Entrepreneur Cruise Teaches Business Skills in Paradise

If a stimulating environment get’s your entrepreneurial juices flowing, the Entrepreneurs Cruise taking place from April 22-29 may be an option for you.

On your way from Florida to destinations such as Philipsburg, St. Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Labadee, Haiti you will be with professionals who will teach you the latest innovative technologies, emerging strategies, best practices and much more.

On this year’s cruise, some of the topics to be covered include digital strategy, customer engagement, data science and big data, programmatic advertising and more.

You can learn more about the cruise, including how to sign up in the Featured Events section. This list has different events geared to small business owners across a range of topics.

If you happen to have your own event, contest or award listing, you can visit the Small Business Events Calendar and let the world know about it.

 



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018
April 22, 2018, Florida, United States of America

Are you an Entrepreneur and need to get away and take a break? Ready to recharge, rejuvenate in new surroundings and be inspired by other like minds? Then, you can’t miss the 4th annual Entrepreneurs Cruise! Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018 takes place April 22nd to 29th, 2018 onboard the Royal Caribbean ‘Oasis of the Seas’ Cruise Ship departing Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida, sailing to Philipsburg (St. Maarten), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Labadee (Haiti). Register today!


DigiMarCon East 2018 - Digital Marketing ConferenceDigiMarCon East 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
May 10, 2018, New York, New York

DigiMarCon East 2018 Digital Marketing Conference takes place May 10th to 11th, 2018 at the luxurious New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City.
It’s the one digital marketing event you can’t afford to miss! Whether your goal is to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or drive stronger consumer engagement, DigiMarCon East 2018’s agenda will help attendees enhance their marketing efforts. Sessions will focus on building traffic, expanding brand awareness, improving customer service and gaining insight into today’s latest digital tools. Register today!


TECHSPO Houston 2018TECHSPO Houston 2018
June 06, 2018, Houston, Texas

TECHSPO Houston 2018 is a 2-day technology expo which takes place JUNE 6 – 7, 2018 at the luxurious Houston Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel in Houston, Ontario. TECHSPO Houston brings together developers, brands, marketers, technology providers, designers, innovators and evangelists looking to set the pace in our advanced world of technology. TECHSPO Houston 2018 promises to be better than ever and we’re excited to see all the amazing tech companies and talent that will join us. Register today!


Growth & Success ConGrowth & Success Con
September 17, 2018, Online

This small business virtual conference is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs at all stages who are stuck in the daily grind of building their businesses and struggle to get solid advice and guidance. An amazing panel of experts in various disciplines and business coaches will share tips & tricks on topics including Growth, Marketing, Management & Business Building for Success. Register today!


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

Image: …Entrepreneurs Cruise

This article, "Entrepreneur Cruise Teaches Business Skills in Paradise" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Entrepreneur Cruise Teaches Business Skills in Paradise

If a stimulating environment get’s your entrepreneurial juices flowing, the Entrepreneurs Cruise taking place from April 22-29 may be an option for you.

On your way from Florida to destinations such as Philipsburg, St. Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Labadee, Haiti you will be with professionals who will teach you the latest innovative technologies, emerging strategies, best practices and much more.

On this year’s cruise, some of the topics to be covered include digital strategy, customer engagement, data science and big data, programmatic advertising and more.

You can learn more about the cruise, including how to sign up in the Featured Events section. This list has different events geared to small business owners across a range of topics.

If you happen to have your own event, contest or award listing, you can visit the Small Business Events Calendar and let the world know about it.

 



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018
April 22, 2018, Florida, United States of America

Are you an Entrepreneur and need to get away and take a break? Ready to recharge, rejuvenate in new surroundings and be inspired by other like minds? Then, you can’t miss the 4th annual Entrepreneurs Cruise! Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018 takes place April 22nd to 29th, 2018 onboard the Royal Caribbean ‘Oasis of the Seas’ Cruise Ship departing Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida, sailing to Philipsburg (St. Maarten), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Labadee (Haiti). Register today!


DigiMarCon East 2018 - Digital Marketing ConferenceDigiMarCon East 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
May 10, 2018, New York, New York

DigiMarCon East 2018 Digital Marketing Conference takes place May 10th to 11th, 2018 at the luxurious New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City.
It’s the one digital marketing event you can’t afford to miss! Whether your goal is to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or drive stronger consumer engagement, DigiMarCon East 2018’s agenda will help attendees enhance their marketing efforts. Sessions will focus on building traffic, expanding brand awareness, improving customer service and gaining insight into today’s latest digital tools. Register today!


TECHSPO Houston 2018TECHSPO Houston 2018
June 06, 2018, Houston, Texas

TECHSPO Houston 2018 is a 2-day technology expo which takes place JUNE 6 – 7, 2018 at the luxurious Houston Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel in Houston, Ontario. TECHSPO Houston brings together developers, brands, marketers, technology providers, designers, innovators and evangelists looking to set the pace in our advanced world of technology. TECHSPO Houston 2018 promises to be better than ever and we’re excited to see all the amazing tech companies and talent that will join us. Register today!


Growth & Success ConGrowth & Success Con
September 17, 2018, Online

This small business virtual conference is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs at all stages who are stuck in the daily grind of building their businesses and struggle to get solid advice and guidance. An amazing panel of experts in various disciplines and business coaches will share tips & tricks on topics including Growth, Marketing, Management & Business Building for Success. Register today!


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

Image: …Entrepreneurs Cruise

This article, "Entrepreneur Cruise Teaches Business Skills in Paradise" was first published on Small Business Trends



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10 Tips to Consider for Marketing Your Small Business More Effectively

When it comes to running and marketing a business, there are going to be things that work for some businesses and don’t work for others. But there are also some essential elements — a logo, an email strategy, interesting content — which all small businesses will need. Here are 10 tips to consider for marketing your business more effectively from members of the online small business community.

Create a Brand Logo in Minutes

A good logo is essential to any small business branding campaign. And you don’t need to be a professional designer or spend tons of time and money on a great looking logo. In this post on the Kissmetrics blog, Neil Patel explains how you can create a logo for your brand quickly and efficiently.

Use This Intro for Email Marketing

Email has been a staple of small business marketing plans for years. But despite that staying power, rumors about the demise of email marketing persist, causing some new entrepreneurs to overlook this powerful tool. If you’ve fallen into that category, take a look at this DIY Marketers post by Ivana Taylor for a guide on getting started.

Make Your Boring Blog Interesting

Blogging is another popular marketing tactic for small businesses. But if you want your blog to actually make an impact, it has to interest people. This Blogging Tips post by Christopher Jan Benitez details how you can make blogs from boring niches interesting. And BizSugar members commented on the post here.

Keep Track of Outsourcing Benefits

Outsourcing various parts of your business operations, from marketing to shipping, can offer great opportunities for growth. There are various benefits to taking this route. And Ivan Widjaya of Biz Penguin outlines some of those benefits in this post.

Know These MarTech Facts

Technology has made massive changes to the marketing landscape in recent years. So if you want your own marketing efforts to make a splash, you need to know the facts about the technology involved. Check out this Marketing Land post by Scott Brinker for more.

Use Videos Effectively in Your Sales Process

When it comes to increasing sales for your small business, video can prove to be an effective format. In this Smallbiztechnology.com post, Ramon Ray dives into how video can make an impact on various parts of the sales funnel and shares actionable tips for entrepreneurs and sales professionals.

Learn How to Market Through Text Messages and Chatbots

Marketing ultimately is just about communicating with customers. So it makes sense for businesses to use the platforms that are most popular with their customers. That can include text messaging. For more on the subject, check out this Content Marketing Institute by Chris Frascella.

Don’t Pay Too Much Attention to Your Competition

Your competitors can certainly make an impact on the success of your business. But it can also be a detriment for businesses to pay too much attention to those outside entities, as Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media argues here.  You can also see discussion from the BizSugar community about the subject here.

Use Facebook Ads for Market Research

Market research is an essential step for any small business looking to grow and reach more customers. And Facebook can be a great platform for doing so. This Social Media Examiner post by Maria Dykstra includes some tips for using Facebook ads for market research.

Focus on These Important SEO Tasks

Search engines can be another great method for reaching the most relevant customers for your small business. To make the most of these platforms, you need to focus on the most important tasks, like the ones listed in this Search Engine Journal post by Patrick Reinhart.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Tips to Consider for Marketing Your Small Business More Effectively" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

10 Tips to Consider for Marketing Your Small Business More Effectively

When it comes to running and marketing a business, there are going to be things that work for some businesses and don’t work for others. But there are also some essential elements — a logo, an email strategy, interesting content — which all small businesses will need. Here are 10 tips to consider for marketing your business more effectively from members of the online small business community.

Create a Brand Logo in Minutes

A good logo is essential to any small business branding campaign. And you don’t need to be a professional designer or spend tons of time and money on a great looking logo. In this post on the Kissmetrics blog, Neil Patel explains how you can create a logo for your brand quickly and efficiently.

Use This Intro for Email Marketing

Email has been a staple of small business marketing plans for years. But despite that staying power, rumors about the demise of email marketing persist, causing some new entrepreneurs to overlook this powerful tool. If you’ve fallen into that category, take a look at this DIY Marketers post by Ivana Taylor for a guide on getting started.

Make Your Boring Blog Interesting

Blogging is another popular marketing tactic for small businesses. But if you want your blog to actually make an impact, it has to interest people. This Blogging Tips post by Christopher Jan Benitez details how you can make blogs from boring niches interesting. And BizSugar members commented on the post here.

Keep Track of Outsourcing Benefits

Outsourcing various parts of your business operations, from marketing to shipping, can offer great opportunities for growth. There are various benefits to taking this route. And Ivan Widjaya of Biz Penguin outlines some of those benefits in this post.

Know These MarTech Facts

Technology has made massive changes to the marketing landscape in recent years. So if you want your own marketing efforts to make a splash, you need to know the facts about the technology involved. Check out this Marketing Land post by Scott Brinker for more.

Use Videos Effectively in Your Sales Process

When it comes to increasing sales for your small business, video can prove to be an effective format. In this Smallbiztechnology.com post, Ramon Ray dives into how video can make an impact on various parts of the sales funnel and shares actionable tips for entrepreneurs and sales professionals.

Learn How to Market Through Text Messages and Chatbots

Marketing ultimately is just about communicating with customers. So it makes sense for businesses to use the platforms that are most popular with their customers. That can include text messaging. For more on the subject, check out this Content Marketing Institute by Chris Frascella.

Don’t Pay Too Much Attention to Your Competition

Your competitors can certainly make an impact on the success of your business. But it can also be a detriment for businesses to pay too much attention to those outside entities, as Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media argues here.  You can also see discussion from the BizSugar community about the subject here.

Use Facebook Ads for Market Research

Market research is an essential step for any small business looking to grow and reach more customers. And Facebook can be a great platform for doing so. This Social Media Examiner post by Maria Dykstra includes some tips for using Facebook ads for market research.

Focus on These Important SEO Tasks

Search engines can be another great method for reaching the most relevant customers for your small business. To make the most of these platforms, you need to focus on the most important tasks, like the ones listed in this Search Engine Journal post by Patrick Reinhart.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Tips to Consider for Marketing Your Small Business More Effectively" was first published on Small Business Trends



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This Company Has a Perfect Ecommerce Website Design for Inbound Marketing

There's more to ecommerce website design than you might think. Everyone gets it sort of right, but not every site out there does it all -- except perhaps ModCloth.

I may not shop there personally, but I’m a huge fan of the ModCloth ecommerce inbound marketing model. When breaking down the anatomy of an amazing ecommerce site, ModCloth seems to have it all, from an elegant and intuitive design, to pre-transactional educational content, to email marketing that rarely relies on coupons.

As marketers, we have to get beyond the echo-chamber of sites we personally shop with to find great examples of inbound marketing for ecommerce in action. I don't normally shop ModCloth, but many others do, and they've been highly successful. Let’s take a look at what makes ModCloth such an inbound marketing powerhouse.

Homepage Design

Okay, so saying they do everything well is a bit of a cop out. However, if we look at the welcome banner visitors see upon visiting the page, we see how easy various components of a great ecommerce site are to find.

ecommerce menu example

In one place, we see the page identity, the personalized welcome, a link for customer service, a search bar, special offers, the shopping bag, and an easy-to-understand menu. Wow. That’s a lot of stuff in one space, and yet nothing is crammed or hard to see.

Blog Design

ModCloth must know that business sites with a blog get 55% more visits than sites without. Of course, as you can see by the menu image above, the blog must be part of the main ecommerce site for those visits to be counted in ModCloth’s metrics.

ModCloth uses their blog to move potential buyers through the marketing and sales funnel, just as it’s designed to do. The blog features products, how-to videos, images from customers, and general lifestyle information. In addition to working hard for the business, the blog is also a great way for people to spend a few minutes of downtime.

Branded light-blue ecommerce website design for ModCloth's blog

Their great strength in blogging is that they're targeting the lifestyle, or psychographic dimensions, of their buyer personas. They're not just churning out keyword rich content to rank in search engines; they're building an audience of relevant consumers that they can nurture toward a purchase.

Filtering Options

In addition to the search bar at the top right corner, ModCloth also offers a very intuitive filtering process for every item. Users can search by size, price, designer, and popularity. The easy-click buttons leave little room for error, so customers can quickly narrow down options to find exactly what they need.

As a bonus -- and this shouldn’t be a bonus so much as a way of life -- the filtering options really do return only relevant search results.

ecommerce filter example

Customer Service

While ModCloth customer service does offer an email option, the company also make employees available through a live chat option or by phone for those buyers wanting immediate service. These options can all be found in one spot, too, by simply clicking on their Customer Care link.

But ModCloth doesn’t stop there. Not only can you find someone to talk to about the questions or problems you might have, but you can also reach out to a stylist to receive personalized suggestions and recommendations.

Ecommerce customer service page on ModCloth's website

Secure Checkout

Buyers love ModCloth’s checkout process because it’s clear and linear. You can see from the progress bar at the top of the page that you’ll be taken through each step in the process with no links back to previous pages or unnecessary paths toward other pages.

Ecommerce website's checkout process banner

They also make sure to show their security certificates with large icons so they’re visible. This gives buyers the warm and fuzzies, letting them know personal information will be protected at all costs.

ecommerce security example

Finally, they also offer alternative payment methods so buyers don’t need to share credit card information if they don’t want to. The ability to purchase through PayPal is just one more way ModCloth makes buyers more comfortable.

ecommerce alternative payment example

Up-Front Info

One of the biggest reasons buyers abandon shopping carts before finishing the purchase is because the cost of shipping is a surprise. Well, ModCloth makes sure buyers get up-front info about shipping. As you can see, buyers willing to wait a bit for their new threads can also take advantage of free shipping. Cha-ching.

ecommerce shipping information example

Fun Product Descriptions

It’s easy enough (and conducive for search engine optimization) to simply list the basic stats, but ModCloth gives whimsical descriptions that still manage to convey the most necessary information. Sometimes, it’s fun to just read about the products even if you can’t afford to buy them all.

ecommerce product description example

Again, the key factor here is the customization of the website experience to the psychographic dimensions of their buyer personas. They're not cold, clinical recitations of the manufacturer specs, they're written with the tone and information that their best customers want to read.

Social Media Integration

This company does a great job of including and engaging with followers and friends on social media. As you can see, visitors have several chances to connect with various social platforms during the shopping experience.

The first time comes on the main page, where all the different accounts are listed. Next, buyers have a chance to Tweet or Pin the items they’re about to buy or just recently purchased. In addition to bragging rights for the customers, it’s also good press for ModCloth.

ecommerce social sharing example

Finally, the company does a great job of keeping social outlets current. Facebook includes images contributed by users and not just those posted by the company. Twitter asks random questions throughout the day to boost engagement and make followers feel included.

ecommerce facebook page example

Instagram features heavily on the site as both a user-generated style guide and a place where customers can share videos with their thoughts on the products and the brand.

ecommerce instagram example

Pinterest is used for various reasons, but perhaps most importantly as a secondary product catalog. Whoa. These guys are busy.

ecommerce pinterest example

Customer Voice

Various social media channels aren’t the only ways customers get to share their experiences. Located on each product page is a list of reviews for that particular item.

ModCloth doesn’t censor, either. For each less-than-stellar review, the customer service team reaches out with offers of assistance. Not only do the buyers get a chance to say exactly what they think, but ModCloth also uses that opportunity to improve customer delight.

ecommerce customer review example

Smart Email Marketing

Sure, ModCloth sends out discounts for their most loyal customers, but they don’t simply rely on coupons to keep their email marketing on track. Check out this particular email that simply informs users of new features coming soon. What a great way to keep building a relationship between buyer and seller.

ecommerce email example

Email follow-ups for abandoned carts are just as effective. Images are used to remind the user what they almost purchased, and a fun subject line prompts a smile instead of a growl. Well done, ModCloth.

Responsive Design

Because so many purchases are made on mobile devices, responsive design is a must. Fortunately, my favorite commerce site also makes shopping on smartphones easy.

First, the menu is very easy to read, and there’s plenty of white space around the links to make clicking easy for thumbs.

ecommerce responsive design example

The images are quite large, and adding them to your cart just takes one click.

ecommerce responsive design example

Even the filtering options are easy to use, meaning you can drill right down to the very thing you want to buy right there on your phone instead of having to wait until your laptop is in reach.

ecommerce responsive design example

So, yeah. ModCloth’s ecommerce site is a veritable treasure trove of must-haves, and I’m not just talking about the cool clothes. If you’re looking for a role model, you could do much worse.

 

 



via Business Feeds

It’s Best to Avoid April Fools Day Pranks at your Business, Expert Says

It Is Best to Avoid April Fools Day Pranks at Work

April Fools Day falls on a Sunday and a holiday this year. But this won’t stop people from “celebrating” this day of practical jokes anyway — perhaps in the office come Monday!

April Fools Day Pranks at Work

There’s a chance some pranksters at your office are already hard at work on a hilarious gag to unleash on co-workers when returning from the holiday weekend.

But according to one employment law expert, April Fools Day jokes and pranks are probably best left for outside the workplace. And as the boss of your small business, it’s your job to make sure the pranks likely to be pulled around your office don’t get out of control.

Seyfarth Shaw at Work, a legal compliance company serving small businesses, recently surveyed 400 managers and employees about April Fools Day pranks.

Online April Fools Day Pranks Most Popular

The office prank is evolving. While you’re still likely to see someone’s stapler stuck in a Jello mold, it’s more likely the pranks around your office will be online.

The company says the most popular pranks today are online or involve social media of some kind. In a survey 37% of respondents said online pranks were most popular at their office.

That’s not good, according to Seyfarth Shaw at Work President Philippe Weiss, an attorney. These pranks are “immortal” in the sense they’ll always be online to remind the recipient of the joke.

The problems start when the recipient or the butt of the prank does not appreciate it.

Class Pranks

Any fan of “The Office” will surely remember Jim pranking Dwight all the way through the series, not just on April Fools Day. At the time, online pranks were hardly possible. Well, those office hijinks are still popular, according to the company’s data.

In addition to the online jokes, 34% say “office space remodeling” is most popular at their office. Another 16% say “food-related” pranks take the cake, and 5% said “automotive alterations” were the top jest.

April Fools Advice

People seem to have reached the height of sensitivity these days so it’s always important to keep this in mind before pulling off a prank.

Weiss offers some advice for entrepreneurs dealing with the issue. If you’re the one in charge of a small business, your pranking days may be over. No matter how ripe the opportunity, “a boss pranking is offering a complete pranking license to his or her employees,” Weiss says.

Instead of participating, the boss should be more of a prank ref. Ensure the pranks being pulled by your employees don’t demean or discriminate.

And as the leader, it’s important you set up some kind of ground rules for pranks at the office. Remind employees pranks should be kept between friends, are light-hearted in nature and safe.

Before an employee pulls off a prank, they should think twice about how the recipient will take the joke.

Employees should also avoid pranking the boss and no one at your small business should consider pulling a joke on any office visitors and especially not your customers.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "It’s Best to Avoid April Fools Day Pranks at your Business, Expert Says" was first published on Small Business Trends



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