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.

PPC writing in notebookDid you know that recent research reveals that the advertising money consumed in 9 of every 20 keywords is wasted? This is according to an audit by AdWord which translated means almost 50% of your advertising or PPC budget could be going down the drain and you will have a very difficult time getting higher traffic to your landing pages.

For those who are new to PPC, this means Pay-Per-Click or the money you send to get people to click on your ads. It’s another alternative to organic marketing and can be easier because you’re essentially buying traffic by putting your ads on high profile websites like Google or Amazon.

Why PPC for Landing Pages?

Paid traffic from PPC campaigns is just as valuable as any other. In addition, it takes less effort in the sense that you don’t run the site where your ads comes out. You just pay for clicks on your ads. Many folks believe that subtle ads from organic traffic is better because it is less “in-your-face” kind of advertising. Yet over 87% of Internet users are using the Internet to find something other than information on products or services. In addition, almost 50% of users don’t know the difference between paid and organic searches. To tap into your market though, you need to run great PPC ads to be able to generate the kind of results you are now dreaming of.

First, make sure the ad will direct the visitor to a landing page that is optimized and well-planned. First impressions DO count and you can consider your PPC ad as part of the first impression you make.

Second, PPC results have a higher chance of converting to a sale. They clicked on your ad because they are either intrigued or in search of a product or service. Many PPC ads lead visitors to a Home Page instead of a landing page – and this is a fatal error because it delays the process and could cause the visitor to become disinterested and unwilling to browse through your entire site.

Finally, your PPC headline should follow the same theme as your landing page. This is known as message matching. The reason you need to do this is because it reassures the visitor that they are in the right place. In addition, you want to make things as easy as possible for the visitor to get the information quickly, when interest is at its peak.

Robot Running FastWhen we hear the phrase “artificial intelligence,” what comes to mind is often the stuff of science fiction movies. Robots that take over the world, computers that drive cars, and robots that become our friends.

In the world of business, however, artificial intelligence is the next big thing in digital marketing, but its uses are a little less romantic. First, what exactly is artificial intelligence? According to Wikipedia, “Artificial intelligence” (AI) is intelligence exhibited by machines…. when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving.”

So what are a few ways AI is used in real-world marketing?

  1. Chatbots, or bots, are basically computer programs that allow people to chat with computers. Businesses can use them to provide automated, human-like customer support, e-commerce recommendations, and other interactive experiences. One bonus is that it’s available any time of day or night. The bot can be programmed to provide product suggestions based on the conversation, or even display relevant ads during times when the “agent” is “researching” an answer to a question or finding a solution to a complaint.

 

  1. Speech recognition is something AI can be programmed to do, which can translate (pun intended) into widening a company’s customer base. When more people can talk to a search engine or communicate with customer service using their native language, business can be enhanced.

 

  1. If you use Facebook, you’ve already likely noticed ad targeting. Advertisements relevant to your last comment or “like” almost magically appear in your newsfeed. AI is used for ad targeting, and Facebook is just one platform where it’s used effectively.

 

  1. Website design is an exciting, new way that artificial intelligence is being used by businesses. One company, Grid, boasts that companies can have a website that builds itself and evolves as content is added over time.

 

  1. Finally, and maybe obviously, AI is put to good use via search engines. Users are just regular people asking regular stuff, and they may not know the most eloquent way to get good results. Artificial intelligence can help figure out what people are trying to ask, and can quickly get them the search results they probably need. This technology can help businesses when they use search engine optimization (SEO) to build their sites. And with websites that build themselves, SEO is seamlessly integrated.

 

Want to take your company to the next level? Spend some time researching artificial intelligence and how you can apply it to your marketing ventures. If you don’t, you’re sure to miss out on this soon-to-be essential digital marketing tool.