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Tuesday
Jul192016

Attracting a First-Time Customer

When starting a business every customer is a first-time customer. Before you can attract returning customers, you must establish a base of the first-timers. What are some strategies that will help you accomplish this?

1. Attractive web design is a crucial factor. When visitors are on your site, it needs to be visually appealing, easy to navigate and up-to-date. There should not be expired or non-working links and how to order should be easy and straightforward.

2. When you are just starting out, testimonials can be hard to come by but they are necessary. Personal follow up to your first customers soliciting feedback can be a great start. Putting testimonials on your site and social media pages can be a great way to encourage those who may be on the fence about placing an order. This can underscore the importance of quality customer service as well. Ensure that all of your customers have a good experience and would be willing to give you that positive testimonial.

3. Coupons can be a great way to build your network as well. A discount on their first order and/or in exchange for signing up for a mailing list can help extend your reach right away. CheekyTummy is an online store selling beautiful and functional accessories for mommies and babies. They offer things such as diaper bags, breastfeeding covers and bibs. They strategically attract new customers by offering 10 percent of each customer’s first order.

4. Also, be sure not to neglect social media marketing. It can be overwhelming and difficult to get a grasp on, but it is important to have a social media presence. It can hurt you not to have a Facebook page for your business. It’s a great way to get those awesome product photos viewed more, it’s a great way to expand your network, and it’s a great way to promote sales and specials.

What are some other ways that you’ve attracted first-time customers?

Thursday
Jul072016

The New, On Demand Work Trend

Have you heard of the new trend in the virtual workplace? It’s On Demand work and it may help you find work, get back into the workplace or establish some casual employment on your own terms.

If you currently are not working but would like to be, this may be your opportunity to find flexible work that meets your schedule and stipulations. Workfast allows you to find work that is flexible, typically has higher pay and pays as soon as you complete your shift.

You can work when you want and for who you want. Job categories include:

  • Admin and Office
  • Promotion and Events
  • Hospitality
  • General Services
  • Tech and Online
  • Retail and Sales

Workfast’s vision is to build Australia’s largest On Demand work marketplace. An environment where workplaces search, hire and pay for workers using an efficient technology platform.

They are for those who want to work for themselves, who are motivated and looking for a life to suit their term, for those who are looking for that extra shift, the thrill of trying new things and the flexibility of shaping their schedule but are not looking to start an entire business on their own.

Workfast works hard to take away the pressure, the overheads and the months of chasing invoices, making it as easy as possible to work for yourself in the On Demand work economy.

According to their website, “We believe in putting the flexibility in your hands, where contractors, freelancers and workers can get work when they want, and employers get the workers they need. There is an undeniable benefit to both sides and we're doing our best to usher in the change.

If you are an employer, looking for employees, the process is simple as well. Simply post a job, filling in the brief and how much you’ll pay. Workers submit their profiles and you receive instant replies. Then, you start work with the selected employees. The process is simple and there are no fees or charge to hire.

Visit the Workfast website for more information!

Tuesday
Jun282016

Are you a mompreneur? 4 Ways to Brand Your Business on a Budget

There are seemingly limitless different options for creating brand recognition and effectively marketing your business.

While some branding and marketing strategies are very specific to certain industry niches and wouldn’t work well in others, there are a few ideas that are more universally effective, easily crossing market and speciality boundaries. Similarly, some marketing tactics can cost a lot of money, but others are inexpensive yet still effective.

Here are four tried-and-true branding strategies that won’t break the bank but will accomplish your goal of spreading the word about your business:

1. Memorable, distinct design

With all the possible options available for creating your own website, business cards, emails, and every other type of communication you can think of, it’s easy to get carried away and vary your look on every channel you utilize.

Although hiring a professional graphic designer to create a logo, develop a color scheme, and update your image across all digital and real-world channels sounds ideal, there is cost involved, which may be prohibitive if the budget is tight.

With some planning, effort, and the use of a few free or inexpensive tools, however, you can accomplish the same goal on your own with beautiful results.

For example, Canva is a powerful web-based graphic design tool that’s free to use and charges nothing to very little (even just  $1) for pro-quality photographs and graphics to supplement the huge library of free templates and fonts it makes available. By simply creating a logo/brand design combination you’re happy with, then applying that design to the multiple templates on their site, you can develop consistent branding for your website, all your social media channels, business cards, print marketing materials, and much more, all for little or no cost.

2. Consistent voice and tone in content

Although the idea of “branding” tends to make us think about logos and visual elements that we associate with a business, the voice and tone of a company’s marketing content is just as much a part of that brand as the logo is.

Again, hiring a professional writer to create your website, social media, and other marketing content can have excellent results, there’s usually a significant cost involved. That’s why most mompreneurs running their own small businesses tend to handle this aspect of their marketing themselves.

Just as with the graphic design elements noted above, making a concerted effort to develop your own personal voice and tone in content, and maintaining that consistently across all channels, will have a unifying and trust-building effect. A consistent content tone makes customers and visitors get to know you more easily, and inspires them to join in the conversation as they feel a part of your community.

3. Developing a “social brand”

Social media is such an ingrained part of our personal and professional lives today, it comes second nature to many of us. However, learning to benefit from social media for your business is very different than sharing news or pictures with friends and family.  Social media for business requires a strategy, which will help you meet goals and grow your business. Without a plan in place for determining the channels where your audience is, the type of content that will interest them, and the frequency at which they want to hear from you, you could likely waste valuable time and resources, which as a small business owner, you don’t have to spare.

Fortunately, there are many resources that can help you focus on social media for business best practices and how to develop targeted how-to information, including the site you’re on right now. Focus on separating your personal and professional social media activity (without losing the personality that your customers have come to expect from you) so you can maintain the consistent voice and tone described above across all the social channels you choose to use for your business.

As an added benefit, this strategy frees you up to be yourself on your personal Facebook or Instagram accounts without second-guessing every status update, worried your customers may take exception to what you say.

4. Personalized gifts and giveaways

One excellent option with great creative possibilities involves using custom personalized gifts and giveaways that include your business name, logo, contact information, or another branded message. Whether you’re an independent service professional, the owner of a manufacturing company, an Etsy-based eCommerce entrepreneur, restaurant owner, or high level business consultant, personalized branded gifts and promotional items can easily fit into your marketing strategy.

A few ideas think about:

  • Branded T-shirts, sweatshirts and other apparel

  • Personalized office supplies

  • Custom branded drinkware

  • Branded totes

  • Custom branded magnets

  • … and so much more.

These gifts are inexpensive, useful, memorable, and can be customized to perfectly reflect your company’s personality. The list of possibilities above barely scratches the surface, so don’t assume any other fantastic giveaway ideas won’t work for you and your Mom-owned business!

As a small business owner, always be on the lookout for new and creative ways to market your business, improve brand recognition, and spark interest in your prospects and customers alike. While there’s value in investing in this type of marketing, there’s plenty of valuable work you can do on a very tight budget as well.

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Tuesday
Jun212016

How to Tell if Your Kids are Suffering From Stress

While we’re pretty used to hearing the word “stress” bandied around these days, we don’t often associate it with our children. After all, they don’t have bills to pay or mouths to feed. Maybe they haven’t even started school yet, so what do they have to be stressed about? Right? Well, surprisingly it turns out, quite a lot.

Stress Triggers

Family Education discusses the many potential triggers and causes of stress in kids, which can include a sudden change of environment, raised voices at home, a disagreement with a sibling, tests at school, falling out with a teacher, and social and peer pressure.

Emotional Signs of Stress

Stress manifests itself in different ways in different people, so your child may display emotional signs, such as appearing more quiet or distant than usual, or being uncharacteristically aggressive or irritable. Toddlers and infants may throw sudden tantrums or clinginess, or their symptoms may present physically.

Physical Signs of Stress

Stress often affects children’s sleeping patterns, so if you notice a sudden change in the way your child sleeps; they have difficulty sleeping, or cry out in their sleep, you should monitor the situation.

They may also experience a sudden change in bowel movements, or complain of earache and teeth grinding. As many as 2 in 3 kids grind their teeth and it can have damaging effects on tooth enamel and even facial development, so if you think that your child may be grinding his teeth, J&S Dental Lab can recommend a dental night guard to prevent further damage.

Be Proactive

It’s always best to ask your child what’s going on if you think that they might be stressed, so that you can try to get to the source of the problem. However, with infants not old enough to express themselves verbally (or even moody teens that refuse to express themselves) you’ll need to be patient and keep an eye on their symptoms.

If any of the above signs of stress last for more than a few days, you may need to consult with a doctor, to see if a child psychologist could be of some use.

Bruxism (teeth grinding) is best to discuss with your dental care provider, as they will be able to identify whether your child’s grinding is caused by a bad alignment of their teeth, and if they might benefit from corrective treatment.

As many cases of teeth grinding are temporary in children and could be a reflex to pain or teething, sometimes no action will be necessary. But if you notice that your little one is suffering from it on a regular basis and want to find out more about the benefits of using a custom night guard, visit this link here

Sam Jones is a digital marketing expert, social media and branding consultant and guest blogger for various publications, including Business2Community, Inbound.org and TestPrepPlace.com. In her free time, Sam is an avid traveler, foodie and lover of all things technology. She's also a fitness fanatic (in the making).
 

 

Wednesday
May252016

Why Would a Mompreneur Want to Sell Her Business?

If you’re a regular reader here on MarketMommy.com (and you should be!) you know that this site is all about helping working moms succeed so they can be the superwomen they want and need to be for the sake of their families and their own personal and professional fulfillment.

So, why would anyone who’s managed to accomplish that consider selling their business? Isn’t that a sign of failure? Of giving up?

Actually, no. It’s not.

There are several very reasonable, understandable, and appropriate reasons why a mompreneur may decide to sell her business. And in every case, the fact that the business is salable is proof in and of itself that it is a success.

So, if you’re considering selling your business, don’t be discouraged. See if you can relate to the reasons discussed here, and take some well-deserved “me-time” to think about what your next steps need to be.

Life changes

In many cases, businesses go up for sale due to life changes experienced by the owner. It could be a marriage or a divorce, the birth of a child or the need to move. In some cases, it’s health-based. The owner is getting older and wants to retire, or perhaps she or a family member becomes very sick and she simply can’t invest the necessary time into the business any longer.

In all these cases, it’s important to realize that change happens to everyone, and no change that affects your life is a sign of failure, poor planning, or anything else. It just is.

One of the main reasons many moms get into business for themselves is to be able to strike a more comfortable work/life balance that places more priority on the family and/or personal pursuits and relationships. If these priorities need to take precedence over the business due to changes that have taken place, selling may be the best option.

Economic changes

No one has control over the economy in general or all the various factors that can affect how the market evolves from one year to the next. While strategic planning and insight can sometimes foresee and avoid dips in the economy, every business is forced to weather the storm as best they can.

With all of the other important priorities vying for attention in the lives of most mompreneurs, severe and unexpected economic downturns can very well necessitate finding more lucrative work with a steadier paycheck than the home business allows.

Under those circumstances, a highly skilled woman with excellent job prospects working for someone else may choose to sell her business in favor of something more reliable, and this makes perfect sense.

Interests change

Maybe you’re finding you just don’t have the same passion for the work that you used to, or you feel you’ve already done everything you can do within the confines of the business you created and it’s time for something new. Selling the business is an excellent way to capitalize on the time and effort you’ve invested in the enterprise without prolonging your stay beyond where it’s comfortable.

If you no longer feel the same drive that led you to start your business in the first place, you could end up being miserable if you force yourself to stick with it.

A new, exciting opportunity comes along

One of the most exciting reasons to consider selling your business is when a new and exciting business opportunity comes along that fires you up and makes you want to jump in with both feet! It may be that running both companies isn’t practical or preferable, or you know you’re not going to be able to give both of them the attention they deserve.

In that case, selling your existing business and diving into the new one could be the start of something beautiful.

The main point is simply this: don’t feel guilty about selling your business. It’s not a sign of failure or weakness or anything else. Selling your business is as much a standard part of running your business as any other professional decision you can be called on to make.

And sometimes, it’s the best decision you can possibly make.