technology best practices for small business growth
Updated: 26 min 34 sec ago
With everyone pushing social media these days, saying you ‘have’ to make social accounts, and so many to choose form, it can be easy to lose track of why social media is important in the first place. The simple answer is social contacts. Social media allows you to build and nurture contacts with people all over the globe; to create REAL relationships, even when you don’t see that person on a daily basis. And these relationships can be vital to the success of your business.
That said, there is a huge void between the creation of social media accounts and the creation of real relationships. Social media doesn’t do the work for you – and often it creates more work than necessary.
Consider this example:
You hear about ‘Person A’ who might be a good business contact. You turn to Google to search and learn more about the person. You visit their LinkedIn page. You shuffle through your current contacts to see if you have a mutual contact to connect through. You search for common interests to connect naturally. You locate their email and other social media accounts. You enter the information into your CRM or contact tool. You connect and engage a few times, each time having to log the things you did or new things you learned for future reference.
And the list goes on, of course, because although social media is a great meeting place, it’s still up to you to do the work of forming real relationships.
Fortunately, an app called Nimble can simplify the process, saving you time and facilitating relationship management. Nimble has its own platform, but they have recently created the Nimble Smart Contacts App that imports Nimble data wherever you may be working online. The Nimble Smart Contacts App places an icon on your browser toolbar and you can click it wherever you are working (in your inbox, viewing a social media profile, etc.) to get extensive Nimble data on that contact.
And the Nimble data that you collect will allow you to:
- See a map of that person’s profiles across all their social sites (not just the single profile you are viewing).
- View their social stream on any of their social accounts, including the ability to comment, retweet, etc.
- See summary information such as bio, location, shared contacts, shared interests, influence, and experiences.
- Access your past communications with that person (and record any new communications)
- See what they’ve been saying on their social channels and if they’ve mentioned you or your business.
- Send messages to other channels (for example, send a tweet to the person right from your email).
- Add notes to their profile.
- Schedule follow up tasks based on the current conversation.
- Import new contacts and all the information from their social sites with a few clicks.
By giving you complete & insightful data about new or existing contacts, you save the time of having to research and log the information yourself. It also allows you to have intelligent conversations and build relationships with ease.
The Nimble Smart Contacts App is something you really need to see to fully appreciate. The video below highlights the main Nimble platform then demonstrates the capabilities of the new Nimble Smart Contacts App.
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No one can deny the convenience of online shopping -you search products online, click ‘purchase’ and in a matter of days your products are delivered directly to your doorstep. But, what happens when you’re not available to receive your package? With most delivery hours taking place during working hours, packages are often left exposed for anyone to take, thrown on lawns or held until your able to sign for the package. This causes a major frustration for customers.
In an effort to fix this issue, Amazon has been working on a solution to make receiving packages easier and more convenient for it’s customers. In fact, they have already started Sunday deliveries and are not using their new “trunk delivery” program.
In this article, “Amazon Wants the Keys to Your Car: The Retail Giant Plans to Deliver Packages in Customers’ Trunks”, Ramon Ray shares the details of Amazon’s new delivery service. Working exclusively with Audi, Amazon Prime customers are able to have products shipped directly into the trunk of their car.
Find out more about Amazon’s “trunk delivery” program by reading Ramon’s article on Endicia.
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I’m just getting started with Google AdWords. What is one tip or trick I should consider?
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Start With Search Only
I would start with search only, not display network ads. Search allows you to show up only when someone is searching for your keywords. The display network will give you a lot of impressions, but not a lot of quality clicks. Use the first six months of your campaign to fine tune keywords, bids, etc. so that you’re using your budget wisely. Then you can expand to the display network later.
– Angela Harless, AcrobatAnt
2. Dive Into Keyword Tools
Your ad performance is dependent on the keywords you select. If you’re just getting started, utilize Google’s Keyword Planner to identify a list of keywords to potentially use in your campaign. You can also get keyword inspiration from tools like SpyFu, WordStream and AdGooroo.
– Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
3. Set Budget Limits
Google Adwords is a very powerful and effective tool, yet it can be intimidating and confusing in the beginning. Be sure to set hard spend limits for your campaign and for your ad groups. This will make sure that you don’t burn through your entire budget in the first day.
– Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Video Doorbell
4. Optimize Your Landing Page and Conversion Goals
Before you start an Adwords campaign, make sure that you’ve properly implemented conversion tracking on your optimized landing page. Often, small businesses drive traffic using Adwords and have no idea if it’s converting at all. Set up proper conversion goals in Google Analytics before you start spending money to drive traffic to your landing page.
– Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster
5. Use Adwords Scripts
Managing Adwords accounts can be made increasingly effective if you use Adwords Scripts. Using these scripts, you can automatically label keywords for bid updates, track performance, monitor quality score and much more. There are a variety of optimizations that you can implement using these scripts.
– Marcela DeVivo, Gryffin Media
6. Link Them With Google Analytics
As the Adwords reporting system alone won’t tell you what happens after people click your ads, I recommend linking your Adwords account to your Google Analytics. This will provide you a wealth of information, starting with their initial ad clicks all the way to their exit or checkout. Also consider linking them to Google Webmaster tools to get the most comprehensive reports, all under one roof.
– Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net
7. Limit Your Geographic Reach
Google AdWords can get expensive quickly. One way to limit your costs is to restrict your ads so that they only appear to users searching within specific states, regions, cities or zip codes. Even if you provide products or services nationwide, starting with smaller geo-specific ad campaigns will allow you to test and optimize your campaigns for max ROI before expanding your reach and spend.
– Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals
8. Optimize Your Campaign
When starting with Adwords, make sure to try many variations of your copy and keywords to see which campaign works best. Have a threshold in place to find out which campaigns to invest in and which ones to pause so that you do not spend too much money on poorly performing campaigns.
– Randy Rayess, VenturePact
9. Make Sure Ads Direct to Content
We’ve seen that Adwords are a great compliment to content marketing. If you can put ad spend behind an awesome white-paper or eBook, you’ll land a lot more leads than directing the leads to a landing page offering nothing more than a sales call. We used a knowledge management template and it’s worked great.
– Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.
10. Learn the Different Keyword Match Types
There are three well known match types on Google Adwords: Exact Match, Phrase Match and Broad Match. But there are also the lesser known Negative Keywords and Phrase Match Modifiers. Sometimes improving the quality score of a keyword is as simple as switching a Broad Match keyword to Phrase Match. Doing this will direct more relevant traffic to your site.
– Andrew Namminga, Andesign
11. Experiment Continuously
This is a 100 percent the place to experiment. You have to be diligent and run many campaigns to see what works — and run them often. Many factors play into how your AdWords are doing and so their effectiveness will change over time. I’ve heard of companies designing hundreds of campaigns around multiple sets of keywords and tweaking them based on data. Get ready to dig in to be successful.
– Neel Murthy, swapbox
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Last week Verizon, the nations largest wireless carrier, announced a plan to purchase AOL for $4.4 billion in cash, pending regulatory approval. The purchase will combine one of the largest mobile networks with a leading content provider, and will give Verizon a significant foothold in the world of digital media and marketing.
This is not the first play we’ve seen of a wireless company moving into the media space. Last year wireless giant AT&T made a move to purchase satellite TV provider DirectTV for $48.5 billion dollars. While that transaction is still ongoing, it certainly signifies a shift in the consumer market and a play for the combination of mobile and media and a solidification that content and video are still king.
With this new merger, Verizon plans to capitalize on the trend of media consumption moving to mobile and video. As part of the deal they will not only absorb AOL’s 2 million subscribers, but also AOL’s original video content series, Park Bench with Steve Buscemi and The Future Starts Here. In addition to the video content, they also acquire AOL’s websites, which include content giants Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget.
Some of the plans that Verizon will put in place after the purchase include the launch of a video streaming service, similar to Netflix or Hulu, for mobile devices this summer. There will also most likely be a move towards personalization of ads and content for the millions of Verizon mobile customers now that they have access to AOL’s solid and well developed digital advertising platform, which was strengthened by AOL’s purchase of online video advertising platform Adap.tv in 2013.
What does all of this mean for small business? While there will be different impacts to services from these providers, the one major influence this has on the small business market is the solidification that content and video are crucial elements to reaching your market and making an impact. While Verizon and other big companies are doing this on a massive scale, every small business can have a similar impact in their market by employing content and video marketing. This purchase solidifies a trend that we’ve seen coming for a long time, and those who ignore it will find themselves simply left behind.
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Email is an important part of any business, but it’s certainly not the most collaborative tool in the world. Discussing and managing projects with email often results in disjointed conversations where everyone is not on the same page. Because of this, many business owners have opted for more collaborative project and customer management systems. But what if you didn’t have to learn a new system and there was a way to easily make your email more collaborative? A new company called GrexIt believes they have the solution and they are turning Gmail into a collaboration and project management tool!
GrexIt is a tool that works with Gmail and Google Apps. It allows you and your team to create shared labels that automatically sync to everyone’s inbox once they are given access. Within the shared labels, everyone can see the follow up emails and also comment using shared notes. It’s a way for all team members to work on specific tasks while also staying informed regarding all the other tasks and advances within the project.
How GrexIt Works
This example demonstrates how you can use GrexIt in your business:
- An email comes in related to a specific aspect of your business. You can give it a label to identify it. (example Sales Lead, X Project, Customer Inquiry, etc)
- You can then share this label with all relevant team members. The label will then appear in their Inbox and any email with this label will be automatically synced to their inbox so they have access too.
- From there you can assign tasks from the main label simply by creating a second shared label. For example, you may create Task: John and Task: Ann labels, and assign specific emails with each label so each team member knows what they will be working on.
- When a task is complete, a third label can be assigned (for example “Complete”). Therefore when John finishes a task you have assigned to him, he can simply add the Complete label so you and all other team members know the task status.
- During the process you can also create shared notes regarding a particular email. Shared notes are also automatically synced so it is a quick and easy way for everyone to communicate on particular tasks.
With the use of shared labels and shared notes, GrexIt allows you to more effectively use your inbox. You can delegate responsibilities, collaborate with the team, check on the status of each assigned task, and sort/filter labels to quickly find the information you need.
You can learn more in the help/FAQ section here. Also, this quick one minute video shows you exactly how GrexIt works.
GrexIt Business Uses
There are many ways you could use GrexIt in your business, but some of the main ways are:
- Project Management – Create a main label for the project (Project X). Create labels for all team members (Task: John; Task: Ann, etc) and a Status: Complete label that members can use when they finish a task. Now all aspects of the project can be assigned. All team members who have access to the Project X label can see all aspects of the project and know who is working on what. They can also communicate with each other using shared notes to move the tasks along.
- Customer Support – Create a main Customer Support label and share it with your customer support team. As customer emails come in you would (1) assign it the Customer Support label so the team can see the new inquiry and (2) create a second label to assign it to a specific team member. When the issue is resolved, that team member can mark it with the Complete label.
- Sales Leads – Create a Sales Leads label and share it with your sales team. When a lead comes in you can then create a second label to assign a certain person to that lead.
GrexIt has infused the aspect of collaboration that you find in other project management software in order to make an everyday tool like email more productive. It is currently used in more than 50 countries by over 1000 companies including names like Change.org and Pinterest. You can give it a try with their free 14 day trial and if you like it, plans range between $5 and $12 per user a month.
There are many tools for project management and customer support, but for business owners who want to better utilize their email for these aspects of business, GrexIt may be the tool for you.
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Facebook vs. Youtube: Who’s Winning the Video Marketing Battle?
By: Brad Jefferson, CEO of Animoto
Over the past few months, the internet has been abuzz with chatter about Facebook overtaking YouTube as the go to destination for video on the web. Facebook surpassed YouTube in total number of video views on desktop in the U.S. last August. They’ve also been ramping up their video functionality, with the recent launch of a new-and-improved Videos Tab, including Playlists, and a Featured Video module for pages, as well as the ability to embed Facebook videos across the web. But what does this mean for marketers?
Should businesses ditch YouTube for Facebook when it comes to their video marketing plan? Facebook may be on the rise, but there are still plenty of benefits to sharing videos on YouTube as well. It may just be time for a strategy readjustment.
YouTube, A Death Greatly Exaggerated
Don’t let Facebook’s newfound success with video fool you into thinking that YouTube is passé. Google’s video giant Youtube still has over 1 billion users; people watch hundreds of millions of hours of video each day; and the number of hours of video watched each month is up 50% year over year. Most importantly, YouTube is still the world’s second largest search engine behind Google.
If you want your videos to get discovered by new people via search, YouTube is still the place to be. Any video content that you’d like people to be able to discover through organic search should be uploaded to your YouTube channel. When formulating your video titles, descriptions and tags, be sure to include the keywords that people would likely be searching for when trying to find a company or product with your offering to make it easier for them to find your videos, both in YouTube search results and via Google.
Facebook, The Contender
So while YouTube remains important for any video marketing strategy, , it’s important to understand how to benefit from Facebook’s sudden rise in video. Earlier this year, a report from Socialbakers showed that “native Facebook videos get more reach than any other type of post.” Facebook users are hungry for video, and incorporating it into your strategy can help your content get in front of more people than if you simply stick to photos, links and text status updates.
Facebook has also become the platform of choice for video advertisers. A recent report from Mixpo revealed that advertisers and agencies are taking the Facebook plunge when it comes to video advertising. When asked about what platforms they ran video campaigns on last year and what platforms they plan to run video campaigns on in the next year, more respondents reported plans to run video ads on Facebook than any other network, including YouTube.
Why is Facebook the place to be for video advertising? For starters, the social network makes it really easy for advertisers (large and small) to target very specific groups of consumers. Mixpo quotes Jonathan Nelson, CEO of Omnicom Digital, as saying, “When you have that much known information, tied to analytics and an ad server, you can start doing messaging in a way no one’s ever done before. That’s marketing nirvana.” But Facebook isn’t only great for advertisers because of targeting – it’s also great because of the engagement factor.
YouTube is inherently good for search engine optimization and driving views. However, views have become a less important indicator to marketers and advertisers in recent years. The Mixpo study revealed that, in a ranking of the most important metrics when running video ads on social, views placed fifth. What was more important? Engagement, shares, conversions, and total time spent watching. Facebook offers a larger opportunity for engagement and shares, which is why more and more advertisers are turning to the social network for their video campaigns.
So who’s winning the video marketing battle? The truth is, both YouTube and Facebook are integral parts of an effective online video strategy. Utilize the strengths of both platforms to maximize the effectiveness of your video marketing strategy: reach prospects with YouTube and create and engage with your community on Facebook.
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If you could recommend that any developer you hire take just one course/class, what subject would it be in and why?
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Creating intriguing content is the best way to connect with your audience to grow your brand, and interactive experiences provide some of the most engaging content out there today. The D3 library of code gives developers the opportunity to visualize your message with interactivity, which is why mastering D3 will provide your developer (and brand) a much needed edge.
– Amy Balliett, Killer Infographics
2. Teamwork and Communication
The biggest problem we see with developers is a lack of communication skills — the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. They sit next to each other, but do not speak with one another. If they learn to communicate more effectively, they will naturally teach each other. This leads to fewer bugs, improved code quality and compatibility, and faster delivery time.
– Derek Labian, MediaFire
3. Public Speaking
It’s a known fact that developers can lack in the communications department. Conversational comfort aside, it is important for a developer to be at ease while speaking to a group and have the ability to outwardly communicate their thoughts. This would eventually improve the communication inside the organization as well.
– Ranan Lachman, Pley
4. Basics of Project Management
We want every hire to understand how to organize, plan and successfully implement tasks for themselves and others. Especially since we’re a 100 percent remote company, it’s essential for everyone on our development team to take charge of their own projects and get others on board when needed. I love it when a developer has an active, project management mentality about their own work.
– Jared Brown, Hubstaff
5. Sales and Business Development
The best developers are those who understand the business case behind the software they are building. Being adept in sales and biz dev, while also digging deep into what the value in the software is to the owner, will help them really level up their value to the project.
– Thomas Cullen, LaunchPad Lab
6. Search Engine Optimization for Developers
While SEO is primarily the responsibility of the marketing department, there are a lot of things that developers can do to improve the search rankings of a site. Ensuring proper use of canonical tags, structured data mark-ups and optimized URL structures are just a few of the “back end” activities that search engines consider that fall outside of the realm of expertise of the marketing team.
– Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals
7. A Crash Corse on Your Industry
If you work in HR Technology, have your technologists get up to speed on what’s happening in the world of Human Capital Management. If you work in dog food, send your dev team to a conference or class for pet food scientists. Get your team out of the code and into your space. Seeing and hearing the challenges from the perspective of your buyer will do a lot to shape their approach to product.
– Chris Ostoich, BlackBookHR
8. A Lean Startup Course
I would encourage everyone on the product team to sign up for the How to Build a Startup course on Udacity as part of their new hire on-boarding. The course introduces a scientific, customer-centric approach that can help teams eliminate uncertainties through measurable hypothesis and pass/fail experiments, allowing developers to rapidly iterate and build customer validated products.
– Vishal Shah, NoPaperForms
9. Usability Testing
Conducting early research will save you months of work when you realize that what you thought made sense from a development perspective makes no sense to end users. Usability testing is essential to delivering a great customer experience.
– Ania Rodriguez, Key Lime Interactive.com
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As more and more small businesses lose market share to larger brands with more sophisticated digital platforms and infrastructures, experts are recommending that small businesses foray into the world of mobile apps. More than just the ‘next step’ in digital marketing, mobile apps have become a solution to the dynamic and evolving needs of small businesses in a mobile world.
We know that YOU want to be at the forefront of technology that helps your business grow – but you also probably have concerns such as how much an app costs and how you can build one if you don’t have technical experience. Luckily we’ve found a solution – the Como app creator. Let’s take a look at how Como helps build a business app in four simple steps!
Why Your Small Business Needs an App
The technology tides turn quickly and while great importance is placed on having a responsive website that caters to mobile users, experts are recommending that businesses go a step further and create their own mobile app. Creating an app for your small business can reap many benefits, including:
- Building brand awareness
- Growing customer loyalty with built in digital loyalty programs
- Increasing revenue with coupons and a mobile store
- Creating an additional mobile marketing channel that creates a closer connection to customers
- Standing out over your competition who haven’t embraced the technology
Como is the world’s leading mobile app solution, powering more than one million small business apps around the world – with 4,500 new app created every day. Their app creation platform allows anyone, regardless of technology skill level, to create a customized, professional app for their business. With their platform you can build an app completely from scratch or use one of the pre-created templates then customize it for your business.
The best part is that the Como platform is so simple, you can get started in just seconds.
Creating an App with Como in 4 Easy Steps
One of the reasons that Como is such a popular and effective choice for those looking to build an app, is the ease of their platform and how simple they’ve made the app creation process. You can literally build an app in four simple steps.
First, choose a “Name” for your app.
Second, you’ll be asked to connect to either your Facebook account or a Facebook business page. If you connect to your Facebook account during this step, your app is created right away.
If you choose to not connect to Facebook, you’ll be prompted to choose the type of app you are creating.
After that, it’s on to customization, where you can add any of the additional 25 features you want displayed on your app. This includes:
- Money making features, such as:
- Mobile stores where customers can make instant PayPal purchases of products
- Table reservations,
- Ordering food
- Scheduling appointments
- Digital loyalty cards and programs
- Promotional features, such as:
- Sending push notifications to keep in touch with customers
- Company About / Contact information
- Click-to-Call for easy customer contact
- Customer Reviews
- Product catalogs
- Upcoming events
- Social sharing that allows them to tell their networks about your business
- Sharing features, such as
- RSS feeds
- Social feeds
- Video galleries
- Photo galleries
In addition to content customization, you can also personalize the style and navigation of the app including changing colors, styles, backgrounds and layouts.
And there you have it! You now have a mobile app for your business!
Como is a simple-to-use mobile solution, with point & click creation, a picture that helps you visualize how your customized options will appear, and a comprehensive Help Center that provides video tutorials and plenty of informative articles to help you customize your app. They have made it as easy as possible for small businesses to create an app that moves their business into the mobile world, supported by a dedicated Como customer success team that helps throughout every stage of growth and development, including help with the app submission process, which makes it easier to get your app on the app stores so they can be downloaded by all your mobile customers.
Then of course, there is the new Como “6-Month Success Guarantee.” They promise that if your app doesn’t bring you meaningful business results in six months, they’ll extend your subscription for another six months at no cost. That’s pretty powerful stuff!!
As a solution, Como is a powerful ally that helps businesses turn mobile devices into tools for creating and sustaining loyal customers and driving revenue. You can build your app for free, and when you’re ready to share it with all your customers on iPhone and Android, just choose a Como subscription plan to get started.
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Odds are that most of us have used eBay to make a purchase for ourself online or know of someone that has used eBay time and time again to make their own purchases. As a shopper, we know that customer experience means everything when looking to purchase new products and as a seller, it is your goal to create a customer experience that will keep customers coming back for more. To achieve this, sellers must constantly have the mindset of narrowing the gap between sellers and buyers.
In this article on Endicia, “How to Sell on eBay: 4 Tips to Succeed in Online Sales”, Ramon Ray was able to gather some advice from eBay sellers for the best practices for selling online.
Here are four tips for selling your products on eBay:
- Outsource as much as you can
- Ship fast with the right shipping carrier solution
- Make your product descriptions very clear
- Impress with creative packaging
Check out Ramon’s article to learn more about the best practices for selling your products online as well as tips for creating good customer experience.
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How To Market on a Small Business Budget
“If you build it, they will come”. If only!!
One of the biggest struggles most small businesses face is trying to reach and attract customers. Whether you are a B2B (Business to Business) or a B2C (Business to Consumer) business, if you don’t have a way of letting people know you exist, they’ll never find you, regardless of how great your service or product is. With limited financial resources, there isn’t typically much left in the small business kitty to support a marketing budget. But that doesn’t need to put you out of the game. By getting creative, and resourceful, there are plenty of ways you can market like the big dogs on a small business budget.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Of the over 7 billion people on earth, over 3 billion of them are active internet users and over 2 billion have active social media accounts, according to We Are Social’s Jan 2015 Global Digital Snapshot. Creating Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube accounts is free – something even the smallest marketing budgets can handle! Social media, if done right, can play a big part in getting a business noticed by the right people. It’s just knowing what platforms will work best for your business and employing smart tactics to reach potential customers.
Here’s a quick outline of which platforms work best for different business types and some tips to help amplify your business presence:
Facebook: With nearly 802 million daily active users, Facebook has proved to be the perfect social media platform for most B2C businesses. While B2B’s will find some success, their time is better spent on other social platforms.
Tip: Facebook posts with less than 250 characters get 60% more engagement. Also, posts on Friday’s tend to get more engagement, while posts on Sundays get fewest comments.
Twitter: Twitter is a platform that both B2B and B2C businesses have found success. A recent study actually found that Twitter users visit B2B tech brand sites at a higher rate compared to average internet users, supporting the fact that there is a strong B2B audience. Additionally, 53 percent of Twitter users recommend products in their tweets at some point in time during their usage.
Tip: Tweets with 1-2 hashtags get 21 % higher average engagement. Tweets with more than 3 hashtags get 17% less engagement.
LinkedIn: While B2C’s have found some success on LinkedIn, this platform is truly the playground for the B2B. 83% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn to distribute content and for 93% of B2B marketers find LinkedIn the most effective social network for B2B lead generation, with 77% saying they’ve acquired at least one customer through LinkedIn.
Tip: Take advantage of the LinkedIn publishing platform to publish value added content that your target audience is seeking.
Pinterest: If you are looking to market to women between the ages of 18 and 35, then Pinterest is the platform for you! With over 70 million users worldwide, Pinterest is the fastest growing social platform, and it’s dominated by women. In fact, 83% of Pinterest users are women, 45% of which are between the ages of 35-54. Additionally, 100,000 of Pinterest members are retailers.
Tip: Get creative when using images on Pinterest and use them to tell your story and give users some insight into who you are and what your business is all about.
YouTube: Video is where it’s at and with over 1 billion users, YouTube is a powerhouse for any business that has a story to tell. More than cute kittens, YouTube offers businesses a platform to tell a story, give advice, educate and inform. And in today’s fast paced world, where time (and attention spans) are limited, video allows people to quickly access the information they want and need.
Tip: Just as with all social networks, one of the biggest keys to success on YouTube is consistency. Keep a steady stream of content coming to your channel so people have something to look forward to. Also, because people search on YouTube like they do on Google, make sure that you perfect video headlines and keywords so you can easily be found in the vast sea of content.
Regardless of which platform you choose to use, the most important thing to remember is that these are ‘social’ networks and the key to success is engaging and interacting with your followers. Let them know who you are, why you do what you do and how you do it. Allow them to become your brand advocates by creating customer experiences that entice them to check in, share photos and tell others about your business.
Whether you have $100K or $1 to spend on advertising, it doesn’t matter: social media has evened the playing field. All you need to do is take the time to determine which will work best for you and employ best practices that will attract and engage your customers. So maybe, in this case, if you build it, they WILL come.
This post was written in partnership with Progressive Insurance. I have been compensated, but the thoughts and ideas are my own. For additional small business tips, check out Progressive’s Small Business Big Dreams program.
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In the past couple of years, we have seen a rise in the number of entrepreneurs that are using crowdfunding to help raise money for their business ventures. With sites like, Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe, and their great community success, crowdfunding has proven to be a beneficial option for entrepreneurs looking to launch their businesses and set out on their entrepreneurial journeys. A successful crowdfunding campagin doesn’t just happen though. So, how do you make sure that your crowdfunding campaign succeeds?
In a recent article on Endicia, Ramon Ray shares how running a successful crowdfunding campaign also lead to the online success of FLUXMOB, a revolutionary portable phone charger. In the article, Co-Founder of FLUXMOB, Alan Tran shares three of the best ecommerce practices for online retailers as well as how to get the most out of your crowdfunding campaign.
From these three tips, Alan shares how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign the right way, how to build a relationships with manufacturers and how to continue to boost sales beyond crowdfunding. As many of us know, selling online isn’t easy, but with these best practices from FLUXMOB, you too can learn how to turn your online business into a success. To learn more about Alan’s keys to finding success check out Ramon’s article, “Crowdfunding for Your Online Business: ECommerce Best Practices from FLUXMOB”.
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The web is buzzing with speculation on a new possible Google targeted ads option – one that uses customer email addresses to better customize ads for consumers who are searching in order to make a purchase.
The rumor was first leaked by the Wall Street Journal. Although Google is not commenting with specifics at this time, sources say this new form of targeted ads could go into effect later this year or sometime next year.
In order to place these targeted ads, businesses would share customer emails with Google – email addresses obtained when a customer made a previous purchase on your website, for example.
Google would then match the email address on its end, perhaps by using Gmail addresses and primary and secondary email addresses they obtain from services such as YouTube and Google Maps.
The Wall Street Journal offered speculation on how these targeted ads would work. For example, an office supply business may provide email addresses of customers who recently purchased printers. The website owner could then bid on search terms – for example, in order for their ads to be placed when that same customer is Googling for printer ink later on.
To elaborate with other possibilities, if a clothing retailer sold winter clothing to a customer they could show targeted ads when the same customer is searching for summer clothing. Or an electronics retailer who sold an iPhone to a particular customer could use targeted ads to try to reclaim the customer as they are searching for iPhone accessories.
It is further speculated that this move would be a way to counter Facebook’s “custom audiences” targeted ads that use a similar method of linking businesses with their past customers. Advertising services such as “custom audiences” helped Facebook’s ad revenue grow 65% in 2014 while Google’s ad revenue only grew by 17%.
If it goes forward, this new Google targeted ads option would have additional possibilities too. For example, according to sources this option would only be available for search ads, but it could eventually spread to banner ads. Capabilities could also expand to include lookalike ads where a business can target searchers who have similar profiles to their past customers.
This possible Google targeted ads venture demonstrates the increasing sophistication of advertising, where businesses can target not only the type of customer but instead the exact customer they are looking for. Since the data (email address) comes directly from the business, it also may raise concerns about data privacy, making some customers question what exactly happens when they give out their personal information.
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