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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 August 16, 2018

      10 Huge Differences Between A Boss And A Leader

      10 Huge Differences Between A Boss And A Leader

      When you try to think of a leader at your place of work, you might think of your boss – you know, the supervisor in the tasteful office down the hall.

      However, bosses are not the only leaders in the office, and not every boss has mastered the art of excellent leadership. Maybe the best leader you know is the co-worker sitting at the desk next to yours who is always willing to loan out her stapler and help you problem solve.

      You see, a boss’ main priority is to efficiently cross items off of the corporate to-do list, while a true leader both completes tasks and works to empower and motivate the people he or she interacts with on a daily basis.

      A leader is someone who works to improve things instead of focusing on the negatives. People acknowledge the authority of a boss, but people cherish a true leader.

      Puzzled about what it takes to be a great leader? Let’s take a look at the difference between a boss and a leader, and why cultivating quality leadership skills is essential for people who really want to make a positive impact.

      1. Leaders are compassionate human beings; bosses are cold.

      It can be easy to equate professionalism with robot-like impersonal behavior. Many bosses stay holed up in their offices and barely ever interact with staff.

      Even if your schedule is packed, you should always make time to reach out to the people around you. Remember that when you ask someone to share how they are feeling, you should be prepared to be vulnerable and open in your communication as well.

      Does acting human at the office sound silly? It’s not.

      A lack of compassion in the office leads to psychological turmoil, whereas positive connection leads to healthier staff.[1]

      If people feel that you are being open, honest and compassionate with them, they will feel able to approach your office with what is on their minds, leading to a more productive and stress-free work environment.

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      2. Leaders say “we”; bosses say “I”.

      Practice developing a team-first mentality when thinking and speaking. In meetings, talk about trying to meet deadlines as a team instead of using accusatory “you” phrases. This makes it clear that you are a part of the team, too, and that you are willing to work hard and support your team members.

      Let me explain:

      A “we” mentality shifts the office dynamic from “trying to make the boss happy” to a spirit of teamwork, goal-setting, and accomplishment.

      A “we” mentality allows for the accountability and community that is essential in the modern day workplace.

      3. Leaders develop and invest in people; bosses use people.

      Unfortunately, many office climates involve people using others to get what they want or to climb the corporate ladder. This is another example of the “me first” mentality that is so toxic in both office environments and personal relationships.

      Instead of using others or focusing on your needs, think about how you can help other people grow.

      Use your building blocks of compassion and team-mentality to stay attuned to the needs of others note the areas in which you can help them develop. A great leader wants to see his or her people flourish.

      Make a list of ways you can invest in your team members to help them develop personally and professionally, and then take action!

      4. Leaders respect people; bosses are fear-mongering.

      Earning respect from everyone on your team will take time and commitment, but the rewards are worth every ounce of effort.

      A boss who is a poor leader may try to control the office through fear and bully-like behavior. Employees who are petrified about their performance or who feel overwhelmed and stressed by unfair deadlines are probably working for a boss who uses a fear system instead of a respect system.

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      What’s the bottom line?

      Work to build respect among your team by treating everyone with fairness and kindness. Maintain a positive tone and stay reliable for those who approach you for help.

      5. Leaders give credit where it’s due; bosses only take credits.

      Looking for specific ways to gain respect from your colleagues and employees? There is no better place to start than with the simple act of giving credit where it is due.

      Don’t be tempted to take credit for things you didn’t do, and always go above and beyond to generously acknowledge those who worked on a project and performed well.

      You might be wondering how you can get started:

      • Begin by simply noticing which team member contributes what during your next project at work.
      • If possible, make mental notes. Remember that these notes should not be about ways in which team members are failing, but about ways in which they are excelling.
      • Depending on your leadership style, let people know how well they are doing either in private one-on-one meetings or in a group setting. Be honest and generous in your communication about a person’s performance.

      6. Leaders see delegation as their best friend; bosses see it as an enemy.

      If delegation is a leader’s best friend, then micromanagement is the enemy.

      Delegation equates to trust and micromanagement equates to distrust. Nothing is more frustrating for an employee than feeling that his or her every movement is being critically observed.

      Encourage trust in your office by delegating important tasks and acknowledging that your people are capable, smart individuals who can succeed!

      Delegation is a great way to cash in on the positive benefits of a psychological phenomenon called a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, a person’s expectations of another person can cause the expectations to be fulfilled.[2]

      In other words, if you truly believe that your team member can handle a project or task, he or she is more likely to deliver.

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      Learn how to delegate in my other article:

      How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

      7. Leaders work hard; bosses let others do the work.

      Delegation is not an excuse to get out of hard work. Instead of telling people to go accomplish the hardest work alone, make it clear that you are willing to pitch in and help with the hardest work of all when the need arises.

      Here’s the deal:

      Showing others that you work hard sets the tone for your whole team and will spur them on to greatness.

      The next time you catch yourself telling someone to “go”, a.k.a accomplish a difficult task alone, change your phrasing to “let’s go”, showing that you are totally willing to help and support.

      8. Leaders think long-term; bosses think short-term.

      A leader who only utilizes short-term thinking is someone who cannot be prepared or organized for the future. Your colleagues or staff members need to know that they can trust you to have a handle on things not just this week, but next month or even next year.

      Display your long-term thinking skills in group talks and meetings by sharing long-term hopes or concerns. Create plans for possible scenarios and be prepared for emergencies.

      For example, if you know that you are losing someone on your team in a few months, be prepared to share a clear plan of how you and the remaining team members can best handle the change and workload until someone new is hired.

      9. Leaders are like your colleagues; bosses are just bosses.

      Another word for colleague is collaborator. Make sure your team knows that you are “one of them” and that you want to collaborate or work side by side.

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      Not getting involved in the going ons of the office is a mistake because you will miss out on development and connection opportunities.

      As our regular readers know, I love to remind people of the importance of building routines into each day. Create a routine that encourages you to leave your isolated office and collaborate with others. Spark healthy habits that benefit both you and your co-workers.

      10. Leaders put people first; bosses put results first.

      Bosses without crucial leadership training may focus on process and results instead of people. They may stick to a pre-set systems playbook even when employees voice new ideas or concerns.

      Ignoring people’s opinions for the sake of company tradition like this is never truly beneficial to an organization.

      Here’s what I mean by process over people:

      Some organizations focus on proper structures or systems as their greatest assets instead of people. I believe that people lend real value to an organization, and that focusing on the development of people is a key ingredient for success in leadership.

      Learning to be a leader is an ongoing adventure.

      This list of differences makes it clear that, unlike an ordinary boss, a leader is able to be compassionate, inclusive, generous, and hard-working for the good of the team.

      Instead of being a stereotypical scary or micromanaging-obsessed boss, a quality leader is able to establish an atmosphere of respect and collaboration.

      Whether you are new to your work environment or a seasoned administrator, these leadership traits will help you get a jump start so that you can excel as a leader and positively impact the people around you.

      For more inspiration and guidance, you can even start keeping tabs on some of the world’s top leadership experts. With an adventurous and positive attitude, anyone can learn good leadership.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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