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Influences on Small Businesses for 2017: Competition & Customer Behaviors

'Designing Strategies' eNewsletter July - August, 2017               Volume 14     Issue 78   Any small business owner or manager who has been operating over the past ten years has experienced big time changes coming at them.  It is no secret that changes and external  influences on small businesses are a constant we need to prepare for.   Any not willing to do necessary zig-zagging required to change strategies or pivot on a dime may well be gone now.  We have been facing more than a few significant external changes, trying to stay afloat.  Let’s limit this discussion to just two of the enormous influences on small business es and their success.  Two of those influencers and disruptors I [...]

Offline Marketing Is Alive, Well and Great For Local Marketing Campaigns

Small businesses have been told that old-school traditional marketing methods are extinct.  As extinct as dinosaurs.  They are things of the past.  They don't work anymore.  Old-school methods are too costly.  Offline marketing methods take too long to become effective.  You HAVE to move to online marketing channels.  I'm here to tell you it just isn't true.  I'm here to tell you that offline marketing is alive, well and works great for local audiences.  Sure, the Internet has opened some new marketing channels for us.  They may be less costly, but unless we do it exactly right, they won't work for us either. By now, everyone should have heard just about everything conceivably written, podcast or video taped/digitized about online marketing.  We've been told that it [...]

By | June 20th, 2017|Marketing, Strategy|0 Comments

Your Company Needs a Blog. Blogging is a Great Marketing Tool

Of course, your company needs a blog.  In our opinion, the answer would be a definite Yes!  Any company needs a blog for a number of reasons.  There are so many benefits to having a company blog.  "What benefits?" you might ask. Glad you asked - here are just a few. Blogs let companies of all types and sizes  connect with potential clients and build relationships. That is what is known as lead generation.  Blogs provide a platform that allows small businesses to 'show their stuff'.  Customers look online for a company to solve their problems.  They can find valuable information about your firm's capabilities and knowledge base through blog content.  You can build and support your company brand too. That said, we'd like to [...]

By | April 17th, 2017|Marketing, Strategy|0 Comments

Content Marketing:  What It Is and What It Can Do For Your Small Business in 2017

The hot buzz word in online marketing for the past several years has been Content Marketing.  OK, technically it is two words.  Content marketing has grown right alongside social media.  “Fine,” you say.  “What the heck is Content Marketing and how does it affect me or my small business?" Fair enough.  Let’s start off with a definition of Content Marketing to clarify what it is and then move on to what it can do for you.  According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), this article defines content marketing and what it is all about: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer [...]

By | February 6th, 2017|Market Planning, Marketing|2 Comments

How to Get Greater Impact From LinkedIn for Your Small Business

Small businesses that operate in the B2B (business to business) arena should rely on LinkedIn more than other social media platforms.  Yes, there are other platforms on which you can promote your company, but none are as good as LinkedIn for businesses.   LinkedIn is by far the most business focused social media platform on the Internet today.  With its vast reach and professional focus, every small business should try to get greater impact from LinkedIn, don't you think? A DMR report on LinkedIn from October, 2016, indicated that LinkedIn has 467 million users worldwide.  That's over 100 million more people than the population of the United States.  LinkedIn users span more than 200 countries around the world.  For more information, you can order the entire [...]

By | December 27th, 2016|Marketing, Social Media|0 Comments

Calls-to-Action: Essential for Small Business Websites

Did anyone else see these unsettling statistics about small business websites on the SCORE website ?  They created a clear and concise infographic on small business websites you might find interesting.  The statistics revealed here (12/2014) are probably even higher today in terms of the impact of online sales from mobile device access. Only 51% of small businesses have websites.  If that isn’t bad enough, the following statistics cover other weaknesses of the sites that do exist: 70% have no call to action. 27% don't provide a telephone number. 68% don't have an email address on the home page. 82% don't have social media accounts. 50% of online sales are lost when visitors can't find content. It’s hard to believe that any small business is not yet aware [...]

By | October 27th, 2016|Customer Experience, Marketing|0 Comments

55 Small Business Website Features You Must Have

Maurer Consulting Group recently created and published a four-part series of articles on the importance of a small business website.  As THE most important hub of any small business marketing plan, a high quality website is critical to the success of every small firm.  Putting together someone else's idea of an quick, do-it-yourself website, and calling it a day, simply isn't the way to go. Any site does not guarantee a good, strategically focused representation of your company at it's best.  Using as many small business website features as you possibly can will improve the quality of your website and the messages it sends to customers. Not every small business website feature that is important and necessary could be addressed.  Topics  in our series included why a small business [...]

By | August 30th, 2016|Marketing|0 Comments

M-commerce: What On Earth Is It?

Now that everyone is finally familiar with eCommerce, along comes a new kid on the 'X'-commerce block of Cyberspace: m-commerce.  Electronic commerce, commonly written as e-commerce or eCommerce, is the "trading or facilitating of trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet or online social networks," according to Wikipedia. Now, media publications all seem to be talking about m-commerce.  Until last week, I was totally unfamiliar with the term and what it stood for.  But, a few minutes of online research told me all I needed to know. M-commerce:  What Is It? M-commerce is the new techo-term for mobile commerce - selling things to customers through a mobile device like a smartphone, tablet or notebook.  Needless to say, with the rise in [...]

By | August 26th, 2016|Marketing|0 Comments

Small Business Website Basics – Part 4

This is the fourth, and last (at least for now) part of our series of posts on Small Business Website Basics.  When I began working on this topic, I had no idea just how much information there was to consider when beginning work on a website to represent your small business to the world.  'An' article grew into two articles, then three, now a fourth.  If you missed any of the previous articles, you can link to them below: Small Business Website Basics - Part 1:  A Small Business Website is Not an Option Small Business Website Basics - Part 2:  What does a Small Business Website Cost? Small Business Website Basics - Part 3:  What to Include on a Small Business Website Disclaimer:  I [...]

By | June 6th, 2016|Marketing|0 Comments

Small Business Website Basics: Part III

Tiramisu Studio / www.freedigitalphotos.net Welcome to Part III of our ‘Designing Strategies’ Small Business Website Basics series.  This four-part series covers these important topics as they relate to a small business website: Part I:   10 Reasons a Small Business Website Is a Necessity, Not an Option Part II:   What Will a Small Business Website Cost Me? Moving on to Part III of our series, we'll talk about what a small business owner should consider when it comes time to develop the content for your site – which would be NOW if you don’t have one yet. What To Include On a Small Business Website Every small business website needs to be customized to include information specific to your firm.   Your company needs be different enough [...]

By | May 18th, 2016|Marketing|0 Comments