Small Business store

On November 25, Small Business Saturday is all set to benefit small business owners in the United States, Canada, and the UK. It’s an event that has been around since 2010 and launched by American Express to counter the big box retail days known as Black Friday and Cyber Mondays.

As a small business owner, this is your day to shine. With excellent marketing planning and strategy, you can bring in a lot of sales just like that of Cyber Monday or Black Friday! Last year (2016) there were more than 6,700 small shops and stores and 480 organizations that signed up to participate, which was a 63% increase from 2014. Awareness of this unique shopping day was reported at 72% on a national level, with an astounding 112 million customers enjoying special treats and discounts and spending an estimated $15.4 billion!

Here are some tips on how you can take advantage of this once-a-year international day of shopping for small businesses.

Market Heavily Online

Although Small Business Saturday targets brick and mortar shops, you can and should use the Internet to create advanced promotions and marketing to as many people as you can reach. You have the advantage that Small Business Saturday falls in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so consumers have not depleted their savings yet and are still hot for deals primarily with the holidays fast approaching.

Decide on the items you can give huge discounts on and post them on social media and your website if you have one. Join active local online campaigns for Small Business Saturday, such as those from credit card companies, newspapers, and community newsletters, to name a few. Make regular announcements that include teasers of the freebies, and attractions consumers can enjoy when they walk through your doors on November 25.

Now is the best time to get professional help because the competition has become so fierce. It’s not just local and national competition, but even international consumers who are starting to dictate who gets the sale or not. Fortunately, international buyers don’t care very much about the size of a business as long as it is run correctly, upright and ethically upholds standard business practices. Thus, a good image is critical to your online success and Planned Growth Small Business Services could help take advantage of this Small Business Saturday and expand your online market.

Start a Text Messaging Campaign

Text messaging is a powerful marketing tool because it can reach more American consumers than email, TV, print ads, and even social media. In fact, studies show that 98% of those who receive text messages open the message to read it; so if your message is short, catchy, and enticing, they won’t trash it and may even forward it to friends and family. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday!

Consider Bundle Marketing

If you have a lot of inventory and you want to move slow items, bundle them with favorite items! However, always make the products available individually and display them prominently alongside the bundled package. This way, you don’t make the shopper feel forced to buy something just to get that one item. They will feel scammed. The best strategy is to give them the option to choose.

Partner with a Worthy Cause

There’s still the option to to partner with a charity or neighborhood cause that will benefit both parties. You can offer part of the proceeds to the charity or give exclusive discounts to anyone who donates to the charity or cause.

Offer Personalized Services

If you are located in a cluster of shops, offer special services like package deposit, home delivery within a particular area, gift wrapping, free parking, free drinks or cookies, seats for tired feet, VIP check-out, daycare, and a dedicated space for husbands, wives, partners, the elderly, or children who can sit and relax but still feel part of the community while the other half goes shopping! These small details can mean big loyalty for the future.

Voice search began decades ago with speech recognition systems introduced in the 1950s with the Audrey system from Bell Laboratories. Today, most people are familiar with the voice commands integrated into the Windows Vista, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant. There has also been a plethora of virtual assistants, speech and voice recognition apps like Alexa, Vlingo, Dragon Professional, and Voice Finger.

Is your website optimized for voice and speech recognition systems and apps?

According to a study on Google by Northstar Research, around 41% of adult Americans and 50% of American teens use voice search daily. Websites would be wise to jump on this bandwagon as expectations are high that voice search will continue to grow in popularity and use around the world. For 2017, it is expected to be one of the top SEO trends.

Websites have to be adjusted to accept voice-based queries because these are very different from the traditional types queries. For instance, voice queries tend to be longer and more explanatory using complete sentences and questions – as if the person searching feels the need to explain his search. With typed keywords, the general perception is to focus merely on short keywords so you can envision how drastic the dynamics have become.

Start by focusing your SEO efforts on long-tailed keywords and phrases. This would also mean adjusting your content to a more conversational tone and changing some content to be more specific like your FAQ page. Long-tailed keywords generally have three to four keywords. They are used to target specific markets and demographics. Those who use long-tailed keywords in their search tend to know what they want and are in a buying mode already.

Fortunately, long-tailed keywords also help improve your ranking faster than single keywords because you are less likely to be competing with many brands and businesses.

Claim your business. Voice searches tend to be localized searches or depend heavily on verified businesses. Thus, make sure your business is listed in popular and respected business listings like Yelp, Google, Foursquare, Maps, or even Facebook.

Test your website using a voice recognition app. The best way to know if your website will pop up with a voice search is to search it! Find an app and use it. Ask other people to do the same and analyze the results. If need be, change your long-tailed keywords, review your Home and FAQ pages.

Finally, make an effort to improve and generate positive reviews and feedback. Your online reputation will play a huge role in voice search especially if you make an effort to read and respond to reviews and feedback.

As of the end of 2016, there were 1.86 billion Facebook active users with an average 17% increase every year. Yet studies show that as of December 2016, Facebook reach has been falling by an average 44% for organic reach! According to an analysis of Facebook News Feed by Ignite Social Media, the algorithm has changed to generally favor paid ads over organic content.

Not long ago, Facebook revealed that organic content has a 16% chance of reaching the audience but over the months, this has dramatically been reduced to just 2.5% or 3 people out of 100. This means fewer engaged users which translates into a less-than-effective marketing campaign. Engaged users are those who visit your Facebook page with a higher chance of buying, subscribing, or sharing your content. Clearly, Facebook has had a change of heart regarding content by encouraging more paid ads.

However, don’t rule out organic traffic just yet because studies also show that organic content results in quality engaged users and better buying action because organic content is content that your audience wants; the reason they are following you in the first place. And organic content is not aggressive “in-your-face” hard ads which most people tend to shun instinctively.

In other words, your social network is more likely to buy from a friendly post than from a pushy ad. When you post something about a great computer repair service, it’s helpful but when you have an ad on your Facebook page about repair services, it’s impersonal, hard-sell, and cold.

For organic content to be effective, you must:

  1. Not have a regimented schedule in posting content. Post content both during peak and off-peak times since Facebook feed is not done chronologically. However, do the math and experiment with the results.
  2. Respond to comments.
  3. Show your humanity and re-engage your audience with adorable, funny, or inspiring videos or photos.
  4. Use engagement metrics to find out what your audience is interested in and focus on giving them more!
  5. Use Call-To-Action (CTAs)

5 Reasons Why You Need Traffic

If you’re on Facebook and you have a business or a brand to promote, you need traffic. More visitors means more followers which in turn can translate into higher sales, better leads, and one very effective way of improving your brand’s recognition and success.

#1   Since Facebook is so popular, the first reason you need traffic is because it is global. You can now realistically expand your network to people and places around the world without having to leave your neighborhood.

#2   Facebook traffic can potentially give you real-time results and these results will help you target the right audience and content to keep the cycle alive.

#3   Traffic will boost your followers and allow you to expand and bond with your network.

#4   You have a wealth of data available to you that includes knowing and understanding your competition so you can build and develop your brand more efficiently.

#5   Finally, you need traffic because it will help you earn, become famous, or both! With more traffic, you increase your Shares and Likes and your Facebook page will appeal to other businesses willing to ride on your visibility and popularity to get ahead.

It should not be called “social media” anymore because the business trend has shifted to using platforms like Facebook to reach out to new markets and develop brands! No more is social media the go-to sites for fun, socialization, and casual networking. It has become this huge marketing giant that all businesses must use to stay relevant.

The name of the game is traffic. How does one get more people to a Facebook page using personal networks? You have two main choices: organic traffic or paid traffic.

What is Organic Traffic?

Organic traffic is the number of unique people you are able to reach without paying for distribution. Organic reach is considered the better kind of traffic because it brings in traffic who have a higher potential to be a customer or subscriber. In addition, it offers the following:

  • Low budget
  • Long term sustained traffic
  • Friendlier because it is unsolicited and social

What is Paid Traffic?

Paid traffic uses ads to draw in visitors to your social media page. For example, to attract more people to visit your Facebook page, you post ads in search engines, on Facebook and on other social channels. Paid traffic can bring in the users but only if your ads are well thought-out and click-worthy. In addition, paid traffic offers the following benefits:

  • Helps strengthen brand awareness
  • Instant traffic (but only for the time that your ad is visible)
  • Lets you target specific audiences

More importantly, with Facebook, recent revelations show that its algorithm tends to reduce organic content in favor of paid content so if you want to generate more traffic immediately, it would appear that paid catchy ads are the direction to take. On the other hand, once you have managed to generate traffic, your strategy should be to shift equally to a well-strategized organic traffic campaign to keep the interest level high and continuous through fresh and interesting posts.

Why Traffic is Vital: Organic Reach

Whether you want to be the next Lance Stewart, a 20-year old Facebook star with 8.8 million Likes, Eh Bee who has 10 million Facebook followers, or be the next Coca Cola with over 104 million followers – you need to grow your traffic.

When you post to your Facebook page, it has an average 2% organic reach but potentially a 10.7% total reach. What does this mean and how does this affect your Facebook performance?

Organic reach reflects the number of people who see your Facebook posts in their newsfeed without paying for exposure. Paid reach is the number of people who see your posts because of your ads. Total reach is the sum of both organic and paid reach. From the figures above, you can see that the average organic reach is a fraction of the total reach which implies that it pays to advertise. Through paid traffic you are able to reach beyond your network based on browsing preferences. This means random persons looking at clothing shops on Facebook will get to see your clothing!!!

However, if you fail to keep your Facebook page alive with fresh posts, chances are you will lose your traffic to another page that is more appealing.  In a nutshell, the Facebook bots scan Facebook pages to find out what ads to show to users – and the detail is amazing because the ad can be as specific to products, special deals and discounts for your city or town!

With this kind of marketing option available, you must see your Facebook page as a brand – your brand. And this means allowing others to peek into your world and want to be a part of that world by using more paid ads than organic posts.