The Importance of Marketing Automation for Your Business

The Importance of Marketing Automation for Your Business

Introduction:

For a business to survive, an effective marketing strategy is needed. No matter how innovative a product or service may be, if it does not target the right audience, a business can never succeed. Marketing helps in helping the products reach the target clients, and ensuring that they use it. In today’s world, automation is everything. More businesses are using marketing automation. As a business owner, marketing automation is essential because:

1. It boosts your CRM:

CRM is a tool that is present in every marketing strategy. Combining marketing automation with CRM makes it possible for you to track and monitor all the activities in your marketing campaign. When looking for a marketing automation platform, get one that works well with CRM. It is similar to a phone. If you have a smartphone, you have to get the best applications. If you do not use apps, it is just a normal phone.

2. Increased productivity:

Marketing automation simplifies the marketing process. The stress of dealing with a tedious manual process will be relieved by an innovative platform. As a result, your productivity gets a boost in that your marketing department can focus on activities that need the attention of human beings.

3. Customer retention is increased:

In all business, clients are essential. Most companies struggle to retain customers. Marketing automation can be linked to email marketing to ensure that your clients are kept up-to-date with your brand. Your business continues to grow while maintaining relationships with clients. Using automation helps you get better insights of your customer’s intentions. With such information, you can be able to tell what your clients want and avoid wasting time and energy.

4. Monitor marketing campaigns:

Whether your company uses drip or social media marketing, you need to monitor the success and failure of each campaign. For most businesses, monitoring is a tedious task, but it can be simplified using automation software. Additionally, you can be able to tell the success of your campaigns with measurable data. The software can help you monitor your expenses, and get to learn the campaigns that are worth continuing.

5. Understanding your leads:

Using automation software enables you to keep track of web pages your lead views, the emails they open, and the landing pages they are converting from. You will be able to find out the content that is popular among your clients to get higher conversion rates. Software professional state that a company that uses marketing automation can receive an increase in qualified leads by 451 percent. Many businesses invest in marketing automation to increase lead management.

Conclusion:

Finding the right marketing automation is necessary for any business that is targeting success. What used to take companies days or even months to execute can now be done in a short time. Because of that, much time and resources are saved and can be used to improve other sectors of the organization. To be able to have the edge over your competitors, invest in marketing automation and you are headed for success.

Edward Schinik is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Yorkville Advisors.

The True Value of SMS for Your Business

The True Value of SMS for Your Business

Running a successful business is, first and foremost, a matter of communication. After all, if you can’t communicate ideas, updates, and important information, how can you expect things to run smoothly?

Imagine being able to contact your customers, employees, and clients in mere seconds–allowing for fast, effective communications. Thankfully, this technology already exists: it’s SMS (short message service), better known as text messaging.

SMS has transformed from a mere personal communication tool to a potent marketing and business communication strategy. Let’s take a look at the incredible value this technology can provide your business.

Fascinating Facts about SMS:

Text messages have become a formidable communication method; a majority of people now prefer SMS to older methods like phone calls, emails, or internal business memos. To illustrate this, consider the following facts:

  • People read texts quickly–in fact, 90% of texts are read within 3 minutes of being received (and nearly 100% are read by the end of the day they were received). Compare this to emails, which are seldom read before the end of the day!
  • More than 1/3 of people check their cell phone within five minutes of waking up in the morning. People even check their phones during mealtimes and breaks.

Finding the Right SMS Provider for Your Business:

The variety of SMS texts we’re talking about are a little more complicated than your average text message. For maximum efficacy, you want to be able to quickly and easily send group messages.

For businesses, this typically means the use of an API platform, which can convert and format these messages into a highly-effective SMS communication. While you could accomplish this by yourself, why would you want to spend valuable time and man-hours on ineffective marketing or hard-to-read communications?

These days, finding an API platform is just a matter of some dutiful web research. API platforms offer many different services, depending on the platform, including targeted marketing messages, urgent news SMS, and even confirmations of shipment, delivery, etc. No matter what your needs are, you can find SMS companies that can cater to you.

Improving Your Business’s SMS Strategy:

Texting is a very different beast than emails or phone calls. Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing your business-related texts for mass distribution:

  • There’s a 150-character limit per SMS; use short, simple words that communicate ideas in the easiest fashion.
  • Business texts are different than personal commmunications: get straight to the point, there’s no time for salutations or trivial info.
  • Use SMS to manage expectations, and to promote a better understanding of your products, services, and deadlines.
  • Try to adopt a friendly tone–this makes your business appear more personable, approachable, and up-to-date with modern technology.

We wish you the best of luck in adopting the power of SMS business communications; you’ll be very glad that you did!

Edward Schinik is the Chief Operating Officer with the Investment Manager.

6 Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

7 Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

You can offer the best product or service for your small business’s industry, but it’s not going to drive sales unless your target audience knows about it. While you can always promote your products or services using paid advertising solutions like TV and radio commercials, there are other, cheaper ways to reach your audience.

#1) Website:

Even if your small business operates locally, it can still benefit from having a website. When someone searches for your business online, they’ll see your website listed in the search results. Here, they can learn more about your business, including what it offers, when it opens and closes, where it’s located and more.

#2) Logo Exposure:

Your business’s logo is a powerful marketing tool that can attract customers and drive sales. Over time, customers will associate your business’s logo with what it offers. To take advantage of the marketing power of logo recognition, though, you must convey it to the public. Tech companies like LinkedIn and Amazon proudly display their respective logos in their workplace. Another idea is to include your business’s logo on t-shirts, hats and other products, which you can give away as part of a contest.

#3) Word of Mouth:

Don’t underestimate the marketing power of word of mouth. If customers enjoy your product or service and believe it’s worth the cost, they’ll share their thoughts with friends and family. And each word-of-mouth referral is free marketing for your small business. To encourage referrals such as this, offer exceptional customer service that exceeds customers’ expectations.

#4) Sell to Existing Customers:

Assuming your business already has customers, consider marketing to them instead of seeking only new customers. According to a study cited by Harvard Business Review, marketing to existing customers costs businesses up to 25 times less than marketing to new customers. Existing customers have already given you their seal of approval, so they are more willing to buy your products or services than new customers.

#5) Contact Local News Companies:

Advertising your small business in a nationally distributed newspaper can be expensive. And while it may offer more exposure than locally distributed publications, it’s usually not worth the cost. Local city or county newspapers offer an inexpensive alternative that may actually drive more customers to your business. Many local publications have segments dedicated to local businesses. Here, they interview local business owners, talking about their business and the products or services they offer.

#6) Signage:

Finally, signage is always an effective, inexpensive way to promote a small business. Purchasing a large, professionally designed sign with your business’s name and slogan can attract countless new customers to your business.

Don’t let the high cost of marketing hurt your small business’s finances. Consider the ideas described here to promote your business on a budget.

Edward Schinik has been with the Investment Manager since 2009 and has been with one Affiliated Investment Manager since 2005.

How Behavioral Science Can Help Prevent Business Disasters

How Behavioral Science Can Help Prevent Business Disasters

In the wake of the 2008-2009 mortgage crisis, millions of lenders, bankers, mortgage brokers and others in both the real estate and mortgage industries all fell back on the position that it was something that no one could have seem coming. In fact, many did see it coming, but no one wanted to listen to them because no one wanted to believe what they had to say. In fact, any number of disasters ranging from oil spills to public relations nightmares can actually be avoided with the application of behavioral science.

Behavioral science is the science of studying how people act and behave in certain situations. In turn, this gives behavioral scientists the ability to also predict how people are likely to act and behave in a given set of circumstances. For the most part, the majority of business disasters actually stem more from cognitive bias than completely unpredictable and unavoidable events. The three main cognitive biases that tend to be responsible for the majority of business disasters are the overconfidence effect, optimism bias and the planning fallacy.

1. Overconfidence effect:

It is a strange conundrum that on the one hand, confidence is one of the most strongly admired traits in leaders and yet on the other hand, over-confidence may be their greatest downfall. Overconfidence is the belief that nothing can go wrong that you can’t fix, no job too big that you can’t handle or nothing you don’t know about a certain topic or facet of your business. Overconfidence has led to the crashing of many ships and the doom of many businesses.

2. Optimism Bias:

The optimism bias can rear its ugly head in a number of ways, all of which can create some significant repercussions. Optimism bias is the belief that everything will go as well or better than can possibly be expected. It’s the belief that everyone will execute their role in a given plan flawlessly and that no safety or security precautions are necessary. The optimism bias only looks at results and fails to count adequate costs. The optimism bias will often lead businesses and even government organizations to accept the lowest bid on a contract, even when renowned experts tell them that no one can safely deliver on a bid that low.

3. Planning fallacy:

The planning fallacy is closely related to the optimism bias. It is the unwillingness to pad budgets for unexpected costs or leave ample time for things to go wrong. Even average individuals fall into the planning fallacy when they only leave themselves 15 minutes to get to an important meeting when Google tells them it is a 15 minute drive.

Understanding these three inherent weaknesses can help any number of businesses prevent any number of disasters. Boards are often put in place to help compensate for overconfidence in their CEO or other executives, but often fail to act when the CEO plays on their own optimism biases. Similarly, even executive boards can fall into the trap of planning fallacy when presented with an opportunity that seems too attractive to pass up. Only when boards, CEO’s and other executives admit to their own propensity towards these cognitive biases can true business disasters be avoided.

Edward Schinik has been with the Investment Manager since 2009 and has been with one Affiliated Investment Manager since 2005.

How to Make a Business Plan and Stick to It

How to Make a Business Plan and Stick to It

Introduction:

There are a variety of ways that companies can write a business plan. Many people advocate including a number of sections, but numerous sections can lead to clunky and long business plans. Your business plan should allow a potential investor to understand what your company is about, how it will be run, and how it will be financed. These are the main things that you will need in order to develop a concise business plan.

Summarize:

The first section of your business plan should be an executive summary, which will summarize your whole business plan. This summary should describe all of the goals of your business, and primarily that. By the time that a reader is done reading your executive summary, they should know exactly why your business is operating.

Describe:

This section is where you go into detail about all of the intricacies of your business and the industry that it operates in. You should go into further detail about the companies that you will competing with and working with, and how your business will measure up to those already existing companies. You do not need to propose any strategies to improving the industry, in this section, you just need to mention how your company will fit into the industry and what innovations your plan to bring.

Strategize:

In this section you will want to expand on how your business will offer services and products that are different from what is already on the market. You should analyze your competitors, in this section, and describe how you can improve upon what they offer. Here, you should also mention possible weaknesses that your company has and how these weaknesses can be remedied.

Finance:

Your investors, or anyone reading your business plan, will want to know how your operations will be funded. Anything financial should be included in this section, including the costs of your products and services, and any debt that you will initially be taking on.

Sticking to the Plan:

Business plans can be tough to stick to, but you should develop your business plan with failures and obstacles in mind. By including setbacks, you will have a document to reference when things do not go according to plan. As soon as you find your business straying from the original plan, assess why and make adjustments to get back on plan.

Conclusion:

Your business plan does not need to be elaborate and extremely detailed; in fact, this may place your business off track. You should aim to develop a short business plan that can quickly describe what your business is about and the way that the company will be run. There will be instances where your business will not be running according to plan, but you should create room for these instances in your business plan. A properly written business plan will be precise enough to give your company direction, but short enough that you can quickly skim it to understand the objectives.

 

Edward Schinik has been with the Investment Manager since 2009 and has been with one Affiliated Investment Manager since 2005.

 

How Your Business Can Survive in the Always Changing Retail World

How Your Business Can Survive in the Always Changing Retail World

It’s easy to get discouraged based on the headlines surrounding retail in recent years. There have been plenty of stories forecasting doom and gloom for retail businesses, with some even coining the rise of e-commerce as the “retail apocalypse.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The world of retail may be changing, but that doesn’t mean it’s dying. Consumers are always going to buy things. That has remained true for thousands of years, and it certainly won’t change now.

Your retail business can continue to thrive in this changing environment. Here’s how to make it happen.

Commit to the Evolution of Your Retail Business:

The first step in keeping your retail business relevant is to be willing to adapt. Customers are shopping differently, and if you want them to keep shopping at your store, then you must change to fit what they want.

If you haven’t already set up an e-commerce site for your store that is optimized for both desktop and mobile devices, you need to do that. Make sure your employees also understand that changes could happen. You don’t want any of your employees being resistant to change, because that can affect morale.

It’s important to remember that your business may not be as profitable during times of change. Sometimes you need to make short-term sacrifices to preserve the future of your business.

Set New Metrics to Measure Progress:

It can be a jarring feeling when you’re altering your business model. You may find it hard to determine if the changes you’re making are working out at all, or if you’re just spinning your wheels. That’s why you should determine metrics you can use to ensure that everything is on track.

This will require some research on your part to see what the right metrics are for the changes you’re making. For example, if you’ve just started implementing more social media marketing, then you could set targets for the number of visitors you want that marketing to generate. Although everything ultimately comes back to sales, keep in mind that not everything you do will translate to sales right away. A change may build your brand, which can be very helpful even if you don’t see a big sales boost at first from it.

Get Help Where You Need It:

Just like before, the success of your retail business will hinge on having the right team. And as you expand into new areas, you’ll likely need new talent on your team. E-commerce and digital marketing both require specialized skill-sets for success.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to find people who are very tech-savvy. You could also opt for working with freelancers instead of hiring new employees, as this can save you money.

You can never be complacent when you run a retail business. With the tips above, you’ll keep customers coming back to your business even if their preferred shopping methods change.

 

Edward Schinik has been with the Investment Manager since 2009 and has been with one Affiliated Investment Manager since 2005.