Signpost Local Marketing Blog

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New: Suggested Campaigns and Brand Update

Signpost_rebrand

If you’ve been on the Signpost website today, you might’ve noticed that things look a little….different today. Don’t worry, you are in the right place, and our commitment to empowering local businesses, large and small, is stronger than ever. And in the spirit of that commitment, today we’re thrilled to announce two exciting updates: Suggested Campaigns and the launch of our new look! Though they might seem unrelated, they have more in common than you’d think.

Suggested Campaigns: More Impact, Less Time

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3 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Business Credit Card

For most business owners, the words “business credit card” brings two images to mind: deceptive, restrictive contracts that lead to stacks of bills, ruined credit scores, and financial insolvencyor thoughts of frequent flyer miles, bonus points, and cash back.

Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to make the latter, and not the former, your reality. But the truth is that credit card contracts tend to be confusing, unclear, and downright deceptive in their wording.

Before you make any commitments, consider the following when shopping for the perfect credit card for your business.

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How Your Business Can Get A Better Start on the New Year

Happy 2017! With the holiday rush officially over, hopefully everyone’s had a chance to catch their breath after another successful finale. With another year in the books, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and give yourself some time and space to organize your thoughts, reflect on the impact the past year had on your business and look towards the future.

Here’s how you can start 2017 off on the right foot, and stay focused on your goals until 2018.

Reflect on previous successes and challenges, then recalibrate

You might already do this for your personal goals, especially when embarking on a new year, but it’s vital to do so for your business as well. Identify what your most valuable drivers of new leads and repeat business have been in recent years, and how you can devote more time and resources to grow these even more in the coming year. And as you go through and tally your final numbers to close the books, use these figures as benchmarks that will allow you to set goals for the coming year that will keep you focused on the big picture. Similarly, it’s important to learn from past issues so you can learn from missteps and continue to refine your approach and execution in future efforts.

Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • How has the business changed in the past few years?
  • How do you see it maturing over the next few years? Have you expanded your line of products and services? In what area will you continue to do so? Think about what makes the most sense, and find a path to sustainable growth.
  • How has the landscape changed?
  • What new competitors have cropped up vs. which competitors have been vanquished?
  • What new innovations could my business be taking advantage of to find greater success?

Unclear as to how your online marketing has been performing ? Download our free, online marketing evaluation, today!

Set clear goals for yourself, your business and your employees

And while you’re setting goals and plotting for the year ahead, bring your employees in on the process as it’s a great time to get everyone aligned on challenges, priorities and company direction for the year. Start by reminding them of your business’s mission statement and founding principles or values. You’ll find that transparency can go a long way. Trusting and empowering your employees allows you all to approach problem-solving more collaboratively and effectively.

This also helps set priorities and gets everyone excited about the impact they can have in the coming year. You might even want to set clear goals for each employee, department or role. This will allow you all to track your progress throughout the year, and ensure everyone takes ownership for his or her role in driving more revenue for the business. You can also try gamifying this system and including bonuses or rewards for those who meet or exceed their goals. This is a surefire way to keep everyone accountable and eager to delight customers.

Refresh your marketing

A clean, new year is also a great excuse to give your marketing assets an update. Go through and do a complete audit on all your marketing materials, including the following:

  • Logo
  • Brochures, menus or any other print materials
  • Website
  • Blog
  • Social pages

Is it time for a brand refresh? Even the biggest brands take time to update the look and feel of their design. But even if you’re not due for an overhaul make sure that it is consistent across all your assets. If you changed the font on your homepage, it should be updated everywhere else. This holds true for your business info as well. Be sure that it is consistently formatted everywhere, including on any advertising and on third-party review sites.

Additionally, it’s also a great time to look at the tools you depend on to distribute your marketing messages and drive more foot traffic. What innovations can add even more value, or save you time and frustration? There are easy ways to automate previously manual and tedious tasks. The less time and attention you have to spend on attracting customers, the more you can spend attending to them and ensuring a stellar experience! But with countless new tools and platforms all touting immeasurable benefits, be sure to do your due diligence and determine which make the most sense for your type of business, budget, and goals. (We’re partial to industry-leading solutions that are proven to drive more revenue AND save time!). Keeping an eye on the road ahead is one of the best ways to ensure you stay on track for the rest of the year!

How Retailers Can Make the Most Out of Post-Holiday Shopping

Congratulations! With all major holidays currently in progress or over, you’ve nearly made it through another marathon! And, hopefully this has been the most rewarding season for your business to date. But, as exhausting as the holiday rush can be, it’s important to remember the year’s not over yet. As tempting as it can be to use this final twas the night after christmas tips for retailersweek as a respite and recovery, it can be instrumental in capping off 2016 and setting your business up for success in the new year!

While the days following Christmas have become infamous for returns, in recent years there has been a surge of dealseekers flocking to sales. Additionally, many consumers who received gift cards for the holidays will have them burning a hole in their pocket, and eager to use it at new stores and old favorites, alike.

We’ve consolidated some of the best tips to use this crucial time to transition the success of the season into another rewarding year ahead.

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Making the Most Out of Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

During this final holiday shopping sprint it’s easy to fall behind. 60% of consumers from a recent poll indicated that they still have half (or more than half) of their holiday shopping remaining. This has led to the rise of “Super Saturday” this past weekend, or the last Saturday before Christmas Eve, which is rivaling Black Friday in sales, and these last-last-minute holiday marketing ideasminute sales will continue to flow all week long. So although your holiday spirit might be waning, and you continue to grow weary, don’t break out the eggnog quite yet. The NRF estimates that 40% of the season’s sales happen within these final 10 days. So, keep focused on promotion efforts, as many brands will be clamoring for their share of this pie!

Experts believe that consumers have been holding out for steeper discounts, before deciding to make their holiday purchases. Discounts have been the main driver of sales, and were up 23% in the heart of the season. This will continue to be true in the final days, but despite projected increases in ecommerce this year, now is the perfect opportunity for brick-and-mortar to make a comeback. Many online retailers’ cut-off for shipping in time for the holidays has passed (and will continue to every day), creating a great opportunity for local businesses to provide value.

To help you prepare, we’ve created and compiled these ways to make the most of these precious few remaining days!

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Using a Data-Driven Holiday Strategy to Unlock Full Revenue Potential

As a business owner, you know that the holiday season is more like a marathon than a sprint. And if you’re like most local businesses, you might even depend on these two final months to account for up to 30% of your annual sales.  So, it’s critical that you not lose focus as we enter the few remaining weeks of the season. However, once the frenzy using data to get more customersof Thanksgiving weekend fades, it can be difficult to know which tricks to pull out of your hat next, or to even what has had the most impact for tactics you’ve already employed.

And with customer shopping behaviors changing every day, it’s hard to stay on top of evolving best practices. Luckily, your data tells no lies, and can be utilized to provide just the right amount of direction, or to deliver a unique, personalized experience for your customers in order to gain a competitive edge throughout the rest of the season, and into the new year!

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Microloans: Here’s How They Work

When you’re running a business, sometimes you just need a bit of extra capital to keep things going. Maybe you have to repair an important piece of equipment, order extra inventory, or make up for a slow month—but in these scenarios, a $500,000 loan won’t solve your problem.

Your answer? Microloans.

Here’s a breakdown of what microloans are, what you can use them for, and where you can find them for your small business.

What is a microloan?

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10 Holiday Ideas for Your Loyalty Program

The holidays are a great time to thank your best customers for their patronage throughout the year. It’s especially important to reach out to one of your most engaged groups of repeat customers and source of highest lifetime value: the customers Holiday Ideas for your loyalty programcurrently enrolled in your loyalty program. And with 69% of customers reporting they’d prefer to do their holiday shopping at businesses where they can accumulate loyalty points or rewards, it’s safe to say they feel the same.

But as loyalty programs continue to evolve, it’s important to understand changing consumer expectations, and commit resources to differentiating your program. This should also apply to your holiday loyalty promotions, as your business will be competing with lots of others for the time and attention of your customers during this hectic season. But, with the right mix, you can win their attention and holiday shopping dollars. It’s vital to remember that it costs six times more to sell to a new customer than an existing one, so it’s prudent for local businesses to invest more in this area.

Download our 2016 Complete Holiday Planning Kit!

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New: Suggested Offers are Email Promotions That Write Themselves

What would you do with almost an hour back each week? We ask a similar question of local business owners when we interview them for The Art of Local. But, with our latest release, Mia intends to do just that. Today, we’re excited to announce Suggested Offers!

It takes the average local business owner 45 minutes to create a new campaign. But thanks to the millions of data points across just as many campaigns created by similar businesses, Mia has learned what works best and when. Mia makes suggestions when she thinks your business needs a boost–for example, if you haven’t sent a promotion in a while and you don’t have one coming up. Drawing on those successful seasonal offers as a template, she can prebuild a campaign that will have the most impact for your bottom line.

Current Signpost customers, keep an eye on your inbox! Mia will be sending you Suggested Offers, tailored to your company. With one click of a button you can approve these suggestions, and Mia will send them out to your customers at the optimal time to drive more business.

AI-driven Email Campaign

Mia makes it easy to edit or make changes to these prebuilt campaigns as well. Simply click “Edit before sending”, approve the changes once you’re finished editing, and Mia will send at the optimal time.

With a return on investment of 4300%, email marketing remains one of the most effective marketing tactics at your business’s disposal. And now driving even more revenue for your business is easier and more powerful than ever with Mia.

As always, let us know if you have any questions. Or, if you’d like to see how you can start generating more revenue for your business along with more five-star reviews, new  customers and loyalty, schedule a free demo today!

Making the Most Out of Small Business Saturday

Thanksgiving week is finally upon us! While most consumers across the country will be gorging themselves on delicious fall favorites with loved ones, still others will be small business saturday black fridayfinalizing plans to leave the feast behind in order to wait on line for those doorbuster deals (which seem to start a little earlier every year). For business owners, this week is more like a marathon than an occasion for reflection, but no matter the outcome you’ll be giving thanks once it’s all over!

Don’t let the craziness of this week be all for naught; come armed with a plan that will allow you to make the most out of your efforts, and drive more customers in-store. Be realistic about your goals for the long weekend and the resources or means by which you’ll be achieving them. Knowing more about your target audience and their priorities will help you to concentrate on the approach that will have the most impact. Oftentimes, it can be tempting to set your sights on all of the weekend’s events: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. But, if you can prioritize one or two of these, and approach in a thoughtful or new way that will engage your customers, you’ll find much more success!

Download our 2016 Complete Holiday Planning Kit!

Set Yourself Up for Success By Knowing Your Target Customer

Black Friday seems to steal the show in terms of promotion and press coverage, but many times the only customers willing to sacrifice their Thanksgiving evenings, or brave the crowds and craziness are those in pursuit of a REALLY good deal. They tend to be motivated overwhelmingly by price and steep discounts, and tend not to have much loyalty to specific stores or brands. If you spend enough time creating compelling incentives to get them in-store, you have a chance of earning their business, but these types of customers can be capricious and may not offer much, in terms of lifetime value, to your business.

A well-executed plan to highlight a less flashy day, could be a better use of your resources. Of course, you should always do the math to determine what makes the most sense for your business and available resources (and which your available time and/or that of employees should inform). You can think of Black Friday as an opportunity to attract new, deal seekers; Small Business Saturday as a way to celebrate your business and engage with those customers who are already familiar with you, as well as welcoming some first-timers, and Giving Tuesday as a great way to use your business’s position in the community to team up and give back.

Getting More Value Out of Small Business Saturday

We studied the outreach among local businesses on Signpost’s platform during this same week last year to see if we could identify any insights to help you get a competitive edge this holiday season. Of all the communications during this same week in 2015, emails that were sent out on Small Business Saturday, had nearly a 29% increase in click-to-open rates, as well as redemption of offers. Businesses looking to maximize engagement should plan to send out an email or SMS offer this Saturday, to entice more customers to stop by and make a purchase.

This could be due to increased efforts in recent years to bring about more visibility and promotion to highlight the day. Consumers are embracing this less crowded day, both as an opportunity to celebrate all that local businesses do for their communities and to show support. By devising creative events, grouping products together in gift sets or bundles, and going the extra yard to make this hectic time easier for your customers while maintaining a fun and festive atmosphere, you can find great success this weekend. This isn’t limited to retail, or businesses with a physical location either; you can schedule promotions or services for this Saturday to help give your business a lift! Or, partner with other businesses in the community to offer exclusive pairing, bundles, or events at their space.

Looking Ahead: Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to engage with and give back to the community. If you start prepping ahead of time, you can get your clients involved and make it a real win-win for both charitable organizations and your business. Whatever you choose to do to celebrate, be sure to start advertising it ASAP, to give your customers advance notice. If your business will be closed, or if you’re running special donation-based drives, the sooner you can get it on their radar, the better!

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