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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 January 13, 2020

      Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

      Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

      Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

      Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

      Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

      Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

      How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

      The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

      You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

      Physical Signs

      Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

      It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

      In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

      Mental Signs

      One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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      I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

      Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

      • The tension in your neck
      • Difficulties with sleeping
      • Unable to concentrate
      • High anxiety
      • Depression

      If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

      Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

      Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

      The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

      Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

      Desire for an Increase of Salary

      The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

      At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

      Overnight Decision

      Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

      Rejected for a Promotion

      I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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      Bored at Work

      Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

      A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

      • How long have you worked in your career?
      • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
      • Do you receive recognition?
      • Can you consider working in a new department?

      If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

      How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

      I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

      One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

      It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

      A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

      You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

      • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
      • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
      • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

      How to Make a Career Change Successfully

      The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

      1. Write a Career Plan

      A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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      You can learn how to set your career plan here.

      2. Weigh Your Options

      If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

      You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

      3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

      It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

      A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

      • Economic factors
      • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
      • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
      • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
      • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

        A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

        4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

        A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

        • What is required to be successful in the role?
        • What certification or educational development is needed?
        • What are the challenges of the role?
        • Is there potential for career advancement?

        A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

        Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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        5. Research Salary

        Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

        It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

        6. Be Realistic

        If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

        For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

        Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

        7. Volunteer First

        A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

        Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

        Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

        8. Prepare Your Career Tools

        I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

        • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
        • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
        • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
        • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

        Bottom Line

        It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

        Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

        More About Career Change

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

        [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
        [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
        [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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