Cost-Effective Marketing for Small businesses

marketing

For small businesses, marketing is key when it comes to reaching your audience and becoming more visible online. Although marketing is important, many small enterprises are not investing enough time or money in their marketing – this is mainly due to keeping their expenses low. Managing your finance and keeping on budget is, of course, important, but marketing is also an essential factor that can’t be ignored. To help small businesses with marketing and keeping their expenses low, we’ve listed some tips below that will bring results and won’t break the bank.

Business cards are still an essential kit to have for business owners. Make sure all details on your business card are correct; this includes your contact number, website, email address and even your social media accounts. You never know who you might encounter on a day-to-day basis. You may end up meeting people that will bring value to your business. For instance, you may encounter a potential customer or a potential employee.

networking

Take advantage of networking and use it as much as possible. The benefit of networking is to make your business known wherever you are, making your business more visible to potential clients. Networking also helps build a relationship with other businesses. Don’t forget the business card goes hand in hand with networking, so bring them wherever you go! Networking today can now be done in person or online.

Heard of free online marketing? One of the methods of online marketing includes building content that contains suitable keywords related to your business. The keywords used in your content will be picked up by Google, which will help rank your website in the search engine. It’s also important to maintain and update your contents as this also affects your ranking. Furthermore, updating your content will send out a positive message to your existing customers as this shows that your business is always up to date and ready for business!

Another form of online marketing is making use of emails to stay in touch with your existing audience. Marketing emails are generally effective when they are sent once a month. You don’ want to send out emails too often as your emails may end up looking spammy to your customers. Customers are also more likely to opt-out from your emails if they are bombarded with it. Another tip is to keep your customers interested by sending out emails about discounts, deals or any update about your products or services.

Branding Your Business With Quality Print & Web Design

website

 

Identify company values and clarify what makes you unique in the market compared to your nearest competitors. Knowing your strengths allows you to capitalise on them.

 

Brand Marketing & Logo Design

Learn to or hire someone who can develop a graphic language for your brand to express your company’s values. Comprehensive brand guidelines will ensure the quality of your brand is maintained through consistent usage. Everything from PowerPoint presentations to signage and van livery will look sharp and professional.

 

Print & Graphic Design

Make sure you use attractive business cards, comp slips, letterheads, continuation paper, fax sheets or anything else you can find a use for in your office.

From leaflets, brochures and flyers to annual reports, all marketing items are designed in a considered way to appeal to your potential customers and communicate a clear message through effective graphic design.

Another popular way to show your customers your graphic design skills is through online document printing services. Not only will the information you send out to clients and other businesses be high quality printed with your graphic design and logo, but it will also give your company a clean professional look.

 

Web Design & E-Marketing

Your business will need to design and build a website according to your specifications, from simple brochure sites to larger e-commerce sites. Make sure all digital work is clean, simple and effective and teamed with e-marketing & optimisation can produce outstanding results for any business.

 

Creative Advertising

Your business will need thought-provoking and creative adverts. Investing in a high standard of advertising instead of searching for the cheapest, means that yours will stand out. Each ad will emphasise your company’s benefits in a different and relevant way.

 

Copywriting Services

There are many copywriting services available for all projects, print or web, large or small. Experienced copywriters can establish the right tone of voice to ensure your company literature is as clear, engaging — and interesting — as possible.

 

Photography

Find great partnerships with talented photographers can really benefit your business. You will want your website or product images to be relevant and look clean and professionally taken. Therefore it is always best to find someone or a company who specialise in commercial photography. They will know exactly how to and have to equipment to capture high-quality images of your service or products. Alternatively, if your budget is smaller, you can search for a bespoke image bank which will form a part of your marketing material.

Product Photography for Business

product photography

Commercial photography for any business is a critical and essential investment. The advertising and marketing world has always been visually oriented – and even more so today. The advent and incredible trajectory of the Internet have more than proven that. Websites, in particular, must have the highest quality pictures, and those are provided by a professional product photographer. The only way that business owners can get the full return on their investment is by using the most detailed, and therefore, beneficial photos.

In turn, those pictures can be used in an unlimited variety of ways. In fact, the multitude of uses for these photos will prove to be one of the most continual returns possible on any business investment. There are many other reasons why high-quality imagery is extremely important in order to reach business marketing goals. For example:

1. While commercial photography has proven to increase business sales and the overall value perception for business goods or services, the reverse is true for low-quality images. Therefore, non-professional pictures can have a very adverse impact on the company brand, which relates directly to sales profits. When the bottom line lags or is negatively impacted, it often becomes too difficult for a company to stay in business, let alone turn a profit. There is no doubt that the lack of great imagery or the existence of low-quality images can damage a firm such that potential customer opinions cause them to turn them away from a business.

2. The online presence is extremely important to any business these days. Even companies that rely mostly on foot traffic need an online identity, or they are missing out on numerous local marketing opportunities by way of digital media. For example, people walk around with their cell phones and other devices, checking regularly for venues to visit in various locations.

3. Product clarity is essential in online and offline businesses. A catalogue needs to display a company’s offerings in the best way possible. Websites should also include visual descriptions that require little if any words in order to be effective. Remember that sometimes, a catalogue or a website is the first and only chance to impress a prospect. This is why the best product photographs are so essential to any type or size of business.

4. Repeat customers are also critical in today’s business environment. An online shop can easily get repeat customers and a steady stream of traffic when the pictures are updated regularly, particularly with fresh, creative prose to boost SEO rankings.

5. Less confusion means happier customers. Images that display exactly what a customer can expect means less unfortunate surprises. This is why as offerings change, the product photography needs to change, too.

6. Portfolio websites are extremely beneficial for a number of reasons. First, they are completely portable and available any time, night or day. Since most people carry around some form of digital device these days, it is easy to open a screen to show your wares any time you like.

7. An offline business book with beautiful product photos is another way to boost sales. Catalogues are automatic and very effective promotional tools. Never underestimate the power of a dazzling, real-time image- it still works! Otherwise, companies would quit printing catalogues, brochures and other sales materials.

Having a professional product photographer on your team will give your company a distinct advantage. Whether you require advertising and marketing images for sales materials, web sites, corporate executive photos or other pictures, commercial photography services benefit every business so that they get exactly what they desire – each and every time.

Tips for thinking differently in business

thinking

When running a business, it’s important to think big and think differently about solutions and ideas. It’s an important skill that many entrepreneurs should adopt. To help you think differently in business, we’ve come up with some tips below.

Believe in your ideas

As a business entrepreneur, it’s important to believe in your ideas. Believing means having hope and a positive attitude towards your ideas and being open to all possibilities. Ideas will come with many risks but believing your ideas will work out is the way to go. Afterall business is all about taking risks and making your ideas happen without worrying that it might fail.

Think of the future

Always look for improvements and growth in all areas of your business. Look for ideas that will bring growth and profit in the longer run. Find out where your business is in the market and look at how you can develop even further to move up from where you are. Evaluating your business and looking for improvement is critical for securing a good future for your business.

Up your game

Business is no doubt a competitive environment. Know your environment and the competition around you. Find out more about your competitors and why they are doing well. What resources do they have that you do not currently have in your business? Knowing more about your competitors can be useful for your business too. You can also come up with ideas that can help your business have a competitive edge.

Play with your strengths and uniqueness

Each business has their unique selling point. It may be your branding or your product offering, whatever your strength is, make sure that you promote them well. Highlighting your unique selling point will make you stand out and different from the rest. Using your strengths will also make you a strong competitor in the field.

coffee

How Mobile Coffee Vans Operate?

A mobile coffee cart is a great treat for pedestrians, allowing them to grab a refreshing beverage on the go. As well as buying coffee, you can get other snacks such as cakes and biscuits, similar to those served in a typical coffee shop. It’s thanks to the demand for convenience foods and drinks that such businesses are growing around the world.

What is a mobile coffee van?

Mobile coffee vans are vehicles that contain a coffee machine and other equipment required to sell coffee and related items that are normally sold at a coffee shop. A mobile coffee van is a great alternative to the normal coffee shops. It costs a lot of money to set up a coffee shop, but you can set up a mobile coffee van with very little investment.

Advantages

The cost of starting a mobile coffee van is as low as £5,000. You can get a franchise with a renowned brand for about £30,000. People now prefer high-quality coffee, so these vans are mainly operated by professional baristas who craft coffee rather than dispensing it from a machine. The profit margin for this business is very high. Coffee is such an item that you will be able to sell it throughout the year and you will never be short of demand. You can convert any kind of vehicle into a mobile coffee van including golf buggies, VW campers, Piaggio three wheelers, etc. You can operate your business with lots of flexibility. You can only choose to operate in various events or you can do it every day in the streets or retail parks. It can be your part-time business as well.

Getting franchise

If you don’t have the experience in coffee business, then you can minimise your business risk by buying a franchise. There are many renowned mobile coffee van businesses that are selling franchises. You will be able to learn the business from the experienced professionals and get the necessary training and support for equipment. According to a study, the franchise sector of this industry is growing.

Hiring mobile coffee van services

If you are trying to find a mobile coffee van for your special event then you can search online. There are many businesses that offer mobile coffee services for special events. You can hire them for a few hours or an entire day. You can also hire them for a few days and in remote locations. These companies are well equipped and can serve a huge number of guests. The coffee vans used by these companies are technologically advanced. You can get personalized services. So, whether it’s a corporate event or a wedding, a mobile coffee van can make your event more attractive and enjoyable.

financial adviser

How to find a good financial adviser

It’s no secret that we all desire to be financially secure. Whereas our levels or degrees of what we consider to be financial security may differ, the goal is the same. We want to have enough money to educate our children, buy a home, and go on family vacations, as well as have a sizeable retirement package for the time we are beyond our productive years. So what does it take to achieve all this? The answer is financial planning.

Financial planning can broadly be described as the active and deliberate process of making sound decisions about your money to enable you achieve your life goals. This may range from investing in life insurance, a pension plan, buying a home, putting a will in place, and having a more organized spending, just to mention a few. To do all these, you will need the help of a financial advisor.

You have two options when choosing a financial adviser. You can opt to work with a company or independent financial advisers sometimes referred to as an independent financial planner who is essentially working on their own and not affiliated with any company.

This article seeks to focus on independent financial advisers and offer you a couple of pointers on how you can find a good one.

You need to have a clear understanding of the nature of the service you want

When looking to choose an independent financial planner, it will be good to be aware that this industry is big and so for effectiveness, different service providers will specialize in specific services. It’s virtually impossible to find independent financial advisers offering all types of financial services. Truthfully, you should be very sceptical if you come across one who does. It’s therefore important for you to have a clear understanding of the nature of the service you want so that you can choose an independent financial planner with the competencies you are looking for. For instance, finding one who specializes in investments if that is the kind of advice you are interested in.

Ensure the independent financial planner has the right credentials

When it comes to financial planning, you can’t afford to drop the ball. It should be your sole purpose to ensure that you properly vet and do your due diligence on all the independent financial advisers who will come your way applying for the job. In this case, their credentials will be key. You want to ensure they have the right legal and professional documentation that qualifies them for the job. For instance, an independent financial planner must have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification whereas an investment advisor must have a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification. These are just some of the credentials they must provide and you must be familiar with how they look so that you can distinguish fakes from legit.

These credentials are usually acquired after independent financial advisers have passed the relevant examinations that demonstrate their proficiency on these subject matters.

Learn how these financial advisors earn their pay

Independent financial advisers are in a profession like any other therefore, they are entitled to pay just like any other professional. It’s therefore important for you to have a clear understanding about how their various pay structures work so that you can know whether it makes financial sense to you. For instance, the common pay structures currently in the market include hourly rates, commissions or having an asset based fee. There are also terms like fee-only advisors and non fee-only advisors and these are terms you must be able to understand and differentiate and see how they relate to the services that they offer to you. All in all, there isn’t anything wrong with any of these payment methods, it’s all down to which payment method works for you in the long run with minimal impact on your bottom line.

Protect yourself from potential risks

When working with an independent financial adviser, you must be fully aware of the industry best practices that have been put in place specifically to reduce potential risks of financial loss. Case in point, in many scenarios where investors have lost money to fraudsters, it happened because investors had given custody of their money and assets to these so called independent financial advisors who ended up swindling them. As a system of security to avoid such cases of fraud, a good advisor is meant to guide you on how to deposit your money and assets in the custody of a third party which is often a large and well known company that specializes in this area. Once this is done, your advisor will be free to make any transactions using your account but will not have direct access to your money or assets. It’s the custodian who will be ultimately responsible for reporting the transactions to you, verify signatures, and so on. Do your due diligence to ensure that the independent financial planner is not affiliated in any way with the custodian.

Look for referrals from other customers

From a conversation and perusing through documents, you may not be able to get a clearer picture and a proper background check on a potential independent financial planner, this is where customer referrals become important. You can opt to look for these referrals on your own or request the advisor to give you their client list so that you can get to know more about them, their work ethic, experience, success rates and so on. A legitimate advisor should have no qualms giving you this information. The internet may also be a good source of this information because if there are complaints about an advisor in the industry, chances are high this information is online.

Well! There you have it. Your how to guide on finding a good financial advisor. Keep all these 5 points in mind and we can guarantee you that your money and assets will be in good hands as you work towards building a more financially secure future not only for yourself but for your family as well.

We welcome your thoughts, comments and feedback on this article.

Tips for reaching your sales goals

sales

For many businesses, reaching the sales goal is critical. To ensure that you are on the right track on reaching your goal, we’ve provided some following tips that could help you along the way.

Monthly subscriptions

Selling your service or product on a monthly subscription is better than selling them as a one-off. A monthly subscription may seem more affordable to the customers rather than selling them at a full price. People are always looking for an affordable buy so it’s important that you create a package that will suit everyone’s budget. You are more likely to increase sales with this method.

Team motivation

Motivating your team is highly important as this will have a positive effect on their energy. Motivated staffs are more likely to put an extra effort on their work too. You can introduce some sales promotional incentives to create a fun and positive vibe for the team.

Social Media Interaction

Take advantage of social media by sharing your contents online. It’s also ideal to make your content as interactive as possible to attract more customers and get them to engage with your posts. Social media is the perfect platform for sharing any promotions that you currently have to drive even more sales.

Improve your contract

You may want to change up your contract to close more deals at the end of this year. We find that many customers are more likely to seal a deal when they have been given an option to try the service for a month and an option to opt out if they did not like the product or service. Another tip is to shortening your contract on a quarterly basis instead of a yearly basis. Customers feel safer to sign up for a contract on a short-term basis instead of a longer one.

Metal Fabrication Company

Distinguishing the good metal fabricators from the bad

What Sets a Good Metal Fabricator Apart from the Bad?

Choosing from among the many metal fabricators in London for your construction needs can be quite tricky. On the surface, everybody seems to offer and promise just the same thing. But finding the best metal fabrication company is not like finding a needle in a haystack. There are several qualities you can check and consider to see which among the options will make the right partner for your construction project.

Here are the specific qualities that distinguish good metal fabricators from the bad ones:

Good track record

Everything boils down to the track record or the reputation of the company that will take care of your metal fabrication needs. Especially in today’s digital and social-driven age, it is easy to spot bad companies from the negative reviews or feedback that people post online. That said, be thorough when researching your options on the internet. Ask also for referrals from family, friends, and colleagues. Filter out the ones with a lot of bad reviews.

Once you have shortlisted your top metal fabricators based on their reputation, it will be easier to check them according to other criteria. Contact each company on your list and request for a tour of its facility. Metal fabricators with outstanding reputation will have no qualms showing you around and briefing you about their processes and technologies.

Reliable customer service

Like in any business, customer service is crucial to any metal fabrication project. How can you expect that your project will be completed according to the timelines when you cannot reach the right contact person when you need to ask some questions? A good metal fabricator is not only skilled and capable but also responsive to its customers’ needs from the project’s beginning until the end.

You can test the quality of a company’s service by taking note of how its representatives respond to your questions and requests. Are they professional? Do they follow through their commitments? Do they respond right away? Before you hire a company, make sure that you are satisfied with its customer service.

Commitment to quality

Check the past projects that the companies you are considering have done for other clients.  Find out also the certifications and policies that each metal fabrication firm has for quality assurance. More importantly, ask the companies about their quality standards for the kind of metal that you require for your construction project.

Ability to meet your exact needs

Different metal fabricators have different specializations. For example, you cannot expect a metal fabricator that specializes in car parts to be as good as one that can do architectural metal fabrication. So make sure to hire one that can work on the type and grade of metal for your particular project.

Ideally, a good company is like a one-stop shop, meaning it can handle your project at all processes, from start to finish. You will just waste your time and money on metal fabricators that outsource some of their processes to other firms.

What you need to know before naming your businesses

business

When naming your business, it’s important to know the factors that you need to consider to create a successful business name. As once you have decided on a name, there is no going back. Let’s take a look at the following factors below.

Creative and unique

Make sure to brainstorm a few names that are different from the rest. You can come up with some ideas of your own, or you can hire a professional who can help you find and create the perfect name for your business.

Short and easy to spell

Customers are more likely to remember your brand name if it’s a short name. Also, ensure that your name is easy to spell as customers will find it easier to find your name online.

Apply AIDA

The term ‘AIDA’ stands for attention, interest, desire and action of purchase. You can use each step when you are in the process of coming up with different names for your business.

Product and service

Your name should have some connection or relation with the products and services you are selling so that customers can have an idea of what you are selling in the first place. Note that this also plays a massive role in your marketing and SEO as it can affect your traffic and visibility online.

Brand URL

You can also find out if your name is still available to register as a domain name. You can then create a website for your chosen name.

Forget your competitors

Do not look at your competitors for inspiration or ideas as you want your business to be different from the rest. Remember that your business will offer something unique and this should be applied in your branding. There’s also been a proven fact that companies who have similar names with their competitors are often not successful.

Find your niche

Spend some time on researching your target market. Once you have found your target, you will be able to create and develop a name that suits your niche. Many marketing agencies prove that knowing your market will serve you well when naming your business.

Here’s Why Your Business Isn’t Profitable Enough

Do you face the dilemma of trying to figure out why things simply aren’t turning out as well as they should be in terms of your profit margins? It can be confusing for business owners and managers who have followed all the right steps but still aren’t reaping the rewards. Perhaps you cracked the formula once, but haven’t been able to recreate that success again ever since?

What follows is a list of all the most common issues that cause this situation to occur. By working through these, you should be able to identify gaps in your business model that are allowing your profits to leak out, and figure out how to seal them once and for all.

1) Ignoring existing clients

Once you’re past the initial stages of selling to someone or signing them up for your service, it’s easy to get caught up in the pressure of sourcing new customers and forget about those you already connected with. Many of these could be an untapped source of income for you. Worse, they might not see the point of paying again when it becomes time for them to renew their subscription.

2) Lack of engagement

On a similar note, you need to be making a connection with people post-sales. This is the point where customers should truly begin to understand the benefits of working with you, and feel the benefits your brand claims to offer. Engaging with these clients one-to-one is vital, but many businesses fail to do so. This is what leads to high turnover and low retention.

3) Lack of personal relationships

Sometimes it can be frustrating when you know your offer is the best, on paper, but the customer chooses to go with someone else and you lose a sale. This is most often because they felt an emotional link with another company or person, and this was a deal maker for the client. To solve this problem, you need to work on your skills (or the skills of your employees) when it comes to building trust and personal connections.

4) Asking for too much, too soon

In many cases, committing to handing over a large sum of money to an unknown company is simply a risk that a customer isn’t willing to take. Why should they, if you don’t offer them any kind of safety net? A great way to do so would be to offer a free sample or trial to reassure your customer before they are expected to make that big commitment.

5) Lack of third party reassurance

Another thing that can scare off potential clients is not having the ability to compare your offering with your competitors. You need to make sure these prospects have easy access to trusted reviews and recommendations from experts in the field, so they can be reassured that they are making the right choice. Anyone can promise to provide the best results, but how are you going to support your claims?