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Influencer Marketing for Small Business

What is Influencer Marketing:

Influencer marketing (also influence marketing) is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. For example,

Why is Influencer Marketing a good choice for Small Businesses?

With bloggers, Instagram stars and YouTube personalities with a variety of audiences actively courting brands, influencer marketing is a strategy you can utilize on any budget. Research by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth suggests that young people, in particular, are becoming increasingly resistant to traditional advertising. By 2017 it’s predicted that one-third of all Internet users will be using some form of ad-blocker, ultimately diminishing the effectiveness of banner advertising. With evolving user behavior, businesses of all sizes are going to have to be more creative in the ways in which they promote their brand.

This presents an opportunity for small businesses with their smaller budgets and their aptitude for more creative advertising. Every day there are more ways for small businesses to compete with large corporations. New technologies like programmatic marketing that used to be only available for corporations is now open to small businesses as well.

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When you have a personal brand or audience and people see you as a thought leader in your specific niche or market, you have something no one else does: you have people’s attention.

And that, in itself, is highly valuable, not just to brands but to other thought leaders as well. Having a personal brand opens doors of opportunity. Now more than ever we see a rising amount of influencers who are starting to understand their value.

Four Tips for Influencer Marketing

  1. Choose the right influencer:  “Micro-influencers” (who have fewer than 10,000 followers) can actually garner more engagement from their audience and are more likely to work with small to medium sized businesses than influencers with millions of followers or celebrities. The first step in influencer marketing is finding the people who are most likely to be enthusiastic about your business. Think about your brand values and the key principles of your business, search for bloggers who share these ideals. For example, if your business has sustainable credentials, green living bloggers would be a natural partnership. If your business is reliant on local customers, you may also want to focus on bloggers located within a similar area, tapping into an audience who may be more receptive to your products and services.
  2. Create a two-sided relationship: When approaching an influencer it’s important to be both friendly and open, just as your would in the real world. Also, everyone is susceptible to flattery so letting them know how much you appreciate their work can often go a long way. Retweeting and sharing their content will help introduce them to your brand before you reach out them over email, turning the initial approach from cold to semi-warm and increasing your chances of a reply. Plenty of influencers will also expect some kind of payment for promoting your brand, but by setting a strict budget and negotiating politely, you can avoid overspending by determining what’s within your budget from the outset. If you can communicate your shared values, influencers will be much more likely to develop a positive working relationship with you.
  3. Experiment with different strategies: Utilize influencers on a smaller test market before committing to a larger influencer. Test different strategies. One month you could engage smaller bloggers and social media users (spreading your budget across a variety of sources), and the following month you could dedicate your whole budget to a solitary influencer with a larger audience. You may also want to try a social media takeover, where an influencer runs your social media accounts for a day. If you have no marketing budget at all, sending free samples or inviting influencers to try out your service is one way to get them to discuss your brand with their audience. When conducting any testing it’s imperative that you’ve defined and set-up the various tracking metrics you’ll need in order to compare results.
  4. Analyzing the results: Remember that not all benefits can be measured in immediate sales – raising brand awareness is more difficult to measure, and the benefits may not become obvious until later. Some of the key metrics to monitor will be traffic to your website, time spent on the site, conversions, and engagement. There are also other advantages, for example, if an influencer chooses to link to your website it will create both referral traffic can boost your visibility in organic search. Tools like Tweetreach and Google Analytics offer great insights into how your campaign is performing. Every type of influencer will have a different reach (audience size), relevance (contextual fit with your business) and resonance (engagement power) and your marketing strategies will, therefore, have varied results. With some experience and careful consideration, you’ll find the ones that are best for you and form long-lasting relationships.

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Remember, just because you are a small business with a limited budget doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Have your marketing associate or manager look up new technologies and tips for small business marketing. Do your research, figure out what will work for your unique situation or business. You can compete at a higher level with larger businesses and corporations not dollar for dollar but with creativity. Larger corporations have a harder time changing their ways and being creative. Smaller businesses have that niche, so use it to increase your brand awareness, sales, and brand reputation.

Thank you for reading!

Feel free to comment with your thoughts and ideas! I always welcome new ideas.

Please follow me @cosimocreatesbuzz on Twitter and on Google+ at Cosimocreatesbuzz.

Ashby, H. (2016, February 7). Top Influencer Marketing Tips for Small Businesses. Retrieved April 19, 2017, from http://www.smallbizdaily.com/top-influencer-marketing-tips-small-businesses-2/
Agrawal, A. (2016, December 27). Why Influencer Marketing Will Explode In 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/ajagrawal/2016/12/27/why-influencer-marketing-will-explode-in-2017/#7c93942420a9
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How will Virtual Reality Change Marketing?

What is Virtual Reality?: Virtual reality is an artificial environment created with computer hardware and software and presented to the user in such a way that it appears and feels like a real environment.

What is Augmented Reality?: Augmented reality is a view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. An example of this would be a smartphone app where you view a street corner through the camera and additional business information appears on the building.

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Virtual reality is one of the latest technologies marketers are trying to wrap their heads around to figure out how to best utilize the tool to achieve brand objectives. While we’re only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of impactful ways to use VR for marketing, several pioneers have found creative ways to do it well and support their unique value propositions. VR is being strategically used as a tactic to:

  • Demonstrate product attributes, features, functionality
  • Communicate the brand’s mission at point of sale
  • Immerse users in a branded entertainment experience and add excitement at pop-up events for social media sharing (Game of Thrones)
  • Help consumers make more informed choices so they’ll be happier with their purchases
  • Add a new, more immersive and exhilarating dimension to traditional print and video story-telling (The New York Times)
  • Show how a brand can fit into an aspirational lifestyle (Mercedes)

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The impact of VR-based marketing programs can be far-reaching because of the viral response they can generate. Some brands have opted for providing the experience in-store or at special events through more durable, higher quality gear, while others have opted to let broader audiences experience VR at home, on cell phones, with Google Cardboard, and on computers.

What does this mean for Small businesses?

Virtual reality is a completely immersive experience where the user feels like they are transported to another world. Augmented reality has been integrated into our lives for as long as smartphones have been around. Virtual reality is just now starting to emerge as a viable business tool to connect with consumers in entirely new ways. Small business owners can now utilize this technology to grow their businesses to new heights.

More consumers are expecting to see the power of virtual reality. According to Greenlight Insights, 62% of consumers say they would feel more engaged with a brand that sponsors a VR experience and 71% of consumers think a brand is forward-thinking if it uses virtual reality.

Allowing the consumer to experience places like casinos themselves from their home is far and away the best way to sell. Consider if you were in the market for a new home, yet online pictures and even video of the available options weren’t cutting it. Virtual reality could transport the buyer to every home that meets their criteria for a bird’s eye view and really showcase the features of each selection. The same holds true for a physical product. To be able to test drive a vehicle without the hassle and time wasted in a dealership may be all that’s needed to finalize a sale. Not only can VR display how a product works but also how it was developed and manufactured. This approach appeals to consumers who are interested in the backstory and origin of the products they purchase. Experiences such as these completely transform how the consumer interacts with brands and how marketers will reach their audience.

To understood Virtual Reality and its impact in the marketplace check out the video below:

Thank you for reading!

Feel free to comment with your thoughts and ideas! I always welcome new ideas.

Please follow me @cosimocreatesbuzz on Twitter and on Google+ at Cosimocreatesbuzz.

Check out my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/cosimocreatesbuzz

Greenwald, M. (2016, June 15). 6 Of The Best Marketing Uses Of Virtual Reality. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/michellegreenwald/2016/06/15/6-of-the-best-marketing-uses-of-virtual-reality/#d7b63c65cff3
Totka, M. (2016, April 14). Using Virtual Reality to Enhance Your Business. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/04/virtual-reality-for-small-business.html
Mcdermott, C. (2016, January 16). How will Virtual Reality Change Content Marketing? Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/01/virtual-reality-change-marketing/

Six Marketing Trends to Look for in 2017

It is March 2017 and a new year and there are many things to look forward to. From self-driving cars to new marketing trends.

Trends are important in the marketing industry as they tell marketers what customers are looking for and what they need. Marketers spend their whole careers studying consumers and their views, buying patterns and needs. Then they combine the research with their ideas and try to fulfill those needs to best of their ability.

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Six Marketing Trends to Look for in 2017:

  1. Interactive Content: There’s content you can read, and then there’s content you can interact with. The second variety tends to be more popular. Think of ways to get readers to actively participate instead of passively consume. Interactive content can include assessments, polls, surveys, infographics, brackets and contests.
  2. Mobile Video: Have you looked at your Facebook feed recently? Chances are that 95% of it is video. And here’s a fun stat: mobile video views grew six times faster than desktop views in 2015. In fact, in Q4 of 2015, mobile video views exceeded desktop views for the first time ever. We now live in an age of mobile video, and it’s time we embraced it.
  3. Virtual and augmented reality: One of 2016’s biggest highlights was watching a screen-afflicted population carry their mobile devices out into the world to catch, yes, Pokemon. The biggest takeaway from this phenomenon was augmented reality’s ability to drive real business results. This has become a seriously viable option for marketers looking to bring the online into the real world.
  4. Mobile First Strategy: The future is mobile. Internet traffic is now coming more from mobile devices than desktops. If you’re not catering your content, ads and online experience to a mobile user, then you are missing a massive opportunity. And remember: It’s not just about “optimizing” for mobile; it’s also about making sure that piece of content gets integrated with a user’s lifestyle on the go.
  5. Chatbots: For those of you that don’t know; Chatbots is a program designed to simulate conversation with human users. Chatbot technology has become much more sophisticated. A great example is Facebook, which invests a significant amount of resources into bot programs that provide users with news updates, personalized responses and more. Are you talking to a human or a bot? If you can’t tell, then the bot is working as intended.
  6. Influencer Marketing: What’s more effective than an ad in selling your product? A lovable social media personality speaking highly about your product to his or her fans and followers. Influencer marketing is on the rise, because people tend to trust recommendations from people they see as thought leaders. The right influencers establish credibility through each social media post or advertisement. When they work with brands, it’s because they genuinely believe in them, and that trust is passed on to consumers.

For more information and ideas regarding digital marketing trends of 2017 Check out the video below from the digital marketing institute.

Thank you for reading!

Feel free to comment with your thoughts and ideas! I always welcome new ideas.

Please follow me @cosimocreatesbuzz on Twitter and on Google+ at cosimocreatesbuzz.

Please Check out my website at http://www.cosimocreatesbuzz.com

Check out my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/cosimocreatesbuzz

Agrawal, A. (2016, December 16). 17 Marketing Trends To Watch Out For In 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/ajagrawal/2016/12/15/17-marketing-trends-to-watch-out-for-2017/#7d87341928ef

Brand Awareness and Benefits For An Online Business

Today, the world is changing. Many of the Old Crowd (our parents and grandparents) are trying to get their children to follow the old way 0f life. This being go through school, focus on grades, get into a good college or university and work for the rest of your life and retire on 40% of your income. Some parents are more open-minded than others and allow your children some freedom but traditionally this is the case.

With the world economy is trouble and less jobs out there for our recent graduates, it falls to these graduates to do one of many things.

  1. Get a job in their field if they are lucky
  2. Get a job in another field
  3. Be Over-Qualified for their job
  4. Start a business, creates jobs and be their own boss

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For those, who have the entrepreneurial spirit and went into business for themselves either online or with a physical location or those who have been debating it for a long time, this blog is dedicated to you.

 Building Brand Awareness For Your Online Business

For many business owners, building brand recognition, awareness and online presence is the key to being successful. With today’s unemployment rates, it’s definitely a blessing if you have a day job in the first place, but if you’re not doing what you love, it’s hard to get excited to get up every morning and start working. It’s unfortunate, but there are many people who hate what they do, but feel that they are stuck in their current job because they need to pay the bills.

If you’re really passionate about a certain subject, area, or hobby, why not turn it into a business? There’s so much potential out there – and using the power of the internet, you can reach the world with your ideas, services, and products.

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In my previous blogs I have mentioned many ways to build brand awareness. Here is a small recap:

  1. Produce and Distribute Great Quality Content. Creating and distributing quality content is the best way to gain visibility online. It is one of the most effective marketing strategies to promote your business and create brand recognition online. Creating quality content has become essential to any successful marketing strategy today.
  2. Social Media. Social Media Marketing is one of the most effective and cost effective ways to promote small businesses and enhance the visibility of your brand. Social Media Marketing promotes visibility, brand loyalty, recognition, and can also grow your sales. In addition, social media marketing allows small businesses and established ones to compete with an advantage. It enables businesses to reach worldwide audiences.
  3. Start a Blog. Having a blog can enhance brand visibility and improve your chances of success. In fact, blogging is one of the most effective ways to improve the visibility of your brand online. Blogging greatly improves your search engine rank, establishes validity in your brand and increases reach. In addition, blogging helps to cultivate relationships with customers and other influencers.
  4. Build credibility: People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Email gives you the ability to build credibility with your audience by sharing helpful and informative content.

For more information on building brand awareness in a variety of ways check out my blog  at https://cosimocreatesbuzz.wordpress.com/blog.

Check out the video below for some ideas to start your own online business:

 

Benefits of Having an Online Business

  1. You can do what you love: Having your own business is an amazing opportunity. It allows you to do what you love and potentially make some good money at the same time. Starting out will be hard. You will have to wear many hats and be able to balance a somewhat lax schedule but if your put effort and time and have the right mindset you can be successful.
  2. Flexible schedule and rules: If you are like me, you like to keep busy. However, when you have your business, you have some days that you are not. Having a flexible schedule allows you to plan your day, make a list of goals that you want to accomplish everyday in order to grow your business. When you have a flexible schedule, it’s easy to make time to see family or friends, because you can meet them at odd times you normally wouldn’t be able to.
  3. It’s relaxing: I find working from home to be extremely relaxing. Without a crazy commute, crazy co-workers, or a crazy boss, I have incomparably more energy for my family and friends. (Having plenty of “alone time” while I’m working from home definitely agrees with my introverted self.) Also, I can sleep in a little bit if I need to, I can take a nice relaxing walk if I want to. It’s much easier to take care of your health because there are more opportunities to fit in your fitness schedule.

Thank you for reading!

Feel free to comment with your thoughts and ideas! I always welcome new ideas.

Please follow me @cosimocreatesbuzz on Twitter and on Google+ at cosimocreatesbuzz.

Please Check out my website at http://www.cosimocreatesbuzz.com

Check out my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/cosimocreatesbuzz

Dennis, A. (2015, September 15). Building Brand Awareness Through Improved Online Visibility. Retrieved February 28, 2017, from https://www.semrush.com/blog/building-brand-awareness-improved-online-visibility/
Gilbert, K. (2016, October 15). 7 Pros & Cons of Running An Online Home Business. Retrieved March 1, 2017, from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140627204122-117684287-7-pros-cons-of-running-an-online-home-business
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