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By Lindsay Ouellette

edge contributor

With over 1.5 billion active users, Facebook remains the king of social media. According to Pew Internet Research, almost three-quarters of all internet users are on Facebook. This means that your business needs to be active on this channel in order to reach potential clients. Even though Facebook has moved towards being a social media channel where businesses have to pay to reach their fans, there are still ways businesses can thrive on Facebook without paying for ad space. You must ask yourself if you are doing all you should to reach your customers on Facebook.

In business, every transaction revolves around human interaction and so does social media. While social media might not always account for direct sales, it can account for a significant increase in brand awareness, traffic to your website or store and more prospects responding to your calls to action. Think of it as a variation of word-of-mouth marketing. The more engaged users are with your profile, the more engaged they are with your brand.

Here are three ways to increase social media engagement:

As any nonprofit manager knows, development campaigns generate a tremendous amount of data about prospects, donors and ongoing projects. If not carefully managed, this data can quickly become an overwhelming tangle. A clean, up-to-date database is the lifeline of all nonprofit organizations, but requires careful maintenance and planning.

Here are five simple planning and maintenance tips that you can use to manage your database:

Wednesday, 10 February 2016 14:27

The four Ps of modern marketing

The four Ps (Product, Price, Promotion and Place), also known as the 'Marketing Mix,' form the basis of classic marketing theory. For more than half a century, these four concepts have served as the pillars on which businesses could lay out effective strategies and plans. Making an impact in today's digital world, however, requires a bit more flexibility. The foundations behind the four Ps still ring true, but modern businesses need to adapt them in order to make the most of a customer-centered market.

Product

Today's consumers are more informed than ever before, with 81 percent researching a product online before making a purchase. Staying ahead of the game means catering to their different needs, desires and purposes in a way that other businesses don't. Consider how your product or service answers questions, solves problems or otherwise meets your prospects' wants or needs better than anyone else. Use the answers to these questions to create a unique selling proposition.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 16:20

How to develop a buyer persona

Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, your success depends on the people who are purchasing your product or service. Your clients are just as diverse as their perspectives, needs and wants. This is why it is important to know who these clients are so you know how to best reach them. Before you can decide how to market your product or service, you need to develop a buyer persona a model or prototype of your ideal buyers. To do this you must ask yourself a few key questions and do some research to find the answers:

Who? Who are your ideal prospects based on demographics? Where do they live? What is their income? Their age? Relationship status? Do they share hobbies or interests, motivations or attitudes?

Where? Where are your clients geographically? Where are they digitally? Where and how do they search for information? What social media channels are they using, if any? Where and how do they shop?

From blogs to videos to social media posts, content creation is essential to marketing your business today. Equally important is promoting your content. You may think that simply publishing a post on your blog is enough, but it's not. There are many different channels on which to promote your content and reach a larger audience.

Here are four ways to promote your content to get the most views:

To stay on top of current B2B marketing trends, inbound marketing is an essential strategy. Like any other strategy, planning ahead makes it more effective by keeping you and your staff on track to reach your goals for the year. Even if inbound marketing is already part of your overall marketing strategy, it is never too late to make a plan.

Here are six steps to follow to create an inbound marketing plan for 2016:

Learn from the past. Make a list of your marketing campaigns from the past year. Identify the key goals of these campaigns and determine whether or not they were met. From there, you can inform future strategies based on what did or didn't work in the past.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 22:08

Public relations for beginners

If you are building your business' brand, you've probably heard the term 'public relations' and been told by your mentors that you need a strategy for it. You may be wondering what exactly is public relations and why it matters. What you need to know is that it is essential to creating and maintaining your business' image to the public through the press or other mediums.

The truth is that public relations is more than just sharing photos and press releases with local media outlets. There are 12 functions that make up public relations:

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