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Wix Launches Simple Marketing Automation for Growing Businesses – Wix Ascend

Wix is one of the leading “do it yourself” website creation services. Its customers, mostly small businesses rely on Wix to create and maintain their websites. But Wix has had a major problem. It didn’t have a robust way for its customers to market to THEIR own customers. Until today. With Wix Ascend, built into the Wix platform, Wix customers now have a simple marketing solution which enables them to send triggered emails to customers based on specific actions. Wix Chat has already been a part of Wix, but now you can automatically greet a visitor, via chat, even if you’re not there live to assist. They feel “welcome” when they get to to your web site. Wix’s mobile dashboard works well on smartphones so you can interact wherever you are. But what really excites me are the workflows in Ascend, With these workflows, Wix small business customers can now save time and be productivity by sending targeted messages, to specific customers or due to specific actions. Let’s say a customer makes a booking? You can send an email based on that action. Maybe they’ve paid an invoice – that can be another action. Customers want to feel appreciated and expect faster and faster response times. For owners of growing businesses, this can be a challenge. However with the power of automation a small business owner can do more, in less time with less resources. I also love how Wix has a “short cut” keyboard to enable you to send quick offers to clients with as few clicks as possible. Wix, like its competitors, is quickly moving from a company providing one solution, being website development to provide a full suite of marketing solution for its customers. While this is not a full blown marketing automation solution that Infusionsoft, Salesforce, Active Campaign or other solutions might provide – it’s just perfect for a business just starting out or a very small business. Of course Wix Code was launched about a year ago and opened the Wix platform for developers to create full scale database solutions on top of the Wix…

High-End Home Fashion Head Gives Insights on Selling Direct

Stuart Kiely, VP of Digital Strategy at Matouk shared some insight on how the Salesforce platform helped a company reinvent itself from the ground up. Matouk is a heritage luxury brand, which means they’ve been around for a long time. They make high-quality products right here in the U.S., producing high end, luxurious home textiles such as bedding, sheeting, duvet covers, shams, pillow cases, and towels. Stuart joked that their products are so well-made they, “kind of go to sleep for you! The feel of it, the hand of it, it’s really, really exquisite stuff.” One of the benefits of being a domestic manufacturer in the U.S., is that Matouk can personalize their products. Many of their customers are high-profile designers who, “take interior design seriously and they want a look that’s completely their own and we can deliver on that.” Growing Up at 90 Matouk had been selling wholesale to retailers like Macy’s and other brands for over 90 years. 5 years ago, they faced a new challenge when they decided to start reaching the customer directly. Traditionally they sold wholesale to independent retailers in places like Bloomingdales. But Stuart shared, “As everybody knows, independent retail is really changing, is going through a sea change right now, the Amazon effect.” Matouk was charting new territory and had to evolve their business to compete in the new marketplace. So, 5 years ago, when they started selling direct from matouk.com, Stuart admitted they quickly realized that, “for the first time we needed to create a relationship with a customer.” Their formula for building relationships with customers is pretty simple: Make great products and have a great product experience that’s one of a kind, that can’t be beat Create great brand experiences Market to the customer. When they call into our service center we need to know who they are, recognizie what they like, when was the last time they called. In order to maintain those hard-won relationships, Stuart remarked that Matouk relies on systems, and that’s where the Salesforce platform comes into play. From Sticky Notes to Salesforce Stuart emphasized that,…

Want to Connect with Other Small Business Owners? Here’s How.

Are large social media platforms overwhelming your small business? Do you feel lost on LinkedIn? Would you like to connect with other small business owners? Small business entrepreneur understands the struggle of the small business owner. As the global social media platforms became too big, he decided that small businesses needed a networking site of their own. So, he developed Alignable.com – just for small businesses and local markets. Local Networking Through Alignable His goal was to give small business a place to connect and find referrals for everything from new customers to employees to products to services. And, it’s all free. One of the best features of Alignable is that it is organized by the city level. So, you can connect not only with like-businesses around the country but with neighbors you didn’t even know you had. Don’t Neglect The Traditional Social Media Platforms Of course, the big boys – LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. – also have value for small business owners, simply because there are so many people and organizations that use them. But, when you need a hyperlocal platform that can give you a network within your business’s five-mile radius, Alignable delivers. Local Social Media Success One such user is Jenni in North Carolina who owns a marketing business. With Alignable, she is able to share her knowledge about inbound marketing. Fortunately, people need her knowledge and new customers flock to her in droves to see what she knows. Jenni gets 70% of her clientele from Alignable. Word-of-mouth Successes There are several ways that small business owners can use Alignable. One is to simply follow and chat with fellow business owners. The other is to actively share what you want fellow business owners to share. Sharing useful content works, but you have to create it. While the connections made on Alignable are helpful, none are as helpful as that made word-of-mouth. According to Eric Groves, the CEO, and co-founder of Alignable: “The best source of customers is word-of-mouth referrals. You have to invest time to get into a word-of-mouth network.” Groves suggests considering mouths as the network and…

Make Better Presentation Slides With This New Tool. Ramon Reviews Beautiful.ai

Since 1987, millions of professionals, students, and everyone in between has been using PowerPoint to create presentations slides for conferences, sales meetings, quarterly meetings and more. I know because I’ve done just that.  However, for the past few months, I’ve been testing out and actively using a new presentation design tool called Beautiful.ai. It’s free, fast, easy to use, and saves automatically to the cloud. So, needless to say, I’m excited to partner with them. There are two parts to creating a great presentation: The Presenter (and that’s a topic for another day), and The Slides. How many presentations have we all sat through where the slides are hard to read, boring, confusing, or not aligned with what the presenter is saying? Beautiful.ai is built from the ground up, or the cloud up, to help you create awesome presentations. Here are a few things I like: Smart Templates With dozens of built-in and purpose-built templates, Beautiful.ai lets you go right from your idea to a well-designed visualization that adapts automatically as you add milestones. I don’t ever want to spend time tinkering with text boxes and aligning shapes again! These smart templates not only ensure your presentation slides look great, but also that you don’t try and fit too much on one slide. I appreciate that it keeps me in check and forces me to focus on the key points. Stock Photos, Icons, and Logos We all know that imagery spices up and adds interest to any slide. Beautiful.ai has a library of great royalty-free stock images and icons built right in. Gone are the hours wasted searching Google for images and icons that are good quality and consistent with my project. Same goes for logos – just type in a company name and it will find the logo for you. Also, you can quickly access images you’ve uploaded previously and used in other presentations. Automatic Animations Similar to the way imagery can aid in grabbing attention, animation is another great way to keep your audience engaged. I’ll admit I haven’t done much of it in the past. Not because I didn’t…

An Easy Way to Better Your Sales Process

Do you know what your business process is? Have you written it down or recorded it somewhere for your sales team to see? If you haven’t, the time to do it is now. What’s your pipeline management process? To be successful, a sales team needs to know their procedures. If you haven’t ever told your sales team the process that they are supposed to follow, how are they to know they are supposed to follow it? What you need is a pipeline management tool, or a customer-relationship management tool. With a CRM, your sales force knows what to do at every step of the sales process. In most small businesses, a sales process exists. But, in many cases, it exists in the business manager’s or the business owner’s head. If that’s the only place the process is, it does not do anyone any good. Why a pipeline process works. When the process is accessible, small businesses have more effective sales conversion. Joe Malcoun with Nutshell knows this to be true. How does he know? He is the CEO of Nutshell, a company that designed software that makes sales automation simple. Get to know Nutshell. Nutshell has a user-friendly design, so the features are not overwhelming. It makes the sales process easy to archive and automate so employees know who is working, what they are doing, and how they are succeeding. All of the unwanted noise that exists in other CRM tools has disappeared in the Nutshell software. The Nutshell CRM software is not a one-size-fits-all app. It actually can be adjusted to fit the needs of small businesses. With the intuitive wizard, business owners just have to answer a few questions to get their sales process successfully recorded. Then, the sales force can get busy converting leads into sales, which is what they do best. What can you do to better your sales process? Unfortunately, businesses that do not use a CRM are often too busy doing other things instead of focusing on making sales. With Nutshell or another smart CRM, the sales force no longer has to worry about:…

Is the New Square Terminal Right For You?

While it’s best known for its free mobile processing app, Square Inc. is increasingly moving into the POS space with innovative and affordable hardware. Square Terminal, is a portable, all-in-one card reader and receipt printer that will be available within the next 3-5 weeks. With the small profile and integrated hardware, Square Terminal is attractive to all kinds of business: think restaurants that want to add tableside ordering or beauty salons that want to let customers pay from the chair. The small size also makes it great for kiosks and other retail environments where space is at a premium. That’s not even mentioning the doctor’s office and other professional environments that don’t have space or need for a full POS system. Square Terminal runs Point of Sale, the company’s free POS app. It also offers limited compatibility with Square for Restaurants, the premium iPad POS app. There are a few limitations to Square Terminal’s supported features, but it offers everything merchants need to process payments without any additional hardware or software. How is Square Terminal designed? Square Terminal has a small but very usable 5.5-inch screen. Its slim profile won’t take up a lot of space and Square claims the battery is designed for all-day use. Merchants can accept magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions without any additional hardware. Overall, the design should be familiar to businesses that have used a traditional credit card terminal. However, Square Terminal improves the experience by offering an option to collect receipt signatures digitally. The full screen also allows customers to review their entire purchase by item, rather than just seeing the final total. Square also offers optional accessories for the Terminal, including an adjustable countertop mount and a belt clip for mobile employees (such as restaurant servers). How much does it cost? Square users will be happy to learn that the pricing is very affordable. If you’re a merchant new to Square and choose Terminal, you’ll receive a $300 processing credit. Square offers financing for hardware over $49 and flexible terms to better manage cash flow and costs. When it comes to any…

How to Make LinkedIn Ads Work on Any Budget

As a small business, you need to be seen. The problem is getting your brand in front of the right people. After you have your website content where it needs to be, your social accounts are running smoothly, and you know your target audience inside and out, it may be time to start advertising. As a marketer, and former recruiter, my favorite social media platform is LinkedIn. Mostly because I know it so well. I always recommend LinkedIn for clients who are looking to market and advertise their services and products to professionals. It’s important to note: LinkedIn is not the ideal platform for promoting every business. You need to make sure you’re putting your advertising dollars where they matter. If you have a younger audience who uses Instagram or SnapChat, invest your money there. The problem with small businesses advertising is the small budgets that go along with them. A client of mine once told me: “A small advertising budget is like winking in the dark… nobody sees it.” Now, just because you have a small budget, doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the advertising options LinkedIn has to offer. First, What are the Types of LinkedIn Ads There are four general types of LinkedIn Ads: 1. Sponsored Content – When you open up LinkedIn and are cruising your homepage, you’re going to see a ton of content. A great deal of this content is Sponsored. Why: Sponsored content works to drive users to your website. What: In these posts, you can include text, an image or video, a link, and a ‘Follow’ button to increase your connections through the ads. Tips: Sponsored content should lead to a landing page where users are encouraged to add their contact information. (Either to trigger an automation campaign, download a whitepaper/freebie, schedule a call, etc) Don’t go too niche on your audience. You want to make sure enough people are seeing the post and you don’t want your Cost Per Click (CPC) to be astronomical (the more targeted the higher the CPC). 2. Dynamic Ads – You’ll find these ads on…

What is Small Business Saturday, and Why Does it Matter?

The most exciting day of the year is on the horizon: Small Business Saturday. After the chaos of Black Friday, SBS is the day that consumers take time to enjoy and support the local shops and restaurants in their neighborhoods. What is Small Business Saturday (SBS)? Small Business Saturday (SBS) began on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2010, and thanks to American Express, it has become as iconic as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Unlike the other two shopping events that are solely about finding bargains, SBS is designed to celebrate local communities and the small businesses that decorate them. How do small businesses affect their communities? Shopping locally on SBS or any other day of the week benefits more than just the businesses. According to studies compiled by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, money spent at local businesses stays in the local economy. These studies have repeatedly found that money spent in small local businesses stays in the community at a rate of more than two to one. For example, a study conducted in Salt Lake City in 2012 found that “the local retailers return a total of 52 percent of their revenue to the local economy, compared to just 14 percent for the national chain retailers.” Along with keeping money in the local economy, supporting small businesses also helps the community and the local economy. In another study about consumers in West Michigan, researchers found: “if residents … were to redirect 10 percent of their total spending from chains to locally owned businesses, the result would be $140 million in new economic activity for the region, including 1,600 new jobs and $53 million in additional payroll.” Promoting Your Business on SBS Small business should take advantage of the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday to share their special events for the day. American Express offers free marketing tools for this special day to promote your business and your community. Whether consumers spend at local shops or they dine at local restaurants, the benefits of this shopping event are numerous. Adding jobs and keeping revenues in local communities are just two of them…

How Can You Make Your Brand Relevant? Insights from Zoho Exec.

Ramon got the opportunity to sit down with Emily Sloan-Pace of Zoho Corporation to talk about what Zoho aims to do for small businesses. Emily explains the importance of email marketing and auto responders and gives insight into what it takes to make your brand relevant, recognizable, and unique to best serve your company and help you on your way to success. Emily’s Goal Emily works to help companies tell their brand story. Her is social media marketing and creating a social presence. She also contributes to the continuing education and training of current employees and clients seeking to better their grasp on social marketing. What is Zoho? Zoho aims to become the primary operating system for small businesses. Offering over 40 products to help run businesses entirely from the cloud, Zoho aims to allow anyone to do business from anywhere. Many of these products also come with complementary mobile capability that even runs offline. This allows you to take your business anywhere, even where internet service is less than stellar. Once you reach a better internet connection, these products and apps allow you to sync your information to the cloud. Email Marketing and Auto Responders What exactly are email auto responders? Emily explains that many small businesses actually already use these when a customer buys a product or signs up for an email newsletter. That first welcome or thank you email is an auto response. Emily mentions that if used correctly, email marketing can be incredibly efficient at pushing potential customers down the sales funnel, ultimately getting them to become a customer. Emily tells Ramon that most companies stop there and only use the one email auto responder. She mentions that companies should easily be using three to five marketing emails each and every week. This doesn’t mean that each and every email needs to push product or sales, though. Emily explains that your first two or three emails need to focus on building a repertoire with potential customers. She explains that these could focus on related subjects that remain entirely informational. Most customers expect to build a relationship…

5 Surefire Tips to Make Small Business Saturday a Success

Small Business Saturday celebrates communities and the small businesses that give them their unique identities. While the busiest shopping weekend of the year is quickly approaching, it’s not too late to get in on the action. With these five easy tips, you can make give your business the boost it needs to bring in customers and makes sales. Tip #1: Get busy marketing yourself online. If your local community is filled with small businesses, consumers can only visit so many on this special day. The big box stores use doorbusters to bring customers in, but doorbusters don’t work for small businesses. Instead, focus on what makes your business unique. And, whatever you do, use hashtags like: #SmallBizSat #SmallBizSaturday #DineSmall #ShopSmall #SBS #SmallBusinessSaturday As you post online, remember to choose attractive photographs that show off why customers should visit your shop or dine at your eatery. Post regularly so your business stays at the forefront of shoppers’ minds. But, don’t give away too much online. Leave plenty of reasons for shoppers to come in and see what you’ve got on the shelves. While your posting, remember to share your neighbor’s posts and ask them to share yours, too. #SmallBizSat is less than a week away! Which #JerseyCity small businesses are your favorite to shop at? pic.twitter.com/bH6FZ0BxAN — City of Jersey City (@JC_Gov) November 18, 2018 working hard to perfect our metal foil formula for the holidays… (unfortunately, our camera is a little bit stubborn and doesn’t want to show you just HOW beautifully bright and gleaming they truly are!)#smallbizsaturday pic.twitter.com/gIoyTrVxOq — dëb♡sugar cosmetics (@shopdebsugar) November 17, 2018 Tip #2: Open early and close late. This is a special day that celebrates your local community and it just so happens to be the busiest shopping weekend of the year. Shoppers want to shop early and they want to keep shopping all day. So, open before the sun comes up and offer your early birds free coffee (from a local coffee shop) and a warm, inviting shop to visit. Talk your neighboring shops to open early, too. Then, share those special holiday hours…

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