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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

Grow Your Small Business By Adding and Empowering Employees

'Designing Strategies' eNewsletter Volume 14                     Issue 75   If a typical day at your small business involves staff waiting for you to come into the office so they can get your approval of progress on a project, it's not a good thing. If employees are standing in line to get access to you to answer questions, that's not good either. Odds are your firm is in Stagnant Stalemate mode. Your firm is not growing. It is not expanding. Staff can't accomplish anything because you have a death grip on control over every little minute detail of operations. Give it up! You have become the bottleneck blocking our firm’s progress. It's time to give up some [...]

By | January 28th, 2017|Employees, Growth, Newsletter, Strategy|0 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

Trend Hunter’s Megatrends for 2017

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter November – December 2016                      Volume 13 – Issue 74   2016 is coming to its end and 2017 is emerging on the horizon just behind. Out with the old, in with whatever will be new. Baby New Year is trying on his sash for final alterations as Father Time shuffles to his finish line. I started off the day with an exclamation of “Egads, it’s almost December!” Thanksgiving is already behind us and a plethora of year end events and holidays are ahead. On the business side, we rush to get year-end expense reports turned in, collect – or delay – outstanding accounts receivables, put on holiday and year-end sales and get our financial books in order. In what [...]

By | November 28th, 2016|Newsletter, Strategy, Trends|0 Comments

Build Customer Loyalty to Grow Your Small Business

Acquiring new customers helps any small business grow.  Customers are known to come and go.  All customers that leave are not necessarily dissatisfied or disgruntled.  Customers may move out of your area for any number of reasons, or no longer need your products or services.  Worst case scenario would be that for some reason, you failed to build customer loyalty. To grow a small business,  former customers have to be replaced. Remember that current customers are the lifeblood of your business and keeping them satisfied should be your highest priority.  Their experience with your firm, your products or services and your staff needs to be exceptional.  For all of these reasons, it is imperative that you build customer loyalty. Statistics show that, on average, U.S. companies lose [...]

By | October 30th, 2016|Customer Experience, Customer Relationships|2 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

Create a Small Business Bucket List to Get What You Want

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter September - October 2016                      Volume 13 -- Issue 73 Have any of you written a personal bucket list? A bucket list is pretty simple, it is just a list of things you want to do and places you want to see during your lifetime. It’s a matter of putting down in written form those hopes and dreams you don’t want to miss out on. Writing them down improves the likelihood they will actually become a part of your reality. Wait! How about creating a Small Business Bucket List for your firm? Interesting concept, no? Back in 2007, 'The Bucket List' movie came out. Jack Nicholson's character, Edward Cole, was filthy rich, a [...]

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 Growth: 5 Important Stages

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter July - Aug 2016                      Volume 13 -- Issue 72 Do you ever think about the stage, or phase, your small business enterprise is in, or has passed through? We are all aware of when our family members and friends birthdays are. We celebrate anniversaries, graduations and other of life's watershed moments. We celebrate in a big way with parties, gifts and major events to celebrate these great moments as we move through different stages of our lives. Small business growth stages aren't much different. It seems that our small businesses, into which we have poured our hearts, souls, time, energy and money, deserve at least the same milestone recognition. After all, it [...]