AI, Chatbots, Blockchain, self-driving cars, cloud-computing... You have probably heard of all of those, right? Do these terms represent trend or a hype? What is the actual difference between those two words? And are they important for you, as an entrepreneur who's just getting started? These are probably the questions that jump to your mind when hearing these buzzwords.
There is a HUGE difference between what stays and what doesn't. In other words, not everything will stick and change our behaviour. This is how we can define our keyword, trend: as a change in the behaviour, habits or ways in which things work. It is a constant change. Let me explain trend in a graph, as I am a visual learner and a numbers freak…
On the contrary, hype is something that simply occurs and fades away… without any lasting impact. If I spoke in graphs, hype would look like this:
When the terms are clarified, let us look at the history and point out some of the trends and hypes we, as humans on this earth, have been through…
Presented by Diner's Club, the very first universal credit card came to use and was accepted by some establishments. Had it been just a hype, no one would be using credit cards today… Non-cash payment instruments play a huge role in our lives today – this trend changed our behaviour for good.
Now, imagine a bank not issuing a credit or debit card after opening an account – a business that did not catch the trend. This bank would for sure not survive in today's world…
… and changed the way we travel, transport ourselves and purchase goods. Startups like AirBnB or Uber have shown us there is a new way of ordering a taxi or renting a flat for a few nights. Have classic taxi companies had to react to this change? You bet they have!
You can probably guess where this is heading. There are a plethora of examples of trends that have changed our lives. These are real changes that – if businesses ignored them – could be very harmful...
Here we go. 2019 and podcasts, home voice assistants, voice search, voice order and – you nailed it – everything that has something to do with voice is slowly changing the way we behave. Is this something you should keep an eye on? I believe so. Is this something that is about to change / threaten / boost your business? That truly depends on your business industry and approach.
On the contrary, hype can calmly be ignored (or shortly leveraged). Do you remember the Bitcoin bubble in late 2017?
If not, let me briefly explain. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that was invented in January 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. Its price has been slowly rising since then, and in 2017, one Bitcoin was worth around 20,000 USD. With no real value behind it! In other words, so much money was invested in this currency that the price rose rapidly. An easy economic rule: when the demand rises (while the offer is limited), the price goes up. But what is crucial, is the value behind it. There was no value at all. And in January 2018...BOOM!
Identifying hype and trend can be crucial for the survival of your business. But no one really tells you how to get started. Well… saying that there is a manual would mean there is a way to predict the future.
But there are some ways to prepare yourself. As Gartner puts it: “Three key factors will ultimately enable you to identify the potential impact of a particular technology trend on people, business, IT and the technology market:
Yes, you have to know your business and industry perfectly in order to answer those questions. If you decide to simply ignore everything that goes around you, you may get kicked out of business soon… But if you learn, build on your knowledge and keep an eye on the current trends & hypes (as you may not recognize them at the beginning), your chances will rise.
Build on your knowledge. Do not pay attention to what does not affect your business, but be aware of something that does…
We at groost.com are leveraging online advertising for small businesses, which has shown to be a strong trend that is here to change many industries. In 2018, for the very first time, 50 % of the world's population was online. Never before has the percentage of people with access to the internet been so high. And guess what… The number is rising. Is this a trend or a hype? You are now able to answer the question for yourself.
Are you up to date with what's on trend for 2019? Check the Gartner's research here: https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/5-trends-appear-on-the-gartner-hype-cycle-for-emerging-technologies-2019
You, as an SMB owner, have a bunch of daily sales and marketing tasks you are probably facing every day, right? With these tips we will help you save some time.
If you are running your own small business, it is only right to have a website. With everyone being on the internet it is almost impossible not to take advantage of it. Unless you do not want your business to grow and succeed it is essential to build up your online presence and having a website is one of the ways to do it. Thanks to the evolution of technology and free website builders like Webflow, building your own personal website has never been easier. You do not need to be a computer engineer or know computer programing. Free website builders enable you to build a personal website to your liking. There are so many positives to having your own business website.
So, here are the benefits and advantages of having your own website:
If you run a social media profile, you've probably thought of what to put on your content calendar. You want to create and publish something that truly brings value to your audience and resonates within them, right? User generated content can help you not just fill your content calendar, but truly bring something that gives a new perspective to your business.
User generated content, as the name suggests, is content that is voluntarily created by your best customers – brand advocates – and shared so that their audience can see it. It is basically the best thing your customers can do for you – refer their friends to you/ share your product(s) or speak about your service(s)!
Imagine you are an owner of a gym that is visited by dozens of customers daily. What if some of them posted a photo to their social profile, exercising in your gym and saying something nice about your place. Wouldn't that be great? Could that bring you new customers? Absolutely.
79% of users say user generated content has a high impact on their purchasing behaviour. That simply underlines what we've stated earlier.
In 2014, Starbucks came up with a White Cup Contest which, guess what, is focused on user generated content… You can read more about the contest here. The only thing we will say is that they collected over 4,000 pieces of content! That just goes to show the true power of brand advocates. Your business can do that too – probably on a smaller scale, but you can. Remember that every one of your best customers can bring you another one. Your brand advocates grow as your business grows…
If you say your product is the best, some people might believe you straightaway. But isn't that statement much stronger when made by someone who is already a loyal customer and has no other interest in regards to promoting your brand? User generated content brings true authenticity into your content and, thus, gives others another perspective of your business.
People love seeing the product they aim to buy has great reviews! It gives them proof that their purchase won't be a mistake. Social proof – proof by someone other than the business itself – is a strong weapon and we encourage you to use it in your content calendar. Look at Amazon. Their products have thousands of reviews, which makes it far more valuable and far more worth it to buy for new customers.
Let us look at some other examples of great user generated content shared mainly on Instagram:
Get your audience on board. Talk to your best customers and motivate them to create a good product review, unboxing video or simply a happy picture while using your product or being at your cosy place (café, gym, etc…). Those who love your product will happily help you get it in front of other customers, trust me.
The use of influencers is a trend that has been here for some period of time. Brands work with people who gather an audience that fits their plan. Simple as that. They often collaborate with celebrities who are followed and trusted by millions of people, experts in a given industry, or gamers that record their gaming sessions. If you can find someone who has your target audience, team up!
The fact is that you don't have to work with widely known influencers, pop stars or famous athletes. Find so-called micro influencers who help you reach a smaller audience, but with higher precision. The cooperation won't cost you a fortune and results will follow, as well!
Micro influencers, in most cases, generate higher engagement with their audience and are more passionate about increasing their audience. If you start cooperating with them at the beginning of their journey, your business relationship can grow into something that constantly helps you achieve your business goals and to build a wider (and more relevant) audience.
The best collaborations, nonetheless, are the ones that are natural and not “too obvious”. Give some micro influencers in your surroundings your product, let them play with it and tell you whether they like it or not. Those who do are your best fit. They will happily (and naturally) promote your product within their audience.
In this post we've stressed the strength of your customer base and your audience – motivate them to tell the world about your stuff and let them bring you new business. Find new alliances with micro influencers, let them fall in love with your product and enjoy the fruits of your (hard) work!
There are over 7,000 marketing tools you can use today. And I'm going to name them all. No, just kidding, Scott Brinker already did. Actually, he updates the database every single year, so I don't have to. ;)
If you are new to marketing and want to learn about the 10 most useful tools for small businesses, keep reading!
A few months ago, I moved to a new flat. Before that, I had been doing thorough research on what part of the city is the most child-friendly in terms of security, what are the prices and how far the flats are from the public transportation. I took many things into consideration before even getting in touch with an agent.
Did I Google things? Of course! Was I keen on reading research on what parts of the city suit my needs? You bet I was! Did I spend some time scrolling on Pinterest for furniture inspiration? Yes, I did.
I was lucky to meet Josh, a real estate agent who has been in the business for some time. We got in touch after I visited his website and read his article about the prediction of real estate prices, plus went through some interesting content on his LinkedIn profile.
I was astonished by the speed of his reaction. Within two days, I had 5 flats to choose from. And a few days after that, I went to see them all.
What I did, nonetheless, within those two days, was thorough research – again. This time, I examined Josh's Instagram profile and checked out the other flats he had to offer. I read the reviews on his Google listings and read more educating articles on LinkedIn. I am a social media freak and I probably use all of them. But Josh was always there… Offering me exactly what I was looking for. At the exact time I needed it.
What I just described, was a perfect user experience and great customer-centric approach. Josh knew his business would grow if he invested in these channels. He also knew what content to serve on each of them. And I engaged, liked, followed – was totally sold! – Successfully ended my buying journey – call it whatever you want. Josh won. So did I.
Do I live in one of these aforementioned flats today? I surely do and I am happy with my decision.
Reach your customers wherever they spend their time. This is a golden rule Josh and other successful businesses completely abide by.
The fact that you are missing out on the chance to speak to your customer or potential customer on any channel can only be leveraged by your competitors… If you don't worship the customer-centric approach, they will.
And by customer-centric I mean going beyond on what YOU want to be doing to what a CUSTOMER wants to do – where she spends time, where she expects to get in touch with your business, where she takes out her wallet and pays for goods or services...
We are not talking solely about social media here. Customers visit your store – interact with you personally, get in touch with someone from support or sales, search for a cheaper substitute on Google or Bing and eventually visit your website. To gain trust, users tend to rely on reviews and customer feedback listed on your social media profiles. One customer – multiple channels. And you'd better be on all of them.
Every touchpoint matters. Everyone builds the complete image of you through your customers' eyes. And everyone determines whether a customer chooses you instead of your competitors.
In 2018, the average time spent daily on social media was 136 minutes. That is more than 2 hours of one's precious time. And more than 2 hours for you to catch their attention with what you have to offer.
What you can count on, is the fact that they will search for products like yours. And if they don't find you, they will buy somewhere else…
Is affiliate marketing effective for small businesses? Can this channel help your business get more customers and earn more money? The short answer is yes. The long answer is thoroughly described below, with all the details and explanations you need to successfully jump into leveraging affiliate marketing for your brand or product.