5 Smart Mobile Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

5 Smart Mobile Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Did you know nine out of 10 adults in the U.S. have a cellphone, and more than half of those are smartphones?

As a small business, it can be difficult to keep up with the evolution of technology. But as the number of people using mobile devices for shopping continues to grow, not having an effective mobile marketing strategy is a sure-fire way to lose business and revenue.

To help you keep up with the current trends, and to better connect with your mobile customer base, take a look at these five smart mobile marketing tips for small businesses:

Set Specific Goals. If you’re unfamiliar with the world of mobile marketing, it can be daunting to take the first move into this new and unknown digital world. But like any new venture for your business, 042115 PDRA_MM_500the initial step is to set goals and to tie them into your existing marketing plan. Determine exactly what you want your mobile marketing launch or website app to accomplish – both short and long term:

  • Will it promote a special offer?
  • Build brand awareness?
  • Sell more products and services?
  • Drive traffic to your website?

 

Keep It Easy To Read And Navigate. When launching a mobile app or website, one of the most important things to consider is that it absolutely must be easy to read on a smartphone, iPad or tablet. Because these devices are smaller, the bold and flashy HTML-based format you would generally use on computers simply doesn’t work anymore. Not only are simple and straightforward mobile web pages more visually appealing, but they’ll run faster, too. It’s a general rule-of-thumb that if a webpage takes more than three seconds to fully load,042115 PDRA_MM2_500 your potential customer might get frustrated and leave before it even opens.

Mobile Coupons. Treat your new mobile customers to a special gift for using your brand new app with an incentive program, exclusive coupon or first-purchase discount. Customers will be thrilled to receive these special perks and will likely check back more often for more exciting promotions from your business.

Get Social. Social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have become notorious for giving people an outlet for constant sharing. Use this to your advantage by giving them something extra special to share by providing giveaways and special offers for fans and followers that “like,” “retweet,” “pin” or comment on your promotions. This desire to share and connect can be a powerful tool in gaining loyal customers and growing your mobile webpage or app.

Give Users an Opt-Out Option. As unfortunate as it may be, there will be times that a customer decides they no longer want to receive notifications from your business. Whether it’s for your e-blast, coupon or mobile newsletter, give your users a clear opt-out option for their convenience.

 

Five Effective Ways to Build Customer Rapport

Creating trusting relationships is crucial in all areas of the business world, and especially when it comes to customers. You could be the most passionate and knowledgeable paint and decorating retailer in your city, but if your customers and clients don’t trust you, you probably won’t receive their business.

Independent retailers, however, have an advantage when it comes to building rapport with customers. Since independent shops are generally smaller, salespeople have more time and freedom to make lasting connections, create brand advocates and – ultimately – increase retention. And because of the local nature of your business, the opportunity for positive word-of-mouth is much greater.

To help you and your employees hone in on your rapport-building skills, take a look at these 5 effective tips.

Match Their Style. Within the first few moments of 041515 BuildRapport_400 (3)approaching a customer in your store, take a few seconds to try to gauge their communication style. Does it seem like they’re in an open, friendly mood, or do you get the impression they would rather side-step the small talk and get down to business? Every customer is different and some might not have a lot of time to politely talk about the weather before explaining what they need to purchase. They’ll appreciate if you match their style to make their shopping experience as quick and efficient or as relaxing and leisurely as possible.

Get To Know Them. From the moment the customer walks into your store, your first priority should always be to make them feel welcome and special. If the person is open to chatting (see No. 1), there is a great opportunity to build a strong foundation by asking their name and learning a little bit about them. Actively listen to their wants, needs, projects and problems in a friendly way so they’ll know you’re not only there to help, but that they can come back for more excellent service in the future with someone who knows their entire story.

Body Language. Let your customers know you’re actively engaged in what they’re saying by presenting open body language. Face your body towards 041515 Rapport_HappyFaces_400 (3)theirs and nod along while they’re explaining their wants and needs. Since 55 per cent of your communication comes through non-verbal elements like gestures, facial expressions and posture, your customers can easily tell whether the salesperson is actually interested in what they’re saying. By remaining engaged in the conversation, your body language will tell your customers that you’re a good listener and value their business.

Solve Problems Before Selling Products. One of the best ways to build rapport with customers is to solve before you sell. If a person comes into your store with a particular issue and has a salesperson pushing unhelpful products on them, it could result in the loss of not only a sale, but also a future customer and the repercussions of bad word-of-mouth. However, if a customer notices the salesperson is offering helpful suggestions before and beyond a purchase, they’ll trust that you’re in the business to help them instead of simply making a sale – and likely pass along the good word.

Follow Up & Stay Connected. Building rapport with clients and customers doesn’t always happen in one visit. Take the time to send follow-up emails asking your customers how they enjoyed their product or how a certain project turned out. And if you have social media accounts, pay attention to the comments and direct messages from customers and inquirers, as most people use them as a way of communication with businesses they love. Social media engagements are a great way to not only market your business, but also maintain relationships with customers outside of the store.

 

Five Ways to Send an Eco-Friendly Message this Earth Day

The fresh spring season is in full swing, and with it comes one of the most important and widely celebrated days of the year – Earth Day!

Honoring the earth is a smart way to not only benefit the environment, but your small business. By making small changes to the way you run and operate your company, you can consistently send an eco-friendly message to clients, customers, colleagues, employees and your community.

Here are five ideas that will not only help reduce your carbon footprint this season, but strengthen your brand and reputation. Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22.

Embrace Online Marketing. E-marketing is quickly becoming the best way to run campaigns and advertise your business. Not only is this technological advancement more eco-friendly since it significantly040815 EarthDay_500 reduces the amount of paper waste, but it’s a huge advantage for small businesses because it’s also incredibly cost-effective. Social media, e-blasts and newsletters are inexpensive ways to connect with your clients and customers in a smart and tree-free way.

If You Must, Use Recycled Paper. In certain situations, it’s simply impossible to cut out paper completely. However, a great way to send an eco-friendly message is to use recycled paper or paper made from post-consumer materials. For important marketing pieces like brochures or business cards, a fantastic way to easily demonstrate and promote your eco-commitment is to pay the extra few dollars for greener, more environmentally-friendly paper. As an added bonus, its natural look and unique texture is sure to impress recipients.

Promote Local Vendors & Artisans. Working with local vendors and artisans is a great green business practice because it connects you with more members of your community and greatly reduces the impact of carbon emissions from the long-distance deliveries of products. Whether you team up with painters, crafters or designers, your customers will love having access to unique home decor pieces from the community.

Invest in Green Products. Going green doesn’t mean you or your customers have to sacrifice in the quality of paint and decorating products. The market for eco-friendly paint has grown tremendously and most brands offer eco-friendly options that aren’t as harsh and detrimental to the environment as some of the others. Make sure your store offers a wide range of paint products so you’re sure to appeal to the eco-conscious consumer.

Donate To A Good Cause. Earth Day is the perfect time to make a charitable donation to an environmental cause. If promoted and communicated in an efficient way, your customers and community members will also love taking part in the initiative and it will greatly reinforce your commitment to being a great, green eco-friendly business.

5 Traits Every Small Business Owner Should Strive For

Running an independent business is hard work. Running a successful independent business is even harder.

If there’s one thing setting your company apart, however, it’s you – the business owner.

But as you’ve probably realized over the years, nobody’s perfect. And there’s always room for improvement. So whether you’re just starting out or already counting down the days to retirement, here are five traits every small business owner should strive for.

Passion.Passion_400 033115 Passion is perhaps one of the most important traits a business owner can have. If you don’t have an overall sense of pleasure, happiness and enjoyment when you’re clocking in those long hours, you will burn out, fade away or both. Also, passion is contagious. It will motivate your coworkers to go above and beyond and keep your customers coming back for years.

Tenacity. Whether you own a restaurant, a pet store or a paint and decorating shop, there will come a time when business isn’t as great as you would like. No matter the cause of the lull, the one thing that will get you through this tough time is your tenacity. Successful business owners are not easily defeated and often find ways to see failures as opportunities for growth and success.

Outside Abilities. In today’s highly digital world, simply handing out promotional flyers to attract customers to your business isn’t going to cut it. Small business owners, no matter which industry they’re in, have to hone in on their various skills to ensure success. Entrepreneur_400 033115Whether it’s social media savvy, marketing expertise or an eye for design, take full advantage of your arsenal of talents. And, of course, never be afraid to pick up new ones.

Flexibility. Successful business owners know that it’s important to stay flexible and open to the market changes around them. No matter what kind of business you own, there’s a good chance that everything is done differently now than it was 10 – or even five – years ago. The ability to adapt will keep your business fresh, present and open to new challenges while establishing your brand as an industry leader.

Confidence. Whether your goals are to strengthen your social media presence or increase your monthly sales target, the most important trait you should have as a business owner is confidence. You have to believe in yourself, your company and what it is you’re selling. If you don’t, who else will? If your business has grown from a place of passion and confidence, all of your goals will be succeeded.

 

5 Paint Colors to Freshen up Your Home This Spring

With its fresh blossoms, warm breezes and the essence of new beginnings, it’s no wonder spring is one of the most popular seasons of the year. Springtime_500 032415And while most people use springtime to clean their homes and businesses, another fabulous benefit of this fresh new season is that it’s the perfect opportunity to revamp the look of your home with trendy and stylish spring shades of paint.

In the spirit of renewal, here are five of the most swoon-worthy paint colors to add style and sophistication to your home decor.

Coral. If you’re looking for a way to add a bright punch of color to a room in your home this spring, feminine and vivacious coral might be your perfect pick. While it’s currently trending in both fashion and home decor, one of the most special qualities about coral is that it has an incredible amount of versatility with design – it’s traditional and vintage, yet elegantly modern. Whether you use this endlessly gorgeous shade in your bedroom, sunroom or living room, it’s sure to add a fun touch to your home.

Sandy beige. Create drama, allure and a sense of overall calmness in your home with a classic sandy beige. While spring is all about fresh colors and bright shades, a classic neutral can be all it takes to take your home from winter-induced drab to a fresh, renewed fab. To make the most of this artisan-like color, designers suggest using it in a room that has a good amount of natural light or it can become too dark and dreary. It looks especially fabulous with a punch of color from a bookcase or accent wall.

Caribbean blue. Few shades are more BM_CaribbeanBlueWater_500 032415 (1)inspirational and relaxing than an ocean water-like blue. A perfect contender for your living room, kitchen or home office, this bright, clean color is ideal for spring re-decorating because it’s modern yet traditional enough that it’ll never go out of style. For a fresh, rejuvenated shade, we love the crisp look of Benjamin Moore’s Caribbean Blue Water.

Tangerine. Zestful and loud (in a good way!), this bright and cheerful shade is the perfect choice for people looking to add a bold statement with their decor. While it’s gorgeous in its most vibrant and saturated intensity, tangerine is best used as an accent wall in a dark room or can be less intense when used for entire walls in a quieter, more muted shade. Whether you like it completely vibrant or a little on the subtle side, a sweet tangerine is the perfect compliment for the airy vibrance of the spring season.

Cream. Some things in life are simply classic, and a rich, velvety cream is most certainly one of them. We love this shade because while totally neutral, it has a fresh, clean essence that completely captures the spring season. Whether paired with a coral, sandy beige, caribbean blue or tangerine accent wall, this complimentary shade envelops you with a calm, relaxed feeling that will stay in style every season.

5 Surefire Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

Whether you’re an elementary school teacher, an accountant or a marketing assistant, most professionals have felt the pressure and anxiety of not accomplishing every bullet on their lengthy daily to-do lists. When you’re a small business owner, the stresses can multiply 10-fold. The success of your business relies not only on you being there, but on you being organized, efficient and productive.

To help you learn how to own the day, we’ve compiled a list of five surefire ways to increase productivity at work.

Know Your Rhythm. Every person is different, and PDRA_Productivity2_400 031015knowing your body’s natural timetable of optimum energy can make a world of a difference in your daily productivity. If you find that you work best first thing in the morning, try to accomplish the most important and complex tasks during that time. And if you’re a night owl, you might find it helpful to do some non-office work before hitting the sack.

Work Means Work. One of the biggest mistakes a small business owner can make is trying to combine work with relaxation, such as watching TV or socializing. Since both activities require a significant amount of attention to detail, the odds of you being fully present in the important tasks is low. By keeping the television off and having designated professional working time, you’ll be more productive and better able to relish in the actual relaxation time when the work day is over.

Limit Distractions. While some people can work with constant social media PDRA_Productivity_500 031015browsing, the majority of working professionals simply can’t. Make a rule to only check Facebook and Twitter when highly prioritized tasks are completed or reserve a few extra minutes of your break time to catch up on the latest news. It’s also helpful to limit more obvious distractions, like your desk clutter. For a simple brain and energy boost, give your work space a nice clean – you’ll be amazed at how fresh and rejuvenated you’ll feel when you de-clutter.

Health Comes First. When your energy goes downhill, your mood and productivity will inevitably go down with it. Your health is one of the biggest factors in the success of your business because you take it with you wherever you go. Make a commitment to yourself by getting enough sleep, exercising once a day, drinking lots of water and eating fresh, healthful foods. When you take care of yourself, everything in your life – including your business – will be well taken care of, too.

Have An Exit Strategy. There’s a reason why journalists have an incredible knack for getting things done in time – it’s because the pressure of a set deadline is a powerful motivator. If you set in stone the time you plan on leaving for the day and prioritize based on that, you’ll feel that constant push to ensure you complete all of your tasks before the time is up. The same technique can be used for individual projects or items on your to-do list.

 

The Power of Online Contests

If you’re on social media (and by now, we sincerely hope that you are!) you’ve probably come across online contests of all types. Whether they’re offering a trip for two to Barbados, a free iPad Mini or a $100 gift card for a particular store, these contests are one of the well-known and most effective marketing techniques of the digital age.

PDRA_SocialMediaContest1_500 030315As social media and online networking continues to grow for business owners, online contests and sweepstakes have become a wildly successful way to attract a slew of new Facebook friends, Twitter followers and potential customers. Not only are contests an exciting way to build a new fan base, but they can be great for engaging with potential customers, building awareness about new products and compiling an audience for future content. When set up correctly, your contest can also be a great way to gather market research from the contestants.

If you want to learn more about this successful marketing technique, as well as the best and most effective ways to executing a successful online contest, we encourage you to check out our Online Contest Webinar. PDRA_SocialMediaContests2_400 030315Complete with successful examples and the important rules and regulations of online contests, this fascinating webinar is free for members and $50 for non-members.

For more information about The Power of Online Contests, and our other educational webinars, click here.

5 Ways To Make The Most of Social Media

It’s hard to believe, but once upon a time social media was nothing PDRA_SM_500more than a way to kill time and keep in touch with distant friends and relatives.

But as the world becomes more digital, social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest have become powerful tools for effective marketing. According to a recent study, 91 per cent of small businesses utilize social media as a way to communicate with customers and increase sales. Read more

Five Essential Tools to Master the Art of Upselling

Whether it’s that delicious donut with your morning coffee or the contemporary accent chair to complement your new sofa set, chances are you’ve experienced the art of upselling as a consumer. PDRA_Upsell2_500As an independent retailer in the paint and decorating industry, upselling is important to not only boost your bottom line, but also to establish your small business as more than just a paint store. Read more

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