10 Ways to Wake Up a Tired Digital Marketing Approach


Chances are, your business uses some kind of content marketing already. But there’s also a pretty good chance that other businesses in your niche use content marketing as well. So in order for your content to be effective, it needs to stand out in some way.

You can learn a lot about creating standout content and upgrading your other marketing efforts from members of our small business communities. Some of their top tips are included below.

Create Remarkable Content

Content can be a great way for you to show potential customers the value you can offer to them. But your competitors are likely to create content of their own as well. So you need to find a way to make yours stand out. This Be a Better Blogger post by Charles Bordet offers some tips for creating remarkable content.

Always Think About Conversion

You can write and create the greatest content in the world. But if you don’t keep conversions in mind when doing so, then it could all be for naught. Learn more about getting more clients and referrals through blogging in this Conversion Minded post by Sandra Clayton. You can also see commentary from members of the BizSugar community here.

Keep Millennial Customers in Mind

Millennials can be tricky targets for businesses looking to grow their base of customers. But if you can learn to attract this generation, you may be able to take your business to the next level. Lisa Andersen elaborates in her post on the Planday blog.

Find Your Audience on Social Media

Social media isn’t just a tool that can help you promote your business and communicate with customers. It can also be a powerful research tool. In this WANEntrepreneur post, Joan Herbert explains how businesses can use social media to research and find their ideal audiences.

Create Your Own Holiday

Holidays can be great tools for marketers. But it’s not just major ones like Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Lesser known holidays like Free Comic Book Day can also provide a lot of value to businesses, as Rick Verbanas details in his post on the Your Guerrilla Marketer blog.

Make Data Sexy

Whether it deals with your content marketing or other areas of your business, access to quality data can make a big difference for your small business. But it’s not always the most exciting. Learn more about making data sexy from John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing. Then check out BizSugar for more input on the post.

Create a Lead Generating Email Campaign

If you use email to communicate with customers, you can also use it as a way to generate new leads. In a SUCCESS Agency Blog post, Mary Blackiston goes over 11 steps you can take to create lead generating email campaigns.

Improve Conversions for Your PPC Campaigns

When using PPC campaigns to grow your business, it’s important to keep conversion rates in mind, since clicks alone aren’t likely to help your business as much as you’d like. You can read more about improving conversions for PPC campaigns in this Basic Blog Tips post by Shakir Hassan.

Stay Organized and Avoid Overwhelm

Between marketing and running every other aspect of your small business, it can bet a bit overwhelming. To stay organized and avoid overwhelm, check out the tips in a post by Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media. Then see what BizSugar members have to say here.

Find Your Best Content Opportunities

Content marketing isn’t just about creating great content. You also need to identify the best opportunities that will work for your business. In Marketing Land, Casie Gillette explains how you can find your best content opportunities using keyword SWOT analysis.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

Tired image via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Ways to Wake Up a Tired Digital Marketing Approach” was first published on Small Business Trends

How Decreasing Oxygen Levels in the Ocean Could Impact Businesses (Watch)

There’s a new problem facing the world’s ocean’s today — a loss of oxygen. And believe it or not, this too could have a big impact on some businesses, those dependent on the bounty of the sea.

Scientists have recently determined that global oxygen levels have dropped about 2 percent between 1960 and 2010. That might sound like a small number. But it actually represents a pretty significant change that could impact marine life as well as fisheries and other aquaculture businesses.

That figure represents a global average. So it’s not that every part of the ocean is seeing these significant changes. But in some areas, there are growing “dead zones,” which are areas with extremely low oxygen concentration where fish and basically any creatures that you can see with the naked eye can’t survive.

Impact on the Fishing Industry?

Many of these areas are concentrated in deep parts of the ocean as well. So the fisheries and other marine businesses that mainly deal with creatures that live close to the surface shouldn’t see any real impact yet. But the ocean is a delicate ecosystem. So if some creatures of the deep can’t survive due to lower oxygen levels, it could have a sort of domino effect and eventually impact those surface creatures as well.

Scientists attribute the lower oxygen levels to increasing ocean temperatures and less circulation of water. They also expect that the trend will continue. So we could see another decrease of between 1 and 7 percent by 2100.

Ocean Wave Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How Decreasing Oxygen Levels in the Ocean Could Impact Businesses (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Create a Wellness Program for Your Small Business

How to Create a Wellness Program for Your Small Business

In order for your small business to be as successful as possible, you need your employees to operate at full strength. If you have a staff full of people who are constantly at home due to illness or only working at half speed because they’re stressed about their health or even health-related financial issues, then your business can’t function properly.

A wellness program at your workplace can help you keep your employees productive by making sure they’re as healthy and stress-free as possible. Here are some tips for getting a wellness program started at your office.

Creating a Small Business Wellness Program

Gather Employee Input

Ultimately, your workplace wellness program is supposed to benefit your employees. So you need to actually take their input and opinions into account when shaping your program.

To do this, create a survey for your employees to share their health goals and what they might like to see out of a wellness program. You can also find out what your employees think they can realistically handle.

For example, you might think it sounds like a great idea to start a running club after work. But if half of your team has bad knees that won’t allow them to run or hectic schedules that don’t leave much time for structured activities after work, then you may need to go in a different direction.

Assess Your Goals

From there, you can assess what goals both you and your team might find most important. While there are some wellness programs that can address many different areas, it might be best for you to focus on just one or two areas at first.

So if you notice that many of your employees brought up wanting to improve their diet, then you may want to focus your efforts in that area. Instead of offering up fitness activities for your team to do on their lunch breaks, you might come up with a points system that they can use to keep track of their meals and nutritional intake throughout the day.

Set a Budget

Any workplace initiative is going to take some time and/or money. If you don’t have a ton of funds to dedicate to a wellness program, you still have options. But you need to at least determine what resources you’re able and willing to dedicate to this area.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a wellness program, you could do something simple like start a running club. (Again, this assumes it would be something your employees will appreciate.) Other options that could cost more money include incentives for employees, healthy workplace food options, fitness classes and hiring professionals who can come and share expertise with your team.

You also have to consider the time commitment. If you and your team are too busy to dedicate any work hours to the program, then you may need to come up with an idea that only includes healthy lunch options or after-hours workouts.

Create a Specific Structure

Any small business owner or manager can simply tell their team members to develop healthy eating habits, exercise regularly or even quit smoking. But an actual workplace wellness program has to go farther than that.

In order for your initiative to be successful, you need a structure. That means you need to create a process that you and your team can actually follow to stay on track. You might make it into a contest like a “Biggest Loser” type weight-loss challenge. Or you could create a points system to encourage healthy eating.

There are countless ways to structure your program. But you’ll need to at least have some kind of goal, a timetable and an incentive in order for your initiative to be successful.

Find Helpful Resources

You don’t have to build a wellness program from scratch all on your own. Plenty of businesses and organizations have built successful programs already. So you may as well use what they’ve learned and created to guide your own initiative.

The CDC, for example, has some models for workplace wellness programs that you can use to shape your own initiatives.

Once you’ve decided on what exactly you want your wellness program to achieve, you can do some research to find examples and templates of similar initiatives. You can always customize later, but these guides can help you save time in getting started.

Keep the Program Top of Mind

In order for your wellness program to be successful, you can’t simply mention it once and hope that your team will keep up with it. You need to somehow remind your team of the program regularly.

Maybe you have weekly meetings or weigh-ins for weight loss competitions. Maybe each week you send out a selection of healthy recipes. Or you could even put up a display in your office where team members can update their own progress for their health goals.

Employee Wellness Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Create a Wellness Program for Your Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

Yahoo’s Story Serves as a Cautionary Tale for Businesses (Watch)

When a company sees its value decrease by hundreds of millions of dollars, that’s usually considered to be a very bad thing. But not for Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO).

The company is still in buyout talks with Verizon. But after a series of recent data breaches, Verizon wants to cut the purchase price by about $250 million.

This is far from an ideal situation for Yahoo. Of course, the company would still like to be valued at the previous price tag of $4.8 billion. Or even better, it would like to travel back in time by about a decade. But those aren’t realistic options for the company at this point in time.

So considering the data breaches and other public missteps by the company, this price cut really isn’t all bad. And it’s likely the best offer that the struggling tech company is going to get.

Yahoo’s story serves as a cautionary tale for other businesses on multiple levels. First, it demonstrates just how big of an impact cybersecurity issues can have on the value of a business.

Sometime You Just Have to Choose the Lesser Evil

But second, it also shows how sometimes businesses have to make decisions even when none of the options look especially appealing. Sure, Yahoo would probably like to rethink some of its earlier decisions. But given where the company is now and the dwindling options it has moving forward, the sale to Verizon could simply represent the best in a list of options that are far from ideal.

Yahoo Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Yahoo’s Story Serves as a Cautionary Tale for Businesses (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends

Join Us for a FedEx Twitter Chat #FedExGrant on How to Grow Your Online Business

Interested in learning about all the ins and outs of how to grow an online business? Then join the FedEx Twitter chat on February 22 from 8-9 P.M. EST.

If one of your 2017 goals is to grow your small business online, there are tons of different methods you can utilize. There’s content creation. There’s social media. There’s financing and more.

Not every small business is going to thrive using the same methods. But there are a lot of things for entrepreneurs to consider when it comes to creating opportunities for growth.

Small business owners can potentially learn a lot from talking and networking with entrepreneurs and professionals in similar industries.

If you’re interested in talking with other business owners and learning about all the ins and outs of growing a business, you’re in luck. Small Business Trends is hosting a Twitter chat, sponsored by FedEx (NYSE:FDX), that’s all about growing an online business.

Small Business Trends founder and CEO Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends) and the Small Biz Lady Melinda Emerson (@SmallBizLady) will moderate the chat on February 22 from 8-9 P.M. EST.

Learn How to Grow an Online Business

The small business experts and chat participants will discuss the following questions, among others:

What’s the first step to growing an online business? When you’re looking to grow an online business, you have to pick somewhere to start. Since there are so many different potential areas where you can focus, it’s important to prioritize. So chat participants will discuss some of the things they do first when looking to grow an online business.

How do you promote an online business today? Promotion is an important aspect of growing an online business, no matter your goals or industry. But there are several different promotional methods you can use online, including blogging, social media, online ads and more. During the chat, participants will go into more detail about some of their top promotional methods and tips.

What role does content play in growing an online business? More specifically, content marketing has become a must for many online businesses. Whether you blog, podcast, create videos or focus on other content formats, offering something of value to online consumers is a must. During the chat, you can learn more about the importance of content along with some of the more specific methods that businesses use to share content for online growth.

More Details

What: Twitter Chat “How to Grow an Online Business”

Who:

Where: Twitter

Hashtag: #FedExGrant

When: February 22, 2017 8 – 9 P.M. EST

Twitter Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Join Us for a FedEx Twitter Chat #FedExGrant on How to Grow Your Online Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

What Flying Driverless Cars in Dubai Can Teach You About Your Business (Watch)

If you still think we’re centuries away from seeing flying vehicles and driverless cars, then a new initiative in Dubai could soon prove you wrong.

The city recently announced that people will be able to get around using unmanned aerial vehicles — otherwise known as drones — as early as this July. Each vehicle can fit one person of up to 220 pounds and a small suitcase. The battery life lasts for about 30 minutes, allowing it to travel within 24 to 31 miles.

To use the vehicles, a passenger simply needs to get in, buckle his or her seatbelt and select a destination on the screen. A separate command center is charged with keeping tabs on the vehicles during flights.

This isn’t just a small initiative either. The government hopes to make 25 percent of all trips within Dubai driverless by 2030. So the city is also testing other initiatives like 10-seat electric driverless shuttles.

A Chinese company called Ehang is responsible for creating the unmanned aerial vehicles used in Dubai. They initially unveiled the product at the Consumer Electronics Conference last year.

Of course, this isn’t the first company to make a drone or an autonomous vehicle. But they did score a major win in partnering with Dubai, a city that is clearly committed to being an early adopter of this technology.

Innovation Requires Early Adopters of Technology

And that’s something that other businesses both large and small should learn as well. Creating innovative new products is a great goal, but you have to also be able to find early adopters of technology who are willing to take a risk on these brand new products.

Commute Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “What Flying Driverless Cars in Dubai Can Teach You About Your Business (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends

Spotlight: 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza Stands Out in a Crowded Market

The company in this week's Small Biz Spotlight is turning up the heat, literally, on a crowded restaurant industry with its 1000 degrees pizza.

There’s no shortage of restaurants out there that serve pizza. So for one to really thrive in this crowded market, it has to stand out. 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza is one such restaurant that does so by offering a unique style and ingredients.

You can read more about the restaurant and the story behind it in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Runs a chain of fast casual pizza franchise restaurants.

Founder Brian Petruzzi told Small Business Trends, “At 1000 Degrees, we serve personalized, made-to-order authentic Neapolitan pizza. The menu is filled with fresh, high-quality ingredients including artisan-made cheeses and imported meats.”

Business Niche

Unique ingredients and cooking process.

Petruzzi says, “I think there are three main things that make 1000 Degrees stand out in the crowded fast casual pizza industry:

1. Dough — Our authentic Neapolitan dough recipe dates back more than 100 years from the Campania region of Italy (Naples). Our authentic Neapolitan dough is made fresh daily and hand tossed using authentic Neapolitan flour and is mixed using an authentic fork-style mixer. We don’t use the dough hook style traditional mixer used in most pizzerias across the country. Our fork-style mixer is what creates the crispy, airy thin crust.

2. Sauce – Our San-Marzano and Cherry tomato-based sauces are delicious and the best sauces customers have ever tasted.

3. Oven – We use a hand-made, proprietary oven that cooks pizzas to perfection in about two minutes. Our hand tossed pizzas cook for about 120 seconds and are back to the customer just minutes after placing their order.”

How the Business Got Started

After multiple entrepreneurial ventures.

Petruzzi says, “I’ve always been an entrepreneur, even when I was young. At the age of 11, I ran a 300-house newspaper route and also started one of the first bulletin board phone systems in the neighborhood with my brother. At 19, I bought into a tanning salon franchise, which I grew into seven stores. Shortly after that, I started a movie rental chain and then a frozen yogurt franchise. All of this led me to the fast casual pizza space, which was always the plan. Growing up in an Italian family, I dreamt of opening a pizza restaurant just like my grandparents had.”

Biggest Win

Breaking into an international market.

Petruzzi explains, “The biggest win we’ve had was the signing of the Malaysia contract. We’d been looking to potentially do an international deal in an emerging market so we could both set the tone within the market and introduce a legitimate and more authentic alternative to the few that had penetrated. I think that we’ve done that effectively.”

Biggest Risk

Franchising.

Petruzzi says, “The biggest risk we’ve taken so far was choosing the franchise model over either private equity or internal growth. The reason this is risky is because you give up the day-to-day operations to the individual owners, and they may not share the passion we have, and ultimately run their store in a way that is either inefficient, or improper. So far, the positives have outweighed the negatives. While we have had a few partners who were not as committed as they should have been, many understand now the type of work it takes to be successful in this business. Going forward we have honed our screening process to weed out the ones who we don’t think will be a good fit for the concept.”

Team Tradition

Gathering at the community table.

Petruzzi says, “Everyone who works for our company has their own office, but we naturally congregate around the back community table. It makes it easier for all of us to stay connected, and we’re friends both inside and outside of these walls which makes the working relationship very unique. We even share a love of animals and have several animals in our offices.”

The company in this week's Small Biz Spotlight is turning up the heat, literally, on a crowded restaurant industry with its 1000 degrees pizza.

Favorite Office Food

Pizza!

Petruzzi says, “It’s an open canvas, so whatever you’re in the mood for can be satisfied with a pizza. Even within our concept we have a wide variety — you can get a classic Margherita or a Bacon Mac & Cheese pizza.”

Favorite Quote

‘Those who say it can’t be done shouldn’t get in the way of those doing it.’ – Unknown

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza; Top Image: Founder Brian Petruzzi

This article, “Spotlight: 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza Stands Out in a Crowded Market” was first published on Small Business Trends

Verizon Shows Businesses How to Fight Back Against the Competition (Watch)

Verizon is fighting back against the competition — hard.

The company just unveiled a new plan that it calls “Verizon Unlimited.” It includes — you guessed it — unlimited data, talk and text. The plan costs $80 per month for a single user and then $45 per month for additional users within a family plan. You also need to set up auto pay in order to qualify for the unlimited plan.

Verizon last offered unlimited data back in 2011. But it nixed the idea when it became burdensome for the company’s network and when other mobile carriers were shying away from offering unlimited data as well. Back then, the company had no intentions of exploring unlimited data options again.

But then things changed. Competitors like T-Mobile and Sprint began offering some unlimited options. And they used that to really position themselves against Verizon, winning over some of their customers in the process.

Customer Analysis Pays off

In situations like this, it sometimes becomes necessary for companies to fight back with an even better offering. Verizon has a great reputation for things like coverage and service. But it doesn’t take much customer analysis to understand that the recent moves from T-Mobile and Sprint show just how much customers care about having access to unlimited data. So if Verizon is able to uphold its already high standards and also offer unlimited options to customers, it could be a big win for the business.

Verizon Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Verizon Shows Businesses How to Fight Back Against the Competition (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends

Verizon Shows Businesses How to Fight Back Against the Competition (Watch)

Verizon is fighting back against the competition — hard.

The company just unveiled a new plan that it calls “Verizon Unlimited.” It includes — you guessed it — unlimited data, talk and text. The plan costs $80 per month for a single user and then $45 per month for additional users within a family plan. You also need to set up auto pay in order to qualify for the unlimited plan.

Verizon last offered unlimited data back in 2011. But it nixed the idea when it became burdensome for the company’s network and when other mobile carriers were shying away from offering unlimited data as well. Back then, the company had no intentions of exploring unlimited data options again.

But then things changed. Competitors like T-Mobile and Sprint began offering some unlimited options. And they used that to really position themselves against Verizon, winning over some of their customers in the process.

Customer Analysis Pays off

In situations like this, it sometimes becomes necessary for companies to fight back with an even better offering. Verizon has a great reputation for things like coverage and service. But it doesn’t take much customer analysis to understand that the recent moves from T-Mobile and Sprint show just how much customers care about having access to unlimited data. So if Verizon is able to uphold its already high standards and also offer unlimited options to customers, it could be a big win for the business.

Verizon Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Verizon Shows Businesses How to Fight Back Against the Competition (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends

Verizon Shows Businesses How to Fight Back Against the Competition (Watch)

Verizon is fighting back against the competition — hard.

The company just unveiled a new plan that it calls “Verizon Unlimited.” It includes — you guessed it — unlimited data, talk and text. The plan costs $80 per month for a single user and then $45 per month for additional users within a family plan. You also need to set up auto pay in order to qualify for the unlimited plan.

Verizon last offered unlimited data back in 2011. But it nixed the idea when it became burdensome for the company’s network and when other mobile carriers were shying away from offering unlimited data as well. Back then, the company had no intentions of exploring unlimited data options again.

But then things changed. Competitors like T-Mobile and Sprint began offering some unlimited options. And they used that to really position themselves against Verizon, winning over some of their customers in the process.

Customer Analysis Pays off

In situations like this, it sometimes becomes necessary for companies to fight back with an even better offering. Verizon has a great reputation for things like coverage and service. But it doesn’t take much customer analysis to understand that the recent moves from T-Mobile and Sprint show just how much customers care about having access to unlimited data. So if Verizon is able to uphold its already high standards and also offer unlimited options to customers, it could be a big win for the business.

Verizon Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Verizon Shows Businesses How to Fight Back Against the Competition (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends