We recently did a survey with over 100 small businesses to learn more about what marketing tools, campaigns, and analytics they are using to market and grow their businesses. Everyone provided lots of great insight, so we thought we would share a few key findings.What type of marketing campaigns do you use?Not surprisingly, the vast majority of small businesses (81% surveyed) are using email marketing. It’s cheap, personal and can be highly targeted. Slightly more than half of small businesses (54.3%) are using social marketing, which generally includes things like posting to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.Significantly less (36.2%) are advertising on social networks. Interestingly though, more small businesses are buying ads on social than on search (21%).Content marketing is still strong…
There are more than 4,000 business-related cloud-based apps on the market. Choosing the right ones can present a challenge for your business. Here are a few tips on building a winning combination of cloud-based business apps.
See our Infographic on the Do’s and Don’ts of Assembling the Right Cloud Apps for Your Business
Choose An Anchor
Determine the existing systems you are using that contain the data most critical to your business. Like the “anchor stores” designed to stabilize the financial stability of the shopping mall, your anchor apps are the ones that are critical to the financial stability of running your business.
What determines an anchor app?
- If you have spent a significant part of your budget on it. For example, your retail POS system or a custom developed registration system.
- If it is the only option in your industry. For example, the MLS database for Realtors®.
- Outside influences. For example, if your accountant requires all financial data be managed in a specific system.
Here at Batchbook we’ve combined a number of different work location styles into a well functioning team and culture. About a third of our team works out of our Providence headquarters on a regular basis. We have a terrific, lofty, urban space in Providence’s Jewelry District where a group of us comes into a cozy office space most days of the week. Another third work half time from their home office, half time from the Batchbook office. And the rest of the team is completely virtual. They live in distant parts of the country (or other countries even) and only visit the home office once a year or so. We’ve been asked a number of times recently to share more…
We have a tradition here at Batchbook to follow-up all of our customer onboardings with hand-written thank you notes. We think that simple human connection goes a long way, and we’ve heard from recipients that it’s a nice touch not often seen in the business world. The thing is that we’re truly grateful for the opportunity to get to know the people using our product. Onboardings aren’t scripted, dry, boilerplate training sessions, they’re real conversations that happen when two people meet to solve a problem. There’s a lot of listening and thoughtful asking and brainstorming, and we love that the people we get a chance to onboard are up to that task. So we take time out to say thanks.
We get our thank you cards from DWRI Letterpress, Inc., one of the most lovely small businesses we’ve had the pleasure of working with. Christelle and I have gone to their shop several times to pick up our orders, and we’re always a bit starry-eyed at being surrounded by such rich material and amazing machinery. And the service we get? It’s the best. Dan Wood, DWRI owner, is always gracious and energetic, answering all our questions candidly and fully. He gives us off-the-cuff tours of his giant, turn-of-the-century machines, hands out fun samples and reveals sneak peeks of his latest projects, which range from music artist CD packaging to personalized pencils for a grade 2 classroom. They’re just peachy, and the work they do is meticulous, feels rich & divine to hold.Read More
We’re spreading the small business love this week with a list of our very own favorites. These are the places we go to when we need inspiration, a break, a treat. They make our lives better and our communities better and they’re one-of-a-kind. We’ve sent thank you notes to each of the them, because we want them to know that their work matters and is appreciated. Don’t forget to say “thanks!” to your own favorite small business this week or any week, and definitely share your staples in the comments below so that we can help spread the word.
Happy National Small Business Week!!!
Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream | Griswold, CT
In addition to the delicious ice cream and the beautiful setting, they spend 10 days every summer raising money for The Make a Wish Foundation. Last year they raised over $113,000 selling bouquets of sunflowers and hayrides.
I try to volunteer every summer to help bundle the sunflowers. That’s a photo of the supervisors up in the header. They like to tell the volunteers to “keep moooooving”! (Sorry, I couldn’t help it.)
– Christelle Lachapelle, Brand Manager
It’s finally starting to look like Spring here in the Northeast which means it’s National Small Business Week. As we bid a less-than-fond farewell to Snowmageddon, the Batchbook staff is gearing up to celebrate! Readers are Winners We’ll be giving away 5 business books this week. The titles we chose are: “#GIRLBOSS” by Sophia Amoruso “Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner “Poke the Box” by Seth Godin “A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business” by Ari Weinzweig (A personal favorite of mine.) “Rework” by Jason Fried Wondering how you can enter to win? Just head over to our Facebook page and enter your…
We want to help make your 2015 a smashing success, so we’ve combined our customers’ five most common new year’s resolutions with Batchbook customizations and team strategies for turning those resolutions into achievable goals. 1. Get More Clients Spread the word about your business in a way that respects and showcases your relationship with existing clients. Referral Lists. It can be uncomfortable to ask customers to hit up their various networks on your behalf. Why not ask them instead to be a referrer for your business? Our friends as Grasshopper virtual phone systems have a great Twitter referral program. If someone tweets about their brand, then they’re referred to a few customers who have agreed to be on their “happy customers” list (we’re fans…
This is a guest post from Laura Windisch, a member of the creative team at 99designs, the world’s largest graphic design marketplace. 99designs connects people who need something designed with thousands graphic designers around the world, making it easy to get high-quality designs at an affordable price.
Let’s face it — people make snap judgments. Sure, it might not be fair, but potential customers will judge the quality of your products or services based on the quality of your sales materials. So when it comes to your collateral, forget about skimping on your creative. You’ll soon find that the benefits of a professional design are well worth the investment.
Here are five ways your branded sales materials will help you succeed.
1. Establish initial trust
Today’s average consumer is more design-savvy than ever before. If you show up with a poorly designed brochure that looks like DIY-project gone wrong, customers will question your judgment just as quickly as they’ll toss that brochure into the recycle bin. If your business card lacks a logo, customers will be instantly weary of your commitment.
While lousy designs and undefined brands will raise red flags, a great design can get people to trust you. They’ll be open to learning more. So put your trust in professional design.
You know that sales person — the quota guy or the commission girl — the one who thinks you want to talk to a stranger about refinancing your mortgage at 9:00 pm on a Friday night. Or the one who adds you to all 13 weekly email lists their company sends out just because you bought a new laptop from them.
They work for a big business. Not that there’s anything wrong with big businesses. They keep a lot of giant, important gears turning in our world. But these armed forces of shareholder value have taken sales to a ridiculously aggressive level.
Sales for the Rest of Us
This kind of selling sometimes gives the rest of us a bad taste. A lot of small business owners aren’t in love with this idea of sales. They don’t want to count phone calls and bang on shut doors. What small businesses want is to connect to the right people and show them how their lives can be improved by becoming a customer.
We are in the second camp when it comes to sales. And we thought it was time to pull together some useful advice on sales for small businesses. Let the big guys obsess over their quotas. Your job as a small business is to sell your awesome product or service, and to have you and your customer both feel good about it.
Free Sales Guide for Your Small Business
Today we are launching Doing Sales Right: A Small Business Guide to Customer Happiness. The entire Batchbook team, from product managers to onboarding specialists to the communications team have developed this straight forward guide to setting up your own customer-centric sales process. We’ve included step-by-step process suggestions, examples of what other businesses are doing and some tips on how to avoid being that pushy sales team.
Over at CMS Wire they have a really cute infographic about customer service during the holidays, but the stats aren’t cute at all.
74% of the respondents in the survey believe that contacting customer service is more of a hassle during the year-end holidays than at any other time of the year. 37% percent said they’d rather eat last year’s stale fruitcake than contact customer service during the holidays.
Sure, it’s kind of a funny statistic, but what it’s really saying is that there is some room for improvement for the holiday customer experience. So here are some tips to help your business shine during this busy season.
Empower Your Team
If you haven’t already seen this video from Canadian airline WestJet, take 5 minutes and give it a look. As much as the customers enjoyed this holiday surprise, the WestJet employees really seem to be the winners here. Imagine how much fun they had pulling this off.Read More