All posts by April Heavens- Woodcock

About April Heavens- Woodcock

Author: April Heavens–Woodcock , is the Chief Buzz Officer Touching Clients a Digital Marketing Firm that specializes in strategic online marketing development for businesses. She is passionate about helping businesses grow their bottom line with effective tools. She speaks regularly on social media, email marketing, and marketing around the East Coast.

5 Signs Project Management is Right for You

5 Signs Project Management is Right for You

5 Signs Project Management is Right for You

The dream is to get paid doing what you love, but many people see that as impossible. Yet, with the right combination of determination and passion, you can build a profitable career that satisfies you. If project management interests you, these five signs point to it being a great fit for you.

1. You Value Teamwork

Project management is obviously about teamwork. So, ideally, a good project manager knows how to coordinate with their team members. You must be able to point them in the right direction without stepping on their toes.

If you often thrive in group settings, then this career might be a good fit. To get better at managing projects, take courses that show you more about what this field entails. An online program like the executive certificate in project management from the Kelley School of Business offers a great knowledge base to help you move forward in this career.

2. You are Naturally Open and a Great Communicator

One of the jobs of a project manager is to ensure optimal communication inside their team, as well as outside of it. So, if you are a naturally open and extroverted person who likes and is good at communicating, then a project management career could be right for you. By working with your strengths, rather than trying to be something you’re not, you can truly enjoy the career choice.

3. You’re an Efficient Planner

Everyone makes plans. Whether it’s planning for a complicated road trip, a big move, or simply visualizing the fun you’ll have at the baseball game, people thrive on plans.

However, some people can be better at it than others. If you can plan things thoroughly, envisage any possible complication that might emerge, without getting lost in it, then you’re likely to enjoy project management over the years.

4. You’re Good at Working Independently Too

Yes, you need to be a good team player and know how to collaborate with others to achieve common goals. But project management is also about being reliable and hardworking on your own.

After all, being a project manager sets you a notch above the rest of the team in terms of responsibilities. So, it makes sense that you will need to be able to stand well on your own, too, and be a leader. Model the best practices for your team by doing them yourself first.

5. You’re Already Doing the Job of a Project Manager

If in your current job, you may have already taken on the role of a project manager, perhaps you are handling some of the extended responsibilities associated with that job. If so, then a certificate in this area might give you skills to better deal with your job, taking it to the next level.

When You Want to Take That Next Step: Final Words

Businesses are always looking for good, reliable leaders who can steer their employees toward success. Ultimately, a project management certificate can be an excellent way to attract attention and move up in your career.

The Basic Elements Every Digital Marketing Strategy Must Have

The Basic Elements Every Digital Marketing Strategy Must Have

The Basic Elements Every Digital Marketing Strategy Must Have

Digital marketing provides a powerful set of tools that almost any business can use to great advantage. There are more people using the Internet today, than ever before, creating a massive online marketplace for most businesses. Despite the size of the opportunity, very few businesses understand how to take full advantage of digital marketing strategy to increase opportunities.

  • Social media 

An estimated 2.3 billion people use social media today. Like pay-per-click, social media provides alternative opportunities to businesses who are finding it difficult to rank well for relevant keywords. It can be tempting to use every social media network and channel out there, however, this strategy is unlikely to yield great results. Every social media network caters best to specific types of businesses. Not to mention, particular demographics. So the best practice is to select the optimal social network and focus your efforts on it.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A crucial component of building a digital marketing strategy is undoubtedly SEO. While your website may be the centerpiece, without a great SEO strategy, what you have is similar to a nice shop tucked away in a back street where no one can find it.

Did you know that a staggering 75% of people do not look beyond the first page of Google when searching? The way to get on the first page, where it matters, is good SEO. For a small business owner, or anyone else who is not technically inclined, hiring an SEO agency like SEO Ibérica would be a smart idea.

  • Pay Per Click advertising (PPC)

While good SEO can help you get in front of the prospects that matter to your business, sometimes there is simply too much competition. Especially if you are a newer business.

However you can still put your website in front of the right market using other strategies. One of which is Pay Per Click advertising. PPC is an essential part of digital marketing strategy for two reasons. One, for new businesses, it will yield better results than SEO. Secondly, PPC is extremely efficient, since you do not pay until prospects view your adverts.

  • Email Marketing 

Of all the individual components of a digital marketing strategy, email marketing probably offers the best return on investment (ROI). With email marketing, you get prospects to opt-in to receiving some form of communication. This is typically a newsletter but could be something else such as a free e-book. This allows you to stay in touch with prospects who are interested in your services or products but are not yet ready to press the buy button.

  • Content Marketing 

Content cuts across every other tactic employed in the digital marketing puzzle. Your web pages will need sales copy that converts visitors to buyers. Additionally you need good content to give effect to your SEO strategy, and likewise for your social media and email marketing efforts.

The secret to creating great content is understanding your target customer. This includes their characteristics, interests and informational needs. You can do this by first creating and building a buyer persona, which is a fictional representation of your ideal customer.

Final thoughts

Digital marketing is a marathon, and you will need to be innovative in your application of digital marketing. The tools we have shared with you should serve as a foundation for your digital marketing strategy but should not be thought of as an exclusive formula. Try them to begin with, find out what works best for your business, and stick with it. Plus, if you get stuck at any point, always consider getting some expert help.

Useful Tips and Tools for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups

Useful Tips and Tools for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups

Useful Tips and Tools for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups

There is a lot to get excited about as an individual embarking on a business venture. Becoming self-employed and starting a business from the ground up is a dream that many people have, but not everyone is willing to take the risk. If you have recently decided to take a chance on your business idea, there will be a lot of hurdles to overcome. However, there are plenty of useful tips and tools for entrepreneurs and start-ups available to make life easier for new business owners who are trying to hit the ground running. Below are a few useful tips and tools you might be interested in to help you better organize and manage your new company. 

Utilize Social Media

Marketing plays a vital role in making a business a success, but not all start-ups have the financial resources to pay high prices to professional marketing agencies. That’s OK—you can do some basic marketing yourself, and the easiest way to do this is by utilizing your social media accounts for your company. It’s a great way to directly engage with your customers and keep them updated each week with what your business is doing, new products/services that are on offer, sales information, and so on. Try to aim to share posts on these accounts regularly, but don’t overdo it, otherwise, you run the risk of putting people off with your persistent updates. It’s recommended that companies post about 3 times a week on Facebook and up to 6 times a day on Twitter. You can schedule your posts to save yourself time and to keep your pages active. 

Use Recruitment Tools

Another essential factor to a strong, successful company is the team of individuals behind it. If you’re going to achieve your business goals you need reliable, smart, confident, and determined people working alongside you. So, how can you find the right candidate for the job? You can hire the help of a recruitment agency and they will help to source a list of candidates for you to interview and to take some of the administrative work out of the equation for you. Alternatively, if you want to make the process to hire for a job easier, you can use digital recruitment tools to help you post on various job board sites about your vacancies, and talk directly with candidates via text messaging. 

Hire an Accountant

You might have a background in accounting or have some basic knowledge of the process, and that will certainly help you as a new business owner. However, if you don’t have previous experience or simply not enough time to keep on top of your books and use accounting software yourself, hire an accountant to help you do this. It is an extra expense, but making sure your companies financial records are accurate and up to date is incredibly important. With so many other jobs on your plate as a business owner, don’t run the risk of forgetting to file your tax returns or miss off important information, otherwise, you could face fines and other legal issues.

Use Employee Portals

Employee portals are great for keeping everyone’s information in one place and can help you to update your staff all at once with ease. It can help your employees to communicate more effectively with one another, especially if they are collaborating on a work project and need to send over documents, notes, etc. They can also monitor their progress and this can be useful when it comes to appraisals or considerations for promotions. They can make everyone’s work tasks much easier to complete and help you manage the business better overall. 

It’s never easy becoming a new business owner, but there are plenty of resources out there to help you make the process easier. Think about these tips and tools for entrepreneurs and start-ups and look into some of the tools suggested to see if they can help change how your business operates for the better.  

6 Ways to Build Brand Awareness

6 Ways to Build Brand Awareness

6 Ways to Build Brand Awareness

Building brand awareness is something that many businesses struggle with. Especially when it is a new company and/or they are operating in a competitive industry. It is hard to take the company forward and compete at a higher level without making more people aware of your company. Additionally attracting new customers will help to improve your reputation and credibility when more people are aware of your company. With this in mind, what are a few of the most effective ways to build brand awareness? Here are a few of your best options in 2020 that should deliver noticeable results.

1. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has skyrocketed in popularity in recent times. This is no surprise when you consider how influential social media has become in terms of consumer decisions. If you can get an influential figure in your industry to recommend your brand, you will both reach an entirely new audience as well as build credibility.

2. Hashtags

Leading on from this, another way to use social media to build brand awareness is through hashtags. Choosing relevant hashtags for your social media posts could help you to reach a much larger audience and engage with those that are looking for a product/service that you can provide.

3. Social media competitions

A smart and effective way to reach a much larger group without having to put in too much work is to run a social media competition. Encouraging your existing followers to like and share your post to be entered into a draw will dramatically raise brand awareness and could encourage a lot more followers on social media.

4. SMS marketing

SMS marketing is a great way to keep in touch with existing customers, but you can also use it to build brand awareness. You can find out how to get cell phone numbers for marketing online and this will help to increase brand awareness. But you also need to be aware that you cannot use these numbers to grow your marketing list. Although you can connect the data if a subscriber opts-in.

5. Host/attend/sponsor local events

A lot of focus will be placed on building your brand awareness online. However, you must not forget to raise awareness in the area so that you can attract local business. One of the best ways to do this is to host your own events. Or attend local community events, sponsor an event – this will raise your profile in the area and help you to make important connections.

6. PPC advertising

SEO is a type of digital marketing that is certainly important. But can also take time for results to show. This is why you should also run a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign. This can provide instant results and help to position your brand in front of your target customer when they are searching for something that you are able to provide.

Combing a few of these strategies could make a huge difference to your brand awareness. Help take your company to the next level, compete with bigger brands and build your reputation.

6 Compelling Reasons to Hire a Professional Web Designer

6 Compelling Reasons to Hire a Professional Web Designer

A significant part of any business is getting customers. Word of mouth, marketing, both are an essential part of any smart strategy. However, once you have them, you also have to make a sale. A website made by a professional web designer can help with both attracting new clientele, and making sure you get the conversions you want.

Think of your website like a physical store. You want it looking nice, to impress your potential customers and to show them how seriously you take your job. However, it also needs to be properly organized, so that people can make a purchase quickly and easily.

Below you can see just some benefits you get by hiring a professional web designer to help out your online business.

A good strategy

One aspect people don’t really think about when it comes to website designers is their role as advisors. They don’t only help you create a website. Rather, these companies can assist you in laying out a clear strategy for maximum long-term success.

Besides their experience in understanding new trends and design options, web design agencies often have lesser or greater knowledge of coding, copywriting, and SEO (or at least some of their employees do).

Web designers can give you a specific plan. They can help you create a business model that will serve your company in the long run (when it comes to design, at least).

Finally, they can give you some tips and tricks to keep your website on a higher level as time goes by. They can provide you with some insight and some basic advice. Even if it’s at a beginner level, it’s still better than going in blind.

Higher quality design

There are many tools online that can help you build your website. Many of them are pretty easy to use, they have their own templates, and give you a great deal of customization. If you want to get your hands dirty, you can check some of them out here. However, some people simply neither have the time nor the patience for this kind of work. Even if you have a license for a good website builder, a professional designer can do much more.

Designers are trained for this type of work; they have specific experience in this field. No matter how hard you work at mastering website design and building your website, it’s a safe bet that you won’t be able to match the quality of a professional design company.

Note that , according to a talk, coming from the HCI Group Annual Conference on People and Computers, first impressions almost completely (94%) hinge on the design and appeal of the website.

Setting up a good website means having a solid understanding of coding, being familiar with various plugins, and actually having an eye for web design and art. Indeed, you need this website to work smoothly, but you also want it to look good.

Finally, think about the role you play in your company, about your expertise. Can other people, who are experts in their own fields, do as good of a job as you? Of course not. Then why expect the same when it comes to web design.

SEO benefits

Search engine optimization is a vital part of any and every online business marketing effort. To put it simply, SEO means getting your website rank as high as possible on the first page of google (for relevant keywords, of course). An expert web designer will know exactly how to prepare a website for great rankings.

If you’re thinking about whether paying for searches is a better idea, think again. Organic searches win over paid searches almost 95% of the time, people barely click on paid ads. Not to mention how expensive this can be.

It doesn’t matter how good your website looks, or how usable and practical it is. Poor SEO means low rankings. Web designers will take into consideration things that do, or that might, influence your rankings, and modify your businesses” website accordingly.

Reliability

You want something dependable and reliable. There are many risks that come when you run your own website. Bugs, glitches, updates that mess up your plugins, a host of issues come about. Fixing these problems can eat up your valuable time, and turn your attention away from other important segments of running your business.

Trying to figure out what’s causing an issue, and then fixing it, can take days. An online business does not have the luxury of having their website go down for an extended duration.

And trust us, your customers will not appreciate buggy websites. According to the Gomez Peak Time Internet Usage Study, roughly 88% of consumers are  “less likely to return to a site” if they had a bad experience. First impressions matter.

Hiring web designers means you get stability. Issues that you need hours upon hours to solve can be handled in mere minutes. Not to mention it can be cheaper in the long run. Your website will have problems sooner or later, and you will need help. It’s only a question of whether you will pay for emergency help, or simply have somebody on call to assist you.

While website bugs are an inevitability, you will have fewer issues if you have a professional set everything up. Much better than just doing it yourself or giving the task to someone with little to no experience in this type of work.

Outmatch the competition

You need to get every competitive advantage you can get in the business world, no matter what field you’re in. And one of these advantages is, of course, a high-quality website.

Too many businesses try to cobble up a website on their own. Older companies might simply prefer not to update their decades-old site. Hiring a web designer means you can outlast and outmatch the competition in at least one aspect.

Furthermore, you will have some extra time to handle other aspects of your business, further getting extra room and space to stay ahead of your competitors.

Saving time (and money)

Time is money. A cliché, definitely, but a cliché for a reason. You only have so many hours in a day, you can accomplish only so much. So why invest your time and energy into an aspect of business that you simply don’t have much experience with? Delegation is the word we’re looking for here.

Delegation has been named one of the most underutilized management capabilities by experts. It is crucial if you want to run a proper online business. Hiring a web designer means you have one very important aspect of your business handled.

Working on something you are not an expert in will take much more time than simply hiring the professionals to do it for you. And yes, you might lose money at first, but do the math. How much money does the time you spent on working your website cost? What about the general boost in profits you will get from a website far superior to the one you could make yourself?

6 Compelling Reasons to Hire a Professional Web Designer

Conclusion

Running a business is expensive – every cost needs to be accounted for, and knowing what is and isn’t necessary is vital. So, if you were on the fence on whether you need a website designer, we hope our article convinced you otherwise.

A website designer can help your online business grow. You will create better first impressions with your customers and get better response times. A professionally made website will have better SEO functionality, attracting more people to your online store. Finally, it will make the entire shopping and hiring experience much easier for your customers.