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11 Genius Ways to Enhance Your Curbside Appeal

You guessed right. Curb appeal IS critical to the success of your store.

Nearly 95% of customers say that the external appearance of a store is one of the primary influences on their decision about where to shop.

Having said that, how exactly do you improve the appearance of your store? Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following 11 tips to boost your small business’s curb appeal.

Add Some Greenery

Hanging flower baskets or planters at either side of the door adds elements of color and greenery to the entrance and makes the store look well-maintained.

Invest in a Welcome Mat

A tiny, affordable change that makes every customer feel super welcome.

Rebrand

If you’re revamping your storefront, maybe consider refreshing your branding at the same time. This is the perfect way to signal a new start for your company.

Refresh Your Signage

Peeling paint and faded colors show your customers that nobody cares about the store. As a result, why should they care about it? Invest in a new sign and change that impression.

Add a Splash of Paint

Akin to replacing your store sign, repainting walls and window frames give your store a new lease on life. It makes it look brand new, cared about and fresh, which customers will love.

Sweep the Front Sidewalk on a Daily Basis

This task should be part of every store owner’s daily routine. It takes just a moment, but instantly makes your store that much more appealing and desirable.

Inject Some Color

What better way to make your store stand out from the others from the street? Make your storefront vibrant and colorful.

Change Your Window Display(s) Regularly

Changing up your window displays can keep passers-by interested in your store and eager to see what the display will be next.

Make Your Business Clear

Any walker should be able to tell immediately what the purpose of your business is. If your signage or display doesn’t communicate this, you may need to think it through.

Remove Clutter

Clutter always looks unkempt and can be confusing for the customer. Take time to de-clutter and take out or down anything that detracts from the appeal and message of your storefront.

Clean the Windows

Every store owner should have a consistent cleaning schedule for their windows. Clean, sparkly windows make an enormous difference to the appeal of your store.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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4 Email Marketing Phrases to Avoid

Marketing professionals have to be prudent when generating emails to avoid having them be marked as spam. Marketers should send out bulk emails on a consistent basis to leads, opportunities, and customers in an effort to show people why their business’ products/services matter.

Corporate Business Solutions experts break down the following top four spam trigger words to avoid in your emails.

Multi-level Marketing

MLM refers to the practice where businesses hire people to go around and try and sell someone a product, then have that person recommend the product to others. At times this is a legitimate practice. Most of the time, however, it’s comparable to a pyramid scheme. Any business practice connected to a pyramid scheme should be avoided like the plague. Even searching “multi-level marketing” brings up suspect results, so it makes sense that any emails with the term in it will be triggered as spam.

Increase Sales

This is both surprising and not surprising. It’s hard to picture a business-to-business marketing team generating an email for thousands of potential clients and not using this phrase. However, that’s exactly why it’s often noted as spam in the first place. Context DOES matter here. This phrase will eventually come up in an email, but there are ways around it. For example, don’t use the phrase in the subject line. Also, steer clear of trying to look spammy and try these techniques instead to increase sales.

Web Traffic

If you received an email with “Web Traffic” in the subject line, would you think it’s legitimate? Increasing web traffic for an online business is absolutely critical for the success of that business. Ultimately, the more traffic your website garners, the more likely you’ll convert that traffic into sales. Spammers and scammers exploit this term because it’s something all online businesses are researching.

Free Consultation

Not many things in today’s world are actually free. Thus, this phrase immediately jumps out to just about everyone. Even if the consultation is free, there’s always a catch, and if there’s a catch, that means your marketing team isn’t being transparent to its targeted audience. Unless you’re truly offering a free consultation for potential buyers, do not advertise it as free. Plain and simple, to avoid being marked as spam, don’t put “Free Consultation” in the subject line.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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Enhance Your Content Marketing to Drive Sales

Content marketing can accomplish different things for different businesses. While some businesses use it as a way to increase brand awareness, others may use content marketing as a way to generate sales or sales leads.

Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend taking the following steps toward content marketing that generates sales.

Create a Content Marketing Plan

Not having a content plan in place is one of the largest mistakes marketers make when trying to drive sales. Sure, you’re aware that you need to create content and you want to boost sales. However, that’s not enough. You need to generate a strategy for finding and reaching your target audience to get them to convert to customers.

Understand Your Target Market

In order to produce effective content, you need to know who you’re creating that content for. Have a clearly identified target audience and speak directly to that audience through your engaging content.

Know Your Customers’ Common Concerns

Customers who are reading your content rather than buying your product or service are probably doing so because they’re undecided. To help them make their decision, it’s imperative for you to answer their questions and alleviate their concerns. Fortunately, you can do that with your content, if you know what your customers’ most popular questions and concerns are.

Listen to Your Customer Feedback

Coming up with those questions to base your content around can be as easy as simply listening to your current customers. If people consistently email you with the same questions or issues over and over again, those are likely things that would make for effective content.

Take a Look at Keywords

You should always consider the keywords and searches that bring potentials customers to your website. People will often enter questions into search fields if they can’t find an answer easily. Thus, if you see common themes there, that could be another source for your content.

Make a List of Questions

You should always go one step further than just simply keeping an eye out for common customer concerns. The very first thing to do is to create a list of the top 20 questions consumers have when deciding to purchase your product or service and subsequently create content to answer all of these questions in detail.

Take a Look at the Buying Process

When generating those questions and other topics for your content strategy, it can be helpful to put yourself in your customers’ shoes through each stage of the buying process. Spend the time to really familiarize yourself with the journey people take to purchase your product and then create the content to make it easy for them to purchase.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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5 Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelancer

In today’s day and age, freelance work can earn you money in a variety of ways. Whether you’re doing it for the money or as a labor of love, Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend considering the following five ways to successfully market yourself as a freelancer,

Start With Blogging

Blogging is a tool both freelancers and any other small business owners with a digital presence can use to drive traffic and increase sales.

Your blog will give you valuable information about you, your knowledge and your work as a freelancer. By generating high-quality content on your blog, you can build credibility and awareness of your brand and also give your potential customers a valuable resource.

Use Email Marketing

Email marketing remains one of the best ways to increase your customer base. In fact, it can bring in nearly $40 for every dollar spent on an email marketing campaign. If you don’t happen to have the necessary funds, you can start with a free MailChimp account and grow from there. The free version of MailChimp will provide you with up to 2,000 subscribers, and 12,000 emails, which should be more than enough to begin.

Social Media Is a Must

With billions of people using social media day in and day out, it is no surprise that most experts recommend freelancers use this tool to market themselves as well.

Freelancers should identify the platform their potential customers use the most and start engaging with them on that channel.

Interact On Q&A Websites

Doing this helps to establish your authority in your field. With 200 million visitors every month, Quora alone can significantly boost traffic to your site. What could be better?

Don’t Forget About SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential tool in marketing your freelance business. While SEO can get somewhat complicated, it is an effective way to optimize your digital presence online. The more optimized your site is, the more seamless it is for search engines and users to find you online.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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8 Ways to Get Your Content Found

Content marketing can be a tough strategy for small businesses to master. Not only do you need to create effective content, but you also need to push that content out to potential customers. SEO and social media can both be effective strategies in this area. Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following eight ways to get your content found online.

1-Use Instagram Hashtags for Business

Once you create content on Instagram, hashtags can effectively help you get it in front of more potential customers. Having said that, it’s imperative to have a logical strategy in place so you actually get found by relevant people.

2-Understand LinkedIn Hashtags

LinkedIn recently added an update that includes the ability to add hashtags. The new feature is in beta mode and could potentially help you reach more users.

3-Save Time on Content Curation and Collaboration

Collaborating with others in your content strategy is a great way to get your message in front of new eyes. While curating content and collaborating with others can be time-consuming, there are some tools out there to help you save time. Take time to do some research in this area.

4-Overcome Link Building Blockers

When it comes to building links to your content, there are some routine challenges and mistakes keeping content creators from making as strong of an impact. Do some research to understand these link-building blockers in addition to how to overcome them.

5-Remain Authentic

Sure, it can be difficult for a lot of marketers to find a healthy balance between creating authentic content and creating a performance that gets results. Having said that, it’s critical for your business to remain as authentic as possible.

6-Drive Sales With Your Instagram Marketing Strategy

The overarching goal of your content marketing strategy should be to boost sales for your business (both directly and indirectly). Make sure you are effectively using Instagram to increase sales for your company.

7-Learn the New Ins and Outs of Facebook

Part of using social platforms like Facebook to gain visibility for your content is keeping up with novel features. Since Facebook is constantly evolving, you want to make sure that you are always learning.

8-Use Mentoring to Increase Your Odds of Small Business Survival

According to research, mentoring can help small businesses survive for longer. Don’t be afraid to find mentors and use them as a helpful resource.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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5 Great Ways to Save Money

While there isn’t a perfect formula for starting a business. different approaches work for different people. Having said that, there’s a great deal of value in cash flowing a business and avoiding the burden of debt on the front end. In order to effectively fund your own business, you have to master your savings habits and attain a strong grasp of your financial situation.

Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following tips to saving money in a small business setting. Considering using these today to better improve your cash flow.

Eliminate Your Debt

Sure, nobody wants to discuss the dreaded topic of debt. While we all seem to have it, very few of us ever directly confront it until it becomes too much to handle.

Just imagine what you could do if your debts were gone. All of a sudden, you’ll feel like you got a raise. Suddenly all of that money that was going towards repaying a debt can be put towards something else, such as starting a business.

Reduce Your Discretionary Spending

One of the best ways to pay down debt on a limited income is to slash your discretionary spending and put that money towards your debts.

Between eating out and online shopping, you should be able to save a few hundred dollars per month. Over the course of a year, this can add up to a significant amount of money.

Automate Savings

It’s easy to get so caught up in spending that you don’t even think about savings. Over time, this can have some pretty traumatic effects. And while there are plenty of ways you can deal with this issue, automating the savings process is one of the smartest options.

Ask Yourself THE Question

When you find yourself in a store and before placing something in your shopping cart, ask yourself this important question: “Do I really need this?”

Most of the time, the honest answer is generally “no.” While you might not like the answer, it’s what you need to hear in order to avoid spending money on things you don’t need.

Reinvest Profits

While this may seem simple, it’s often very challenging. Sure, your natural inclination is to start spending the money you make from your new business. However, it’s a much more logical practice to reinvest your profits. This will allow you to continue growing without needing to take on debt.

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7 Great Tips For Your Email Newsletter

Establishing and building your brand is a key component of any small business. Accordingly, an email newsletter is a great tool to use to help you get there. Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following eight tips for optimizing your email newsletter.

Inform Subscribers About What They’ll Get    

You want to make sure that everyone knows what to expect right when they sign up. Tell them the type of content they’ll get and when they should expect newsletters to arrive in their inboxes. This transparency establishes a good tone and helps to build a strong relationship.

Make It Mobile-Friendly

As you know, it’s important to keep in mind how important mobile is to get your target market to read your newsletter. Reading on a smaller screen is always different than the desktop, and you’ll need to make the changes to optimize your newsletter for the iPhone and other smartphones.

Buttons should be large enough so they are easy to click and the content must be short and sweet. It’s important to keep in mind that people are reading from their smartphones on the go.

Create Engaging Subject Lines

By creating excellent subject lines, you’ll drastically improve your open rate. For example, letting them know they’ll be getting 10 useful tips on a relevant subject is a great start.

Nonetheless, keep your subject lines short and simple.

Add VERY Interesting Content

You likely already know what interests your target market the most. Thus, you should capitalize on that and include interesting content in your newsletter that doesn’t include a lot of hard sell ad copy.

In other words, you should include 90% educational content and 10% sales copy to maximize your opportunities.

Include That Personal Touch

Chances are very high that the people receiving your newsletter delete more emails than they open.  Thus, adding the first name at the beginning of your newsletter can and will make a significant difference when it comes to optimizing your open rates.

Offer Cool Stuff

Special offers are one of the biggest draws to improve your open rates. Offers can include coupons or even discounts that are only available to your email subscribers.

The special offers that you offer will go further if you only include them with a subscription to your email newsletter.

Consistency is Key

As routine-oriented organisms, people like consistency. This type of routine includes your email newsletter. Thus, it’s important to make sure that you send out your newsletter on the same day at roughly the same time.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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4 Critical Steps to Growing Your Small Business

Expanding your small business is no easy feat. To be honest, it is one of the hardest challenges that people face when they are looking to abandon the 9-5 grind.

Ultimately, the success of your small business depends on your ability to increase profits using a variety of methods. From employee training to marketing, every component of your business needs the proper attention.

Sure, overnight success almost never happens. However, there is a myriad of steps you should take in order to keep your business moving forward. While it takes time and effort, you’ll soon start to reap the rewards.

Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following four tips for helping your business grow.

Know Your Customers

The best way to develop successful products and services is to know what your customers want. You can achieve this through surveys and various forms of research. For example, asking them to provide honest feedback is critical. Analyzing reviews is one of the best ways to get inside the minds of your customers. As a result, you’ll be able to develop the right products and services that accurately reflect the demands of the market. Additionally, you’ll gain a better understanding as to how your company can improve.

Enhance Customer Service

Regardless of whether or not you have a superior product or service, you won’t fully satisfy your customers without a strong customer service program. Ultimately, this facet of a company is all about you taking that extra step to make your customers feel important and valued. You’ll want to address their problems immediately and also take time to answer their questions. Consider tying social media into your customer service strategy.

Exploit Social Media

There is absolutely no doubt that social media is an extremely powerful tool. Not only can it reach thousands of people at once, it keeps people engaged. Ultimately, this helps you stay relevant. Listening to your customer’s comments will help you understand how to better satisfy your audience.

Focus on Professional Development

 

It will probably come as no surprise that the success of your business largely lies in the hands of the people that you employ.

The success of your business also depends on the quality of employees that you hire. Building a successful team is the key to ensuring that your company thrives. You should always give your employees a purpose and make sure they buy into your common goal.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Website

In today’s day and age, there is no doubt that your company’s website is basically your company’s own little slice of digital real estate. Right?

What you do with that precious real estate is your prerogative. You can either master a digital marketing presence or squander the opportunity.

While no business is intentionally fulfilling the latter, many small business owners are failing to use their digital presence to their advantage in the most effective ways possible. There is a myriad of ways to make your website stronger, but only a few really effective ones.

Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend that every small business’s website follow the following four tasks to achieving online success.

Tell a Compelling Story

Sure, there are numerous places where your brand can digitally interact with your target audience – social media, industry blogs, ad space, press releases, and even YouTube. However, the main difference between your website and the aforementioned platforms is that you own your website. You control what goes up on your website and you can tell the story.

Your story can either address your history or talk about the future of your company. Regardless of your decision, there is no one-size-fits-all solution – your story should accurately reflect your company.

List Contact Information

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that one of the main reasons people visit a website is to obtain contact information. At the very least, make sure your website includes the following:

  • Business address (if applicable)
  • Store or business hours
  • A phone number and email address
  • An About page

While there are many different ways to provide this information, make sure it’s accessible and easy to find.

Collect Leads

While you’ll want to close sales through your website, that’s not the sole objective. In many cases, it may take multiple visits for a prospect to convert. In the meantime, collect as much lead information as possible. This will benefit you down the road and you’ll also learn more about the types of people that are visiting your website.

Overcome Friction

You’ll want your website to be as streamlined and user-friendly as possible. According to studies, poor navigation is the number one reason people leave websites. Thus, it’s a good idea to master user-friendly navigation. Ultimately, you want to offer a pleasant experience for prospective customers.

As you to continue to grow your business and website, consider using the aforementioned tips to achieving digital success.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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Five Critical Tips to Hiring

We know. Hiring new employees can be a very time-consuming and resource-draining process for any business. However, it can be particularly challenging for small businesses with limited means. For a small company, each new hiree has a significant impact on the business, whether it be negative and positive. As a result, it’s critical for small business owners to have the right approach to hiring in order to avoid mistakes.

If you are looking to take the right steps when hiring, consider the following pointers from our Corporate Business Solutions experts.

Be Very Candid

The first step to ensuring that potential hires are truly ready to take on the duties is to be as clear as possible. You’ll want to inform them of the day-to-day tasks and share the company’s goals as well. Furthermore, it’s important to include details regarding salary and benefits. In addition, be candid about any challenges that he/she might face. Being as candid as possible about the position helps you hire the right people who will last a long time.

Use Connections

You might be able to find great candidates by contacting people you already know in your field. For example, calling or emailing business colleagues and/or creating LinkedIn posts is an effective way to let people know you’re hiring.

Establish Your Company Culture

As mentioned, each employee has a significant impact on the culture of a small business. Remember, you can teach skills, but not personality or a tireless work ethic. Take time to establish company values and the look for these qualities in your candidates. You’ll want to address your company’s values during the interview and also gear questions related to those values.

Measure Commitment

You’re really going to want to understand whether or not a potential hiree is truly committed to working for you before you put that offer on the table. Focus on little gestures during the interview and try to understand how enthusiastic the candidate really is about the job opportunity.

Implement a Trial Period

It’s important to implement a trial period prior to making a full commitment. You might want to consider having new employees sign a short-term contract or hiring them as freelancers. Ultimately, this will help you determine if he/she is the ideal candidate for the job before you make any long-term commitments. Furthermore, an effective trial period can be a great way to give both new employees and employers the right amount of time in order to make informed decisions.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.