Have you heard about the “Buy Local” Movement? It encourages cities and towns to support small businesses in their area instead of large corporations. Small business owners need to do all they can to make sure their company is being found by customers who prefer to support the movement. One of the best ways to do this is with up-to-date business listings. Read More
When an entrepreneur sets up their new business, their goal isn’t necessarily to be a corporate giant like Walmart or Apple; it’s because they recognize that there is something the behemoths have missed. Although the majority of businesses start for this reason, it is easy for owners to get caught in the vortex of competition or, more aptly, trying to become the competition. Read More
In today’s business world, the popularity of big box stores and online shopping have changed the way that many businesses are able to interact with customers. Unlike in the days of mom and pop stores, many business owners today never meet most of their customers in person. Customer service takes on a whole new meaning many of our transactions are now done over the Internet. The third Thursday of each quarter is now officially Get to Know Your Customers Day, which can be a great opportunity for businesses to take the extra time and effort to reach out to customers.
As you may have heard — let’s face it, you’ve heard about it unless you were in a coma — a new Star Wars movie dropped late last year. The Force Awakens spawned products from cereal with pictures of Yoda and Darth Vader emblazoned on the box to shower heads and even Pop Chips. With unprecedented merchandising, according to Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times film business reporter, it’s a fair question to ask, “Just how effective was it?”
Forcing the Force on the American Public
Miller weighed in on the sheer diversity of the branded products. “I came across Campbell’s soup that was branded with a Star Wars character,” he said. “I came across a Pottery Barn bed that was selling for $4 thousand that looked like the Millennium Falcon.”
A furniture shopper who’s also a Star Wars enthusiast with deep pockets has many options. That person may purchase a bed shaped like Han Solo’s spaceship just because it’s Star Wars branded. Can the same be said for someone who legitimately loves condensed chicken noodle soup? Maybe. Co-founder of the Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn, New York , Brian Smith befriended Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, and has churned out Star Wars ice cream. “The first week of selling Star Wars, we sold as many pints online as we had sold online in the year previous,” Smith said.
Brand Loyalty and Your Business
Great packaging and pictures of superheroes or science fiction characters have long been used to attract customers. It’s likely that you aren’t bizarrely connected with a Disney exec who can give you Star Wars licensing. However, you can provide the best quality product in your field, and get the word out about it.
Your online marketing efforts should hit your intended audience with the appropriate message, and your audience should be able to easily find you. While General Mills has the luxury of broad distribution and great shelf placement, your small- or medium-sized business has the distinct advantage of using search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) and social media. Your customers will be just as likely to return if they have a great experience both online and in person as they are to catch the next installment of the Star Wars saga in 2017. (Although expecting a $37 billion revenue may be a tad unrealistic.)
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Small Business Saturday falls directly after one of the biggest shopping days in the entire year: Black Friday. National retailers reap in huge profits each Black Friday, and they work hard to extend the profits of Black Friday in the days leading up to and following it. So, what’s a small business owner to do? It’s always hard for small businesses to compete with national chains, but there are a few strategies small businesses can use to stand out from the crowd and take advantage of Small Business Saturday.
In our world at Turn The Page, the annual Google I/O conference is headlining news. We’re following the announcements and preparing for big changes. Google I/O began on Wednesday in San Francisco. The three day conference for software developers features the newest software for Android phones, updated apps, user experience improvements, and much, much more.
I tuned into the keynote for the news about Google+ updates. Let me tell you; they are making some major improvements and changes. I’ll focus on the Google+ changes. Check back here for information about other big announcements.
Major Google+ Changes Announced
Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President, Engineering for Google, announced they were rolling out 41 changes to Google+. To simplify this for us at the keynote, he went through three big changes.
Google+ now has a multi-column design. Gone is the flat, single column screen we are used to. This new design is dynamic, changing from 1 to 3 columns depending on the size of your screen. This means you’ll see more stories across the page, and they’ll fit well. This means that your cousin’s panoramic snapshot of the coast will span the entire screen rather than be squashed to fit in one column.
The multi-column design does more than look pretty. The menus and share box move and slide. New cards flip and fade, letting you see related info about a certain story.
The new related hashtags feature lets you explore a certain topic. Click on the hashtag to reveal a card with more stories with the same tag or related information.
Gundotra stressed the company’s philosophy on technology. He said that Google wants people to use technology to do what they do best: live, learn, and love. Instead of letting computers stop us from relating to people in the real world, Google wants us to focus on hanging out.
Gundotra shared the new stand alone hangouts app. He showed the app’s dynamic yet simple system that shows who is in the conversation and who is reading or sending a message. You can easily switch to group video chat, send pictures, video or text. And, you have the ability to save these conversations as long as you’d like.
Gundotra then presented a load of updates to Google+ Photos. Noting that taking, storing, enhancing, and sharing photographs takes a good chunk of time, he set us up for several time-saving features.
Google already backs up your photos, but now they will also enhance and “awesome” your photos. Google will examine all of your photos and pick the best ones based on a number of criteria. Then, all photos will be auto enhanced. They will even find pictures taken in “burst” mode or very close together and create a GIF-like file for you. This software is appropriately called “awesome”.
Stay tuned for more Google I/O news. We’re excited about the changes and improvements- We’ll keep you updated on how the changes will affect online marketing for local business.