How Does Content Marketing Help Small Businesses?

content marketing

There’s a considerable difference between big businesses and small businesses regarding their resources and know-how with content marketing, and this affects how successful their campaigns are. Of course, it’s only natural to think that larger companies are going to be more successful at content marketing campaigns because they have more money to invest in the effort. It’s even easier to become discouraged, thinking “let’s just leave content marketing to the big guys” — but this is a mistake.

Small businesses can make excellent headway with content marketing thanks to the internet. Small businesses may not have substantial marketing budgets or big teams to execute their marketing strategies. However, they can still increase sales, attract new customers, and grow brand awareness with a bit of gumption.

Don’t allow what your small business lacks to stop you from taking advantage of content marketing. Instead, focus on making strategic content creation and distribution choices that are true to your brand and in alignment with your target audience’s desires.

Here’s why content marketing is a good choice for small businesses.

Scale Your Marketing Strategy

First, content marketing can boost your overall marketing strategy. Not only will you be required to reevaluate your company goals, but you’ll also have to establish clear marketing objectives that support your overarching marketing strategy.

When you set company-wide goals, attach them to smaller marketing plans and define each department’s role, it ensures each person has direction, productivity gets better, and your business’s bottom line improves. These goals are generally going to be based on problems that need to be solved, and you can even take a visual approach when defining these goals with a visual problem-solving flowchart:

  1. First, draw a shape that represents the problem you’re trying to solve.
  2. Then draw a shape that represents a goal or a decision, and ask yes-or-no questions concerning these goals.
  3. Based on these answers, you’ll connect the possible paths you can take to work through the steps and individual processes.
  4. Keep going down these paths and asking questions until you’re able to narrow them down to goals that could feasibly solve the original problem.
  5. Select the goal you’d like to commit to, and then pursue it. If it doesn’t ultimately work, you can review this process and analyze what might have gone wrong, as well as select a new, more viable goal.

Additionally, it’s crucial to map out how you’re going to track your marketing team’s productivity and how they work together with other departments. By doing so, you create bandwidth in your business for content marketing and establish a workflow that supports a solid customer experience with your marketing.

Next, content marketing can make it easier to build a customer base.

Build a Customer Base

Instead of relying on word-of-mouth or traditional marketing efforts, you can reach more people with good content.

You can publish content across various channels and platforms, extending your reach beyond local, state, and even international lines. In addition, you can build a community of people that support your business and are loyal advocates of your brand with a solid content marketing strategy.

Furthermore, not only can you create a customer base, but you can learn more about it through content marketing.

Learn More About Your Target Audience

content marketing

When you create and distribute content, you have access to more data about your target audience and how they engage with your brand and business. It’s integral to not just your content marketing strategy but your overall marketing goals and business plan, to continually learn about your target audience.

By setting up data analytics tools to track the performance of your content and how your target audience engages with it, you’ll be able to make insightful adjustments to your strategy when needed.

You also have more creative freedom in a small business content marketing strategy.

Exercise Creative Freedom

There is a lot of room for creativity in a small business’s content marketing strategy. The marketing department in a small business is usually a one-person show, a small team, or run by the owner.

You don’t have to get permission from someone higher up about content marketing decisions when you call the shots. Instead, you can take creative risks with content, experiment with various platforms, and try out different distribution methods at will.

Another way content marketing can help your small business is by establishing your brand as an expert.

Establish Your Brand as an Expert

You can establish your brand as an expert when you do content marketing right. By constantly churning out entertaining, educational, helpful, interactive content, you’ll have a better chance at establishing trust-filled relationships with members of your target audience.

Content can also be the difference between becoming a thought leader in your industry or remaining in the shadows of big businesses. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you truly know what you’re talking about, or you’ll get called out for it, and may achieve the opposite of your goals. Failure to understand your industry is one of the most grow brand awareness, so make sure you don’t look like a newbie or a chump by brushing up on industry knowledge.

Lastly, content marketing helps your small business work on brand consistency.

Work on Brand Consistency

content marketing

Consistency is critical when building brand awareness. You want people to recognize your brand no matter how or where they encounter it. Ensuring your brand is represented the same in your content can help.

Content marketing helps you work on your brand consistency. You’ll have to nail down the messaging, brand voice, guidelines for visuals, and other brand elements you’ll include in your content to be as consistent as possible.

Ultimately, when you prioritize brand consistency in your content marketing, it’ll be easier for your target audience to identify your brand through your content, no matter the platform or channel.

Conclusion

Content marketing is beneficial to small businesses looking to scale their marketing strategies while staying within budget and within the realm of what their small teams can produce.

It can also help you build a sizeable customer base, learn more about your target audience, and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. It will take some time, but your small business can leverage content marketing effectively with a bit of creativity, brand consistency, and dedication.

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How To Use Technology To Spur Business Growth

technology

Currently, technology is advancing at a rate never before seen in history. This means there are constantly new opportunities for businesses to take advantage of to spur growth. With the right tools and knowledge, any business can use technology to its advantage and see actual results.

Here are a few ways you can use technology to grow your business:

  • Make Use Of Free Online Tools

Gone are the days when you had to spend large sums of money on software to get work done. Nowadays, there are an endless amount of free online tools for businesses available that can do everything from help you manage your finances to track your website traffic.technology

For example, if you’re looking for a tool to help with the day-to-day running of your business, Evernote is a great option. This tool can be used for everything from taking notes to creating to-do lists and is available on almost any device.

  • Harness The Power Of Social Media

Social media has drastically changed the marketing and advertising landscape in the past decade. Businesses of all sizes can now reach a global audience with just a few clicks.

While traditional marketing methods are still important, social media provides a unique opportunity to connect with customers more personally. When used correctly, social media can be an invaluable tool for growing your business.

One way to use social media is to create informative and shareable content. Posting articles, infographics, and videos that provide valuable information can help to attract new clients and grow your audience.

It’s also important to be active on popular platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. By engaging with your clients on social media, you can build relationships and Trust.

Finally, don’t forget to take maximize the use of paid advertising on social media platforms. By targeting your ads to specific demographics, you can ensure that your message reaches the right people.

  • Invest In Quality Website And Web App

Investing in a quality website and web application helps you grow your business in several ways. First, it will make it easy for potential customers to find you online. A well-designed website will be user-friendly and easy to navigate, and it will also be optimized for search engines so that your target demographic can easily find what you’re offering them.

Second, a quality website and web application builds trust with your market. Customers will likely do business with a company with a professional-looking website and a well-designed web application.

Finally, a quality website and web application allows you to streamline your business processes and make it easier for your customers to keep tabs. Therefore, when making a web application, consider how it will benefit your customers and make their lives easier. The same goes for your website.

  • Use Data Analytics To Make Better Business Decisions

The use of data analytics has become increasingly important in recent years, as businesses have become more reliant on data to make decisions. By analyzing data, businesses can identify trends and patterns that can be used to make better decisions about where to allocate resources.

For example, data analytics can be used to understand which products are selling well and which areas of the business are most profitable. This information can then be used to decide where to invest in new products and how to price products to maximize profits.

In addition, data analytics can also be used to identify customer needs and preferences, which can be used to tailor marketing campaigns and improve customer satisfaction.

technology

  • Automate Business Processes

As your business grows, you’ll quickly find that there are only so many hours in the day. You can only do so much, and at some point, you will have to start delegating or automating tasks if you want to continue growing. This is where automating some of your business processes can come in handy.

By taking care of routine tasks automatically, you’ll free up time that you can use to focus on other areas of your business. For instance, if you currently handle all of your customer invoicing manually, consider investing in invoicing software that can automate the process. Not only will this save you time, but it will also help to ensure accuracy and improve your customer’s experience.

Automating even just a few of your business processes can make a big difference in your ability to grow your business.

  • Let Cloud Computing Take Over

As businesses strive to do more with less, many are turning to cloud computing to improve efficiency and cut costs. Cloud computing can provide several advantages for businesses, including the ability to scale quickly and efficiently, access to powerful resources, and increased flexibility.

For businesses that are proliferating, cloud computing can be an essential tool. The ability to scale quickly and efficiently is one of the biggest advantages of the cloud. With traditional on-premises infrastructure, businesses often have to invest significantly in servers and storage capacity that may not be fully utilized for some time. With the cloud, businesses only pay for the resources they use, making it much easier to manage cash flow. In addition, businesses can add or remove resources as needed, making it easy to adjust to changing needs.

Another advantage of cloud computing is access to powerful resources. Cloud providers offer a wide range of services and tools businesses can use to power their applications and workloads. This includes everything from storage and databases to machine learning and artificial intelligence. By leveraging these powerful resources, businesses can achieve results that would otherwise be out of reach.

Finally, cloud computing can provide increased flexibility for businesses. With the cloud, businesses are not tied to a specific location or set of resources. They can quickly move workloads and data between cloud providers or on-premises and the cloud. This flexibility can be a significant advantage for businesses that need to be able to respond quickly to changing conditions.

Final Word 

As you can see, there are many ways that you can use technology to grow your business. By taking advantage of data analytics, automating business processes, and leveraging the power of the cloud, you can give your business the boost it needs to succeed. While technology is vital for any business growth strategy, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. It would be perfect if you also had a solid marketing plan, a well-trained staff, and efficient operations.

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20 Marketers Share Their Best Automation That Every Business Owner Should Use

automation

Gaurav Sharma, Attrock automation

The automation that my team and I use in our day-to-day work is sending automated personalized emails at scare. While personalization improves the ROI of email marketing, automation scales things up and helps me run bulk email campaigns.

I think if you can invest only in one type of marketing automation, go with automated personalized emails. These are cost-effective and can deliver great results, not to mention they save a lot of time and effort.

I use automated email campaigns both for my own business and for my clients. I have run several successful email outreach campaigns that delivered exceptional results and you can do the same.

So, invest in email marketing automation for your business and see the results first-hand.

 

Roxana Motoc,SocialBee

Every business owner should use a social media management tool automation. As an entrepreneur, you don’t want to spend time scheduling content daily and switching between platforms just to remain active. 

The best way to have a sharp presence across multiple networks, with the least amount of work, is by using a platform like SocialBee. You can create, schedule, share, and analyze content for all your account from one place. 

More than that, by using a social media posting tool you can: 

🎨 Use the Canva integration to design your posts right inside SocialBee. 

📦 Structure your content in categories to obtain a solid & balanced mix. 

📄 Connect the RSS Feed of any blog to import content automatically. 

✍️ Customize the posts for each social media network individually. 

🔄 Recycle evergreen posts or expire time-sensitive content easily. 

📈 Track your links’ performance with over 5+ URL Shorteners integrations. 

 

automationHelga Moreno, andcards

Here is a couple of my favorite automation that are particularly useful for every businesses. First, there is email automation. There are many email tools available in the market that allow you to automate your email sequences and send personalized emails to your contacts based on their interactions with your website and other engagement data. This can be a great way to stay in touch with your customers and prospects and nurture them through the sales funnel.

Another type of marketing automation that can be very helpful is lead capture automation. Lead capture forms allow you to automatically capture leads from your website and track their information in your CRM. This can be a great way to quickly build up your contact database and start nurturing leads down the sales funnel.

 

automationKatrina Dalao, Referral Rock

As a content marketer, one of our big initiatives is keeping our articles up-to-date and relevant for our readers. As big Airtable fans here at Referral Rock, and our team has created an auto-filled template that shows us all of our top articles that need optimizations. Anyone in our team can check this table on a regular basis and see what articles need to be checked for recency and relevance.

 

Natalya Bucuy, LiveHelpNow

Live Chatbot is one of the best tools a business can use to serve its customers. 

Simple questions, like ones regarding business operation hours, store locations, or just a simple initial greeting of the customer on a website – are the tasks chatbots can and even should handle. Answering these questions over and over again not only overwhelms customer service agents but also takes up valuable business resources. Allowing chatbots to handle these inquiries will free up time for human customer service agents to answer more complex questions. Chatbots can direct inquiries to the right department, saving agents and customers time.

Chatbots can also serve as trailblazers for new or small businesses that do not have many staff members or don’t know what type of inquiries their customers would normally have. In this case, chatbots can screen all inquiries and give the business owners ideas of what to expect when it comes to customer communications. 

 

automationHope Dorman, Kajabi

My top automation that I use in my niche of content marketing is Semrush reports. I have an automated report from Semrush that comes to my email weekly that shares the top organic search positions for our domain. I appreciate their other reports that compile the key takeaway information with the top pages by organic search, a chat with the number of ranking keywords, top subdomains and the traffic breakdown, a competitive position map, and more. These automatically generated reports provide a helpful update on how our various search engine optimization metrics are performing. 

Reporting takes a lot of time. Being able to automatically generate a report with charts and graphs without having to manually recreate them or update them in Google Sheets or Excel can save a lot of time while still providing the important information company stakeholders need.

 

automationPaul Posea, Superside

People are spending way too much time sharing on social media channels (especially not the main ones) by doing it individually. Social media posting automation can be a huge time saver if you were planning to cover multiple platforms. 

One example of how I’m using an automated process for this is by having a WordPress plugin that automatically shares my posts when I post them on the blog. Even more so, you can set up an automated email to go out when a new blog post is published.

Speaking of email, automatic customer segmentation is a must for every business that has an email list (and every business should have one). I suggest segmenting people on a few very specific categories, but not too many depending on what kind of articles and pages they visit on the site or what level of product awareness they are at.

Even more so, setting up an automated way to clean up your email list is a must if you want to get consistently high CTR in your email campaigns. For that, I recommend doing an automatic cleanup of people who haven’t opened your emails in the past 3 months (or however long you think is too long).

 

Tara Malone, Mirasee

If you’re brand new to marketing automation, taking on a complex automated marketing campaign can seem daunting. To avoid overwhelm, I recommend starting small and selecting some simple activities that could benefit from automation. This might involve setting up a welcome email sequence for new subscribers, or a thank you message that gets triggered when someone opts into your email list. Once you feel comfortable with setting up simple automated sequences, you can gradually begin to implement automation in more complex marketing campaigns. It’s also important to track the results of your marketing automation campaigns so you can see which types of campaigns work well with your audience and which ones don’t. This is powerful knowledge that you can use to create more effective campaigns that truly resonate with your audience.

 

automationArlen Robinson, OSI Affiliate Software

Email is a valuable tool for any business. It earns businesses an average of $35 for every dollar spent. Email is like a direct line to your customers, and it builds your brand. Therefore to maximize profits it is essential that a business automate the email marketing process.

The first email that you should automate is the initial welcome email that you send a prospect after they engage with your brand in any way.  When a new customer signs up, send an automatic welcome email. It’s the first chance to show them that you care. Explain how you can help them and what they should do next.

The next most important email that you should automate is the abandoned cart email. Last year, close to 70% of online shopping carts were abandoned. That’s a lot of money left on the table. To avoid this, your brand should send automatic emails to shoppers who abandon their carts. These messages can remind them that they left something behind, and encourage them to come back and complete the purchase.

The final most important email that you should automate is a Birthday or anniversary email. 

You can trigger emails based on the date of the subscriber’s birthday or when the subscriber first signed up. Send a special offer to thank them for their loyalty. These emails typically have a high click-through rate because when you reference someone’s birthday or anniversary date it will catch their eye and intrigue them to see what the email is all about.

Whichever automated email you decide to use, can easily be set up from virtually any email marketing software provider such as Mailchimp, Active Campaign, or virtually any solution that you can find these days.

 

automationKalo Yankulov, Encharge

Apart from the typical email marketing campaigns and email follow-ups, business owners that sell B2B should look into automating their lead qualification process. 

If you are not familiar, lead qualification is the process of evaluating potential customers based on their probability of converting. The goal is to minimize time with leads that are not a good fit for your business or whose buying temperature is too low and focus your efforts on hot leads.

You don’t need a fancy enterprise tool to do this. You can use a marketing automation platform like Encharge to qualify and segment your leads based on their form responses, actions on the website, and other data like country, location, etc. This process can be automated by building a flow that automatically scores good fit customers. For instance, if a lead indicates that their budget is over $10,000, you can increase their lead score by 10. Once they reach a lead score threshold, good fit customers can be automatically added as contacts or deals in your CRM. That way, you can follow up and allocate your sales efforts to the right people.

 

automationMiruna Dragomir, Planable

Digital marketers are spoilt for choice when it comes to automation tools. My team and I use at least 15 tools on a daily basis. My top pick has to be content marketing automation which involves content creation and social media. Social media creation, planning, collaboration and scheduling has to happen in the same place for us. Since that software is also our business, we use it at all times. It’s important for us to nurture collaboration and have the peace of mind that every social media post looks pixel-perfect when it goes live. And we want to do that as efficiently as possible. We’ve sworn off spreadsheets, email threads, and Google Drive images for social media management. We’d rather keep those for what they were intended: analytics and reporting.

Besides social media, we automate project management as much as possible. We use Notion for company wiki, OKRs, and project planning — Sunsama for task management, and we integrate the two. That’s one of our core principles when it comes to automation: integrate and connect the software that we use. No copy-pasting. Ever.

 

Jonathan Aufray, Growth Hackers

Email marketing is known as the digital marketing channel with the highest ROI. Pretty much anyone in business check their emails on a daily basis so why don’t you leverage this by sending automated regular emails to your prospects and leads? As soon as you have email subscribers, you need to prepare a sequence of emails that will be sent automatically. Don’t be too salesy though. Provide value first by giving them tips, industry trends, insightful content, etc. Once you’ve provided enough free content, it’s find to send a commercial/transactional email.

 

Rakesh Kumar Sharma, Scalefusion MDM

Onboarding Processes for New Customers:

Most businesses perform routine tasks in onboarding each new customer, so since these tasks are repetitive, it makes them easy to automate!

By automating your small business onboarding process, you will be able to:

  1. Enhance the buying experience for your customers.
  2. Second, make it possible for new customers to sign up for your product or service.
  3. Lastly, you can spend more time engaging, educating, and delighting new buyers.

Tips for Automating Your New Customer Onboarding Experience:

  1. Create a pre-built campaign template.
  2. Handle the transactional stuff automatically.
  3. Use tags to segment your customers.
  4. Use different email accounts to send emails.

Customer onboarding automation is crucial to building a successful business.

 

automationChris Makara, Bulkly

For me, all business owners should be using social media automation in their business. While there are quite a few benefits of using this type of automation in their workflows, perhaps the biggest is the time that you save once it is implemented. Without social media automation, business owners waste quite a bit of time sourcing, creating and scheduling status updates across various social media platforms. This can easily add up to several hours each and every week.

However, there are many business owners who are now automating this entire process with automation tools like Bulkly. By leveraging a tool like this, it allows them win back their time so that they can focus on more important things – like running their business.

 

automationOksana Chyketa, Newoldstamp

When it comes to email marketing, I believe that the entire process has to be automated. And at the same time, it’s impossible to venture into email marketing without considering personalization. Personalization includes collecting data on prospects, creating their profiles, and then segmenting lists to send more relevant messages to different subscriber groups. Thus, even when using an email template, the emails won’t look as robotic, when some personalization principles have been incorporated.

When it comes to personalizing my messages, I use Personalization Tags extensively – name, subject line, website name, link, etc., depending on the outreach campaign I work on. We use the Snov.io tool to automate this process.

And of course, adding an email signature to all of my emails is a must-have. Email signatures give this personal touch to the emails and influence the first impression a prospect gets about our company. With Newoldstamp I can automate this part as well – my email signature always looks professional and what’s more, I can track the impressions and clicks in the built-in analytics.

 

automationSantiago Safdie, InvGate 

Hubspot is our main source of automation, and the reason behind that is that it allows us to automate not only marketing but also sales.

We use it to automate blog post publications, email nurturing campaigns, workflows, customer service surveys, and even social media and ads.

It’s a great one-stop-shop that allows the whole team to have a clear view of the work pipeline, statistics, and performance of each area. Plus, it makes analysis and reporting simpler for me.

 

Mark Ankucic, Sked Social

Clearbit data capture to slack – gives you a crystal clear look into what businesses are hitting your website.

 

 

automationMykola Haichenko, Visme

For outreach specialists like me, email automation is the cornerstone of everyday work.

If I had to send each email manually, I’d miss all the deadlines imaginable. But tools like Respona let me automate the entire sending process and do it without compromising on the quality.

They leave no trace of automated mass outreach.

With a few clicks, I can personalize each email in my bulk campaigns by adding the recipient’s name, organization, post title, pretty much anything. In the end, an email feels like it was sent to one person, not hundreds.

But while it’s possible to automate the technical part, there’s still one thing that remains unautomatable – the message you’re going to convey.

Let’s take follow-ups as an example.

You can’t insert a generic portion of text like “just bumping this to the top of your inbox,” hit “Send,” and expect lots of replies. You’ll need to be more creative than that.

Try to find your prospects’ common pain point and put emphasis on it a follow-up.

What works for me is mentioning that their competitors have already done what I ask them for. By ignoring or rejecting my pitch, they’ll basically lose to their competitors on my playing field. Such a delicate hint helps me increase my response rates by around 30%.

The bottom line is email automation works with a thought-out message only, not on its own.

 

Tenny Jesse, Pearl Lemon

Chatbots are the primary point of contact on all of our websites; when we are not available to chat (rare, as we are available 24/7), or if we are moving the conversation forward, we ask for visitor emails and add them to our email marketing funnels, which educates users about marketing tips, trends, and services we offer, creating value for the visitors and growing our email lists to market our SaaS products and warm up leads. 

We use Zapier to connect Drift, Google Sheet, Clearout, and Lemlist – whenever an email is collected or a new lead is created on Drift, the automation triggers and sends emails to a Google Sheet, where Clearout validates the emails and sends safe to send emails to an email marketing funnel.

 

automationSamir Sampat, Smith.ai

Setting up marketing automation helps your business optimize its brand presence across every channel your customers engage in, allowing your sales team to focus its efforts where there’s the most likelihood of conversion.

In general, B2B marketing automation will follow the same general structure:

Step 1: Build a list of potential customers to target.

Step 2: Execute an automated campaign.

Step 3: Measure how your potential customers react to the campaign.

Step 4: Group your customers by their reactions.

Step 5: Send qualified leads directly to sales and route warm leads to a nurturing cycle.

Step 6: Monitor performance and redirect warm leads to sales as soon as they become qualified leads.

B2B marketing automation is usually done through software, but outsourcing some or all of your sales cycle is also a great strategy to eliminate repetitive tasks so your sales team can focus on closing deals.

9 B2B marketing automation strategies to implement today

If you’re wondering where to start when it comes to B2B marketing automation, these nine strategies make great first steps.

  1. Page-based triggers

Identify key behaviors leads engage in before making a purchase. Maybe that’s visiting your pricing page, signing up for gated content, or interacting with your live chat feature. Whenever a prospect engages in that behavior, automate a follow-up so you can start nurturing that lead right away.

  1. Educational content for new clients

If every onboarding process is generally the same, automate sending educational content to clients after they sign up for your service. Craft this content based on FAQ your customer service team usually fields. Depending on the preferences of your clients, send this information immediately after sign-up, or use an email drip campaign to avoid overwhelming them.

  1. Lead nurturing

B2B marketing automation is perfect for lead nurturing. Share educational information with your leads through a newsletter or other email sequences to showcase your place as a thought leader in the industry.

  1. Lead segmentation

As you gather data about potential leads, automatically segment them into different email lists based on the type of activity, their level of engagement, location, and other factors. This time-saving step will allow you to level up your lead nurturing program so each segment is personalized.

  1. Lead qualification

Many marketing automation softwares will qualify leads based on the parameters you set. Each behavior is assigned a point value, and when points reach a certain threshold indicating they are close to making a purchase, you can automatically transfer the lead to a different email list or send their name and contact information to a sales representative for follow-up.

  1. Data collection and maintenance

Studies show marketers spend 16 hours a week on repetitive tasks like exporting, importing, and sorting data from a CRM program into an email service provider. Automate that process so your marketers and salespeople can focus on conversions instead. The easiest way to do this is to ensure all your software partners are compatible.

  1. Form submissions

If you’re new to marketing automation, this is one of the easiest places to start. For any forms you have on your website, automate what happens after the lead completes it. Send it to the right point of contact within the company, and send an email to the lead letting them know when to expect a response. You can even set up your automation to initiate outbound call backs.

  1. Live chat

Seventy-six percent of millennials suffer from phone anxiety, so chatbots have become an increasingly popular way to interact with these clients. In fact, 42% of customers opt to use a chatbot when they need customer service. The chatbot can be automated to direct certain queries to a live chat feature to ensure better customer service.

  1. Social media

Marketing automation services can post content, like content from specific feeds, and even thank followers for following. When done right, your followers won’t even notice some of your feed is automated. You can also outsource your Facebook messages so your salespeople don’t have to deal with cold leads.

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Starting A Small Business? 5 Common Legal Mistakes To Avoid

small business

Anyone doubting the importance of small businesses to the American economy has not seen statistics published by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small businesses represent 99.9% of all firms in this country and account for 62% of net new jobs created since 1995.

It is easy for someone starting a new business to get caught up in the excitement and frenzy of finding a suitable location, raising capital and making contacts with suppliers. What you don’t want to do is lose sight of the legal pitfalls that can derail a startup.

Something as simple and easy to arrange as a consultation with a business law attorney provides a wealth of advice and guidance about the legal environment in which a business must operate and how to successfully navigate through it. A business venture that fails to comply with government regulations regarding employment, taxes and other legal matters may find itself facing substantial fines and other penalties that could destroy it.

To get you and your business started on the right path, here are five of the most common legal mistakes made when starting a small business. Yes, we even include tips to help you to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not wanting to spend money to hire a lawyer

Waiting until after the business is operating and generating an income before hiring an attorney with experience in business law is not an effective way to save money. It generally costs less in legal fees to hire an attorney early in the formation process and avoid problems than to bring someone in to handle a lawsuit or regulatory compliance violation.

During the startup process, a business attorney can help in several ways, including:

  • Recommending a type of legal structure for the business.
  • Reviewing and negotiating leases and contracts.
  • Conducting trademark and copyright searches to avoid infringing on the rights of another business.
  • Taking steps to protect intellectual property rights of the business.
  • Helping the business comply with federal, state and local government laws requiring licensing for certain types of business operations.
  • Preparing employment contracts and helping the business comply with state and federal employment laws.
  • Preparing partnership and operating agreements for owners of the business.

These and other services provided by an attorney help a business to avoid conflicts and disputes that could lead to lawsuits or government action against the business and/or its owners.

Mistake #2: Choosing the wrong business structure

There are several legal structures from which to choose when setting up a business. The type of business structure determines how the business pays its taxes and whether other parties, such as creditors, with claims against the business may sue its owners and seize their personal assets.

small buisness

A business law attorney can help you choose the best legal structure for the operation of your business. Options include the following:

  • Sole proprietorship: By far the easiest of all business structures to create, the sole proprietorship makes no distinction between an owner and the business. Business income must be reported on the owner’s personal income tax return, and the owner may be held personally liable for debts and financial obligations incurred through operation of the business.
  • Partnership: Two or more people may agree to operate their business as a partnership. Each partner reports a share of the profits and losses of the business on their personal income tax return. Creditors of the business may sue the partners personally and look to their personal assets to satisfy obligations of the business.
  • Corporation: State laws protect the owners of corporations from personal liability for business debts and obligations by recognizing the corporation as a legal entity that may sue and be sued in its own name. The business entity files its own income tax return and pays taxes. Shareholders, who are the owners of the business, pay taxes on dividends they receive from the corporation.
  • Limited liability company: State laws allow an LLC to operate separate and apart from its ownership, which makes it similar to a corporation in protecting the assets of its owners against lawsuits or claims arising from operation of the business. An LLC files its own income tax return and pays taxes on the business income.

When choosing a business structure, keep in mind that it can be changed as the business grows. For example, you may be a one-person operation in the beginning and decide to operate as a sole proprietorship. However, the growth of your business and a desire to add other owners may cause you to change the structure to a partnership, corporation or LLC.

Mistake #3: Failing to obtain tax identification numbers

Unless you operate as a sole proprietorship, you need to apply to the Internal Revenue Service for an Employer Identification Number or EIN. The EIN identifies your business as a taxpayer with the IRS and state taxing authorities in much the same way as a Social Security number does for individuals.

Having an EIN may not mean that your business is fully compliant with state taxing authorities. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar operation or an online store, your business may be obligated to collect sales taxes on goods or services it sells and remit them to the state. If so, your business attorney may determine that you need a certificate and/or sales tax number from the state or states in which you do business.

Mistake #4: Operating without the proper licensing

You filed for and received licenses from your state to legally operate as a business, but certain types of business activities require permits from the federal government. For example, a business that sells alcohol, tobacco or firearms probably requires licenses from their state government, but they also may need licenses from the federal government.

Your attorney can investigate the laws that apply to the activities engaged in by your business to determine the types of licensing required to be in compliance with the law. The scope of the research done by your lawyer will include licensing requirements in all states where your business plans to operate.

Mistake #5: Allowing intellectual property to go unprotected

Intellectual property may be some of the most valuable assets that your company owns, but you could lose them unless steps are taken when starting your business to protect them. Common examples of intellectual property include:

  •         Business or trade name.
  •         Logos.
  •         Domain name and design.
  •         Proprietary software.
  •         Service marks.
  •         Inventions.
  •         Confidential information and commercial secrets.
  •         Product designs.

Filing applications to protect the intellectual property of your business through trademark, copyright, and patent protection is only one step to prevent the loss of valuable assets. Your attorney may recommend that you have key employees sign non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements when they are first hired to work for the business.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, these five mistakes represent only a few of the legal traps that people face when starting a small business. Getting sound professional advice from a lawyer and accountant can help you anticipate the mistakes and avoid them before they create problems.

 

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Every Small Business Needs Insurance – Here’s Why

insurance

There are several liabilities when starting a business, and a lot of young and enthusiastic entrepreneurs are facing challenge after challenge. With continual failures, from getting the appropriate resources to operate to make a reputation for yourself to branding and marketing, a true breakthrough may take years. This makes having insurance a very important factor. Some estimates suggest the first real profits might come after the second year, while this can vary depending on your initial capital investment.

With all this said, the chances of getting sued or facing damage is more than real and should be taken into account while planning the future of the company. Over 30 million small businesses are currently operating in the States alone, with the number increasing each year.

Now imagine the scope of accidents that might occur, and the range of different professions, from employer injuries to equipment damage, and potential lawsuits by customers – the final number to which it can all amount can be staggering. With all this said, the need for reliable insurance is more than obvious to the cunning eye, and if you are not convinced yet, we’ll sum up some reasons why you might need it.

Protection for you and the business with insurance

insurance

As previously said, the range of various occupations can vary, and the type of insurance you require will depend on the precise work you do. Not all businesses need vehicle insurance (as a freelance writer at home, you do not need insurance on transportation), because you might go under the category of low-risk. However, certain insurance policies cover most typical injuries, losses, and legal expenses if they occur, regardless of what you do, and provide protection in the event of several incidents. We are referring to general liability insurance plans, as they are the most common and often required depending on the specific profession.

Firstly, it is great for the people working for you, as it often is regarded as one of the many perks and benefits of a job. Secondly, you’ll be on the safe side no matter what happens and how it might occur, as you’ll protect your workers in case of damage, bodily injury, or potential lawsuits. You don’t have to worry about such things once you get it all covered by an insurance plan. To that end, you can find out more about business insurance in Edmonton and you’ll find everything you need in one place. Even if you happen to be in a profession not directly related to any risk factors that might induce body injuries, you can always protect yourself with an advertisement insurance plan, in case someone suits you for alleged false advertising.

You can protect yourself in case of a customer lawsuit, as certain customers are more than eager to find any justification or product liability that often occurs after someone fails a lawsuit after supposed malfunctions or defective design. Now, the range is wide, and generally, if you happen to be a small business reaching for the stars, all these scenarios are more than possible to occur. Other lawsuits can be absurd as it gets, such as the “slip and fall” if you happen to own a restaurant and someone sustains injuries due to the accident. If not insured properly, you’ll have to pay for medical bills, sustained emotional trauma, and other damages done.

Lawsuits and bad insurance plans without proper coverage of a wide number of accidents are often the reasons why small businesses shut down and never properly recover from the accident. To prevent this from happening, contact an agency right away. It also attracts new workers, as is an assurance of the company’s professionalism.

Insurance can be a requirement

insurance

Now, this can depend on whether you are renting a facility or not. In the case of renting a building, you can always go for an insurance plan covering any damage that might be done to the facility, due to natural disasters or human negligence. Everything can be taken into account, from plumbing issues to fires or electrical malfunctions of the installation. Now, whatever the case, it is better to have some coverage if it comes to such scenarios rather than not.

Also, sometimes if you happen to be borrowing the money for the business, the other party might require some insurance plan as part of the deal, just to be sure you have some form of protection. Or one (we hope unlikely scenario) is property protection in case of theft or any form of vandalism. This can occur no matter the political stability of a country, it might happen during the night or time of the day when the store is closed. Under vandalism, we refer to any property damage done to the facility, from graffiti to breaks, and theft is also a quite common occurrence and might cost you a lot.

Another reason to have an insurance plan for a small business is to safeguard your tools or equipment, thereby staying protected in case something happens. Equipment malfunctions can setback the business for days if the whole business is dependent on it.

Giving workers repayments

Now, imagine something were to happen to some of the workers in case of an accident which by all accounts is your fault; the whole weight of the accident falls on the business. Any form of worker compensation, without any insurance plan, will be paid by you if you want to prevent any potential lawsuits filed by the worker.

This means you’ll be paying for medical bills, treatments, and even compensating for wages lost due to the accident. This, with all other hidden expenses, can amount to a staggering number and can cost your company.

A proper insurance plan covers all this, assuring the worker gets his legal rights and everything he is owned while protecting you from going bankrupt.

With all the above stated, it is more than obvious why insurance plans are a must in most cases, and how things can easily turn against you if you happen to miss on getting a plan. Of course, there is a chance of everything going perfectly fine without any incidents, but in the case of some of the above-mentioned scenarios, the costs are extremely high and the money would be better off invested in the business. 

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Top Reasons Why Marketing Is Vital In Real Estate Business

real estate

Top Reasons Why Marketing is Vital in Improving Your Real Estate Business

Marketing is essential in your real estate business since it is the primary avenue of communication that businesses use to inform clients about the services they offer. The success of your business heavily depends on your ability to connect with the right audience, and that audience should have appropriate channels through which they can access valuable information on your products. Effective marketing will set you apart from your competition since there are many players in this sector. It also helps real estate agents attract more clients and build strong networks of contacts which are vital for that particular field. Check out these top reasons why marketing is vital in improving your real estate business.

Helps You Reach Out to Potential Clients

Marketing helps real estate agents and other people involved in real estate communicate their services to potential clients. When customers are able to access information about your business, they are more likely to contact you. In this digital age, many people use the internet to search for helpful information that can help them make informed decisions. For instance, internet data exchange (IDX) is one of the most effective marketing tools as it allows people to search for properties on approved Multiple Listing Services in any specific area. The exchange of MLS data allows the real estate agents to display listings of their properties.

Potential buyers can get all the information they want from the updated lists on your website. This strategy is effective since it allows the consumers to access all the information they want about properties on your website. It makes the search process much easier when the users can customize their searches to get specific results. For instance, you can narrow your search to a limited area and the type of property you are looking for. This approach simplifies the home search process.

Improves Your Online Presence

If you want to succeed in the real estate business, you should improve your online presence, and you can achieve this with the help of a professionally designed website. A website is inexpensive, and it has the potential of reaching a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds. Web designing is a critical component of the marketing strategy of your business since it represents your brand. 

Finding the ideal real estate marketing agency can feel like a daunting task since there are several players in this industry. This is when a professional website comes in handy. You need to create a user-friendly website that can help you create a positive impression about your business to the audience. It is vital to offer top-quality content on real estate agent websites so as to help your business gain more sustainable traction. Many people use mobile devices to access the internet, so you should make sure your site is fully optimized and accessible on different gadgets. 

Your website should also have a fast loading speed so it attracts many visitors. Another advantage of marketing is that it improves your online presence. Real estate websites also use content marketing and search engine optimization to drive organic traffic to your site which translates to more sales. You should create and display unique content that is created to add value to buyers.

The main advantage of SEO is that it helps improve the visibility of your site online, especially if it ranks high on different search engine results pages. The SEO strategy utilizes unique keywords that will rank high in SERPs and this will make your site more visible. If your site can attract more visitors, it means your business is likely to experience a boom in sales. It is a good idea to enlist the services of a professional web designer and content creator to drive organic traffic to your website. SEO content offers long-term benefits by growing your visibility online. This strategy includes critical elements like lead generation which assists your clients when visiting your website to look for information that can help them make informed decisions. 

Promotes Customer Engagement

Today’s real estate markets have changed, and technology plays a critical role in property searches. While people would do physical searches for homes in the past, different forms of technology are used for the very same purpose today. Different forms of marketing strategies promote customer engagement which is good for the success of the real estate business. Enlightened realtors use various types of communication channels like social media to engage with consumers. 

Social engagement is a critical component of any business since it helps build trust among clients. When you can engage meaningfully with your target audience, you will be in a better position to understand their needs. This will help you design products and services that can appeal to the interests of many people. When you can interact meaningfully with potential buyers, you will be able to build strong relationships with them.

Many people are attracted by the quality of customer service provided by a specific business. When you engage with your clients, it will show that you are concerned about their interests. Happy customers will refer other people to your company which will help increase your customer base. With social media, you can interact directly with different buyers which will attract them to your services. 

Create Brand Awareness

Marketing is crucial for your business since it helps create brand awareness. The real estate sector consists of several players, so you must make an effort to let the clients know who you are. Once they become aware of your brand and its benefits, the clients may develop an interest in your offerings. When people have some knowledge about what your business offers, it will become easier for them to trust it. This will give you a competitive advantage when many people are aware of your real estate business and the type of services you provide.

Marketing plays an essential role in helping improve the visibility of your brand which will help many people find you. Choosing a product or service can be overwhelming, and this is why the customers need valuable information about your brand. When the customers know about your existence, they will refer other people to your business which leads to growth and development.

Marketing also plays an important role in reinforcing your brand among different clients. Even though customers may become aware of your brand, you need to remind them why it is the best option compared to other services offered by other real estate agents. To gain a competitive advantage, you should use marketing to prove to clients that your business is customer-oriented and it is concerned about fulfilling the needs of the customers. 

Lead Generation

Marketing is vital to your real estate business since it helps you generate leads. The essence of lead generation is to help you attract many potential customers and sellers to your network. Lead generation is a short-term goal, but it can offer long-term benefits. Once you attract the right clients, they are likely to refer others to your business if they are happy about your offerings. Attracting customers to your business can be quite a challenge since the markets consist of several competitors.

You can use the strategy of direct mail to reach out to new people who may not know about your business. Some people could potentially be interested in your services but are simply not aware of your existence. Therefore, you should utilize different strategies to attract potential customers to your company. When you create leads, other people are likely to try your offerings. This will contribute to the growth and development of your venture if you can attract many clients.     

Marketing Provides Credibility

Marketing gives your real estate business credibility, especially when it receives positive reviews from different people. Many individuals first read customer reviews to gain insight into what other people say about a product or service before they buy it. If a real estate agent gets positive reviews, you are likely to trust them with your property due to their credibility and high level of trust among the clients. Marketing will help show that you are a trusted person if your real estate business gets glowing reviews from happy clients. 

Effective marketing allows the buyers to compare services offered by different companies involved in the real estate business. Apart from reviews, potential buyers may be interested in other factors like your experience in business and other information that shows you are a force to reckon with in this sector. Without a well-documented history of your operations, it can be challenging to convince consumers about your business.  

real estate

Saves You Time

Your marketing initiatives can go a long way in generating more leads for your business. This means you will not work very hard to find new clients when you already have pointers to your business that can attract new buyers. You will not waste a lot of time trying to get the ideal customer for your property. Once you send positive and relevant information about your brand, potential customers can easily find your business. 

Additionally, marketing can save you money if done properly. When you can attract new customers using leads, you can significantly cut down on other expenses like paid advertising, postage, and printing. There are different platforms you can consider for your marketing activities without spending a lot of money. Digital marketing is cost-effective, and there are many strategies that can be employed that are not at all costly. Make sure you choose a channel that is accessible to your target audience if you want your campaign to be effective.

Marketing Educates Prospective Clients 

One good thing about marketing is that it educates prospective clients about the products and services you offer. When you design your marketing campaign, make sure it resonates with the needs and interests of the target audience. In your messages, you should convince the clients why you believe your service stands out from the rest. 

When your content is tailored for a specific audience, it will add value to the target audience. You will not waste a lot of time explaining different things about your offerings. It is essential to do some research first before you create your content to ensure it suits the interests of the clients. Many people will trust your brand if you offer objective and factual information about your business.     

Gives you Exposure

Marketing is critical in real estate since it gives you the benefits of exposure. An effective marketing strategy begins with a marketing plan that identifies your marketing goals. It also helps clients make informed decisions by providing meaningful information. When buyers can access information like client testimonials, they will feel comfortable dealing with your company. With the right exposure to different people, your business’s overall visibility will increase, thereby instilling trust in potential customers.

Gives you the Freedom to be Creative

Digital marketing allows you to be creative and this is good for your business. For instance, you can offer unique content or explore other possibilities offered by the digital world to make your venture stand out from the rest. Potential customers need engaging content that can compel them to take advantage of your offerings. You can achieve this by offering informative videos that can appeal to the interests of many people. It is essential to enlist the services of a professional graphic designer to help you with marketing content if you want your business to gain a competitive advantage.

Marketing Leads to Client Retention

Client retention is a critical factor in the operations of a real estate business that can lead to its success. When you operate in a competitive environment, it can be overwhelming to attract the ideal customers for your business. Retaining clients can go a long way in helping your business develop. The good thing about retaining happy clients is that they make excellent referrals for your business. This will contribute to increased revenue generation for your company. 

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How to Plan a Media Ad Campaign

media-ad-campaign

Marketing can sometimes be a difficult endeavor for businesses. With so many different tactics to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which ones will bring the most success. A media ad campaign is an excellent way to go. However, many business owners have started investing in media ad campaigns because of its potential to reach a large audience. These campaigns are commonly used to increase brand awareness, build a customer base, and generate sales.

Successful marketing campaigns need adequate planning to put every aspect needed into place. Lack of adequate planning can lead to large amounts of money being wasted to generate relatively few leads and conversions. To ensure their ad campaigns are done the right way, some brands and agencies opt for the expertise of retail media solution companies. There are a good number of companies that offer this service, but it is worth noting that utilizing a retail media solutions is the best way to guarantee success in this area. 

The Importance of Media Ad Campaigns

media-ad-campaign

Media ad campaigns are the lifeblood of any business. Whether you’re a small company or a large multinational, you need to advertise to get your name out there, build your brand, and increase demand for your product or service. However, the fact that you run ads does not necessarily mean you will get the results you want. You need to be strategic about your ad spend and the channels you’re using.

Online advertising is an excellent way to reach a large audience with a single ad, but it is also easy to overspend especially if you fail to plan properly. With traditional advertising, the advertiser can control where their ad appears, how often their ad appears, and what types of ads appear next to their ad. On the other hand, digital marketing gives the advertiser very little control over the websites their ads appear on, how many times in a day the ad is displayed on each platform, and the kinds of advertisements displayed next to their ad. Regardless of the possible pitfalls, there are marketing experts that understand how to optimize marketing campaigns and ensure they deliver their intended results.

If a small business has the capital to invest in a proper advertisement on an online platform such as Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, they can reach thousands of potential customers for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising methods. This is especially true when a small business partners with a digital marketing agency that specializes in ad campaigns.

The high usage of the internet has made it one of the most powerful tools for marketing a business. Advertising on the internet allows a business to reach millions of potential customers, rather than the limited number that you would reach through traditional methods like radio and TV. This has made it possible for small ecommerce businesses to compete with much larger companies, and to grow rapidly using only a relatively small amount of startup capital.

The key to success in online advertising is to understand how to use the available tools to target the right customers, and to measure which ads are working and which are not so you can improve your strategy. Here are a few steps you should use to plan media ad campaigns.

  • Define the media ad campaign goal

Having a discussion with your team members on the end goal of the ad campaign is important. It should be defined whether you want to sell a product, raise awareness for a cause, promote an event, and so on. Once everyone understands what you are trying to achieve, there is a higher chance of the campaign being successful.

  • Determine the promotion method you want to use

If you will be advertising on different social media platforms, determine the kind of posts you would put out on each platform. For Instagram, you can opt for short videos regardless of the campaign goal. Posting videos are effective in passing messages across to your target audience. Meanwhile, platforms like Twitter and Facebook would require banner images with catchy captions. Regardless, try to make your social media posts as interactive as possible to boost engagements.

  • Make a content calendar for your media ad campaign

It is important to create a schedule on a calendar that will dictate the days of week and times of the day that you will put out your social media posts. The content calendar should also specify the copy to be used for the posts. For this, it would help to work with a copywriter to develop the messages. Additionally, content calendars help to set and keep track of marketing milestones to make progress measurement easier.

  • Develop the visual contents to be posted

After planning the content calendar and the kind of posts you want to put out, you have to create the visual content. You could delegate a graphic designer the task of developing engaging images, or make them yourself using a platform like Canva. Canva is easy to use and lets you add text to images. You can also get influencers or members of your team to make short videos for you to post.

  • Schedule the posts of your media ad campaign

media-ad-campaign

Now that the copies, images, videos and content calendar are ready, it is time to schedule the posts. There are social media scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite that allow marketing managers to schedule posts to be posted at specific times of the day.

  • Monitor, analyze and adjust

As these posts are being released to the public, monitor them and gauge the feedback. Respond to comments if need be. The level of engagement is a good indication of how well the campaign is doing, therefore, it would help if you use this insight to make appropriate adjustments to your marketing strategy.

Endnote on Your Media Ad Campaign

Brands, agencies and businesses need sound marketing strategies to promote their products, services, events, and so on. Some go for the safety and expertise of media solution companies, while others do it in-house. Regardless, as long as the aforementioned steps are followed, the chances of having a successful media ad campaign is high.

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4 Crucial Steps for Securing Your Business

securing-your-business

Nowadays, running a successful business in an ever-changing market can truly be challenging. Once you have put in a great effort, time, and funds to start a business, you surely want to secure it from all various risks that could threaten its growth. As such, securing your business is vital to its success.

As a business owner, you must take care of records, legal documents, data breaches and cyberattacks at all times, while making sure that your employees are well-taken care of, and that they’re happy and healthy.

Below, we highlight 4 crucial steps you need to take to secure your business and provide it with a chance to achieve long-term success and growth.

Obtain Business Insurance for Securing Your Business

If you have recently opened a startup or a small business, you’ve probably made huge investments with your hard-earned savings and managed to raise capital to secure a funding stream for your operation. This is why you must protect your business venture against any possible claims and liabilities.

For this reason, we advise you to look into a good E&O policy for your small business and get covered with professional liability insurance. This is an excellent way of protecting your business from lawsuits and claims of inadequate or negligent work and business errors. Do your research and get your business insurance from a policy provider that specializes in small businesses so it can be customized to your specific industry needs.   

Look at the possibility of getting other useful insurances like commercial proper insurance to protect the building, premises and equipment you may have bought or rented. In addition, getting worker’s compensation insurance is also a clever move so your workforce can get benefits, as well as data breach or cyber insurance to help you respond if any data is lost or stolen.

Enhance IT Security

securing-your-business

Data breaches and cyber-attacks are among the biggest risks for a business these days. In fact, in a recently published report, cyber risks topped the list of what made the surveyed business leaders most worried. The pandemic we recently went through also led to a direct increase in cyber attacks. With a security situation that reinforces the fear of cyber threats, many people are wondering how their organization is doing.

If you’re thinking about how protected you are, it can be nice to take concrete measures and invest in reliable systems with high security that protect a business’s data and information.

Something that most companies have unfortunately experienced is important files or data disappearing which is a loss that can be difficult to recover from. To avoid losing information, it is, therefore, advantageous to use a backup solution that securely saves your data. There are different variants of backup solutions, but the most common is to use cloud storage or internal servers that are dedicated to just this.

To increase your IT security, it’s wise for your company to segment the wireless network with at least two networks, and it’s especially important to distinguish between the network used by those who work at the company and what guests use. The users of the guest network would be customers, partners and everyone else who doesn’t work at your company.

Maintain Good Hygiene

Expectations of good hygiene and safety in the workplace have increased and new effective routines are now needed for people to be able to work safely. By encouraging good hand hygiene and regular cleaning routines, businesses together can prevent the further spread of infection and your business can reduce the cost of sick leave.

Implement thorough and good cleaning routines so that surfaces and premises are cleaned regularly. Ensure that touch surfaces such as handles, switches, keyboards, handrails, sinks, water taps and other surfaces that many people touch are cleaned thoroughly and regularly. Remember to also do a risk assessment for the employee who performs the cleaning, so that risks are minimized and the right preventive measures are taken.

Dirt, dust and messy spaces create stress, in addition to allergies, asthma and infections. A dirty environment affects employees both physically and mentally, causing them to lose concentration and perform worse. Therefore, a clean workplace is a very important part of the general work environment.

Develop a Social Media Policy

Social networks and emails have become a huge security concern for companies as they make it easy to disseminate information. Once the information leaves your company, it is difficult to be recalled. For this reason, to make sure things remain private, your email policy should address appropriate content for social media and emails.

Final Thoughts on Securing Your Business

As a business owner, it’s your job to secure your business and prevent threats to your business systems and work processes. Protecting your employees and safeguarding their health is also a prerequisite for a thriving working environment and business success. 

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4 Elements Of Efficient B2B Ecommerce Customer Experience

customer service

The customer journey is the driving force behind any customer experience. It should be the backbone of not only marketing, but every department in the company. Each customer touchpoint should be carefully molded to ensure that the customer is surprised and delighted at every stage. The company as a whole, should be deeply entrenched in the customer journey. 

But, how do you get the process right from start to finish and ensure that the customer not only converts, but returns as a loyal, paying client? We took a look at what B2B companies are doing globally and how they have optimized their customer experience.

Automate as Much as Possible 

Automation is a great way of ensuring that all of your processes are done efficiently, swiftly and with as little human error as possible. There are tons of automation tools out there for you to make use of. And you can automate almost every aspect of your business. From eInvoicing to procurement, supply chain, HR, and many aspects of marketing, there are hundreds of online tools and platforms for you to choose from. 

What is more, most of them are incredibly affordable and easy to use. They mostly work on a subscription basis, and there is usually a variety to choose from to suit your unique business needs. So, if you need, for example, custom invoices to automatically be sent to your clients, you can opt for a solution that not only fits your budget but your brand. 

Remember, the customer journey is pulled through to every aspect of your business and dealings with clients, and this includes finance and invoicing, so make it as streamlined as possible. 

Make Customer Service a Company Wide Effort 

Customer service should not be a siloed effort. It should not just be client-facing staff that are trained on effective and quality customer service. It should rather be pulled through to every part of the company. Make sure that each staff member from each department is sent on some kind of training to ensure that your customer journey is streamlined. 

Now, you might think that this is slightly unnecessary for, say, the guys in the dev department who are working on your site. But consider for a moment what your first point of contact usually is with a client. It is usually through your website. So, not only do they have to consider the full UX design of the site, they need to optimize each point that they would be in contact with your brand. 

Take, for example, chatbots which usually appear on most landing pages of your site. It is up to the development team to create interactive, helpful, and efficient points of contact that your clients can effectively use. So, training your developers on customer service and its intricacies of it can ensure that these small elements are carefully designed to optimize the customer experience

Heighten Communication With your Clients 

While we are on the topic of chatbots, when was the last time you audited your contact points? The fact of the matter is that every single client prefers different forms of communication and contact. While some prefer phone calls and direct contact with a person, others prefer getting questions and troubleshooting done with instant messaging. 

Make sure you are offering your clients a variety of ways to engage with you about a wide variety of issues. From social media, to chatbots on landing pages for real-time query solving, and access to an account manager, the more you can offer, the more streamlined the customer journey. customer experience

Keep communication transparent and honest at all times. Allow them to choose what communication they receive from you and provide them with regular opportunities to provide you with feedback. Remember, the more feedback you get from your clients, the more you can streamline your services and offerings.

Test, Measure, Monitor and Track Everything 

How do you know what you are succeeding at without the right data and metrics? If you are not receiving feedback from your clients, how do you know if the products or services are what they want? Or how would you know what they need for continued patronage?

The rule of thumb is to measure everything. From the traffic going to your site, how it behaves and where it drops off and converts, to the success of your social media campaigns. Gather metrics from various sources to be able to understand which campaigns were successful, what your clients responded well to, and what was a flop. 

Google Analytics allows you to track the traffic on your site and understand how it behaves. Your social platforms and mailing tools provide you with relevant metrics too about the success of your campaigns. But there are a plethora of other tools that allow you to track everything. 

The Bottom Line 

Customer service is a company-wide initiative. Train up your entire staff complement regularly and make sure that you have the right information coming to you at all times. The customer journey is your answer to great customer experience. 

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Wondering How To Reduce Costs In Your Business?

business cost

Reducing business costs can seem like a daunting task. But with a few simple steps, you can make your business more efficient and reduce expenses. Business costs can include anything from inventory and materials to employee salaries and marketing expenses. Many factors contribute to the cost of doing business, even though, for many small businesses, the cost of goods sold is the largest expense category. But there are ways to minimize them. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Use The Right Technology

There are many different types of technology that can help reduce costs in your business. For example, you can use online software to manage your finances instead of paying for an expensive program. You can also use a service like Skype or Google Hangouts to communicate with your team instead of paying for long-distance calls. The right technology can help you save a lot of money in the long run. This is just one of the many ways that you can reduce costs in your business. More so, you could use a cost-effective strategy that is relative to what your business does.

Compare Prices /Costs

One of the first steps in reducing costs is to compare prices and costs between different providers. As mentioned at compareyourbusinesscosts.co.uk/compare-gas-electricity-prices, it is important to remember that not all services are created equal, so it’s important to find a provider that can offer you the best value for your money. You can also employ the service of agencies that can assist you in finding better deals on the products and services that you need. This will help to ensure that you are getting the best possible deal on the products and services that you need. More so, you will also be able to save money in the long run.

Rely On Modern Marketing Methods

There are many ways to reduce costs in your business, but one of the most efficient is to rely on modern marketing methods. By using online advertising and email campaigns, you can reach a large number of potential customers without spending a lot of money. In addition, social media platforms offer free or low-cost methods of promoting your products or services to a wide audience. This approach can be more effective than traditional advertising methods, such as print or broadcast media, which can be expensive and reach a limited audience. It’s also important to make sure that your website is optimized for search engine ranking, as this can help you attract potential customers who are looking for your products or services online.

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Avoid Overpriced Services

Another way to reduce costs in your business is to avoid overpriced services. There are many providers of professional services, such as marketing, accounting, and legal, who charge more than necessary. Do your research to find affordable providers who can offer you the same quality of service. The money you save can be reinvested back into your business. This can be a difficult task if you don’t have the time to do it yourself, but there are many resources available to help you find the right provider for your business.

Use In-House Resources

Another way to reduce costs is to use in-house resources. For example, if you are a small business, you can handle marketing and accounting tasks yourself. You can also contract out specific tasks to freelancers or other service providers. This will help you save money on outside services. The key is to be strategic about which tasks you choose to outsource and which ones you can do yourself. It may take a little bit of trial and error, but you’ll eventually find a cost-effective solution that works for your business. The bottom line is that you need to be smart about where you’re spending your money and how you can reduce costs. By using in-house resources and outsourcing specific tasks, you can save a lot of money in the long run.

Negotiate Better Rates

One way to reduce costs is to negotiate better rates with your suppliers. Many businesses pay more than they need to for the goods and services they use. Talk to your suppliers and see if you can get a better rate. You may be able to lower your costs by 10% or more. The key is to be willing to walk away if you can’t get a good deal. This can be tough, but it’s often necessary to keep your business running efficiently. It’s also important to shop around and compare prices.

Use Recycled Materials

Another way to reduce your business costs is by using recycled materials. This can include everything from recycled paper to recycled office furniture. Not only is this better for the environment, but it can also help to save you money in the long run. You can find recycled materials through online retailers or through local suppliers. The more you buy, the more you can save. This is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint as well as your costs.

Improve Process Management

Process management is one of the key aspects that can help reduce costs in any business. The better the processes are streamlined and organized, the easier it will be to identify and eliminate wasteful spending. Make sure everyone in your organization understands and follows the established processes, and track performance regularly to ensure that they are still effective. The less waste there is, the more money you’ll save. This can include things like improving communication and coordination between departments, automating tasks wherever possible, and using technology to your advantage.

Cut Staffing Costs

One way to reduce costs in your business is to cut back on staffing costs. You may be able to do this by reducing the number of employees you have, or by finding ways to make your current employees more efficient. You could also outsource some of your staffing needs to a third-party company. The key is to find the right balance between reducing costs and still providing the level of service that your customers expect. This can be a tricky balancing act, but it’s worth the effort.

 

In conclusion, reducing costs in your business can be done in a variety of ways. It’s important to find the solutions that work best for you and your company, and to always be looking for ways to save money.  Additionally, by being proactive and strategic about your spending, you can ensure that your business is as cost-effective as possible.

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