Marketing Crypt Tales: Are You Just Earning the Badge?

How Will COVID-19 Impact Holiday Shopping?

COVID-19 is a global crisis that has affected economies, supply chains and retailers around the world. Your customers’ purchasing decisions this fall/winter may look completely different from what they did last year.

As marketers, we’ve had to pivot our strategies in the face of COVID-19.

Those tried-and-true marketing tactics that worked for us before may not anymore. No matter what type of small business you have, it’s crucial to realize that because the retail landscape has shifted, your holiday marketing plan must too.

Take a look at these recent stats from Think with Google:

  • 56% of Canadian shoppers say the pandemic will affect how they’ll shop for the holidays this year. Almost 65% of those who plan to shop this season said they will shop online more than they did in previous seasons.
  • 73% say they will browse for gift ideas online and not in-store.

So as we head into the 2020 holiday shopping season, here are 3 ways to ensure your small business stands out from the competition and reaches your target audience effectively.

1. Embrace communication.

Communication is always important, and even more so when customers may have health and safety concerns around in-person shopping.

Contactless buying and curb side pickup are already incredibly popular, so expect that to continue into the holidays and beyond.

As part of your holiday marketing plan, think about how you can share these types of advantages with your customers, whether it’s a blog or adding keywords like “curb side pickup” to your social media posts and paid ads.

Before you share your seasonal messaging with people, make sure your inventory is up to date. Many shoppers will be searching online for products or services with the keywords “available near me” before heading out.

You don’t want someone to drive over to your shop because they saw a trendy toy on your website or loved an outfit they saw was “available near me,” only to arrive and find out that you don’t actually have it in stock.

I’m sure there are many other examples of how COVID-19 will impact holiday shopping.

READ: How to Create an Email Marketing Campaign Your Audience Will Love

An email newsletter campaign can be an essential part of your marketing plan, and not just during the holidays.

Sending consistent newsletters to your followers gives you the ability to develop a “Know, Like and Trust” relationship with them that will dramatically increase your brand visibility and market reach.

Yet many business owners and entrepreneurs pass up this golden opportunity to build relationships and increase sales. Are you one of them?

I’m sharing some reasons why your small business should create an email marketing campaign and offering tips to help you increase open rates.

Read more on our website.

2. Think local and lightweight shopping.

While lockdown shopping boosted Amazon’s revenues by 40%, many consumers have been trying to shop locally as much as possible. According to BDC’s research, 97% of Canadian consumers choose to buy local to support the local economy.

This isn’t about just pushing local products or services on your target audience. It’s about telling your brand story, whether you’ve been serving customers in the same small town for 40 years or are a new startup supporting charitable seasonal initiatives.

Become part of your community, and make sure that whatever you’re selling locally provides real value to your customers. People do want to support local businesses this season, but that doesn’t mean they’ll sacrifice quality or convenience.

During the 2020 holiday shopping season, also think “lightweight.” The majority of Canadians will be home in December, rather than travelling to see family or going on a vacation. Consider what that means for gift-giving:

  • Consumers will likely be looking for small gifts to ship to loved ones that they can’t see in person.
  • People will be receptive to free or discounted shipping offers.
  • Gift certificates and gift cards could be the most popular presents of 2020.

Are there some ways you can target your audience with lightweight and local products this year?

3. Adjust your offerings.

I spoke above about the shift to more lightweight gifts, but what about the gifts themselves?

With so many homebound families this year, people who previously bought things like vacations, tickets to events or formal shoes/clothing as gifts will need some other ideas.

Think about how you can reach your target audience with replacements for gifts that don’t make sense in the current climate.

For example:

  • An entrepreneur in the hospitality industry could offer an “experience in a box” for customers who can’t travel right now.
  • A clothing retailer could focus more on casually chic clothing people can wear in or out of the home, rather than on high heels and festive dresses.
  • A sporting goods retailer could highlight solo sports like skiing and swimming in newsletter campaigns, to encourage socially distancing folks to get out into nature.

How can you adjust your offerings to give your customers something unique and timely in the 2020 holiday shopping season?

I like to always say that with big challenges come big opportunities. While we’ll have to wait and see exactly how COVID-19 impacts holiday shopping, we do know that the better prepared we are as small business owners, the better!

I hope this Holiday Marketing Guide for Business helps you have a successful season!

To your business success,

Susan

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Small Business Finance – How to Avoid Sneaky Business Investments

Today, more people are faring well in their efforts to build small businesses. Many are creating incomes that support their desired lifestyle of more freedom and more fun. Amidst top line sales growth, entrepreneurs are still missing the mark when it comes to investment choices to grow the bottom line. The following tips will help when deciding how to use cash flow for investing.

Steer Clear of Emotional Spending

To protect yourself from getting caught up in investing hype, keep a level head throughout the process. Never weigh your final decision on what finances will be like once the investment goes through. Instead, take into account questions like: What will the investment produce? Do the numbers show that it is a solid opportunity? Is it in line with my values and goals? Usually if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Be Patient on the Road to Riches

Being impatient in growing your money can make you a prime candidate for get rich schemes. Instead learn to separate the good from the bad investment opportunities before you put in the work, time, and money. Be willing to accept the fact that most success stories are not made overnight. You have to be willing to put in the work in order to get the harvest that you desire.

Get the Right Information

Another mistake that will impact financial returns is not having the right information to make good decisions. Becoming an informed investor is key to success. Do the research and gather the facts. Don’t just rely on the recommendation of a friend or associate.

Ask the Pros

The profits that you earn and save represent the effort that you put into creating income so use them wisely. Have standards for every investment and stick to markets that you are familiar with. For opportunities outside your expertise get wise counsel. You’ll be better equipped to make the best decisions possible with expert financial advice.

Identify False Claims

Sometimes no matter how much you evaluate opportunities and feel that the deal is right, the reality is there will always be some type of risk associated with an expected return. In these cases, designate an amount of cash that you are willing to invest and the level of risk that you are willing to assume. Plan for investment alternatives so that if you miss the mark, you can rebound. Your job as a wise money manager is to know your limits and stay to them within reason.

Using cash flow in the best way possible is crucial to attaining your financial goals. Become better at managing money in your business by subscribing to my free monthly financial tips here.

How To Grow And Scale Your Business Quickly

Do you want to scale your business quickly? Then it’s time to recognize what your customers want and give it to them.

A customer-centered “outside-in” perspective is a great way to rethink and redesign your business. It allows you to stay ahead of the competition and respond to changes. This approach will help you understand the evolving needs of your customers and come up with innovate ideas to serve their needs.

Working From The “Outside-In”

Often, business owners get caught up in internal matters and lose focus on the changing market. However, by working from outside-in, you’ll bring a new perspective to your business. You’ll have different insights and experiences that will help you approach your marketing from a different angle. An outside-in approach will infuse your marketing strategies with fresh and unexpected ideas.

It’s common to get the tunnel vision, and sometimes this is unavoidable. It happens especially when we’re very close to a project. You invest your time, emotions, and money in your business, and it becomes hard to see things clearly.

Although you may have a clear idea of who your target market is, one small change in the way you segment your target market can significantly improve your revenue and profits. The new perspective brings improvement.

Break Out From Your Comfort Zone

It’s clear that if you want to build something great you have to break from your comfort zone, and an outside-in marketing perspective will definitely disrupt that comfort zone. It’ll shake things up and change the assumptions you have about what will work and what won’t work. It’ll help you market your business in a different, unique way and you’ll truly stand out.

It’s normal to take certain things for granted and these things could be the differentiators that could make customers line up to purchase what you’re offering. Also, it’s common to be having a differentiator that isn’t setting you apart. However, breaking out of the comfort zone by adopting an outside perspective will help you see your company more clearly and you’ll do everything possible to create a more effective strategy.

Understand Your Customers

Adopting an outside perspective can help you fully research your customers and you’ll be able to understand them inside and out. You’ll be able to speak the customers’ language instead of using the words you use internally. And you’ll be able to showcase the benefits of your products and services in a manner that will help you land your ideal customers.

When working in an organization, it’s often hard to show the value of your products or services to those outside your organization. But a customer-centric perspective can help you solve that issue. This is the best approach to rethink and redesign your company. So if you want to build a successful and sustainable business, it’s time to adopt an outside-in perspective.

New Ideas For Small Business Holiday Marketing

2 seconds after Halloween it seems that all the retail stores put up their Christmas decorations – trying to capture as much of the Holiday market as possible. Typical ways that retail stores use to capitalize on the holidays include extended hours and sales. This is all well and good. Today I want to give you an early present by giving you some novel ways to think about holiday promotions.

Many people are fed up with holiday crowds, which is reflected in the growth of online sales and the decline of some traditional retailer’s sales. There also seems to be a trend towards buying fewer gifts, but those gifts tend to be higher-ticket luxury items.

In the type of marketing we all should be doing ,we start with the customer in mind. What do we know about people this time of year?

– Time is a commodity – there’s too much to do and too little time. – People have more shopping to do than they usually do. – People are under a tremendous amount of stress. – People tend to clean and decorate their houses.

These are just some of the factors affecting people during the holiday season. I’m sure you can think of many more. Take these things into consideration, and take the stance of being a giver.

Here’s an idea I’ve never seen (so I want credit if you use it). If you own a store, offer free gift wrap – nothing new there. While people are getting their gifts wrapped, they get a free chair massage? You could partner up with a local spa, or even a massage school who could also give every customer a promotional coupon. You save your customers time, take away their stress, and create a fusion marketing partnership with the spa.

If you are in a household service business, offer to do additional winterizing services for your customers to save them time. Offer a free holiday housecleaning. If you aren’t in the cleaning business – again team up with a cleaning service.

Give-aways are great. Give away free Christmas trees – depending on where you are you could buy a couple hundred for $10 a piece. The deal could be – spend $100 and take home a free tree. Give away turkeys, or complete turkey dinners – a lot of grocery stores have this promotion.

Everybody gives away calendars, aim for something different but still useful. How about ice-scrapers if you live in the north? Blankets, sweatshirts, caps – are all good promotional items when the weather turns cold.

Holiday cards are great. People enjoy getting them and displaying them. Hardly anybody sends Thanksgiving cards, definitely consider it. In this politically correct age (gasp) you have to be sensitive to people’s religious sensibilities. Send Happy Holidays cards and not Merry Christmas Cards – unless you are absolutely sure your customer celebrates Christmas.

If you have any kind of retail business, think about add-on gifts that might be used as a second gift. A florist might include a free gift-wrapped ornament with a certain level of purchase that can be sent to a different address. Two gifts for the price of one. Buy one get one free offers are great at holiday times.

Use your creativity this holiday season and think about how you can solve your customers’ problems.

Copyright 2005 Marketing Comet

The Best SEO Plan for 2020

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short is not something that you can do once and rest till eternity. The world’s biggest search engine Google keeps on updating their algorithm due to which you’ll find the top results for the same keyword changing after some time. Though this improves the experience of the people who are searching, as a website owner, one would have to keep making changes to their SEO efforts. Let us look how you can tackle the Google’s algorithm changes for SEO in 2020-

Finding New Keywords and Putting Them in Naturally

As the year progresses, new trends suddenly pop up, giving the whole world some new things, and some new words. For website owners, this gives them some new keywords. One must remember that keywords are probably the most integral part of one’s SEO, and finding new, useful keywords needs some good research and focus. Once you find them, use them in your website’s content as if they are naturally being integrated in it. In simple words, do not make it look as if you are grinding the keywords in your website’s content.

Linking Your Website Properly

Strong backlinks (wherein you link your website’s links in other websites) are still the forefront of off-page SEO. This helps you get more viewers into your website and make your website get a better Google ranking. Try and get your website back linked on websites which have a stronger authority to make a better impact. Secondly, do not keep a lot of outbound links because too much of them impact your ranking negatively. Also, concentrate on keeping relevant inter-website links in relevant articles. Try to get links from website such as:

Yellow pages: The Google for finding your business on local business.

TripAdvisor: Wonderful website to get local customer for hotels, restaurants, guest houses etc.

Whats On Web: Awesome web directory to promote your website for free. Select your niche and submit your website.

Content and Readability

Content is the main driving force behind getting people interested in your website. This time around, you should remember to make your content longer. The average words for the top Google searches is about 1900, keep that in mind. But remember, do not go for duplicate content just because you want to keep your word limit maintained. That does not bode well with Google apparently. Use Google Search Console to determine problems of such kind. Adding multimedia to your content helps a lot according to research. Finally, remember to check the feasibility of your website. Install Toast SEO in your WordPress website. It comes with a readability checker. Otherwise, use other such checkers available on the internet.

Healthier Website Performance

There are various things you can inculcate to improve your website’s performance. First and foremost check your website’s page loading speed. For that, use PageSpeed Insights for checking your website’s speed. Secondly, if you manually install any plugins, always check for malware as that might reduce your website’s loading speed by a lot. Thirdly, optimisation of your website’s visual content is also important. It is necessary that you place them on your website in such a way that every viewer of yours get to see it. It also bodes well with Google.

That is how you can improve your SEO efforts for 2020, keeping them in line with the newest Google algorithm.