Is Crowdfunding Right For Your Small Business?

Is Crowdfunding Right For Your Small Business?

Is Crowdfunding Right For Your Small Business?

What is Crowdfunding?

Over the past eight years, crowdfunding has emerged as a popular tool for individuals to raise financing for business ventures.

Entrepreneurs typically raise small amounts of money from a large number of backers, or “the crowd,” usually via the Internet. Backers receive some sort of reward or, less commonly, an equity- or royalty-based financial return. Crowdfunding platforms – including Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe – have raised billions of dollars, and the industry is still growing with niche service providers such as 40Billion which focuses on crowdfunding promotion for small businesses.

For small and new business owners looking to raise capital, crowdfunding is an increasingly popular option. Unlike with debt financing, entrepreneurs are not evaluated based on the 4 C’s: Cash flow, Credit, Customers and Collateral. Rather, your access to capital is based on your existing reputation and your ability to effectively market the crowdfunding campaign. Backers decide whether to fund the campaign based on their interest in and support for the cause, for the individual business leader or because they want to buy the product/service being offered. For startups or businesses launching new products or entering new markets, crowdfunding may be more accessible than other forms of financing. It is also a great way to test the market for your product because many funders are also generally interested consumers.

2 Strategies for Success

The following are some insights about what makes a crowdfunding campaign successful.

1. Planning. The typical crowdfunding campaign lasts for 30-45 days, but planning should start several weeks in advance so that everything is in place during the crucial fundraising stage. Spend a lot of time researching other campaigns on various platforms to get ideas. Then, create a strategy for raising the visibility of your campaign, reaching out to the press and potential backers, and handling customer requests.

2. Promotion. The 30-45 days of the actual campaign are a wild ride. It’s really a numbers game. The more people you reach out to, the more money you’re going to get. It’s all about constant outreach. Sites like 40Billion.com make this easy by broadcasting and promoting your crowdfunding page to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for businesses — including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services like tweet ads and promoted company listings were created for crowdfunding entrepreneurs to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising.

Is Crowdfunding Right for You?

For small businesses, crowdfunding is just one of many different financing strategies. For every success story, there are dozens of crowdfunding campaigns that do not meet their goals. Having a physical product makes a campaign more enticing to backers. More generally, you need to have a compelling story. Focus more on the “why” rather than just getting the money fast, as this creates more buzz and more loyalty from your customers and backers.

Traditional Marketing And Content Marketing: Can They Co-Exist?

Traditional Marketing And Content Marketing: Can They Co-Exist?

Traditional Marketing And Content Marketing: Can They Co-Exist?

As content marketing continues to grow in popularity, a question being asked more and more is “should I replace my traditional marketing with content marketing?” The short answer is no.

It’s easy to pile onto the idea that print, radio, and even TV are on their way out as marketing platforms – but if they are effective, you shouldn’t give them up. Instead, rephrase that question to ask “how can I integrate content marketing into what I’m already doing?”

Content marketing is a philosophy, not a platform. It is a belief that you should educate and help your customers, and by doing so, they will reward you with their business. Content marketing should synch with your existing marketing, not replace it. If that marketing happens to be through traditional channels, so be it. Of course, it can also integrate nicely within your current online marketing too.

First, let’s understand the difference between the two. For the sake of this discussion, let’s put traditional marketing in the category of paid promotion – a newspaper ad, radio or TV spot. Paid promotion should drive more immediate traffic whereas content marketing will compound over time.

Whether that promotion is through online means like pay-per-click and social media, or traditional means like radio and newspaper ads – the content that you are creating often needs to be promoted to ensure that enough of the right audience is seeing it.

Instead of advertising your list of features in your next radio or newspaper campaign, consider promoting a free guide that your prospects can download from your website. This guide can be a culmination of answers to all of the questions that your prospects have on your industry, service or product. If that guide has enough value, you may be able to leverage it to capture the prospects name and email address. These are two important pieces of information that you can use as part of a lead nurture campaign.

Given the fragmentation of media and constant evolution of technology, few doubt the need to be evaluating your marketing mix on a regular basis. Regardless of the medium, however, nobody can doubt that quality content with the exposure to the right audience is a winning formula. So, before you abandon your traditional marketing altogether, first consider how you can integrate content marketing with your existing plan.

25 Instagram Marketing Tips for Business

25 Instagram Marketing Tips for Business

With Facebook declining in popularity among younger users, more and more businesses are turning to Instagram to reach younger demographics.If you plan to adopt a similar strategy, you’ll want to take a look at the following Instagram marketing tips and tricks for getting the most out of your presence on the site.

Fill Out Your “Bio” Section

Before you pass “Go” and collect $200, be sure to fill out the “Bio” section of your Instagram profile. Doing so will ensure that people who want to connect with you elsewhere are able to make these connections.

Learn How to Take Better Pictures on Your Phone

You don’t need a fancy DSLR camera to succeed on Instagram. Chances are the smartphone in your pocket has all the power you need.

Share Drop-Dead Gorgeous Images

As a general rule, the pictures that perform best on Instagram are stunningly beautiful scenery shots. While not every photo you share will be this caliber, try to make it a priority to share gorgeous images once a week.

Get to Know Instagram’s Filters

Instagram offers more than a dozen automatic image filters, but they’re not all created equal. Overall, go-to favorites for general image editing include hefe, inkwell and rise.

Experiment with Other Image Editing Apps

If Instagram’s filters aren’t doing for you, there are plenty of other image editing apps out there to give your pictures the love they need. In particular, check out Lumie, PicMonkey, Pixlr and Color Splash.

Think About Story Arcs

The pictures you share on Instagram don’t need to be one-off photos that aren’t associated with each other. Think in terms of story arcs and share series of pictures that show actions being taken, items that are associated with one another or progressions through time.

Try a Collage of Pictures

Similarly, collages of pictures combined into a single image allow you to share more content with each upload. Use the image editing apps referenced above or one of a number of other programs designed to help you mash up pictures in this way.

Add Text to Your Pictures

Memes tend to get a lot of traction on Instagram, so take advantage of this type of viral-style image by creating your own graphic and text combinations. Use the Meme Generator website to research current meme trends, as well as make your own to share.

Experiment With Video Clips

Last year Instagram introduced the ability to share video clips alongside the platform’s static photos. To give it a try, use the movie camera icon within Instagram to record up to 15 seconds of footage and then apply a video-specific filter to improve its look.

Tell Your Brand Story Without Selling

Brand marketing on Instagram can be tricky, as younger demographic users tend to be sensitive to over-promotion. Avoid irritating these users by identifying ways to share key components of your brand’s image without resorting to outright sales tactics.

Give a “Behind the Scenes” Look

The Ellen Show is one of the most popular accounts on Instagram, but the images her team shares aren’t the kinds of polished production photos you’d expect. Instead, her candid “behind the scenes” shots help to personalize her brand and connect on a more personal basis with followers.

Showcase a Lifestyle

One way to tell your brand’s story without directly selling is to share lifestyle shots that reinforce your brand’s persona. Sharing surfing photos, for example, gives off a casual, laid back vibe, while sharing pictures of races creates a more motivated, driven identity.

Show New Uses for Your Products

If you want to be more direct when marketing on Instagram, use your uploads to show off innovative new ways to use your products. Followers tend to be quite forgiving of brand marketing efforts when they receive something of value in exchange for their attention.

Preview New Products

Similarly, one way to gain attention on this social platform is to preview new products on the site before they’re released to the general public or announced elsewhere.

Introduce New Employees

Whenever you hire a new employee, take a photo of him or her and post it to Instagram. Doing so helps your followers to build personal relationships with your team, while also filling your feed with content that isn’t directly self-promotional.

Use Relevant Hashtags

Hashtags are incredibly important on Instagram. Before releasing any image, search around for similar content to see which hashtags are likely to lead to the most awareness and engagement.

Share your Instagram Pics on Other Social Networks

Don’t limit your Instagram pictures to Instagram. Post your Instagram links to Facebook, Twitter and any other social media service your company uses in order to grow your user base and provide followers on other networks with valuable content.

And speaking of social networks, don’t forget online marketing sites. You can visit 40billion.com which is a fastest-growing network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders. They specialize in promotion of small businesses by broadcasting and promoting to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for small businesses – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services such as promoted company listings were created for small entrepreneurs to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising. They also offer crowdfunding promotion and promote crowdfunders and their campaigns/projects.

Use Followgram to Manage Your Instagram Presence

Pro users of the popular Followgram service can use the program to enhance the site’s navigation capabilities, as well as manage photos in albums. The less time you spend on account management, the more time you can invest into delivering great quality images.

Give Ink361 a Try to Engage With Other Users

Another great Instagram tool to check out is Ink361. Use the system to discover new followers, connect with other people and analyze the social impact your photo-sharing activities have had.

Check Out Statigr.am for Instagram Statistics

One last Instagram tool to add to your arsenal is Statigr.am. Once set up, you’ll be able to view account stats on everything from the number of likes each of your photos has received to the growth of your follower base.

Focus on Community – Not Influencers

Instagram tends to be a democratic space – there aren’t many individual influencers who shape the community. So instead of trying to find and target these power users, focus your marketing efforts on reaching out to and connecting with members of your community.

Host an Instagram Contest

Instagram contests can be as involved or as hands-off as possible. No matter what prize you decide to offer or how you’ll track and judge entries, site users tend to get excited about these promotions (and the brands that run them).

Post at Peak Times

As you post on Instagram, pay attention to the times during the day when your images receive the most likes and comments. Use the trends you’ve identified to be sure you’re posting at peak times when you’ll be most likely to reach members of your audience.

Keep an Eye on Your “Feed Speed”

Don’t inundate your users with images. See how frequently other brands in your industry are posting and mimic their feed speed, paying attention to the impact on your account’s metrics as you vary this rate.

Respond to All Comments you Receive

Recognize users that take the time to comment on your images by responding to their messages. Clicking on users’ names first will add them to your response, tagging them and making it more likely that they’ll see you’ve taken the time to comment back. Clearly, there’s more to marketing on Instagram than these 25 tricks alone.

Best Online Sites For Small Businesses To Advertise

Best Online Sites For Small Businesses To Advertise

Are you a small business owner who feels just wasting your dollars to advertise?

Do you want to know where actually the best places to advertise your small business online?

So, let’s get started.

In addition to sites mentioned blow, don’t forget other online marketing sites. You can visit 40billion.com which is a fastest-growing network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders. They specialize in promotion of small businesses by broadcasting and promoting to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for small businesses – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services such as promoted company listings were created for small entrepreneurs to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising. They also offer crowdfunding promotion and promote crowdfunders and their campaigns/projects.

Here the 6 best places to advertise your small business online, that can take your small business towards success for sure.

Place #1: Google Adwords

Google Adwords is a great-grandfather of online advertising. Google has a very broad market covers all over the world. For this reason, Google Adwords become the largest platform for Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing.

If you advertise using Adwords, your ads will be created in the form of images and text that targets the specific people for specific keywords.

You know, when you use Adwords, you will bid on keywords in an auction-type market. If you win the auction, your ads will appear when those keywords are typed in the Google search box. That way, your ads display will appear in very specific ways to the targeted audiences. It makes every dollar you spend on dvertising is very efficient. Google facilitates small business owners to easily set up a campaign using Google Adwords Express.

Place #2: Microsoft Ad Center

Since this also uses a search engine like Google Adwords, there is no significant difference between Google Adwords and Microsoft Ad Center. The difference is that Microsoft Ad Center uses Bing search engine to put your ads on search engine results.

As you know, Bing has smaller audiences than the Google search engine. However, this is the advantage that you can take. Yes, bid on keywords can be much cheaper than Adwords!

Place #3: Facebook Advertising

For small business owners, advertise on Facebook is a gold mine that would be a pity if it missed. The way it works is that you pay only when someone clicks your ad. It was very similar to other PPC advertising.

Even though no one clicks your ad, you can still get the benefits by letting your ad seen by many Facebook users. It will make your business better known online and you get it all for free.

Place #4: Twitter Advertising

Advertising on Twitter is also a worthy thing to be done for small business owners. No doubt, Twitter can grow your business. There are many success stories that tell about it.

There are two things that can be done by advertisers:

1. Advertisers can buy promoted trends (you can see a list labeled “trending” with hashtag on Twitter, advertisers pay for it so Twitter makes it like that).

2. Advertisers can buy promoted tweets (highlighted individual tweets).

One interesting thing about promoted tweets is the advertiser only pay when the tweets get retweeted or clicked by other users.
However, these types of advertising have not quite affordable prices for some small business owners.

Therefore, Twitter has recently launched a small business advertising program that has a price that is more affordable for small business owners to advertise on Twitter.

Place #5: LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn has a very broad businesses and professional networking. One of the advantages of advertising on LinkedIn is your ads will reach very specific people.

Of course, this will make your business gain exposure to the right people.

One of the disadvantages of advertising on LinkedIn is the cost quite expensive when compared to the cost of the platform that listed here.

Place #6: StumbleUpon Paid Discovery

StumbleUpon is a social media site that allows you discover new websites you’ve never found before. Although it’s not as famous as Facebook or Twitter, StumbleUpon can provide many benefits for your business website.

Apart from being a place to advertise your small business online, you can also use Stumble Upon to increase your website traffic as well.

Conclusion: Your business website is an important marketing tool to promote your business. Optimize your business website is an important factor for your business success.

But as you know, optimizing websites usually takes a long time. It takes hard work, patience and persistence in order to gain high ranking in search engines.

So, the simple advice that I can give to you is put your efforts to optimize your website as a long-term plan and paid advertising as your short-term plan. All of these lead to one goal – achieve your business success!

5 Fundamentals Of Marketing For Any Business

5 Fundamentals Of Marketing For Any Business

Marketing strategies and tactics can be very different, depending on your industry, size or location. But there are five fundamentals your marketing must accomplish, no matter what type or size of business you run, and no matter where it is.

If your marketing is not accomplishing one or more of these five marketing musts, it might not be bringing your small business the new customers, brand advocates and followers you need to build a strong organization.

Even for businesses located in the same town and industry, marketing plans and tactics can be widely divergent depending on a variety of factors. While some marketing tactics may be more effective for your small business than others when it comes to helping, you increase sales, build your lead pipeline, garner customer loyalty and referrals and identify emerging trends, it’s still true that your marketing strategies must be built to help you accomplish each and every one of these goals.

1. Tell a story

Telling the story of your business in terms of your passion, inspiration, industry, history, evolution, problems overcome, staff, customer helped, your successes – these are the elements that set your business apart from all competitors. These are the reasons that people should choose to do business with you.

2. Find your target markets

Your marketing must be specifically designed to reach your ideal buyer types, members of your target markets and other types of buyers based on buyer profiles you have identified and researched. This will involve not only identifying the characteristics which reflect your typical customers and ideal buyer types, but will also necessitate that you find out where they are, how best to reach them and what types of marketing messages will be most compelling to them.

And speaking of affordable marketing, don’t forget online marketing sites. You can visit 40billion.com which is a fastest-growing network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders. They specialize in promotion of small businesses by broadcasting and promoting to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for small businesses – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services such as promoted company listings were created for small entrepreneurs to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising. They also offer crowdfunding promotion and promote crowdfunders and their campaigns/projects.

3. Cultivate leads

Some businesses have very short buying cycles (the length of time between when an individual identifies a need or want they decide to fulfill, research their options, narrow their options and make a buying decision), while others have very long buying cycles. Typically, the more important, expensive, long lasting or impactful the result of a purchasing decision will have, the longer the buying cycle.

4. Nurture customer relationships

Does your marketing do anything to turn customers into loyal customers and brand advocates? Bringing new business onto the books is great, but even though attracting new customers is a far more difficult and expensive endeavor than retaining and upselling existing customers, customer acquisition is often the sole goal of most small business marketing activities.

Your small business can use email marketing, social media and other low-cost tools to strengthen relationships with existing customers. You may also find that extending special “insider” offers or hold closed-door events for your best customers creates loyalty and advocacy.

Word of mouth can become your best marketing, but only if you are using your marketing to turn customers into word-of-mouth brand ambassadors!

5. Drive the evolution of your business

Often, we engage in marketing as a monologue, when it should be a dialogue. Leave room in your marketing plan for surveys, polls and other interactive engagements with customers and prospects so that you can learn how to improve and evolve your business, in order to strengthen it for the long haul.

Why Twitter for Small Businesses?

Why Twitter for Small Businesses?

Are you debating whether your small business should invest time on Twitter?

Do you wonder how Twitter can help your business?

By being an active part of the Twitter community and sharing the right mix of content, you can reach a larger audience, generate more leads and become the go-to source when customers are ready to buy.

Twitter has evolved a lot since 2007. It used to be about conversations, but these days some would say it’s just another way to push out marketing messages and links without true engagement with customers. Twitter is perfect for small businesses.

Lot of businesses using Twitter to its full potential and cultivating relationships with loyal followers, and those relationships can turn into sales.

Twitter offers businesses of all sizes multiple opportunities to find and convert prospects, but it takes more effort than pushing out scheduled tweets about your products.

It’s worth it to invest the time and resources to develop your presence on Twitter. When you do, you’ll see more growth and loyalty from customers, as well as more sharing, engagement and leads. Consistent conversations go a long way!

Use following 8 Twitter tips for small businesses.

#1: Use Twitter to Stand Out

Reward Twitter followers with special perks.

#2: Keep Your Followers Interested

With giveaways, business updates information, and promotional offers.

#3: Stick With It

If you’re not seeing immediate growth on Twitter, don’t give up. As they say, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Offer your followers perks to show the company’s personality and build trust.

#4: Keep Your Mobile Users in Mind

Are you ever without your smartphone? Probably not-and neither is your audience. Mobile is the way we both market and consume information. Twitter says it was “born mobile”. Use Twitter updates to give followers real-time information they can use. Remember to keep your mobile users in mind when using Twitter.

#5: Listen to Your Customers

Have a team in place to monitor and respond to customer questions, compliments, and yes, complaints. Share user generated content to help other customers.

#6: Promote Hard to Find Products

Many small businesses struggle with whether they should be on Twitter. They wonder if it’s really the way to reach their customers. Put a twist on regularly stocked products to entice customers to come to your store. Promote your hard to find but popular products to grow a niche following.

And speaking of promotion, don’t forget online marketing sites. You can visit 40billion.com which is a fastest-growing network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders. They specialize in promotion of small businesses by broadcasting and promoting to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for small businesses – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services such as promoted company listings were created for small entrepreneurs to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising. They also offer crowdfunding promotion and promote crowdfunders and their campaigns/projects.

#7: Connect With People Who Need What You Have to Offer

Twitter is the perfect place to search for people who need what you offer and to surprise them with helpful advice.

#8: Use Twitter for Lead Generation

Use Twitter for lead generation by reinforcing its commitment to generating ideas and supporting creativity.

In Conclusion….

Twitter isn’t just for big companies or spray-and-pray marketing. Any business can find a place on the platform-the key is conversation. Pay attention to your customers and respond to their questions, compliments and concerns. Keep their attention with fun facts, real-time information and local flavor.

Is Twitter A Good Marketing Tool For You?

Is Twitter A Good Marketing Tool For You?

What do you think in reality Twitter is? It has long been one of the most important social media platforms available on the internet. But what do you feel is the true use of this wonderful website? Over the years, websites, such as Twitter and others are becoming more and more popular. It offers immense potential for businesses to connect to a large number of their target audience.

Easy to Reach Out to the Target Audience

Reaching out to one’s target audience was a difficult task even a few years back. But no more with the advent of social media websites like Twitter. Millions of users every day come online on Twitter. Thus, the businesses are expected to have the opportunity to connect with a large number of their target audience on the website. Twitter makes the process of targeting easy. Keyword search results and the devices used for surfing the internet to visit the websites are also used to pick out the target audience.

Market Anything and Anywhere

One of the major advantages of using Twitter for marketing is that you can market absolutely anything you wish. A large number of people are present on this website. And the matters they discuss about usually encompass everything under the sun. You can speak about absolutely anything. Moreover, people from almost every country of the world are present on Twitter. This makes it easy for you to target your local customers, if you want, while you are marketing some product or service on Twitter. Moreover, Twitter is available in as many as 35 languages. This makes it easy for you to connect with people from a specific place in the language they speak.

And speaking of affordable marketing, don’t forget online marketing sites. You can visit 40billion.com which is a fastest-growing network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders. They specialize in promotion of small businesses by broadcasting and promoting to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for small businesses – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services such as promoted company listings were created for small entrepreneurs to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising. They also offer crowdfunding promotion and promote crowdfunders and their campaigns/projects.

Post Engaging Tweets

When you are using Twitter for marketing your products and services, it is important to make the tweets engaging. Along with short textual write ups, also post graphical tweets. Use the most engaging photos and videos to attract the attention of the users. This will help to make the users more interactive and engage them in some kind of activity on your page.

Measure Your Performance with Inbuilt Tools

When you are marketing your products and services in a platform, it is important for you to know how things are working for you. It will be extremely encouraging if you find that the results are excellent. However, if you are not performing good enough to meet your expectations, you need to analyze your actions to know the mistakes. This will help you to rectify your faults and put up efforts in a new way. Twitter provides you with a wide array of tools, which will help you to measure your performance on this popular web platform. The website provides you with the chance of setting goals and checking out whether you are able to meet them or not.

Merge Prior Planning with Real-time Activities

One of the major advantages that Twitter can help you with is the real-time updates. This ensures that whatever is happening with your brand, you can immediately update the customers about it through Twitter. This also provides you with the chance to use the platform most when maximum number of users is active on it. You can initially tweet during different hours of the day to find out, which hours reap the maximum benefits for you. However, although Twitter offers the chance to function on a real-time basis, it needs proper planning as well. You should plan the activities beforehand to ensure that your marketing efforts on the platform are helping you gain more and more customers.

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