Are you like these small business owners?

Are you like these small business owners?

Are you running a small business, non-stop busy with no more time to add yet another thing to your plate? If your like the small business owners in this article you might want to consider hiring Many Streams to handle your marketing. If you would like more information please fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

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Survey | Small Business Owners Overwhelmed With Digital Marketing Challenges and Options | 2016

Posted in Online MarketingSelling to Small Business

If you run a small business and feel like you can’t keep up with all the new marketing opportunities you are supposed to embrace, don’t feel lonely. Recent research from two digital marketing services used by thousands of small businesses, Infusionsoft and LeadPages, reveals that most small business owners feel overwhelmed by the opportunities and believe they are under-performing in their use of them.


Nine survey answers that reveal small business owners need help in becoming better marketers

It’s not for the lack of tools and platforms that small business owners and managers believe they are missing the mark on marketing. One estimate suggests that from 2014 to 2015, the number of marketing technology companies almost doubled, from 947 to 1,876. Recently, Infusionsoft, a small business marketing management platform and LeadPages, a platform used for digital lead generation and subscription campaigns, sponsored a survey in which more than 1,000 small businesses answered a set of questions that reveal how small business owners feel about their marketing effectiveness and use of digital marketing tools.

Responses to the following nine questions provide insight into how overwhelmed small business owners feel about their marketing. They also suggest there are great opportunities for companies that focus on educating and inspiring small business owners with the skills and confidence they need to reach new customers and build deeper relationships with the customers they already have.

(The full report can be found here: The 2016 Small Business Marketing Trends Report.)

 Are your current marketing efforts effective?

48.5% | No
37.6% | Yes
13.9% | I don’t know

SmallBusiness.com Observation: If your response is, “I don’t know,” chances are your current efforts aren’t effective. Thus, only 37 percent of the respondents believe their current efforts are effective.

 Who manages your marketing?

46.8% | I do (the owner)
23.5% | Someone on my team does
17.3% | We do some in house and contract the rest
6.5% | I don’t know
6.0% | A contractor, agency or third party

 What kind of marketing channels do you currently use?

71.6% | Company website
43.3% | Digital advertising and social media
40.1% | Email marketing
29.9% | Print advertising and direct mail
26.4% | Landing pages or purpose-specific web pages
22.0% | Telemarketing and in-person marketing
13.3% | None of the above

SmallBusiness.com Observation: A respondent could choose more than one channel, but it’s insightful to see how many said their website is their primary channel of marketing. They realize that Facebook or Twitter or traditional forms of marketing should be secondary to the direct-to-customer opportunity that comes with creating your own place on the web.

 What kind of content does your company create to help get customers?

57.8% | Posts on social media
42.6% | Email marketing
36.4% | Publish blog posts or articles
27.8% | Create other kinds of content
22.6% | Don’t create content in order to get customers
19.9% | Send direct mail (print-based direct marketing)
16% | Offer downloadable content on web pages (e.g. white papers, ebooks)

SmallBusiness.com Observation: One thing this question reveals is how broad the term “content marketing” is being applied by small business owners. Almost 58 percent consider posts (and tweets, we’re assuming) on social media sites are “content.” Most “content marketing experts” define social media marketing as being something different than content marketing.

 What do you use to store contact information for your leads and customers and follow up with them?

42.4% | Contacts feature of business email service (like Gmail or Outlook)
24.0% | Customer relationship management (CRM) tool
20.6% | Don’t keep track of this kind of information
19.4% | Email marketing service (like MailChimp, Emma)
16.4% | Use a different kind of system

SmallBusiness.com Observation: The need obviously exists and there are plenty of platforms that would help small businesses. Helping small business see beyond the tools and helping them reap the benefits is a great opportunity for the platform companies.

 Do you have an email list that prospective customers can subscribe to (or “opt into”)?

45.9% | Yes
45.4% | No
8.7% | I don’t know

If you are planning to use digital marketing in your business in 2016, what will be your primary goals?

51.3% | Driving sales
48.4% | Building brand awareness or conveying information
34.1% | Collecting leads
30.0% | Retaining customers
27.5% | Running promotions
21.8% | I won’t be using digital marketing in 2016
15.7% | Gaining efficiency with marketing automation

 In 2016, which marketing channels (if any) do you expect to budget more for?

51.0% | My website
51.1% | Digital advertising and social media
25.4% | Email marketing
23.4% | Print advertising and direct mail
21.9% | Landing pages or purpose-specific web pages
13.6% | Telemarketing and in-person marketing
19.2% | None of the above

 Of the following options, what is the biggest challenge you’ll face in your digital marketing in 2016?

19.6% | Turning leads into customers
17.9% | Generating web traffic
17.9% | Finding time/resources for digital marketing
17.4% | Turning web traffic into leads
17.3% | I won’t be using digital marketing in 2016
9.9% | Retaining customers long-term

 

Shared by Rex Hammock

SmallBusiness.com Staff

Rex Hammock is founder and head-helper of SmallBusiness.com. He is founder/CEO of Hammock Inc. (Hammock.com), a leading customer content and media company. His popular blog, RexBlog, was started in 1999 and you can follow him on Twitter at his one-letter username, @R.
Thanks,
SmallBusiness.com
 http://smallbusiness.com/digital-marketing/small-business-digital-marketing-overload/

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Branding

Branding

In the west brands are used on cattle to identify ownership, using brands ended disputes over who owned which animal since they were for the most part free ranging. The brand also affected auction prices, the buyers would see a specific brand come into the auction ring and know who raised it and thus determine whether or not the animal was from a reputable ranch both in breeding and raising of the animal. Today most people when they thing of branding think of a company and the product they produce or a service they provide. Though the concept is the same, the consumer knows when they see the “brand” whether or not they consider the company reputable and worthy of their money or trust.

Branding today is more that a logo or image, it is a feeling that the consumer gets when they think of a company… the perceived reputation, and the memories that come to mind when they hear of the company and/or there products. Branding is a very strategic method of building awareness and creating customer loyalty, that if done well can lead to the aforementioned feelings, and memories, if done well good feelings and memories. By carefully chosen colors and images the branding of a product can lead to its success. A well branded product will be chosen over the hundreds of other products on the grocery store shelves or chosen over the other hotels on site such as hotels.com. That isn’t enough however, a brand is a story, a story that touches people in away that makes them feel as though their life is going to be improved, their problems solved and their social status raised with the purchase of or staying at etc. a brand when well executed makes the consumer not only feel good themselves but want to share that feeling with others. Lets take a step back from the branding on a single product and look at the branding of a company, a company with a stable of products. Yes, we want all of the feelings and messages and reactions mentioned above… but we want people to have those about the bigger picture. A tricky prospect when we consider what happens if one misstep has an effect on the whole.

Chipotle has been experiencing this ripple in the pond effect for several months and is working hard to recover. A company known for fresh vegetables… a healthy alternative to other “fast food” chains, was taken to its knees when one restaurant at a time began to make hundreds of people sick. How does a company keeps its brand from turning people away after this tragedy?  They do it by standing on their original brand! Chipotle closed stores and did the type of deep cleaning that restaurants rarely get after opening there doors. They searched for the source of the food borne illness and in an unprecedented move they closed the resaturates for four hours during lunch for a company wide training on food safety. Chipotle added to their story, their brand their firm commitment, their position of providing healthy food to their customers. In a day-in-age when everyone is trying to figure out their purpose and wanting their chosen companies to have one as well, Chipotle has done a great job throughout these past few months showing that their purpose hasn’t changed and that they stand proudly on it. Without have solid branding that created a ton of followers who were willing to bring others along, Chipotle wouldn’t be in the position they are in today, they could easily be in the position on Blue Bell ice cream who has closed factories, laid of employees and deeply soiled their name and brand.

Thinking back to the west and branded cattle we can see how people can either get behind a brand or turn against one. We expect companies as well as ranches and individuals to live up to the image they put out to the world and nothing is harder to do than repair the image of someone or thing that didn’t have an upstanding image before their down fall. A brand is not just that image, it is what to stand upon and grow from when things don’t go well, it is the spring board for the company to jump from to become great again in the eyes of the public.

12508970_10208458582370665_2429155234667251386_n Rebecca Bailey

11 Reasons Why Social Media is a Bridge to More Customers

11 Reasons Why Social Media is a Bridge to More Customers

11 Reasons Why Social Media is a Bridge

to More Customers

  1. Branding – Create a recognizable identity for your product or service. This is extremely important for a small business.
  2. Create a buzz – Get the word out about your products and services in a way that promotes online conversation.
  3. Online reputation management – Find out what other people and sites are saying about your name, company, or brand online – and fix any problems, if need be.
  4. Word of mouth – Customers need to trust before purchasing – people trust their friends and loved ones more than anyone else. So, if they hear from someone trustworthy about your product, chances are higher that they’ll buy. Use virtual word of mouth.
  5. Build relationships and become more personal – Use a variety of social media, and you’ll build relationships with customers and potential customers. Trust comes through honesty and sincerity.
  6. Small businesses can compete with the large companies – Level the playing field.
  7. Helps with search engines – Like I mentioned above, social media helps you move up in the search engines because of links. Many social news sites and social networking sites have “do follow” links in their profile pages.
  8. Much cheaper than traditional marketing and advertising – Social media marketing shouldn’t cost a small business nearly as much as traditional advertising. And, if you do it yourself, it might not cost a dime. However, it will cost you time.  Depending how much your time is worth, it might be worthwhile to hire someone to help with the social media marketing. But, all in all, social media marketing is just a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing and advertising.
  9. Your company is more accessible – An accessible company means a more trustworthy company.
  10. Provides another way for potential customers to find you – If you’re not high enough in the search engines for potential customers to find you, they can still find you through social media.  So, even if you’re not on the front page of Google, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive traffic. Social Media has the potential to send you TONS of traffic – when done properly.
  11. Show Your Stuff – Universal Search is pretty new. Google used to only list links on their main page. Now you can list on social media and that will come up in the searches.