| The Host With The Most – Running A Business Event

Posted in Marketing at 1:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

It’s easier than ever to start a business. It is easier than ever to run a business. It’s easier than ever to make money and it is easier than ever before to reach out to customers.

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It’s also easier than ever to market your business to a target audience. Promotional activities are key to the success of any business and should be a foundation of your day-to-day workload. What have you done today to make people aware of what you do and what you sell? You might be seriously missing out on sales if you aren’t shouting your name from the rooftops.

And thanks to the internet? You don’t need to do that. You just need to put the work in with SEO, social media and networking. Your business needs blogs, it needs content and it needs to share these to a target audience.

But what about marketing that takes place in the real world? It doesn’t just have to be big banners and campaigns. Simple networking events are the foundation of marketing in the real world and making connections – business to business. Of course, you can make waves in the real world as much as online but success is based on how well you can use every tool and every option – not how good you are in a single avenue!

One way you can market your business is not only by attending events, but hosting your own event.

The key to hosting is planning – plan your event well in advance of opening day and ask questions of it. Demand good answers of your ideas as well. Set your business goals in advance and then find ways that the path to these goals can be measured on the day of an event.

Then you’ve got to choose a place to host the event. Does it have the right facilities? Is it too big or too small? Do you need an indoor positioning system to map the conference hall for online mapping tools so people can find it on their phones? What about toilets? The best thing you can do with a venue is question it – not for the sake of being a questioner, but to ensure your hosting venue is right for your business.

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Invite the correct people, ideally the people you want to sell to and try to get some big names and other businesses in to either meet or deliver talks. Of course, give plenty of notice and market the event well over the correct channels.

When the big day arrives make sure everyone knows who is hosting the event – your brand needs to be on display here. Make yourself and your staff available to meet your audience and answer questions. Of course, cater well and make sure needs are met. Be sure to market on the day as well.

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Anyone who is anyone in business knows the value of a lead, so be sure to spend the days after the event following up on those who showed an interest in your business. You don’t want to waste a good event, now, do we?

| The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Whether you like it or not, digital marketing is something that every business needs to embrace if they want to create a profitable business that resonates with the customer. It’s almost mandatory to have a website, a social media account, and a listing in business directories if you have a physical location. If you want to get noticed, then you have to work for that attention.

To give you a hand, here are some of the fundamentals of digital marketing. Hopefully, you’ll be able to dispel some old myths you’ve been hearing and learn the tried and true strategies that will lead to a successful online presence.

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Paid Searching

 Paid searches are still the most commonly used form of paid advertising, and many websites base their entire marketing campaigns around it. How it works is simple; you request your website to be listed in advertisements on a website such as Google. You give them a budget and every time someone clicks on your links, you pay Google a set amount. In other words, you only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement links, making it a cost-effective way to get attention to your website from people who are actually interested in your subject material. Websites such as lightboxdigital.co.uk/ppc offer a much more in-depth description, so head over there if you’d like to learn more about paid searches.

 

Fresh Content

 A website isn’t going to get much traction if you don’t regularly update it with new content. Your website is going to be much easier to discover if you leave behind a trail of useful and informative content for your readers to find and search. The more useful pages your website has, the more likely you’ll be picked up by Google’s search robots and the more likely you will be linked to by other websites. This is one of the basic principles of search engine optimization. If you regularly update your website with new products and details, blog posts and discussions, you have more web pages that can be searched for by Google’s bots, giving you a higher search ranking because you’re becoming more of a relevant website to people’s searches. This article by kissmetrics.com has a lot of great tips on how to create fantastic fresh content for your website and is a great starting point.

 

Building a Social Media Presence

If you’re not keen on using social media, then you’re essentially turning down a large potential audience. Social media is used by millions around the world and it’s vital that you get used to using platforms such as Instagram and twitter.com if you want to be “hip” and attract attention from tech-savvy internet users. The idea behind social media is to reduce the communicative gap between your business and the consumers. Instead of requesting your customers to go through several channels in order to give you a message, social media closes that gap and allows them to interact with you on a personal and instant basis instead of waiting for emails. This gives your business some transparency and you’ll be able to show people that you care about supporting customers, giving feedback and speaking with fans about your latest products.

| 6 Phenomenal Places To Market Your Products Online

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

So you run a business, and you want to start heavily promoting your products on the Internet. You may think that a website is the only thing you need to sell online. For some traditional firms, they do pretty well online with just a site if they’re in an ultra-niche market. But, if your industry sector is a competitive one, you’ll need to do some more work to make your products more prominent in the marketplace.

By now, you’re perhaps wondering what are some of the best strategies to do that. Most people will tell you to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter profile, for instance.

But, there are quite a few places online to promote your goods. In fact, many of them might surprise you as you probably weren’t aware just how good a marketing option they could be! Want to find out more? Keep reading to learn more from these six examples!

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Pinterest

Users of the popular social networking site can save or “pin” images to “boards” in their accounts. Typically, the images are ones that come from websites. Each pin has a description of the web page, and users can categorize their pins by hashtags. Pinterest is great for sharing links to product pages on your site, and people can come across your content if it’s tied to a particular hashtag.

 

Groupon

Everyone loves a discount on the things that they buy! Groupon is a website where people can take advantage of special offers on a variety of products and services. As a Groupon merchant, you could push sales of a particular item you sell during a promotion. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to upsell to customers once they’re on your website!

 

Google Shopping

So you’ve splashed out on a new site from a professional web design agency, and you’re using it to sell online to your customers. The trouble is, how do you drive new buyers to your website if they’ve never heard of you before?

One neat trick is to take advantage of Google Shopping. It works on the AdWords platform, meaning you have to pay for your ads. But, it allows you to reach a broad audience: Google users!

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YouTube

How can a video help you to sell your products, you might be wondering? The thing is, it’s a proven fact that product videos can help companies sell their products! You could upload some videos showing your products in action. For instance, they could be clips showing how your goods solve a particular problem.

 

Trustpilot

One of the things that influence online shoppers is reading positive reviews about the products that interest them. Trustpilot is a secure review website and one that your company should be embracing! When customers buy from you, they can leave reviews of their experience on Trustpilot. Plus, you can embed those reviews onto your website.

 

eBay

You’ve already got a website to sell products and services, so why do you need eBay? The thing about eBay is that you’ve got a massive marketplace available to you.

By setting up an eBay “store”, you can mirror the product listings on your own website. When you ship an eBay customer’s product, you can include a leaflet advertising your site and perhaps a discount code for their first order!

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| How Do You Pull Off A Corporate Event That Invitees Will Love?

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

It’s no secret that corporate events are brilliant ways to network with potential new clients. It’s also an excuse for employees to socialize with those they deal with on a regular basis but have never met in person. As you can imagine, corporate events need as much planning and consideration just like wedding receptions or hosted dinner parties.

Are you in charge of setting up a new corporate event for your employer? Perhaps you run a business and want to host your first networking lunch? Whatever the reason, you will no doubt want the event to be a huge success! So, how can you pull off a corporate event that your invitees will love? Well, if you follow these strategies, you are more likely to end up with a positive result:

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Look For a Suitable Venue

You might think that you could just save money and host your corporate event in your meeting room at the office. But, that isn’t always a good idea! You need to consider a venue outside of the office, such as a hotel conference room or even a golf course. There aren’t any hard and fast rules about which venues are the best; you should just select one that is enticing and accessible to your invitees.

Talking about accessibility, does it offer step-free access for wheelchair users? Are there plenty of facilities such as toilets available? And is the venue easy to access if people don’t want to travel by car? Those are some of the considerations you need to make before booking a location.

 

Find Out What People Want To Eat

One of the things that attendees hate can also be the thing they love about events! Food is often central to any event; after all, there’s only such much business you can do before you need to refuel!

Have you thought about the types of food you wish to offer? If not, it’s worth asking people when you invite them. That way, they can tell you if they have any dietary requirements, such as needing meat-free meals or ones that don’t contain wheat and gluten.

Once you’re armed with that information, the next step is to find a catering supplier. They can take care of cooking all the meals you need and supplying the drinks for everyone to enjoy, soft or alcoholic. The vendor you use will depend on the type of corporate event you are running.

For example, if you’re organizing a networking lunch, a supplier that provides café services can help you out. However, if the event is in the evening, it’ll need to be someone that can provide a full service for you and your invitees.

 

Make the Event Fun

Last, but not least, it’s crucial that there is an element of entertainment at your corporate event. Sure, the reason people are attending is to do with a business-related topic. But, you don’t want to bore people by making that the ONLY thing you talk about!

An event hosted at a golf course means that people can play a round or two after the day’s proceedings. And one hosted at a hotel means attendees can party into the small hours and sleep in a room there afterward.

| Why You Should Brand Your Business For Success

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Getting your branding right is vital for businesses both large and small. The branding of a company encapsulates everything that they have to offer to potential clients and existing companies alike. Many large companies spend millions of getting it just right, but the question remains: just why is it so important?

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Improving Recognition

It’s been estimated that a brand needs to make contact with a person 20 times before they fully become aware of it. Your branding goes a long way towards this. If a customer is particularly struck by your logo or color scheme, they are much more likely to pay attention to your company and everything you have to offer. The most successful brands are seared onto the brains of the collective consciousness. Just think about the Coca-Cola or McDonald’s logo and how quickly people can pick them out and think about what they represent to them.

 

Creating Trust

Brands spend years developing brand loyalty. Their logo ends up representing their company and everything it stands for. Even if people have never seen your brand before, if it looks good and professional, it is likely to put them at ease that yours is a company that can be trusted. If you are in the process of rebranding or creating a brand for your new business, it is worth turning to the professionals like ChrisChaseDesign.com who can help with the whole process. After a time, if it has been carefully managed, your brand will represent all the positive things your company stands for.

 

Building Value

The reason that big companies spend so much money on their branding campaigns is because they know the natural value it will add to their business. A trusted brand is great for both customers and investors alike. The beauty of a brand is that you may decide to adjust it from time to time, but creating the initial framework represents a one-off cost that will add value for years to come.

 

Attracting Employees

Talented employees are often drawn towards big brands and companies that they have trust in. The brand encapsulates everything the business is all about. For example, Google is perceived as cutting edge and forward thinking because of the brand it has built up over time. If yours is a new company, a professional looking logo and brand color scheme will inspire trust in employees who are more likely to choose your business over others.

 

Generating Customers

A lot of business is generated either through word of mouth or by recognition. A strong company name makes it more likely that people will remember you, while recognition is covered by your logo and color scheme. Once your brand has established its position in the marketplace, you should naturally find yourself generating new customers. Businesses both large and small rely on strong branding to get their messages across. Once you have got your brand right, you should begin to see the difference it makes to your company and the amount of business you generate.

| Ensuring Your Business Is A Headline Maker For The Right Reasons

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

If you’re an entrepreneur and you want to make it to the big time, you need to make sure that your company is grabbing the headlines for all the right reasons. There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but when it comes to business, you don’t want to give your clients, colleagues or investors any cause for concern. It’s good to get people talking, but only when they have something positive to say. If you’re aiming high, here are some ways to ensure you make the front pages for all the right reasons.

 

Avoiding Legal Issues

As an employer, you are duty-bound to adhere to legal regulations related to everything from health and safety to employee rights and copyrighting. Before you launch your business or hire members of staff, make sure you are aware of your legal responsibilities. Seek legal advice, have employment contracts drawn up, and make sure the working environments in which your staff operates meet health and safety guidelines. Look into patenting, trademarking and copyrighting, and avoid the temptation to make yourself look better by berating the competition. If you don’t have legal protocol in place, there’s a risk that you’ll end up in court.

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Preventing And Responding To Technical Glitches

We live in a day and age where technology is omnipresent. If you have a business, it’s highly likely that you depend on technology to offer services and get through a host of important tasks on a daily basis. Technical hitches can be disastrous, and it’s always wise to have backup plans and contingency procedures in place. If you have a business, and you don’t already have tech support on board, look into working with companies like ItWORKS! It’s essential to make sure that if you do hit hurdles, you can bounce back as quickly as possible. You don’t want to be the company that everybody’s slamming on Twitter or end up paying compensation to customers.

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Being Original

In the world of business, you need to be a shining beacon. There are so many firms out there competing for trade, and you need to stand out, and convince customers that you are the best choice. Don’t be afraid to come up with something original, and market it in a unique way. Grab people’s attention, make them think, and set yourself apart from your competitors. Think of novel ways of capturing your customer’s attention, and make sure you move with the times. If you’ve got a new product to sell, and you want to target a young demographic, harness the power of social media. Teenagers spend more and more time on their phones, so cater to their needs and preferences. Launch an app, get connected on social media, and embrace the art of blogging. Adapt your strategy to your audience, and keep an eye on what others around you are doing.

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When you run a business, you dream of being that company that is featured in all the newspapers, magazines, and blogs. The trouble is that often, media attention can focus on the negatives. You don’t want to be that firm that steals the limelight because you’ve been involved in a lawsuit or a technical issue has caused widespread havoc. You want to grab the headlines for your original concepts, your brilliant ideas or the exemplary way you run your business.

| Where Are The Best Places To Network?

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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It’s not what you know, it’s who you know – or so the clichéd saying goes. Networking is indeed an important part of business success helping us connect with potential clients, to find new employees, to make new business partnerships and to discover new opportunities, hints and tricks. But where does one go to successfully network? Technically, almost every social event can be a chance to network, but there are some places that are specifically set up for business networking, cutting out the hard work. Here are some of those places.

 

Social Media

Every business nowadays needs to be taking advantage of social media. You have the whole world on your doorstep. Specific social media sites or more catered to specific types of networking. Linked In is ideal for business to business networking and is a great place for reaching out to other businesses and searching for new staff. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are better for networking with the general public and attracting new clients. There are Facebook community groups that may be catered to your business’s niche. Twitter meanwhile has the larger opportunity to attract attention from strangers through retweeting and making use of trends and hashtags.

 

Local Business Groups

Every town or city will have local business groups such as Rotary Clubs and Business Initiative groups. These groups host regular meetings including social events and lunches together, all of which are ideal places for meeting other local business owners and discussing outsourcing and cross-promotion opportunities.

 

Community Groups

Non-business focused community groups can sometimes be just as valuable for networking. These could include religious groups, sports clubs, hobby clubs, school bodies or local councils. Here you’ll find a wide cross-section of people from potential clients to other business owners. Whilst joining these clubs is the most natural option, you may be able to go along and hand out leaflets or give a talk with the club owner’s permission, providing the club is catered to your business niche.

 

Trade Shows

Trade shows attract your whole client base all under one roof. The downside is that if you have to compete against lots of other businesses within your niche (although it can be brilliant for connecting with other businesses). The success to networking involves having a stall that stands out from the rest, so that passers-by want to stop and talk. You can visit Event Display and other events marketing companies to get an idea of the kind of props and décor needed for a stall. Many trade shows also offer the opportunity to give a talk. If you’re comfortable with public speaking and can come up with a creative topic, a talk can be a fantastic way of getting your name out there.

 

Conferences

Conferences are a chance for one or more professionals to discuss a topic within their field. Many also invite in live audience to listen. Before and after a conference there’s often a chance to mingle, which many business owners use as a chance to network. You can attend a conference as an audience member, or – if you’re brave enough – you could host your own conference on a topic of your choice. Hosting a conference is the ultimate networking opportunity – you can pick and choose the attendees, or leave it freely open to the public.

| Is Your Business Behind The Times?

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

The world of business changes all the time. One minute you think you’re setting trends and blazing a trail. The next, you’re lagging behind. If you’re keen to be a successful businessperson, it’s essential to stay ahead of the game. Here are some tips to help you if your company is behind the times.

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Upgrading Your Website

You may think that having a website is enough, but it’s not. Many consumers now use the Internet to find companies, services, and products. This means that your virtual shop window is more important than ever before. It’s not enough just to have an online portal. You need to make sure that your website does the business, and beats off competition from rivals.

If you have a look at a hundred websites, you’ll find a huge variation is style, layout, theme, and substance. Some are incredibly basic. Others are complicated. Some feature huge chunks of text. Others have video clips and images. Some are modern and innovative. Others look very dated. If you’re keen to ensure that your business caters to the demands of modern consumers, it’s essential to make sure that your website delivers. It should be easy to use, visually appealing, and functional. If you don’t have expertise in web design, work with agencies or individuals that do. Investing in your website will almost always pay off.

 

Going Mobile

Millions of people in the world have smartphones. We’re on the Internet all the time, and as a business owner, you want to capitalize on this. If you don’t already have a mobile-friendly website or an app, it’s time to take the next step. If you’ve got a brilliant idea for an app for your business or you want to improve the accessibility and usability of your website, enlist expert help. You can work with Android app development firms or hire freelancers. When you’ve got an app, it’s easier for customers to find you and interact with you. You can also up-sell your USP (unique selling proposition) and make it easier for customers to buy from you. Your app will also give you a visible presence on a phone screen, which is a great marketing tool.

 

Getting Social

If you run a business and you don’t already have social media accounts, it’s time to get out there and mingle. Social media increases the power of your online presence, and it can also help to drive traffic to your website. Tailor your strategy to your target audience. If you’re trying to appeal to a younger demographic, using sites like Facebook and Instagram is a good idea.

In business, you can’t afford to lag behind your competitors. Time flies and trends come and go in the blink of an eye. If you’re behind the times, take action now! Modernize your marketing campaign to maximize profits, and increase your client pool. Make sure your website is up to scratch, and that people can find it. Use social media to drum up interest and boost your profile, and take advantage of the rise of the smartphone.

| The Socialite: Building Your Presence

Posted in Marketing at 1:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

Modern marketing has become very focused on social media. Of course, this makes a lot of sense. Certain social media sites have millions of active users. And, they let businesses post for free. So, they are great places to get some free advertising. In most cases, you just have to put the work in; and, you’ll get a lot out of it. This can be a challenge, though. So, to help you out, this post will be going through some of the best ways to start getting more traffic to your social media pages.

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The easiest way to draw more people in is to improve your posting. There are loads of ways that you can do this. First, you should be aiming for your posts to be very consistent. This means that all of your posts need to use the same branding and house style. Even the things that you say have to be in character. Along with this, you need to make sure that you’re providing people with content that is interesting. You have to give people a reason to be reading your content. So, if it’s not worth their while, they won’t bother with it. Making sure that your posts are interesting can be hard, though. But, you can always ask people that you know for help before you start posting. Always make sure that you’re confident in your posts before you send them out.

When you see things trending or becoming popular on social media, it’s usually because it’s has a big uptake of likes, follows, or subscriptions. Social media sites use very complex algorithms to calculate these things, and growth is one of the biggest parts of it. So, if you can get a large number of followers in a short period; you will find that people will start flocking to your pages. One of the easiest ways to do this is simply by buying the likes. When doing this, you just have to make sure that you’re buying real followers and likes, and not fake ones. There are loads of companies out there that offer this service. And, most social media sites don’t have a problem with it.

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A lot of success can be found in pooling together and working with other people on social media. If you can find a company that would be willing to work with you, it’s much easier to share your followers. This means that you will both benefit from each other. And, you will both get more exposure because of it. Building up a relationship like this can be hard. So, you need to be willing to spend time talking to people. But, once you have a partner, things will get much easier. Having a mutually beneficial exchange like this is a great way to make sure that success continues.

Hopefully, this will inspire you to start using your social media more effectively. You may have to spend a little bit of money on this. But, once you’ve done it, it will be very worth it. You will notice the benefits from this sort of work almost instantly. And, it may even be where your first customers come from.

| Five Types of Advertising You Need to Use

Posted in Marketing at 5:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

The world of advertising is vast and varied. You need to come up with a plan for dealing with this when you think about how you can advertise your business and its products. The five examples of advertising methods discussed below should all be used, or at least considered as you formulate your plan. Read on to find out more about them.

1. Product Placement

Product placement is a growing form of advertising that many businesses are discovering and making the most of. To put it simply, product placement allows you to advertise your product by inserting it into a form or media. It could be used in a movie, a TV show, a YouTube video or even a video game. Of course, the size of your business and how much you have to spend will decide which of these options is right for you. Getting products in big movies is always a challenge, so think carefully about your choice.

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2. Direct Marketing

Direct marketing does pretty much what it says on the tin. This form of advertising is all about taking your idea and your pitch directly to the customers that you want to target. In the media age we’re now all a part of, this can be done in a variety of different ways. You could start by using an email marketing strategy. Then you could build connections on blog, forums and on social media. You might also want to try face to face selling; that’s another example of direct marketing.

3. Banner Ads

Banner ads are very popular among small businesses that want to get their adverts seen online. They are banners that normally sit at the top of a web page, and it’s often the first thing a website visitor sees before they scroll down. You can find a company that offers digital campaign development support if you want to do online advertising in the right kind of way. This is a good idea if you don’t know much about it yet.

4. Billboard Advertising

Many people get too caught in the hype surrounding online advertising. It causes them to forget about just how important and how effective good billboard advertising can be when the right approach to it is taken. You should aim to create image and messages that can be seen far and wide. Strike the right cord and draw people’s attention to what you are trying to say. The best thing about this kind of advertising is that it’s often impossible for people to ignore.

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5. Sponsored Tweets and Facebook Ads

You can’t afford to ignore social media if you want to take your business to the next level and get good results from your advertising strategies. Sponsored tweets can be very useful when you want to get your message seen by the right people. The tweet will pop up in people’s timeline. And the same kind of thing can be done on Facebook with their advertising system. Make the most of the advertising possibilities both of these sites offer.


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