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Archive for the ‘What You Need To Know About Small Business’ Category

How To Create Effective Content As Part Of Your Marketing Strategy

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on October 16, 2018 at 6:58 pm

If you think content marketing is a collection of blogs, Tweets, Facebook posts and web pages working in conjunction with a businesses’ goals, you’re technically right. However, while well-written, quality content and social media outreach are vital, there is so much more to wrap your head around.

Good content resonates, persuades, and offers something of value to your customers, but it also needs to meet your content marketing goal, reach your audience and be keyword rich for SEO purposes. Content marketing is an art, and to put an effective strategy in place, there are many boxes for you to tick.

Define Your Content Marketing Goal

Why are you making content? What is its goal? Do you want more traffic to your site, more conversion rates, or to increase your business’s authority? Answering such questions at the beginning means you create content with a clear goal in mind. Aimless content will only waste your resources, as well as time and money, so knowing the ‘why’ before can help keep your whole company on track, and on budget.

Create Audience Personas

Like buyer personas, your audience personas are fictionalized representations of your ideal customers. Create content with these personas in mind. You will, most likely, have more than one audience persona, with different content goals in place. If your product, for instance, is a smartphone for high-earning business owners, but also for the members of the public who enjoy luxury items, then these two types of customers will have different professional and personal lifestyles.

Bullet point their attributes such as age, gender, location, likes and dislikes, salary and job title. Also, include stock images of your customers so that you can easily visualize them. You need to have a connection with your audience.

Then, go one step further and determine how your customers are going to find your content. Answer the following questions:

  • Do they search on Google, Reddit or Quora when finding ideas and answers?
  • What social media platforms do they use most?
  • How active are they online, and if not, how else can you reach them?

A professional may, for example, spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. If so, write authoritative blogs and post them on LinkedIn. Connect with your audience and invite them to take a look at your content.

Do Keyword Research and Brainstorm Ideas

Once you know who you are creating content for and who your audience is, it is time to brainstorm ideas on the content you are going to write, as well as the keywords that will heighten your online visibility. It’s estimated that 40 percent of US internet users blocked ads from their electronic devices in 2016, with the figure to grow to 30.1 percent this year. Businesses need to find organic ways to advertise their products and/or services; keyword research and SEO can help with this.

Keyword research is no simple task. You need to determine what keywords have traction, which are too competitive, and how to implement them into your content. Digital Mark Group offers keyword targeting services so that you are using the best performing keywords in your industry. Experts in SEO and keyword research can eliminate second-guessing which keywords are worth your time.

For your content marketing to be a success, you need to remain strategic and not forget your goal. Before you start writing your content, collate at least fifty or more ideas and how you will execute the content. Write them up and schedule them to be released ahead of time. You need content to be released continually, so keep adding title ideas every week.

Know How to Write Your Content

There are a variety of ways to format your content: blog posts, infographics, podcasts, and videos. Use them all, but also use them well. Your content must tell a story that will resonate with your audience, and it should also be easy to read and digest.

Last year, the average time spent reading articles was 1.90 minutes on smartphones, and 2.62 minutes on a desktop. This was down from previous years. You need to grip your audience. However, you also need your content to be reader-friendly, that can be skimmed through quickly. Breaking down your content into bite-sized chunks and having sub-headings to catch attention can help. These tidbits can also provide answers to your audience’s questions more easily.

Crucial points to remember when writing content include:

  • Outline what the article is about in the introduction
  • Add details, statistics, quotes, etc. in the bulk of the article
  • Write a great headline to catch the eye of your customers
  • Keep video content short
  • Communicate to your watcher through hand gestures
  • Be specific with what you are discussing in your podcasts
  • Invite guests to join your podcasts

Once you have created your content, it’s time to market it on social media. Nowadays, it is impossible to keep the two separate and social media is a quick, easy and affordable way to promote your content and engage with your customers. Follow these steps and you’re sure to provide your customers with great content marketing.

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Reaching Customers Is Easy – But Delivering The Right Message Is Getting Harder

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on October 11, 2018 at 12:37 pm

The digital space is full of noise – TV adverts, Google adverts, social media adverts, emails all trying to target you using the cookies collected from your online browsing. Many of these online efforts with general messages end up as nothing more than an annoyance to consumers because it’s almost impossible for them to address specific issues or problems facing a customer.

For years, we have been bombarded with generic sales messages and brand information which has accumulated to make noise. The digital space now offers more affordable marketing than the traditional TV, radio and magazine advertising – so more companies jump on the bandwagon and before we know it, we are drowning in noise with no clear message.

We have more tools than ever at our disposal to create specific targeted messages but for some, marketing still seems to be a bit of a hit and miss affair. The saying “If you throw enough mud at the wall, some of it will stick” rings true here.

Buyers can now find all the information they need online, so the methods that salespeople use for presenting their value proposition must change.

This is easier said than done, and the inability to communicate value messages is one of the biggest inhibitors to attracting new customers and achieving sales success.

Modern day buyers are only interested in how a product can benefit them.

The features of a product might be interesting, but if it’s not going to provide a direct benefit and help them achieve their desired outcomes, then they’re simply not interested. In a world where consumers have all the information they need at their fingertips, selling has become harder than ever.

Value messaging needs to change to keep up with this evolution of the buyer. Selling a product is no longer about the product. It’s all about the buyer.

Making a purchase is now a journey that involves emotions, feelings, goals and solutions. And a salesperson can only facilitate this journey if they know their customer well. They need to have conversations and truly get to the heart of their problems.

Sales message dynamics

Value messages need to follow a process that changes and meanders with the customer’s buying journey. There is a definite beginning, middle and end in the sales process, and salespeople need to help customers understand their own challenges (because often they don’t) and provide a solution that will achieve a desired result. A proper conversation with a customer opens the lines of communication and can address a problem the customer wasn’t even aware they had.

Creating new business

The inability to communicate value messages effectively not only inhibits sales success, but also impedes the ability to attract new leads and clients and expand existing ones into more valuable clients. This makes sales messaging even more important when it comes to successful business.

Customer-centric messaging

It’s imperative that salespeople know how to plan, construct and present their messages effectively. We need to focus more on the customers’ pain points and explain the value they will get from the product. This is where personalized, one-on-one sales techniques make a difference.

What’s the best way to begin the process of communicating value messages that will ensure that the right people sit up and listen? Attract, train and retain exceptional salespeople.

Great salespeople engage prospects and build trust. While many lead generation methods and sales processes involve online communication methods, salespeople provide what digital marketing can’t – a human connection and an ongoing relationship.

Guest Writer: Owen Richards is the Managing Director of Air Marketing Group, an award-winning sales acceleration company in Exeter, Devon. Owen has also worked in Australia where he played a substantial part in the growth of Australia’s most successful telemarketing company. Owen is an expert in sales processes and strategy and his passion for helping people grow their business has enabled businesses and employees to thrive under his leadership. Follow Owen on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/owenjrichards/

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How Telemedicine Is Changing Healthcare

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on October 10, 2018 at 7:36 pm

Healthcare services are vital. However, the cost and access to the best care continue to be a challenge. Patients, physicians, healthcare providers and other stakeholders in the sector are looking into technology for help. One way they are doing that is through telemedicine.

What is Telemedicine?

It refers to the use of telecommunication to deliver clinical care. It utilizes the transfer of medical data, such as medical records, images, and videos, from the patient to the physician. The primary function of telemedicine was to overcome logistical challenges between doctors and patients.

How Is Telemedicine Saving More Lives

Used In Emergency Care

Common heart and pulmonary conditions can easily lead to death if they go untreated for a few minutes. Even if there is no physician nearby, telemedicine can be used to deliver care to the patient remotely.

Physicians are helping patients with stroke, heart attacks, and acute pulmonary conditions. In the process, they are improving patient outcomes in emergencies. A patient can receive care even when all roads are rendered impassable by traffic or storm.

Used In Preventive Care

Many chronic diseases require regular monitoring. Diabetes, heart conditions, allergic rhinitis, and other conditions can now be monitored from a distance. The patient can continually stay under care and supervision even when he is not inside a health facility.

This option is reducing the number of hospitalizations and inpatient admissions. In places such Sub-Saharan African where hospitals admit up to 200% their bed occupancy, telemedicine is the only hope. It can facilitate patients from upcountry to access care without having to visit hospitals. Some will take several days to reach the designated health centers. By the time they arrive there, their situation will have worsened.

If the patients access a doctor on time, they will soon recover. If they don’t, they will go to hospitals and put pressure on the few hospital resources available.

Improve the Quality of Decision-Making

To make it possible, it involves rigorous evidence to make a diagnosis. Since the physician is not present, images and videos play a significant role. In the process, the level of evidence required to make a decision is higher. It can reduce diagnostic errors.

In Quarantine Situations

Telemedicine has been used in quarantine situations, too. In places where physicians have to deal with highly infectious conditions, doctors can monitor patients through drones and cameras.

Conditions that Telemedicine is Ideal For

When telemedicine is mentioned, people see remote care. Most of the solutions are geared towards patients who have no access to a physician. However, telemedicine is gaining a broad service offering.

Today, from telerehabilitation to telepharmacy, its use has widened dramatically. Anyone who has access to the internet and a transmission device can access a physician through telemedical platforms. Videoconferencing, webcams, and videophones make it accessible to almost anyone out there.

However, one will need reliable internet services to transmit information. You must also utilize quality equipment to capture and reliably transmit data. The physician must have tools and equipment to receive, retrieve and read data. Medical records such as scans are bulky. They require high-resolution equipment to display.

Conclusion

For companies such as Global Med, the limits to care are cast aside by the opportunities brought by telemedicine. They can deliver care to a global village.

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How To Find A New Office For Your Small Business

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on October 10, 2018 at 7:24 pm

A productive work environment is essential for ensuring your business runs smoothly every day. Without it, your workers can feel uninspired, and productivity will fall. Sometimes, this can be fixed with a few office touch-ups, but can often require a bigger change. When this happens, many business owners begin their search for a new office space to work in. There are lots of points that should be on your check-list, such as a prime location and lots of natural light. When you search for an office space with some key ideas in mind, it will make your search easier and will promise that you end up in a space that is the perfect match for your business.

Find the right support

Before you go about searching for a new office, you should make sure you have the right legal support to turn to. Having trusted solicitors and conveyancers on hand means the process of moving should be quick and painless. This will also remove any stresses you may have about completing the correct paperwork. Looking to a company like Compare Conveyancing Quotes will give you peace of mind that you are getting the perfect deal alongside some reliable help.

Consider location

When it comes to finding a new office space, convenience is key. You will need to choose somewhere that has a great location in relation to public transport and connections to the outside world. Location can affect anything from wi-fi connection to local business meetings. To keep the costs low, you should search for a suburban area; one with good access to a city. As you are running a small business, you could even ask your employees which location they would prefer to work in. This can reduce overall commuting times and increase the levels of happiness within your office.

Prioritize good facilities

More and more focus is going into finding office spaces that are a far cry away from traditional ones. While desk space and bathroom facilities are a basic you should be searching for, there should also be a large kitchen area. Alongside this, you should consider purchasing a space where you can make changes to the building. This way, you can add common areas and even a gym. These days, such areas are a great way of boosting creativity, happiness, and productivity in any office.

Bring a designer with you

There is no doubt that you will want an office space that is personal to your business, which inspires your employees to work hard every day. When you are searching for a space, it’s a good idea to bring a designer with you. With their keen eye, they can spot potential in certain spaces, which can help you bring the cost down when it comes to redecorating. After the sale has gone through, you can draw up some ideas of what your office should look like. You should always remember to keep colors light and furnishings comfortable for when the move begins.

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Why Your Small Business Operating Cash Flow Matters

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on October 9, 2018 at 8:42 am

Among the many financial statements a business needs to evaluate in order to determine its level of success and profitability, from your invoices to your investment activities, operating cash flow is by far the most relevant financial factor of your business’s viability. It’s considered the essence of your company, precisely because it’s essential in allowing your business to run smoothly on a daily basis, and thus withhold its reputation as a trustworthy company in front of your investors, clients, and employees alike.

How your cash flow fluctuates and any setbacks that occur may actually point to a long-term issue with your business. That, in turn, may cause a spike in your bank’s interest rates, or cause some of your investors to pull out. If, for instance, a client fails to pay their bill in time, you may find yourself unable to cover your employees’ salaries, or a bill for your supplier. That is why mastering the art of cash flow management is vital for any small business in order to ensure an optimal growth rate and a secure relationship with all those you work with.

Providing a basis for negotiation

A healthy cash flow offers a peace of mind for you as the owner and the manager of your business, but it also paints a vivid picture for those that work with you. You have likely built your business on numerous partnerships, from those with your suppliers, manufacturers, as well as your bank and your investors. However, these relationships allow room for a change, especially if those involved notice that your business is flourishing, which is visible predominantly through how much money you see coming in on a daily basis.

When this becomes a trend, not just an odd case of cash influx, you can actually use this momentum to grow these relationships and make them more profitable for you and your company. Simply put, you can negotiate more affordable contracts with your suppliers, discounts, as well as better interest rates, since you have a strong leg to stand on in terms of regular payments.  

Enabling a strong reputation

As a small business, you cannot afford to make major mistakes in the financing sector. A missed credit payment or a late salary for your employees may cause some unwanted buzz, and reduce your revenue in the long run. Then again, finances aren’t the only aspect of protecting your company’s reputation, so it’s safe to say that some small businesses still neglect this vital aspect of brand-building.

A stable cash flow paired with regular payments leads to strong relationships in the industry, and allows you to protect your brand’s image from the inside out. It lets you prevent debts, cutting budgets for relevant strategies that let your business grow, and it creates an overall stable work environment for all your employees. Late payments, which are dependent on your cash flow, will not just have your current employees question their loyalty to you, but they will deter any potential partners and workers from beginning a relationship with you in the first place.

Preventing failed payments

Every small business needs to be extremely vigilant when it comes to tracking its cash flow, because any untreated issues may lead to a bottleneck that will end up wreaking havoc on your operations. Delays in payments can prevent you from pouring the needed cash into your latest innovation program, or covering your own operational expenses, purchasing new equipment, and the like. For small businesses, a single missed payment can mean halting the entire operation, which can in turn cause an avalanche of bureaucratic issues no young, growing business can afford to tackle.

That is why utilizing direct debit solutions to prevent cash flow setbacks is a tried-and-tested strategy to maintain a strong relationship with your clients, prevent late payments, handle failed payments, and keep the process as automated as possible. It also reduces the waiting time to almost making those invoices instantly payable, with your clients’ consent, of course. With smooth, automated systems such as these, your cash flow no longer needs to suffer, and your reputation will remain intact.

Investing in innovation

Small businesses tend to focus on pure survival, especially in the first several years of growth and development. However, enabling a stable influx of cash on a daily basis means that you can focus on other priorities, such as a new strategy to upgrade your product or service, a new solution to implement that will help speed up your operations, or simply to boost your office potential with equipment of better quality.

In so many ways, any form of innovation depends on your cash flow, and failing to manage it properly may cost you not just clients or profit, but also numerous opportunities to expand your business. You may be just one pricey marketing initiative away from a significant market breach, hence the need to make sure that your everyday earnings can handle the price of such a leap of growth.

While your annual budget forecasts and your overall financial strategy are always fair indicators of how strong and sturdy your business is, you should never neglect the importance of your cash flow and its growth rate. It’s the lifeblood of your business, and you as its owner need to be able to keep the reins in your hands, in order to see your company skyrocket towards success.

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