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Tag : small business

By Rhett Doolittle

How to Grow My Business Faster

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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.

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By Rhett Doolittle

Video Content Marketing on the Rise for Local Businesses

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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.

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By Rhett Doolittle

Small Business Marketing Using Social Media

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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.

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