5 Effective and Useful Tools for Successful Content Writing

Are you set to level up your love for writing but confused on how and where to start in publishing your articles online? Worry no more, in this article are helpful tools you can use to get started on the right foot.

Whether you’re a newbie blogger or an already seasoned writer, your work output still and should always be relevant, valuable, and grammatically correct. Poor content construction, spelling errors, and broken grammar can make your content less appealing and credible to your readers.

For successful content writing, here are effective and useful tools you can use to help you out:

Buzzsumo

One major concern of writers is to always have a new topic to write about. With millions of content being posted online daily, it’s quite difficult to find a topic and create content that will stand out.

Buzzsumo, an online platform where you can determine which content performs well online. This content marketing tool features content research, competitive research, and influencer mining (for paid version) features. With this tool, you can search for what’s hot and what’s not in your niche.

Personally, I use Buzzsumo to search for the trending articles in my niche. From there, I can find helpful resources, ideas, and see article topics no one has written about that I can make use of.

Coschedule

Next to having an interesting topic to write about, you need to create a compelling title to go with it. Sans a good title, your article won’t be enticing for people to read; your effort will go to waste.

Coschedule boasts of different tools you can use for all your marketing needs – blog management, marketing projects, and social media and content marketing. Regarding title creation, Coschedule’s headline analyzer is a great help. It’s designed to help writers and marketers write headlines (for blog posts, email subject lines, and social messages) that drive traffic, shares, and search results.

This free tool will analyze your headline’s word balance, length analysis, keywords, and previews.

Grammarly

No matter how interesting your content is, if it’s filled with grammar and spelling errors, your readers won’t read them anymore. Any article with complex writing errors can put your credibility at risk.

Grammarly, the world’s leading automated proofreader, helps its users find and correct spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and grammar errors in articles and content. More than that, this amazing tool also features vocabulary enhancement suggestions, and a plagiarism checker.

With Grammarly’s help, mistake-free writing will just be an arm reach. But, it will also help if you review your content a few more times before publishing it. Reading it aloud will help as well.

Pexels

Text-heavy articles can be a pain to read, especially to readers with a short attention span. So to make your content and articles more reader-friendly, insert relevant and high-quality images.

Pexels provides bloggers and designers high-quality stock photos that can be used everywhere without a cost – all of which are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. With Pexels’s easy-to-navigate discover pages, you can search photos by tag, search, and by color.

I personally use Pexels to search for and download images I can use for creating article inserts, hero images, social media posts, and other marketing materials that require high-quality photos.

Canva

Today, content isn’t only found in articles; it can also be in the form of flyers, social media graphics, ebooks, and the like. Successful content writing is a combination of great content and graphics.

Canva’s tools include a free online photo editor, color palette generator, font combinations, and thousands of professional and beautiful layouts. Anyone, even those who aren’t highly-skilled design, can create stunning graphics, layouts, and presentations with its drag-and-drop feature.

With Canva, you can create professional graphics without the hassle and complexities of other design tools and platforms. More than that, you can enjoy these features even with a free account.

With these basic content writing tools, you’re all set to take that big leap of conquering online publishing. With the help of these tools, you can be successful in content writing in no time.

How to Retain Customers According to Business Experts

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Without them, businesses wouldn’t exist.

Businesses and customers coexist. The other won’t exist without the other one. Customers play a vital part in any business’s growth, success, and survival. That’s why it is essential for business owners to retain and establish a healthy and long-lasting relationship with their customers. But, retaining customers seem to be the greatest challenge for business owners – whether on a physical store or online.

According to the latest customer support statistics, here’s how the customer landscape is today:

  • One happy customer can produce nine referrals.
  • One unhappy customer can make 26 other angry customers.
  • One angry customer can make 16 anti-referrals.
  • Just a 5% increase in retention can generate up to 95% increase in profits.
  • 86% of customers are willing to pay more for better customer experience.
  • 82% of customers leave because of a bad customer service experience.
  • Empathetic support results in customers who are 9x more likely to be engaged.
  • Failing to respond promptly to customer complaints and inquiries can lead to a 15% increase in churn or attrition.
  • Engaging and responding on social media can make customers spend 40% more.
  • The #1 most important factor in a customer’s loyalty is reducing customer effort.

To make your customer service strategy even better, here are expert tips–from business experts themselves–on how to improve your business’s customer service to retain your customers:

Allocate enough budget and resources for customer service.

“Let’s take most of the money we would’ve spent on paid advertising and paid marketing and instead of spending it on that, invest it in the customer experience/customer service, and then let our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth.” – Tony Heigh, Zappos

Determine the need of your target customers.

“Get closer to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs, Apple

Prioritize your customers over everyone else.

“Put the customers first, the employees second, and the shareholders third. If the customer is happy, the business is happy, and the shareholders are happy.” – Jack Ma, Alibaba

See things from your customer’s perspective.

“I’m not a tech guy. I’m looking at the technology with the eyes of my customers.” – Jack Ma, Alibaba

Customer service must be practiced by everyone in the company.

“Customer service should not be a department; it should be the entire company.” – Tony Hsieh, Zappos

Make customer experience a little bit better each day.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little better.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon

Always treat your customers with high esteem.

“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” – Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company

Personalize customer service and experience.

“Going above and beyond involves making customers feel special and helping them out even when it may not make sense.” – Neil Patel, KISSmetrics

Treat your customer the same way you would treat a boss.

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton, Wal-Mart

Meet and exceed your customers’ expectations.

“The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them – preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” – Richard Branson, Virgin Group

Consider the above tips in planning your next customer service strategy. Do what it takes to retain your customers to keep your business up and running. Don’t drop the ball!

Magento: Through the Years of E-Commerce Innovation

It has been a good run for Magento 1 since its launch in March 2008, but all journeys must come to an end. The leading e-commerce platform will reach its end-of-life in June 2020, after over a decade of commitment to merchants worldwide. The Magento 1 platform will finally give way to its successor—the Magento 2.0—offering a new array of possibilities and unlocking the gateway towards a more efficient e-commerce experience. Let’s take a quick look at Magento 1’s humble beginnings and celebrate its journey to success.

Magento’s beginnings

Magento’s history stems from one man’s desire for innovation. Roy Rubin, a man of technology and one of the harbingers of e-commerce revolution, founded in 2001 a web development agency that will, later on, specialize in developing solutions for merchants across the globe. Varien, Inc. leveraged the power of Open Source technology and harnessed its capabilities to help business owners fulfill their goals—at a fraction of the cost and time of propriety e-commerce solutions that came before it. One such platform is the <em>OsCommerce,</em> also a propriety of Varien, which was leading in market share at the time. However, the true power of open source was inhibited by OsCommerce’s lack of flexibility and the colossal amount of money it requires for further development and polishing.

Eventually, after careful planning, Rubin and his team of seasoned e-commerce experts set about to develop a platform that would require less time to market for merchants and, most importantly, reduce the overhead costs Varien was experiencing during the development of its previous flagship product. Rubin initially explored the idea of splitting the OsCommerce platform—a move that would prove risky even for Varien itself. Strategic deliberation produced more desirable results, as Rubin and his company decided to develop their next flagship platform, Magento, from the ground up—addressing every limitation provided by the previous platform.

Varien launched the platform on 31st March 2008, under the name "Bento." Eventually, Rubin consolidated all the legal names and trademarks under the Magento brand, changing the name of the company itself, reflecting its primary focus and ultimately establishing a single, powerful identity that will become a force to be reckoned with in the e-commerce industry. Shortly after its release, Magento started to gain the attention of merchants using different existing platforms, mainly due to its rich, out-of-the-box features designed to convince online business owners to migrate to open source technology.

Becoming a part of something ‘big’

In 2010, shortly after its brand integration, Magento made a merger with e-commerce giant eBay, the latter acquiring a 49% stake of the company before eventually purchasing the rest in February 2012. The cost of the buyout is reported to be $180 million. It turned out to be advantageous for the Magento brand, as eBay at the time also owns PayPal, Inc., one of the largest 3rd party payment providers, which was already supported by the late Varien, Inc. To further boost this integration, Magento, then owned by eBay, streamlined its payment process by launching support for multiple PayPal product offerings. This move by Magento enabled merchants to choose from a wide and flexible range of payment options that are configurable right out-of-the-box.

July 2015 witnessed another change in its corporate governance with London-based investment firm Permira Global buying out Magento and its assets from eBay—a deal made to ensure Magento’s autonomy as a company even up to this day. This marked an exciting point in Magento’s history, with it being a subsidiary of eBay further strengthening the company’s product offerings and then gaining significant capital investment from Permira. These years of experience as a technological entity culminated in the release of Magento’s finest product yet: the Magento 2.0.

Now spearheaded by chief executive officer Mark Lavelle, the new Magento operates independently of eBay, having greater control of its products and as a result, can respond to market demands faster without getting clogged up by corporate bureaucracy.

Magento’s continuing legacy

The e-commerce world was graced with the release of Magento 2.0 in November 2015. It was the platform’s biggest release since its inception in 2007 when it succeeded OsCommerce as the primary product of Varien, now also under the legal name Magento. Whilst the 2.0 is a complete reimagining of the platform, it still remains true to its principal concept of reducing the time and lowering development costs for online merchants. Magento’s second iteration of its world-renowned platform adopts a <em>true open source</em> architecture built with the needs of the modern merchant in mind. Its intuitive administration interface is fully equipped with powerful marketing, merchandising, and content management tools. This simplistic approach enables merchants to create sites that are tailored to their unique business needs. Backed by an extensive support network, Magento offers no compromise and promises the ultimate e-commerce solution.

And with Magento 1’s inevitable end already looming at the horizon, there are more reasons to celebrate than to mourn. There is still time for merchants using Magento 1.9 or older to upgrade to Magento 2.0 before the former completely expires on June 2020. Undeniably, the first generation of Magento had a <em>very</em> good run, and thanks to it we now have a whole new platform accessible to all kinds of business. With the commerce sector growing at an unprecedented rate, we’re looking forward to seeing how Magento 2.0 can replicate the success of its mighty predecessor.

The Top E-Commerce Development Mistakes You Must Avoid

An e-commerce venture is more than just buying and selling services or products; it’s a full-blown way to run a business over the Internet. The same with manning physical stores, mistakes can be very costly.

Because running an e-commerce store is as serious as running a physical store, companies have to pay attention to the development and maintenance of their e-commerce website the same way they would pay attention to the management of their physical store.

Although e-commerce development can be a complicated task to some, there are different firms and companies that offer a variety of e-commerce website development services to help businesses who want to expand their markets and venture to online retail.

With or without an e-commerce website development service provider, here are the most common e-commerce development mistakes you should be aware of and avoid:

  1. Lack of plan and strategy

A plan and strategy shouldn’t be missed because these will build the foundation of a successful business. Without a business plan and strategy, you’ll be blindly doing things for your business, thus, putting your time, resources, and energy to waste.

To get started in planning, you need to determine the products or services you’re going to sell, identify your target market, do competitor research, figure out your budget, set your financial goals, and determine which e-commerce platform to use.

  1. Wrong choice of e-commerce platform

Another crucial step in building an e-commerce store is choosing a platform to use. This step is also where most startups make mistakes. To find the right e-commerce platform for your online business, give the different platforms’ free trials a shot.

A few of the factors to consider in choosing an e-commerce platform include the number of the products or services you’re selling, hosting options, store functionality, ease of set-up, budget, tools and features, security, support, and integrations.

  1. Poor UX and website navigation

According to Kissmetrics, a website’s loading time greatly affects its bottom line. Slow loading time contributes to poor user experience which then results to website abandonment, huge reductions in leads and conversions, and lost sales.

Poor user experience and website navigation can interfere with the users’ shopping experience. To avoid making this mistake and losing your sales potential, your e-commerce store has to have minimal yet complete features and simplified navigation.

  1. Lengthy, complicated checkout process

Out of every ten online shoppers, only 3 make it to a successful checkout and sale. According to statistics, one of the major causes of cart abandonment is a lengthy and complicated checkout process. It can make you lose your potential customers.

To avoid this costly mistake, provide a user-friendly checkout design that can easily be understood even by first-time online shoppers. Avoid asking for irrelevant information and adding multiple click points. A one-page checkout is also recommended.

  1. Low-quality product images

The pictures featured on your e-commerce website serve as the window display in physical stores that can make online shoppers stay or leave. The first things that grab a potential shopper’s attention are the images featured on your e-commerce store.

Always make sure to use only high-quality, professional-looking product images in your online store. Providing product images at various angles with a zoom-in option also helps. This way, shoppers will feel like they are seeing the product in person.

  1. Lack of authentication and trust factors

When it comes to online shopping, it takes great effort to gain the trust of potential customers. Most often, if an e-commerce website lacks authentication and trust factors, online shoppers are hesitant to purchase from it. They’re most likely to leave.

To avoid this mistake, make sure to add an SSL certificate, Terms of use, Privacy Policy, Refund/exchange policy, product reviews, client testimonials, and authentication logos. Complete contact details also add to a website’s trustworthiness.

  1. Failure to be mobile-optimized

At present, more and more shoppers are using their mobile devices, specifically their smartphones, when shopping online. If your e-commerce store can’t be browsed conveniently on different devices, you’ll lose a huge percentage of shoppers.

Because website traffic is rapidly moving to the mobile platforms, you must make sure your e-commerce website can keep up. Don’t miss out on your e-commerce website’s maximum sales potential by developing a mobile-optimized version ready.

Conclusion

Website development is an important factor in creating an effective and successful e-commerce website that will drive leads, conversions, and sales. Though mistakes can happen in e-commerce website development, most of these can often be prevented.

With an awareness of these most common e-commerce development mistakes, you can save your business from bigger problems and losses. You can also hire a trusted and reliable e-commerce website development service provider for help.

The Top Online Marketplaces That Can Help You Sell More

With thousands, if not, millions, of online stores available for consumers to choose from, what can you possibly do to sell more?

Aside from offering your products and services solely on your e-commerce website, leveraging online marketplaces is another effective way to increase your chances of being found by a wider range of online shoppers – thus, giving you more sales opportunities.

What an online marketplace is

An online marketplace is a website that facilitates the sale of different products and services from multiple third parties, whereas the transactions are processed by the operator of the marketplace. They are like digital versions of usual department stores that sell almost everything to everybody.

Because it’s more convenient for online shoppers to buy from a single website that offers product ranges that are more diverse than one store can offer, online marketplaces appeal to them. With marketplaces, consumers can shop for almost anything without having to visit different websites.

Listing your products and services on online marketplaces has its pros and cons. It can increase awareness for your brand and sales, yes. However, with every sold item, a percentage of your profit or sales goes to the marketplace operator. But, the sheer sales volume makes it all worth it.

The top 5 online marketplaces

After determining what online marketplaces are and the advantages it can bring your business’s sales potential, how do you choose the best marketplaces to list your products and services? To help you make your choices, here are the top online marketplace platforms you can choose from:

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/

Amazon, which was originally an online bookstore, has grown to be a multi-billion corporation that sells all types of products, including electronics, appliances, art pieces, toys, food items, and much more. At present, it is considered as the largest online marketplace in the USA. It already has 11 global marketplaces that operate in Europe, North America, and Asia.

Pros:

 

  • Large and rich product selection
  • Seamless e-shopping experience
  • Nearly 184 M visitors per month
  • Increased views for your products

Cons:

 

  • The need for competitive pricing
  • Monthly, referral, and other fees
  • 15% commission for most categories
  • Limited control and customer insight

 

 

eBay

https://www.ebay.com/

Next to Amazon, eBay is another one of the largest online marketplaces in the USA. However, unlike other online marketplaces, you can sell your items on eBay either at a fixed price or in an auction format. It doesn’t only focus on the shopping experience too. It also provides online sellers with tools and features to make it easier for them to feature their brand.

Pros:

  • Entirely built for sellers
  • Over 164 M active buyers
  • Better control of customer details
  • Varied payment and shipping options

Cons:

  • Fees can be a bit complicated
  • The need to figure out shipping and fulfillment solutions
  • Risk of scams and fraud

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/

It is no doubt that Facebook is the most popular social platform today. With almost 2 billion active users every month, brands can take advantage of the exposure to billions of potential customers as well. With the Facebook Marketplace, anyone can easily set up an online store and tag their products to specific locations of their target customers, free of charge.

Pros:

  • Over 1.94 B active users per month
  • Convenience in listing products
  • No listing and transaction fees

Cons:

  • Little/no protection for buyers
  • Lack of rating system for both buyers and sellers

Etsy

https://www.etsy.com/

Etsy is a peer-to-peer global online marketplace that focuses on handmade and vintage items, and unique factory-manufactured items. Founded in 2005, it’s one of the most popular online marketplaces. To date, it has 1.8 million active sellers, 30.6 million active buyers, 45 million items for sale, and annual gross merchandise sales of $2.84 billion in 2016.

Pros:

  • Low listing and sales fees
  • No binding monthly payments
  • Perfect for arts and crafts items

Cons:

  • Smaller market and niche
  • Suggests competitors’ shops
  • Limited branding opportunities

Bonanza

https://www.bonanza.com/

Since their launch in 2007, Bonanza has always been a seller-centric platform that offers sales opportunities to entrepreneurs. It is known as an online marketplace for clothes, accessories, home and garden items and supplies, collectibles, art pieces, and a lot more. In 2016, it was awarded as the “Most Recommended Marketplace” by eCommerceBytes.

Pros:

  • Free listings and lower fees
  • Marketing campaign tools
  • Exposure to Google and Bing
  • Easy-to-use import features

Cons:

  • Difficulty in selling duplicate items
  • High bounce rate (49%)
  • Smaller market as compared to Amazon and eBay

Conclusion

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding the perfect online marketplace. In the end, you still need to determine and choose which online marketplace is best fit for your brand, products, and services. Give your business a chance to sell more!

How to Create Product Listings that Convert and Sell

Of the many online shops available for consumers to choose from, you need to stand out. One way to do that is through writing enticing product descriptions that convert and sell.

With the rise of different e-commerce shops today, the competition to sell gets tougher. It’s not anymore enough to have a great product or service, appealing and mobile-ready web design, and exceptional online shopping experience. You also need to prioritize creating product listings that engage, persuade, and sell.

While often given lesser attention, your product listings can make or break a potential sale. They are that crucial and powerful.

To write the best listings for your products and services that won’t only get attention but will also persuade and sell, see below tips:

Choose the best photos that best showcase your product.

Because people are naturally visual beings, they are more drawn to photos and images more than texts. So, if you want your products to be taken notice of by consumers, you must start with high-quality photos that will best showcase your products.

You can do this by taking photos of your products in different angles and perspectives without neglecting proper lighting and a solid color background. A lifestyle shot is also a must. It’s a photo showing how your product is used and worn in the real world.

 

After taking photos of your products, select and upload no more than five photos for each product listing. Just make sure that the product photos you’ll include in each product listing will make the online shoppers feel like they’re seeing the products in person.

Write product descriptions with a buyer persona in mind.

A buyer persona is a representation of your target audience. It is your imaginary customer. To write the best descriptions for your products and services, you need to consider what your buyer persona wants, thinks, and feels; more so, her buying decisions.

With a buyer persona in mind, your product descriptions will be more focused and customer-centric. It will also help you make descriptions more engaging, personal, and persuasive. The best product description will speak to her and make her click ‘buy.’

Translate product features and specs into practical benefits.

Online shoppers are often deterred by text-heavy product listings. More than that, they aren’t exactly interested in what a product is or what it can do. They are more interested in what a product can do for them and how it can make their lives better.

So, before you get overwhelmed in writing and talking about your products, list your products’ most important features and specs. After that, translate them into practical benefits – e.g. increased and improved productivity, stress-reduction, and the like.

Features and benefits backed with studies and references also help. It’s a wise move to include some references on how your product can provide these benefits. Adding such can provide comfort and ease to risk-averse consumers in making purchases.

Make sure your product descriptions are easily readable.

Now that you have the meat for your product listing descriptions, you need to make sure they are encased in an easy-to-scan and easy-to-read format. It needs to be enticing to read. A good product description is useless if it’s hard for the eyes, right?

To create product listings that are easy to skim and read, you need to consider using subheadings, bullet points, appropriate font size, style, and colors, plenty of white space, and the right placement of text and other elements like videos and photos.

Add search terms to optimize your product descriptions.

Lastly, don’t forget to add search terms and tags in your product listings – in both product descriptions and images. To help you in determining which tags and phrases to use, think of the phrases your buyer persona will use in looking for a product.

Use your key phrase in the headline, body text, subheadings, and product images – file name, alt tag, and image description included. But in doing so, make sure you don’t overstuff your product listings. Avoid using jargons as well, unless they’re really needed.

Just like you would with any other type of content, make sure to make the inclusion of key phrases as natural as possible. Even while using key phrases, try to write as you speak. A great product listing appeals both to search engines and your customers.

Apply the above tips in creating listings for your products and services. The better your product listings are, the better chances of selling your products!

What You Should Do When Your Business Is Slowing Down

Tough times, when a business experiences a slowdown, are inevitable. However, this slowdown is an opportunity for you and your business to grow. How? Read on.

In business, there are good and not-so-good days. It isn’t always sunny. Sales won’t always be sky high. There are times for most businesses when things seem to slow down. This business slowdown can be brought about by seasonal trends, lack of demand, competition, bad decision making, recession, etc.

However, you can turn this what seems to be a negative event in your business into something good. Here are only a few of the positive and productive things you can do when business is slow:

Work on your personal branding.

While your business is slow, take the extra time you have for marketing your personal brand. If marketing your business isn’t doing that great, try marketing yourself instead. The better known a personality is, the more the opportunities that will be coming on the way. While working on your personal brand, you’re doing your business a favor as well.

Send thank you notes to your clients.

Personally, it feels good to receive a thank you note, right? Imagine the joy of being appreciated and receiving something personalized. Your clients are sure to feel the same if they receive a thank you note or custom made token from you. A happy customer can then connect you to new business opportunities and new clients as well. Total win!

Consider doing a rebranding.

Now may be the best time to rebrand and touch up your website and other social media profiles a bit. Update your logo and product packaging. Try out different themes and templates for your website. Switch some colors. Explore other ideas to make your business stand out even more. Have an A/B Test to see which will work best for your site.

Revisit and review your business plan.

If you already have an existing business plan, revisit and review it. If you’ve been in the business for so long, chances are you’ve outgrown your business plan already. Evaluate which among the listed strategies did and didn’t work for your business. Improve those that did and remove those that didn’t. Make sure your business plan is up to date.

Host workshops, seminars, etc.

While your business is on a slowdown and not requiring much of your time and schedule, invest in developing yourself, your personnel, and other people. There’s more to your business than just merely selling your products and services. Help other people develop their skills and potential by hosting free (or paid) workshops, seminars, and webinars.

Carry out different kinds of surveys.

Conduct surveys for both your employees and customers. By getting feedback from your employees, you can gauge your leadership style, and discover issues and how you can address them. A customer satisfaction survey is also a must. Both can help you and your business grow by gauging how you’re doing and how you can improve more.

Learn and do something new.

If you consider yourself an entrepreneur, you must never stop learning, unlearning, and relearning things. There will always be something new to learn to improve yourself and your business. One example is to learn a foreign language you can use to connect with foreign business partners and a wider audience. Try something you’ve never done.

Think of a promo or price slash.

Promotions, whatever they may be, will always attract both new and old customers. If your budget allows, create great deals like package deals, price slash, discounts, etc. for your customers. Offer consumers something with greater value, and they’ll surely draw closer to your business. You can also do an online contest or giveaway for them.

Tap influencers in your campaigns.

 

Influencers can help improve your brand’s marketing and sales. Influencer marketing can be dated back to the late 1800s when popular celebrities or personalities are leveraged to market different products and services. At present, you can partner with social media influencers to promote your brand and your business in their posts.

Maintain a positive attitude.

Tough times are inevitable in businesses. However, these tough times shouldn’t put you down. Don’t let a business slowdown hinder you and your business goals. Make the most out of this season. Enjoy it. Use it for your and your business’s growth. Don’t lose faith in yourself and your business. Always maintain a positive attitude. Always.

Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed,” says Robert Kiyosaki, a renowned American businessman and author. Consider your business slowdown as another step closer to your business success. While you’re at it, do other productive things like those listed above!

Free Google Tools and Extensions for Small Business Owners

Managing a business is no easy task. However, with Google’s free yet efficient and game-changing tools, you can increase your productivity and finish your tasks in a breeze.

Google generously offers free tools and extensions that can benefit all types of entrepreneurs and increase their online productivity. Read on for a list of free Google tools and extensions and on how each one can help you with your business.

 

Site and SEO Management

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) management is essential in any business, most especially in e-commerce businesses. Through data-driven SEO practices, a website can be optimized for search engines and be easily found on the Web.

 

With that, here are free tools by Google that can help you in managing the SEO of your business:

 

  • Google Webmasters. With Google Webmasters, you can track your e-commerce site’s search performance, get support for your site, test your site’s mobile-friendliness, and get recommendations on how you can improve your site’s speed and user experience.

 

  • Google My Business. To bring more customers in, use Google My Business to list information about your business online. This way, your business listing will appear right when people search for businesses like yours on Maps, Google Search, and Google+.

 

  • Google Analytics. Whether your business is big or small, it’s a must to learn about and understand your customers. With Google Analytics, you can get to know your customers better, improve your engagement and click-throughs, and boost content promotion.

 

  • Google Shopping Insights. With this tool that is a combination of search, heat mapping and graphs, retailers can easily identify shopping trends and popular products or items in their cities. This tool can help you make data-driven decisions for your business.

 

Social Media Marketing

 

By utilizing different social media platforms for marketing and reaching prospects to promote a product or service, business or brand can establish their online presence. Social media marketing is a must for businesses of all types and sizes.

 

To make social media marketing more convenient and effective, here are free tools you can use:

 

  • Blogger. One way to make a name online is through a blog. With Blogger, you can host your business blog for free and reach a wider audience for your brand and business. Because Blogger is run by Google, you can also be sure that your blog is secure.

 

  • Hootsuite. This Google Chrome extension is the best tool you can use to manage your social networks, connect with your customers, and establish your brand online. With Hootsuite, you can even pre schedule your social media posts for when you’re away.

 

Project Management, etc.

 

Effective project management can make small business more competitive, efficient, and successful. It can also help businesses of any size attain enhanced team collaboration, improved product quality, and higher customer satisfaction.

 

Here are free Google tools you can use for improved and more productive project management:

 

  • Google Keep. If you’re the person who always loses notes and ideas, this tool will help you keep your ideas, to-do lists, links, etc. With Google Keep, all your notes and precious ideas won’t be lost. Your notes will sync to all your devices through Google Keep.

 

  • Google Calendar. By creating shared calendars with this tool, you can keep everyone in your team up to date with milestones, events, deadlines, reminders, meetings, and more. You can also see your upcoming Google Calendar events from your Gmail inbox.

 

  • Google Sheets. With this tool, you can easily create schedules, assign work, manage deadlines, and receive updates on different projects. Collaboration and being up to date with your team, regardless of their locations, will also be easier with Google Sheets.

 

  • Google+ Hangouts. For small business owners with partners from different parts of the world, this tool will be of great use. With Google+ Hangouts, you can easily discuss urgent matters and hold video meetings with anyone in the world, right from your computer.

 

Do your business the most efficient way with the help of the above free tools offered by Google. You’re not meant to do your business alone!

How to Come Up with Business Ideas That’ll Sell

Got funds to start a new business? Read on to figure out how to come up with business ideas that’ll put your funds to good use.

 

 

Like you, 63% of people in their 20s also want to own and run a business. With this fact in mind, you need to come up with a business idea that will stand out and sell. If you’re planning on venturing into a business, especially in e-commerce, the first step you need to make is to come up with a winning business idea.

 

To get the ideation process started, here are practical yet effective ways to come up with an idea for your next business venture:

 

Identify problems you can solve.

 

Each one of us faces problems each day. Take notice of these problems and start with yours. You can utilize the problems you’ll discover for a business idea. Find ideas on how these problems you’ve defined can be solved. Solutions to people’s day-to-day concerns and problems is a great business idea in the making.

 

In this process, you might discover or devise a better way to solve a specific problem. Try to think of a specific need you can provide a solution to. You can even browse shark tank or Kickstarter products for inspiration. Most often, the product ideas featured there are born from different day-to-day problems most of us face.

 

Identify a set of skills you are good at.

 

For a less expensive business idea, you can start with what you’re good at. Examine your skills and expertise. With your set of skills, you can offer an array of services like consultation, tutorials, or coaching. You can also create and sell products such as e-books, manuals, and the like if you capitalize on what you’re good at.

 

If you’re more like someone on the creative side, you can leverage your creative skills for business. You can make a living as an artist by selling your artworks, conducting workshops, or offering your talents as is to clients. Whatever skill you choose to utilize, just make sure that people will be willing to pay for it.

 

Keep up with the current events.

 

Practice watching the news regularly to identify the latest trends, industry news, and the current events near you. Being aware of what happens around you can spark up business ideas and open you to different opportunities for business. Watching the news can also give you an idea of the needs of the people around you.

 

For instance, when plastic was banned in some cities, entrepreneurs began selling alternative, biodegradable packaging products. In some areas and countries where tourist flock for their trips, entrepreneurs started building B&Bs and transient homes they can rent to tourists. There are a lot of ideas you can find in the news.

 

Improve an existing product or service.

 

If you can’t invent or think of a new product or service, try looking at the different products and services that are already existing. Then, brainstorm ideas on how you can make these products and services become better and more sellable. Incorporating a novel improvement to an existing product or service can make you sell.

 

For example, although milkshakes, frappes, and fruit shakes are common, some entrepreneurs found their way to make their menu different from the rest. Take the unicorn frappes, mermaid frappes, and other candy-laden drinks for example. Entrepreneurs utilized the customers’ desire for unique, Instagram-worthy drinks.

 

Open yourself to new experiences.

 

By opening up yourself to new experiences like traveling, trying new activities, and the like, you’ll also spark and inspire new ideas. You can’t think of new ideas if you don’t go out of your way to try and discover something new. Who knows? You might be able to find a “eureka” moment while you’re on a trip or a visit to an exhibit.

 

According to Andy Boynton of The Idea Hunter, “If you open your eyes, the answer is there, but your world has to be broad enough and diverse enough to feed you the ideas you need.” For a more effective search, be observant of the new people you meet or new places you visit. Be intentional in looking for novel ideas.

 

You must prepare yourself for what you’re getting yourself and your funds into. Consider the above tips to come up with a business idea that’ll sell!

20 Timeless Lessons from the Greatest Men in Advertising

Having a great service or product to sell is only one of the many steps to business success. How you’ll sell your product is that one important step that will reel in the sales.

Regardless of your years in the business industry, you will always need to learn more to achieve your business goals and success. Whatever your business is, whether you have an e-commerce or physical store, you need to learn about marketing and advertising to be able to sell your products and services. With that, here are timeless lessons from the greatest men in advertising:

David Ogilvy

Founder, Ogilvy & Mather

Dubbed as the “Father of Advertising,” David Ogilvy sure has plenty to share and teach marketers about creating persuading, influential, and memorable advertising campaigns and branding. Even years after his death in 1999, Ogilvy remains as one of the most popular names in advertising.

“There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of whiskey, or cigarettes or beer. They are all about the same. And so are the cake mixes and the detergents, and the margarines… The manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.”

“The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”

“If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”

Jordan Zimmerman

Founder, Zimmerman Advertising, Inc.

Known as the “Advertising’s Bad Boy,” Jordan Zimmerman of Zimmerman Advertising leads the now 14th largest advertising agency in the world. His firm’s growing list of catered great brands includes Nissan, Atlantis, Dunkin’ Donuts, Papa John’s, Jamba Juice, Michaels, Soma, and more.

“We have the greatest and proprietary technology to monetize social media for all of our clients.”

“Brands that aren’t evolving are going backwards – especially retailers. Every brand has to continue to evolve to become a better brand, to become a more contemporary brand for today.”

Leo Burnett

Founder, Leo Burnett Worldwide

Leo Burnett, the man behind advertising icons like the Marlboro Man, Tony the Tiger, Jolly Green Giant, and Tony the Tiger, ushered the creative revolution in advertising in the 1950s. He is known for creating simple yet memorable icons for products and brands instead of copy-heavy ads.

“The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.”

“Regardless of the moral issue, dishonesty in advertising has proved very unprofitable.”

“The sole purpose of business is service. The sole purpose of advertising is explaining the service which business renders.

 

Raymond Rubicam

Co-Founder, Young & Rubicam / Y&R

Raymond Rubicam, one of the twentieth century’s advertising giants, co-established Young & Rubicam (Y&R) with John Orr Young in 1923. His experiences on being a shipping clerk helper, freelance newspaper writer, and Armstrong copywriter all contributed to his marketing expertise.

“Mirror the reader to himself and then show him afterward how your product fits his needs.”

“Let the best idea win, no matter who has it. No one can have the good ideas himself. Having an ear for a good idea is almost as valuable as having the idea.”

Bill Bernbach

Co-Founder, DDB Worldwide

William “Bill” Bernbach, along with his two co-founders, opened Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB Worldwide) in 1949. He is recognized as one of the great men of advertising, notable for his works for Volkswagen Beetle (Think Small), Polaroid (It’s So Simple), Avis (We Try Harder), and more.

“Getting your product known isn’t the answer. Getting it wanted is the answer.”

“Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.”

Lester Wunderman

Founder, Wunderman

Living his title as the “Godfather of Direct Marketing,” Lester Wunderman served as a pioneer in advertising for over 50 years. Besides founding the world’s largest direct marketing agency, he is also notable for his innovations including loyalty rewards programs, the 1-800 number, and more.

“The real objective of direct marketing is to convert sales to relationships, because relationships bond the customer to the company and the brand is the total of all that.”

“Always try to turn a marketing disaster into a marketing opportunity.”

“What matters today are the digital conversations with and among consumers.”

Dan Wieden

Co-Founder, Wieden+Kennedy

Dan Wieden, an American advertising executive, co-founded Wieden+Kennedy with David Kennedy in 1982. Their independently owned American advertising agency is well known for their notable work for the Nike brand. It’s Weiden who coined the now popular Nike tagline ‘Just Do It.’

“Chaos is the only thing that honestly wants you to grow. The only friend who really helps you be creative.”

“We need to get to kids who have no idea what we do. We need to open the doors wide and let them in. There are many undiscovered voices out there – voices that, against all odds, can rise up and enrich this culture and perhaps change the very nature of the marketplace for the better.”

David Droga

Founder, Droga5

At age 48, David Droga’s advertising agency, Droga5 which started in 2006, has already been named “Agency of the Year” 11 times. To date, Droga has received prestigious recognitions and awards from Cannes Lions, New York Art Directors Club, Bravery Awards, Adweek, and more.

“It takes the same amount of energy to do great as it does to justify average.”

“We are not here to be artists. We (advertisers) are the marriage between art and commerce.”

“Just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you need to – restraint is something I admire. At the end of the day, it is still a battle between good vs. crap.”

Learn a thing or two from these great men to jumpstart the success of your business’s marketing and advertising campaigns.