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Building your badass digital marketing strategy

(BUSINESS NEWS) Email, blogging, social media, PPC, SEO — where to start? What’s really important when it comes to digital marketing?

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digital marketing

We are living in a digital world

Marketing is so many things but few are more important right now than digital marketing. Email, blogging, social media, PPC, SEO — and the list goes on. Where to start? What’s really important?

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Digital marketing is important for the obvious reasons – everyone has their phone on them literally all. the. time. According to a 2015 Verizon survey, nearly 90% of people admit to using their phones in the bathroom. Talk about opportunity.

But the real question isn’t how to reach your audience, but instead, how do you reach your audience effectively? Clearly, digital isn’t a new landscape – so how can you become something that resonates, is relatable… without becoming ‘noise’?

Step one – bring on the right people. Is it important to know everything about marketing? No – because marketing, particularly digital marketing, changes almost hourly.

Instead, bring on people who are hungry. People who are motivated. People who love what they do.

The rest is smooth sailing…at least, in theory.

Know your audience, find your voice

Hello, obvious.

Yeah, it’s like Marketing 101. But after recently attending a digital marketing conference, it was surprising how often the speakers mentioned this point. Do you really know who you’re trying to reach? Have you spent real time putting yourself in the shoes of your customers?

Stop trying generic marketing tactics, and instead spend time talking to and researching your customer’s pain points and evaluating what they actually need. It’s OK to be specialized.

Let me say that again.

It’s OK to be specialized.

Your product isn’t for everyone. Focus, instead, on who it is for and market the hell out of those people.

Once you identify who those people are, who those people really are and what they really need, determine your company’s voice. Who are you? Are you funny? Informative? Tactical? Find your voice and own it.

Content is king

There’s no getting around it. People want stuff.

If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes on Facebook, you’ll notice the crazy amount of sharing and liking of posted content. Viral videos are gold, and if you’ve managed to successfully infiltrate a ‘trending topic”, then you deserve that after work beer.

The thing we all need to understand (because I’m still guilty of it — even when I’m aware of the issue) is that no one – no one – wants to be sold to. We’re absolutely railroaded with sales pitches. On TV, on the radio, on every site or social media platform I go to, in my inbox. I’m surrounded.

Stop it.

Start, instead, by giving your audience something they can use. Something they value. Something for free.

*Insert screeching brakes sound here*

Yeah, free.

You cannot ask your customer for their hand in marriage when you’ve never even bought them a drink.

Give them a little, prove you’re “the one”. Become the resource in your industry. You know your audience, and you know their pain points – help them with those…even if it’s not what you sell.

Believe it or not, becoming a resource helps your brand and your business, even when you’re giving things away.

Use technology to your advantage

You HAVE to be on top of the trends. You just have to. There’s no getting around it. Which brings me back to the whole hungry thing. If your team truly loves what they do and are looking for new resources and ways to improve, then you’ve chosen the right people.

Back to the buzzword game – SEO, PPC, analytics, boosted posts, sponsored ads, influencer campaigns, viral videos. There’s something new everyday, you have to be on top of it.

By constantly using the tools at your fingertips to evaluate then reevaluate what works and what doesn’t can help fine tune your marketing plan. Be advised that this isn’t a one time effort, but instead something that will need continuous assessment and modification.

Tools like Facebook Insights and Google Analytics can paint a good picture of the success of a campaign. Open and click rates combined with unsubscribes on email campaigns can also give valuable date regarding the effectiveness of your marketing.

You can’t afford not to

Marketing is both incredibly simple and incredibly complicated at the same time. Aligning your offerings with the needs of your audience, while marketing to their heads AND their hearts will build a sense of resourcefulness while expanding your reach to new markets.

#DigitalMarketing

Megan Noel, a veteran ex-educator with a PhD in Early Childhood Education, enjoys researching life through the eyes of her two young children, while writing about her family’s adventures on IndywithKids.com. With a nearly a decade in small business and marketing, this freelance writer spends most evenings pouring over new ideas and writing articles, while indulging in good food and better wine.

Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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