Posts tagged " online business "

How to get the word out when you don’t have a marketing or PR budget

September 13th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

You’ve invested all your dollars into your business, now how do you tell everyone you exist?

In this week’s blog, we’ve listed 8 tips to build up a market presence and really get seen – even when you don’t have marketing or PR dollars to outlay.

  1. Use Bartercard

    We’re cutting straight to the chase – if you don’t have a cash budget for marketing, use Bartercard trade dollars to land exposure without the cash bill. Bartercard has hundreds of media companies, including magazines and industry publications, where you can advertise your business and showcase your brand.Don’t have any print or digital assets?  Use graphic designers on Bartercard to create all your artwork and collateral, including a killer brand!  But take a step back – what’s your market positioning? Bartercard has digital marketing and PR agencies available too, so you can put your brand in the hands of experts to position and maximize its market reach.
  2. Research

    Get to know the journalists, influencers and publications (including newspapers, supplement lift-outs and magazines) in your industry.  Write a list including the journalist’s/influencer’s area of expertise/focus and add their contact details. Follow them on social media and like and comment on their posts before contacting them. Consider what valuable information and expertise you can contribute instead of focusing on yourself. At this stage you should also start positioning your brand and how you will pitch it.
  3. Tell a story

    Part of getting seen is knowing how to tell a great story that stands out from the throngs. What pain points are you tackling, in what creative way, and what led you to launch? Most critical, what’s your solution?Brands like Dollar Shave Club mail out competitively-priced grooming supplies straight to customers while Coca-Cola and Commonwealth Bank appeal through clever, emotive story telling. Others like Doughnut Time just know how to do their specialty – and market it – well.

    As part of your brand story, everything in your business should be conducive.  Are healthy deserts your specialty?  Serve them in environmentally-friendly packaging to stay consistent.

  4. What can you do differently to tell your story?

    Some brands have quirky personalities while others tackle the market through a stand-out identity, consumer-generated content or jumping on a trend really well. Put a narrative around your brand and weigh up how you can tell your story differently to make an impact in the market.
  5. Perfect all brand touch points – including website, social media, blog, shop-front (or e-commerce store) and advertising

    Ensure your information and branding is consistent across the board – so that if a journalist or influencer does check you out further, you’ve done everything you can to maximize the leverage and control the message.  If you work in a service-based industry like accounting or law, see what current issues you can lend your expertise to through blogs and case studies.
  6. Nail your pitch

    Once you’ve positioned your angle and approach, write the press release you’ll send to the journalists.  Just keep in mind they read hundreds of press releases each day – so ensure your pitch is clean and cuts to the chase.If you’re a retailer, send them a sample too, thinking of creative and stand-out ways to present it – like a customized Donutella Versace doughnut for World Chocolate Day.
  7. Send out your press release Customize your press release to make it relevant to the journalist and call them up to pitch it first. When you speak to them, keep it short and succinct.Tip: instead of attaching, paste your press release in the body of the email so the journalist can just scroll down to see it on their phone.
  8. Assess, rinse and repeat   Try to line up your PR with advertising to maximize your market impact.  See what worked and what didn’t, adjust and retry.

For other business tips and insight, visit Bartercard’s blog.

 

Article Written by Klara Vida, Bartercard Australia
You can read the original post here.

Big Data – It is there an opportunity to use it in your business?

August 30th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

When it comes to analytics, we now have what we call ‘big data’ but what does this mean for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)? Is big data only for the large companies? Today, we’re going to dig deeper into this question and assess the big data opportunities that exist regardless of your industry.

What is Big Data? – Just as the name suggests, big data describes any large data set that can be analyzed to interpret certain behaviors, patterns, and trends. Typically, the data will relate to human behavior and the way in which people interact with the world, technology, a website, etc. Whilst the volume of data can be overwhelming, the most important factor of all is how businesses use it for stronger decision-making and implementing a clever business plan.

Small to Medium Business Big Data – For SMEs, it’s the lack of resources that makes them think big data is an unattainable goal. However, the process should always start with an assessment of the objectives. Before you even go near the data set, you should be asking what you want to achieve from the data. For most SMEs, the overall goal will be customer satisfaction so the data should be used to improve productivity.

In terms of dealing with the volume of data itself, cloud computing might just be the solution SMEs need. Rather than trying to do everything in-house, experts recommend the ‘cloud’ because it’s cost-effective and efficient. Sometimes, companies can display billions of ads per month so big data is important for assessing the relevance of the ads to the user. Using your preferred program, such as Hadoop, large-scale datasets will be produced. However, having the cloud means it doesn’t all have to be done internally. No matter how many new clients you obtain in the coming months, the cloud makes it easy to scale up and down within hours rather than weeks.

This being said, there will always be challenges for SMEs. At all times, SMEs will need to have a handle on all costs because they can quickly spiral out of control. While some cloud solutions charge nearly nothing for storage, they will charge for queries. Of course, the amount of employees you need for big data analysis reduce with the cloud but one dedicated employee might still be needed and finding someone with the right skill set could prove tricky and/or expensive. As you can see, there are definite challenges for SMEs with big data but there are also some big data opportunities.

Here are some simple tips to get started and it starts with knowing your options. By knowing the software and programs available to you, the risk of overspending should be limited. Through using simple programs like Google Analytics, you can find what helps to generate leads and how to better utilize referrals for your website so this could prove to be essential in the future.

In the past, people would place a commercial on the TV and hope that some viewers will be interested in their product and service. Now, it’s all about personalization and targeting your consumers directly and this can be achieved with big data. Once you learn how to embrace big data rather than fearing it, you’ll soon learn which channel is the best for reaching your potential consumers, saving you time and money!

How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

August 23rd, 2017 Posted by Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

With technology introducing a number of new platforms and devices to the world, it can be hard to know which will be beneficial to your small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). Should you make your website available on mobile? Where do you spend your time and money with marketing? Is LinkedIn a viable platform to receive small business growth? Today, we want to deal with this last question because there still seems to be some confusion surrounding LinkedIn.


What Is It?
 – For those of you living under a rock for the past few years, LinkedIn is a social networking site but it’s widely considered to be a professional environment. Whereas Facebook and Twitter will deal with social interactions, LinkedIn provides an opportunity for businesses to network and job-seekers to create an online profile (essentially acting as an online résumé).

As an entrepreneur, you might be wondering how you can use this platform to grow but we have compiled some of the biggest tips below;

Advanced Searching – Nowadays, there are various ways of reaching out to potential clients/customers and the ‘advanced search’ feature on LinkedIn can compete with the very best. After entering your search, you can filter by demographic, industry, position, company size, and much more. If you were to pay for the premium option, you can even utilize even more search options and this helps to recognize certain similarities between customers or potential customers themselves.

In addition to consumers, you could even use the advanced search feature to find potential employees so you don’t have to waste money on hiring the wrong people; an extensive LinkedIn research plan can help you choose the person with the right skills, mindset, and culture for your business.


LinkedIn Pulse
 – As blogging platforms go, LinkedIn Pulse is one of the very best and a great way to connect with people and show your expertise within your niche. Whether news articles regarding your industry or simple advice pieces, you can upload content regularly and the notifications system ensures that all your connections will be alerted immediately. With high-quality content, you can be seen as a market leader and gain the trust and credibility companies need to grow online.


Ad Targeting
 – As we all know, Facebook is fantastically clever when it comes to ad targeting but LinkedIn deserves a mention too. As an entrepreneur, you need to know that the right people are seeing your ads and this can now happen with the custom ad settings. After creating your ad, you can get as specific as you wish by selecting a certain job title, a certain company, or even an entire industry. With this, you know that the right eyes will see your ads rather than wasting money targeting a wider market; fewer of which are actually interested in your product.


LinkedIn Groups
 – At first, LinkedIn will encourage you to join up to 50 groups but between eight and twelve is a little more manageable. With key groups in your industry, you can contribute and really earn a name for yourself. As long as you provide genuinely useful information and appreciate the other users rather than constantly spamming, this can be a great way to make contacts.


In truth, there are so many tips for small business growth on LinkedIn that you would be reading all day if we listed them here. For example, you can upload PDFs and videos for your company, gain endorsements from previous clients and employees, use Alumni Groups, regularly post status updates, and just generally have a page where potential clients and employees alike can see what you’re all about and whether you are the right fit for them!

8 tips and tricks to sharpen your emails

May 25th, 2017 Posted by Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

Read this before you press send.

Follow these eight simple tips and tricks to sharpen your emails and get the response you want.


1. Tailor to the recipient

Don’t spray and pray – mass blanket emails just don’t get read beyond the first line.  Taking the time to tailor your emails to the receiver is worth the extra time and effort.  Use their first name and understand what they want so you can structure the email around a solution.


2. Lead with your main idea

Start with the crux. Tell the reader why you are contacting them in the first line, then flesh out the rest of the details.


3. Keep it concise

No one wants to read a long, convoluted email. Remove unnecessary words and keep it to the point.


4. Use active voice

Instead of writing ‘The meeting will be held in room 2’, write ‘I’ll be delighted to see you at the meeting in room 2’. The active voice is clear and direct to elicit the response you want.


5. Proofread and edit

Check your email is clear, concise and error-free.  Stick this checklist in your workspace to wipe out email mistakes:

Email Checklist

  • Subject line
  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Dates
  • Times
  • Links
  • Pricing
  • Image copyright

Check each point twice to eradicate errors.


6. Add a catchy subject line

Give the reader a reason to open the email. Pick the most relevant, catchy and pertinent information and avoid clickbait – it might boost the open rate but it will also boost unsubscriptions.


7. Be polite

You can make any point politely and it won’t come back to haunt you down the track.


8. Don’t hit send

Sending an email is a simple way to tick off a task, but according to Collective Hub, it takes asking six people face-to-face to achieve the same effectiveness of a 200 recipient email blast.  See where you can wipe out email and communicate in real time instead – especially when asking for a pay rise, pitching to investors or asking to meet a superior.

 

Useful tools to improve your email:

As with most things in life, there’s help on the internet. These tools will help you get the most out of your emails:

  • Easy Word Count will check the length of your emails, ensuring that they aren’t too long. You can also check your spelling too.
  • Boom Essays: Want someone to check your emails before you send them? Send them to this service, where they can proofread them for you.
  • Paper Fellows: This writing community will help you get the most out of everything you write at work.
  • Assignment Help: If grammar’s not your strong suit, this writing service will help you get to grips with it.
  • Cite It In will help you get the right citation for any source you use in your writing.
  • Essay Services: Got an important email to write? This service can put it together for you.

Use this advice the next time you are writing an email. It’s amazing how much a simple message can improve when you implement these simple steps. Send effective emails to receive the response you want!

 

Blogpost by Mary Walton on May 24, 2017
You can read the original post on the Bartercard Australia Blog

How to boost e-commerce and sales in 2017

May 10th, 2017 Posted by Bartercard, Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

Every day more traders are becoming aware of the potential and power of selling within Bartercard’s online trading platform MYBC. Many members are achieving sales within just a few days, if not hours, of creating a new listing and are recognizing a real opportunity to boost business growth.

In this week’s blog we see what actions successful members are taking every day to make thousands in online sales to achieve growth. We also look at simple e-commerce mistakes to avoid.

 

Take these following steps for online success.

1. Communication

It’s important that if someone has trusted you enough to purchase one of your offers, you make contact within 24hrs. Just because you are selling electronically, where you often don’t see or speak to the buyer, doesn’t mean general business communication practices go out the window.  Making contact with a buyer in a timely manner builds trust, puts their mind at ease, and they believe that you intend to follow through on your promise. Ask yourself how you would like to be communicated to if you were the buyer?

2. Transparency

You want to position what you are selling in the best possible light without misleading the buyer. Be clear, honest and reveal as much detail as possible about an item you are selling. If the item you’re selling has a scratch or a ding, make it clear. Your buyer will appreciate the honesty and want to transact with you in the future.

3. Detail

Providing as much detail about your listing as possible is vital for converting a lead into a paying customer. You will be amazed at how many people view your listing and decide not to buy, because there just wasn’t enough information included. If you are creating a listing with the intention to sell it, take the time to provide detail, otherwise there is no point slapping up something quickly with not enough information included.

4. Images

If you want to increase online sales, you must have high quality images. The more clearly you can show a product, the better. Try position it near a window, turn all the lights on, shine a spot light on the image – anything to remove shadows – so a buyer can clearly see what you are selling. If using MYBC, make sure you provide a minimum of four images. Click here to discover more photography tips and tricks.

5. Delivery

Take the guesswork out of the costs involved in postage/delivery. Try and include delivery in the price if possible and/or offer a flat postage rate on smaller items. It might seem better for you (the seller) to state that shipping is the buyer’s responsibility, but it may cost you sales. If selling something large that you could potentially drop off locally on your way to work, consider listing it as free local delivery. Doing this makes it easier for the buyer to receive the goods, and they are more likely to buy from you again.

6. Think laterally and create packages

If you are a mechanic, offer a bundled package that includes oil change, wheel alignment, suspension and engine clean. If you are a restaurant, package a dinner for two with a bottle of champagne. Give people ideas! MYBC is free advertising for your business. Don’t wait for customers to come to you. Create value for others and bundle your product/service into attractive packages!

7. Make your listing ‘Featured’

It’s worth investing an extra T$5.95 to get your listing featured on MYBC, which will place your offer in the prime position on the home page. This will place your listing in front of thousands of Bartercard members when they first login, as well as catch them when they are in a buying frame of mind and looking to spend.

8. High Standards

It is clear that the people who are making thousands in online sales have incredibly high standards.

The standard of their offer, listing or presentation is representative of their attitude and the results follow. For example, the best restaurants who attract the most customers and make the most sales, generally have the best standards. From the moment you walk in, the premises is exceptional and attention has been applied to the finer details.

This is exactly the same when creating a listing online, if you maintain high standards and take the time to present an exceptional offer, whilst paying attention to the finer details, you are guaranteed to attract high quality customers and increase your sales success.

Following these simple steps will help you succeed in online sales and attract new customers to your business.

MYBC is free for Bartercard members and will attract new customers who are actively looking to spend.

Visit mybc.bartercard.com and start your listing today.

For more information about growing your business, visit bartercardusa.com.

 

 

Article adapted from a Bartercard Australia Blogpost.