Category: Digital Branding

Digital Branding

Wikigains Shows 10 Ways To Use Vouchers To Encourage Repeat Business and Build a Brand

Today customers have more options online than they had ten years ago. According to WikiGains, customers’ buying pattern has changed from purchasing at their preferred physical store to visiting different online stores, comparing prices, searching for deals and discounts before adding a product to a virtual shopping cart. As a result, every online merchant, at some time or the other will be faced with the decision of offering deals, coupons, and discounts.

While offering good deals frequently can encourage repeat business and drive customer loyalty, using them haphazardly can harm your brand image. Here are 10 effective ways you can use to drive customer loyalty, conversions and acquisitions.

1. Weekly or monthly discounts

These are traditional ways to offer discounts and they are often used at the end of a week or month to meet specific business goals.

2. Cart abandonment email

A study showed that nearly 70% of online customers abandon their carts for some reason or the other. Sending a tactically-crafted abandoned cart email can encourage people to come back and complete their checkout. There are many sites like Shopify and Klaviyo that offer easy to customize abandoned cart emails.

3. Special holiday or season deals

While Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and other holiday seasons are big occasions to offer attractive discounts, you can use other opportunities throughout the year like the onset of winter, summer or autumn to share appropriate discounts and offers.

4. Prelaunch coupons

Your business may be in the prelaunch stage or you have just launched a new product. The pre-launch offers enable you to create a sense of inquisitiveness among customers regarding the product. They help in driving more traffic and turning new customers into loyal ones.

5. Minimum value to get discount

In coupons sites like Wikigains, you can find deals that require customers to spend a minimum value to get a discount. This is a good tactic to encourage customers to spend more.

6. Special discount for sharing on social media

When you start a new online store, the biggest challenge is to reach out to more people and attract customers. So, offering an incentive on every Like on Facebook or sharing on other social media platforms can be a good way to raise the visibility of your brand.

7. Refer-a-friend

The referral programs work even today because people tend to rely on a brand if it is referred by a friend or relative. Wikigains says you can use this to your advantage and encourage more referrals by offering a good discount to both – the person referring and the one being referred.

8. Welcome discount for new customers.

This is a ‘feel good offer’ that gives first-time customers a positive experience with your brand. They are likely to remember you, refer friends, and even come back again to convert into a paying customer.   

9. Create an email or subscription offer

Building an email list is extremely important for the success of online retailers. When you offer a coupon or discount in exchange for a visitor’s email address, it increases your chances of conversion. This is a win-win situation where the visitor receives a good discount and you get their email address. This can be used to create customer loyalty, build a solid relationship, or send promotional materials to them in the future.

10. Special incentives to influential people

Offering discounts to famous bloggers or celebrities that have a huge fan following can be an effective way to promote your brand. So, if a blogger writes positively about your products or a celebrity talks about your excellent service, your brand value increases tremendously.    

Wikigains.com is a voucher site that has been operating in the UK since 2012. Alex Papaconstantinou, the founder of Wikigains, and his team, have accumulated a wealth of experience in the industry as they have seen it through several ups and downs in the last few years.

Digital Branding

Crafting the Customer Journey

With the overwhelming number of online pop-ups, the “suggested” pages and events that flow through Facebook, and the autoplay video ads that start scrolling on every other website, customers are becoming more and more immune to online marketing.  At the heart of this, is not only the number of ads and extent of marketing exposure that online users are subject to, but also the generalization of it: the ad I see is the same as what you and thousands of others see, and yet, we are different people and need different things.

Introducing the customer journey.

The concept of the customer journey is to create a customised experience for the online user. Employing various site embedded in online data collection tools and specific digital marketing techniques, brands can gather data about a customer’s experience or interaction on a site or within a specific marketing campaign. These segments of information can be pieced together to target perceived personalities, and create a personalized customer journey. The end result is being able to offer a customized digital marketing exposé for the customer, which is targeted specifically to them, maximizing their online experience.

And one of the most pivotal components of this customer journey is content. Online users and customers are looking to have access to the content that they want to see and want to read.  Sometimes this is content relative to information about a business’s product or service; other times, online users are looking to educate themselves, become informed, and learn something new. And all the time, individuals are looking to be drawn in, have something that catches their attention and gain valuable insight into something they care about. As a business, creating a fruitful customer journey is about doing all of that. This is achieved by feeding into the customer the new content that you know they need, which can continue to help their journey, and build your business.  The crux of this sequence? Quality content that targets a market, customizes an experience,and builds a connection.

Online content is becoming one of the most influential and accessible ways to reach new customers and meet your ideal audience.  This only happens when it is done right and when it is done so that the customer feels as if what is available to them to access is a product or service that is created for them specifically – not simply generic content being thrown out to the entire market of online viewers.

Crafting that ideal content requires skill, persistence, and patience. It requires an understanding of marketing and human psychology and an understanding of how users respond in an online climate.  And it doesn’t require you to do it alone.

We don’t want you to do it alone: we want to help you build an exceptional business by helping you craft quality online content.  Reliable companies like Article-Writing.co can build you success from the inside out. And you’ll love what you get in return.

Protect your brand
Digital Branding

How To Use Digital Asset Management To Protect Your Brand

Protect your brand

Before getting started with the details of what digital asset management is and how it works, let’s first talk about the protection of a brand name and how important brands and trademarks are. Consumers just love brands, as a brand means something in a busy world when customers have limited time to make their purchase decisions. Finding – and sticking – with brands takes away the frustration of searching and the risk of buying an inferior product or service.

This behaviour is something we all need to pay attention to. As business owners, we have to make sure that we are doing all we can to protect our brand names because sooner or later we all realize that the backbone of our company is our trademark and our brand name.

Digital brand assess

What Can I Do To Protect My Brand?

As a business owner, we are pretty sure that you know how you have to take care of your company, the importance of delivering quality products and services to your customers, and how you have to protect your brand from any legal and copyright issues. Today’s technology makes it possible for you to share your brand assets and protect your brand by storing all your digital assets (images, videos, documents and metadata) in one central digital library. This technology is called Digital Asset Management (DAM) and this is how it helps in the protection of your brand.

What Is DAM?

DAM or Digital Asset Management is more of a business process that helps companies manage their workflows, digital rights, and permissions. This process also helps in storing, organizing, and controlling the rich media that includes multimedia content, videos, animations, pictures, and music, etc. It basically is an infrastructure that allows you to manage and control all of your digital assets. Moreover, DAM makes it easy for you to identify, analyze, locate, and then retrieve your assets.

Protect your assets

How DAM Helps In Supporting Brand Identity

How exactly does the digital asset management system help in the protection of the brand?

DAM helps marketers and business owners manage multiple assets all at the same time. Even a small business has thousands of assets to be managed for different social media platforms, partner and agency use, e-commerce and that can be a huge hassle if it’s done without any software or any process like the DAM. For example, DAM helps when your communications team needs approved images to put on social media, with files optimized so they are in the right format. Your PR agency needs to find archive video of a 10-year-old product for an upcoming article, they can search the metadata and quickly find the video they need.

With DAM, all of the distribution, archiving, and rights management is done with complete ease because you get better and improved visibility and control of your assets. DAM increases speed to market and makes sure that the right people will get the right image at the right time.

The information about your assets and their transfers are always safe, and they cannot be misused since you can schedule assets to expire on a specific date. If you need to update a file in the DAM platform, every link to that file will automatically be updated. This ensures brand control that all the values and visual integrity of a brand are retained.

Easy asset access

Why Use DAM

These are a few fundamental advantages of using DAM for your brand. The best part about digital asset management is that it is easy to use and you will understand it quickly. DAM systems can integrate with the other systems that you use today, like your CMS and CRM so they all work seamlessly.

If you genuinely want to take your business to the heights of success, then you have to invest in a DAM system and protect and grow your brand.

Digital Branding

Business Process Automation and It’s Importance

Today, when there is an ever growing and vast competition, businesses (especially the small ones) come and go. That’s why every business owner is reluctant to invest time and money in something that is not absolutely necessary or undoubtedly sure it will pay off. One of the biggest talks in a past few years was about business process automation and whether it’s worth trying.

Like in every automation process, the goal of BPA is to bring simplicity to the workflow. Even the most sophisticated process has a number of complex steps that seem pretty useless at the same time. Unfortunately, even the most unessential steps need to be done, and that is where BPA comes in. It is an innovative and hands-free approach that makes a systematization of the business processes that are critical, increasing your employee’s efficiency and thus reducing cost and saving money. That’s why professionals from Picnet IT Services with more than 15 years of experience have embraced it so quickly, aware that it will help them to continue providing real stability and strategic growth they’re known for. The benefits of BPA go far beyond the saving the time and the effort of your staff, but this is still the most valuable benefit that allows other to emerge. Let’s see how shall we?

Chinese whispers

There is nothing that can destroy a business so quickly as a lack of communication. And we’re not talking about employees holding grudges and not speaking to one another, but rather about very complex channels of communication that feel like a game of Chinese whispers. If the business is a kind of game, it certainly shouldn’t be a funny one where the laugh is on you. And this is precisely what happens. Let’s say you have a very simple task at hand – to make an add for some upcoming event. There are design and information – time, date, and location.  So, your marketing manager receives an email with information for his approval. But right after he begins to scroll down he begins to realize it’s actually an email chain where who knows how many people have made their suggestions, revisions, and edits. Naturally, he can’t make sense of it all and inevitably some of the information ends up completely wrong.  The worst thing is that no one knows where the error has occurred along the way, which makes it quite probable it will happen again. Although it seems absurd, it’s a reality in modern business – communication breakdown can prevent the execution of the simple tasks, without anyone who’ll take accountability.

An unforeseen typo

The example above clearly shows us that a large number of errors in document processing are actually user-generated. When you have to input your data manually you can make mistakes as easily as you can make a typo, but consequences can be much greater. But if you employ business process automation you can forget about manual data entry. The moment the document is in the system all the information is transferred to a digital database automatically, which provides 100 % accurate data management and indexing. So, besides saving countless hours, it is like having your personal business Grammarly which eliminates all typing mistakes that can otherwise bring some hefty fines.

On hold

Of course, avoiding user-generated error is not the only reason to employ BPA.  By letting machines do all the perpetual tasks you’re not only eliminating the chance of human error, but you’re also simplifying the lives of your employees in general. Let’s go back to our example to see what has been happening with the design aspect of the add.  After the designer has completed his work, he needs to send an image via email for approval (déjà vu, anyone?) and he needs to mark his task done on a spreadsheet that probably no one looks at. After our unfortunate marketing manager approves it he needs to pass it on to the web technician who will, in the end, upload it to the site. All these manual steps require a lot of pushing for each item, which makes it feel like you’ve put on hold only to wait for an information you’ve already known about.  The only process here that needs to be done by a human is the design itself, and the quality can suffer under the weight of numerous notifications and approvals. By routing digital files or sending out email updates, BPA will noticeably reduce the time it takes for an employee to complete his daily tasks, allowing him to concentrate on important decisions in his field and thus boost his productivity.

Your personal rulebook

As we’ve said it in the beginning, business is a kind of game, but a game with high stakes where the winner literally takes it all. That’s why you need to have operational stability, and that is precisely what BPA implements in your daily processes. It is like having the rigid rulebook of the game set by yourself, making sure not a single document is misplaced or a single step missed. You can look at it as a form of legal cheating which allows your employees to perform their tasks easily and making the game constant, dependable, and accurate.

Endgame – the conclusion

At the very end, there is always a customer. He’s the last link in your Chinese whispers and he’s not in for a laugh. BPA creates a consistency that ensures customers will receive the same level of care with every interaction. With all their specific account information ready to be pulled from the digital database any second the business of your company becomes far more user-friendly. Paper-based file management is removed, employee efficiency is increased, and top-notch service is guaranteed.

Author Bio:

Ian

Aside from primary area of interest and expertise in e-marketing, Ian could be tagged also as a passionate sports fan, nature, and photography enthusiast, always trying to keep up to date with tech innovations and development.

Digital Branding

Why Your Brand Needs SEO in 2018

SEO has got something of a bad rap in some corners in recent years. This is a wholly undeserved state of affairs. Search engine optimization is an essential aspect of contemporary web design. In a world where everyone is online all the time, and when we think of everything we need as being just a web search away, it is clearly important for any website that wants to generate significant traffic to be listed prominently in results.

But how can website owners control where they appear in Google search results? Well, it turns out that website owners actually have a lot of control over this. As you would expect, some of the metrics that Googles uses to determine results rankings are based upon organic measures. Organic measures are things like the number of other websites that link to yours; these links will happen naturally as your website grows.

How Can It Help my Brand?

SEO is an integral part of your business so keep a close eye on the online SEO tools you choose. It is also a vital resource for businesses who are looking to promote their brand. SEO is one of the most effective marketing methods out there, offering a fantastic ROI, and a guarantee of a dramatic increase in brand awareness. The more traffic that you are able to bring to your websites, the more people will become exposed to your brand and business.

If you want your brand to take over the marketplace, exposure is the key. The more consumers are exposed to your brand, the more they will think of you. It doesn’t matter what context they encounter your business in – all except the most catastrophically bad press will ultimately bounce off most businesses.

Traffic is the Lifeblood of Website

There are many different metrics that you can use to measure how healthy a website is, but the amount of traffic that it is generating is usually the best indicator. From the perspective of a business looking to maximize exposure to their brand, being able to maximize the flow of traffic to particular websites and web pages is important. This allows you to expose as many people as possible to the media and content of your choosing.

Traditionally, the way that businesses have exposed as many consumers as possible to their brand has been to aim for saturation with their advertising. Saturation involves simply putting adverts out as far and wide as possible so that as many people see it as possible. Even if the advert is only successful in enticing a small percentage of people into buying a product or using a particular service, the sheer number of people will translate into tangible profits.

Is It Difficult?

SEO is often thought of as “difficult”. This is because most SEO used to involve manipulating Google. Google now offers guidance on what it considers to be white-hat – or approved – SEO techniques. As a result, there are now professional businesses who will help you with your SEO marketing, such as this Search Engine Optimisation West Midlands business.

Search engine optimization is a very valuable tool for increasing awareness of your brand and spending time and money on SEO is all but guaranteed to provide excellent ROI.

Digital Branding

Please Stop Confusing Customers With Your Pricing

It is a criminal offence for traders to deliberately make misleading price claims about their goods or services and against the letter of the law to make prices confusing to the consumer.

For example, ‘was £120, now £99.99’ is deceiving if the goods or services have never been presented at the higher price. It is also misleading/confusing if a trader fails to show ‘hidden extras’, or to make it clear when a price is conditional on, say, another purchase.

The Competition Markets Authority have stated that some unit prices and particularly promotions have the worrying potential to mislead customers  – and could even be a breach of consumer law.  This came after a complaint from consumer group Which? who raised concerns ‘about confusing and misleading promotions and a lack of easily comparable prices’.

Some retailers are guilty of increasing the price of products prior to the start of a volume promotion and promotions such as ‘was/now’ offers, where a product is on sale at a discounted price for longer than the higher price was applied, is considered to be deliberately misleading consumers.

Supermarkets (the main culprits) could now face legal proceedings for confusing customers with non-transparent multi-buys, “deceptive” shrinking products and baffling discounts, the CMA has announced.  Supermarkets are now under surveillance to revise their current pricing practices or face being taken to court, with all the ensuing adverse publicity that will involve.

The CMA has called for new guidelines to be issued to supermarkets and has published its own ‘at a glance’ guide to help consumers.  However, the complaints still keep coming into the Retail Ombudsman  – and the current rules are only guidelines, not hard and fast legal obligations.

So, consumers are still likely to get angry about any attempt to pull the wool over their eyes.

Currently, around 40% of grocery spending is on items on promotion – and (good news) the vast majority of these are above board, says the CMA.  However, there is definitely a lack of regulation in this area and the CMA states that consumers should never be misled or confused about how much (or how little) they are getting for their money.

It stated that ‘unit pricing’ allowing comparisons between products needed to be made more clear-cut.  As an example, some similar products in supermarkets were priced per 100ml and others per 100g, making it impossible to make a price comparison.  Is this artful deception on behalf of the supermarkets?  Surely they should make it less complicated for the shopper to compare like for like?

Generally, retailers do take compliance seriously but the CMA has called for supermarkets to end the practice of running “was/now” promotions, where the discounted price is advertised as a promotion for longer than the higher price, was employed.

The CMA also wants the Government to introduce new standards about “unit prices”, which indicate to shoppers what the price of a single item is in a multi-pack so they can compare prices more easily and decide whether it really is cheaper to buy the multi-pack.

According to new research from Which? almost 3/4 of consumers believe supermarkets are trying to confuse them by using misleading pricing practices – and shoppers are very unhappy about the following:

  • Poorly labeled products
  • Prices small and hard to read
  • Inconsistent pricing.

The greatest confusion occurs with fruit and vegetables sold loose or in packs but it extends to other products sold in cans, jars and bottles.

Which? has called for a change in the law requiring retailers to clearly display the price of items per unit, so that shoppers can easily compare the value of similar products. The unit price is the price by weight or volume that allows shoppers to compare the true cost of products, even if they come in different sized packaging.

As an example, if a 500ml jar of mayonnaise costs £1.05 and a 750ml jar is £1.47, a clear unit price would show you straight away which jar gives you the most mayonnaise for your money. In this case, the 500ml jar is 21p per 100ml and the 750ml jar is 19.6p per 100 ml. The current confusion caused by inconsistent pricing means shoppers don’t always get the best deal

Most shoppers usually assume that items sold loose would be cheaper but this is not necessarily the case – for example a Sainsbury’s pack of four baking potatoes is currently being sold at 70p, while the supermarket also sells them loose at £1.00 per kg.

It is also confusing for shoppers when the prices for different brands of comparable products are measured differently – one price may be displayed in ml and the other in grams.  The regulators have called for consistency in weights and measures for comparable products.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd has said:

“With household budgets squeezed and rising food costs among the top worries for consumers, it’s all the more important that stores make it as easy as possible for people to spot the best value products. All food and drink should be clearly and consistently priced by weight or volume across all stores, including products which are on special offer.”

 

Morrisons has subsequently announced a promise to make unit prices consistent among similar products and to make the print on shelf labels larger and more visible.

Sainsbury’s has also announced that it will be trialling a new label format, which will include clearer unit pricing, to assist customers to identify the best deals.

Non-Food Pricing

When selling to the general public, all pricing information must be clearly legible, unambiguous, easily identifiable, in sterling, and inclusive of VAT and any additional taxes.

Pricing information must be shown close to the product, or in the case of, for example, online or mail order sales and advertisements, close to a picture or written description of the product.

Prices can be shown:

  • On goods themselves
  • On a ticket or notice adjacent to the goods
  • Grouped together with other prices on a list or in a catalogue in close proximity to the goods. If counter catalogues are used there should be enough copies for customers to refer to

Pricing information should be clearly available to consumers without them having to ask for assistance in order to see it.

Legibility refers to a consumer with normal sight. Traders must also comply with the Equality Act 2010 and take account of the special needs of the elderly and disabled groups.

Promotions

Promotional offers should be unit-priced to reflect the single standard product.

Retailers may give additional information if they wish (for example, the ‘reduced unit price if purchasing a multi-buy’ offer may be shown) as long as it is clear to which products it relates.

Limited period promotions (such as 10% extra free) that relate to individual products may retain the unit price of the standard product for the period of the offer. Retailers may give additional information if they wish – for example, they may show the unit prices of both the standard and promotional products but they must be crystal clear to which products they relate.

Make sure your prices are also ethical

The Institute of Business Ethics has suggested that companies issue statements of ethical practice in regard to their dealings with customers – and this will cover pricing too.

The statement should incorporate a declaration about what circumstances will make your company increase their prices and by how much, how prices should be conveyed to the consumer and the company’s allegiance to all applicable pricing laws. The ethical pricing statement will need to be kept up to date to ensure all fresh guidelines are adhered to.

It really doesn’t make any sense to confuse your customers with your pricing. Eventually, they will get wise to what you are (deliberately or otherwise) trying to do and will vote with their feet by taking their business elsewhere.

Indeed, Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said the complaint from Which? about confusing pricing had come too late as many shoppers have already abandoned the big 4 supermarkets in favour of discounters Aldi and Lidl.

It will always be sensible to price transparently because consumers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to comparing prices – and it might just be that what you are doing, at best, is at variance with the letter of the law – or could even be downright illegal.  Do not take that risk.

 

This article has originally appeared on Black Curve’s Blog.

Establish your personal brand
Digital Branding

5 Steps To Building Your Personal Brand

Establish your personal brand

Developing your personal brand means establishing a good reputation, and influencing those around you. It takes years to build a reputation and it’s a lot of work to manage one, but it’s important if you want to build trust in your audience. This is why personal branding is crucial – your personal brand is your identity. A strong personal brand can provide you with greater credibility, higher perceived value and a way to differentiate yourself from your competition. Here are five steps to help you start building your personal brand:

Core values distinguish you

Establish Your Values

Your values are the cornerstone of your character. You might value loyalty, status or compassion – think about who you are and what’s important to you. Your values should always dictate your actions; this is how you build trust and grow your brand.

Connect with a mentor

Connect With A Mentor

Mentors can help you understand which direction it’s best to go in, especially if you haven’t had much experience. They can guide you and provide advice, but they can also show you what not to do. If you’re serious about building your personal brand, you need to get a mentor and establish a plan.

Provide value

Provide Value

Your personal brand is about your audience as much as it is about you. Think about what you can bring to the table, consider your values and how they can be used to shape people’s perceptions about you. Are you reliable? Friendly? Approachable? Make sure you communicate this through your writing and the way you speak. Think about the words you use and the image you portray.

Have a website

Have A Platform

Create a website and stay active on social media – but don’t use these to “sell” yourself or your services. Instead, use then to help people, to provide them with information they are looking for. Your website could be a blog, or you could create a YouTube channel where you speak on camera. Whatever you’re comfortable with is what’s going to work for you. If you enjoy public speaking, this is one of the best ways to promote yourself and build your brand. Start looking for opportunities to speak or be a guest speaker and get your name out there.

Differentiate your personal brand

Differentiate Yourself

The thing about brands is that they are unique – and it’s the same with your personal brand. You are an individual with your own strengths and weaknesses, and that’s what your brand should be. You can have idols and people to look up to, but it’s important to stay true to who you are, and align with the best version of yourself. With the skills you offer, you might want to figure out some ways that you are different from the competition, maybe you have more experience, or are the most efficient? Make sure you show people how you are different from the rest.

Building a personal brand takes time, so it’s always good to keep an eye out for opportunities where you can help people and put yourself out there. After a while, people will begin to associate you with the qualities you are striving for, and your personal brand will start to take form.

Digital Branding

Low Budget Marketing Ideas to Make Your Small Business Big

Here are some tips on low budget marketing ideas – Marketing is crucial to the success of any business, but many smaller startups neglect this important aspect due to the high expenses involved, and for any business operating on a shoestring budget; marketing is often the first expense to be slashed. You know the old saying, “You have to spend money to make money,” and despite its cliché nature, it is still absolutely true. That said, there are ways to grow your small business without breaking the bank, and marketing doesn’t necessarily need to cost a fortune, although it does require a certain amount of creativity. Check out these low budget marketing ideas to make your small business big, in no time at all.

Start being social

There is no excuse for not using social media to promote your business. These days, social media is one of the best ways to engage your customers and get the word out about your products and services, and best of all, it’s free! If you are avoiding it because you aren’t sure how to use it, learn the ropes by joining social media marketing classes in your city or online. Once you get started, you’ll wonder why you didn’t jump on the bandwagon sooner.

Offer freebies

It’s no secret that people love free things, and most businesses have some services or products they can offer for free without putting too much of a dent in the company bank account. Promotions, like giving customers a free consultation, rewarding loyal customers with a free item after a certain number of visits or handing out sample products, will put your business in the spotlight and get new customers hooked. Just make sure the free products are a good representation of the quality you offer on a regular basis, or it may not have the desired effect of drawing in new customers.

Encourage satisfied customers to spread the word

Whether your company is a new start-up or a well-established business looking to expand, word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most powerful advertising tools there is. If you can consistently provide your current customers with excellent customer service and high-quality products, they will want their friends and family to try it as well. New businesses can easily get away with asking satisfied customers to spread the word, and well-established companies can ask their most loyal customers to put in a good word for them. Another way to encourage word of word-of-mouth advertising is to reward customers for every friend or family member they bring to your store or place of business. This can be in the way of a discount, gift card or freebie.

Don’t try to compete with the big companies

Even if you are hoping to one day compete with the big boys, there is no point trying to match their advertising strategies until you are on the same level. Major companies like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s are already well-known and don’t have to prove themselves. Their advertisements and company logos are largely meant to increase name recognition and larger companies use national and even international TV adverts, which is something smaller businesses can’t afford and don’t really need. Target your advertisements to the local market and focus on producing sales rather than just making your company name big. The best time to advertise is when you have a promotion on because it gives customers the opportunity to respond to the advertisement. Spread the word through whatever means are available to you, be it social media, flyers, posters or billboards, but never spend more money than your promotion can hope to bring in.

Get creative with business cards

Business cards are still commonplace in the world of small business, and you shouldn’t discount their usefulness just yet. Providing customers with a quick way to contact you is an excellent way to ensure that you will be first on their list when they need one of your products or services. The main downside to business cards is that most people toss them out before long because let’s face it, no one likes clutter. If you don’t want your business cards to end up in the rubbish bin, you have to make them useful. Business cards don’t always have to be cards, you can have refrigerator magnets or nice looking notepads made up that show off your company name and information while serving a purpose as well. Little post-it notes with your info on each page are sure to get some use, and the customer will see your name every time they use them to stick up a reminder. Other great “business card” ideas can include things like bottle openers, lighters or pens. Use your imagination and come up with your own functional items that can be used to spread the word.

Make your business a destination

If you run a physical store, it can be a good idea to offer some extras that make your shop more than just a quick stopover. Some stores offer free child-care or play facilities where parents can bring their kids while they shop, others offer cafeterias or coffee bars, where customers can relax before continuing their shopping. This is a great way of ensuring that people will stop at your store, even if they weren’t initially planning on buying anything.

Author Bio:

Sohail is a content marketer and a blogger, currently, he is associated with Smiletutor.sg a private tuition agency in Singapore. His hobbies include writing, reading books, traveling and gardening.

Digital Branding

Close the Gap Between Strategy & Execution

When conducting strategic planning with clients I have a saying that I share with them, “Successful Business Execution is 20% getting clear about what needs to be done, and 80% following up to make sure it actually gets done”

I’ve written previously about the cadence of strategy execution, using the analogy of a great rowing crew in action. The boat glides through the water, propelled by oars moving in perfect rhythm. It may be the most graceful example of teamwork in the world. In rowing, the cadence drives the crew, keeping them in sync and urging them on when they may be tired and sore.

Cadence does the same thing for great companies, except that, instead of a coxswain calling cadence, leaders like you use meetings to establish the rhythm of work. The best meetings:

  • Create and update your winning strategy
  • Execute your strategy faster
  • Drive accountability
  • Identify opportunities and remove bottlenecks faster
  • Keep staff aligned and focused

On a related note, a research article in HBR explored how high performing teams spend their time, and the critical behaviors in which they engaged. Here’s my take on the research data, with some additional commentary added:

Focus On Strategy

High performing teams:

  • Spend 20% more time defining and clarifying their long-term strategic moves
  • Spend 12% more time texting or collaborating with their staff on an ongoing basis to make sure the strategic direction is understood and adhered to

That means high performing teams spend more time understanding their industry and getting their strategy right first, and they talk about their strategy more often with staff to keep everyone aligned and engaged.

one-page strategic plan is probably the best way to clearly communicate the strategy to staff and get everyone on the same page. This is especially true if your strategic goals cascade down to the goals of each team and staff member, so they can see exactly how their job contributes to the company’s strategy.

Break Strategy Into Actionable Goals

High performing teams:

  • Spend 14% more time discussing progress and making necessary corrections

In essence, once you figure out the right strategic goals to track, you would ideally make aligned performance visible on your management dashboard.

But that’s just the first step. You must follow up to make sure it actually gets done. Managers still need to coach and support their people to ensure they are achieving their required results and are meeting their deadlines consistently. Effective managers don’t procrastinate when it comes to giving people corrective feedback on their performance.

Align Culture with Strategy

The most effective managers I see in client firms are those who apply consistent pressure. They are firm but fair. That’s essential to modern management, and today’s A-players need clarity and accountability to feel satisfied at work.

High performing teams:

  • Spend 28% more time discussing behaviors that help or hinder strategy execution
  • Spend 33% more time optimizing talent capabilities

They align their Core Values with their strategy. They take talent management seriously. They provide forums for staff to share candid feedback about what does and doesn’t work, and put employee development and succession plans in place to develop a team with the right skills and behaviors.

Focus on Strategic Priorities

High performing teams:

  • Are 36% more effective and prioritizing and sequencing these initiatives, and they put a disciplined meeting structurein place to ensure the team has what it needs to succeed

Low performing teams:

  • Spend an astounding 83% more time fighting fires and dealing with issues at a tactical rather than a strategic level

High performing companies communicate in an organized way and focus their efforts on strategic objectives. That’s because strategy is about making choices. It‘s about going through a disciplined process to identify the limited set of projects that will have the biggest impact on future success. Then they focus on those projects.

Strategic Agility

High performing teams:

  • Are 20% more effective at responding to change in order to position the company for future success

In essence, changing fast to chase after opportunities is not a recipe for success. It’s a recipe for strategic incoherence and volatile performance. A winning strategy is not just about being agile, it’s about being “smart agile”. High performing companies win because they make wise strategic choices first, then they move fast to implement and build upon on those decisions.

My summary

High performing teams:

  • Spend more time strategizing and translating strategic decisions into actionable goals
  • Spend more time engaging with team members, communicating strategy, discussing progress, and making sure behaviors are aligned with strategic execution
  • Focus their resources (people, time, money) on strategic priorities and spend less time fighting fires

What steps can you take to close the gap between strategy and execution in your organization?

This post was written by Stephen Lynch from Results and it originally appeared on their blog on Dec 5th. Stephen is the author of the award-winning business book Business Execution for RESULTS & President of RESULTS.com, Lynch is widely recognized as one of the best strategic consultants in the world.