MARKETING AND NETWORKING
Article | December 8, 2021
Content marketing has gained a lot of importance for small businesses due to the benefits it carries, like customer engagement, building customer relationships, providing more sales, and being a cost-effective form of marketing. It is a far more effective marketing strategy compared to other forms of marketing strategies.
Content is king in the digital world. If you operate a small business, you should definitely explore a content marketing plan to expand your audience and establish brand awareness. Content marketing is one of the most reliable forms of advertising for small businesses with a higher ROI. This blog further discusses the imperative and result-oriented tips for content marketing.
“Content marketing provides 4x the ROI of our traditional marketing spend.”
- Julie Fleischer, VP Marketing, Neustar
However, marketing has evolved into a complicated as a result of the dynamic digital environment. It is necessary to prioritize content marketing to increase your audience's engagement. Owing to the changing trends, small businesses have to come up with innovative strategies and tips for content marketing.
In 2021, 82% of marketers planned to use content marketing actively, up 70% from last year.
Why Should Small Businesses Focus on Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a very efficient and cost-effective method of engaging customers, building brand loyalty, and driving sales. Content marketing goes a long way toward establishing trust with any consumer or prospect since it has a lengthy shelf-life.
Additionally, content marketing enables you to pinpoint and resolve your customers' trouble areas. As a result, it increases sales.
According to Lyfe Marketing, more than 90% of online marketers begin their relationship with their audience through content development. The next section discusses why content marketing is important for small businesses.
Content marketing for small businesses has several advantages:
Develop your brand's image, trust, and loyalty
Increased social media visibility
It increases sales
Steps Before Developing Content Strategy
Define Your Target Audience
Defining your audience is the first and crucial step in your content marketing strategy. However, well-executed content marketing may be, but if you don’t target the right audience, all your efforts will be in vain.
Define your target audience in terms of your business, product, or service. Your firm can interact with the folks that matter most when you have a targeted audience strategy in place. You can ensure that you appeal to the right people and convince them to become customers.
Set Your Goals
Before you start a content marketing strategy for your campaign, you must set your SMART goal. Setting a goal can assist you in focusing and developing a well-channeled plan that will contribute to your content marketing success and help you accomplish your specified goals.
Create Your Buyer Persona
Avoid conflating the target audience with the buyer persona. While the target audience is broad, the buyer persona is more specific to the individual to whom you wish to sell.
Begin by defining your ideal consumer; then, define his requirements, goals, difficulties, preferred method of accessing information, motivations, and consumption pattern, among others.
These are essential steps that should be considered before starting content marketing for small businesses.
Tips for Content Marketing to Increase Customer Engagement
Create User-generated Content
At times, it's good to move the spotlight away from your brand and toward your consumer. In marketing, user-generated content (UGC) refers to content provided by customers about your business.
This material might take the form of a social media update, a review, a video, a podcast, a picture, or text. When it comes to boosting buyer confidence and influencing purchasing decisions, UGC outperforms traditional marketing methods. Because consumers are more likely to believe reviews from genuine users than brands, encourage your customers to share their experiences with your product or service. This is one of the best customer-focused tips for content marketing.
Create a Variety of Content
However interesting and relevant your content might be, the key to content marketing success is diversity. The purpose of content marketing is to engage consumers and to deliver information that audiences anticipate.
You may generate content in a variety of formats, including infographics, podcasts, videos, and blogs, as well as convert blog entries to videos. In this manner, your clients will be enthusiastic about and engaged with each piece of content on your website and social media channels. This is one of the most promising tips for content marketing success.
Provide Personalized Content
Don’t consider providing personalized content an extra effort. It should be a vital aspect of your content marketing plan to foster the type of audience loyalty mentioned previously. You may tailor your content by gathering data about your prospective customers, determining their wants, comprehending their pain areas, and addressing them personally.
The finest examples of tailored content are Amazon and Netflix. When you log into Amazon, they display on their homepage the things that are of interest to you based on your most recent search. Similarly, Netflix suggests movies or visual alternatives based on your most recently watched film. Personalized content forms of advertising for small businesses are more engaging and in turn, lead to sales and conversions.
Include Latest Trends
By incorporating current trends into your content marketing plan, in addition to evergreen material, you increase your chances of content marketing success. Keeping up with current trends while being relevant to your business is what captures the audience's interest.
However, you must exercise caution when selecting the trend that is most appropriate for your business; not all trends are beneficial to the nature of your organization. Bear in mind that trends that have nothing to do with your organization might paint you as an irresponsible brand pursuing untargeted traffic.
Persona-based content enables you to accomplish specific goals in less time and with a higher volume. It promotes increased conversions and engagement by addressing genuine pain points in the content.
In content marketing, the buyer persona is also associated with the creation of content for all three stages of the marketing funnel. A small business's content strategy must include distinct customer personas at each stage of the funnel. Additionally, you must diversify your material according to several personas. In today's marketing industry, this is one of the most sought-after tips for content marketing businesses.
A well-known brand apart from their stunning and timeless timepieces, Rolex is well-known for high-quality photographs as well. Daily, their photographs are viewed by over 10 million Instagram followers and seven million Facebook fans.
We can see from the above example that content marketing is not limited only to blog posts and sales pages. Rolex pictures are eye-catching and easily convey information about their product and brand. Images often speak the best possible way when it comes to social media platforms and lead to content marketing success. Thus, visual effects create more engagement.
Why is content marketing good for small businesses?
Content marketing enables small businesses to pinpoint their clients' trouble spots. Content marketing benefits small companies in various ways, including increased consumer interaction, connection building, increased sales, and cost-effective marketing.
What does content marketing do for a business?
Content marketing assists you in attracting, engaging, and retaining consumers. Content marketing may take many forms, including blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, and blogs with embedded videos. Businesses benefit from content marketing because it boosts their return on investment.
"name": "Why is content marketing good for small businesses?",
"text": "Content marketing enables small businesses to pinpoint their clients' trouble spots. Content marketing benefits small companies in various ways, including increased consumer interaction, connection building, increased sales, and cost-effective marketing."
"name": "What does content marketing do for a business?",
"text": "Content marketing assists you in attracting, engaging, and retaining consumers. Content marketing may take many forms, including blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, and blogs with embedded videos. Businesses benefit from content marketing because it boosts their return on investment."
SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS
Article | November 26, 2021
Small businesses are a critical component of the US commercial sector, employing about half of the US workforce. However, pandemic has struck the world devastating small enterprises. Due to the pandemic's rapid indignation, many small companies were forced to close their doors.
"The small businesses continue to be big contributors to the US economy, while their contribution has grown at a slower rate than that of large businesses, small businesses continue to be at the forefront of driving innovation, jobs and economic growth."
- Acting Chief Counsel for Advocacy Major L. Clark
The coronavirus altered the way businesses work and presented several challenges to small business owners. As a result, they had to shut down their businesses owing to the downturn. However, few stood firm and continued their business operation, adapting to a new norm of business culture.
The pandemic compelled businesses to embrace digital transformation and digital technologies; everything moved digital, from commerce to education, from medical consultation to work. Covid paved the path for new business trends and operating methodologies that were previously unavailable to small firms. Small enterprises must adapt to new modes of operation and build adaptable business models.
The pandemic is here to stay, and we should be prepared to live alongside it while maintaining a regular existence. Thus, a few adaptations are here to stay, and small businesses must be prepared to coexist with them.
Adaptations To Last Post-Covid
Embracing The Digital Transformation
Throughout COVID-19, numerous small company owners smoothly accepted and implemented digital transformation in their operations. They moved their whole operation online, from promotion to sales. They prioritized data security, offered their products through eCommerce platforms, accepted digital and encrypted payments, incorporated innovative technology into their operations and decision-making, and launched AI-based customer care tools.
The idea of turning digital was challenging for small businesses, but the coronavirus compelled them to accept and act intelligently. Embracing technology was critical to small businesses surviving and remaining anchored during the pandemic crisis. Adapted digital shifts enable small businesses to grow digitally and strengthen themselves while also expanding their reach. As a result, businesses that are digitally driven are sure to endure longer.
Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, added 1900 outlets and had a 7% unit increase in a single year. The business achieved the objective by utilizing Deep Brew, an artificial intelligence-based application. The AI analyzed statistics such as population, traffic, income levels, and the presence of rivals, among other things. The gathering of such data aided the business in forecasting sales, earnings, and other economic performance indicators.
Collaborative And Partnership
The collaboration proved to be a gift in disguise for small firms in the aftermath of the pandemic. Small companies gained access to a much larger audience through partnership, which was critical for survival during the crisis.
The pandemic taught small company owners the value of teamwork and partnership in ensuring the business's stability and survival. Collaboration with influential organizations expands the market and provides exposure to prospective clients. In addition, it contributes to brand reach while enhancing brand credibility.
Collaboration solves financial problems, helps you save money, enables network growth, higher profits.
Hybrid Business Models
Many organizations have transitioned from traditional or linear business models to hybrid business models due to disruptive Fintech players, technological advancements, and changing customer behavior. A hybrid business model combines classic and non-traditional product sales tactics. Additionally, the hybrid business model is referred to as "multichannel commerce," "bricks-and-clicks," or "clicks-and-mortar."
A hybrid company model represents a novel path to success. This model uses software, cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning, hardware, and a combination of conventional and non-traditional services to operate the business. Extensive preparation and analysis are required to iron out the wrinkles of large-scale implementation of the hybrid business model.
A hybrid business model brings in several advantages such as:
New sources of revenue
New means of communication and collaboration
It contributes to meeting customer requirements and propelling us forward into the digital future. The hybrid company model is optimal since it enables you to make the best of everything and produces the highest quality product.
eCommerce's New Trends
During the pandemic, the eCommerce business was highly active. Everyone went to the internet to provide their services; everything from food to personal necessities was available online. As a result, the already-crowded eCommerce industry expanded by up to 44%.
Several eCommerce trends garnered prominence during the pandemic, including omnichannel strategy, voice search, voice shopping, mobile commerce, green consumerism, drone delivery, leveraging augmented reality to build virtual changing rooms, and artificial intelligence. Additionally, these patterns will persist post-pandemic, owing to the popularity of eCommerce among both consumers and company owners.
eCommerce is one such slow progression that exploded in popularity after the financial crisis and is here to stay.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How has the pandemic affected small businesses?
The pandemic had a profound effect on business, and as a result, many small firms were forced to close their doors permanently. In addition, small company owners were forced to respond to the economic upheaval caused by COVID-19 by adopting new business practices.
How has technology helped small businesses grow?
Technology was critical in helping small businesses weather the recession. Small company entrepreneurs may now communicate with their clients using digital channels such as email, blogs, and social media. The emergence of the internet world and new technology has aided in the growth of several small enterprises.
"name": "How has the pandemic affected small businesses?",
"text": "The pandemic had a profound effect on business, and as a result, many small firms were forced to close their doors permanently. In addition, small company owners were forced to respond to the economic upheaval caused by COVID-19 by adopting new business practices."
"name": "How has technology helped small businesses grow?",
"text": "Technology was critical in helping small businesses weather the recession. Small company entrepreneurs may now communicate with their clients using digital channels such as email, blogs, and social media. The emergence of the internet world and new technology has aided in the growth of several small enterprises."
Article | November 25, 2021
Today's business environment is highly uncertain and has a strong inclination towards embracing technology shift. Small business owners are also gradually heading towards the same path. Therefore, considering the future scenario and business prospects, focusing on small business technology investment has become imperative.
On the other hand, many small business owners do not have the luxury of investing in technology without a strategy. They cannot take a trial-and-error approach due to their limited budget, resources, and unpredictability of the business climate. However, investments in technology for small businesses play a crucial role, particularly in today's business world. However, the tech needs of a small enterprise are limited, but a few essential elements of technology should be implemented.
"We've moved from digital products and infrastructure to digital distribution and web strategy to now into more holistic transformations that clearly are based on mobile, social media, digitization and the power of analytics and we think it's really a new era requiring new strategies."
– Saul Berman, Chief Strategist, VP & Global Digital Business Strategy Practice Leader for IBM Global Business Services
Key Areas of Investments in Small Business Technology That Cannot Be Neglected
Focus Cloud Applications
Cloud apps are accessed via a browser and are available on both desktop and mobile devices., On the other hand, cloud computing has existed in the business sector for an extended time but has been underutilized by small businesses owing to budget constraints. However, cloud computing costs have decreased considerably over time, to the point that small business owners may now use this technology.
Gartner's study indicates that up to 60% of business owners would rely on the cloud to hold data by 2022, nearly double the percentage in 2018.
Cloud computing enables businesses to access data and apps from any location, time, and mobile device, all at a fair cost. Cloud technology enables small businesses to easily access data on the go, enabling them to be more competitive on a global scale. Cloud computing enables various cloud-based services, including cloud storage, cloud backup, and cloud hosting. Cloud computing has several advantages, including increased flexibility and scalability, ease of data recovery, increased data security, and cost-effectiveness.
Ultimately, small business tech needs cloud computing applications for seamless business operations in the competitive business world.
Must-Have: AI, Machine Learning, And Analytics
Often, small companies believe that AI applications, machine learning, and analytics are beyond reach, resulting in minimal investment in technology. However, it is no longer an issue since commercial software solutions incorporate new technologies that enable you to do more with your data.
Analytics provides insight into your company's performance, customer experience, risk identification and mitigation, and market trends. In comparison, machine learning enables the service to be more personalized through collecting statistical data and extensive data using AI.
Despite the pandemic, researchers expect worldwide AI software revenues to reach $100 billion by 2025. (Deloitte)
Here is an amazing real-world corporate example. An early adopter of machine learning, 1-800-Flowers, unveiled 'Gifts When You Need' (GWYN), an IBM AI helper. It enabled GWYN to adapt presents to the chosen occasion by gathering information through interaction. As a result, customers received customized service and knowledge while purchasing from home. This raised the number of new clients while also broadening the demographic reach. In addition, personalized product suggestions enhanced conversions through machine learning.
Trending VR and AR Technology
Post-covid, virtual and augmented reality technologies will play a significant role. With the advancement of technology, the viewpoint on the corporate environment and ecosystem will shift.
The benefits and applications of virtual reality and augmented reality technology in business come in various forms, including customer experience, staff training, and product creation. The application of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies enhances client experiences and contributes to the quality and speed of manual job operations. Given that AR and VR are effective tools for growing sales and income, it's easy to see why small business technology investment is critical.
AR and VR are altering both online and physical commerce in dramatic ways. As a result, this technology has had a significant influence on the eCommerce and retail industries.
According to Statista 2021, the AR market size is currently $12 billion. (Statista, 2021)
As per AR Insider, by 2023, AR users are estimated to reach 2.4 billion. (AR Insider, 2021)
Here is one interesting example of the use of this technology. The Nike app enabled users to scan their feet and get accurate sizing recommendations. As a result, online shoppers were no more reluctant and afraid to mistake the size and safely buy shoes online. This feature was handy, primarily due to the pandemic crisis where in-store shopping was declining.
Mobile Technology a New Necessity
The substantial influence of mobile technology has increased significantly over the previous 18 months due to the coronavirus epidemic. However, mobile technology is no longer a buzzword for small company owners. Due to the epidemic, many small company owners resorted to digital solutions.
Mobile technology is not restricted to smartphones, wearables, or contactless payments; computers and GPS devices may also be equipped. Furthermore, mobile technology comes in various forms, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, network services such as 4G or 5G, and VPNs (virtual private networks). In the absence of genuine work mobility, supporting employees' mobile devices for work via a BYOD or CYOD program is a prudent investment.
Q. How do small business owners use technology to improve their business?
A. Small businesses can use technology in multiple different ways. For instance, they can use technology to connect with their customers, communicate with their employees, sell their products or services, better coordinate between the employees, simplify manual work, and many more.
Q. How much do small businesses spend on technology?
A. Small businesses should acknowledge a few technologies in their business operations. Below are the mentioned requisites:
Q. What are the latest business technologies?
A. The latest and trendy technologies that are in widespread use in the business world are mentioned below:
Internet of things (IoT)
Virtual & augmented reality
Robotics & automation
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"text": "Small businesses can use technology in multiple different ways. For instance, they can use technology to connect with their customers, communicate with their employees, sell their products or services, better coordinate between the employees, simplify manual work, and many more."
"name": "How much do small businesses spend on technology?",
"text": "Small businesses should acknowledge a few technologies in their business operations. Below are the mentioned requisites:
"name": "What are the latest business technologies?",
"text": "The latest and trendy technologies that are in widespread use in the business world are mentioned below:
Internet of things (IoT)
Virtual & augmented reality
Robotics & automation
SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE
Article | November 16, 2021
Are you a small business owner and still stuck with an expensive form of traditional marketing? Don't be; here is one of the effective solutions for your dilemma ‘inbound marketing.’ So now the question arises - what is inbound marketing? How can small businesses fetch inbound marketing benefits?
Inbound marketing, according to Miles Anthony Smith, is the practice of drawing customers to your company. Can accomplish this via content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and other strategies. Unfortunately, traditional marketing techniques have been deemed "disruptive" and are no longer employed. In addition, traditional marketing has several problems, including high costs, difficulty in maintaining, and difficulty attracting consumers and generating leads.
According to HubSpot, inbound marketing generates 54% more leads than traditional paid marketing.
"The effectiveness of inbound marketing relies heavily on the ability to attract leads at all levels of the sales cycle"
— Natalie Davis.
Most businesses utilize the power of inbound marketing since it develops connections and generates high-quality leads without requiring a significant marketing expenditure. Improved technology has increased the importance of inbound marketing even more. Unlike traditional marketing, inbound marketing encourages people to contact you for your products and services.
Various inbound marketing platforms help small businesses with inbound marketing strategy and tools, such as:
Marketing automation platforms
Email marketing platforms
Social media management
CRYO Adopted Inbound Marketing
CRYO, a firm located in Dubai, is a specialist in cryotherapy for the healthcare industry. They give treatment on five continents via corporate-owned and franchised locations.
CRYO adopted inbound marketing in 2016 for more focused and data-driven approach to pitch to prospective clients. However, as a digital marketing business, prior to adopting inbound marketing they lacked an end-to-end solution.
They observed a significant increase in their company KPIs after implementing inbound marketing.
146% increase in revenue
44% increase in website traffic
128% increase in leads
Benefits Of Inbound Marketing
Efficient Than Traditional Marketing
Inbound marketing, in contrast to typical advertising approaches, targets the appropriate clients who are already interested.
According to invespcro, a professionally implemented inbound marketing approach converts leads ten times faster than typical outbound marketing methods.
"If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing."- Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist of Canva.
Here are a few more inbound marketing benefits; it is more responsive than most traditional marketing techniques and increases website traffic. In the age of digitization, inbound marketing platforms are critical for achieving the most remarkable results.
Cost-Effective Than Other Forms of Advertising
Inbound marketing strategy is unmatched when it comes to cost-effectiveness. This is because inbound marketing focuses on enticing prospective consumers; by doing so, you save time and money by avoiding uninterested people in your products or services.
According to Invespcro, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and triples lead generation.
Inbound marketing helps marketers to get a greater return on investment and create more leads on a shoestring budget. The most significant inbound marketing benefit that this technique may give small business owners is cost-effectiveness. Simultaneously, an inbound marketing strategy has better value for your business as well.
Inbound marketing aims to build a relationship with customers that leads to long-term investment.
Assume you have a popular video/blog on a social media network such as Facebook. Your followers will see your posted content and respond with likes, comments, and shares. This manner, your material reaches a bigger audience and retains its visibility for an extended period. As a result, traffic will blossom and expand over time.
Unlike other forms of marketing and promotion, inbound marketing does not have a time limit for attracting visitors to your website, thus the long-term investment. As a result, it is one of the most valuable inbound marketing benefits for small businesses with restricted marketing budgets.
Builds Brand Awareness and Loyalty
In today's society, the majority of purchases begin with an internet search. Therefore, if you have an online presence and are highly active on search's social media platforms, you have a good chance of increasing brand recognition.
Interacting with prospective consumers develops their trust and increases the likelihood of choosing your brand when making purchases. Therefore, attract, engage, and delight are the three pillars of the inbound technique. When inbound marketing is done correctly, it fosters consumer loyalty and improves your brand's impression.
Inbound Marketing is here to stay and is the best marketing strategy for small businesses. Looking at the above-mentioned inbound marketing benefits, you can figure out the tremendous value it holds in marketing. It is vital to have content of high quality and targeted towards the right audience.
If you are a small business owner and are interested in a more cost-effective marketing method, we encourage you to implement an inbound marketing strategy. It is not easy as it sounds; it takes time, money, practice, and lastly, a lot of effort to understand your customers. But it is worth all the endeavors.\
What are the examples of inbound marketing?
Here few examples of trending inbound marketing:
Social media campaigns
What are inbound marketing strategies for start-ups?
Below are listed some inbound marketing strategies that start-ups can take advantage of.
Create and share free content
Write compelling headlines
Leverage blogs to the fullest
Create an email course
Have compelling landing pages
Invest in influencer marketing
Sprinkle some SEO magic
"name": "What are the examples of inbound marketing?",
"text": "Here few examples of trending inbound marketing:
Social media campaigns
"name": "What are inbound marketing strategies for start-ups?",
"text": "Below are listed some inbound marketing strategies that start-ups can take advantage of.
Create and share free content
Write compelling headlines
Leverage blogs to the fullest
Create an email course
Have compelling landing pages
Invest in influencer marketing
Sprinkle some SEO magic"
"name": "What are the typical benefits of inbound marketing?",
"text": "Inbound marketing provides many benefits; below are a few listed ones:
Efficient than traditional marketing
Cost-effective than other forms of advertising
Builds brand awareness and loyalty
Reach new markets and audiences
Better lead generation