7 Elements Of A Winning B2B Sales And Marketing Strategy

B2B

Sales and marketing departments play an essential role in the success of a business. That said, organizations must ensure that their sales and marketing teams collaborate so they can discover opportunities to win new markets. More so, this collaboration bridges the gap between potential customer demands and the products the company can offer. Successful business to business (B2B) companies know that having a sales and marketing strategy is as crucial as the general business plan. This component outlines how marketing and sales teams can orchestrate their campaigns to achieve organizational goals. As a result, they can help ensure the expansion and growth of the company, which allows them to stand above the competition.

This article will discuss seven essential elements of an effective B2B sales and marketing strategy.

  • Measurable Goals and Objectives

A successful B2B sales and marketing strategy contains measurable goals so teams can monitor the performance of their campaigns. These goals are crucial because they provide your sales and marketing departments with a clear direction and purpose. Indeed, you must develop attainable goals to guide your teams.

B2B

For instance, you may choose increasing brand awareness as one of your marketing goals to ensure that your company stays in the minds of your target audience. If customers associate your organization with positive experiences, they’ll likely support your mission and become return customers. If you want to achieve this goal, you may develop polls to engage with your audience or participate in events where they attend.

For a measurable sales goal, you may include increasing sales revenue in your strategy to track the performance of your business transactions. For example, your goal may be to boost your monthly recurring revenue by 14% within five months. To achieve this goal, you’ll have to enhance your cross-selling tactics and customize your sales pitch to help you walk through the process

  • Professional Sales And Marketing Plan

Another essential element of your winning strategy includes a professional sales and marketing plan. To ensure success in this component, you may delegate the task to your in-house team or outsource it to a professional marketing agency. These people can help identify your top competitors in the industry and conduct an in-depth analysis of those companies.

Your plan needs to have a sales template. Fortunately, you won’t have to create this component from scratch once you use sales and marketing-focused customer relationship management software. With this template, you can take a structured approach to develop your sales and marketing plan, making the process quicker for your teams.

  • Comprehensive Budget

If you want to ensure the effectiveness of your sales and marketing strategy, you need to allocate enough human and financial resources to accomplish your annual goals. Moreover, the size of your budget depends on how much you have available to invest in your strategy and how you’ll see quicker outcomes. However, if you have a small budget for your unattainable objectives, your teams will be frustrated by their inability to meet your demands.

Your comprehensive sales and marketing budget should include transportation, salary, sales systems, and training costs. Once you itemize these expenses, you can evaluate the potential return on investment (ROI) on your plan. Additionally, you must ensure to compare this budget to your sales and marketing forecast for accuracy.

  • Mobile-Friendly Website

With recent technological innovations, most of the world’s web traffic comes from mobile devices. However, you’re missing out on several sales and marketing opportunities if you’re not yet implementing a mobile-first strategy. Therefore, you must develop a mobile-friendly design to ensure that your visitors can easily access your website.

Your website needs to be compatible and responsive to deliver optimal viewing experiences across multiple devices. Hence, you have to implement a responsive layout, avoid pop-ups, concentrate on optimizing website speed, and incorporate the viewpoint meta tag. Once you implement a mobile-friendly website, you can improve your sales and conversions because your prospects will have greater ease in viewing your web content. 

  • Visual Content

Producing video and photo content will help you promote brand recall and awareness to your ideal customers. This element also contributes to establishing trust and active engagement with audiences, which ensures the success of your marketing campaigns. Accordingly, you encourage your social media followers to purchase your products and services, boosting sales revenue.

Use highly engaging visual content with your B2B brand across all channels and ensure they are easy on the eyes of the viewers. You don’t want to overwhelm your target audience with irrelevant distractions, so you should aim for visual quality. Likewise, consider creating charts and graphs to illustrate data and statistics and produce short but highly informative videos to ensure brand authority.

  • Accurate Insights

Accurate data algorithms and advanced analytics help marketers deliver consistent multichannel customer experiences. As this element revolutionizes your campaigns, you increase the quality of your sales leads and improve customer satisfaction. Moreover, using accurate insights allows you to create data-driven decisions, which ensures the success of your strategy.

B2B

Go beyond your sales and marketing campaign by creating a Big Data system that matches your organizational goals. You may consider outsourcing a data analytics consultant to receive guidance in analyzing this process once the numbers become overwhelming. Indeed, you’ll create the right strategy by taking advantage of developing systems to gather and evaluate essential business data.

  • Market Research

As a B2B owner, you must prioritize and understand the ever-changing preferences of your prospective clients and existing customers. So, your sales and marketing strategy needs to have the best insights into the market before producing campaigns. This element includes target audience identification and the creation of research questions to ensure the effectiveness of an activity.

This comprehensive market research would provide you with key insights and valuable information about the industry. You can understand who is buying your products and services and who isn’t having a transaction with you yet. Then, you can use these insights to encourage your prospects to purchase from your store and ensure loyalty from your existing customers.

Key Takeaway on a B2B Sales and Marketing Strategy

B2B companies need to ensure the effectiveness of their sales and marketing strategy to meet their set ROI. Thus, you need to have these seven elements to produce successful campaigns. Ergo, you can convert your website visitors into quality leads, boost your sales, and increase your market share.

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Cyber Security – Why It’s So Important For Small Businesses

cyber-security

Cyber security remains a challenge for many businesses regardless of size. With advancements being made so rapidly in technology, it’s difficult for businesses to keep up with cyber security, especially for small businesses that don’t have large IT departments to deal with these issues. This creates more vulnerabilities for attacks. So what can small businesses do to protect themselves from cyber security threats?

This article will take a closer look at the cyber security threats plaguing small businesses. We’ll also look at ways to protect against attacks by creating cyber security plans, investing in cybersecurity insurance, and using proxies. We’ll look at location-specific proxies, such as a German proxy, and you can click here to read more about them. Keep reading to discover how to protect your small business from cyber threats.

In this article on cyber security, we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • Why do hackers target small businesses? 
  • Types of cyber security threats 
  • Measure to keep businesses secure 

Why Do Hackers Target Small Businesses?

Any business can be the target of cyber security attacks; however, small businesses are targeted more frequently. In fact, a recent report shows that small businesses are three times more likely to be targeted by cybercriminals. But why is this?

One would think bigger businesses with more data and money would be a better target as the payday would be bigger. But larger businesses also have better cybersecurity procedures that make them much harder to infiltrate. So why would attackers go after a difficult big fish if they can catch many smaller fish for the same amount of effort?

Here are some of the reasons why small businesses are more likely to be targets of cyber attacks:

  • Customer information is stored without adequate security 
  • Third-party vulnerabilities can give attackers easy entry points 
  • Small businesses lack the resources and support of a large IT department 
  • The increased amount of unsecured IoT devices that create vulnerabilities 
  • Lack of finances to prioritize cyber security 
  • Inadequate staff training 

Types Of Cyber Security Threats

Let’s look at some of the cyber security threats used against small businesses. 

Malware Attacks

Malware refers to any program or software intended to cause harm to a computer or network. Viruses, trojans, and worms are all examples of malware, although there are other types. Malware is usually spread through infected emails, clicking on links, or sharing infected files. 

Phishing

Phishing attacks often come in emails or calls to convince the victim to hand over important information such as files, login credentials, or passwords. These attackers do a lot of research about their target to sound incredibly convincing. These attacks have evolved to advance attacks that are difficult to identify as an attack.  

Ransomware

These types of attacks make their way on business networks, where they then lock out the business and employees and hold the data hostage until the business pays the requested ransom. These attacks can be extremely debilitating to a business, and in many cases, even after paying the ransom, businesses still don’t get their data back. 

Passwords

Employees using weak passwords to protect accounts and files is another way that vulnerabilities can be created for cybercriminals to exploit. Another problem is that some employees may keep their passwords written down close to their computers, such as on a sticky note on the desk.  

Insider Threats to Cyber Security

Employees are also a threat to cyber security. In most cases, the threat is not intentional and is caused by negligence or ignorance. However, there is also the chance that disgruntled or greedy employees intentionally create a cyber security risk by sharing access to systems, data, and more. 

Measures To Keep Businesses Secure

cyber-security

Now let’s take a look at what small businesses can do to protect themselves. 

Create A Data Cyber Security Plan

First off, businesses need to have a data security plan in place. This plan will determine which employees need access to what information and how the different information is protected. It should also outline the steps to be taken in the case of attacks and data breaches. This plan should be updated frequently as the business evolves.  

Proxies

Proxies are a good security solution that encrypts your data and hides your IP address. This makes it difficult for attackers to gather information to craft personalized attacks such as phishing emails. A German proxy is location specific and will also make it appear that your network accesses the internet from Germany, even if you’re elsewhere. A German proxy also gives access to geo-restricted content. 

Conduct Employee Training

It is critical to frequently train employees on how they can protect their cyber security. Armed with information on how to spot these attacks and prevent them is critical. 

Implement Strong Password Policies

Ensure that a policy is in place that mandates the use of unique and strong passwords for all business accounts.  

Backup Frequently to Help with Cyber Security

Back up your business data frequently. This will enable you to continue operations in the case of data loss, either through hardware failures or ransomware attacks. 

Install Firewalls and Antivirus

Strong and reliable firewalls and antivirus programs are critical to protecting your business’s devices and files from malware and other attacks. 

Invest In Cyber Security Insurance

Many businesses don’t have sufficient cyber security insurance. However, this is becoming more essential. You don’t want to be hit with a ransomware attack that asks for a lot of money and face potential penalties for a data breach with no insurance to help cover the damages.  

Final Thoughts on Cyber Security

Cyber security has always been a concern for businesses; however, more small businesses are starting to fall victim to these cybercriminals. As such, businesses must understand the risks and have the appropriate measures in place to combat them. 

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15 Examples of Brands with Great Local Marketing Campaigns

marketing-campaigns

The key to successful marketing campaigns is to research local markets thoroughly. Knowing and discovering interests, aspirations, and traditions in each market you target will benefit your company and help you increase engagement and sales. Localizing your marketing campaigns can ensure the results you seek, as your audience will perceive them as more personal and tailored to them. To help you find inspiration for your next campaign, we’ve gathered in this article the top 15 examples of brands with great local marketing campaigns.

Let’s get right to it.

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1. Monopoly – Board game editions based on locations

We’ve all heard of Monopoly, and chances are you’ve played it with your friends or family at least once. Monopoly, one of the most popular board games of all time, wanted to emphasize its features while maintaining its basic game rules.

This goal has resulted in the game being reformed and personalized for each location, allowing consumers to be more motivated to play by connecting to their own cities, therefore making the game even more engaging.

Durban and Cambridge are just two of the places that the game had in mind.

Monopoly made a wise decision by ensuring a successful local marketing effort throughout the world.

2. Nike – Chinese New Year shoe collections

Another great example of a local marketing campaign comes from Nike, which every year celebrates the Chinese New Year with a unique shoe collection.

Every year, Nike gives individuals and shoe enthusiasts the opportunity to purchase limited-edition, unique shoe collections.

As a result, the corporation is able to develop an interest in the communities and use the psychological concept of fear of missing out (FOMO) in marketing to encourage consumers to buy.

3. McDonald’s – Location-based menus

Whoever believes that McDonald’s serves the same burgers and other foods under the same names all around the world is mistaken.

In truth, the world’s largest international fast food firm has always taken a regional approach, tailoring its food and beverage offerings to local customs and tastes.

Just to name some examples: in Spain, the “Patatas Deluxe,” in India, the “Dosa Masala Burger,” in the Netherlands, the “McKroket,” and in South Africa, the McBraai sauce has replaced the normal BBQ sauce.

4. Ikea – ‘Trash collection’ campaign

Ikea has to be included among the top examples of businesses with effective local marketing campaigns.

The Oslo agency was hired by the global corporation that designs and distributes ready-to-assemble furniture, in order to make an effort to create a sustainability campaign.

The Ikea Trash Collection is an ad campaign portraying Ikea furniture discovered in garbage mounds strewn around Norway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time%20continue=1&v=ptZjYmwcfwg&feature=emb%20title 

The ad acknowledges Ikea’s part in the problem of furniture waste and brings attention to its buy-back and refurbishing initiatives. Its main goal is to convince people that Ikea furniture is durable and worth fixing.

5. Coca-Cola – “Share a Coke” campaign

Coca-Cola certainly deserves to be recognized among the brands that effectively activated and launched local marketing efforts.

Coca-Cola, for example, created the “Share a Coke” campaign by personalizing the bottles by adding last names and some of the most popular holiday places to the labels.

People would take photographs of the bottle and post them on social media or share them with friends, giving the brand free promotion.

6. Kit Kat- Edible postcard

The “Kit Kat Mail” campaign was created by Kit Kat and its agency, JWT Tokyo, and included a compact, mailable three-dimensional box with a Kit Kat chocolate inside. It was only available at 20,000 post office locations in Japan.

This motivated people to continue sending gift cards with good luck wishes to schoolchildren. As a result, the campaign was able to captivate a big portion of the audience.

7. Pedigree – Sticker marketing campaign

Pedigree’s local marketing campaign consisted of not only placing dog food stickers on the ground but also spraying those stickers with Pedigree dog food aroma.

Street dogs would rush up to the sticker and begin licking and smelling it. The tempting sticker helped owners figure out what their pets liked to eat.

Even better, these stickers were strategically positioned in front of supermarkets and pet stores, ensuring that owners were aware of the campaign while they made purchasing selections.

If you want to use stickers for your next local marketing campaign, you can print your own stickers on HelloPrint.

8. Pampers – Golden Sleep

Pampers has created a local marketing campaign based on the findings of a sleep study done by the Beijing Children’s Sleep Research Center, which indicated that Chinese moms were worried about their baby’s sleep quality because it is thought to be linked to cognitive development.

Pampers intended to emphasize how its products may assist newborns to overcome challenges like these by emphasizing the fact that Pampers helped babies:

  • Fall asleep 30% more quickly.
  • Add 30 minutes to their sleep time.
  • Sleep with 50% less disturbance during the night

9. Volkswagen – Kombi Last Wishes

The Volkswagen Kombi is a legendary automobile. The final Kombi production line in the world closed its doors in Brazil on December 31, 2013, after 63 years.

Rather than just halting manufacturing and declaring it, the business chose to create an “unlaunch” campaign, inviting previous and present Kombi owners to share their memories via the campaign website.

The campaign sparked a worldwide conversation across a range of platforms, and it was aided by a series of strategically placed advertisements that reflected the truck’s “final wishes.”

10. Levi Strauss & Co: Ready To Work

A new generation of “real workers” emerged, those who saw challenges around them and were inspired to effect positive, meaningful change. Levi Strauss & Co., the American clothing company best known for its Levi’s brand of jeans, has capitalized on this.

The campaign involved the production of documentaries describing the efforts to rehabilitate a run-down steel town across several media platforms, Braddock. 

To contribute to the real change in Braddock, the Levi’s® brand was committed to funding the refurbishment of Braddock’s community center, a focal point of the town and their youth-based programming. 

The campaign featured a dozen residents of diverse backgrounds dressed in Levi’s® Work Wear Collection for fall. 

11. Pret A Manger: Customer Outreach

Rather than just asking what their customers want, the natural foods store Pret A Manger acted on their feedback. They got feedback on recipes and menus from all over the world when they asked for input on recipes and menus. 

Seeing your menu items in print after you’ve posted them and having that kind of input engages both customers and prospects. 

The integrated campaign didn’t stop there either. The company opened a second vegetarian location in London with 20 new items on the menu. 

12. ESSC- “Change the Way You See Disability”

In 2018, ESSC launched a provocative new PSA campaign encouraging inclusion called Change the Way You See Disability.

“Don’t Exclude. Include,” was just one slogan that was utilized across a variety of channels, including social media and outdoor advertisements, to influence people’s feelings and generate attention.

13. H&M: A new local store formula for H&M Amsterdam

H&M has created a new store formula that caters to “new shopping” and consumer preferences in their local area.

H&M conducted a significant study on the local desires of H&M shoppers in Amsterdam in order to develop the new formula.

People have shown a desire for an H&M where items can be recycled, repaired, rented out, and sold, according to the research. 

H&M Amsterdam has done a fantastic job with this.

H&M has launched a local marketing campaign in Amsterdam based on this new shop concept. The campaign has been widely distributed locally, including digital out-of-home and paid social, with the goal of reaching Amsterdam people. 

14. Morrisons supermarkets support local food producers

Morrisons created the Local Foodmakers Campaign to help local communities by providing items from producers that cater to local food preferences and manufacture their goods within a short distance of Morrisons outlets.

They also host Local Foodmakers events, which encourage local food producers to display their wares in a community space.

15. Lidl

Lidl conducted brand impression research among their target customers and discovered that their produce was seen to be of poorer quality than that of rival supermarkets.

London food experts were invited to an exclusive farmers market in the posh east end to disprove critics.

The event was videotaped by the agency, and renowned food bloggers shared anecdotes about the exceptional quality of the meal on social media.

When consumers showed an interest, they were informed that the items were from Lidl, a brand whose low price was a pleasant surprise.

Wrapping up on Local Marketing Campaigns

marketing-campaigns

Localizing your marketing activities is critical for achieving the desired results.

As you’ve seen from this blog article, each campaign conducted by each company was rather simple, yet they were all effective and yielded spectacular results.

Following these examples will undoubtedly assist you in developing successfully your local marketing campaigns.

Thank you for your interest in reading this article. Hopefully, you found it useful and helpful.

If you want to read more, please check out this article about multilingual cross-border marketing.

Author

Flavia Silipo is a skilled SEO copywriter and digital marketing specialist with over two years of experience. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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How To Market Your Printing Business On Instagram

printing business

The printing business is visual in nature. You can’t market it online without publishing quality images, videos, animations, and other multimedia content that attract potential customers. When it comes to promoting it, one of the best social media platforms for the job would be Instagram. 

Instagram allows businesses to share images, short clips, animations, and other visual content. On top of that, this social media app is home to almost a billion active users. For this reason, many businesses use it as a powerful weapon.

Also, you may consider working with design products that may help you sell more. See more options that would provide high-quality designs and services for you to effectively market through IG. 

However, establishing your presence on the platform may not be as easy as it seems, considering its algorithm and intense competition. Therefore, it’s important to know the following techniques below to help you market your printing business on Instagram. 

Optimize Your Instagram Business Account

When promoting a business on Instagram, creating a business account is crucial. However, that’s not enough to keep the customers and audiences coming. You need to optimize it to help people smoothly find specific information.

On top of that, it’s important to understand that your profile should only contain relevant content about your company. It should not promote you or anything that has nothing to do with your printing business.

Here are some tips for optimizing your Instagram business account:

  • Include Your Website Link

It’s a good strategy to include working and clickable links under the account name and description. Adding links to your Instagram profile will help boost your traffic and increase sales opportunities. Furthermore, always ensure that your landing page points directly to what leads would want to see, such as your product catalog, discounts, and design gallery.

  • Use A Relevant Name And Photo

Using a relevant name and profile image will help people identify and recognize your business once they see it. Also, it’d be best to be as consistent as possible across other social media platforms. Additionally, make sure that your name and image remain professional at all times.

  • Create An Interesting Bio

Your bio is the first thing people see when they visit your profile. So, it’s important to keep it informative to grab the attention and interest of your visitors. This is your opportunity to convince people to follow you and eventually purchase your products and services. You may also include relevant keywords about your business, hashtags, and emojis to keep it engaging.

Produce Amazing Content

The journey to using Instagram for business purposes starts with creative and eye-catching content. It should communicate and interact with your audience even without them reading the caption. The brain usually processes visual content anyway. In fact, images are more quickly processed by the brain.

Therefore, it’s crucial to produce content that will not annoy or irritate visually. If you don’t know where to start, you might want to consider the following tips below:

printing business

  • Take A Look At Your Competitors

Analyzing the activities of your competitors, especially those with a huge following, may help you create engaging content that drives engagement and boosts positive impressions. You may copy their content strategy to steal followers and make them yours. 

  • Avoid Hard Selling

Instagram users hate content that shows direct intent to sell a product. Make sure that your images and videos speak for themselves without telling your audience how great your products or services are. This is also a good tactic to build trust and show your viewers how reliable you are.

  • Optimize Image Size

Make sure that your images are professionally sized and cropped to avoid blurry and pixelated content, especially when zoomed in. In addition, it’d be best to consider square images and try to crop out parts that have nothing to do with the content. 

Furthermore, one way to ensure high-quality photos is to double their image resolution. So, for instance, you may use a 1224×1224 resolution for a 612×612 frame.

Take Advantage Of Instagram Features

Through a decade of service, Instagram continues to evolve and release significant updates from time to time. These internal upgrades have brought many features that make Instagram a one-stop app containing everything you need to market your printing business effectively.

Here are some business-worthy Instagram features you might need to utilize:

  • Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories allows everyone to share images and short clips that last for 24 hours. After the time limit, stories will be gone and archived. When publishing stories, avoid plain and lifeless content. Instead, add emojis, stickers, GIFs, animations, and product tags to entertain and make them more engaging.

  • IGTV

IGTV allows people to publish long videos and shows to promote their brand. This is extremely popular with influencers who want to engage more with their followers. You can publish behind-the-scenes content or anything that captures your audience’s attention. Also, it doesn’t have to be professionally edited. As a matter of fact, more people are attracted to content that looks natural.

  • Instagram Reels

The Instagram Reels feature is similar to Stories. It allows people to create short and engaging video clips that help bring their ideas to life. But unlike Stories, it has no 24-hour time limit and can be viewed and revisited on the profile. You can use it to highlight product benefits or new product teaser trailers.

  • Instagram Shopping

Instagram Shopping is one of the latest features that help your audience to purchase your products or services from your images and videos. You may add shopping tags on content that features your product. These tags present the product name and prices to inform your audience. This feature provides your business with a storefront for people to know more about your products.

Final Words

Instagram is an effective and powerful social media app that’ll help you take your printing business to the next level. However, establishing brand authority and awareness on the platform may not be that easy, especially now that the competition is rising. 

Fortunately, there are smart techniques that’ll guide you through marketing your business on Instagram. These include optimizing your business account, creating engaging content, and taking advantage of its in-app features.

Following these strategies will help you build a stronghold that opens tons of sales opportunities for your business to grow and prosper.

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4 Reasons Your Small Business Should Offer a Payment Plan

payment-plan

Before the literal explosion of eCommerce, do you remember how upset you would get when you went to a local restaurant or grocery store only to realize that they didn’t accept plastic? That wasn’t really so long ago in the past. And in today’s world, even farmers’ markets have vendors with mobile card readers so that they can sell more of their produce. What, you may ask, does that have to do with offering an option for a payment plan? It is just one step forward into the future where so many businesses don’t offer their customers that option. They either pay in cash or by debit or credit card. If you take a look at the major retailers, you will see that many of them offer monthly payments as an option. Consider the following: 

1. Giving the Customer Greater Payment Options 

payment-plan

While it is incomprehensible that today’s consumer doesn’t have a debit or credit card, many don’t. Some still don’t trust the security of transmitting their financial data and perhaps that’s not as irrational as you might believe. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, data breaches were up more than 23% over the previous record-setting year. 

Why not offer payment plan options that go through the security of the Automated Clearing House? ACH payments are strictly regulated and monitored, and data is only transmitted once through highly secured channels. ACH payments through APPs and APIs available through Envestnet | Yodlee offer higher levels of security while giving the customer greater payment options they can trust. Their process of account verification also offers increased security to the consumer as well as to your business.  

2. Time and Cost-Efficient Billing with a Payment Plan

If consumers come back to make payments via a credit card, there will be relatively high service fees your business will pay, and the processing site will often charge consumers for that service as well. Once a monthly direct debit from a consumer’s bank is authorized, all payments to your company are handled seamlessly by the ACH service you contract with and there is nothing your employees need to do beyond that. It is the most cost-efficient billing method you will find. 

3. Stay Aligned with Today’s Financing Options 

If you question how effective offering your customers a payment plan can be, take a look around the Web to see just how many of your competitors are doing this very thing today as you are reading this. If your competitors offer monthly payment options and you don’t, you may lose those customers who would rather keep money in their pocket today by agreeing to recurring monthly ACH payments as debits from their checking accounts. 

4. Giving Customers More Cash on Hand with a Payment Plan

While not everyone is living hand-to-mouth, the global pandemic did put a bite into the finances of the average consumer. We are still not totally out of the woods and many consumers are still feeling the crunch, even after returning to work. By giving your customers an option to have payments automatically debited from their bank accounts, they have more cash on hand today. This is often used to pay debts that piled up over the past two-plus years.  

When all is said and done, by giving them one more payment option you are giving them a greater choice that will often close the deal for you. Why should you offer payment plans? If it benefits a customer, it will benefit you. That’s all there is to it. 

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Simple Ideas for A Side Hustle to Try When Running a Small Business

side-hustle

When you start your own small business, the dream is generally to develop a company capable of consistently paying your bills and earning you a decent profit. However, as most small business owners will know, it often takes a while to reach this milestone. For the first couple of months to the first couple of years, you may find you’re not earning enough to pay yourself much of a wage. Many new business owners only just make enough cash to keep everything running smoothly in their organization. During this time, you might be tempted to take on an additional side hustle to help increase your income. The key to successfully running a business and side hustle at the same time, is finding something you can do in your spare time which isn’t going to leave you too drained for the main focus of running your business. Here are some options to get you started. 

Try Investing in Real Estate 

Investing is one of the best ways to make some extra income for the long-term, while you’re waiting for your business to take off. It’s also something a lot of business owners do throughout the life of their business, to ensure they have a strong safety net in place if something does go wrong. Real estate represents one of the more secure environments for investing for most people, and there are a multitude of ways to get involved. Business owners can leverage qualified business income deduction with REIT to save 20% on their taxable income. Using REIT or Real Estate Investment Trust Investments, the tax cut associated with this kind of investing allows you to significantly reduce what you pay on your taxes each year, while simultaneously building another source of income.  

Start Blogging as A Side Hustle

side-hustle

There’s a good chance you already have a deep knowledge of your industry if you’re creating a company in it. With that in mind, it’s worth looking into the potential of blogging. You can consider selling your writing to another company in a similar (but not competing) industry to yours as a way of making some extra cash with your knowledge. Alternatively, you can use your blog to generate affiliate income for your website, so you have another source of income connected to your main company. Not only will you be able to get some extra cash by recommending products to your customers, but you could also take steps to promote your own company and its products at the same time. The more content you create, the more you’ll improve your position on the search engines, and potentially strengthen your chances of finding new customers. 

Start Dropshipping 

If it’s taking a while to earn as much money as you’d like from your store selling custom-made products, you could always look to increasing your portfolio with dropshipping. Although you might not be able to access the same huge profit margins with dropshipping as you would when creating your products from scratch, you’ve still got an excellent opportunity for growth. With dropshipping, you simply list products for sale that complement your existing items, and when a customer makes a purchase, another third-party organization handles packaging and shipping the product to its destination. Dropshipping can be a good way to expand your earning potential without taking on the additional costs and challenges of finding warehouse space or fulfilling orders. 

Create an Online Course 

Most business owners have something valuable they can share with the rest of the world. While you might not want to tell everyone what your business secrets are, you can usually provide useful information related to your chosen industry. This is an excellent way to access an extra source of income alongside building your current business. Though it does take a little time and effort to research the content of your course, create the piece you want to share and promote the content with your audience, you should be able to minimize the amount of work involved after this. You can even list your course on pre-existing marketplaces where there are already a number of people you can reach. A course gives you more earning potential, while simultaneously improving your thought leadership and making you stand out among the competition. 

Start a Podcast as your Side Hustle

Speaking of fun ways to share your knowledge and expand brand awareness, starting a podcast could be one of the most effective ways to improve your income and advertise your company at the same time. Podcasting has grown increasingly popular in recent years as people look for more convenient ways to consume content on the go. Having your own business podcast is an excellent way to connect with your target audience and improve your chances of making a lasting impression on those who might choose to buy from you. It can also be a great way to create new relationships if you regularly meet with other influencers and thought leaders to have episodic discussions. The more your podcast grows, the more you can earn money through a combination of ads and sponsorships.  

Become an Influencer 

side-hustle

Finally, one of the best ways to earn some extra cash while building your business, is to become an influencer. You’ll need to dedicate a significant amount of time to building your reputation in your chosen industry and making sure you have a strong social media presence. However, becoming an influencer can open the door to endless partnerships and earning opportunities. Keep in mind, being an influencer can take a significant amount more work than some of the alternative side gigs mentioned here, so you may need to be willing to spend more time building your personal brand.  

Which Side Hustle Will You Choose? 

Whatever you choose for your ideal side gig, remember you can always find new ways to make extra money on the side while still working on building your own business. You may even find your side hustle ends up helping to grow your business too, as is often the case with blogging, content marketing, and podcast creation. 

 

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How To Open A Small Business And Not Lose

small-business

Starting a business requires research, intelligence, self-assurance, and a certain amount of bravery. The main ingredients of a successful business are to create a good business plan, secure finance, structure your firm, business owners insurance, and so on. Here are the 7 insights to Starting an Online Small Business.

Follow these researched methods to attract traffic to your online business and convert them to customers.

When you’re starting a small business online, there is a proven sequence of actions you should follow to clinch your success. Many significant, successful business owners have received proven results by attending the mentioned steps outlined below:

  1. Identify a need and meet it.
  2. Write persuasive copy.
  3. Create a website that is easier to understand. 
  4. Use search engine optimization(SEO) to drive heavy traffic toward your site.
  5. Establish your name as an authority figure.
  6. Follow up with your clients and subscribers through email.
  7. Boost your revenue with back-end sales and upselling.

This method of understanding how to start a business online can benefit anyone, from a complete novice to a seasoned internet entrepreneur.

Step 1: Create a company that meets a need

small-business

Most new entrepreneurs make the mistake of looking for a product idea first and a market second. To maximize your chances of success, start with a market. The idea is to find a group of potential people who are trying to find an answer to their questions but are unable to find one. It is because of the internet, that this form of researching a market is possible:

  • Examine internet discussion boards to see what questions individuals are finding answers to and what problems they are trying to address.
  • Perform keyword research to find terms that are often searched but have low competition compared with other websites.
  • Examine your potential competitors’ websites and note their growth towards meeting your demands. Then you can use what you’ve learned to create a better-than-competition product for a market that is already established.

Step 2: Write a persuasive copy

There is a sales copy formula that is proven and trusted by experts that walks visitors through the selling process from the minute they arrive until they complete a purchase: An intriguing headline will pique your curiosity.

  • Describe the issue that your product addresses.
  • Establish your credibility as an expert solution to every problem.
  • Include feedback from customers who have already introduced your product in their daily lives.
  • Hold a panel for discussion on the quality of your products and their usage.
  • Propose.
  • Stick to your particular firm.
  • Set a deadline.
  • Request the sale.

Concentrate on what makes your product or service distinctively equipped to solve people’s issues or improve their lives throughout your copy. Ask yourself, what will benefit you from the product if you were a customer.

Step 3: Create and maintain your website

Now that you’ve decided on your interested niche, as well as your selling methods, you’re ready to start designing your small-business website. Don’t forget to simplify things at all times.

You only have five seconds to grab someone’s attention otherwise, they’ll be gone forever. Another crucial point is to never forget to add a convenient way to accept online payments for your clients without any hassle. Some crucial pointers to remember:

  • Try to use only one or two plain typefaces on a white backdrop.
  • Make your navigation clear and consistent on all of your pages.
  • Visuals, audio, and video should only be used if they aid in the delivery of your message.
  • To acquire email addresses, include a sign-up offer. Include a sign-up offer to collect email addresses.
  • Make purchasing simple — more than two clicks have chances to separate a potential buyer from the checkout.
  • Remember that it is your opportunity with a platform to showcase your skills to the targeted audience, so try to make the website user-friendly. 

Step 4: Use search engines to get targeted visitors to your website

The simplest technique to drive visitors to a brand new website is to use pay-per-click advertising. It has two benefits over just relying on organic traffic. PPC advertising, for starters, appears right away on search results pages, and they also permit you to experiment with alternative keywords, headlines, prices, and selling strategies. 

You can use PPC ads to find your best, highest-converting keywords, as well as gain immediate traffic. Then, through your copy and code, sprinkle the keywords throughout your site to boost your organic search ranks.

Step 5: Build a professional reputation for yourself

People use the internet to research topics. If you give the information for free to other sites, you’ll get more viewers and better search engine results. The key is to add a link to your website to every piece of information.

  • Free access to your expertise content. Create articles, movies, or other forms of content that others will enjoy. Distribute your articles using online article sites or social networks.
  • Don’t forget to Include the “send to a friend” link options throughout the crucial content on your website.
  • Contribute frequently to industry sectors and social media channels where your target market gathers.

You’ll gain new subscribers. Even better, for every website that links to your work, Search engines will value relevant site links and will reward you with higher ranks.

Step 6: Use email marketing to convert visitors into customers

small-business

You’re generating one of the online business’s most crucial assets when you build an opt-in list. Your customers and subscribers have agreed to receive emails from you. This translates to:

  • You’re providing them with something they requested.
  • You’re forming lifelong friendships with them.
  • The feedback is completely quantifiable.

Email marketing is not that expensive compared to other means and is also more effective than print, television, or radio since it is highly targeted. Anyone who sees your website and joins your mailing list is a hot lead. Email is considered to be the preferred tool for following up with the mentioned highlights.

Step 7: Give your earnings a boost with back-end sales and upselling

One of the most important internet marketing strategies is to increase each customer’s lifetime value. Customers who have already tried products and services from your site are more likely to do so again if you follow up with them.

The initial sale is considered the most difficult and expensive part of the process. Use the method of  back-end selling and upselling to get them to buy again:

  • Offer products that are related to their initial purchase.
  • Send them electronic coupons that they can apply on their next visit.
  • After they’ve purchased, offer them equivalent products on your “Thank You” page.

If you honor customers for their fidelity with a freebie, there are high chances that those customers will become permanent buyers.

The foundations of how to start and be a successful online business owner is pure hard work and smart planning. If you have just entered the industry of an online business, follow the above-mentioned tips to grow your online business. 

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How Automation Can Actually Improve Customer Experience

automation

There is no doubt that automation is changing workplaces as we know it. It is simplifying workflows, reducing employee time spent on mundane tasks, lowering costs, and boosting efficiency in general.

Even though it is only in its relative infancy, it has already left its mark on the business world, and will only become more usable over time. But in addition to being great for businesses, automation also has the potential to help customers, as well.

For example, using the right digital customer experience management platform can help not only your business but also build better relationships with customers. But how else can automation benefit those who keep your business afloat?

With that in mind, this article is going to go over a few different ways that automation can actually improve the customer service that your business provides.

Allow for Better Communication

One of the biggest ways that customer service can be improved by automation is by allowing for better communication. Communication is at the heart of any relationship with your customer, so it needs to be top-notch. If you communicate poorly or ineffectively, many customers will go elsewhere, even if your products are great.

The main way that automation can improve communication is thanks to chatbots. Chatbots can make a customer service agent’s job much easier, while still providing customers with satisfactory information and responses. They are essentially robotic customer service agents, and they are getting quite robust with what they can do.

Sure, some customers will still need assistance from an actual person which can take longer, but the ability for many people to get their questions dealt with quicker is a real win and will help drastically improve their experience.

Improve Customer Feedback

Another way that automation can improve customer experience is by making it easier than ever for customers to deliver feedback effectively. Whether it is a form that is emailed to a customer or a popup that comes up on their screen, automating your customer feedback process is a good idea.

It ensures you ask them to rate their experience when it is still fresh in their mind, and not hours or days later once they have moved on. Trying to manually gain feedback can also be difficult, and not as simple or quick as sending out requests automatically.

Not only are many customers happy to give feedback, and love it when it leads to changes, but feedback is also very important to businesses. It allows you to learn exactly what your customers like and dislike and can help you make the right business-related decisions.

For best results when it comes to gaining feedback, you want to ensure the forms you provide are as simple as possible. If you ask a ton of questions, many people will simply click away before finishing or submitting their feedback.

automation

Provide a More Personalized Experience

The importance of personalization cannot be ignored, as companies who excel at customizing and personalizing their experiences often find more success and make more sales than those who don’t.

Automation can often help create more relevant targeted ads, make the right product recommendations, send the right deals and discounts, and so much more. People love to feel like a company is reaching out and speaking or selling to them directly, as opposed to feeling like just another customer.

You can also use automation and things like artificial intelligence to personalize your interactions with customers and build a relationship over time. All in all, your business should be finding ways to strengthen bonds with your customers at every turn, and personalization is a great way to do just that.

Vastly Improved Resolution of Issues

A big part of customer support is dealing with customer problems. Many people will never reach out to a company directly unless they either have a question or have an issue that they need to get fixed.

Resolving conflicts quickly is often what customers want most when reaching out, so being able to deal with one quickly and effectively can provide a major boost to customer experience. Unfortunately, manual conflict resolution can be challenging.

Many departments may not have instant access to the information they need, which creates a potentially long wait for customers. The knowledge of every agent is also different, so who a customer connects to can often have an impact on how well their issue is dealt with.

By automatically building a knowledge base that is always full of up-to-date and accurate information from all departments, you can ensure every interaction is great and doesn’t rely on the exact knowledge or skills of that particular agent who is in the call or chat. This will stop people from needing to be transferred from department to department, and the entire ordeal will likely be resolved faster than ever.

Offers a More Consistent and Predictable Experience

One thing many people love from a company they work with or purchase from is consistency. Many of us love a predictable and consistent experience so we always know what we are getting and are never surprised or let down. If every time you reach out to a company your experience is different, it can be a little jarring, especially if one or more interactions are bad.

If you can ensure that everyone reaching out to your business has a good experience, every time, it can work wonders for your reputation and help create much more loyal customers. In many cases, all it takes is one bad interaction to ruin dozens of good ones, so be careful.

The way automation can help with this is by sending canned responses to popular questions or queries, and even by helping you come up with these responses by using data and analysis. This means every customer support agent will be able to provide a similar experience to customers who reach out to them.

In conclusion, we hope this blog post has been able to help you see how automation can improve the customer experience within your business or online store.

 

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Here’s How To Start An Online Store In 6 Simple Steps

online store

Are you looking to start an online store? If so, you’re in luck! In this blog post, we will walk you through the 6 simple steps that you need to follow to get your business up and running. It’s important to remember that starting an online store is not a quick or easy process – it takes hard work and dedication. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can succeed! Let’s get started.

1. Choose your niche

The first step is to choose the niche that you want to focus on. This is an important decision, as it will determine what kind of products you’ll be selling and who your target market is. Take some time to think about what you’re passionate about and what kinds of products you would like to sell. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you can start researching your niche further to see if there’s a demand for the products that you want to sell. The storefront that you create should ideally be appealing to your target market. If you’re not sure what niche you want to focus on, that’s okay! You can always start by selling products that you’re passionate about and then branching out from there. The important thing is to just get started and not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It’s also worth noting that you can always change your niche later on if you find that it’s not working out for you.

2. Research your competition

After you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to do some research on your competition. This will help you understand the market and see what kind of products are already being sold. It’s important to find a niche that isn’t too saturated, as this will make it harder for you to succeed. Take a look at the other online stores in your chosen niche and see what they’re doing well and what could be improved. This will give you some ideas on how you can make your store more successful. Another important part of research is understanding your target market. This includes figuring out who your ideal customer is and what their needs are. Once you know this, you’ll be able to create a marketing strategy that resonates with them. For example, if you’re selling products for mothers, your target market might be women who are looking for quality items at a good price.

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3. Choose a platform for your store

Now that you know what you want to sell and who your target market is, it’s time to choose a platform for your store. There are many different eCommerce platforms out there, so it’s important to do your research and find one that’s right for you. Some factors that you should consider include the cost of the platform, the features that it offers, and how easy it is to use. Once you’ve selected a platform, you’ll need to set up your store. This includes adding products, creating categories, and setting up payment methods. The good news is that most platforms come with tutorials or support teams that can help you through this process. Also, be sure to take advantage of any free trials that are offered so that you can test out the platform before you commit to it.

4. Create high-quality product listings

The next step is to create high-quality product listings for your store. This includes writing compelling descriptions, adding beautiful photos, and providing helpful information about your products. Your goal should be to make your listings as informative and appealing as possible. Remember, you’re competing with other stores in your niche, so it’s important to make sure that your listings stand out. You can also use this opportunity to build up your brand identity. For example, if you’re selling eco-friendly products, you might want to use green colors and natural fonts in your listings. This will help people identify your store more easily and remember it for future purchases. If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available online that can help you with this step.

online store

5. Set up shipping and delivery

The next step is to set up shipping and delivery for your store. This includes figuring out how you’re going to get your products to your customers and how much you’re going to charge for shipping. There are many different shipping options available, so it’s important to do your research and find one that’s right for you. You should also consider offering free shipping or delivery for orders over a certain amount. This can help increase sales and encourage people to shop with you again in the future. Once you’ve figured out your shipping strategy, you’ll need to set up the delivery process. This includes creating labels, packing boxes, and arranging for pickups. Also, be sure to keep track of your inventory so that you can restock your products as needed. It’s a good idea to set up a system for this so that you can stay organized and efficient.

6. Promote your store

The final step is to promote your store and start attracting customers. There are many different ways to do this, but some of the most effective include social media marketing, search engine optimization, and content marketing. You should also consider running ads on Google or other platforms. The key is to experiment and find what works best for you. Also, don’t forget to track your results so that you can see what’s working and what’s not. Promoting your online store can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it if you want to succeed in the eCommerce world. It also takes time, so be patient and keep at it. Some people see results quickly, while others take months or even years to build up their business.

 

That’s it! These are the six simple steps that you need to follow that you can take to start an online store. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that there are many resources available to help you. Just take things one step at a time and soon you’ll be well on your way to success. Thanks for reading!

 

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6 Smart Ways To Reach New Audience on TikTok

tiktok

TikTok is a social media platform with over 1 billion monthly active users. With users almost equaling the Instagram active user mark of 1.4 billion, TikTok is establishing itself as the most popular platform for short-form content. 

TikTok’s popularity is seen by the fact that the app has been downloaded over 2.6 billion times worldwide. As a result, brands are jumping on the bandwagon to connect with this new and very engaged audience. TikTok is part of the marketing strategy for some of the biggest brands in the world, including Nike, ESPN and even The Washington Post.

New brands on the app are always looking for ways to reach new audiences. In this article, we have compiled some smart tips to help you make the most of this platform and grow your reach. Let’s dive right in.

  • Find your target audience on TikTok

tiktok

Before you go live on TikTok, you need to decide your specific audience. A large portion of TikTok’s community comprises Millennials and Gen Z users. This is the audience that has the potential to be the most receptive to your content, so it’s important to focus on creating content that appeals to them.

The best way to find your target audience is to look at the type of content they’re already engaging with. Take a look at the most popular videos in your industry and see what kind of content is resonating with users.

You can also use TikTok’s “For You” page to get an idea of the kind of content that is recommended for you based on your interests. Marketers need to understand different references used in videos so that it could be used as an inspiration for their own content.   

Once you have a better understanding of your target audience, you can start creating content that is relevant to them and caters to their interests. Brands should create content keeping the target audience and popular hashtags in mind, which brings us to our next point.

  • Use Popular Hashtags

Hashtags are an important part of TikTok’s algorithm and can be extremely useful in helping you reach new users. When you use a hashtag, your content gets added to a page where all the other videos with that hashtag are displayed. By using relevant hashtags, you can make your content more discoverable to users who are searching for that particular topic.

TikTok has a limit of only 150 characters for the caption so choose your hashtags wisely. Spending some time and doing some research to find the most popular and relevant hashtag is absolutely worth it.

There are popular hashtags on TikTok for just about everything. For example, if you’re a travel brand, you can use popular hashtags like #travelgoals or #wanderlust.  If you’re a cosmetics brand, you can use hashtags like #makeupaddict or #beautyjunkie. Additionally, make use of general hashtags that are popular across all industries like #foryoupage or #trending.

You can also use TikTok’s Hashtag Challenge feature to jump on trending topics and participate in popular challenges. In fact, users are more likely to remember names of brands that pulled off an entertaining video to keep up with a trend.

One of the recent trends that took most users by storm was the “Pushing P” on TikTok. The term Pushing P (a slang term which means staying true and being real) went viral. Videos produced for this trend gained a high engagement. Pushing P helped spread positivity – a great opportunity for brands to establish their brand image. Get in front of a wider audience using popular hashtags and show that you’re up-to-date with the latest trends.

  • Partnering up with influencers on TikTok

The creator economy has grown to a whopping $104.2 billion. Brands are realizing the power of this form of marketing and have found success on TikTok by partnering up with influencers. Influencers already have sizable followings so it is a great way to reach new audiences. With influencer marketing, you reach new audiences both locally and internationally. 

However, it’s important to partner with the right influencer who aligns with your brand. Ideally, the influencer needs to have a similar target audience as your brand and produce content that would be relevant to you. It is good to experiment with a few different influencers and then analyze key metrics to see which one works best for you. 

  • Keep your users watching

TikTok’s algorithm mostly gives priority to videos with a high completion rate. You need to work on the quality of your content and see to it that users stay hooked till the very end. A creative video with impressive visuals is more likely to get users’ attention as compared to a badly shot video with monotonous content.

Some tips: Videos that have a hook at the very beginning tend to keep the users glued to their screens. Creating suspense or telling them something is about to be revealed will make users want to see more. An example of a video that keeps the users hooked: A creator asks users if he will be able to cut and join three jeans together to form a single pair of jeans. Would you want to watch if he’s successful? 

“How to” videos usually work well on TikTok as people are always looking for new tricks. Additionally, you can also use creative transitions to make your videos more engaging.

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  • Create a TikTok Business Account

TikTok offers business accounts for companies and brands. You can start creating ad campaigns on TikTok and target your ads to a specific audience. This account gives you access to some powerful features that can help increase your reach on the app.

Some of the features include:

– Brand Takeovers: 

You can have your ad appear when a user opens the app. The ad can be in the form of an image that stays for three seconds or a GIF that could be three to five seconds long. The ad draws the attention of users and also allows a very high reach. Brand Takeovers are redirected to either a company’s website or a Hashtag Challenge.

– Hashtag Challenges on TikTok: 

Brands that create their own hashtag challenge and get users to participate have a higher chance of going viral than opting for an organic hashtag. Brands can sponsor their challenges which means that the particular challenge is placed on the discovery page for six days.

Tip: It is important to make the challenge entertaining and something that users would want to do.

– In-feed Native Videos: 

In-feed video advertisements can be used to increase your exposure. These videos appear while users explore content. These ads have a maximum time limit of 15 seconds and take the full screen size. Similar to Brand Takeovers, the Call-to-Action (CTA) can be a website’s landing page or redirection to a hashtag challenge according to the brand. 

– TopView: 

The ad appears as a full-screen video when users open the app. The video is three seconds long and also has a CTA that can be customized according to the brand. TopView is in the form of a video ad, whereas Brand Takeovers can be an image or a GIF. 

Branded lenses/effect: 

tiktok

TikTok makes use of Augmented Reality (AR) for advertisements. You can use AR to bring 3D objects and create your own branded lenses or effects that users can use in their videos. This is a great way to increase brand awareness as users feel a sense of connection to the brand. 

IKEA has started using TikTok to create unique AR experiences for its audience. Imagine moving your phone around to see where a couch would look best in your room? TikTok users are attracted by such “cool” features. Not only do you reach new audiences but using such technology leads to a very high brand retention.  

 

  • Post on other platforms besides TikTok

Ever seen the TikTok watermark in videos on your Instagram feed? This is a common way to share your TikTok content to audiences that are not on TikTok or do not follow you. If your content is engaging and entertaining enough, people will search for your TikTok handle and your following will increase. 

The step can be rewarding especially if you are new on TikTok and have followers on your other social media accounts. The trick is to create quality content and share it on other social media platforms as well. If your content is appealing, people in that niche will start posting your videos from their accounts too. Many meme pages on Instagram have adopted this strategy and have seen their reach skyrocket!

Summing up the ways to reach new audience on TikTok

Focus on creating quality content. Using creative transitions and keeping up with the trends is one certain way to reach new audience on the TikTok. Additionally, creating a hashtag challenge can be beneficial as it allows for more user involvement.

Partnering up with influencers in your niche is also a fruitful way to increase your engagement. Moreover, setting up a TikTok business account and making use of TopView and In-feed video ads can be used to increase brand awareness. Lastly, do not forget to post your TikTok content on other social media platforms for the highest reach.

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