By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Content Marketing involves the process of creating and sharing online materials that are intended to stimulate the interest of the your audience in the products, services or information you are sharing. A huge part of content marketing is having an effective content strategy. This is the unique part of the overall marketing puzzle in which you demonstrate to your audience who you are, what you do, what you stand for and how you support your community. A content strategy refers to the planning, development and management of content that you have created for your business. The key to any winning content strategy is PLANNING. You need to write down what you plan to do, define your goals, research the market and create a timeline that will ensure that you stay on track! For more information on creating a WINNING CONTENT STRATEGY visit our "Create a Winning Content Strategy for 2020" blog.
Below are our 6 tips for your small business content marketing needs! And, if you find this helpful, share our Content Marketing for Small Business infographic with others in your Small Business Community.
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
In the simplest of terms, public relations is the practice of building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships between an organization or brand and the public or their audience. Public relations is about building these relationships in order to create a positive image for your business or brand. There are many functions of public relations that we see on a daily basis including having clients featured on magazines and newspapers. Small businesses do not always have the funds to hire a professional in the public relations field, but there are benefits to at least understanding the basics.
Small businesses need to understand that PR and advertising are not the same thing. Getting good PR takes time, but it helps you define your brand. Good PR helps your audience or ideal customers understand who you are, why you do it and why people should care. In 2020, a big part of good PR is being transparent. This means that you share your process openly and do not hide certain aspects of your business from your audience. One of the worst things that we have seen happen with brands is that they are not transparent and then receive terrible social media backlash for being secretive or sneaky with their operations.
The good thing about PR for small businesses is that it stretches your budget because getting journalists, influencers and bloggers to write about your business gives you more for your money. One of the best sources of earning attention for your business is word-of-mouth because people trust what others have to say more than an advertisement. Word-of-mouth is what you want for your small business because it attracts customers to your brick-and-mortar location or to your website. Below is a quick list of 5 public relations tactics that you can use and if you want to see our Beginners Guide to a PR Plan click here:
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Graphic design can be a scary term for a lot of people. We all know graphic design is a part of just about anything from the posters we see to the magazines we read. It is used to convey ideas and concepts, and to enhance interactive experiences. Everything from the font we select to the color palette we want has to be conducive of the ideas and concepts we are trying to convey, and the emotions we are trying to evoke. This is particularly crucial for small businesses that do not always have the budget to hire experienced graphic designers. In this post, I will go over some of the basics of graphic design to give small business owners an insight into the things that they should be looking for when presented with designs for their marketing materials.
Two of the basic principles of graphic design are typography and color. We will not go into the inner depths of these concepts, but we will do a quick review. Typography is simply the use of different fonts to convey your purpose. Different font styles guide the audience in different directions. Using too many fonts can make things harder for them to read because it is not visually appealing. When pairing fonts, a good rule of thumb is to make sure that the two to three fonts that you are using have enough contrast between them. This allows viewers to distinguish the fonts and helps in making things more visually appealing. Having enough white space between fonts, lines and characters is also important in order to make things feel less cramped and more calm for the audience to process.
When it comes to color, we want to make sure that there is harmony between the color palette we select. Depending on the design and purpose, we might want to go with vibrant colors or cool tones. For example, complementary colors are opposite of each other on the color wheel and demand attention which attracts the audience. Colors evoke emotions and even bring up old memories. This is why it is very important for your images to have a unified color palette that ties everything together with a visually appealing design.
The layout of a design is another important component of graphic design. Layouts help us organize our elements and create our focal point. It is very important to have a focal point in your designs to make things clear for the audience. In order to tell a story with the design or guide people to your call-to-action, you need a focal point. An effective layout will organize the elements in a compelling way. It is also effective to have a hierarchy of your elements with the most important things at the top or near your focal point and the less important information below.
Small business owners should have a basic understanding of these graphic design elements in order to bounce ideas off of their designers and know when something looks too cramped. A mistake a lot of people do is put too much information, too many photos and too many elements in their designs which make things look cramped, unorganized and prevents the audience from fully processing your message. I hope this quick intro to some of the basic principles of graphic design will help you make good decisions for your small business marketing materials.
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Pinterest has become the home of inspiration for everyone that uses it. This platform is simple to use, aesthetically pleasing and makes it easy to organize your ideas. Many event planners and individuals planning parties use Pinterest to get ideas of how they want to decorate. Others use it to get home decor ideas or outfit ideas for different events and seasons. We can even use it to pick out our next manicure design. Small businesses can take advantage of Pinterest to reach more people and to sell directly on the platform. Below are our 4 Pinterest Tips for Small Business and here is a Pinterest advertising guide for you to see:
1. Advertise on Pinterest: Pinners aka Pinterest users, visit the platform when they are planning for something and when they want to purchase something. For example, a Pinner might visit the app to create a board of ideas for their home office. Small businesses can take advantage of this by promoting their items through ads. For example, furniture businesses use Pinterest to promote their desks, tables, chairs, etc. and make it easy for Pinners to purchase immediately by linking to their websites. Pinterest users spend 80% more in retail than people off of Pinterest. On Pinterest, brands provide the ideas for Pinners that spark their interest. Everything that they see on the platform is with an intent, either to do, to buy or to try, which leads them one step closer to becoming a sale for you. Take a look at my Pinterest Templates post for some great tips and pre-made templates for your pins.
2. Use Boards to Showcase your Products: Like we said, Pinterest is a full-funnel stop for businesses. As a small business, deciding where to advertise can be harder because of limited budgets. Pinterest is great to use for advertising because it helps small businesses reach the audiences that they need to reach at the right time. A part of this, is also creating boards and pins that showcase the products that people are trying to find. Let's go back to our furniture store example. The furniture store can run ads targeting specific users, but they can also post pins and create boards of inspiration by showing their products in action. They can promote a modern office desk by posting a pin of modern office decor showcasing the desk. Here, they can include product information and link to their website listing for the desk. This is an engaging way to reach customers without necessarily paying for ads.
3. Let your Customers do the Pinning: A great way to promote your items and get your brand out there is to allow visitors to your website to pin your listings. Add a "Pin It" button next to the items on your website to let them pin for you. By letting your customers pin your items to their boards, it expands your reach and allows more people to potentially purchase your products.
4. Add Watermarks and Prices: Most people want to see prices when looking for ideas on Pinterest. The worst thing is when a Pinner sees the perfect item for them, Pins it, and later finds out it is above their price point. It is helpful for both the potential customers and the brand to include prices on their pins. Another thing to consider is placing watermarks on your images. This allows others to know where the products are from when users pin your items. By placing a logo watermark somewhere on your images, you allow others to immediately know where the item is from which simultaneously promotes your brand.
By: Marlene I. Urena
Social media has become a great tool for brands and small businesses to advertise their products and services. When creating ads online, it is preferable to make content that distinguishes your company from its competitors. If you are interested in how to make memorable social media ads and appeal to a larger audience, here are a few tips:
1. Keep up with Trends: Creating relevant content is essential for business success. Staying on top of current events is important because certain topics may become either sensitive or important to address. It would be possible to gear your company’s ads to your audience in a better and more appropriate way if your company is knowledgeable on what is going on in the world. That way, your ads will have a lasting impact on your audience, and anyone being affected by the events occurring in the external environment.
2. Utilize Tools Available on Platforms: Different social media platforms have different tools available to their users. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat have Stories, where people can share live updates of their daily activities. Some platforms even allow you to broadcast live videos, where you can interact with your users in real-time. It is important to use these features because they can expand your company’s reach. Different people prefer to interact in different ways, so using a variety of tools on each platform can increase engagement. These tools are also great for promotion because it makes the experience more personal. If people are seeing content and engagement, they will feel valued as a consumer and become more attracted to your company.
3. Have a Laugh: Using humor is a great way to differentiate your company’s strategy from others. Making your audience laugh creates a more personal experience and draws them to feeling comfortable. Cracking a joke or including a clever pun in your ads can make them memorable as well, but it is important to make sure the humor is in good taste. Ensuring that the humor used is appropriate and not offensive is vital to the effectiveness of the ads.
4. Balance Your Colors: People love ads that can catch their eye. Using color is a great way to add some vibrancy to your ads and appeal to your audience. You should use colors that complement each other and make sure your ads have a clean look. Too much color may also be a problem, so make sure there is a good balance or else the ad can become an eyesore.
While every company needs a marketing strategy to be competitive, these tips provide some insight on how to make your ads top quality. By understanding the audience and their interests as changes continue to occur in the world, your content’s relevance and continuous impact are guaranteed.
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