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Small Business Advertising Tips

Running a small business is always a challenge, especially if you’re a sole proprietor. But integrating your brick and mortar business with your online presence is a whole different ball game. The typical small...

Turning Your Small Online Shop into a Global Empire

Back in the day, it didn't take much to spread the word about a small business. Word of mouth usually did the trick. While that technique still holds its own to this very day, there a much more effective way to do it and that is through the internet.

You see, word of mouth can only do so much for you. Let's say you run a small online shop selling watches of all kinds from antique Rolex pieces to the latest Swatch model. But your clientele is focused locally because let's face it, no one will buy an expensive watch from a seller who is out of state for fear that they will receive a fake.

You're lucky enough that there are even people who actually took a chance and ordered from you in the first place. Your succeeding customers may have been friends or related to your past clients. While your small online business stays afloat, there's still a lot of potential you have yet to tap. How can you grow your online shop so that you can reach the global market? By maximizing the benefits of the internet.

1. Make Sure Your Website Look Legit

This is probably the most important aspect of running an online business. Some online entrepreneurs tend to overlook this fact because they think that having a shop listed on Etsy, Amazon, or Ebay is enough. This may be true if you have no intention of ever growing your business. However, if you are looking to build a global empire, a legitimate looking website is imperative.

What makes an e-commerce site look legit? First off, the homepage should look clean. That means, no cluttered ads because it will look spammy. Also, it should load up easily. Leave out any elements that may cause your site to load poorly. Next, make it appealing and relevant to your "brand".

Additionally, it is important that your contact details are listed on your website. This gives shoppers a sense of security knowing that they can reach you if they have a question.

Lastly, make sure that your FAQs section answers the most basic and common questions customers have. It may seem that this aspect is just common sense but the truth is, there are e-commerce sites that don't have comprehensive a FAQs page.

2. Make Recommendations

Let's go back to our earlier example – you sell watches. When a person visits a particular e-commerce site without a specific item in mind, they are not likely to stay if they don't see anything interesting right away. To prevent this from happening, the homepage of your website should have a section that will entice "window shoppers" to browse through your products. The best way to make this happen is by putting a "best watch brands" section where your top selling watches are listed. You can create a variety of pages like this one – for men, women, teens, kids, etc.

3. Use Social Media

If you're an avid Facebook user, you may have noticed the growing number of articles that are being shared by other users over and over again. You can use this method to your advantage. First however, you need to create a Facebook page for your business. Next, you need to hire a writer who can write reviews on the watches you sell or you can do them yourself.

Once you have these reviews written, publish them on the blog section of your website and use your Facebook account to circulate them. You see, shoppers these days rely on reviews posted on the internet to give them in-depth knowledge about an item they are looking to order online. By using Facebook to share watch reviews, potential customers will know the specifications of each watch model you are selling. This will also lead them to browse through your website a little bit more and the chances of them buying will be higher.

4. Workout International Shipping

Naturally, if you want to go on a global scale, you need to figure out how you will be able to ship your customers' purchases internationally. It is best that you find a courier service that can offers reasonable rates as well as insurance. This is especially important for online businesses that sell expensive items such as watches. 

Online Marketing Tips For Local-Based Service Businesses

Online marketing strategies will undoubtedly constitute a critical piece of a service-oriented business’s financial success (especially in local markets) and it doesn’t matter if a business offers plumbing work, electrical work, pest-control, or other needed services. The way a company advertises online will hugely influence how that company performs in a local market and ultimately how successfully they are.

Here are 4 basic tips for local service based business online success:

Building a Stellar Website

If a company’s website is vague or speaks over a client’s head, it will likely drive business away. One way to prevent this problem from happening is to hire a competent teenager to review the website’s advertisement copy. If a teenager understands what the company is offering, an older paying client will likely understand as well. If it becomes obvious that the teenager is having difficulty understanding the overall message being conveyed then the advertisement copy needs to be reworked. A service oriented company will lose tonnes of business if their clients do not clearly understand their company website.

In today’s market, the look and feel of a company’s website speaks volumes to a visiting client. Once the advertisement copy passes this initial test, the focus becomes the website’s flow: does the website and its graphical representations properly lead the client to obtain the information they need?

Blogging to Reach Clients

A fantastic way to show clients how much they need a company’s services is through a company blog. Its estimated that more than 50% of small businesses in the western world now have some form of blog connected to their website.

Each blog entry needs to outline a problem and then define how the company solves that problem for the client. Helping client’s grasp the relevance of a company’s products and services is central to any successful marketing strategy. If the client doesn’t see how, or where the company comes in, they will be reluctant to use that company’s services. In addition to this, a company blog is an opportunity to let clients know the company knows its field of expertise: a great way to build authority in a local market.

Pinging and Social Bookmarking

Pinging And social bookmarking helps a company’s blog articles get noticed by potentially interested clients. It’s pointless to spend so much time writing blog entries if nothing is done to drive traffic to them. Pinging alerts search engines to be able to find the latest blog posts that have been posted. The more blog posts an author pings, the greater the potential for getting search engine traffic to the blog.

Social bookmarking works in a similar way; only the blog author is directly alerting people to read their posts. The great news is that both of these online marketing strategies ends up being free!

The long term marketing benefits of social bookmarking and pinging for service oriented companies include:

  • Improved search engine rankings.
  • Wider exposure and branding.
  • Generates an increase in traffic volume.

Achieving High Search Engine Rankings.

Being ranked as an authority site is extremely beneficial to a company’s online business success, and this applies more so to service businesses.

Almost 90% of local service businesses clients come from local search engine traffic and for this reason high rankings are extremely valuable. As an example, a water damage company such as The CS Water Pros, who focus on flood damage in Melbourne, estimate that almost 100% of its business comes from Google places!

By Following the simple tips above, a local business has the opportunity to dominate its local market and receive a constant stream of local clients – which should be the number one goal for a successful service business.

Does your website pass your test?

Web design is similar to building a home – the design and architecture of each room will define how you feel about your space, so take a look at your site and ask yourself, is your website giving the right impression?

Healthcare Marketing Requires a Different Strategy

High end professionals such as law firms and medical institutes constantly inquire about up-to-date trends in law / healthcare marketing in hopes of improving leads and boosting their customer base. But contrary to what you’ve read there are surefire techniques that can place a website into the spotlight. Better yet, there is one dominant factor that speaks volumes to visitors – your website design, and you can bet this one factor sets every website apart from the pack.

Motivating Prospects and Potential Clientele

The web has become the biggest advertising and marketing medium ever to draw a crowd – over 10 Billion a day. But how many medical offices reap the rewards of such a huge online audience? Web Design is crucial to your medical website design is to your organization.

Have you ever visited a website and clicked away immediately? You’re not alone. Solving the click-off problem is one of the more common annoyances for business owners. Fortunately, there are 5 techniques to improve your website right now.

1. Slow-loading Sites: its guaranteed visitors will not hang-on and wait for websites to load. In today’s hurried lifestyle visitors have very little time to waste and if your website cannot produce information in a blink of the eye, you’ve lost a visitor. One of the biggest contributors to slow-loading pages is rich media. Flash animations, video, audio and improperly compressed images can make your web pages crawl. By giving up a slight amount of quality, you gain faster load-time and a better user experience.

Find out about your site’s speed at Google Page Speed Insights.

2. Color Appeal: Studies prove attractiveness is the single most important factor to increase credibility and colors are important to your websites success. Colors express mood and trigger and emotional response. When you see a specific color you may automatically think of calming experiences or danger and urgency. Are the colors on your website creating the right or wrong impression of your business?

Of course a lot of science has gone into using true colors and you could simply Google which colors go best with your site, but another way to match the right colors to your market is to observe what your target audience is used to seeing. For example, a corporate audience would respond well to navy blue, red, and white. However, gardeners would take well to green and yellow colours. A good example of a site that conveys a very clear and trustworthy palette is www.nowinnofeelaw.co.uk. The law industry requires a truthful open attitude which this site does though it’s use of colour and although the design is very basic it does do the job.

3. Eye Capture: Is your key content difficult to locate? By positioning objects on your website in the right position, you can capture the usual eye movement of your audience. People view websites from left to right and then scan down the page. Because this happens within the first few seconds, it’s vital you position your most important assets in places where visitors will look for them.

Visitors will initially look at the top left panel of your website, so position your logo in the top left corner. Next, the eyes move across to the top right corner. An attention-grabbing image that is relevant to your industry will solidify what your website represents, so visitors feel confident they’ve arrived in the right place. Finally, emotionally-charged content should follow.

4. Easy Navigation: If visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, they will bail on you and look elsewhere. Your site design should allow your visitors to get where they want to go quickly and effortlessly, with a minimum number of clicks. To help visitors locate specific information feature navigation with logical hierarchy.

5. Compelling Headlines: How do stop visitors dead in their tracks leaving them craving more from you? It begins with your headline. Headlines are the first few words that your visitors will read on your site and those words can make a significant difference in capturing attention. People generally scan web pages, only stopping when something captivating catches their eye. A few words can create a mental picture, which is more potent that any image. To capture the attention of visitors, use headlines that clearly state the most important benefits of your product or service, and follow with enticing content. Of course, this can take a bit of discipline, but its well worth the time.

Developing a successful website can be a daunting task that requires a formula for popularity. A visitor glances at your website and within seconds makes assumptions, but you can do the same. Give your website a glance and honestly assess. Now think, is your website giving the right impression?

So… does you site pass your test?

Social Media Marketing Tips from the Bigwigs

If you are running a small business you might consider Instagram to not really be that helpful to your digital marketing strategy. While on one hand it does seem to be awash with “selfies”, it is a particularly effective visual way of getting your marketing messages across and you can use hashtags to help target your content to people who might be searching for what you’re offering. I always think of a small business such as a pest removal company as being one of the hardest types of businesses to convince to give social media a go, but trust me – even pest removal companies should be using it.

The basics

It is easiest to think of this platform is as a social media communication channel. It’s all about user-generated content. the company started in 2010 and was initially focused on photos (it’s since diversified to also enable videos to be shared). It’s growth and popularity has been phenomenal – it’s fun to use (the digital filters enable you to have fun with your photos) and perhaps even more importantly it integrates seamlessly with all of your other social media channels. Post your updates and you can easily maximize your impact by having it post everywhere else too.

What’s the point of hashtags?

This used to be something that really just related to Twitter but it’s a search functionality that has been readily adopted by all of the major social media platforms. It’s a way of improving the search ability of what you are posting about. For example if you had posted a photo online and used a hash-tag such as #pest or #pestcontrol or #deadbug then any users searching for those terms would be able to find your post.

Case Study 1: Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts has the perfect kind of product to promote on such a platform – it is very visual and fun. This donut chain do a great job of using social media to engage with their customers. The hash-tag that they promo is #mydunkin and they love showcasing people who are enjoying their donuts. They also do a good job of “newsjacking” which is a common marketing ploy of using a major holiday or news event and use them as opportunities for posting appropriately themed donuts.

Case Study 2: Pottery Barn

Any proud home owners with an interest in interior design love to show off their work, and Pottery Barn are using Instagram to capitalize on that. They’re pushing the hashtag #potterybarn and encourage customers to post their photos which are then promoted by the company.

Case Study 3: Levi’s

Everyone loves these classic jeans and Levi’s use the hash-tag #liveinlevis to promote their different products. What they are doing is building a reputation for themselves as style and fashion experts. It always helps to specialize in a certain area, and be seen as the expert. A great similar example if this strategy can be seen at atticpestauthority.com where they specialize in pest removal from attic spaces – this helps them be seen as the ‘expert in attic pest problems’.

How do I employ these tips  for my business?

If we learn from what other businesses are doing well we can see that visual communication is powerful – use compelling images; we can see that hashtags are essential for improving search results (#deadbug); and that creating opportunities to engage with your audience maximizes your marketing impact.

Have some fun with this social media platform. Show the world what you do and the services that your businesses can offer. Demonstrate exactly why you are the expert that they are looking for. Use your hashtags wisely #deadbug.