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What Website Platform to Use

Having a business can be expensive; we know that. Getting a website set up can be both time consuming and costly. There are 30 million small businesses in the United States; that is a lot!!

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According to the 2018 Small Business Profile Report from the US Small Business Administration, there are over 30 million small businesses in the United States! These small business owners work incredibly hard, and while the benefits of being a creative entrepreneur are many, ensuring that the financial rewards are worry-free is paramount.

You can set up a Weebly website, but did you know you can sell with 0% Weebly transaction fee? They also have the ability to add unlimited products to their stores and have access to a variety of powerful e-commerce tools including inventory management, reviews, tax calculator, and more. The Weebly Business plan is just $25/month when paid annually

Is Your Business Just Starting Out? No problem!

Weebly's Starter or Pro Plans are great for entrepreneurs who are just getting started or want to test the waters. While there is a low 3% Weebly transaction fee on these plans and a reduced set of tools available, the Starter and Pro plans can be very cost effective for new businesses while they fine-tune their product lines and strategies. The Starter plan is available at $8/month when paid annually, and the Pro plan is available at $12/month when paid annually.

We encourage you to create new content and posts for your site, especially around the Weebly Business and Performance plans. If you need help setting up your website, feel free to contact us below.

I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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What is SEO and Why Do You Need It?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website so that it performs well in organic search. Search terms that rank highly are known as keywords. Using these words increases the visibility of a website, which leads to a higher number of visitors to the actual site.

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As a business owner, you need to have a plan in place to promote your business, regardless of what your business entails. SEO should be a part of your system because of the following...

Blogging is a leading source of leads and traffic for businesses. They must use optimization properly for a search to be effective. SEO is made to ensure your blog posts get found.

Before you can optimize your website, you have to know what you are optimizing it for. This step simply means, knowing what terms people use to search for what you offer.

Once you have identified keywords that people are using to find products, you need to implement them on your website.

Content is a significant part of your website, but it is far from the only on-page factor that will affect how well your website performs. You need to realize there are other aspects. You should have a clear hierarchy to your site with keywords inside your content.

SEO is a great way to create organic traffic to your website if done correctly. There are endless things to learn about SEO, so let's sit down and have a chat about your needs.

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Why You Need a Website for a Business

If you plan on not growing or scaling your business, then you probably don't need a website. I do not take any business seriously without a website. You have to invest in your business a little bit, and the first investment should always be branding and website design.

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It doesn't matter if you are a service or product based business, you need to have a website. Websites are not simply for e-commerce businesses.

 

With all of that said, here are the top six reasons you need a website.

 

1. Customer Expectation: Your customers are the first and foremost reasons you should. If you do not have a website, you better believe that your patrons will go to your competitor.  Consumers go to sites to make sure that they are professional and legitimate.

2. Social Credibility: With the internet mixing the honest with the shady, people want proof that you are, in fact, a business. They want to investigate your website and social media pages to get to know you better!

3. Bang for Buck: You will reach thousands of, if not more, people just by having a website. There are so many great benefits such as widgets, SEO, and google ads that can help the visibility of your webpage.

4. Be Ahead: If your customers are searching for something on the internet and your competitor is online, then you are missing out on a sale. Websites help establish brand awareness.

5. Automate Work: Your website does the work for you! Add your hours online, and people can find you based on searches. Also place your location in google maps, which makes it easy for people to find you and click right on it. Another option, insert your phone number online, and interested parties can dial the business directly if they are on their phone. There are many great features to implementing a website.

6. Google Search Visibility: This exposure is one of the most important reasons for a website. People can search on Google and find your website based on their needs. Without a site, there are slim to no chances of a person discovering your business. This step is also where SEO plays a vital role.

With so many great reasons to have a website, these are only just a few. You will find that a site is imperative and, over time, will be the best return on investment for your business. Interested in a free consultation? Click on contact us to set yours up.

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What to Include in a Media Kit

A media kit proves essential for every business; there is NO exception on who should create one. A media kit contains information about your business or event. The point of a media kit is to catch someone’s eye and make them want to work with you. It should be a one-stop shop for all of the necessary information. Media kits can be print or digital; it depends entirely on the person and preference. I recommend always having both because most places like to have both an electronic and a physical version.

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What should your media kit contain?

A few basic items should always be in your media kit.

  • Contact Details: You should add the contact details (phone, website, address, email, etc.) of the person who can interview.
  • Social Info: People like to have your social media information (links, stats, and following). They want this data for a couple of reasons: one, because they can see you have an audience and two, they like to tag and share with their audience.
  • Brands Assisted: Always enclose the companies/businesses you have worked with before. Prior experience gives the credibility/testimonials that you need.
  • About the Company/Person: Provide a quick, yet informative bio. Try not to make the blurb more than three paragraphs per person/business.
  • Media Release: Plug in some details about the event/service/product. Your media release should have quotes from the person available for interviews.

TIP: Put some images in your media kit that journalists can use.

If you have recently appeared in the news or other publications, make mention of this to increase your social proof and credibility. You don't need to use media kits all of the time. People don't always care about the numbers, etc. They want to make sure that you are a great fit and credible!

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The Top Five Promotional Items For Holiday Gifting

Holidays make for a wonderful time of year to give gifts to clients, employees, and relatives. Promotional items create the most powerful and effective marketing tools. Promotional products have always been a trend and are a go-to brand marketing strategy for just about anyone. They are also highly affordable. With all that said, ‘tis the season to give back. You want to provide practical gifts that are also fun and memorable.

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Here are some holiday promotional gift ideas ideas:

  1. Cashews, Nuts, and Other Delicious Snacks. Food is a wonderful gift for the holidays. People in the office can enjoy something a little salty or merely appreciate a relationship. Nuts can be ideal for anyone (as long as they aren't allergic) because they are the best snacking item out there.
  2. Anything Chocolate! Chocolate is everyone's best friend, am I right? There are many options: chocolate covered cookies, pretzels, or even almonds. YUM! You decide what you want to gift.
  3. Popcorn and Pretzel Tins. Fill up tins with either popcorn or pretzels. You will be amazed at how these can be such a huge hit. If you are sending to a company that has 5-10 employees, you can bet that they will eat this up!
  4. Gourmet Gift Boxes. Create your favorites and put them together in a box. Want a mixture of everything? GREAT! Let's put it together for you! We can get something custom for your needs.
  5. Fresh Baked Cookies Of course, cookies! These are, again, a delightful snacking treat. You need to decide if you will do one kind of cookie or a variety of cookies. The holiday season is a time to indulge a little and people won't feel guilty doing that if they receive these goodies!

ALL of these items can be customized with your logo, or even brand colors,  as well. Just use the contact us button and let's get started!

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Learn How to Find The Best Instagram Hashtags with Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder

I’ve been a huge fan of tailwind for many many years. So whenever the announce a new launch I am always happy to share it with my fans. Tailwind is a great tool for pinterest as well as instagram now.

Guess what? tailwind now has a hashtag finder for instagram.

It is a lifesaver and one of the best tools for a business owner. I get it that you have a hard time trying to come up with content let alone hash tags; it is time consuming..; That is why automation with tailwind is SOOO amazing. You can auto schedule your instagram posts, WHAT!!?.

But beyond that now, hash tag posts will appear in the “latest posts” sections for anyone searching the hashtag, and if your post is particularly engaging, it may even appear in the “top posts” section where you’ll get even more exposure! How awesome is that?

Stop trying to just wing it with your hash tags. Stop trying to find out what hash tags have worked or aren’t working.. Hash tags are critical and you must make sure that they are working for you.

How does this work?

If you are the tip of your toes with this new feature, then you will want to find out more. All you do is enter a hashtag and appeared will be recommended additional tags based on relevance and popularity. You can even tell the tool how many hashtags you want! With tailwind you can:

  • Set a rhythm and direction for your Instagram account

  • Research your competitors and influencers in your space

  • Find “sweet-spot” hashtags (popular Instagram hashtags that are not TOO popular)

  • Creating hashtag list, and more!

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Tailwind’s Hashtag finder suggest hashtags for your Instagram posts as you write your caption! You don’t even need to do the extra work anymore, it literally pops up based on your caption! This is an amazing features because sometimes I just get distracted, as I am sure you do too!

You can see above how I typed in marketing done for you and there are many options for your hash tags AND are based on which ones are competitive, good, and best. If I kept typing in more, it would show a ton more hash tags that might be even more specific; they are great indicators to help you select a mix of hashtags which will help you cover all your bases and increase your reach.

If that doesn’t excite you then maybe this will.. You can also hover over a hashtag and see how many times it has appeared on Instagram to help you decide which to use. WINNING! You want to try to get in some niche hash tags whenever possible just so that isn’t always a lot of competition and you can stand out.


Go get your hash tags on at tailwind, You’ll get a free 31-day trial, and you can keep using hashtag finder for free as long as you like. You won’t be disappointed.

**I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links

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Stop Wasting Time with Your Unorganized Business!

Plan your Days Effectively, Manage Client Projects & Business Information, and Scale your Business with Ease. Use the EXACT System that Saves Me 20 Hours Per month!!

Save five hours per week of wasted time searching for files and documents with an all-in-one business headquarters! Develop, implement and streamline a project workflow that simplifies your workload & allows you to bring on more clients!

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Collaborate with team members & clients for smooth communication and interaction and LESS EMAIL just by using this program. 

Manage your daily tasks to effectively boost your productivity and get rid of the stress and anxiety that comes with unorganized chaos! I'M TIRED OF MY UNORGANIZED BUSINESS!!


The Ultimate Done For You Business Management System for Increased Organization, Efficiency & Productivity. I spent the entire first year and a half of my business trying to keep track of everything on post it notes, legal pads, notebooks and IN MY HEAD! I was forgetting to follow up with leads, I was missing deadlines, I was forgetting client projects & my stress level was THROUGH THE ROOF!! 

No Organization Means I was wasting time looking for documents, trying to find my post it notes and crying in a corner because I was letting my clients down. A successful business is organized with processes and systems that allow them to work more efficiently. AN UNORGANIZED BUSINESS = MISSED DEADLINES = LESS CLIENTS = LESS $$$ & MORE STRESS

That's when I said enough is enough. There has to be a better way to keep track of #allthethings and moving parts in my business.I wanted to have an all-in-one place to store everything about my business, my client work, my team and WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER!

I created the Complete Trello Business Management System to Organize all of my business information, tasks, projects, client work and communication, team communication and even home and family stuff!! 

After doing that I was able to stop wasting time trying to find post it notes and documents, I spent less time stressing about missing deadlines and being overwhelmed, my business was more structured and streamlined, I saved myself hours of headaches and MY BUSINESS STARTED GROWING!!

I want you to have my ENTIRE system setup PLUS training videos to
increase your business organization, decrease your stress and grow your business!
Boards & Trainings:

Receive These 13 Trello Templates, Video Trainings, Worksheets & BONUS Videos!

  • My Week Planner Use this board like a calendar to plan out your entire week and never miss another deadline!! 
  • Business Management Planner This board serves as your business headquarters so you can easily find pertinent information without wasting precious time searching through files.
  • Referrals Board Networking is crucial as an entrepreneur. Keep track of those coffee chats and interactions with this template!
  • Content Marketing Planner Map out your entire marketing plan in hours, not days and reuse content to save wasted hours! 
  • Client Onboarding Workflow Spend less time on boarding new clients, manage client tasks and communication without a million emails and never look unprofessional again!
  • Project/Launch Management  Map out all of your long term projects and launches to see future business plans and deadlines. 
  • New Team Member Templates Add a new team member to your team with ease using this board to assign work. No more missed communication!
  • Resources Board This template is your toolbox! Add resources for yourself and your clients that you can revisit any time!
  • Marketing Manager Board Adding a marketing manager to your team,  collaborate using this board to track projects.
  • Multi-Client Project Onboarding Learn how to automate your workflows in Trello and let Butler do the heavy lifting!
  • Program Launch Template Launching a new program or offer? Stop reinventing the wheel for all the tasks that need completed. Use this template each time you create something new
  • Vision Board Use this board as a visual representation of what you want in all facets of your life!

Use Planyway to manage all the moving parts of your business & client projects!

 

Sign up today

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Five Reasons to Hire a Branding Agency

People are always talking about hiring a digital agency. The biggest reason people do is to be efficient with their money. However, branding is one of the most important purchases you make. Hiring a branding agency can end up cutting costs in the long run. It also creates a strong brand and consistency to your audience which will increase your return on investment.

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Some companies have the money to hire a Marketing Director or Brand Manager. These companies wonder why they need an agency at all if they already have internal help. Even if you have someone on staff full-time, the chances are that person will require resources, tools, additional support, and connections.

 

Here are a few reasons you should consider partnering with a branding agency:
 

  1. Big Picture

Creating a comprehensive brand that is consistent, but also tells a compelling story is a skill that requires some serious know-how. These people are successful, talented, and knowledgeable when it comes to this. A great branding agency knows the intricacies of taking a brand from concept to completion. The agency helps create this flow and works with you through the whole process.
 

  1. Creativity

You get the benefit of having a bunch of strategic and creative minds collaborating on a project; this makes good use of time for both you and them. Agencies often have strategists, writers, designers, illustrators, and other talents in-house.
 

  1. Consistency

Many organizations that hire agencies lack cohesion in their branding efforts, which in turn hurts their ROI. An exceptional great branding agency knows how to deliver that consistency: your name, strategy, position, message, the tone of voice, personality, website, and social media.
 

  1. Putting Your Money To Good Use

Often people say that they don't have the money, but the truth is, you need to invest in these efforts. A branding agency can help you prioritize what you need in the order in which you need it to make the most impact. We start with what will make the most sense, then add a plan of action for the following months.

 

5. On-Going Brand Management

As a brand is re-introduced, and then begins to scale, it’s crucial to ensure the brand does not change its core values. Your company will always have on-going needs: creating a video, motion, animation, photography. Any branding agency should be able to lead the creation of the deliverables since the agency already knows your brand intimately.

Here are our weekly favorites: 

  1. What I am reading: Building a StoryBrand
  2. What I am loving: Echo Plus with built-in Hub – White + Philips Hue Bulb included
  3. What I added to my wish list: Neewer NW-700 Professional Studio Broadcasting Recording Condenser Microphone & NW-35 Adjustable Recording Microphone Suspension Scissor Arm Stand with Shock Mount and Mounting Clamp Kit
  4. What is on my list to get:  Headphones, Gorsun Adjustable and Foldable Headsets with Mic and Volume

If you need help with your branding, get in touch today for a free consultation by clicking on the “contact us” button below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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3 Reasons Print Media Isn't Dead

I am pretty big on digital design and marketing these days, but I always tell my customers not to put all their eggs in one basket. What if tomorrow Facebook is down? Where does that leave you? You never know, and you can not do only one advertising field.

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Long live the traditional forms of print media, right? No. It is still very much around these days. Some might not think it is, or is as large as it once was. But, it is still here.

Before I get into the reasoning for print design, let's talk about what it even is. There are so many items that define "print design". It is anything printed: signs, booklets, direct mail, banners, brochures, fliers, label packaging, calendar, clothing, flag, folder, gift voucher, greeting card, invitation, leaflet, letterhead, manual design, postcard, sticker, or tickets.

There are endless options for print design, as you can see all of these items are still around us every day.

  1. Print establishes an emotional connection. Print design captivates the eyes and hearts of an audience. You can create fun effects to it such as texture, embossed, die cuts, folds, foiling, etc. These help an audience to remember your brand and build a connection with you.
  2. Print triggers a response. With print, there is something fun and unique. Print design has individualized messaging which helps increase engagement and response among consumers; in other words, your return on investment is phenomenal.
  3. Print informs. A print is informational and reliable. Print media can be saved and referred to again and again. I love being able to keep the print design and looking back at it. Digital cannot replace packaging on specific items, such as hazardous signs that need to be on products. 

Print design is still around and still going strong; it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. You always need to have a purpose or campaign for it to be useful though. Digital media remains critical, but print holds a different, special meaning.

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So what’s an Agency Brief? - Part Two

Some people think of them as the ads for other ads or roadmaps. I’ve found them to be both. Their purpose is to clarify your communication strategy for your brand, be it a product or service and to manage expectations.

I’ll cover 6 core items that have worked for my clients and I and I hope they will be as effective in helping you loop your agency in on your business strategy.  

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SAMPLE AGENCY BRIEF

For the purpose of translating what has worked for both my clients and I, here is a sample brief constructed around a hypothetical e-commerce vendor. 

  1. THE BACKGROUND: Define your purpose and describe the communication/marketing challenge you are facing here. E.g. New product promotion We have grown over the past year from 1 to 5 stores in our region. Our website receives 5,000 monthly visitors and we need to improve our customer exposure to said product.
  2. YOUR AUDIENCE Describe them E.g. Most of our customers are men, usually between the ages 25 to 42. They are tech-savvy, high spenders with little time for physical shopping.
  3. YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE Provide the agency with context E.g.  Our previous sales shows that our customers like knowing how many items are in stock and what our best sellers are.  We have created a pre-select bag with 3 of the best-selling pants with 3 color variations combining our best sellers with new stock items.
  4. STATE WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU Clarify your process E.g.  Primary objective- We would like to increase the time they spend on the site.  Secondary objective- We would like to sell our 3 for 3 select bag as a promotional item.
  5. USER EXPERIENCE Describe what you’d like your current user experience to be but don’t get carried away. E.g.  Primary objective- We would like our 3 for 3 to be the first item our customers see/ filter.   Secondary objective- we’d like to sell at least 500 units within the campaign period. It’s important for us that the search process is refined to avoid consumer choice paralysis. 
  6. TIMELINE An ideal timeline appreciates 2 week lease to either meet your deadline or exceed it. E.g.  We would like the promotion to go live by early December to cash in on the festive season. Pro Tip: While having a set deadline is great to keep with business schedules, having an inbuilt contingency might limit the best possible outcome.
  7. TESTIMONIALS/ USER STORIES They resonate with customer pain points/experiences Eg.  As a shopper, I can always have same day delivery straight from my mobile (sells convenience & efficiency).  As a new visitor, I can filter search results by my location/ budget/ listed brands (showcases an easy to use website).
  8. SUCCESS METRICS How do quantify success? Eg.  User feedback- improved shopping experiences Internal feedback- efficient customer support/ stock management Number of contacts generated- how many people responded to our campaign in number of signs ups vs sales made. Ability to measure/ monitor user interactions- what are the customers filtering, and how many times did they filtered their searches.

At the end of the day, the brief is meant to motivate your agency and clarify your process to them. This helps them develop tools that make it easier for you to meet your goals and creates a great working relationship. Have you ever used an agency brief? What’s worked for you in the past? Share your tips with us in the comment section ☺ 

About the Author

Livilla is a content developer and digital strategist. When she’s not helping business tell their innovation stories, she blogs at https://stylegitmag.wordpress.com/ 

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