4 Of The Most Important Steps To Starting A Successful Business

Starting a successful business doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen by accident. You need to make sure you’re setting yourself up to own a successful business right from the start – the way your business starts will often dictate how it turns out a year, two years, or even five years down the line. If you want to make sure your business is successful, make sure you follow the below steps to starting a successful business:

 

 

Come Up With A Viable Idea

First of all, you need to make sure your idea is viable. How do you do this? Start off by brainstorming a list of ideas, and don’t censor them yet. Once you have your list, you can begin to think about them more thoroughly. For example, some would probably make great home businesses, while others wouldn’t. Think about where you want to start your business and how you want it to turn out. Home businesses will often turn out very differently to enterprises you start in an office building. You can then figure out if the idea if viable. How much work will you have to put in to make money? How much money could you stand to make? Will you need employees? Thinking about each idea and thoroughly immersing yourself in the possibility of owning the business will help you to get a feel for whether it’s a viable idea or not.

 

Research Your Market

You need to do as much research on the market as possible so you know what you should be doing with your business. What do they like? What don’t they like? What do they wish businesses in the industry did/didn’t do? What are your competitors doing? What could you do better? Doing as much research as possible will get you off to the best start.

 

Know Your Numbers

Knowing your numbers can be tough when you’re just starting out, but a rough idea can help you. For example, you’ll likely need business capital to get started, so you’ll want to look at details about business loans and have an idea of the amount of money you’ll need to start your business. How much do you think you’ll need for supplies, your premises, your staff, to keep you going if things get quiet? How much do you think you’ll make? All great entrepreneurs know their numbers like the back of their hand.

 

Create A Business Plan

Creating a business plan is something that might seem boring, but it can help you to keep going even during the tough times. It can keep you focused, and help you to take a new direction if necessary. You can outline exit strategies, plan A and plan B, how you’ll get funding, what you’ll do with it, and everything else you need to know. A business plan is for you, to help you get a feel for whether this business is truly going to work or not, and for an investor to look at if you want to get more capital. It always helps to have one.

 

 

You Got The Sale, But Can You Deliver?

When running a business that sells from an online, mobile, or on-the-phone customer experience, securing sales might be your greatest concern. But it’s not the digital storefront or the marketing and conversion process that’s most likely to cause you to lose customers. The number one reason for poor customer retention is a delivery system that simply isn’t working. Here, we’re going to look at how to ensure your deliveries are convenient, efficient, and reliable not just for your customers but for you and your bottom line, too.

 

Run a ship-shape warehouse

All deliveries begin in the warehouse. It’s not just a place to store the goods before you deliver them, keeping it organised is integral to ensuring deliveries can begin as promptly as possible. Systematic organisation of stock, monitoring inventory levels, and keeping the warehouse well-lit and clean makes it a lot easier to find the goods you need when you need them. Efficient storage solutions with the proper racks and transportation equipment are also key in avoiding causing any damage to your stock. A high portion of faulty goods returns happen because goods were damaged not in transit, but in the warehouse before the delivery process even began. Along with the right equipment comes the need for ongoing training and retraining for staff. Appointing a warehouse safety officer can help you better spot potential risks to ensure relevant training to those who encounter or cause them.

Keep it connected

The warehouse is only one part of the overall supply and delivery chain, however. It only works effectively if it is working in tandem with all the other moving pieces. The packing room, the order completion system in your storefront, and the fleet management system should all be connected to it. Inventory management software is making it easier to connect these systems together, so that the warehouse team knows an order has begun as soon as it has processed just as your ecommerce storefront can update automatically with changes in stock, avoiding you from taking any orders for items that you don’t have.

Keep it electronic

The more you can avoid cluttering the warehouse and the delivery system, the better. The fewer resources you waste, the better. Many warehouses and businesses are starting to go completely paperless, relying instead on fully electronic processes. Using handheld devices like barcode readers to measure stock levels instead of noting on paper and using workflow tools for processing instead of transferring documents physically can save a lot of time. It also saves space that might otherwise be used to contain cabinet upon cabinet of files.

 

DIY or let someone else?

What about the transportation and fulfillment process itself? Many new businesses will sign up with a courier or delivery service that can help quickly get the business rolling. Saving you from the costs of purchasing and maintaining your own vehicles, many shippers will even provide free shipping materials such as boxes. However, as the business grows, the lack of control over your own delivery system can limit you. The more deliveries the manage, the less cost-effective it is to outsource, as well. When a business grows to a certain size, it has to look at the trucks in stock from their local suppliers and start building their own fleet. This also means creating safe driving policies, hiring drivers, and ensuring effective maintenance of vehicles. It takes more work, but in the end, it can make the process much more efficient, especially with the help of some of the tools we’re going to look at now.

Know the way

One of the reasons you want more control over your own deliveries is to better understand the delivery process. In particular, effective route creation and management can help customers receive deliveries much sooner as well as saving you money. Using fleet GPS technology, you can gain insight on the paths your drivers take. You can look at areas where they slow down due to traffic, for instance, and help them alternate roads that help them avoid them. What’s more, by planning more stops per route, you can ensure that every time a vehicle leaves the warehouse, it is fulfilling as many orders as possible before returning. Many fulfilment service providers include GPS tracking as a way to keep you informed of where your goods are at any given time, but you won’t be able to use those insights to customise routes and improve driving habits unless you are in full control of your fleet.

Keep the customer informed

The information gathered from your GPS delivery tracking won’t just help you, it will help the customer, too. Knowing where their package is through a parcel tracking feature can keep customers from becoming agitated or restless, offering them some peace of mind that their goods are, in fact, on the way. When they’re selecting their delivery options, for instance, ensure your system can provide estimated delivery dates for them. Connecting your GPS tracking to your customer experience can help provide real-time updates that stop them from clogging up your customer service channels with requests as to where their package is and when they can expect it.

 

Customer service is key

Of course, regardless of how automated, efficient, and easy-to-use your ordering and delivery services are, your customers are still going to have questions. Many ecommerce platforms still have trouble with customer support and it’s often down to two issues. The first is a lack of information. If your customer support team doesn’t have easy access to information on orders, stock levels, delivery location, and more, the customer will end up having to wait much longer for the answers they want. The second issue is a lack of the proper channels. Customer service should be accessible and highly visible. If a customer can’t see an easy way to connect with an online representative or a phone number to call, they are just as likely to cancel the order than to keep searching.

The cost conundrum

Every business running a delivery service is going to have to take a closer look at how, exactly, they price those deliveries. How much do you charge customers for deliveries? Some businesses, if they are able to cover their costs in their overall profits, will offer free delivery but that’s not an option every business can rely on. Others price on cost, keeping the charges for delivery transparent so customers know they’re not paying more than they should. What you should avoid, however, is attempting to use the delivery cost as an opportunity to profit further. Many customers will be savvy about the costs that other companies charge and will know when they’re being nickeled and dimed.

Reckoning with returns

Every business is legally required to have a returns policy that deals with faulty goods. But there is some wiggle room to be found in the creation of your own returns and refunds process. Ensure you educate yourself fully on your customer’s rights, avoiding the chance that a customer might opt to take legal action. It’s a good idea to see the status quo of returns policies within your industry by taking a closer look at those provided by competitors. You don’t necessarily have to guarantee returns for goods bought by mistake or ones that the customer later changed their mind on. By having a more open returns policy, however, you could boost customer satisfaction and retention rate.

 

Incentivise better deliveries

As effective as your systems may be and as much as you may automate different parts of it, you’re going to be relying on humans who are prone to error. Safety and efficiency in the warehouse, cost-effective driving, better organisation and handling of goods, these all depend on the different members of your team. The best way to make sure your people are as efficient as your systems is to incentivise it. Create a rewards system that takes into account different key performance indicators, offering something in return for those who keep the system running on time while withholding from those who fail to meet their targets.

Follow up with the customer

You want to know how effective the changes you make to your delivery system are. Following the metrics of employee performance, inventory levels, warehouse management and so on can give you some insights but the customer experience can be harder to measure. Ensure that you seek customer feedback on your delivery system, leaving it open for recommendations and reports of substandard service. Not every customer will take advantage of the chance to leave feedback. You can encourage feedback, however, by working to improve a sense of a positive customer/company relationship. A thank you letter or email and even a little bonus in the delivery, such as a pack of sweets, can help increase the emotional impact of receiving their goods, which can encourage them to engage more positively with the company.

From the customer experience to the warehouse organisation to the transportation of the packages, your delivery system needs to be connected from top to bottom. You can reduce your own costs as well as ensuring customers are better informed and satisfied.

 

Use Digital Marketing – Anytime Anywhere by Junaid Ali Qureshi

The rise of the innovative trends in digital marketing is a proof of how far marketing has come since the late nineties. The present era is all about building new marketing strategies, incorporating new trends in it and producing the better result than the previous ones. Every now and then, the marketing and branding teams and advertising companies in Dubai and elsewhere are in the quest of raising the standards of their campaign in order to achieve business success.

The good news about digital marketing is that it can be done at anytime from anywhere. The idea behind its dominance is to create ease for the marketers, improve their and business performance and impart an exceptionally amazing customer experience. The offline marketing and advertisement that used to compel the viewers to participate in the sales have now shifted towards a better marketing approach to online internet services. It is simple, easier to conduct and produces more results. Before we introduce you the latest trends and benefits of the digital marketing, let’s find out what it is.

What is digital marketing?

It is widely known as the promotion and marketing of the products using the internet service on the digital technologies like laptops, mobile phones, and display advertisements. There are seven foundational disciplines of digital/ online marketing and each one of them has a huge impact on the progress of the marketing campaign.

Digital marketing is made up of search engine optimization, search engine marketing, content management, social media marketing, affiliate and email marketing, and pay-per-click advertisement. Though offline marketing is one of the two pillars of digital marketing according to Neil Patel, we’ll discuss the online marketing below.

 

How to use digital marketing to increase sales?

There are dozens of benefits of digital marketing that can help you boost your business. Among them, the increase in return on investment, driving more traffic, increased sales and conversions are the top ones. Also, the implementation of digital marketing enhances the brand reputation and caters to the needs of mobile consumers. This type of marketing is often termed as being cost-effective. According to the Gartner’s digital marketing spend report, 40% of the people claimed to save a considerable amount of money by using digital methods of marketing their products and services.

Tony Delmercado, the co-founder, and COO of Hawke Media shares his thoughts on online marketing by saying, “Small efficiency improvements in conversion rates, email capture, and retargeting can pay huge dividends — tighten up the mouse trap first, then buy eyeballs. You’ll acquire and retain customers more cost-efficiently and keep money in your coffers for higher-risk marketing strategies.”  Thus, there are expert techniques and ways only through which you can make a fortune out of marketing.

Here are the latest essentials of digital marketing for 2018 that you can implement at any time and from any place you are:

  1. Strengthen your hold on blogging and content generation

Demand metric puts forward the study results that content marketing costs 62% less than the offline traditional marketing. It also states that it generates triple times more leads. With digital marketing at hand, it is necessary to nurture every opportunity at hand. Content generation and management is one of the best ways that promote digital marketing.

Thus, the ever-green trend in marketing is to focus on the content that you generate. Hire experienced and skilled writers, get content posts from the influencers and write blog posts. It has been proven that people who invest in blogging tend to get more customers for their business brand. Some recent innovative ways to tackle the content are as follows:

Learn the art of storytelling:

Story telling through SnapChat, FaceBook and Instagram are now viral! The idea is to capture the mesmerizing moment from the manufacturing or promoting the product department and posting it to make it accessible for the viewers. It helps in keeping them in the loop. Branding agency Dubai focuses on the art of storytelling as it is one of the trending ways of content marketing.

Invest in the world of video content:

The second way to promote content marketing is to use visual content. The videos are the finest way to communicate with the customers these days. On YouTube people watch a billion hours of video per day while on FaceBook 8 billion videos are seen every day. This shows how promising customer engagement is with the help of videos.

 

  1. Bring marketing automation into use

The digital technologies are advancing every day and new software are introduced in the market. Marketing automation is similar software that helps you prioritize and perform the marketing tasks much more effectively. For this, you need to take a look at your business goal list and identify how you can enhance the business revenue by incorporating the software in your business. The idea is to integrate marketing automation in your inbound marketing strategy and automate repetitive tasks.

  1. Identify your goals and tools to use

Digital marketing is goal driven. Though this not one of the latest trends, still it is the utmost action that should be taken by the marketers. Shooting aimlessly would result in no potential benefit. Thus, it is important to list down a series of goals that your business company wants to achieve. Then, in accordance with that, the marketing goals and domains on which more focus is required are decided. Also, there are several marketing tools in the market that help in improving the marketing practices. Using those vastly helps the marketer in making his work the best art piece.

  1. Long-term bonding with social media marketing

The social media marketing trends are constantly changing owing to their great response. The things you need to keep your eye on is the long-term active presence of your social media profile. It is not a one day job to maintain and manage the social media network instead it requires dedication, consistency and long-lasting effort to enhance the productivity of the business through social media. In 2017, a 60% increase in social media marketing budget was seen as compared to the previous year and in the coming years, even more, is expected. The trending uses of social media marketing include investing in influencers and micro-influencers, live streaming, generation Z, and the use of AR/ VR applications.

  1. Enhancing customer experience

You need to master the art of offering amazing customer experience and this is what promotes customer retention and generates more leads. All the efforts that you apply in digital marketing are weighed against the customer lead generation and amount of increased sales. The latest technologies like artificial intelligence and the use of chatbots, machine learning, augmented and virtual reality experiences; all of these are designed solely to enhance the customer experience.

An online marketing strategy is an extensive one which requires round the clock care and consideration. But, once you have built the foundation of digital marketing with the essential elements and ideas mentioned above, you’ll see how strong and useful it is!

 

Junaid Ali Qureshi

is a digital marketing specialist who has helped several businesses gain traffic, outperform competition and generate profitable leads. His current ventures include Elephantation, eLabelz, Smart Leads.ae, Progos Tech and eCig.

Why Most Salespeople Are Order Takers And Not Sellers by @keenan

Quick, what do you consider to be the number one job of sales people?   Quick, answer it in your head.

Are you thinking about it?

I will give you a hint. It’s NOT selling stuff or driving revenue or some results oriented thing.

What do you think?  What have you come up with?

Did you say:

  1. Building relationships
  2. Knowing how to close
  3. Negotiating well
  4. Knowing the product
  5. Setting goals
  6. Over coming objections
  7. Being strategic
  8. Giving killer pitches and demos
  9. or did you say something else?

All of these are relevant to some degree or another, but they are not the most important element of a sales person’s job.

The most important aspect of a sales person’s job is to influence or put differently, to get the prospect to let you help them.

Influence: a person or thing with the capacity or power to affect someone or something.

The core of a salesperson’s job is to influence a sale and the people engaged in the sale. Without influence, a sales person is not selling.

Selling is about change, and it’s salespeople’s job to influence that change. Salespeople who can’t influence change are simply order-takers.

Not enough sales leaders and sales people understand this, and it’s affecting their ability to drive revenue.

Not enough sales people understand this critical distinction between selling (influencing the sale) and order taking.

The best salespeople do, and they possess the ability to wield deep influence with their prospects and customers.  They move deals right to left, up and down, north and south, east and west based on what’s happening in the account, and the goals the buyer is looking to attain. They influence the people, issues, objections, and challenges their buyer’s face through out the sales process. Great sales people aren’t victimized by them, they are reacting to them in a fashion that increases their probability of winning the sale.

Great sales people understand their worth as a sales person is derived from how well they can influence the sales process and their buyers.

Unfortunately, most sales people are victims of the sale, wielding little influence and simply reacting to the demands and requests of the buyer, ultimately hoping they win the deal.

Get the Buyer to Let You Help Them

Influence is given. It can not be taken without permission.  You can not influence someone who has not consciously given you permission. Until a buyer lets a salesperson help them, nothing is going to happen. It doesn’t matter if the buyer allows the salesperson to do a demo or meet other people in the organization.  It doesn’t matter if the buyer says they like the product or takes the sales reps call, if they buyer will not let the sale person help them solve a real problem or set of problems, the rep is not selling. They’re just taking orders.

However, once a buyer agrees they need help and are willing to let the sales person help them, they have given permission, and the sale has begun.

Too few sales people understand this vital difference in their job, and because of it, they are unable to position themselves as influencers. They pitch and push, taking orders and barking out the value of their product to all that will listen and who are willing to go on the ride. But they aren’t selling. When a deal goes south, they are powerless to stop it. When a new buyer enters the situation, they are neutralized, assuming they even see it coming. If a blocker starts making progress, they have no way to combat the threat.

Sales people who are unable to influence the sale or don’t realize it’s their job to influence the sale are victims of the sale, not drivers of it.

The value of your sales team can be easily measured by the amount of influence they are able to wield with their prospects and customers.

Evaluating for Influence

To many, it’s difficult to test for influence. How do you know if your reps are influencing the sale or reacting to it? How do you know if your reps are executing to an effective deal strategy designed to ensure they win the deal?

Deal reviews, that’s how.

The key to a solid deal review is to dig deep into HOW the rep is managing a deal (an opportunity.) You want to understand how they are influencing the opportunity, what elements the salesperson understands, what they are targeting and why.

Here are some questions to ask in deal reviews to ascertain if your sales people are influencing the deal or if they are just going along for the ride:

  1. Why do they (the prospect) need to buy (or why do they need a new solution), what’s their motivation to change?
  2. What happens if they don’t do anything?
  3. How are they doing it today?
  4. What is it about how they are doing things today that is causing problems?
  5. How is the problem affecting their business (competition, cash flow, product development, sales, marketing, productivity, etc.)?
  6. Why did they choose the approach?
  7. What’s the next customer “yes?”
  8. What other solutions are they considering?
  9. Which key stakeholders are helping vs. combating the solution and why?
  10. What are the prospects decision criteria
  11. What’s the reps deal strategy and how does it take into consideration the answers to the above?
  12. And more

A rep who can answer all these questions and more is likely influencing the deal, not being victimized by it. Data and knowledge are at the core to influence and therefore the more data a rep has, the higher the probability they are influencers.

Sales people can not be influencers without a massive amount of opportunity awareness and data. They have to have deep, relevant, business knowledge of their prospects and their prospect’s business challenges.

Sales people’s job is to influence the sale. It’s not to be an order taker. It’s not to react to whatever the prospect says or demands. That’s order taking.

It’s time we start taking more stock of the influence we have in the sale. Salespeople are not paid to be order takers. We’re paid to influence the sale, to provide information, insight, support, guidance, and advice that increases the opportunity the buyer chooses our solution over the competition or the status quo.

Let’s put an end to order taking and earn our keep by being powerful, knowledge driven influencers. It’s what we’re paid for.

How Social Media Helps Thrive Your Business by Junaid Ali Qureshi

The social media stats by ‘we are social’ suggests that by the end of 2017, there were 2.80 billion active global social media users. Among them, the FaceBook social media platform had 1.37 billion active users. This number is soon to be rounded off to 2 billion alone for the most trending social media platform in the year 2018. The next in line is Instagram followed by Snap Chat and Pinterest. Each social media platform offers great benefit.

The power of connecting with the people all around the world, through one way or the other, that it holds is immensely valued in the global business industry. The different business firms in U.K, U.S, the Middle East, and the advertising agencies in Dubai invest their time, money and effort in social media for the betterment of the business company. The social media marketing is at its peak in the present era and here is how it helps thrive your business:

  1. Helps in the initial ‘creating awareness’ phase

The social media promotes a business industry by creating awareness about the brand products and services on a large platform. Whether you have a small business or a large setup, it is impossible for you to sell the products if you haven’t introduced your brand to the general populace. The first thing that the social media helps in doing is creating your online presence. Once the brand is on the online platform, you can add photos, images, live videos, short videos and blog posts to let others know about your brand and how it works.

  1. Generates interest and encourages the action of the viewers

The leading branding agency Dubai shares their experience of social media marketing. They vouch for the fact that it helps in directing the interested viewers to the official website thus generating leads. Is it possible? Yes, it is!

The social media network is the ideal way of digital communication and without it, it is nearly impossible to reach billions of people at once (explained ahead). Thus, it can be used to drum up interest in your product as well. The discount offers, sales contests and give away offers attract the users instilling the interest to invest in the brand. Furthermore, the call-to-action on the social media encourage the users to click on the website link. The link directs them to the website’s landing page which in return helps thrive the business.

  1. The wide reach of the social media platform

As mentioned above, the numbers of people who use the social media are countless. This means if you are investing in a national or international business brand, you’ll need to reach out to a lot of customers to make your brand popular. The social media networks are the golden place to do so. You can target any type of valuable customers you want. According to Marketing Sherpa, the 95% of the online adults aged 18 to 34 most probably follow a business brand via social media. The adults in every region of the world, either men or women, use Social Media. Even the children and elderly, and people from every profession use it making it easier for you to reach the general and desired population.

  1. Drives more traffic to the website

The use of images, blog posts, content status, and videos on the social media platform helps in driving more traffic. The followers of the business brand are attracted and convinced to browse through and see what the brand offers. The CTAs and impressive brand’s discount offers enhance the trust and drive more traffic to the official website through the shared links.

 

 

 

  1. Improves the website’s SEO

The studies show that establishing an online presence on the social media networks and promoting the brand there helps in elevating the rank of the official website in the search engine. There is no doubt that social media marketing is one of the best ways to conduct digital marketing. The multiple links shared and traffic driven through different sources along with its proper website development makes the business industry popular on the internet. Thus, it is important of search engine optimization!

  1. It establishes customer loyalty and relationship

Customer loyalty is what ensures the business growth and prosperity and to achieve this it is very important to maintain the social media business profile. An active profile is what proves to the users the authenticity and trustworthiness of the brand. The Texas Tech University’s report on social media concludes “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.” Thus, focus on your social media marketing and facilitate the viewers as much as you can.

  1. A cost-effective way of marketing and promoting the business

There are both online and offline ways to market your business. The former one is cost-effective as compared to the latter one. This is because all it requires is a high-quality internet connection, a good digital marketing team with latest skills and expertise and investment in the form of innovative and new ideas.

A small business company can benefit from this nearly free, highly targeted, cost-effective marketing solution by carrying out the actions by themselves. And if they aren’t aware of how to do it, hiring a team that knows the job is the best resort. This still costs less than marketing through other means. Hubspot states that 84% of the marketers find as little as 6 hours of effort per week enough to generate increased traffic. Doesn’t this prove the cost and time-effectiveness of the social media marketing?

  1. Offers good customer support service

The Bain and Company showcase the result of a study saying that the businesses that keep in touch and engage with their customers are 20 to 40% more likely to earn increased revenue per customer. Also, the use of social media helps in keeping the customers intact. How does this happen? One of the reasons for this customer engagement and retention is the fact that social media allows the business to offer great customer support service. By solving the customer’s queries and problems, the business team makes them feel important and valuable. This is what maintains their loyalty to the brand.

  1. Increased social advertisements

The state of social 2018 report suggests that 67% businesses intend on increasing their advertisement budgets. This means that other than the offline advertisement and the one through GoogleAds, the scope of paid social advertisement is increasing rapidly. This is one of the latest trends to be followed in the social media marketing for the year 2018. The idea behind is to make the product known and accessible for all.

  1. Increases the sales

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When all the above-mentioned ways and techniques are summed up, they offer the result of increased sales of the product! The social media definitely helps in increasing the sales of both the offline and online business stores. A research shows that 70% business-to-consumer marketers acquire customers through the social media namely Facebook.

In the end:

These are the top ten ways in which social media boost the business industry. Running a business in a competitive environment like that of today is a tough job. It requires all the effort and sources that you can use as leverage against the other business and social media marketing is one of the best one. Start practicing social media marketing to understand in depth the way it promotes the business.

 

Junaid Ali Qureshi is a digital marketing specialist who has helped several businesses gain traffic, outperform competition and generate profitable leads. His current ventures include Elephantation, eLabelz, Smart Leads.ae, Progos Tech and eCig.

What Has Caused Your Recent Loss In Traffic?

Although it’s something that we’d all like to avoid, you may find that you experience a dip in traffic at some point. As much as this might frustrate you or even worry you, it is something that can happen. It can be a seasonal trend and not overly anything to worry about. If you know that you’re working with the right channels and you’ve not experienced any changes lately, then you should start to see an improvement soon. It may just be a natural dip that bounces back to your normal traffic levels soon. However, if you are experiencing a loss in traffic that keeps on dropping, you’re going to want to look into the issue and fast. So let’s take a look at five different things that it could be.

1. A Change In Strategy

One huge reason for why you may have seen a drop in traffic is if you’ve recently changed your marketing strategy. When you’ve been working with set tactics for a period of time, you will tend to see a regular stream of traffic as a result of that. Sometimes, we decide to change things up to try and boost traffic, sales, or whatever your marketing objective may be related to. But they won’t always give you the results you expect. Use this result to help you turn things around and keep testing to find out what will get you the results you were looking for.

2. SEO Issues

Next, you’re going to want to look at your SEO. Maybe you’ve lost some links or your competitors have knocked you off the top spot? You may even want to discover more by working with an agency to help you. When you bring in an expert eye, they can really analyze what has gone wrong and then propose a strategy for making a change. And, they’re going to take care of it for you, so it’s a win-win.

3. Demand

Earlier, we briefly mentioned that sometimes seasonal trends mean that your traffic will be down. And that’s only natural. But, you may also find that demand is down too. And this could be more of a long-term problem. So, you’re going to want to come up with a strategy to help you create that demand again, and increase your traffic while you’re at it.

4. A Lack Of Content

Have you been working on your content recently? Maybe you need to update your website to fix the issue. When you have a lack of fresh content, it may be affecting how you rank in searches or how many clicks you get from social. Even repurposing old stuff can be a great way to overcome this.

5. A Server Issue

Finally, if you think you’ve nailed all of the above and it can’t be any of them, maybe you’re having an issue with your server. This is something that you may need to take up with your hosting company, so you’re going to want to go directly to them and see if there is an issue that needs sorting on their end.

A Guide to Choosing the Best Digital Channel for Your Business [Infographic] by Jess Andriani

In today’s highly competitive business landscape, it’s critical for any business to establish and maintain a strong online presence. Digital channels present new markets and new opportunities for businesses. But, there are many businesses, whether small or large, that have not realized the power of digital channels, while some of those who do still fail to harness its full potential in reaching their business goals.

With several digital marketing channels available, you need to choose the tools worth focusing on to get you a step closer to your goals. There are a variety of digital channels you can leverage for your business such as email, SMS, SEO, social media, content, or digital ads. It’s just a matter of choosing the channel where you can put your marketing dollars.

Make sure to maximise your marketing budget and get more bang for your buck. Here’s a guide to choosing the best digital channel for your business.

Credit : ConnextDigital

12 of the Coolest Offices in the UK in 2018 by John Baird

Not only are the best and the brightest of British talent beginning to expect to work in fantastic and funky offices, but there have also been numerous studies that have shown that they can actually increase productivity. When people work in an engaging and exciting space that both makes them feel valued and allows them to work in a more collaborative and creative manner, they are more likely to not only worker harder but also stay at the company long term.

So what are some of the companies that have got this right and have some of the coolest offices in the UK in 2018? In no particular order….

 

Zoopla

The property listing’s company’s offices in London have been designed to feel like a house (albeit a very posh one!), with themed areas such as a library, living room, wine cellar, treehouse and even a meeting room that looks a like a swimming pool. Onsite perks include a coffee bar, gym with a fresh towel service, free breakfast and snacks, and the now ubiquitous games room.

 

 

Innocent Drinks

In their aptly named ‘Fruit Towers’ London HQ, Innocent have designed their offices to look and feel like a quintessentially English village fair; complete with astroturf floors, picnic style benches and miles and miles of bunting.

 

 

 

Money.co.uk

Set in a 10,000 sq. ft. Victorian castle in Cirencester, the comparison site’s HQ includes features such as a Star Wars themed cinema, meeting rooms modelled on ice caves and ski lodges, a library with a hidden door and an onsite gym.

 

 

Missguided

This funky fashion brand has followed its own trend with its playful and creative offices in Manchester. Think eons of pink, a plethora of unicorns, swing seats, a selfie tunnel and a series of captions across the walls – my favourite being ‘don’t worry be yonće’!

 

 

Splunk

This big data firm based in London is promoting the fact that data most certainly isn’t boring through both its brand name and fantastic offices. Meeting rooms are designed to ‘transport your mind’ with one being based on the Tardis and another set out as a retro train carriage.

 

 

AO

The online white goods and electronics retail giant AO, aims to recruit and retain the very best staff into their Bolton offices with onsite perks such as a subsidised onsite salon, restaurant (the Park) and Starbucks, along with free drinks and snacks, the obligatory games tables and loads of fun company events for employees. Meeting rooms are filled with Lego or football themed.

 

 

Superdrug

The healthcare and beauty chain’s huge 6 floor, 55,000 sq. ft. head offices in Croydon embody many of the brand’s features, especially with the onsite brow and nail bar and the wellbeing clinic.

 

 

AutoTrader

With office bases in both London and Manchester, AutoTrader gives you no doubt as to what the company does with its car themed everything. The London office has spaces decorated with actual vintage Minis suspended at crazy angles along curved walls, whereas the Manchester office sports an old school van that serves as a coffee bar.

 

 

TalkTalk

Based in the iconic old Soapworks factory in Salford Quays, the communications company’s HQ is filled with artwork depicting Manchester’s history along with a rooftop garden, pizza bar, deli and coffee station.

 

 

Red Bull

The first office on our list to feature a slide from one floor to the next (it had to happen sooner or later), Red Bull’s Soho office also features a rooftop terrace with amazing views over the London skyline.

 

 

Virgin Money, Edinburgh

The stand out feature of these lovely offices is the LED light installation that forms a ‘sky ceiling’ above the main atrium of the building. Thankfully it isn’t designed to mimic the often dreary sky outside, but to remain bright and to recreate the passage of the sun over the sky.

 

 

Google

We couldn’t omit the company that really kicked the cool office trend off. Google’s London offices feature £17,000 sofas, a running track and gym where you can check your emails whilst you work out, a full suite of complimentary restaurant standard food and even sleep pods for those well-deserved power naps.

 

 

 

Written by John Baird from Scotland Debt Solutions. Scotland Debt Solutions specialise in helping Scottish residents overcome their debts problems through taking the time to fully understand your situation before advising on and administering a range of personal debt and insolvency solutions.

B2B Content Marketing Trends to Shape Your Strategy in 2018 and Beyond by Kimmy Maclang

The content marketing landscape is like a runaway train. It’s tough to keep up because everything moves so fast—thanks to search algorithms and the emergence of new technologies like marketing automation and big data. There are now more platforms than ever where consumers and audiences can be reached.

As a result of these emerging technologies and consumption behaviors, our attention spans have shortened significantly and the way we create, search, consume, and share content is changing. The lines between the various digital marketing disciplines are now becoming increasingly blurred, with each discipline overlapping another as campaigns become highly-integrated.

 

Adapting to Change

Consumers nowadays are smarter and more powerful than ever. All the information they need is just a tap or click away. They can research about the products and services they need before they decide to purchase. They can see other users’ reviews and experiences about a brand, and likewise, write reviews for brands they’ve interacted with.

As consumers become more powerful at influencing the success of companies, competition becomes tighter and fiercer. Brands need to fight for their own share of the market and clamor to get their audience’s attention. There’s too much going on. As such, marketers need to constantly determine what consumers want and need, and how to best deliver it to them. When consumer behavior changes, so does the marketing landscape.

Brands need the right marketing foresight that will enable them to develop and plan their strategies according to accurate predictions of future market developments. In short, you need to future-proof your content marketing strategy by staying abreast of the trends.

 

Noticeable Trends

What may help a brand succeed today may not be what’s relevant tomorrow. That’s why it’s important for marketers to remain vigilant in keeping up with the trends.

2017 is almost over, and 2018 is just around the corner. While there have been many changes in the content marketing landscape, there is one thing we know for certain—content marketing will become even more relevant in the coming year.

Yes, there will be changes in content marketing, but these changes will help B2B marketers reap tangible growth and deal with marketing ROI pressures. Here’s a comprehensive list of content marketing trends that will help shape your strategy for next year:

Content Marketing Adoption

Content marketing is no longer the new marketing trend. Brands and marketers are no longer questioning whether it’s worth investing in. It has already proven to increase brand awareness, engage prospective customers, improve brand loyalty, generate leads, and increase overall profit and revenue.

Companies are now asking “how” instead of “why.” The relevance and importance of digital content to the success of any brand or organization is obvious, so much so that in the survey produced by MarketingProfs and CMI, it was discovered that 91% of B2B businesses are currently using content marketing to fuel their success. Furthermore, the number of brands and marketers who focus on content marketing to build their audience grows by 18% every year.

The same survey also revealed that 77% of marketers claim to be successful in their content marketing efforts now compared to last year. This means that content marketing is maturing, and more businesses are adopting the right strategies to achieve their content marketing goals.

Another statistic that backs up the value of content is how content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more unique website traffic than non-leaders or followers. If that’s not proof enough to get serious with content marketing, nothing will be.

 

B2B Buyer Insight

For B2B content marketing to be effective, marketers need to consider what buyers need and want above all. It’s no secret to marketers that a brand needs to establish itself as a thought leader to be considered credible and authoritative by consumers.

In the 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report by DemandGen, it was confirmed that 87% of B2B buyers give more credence to content from industry leaders.

The report further revealed that 47% of B2B buyers rely more on content for research and making purchase decisions, and that they consume at least three to five pieces of relevant content before initiating contact with a sales person.

 

Content Creation

According to a recent study, 78% of B2B marketers claim that higher quality of content and efficient content creation contributed to the increase in overall success of their content marketing campaign.

Case studies and white papers are still the top content format according to 78% of B2B buyers. Buyers also reported that they give more credence to peer reviews, user feedback, and third-party publications.

To increase the quality of content, B2B buyers recommend that content creators provide more benchmarking data and use research to support the information they provide while lessening any attempts at direct promotion.

 

Content Distribution and Promotion

When it comes to content distribution, it’s important for B2B marketers to be consistent in publishing content. A study reveals that 91% of the top business blogs today publish content at least once a week, while another recent survey shows that 58% of B2B marketers deliver content consistently.

Despite the fact that gated content such as case studies and e-books remain the top content formats for B2B marketers, 71% of B2B buyers want content that’s easier to access according to the DemandGen 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report.

However, 95% of buyers claim that they’re willing to provide their name, company, and email address in exchange for valuable content, while only a fourth of buyers indicated that they’re willing to provide their phone number. So, it’s better for marketers to stick to the basic information requirements when gating their content.

In terms of engagement and encouraging content sharing, the top channels to use would be LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. For best results, ensure that your content is sharable on those top channels, no matter what other platforms you may choose for content distribution and promotion.

 

What This Means for B2B Businesses

Content marketing isn’t going anywhere in the near future. Yes, content and social media marketingmay be converging, but as far as content is concerned, social media is just another platform where content can be distributed, promoted, and shared.

Whether your marketing team is big or small, what’s important is to develop a content strategy that enables your brand to consistently create and publish valuable content that attracts your target audience. This involves knowing who they are, what they’re interested in, and how they consume content.

Long-form content that’s backed by data is most relevant information for modern B2B buyers, and will remain so. That includes white papers, case studies, and e-books. To further compel your audience, make sure that your content is presented creatively so that it’s visually appealing to readers. Share and promote your content on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to generate as much leads as you can.

Bottom line, the content marketing landscape is rapidly evolving, so brands need to stress the importance of being flexible. When change is the only constant, being able to adapt quickly to serve the changing needs of your audience will do wonders for making your brand stand out from the crowd.

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