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5 Essential Marketing Hacks For Startups And Small Businesses

5 Essential Marketing Hacks For Startups And Small Businesses

Feel as if you’re on the waterfront with your commercial aspirations and dreams? Lacking the bucks to help put your business or startup on the map? Fortunately for prospective business owners and entrepreneurs, the environment we live in is becoming more and more digitally intertwined, thanks to our good pal, the internet. How can this help your desired trade? The internet and the ensuing digital transformation has made the ability to employ effective and influential marketing tactics significantly easier and more enjoyable than ever before. Our understanding of conventional media is changing, being replaced by new media trends. The once traditional power of television is shifting to the power of search engines and social media.

So, how can your business exploit the power this contemporary age affords? Check out the list below to see what tools you can easily and readily utilize to get your brand or startup in the eyes and minds of customers.

1. Use Social Media To Your Advantage

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Social Media

    Whether your usual digital interactions involve sharing on Facebook, hashtagging on Instagram, or stalking your competitors on Linkedin, get on all forms of Social Media. Work to integrate all of the different channels and outlets. These networks are where millions of people spend large portions of their day, scrolling the abyss of feeds and posts. Why not get in front of them? Get your business social. Connect with friends. Comment on things and strike up conversations. Just because you might be a concrete company, doesn’t mean you don’t have condolences for a national tragedy or passion about a big sporting event. The key here is to be different. No doubt your competitors are on there too, but if you stand out in a unique sense, your brand’s image will hold more value. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Social media is an experimental field. As budding businesspeople and entrepreneurs, you should know there’s no reward without risk. Investing time or money in a social media campaign is not an option, but a necessity, so get liking.

    To Do:

    • Join the big networks.
    • Like, share, connect.
    • Comment on things, be cheeky (in good taste).
    • Post content. Keep active (this is vital!).
    • Target specific audiences at first and build.
    • Don’t hesitate on using emojis — it helps make your image personal and human. Stats released by Adweek showed that 92% of people use emojis as they feel it expresses better than words do.
    • Most importantly, don’t pester — engage with users strategically

    A tool like buffer gives you control across multiple social channels and makes it considerably easier to execute campaigns and share content.

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    2. Create And Publish Compelling Content

    Your business or startup needs content, and even more importantly, it needs high quality and stimulating content. You can publish things like articles, videos, or infographics on your own personal blog or on your social media channels. If your new venture is a revolutionary dog washing business, it’s no doubt that day-to-day operations involve some compromising and hilarious images of canines — snap, crop, write, and share, then let the vortex of the web and social media do its thing.

    Wet Dog

      Alternatively, if your business trades in finance, produce a video on groundbreaking things your industry does, something that everyday people wouldn’t know or that is potentially lucrative — something share-worthy that offers value to people traversing the web or social media. It doesn’t matter if you think your business or its industry lacks glamour, every trade has a unique story or details. The key when it comes to content is personality and creativity. We all possess those things, the challenge is how you decide to channel it. The rewards can be viral!

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      3. Try Creative Branding

      Having a logo or insignia is a no brainer when it comes to starting your own business or entrepreneurial venture. If you’re short on cash, you can capitalize on cheap alternatives online. Check out services like Fiverr or Zeerk and take advantage of the cheap options they provide in generating logos or graphic designs for businesses. These can help sort your logo and image challenges.

      But how can you market that brand to stand out aside from using social media or publishing content? Never ignore the power of word of mouth. Don’t resort to the usual tactics of branding your logo on USB’s or bottle openers. Actually invest into memorable products. Know a friend going to a big party? Purchase some locally brewed beer, design your own company label, slap it on the front of the bottles, and send him or her with a free six-pack produced by your business. This isn’t a hard thing to do. It’s employing tactics like this that help your business become memorable and stand out. Jump on the trending bandwagon of crazy donuts and design your own company ones and send them to your audience. Creatively marketing your small business or startup brand is a perfect way to get your name out in the open in a unique way.

      4. Use Hacks For SEO

      Unless you having been living under a rock, or your business ambitions only extend as far as setting up shop in a local market, it’s a known fact that SEO is a vital component for businesses. Visibility online, especially in search engines, is key to business development and exposure. Optimizing your company’s webpage to correspond with Google’s algorithm is a must to help put your business ahead of competitors and up the top in search rankings. If you’re not employing an SEO strategy, whether you’re learning the ropes yourself or have invested in an SEO company, you’re more than likely losing out on business or investors to competitors.

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      What simple things can you do to implement SEO?

      1. Make your webpage fast. Compress images and videos using sites like tinypng.com. Google ranks domain speed and usability — an element of their algorithm.
      2. Link your company’s social pages. Google recognizes social business pages as authoritative — higher authority means higher rankings.
      3. Create a Google My Business page. This increases your sites trustworthiness, a component of Google’s search algorithm.

      If you truly recognize the importance of SEO, it is best to outsource it to professionals who trade in the craft. A digital marketing agency can creatively boost the rankings of your business or startup, which can lead to substantial conversions and business exposure. Do your research on a few different SEO agencies and educate yourself on the practice, reading articles and forums, so you know what to look for and who you believe can help increase your visibility. SEO is not a short game, it’s a long-term investment, but the wait is worthwhile.

      5. Be Part Of The Community

      Nothing is more warming than a sense of community. As a local business or startup, get on board helping communal events and festivities. If your company provides a service, how could it help the community in a not-for-profit sense? If it can, it’s a great way to showcase the personality and social heart of your business. Whether it be providing blankets to homeless people or piling up sandbags in the event of a flood, if done in a tasteful manner, helping the community through the resources of your business is a great way to connect with prospective customers within a local community. Companies that engage and help the community distinguish themselves from their competitors. Helping out locally or providing for events elicits opportunities to generate content for social media as well. Help them, help you.

      Successfully marketing your small business or startup will always involve challenges. Old methods can be ineffective and new trends change constantly, making it hard to know where to best channel your time and money. All in all, there are plenty of tactics available at your disposal and the internet, creative branding, social media, the practice of SEO, and community involvement afford endless opportunities to start the conversation about your small business or startup.

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      Last Updated on October 22, 2019

      How to Make a Career Change at 40 and Get Unstuck

      How to Make a Career Change at 40 and Get Unstuck

      There are plenty of people who successfully made a career change at the age of 40 or above:

      The Duncan Hines cake products you see in the grocery store are a good example. Hines did not write his first food guide until age 55 and he did not license his name for cake mixes until age 73.

      Samuel L. Jackson made a career change and starred alongside John Travolta in Pulp Fiction at the age of 46.

      Ray Kroc was age 59 when he bought his first McDonald’s.

      And Sam Walton opened his first Wal-Mart at the age of 44.

      I could keep going, but I think you get the point. If you have a sound mind and oxygen in your lungs, you have the ability to successfully make a career change.

      In this article, I’ll look into why making a career change at 40 seems so difficult for you, and how to make the change and get unstuck from your stagnant job.

      What’s Holding You Back from Making a Career Change?

      There are a flood of amazing reasons to make a career change at 40. Heck, you could argue the benefits of making a career change at any age. However, there is something a little different about making a career change at 40.

      When you are 40, you probably have lots of “responsibilities” that come into the decision-making process. What do I mean by responsibilities, you ask?

      Responsibilities tend to be our fears and self-doubt wrapped in a bow of logic and reason. You may say to yourself:

      • I have bills to pay and a family to support. Can I afford the risk associated with a career change?
      • What about the friends I have made over the years? I cannot just abandon them.
      • What if I do not like my career change as much as I thought I would? I could end up miserable and stuck in a worse situation.
      • My new career is so different than what I have been doing, I need additional training and certifications. Can I afford this additional expense and do I have the time recoup my investment?
      • The economy is not the best and there is so much uncertainty surrounding a new career. Maybe it would be better to wait until I retire from this company in 15 years, and then I can start something new.

      If you have experienced any of these thoughts, they will only pacify you for a short period of time. Whether that time is a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years.

      Since you know that you prefer to do something else for a living, you start to feel stagnant in your current position.

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      Your reasons for inaction that used to work are no longer doing the trick. What used to be a small fissure in your dissatisfaction in your current position is now a chasm.

      Ideally, you never stay in a situation until that point, but if you did, there is still hope.

      4 Tips To Change Your Career at 40

      You do not have to feel stagnant in your current role any longer. You can take steps to conquer your fears and self-doubt so you can accomplish your goal of changing your career.

      The challenge of changing your career is not knowing where to begin. That feeling of overwhelm and the fear of uncertainty is what keeps most people from moving forward.

      To help you successfully change your career at the age of 40, follow these four tips.

      1. Value Your Time Above Money

      There is nothing more valuable than your time. You are likely receiving a pay-check or two every month that is replenishing your income. Money is something you can always receive more of.

      When it comes to your time, when it is gone, it is gone. That is why waiting for the perfect situation to make a career change is the wrong mindset to have.

      Realistically, you will never find the perfect situation. There will always be something that could be better or a project you want to finish before you leave.

      By placing your time above money, you will maximize your opportunity to succeed and avoid stagnation.

      If you feel disconnected when you are at work, understand that you are not alone. According to a Gallup Poll, only 32% of U.S. employees said they were actively engaged at work.[1]

      Whether you think your talents are not being properly utilized, the politics of promotion stress you out, or you feel called to do something else with your life; the time to act is now.

      Do not wait until you retire in another 10 to 20 years to make a career change. Put a plan in place to make a career change now. You will thank yourself later.

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      2. Build a Network

      Making a career change is not going to be easy, but that does not mean it is impossible.

      One benefit to being further along in your career is the people you associate with are further along in their career as well.

      Even if most of the people in your immediate network are not in your target industry, you never know the needs of the people with whom they associate.

      A friend of mine recently made a career change and entered the real estate industry. The first thing he did was tell everyone he knew that he was a licensed real estate agent.

      It was not as though he thought everyone he knew was getting ready to sell their home. He wanted to make sure he was in the front of our mind if we spoke to anyone purchasing or selling their home.

      You may have had a similar experience with a financial adviser canvasing the neighborhood. They wanted to let you know they were a local and licensed financial adviser. Whether you or someone you knew was shopping for an adviser, they wanted to make sure you thought of them first.

      The power of your network being further along in their career is they may be the hiring manager or decision-maker.

      You want to let people know you are considering a career move early in the process, so they are thinking of you when the need arises.

      Let me put it to you in the form of a question: When is the best time to let people know you have a snow shoveling business?

      In the summer when there is not a drop of snow on the ground.

      Let them know about your business in the summer. Then ask them if it is okay to keep in touch with them until the need arises. Then you want to spend the entire fall season cultivating and nurturing the relationship. As a result, when the winter comes around, they already know who is going to shovel their snow.

      If you want to set yourself apart from your competition, start throwing out those feelers before the need arises. Then you will be ahead of your competition who waited until the snow fell to start canvasing the neighborhood.

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      Learn about networking here: How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

      3. Believe It Is Possible

      One of the greatest mistakes people make when they want to try something new, is they never talk to people living the life they want.

      If you only talk to friends who have not changed their career in 30 years, what kind of advice do you think they will give you? They are going to give you the advice that they live by. If they have spent 30 years in the same career, they most likely feel stability of career is essential to their life.

      In life, your actions often mirror your beliefs. Someone who wants to start a business should not ask for advice from someone who never started one.

      A person who never took the risk of starting a business is most likely risk adverse. Consequently, they are going to speak on the fact that most businesses fail within the first five years.

      Instead, if you talk to someone who is running a business, they will advice you on the difficulties of starting a business. However, they will also share with you how they overcame those difficulties, as well as the benefits of being a business owner.

      If you want to overcome your fears and self-doubt associated with changing your career at 40, you are going to need to talk to people who have successfully managed a career change.

      They are going to provide you a realistic perspective on the difficulties surrounding the endeavor, but they are also going to help you believe it is possible.

      Studies show the sources of your beliefs include,[2]

      “environment, events, knowledge, past experiences, visualization etc. One of the biggest misconceptions people often harbor is that belief is a static, intellectual concept. Nothing can be farther from truth! Beliefs are a choice. We have the power to choose our beliefs.”

      By choosing to absorb the successes of others, you are choosing to believe you can change your career at 40. On the other hand, if you absorb the fears and doubts of others, you have chosen to succumb to your own fears and self-doubt.

      4. Put Yourself Out There

      You are most likely going to have to leave your comfort zone to make a career change at 40.

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      Reason-being, your comfort zone is built on the experiences you have lived thus far. So that means your current career is in your comfort zone.

      Even though you may be feeling stagnant and unproductive in your career, it is still your comfort zone. This helps explain why so many people are unwilling to pursue a career change.

      If you want to improve your prospects of launching your new career, you are going to need to attend industry events.

      Whether these events are local or a large conference that everyone attends, you want to make it a priority to go. Ideally you want to start with local events because they may be a more intimate setting.

      Many of these events have a professional development component where you can see what skill-sets, certification, and education people are looking for. Here you can find 17 best careers worth going back to school for at 40.

      You can almost survey the group and build your plan of action according to the responses you receive.

      The bonus of exposure to your new industry is you may find yourself getting lucky (when opportunity meets preparation) and creating a valuable relationship or landing an interview.

      Final Thoughts

      Whatever the reason, if you want to change your career, you owe it to yourself to do so. You have valuable in-sight from your current career that can help you position yourself above others.

      Start sharing your story and desire to change your career today. Attend industry events and build a mindset of belief. You have everything you need to accomplish your goal, you only need to take action.

      More About Career Change

      Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/HY-Nr7GQs3k via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] News Gallup: Employee Engagement In US, Stagnant In 2015
      [2] Indian J Psychiatry: The Biochemistry Of Belief

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