Why Your Small Business Needs a Blog

If you have a small business and work as a hairdresser, mechanic or restauranteur, the idea of creating a blog may be unfamiliar and scary. Although your specialty may not be in this area and you are not a natural born writer, you can take steps to add content to your website once you realize how much it can help you in attracting new clientele and retaining your existing customers. Would it help if we tell you that a study found that 4 out of every 10 people read online blogs?

What is a Business Blog?

A blog is simply a collection of articles that you feature on your site. Although they can be written on any topic, for help with search engine optimization (SEO), you want to write on topics relevant to your brand.

This means that you can write blog posts that provide more thorough information about the products you sell than is available in your product descriptions, or simply provide your guidance on the best use of the products or services.

Two Enormous Benefits of Having a Blog

More Efficient SEO

Having a website is not enough to allowing online visitors to find it with all of the other online clutter. Having a marketing strategy is essential to attract new visitors to your website, thereby growing your business.

To get the best results from SEO, you need to update your website with fresh content on a regular basis. This way, when the Google bots assess your site, they will push it to the top amongst Google search organic (unpaid) results. As a rule, if your site is not featured amongst the first few results on Google, it is likely you are not getting a lot of traffic.

To help Google index your site, you need to include relevant keywords (words and phrases) in your content, and there’s no better place to do that than in your blog. A source found that sites that have a blog have 43% more indexed Google pages than those that do not!

Do a Google Adwords search to find keywords that your audience may be searching for, and center your writing around them.

If your business has a local presence, consider adding location-specific keywords (Baltimore Tattoo Shop or Fairfax Mexican Restaurant) to gain foot traffic.

Become an Authority

The truth is that regardless of what industry you are in, you most likely have competitors. A key way to distinguish yourself from them and work towards getting your customers to trust you is to become an authority in your field.

Consider these people:

  • Oprah Winfrey and her book club
  • Suze Orman and her portfolio of financial products
  • Dr. Oz and his medical products recommendations

Although people can purchase any of items from anywhere, they are most likely to listen to the advice of influencers in their given fields.

A blog provides you with an opportunity to educate your customers, making them feel confident that you are a true expert. Once you create a relationship based on trust, you can push products and services through your blog, and your clients will listen to your recommendations.

If you need help in marketing your blog, or feel that you will benefit from hiring a professional content writer, IOU Financial can help you with the associated costs. We work with small and medium size business owners by providing them with easy business loans. Learn more about our company by visiting www.ioufinancial today.

 

Reach Employee Communication Goals With Texting

Now is a great time to assess your process and look for improvement. You can save a lot of money and time by establishing more effective communication policies for your employees. Here are five of our favorite ways to improve your company-wide communication policies this year.

  1. Prepare for Connecting with the Incoming Generations

Younger generations are showing a strong preference for texting, according to Pew Research Center and other surveys done recently. As you work to appeal to upcoming talent, you will want to expand your methods to include text messaging for recruitment. Text messages will help automate your hiring process, speed up your training sessions and allow your new employees to be more efficient and prepared for their positions.

  1. Use More Dynamic Content

Most professionals prefer less wordy emails and won’t read generic newsletters. Instead, create dynamic content to increase engagement levels. You can always text links to video content or blog posts with images to keep readers engaged. You also want to take advantage of the short nature of texting that will force you to cut the fluff and get to the point. Boost employee communication with SMS that will keep departments and teams communicating and collaborating.

  1. Empower Employee Advocacy

You want to increase your reach, brand recognition and influence, so make sure your employees are turning into advocates. Start by creating a workplace that your employees are excited about and making sure your professionals feel valuable in their jobs. Then, empower your employees by giving them access to key industry news and insight, encouraging them to share and participate in various platforms. You can use employees to help write articles in your newsletters or share their best posts to encourage more interaction. You will only have truly influential advocates if you help promote their value as a professional in their field and on your team.

  1. Increase Flexibility and On-the-Go Communication

Texting can help employees gain freedom they wouldn’t have through email and phone calls alone. Use a texting platform and company phone plans to enable your employees to do more work while they are on-the-go. Give employees as much freedom as possible to work as they can from home or while traveling, allowing for more flexible hours and scheduling. The improved work-life integration will appeal to younger generations that value flexibility and are willing to have increased interruption with working during strange hours on their devices.

  1. Speed Up Policy Changes and Strategies

Automated mass texting can really help your company get the word out about new policies and strategies. Simply send out texts to your entire team or the specific department that it will apply to in order to notify them of changing rules, training dates, industry information, deadline reminders or prompts for paperwork. Text messages are typically read within seconds, allowing your important company notifications to be distributed quickly and effectively. Emails often get lost and phone calls waste time, so use text messaging to send out these notices in a way that is sure to get the message across.

In an age of technology, don’t let your employees waste their time by worrying or gossiping – work to improve communication each year. Text messaging and great content will help you communicate in a stronger way with your employees.

Guest Post: About the Author

Joel Lee is the SEO marketing specialist at Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases.

3 Steps to Creating a Strong Company Culture

Any time a group of people interact with one another on a regular basis, an individual culture forms. As such, each company has its own company culture, which can determine to a large extent the success of the organization and the satisfaction of the employees. While a culture can organically form, managers and business owners can take steps to shape a strong and positive company culture with the steps below.

The Importance of a Winning Company Culture

A company culture is “an intangible ecosystem” according to a source, which involves “the ideology of an organization.” When your company has a strong company culture, it influences a multitude of factors that can truly make or break the success of your business. Everything from more effective teamwork, productivity, employee loyalty, reduced turnover and help with attracting top talent.

Steps to Create a Strong Company Culture

The truth is that regardless of how talented and experienced your colleagues are, if you don’t have the culture to promote their attributes, they won’t be able to thrive. Follow these steps to create a company culture that develops winners:

1. Decide What Your Core Values are

A company culture should be based around the core values of the company, which are created by the business owners. Other than making a profit, what do you want to see from your employees and how do you want to shape their lives and overall society?

If you want to involve a philanthropic initiative, build your culture around that. Is your focus is more closely aligned with teamwork and productivity? Consider how to foster relationships between your staff members to promote collaboration. Do you want to be known as a company that offers the best customer experience? Put strategies into place that reflect that desire.

The fact is that a corporate culture develops best when it is based on certain beliefs and is focused on a specific course.

2. Choose the Right Colleagues

Every hiring decision needs to consider whether the candidate would make a good addition to your team. Would this person be able to fit in and uphold the values you deem important for your company?

Oftentimes, employers tend to hire the same type of person, who either resembles them or another star employee. However, a successful environment is one that contains diversity, and hiring employees who have different strengths and points of view can help foster creativity and innovation, which will drive a positive culture.

3. Promote Transparency

A thriving company is one where every single employee feels valued and appreciated. The old world model of a hierarchy that keeps information locked at the top is outdated, and transparency is the new normal in the professional world.

A healthy company culture is one that democratizes decision making and gives everyone a voice. Instead of shielding your employees from sensitive news, involve them in the process and witness how much more invested they will become in the success of your company.

If you would like access to more articles about managing a business, or would like to inquire about getting a small business loan, contact IOU Financial.

 

10 Signs It’s Time to Revamp Your Logo

Logos are a bit like a gallon of milk: They have a shelf life. The thing is, it’s not as easy to identify when your logo has gone sour, so to speak, as it is with the dairy in the fridge. But savvy companies know that keeping their logos fresh contributes to a better brand image and helps ensure that their marketing stays aligned with their company’s values. From time to time, a logo redesign may be just what you need to kick things up.

Consumers identify with logos, so much so that when Airbnb changed its logo from bubbly and blue to sleek pink, design critics drew irreverent parallels. And then there was that time that BP famously rebranded their logo to appear eco-friendlier, and critics found it a bit inauthentic following the company’s 4.9-billion-barrel mishap. The point is, your costumers pay more attention to your logo than you might think, so keeping it relevant is a worthwhile expense.

It’s Old… Plain and Simple

There’s no one-size-fits-all method to logo design frequency, but if you’ve had the same logo since your company’s inception — in other words, if it stayed the same while the business evolved — that’s a good indicator that it’s time to get a revamp in motion. That’s not to say that a dramatic change is in order. On the contrary, it’s the most subtle, forward-thinking logo updates that often make the most sense.

It’s No Longer Relevant to Your Brand

When your brand pivots, so too should your visuals. Look at your logo as an adaptive, iterative element — in other words, give it the good, old-fashioned agile approach — rather than a static mainstay. If you’ve discovered that your target audience has evolved or shifted, or that your values as a company are different than they were when the logo was originally designed, it’s time to pull the logo pivot.

It Doesn’t Tell a Story

There’s a reason why FedEx and the World Wild Life Fund are almost always referenced in stories about compelling logos. Their logos take total advantage of the white space in order to create a double meaning and to say something more about the brand. These days, researchers put brand storytelling at the top of the marketing ladder, claiming that a solid brand narrative can drive more sales and engage more customers.

It’s Too Complex

Take a good look at some of the most famous logo evolutions in history — the Golden Arches, the Nike Swoosh, the Target target — and you’ll notice one trend above all else: They’ve all been seriously scaled back, with simplicity the primary design principle. The reason for this is two-fold. Companies now have to design logos that look good everywhere­­ — from traditional shipping labels to computer screens and smartphones — but they also believe that simple logos are better for business.

It’s Plain Boring

Take a look at some popular logo designs of emerging start-ups and small businesses from the past year and you’ll see a clear trend: Designers are having more fun than ever before. They’re using unconventional shapes, next-level creativity and a little bit of humor to create logos that are anything but basic. At the end of the day, your logo should be instantly recognizable to your audience and should trigger some sort of emotion, so why not make it lighthearted?

It’s Not Contextual

 

This year, one of the hottest logo design trends is the contextual or responsive logo. These designs respond to their medium. For example, a craft brewery might create a logo for its beer bottle labels that’s different from the one on its business cards or website. But the key to a good, responsive logo is to allow it to be self-aware — in other words, let the end environment guide it — and to ensure that it doesn’t vary too much from one medium to another.

It Uses Out-of-Date Fonts

Paying tribute to the history of your brand isn’t a bad idea, says the Morton Salt girl. Infusing a nod to the past may actually be a good way to go overall, so long as it’s done tastefully. Fonts are one of those ever-changing facets of the design world that’s nearly impossible to keep up with, so nothing dates a design faster than an old, tired font. On the other hand, updating your logo’s font may be all you need for a rapid refresh.

It Plays It Safe

Successful logo design in 2018 must strike a delicate balance between tastefully simple and instantly memorable. Tall order, we know. Logos that play it too safe are less likely to achieve the latter, which equals majorly missed opportunity in the branding department. Implementing some out-of-the-box refreshers — this year, it’s all about experimental fonts, bright colors and pixelated designs — will help your logo stand out on a shelf or in the App Store.

It Feels Like a Fad

Paying attention to trends is really important, but you don’t want to go so far that your logo feels like it’s stuck in a certain era. Well-designed, up-to-date logos should be timeless. Last year, designers quickly jumped on the geometric bandwagon, and now any design that features a simple triangle or an arrow feels outdated and contrived. Try to keep all your logo design elements simple and fad-free to help extend their shelf life.

You’ve Got New Competition

When new competition emerges onto the scene, take it as a challenge to improve every element of your business so that it has an edge. If your market has grown exponentially since your logo was designed, and if new competitors are vying for the attention of your target market, then a logo redesign may be just what you need. It will help reignite the consumer’s attention while showing that your company is up-to-date and adaptive.

Guest Post: About the Author

Kurt started Blanco in 1996 after working in the label industry for more than 10 years.  As a Salesman, Sales Manager, then Vice President of Sales for Southern Atlantic Label in Chesapeake, VA he gained a strong knowledge of the label and printing industry. Following Southern Atlantic , Kurt was Vice President of Sales at Custom Printed Products in Shreveport Louisiana. Kurt has experience with most every known Pressure Sensitive Label application, and is very involved in Production and Marketing at Blanco.

Looking to hire a designer to help you re-vamp your logo. Don’t let funds hold you back. Contact us to learn how you can get qualified for a small business loan of up to $300,000 in just 24-48 hours!

3 Steps to Hiring the Correct People for the Job

Do you feel like your company is a revolving door of employees? Is it difficult to retain top talent, and you constantly spend your time recruiting new candidates? If that is the case, you need to refresh your skills in hiring the correct people for the job from the get-go.  

The truth is, a high employee turnover is bad for the morale of the remaining employees, the overall corporate culture and the productivity of your team. When employees are constantly leaving, and new members are joining the team, the rest of the staff has to pick up the slack, leaving them stressed out and overtired.

Plus, employee turnover is expensive for the business. A source estimates that it could take up to 6 to 9 months of a staff member’s salary to transition between employees. That means if an employee who’s making $50,000 annually does not work out for any reason, you can spend anywhere between $25,000 to $37,500 during the transition. If you want to avoid this, follow the steps below to hire the correct people for the job and improve employee loyalty.

1. Create a Detailed Job Description

Most positions nowadays are complex, and with the hectic pace of working life, individuals are often tasked with responsibilities outside of their direct roles. As such, it is imperative to create a detailed job description that truly captures the essence of the position.

Take the time to really analyze the person’s working day, what they need to do, how they should do it, and how much percentage of time they are expected to spend on each task. Think about what success in this position looks like, and reiterate that in the job description.

The more detailed you are from the get go, the more candidates it will eliminate, saving you time during the recruitment process when interviewing individuals.

2. Implement Skill Tests

You can find an applicant with an outstanding resume who says the right things during the interview process, but can you verify that they are as competent as they say they are? Yes, you can! That is easily doable by implementing skill tests prior to making a hiring decision.

Utilizing skill assessments will take out the bias and uncertainty from the screening process. Tests take out any inherent biases and provide a transparent strategy to choose the best candidate for the job. You will be able to see for yourself each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and make an educated decision during the interview process.

3. Involve the Team in the Recruitment Process

Employees spend most of their day at the office, and personalities often clash, which causes a poor working environment. When there is unresolved conflict, tension and unhealthy competition, that is a major reason why your employees may not be lasting long in their positions.

In order to see if a potential candidate would make a good fit within your existing team, involve them in the recruitment process. When your search is narrowed down to the top few candidates, give each person some time to spend with your employees. Encourage them to talk and ask tough questions; they may find an issue that you have overlooked!

If you need cash to invest in a skills assessment test or want to hire an HR consultant to help you with the recruiting strategy, IOU Financial can help. Contact us today to learn more about our easy and affordable small business loans.

8 Effective Ways to Strategize Social Media Marketing for Your Business

For most brands, social media marketing is about accumulating as many likes and follows as they can. While this approach helps, it is just one of many maneuvers you should consider to grow your social media audience. The following are eight effective ways you should consider when creating a social media strategy for your business.

Create an effective content marketing strategy

After you’ve created excellent, unique content, the next step involves marketing this content in a way that guarantees results. You can do this by creating a social media posting schedule that befits your brand and using the right post publishing schedule. Doing this will grow your organic audience and reduce the need to use social media ads to grow your audience.

Conduct contests and promotional activities

What makes contests work on social media is the fact that they involve your audience directly and on a personal level. This has a significant positive impact on brand awareness. Promotional activities give your social media followers a reason to share your content with other social media users, ultimately increasing brand exposure to many other potential customers.

Indeed, there is research evidence to suggest that 35% of people who like your business page on Facebook did so for an opportunity to participate in your brand’s contests. Therefore, if you want to increase engagement on social media, consider conducting a contest.

Create and schedule your status updates

The key to posting on social media is consistency in posting content designed to empower, educate and entertain your audience. The status updates should include emoticons, questions, links, images and videos. Use a variety of post types to get the attention of a wide array of social media users.

Integrate social media sharing

One effective approach to social media marketing is the integration of social media plugins and share buttons on other brand channels like your website and email. Incorporating sharing buttons allows people who find your content educational or entertaining easily share it with their friends on social networking sites. Some of the most common plugins include Digg Digg, Flare, Mashshare and Ultimate Social Deux.

Create a personalized experience for your customers

This approach increases the chances of conversions by addressing the queries, concerns and questions a potential customer might have before buying your product or service. One way businesses are doing this is by use of chatbots. The chatbots create a more customized experience for individual customers and break the tradition that most customers are used to when companies are trying to sell them products.

Tell stories instead of selling stuff

Sometimes entrepreneurs are so enthusiastic about their products that they over-promote them on social networking sites. This can have a devastating effect on the long term viability of social media marketing for the business as many would-be customers get turned off by the overselling messages that make their way to their timelines.

Therefore, consider using social media sites as storytelling platforms first and only incorporate promotional posts occasionally. When you tell the stories that make your brand what it is, it personifies your brand and makes it more relatable. Finally, when it’s time for these people to buy your kind of product, your brand will be at the top of their consideration list.

Create a community for your audience

Growing your audience on social media is not simply about finding anybody who doesn’t mind liking or following your brand, it is about finding people who genuinely want to connect with your brand. Instead of haphazardly adding new people to your social pages, consider using social tools like Social Growr to find people who have a high likelihood of connecting and engaging with your brand. Growing this community will ensure your audience asks questions, gives you feedback, likes your content and shares it with their online social circles.

Respond to all comments, suggestions, inquiries, and complaints

You’ve spent a lot of time and money acquiring your social media audience. It is therefore important that you spend just as much effort engaging with it. When they comment on your post, they expect you to respond to their thoughts. When they make complaints, they expect you to address them. Indeed, a Convince and Convert report indicated that 42% of social media users demand that you respond to their queries within an hour.

 

Guest Post: About the Author

Marquis is a writer, social media manager and SEO content marketer.  She currently lives on the coast of Ecuador, working remotely as a freelancer. Her primary focus is on building online visibility of new, up and coming brand, particularly brands that promote health and wellness. She lives a nomadic lifestyle, though is originally from California.

Tax Checklist for Business Owners

Tax season is no reason to panic if you plan in advance. Owners of small business should take steps, whether they do their own tax preparation or use a CPA. Here’s a checklist of important preparatory actions:

Bookkeeper:

If you use a bookkeeper, set up a meeting, even if she doesn’t prepare tax returns. She probably knows the answers to most of your questions and can ensure all your accounts from the previous year are fully reconciled. Your balance sheet should reflect any addition or disposal of assets.

Mileage log:

If you use a vehicle for business, make sure your mileage log is complete and up to date. If you don’t have a smartphone app that automatically logs mileage, get one and use it. Failure to keep a log can cost you an important deduction.

Bank statements:

Gather all your bank statements for the tax year, and use them to ensure your balance sheet balances match bank balances.

Out-of pocket-expenses:

You need to recognize business expenses you paid with personal accounts and credit cards. These are deductible even if you didn’t use a business account. Scan your personal credit card and bank statements to identify business expenses to file on your Schedule C or corporate tax return. Then, before the end of the year, write reimbursement checks from your business bank account to your personal account to capture the deductions. If you miss the end-of-year deadline, debit your expense account and credit an equity account.

Personal expenses:

You need to make sure you don’t deduct personal expenses paid for by a business account. This can sometimes happen if you grab the wrong credit card. Either repay the business for these expenses of enter a transaction to debit an equity account and credit to your checking or credit card account.

Received 1099s:

Gather all your 1099s, including the credit-card-related 1099-Ks. The IRS doesn’t look kindly upon taxpayers who don’t declare all their income, which is what 1099s report. PayPal, Stripe and all other payment processors prepare 1099-Ks for payments of $20,000 or more, or if you receive more than 200 payment transactions per year. Never declare less gross income than the sum of your 1099 receipts.

Issued 1099s:

If you made payments to contractors, consultants and other non-employees, you need to issue them 1099s for amounts greater than $600. But don’t issue 1099s if you paid via a credit card or payment processor, because they will issue 1099-Ks. Check with your bookkeeper to ensure you have issued all required 1099s.

Asset purchases:

Pull the receipts for your purchases of business assets such as cars, furniture, computers and any other items that you expect to last at least one year and cost more than $500. You might have to depreciate assets worth more than $2,500 instead of expensing them, and you also might qualify for Section 179 deductions and bonus depreciation.

Interest:

Remember to deduct your interest expenses. Even though IOU Financial charges low interest rates, every penny of interest is deductible, so take advantage of this gift from Washington. Tax-deductible interest lowers the after-tax cost of borrowing, so keep that in mind when you need cash from IOU Financial, your source for business loans.

Determining the Target Market for Your Small Business

It may seem a bit obvious, but targeted marketing is vital to ensuring that every dollar you reserve for marketing efforts is well-spent. When you’re able to identify exactly who is most likely to buy your product, you’ll be better-equipped to allocate funds that do double-duty to attract them. But it can be difficult for small businesses to effectively determine their target market, especially without shelling out tons of money to research firms and consultants.

Why Targeted Marketing Matters: The Research

Target marketing requires you to break down your entire market into unique segments — often by age, gender, education level, income, marital status or geographic location — so that you can specifically target the customers whose needs and wants most closely match your product or service. Savvy marketers implement this technique primarily to attract new customers, but it can also be used for other marketing goals, like increasing loyalty among existing customers and creating hype around a new product.

We all know that this is especially poignant in digital settings, and that online consumers prefer more tailored advertisements compared with broad and general ones. But it also matters in a physical landscape; designing shipping labels, brochures and even business cards that speak to your audience can translate to big gains. Think of what you put out in the digital world as equally as important as the things you put out in the real world, especially when it comes to brand messaging and storytelling.

Here’s why it’s just as important: A recent study by Neilson showed that millennials and generation X consumers are more likely to seek out products that are labeled organic, GMO-free and hormone-free, but that older consumers pay less attention to this kind of wording. This speaks to the fact that different segments prefer different things, and that when you advertise to your core segment, that group is several times more likely to engage with your brand. Simply put, target marketing is good for your bottom line.

How SMBs Can Determine Their Target Market

With all of this being said, identifying your target market can be costly. Small businesses have different budget considerations than large or well-established ones, which makes the process a bit more challenging. Still, it’s important to remember that even if you do have to put in some dollars to pinpoint the right segment, there’s a good chance those dollars will have a pretty big return once you use what you know in your marketing strategy.

No matter the size of your business, it’s important that you don’t make assumptions about your target market in your strategy. While your hunches may be right — you know your customer better than anyone else, after all — there’s no substitute for good, old-fashioned research. Putting aside your premonitions and instincts will help you overcome confirmation bias, which will help avoid muddled data.

  • Leverage Existing Customers
    Your loyal customers are key players in your quest for identifying the right target market. And, because they’re already liable to have a positive view of your brand, they’ll probably be willing to help you figure things out. We recommend providing an incentive to your customers — a percent-off coupon, a free gift or free shipping, for example — in exchange for filling out a survey. You’ll be able to identify key demographics that your existing customers share in order to narrow down your target market.
  • Use Digital Tools
    More than likely, you use big paid advertising tools to get the word out about your brand. Facebook, AdWords and other platforms often have built-in analytics tools that will help you discover who buys your product, how they buy it and when they buy it. eCommerce stores bring even more opportunity; platforms like Magento and Shopify can be customized with analytics plug-ins that store essential customer data and allow you to draw conclusions about your consumer.
  • Do Some Market Research
    Even though it seems like a waste of money, A/B testing and other forms of research prove fruitful time and time again. The process allows you to test variations of a product and identify how certain groups of people respond to each one. How does this help you narrow your target audience? It allows you to see which groups of people respond more favorably to your brand messaging, which helps you determine where you should funnel those vital marketing monies. For example, a brewery might show two iterations of beer bottle labels to a group of consumers to see which groups respond better to which design.
  • Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes
    We already mentioned that making assumptions can be detrimental to your target market studies, but using a little bit of empathy can go a really long way. Ask yourself what pain points or problems your product fixes, and then determine who is most likely to benefit from it. Take it a few steps further by asking yourself what kind of person would pay for your product or service and at what stage in life or the buyer’s journey they’re most likely to pull the trigger.
  • Engage Online and Off
    Using social media, blogs and e-mail marketing, you can reach your existing customer base or potential customers and send out regular customer surveys, but you also want to make sure you’re getting to know your clients offline, too. Every time you get face-to-face time with a potential customer, whether at a trade show or in a brick-and-mortar store during a demo, make sure that you take the opportunity as a way to learn more about your audience. Ask questions, identify pain points and record the data every time.

The most important thing to note when entering the target market research phase is that you may have to spend a bit of money at the outset for things like market research and promotions, but at the end of the day, targeted marketing has the potential to bring back a huge return on investment. Start by using the tools you already pay for — digital analytics and your current customers, for example — before shelling out for outside help.

Guest Post: About the Author

Kurt started Blanco in 1996 after working in the label industry for more than 10 years.  As a Salesman, Sales Manager, then Vice President of Sales for Southern Atlantic Label in Chesapeake, VA he gained a strong knowledge of the label and printing industry. Following Southern Atlantic , Kurt was Vice President of Sales at Custom Printed Products in Shreveport Louisiana. Kurt has experience with most every known Pressure Sensitive Label application, and is very involved in Production and Marketing at Blanco.

Need to increase your marketing budget?. IOU Financial can help with the funding you need to grow.  Contact us today to inquire about getting working capital up to $300,000 in less than 48 hours.

Reasons Why You are Missing out on Customers

In order for your to have a successful business, you need to be growing and innovating. However, it is impossible to grow without sales from new customers. Consider if these three reasons can be preventing you from attracting new customers through the doors (or on the site) of your business and what you can do to change!

You Don’t Have an Online Presence

You may have a brick or mortar location, but if you don’t have an online presence, that can be a big reason for your lack of new customers. One source found that 85 percent of individuals search for businesses online before ever stepping foot into the door of a local business. That means that if you don’t have a website, you are losing out on 85 out of every 100 new customers that have the potential of growing your profits!

The first step to correct this issue is to create a website, which can be easier than you think. There are free online sites, such as WordPress and Wix, which can get your site up and running within a day with easy to follow formats and directions.

In addition to the site, listing your business in online directories, such as Yelp and Citysearch, and on Google Maps allows it to be featured in online searches.

You Don’t Market Efficiently

You can have the best tasting food in your restaurant or the latest designs of clothing in your store, but if no one knows about it, you won’t have any sales. Consider ways you are marketing your business, if you do so at all.

Marketing has changed, and strategies that worked in previous decades are now outdated and often expensive. Television and billboard ads cost thousands of dollars and likely don’t target your audience!

Instead, learn about your customers to find the best ways to reach them with your marketing efforts. Gather customer data to find out what their interests are, where they spend their time on and offline and other demographic information. Once you have this, you can advertise in those places (websites, little league games, online communities, etc.)

You Don’t Offer a Seamless Shopping Experience

Unless your products and services are so unique that they can’t be found anywhere else, you must do something innovative to set your business apart from the competition. One of the things you should consider focusing on is customer service, as the newest generation of shoppers, millennials specifically, highly values the customer experience.

Many retail locations are focusing their retail strategy on creating an omnichannel integration, fusing their online and brick and mortar presences. This makes it easy for customers to have an experience with your brand that is similar via ecommerce or through traditional shopping, allowing them to search for in-store inventory online, order online and pick up in store or look up their shopping history in the store. The easier and more efficiently you allow shoppers to purchase your items, the more word will spread and you will see new customers piling in!

If you would like to focus on reaching new customers but do not have the finances for this endeavour, IOU Financial can help. Contact us about our easy and quick small business loans at www.ioufinancial.com