation will allow you to access the internet while away. This gives you a chance to do a little work before you spend the rest of the day by the pool. There’s a couple of key programs in the Office suite that can help you do this:
  • OneNote can allow you to make notes and plan future actions, which you can then view when back home.
  • OneDrive allows you to browse and upload relevant files, so any document you work on while away can be easily accessible when you’re home.

Make use of these options, especially if you have a few members of staff still working on your business while you’re away. You can communicate effectively with one another from all over the world – so do so.

2. Use A Timer
You’re not going to be launching new products or initiatives while you’re out of the office – or at least, you shouldn’t be. For the most part, you’ll just be checking in with what’s happening and responding to any client queries that can’t wait.

It’s easy to lose time when you’re doing this. One minute you’re just checking in; suddenly it’s five hours later and you’re in the middle of planning a presentation that’s not due for months.

Don’t allow this to happen. Set yourself a strict timer – 10 minutes is a reasonable length of time – and then put the laptop away when it runs out.

  1. The Once Per Day Rule
    Unless absolutely necessary, you should only need to check in with your business dealings once per day. If you let yourself dive into the business mechanics multiple times per day, you’re not going to feel you have really had any time away at all. Around 3 p.m. is a good time, as it gives you chance to respond to anything that arrives during the day while leaving some of the working day left to action anything you need to do immediately.

By following the above, your next vacation could be one of the best you’ve ever had – even if there’s a little business along with the relaxation!

How to Use Business Marketing Tactics for Yourself

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

It’s a competitive world, and there are hundreds of people just like you trying to get ahead. In fact, for every job someone applies for, there could be dozens of other candidates who are just as good or maybe even better. You already know how to differentiate your product or service offering from the best of the competition. You know how to position your brand to stand apart from the others. Do you know how to apply your marketing prowess to yourself, though?

Why?
Why would you want to stand out from other business leaders? As the head and face of your brand and company, it is essential you connect with the press and the public. The company with the CEO who is regularly in the press with stories of innovation and success might well be the one whom customers trust the most. This can easily translate into sales. As an industry leading spokesperson, you’re more likely to attract investors and business support too.

Where To Start?
If you want to start speaking with authority, you need to have the experience and the qualifications to back that up. Tackle that online accredited MBA program you never got around to. Ensure your certification is up to date so you can use all those letters after your name. The more you know, the more confident you will be about the things you want to talk about. Your MBA might be just the start. CPD is essential if you want to stay current. You might be a market leader today, but if you don’t stay up to date, you’ll have very little to say tomorrow.

Network as much as you can. All of the marketing secrets you apply to your business can work for you too. Use social media, and use events and expos to meet and greet people interested in your brand. These are the people that will talk about the time they spent with you. They become the influencers you need to boost your brand.

Write, Speak, Quote
Do you have your own website, aside from your company? If not, why not? This is an extra URL where you can promote your products and services. Blog regularly, talking about your industry and business leadership ideas. From here, you can build a name as an influencer and voice of authority. Offer to write for other blogs and journals. You can use each opportunity to link back to your business and personal websites.

Speak as often as you can about business leadership and your market area. Run seminars or offer a class on your area of expertise. Start small in your specific city and see if you grow through referrals. around the country. This will boost your public profile enormously. Invite attendees to comment on your social media pages too. Public speaking like this can also be a handy revenue stream!

Offer to be a source for journalists who report on your industry. They often need quotes from established voices of authority. Keep in touch. Next time your business has a press release your cooperation and assistance will be remembered!

Digital Challenges For Multi-Location Companies

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Every office has a tendency to become an ecosystem. The more stable the ecosystem is, the better the company tends to do. Everyone develops a way of working together, knows who to turn to for advice, and who to shy away from if they seem to be in a bad mood. It’s also easier to be the boss of a particular office where you can spend your time chasing tasks you know need accomplishing, and who can help you to achieve the best results.

If you get to the point where your business expands into multiple locations, then maintaining your knowledge of each ecosystem can be problematic. You will likely be based in one area a head office with multiple offshoots dotted around the city, state or country. You’re the spider in the middle of the web. Getting to this stage is a sign of a functioning business that is thriving with the excitement about the future, but it’s also complicated

As the boss, you’re an outsider to any office that isn’t your permanent base. That’s less than ideal. It means that you’re out of the daily loop, trusting someone else to run the everyday workings of the company. All the while, you’re still responsible for the vision of where the company as a whole is going.

That means you’re still responsible for any of the efforts that unite the company. Even if you don’t necessarily have constant experience of each office, you need to have an idea of what each office is doing. That’s tough enough, but then you have to think about managing the overall digital space of all your offices. This is even tougher still.

Managing this area is essential for surviving as a boss of a multi-location business.

How Many Websites Do You Need?
Let’s keep it simple to begin with and imagine you’ve got two offices; one in New York and one in California. They work in exactly the same way, offer the same services, and practice under the same name.

So: are they going to have a website each? Or are you just going to have one central website, which can then direct people to the relevant office?

It’s a big decision, and there’s a number of pros and cons to consider.

Separate Websites: Pros

  • Each office has its own distinct digital space. This means that if one office wants a business blog and one doesn’t – for example – then there’s no treading on each other’s toes.
  • You can hand over control of the digital space of an office you rarely visit, entrusting it into the hands of staff who know it and its ecosystem well.

Separate Websites: Cons

  • You’re paying twice for largely the same thing. That’s two domain names, two marketing campaigns, double the amount of webspace – it’s not the most cost-effective idea.
  • If you hand over control of one site to an office you don’t attend often, there’s a chance they might do something with the site that you’re not comfortable with. It might be badly written or have broken images. You can check these remotely of course, but running a business is tough – sometimes, you’re going to forget, especially without the constant reminder of actually being in that office.

One Website For Multiple Offices: Pros

  • It’s simple and streamlined. Everything is in one place, and you don’t need to worry about anyone doing anything at a distant office that you don’t approve of.
  • It’s more cost beneficial, as you just need one set of everything rather than doubling up the costs.

One Website For Multiple Offices: Cons

  • The SEO can be difficult for multiple offices. A huge number of users find local businesses through Google searches, which means that one website appealing to multiple locations can be tricky. You’ll need to commit to a great SEO company who can help you navigate this.
  • It can be confusing for some users, though being clear about your multiple offices in the header section of the website can help to counter this.

Realistically, a single website covering each office is the best bet. This method has its cons of course, but they can be overcome with clever strategy and a simple, uncluttered website design.  

How Many Social Media Channels Do You Need?
Any business worth its salt is going to be active on social media. Not only can it help bring new clients to your business, but it also helps remind existing customers that you exist. It’s vital.

However, the same question repeats itself: do you need just one set of social media platforms that unite all of your offices? Or do you need separate Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. accounts for each location?

Unlike the website option, this one is far simpler: you probably need separate social media accounts.

For one thing, this means you can participate in local social media groups for each location; using local business hashtags and being involved in the community.

It means that your social media usage can be more engaging, too. Going back to the first example of New York and California offices. The New York account could Tweet: “crazy winter weather we’re having here! How are you keeping warm?”. This is one of the best ways to grab engagement from customers, helping to keep you in their mind. Of course, if you have a centralized account and southern Californians (and their year-round sunshine) read that… well, it’s going to look silly.

In Conclusion
Managing a digital presence of a multi-location business isn’t easy. You’re going to have to trust other people and hire in companies to help you specialize, which takes a lot of time and effort.

However, it’s very much worth it. The digital age has meant a business’ online presence is almost as important as their offline one. Managing this is possible if you remember:  Ensure each office has a member of staff, deep in the ecosystem, to coordinate their social media. Your company website, however, should serve all offices.

 

The Marketing Secrets That Could Turn Your Business Into A Success

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Marketing is a crucial element for all businesses. It’s one thing to be passionate about your business, but success relies on others sharing that passion too. Small business can suffer from a lack of marketing resources and experience. There are a number of things you can do to help compensate for resources and experience. 

Educate yourself (for free)
While there are courses you can take that will improve your marketing knowledge, these can be an expense you didn’t plan to include in your business plan. The great thing about the internet is that there are a lot of marketing experts out there who not only have the necessary knowledge but are willing to share it. Take a look at some of the top marketing blogs available that share the latest and best marketing practices – you could learn a lot from them without having to pay for an expensive training course.

Marketing is something that is constantly evolving, with new techniques and case studies to learn from that can help you continue to grow. It doesn’t hurt to spend some time each week or month to look at what other businesses are doing and taking note of activities that have brought them success. This will help you to stay on top of the latest marketing trends and give you inspiration for your own strategies.

Be an opportunist
Effective marketing often relies on timing to succeed. You can boost your sales or attract more customers by planning your activities around the right times and dates – even down to the days of the week. If you run an online business, use social media over the weekend to highlight deals and offers. This is when networks tend to be quieter, but those who browse at this time will browse for longer. If you run a retail business with its own store, put your best promotions out towards the end of the week when people are more likely to hunt for bargains.

You will want to make sure you’re prepared by having enough stock and to make sure your systems are safeguarded against outages. Make sure you have on-call maintenance should your website go down, while on-site and break-fix services for all of your Zebra Technologies printers may help you to avoid closures caused by printing and labeling issues. A clear and comprehensive plan for executing promotions will help you to avoid disasters and get the most out of your marketing activity.

Be active on social media
Social media has become one of the easiest ways to tell people about your business. You can run effective social media marketing campaigns with a strategy that suits your budget, with many free tools at your disposal. This will involve learning how to use different platforms (hint: follow the norms and learn about the unspoken customs of each platform before jumping in) and find ways to listen to your audience to find out what they want. Social media can be a powerful tool when used correctly, growing your customer base and encouraging brand loyalty.

Social media is great for local businesses too. Having a presence on social media can help local people engage with your business, makes you easier to find and will allow you to develop some excellent customer relationships too. It’s important to note however that once you’ve set up an online presence, you can’t simply leave it to run itself – it requires regular input and updating to keep it relevant. Take the time to figure it all out and create an ongoing online marketing strategy to help you boost your sales. (If you want help J & A Creative can assist you in creating a content calendar to help you get started.)

Share your story
Against retail giants and large corporations, small businesses can feel largely ignored. However, the truth is that 93 percent of shoppers prefer small and local businesses as it not only helps them to support the local community but can help them to discover different and more unique products. Sharing your story as an independent retailer will resonate with customers who want to develop relationships with stores, rather than just purchase from some remote company without a connection.

Your marketing materials are a great place to share the story of your business and to take advantage of local interests and events taking place. Having a blog for your business that reveals more of your personality may also help shoppers make that connection and make them more likely to become regular customers.

Putting some more thought into your marketing activities can help your business to become better recognized and increase your sales. Make the most of the free marketing tools and resources that are out there to boost your activities and help spread the word about your business.