business-warriorbusiness-warrior

Tag : Marketing

By Rhett Doolittle

Tips to Improve Your Website Speed and Performance

Tips to Improve Your Website Speed

There’s one simple fact: 40% of visitors will leave a webpage if it takes more than three seconds to load. If your website speed takes longer, your business is at risk of losing a significant amount of online traffic, potential customers, and future visits.

Your mobile site should not be ignored either. The average time it takes to load a mobile landing page is 15.3 seconds— even on a 4G network. That’s a long time for customers to wait, and most will drop off before your page finally appears. Speaking of dropping off, pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that take more than double that have a bounce rate of 38%!

You should aim for a load time of under three seconds across mobile and desktop sites.

Long load times also drive your business down in search results. In July of 2018, Google announced that page speed will affect search rankings. So, if you’re trying to drive your business up in the rankings, increasing your website speed is going to help significantly.

Wondering how to get your times down? Here are a few things you can do to increase your website speed and decrease your load times.

 

1) Test Using Google PageSpeed Insights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google has an easy-to-use tool that will tell you exactly how fast or slow your page is loading, and give you a list of items that can be adjusted to improve speed. This is a great place to start and will give you powerful, actionable insights straight from the source. You can utilize Google PageSpeed insights to improve your mobile and desktop speeds here.

 

2) Utilize AMP Landing Pages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a framework that supports the creation of lighting fast webpages by using around a tenth of the data, which has resulted in the development of over 150 million AMP pages at around 4 times the “normal” speed. At the cost of page data and complexity, this is a fantastic tactic for business owners to utilize in static articles, blogs, and landing pages, and diminishes the loading time to an average of .83 seconds. For more information on using AMP for your landing pages, click here.

 

3) Share your results with your web developer

You may not know what to do with everything on Google’s list, but your developer will. They can take this information and make all the necessary changes to speed up your website.

 

After all of your optimizations have been implemented, don’t forget to run another test and see how your performance has changed. 

Want to see a more simplified, effective way to optimize your website? Try a free 14-day trial of Business Warrior today.

By Rhett Doolittle

5 Useful Tips for Small Business Owners

5 Useful Tips for Small Business Owners

It’s 11pm and you’ve sent 200 emails, made 50 phone calls, became an expert at payroll and counted your revenue for the day, twice. To put it simply, you’re overwhelmed with the feeling that you’re stuck running in place – but remember, it’s all part of the path to profitability. As you begin to run a small business it’s not just important to build new areas of expertise, it’s crucial. The expertise, faith and passion you put into your startup is enough to give it a fighting chance. It’s everything else that it takes to run a business that requires your focus. In order to help, we put together 5 useful tips for small business owners, which includes how small business owners save money.

Running a business means you are constantly learning. Your struggles will turn into triumphs and you will learn new things about yourself and your business in the process. This can also be accomplished by discovering a blueprint for growth for your company. With this, you will find the processes and practices that fits your business best. Once this is done, you’ll need to focus on yourself. Sometimes this is the hardest part. Becoming a skilled business owner takes time, dedication, and sometimes advice from others.

Coming from someone who has walked the startup journey, it’s our duty as entrepreneurs to share our learnings and help everyone we can reach success. Continuing on from part 1 of the Blueprint of Successful Business Owners, here are the 5 useful tips for small business owners that will aid your business’s growth process and ease the shift from being a skilled expert to a business owner:

  1. How small business owners save money = Become process minded: You may have quit your job because you didn’t receive the freedom you deserve; a business owner would take this opportunity to get ready for structure. You must constantly be looking at how to build processes for your team and customers that will make their jobs easier.

 

“It’s about finding your values, and committing to them. It’s about finding your North Star. It’s about making choices. Some are easy. Some are hard. And some will make you question everything.”- Tim Cook

 

Becoming process minded means breaking the habit of being goal oriented. In startup companies and in life, goals are necessary. However, achieved goals are not the only trademark of success. Olympic athletes acquire their gold medals by perfecting their processes and implementing them into every training, competition, and trial. The same should go for your startup. A proven plan of action will be the MVP of your business.

You will need to begin focusing on the ‘how’ and make sure your team is synched into the flow. This means implementing ethical practices that take twice as long as an easy fix. It’s looking at what worked and what didn’t work, what could be improved upon next time, and ultimately swapping out ingredients until you find your company’s secret sauce to efficiency, your process.

Keep in mind, your business’s process is only as good as its level of efficiency and effectiveness. In an essay titled “Advice to a Young Tradesman, Written by an Old One” (how fitting) Ben Franklin scripted possibly the three most iconic words in business, “time is money”. This concept was true in 1748 and now, 268 years later it still applies it you, me, and every other business owner out there. To put it simply, you and your team’s time needs to be focused on producing desired results in a timely manner. You can’t afford to waste time, becoming process minded will save you money.

  1.  Create a Marketing Strategy for your Small Business  : In today’s digital world, we suffer from content overload. Consumers have many channels fighting for their attention – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TV, Text Messaging with GIF’s, YouTube – all of which take time and energy to ingest. This means that the time devoted to seeing your advertisement is shredded by everything else. You must spend more time preparing creative strategies (audience, advertising channels, time of day) and run them through a sales machine that can turn them from prospects into customers.

“I measure my success by asking myself some very simple questions: Did I go to bed richer than when I woke up? Did I help my investors do the same? What can I do better, or differently, tomorrow?” – Kevin O’Leary

If you’re embarking on your startup venture without a marketing background, figuring out how to make your brand known can be daunting. I left the comforts of a corporate office to address this trend for small businesses everywhere. There are too many small businesses and tireless entrepreneurs out there not reaching their full potential. Not because of their product or service, but because creating a world class marketing strategy that produces results is rarely an organic internal function. We believe in your beautiful product, your business, your vision, and you. Bluume was created to help business owners just like you because we see the struggles you face.

We understand that your business is unique and we know that you can take it to the next level. Our company specializes in transforming businesses into sales machines. We help business owners attract new customers, build them into raving fans, and generate growth. Our mission is help companies “Bluume”.

  1.   Growing a Small Business Means Trusting Others with Your Vision: That’s right – It is important to understand that since you are running a business and you will end up spending more time doing things such as; technology selection, raising capital, financial deals with partners, employee relations and everything else in between.

You will need to be flexible. Some aspects of your business will require much more attention than others. You will find yourself obtaining new skills and using old ones. In the early stages of your business, you will always be spending a significant amount of time on everything, but your product. It might be a scary thought, but in the end not only will you evolve and grow, but your business will as well.

Nothing in life is more wonderful than faith-the one great moving force which we can neither weigh in the balance nor test in the crucible.”- Willaim Olser

Up until this point in your career you probably had a steady job, most likely a consistent job that you excelled at. A job that through the years depended less on webinars and google searches and more on your expertise. These are the comforting delights of being an expert in your field and soon they become found, distant memories when you shift to a small business owner. There will be days, weeks, and maybe even a month where you don’t touch your product because you’re too busy wearing every other hat of the business. Get comfortable wearing the project manager hat, banker hat, tech support hat, and human resources hat. Wear them as long as it takes – don’t worry they will look great on you.

  1.  Successful Business Owners Know How to Balance Theory and Action: When you run a business you need to find a good balance between theory and action. If you spend too much time on one or the other your company won’t function the way it should. This will eventually leave your clients and customers waiting, while your internal processes stay broken and you won’t make any money.

“Life is about execution rather than purpose.”- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

You’re only human and abstract thoughts are inevitable. While in the midst of developing your small business you will be bombarded with meetings, conversations, podcasts, and articles that will have you speculating and second guessing. Frankly, your thought receptors will be firing off likes its the 4th of July while trying to grow your small business. The balance part is contingent on your personality. Are you the sit, stir, and stress type who shies away from action? Or are you the notorious impulse decision maker? Whichever you are, it’s important to recognize these personality traits and work to balance them.

Somewhere between your theory and action are your instincts, something that shouldn’t be ignored. Steve jobs referred to intuition as, “more powerful than intellect”, in which I agree. You have been preparing your whole life for this, It’s not always easy, but go with your gut. The success of your start up depends on it.

  1.   Time Management Tips for Business OwnersFree time will disappear (if you aren’t protective): Creative people cherish their free time, in fact, they generally use it for inspiration. Once you shift from being a skilled expert to the one in charge, you will always be on the clock; most business owners know this feeling. The challenge with this is your creative time will begin to dissipate. You must protect how you refuel and how you stay motivated – don’t excuse it away.

“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.” – Sheryl Sandberg

Pulling the keyword from my previous thought, balance is something to strive for. A healthy work-life balance will maintain your inner equilibrium and keep creativity in reach. According to Forbes, “creativity is perhaps the key attribute most needed and desired to address our 21st century business challenges”. Think of this in terms of a canoe floating downstream; paddle too long on side you’ll never reach your destination. You didn’t work tirelessly all these years to ultimately burn out.  The stats, facts, and expertise you have acquired are your foundation, it’s your ingenuity that will make your business unique.

Getting locked in your work grind/ tunnel vision for days on end will leave you wiped of creativity and color. Whether it’s a gym class or trying a new restaurant with friends, these bursts of inspiration and energy are crucial in the “shift”. Any and all free time can double as research and development for your business if you look at it the right way.

Transforming your passion into a profession and profession into ownership is one of the most rewarding accomplishments in the world. At the end of the day, you know that you are fighting for your team, for your clients and for your beliefs. With those priorities as your foundation, you know you can’t fail.

 

By Rhett Doolittle

It’s Here: Bluume’s Tips for Website Redesign

It’s here! Bluume’s next era of helping businesses achieve ROI through website redesign.

To begin the evolution of our new website and achieve ROI, we fought hard to find the perfect mix of storytelling and visuals to communicate who we are and what we do. Bluume.com is where this story gets its sneak peak of our website redesign tips.

On our Facebook live stream today, Bluume CEO Rhett Doolittle talked through the process Bluume went through to achieve our first round of updates, the questions that need to be asked, and focus areas to dominate the planning process. All with the goal to achieve ROI with a website redesign.

Here’s what we wished we would have known before redesigning our own website:

HAVE GOALS!

Without goals, you can’t define success! Creating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) objectives for your website sets the foundation for what you want your site to be able to accomplish and achieve ROI for your business.

A great starting point is to determine why you want a redesign of your site. Depending on the scope of changes that need to be made and the level of development involved, your “why” will determine the difference between simply designing a new look/feel (typically accomplished in a shorter timeframe) and gearing up for a complete overhaul (generally indicates advanced development work, more time and more budget).

Many companies take the effort to design their website one time, spend a lot of money making it look great…and then never touch it again. As your brand evolves and your company scales, your website should reflect that growth.

Make minor updates to your website at least once per quarter. Focus on making sure the information about your offerings are accurate, the About Me and contact information is up to date, and check to make sure nothing looks “off”.

For larger updates that require the implementation of new features, functionalities or layout/flow changes, we recommend blocking out time with your team once or twice a year.

It may seem tedious, but it will make a huge difference in delivering a better user experience and keeping your site fresh.

WHAT DOES YOUR SITE NEED TO ACHIEVE THOSE GOALS?

Web sites are more powerful than we give them credit for. They can be living, breathing, revenue generators when partnered with the right imagery, content, tools, and traffic. Those elements are extremely important to achieve ROI, but there are a few technical areas you can’t skip over when evaluating your site requirements.

  • Consider all integrations you have on the current version of your site or identify any platform integrations/features you want implemented.
    Integrations can be as simple as any of the forms embedded on your current site – maybe it’s a newsletter sign up, or a Contact Us area. The most important aspect: where does that information go when a user hits “SUBMIT?”
  • In a perfect world, their information will flow securely into your Customer Relationship Management system, where their submission triggers an automated email and the follow-up campaign you’ve built… but perfect doesn’t always happen! Without an integration strategy, you risk delivering a potentially negative user experience through insufficient follow-up.
  • When in doubt, always optimize for SEO! Let’s face it – we navigate our real world first through digital search engine result pages and complementary applications to help us get there.
  • SEO is how you build your credibility in the online word. It delivers your content to people organically searching for a product or service that match all the keywords on your site!
  • Get up-to-date on SEO best practices, content and keyword strategies, link building tools and frequent SEO checks.

TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE: PAIR AMAZING CONTENT WITH INCREDIBLE IMAGERY

How can you make sure the content you write for your website delivers the most impact and you are able to achieve ROI? You pair it with a stunning visual that brings your words to life.

If you’ve provided your audience with incredible imagery that complements your copy, creates a visual of your brand, and makes your website visitor feel something, it means you’ve made a connection. Getting your end user to feel excitement, happiness, or even fear, means you’ve been effective.

Need another reason to enhance your content imagery strategy? When people hear or read information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. Keep your business at the top of their mind!

 DON’T LOSE YOURSELF IN DIGITAL TRENDS

Staying up-to-date on new website design best practices, your competitor’s website and getting inspiration from other great brands is awesome for evolving your own knowledge – and it’s a smart business practice Tony Robbins calls “modeling.”

While we always encourage keeping that student mentality, there is one thing you know better than anyone else in the world: your business. Follow your gut when it comes to shaping your site’s content, building your visuals and establishing your brand’s overall vibe.

Your website is more than information; it’s your digital “first impression.”  It’s where your new customers find you, determines how they perceive you and gives them an initial feeling about your brand.

Make sure your site looks like your brand, sounds like your brand, and creates an experience true to your brand. Digital trends are dynamic and it’s great to explore what’s hot right now – but keep your voice and mission constant.

ESTABLISH A BASELINE

How will you know your redesign was “worth it?” Can you speak to why your new site is better? How and by how much does it outperform your previous version? Which of the changes you implemented made a positive impact on your company’s overall growth?

Tough questions if you’re not prepared. Good news – incredible tech and reporting tools can make navigating technical conversations like this much easier. By utilizing the reporting tools available, you can generate results of your website’s performance from any specified timeframe.

Why is this important? You have to establish benchmarks or baselines of how your site performed prior to the new changes you’re making. Without those averages, you lose the opportunity to identify what changes worked – we love to celebrate these types of wins! Alternately, if numbers are down due to a change you made, you may not even know it if you ignore the numbers.

FUNCTIONALITY

In order for you to be able to achieve ROI and measure up to your SMART goals, it needs the tools to be able to perform!

Evaluate the current functionalities on your site and consider what you need to implement to see success. Ultimately, ask yourself: what do you need your site to accomplish and how are you going to get a visitor to produce the result you want?

If one of your objectives is to increase visitor engagement on your blog posts month over month, you’ll want to make sure your website allows for users to comment on your site’s content. If you sell your product through your site via an eCommerce platform, your redesign needs to be built to convert people from viewers or “window shoppers” to buyers. A website built for sales conversion is much different than a business that has a goal to get people to visit them in person.

If you only implement one functionality or take one piece of advice from us, please choose this! IMPLEMENT GOOGLE ANALYTICS AND HEAT MAPPING ON YOUR SITE! Even if you think that your traffic volume is low, or you just don’t like reporting, every business can benefit from the insights Google provides on visit behavior, audience demographics and overall site performance.

Now that you’ve answered these key questions, you’re ready to come in hot with a strategy to redesign your company’s site!

Have any feedback on our new site? Comment below – we want to hear it straight from you.

By Rhett Doolittle

Why Businesses Need to Use Social Media

Click to Take ACTION

Why Businesses Need to Use Social Media

In today’s market, most businesses own and operate social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and/or Instagram. However, they don’t have a deep understanding of why they NEED these accounts – the true value of social media. They are simply clocking in and clocking out of their social media accounts because it seems to be what everyone else is doing. The true value of social media when it’s used the right way is its ability to increase revenue and/or improve a company’s bottom line.

Since the beginning of time, the art of selling has encompassed 4 basic principles:

  • Collect Leads (Attract new people)
  • Connect with Leads & Create Interest
  • Illustrate Trustworthiness & Value
  • Convert into Sales (Then Buy Again or One-Time Sales)

To sell a product or service you must first attract an audience of potential customers or sales Leads. Next you must Connect with your Leads and Create Interest about your products or services. Then you must illustrate trustworthiness and value so that your Leads are compelled to buy. After buying something, they’ll either like it and Buy Again in the future, or it will be a One-Time Sale.

In the past, phone communications, direct snail mail, and email were the go-to methods to facilitate the above sales strategies but times have changed. Customers are no longer talking on their phones; they’re posting and commenting on social media. Many don’t even have landlines in their homes anymore. Snail mail has been all but replaced by email but current trends show that email is fast becoming replaced by DMs or direct messages on social media. The amount of time people spend online is increasing. When they are on their phones, they’re on social media mostly watching viral videos. Studies show that customers will believe a random video on Facebook from somebody they don’t even know over their own mother’s testimonial. They trust the quality of the video more than they trust “mom’s opinion.” Our culture has changed but the basic principles of selling have not. Attract potential customers or new LEADS > Connect & Create INTEREST > Illustrate TRUST & VALUE > Convert into SALES and inspire customers to BUY AGAIN.

Businesses must use social media if they want to be successful in these basic principles because that’s where their audience is congregating, communicating and connecting. It makes perfect sense that you must go where the people are. The larger your audience, the more leads you’ll accrue, the more opportunities you’ll have to connect, the more sales conversations you’ll accumulate.

As the backbone of your sales strategy, social media can be an extremely powerful communication tool. It can be used to promote new and existing products and services; communicate with and train employees; strengthen your brand messaging; promote what’s most important to you and your business; provide customer support documentation; link to 3rd party resources in a different voice that an employee or potential customer might connect with better. In the age of online reviews through sites like Yelp, now customers also have the ability to speak up publicly on social media. Business owners can also respond publicly and use this customer feedback to improve their business. If they have a good reputation and use social media to listen to their customers, they’ll get the feedback they need to improve their products and services, and their bottom line. Using social media, businesses can communicate with customers in a multitude of ways, show them that they care and appreciate their business, thereby reminding them to visit the business again and again.

Once a business owner understands the inherent value of social media they’ll be as passionate and aggressive about their social media strategy as they are about the rest of their company. At Bluume, creating a strong social media strategy is just one of the ways we can help a business improve their bottom line. With a professionally designed social media strategy you can increase revenue and profits to a point where you have financial freedom to spend more time doing what you love.

Click to Take ACTION

By Rhett Doolittle

How to Grow My Business Faster

Click to Take ACTION

3 Questions to Ask to Grow My Business

Marketing is essential to any business. The ones who have survived without having a budget for it are at risk. Most of the time marketing is the be-all and end-all of success and growth. However, if a business is losing existing customers and is unable to get people coming back more often then they may have bigger problems than just marketing.

Before any small business launches a marketing plan, they should ask 3 key questions:

  1. Do you have more or less returning customers than you did last month?
  2. Are you attracting more or less new customers than you did last month?
  3. Is your Average Sale Amount increasing or is it less than it was last month?

The answers to these questions represent your core business numbers of how you’re doing today before you start attracting new customers. Why are these numbers so important? Because in order to identify if your business is improving you must have an understanding of where you are right now. Let’s explore each core business number more closely in an effort to pinpoint its origin and how it can be improved.

  1. # of Returning Customers: If you have less Returning customers than you did last month this usually points to an issue with your products or services. There could be a consistency or staleness issue. Perhaps the quality of your product or service has declined, your customers have lost faith in your brand, and have opted not to use it anymore. What can you do? Read your social media and online reviews. What are your customers saying about your business? Talk to your employees, show you care, and listen. Have they received any direct customer feedback? Talk to your customers and ask them what they like and don’t like about your products/services. Asking for their feedback will give you some great insight and it will provide a great connection to your customers by showing that you care. If through your research you find that your products and services are solid, then it may be that you need to create a better connection with your customers, remind them of your brand again, and show them that you appreciate their business. The great thing about engagement through customer reviews and social media is that these are already great customer relationship building measures. You’ve researched the problem and made headway on a solution in the same step. In addition, you might look into advanced training for your staff; developing a new product/service to add to your current offerings; and continue to engage further on social media with your customers in a fun, creative, interactive setting.
  2. # of New Customers: If you are attracting less New customers than you did last month then it’s time to step up your marketing strategy. Are you doing less marketing than you have in previous months? Were your most recent marketing plans less effective? Are you relying on word-of-mouth or old ways to market to new customers? Oftentimes a new company experiences a constant influx of New customers in the very beginning, which slowly tapers off. Especially if you’re the new kid in town with a new approach or offering, your company may have generated lots of local excitement and press at its inception. It’s time to change your ways, freshen up your marketing, and attract more New customers.
  3. Average Sale: If your Average Sale is less than it was last month and you didn’t lower your prices, then you need a plan to increase sales. Check your competition and see if you can raise your prices without losing customers. Create some package deals to make it easier for customers to buy add-on products. Train your staff on presenting the new price plan and/or upselling to existing customers. Every little bit counts and can really add up when you multiple it by hundreds or thousands of transactions.

Can you see how knowing your numbers can dictate the best approach to grow your company faster? In summary, lack of returning customers is probably a product or service issue, lack of new customers means you need marketing help, and low average transaction value is a product, pricing or training issue.

Growing your business faster is about identifying shortcomings in every facet of your business and creating results that will boost growth in that specific area. When you add up each individual improvement it has an exponential affect to revenue and customer growth. This is one of the keys to having a plan built for lasting success and a thriving business.

You can do all this yourself, but do you have the time, training & resources? At Bluume, we take every one of our clients through a process to develop a custom plan for them to improve every facet of their business.

Click to Take ACTION

By Rhett Doolittle

Video Content Marketing on the Rise for Local Businesses

Click to Take ACTION

Lights. Camera. Action!

We’ve seen a natural progression of content sharing on social networks over the last decade or so. It all began with text – being status updates, 140 character-limited tweets and so on. Next we saw the evolution of photo-sharing when cameras on smartphones became more powerful than those digital cameras that are now in the junk drawer. There have even been apps created solely for the purpose of sharing photos – think Instagram and SnapChat. There used to be a time when Facebook even prioritized photos over status updates in their complex and sometimes frustrating algorithm, and well, the times have changed once again. The new leader in the clubhouse is the video, and if you want to be heard or seen or make an impression, you need to start creating video content right now.

You may have noticed over the last few months that more and more videos have been popping up in your Facebook newsfeed, and that is no coincidence. There’s a reason your newsfeed is swarmed with video after video. Facebook’s algorithm has heavily weighted video content, meaning video posts reach more users than any other type of posts today. In the last year and a half, video content marketing has increased so much so that “Facebook is getting more daily minutes watched than YouTube, Snapchat’s daily views are now in the billions, and video on Twitter has taken listening and one to one branding to a whole new level” (Gary Vaynerchuk). Right now, video is the #1 way to capture an audience, and as a small business, you need to be taking advantage of it. And you need to be doing it wisely.

This isn’t just saying you need to crank out a bunch of videos and blast them all over the web – you need to be smart and have a strategy behind where you’re putting these videos, what kind of video content you should be sharing, and how often you should be uploading. For example, if you’re a handyman running your own small business, a 10 minute tutorial on how to patch a hole in a wall is great content to throw on your YouTube Channel, but today’s social media population isn’t going to sit through that when it pops up in their Facebook feed. The difference here is that a user may have been searching for a video on how to patch a wall on YouTube, but no one is going to search for that on Facebook. This is why posting the same video to every social network is not going to benefit you or your brand. So what kind of video does belong on Facebook? Think personal.

Imagine you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and a video pops up from a local restaurant you follow. This restaurant just added freshly-squeezed juices to their menu and created a 30-second video of the business owner throwing some fresh fruits and veggies into a blender and turning it into something from their revised menu. It’s short, sweet, entertaining, and most importantly, it’s personal. Because Facebook puts more weight on video content than any other type of content that gets shared across the social network, if this business would have just created a generic post saying ‘We’ve added fresh juice to our menu’, you wouldn’t get nearly the same effect. That is, of course, if you even saw the post at all considering text posts are on the low end of the Facebook totem pole.

Developing a video content marketing strategy should be a top priority for local businesses right now. If it hasn’t been on your radar, you’ll need to rethink your strategy and get on board with everyone else who’s taken advantage of this trend. Be smart, have fun, and get those cameras rolling.

Click to Take ACTION

By Rhett Doolittle

Branding is Your Promise

Click to Take ACTION

Branding is Your Promise

A top area of confusion among small business owners is the true definition of the all-encompassing word – BRAND. Many believe it’s just the name of their company, or just their logo. Your brand is so much more. Your brand tells the world who you are and what you believe. It tells your potential customers what they can expect from your products and services and the benefits of all of the above. It tells your loyal customers what they can depend on as they return to do business with you again and again. A strong brand helps you stand out in a sea of competition. It’s born from what your business is now and what you aim for it to be in the future. Branding is your promise.

Your brand is your pledge to your customers, so this is an area where you don’t want to fall short and where you must always be clear and consistent. Do you truly know who you are as a company? To begin crafting your brand, start by asking two easy questions:

  • Are you new and innovative in your field or the experienced business that has been around for decades?
  • Is your product considered a good value for the price or are you a first-class option?

As you probably know, you can’t be all things to all people and niche marketing is the easiest, best and most efficient way to build a strong brand. What you build your business to be should be based somewhat on what your target customers want and need you to be. Selling the most sensational bags of sand in the middle of the Sahara isn’t the most lucrative way to make money. It is essential to align what you offer with marketplace trends and hone your brand accordingly.

Once you’ve branded your company it’s important to assess how consumers perceive your company or product, and how readily they notice your business on a day-to-day basis. Are you communicating your brand effectively and does customer feedback reflect that your brand reputation is rock solid? Competition from other businesses grows daily. You must evaluate your brand on a regular basis and look for ways to improve it so that it remains relevant. An efficient brand strategy gives small businesses that needed edge in a space where dozens of like companies exist.

Your customers have expectations and it is essential for you to identify and meet those brand expectations if you hope to run a successful business. At Bluume, one of the first things we do when we begin working with a new client is to assess the strength of their brand. Once we’ve made sure your brand is powerful and sustainable we assist businesses in building their brand awareness, telling the who, what, when, where and why of their company CONSISTANTLY to all those customers out there who are ready and waiting to listen. It makes all the difference in the world for your bottom line, and the deserved success of your company.

Click to Take ACTION

By Rhett Doolittle

Small Business Marketing Using Social Media

Click to Take ACTION

Small Business Marketing Using Social Media

Up until the turn of the 21st century, most businesses were local brick-and-mortar storefronts relying on a completely different kind of marketing than they do today. As technology has evolved, new opportunities for marketing and engagement have evolved. Traditional marketing techniques like telemarketing, local TV ads, email blasts, and direct mail have become less and less effective as we become a society immune to marketing messages. Consumers now view traditional marketing as intrusive, and have consequently become quite savvy at ignoring it through DVR, caller ID, voicemail, email filters, and quite honestly, garbage cans. Today’s consumers accept marketing messages from businesses that are savvy in the art of social media.

Consider these social media statistics (Reference)

  • 1.4 billion Facebook users & 4.5 billion daily Likes
  • 284 million Twitter users & 500 million daily tweets
  • 363 million Google+ users & +1 button is hit 5 billion times a day
  • 300 million Instagram users & 70 million photos and videos sent daily
  • 70 million Pinterest users & 88% purchase a product they pinned

If you are like many business owners, you view social media as a way to connect with friends and family. That’s the way your customers view social media too. This is how and why social media creates such an intimate environment in which to communicate with people who are utilizing your products and services. You are meeting your customers somewhere they have logged into by choice, where they are ready and eager to engage socially. To become a pro in the art of social media, you must position yourself in this environment and cultivate authentic engagement with your customers who are socializing there. Share, post, like, comment, ask questions, personalize your responses just as you would with your family and friends. Like a seasoned dinner party host, you’ll find yourself connecting with your customers and feeling right at home doing it.

At Bluume, many of our clients come to us asking how to implement a business-focused social media strategy that is warm, friendly and real. We’ve created an inbound approach to marketing that helps businesses connect, interact and grow through these targeted social media strategies. We can help you find your social media voice too. Soon you’ll be connecting with potential new customers, and turning current customers into raving fans.

Click to Take ACTION

5 Useful Tips for Small Business Owners
It’s Here: Bluume’s Tips for Website Redesign