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Online Advertising Strategies for Small Business Owners with Limited Budget

Online MarketingWith the huge amount of information online and online companies popping out of the woodwork, capturing the attention of your target audience can be a challenging task. This can be daunting, especially for small business owners. But the truth is that you don’t have to spend a huge sum of money in order to get the word out about your business.

Having a small marketing budget doesn’t mean you can’t generate results. Here are a few online advertising strategies that you can use, even on a shoestring budget.

Know your target audience

Figure out your target market first before you spend a dime on marketing. You are likely to waste your time and money if you start marketing before you have a clear customer profile. Ask yourself, who will be most interested in your products or services? Male or female? What is their age group? Once you have a thorough profile of your target audience, that’s the only time you can start with your marketing campaign.

Email marketing

Email marketing can help you earn more traffic and conversions as long as you’re willing to put in the time. However, people don’t just give their email address to anyone. So you’ll have to think of some strategies in order to get people to subscribe to your newsletters.

Social media marketing

It wouldn’t cost you anything to establish your brand on most social media platforms, but don’t be fooled into thinking that social media marketing is easy.

A solid content marketing is essential if you want your business to succeed. The most successful companies are the ones who post and share things that are interesting to their audience. You may not have a lot to offer in terms of discounts and giveaways to lure in new customers, but you have great contents to share.

Blog

Helping people before they need your help is an excellent marketing strategy. Not only will it help you get the attention of your target audience, it can help you build a relationship with them. Make sure that you provide them with useful tips, industry news and good content that is relevant to them.

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Tips to Increase Your Email Open Rate

BIMSEmail marketing is considered as an important part of a business’ marketing campaign. It has one of the most effective ways to engage with your prospects and customers. Plus, it provides the highest returns on investments.

Open rates give you an idea as to how your campaign is doing. If the open rate for your email program is better than the average, then good for you. But if your open rates are getting worrisome, you might want to look for ways to improve it.

Here are some easy ways to increase your email open rate.

Create an interesting subject line

Good subject line is the key achieving better open and response rates. Since most people receive several emails in one day, they only need a few seconds to decide whether or not they’re interested to read the email. If your subject line is not interesting enough, people are less likely to read it. Also, make sure that your subject line is short enough that recipients will be able to read it at a glance.

Make it personal

You’ve spent so much time collecting people’s first name and email address, now is the right time to put them to use. Personalization has been proven to drive engagement and convert more leads. It is also a good idea to send your emails from a person or an employee, rather than from the company.

Timing is key

If your campaign has a B2C focus, your audience may have time to check their emails after work or during lunch break. If you are running a B2B campaign, it might be best to send emails early in the morning or in the afternoon. Your goal is to send an email exactly when the recipients are checking their inbox.

Clean up that dusty old email list

Most businesses are so determined to expand their email list that they tend to ignore the open rate. It doesn’t matter if you only have a small mailing list, as long as it is filled with engaged subscribers. It’s a good idea to remove inactive subscribers periodically.

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Dos and Don’ts of Using Hashtags

HashtagYears ago, the pound sign on your phone does not serve any function. Today, however, the pound sign is considered as a vital part of your social media success. In fact, it is considered as such a prominent part of tech culture.

Hashtags help increase the chances of your post being found and track conversations among consumers, and other businesses. When used correctly, hashtags can help you generate more shares and increase awareness of your posts beyond your own follower base. Use them wrong, however, and it will lead you down the path to social media destruction.

Here are some dos and don’ts to consider to help you get on the right track.

Dos

Keep hashtags short

When creating hashtags, be sure to keep them short so they’re easy to type and remember. Long hashtags are difficult to read. Imagine mentally inserting spaces in between all those words. Not fun!

Create your own hashtag

Create a hashtag that is interesting enough that it can help you capture the attention of readers, yet popular enough that it can help you gain followers. Tailoring your hashtags will ensure you reach your ideal audience.

Use them to engage

Hashtags are often used to track what is said about their business and competitors as well. Since social media is about engagement and social interaction, you need to take part of that conversation. Use hashtags to pull users into a conversation with the brand and vice versa.

Don’ts

Overuse them

While there is no doubt that hashtags can increase your visibility, too much of it in a single post will kill your message. Readers tend to avoid posts with too many hashtags. For best results, limit your hashtags to 3 for each post.

Use irrelevant hashtags

Just because the hashtag is trending, it does not necessarily mean you should use it. Never use an unrelated hashtag just to get noticed. There is no bigger social media embarrassment than a wrongly used hashtag.

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Tips for Writing a Killer Call-to-Action

bimspicIt’s not easy to get people to visit your site. Once you’ve hooked your audience, you want them to stay a little longer in your site and do something. That something could be sharing your content, providing information, downloading something, adding products to their shopping cart or purchase your products. Unfortunately, most people will not know what to do unless you give them clear instructions.

This week, we’ll be sharing with you some tips on how to create a clear and effective call-to-action. Here are a few.

Offer a free trial or download

Sometimes, you may have to sweeten the deal to encourage people to complete a call-to-action. One of the best ways to capture the attention of people is to offer them something of value, and give it to them for free. Offer a free e-book or a free trial. People will thank you for it.

Size matters

Size does play a huge part in getting your call-to-action button noticed. Make sure it’s big enough that online users won’t miss them, but not too big that it looks like a monstrosity. Remember, your call-to-action needs to be sized sensibly. You should also consider the position of your call-to-action on the page.

Be direct

Keep your call-to-action short and simple to ensure that majority of visitors will click-through on the action you ask them to. If you want people to leave their email address, then tell it to them straight. Make sure people will understand it at just a glance. Don’t get all whimsical and critic.

Add a sense of urgency

If you have reduced the price of your products, let visitors know that the offer is only good for a limited time. If they do not purchase within the specified period of time, then it will result in a missed opportunity. Add a sense of urgency and include words such as today, immediately or now.

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Top Reasons Why Your Business Should be on Youtube

BIMSYoutube_2.23Today, Youtube is considered as the second largest search engine in the world. In fact, millions of viewers are turning to Youtube everyday to learn more about products and services, find answers to their questions and find solutions to their problems.

Here are a few reasons why it’s time for your business to start embracing Youtube as part of your marketing strategy.

Build trust

Online video marketing provides businesses an opportunity to build trust. Your videos will demonstrate what you can do and what you know. By uploading videos that feature your expertise in your field, it provides you an opportunity to build authority and recognition.

Online video also allows you to project a better and more personal profile to your clients. This gives customers a sense of intimacy; thus, making it easier to build rapport and trust.

SEO benefits

By utilizing Youtube as part of your marketing strategy, you are also increasing your search engine optimization. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing consider video as important as text-only pages. Marketing on Youtube will help your videos appear more frequently in Google’s search results.

Generate sales

Youtube allows customers to see your products in action before buying them. This is particularly beneficial for those who sell online. Reember, nothing will market your product better than an actual video demonstration.

Youtube can help your business attract customers from different parts of the world. The more people watch your videos, the more business you can generate.

More content in less time

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a minute of video is worth millions. Every second of video is equivalent to reading an article with at least 15,000 words.

People love videos because it provides them a lot of information in so little time. Long articles provide a significant amount of information. However, some people are not interested in reading them because it will take a lot of time. Who would want to read a long, boring article, when you can just press the play button and get the same amount of information in a minute or two?

It’s where your customers want to find you

Youtube is the 3rd most viewed website in the world, next to Google and Facebook. In fact, over 3 billion Youtube videos are being watched every single day. Plus, millions of people subscribe to different channels each day. With this statistic, it is safe to say that people wants it. Not delivering on this desire means somebody else will.

 

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Tips to Humanize Your Brand

BimsPeople do business with people they trust. If you let your customers interact with a robot that is programmed to promote your products and offerings, do you think they’ll do business with you? Of course not.

People will only be interested in doing business with you if they know that there is a person behind it that they can trust, relate to and connect with. That said, humanizing your brand is a must.

Here are some tips to make your brand’s voice a little more human.

Avoid corporate speak

Sometimes, business owners think that they sound super smart and important if they use business and industry-specific jargons. We hate to break it to you, but people do not want to hear or read sales talk, corporate jargon or overly fluffed up language. Speak in a language that inspires people to connect to you and your brand.

Use words that your customers understand and ditch the corporate mumbo jumbo speak.

Build bridges

A lot of businesses see their social network followers as nothing more than a new batch of potential customers. While we understand that you’re excited to tell the world about your business venture or new products to be launched, there is no need to talk about the same topic every single time.  You’ll have a hard time connecting with your target audience if you think like a corporate engine.

Put a face on your brand

People may not be interested in doing business with you if you post in anonymity and hide behind a corporate logo. Instead, show customers that there’s a real person working behind that corporate logo.

Be honest

Customers can tell when you’re faking it. Don’t try to make your experiences sound more impressive than they truly are. Don’t say you have experience you don’t have. Don’t fudge the numbers on your publicity packet.

 

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Tips to Boost Your Online Sales

salesIncreasing sales is undeniably the primary goal of many businesses, small and large. But the biggest challenge business owners face is how to increase traffic to their e-commerce store. Once you’ve accomplished that, your goal is to turn those visitors into paying customers.

Here are 4 simple things you can do to boost your online sales.

Post fresh content

Just because you have a website, doesn’t mean that you can relax and just wait for potential clients to visit your site. You also need to post fresh content to encourage visitors to return to your site. Having well-written content and product descriptions are important. The more they return, the more likely are they to buy your products and services.

Be honest in your sales copy

Honesty is crucial, not only in building trust in your brand; but also in improving your business’ reputation. Your goal is to convince people that you are the best person to provide them products that will help solve their problems. But in order to do that, you need to add credibility to your copy. Be honest in your sales copy and include customer testimonials in your sales letter. It is through this process that people will come to trust you and feel comfortable enough to buy from you.

Go social

Social media is one of the best ways to increase brand awareness, sales and customer satisfaction. Actively engage with prospective customers via social media. Talk to them. Answer their questions as quickly and as honestly as you can. Studies show that customers are more likely to purchase products if they receive fast and honest answers from the company.

Don’t forget about your customers once you get them to purchase your products. Send them an email, offer discounts or free shipping on their next purchase. The more attention you pay to them after they have bought something, the more likely are they to turn into repeat customers. Think relationships, not sales.

Offer fewer products

Most businesses create an extensive list of products and services, thinking they’ll get more sales if they have a little something for everyone. But the problem is that prospects will have a hard time deciding whether to buy or not when you have an exhaustive product list. Instead of trying to please everyone, you might want to streamline your products and offer one set of related products. Then, describe those products as best you can.

Also, buyers need to see the benefits of purchasing your products. Try to answer all doubts and questions your visitors may have about your products and really focus on one key set of benefits.

 

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Social Media Tips for the Holiday Season

BIMSThe holiday season is the busiest shopping time of the year. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American adult usually spends about $810 during the holiday season. Because of that, retailers and brands are fighting for consumer’s attention to drive up their sales.

Incorporate the excitement and spirit of the holidays into your social media campaigns. Here are some tips on how to take advantage of the holidays with the help of social media.

Help your customers get into the holiday spirit

Most people are sprucing up their homes and putting up lights and ornaments around their home. Why don’t you do the same and add some seasonal touches to your website and social media pages? Update your Facebook cover photos, Youtube channels, Google+ images and Twitter backgrounds where possible.

Holiday promotions

While the shopping season usually starts in September, most people don’t start until November. Others would wait until the first week of December before they start shopping. It’s never too late to capture a holiday shopper.

Share holiday promotions with your followers and give them something to look forward to.  Take advantage of social media advertising options such as Twitter sponsored tweets and Facebook offers if you really want to bank on your sale.

Give back to the community

Truly get into the spirit of giving by adding a charitable element to your holiday campaign. Use your platform as a business leader to draw attention to a cause. Get your employees on board and give back to your local community.

Give away prizes

The holiday season is a time for giving. Since people interact with businesses more frequently during the holiday season, this is also the best time to run a contest.

Contests and giveaways are a great way to create buzz around your product. They also help increase social sharing, engagement and fan base. Ask for shares and likes for entries into the contest for a chance to win. The monetary value of the prize is totally up to you, but make sure that you provide them something they will value and appreciate.

 

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Dos and Don’ts of Using Social Media for Business

socialMediafroBusinessBy now, you already know the importance of leveraging social media to grow your business. However, it can be a waste of time and money if you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead of connecting with your target audience, your existing clients may be having second thoughts and potential prospects may get turned off.

These dos and don’ts will help you in building your social media community and start seeing results.

DOS

Be active

Active social media profiles can help build your brand. You can’t expect results if your page is inactive. Create great content that your audience will want to share. Post different things. Share tips on how to use your products, industry news and fun stuff. Make sure majority of your posts are non-promotional in nature.

Define your target audience

It is important to know you’re targeting audience if you want to maximize your sales. Learn as much as you can about your target audience.

Your customers are concerned about what you can do for them. Make sure your contents are tailored to your customer’s need.

Interact with your audience

Communicate with your target audience on a regular basis. Social media is about relationships so try to converse with your audience as much as you can. Don’t talk too much about your brand. Stop and listen to what people have to say. It should be a 2-way conversation, not a one-sided dialogue.

DON’TS

Share too much

Don’t overwhelm your feeds with too much advertisements or promotions. This can cause your followers to stop following your posts. People don’t want to be bombarded with advertisements and promotions.

Forget your spelling and grammar

What you put out there becomes a representation of who you are. Consumers value proper grammar and spelling. Grammar mistakes could hurt your brand’s reputation and turn off potential customers.

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Tips for Getting Great Photos for Your Blog Posts

bimsImages are important. Adding images to your blog posts can help make it stand out and effectively convey your message. It also helps craft a visually-memorable experience. That’s why all top bloggers make sure they incorporate visuals and try to make them as vibrant as possible.

Here are some tips for getting great photos for your blog.

Use images legally

Before using any image on your blog post, make sure that it’s copyright-free. Legally, you’re not allowed to use any images that you got from the internet. If you do, the owner of the image may file a complaint against you and your post can be removed.

Don’t just go and take any image you like. Check the copyright restrictions of photos and obtain permission before using it on your blog.

Create your own images

There are a lot of sources of ready to use images on the web, but it would be a lot better if you can add original images on your blog. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture great photos. Just bring your camera with you wherever you go and capture images you can use for your future content.

Not only does it add a touch of personality and uniqueness to your site, it also increases the likelihood of someone sharing your post. According to studies, people are more likely to share images they haven’t seen before.

Flickr

Flickr is an amazing resource for photo lovers and photographers alike. Here, you can find billions of different photos that you can use for your site. But you have to understand that not all photos from this site can be used.

Only photos with Creative Commons license can be used. Copyrighted images cannot be used. If you really wish to use a copyrighted image, you may try your luck and ask permission from the photographer directly.

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