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Friday Small Business Roundup: Lead Generation and More

October 11th, 2013 ::

You’d like more leads, wouldn’t you? We thought so. Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post 5 Ways to Generate More Leads and start getting them.

Is your email campaign working? You’ll never really know unless you learn How to Measure Email For Engagement and Sales. Read Monika Jansen’s post to learn how.

If You Advertise on Facebook, You Need To Know About Power Editor. Read Monika Jansen’s post to learn more.

Are you using content marketing? See how you measure up to other businesses – read Rieva Lesonsky’s post How Companies Use Content Marketing to Generate New Leads.

Friday Small Business Roundup: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Inbound Marketing…and More

October 4th, 2013 ::

Are you using inbound marketing successfully? Maybe you’re not even sure what it is? No worries–our infographic “The Ins and Outs of Inbound Marketing” will get you up to speed.

In honor of  Techies Day, check out Monika Jansen’s post to learn the 7 Technical Skills Every Small Business Owner Needs For Online Marketing.

Then fine-tune your WordPress skills–read Monika Jansen’s post on WordPress 101: Basics Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know.

Leads are critical to small business growth. But What Leads Are the Most Valuable? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post to find out.

Online marketing tools are helping restaurant owners get new customers. Are you ahead of the curve? Find out in How Are Smart Restaurant Owners Using Digital Marketing? by Rieva Lesonsky.

Have you invested in your business’s technology lately? If not, you could be getting left behind. Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post Small Business Tech Spending: Do You Measure Up? to find out.

Are you targeting Millennial customers or Baby Boomer? Either way, check out Rieva Lesonsky’s post How to Target 2 of Today’s Hottest Markets.

Friday Small Business Roundup: Attracting Customers and More

September 13th, 2013 ::

Is a Lack of Capital Holding Your Business Back? Read Karen Axelton’s post to see what other small business owners are saying.

Is social media driving you nuts? Monika Jansen offers 5 Basic Ways to Keep Up With Social Media And Not Lose Your Mind.

Get more customers to your website. Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post How to Grow Your Business With Paid Search.

What Is Your Content Marketing Strategy? If you don’t have one, be sure to check out Rieva Lesonsky’s post.

Then power up your email marketing efforts with Monika Jansen’s tips in 3 Things You Need To Do To Create Engaging Email Marketing.

Consumers Are Feeling Frugal…or Are They? Read Maria Valdez Haubrich’s post to find out what consumers’ fickle spending habits mean to your marketing.

Friday Small Business Roundup: Inbound Marketing and More

September 6th, 2013 ::

Is Your Small Business Profiting From Inbound Marketing Yet? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post to learn what inbound marketing can do for you.

Blogging is one of the best tools in the inbound marketer’s arsenal. Read Monika Jansen’s post How to Build a Personal Brand With a Blog to boost your blogging skills.

Social media is a great inbound marketing tactic, too. Check out Monika Jansen’s 5 Tips for Using Instagram for B2B Marketing.

If your website isn’t optimized for mobile use, you could be missing out. Read Maria Valdez Haubrich’s post Mobile Shopping Surpasses Desktop for First Time to find out why.

Hurricane season is in full effect. Is Your Small Business Prepared for Disaster? Read Karen Axelton’s post to learn how to protect your business.

Small business owners have an optimistic outlook about the year ahead. Read Karen Axelton’s post How Are You Feeling? to see if you’re in tune with your peers.

Friday Small Business Roundup: Online Marketing and More

August 16th, 2013 ::

Want to drive more engagement with your email marketing campaign? Read Monika Jansen’s 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Autoresponder Emails.

Trying to drive more local customers to your business? Don’t miss Maria Valdez Haubrich’s post How Yelp Influences Local Shopping.

Should Your Online Store Expand Into Brick & Mortar? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post to help you decide.

Is Your Ecommerce Site Ready for Holiday 2013? Find out in Rieva Lesonsky’s post.

Marketing to Millennials? It’s All About Attitude, Karen Axelton explains in her post.

What Is Social Currency, and Why Is It Important for B2B Companies? Get the scoop in Monika Jansen’s post.

Friday Small Business Roundup: Ecommerce Boosters and More

August 9th, 2013 ::

Is Your Ecommerce Website Giving Mobile Shoppers What They Want? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post to find out.

Specifically, target one of the hottest groups of online shoppers by learning How Millennials Shop Online in Rieva Lesonsky’s post.

It’s not too early to start planning for holiday 2013 retailing. Read Is Your Ecommerce Site Ready for Holiday 2013? by Rieva Lesonsky to make sure you’re on the right track.

Looking beyond the standard promotional items? Read 19 Awesome and Useful Swag Ideas by Monika Jansen.

Power up your restaurant profits. Read Karen Axelton’s post on the latest restaurant trends to boost your business.

Is Your Office a Creative Space? Check out Maria Valdez Haubrich’s post to learn how the new trend in office design could spark innovation in your team.

Friday Small Business Roundup: Marketing With Google + and More

June 28th, 2013 ::

Are You Giving Online Shoppers the Customer Service Essentials They Expect? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post to find out.

Are you making the most of Google+? Read Monika Jansen’s 5 Steps for a Successful Google+ Hangout.

How Can Home-Related Businesses Market to Millennials? Discover how this generation is different from any other in Karen Axelton’s post.

Trying to reach new B2B customers? Don’t miss Maria Valdez Haubrich’s post How Content Marketing Helps Make the B2B Sale.

Speaking of new customers, did you know This Hidden College Market Could Be a Gold Mine? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post to find out what you could be missing out on.

Struggling to make your B2B marketing compelling? Read Monika Jansen’s 3 Examples of Engaging B2B Infographics From Non-Visual Companies.

You’re always trying to get new customers–but what about the ones you already have? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post Customer Service Tips to Keep Your Most Valuable Customers Happy to keep them coming back.

Become a brand customers love! Read Monika Jansen’s 9 Great Tips on Creating Lovable Marketing From Industry Experts.

 

Friday Small Business Roundup: Smarter Online Marketing and More

May 24th, 2013 ::

You’re sending out emails, but is anyone responding? If not, Monika Jansen has 9 Easy Ways to Improve Email Click-Through Rates.

What are customer personas and how can they help your marketing? Find out in 4 Easy Steps to Create Customer Personas, by Monika Jansen.

It doesn’t matter how many customers you attract to your business if they never come back a second time. Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post Is Your Business Driving Customers Crazy? to make sure you’re not driving customers away.

If you haven’t updated your business website since 1999, maybe it’s time to read Monika Jansen’s 8 Signs It’s Time for a New Website.

Hiring doesn’t have to mean the same old, same old. For Your Next Hire, Think Out of the Box, by Rieva Lesonsky, shows you some new ways to think about hiring.

Then expand your hiring horizons by reading Rieva Lesonsky’s How to Use Social Media to Find Job Candidates.

Do you own a restaurant? Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post to learn What Matters Most to Restaurant Customers.

How Are Your Employees Using Mobile Devices? See if you measure up in Rieva Lesonsky’s post.

Showrooming, Meet Webrooming

May 6th, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

What do customers want from their retail experiences today? Well, if your business includes both an ecommerce site and a physical location, then you’re one step ahead of the game. A new study from Accenture found what customers want most is the ability to shop anytime, any way and anywhere they want to—so the more options you can offer, the better.

Some 89 percent of consumers in The Accenture Seamless Retail Study say it’s important for retailers to let them shop for products however is most convenient for them. But retailers still have a way to go to accomplish this goal. While 94 percent say shopping in-store is easy, and 74 percent say online shopping is easy, just 26 percent say it’s easy to shop on a mobile phone.

While online shopping is growing, and 43 percent of respondents say they plan to shop more online in the future, it’s not necessarily growing at the expense of in-store shopping. In fact, although 73 percent of shoppers engage in showrooming (examining products in a retail store and then buying them online), a whopping 88 percent participate in “webrooming”—looking at products online and then heading to a physical store to make the purchase.

Regardless of their original shopping touchpoint – in-store, online or mobile – consumers expect their interaction with retailers to be a customized, uncomplicated and instantaneous experience, according to the survey. The research also indicates that consistency weighs heavily on the consumer experience. For example, 73 percent of consumers expect a retailer’s online pricing to be the same as its in-store pricing, and 61 percent expect a retailer’s online promotions to be the same as its in-store promotions.

The biggest takeaway from the survey: Consumers expect the same pricing, promotions and products in your physical store and your ecommerce site. They also expect the same level of service and ease of use in both places.

How important is speed to online and offline shoppers? Well, that depends:

  • 25 percent would wait up to 2 weeks to get the product if it means they get free shipping.
  • 24 percent say a same-day delivery option is important.
  • Of those, 30 percent will pay $5 to $10, and 19 percent will pay $11 to $20, for same-day delivery.

Asked what they would do if a store had a product they wanted but it was after business hours, 39 percent would wait for the store to open and buy it there; 36 percent would buy it online from the same retailer; and 22 percent would buy it elsewhere online.

What type of advertising influences retail shoppers? Physical and email coupons and offers ranked number-one, cited by 56 percent of respondents. Almost half (49 percent) were influenced by in-store offers. The least effective ads were online popup or banner ads, with 69 and 62 percent respectively saying these ads “never” influence what they buy.

What’s the lesson from this research? Far from being a drain on an ecommerce business, a physical store is still a “crucial asset” in differentiating your business from purely online retailers, the report contends. If you have both online and physical locations, the key is to make sure your brand and your shopping experience are consistent at every stage of the purchase process, and every place the customer might encounter it.

Image by Flickr user lululemon athletica (Creative Commons)

 

 

What Kind of Hire Is Right for Your Business?

May 3rd, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Do you need more help in your growing small business? That’s a nice problem to have. If you’re considering hiring someone to handle some of your workload, the first step is considering what kind of hire will fit best with your needs. Your options aren’t limited to full-time, permanent employees. Here are some possibilities and the pros and cons of each.

Permanent, full-time workers

Pros: Permanent employees tend to be more loyal because they typically receive benefits and perceive their jobs as having more opportunities for advancement. Time and money spent in training this type of employee in your processes and systems is typically well spent since they’ll be around for the long haul.

Cons: If you want to compete with bigger companies for permanent, full-time workers, you will need to offer benefits such as health insurance, 401(k) plans and paid time off. The cost of benefits can add as much as 20 to 30 percent to a worker’s salary, making full-time employees expensive.

Part-time workers

Pros: Part-time workers can be a great solution if you don’t need or can’t afford a full-time employee. Because many part-time workers only want to work nights or weekend hours, they can enable you to fill time slots that traditional 9-to-5 employees don’t want. You typically won’t need to offer benefits, either, further saving on costs.

Cons: Because they often have busy schedules outside work (that’s why they want to work part-time), some part-time workers can be unreliable. They may lack the dedication and skills you need.

Temporary workers

Pros: Temporary workers are a good option to handle busy seasons in your company without having to staff up or down. You can get temporary workers on board quickly, and you don’t have to deal with payroll or legal issues—the temporary agency handles all that.

Cons: It still takes time to get temporary workers up to speed on your company’s systems and procedures, and they typically won’t be as committed as actual employees.

Outsourced contractors

Pros: By using outside contractors to handle projects in your business, you can gain access to very skilled workers without having to pay benefits or invest in training. As with temporary workers, you can use contractors to staff up or down as needed quickly.

Cons: “Independent” contractors means just that—you can’t control how the contractors work, and if they get a bigger project, they may put yours on the back burner. An unreliable or unresponsive contractor can leave you in the lurch.

None of these options is inherently better or worse than the other—it’s simply a matter of weighing the pros and cons for your specific situation and needs.

Image by Flickr user StockMonkeys.com (Creative Commons)