How To Save Your Small Business During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Covid-19 is a highly contagious, respiratory virus that has taken the world by storm. Unfortunately, it has begun to drown small businesses to the point of near extinction, if things do not change soon. We have seen unprecedented public health and economic responses. If you are a small business owner, you are likely feeling the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While safeguarding our families and our own health is a top priority, small businesses are feeling the crush of a closed down country. Coping with the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic is incredibly hard at the moment. However, there are steps you can take as a small business owner to work towards rebuilding your empire once things begin to return to normal. 

1. Get a small business loan


One of the best things the government has done for small businesses is to offer a small business loan to help you through these tough times. The U.S. Small Business Administration has been given the approval to lend low-interest federal disaster loans to your small business as it has been affected by Covid-19.


The goal of these loans is to provide relief for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills your small business cannot pay because of the Corona Virus and its impact. The interest rate has been set at 3.75% for most businesses and 2.75% for non-profit groups. 

The good news is that these SBA loans come with long-term repayment plans to keep the payments within your budget. In some cases, you can have up to 30 years to repay the loan. Each loan has its terms set on a case-by-case basis.

If you are eligible for this SBA Loan, the following would apply:

  • You may qualify for a loan of up to $10 million. The amount would be determined by 8 weeks of prior payroll averages, plus an additional 25% of that amount. 
  • Your loan payments will be deferred for six months.
  • There is also a forgiveness clause. If you continue to maintain your workforce, a portion of the loan will be forgiven.


    2. Find ways to still serve your community 


    Ingenuity never ceases to amaze the American people. During these times of fear, panic, and lack of certain medical supplies, some businesses have become geniuses on keeping their businesses alive. There’s everything from no contact pizza delivery, pillow makers now manufacturing face masks, breweries making hand sanitizer to curbside pick-up at places that have never offered that service before.

    A few things that can keep your business afloat include the following:

  • Send a personal message through your social media networks to keep your customers and followers apprised of your situation. Let them know what services you can still offer, and how your company or brand will be moving forward. 
  • Offer a new incentive or promotion. Even though your revenue might be stifled, you can still create new promotions to keep your customer base thinking about your company. 
  • Consider temporarily changing your product or brand to fit the needs that are out there.

    3. Continue to Keep your Staff Safe

    If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get your staff working remotely where possible. Many people have been doing this for weeks already, and it can be quite successful. Being flexible is a must for all small business owners. 

Encourage and then demand extreme hygiene guidelines at all times. If you must work around people and come into contact with the public, this is the most important thing you can do. Be sure your staff is constantly sanitizing, washing and changing their clothes before they go back home. Everyone understands that this is no longer a time for handshakes, hugs and face touching. 

Lastly, consult with these resources if you are struggling beyond anything you could have ever imagined:


Final Thoughts

There was almost no way to prepare for the impact that Covid-19 would have on the small businesses of our great country. No one knows for sure when the madness will let up, when the infection rate will slow down and when life will return to normal. The good news is that there is financial help for small businesses. There are also ways to get creative with your marketing and new areas to explore when it comes to delivering your brand or your product to your customers. It is important to always put the health and safety of your workers and customers first. 

 

5 Benefits to Hiring Orion Sol Consulting for your Marketing Campaigns In Phoenix

Let’s face it, small business owners in Phoenix often struggle to produce highly functioning and highly successful marketing campaigns. We’ve seen it all, from businesses that have barely tried to create an online presence, to those that have duped by slick salesmen that delivered subpar results.

To get to the point, we do not promise what we cannot deliver. Our approach is to find out who you are as a business, what goals you want to reach and provide a reasonable strategy for hitting those goals. You want to work with Orion Sol Consulting to hit those goals and gain the following benefits for your marketing campaign.

We’re kinda nerdy

So maybe the word ‘nerd’ was not on your list of adjectives you would use to describe your marketing team. However, nerd is what fits us. We like numbers, analyzing data, creating presentations and making things go round. We are really the nerds of small business marketing and the kind of nerds you want on your team.


Nerds are basically perfectionists. We strive to make sure every detail is gone over with a fine tooth comb. No stone goes unturned. We are driven by results and your success. 

 

We Have That Personal Touch

The Orion Sol Consulting team will give you the personal touch you are looking for. We answer emails, we answer our phones, your small business will not be ghosted by our team. We value communication and that is how the deadlines are reached.

Your marketing campaign in Phoenix needs fine attention to detail and that is what we deliver. Being available and accessible is very important to the success of your small business. If your small business is not successful, neither will we. 


We Have The Experience

The entire Orion Sol Consulting team has tons of experience with marketing campaigns in Phoenix that span across many industries. Whether you need a website, content writing, ppc, social media or a combination of things, our team has the experience to get it done.

Leading the way, owner and CEO, Forest Moriarty has spent more than a decade building the success of small business marketing campaigns in Phoenix. He left industry titans to create his own team. In doing so, he chose to only work with freelance workers. His firm is successful and cost-effective because the most experienced people are the ones working on projects.

The marketing campaign industry secret for large corporations is using interns. Big firms will have you pay big bucks for work that is actually done by people with very little experience. While everyone needs to start somewhere, you can rest assured that only experienced professionals are working on your marketing campaign in Phoenix at Orion Sol Consulting. 


We Are Local

If your small business is in Phoenix, you will see our bright and shining faces in person. There’s no need for Skype, chat groups or long distance calls. We will meet you, your team and take a physical look at your space. It helps us get to know you and what you do. We do not want to start a new project before knowing exactly what we are working with. 


Our Clients Have Nice Things to Say

Being able to have your phone ring off the hook or your Facebook page explode with followers is what we live for, but none of it is worth any time if our clients are not happy. Fortunately, our clientele has nice things to say about how we have managed their marketing campaign in Phoenix and what it has done for their business.

For example:

“The Orion Sol Consulting team is worth their weight in gold, by far one of the best decisions we have made as a company was to work with them for our entire cohesive marketing and PR campaigns from SEO to social media, content, brand development, the BEST LOCAL TEAM you will find.”
-Nicole Swartwout, CEO of Callsafe

And,

“Professional and attentive experts. They really care, and understand PR, branding, digital marketing and more. I highly recommend them to anyone.”
-Fred Mercaldo, Founder and CEO of City Brand Media

Bottom Line

Choosing Orion Sol Consulting for your marketing campaign in Phoenix is an easy choice. The benefits are second to none and you will get that personal attention you deserve. If you want your small business to showcase successful marketing campaigns, you only need one team and that is the Orion Sol Consulting team. 

How to use paid media to build the perfect targeted audience for your small business in Phoenix

With nearly 3.5 billion people using social media day in and day out, there is no reason why your small business in Phoenix should not be using these platforms to your advantage. As you might already be well aware, using social media to market your brand also comes with its challenges. While you can start off by using it for free by making cutesy posts and hoping to attract a crowd, the real work comes when you add a few dollars to your efforts.




As with any marketing efforts, a paid media approach to build your perfect targeted audience only means that you have attracted people to your social media platforms. What you do next makes all the difference for your small business in Phoenix. Here is how to snag your target audience and essentially keep them coming back for more. 

 

  1. Expand your market
    Your paid social media efforts mean that it is time to start opening up your market and targeting consumers that may take some time to buy. Of course, you want to snag the ideal customer, ready with a credit card in hand.

    However, the other – slower to buy consumers should not be left out. They may want to see your pricing structure, product reviews and make a better thought out decision. This type of customer can also lead to a loyal purchaser who keeps coming back for more. 
  2. Get creative with content
    Grabbing the attention of your targeted audience requires a little more finesse these days. Cat videos still get a lot of likes and shares, but your brand goes beyond a funny clip (and how many cat videos can you really share in a day)?

    Your content needs to be described as motivating, entertaining, thoughtful, unique with diversity. If your posts are not getting likes, comments and/or shares, then you are likely doing it wrong. A way to start looking at your social media posts is to really get to know your customers. What would they find interesting, inspiring and helpful? Keep it short and consider if you would share your very own posts!

    Other important aspects of social media to use for your targeted audience include: 
  • Contests: A super-easy way to boost your engagement and potential likes and shares is to hold contests. These can be things like comment to win, caption contest, fill in the blank, photo contest, etc. There has been great success when you have your staff face-off with customers. It can get really fun and entertaining.

    Tips for a successful contest include: having a prize that directly relates to your brand, promote the contest everywhere (i.e. all social media platforms, your website, etc.), follow the rules and use other entrants as a way to open the door for further communication. 
  • Visuals: Visual media is 40 times more likely to get shared, so it is a no-brainer to always include an eye-catching graphic with each post you make.  
  • Videos: Hands down, video is the most engaging type of media you can post on your social media platforms. Try to get comfortable with going live, showing the world how your brand works, etc. There is a ton you can do with video to increase your reach, engagement, and exposure.  
  • Stories
    Trending big time on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and WhatsApp are stories. This is your chance to show the relaxed and approachable side of your brand. Stories are very temporary, but provide a fun way to see an unfiltered, unadulterated aspect of your business. You can snap an in the moment shot, a fun boomerang or just turn on the camera and start talking about the day.

    The goal here is to build that personal bond and trust with your consumers. You can also feature real customers or real products being made on the spot. It is a super fun way to boost your social media interactions. 

3. Pair PPC with Organic content
Perhaps one of the best ways to approach your paid targeted audience with your small business in Phoenix is to ensure you combine it with proper PPC and organic content. These things flow together like sharp cheese and dry wine. You might use a paid ad to attract people to you, but you have to keep that relationship going with the following high-value content:

 

  • How-to videos
  • Tips and tricks for your target audience
  • How your brand makes life easier
  • Your trending products
  • Customer reviews, quotes, hacks, and lifesavers

4. Build a relationship with your audience
Consumers are looking at your brand for commitment and honesty. If you can’t show that, they will bounce faster than a tennis ball. You must showcase your brand’s authority, but also attract your base by having regular interaction with them as well.

  • Polls: Perhaps you pick a trending topic to poll your followers or just a simple question to get them thinking. It is a great engagement tool that should be used.  
  • Get emotional: One of the top reasons why people share social media posts is because they became emotional. They want other people to feel what they felt. Use this to your advantage.  
  • Encourage tagging: It is ok to ask your followers to tag someone who might benefit from your post. Encourage them to tell all their friends.  
  • Trending topics: Current events get a lot of attention, quickly. Keeping up to date on the news can keep your audience coming back for more.  
  • Answer your messages: Your audience expects that you will respond to your messages instantly. Keep up with your messages and your audience will appreciate it.

    5. Work with social media experts

    Let’s be honest, social media ads and audience targeting are complex for your small business in Phoenix. There are a lot of moving parts. It is no wonder that marketing agencies, like Orion Sol Consulting, get a lot of requests for just this very topic. We can take your brand to the next level, combing the PPC and organic posts to gain the followers and brand authority you are searching for. 

5 Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses in Phoenix

Are you ready to explore new digital marketing strategies for your small business in Phoenix? Welcome to the year 2020 where it is finally your year to take charge of digital marketing. 

Digital marketing for your small business in Phoenix might seem overwhelming and hard to pinpoint where to begin. Small, proven steps will help ease your business into the digital age. 

To start the new year off just right, here are 5 Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses in Phoenix.

 

  • Create content that people actually want to share.


    Some small businesses are not creating content at all. Some small businesses are creating low-quality content. Both are bad options. So, how do you create content that people will actually want to share? You do this: 

 

  • Get a reaction. Play on the emotions of your audience with your content. Emotion will get a reaction. People will be more inclined to share your content if they laughed their butt off or shed a tear. 
  • Creep your competition. Spying on your competition is an age-old trick. Use it as inspiration to see what gets noticed or goes untouched. 
  • Time it right. Hot topics and news that is important to your industry is also a great way to approach your content. 
  • Make it practical. Having content that is practical and useful to your audience will also help get more shares. Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. What interests them? Why would they want to share your content? Put value into your content and it will get shared. 
  • Tell a story. A great way to engage your audience is to tell a story in relation to your topic. Get creative and descriptive. 

 

  • Is your small business mobile friendly?


    Your website’s usability on both mobile devices and desktop computers is very important to the success of your small business. Many small business owners fail to realize that you must optimize your website in a different manner to make it mobile-friendly. 

Why is this crucial? According to statista.com, over 52% of website traffic in 2018 came directly from a mobile device. That number will continue to rise. Do you want to leave over 50% of your potential target audience using a mediocre platform to view your brand or product? The answer should be a resounding ‘no!!’ Get with your web designer to see if they know how to improve your mobile-friendly ability.

 

  • Use Google Adwords

  • Phoenix marketing consultants
    A very effective tool (albeit at times expensive) for your small business to grow is Google Adwords. When it works, it works very well.

    The point of using Google Adwords is to deliver relevant search results to people searching for things related to your product. Combined with utilizing proper on-page SEO, you can make huge waves. The ad you choose to use on Adwords will be assigned a score that is dependent on your Click Through Rate (CTR), relevance and the landing page you created just for your ad. This score will ultimately determine your bid rate that will allow this ad to be displayed among the others. The higher your score, the lower your bid will cost. When you can put spend towards Good Adwords, you will see increased traffic that has the potential to convert into sales.

 

 

  • Put organic social media into production

 

At this point, a small business in Phoenix cannot survive without social media. It has almost become the new storefront. And trust us, if your audience cannot find you on social media, they will turn to your competitor who is there.

The key is to identify your customers and which platforms they are using. For the most part, Facebook is a no-brainer. Other platforms such as Twitter and Instagram vary by industry as to which is best suited for your customer base. 


The most important thing to remember in order to gain organic social media traction is that you must create meaningful content that is diverse. This means that your social media platforms are not 100% marketing your product or brand. Of course, you will inevitably market your product, but make sure you always mix it up with other posts that your audience will find engaging.

How can organic social media content improve digital marketing?

Organic social media marketing is very important for the following reasons:

  • It’s free! What small business doesn’t like free marketing? The game, however, is slow and steady. You can also choose to use ads when you are ready to amplify your platform. 
  • Creates social proof. Your audience will search your business by gleaning over your social media to see what you are saying and how other people are interacting. They will take reviews, overall page likes and how your company interacts with followers into consideration.
  • Opens the door. When you do social media just right, your audience will share your posts. When your posts are shared, it opens the door to their social media network and the ball continues to roll.

 

 

  • Amplify your email marketing


    hire freelancers
    Email marketing is quite possibly the best way to nurture your leads into a future sale. Some leads need more convincing and the opportunity to buy from your small business in Phoenix.

    If you lack email marketing or do not have a good system in place, do not fret. You must start by creating an irresistible offer or what is referred to as a “lead magnet.” This is given out in exchange for an email address. A coupon, free digital download or a free trial are some great examples of lead magnets.

    Once you have your emails rounded up, you can then proceed to showcase your company’s authority and credibility in the industry. Become a trusted brand for your audience. 

 

 

Bottom Line

When it comes to digital marketing strategies for small businesses in Phoenix, there’s no shortage of options. This is just a glimpse of what you can do in 2020 to spark the digital effort for your brand or product. These strategies are proven to work when done with consistency. 

 

Signs That You Are A Horrible Boss

arizona boss

If you’ve ever seen the movie Horrible Bosses, you’ve probably laughed so hard you cried. The “horrible bosses” in the film were truly wretched and cruel. Now, I’m not advocating for violence or murder, but if you are a small business owner you may want to spend some time on self introspection before you develop a troop of angry individuals plotting some serious revenge.

Here are the tops signs that you might be a horrible boss.

1. The turnover is high
If you feel as though you are constantly posting ads to hire people, you can take that as a sign. While you might also be bad at finding quality applicants, you must take notice when people are continually handing in their 2 week notice or just not showing up for their shift.

Also keep in mind to not take each resignation personally. People do sometimes move on for genuine reasons and if you start taking each one personally, it will not go over well with the rest of your crew. You can be offended, just don’t get in a habit of showing it.

2. Your employees work around you

Have you ever noticed that your employees are doing things without asking or not following your explicit instructions? One of two things is likely happening. Either they are afraid to approach you or they think that your ideas or instructions are not intelligent.

Either way, this is a sign that your boss skills need some improvement. You definitely don’t want to be terrifying or appear to be incompetent. You must find that middle ground where you get the respect and your staff follows through.

3. Overpromising

Sometimes a positive outlook on your business can lead you to promise things that you just cannot guarantee. Don’t promise Julie in sales that if she just works hard enough and the company gets large enough, that she will be VP of sales in no time. Unless you are hiring for that position and interviewing her that day, just don’t even bring it up.

Overpromising can lead to hurt feelings and more resignations. It is ok to be a cheerleader for your company, but don’t turn that into things that you cannot follow through on.
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4. You can’t make a decision

Running your own show means making decisions…all…the…time. If you are still deciding which tie to wear yesterday or the new logo is taking forever to finish, then you can’t make a decision to save your life. You must drop the other shoe or your indecisiveness will get you nowhere fast.

Also, it is super annoying to make a decision and minutes or even hours later change your mind. It happens, but if you are doing it too much then you displaying to your staff a huge lack of confidence. Employees do not take well to a boss who is not very confident.

5. You Run Your Mouth

It is very tempting to be buddy-buddy with your employees, but it’s best to just stop. You must draw a line in the sand. You are the boss and they are the employee. It doesn’t mean treat them like crap, but it means to create boundaries for what you will and will not share with them.

It is easy to vent to one employee about the frustration you may have with another. You must stop yourself because employees talk. They discuss things behind your back all day long. Trust no one and it won’t bite you in the ass.

Running your mouth also leads to playing favorites, which will be easily seen among your crew. Do not give your employees a reason to gossip, and that starts with you.


6. Your nickname is “Helicopter Harry”

Do you tend to hover over your staff to make sure they are getting stuff done? Yes, it’s true that sometimes you must babysit certain employees or they won’t work as hard, but drop the helicopter act. You must give your staff some room to breathe and a chance to get the job done.

 

 

You will definitely lose respect if you micromanage and tower over your employees’ every move. Show that you trust them and they will also have a higher respect for their job.

7. You Make Inappropriate Comments

Sexual in nature or not, you need to really check yourself for inappropriate comments. It might be fun to jest with your employees, but some people might be afraid to tell you if they feel like you are going overboard. If you can’t say it in church or to your momma, then you probably shouldn’t be saying it to your employees.

 

 

Final Thoughts
Most people can tell if they are a horrible boss. Some people thrive on power and believe they are truly perfect. Take some time to see if you are committing any of these violations before starting a brand new day or new week. It’s not too late to turn yourself around a little bit.

 

YouTube or Vimeo: Which Video Platform is Best for Your Small Business?

youtube logo                  VS                vimeo logo


It would be shocking and maybe even a bit disturbing if you’ve never heard of YouTube before. If you are a small business owner, then you know YouTube could be a part of your marketing strategy. It is the giant of all things video, viral and breaking.

 

What you might not know, is that by 2019, roughly 80% of all web traffic will be driven towards video content. If you haven’t begun a video marketing strategy or campaign, now is definitely the time to get rolling.

 

What most people do start to wonder is if there’s more than YouTube to share with. YouTube certainly is a powerhouse, but you may have also heard of Vimeo and wondered if you need to start creating a campaign there as well.

In a nutshell, the difference is that you can find just about any type of video on YouTube, for free. It is an endless array of anything from current events, to a kid taping their family singing ‘Happy Birthday.’ On the other hand, Vimeo offers a more mature community of higher quality and more artistic type video uploads without ads.


You might still be scratching your head as to which video platform will best suit your small business. So here’s more of a breakdown:

The Community
YouTube will knock Vimeo out of the park any day with just the sheer number of users; over 1 billion to be exact. The problem here is that the YouTube community is not afraid to be vulgar, offensive and leave nasty comments for your video. How rude!

 

With Vimeo, the number of users is closer to 170 million and the community is much more supportive. Your videos are more likely to receive constructive criticism and general, positive support. The overall production value with Vimeo will also be higher, because the audience is a bit different.

Search Optimization
With YouTube being the second largest search engine on the internet (next to its parent company, Google), there’s just no comparison. YouTube is the best place to upload how to videos for easy search queries. However, you do lose out on that intimacy that Vimeo is better known for.

Pricing
Both platforms have free and paid versions, depending on what you’re looking for. YouTube is completely free with unlimited storage, however, they also have a paid version. For $9.99/mo you can enjoy YouTube Red that will eliminate all ads.

With Vimeo, you do not receive the same, unlimited storage capability without paying for it. The free, basic membership limits you to 500MB of storage space. Beyond the free account, Vimeo offers Plus, Pro, Business and Premium plans to increase your storage space, bandwidth, customization and support. Since Vimeo makes their money on monthly memberships, you’ll notice the lack of ads before, during and after videos play.

video recording

Updating an uploaded video

One of the biggest downfalls of YouTube is the inability to edit a video after uploading it, without losing the analytics. Uploading videos to YouTube needs to be done carefully and after being absolutely perfected. The problem is that even if you want to change just a little bit of the video, you must completely re-upload the video and lose every stat from the original.

With Vimeo, you can make edits whenever you need, without losing your stats. This makes uploading a video a little less stressful.

Analytics
Both video platforms do offer analytics to help you determine if your video is performing well. What you will find is that YouTube offers their analytics for free. They both show stats on views, likes, shares, total plays and geographical data. With Vimeo, you will need to be at least a Plus member to enjoy these features.

Additionally, YouTube provides insights to things like traffic sources, gender, devices viewers are using and audience retention. YouTube also offers annotations to lay on top of your video. These allow for the user to click and interact with your video. Vimeo does not allow for these specific analytics or annotations.


So, which video platform is right for your small business?
What is right for your business is what will help you accomplish your business goals. As it appears, YouTube in general has a lot to offer for a small business, especially if you are seeking to increase search optimization and use ads. However, if your business wishes to gain exposure through quality (artistic) videography and gain exposure in a specific niche, then Vimeo might be your best option. You may also choose to try both platforms to see which one performs best for your goals.

Why Hire A Content Writer?


So you’re a small business owner and working hard to master the skills of internet marketing. It sounds easy right? Just write a few blogs with some SEO components, share a few things on social media, research all the popular hashtags people are using for your industry, rewrite that old content on your website, etc, etc. But, before you know it, it’s already the end of the end of the week and you’ve barely brain stormed a blog topic, let alone worked on that Facebook live video you’ve been planning. If this sounds like your current situation, then you definitely need to hire a content writer.


When you add up all the different things you need written, you will find that your time is better spent working on your business in other ways. Besides spending your time in much more valuable ways, there are the top reasons why you need to hire a content writer.

The expertise on SEO
Let’s face it, Google is king when it comes to content writing and search engine optimization (SEO). Your goal is to wine and dine Google into loving your content or no one is ever going to find you, and Google will make sure of that. Writing good content is not just telling a funny story or showing people how much technical mambo jambo you know about your industry. You need to place words and phrases about just precisely and know just what words to use. Your content writer will know just how to do this, how often to do this and how to make your content hit the top of the Google charts.

google pic
Google is also annoyingly changing their criteria all the time. Good content writers will be up to date with the algorithms and know just how to make their content shine. They’ll know how to play by all the rules, even if they’ve changed since last week.

A fresh viewpoint
Content writers are not just good at writing, they are great at researching. They do not have to be an expert already in your industry (although you may find one who is), but they are usually great at researching and understanding your industry. They will be able to provide a fresh viewpoint, give your company a crisper voice and take a direction you may have never thought of.
When you get to know your content writer, you will get to know their style. Of course, you will want them to not stray too far from your goals, but hear them out. You can always gauge the engagement and response of their work versus what you’ve done in the past (also called A/B testing). Take the blinders off and let a content writer lead the way.

Get consistency
Even if you are good at writing or may know some SEO tricks, chances are your business and life gets in the way of being consistent. The whole job and goal of your content writer is to write fresh, consistent material. A good content writer will do all of this with a seamless effort. Your business needs you to do the business stuff first and foremost. This is why writing great content often gets left behind quickly.
With consistency also comes the likelihood of being noticed by people other than your potential customer base. I am talking about getting noticed by industry leaders and influencers. A single blog post could reach thousands more if an influencer grabs hold of it and shares it with their follwers. This happens often and good content writing will get shared more often. This is a great segway to networking and developing long lasting relationships that will definitely benefit your business.


Also consider that a good content writer may find areas of your website or blog that could use improvement. Simple re-writes and updates could make a huge difference.

Final Thoughts
If you are a small business owner, you are likely too busy to get serious with your content writing. It demands fresh, consistent copy that uses proper SEO techniques. Hiring a content writer means hiring a professional that can provide a new outlook and appeal to your business. Don’t be afraid to interview and research the writer beforehand, but strongly consider adding one to your small business marketing plan.

 

Top 5 Signs It’s Time to Update Your Website

website update
If you are a small business owner, these days you know you can’t move forward without a proper website. It’s likely that no one needs to convince you that you need an online presence to survive in the business world. It’s also likely that you already have a website for your brand or company.

That’s great!

Now, it’s time to decide if your website could use a refresh. Just like a physical store, your website needs constant care, maintenance and upgrades. Fonts go out of style, content gets outdated and user preferences are always evolving. There’s the constant battle with Google to get good search rankings and keep customers clinging onto your pages.

Likely if you have a well put together website, you just need an occasional refresh to make it appear cleaner and remain up to date. Here are the top 5 signs it’s time to update your website:

1. Content is outdated
If you remember back to the early stages of building and planning your website, you might recall needing a ton of content written. Many business owners barely glance again at a lot of the content once it was posted. This is an easy area to refresh and update. If your website has a lot of pages, consider slowly reading over each section to decide if the content is current or needs a little reviving.

Always consider if the content still fits the tone of your company. Sometimes the voice of your company or brand has evolved, and the language within your content needs to reflect that change. You may even consider hiring a content writer to address these areas if it seems overwhelming. However, you must be sure that your brand matches your content or your customers might get confused.

2. It’s not mobile friendly
It’s easy to forget the mobile user when it comes to your website. This is an area that must be done better as many more people are browsing the web on their mobile device. A user’s experience on your site can definitely make or break your business. You can be missing out on a lot of sales.

Google definitely gives more points to sites that are mobile friendly (remember mobilegeddon?) It’s really a no-brainer to make your website easier to navigate on a mobile device.

mobile friendly


3. It’s sloooooow
You could easily be losing customers before your page even loads. Kissmetrics found that if your company’s page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, then 40% of people will bounce. That’s right, they will not stick around to see if your page will load. That’s huge!

Loading times not only hurt your customers, but they also hinder that darn Google search ranking you’re so desperately working so hard at. You want your customers to enjoy your website and stick around for awhile. They will only hang out if the page loads quickly.

4. It’s in Flash
As if you need yet another ranking hindrance, if your website is so outdated that it still uses Adobe Flash, then I’m here to tell you that Google and other search engines will not index your website, leading to poor search rankings.

Adobe Flash was once all the rage. Developers could use Flash to make super amazing vector graphics and animations. They still can, but they won’t be supported on many devices.

Apple products like the iPhone and iPad do not support Flash. Users also need a plugin installed to use it anyway. At this point, there’s no advantage in using Flash.

If you do nothing else to refresh your website, at the very least update it so that it no longer uses Flash.

5. You’re sick of it
It is totally reasonable for you to hate your own website. Maybe you’re tired of the color, the font or the pictures are old and outdated. Maybe it is difficult to navigate. Maybe you’ve heard someone mutter some unfortunate adjectives describing your site. That’s ok! If you don’t love your own website, then chances are, many other people are not in love either.

Take the time to write down everything that you do not like about your website. Check with other people to see if they are finding the same things bothersome. It just might be time for a big refresh project. Many business owners are truly happy once they refresh and make the proper updates. Don’t be embarrassed to give out your company’s website URL.

Final Thoughts
There’s a millions reasons to refresh your brand or company’s website. You want to be proud to share your URL and keep customers engaged with your site. All websites evolve and it’s likely that it is time for you to change it up a little. You can refresh it in small ways like making it more mobile friendly or completely updating the content and colors. Either way, it is time to be happy with your website.

 

Doing Direct Email Marketing the Right Way: with Orion Sol Consulting

direct email marketing

If email marketing isn’t part of your direct marketing campaign strategy, then you are totally doing it wrong. Marketing in the 21st century must have an email component or it doesn’t make much sense. Your goal is to create an audience and check with them to remind them of your product or services. While this may sound easy, it can be a tricky and a delicate situation. At Orion Sol Consulting, we have the experience and the right touch to get the response and interaction you are looking for.

Direct email marketing can be very engaging and exciting for your audience. You can share with them a sale that is happening, an event you are hosting or news from within your company. The goal is to not annoy your customers, but also deliver an exciting message that keeps them interested in your brand. There are a bunch of strategies for increasing open and click rates, increasing engagement and having a happy database of customers. Here are the top five things we offer with our direct email marketing campaigns from Orion Sol Consulting.

  1. The Strategy
    Before one email even begins to get written, you need a strategy that has been built and tested by the professionals. At Orion Sol Consulting, we know exactly what works and what doesn’t. Our goal is for your audience to be captivated by what you send in your emails and genuinely interested in your brand.
    We will determine how many emails to send and when to send them. The last thing you want is a bunch of potential customers who are just too annoyed with the frequency or content of your emails. This is a common mistake that happens, even though it might have been done with good intentions. This will ultimately lead to a high number of unsubscribers, and will leave you scratching your head.

***Don’t worry, we have the formula to keep your audience happily opening up your messages and aware of your brand without being annoying.

 

  • Email Design
    Once we’ve established the frequency and the goals of your direct email marketing strategy, we work on the development of the email. Designing emails takes some finesse and artistry. We strive to create emails that are bright and shiny, so the reader definitely wants to click on them. We have experience in creating appealing subject lines and content that is appropriate to your reader. We will work hard to target your customer with relevant informations that is captivating.

 

 

  • A/B Testinga/b testing


    While we have experience and formulas that work well, not every net casted gets all the fish. We always do A/B testing. This means that we test out what works for your targeted audience in several ways. We can test subject lines, content and call-to-action buttons. Different groups of people are attracted to different things and we know just how to find that out.

 

 

  • Client Engagement/Nurturing
    Our clients come to us with varying degrees of email lists. Some clients have barely anyone on their list, while others have a decent database. At Orion Sol Consulting, we will work with you on any level. We will fish for new clients and work to keep your current list interested and happy. The relationship with your database will be a work in progress. You develop real relationships by staying in touch, sharing news and sending offers in a positive way. You can be very personal with your lists and develop an outstanding rapport with increased sales.

 

 

  • Enhancements
    You can really bring your brand to life in a direct email marketing campaign. It is all part of your marketing strategy to attract, gain and maintain a database of consumers that are interested in your product or services. Our emails are personalized and styled for each segment within your list. We know how to nurture them or cut ties when necessary. We understand some segments may need a specific boost, while others might have an easily trackable behavior or pattern of purchase. We can enhance your email marketing to fit those needs and make your brand stand out above the rest.

 

 

>>Final Thoughts<<
Some of the direct email marketing techniques have become more difficult and sensitive over the last few years. Our consultants stay on top of trends and know that what worked 2 years ago might not be working today. We revamp, refocus and see that email marketing is still a thriving strategy in just about any industry. Let Orion Sol Consulting show you how to get great opening rates and more clicks than you’ve had before.

What do your social media followers want?

So, you’re a small business owner that has accepted or maybe even fallen in love with the world that is social media. Whatever your stance on social media may be, at this moment it is an important and an essential part of your marketing plan. Your best bet is to get somewhat comfortable with it because it is here to stay awhile!

small business marketing

No matter where you currently land on the scale of social media interaction, you have to have it. So the question becomes, what do your social media followers want from your small business?

Your small business social media plan needs to be a little different from your personal page. In fact, you should have two distinct accounts. Personal opinions or beliefs may be unattractive to potential customers. It is best to separate the two.

Let’s take a look at what your social media followers want from your small business.

  1. Your followers want to know who you are
    When a potential customer searches for your business in the social media world, they are looking to see who you are. Make sure that all of your social media bios and profiles are filled out. Followers will not be impressed with a page that is only partially filled out.

    Next, you need your business branded and your audience to know what you stand for. Here’s a quick checklist to see if your business is branded:

    >>>Do you have a logo? It should be clean and easily recognizable.

    >>>Do you have a branding message? Going beyond the product, the message should say what your company is all about and what it stands for.

    >>>Does your brand have a voice? This should be made very apparent in the way you communicate as your business on social media. You can be straightforward, fun, sarcastic or even snarky. The important thing is to be true to your brand.

    >>>Do you have a tagline? A motto? A short statement that is catchy and captures the essence of your company is great to promote in your social media communities.

    small business success

  2. Your followers want to be engaged
    Your social media efforts should not be just about your product. You want your followers to be engaged with your content and genuinely enjoy following your profile. Some people follow the 5:3:2 rule. This rules states that for every 10 posts, 5 of them should be from sources that are relevant to your audience, 3 should be your own creation and 2 should be what I like to call “fluff and stuff” or fun stuff that humanizes your company (like hey, there’s really a person sitting behind a computer posting this stuff).

    Here are some quick ways to increase engagement with your followers:

    >>>Pose a question: nothing gets the ball rolling like asking a question. Keep your followers going by continuing the conversation throughout the comments.

    >>>Share a visual: research shows that visual content gets shared 40 times more than any other type of content.

    >>>Consider doing a contest or a giveaway. Nothing grabs attention like a freebie!

    >>>Link yourself to other websites or industry leaders.

    >>>Ask! Ask for a review, ask for an opinion. Just ask your audience to participate.

  3. Your followers want to see authenticity
    Being honest is the best attribute you can put forth with your business. Followers want to think that it is you behind the screen and not some inflated marketing firm, giving canned responses with robots. Even if you are outsourcing your marketing efforts, you can still make the time to be authentic.

    Need tips for being more authentic? Try these:

    >>>Post more pictures of the inner-workings of your company

    >>>Attributes posts to your employees

    >>>Try holding a conversation by replying to a comment as it comes in real-time.

    >>>Share things that are current to stay current

  4. Your followers want to see your authority
    Once you mastered the branding and communicating aspect of social media, you want to focus on being the authority in your industry.

    While this may seem abstract to some, there are ways to address authority in your social posts, and here’s how:

    >>>Explain what makes your company unique and top ranked

    >>>Share positive customer feedback or expand it into a shareable story

    >>>Don’t hesitate to share awards your company has won or has been celebrated for

    >>>Stay current on industry trends

Some small businesses struggle to gain an audience, but keeping them can prove to be just as tough. You must find out what your social media followers want from your small business. Luckily, these tips and tricks should keep your current followers interested and coming back for more.