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A title like that may raise a few eyebrows as nobody likes to see the goods and services they buy spike in price. From a business standpoint, however, there is no harm in selling what a product for what is worth. Millions of businesses fail to balance boosting competitive prices and actually making a profit. As Grant Cardone,  contributor of Entrepreneur.com, noted in his article ‘3 Strategies for Raising Your Prices,’ “the number one reason business fail is, simply, their prices are too low.”

Grant Cardone, Entrepreneur – ‘3 Strategies for Raising Your Prices

Even if your industry is competitive, trying to offer the absolute lowest prices in business suicide. While you don’t want to be known for outrageous prices, as a business your focus should be on value. That means even if the price is a little higher than the competition, your business gives people a reason to come to you and pay a little extra.

Your business needs to make money to expand and best serve customers, simple as that. If you are afraid to nudge your prices up a little bit, here are a few tips from Cardone on how to increase prices.

1. Offer alternatives

For each of your products or services, give your customers a few choices and allow them to make sense of the prices. For example, offer a range of services and prices that reflect those services. This also applies to products, with the higher priced items having more features or being made of better materials, etc.

Photo Credit: David Goehring

Photo Credit: David Goehring

2. Menu Pricing

Write out your products or services in a menu format that ranges from highest to lowest prices. This simple trick of ordering goods in a hierarchy leads customers to realize that the “highest price is the better deal.” This should be true of your products anyway, this simply helps customers visualize the value.

3. Just do it

To be honest, you don’t need a reason or justification to raise prices. You should sell your products and services for what you think they are worth, despite the competition. Try slightly increasing the prices see if it works. You can even bundle products and services together to increase the average sales price.

Don’t be afraid to raise your prices

Regardless of whether you are selling luxury products or cheap novelties, these strategies work to help your business make money. Remember that prices are not what make a customer more loyal. As long as you make the experience for customers worth the price, that is what will keep them coming back.

In the comedic words of MarketingProfs’  Karol Król, “trying to be the best email marketer possible is just too mainstream. Why not aim to be the worst instead?” Sometimes realizing you are making mistakes is best understood through lighthearted sarcasm, a technique wonderfully utilized in Król’s article ‘How to be the Worst Email Marketing in 10 Easy Steps.’

Even if it’s easy to accidentally follow Król’s “tips” to being a horrible email marketer, try not to be guilty of falling into those habits! Here are 8 Steps to Being a Horrible Email Marketer and why you should NOT follow them: 

1. Send only promotional emails

“To be the worst email market on the planet,” explains Król, “you absolutely have to be sending promotional emails only.” While an occasional promotional email is okay, remember that content is king. Even if it is more time consuming or even expensive, your content should actually have a purpose for the reader. Otherwise, people will ignore every email you send.  

2. Send emails twice a day

Because everyone loves to be spammed, right? Even if you’re the one guy who loves getting their inbox filled with nonstop emails all day, the people on your mailing list probably won’t feel the same way. Try to only send emails out to people when you actually have something important to say. Less is more!

Photo Credit: OTA Photos

Photo Credit: OTA Photos

3. Only use pitchy subject lines

Regardless of whether you want to be a great email marketer or a horrible one, your subject line is extremely important in determining whether a person will click your message or not. If you don’t want to be a horrible marketer, however, try to avoid those “pitchy” subject lines like “BAD NEWS, CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT WHY!” These simply try to spark curiosity without giving any valuable information. Has a useless subject line ever made you open an email? Probably not.

4. Write only essay-long emails

When you open an email only to find it is a wall of text, what do you think will be your first reaction; meticulously read it all or just ignore it? No business person has the time or patience to sift through that much information, especially from an email. At best, a person may simply scan your email to pick out bits of information. Keep your emails concise and includes links to your longer content when appropriate.

5. Trick people into taking action

“Being honest is so overrated,” explains Król, “If you’re honest, you’re lowering your sales.” While some business like to pull tricks on their customers, such as free trials that automatically start charging money after a set time without any notifications, these shady techniques will only come back to bite you in the end. Being honest and upfront with people is the best path both for you and your customers. 

6. Don’t care about what you promote

People are usually pretty good at telling when a writer really doesn’t care about what they’re writing. This certainly applies to marketing too. You need to not only personally test out what you are trying to sell, but also be passionate about it. If you don’t care about what you’re promoting, why should anyone else?

7. Don’t use a quality email service provider

Photo Credit: Nicholas Tart

Photo Credit: Nicholas Tart

Do you want to have all of your emails marked as spam and never even reach the mailboxes of the people you are trying to promote to? Well then sorry, bud, you actually need to pay for a decent email service provider. Making a free Gmail account simply isn’t going to cut it.

8. Send Attachments

People do not like attachments on emails unless they specifically ask for them. They take time to download and read, often have little to do with the email, and people are weary of downloading virus’. Put the content on the email, not on a PDF.

Don’t be a horrible email marketer!

At some point or another, we have all been guilty of following at least one of these “tips”, whether it be due to saving time and money or just plain laziness. Learning how to stop being a horrible email marketer, however, is the first step in learning to be a great one. Avoid these marketing mistakes and you will be well on your way to getting the most out of your email marketing campaign!

To learn more about going from good email marketing to great, check out Henneke of CopyBlogger’s 37 Tips for Writing Emails That Get Opened, Read, and Clicked

In the business world today, information and time have become the currency for success – but managing both is a challenge. Whether you’re considering custom solutions, seeking ready-made tools, or just looking for new ways to improve your workflow, mobile apps are worth considering. If you have a smartphone, why not use the power of this mini-computer you’re already carrying around?

We thank Ben Kilmer, co-founder of mobile technology developers GroMobi, for contributing this post to the Shenandoah Valley SBDC blog.

As a small business owner myself, I use a number of mobile apps to keep myself organized and effectively manage my work. Here are 11 smartphone apps that I use on a regular basis to help me operate efficiently and conveniently, with links so you can check them out for yourself.

1. Google Mail App

If you’re a fan of Gmail, this is the app for you.  It makes managing multiple email accounts, crafting quick messages, and staying on top of your email a breeze. For Apple users, the Apple Mail app is also effective.

Download for iOS
Download for Android  

2. Google Drive

If collaborative or live documents are beneficial for your business, the newly rebranded Google Drive is a great tool to use. Drive allows multiple people to work on online documents, much  like Microsoft’s Word, PowerPoint, or Excel, in real time. The app is a nice extension of this web tool, enabling you to access Drive on the go.

Download for iOS

Download for Android

3. LinkedIn

Almost regardless of industry, LinkedIn is becoming a powerful tool for anyone and everyone looking to do business. This business social media platform acts as both an online resume and a great way to connect with people. The app version is a great way to catch up with business colleagues and to instantly connect with people you have just met. Do it all quickly and on the go.

Download for iOS

Download for Android

4. Perch

Photo Credit: ABW Leibniz Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

Photo Credit: ABW Leibniz Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

Perch is a great app for the business owner who wears many hats by enabling you to keep tabs on what competitors are doing on Twitter. The app provides insights that allow your business to remain competitive and can give direction for your own social media strategies.

Download for iOS
Download for Android

5. Box

Box, or comparable alternative Dropbox, are great apps for the power user of cloud storage. These are for people who have a large number of files that they need to access while away from the computer.  Box’ cloud storage also acts as a great backup in case a computer malfunctions. Just like the desktop experience, the mobile Box app is smooth and easy to use.

Download for iOS
Download for Android

6. Calendar by Readdle

If you use Google Calendar for your business scheduling, this is a great addition to your app arsenal. Readdle’s Calendar app allows you to quickly and easily view any events you have in the upcoming day, week or month, with intuitive, easy to master controls.

Download for iOS
Unavailable on Android

7. Dashboard

Another great tool for the busy executive, Dashboard allows you quick access to Google Analytics while on the go or when you have a few spare moments here or there. Keeping up with your SEO is important, but it doesn’t need to take your whole day.

Download for iOS
A Different Google Analytics App for Android

8. Facebook Pages

Facebook pages allows you to manage your company’s Facebook presence with ease, making it quicker and easier to access when you have time to do so. With Pages you can schedule posts, manage your analytics, share photos and more without using valuable hours at your desk.

Download for iOS
Download for Android

9. Twitter

Photo Credit: Kev Shrine

Photo Credit: Kev Shrine

Much like Facebook Pages, Twitter is a good app to have on your phone, allowing you to work on your personal or business social media presence while on the go with just a few taps. Customers want to see the human side of your business, and your social media presence is your outlet!

Download for iOS
Download for Android

10. Redbooth

If you oversee a team, project management software is a great investment to take a look at. This type of software allows you to give your team members tasks, give and receive feedback, and track hours and progress all in one place. GroMobi uses Redbooth software, which has a great mobile app that allows us to stay connected to the team even when we are away.

Download for iOS
Download for Android

11. Salesforce 1

If you use Salesforce software with your business, downloading their app is a great way to access that information on the go with ease.  Salesforce 1 is the best app Salesforce has put out to date, and it is effective in enabling you to quickly drill down on the information you need.

Download for iOS
Download for Android

Smartphone and Your Business

Smartphones and apps have taken the business world by storm, making once time consuming tasks like sending messages, scheduling, team management, organizing and more, quick and at the touch of a finger. While these are just a few apps I use on a daily to weekly basis to help my productivity, every business owner should take the time to experiment and see what apps are the most effective for their business. Get the most out of your phone and leverage apps for your business today!

Have an idea or need for an application that you can’t find in the app store? Considering a custom app for your business?  Get in touch with us here at GroMobi – we can discuss your needs, review the options, and make recommendations.  GroMobi creates mobile apps for all platforms.

Ben Kilmer
Partner | Founder
GroMobi

Many people have been commenting on Twitter’s new Facebook-esque profile layout, but what do these changes mean for your business? For any company that currently maintains a Twitter account, it is important to keep up with these changes to understand how to best use this medium to their advantage.

What’s New?

According to America’s SBDC, there are a number of changes that have led to the new look and feel of Twitter profiles, as well as some new features designed to help users sort and find content. These changes deal mostly with the aesthetics of your page, allowing for businesses to catch the attention of potential consumers. Each update has its own particular set of advantages that should be utilized for your business’ account profile.

Changes and Tips for Each:

twitter-phoneNew Header Image: Much like the cover photo currently used on Facebook and Google+ pages, Twitter now allows users to insert a banner image across the top of their pages. This large section of digital real-estate is the perfect place to push your brand, logos, special offers, contact information, and so forth. This is the first part of the page any potential consumer will see, so be sure to make it eye catching.

Larger Profile Picture: The sizes of Twitter profile pictures have also been increased. Because Twitter has automatically resized everyone’s current profile photos, be sure that your photo hasn’t been stretched or pixelated. Even if your photo looks the same, you can still take advantage of this increased space with a higher resolution photo.

More Visible Page Information: All of your business’ important information, including name, handles, descriptions, and links, have increased in size to become more prominent on the page. This is a good time to update your information and make sure it is accurate, professional, and most of all worth reading. As America’s SBDC put it, “having an informative and accurate bio is essential.”

Pin Tweets: Just like the Pinned Posts function on Facebook, Twitter users can now “pin” a tweet to the top of their page. This essentially allows you to choose what tweets individuals will first see when they visit your page. This should be used to promote important messages or links, such as upcoming events for your business.

Best Tweets: Another creative spin Twitter has implemented into their business pages is the use of Best Tweets. This works by enlarging tweets that have received more engagement, allowing users to quickly find the best content on your profile.

New Content Filters: Twitter has also allowed users to better sort what they are viewing. When you are visiting another profile, for instance, you can choose to view the content by Tweets, by Tweets with photos or videos, or by Tweets and replies. This added convenience emphasizes the importance of Tweeting interesting photos for your followers to see.

twitter-redesign-fb

Example of the new Twitter layout, photo courtesy of Mashable

So What Does This All Mean for My Business?

Twitter has always been a wonderful tool for quickly spreading short and interesting content from a company to its publics and vice versa. With these recent changes, Twitter can now more than ever help showcase your brand and make more meaningful impressions with the people that visit your page.

Remember, the secret to a successful Twitter account is still valuable content, regardless of how great your cover photos look or how many links you publish. Use these updates to help visitors learn more about you, and use your content to keep them coming back!

For more information about Twitter’s new layout, visit Samantha Murphy Kelly’s post, ‘Twitter Testing Major Profile Redesign That Looks a Lot Like Facebook‘ on Mashable.

According to a recent article on GrowThink.com, the popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter has officially surpassed an incredible $1 billion (with a B!) in pledges. With over 5.7 million individuals investing in thousands of different projects and campaigns, it’s no wonder crowdfunding has caused quite a bit of buzz in the business community.

GrowThink.com
Kickstarter

What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding really is what it sounds like – a crowd of people funding projects, campaigns, etc.. It is a technique, usually online, that allows the consumers or supporters of a product or company to back them up financially. The possibilities of crowdfunding are only growing, as it has already been used by nonprofit campaigns, political campaigns, charitable organizations, and now startups and other commercial ventures.

Through crowdfunding campaigns, your average Joe or Jane can now become a true investor for whatever they would like, whether it be new technology like the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, a video game like Broken Age, or a business like the data-monitoring company Bitvore Corp. According to the SBA’s helpful article, the fact that crowdfunding spreads the risk among many individuals allows your business to create a strong network of early investors and, hopefully, ambassadors for your brand.

What is a Platform?

Crowdfunding CycleEach crowdfunding campaign involves three distinct entities: the business or project initiator (that’s you), the audience or “crowd” (your customer), and the platform. This “platform” is the organization that brings the project initiator and the “crowd” together. The platform is your middleman that will help you reach your audience. You should remember, however, that these third party sites will ask for a fee for their services, and it is important to have an accountant and a lawyer there to protect your interests.

As we said above, Kickstarter is one of the most popular crowdfunding platforms. However, there are several online crowdfunding platforms that can help you reach your investors and keep track of your progress. Each platform has a different focus, and it is important to pay attention to which would be the best fit for you. For instance, smaller platforms like Wefunder and Rock the Post are dedicated solely to helping business startups, while Crowdfunder focuses on connecting international entrepreneurs.

The different platforms also have varying rules about how their funds are gathered, which you must pay attention to. For example, Kickstarter requires you to raise your entire financial goal before receiving any funds, while others do not. It is important to read all of the information carefully before choosing the platform that meets your needs and the type of project or venture you are embarking on.

The JOBS Act, 2012

While the process of collecting loans and early investors is the traditional and tried and true method of starting a business or commercial campaign, crowdfunding offers an alternative that has become popular, particularly with the recent economic decline. For small businesses especially, crowdfunding is only going to become more viable with the JOBS Act law that was signed by President Obama in 2012.

According to the SBA article, the JOBS Act now allows anyone, regardless of whether they are SEC-accredited, to help finance a small business. The rules are still being worked out with the SEC, however, and are subject to change. For example, some companies can raise as much as $1 million in a year without having to do a public offering, though there are still regulations that must be carefully watched. The bottom line is that you must consult a CPA and attorney before launching your crowdfunding effort.

So is Crowdfunding Right for my Business?

Crowdfunding-2It is up to each small business to determine whether incorporating a crowdfunding plan is right for them. There are a few things to consider before starting a campaign. Do I have a clear idea and strategy for what it is I want to accomplish through this campaign? Do I have the network in place to create buzz for my product or company? Will my idea connect with target investors? And do I have the commitment it takes?

It is also a good idea to study other successful campaigns and take note of their strategies, what they were funding, how they created buzz, and so on. Find local businesses that have used crowdfunding for part or all of their startup finances, and talk to them directly for helpful suggestions. You can also talk with your local SBDC office to help sort out the nuts and bolts of your crowdfunding campaign.

Please check out the SBA article for more information about how to prepare your small business for a crowdfunding campaign and tips for how to make your campaign successful!

You can also learn more about how your business can incorporate crowdfunding at the BIG Small Business Event during the ‘Where’s the Money?’ panel discussion. Thanks again Valarie Smith of Larkin Arts!

Your website is the first way that many new customers will find and see you – so it’s important to make a good impression.  It’s even more important to be easy to find.  Dave Lavinksy outlines the 5 Quick & Easy Ways to Improve Your Website.  The best part is that they are all fairly simple; they just take a little creativity.

It seems obvious, but it should also be said that connecting all of your online marketing platforms is essential.  You never know how your next customer is going to find you, and they need to be able to find what they’re looking for easily.  If they find your website first, make sure it’s obvious you have social media outlets (facebook, twitter, vine, etc).  If they find your facebook page, make sure that your About section is up to date.  Simple things like this can be easily overlooked and can cause frustration from a potential new customer.

Need some more guidance in how to maximize your marketing efforts? Contact us.

 

Your business’ website is often the first impression customers get – how can you make the best impression and reel them in?  Follow these tips can help your website reach its true potential.

Need more guidance in tailoring these tips to you?  Connect with us.

Customers are searching for brands they can trust: companies that deliver on promises and are transparent in their business practices.  Creating that emotional bond with your customer not only leads to sales, but referrals and positive reviews.  Learn more about how your business can become a trusted brand.

Also – check out some secrets behind 10 top-trusted brands.

We have other resources and experiences that can help build your brand: connect with us.