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Big Websites To Grow Your Small Business in 2018

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The world is not what it used to be thirty, twenty, or even two years ago. Globalization has led to the increase in the number of companies competing with each on the planetary scale. Some of those are multinationals with lavish budgets and tremendous opportunities for advertising and marketing. They can afford to sign contracts with the most famous and successful people from the world of sports, arts, or show business. Their ads and commercials are everywhere starting from national TV channels and ending with big boards along country roads. But what about smaller companies with ambitions to dominate the market some day? How can they promote their goods and services to a wider audience with their limited funds? The answer is: go online.

There are numerous web resources that can be used for business promotion. Many of them are completely free or take a comparatively small commission for letting business owners place links to their blogs or websites.

Here is a review of some of the top websites that will definitely ensure your small business grows big in 2018 with their pros and cons.

1. YouTube

One of the giants of Internet marketing with billions of users in every corner of the Earth, this website can be described as “DIY marketing” resource. Anyone can create their own channel here and use if for promoting their business by attracting new subscribers. If the videos you publish on YouTube are of high quality or made by professionals, the chance to draw more users to your channel is higher and so are your business prospects. Apart from having your own YouTube channel, you may ask other users to drop a word about your company in their video blogs and either pay them for that or thank them by telling your own viewers about their channels.

There are a few negative aspects of placing your ads on YouTube, though. One of them is that anyone can leave comments to the videos you publish. Unfortunately, not all of those can be favorable. As a result, your business reputation may suffer, and your potential customers may opt for one of your competitors. Another issue with this website is that no one can guarantee that your entertaining, high-quality video will appeal to consumers and they will rush to buy your products. Even if you use the paid services offered here, you may end up with just a few dozen views, which is nothing at all.
On the whole, however, YouTube is well worth trying: By investing almost nothing you still have a chance to put your business in focus on the global scale.

2. Porch

This website is good for promoting contractors and small companies dealing with plumbing, interior or landscape design, and others. With standard features that many sites serving the same purpose have, Porch offers its users something unique as well. Homeowners and contractors can discuss various matters via a special social function. Users can also view the history of the work performed in a particular location. After signing up, homeowners can describe what type of work they need to be done on their property, specify a time frame (from a few days to a whole year), inform contractors of the compensation for their services, and attach photos or videos to their post. Once a local contractor gets a message about a project, they email or phone the homeowner and talk over the details with them. Using the site is absolutely free for anyone who needs services.

However, contractors pay for the kind of services they are going to provide, and that is not always a low price, yet, on the contrary. That’s the reason why along with many positive aspects, Porch.com is not universally praised. Some contractors have been disappointed by the fact that they paid for the leads quite a round sum of money and still did not get the job. If you decide to use this website for your business promotion, make sure that the game is worth the candle and you will get a good return on investment.

3. Manta

If you are a small business owner, you will definitely find this resource useful. Once you become a registered user, your business listing will be updated in the Manta directory no later than 24 hours after signing up. Besides, you will see your company advertised on the home page of Manta.com. All of that contributes to a better Internet visibility of your business. Everyone in search of products or services that your company offers will instantly find a link to your website through Manta’s search engine mechanism. Among the services that small business owners can count on at Manta is assistance in the organization GoogleAdWords campaigns and a dedicated professional marketer who provides consultations on the most effective ways of business promotion online. Additionally, the website guarantees that your business will be listed in over 70 online directories.

One complaint about Manta has been that once you have used their paid services and want to cancel your subscription plan, you will have a hard time doing that.

4. HireRush

This is another valuable resource for local contractors. The main difference between HireRush.com and similar websites, though, is the emphasis on the long-term collaboration with service providers and the maximum attention paid to “a small guy” who works on their own with little or no support in contrast to big companies with money to splash. Besides, there are a lot of small and mid-size companies registered which successfully increase their revenue with numerous inbound features such as business phone number, personal page or website, refund system, and 24/7 support. For customers it’s convenient as the range of work types that users can find at the website is wide. It is not limited to home improvement or fashion&beauty services, but also includes legal advice, tax preparation, veterinary services, and many others. As Porch, HireRush also has its convenient chat for customers and providers so that have their own space for private communication.

Though HireRush covers the whole territory of the United States, it cannot boast having lots of leads, which is probably its major drawback. However, residents of all states and cities can use the services offered here, and there has been considerable expansion progress over the past couple of months.

5. Google My Business

Have you ever noticed a well-organized listing of companies offered to you every time you search for a certain business on Google? Using this feature, you can find out about the opening hours of any company included in this list, its precise location on Google Maps, as well as its phone, email, or any other contact methods. You can promote your business this way, too. All you need to do is specify all the information Google My Business needs. Later, you can change this data if, for example, you have changed your office location.

Note, however, that this service is not available in all countries. After creating your own account, find out if residents of your country can use Google My Business.

Even if your budget doesn’t allow your company to launch an all-conquering marketing campaign, you can still efficiently promote your business online using the websites described above. Then, you can gradually build your customer base and look ahead to new horizons.

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Marketing

How To Build Your Client List In 2021

Brand Power

Client acquisition is not just the core task of salespeople. It’s also how most marketers are assessed.

If your marketing strategies don’t appeal to the target audience, then they’re not working out for the business, and nor are you!

Did you know new customer acquisition costs five times more than customer retention?

You may be doing really well with your marketing to keep customers buying, but there is such a thing as churn rate or attrition rate where a percentage of customers choose to no longer buy from a company. This is why customer acquisition is essential to all businesses.

New customers need first to replace those who have taken their business elsewhere and take the business to greater heights, i.e. more revenue and market share.

So how do sales and marketing teams convince prospective customers to trust products and the brand?

Marketers have a system that works hard to achieve high customer retention rates and attract new customers.

The secret to building a robust client base is developing a framework to create a loyal audience for your brand and product. You will need:

Product-market fit

When you reach a point where your product or service demand is more than you can supply, you know that you have just got the product-market fit.

Loyal fanbase

No matter which industry your business operates in, market saturation is imminent. If your company has to have any chance to stand out in the long-term, you need more than customers. It would help if you had a loyal fanbase.

Your first few customers do a lot more than add first sales to your business. They turn into your loyal fans, acting as your brand evangelists. To supercharge this strategy, we have a few recommendations.

Giveaway campaigns

If you are starting your brand with a handful of customers, building trust in your audience is complex, especially if you compete in an overcrowded market.

The solution? Start building trust. Give something valuable for free. But remember to get creative here. When you are experimenting with gorilla marketing techniques, you need to get something in return for your products.

Referral programs

Your customers tend to trust brands that their friends and families use, therefore incentivizing your first chain of customers can work wonders in creating the second and consecutive waves of new customers. But remember, one key aspect of a successful referral program is audience motivation.

Turn your existing customer into brand ambassadors.   You will need to give them a reason to take action and communicate with their networks of family, friends and so on, spreading the word of how great a product is or your business generally.

Contest campaigns

Contests can gain both new eyeballs and engage old ones with your brand simultaneously. Increasing participation of a targeted audience with a promise of an incentive ensures you get hold of a fresh audience to track, engage and finally convert into customers in the long term.

Brand management

No amount of branding will profit your business if you do not measure working for you and what is not. Using brand management software is highly beneficial in this process.

Following are some of the top branding strategies that you can use to develop your brand.

Social media

Use social media’s power to continuously stay at the top of your target audience’s minds. It is critical to keep your brand message clear and consistent whenever you communicate with your audience.

Product placement

If you need to get new customers who care about your product, you need to trigger inspiration in them. Remember, people do not buy the what; they buy the why? Investing in buying spots for your products in films and digital entertainment can gain you a lot of traction.

Word of mouth

Did you know word-of-mouth is one of the most sustainable and effective organic marketing strategies, driving 5x more sales than paid marketing?  Your marketing strategies need to satisfy two metrics: cost efficiency and impact. Word of mouth essentially meets both.

Contextual Marketing

Modern marketing is all about time. If you can’t reach your customers when they are thinking about your product, your competitors will.

Contextual marketing is advertising that leverages the content on the page, so how do you do it? Use customer data to drive what, how, when, and where you present content to your audience. It will skyrocket your overall user experience by leaps and bounds.

Interactive Marketing

In this attention economy, if you have to give your audience the ‘wow effect’ consistently, you need more than just a good product. Significant customer product interactions always lead to sustainable brand-customer relationships; therefore, interactive marketing can be your new growth strategy.

Interactive storytelling

Using dynamic content that lets your user choose a path they want to take is the future of content marketing.

Dynamic infographics

There’s a reason why gifs are so popular. 🙂

Interactive video

Videos are an excellent medium of marketing. But with more and more businesses adapting to this form of marketing, your competition is growing stiff. It would help if you thought out of the box. Interactive videos are a great way of achieving this. Give your audience a choice of what they want to consume, and this will increase engagement automatically.

Quiz

Quizzes are already a big hit in the new client generation. But to optimize your campaign, tie your quiz with a reward.

Email Marketing

A personalised email so each recipient understands the content is relevant to them is email marketing at its best.

No wonder emails drive a £42 ROI on every GDP spend. Your audience is much more responsive in such a private landscape. But, to make the most of this channel, here are a few strategies that you can apply.

Interactive emails are the best way to increase engagement with higher conversion rates.

Cold emails are still the most effective way of getting new clients if done in the proper context. Remember, the key to a successful email marketing campaign lies in contextual value-added conversations.

Blogging

blogging

If there is one classic example of content marketing that will not die any day soon, blogging. It is your all-in-one tool to gain authority, brand equity, and a loyal customer base. But the future of blogging does look somewhat different.

Following are a few ways in which you can stay one step ahead of your competitors.

Microblogging

What is microblogging?   HubSpot explains it well when they say most audiences want blog posts of less than 1000 words.

The attention span of your online audience is lower than the goldfish. Therefore, you will get a lower bounce rate when you use less content to satisfy your audience’s need to read, grab and go.

Use the KISS rule to create short, to-the-point sharable, and valuable content your audiences will love.

Microblogging is also an exceptional opportunity to create a pre-launch hype about your products in your audience. You can run campaigns where you indulge in microblogging in partnership with micro-influencers.

PR

When you are starting new, digital PR can work wonders for your business. You can always opt for the sponsored post in a well-known e-magazine like Forbes or choose to guest post on someone else’s blog. This allows you to interact and attract an entirely new set of audiences. If you have a budget for a little more, opt for one or two press releases. Your press coverage needs to be aligned with your sales strategy to get added traction in the initial product sales.

User-Generated Content

One of the most significant benefits of using user-generated content is your audience engages with your brand and gets actively involved in the marketing of your products and services. In a way, they are your extended marketing team. But if that is not a big reason for you to invest in UGC model marketing, the sales potential indeed is.

According to the Nielsen Norman Group, a whopping 92% of modern buyers trust organic content over traditional advertising. You can indulge in a variety of user-generated content. From custom reviews to hashtag campaigns to video content and gamification, you can experiment with many content formats here.

Parting Advice

Marketing is an ever-evolving world. What works today might not work out tomorrow. This means to create a sustainable marketing plan truly, you need to get your fundamentals right.

Your audience and their respective behavior towards your brand will guide you on which strategy has the potency to be the next big trend.

The core of building a rock-solid client list is having meaningful conversations frequently with your audience.

The better you get at creating impactful brand-customer encounters, the better your client list goes.

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Marketing

4 Ways Tree Testing Can Benefit Your Business

marketing

Designing a successful digital product is tricky and challenging. In the crowded space of the WWW, your product may not end up in search results, and this is why findability precedes usability in designing for the web. If your product can’t reach your audience, it has failed already.

Therefore the big question here is how do you ensure that your product is easily found and accessible by your target audience?

The answer to your question lies in information architecture. Design a superior user experience (UX) using a tree test.

Top 4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Tree Testing

Still unsure of what a tree test can do to your design venture?

Let’s take a look into the true capabilities of a tree test.

Primarily, you would be running a tree test because of any one of the following reasons.

  • baselining an existing tree
  • detecting the problem area and points thereby establish a base score
  • experimenting test trees trying to solve existing information architecture problems
  • comparing each version against each other to find the best possible solution to the existing problems

However, a tree test also does a lot more for your product. Following are a few primary areas where a tree test can be beneficial.

Why It Pays To Use A Tree Test

1. Evaluate product navigation

A tree test can improve your digital product’s online findability. With the test tree, you can evaluate your product’s existing information navigation system. How? Well, users complete a series of tasks looking for items using the site structure. Using this method to evaluate your site structure, you have a way to measure how easy it is for users to find things.

Treejack is one of the most popular tools used for tree-tests.

2. Time-efficient

With a remote tree test, the users can be located anywhere, and they can take the test in their own time. You benefit from getting quality, quantitative data.

3. Cost-efficient

By using online test conduction, results accumulate from global users. Thus, it reduces the costs of on-premise tests.

4. Agile

The biggest asset of tree testing is that it is designed for experiments. The test sessions are concise, each test of around 15 – 20 minutes, having a maximum of 20 tasks per session.

This improves the success rate of completing the test by users significantly. These tests, like card sorting, are pretty much simple with low complexity that readily helps with the dropout rates.

Combined with remote access to the test, all this makes data collection fast and the data analysis process lean. This means whatever insights you derive from your test analytics, you can apply them in no time.

How To Optimize Your Tree Tests

Ensuring you get the maximum benefits out of your tests is one of the most important yet neglected design tests areas. But if you can make sure to ask the critical questions without fail, your tests will not fail you.

Following are a set of core questions that can ensure you make the most of tree testing.

1. What is the objective of your tests?

This is perhaps the anchor point of your complete questionnaire. This answer is going to help you achieve the hyper-targeted activities for your test. For instance, you may want to analyze the results of your design changes in the navigation structure.

2. Who is your target audience?

Answering this question right in the beginning can save you a lot of pain in the long term. A good practice here is to take some time out and think deeply about your product visitors.

If your answer is: “everyone”, then you are doing it wrong. Remember, if everyone is your audience, then no one is your audience.

3. Define the independent variables

Deciding on the independent factors that are dynamic can produce multiple end-results.

Use factorial experimental designs. This method enables you to examine each variable in isolation.

4. Define the dependent variable.

Dependent variables can also bring a lot of improvements to your overall user experience. To assess its impact, you have to observe its effect on its respective independent factor instead of the end-user interface result. For instance, you can examine the precision of an area locator for completing preset tasks.

5. What do you use while comparing trees, a control group or a treatment group?

Control Group acts as a benchmark. It is not vulnerable to changes. Here, comparing the altered results to the original group is possible. You can assess the degree of difference between the results of both groups.

6. While comparing testing trees, do you use a between-subject design or a within-subject design?

It’s important to decide whether you want the same group of test-takers to participate in all the versions of your test tree or anyone.

Whether you choose both strategies or not, both have their own merits. Therefore, it would be best if you decide based on your test goals. For instance, choosing a between-subject approach can reduce the test taker fatigue, and the learning effect could even prove to be time-efficient.

Parting Advice

The whole point of executing a tree testing activity is to ensure you stay updated about your target audience’s behavioral nodes. This means conducting frequent tree tests can boost the overall information architecture health of your digital product.

The above tips and tricks are definite to help you optimize all your tree testing campaigns, but the heaviest success metric still lies in your hands.

Ensuring you understand your target audience will make sure that your design assumptions walk the closest to reality.

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Marketing

Digital Marketing Tips To Grow Your Finance Business

SEO

To get an edge on the competition, your company needs to get ahead with marketing strategies that return a favourable ROI. In this article is a list of some of the digital marketing initiatives for companies in finance.

Social Media

Your business is a service, and you need to choose the social media networks that provide the highest rate of conversion. Therefore your starting point is to do research and analyse what your competitors are doing in social media channels.

LinkedIn is a business network, so if your clientele is businesses, then this is the network for you to focus your marketing effort and investment. If your service is personal lending, then Facebook is a good network to grow a following and invest in content and posting on a dedicated Facebook page.

Content

Unique, engaging content to get your brand noticed is a must, and it should reside on your blog and be shared to your email marketing list and social media pages. Do not underestimate the value of high-value content on your website. Google recognises relevant content and your quality of your site visitors goes up when they arrive at your site from a link to a blog post you’ve shared. Invest a good share of your marketing budget to content generation to share and increase your site visitors.

Most social media platforms have features and tools to improve the stickiness of your postings. For example, hosting Facebook lives can be great for announcing new products and services or hosting a Q&A where people can make use of your expertise. In terms of consumer behaviour in digital, people are much more likely to buy something off a company when they know more about their culture and values. If you can’t find the time to do this intermittently – there are scheduling such as Hootsuite, you can use to do this in the one go.

There are also detailed insights on most social media channels, which let you know posts have received the most views and the most engagement. Use this ‘feedback’ to drive your blog posts and content to share information your followers like and share with their networks to grow your monthly website visitors.

Google AdWords

Starting in digital marketing requires paying for website traffic and Google AdWords campaigns when done well are worth the investment. Paying for online advertising in social media or search is a go-to when you want to boost your traffic for new service notification or sharing company news. In Google Ads set daily budgets for how much you want to spend on your campaigns and can change the keywords once you get a better idea as to how well each ad is performing. You must send them to a website that reflects your brand and is a good representation of what you do. Alternatively, you are just paying for clicks to a site that is unlikely to convert. If in doubt, use a Google Ads expert to set up and manage your search advertising.

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO can not be ignored, and it too requires investment in time and resources. A longer-term approach than Google Ads, SEO strategy is always evolving as Google’s algorithm updates require tweaks so your site can rank well in organic search results.

There are some tools you can use to give you an idea as to how well your website is currently performing in terms of organic traffic such as SEMrush, and other tools such as Keyword Planner, that will help you decide which keywords to use.
SEO requires an understanding of the basics; for example, is your website using a stable URL structure? Would your site pass the Google speed test? You also need to think about the content on there and whether or not that is optimised for search.

Another consideration is referring links, i.e. are other sites linking to your site? Ideally, you want high authority sites to link back to your site, and this is where using an SEO expert is worth the investment. Why companies choose to outsource their SEO efforts to agencies with industry-specific expertise; for example, Digiconomy focuses their efforts on building traffic for finance-related companies and sharing useful information for providers in that sector on their blog. Hence, their knowledge of keywords, competitors etc. is likely to work out more cost-effective than a generalist SEO expert with knowledge in say utilities or transport sectors.

Analytics

Monitor the analytics on the views, clicks, time spent online etc. of all your marketing campaigns. Google analytics and their search console are free so make sure you have your site set up for their measurement. For example, you can get an accurate view of the number of visitors to your website, their demographic, and what pages of your website are popular. This information is useful when you revise the content so the visitors can engage more by visiting linking pages.

Conversion tracking on your website should also be done wherever possible so you can get an accurate view of which parts of the site people are using to contact you. You can also go one step further and implement the likes of Hotjar, where it also records website visits and uses heatmaps so you have an actual visual of what the most popular areas of your site.

The above tips are sure to help your finance enterprise get more traffic and sales.

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