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The top 10 business promotional tools

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Marketing Strategy |The top 10 business promotional tools Every business should have a carefully-selected arsenal of promotional tools at their disposal. Investigating and researching each one is just one way of creating a smart and savvy marketing strategy that is tailored around their business’s needs. Some might be suitable for one business, whereas others may be completely redundant – and might even form a bit of stumbling block in their overall marketing strategy. With this is in mind, here are the best promotional tools to consider for your company.

SEO

Now infamously used to boost web pages up Google’s rankings, SEO is a technique that prioritizes relevant words (keywords) and links to similar pages (link building) to promote a website’s credibility. However, the playing field has gotten a little tougher over the years as Google has clamped down on pages that misuse these techniques. Using a company with expertise, such as this SEO provider will help you to avoid being penalized for overusing common SEO techniques.

Twitter

Twitter is a great middle-ground for businesses of all types: it’s a little bit creative, a little bit topical and its use of hashtags makes it ideal for promotion. If you’re looking to create a specific tone of voice for your business, using emojis and GIFs are a great way of adding humor and color to your page. It’s also a great way to conduct polls and interact with clients and customers to show a little bit of customer service.

Instagram

If you have physical products to offer or create eye-catching campaigns or designs, then you should absolutely be advertising your business on Instagram. In fact, the site claims that 60% of people discover a brand new product using their platform. Be sure to bring your A-game when it comes to high-resolution images: low-quality content will not get your business noticed for the right reasons.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is built for businesses and online networking, and so it really is worth putting your business on there to connect with other people in your industry. Not only that, but if you have job vacancies, you can use this platform to promote the job advert from in-house, so it will be seen by potential enthusiastic employees. However, just because it’s a business social media site doesn’t mean that your page should be uniform and basic. Make sure you fill your profile with videos, blogs, relevant content and update your picture and banner to branded imagery.

Facebook

If you have a physical shop of premises with opening hours, then you would be missing out on a trick by not using Facebook’s business page tools. Not only does it showcase your opening hours, but it also uses a messenger function to pre-empt frequently asked questions. It’s worth also noting that the Facebook algorithm prioritizes posts with numerous likes and comments – so encourage your visitors and followers to like and share.

Word of mouth

Never forget the old methods of promotion: good word of mouth. Your business should aim to be the ‘have you seen’ or ‘have you heard of’ on everyone’s lips. Offering customers a ‘recommend to a friend’ discount is just one way to encourage word of mouth, on top of delivering an excellent quality of service.

Networking

Yet another traditional method of promotion, networking works by offering a genuine personal touch. In the same way that many people would prefer to be called or visited rather than emailed, going out to trade fairs or out into the community to chat to like-minded customers or professionals adds a personal touch to your company’s name, stopping you from being just a faceless brand.

Customer service

Customer service should be in every business’s promotional armory, and yet it’s so often neglected. There’s nothing that damages a business’s credibility more than the knowledge that they handle customer queries and complaints poorly. Training your customer service team and anyone who might be answering phone calls to interact with customers efficiently and with a friendly manor will do wonders for the aforementioned positive word of mouth. At the very least, perhaps installing a chatbot to your website will give the illusion of a full customer service team, as it will answer any queries that visitors may have.

A good website

Having a website that’s poorly maintained or clunky to use is like inviting a visitor into a messy building. Nowadays people exist more virtually than ever, which means that your website should uphold your business’s image and branding just as much as your premises would. Investing in a web designer to create aesthetically pleasing page furniture, a site map and an appealing and helpful ‘about’ section will be brilliant for visitors who want to know a little bit more about what you have to offer. As with any social media page, it should be full of eye-catching imagery and interesting content about what you have to offer. If you have the capacity to do so, it might be wise to upload a video about your business, and maybe introduce the team who are behind it.

Also be sure to make sure your website is optimized for mobile use. Most online users browse the web using their smartphones, which means a clunky and PC-only website will make your business look out of date, as well as inaccessible.

A blog

If you want to show your expertise and passion as a business, then a blog is a great place to start. Writing regular industry posts will showcase your knowledge as a brand, and prove your ability to deliver accurate information about your profession. Not only that, but high-quality content is far more likely to get shared by online users, which means your company will get a big promotion in the process.

Not all of these promotional tools will be suitable for your business – after all, if you are starting up an accountancy firm, why would you use Instagram? Being selective and doing your research on your industry will ensure that any platforms or methods you take full advantage of will be used to the best of their ability.

How To Keep Your Employees Happy

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article |Employee Culture|How To Keep Your Employees Happy If you are keen to grow your business, there will most likely come a time when you are no longer able to do everything by yourself, and you will need to hire people to help you. This is an exciting time, but there is a lot to consider before you take anyone on. Apart from the obvious need to be able to pay everyone on time each month or week, you also need to make sure that your employees are happy.

Happy employees are more loyal, more productive, and more healthy than those who are unhappy in their jobs. It makes sense to keep your employees as happy as possible, and here are some of the ways to do it.

Keep Them Involved

Something that can often cause employees to feel unhappy is when they don’t feel involved in the business. Although as a boss you may not want to tell everyone what is happening all of the time, it is wise to keep them informed of the details that do involve them, or that they might be able to help with.

When you let people know what is happening around and within the business, they will feel more involved, and they will also feel more like part of a team. They will be more engaged in the business, and will often work harder, coming up with ideas to help if they know what issues or plans you are dealing with.

One way to do this is to send out a weekly email to everyone, detailing anything that might have happened that they need to be aware of. Alternatively, you could plan a meeting once a week where these details are discussed.

A Comfortable Office

Unless your employees work from home, you are going to need to have a comfortable office space for them to work in. It should be large enough for everyone to have their own space if need be, and include meetings room if you often have to host meetings for clients, staff, or suppliers.

Sunlight is another important factor; the more sunlight people can be in contact with, the better. It keeps them happy, but also keeps them healthy so they will take fewer sick days, and your business won’t be disrupted. Make sure there are windows in your office, or that your employees can go outside for breaks.

Ergonomic furniture such as chairs and desks, plenty of breaks throughout the day in a real break room, and an office that is clean and tidy in a good location that is easy to get to is also to be considered. Serviced offices can be the ideal way to find the right space, and you can view more here to see what is on offer.

Give Them The Right Tools

Employees want to do their job, and they want to do it well. For this to happen, they will need the right tools and equipment. If you don’t provide what they need, not only will they not be able to do their job, but they will feel unhappy in general, and they won’t want to stay with the company. Hiring new people is an expense in terms of both money and time, and keeping your current employees is a much better option.

Each different person will need different tools for their job, so make sure that you have these in place for when the role is filled. If anything is missing, make sure that your employees are happy to let you know, and that you can get what they need as soon as possible, within reason.

Don’t Give Them Big Goals To Reach

It’s important that your employees have goals that will enhance the business, but if you give them too many tasks to complete or goals that are too big, they will feel overwhelmed and unhappy. Even if they are capable of doing the work, they may not feel that you are listening to them, and they could become unproductive anyway.

The best way to ensure that everyone is happy and not being given too much to handle at work is to break everything down into smaller pieces. That way, the jobs will be more readily completed, and the sense of achievement that comes with this will push the employee to do even more, to be proud of themselves, and to be happy in their work.

Recognize Their Progress

If someone who works for you is doing a good job, let them know. They will appreciate the fact that you have noticed what they are doing, and this will usually make them work even harder, going above and beyond what has been asked of them.

When you acknowledge someone, do it in a way that will make them feel comfortable. They might like others to know what they have done so that you can call them out in front of their colleagues. They might prefer a quiet chat in your office behind closed doors. They might like to receive a store coupon or a voucher for a nice meal out. Everyone is different, so knowing your employees is important.

Trust Them

When employees know that you trust them, they will be much happier in their work. You can show your trust by delegating tasks to them; this proves that you believe your employees can do the work that you would normally do, and this is an important step.

Remember not to micromanage when you delegate, as this will have the opposite effect, and could upset your employees. Let them get on with the task at hand, and if they have any problems or issues ensure they know they can come to you with questions and ask for advice.

Even if you have no tasks to delegate, or you don’t think your staff is ready to do the work just yet, asking their opinion about something can be just as effective a way of showing your trust. You don’t have to implement all of their ideas, but asking is a good first step.

Alternative Development Best Practice 2 – Organizationally Developed Options

It’s hard to find an executive who doesn’t believe that his or her people are significant assets and a competitive advantage for the company. Why then are so few employees involved in the strategic planning process? Engaging employees gains their ‘rubber meets the road’ customer and process experiences and earns buy-in it for the plan’s implementation. Therefore, employee involvement in strategic planning is a win-win proposition; the only question remaining is when and where in the process to involve them.


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Additional Information

For an illustrative model of an organization’s hierarchical roles and responsibilities, see StrategyDriven’s Strategic Organizational Alignment model.

For additional insights to the involvement of managers and employees in the alternative development process, listen to the StrategyDriven’s special edition podcast, An Interview with Nilofer Merchant, author of The New How.

Every Strategy Is Different

Just like no two fingerprints are the same, no two businesses will be identical. There may only be minor differences, but these can make a big difference when it comes to planning a marketing strategy. What is right for one company can be totally the wrong thing for another, but sometimes you just have to try various things and monitor them to see which is working best for you.

Using An Agency Or Do It Yourself?

You may think that using an agency is outside of your budget although, to be honest, they are usually very good at putting strategies together. Doing it yourself might not be too bad if you have some knowledge about the different areas of marketing and know something about programming your website to do exactly what you want. You may find the website at Javabeat.Net very useful in this respect, as it has a lot of information and tutorials to help you.

There will be some aspects you will find easier than others in any marketing campaign, social media being one of the simplest for you to handle.

Let Social Media Help You

Social media is a brilliant marketing tool and should be part of any strategy to help your business. It can be time-consuming, which is why some people employ others to manage it for them, but nothing else will give you such a large reach or as much interaction with your customers. There are analytical tools to help you monitor which of the social media platforms are working for you as well, and that can be extremely useful information to have.

Emails Could Be The Answer

Sending regular emails is something else that you could do yourself. You need to make sure they are engaging and interesting for anyone to read, which is why many companies use a newsletter format. There are programs such as MailChimp, which enables you to send the same email to thousands of people at the push of a button.

Both emails and social media are strategies that could help your business and that you could do yourself if you wanted.

An Effective Website

Just as Javabeat.Net can help you with many aspects of your website, there are tools on the market that will help you to initially set up a website yourself in about an hour. It is not as difficult as some people think, and although it might not look quite so professional until you have made enough money to pay an agency, it can be a good way to start.

Your website can be the first impression a potential customer has of your brand, so keep it simple in its looks and precise in its content if you want them to stay for more than a few seconds.

The problem that many new businesses have is cash flow, and until the sales start to happen that does not improve. The strategy you use to market your business will not be the same as anyone else’s but should make your brand stand out from all your competitors.