7 Secrets To Finding Influencers For Your Small Business

| September 4, 2019

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Small businesses often need to widen their reach on social media. They often get overlooked because ome bigger brands have better social media strategies. However, you can overcome this by using influencer marketing.Influencer marketing is a powerful tool that can be in your hands if you find the right influencer for your brand. They would already have the trust of the audience – your target audience specifically and you would be able to reach more people.Here are some useful tips on finding the right influencer and maintaining an effective influencer campaign.

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Artificial intelligence for Small Businesses – Transformation Guide in 2021

Article | July 9, 2021

The effect of COVID-19, the pandemic nationwide, was inevitable and became a catalyst for every business's digital transformation, irrespective of a large, small, or medium-sized business. 2020 saw a boom in digital transformation and escalated demand for artificial intelligence (AI). A few years back, artificial intelligence for small businesses was just a buzzword for owners, and today it is a new reality of our day-to-day life. Many companies have recognized the extensive benefits of AI. As the growing power of AI for small business owners has been considered, they have integrated them to achieve their goals. Artificial intelligence, also called machine learning, offers small businesses the opportunity to become profitable, efficient, and effective. With time and evolution in technology, AI delivers results and has become affordable for small businesses. The unprecedented nature of the pandemic crisis brought in a set of new challenges and forced small companies to change and improvise their business strategies. This crisis led AI and machine learning to play a substantial role in various aspects of businesses. According to statistics, the artificial intelligence industry will be worth $190 billion by 2025, with global spending on AI systems already reaching $57 billion by 2021. The machine learning and deep learning segment accounted for nearly 65% of the market in 2019. According to ReportCrux Market Research, the global demand for artificial intelligence in the IoT market estimated to be around $ 2.64 billion in 2019, revenues are expected to be around $ 15.72 billion by the end of 2027, representing a 25.0% CAGR from 2020 to 2027. Moving forward, before you hit the core topic of this blog, here are few additional aspects you need to know about AI and small businesses. AI and small businesses Today AI is the new headline of every business news and has become a prevalent technology adapted by almost every industry. However, before delving into the implications of machine learning and artificial intelligence for small businesses, let me throw some light on what artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are. AI is creating computer systems capable of performing tasks that generally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation. Machine learning is defined as “an artificial intelligence application that allows systems to learn and improve based on experience without being programmed automatically.” AI and machine learning have become a mainstay of the new business world. Yet, as per the common misconception, this technology is still considered for bigger businesses with big budget to spend. However, as technology advances, artificial intelligence for small businesses has become more affordable, making it an industry reality for them as well. According to the 2018 Vistage survey on the role of AI for small businesses, 13.6% of small-to-medium companies (SMBs) are currently using AI technologies to improve business operations and customer engagement. In addition, according to another survey of CEOs from small and medium-sized businesses, 29.5% of CEOs support AI technology. Artificial intelligence has gained trust from few big names such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk. AI and deep machine learning can be implemented through AI tools and AI software across different parts of business operations. AI tools help streamline all the processes of the business, thus transform the industry. AI tools for small companies benefit in various ways, including helping to improve sales and marketing efforts, improving recruitment and HR activities, and automating customer service and communications. Here is how artificial intelligence (AI) can help your small businesses improve your performance efficiency. Top 5 artificial intelligence recommendations for small businesses in 2021 AI-Infused CRM Since the digital approach towards business operations, machine learning and artificial intelligence for small business operations are changing. However, it necessitates a well-planned marketing strategy for small businesses to maintain a personal touch in their approach. As a result, customer-relationship management (CRM) systems play an essential role in gathering customer data across various omni-channels such as email, social media platforms, and phone. This customer data aids in the improvement and automation of the sales process. HubSpot CRM and Salesforce have incorporated AI into their technology; these AI-infused CRM for small businesses can help their owners in analyzing customer feedback. As a result, marketing and lead generation activities will be adjusted based on that information. AI-infused CRMs not only improve lead generation results, but they have also begun to demonstrate how AI can be used to acquire marketing and sales-relevant insights, as well as to improve the customer acquisition process. Effortless data-driven predictions and decision-making Data plays a key role for businesses in the decision-making process. The data-driven approach helps to improve decisions, but for this, the companies need to recognize and adapt artificial intelligence (AI) into their workflow. Data holds the insight that enables better decisions, integration of AI and machine learning in workflow validates effortless data-driven predictions and more robust decision making for further actions. The question is, how does AI help in the decision-making process based on data? Here is the solution; firstly, AI examines massive amounts of data and then provides insights to business owners, who make decisions based on this information. Then, do you see how artificial intelligence for small businesses in workflow simplifies decision-making and makes data-driven predictions with ease. Application of artificial intelligence (AI) in human resource The human resource was the most unexpected department into which artificial intelligence (AI) crept. Effective implementation of AI tools in human resources helps to streamline the hiring and onboarding process. Furthermore, it is beneficial to obtain employee feedback on how HR can improve the hiring process. AI tools for small businesses offer their marketing teams to handle repetitive and tedious tasks like data entry, cleaning up extensive data, and testing sales campaigns' efficiency. In addition, artificial intelligence for small businesses empowers them to optimize their staff output. AI-powered customer service The big players in online retail are no longer the only ones. Small and medium-sized businesses are also gradually becoming a significant part of selling their products or services on an online portal. In the form of conversational platforms such as chatbots, IVRs, and visual bots, AI can enable proactive customer self-service. First, however, it is necessary to develop personalized customer service for their satisfaction. This can be done with the help of integration of the most used AI-powered chatbots. Many small business owners are investing in this process to provide customer communication and service. Chatbots use natural language (NLP) processing technology of the machine learning tool. Since the introduction of deep learning in AI, it has become a need of an hour to deliver better results to customers, as approximately 30% of all online retail transactions are made on a mobile phone. Most small businesses are utilizing AI to provide customers with first-hand product experience. According to Gartner, “46% of SMBs (surveyed) are currently using or plan to use a chatbot within the next two years.” Another 21% of the small and medium-sized businesses polled were evaluating chatbots for use, according to the study. Chatbots is like a sales and customer rep working 24/7 for you. Among the many artificial intelligence for small businesses available, this relieves stress and allows you to devote your time to more critical tasks. For example, with AI-powered customer service, you can simplify many tasks, facilitate customer communication and customer experience. Cybersecurity Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, most businesses turned online, giving rise to online data storage by companies both big and small. Thus, exposing them to new cyber threats to business and consumer data, which are called cyber-attacks. One of the most talked-about cyber-attacks in 2019 is ‘Ransomware,’ a form of malicious software that is often deployed via social engineering tactics. According to the survey, ransomware attacks increased 350% globally in 2018, and ransomware attacks are expected to cost $6 trillion per year by 2021. For small businesses with a minimal budget to spend on cybersecurity or sudden ransom, such attacks can be devastating. According to recent reports, 60% of small businesses that suffer a cyberattack go out of business within six months. But luckily, cybersecurity powered by AI may provide some relief from these attacks. AI-powered cybersecurity programs look for unusual activity or cyber threats detected and can stop the attacks or raise alerts earlier. You can revitalize and empower your small business by employing artificial intelligence for small businesses to meticulously maintain an account database, stay in touch with customers, or protect your company from hackers. AI is the future of businesses In the future, AI can transform how businesses interact with customers, compete with one another, and grow in the market. On the other hand, the pandemic served as a catalyst for businesses to embrace the business benefits of artificial intelligence (AI). As a result, what would typically take years to implement on a large scale was completed in a matter of weeks and months. According to survey by Salesforce research, 51% of customers say their expectations of companies are now being influenced by AI. According to a report, the global artificial intelligence (AI) market was worth 28.42 billion USD in 2019. According to the same report, the AI market will be worth 99.98 billion USD by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 34.86%. Machine learning and artificial intelligence for small businesses help their owners reduce manual work and increase productivity with little effort and in a short period. FAQs Can small businesses use AI? Yes, small businesses can use AI and need an hour to implement it in their process. Small business owners can use artificial intelligence (AI) to provide the first-hand experience of their products or services to their customers. AI helps small businesses to handle repetitive and tedious tasks with great ease. How can small businesses benefit from AI? Implementation of AI in a small business can help to improve sales and marketing, streamline HR tasks, automate customer communication, provide cybersecurity from unpredictable threats, etc. Thus, artificial intelligence for small businesses can completely transform their position in the market. How is AI implemented in small businesses? AI technology can be implemented in small businesses using various AI-based tools, applications, or software. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Can small businesses use AI?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Yes, small businesses can use AI and need an hour to implement it in their process. Small business owners can use artificial intelligence (AI) to provide the first-hand experience of their products or services to their customers. 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7 Intrinsic Small Business Marketing Mistakes to Look Out For

Article | August 5, 2021

Marketing is the biggest challenge for small business owners because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to promote your business. And in this process, lot many marketing mistakes are incurred by small business owners. So here is a few intrinsic yet avoidable small business marketing mistakes. There are countless marketing activity combinations to choose from; all you have to do is tailor to the marketing activities that best suit your company. Small business owners frequently try new marketing methods without conducting extensive market research or measuring the results, resulting in losses. To figure out how and where to spend marketing resources for small businesses, you must first avoid marketing blunders. Effective marketing techniques are far more than just using channels, such-and-such an approach or content strategy. Here are the top 7 most typical small business marketing mistakes to avoid in your business. Not Having Written Marketing Plan A business needs to have a well-defined marketing campaigns goal that the marketing plan is supposed to achieve. Small businesses without a strong marketing plan face failure and lack the proper marketing budget. However, it is equally important to have the marketing plans and strategy documented to increase the effectiveness of the business. A business started without a marketing plan in place is a total waste of money and time. A marketing plan generally has the following: Marketing SMART objectives and tactics for achieving them. What sets your company/service/product apart from the competition? (USP). Target audience persona. Pricing strategy. Marketing budget and measurable ROI on previous marketing strategies Metrics and how you plan to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. It is crucial to have a marketing plan because it provides a clear direction for the future, evaluates past performance, and educates anyone on your overall strategy. A well-documented marketing plan will make it easier to plan future marketing strategies and ensure that you use best practices in small business marketing. Not having a written marketing plan is one of the most common small business marketing mistakes. No Systematic Marketing Budget When promoting on any social media site, it's smart to approach cautiously and, more importantly, with a particular budget in mind. However, no systematic and realistic marketing budget plan can cost you a significant loss of time and a waste of money. It is recommended that small businesses devote 9-12 percent of their income to marketing. If you are a start-up, though, you may need to invest more to establish brand awareness. If you cannot give 50% of your time and energy to marketing, then the best option to go for is outsourcing your marketing. This holds two benefits; firstly, you can put up your 50% of time and energy into other business tasks, and secondly, a good marketing agency will do a better job of marketing than you would. When you have decided to outsource your marketing, you will have to set a reasonable budget for doing the same. Determine the budget based on your industry and resources, but it is an investment at the end of the day. A portion of your budget should be set aside for technology and software tools to provide a return on investment for your overall marketing efforts. Good marketing has a direct and positive impact on the amount of money your company generates. Lack of Strong Online Presence From a marketing perspective, not having a website is devastating and a substantial small business marketing mistake. Unfortunately, as per the study, nearly half of small businesses in the US don’t have a website. Many small business owners do not see the need for an online presence for them, and this could do fine some ten years back but now, when the world has transformed into the digital world, surviving without a website is nearly impossible. As per the research, more than 90% of consumers search online for services or products. Remember that websites should be designed for conversion rather than just information delivery. According to Neil Patel, businesses with conversion-optimized websites are "twice as likely to see a large increase in sales." Having an online presence is one of the best marketing approaches with many benefits. It enhances accessibility, reaches a broader audience, builds customer relationships and trust, enables effortless marketing, and many more. A strong internet presence may give insightful data that can be used to measure and track the effectiveness of various marketing campaigns. Marketing Metrics Ignorance One of the risky small business marketing mistakes is failing to understand your marketing metrics and ratios. However, most small businesses do not track marketing metrics. Metrics allow you to track your progress and measure your success. Marketing analytics allows you to see what works and what doesn't, assists brands in determining whether campaigns are successful, and assists you in recognizing what adjustments need to be made and providing insights to adjust future campaigns accordingly. Knowing your marketing metrics is essential no matter what type of business you run. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are tools that provide information about your visitors. Tracking is essential because what is not measured cannot be improved. Here is the suggestion that you can implement, set aside time each week to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing. Take note of what works and what doesn’t and use that information to guide your next marketing campaign. No Emphasis on Valuing the Current Customers It is natural to focus on acquiring new customers to see those numbers increase, but never forget about your existing customers in this ongoing process. According to studies, it costs six times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Listen to customer feedback because, according to Forrester Research, nearly 70% of consumers read customer reviews before buying a product or service. Be quick to appease customers when they complain; losing an existing customer indeed costs more than acquiring a new one. This will increase their trust in your brand. Finally, a satisfied customer will return to your business and spend more time and money. Furthermore, happy and loyal customers are more likely to spread the word, and word of mouth is still the most potent form of marketing. Therefore, loyal customers can be your company's most influential advocate. Right Audience Was Not Targeted No matter how well your campaign and marketing strategy may be, if you are not targeting the right audience, then all your money and effort are in vain and can be one of the most pivotal small business marketing mistakes. Sometimes targeting the wrong audience is worse than not targeting the market because you find out that none of them respond to your marketing efforts, and it leads to a total waste of your time and effort without any return. Spend some time learning about your customers' behavior, their goals, what motivates them, and so on. Market research from your customer base, such as surveys and interviews, allows you to create a strong target audience persona. Target people you know will be interested in your service. If you try to talk to everyone in marketing, you will have a difficult time reaching anyone. However, if you target your ideal buyer, you will be able to make the most of your marketing budget while also attracting and retaining more customers. Ignore Reviewing Your Competitors Many small business owners avoid keeping track of their competitors, which can be considered small business marketing mistakes. However, examining your competitors can provide you with a thorough understanding of your customers. This could be your hidden weapon. There are mainly two types of competitors: Direct competitors. Indirect competitors. Ignoring your competitors is akin to ignoring your customers. Examine your competitors' marketing efforts, successes, and failures, and never replicate them in your business practices and allocate your marketing resources to find new customers. SpyFu, Facebook Ad Library, and Google Alert all allow you to view your competitors' marketing campaigns. To put it concisely, investigating what your competitors are doing or not doing, determining what they plan, what their next move will be, and analyzing their strategies may provide you with valuable insights to use for your benefit. This clears that ignoring reviewing your competitors can be one of the pre-eminent small business marketing mistakes. Running a business is full of mistakes, especially when it comes to marketing. However, knowing the errors and rectifying them timely is the key to success. In the above article, I have listed seven essential small business marketing mistakes to be avoided. FAQs: What are some marketing mistakes? Here few common marketing mistakes to avoid: Not having written marketing planning. No systematic marketing budget. Lack of strong online presence. Not knowing marketing metrics. No emphasis on valuing the current customers. Not targeting the right audience. Ignore reviewing your competitors. What problems are small businesses facing? Major problems faced by small businesses are: Money management. Maintaining online presence. Lack of proper marketing strategy and planning. Obtaining and keeping customers. Quality and growth must be balanced. How do you avoid marketing mistakes? Marketing mistakes can be avoided by proper planning in every aspect of the business. Do thorough marketing research, focus on your potential customer’s needs, track your performance, and more. These are a few ways you could avoid marketing mistakes by being a little cautious. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are some marketing mistakes?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Here few common marketing mistakes to avoid: Not having written marketing planning. No systematic marketing budget. Lack of strong online presence. Not knowing marketing metrics. No emphasis on valuing the current customers. Not targeting the right audience. Ignore reviewing your competitors." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What problems are small businesses facing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Major problems faced by small businesses are: Money management. Maintaining online presence. Lack of proper marketing strategy and planning. Obtaining and keeping customers. Quality and growth must be balanced." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How do you avoid marketing mistakes?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Marketing mistakes can be avoided by proper planning in every aspect of the business. Do thorough marketing research, focus on your potential customer’s needs, track your performance, and more. These are a few ways you could avoid marketing mistakes by being a little cautious." } }] }

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COVID-19 crisis communication for small businesses: advice from a PR pro

Article | March 20, 2020

There’s rarely any downtime in the world of public relations, but the COVID-19 pandemic is kicking crisis communications into overdrive for small businesses across the country. On Monday, March 16, Vancouver-headquartered Reformation made a big move: on Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and its website, the PR firm began offering free consulting for Canadian businesses with 50 or fewer employees. “First and foremost, we’re a small business,” says founder and principal Amanda Haines Lazeski. “We know the inherent risk that this crisis comes with, especially for small businesses—it really has the potential for massive devastation

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Cloud computing for small businesses: Five reasons why it works

Article | March 16, 2020

Small and medium businesses (SMEs) play a significant role in the development and growth of the economy of any country. They are also a vital part of the global economy. To stay afloat in an increasingly interconnected and competitive global market, SMEs also need to adapt to the latest technology. SMEs that fail to do so will eventually have to close their doors.

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