Ahem, if I may (also? discount!)

You know life is super weird. Some of you know I moved out of NYC and got a marketing job. Like, by choice. I gave up self-employed life to work in an office and build a marketing department from scratch. For a year and a half, it was pure bliss…I was able to do something I’d been doing for myself, except this time I was getting paid regularly AND benefits AND paid holidays. LIKE AN ADULT.

 

Then came May of this year, and I got laid off from a job I loved. Not only laid off, but threatened, ostracized, and blamed. I was given a months notice, which was nice of them in some weird way, but it made me a ghost. It was a long month, having to go there and know I was a dead woman walking. No one wanted to catch the laid-off disease from me, and the closer it got, the worse management treated me. Finally, I crawled out of that dumpster fire on April 30th and started my re-self-employed life. I had my own Summer of George.

Late July, I landed back in a job because it intrigued me. It was sold as another chance to help build a marketing department from scratch. Long story short, it was SOLD as a marketing job, but it was one of those jobs where it’s “marketing” as in…you’re a woman and you should do admin assistant work, and maybe look for something to tweet out once a day.

 

Let me put my PC disclaimer here: there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an Administrative Assitant. It’s a ridiculously complex skill set and takes a certain type of person to do that job well. I am not one of those people. I am a nerdy creative who has enough “executive” (weird) experience that I don’t know how to do any of that sort of thing. It’s like that “fish on a bike” quote from Einstein, you know? I sucked, the work sucked, and I wondered why I bothered going in there every day (answer: healthcare). I lasted two months then semi-rage quit (but for a new opportunity that actually IS running a marketing department)

 

That’s a stupidly long-winded backstory to say: during that time, I spent most of it making back up plans. My time at that last job was spent either A: looking for jobs or B: planning my launch into becoming full-time self-employed again by January 2020. Why then? I don’t know honestly, it just felt sort of “adulty” to plan that far out, save some money, get my 401k match, etc etc.

 

One of the “tasks” I made in Todoist was to find 10 different conferences to pitch a speaking gig to. It was one of those “wouldn’t it be cool” kinda things, but wasn’t really something I felt like I would achieve, you know? Then about 2 months after making that goal, I got an email from Alt. saying they just announced their call for speakers. My first thought was “ugh, they’d never pick me, why bother?” but that GD goal I wrote down…I mean, it was written. down. Why would I pass up this specific opportunity for this specific goal? WTF else was I going to wait for?

 

So I pitched, then honestly, just figured they’d reject it. I had no street cred, I wasn’t a huge ginormous influencer. I was just someone with questionable hair choices who lived marketing and nerded out about it way too often. I wasn’t ~special~

 

Then this email came:

So yeah, holy shit, right? If you’re ending up at Alt., you might see me running a workshop called Stop Sucking at Marketing. And if you come and give me a high five…that would be the best.

 

I don’t have any sage-like advice to give you for this post except that, you know, just take a breath and go for it, whatever it is. New job, weird-ass goal you didn’t think you were serious about, new life, new outfit, whatever. Because it’s incredibly woo-woo-cliche but it’s sorta true when they say the world wants to give you things you ask for…just fucking ask for them.

 

And, duh, if you want to come to Alt. I’ve got discounts! $50 off with the code: LIVELY

See you there? High five.

How To Be A Good Temporary Worker

A temp worker is a part-time worker who is hired in a short period of time or based on the needs of the employing company. However, being a temporary worker doesn’t mean that you’re any less than a regular employee. Getting hired as a temporary worker, it is essential to be exemplary as it may be a factor in your future on the company you’re temping for. Employing organization appreciates those temp worker who treats their work assignments as a regular or full-time job. Though there is no guarantee that your temp work will turn into full-time employment, it is actually possible if you play your cards right.

Why Being a Good Temporary Worker is Important

Whether you’re in for a short-term position or a permanent position, it is essential to be the best you could be. Why? A company usually hire temp workers because there’s a possibility of opening that particular job position permanently. And most of the time, these companies turn to temporary employees to look for an employee who might be a good fit for the position. Even if you’re not hired for a permanent position, or you’re staying there for a short term only, it still pays to be good at your temp work. Doing an exceptional job could score you connections and be a good reference for your resume.

How To Be A Good Temporary Worker

Here are some tips on how you can be a temporary worker that everyone will want to work with:

 

Know the Company’s Culture

When you’re temping, it may be hard to fit-in right away. To ease this issue, understand the company culture. Observe, and then try to interact with your “colleagues.” Fitting in means, going with the norms and the policies of the company as well as the management, employees and practices.

 

Communicate

Whether it’s to your direct superior or to your colleagues, learn to have an open and flowing communication with them. Having a good communication line with your superior will make your stay easier, it is also valuable for instances when you have issues at work.

 

Be Trainable

If you undergo training which is a big possibility for the company you’re temping for, to be a good temporary worker, you should be easy to train. Take notes, and consult them if needed. Engage in training – ask questions and express your understanding of the topic.

 

Avoid Getting Too Comfortable

Remember that you don’t have a permanent position so limit yourself in “moving in.” Be respectful of boundaries. Don’t over decorate your space with your personal items pictures or supplies. Keep your things to a minimum and maintain a clean space.

 

Keep Your Timesheet Updated

When you’re temporary, you are responsible for turning in your time on a weekly basis. With that said, make sure your timesheet is signed and passed on time. This will provide your staffing agency an overview of your work hours.

 

And these are some ways on how you can be a good temporary worker. To sum it all up, whether you’re a temporary worker or a permanent employee, it’s never a bad thing to exert extra effort in your job. Work smart and be an asset in your company.

 

Turn Your Messy Work Space Into An Organized Space

Is your workspace a disaster? Don’t waste precious time looking for an important file that you probably shove in a pile of documents or a paper for your next work presentation. Though some people may argue that a messy space is a sign of genius. However, it’s always nice to have an organized space where you can start a clean slate everyday. If you need to turn your messy space into an organized space, read on.

How Environment Affects Your Work Performance

In an article by Forbes, a retailer surveyed over 1,000 adults and found out that 90% of Americans believe clutter has a negative impact on their lives and work. On the other hand, 77% said clutter damages their productivity, in line with previous studies revealing that executives waste six weeks a year searching for lost items and information. Aside from that, respondents also noted that a cluttered area affects their state of mind and motivation which is a precursor to poor work performance. Other than that, some people may also judge you based on how clean or messy or work area which can sometimes lead to another work issue like bullying.

Turn Your Messy Work Space Into An Organized Space

If you’re ready to turn your workspace around, here are some tips to create an organized space and stay productive:

 

Purge Your Space

The first thing you can do with your space is by purging your area. Declutter your space. Sort through all your files/documents, shred them if they’re already irrelevant and get of rid of anything that you don’t use or something that adds no value to your productivity or your work performance.

 

Label Things

Once you’ve purged and sorted through your stuff, it will be a big help to organize and label your stuff. Create a labeling system for your papers or documents as well as your bins, folders or drawers. Labeling your things will help you put items in the right places and avoid misplacing essential documents.

 

Tailor Your Workspace

Having different job roles means that your work is not the same as the others. So someone’s idea of an “organized desk” will not apply to you. With that said, taylor your space based on your job and needs. Do you find yourself reaching for your calendar a few times? Then place a desk calendar on your table.

 

Invest in Folders

Though we live in a digital age, there are still documents that you need in person. And just like in every workplace, over time these documents accumulate so for easy access and organization, buy folders. Properly segregate these documents and label them.

 

Clean Your Desk Everyday

No, you don’t have to go crazy on deep cleaning your desk or your area. However, make it to a point to place things back in order or organize documents before you leave the office. Also, make sure that there is no trash laying around so that you have a fresh desk on the next morning.

 

And these are some ways on how you can turn your cluttered work space into a tidy and organized space. Follow these tips and you’ll find yourself more productive than ever!

 

Creating Automatic Win-Back emails with MailChimp

This tutorial was sponsored by MailChimp, thanks, guys!

One of the things that always made me feel overwhelmed was the thought of keeping mailing list subscribers engaged for my old company. What should I say? Is it annoying? Are my customers getting mad at me and just looking for a sale? I usually ended up talking myself out of reaching out entirely, unless I was trying to push a deal.

Now that Reserved Stock is up and running, I wanted to do things differently because so many of those fears are entirely unfounded, and I know you probably have them, too, so let me set some things straight:

 

  1. Your customers willingly signed up because they’re interested in your brand.

Remember that there were no guns pointed at anyone’s head when their purchase was made. They supported you because they like what your brand or product represents and are interested in continuing a relationship with your brand.

  1. “They only bought something because they got a coupon for doing so.”

Okay, cool. To me, these people are the BEST way to test a win-back campaign with and work out how to create a true diehard customer. Think of it like dating: maybe they showed up with lukewarm feelings but got won over by your amazing charm and wit, and now you’re planning family vacations together.

  1. “They’ll get mad if I bug them!”

Real talk? Good. Remember that the bigger your customer list gets, the more of a cost it can become (even if you’re on the free level of MailChimp, you plan to keep growing, right?) and you shouldn’t want subscribers who aren’t interested in what you have to say anyhow.  Losing folks because you wanted to engage them is a-okay in my book because you stop wasting time and get to reach out to your BFF customers.

So what the heck can you do to create an engaged audience that keeps your products top of mind without having to stress out each time a purchase is made? Create a “second brain” for your biz and automate that ish!

I’ve talked a ton about why you should automate parts of your brand, so if you’ve been here before you probably know I am pro-“making your life easier,” but I also understand that automating a marketing strategy for a service-based business can feel like it’s much easier to those who sell physical products, but don’t worry because I’ve got you covered!

 

Ideas for Automating Marketing Emails

These can be used for either a product or service-based business, and below I’ll show you the automation sequence I created for Reserved Stock customers.

First, let me give a quick definition: A “win-back campaign” here is used to mean a set of emails that a customer who has only made one purchase within a set amount of time would receive automatically. It’s not for folks who are buying from you regularly but is meant for the customer who tried you and didn’t come back. Make sense?

 

  1. All About You – start a small email series on the story behind your brand! Begin one email with why you decided to open up your shop, then another email about what sets your brand apart from your competitors, and then a final email about secret tips or ideas about using your product. (Are there cool uses for your lip balms besides lips? Is your scarf also able to be turned into a wrap?) Give people ideas on how versatile your product is and keep them intrigued by all the fun things your product, company, and even you can do!

 

  1. Behind the Scenes – I think these sort of win-back emails are fascinating, especially if you’re a growing company. Showcasing the people and spaces where things are made give customers insiders feel and help grow their loyalty because they get to see how the sausage is made, you know? Don’t worry so much about giving away trade secrets (though you can be intentional about what to show) because most of your customers aren’t interested in ripping off your stuff (especially once they realize how difficult it would be to do what you do), but instead show off the magic behind the scenes and be proud of the work you do!

 

  1. Mini Class – If you consider yourself an expert in your niche, I think things like free mini-courses are a great way to develop brand loyalty. If your brand is marketed as vegan, maybe create a “path to becoming a die-hard vegan” series that peppers in your products, or if you’re really into wool and your customers would be, too, do a “Become a Wool Rockstar” and teach them all about wool – how to know what is top of the line, what types of wool should be avoided (and why), and where the best places are in the world for wool.  

 

Those are just a few ideas to include in your win-back series, but remember that your brand is unique to your customers and your aesthetic. Don’t force an email strategy that doesn’t come organically. Feel weird about telling people your story? Switch it out with best-sellers. Feel like no one would be interested in a class? Change your marketing around it and include it as a perk with every purchase.

 

My Version of an Automatic Win-Back Campaign for a Product-Based Company

I know a ton of you are on MailChimp (me, too!) because of their super small-business friendly pricing structure and features, but have you ever dabbled in their automation feature? No? Oh loves, have I got a treat for you! Below are the exact steps I used to create a win-back campaign for my shop which lives on Shopify and partners seamlessly with MailChimp.

 

Login, obvs

 

 

Connect your Shopify site by going to your profile > connected sites

Connect a customer list or create a new one

Begin a New Workflow by clicking “e-commerce automation” once the list is connected

Choose the automation workflow you’d like to begin (I chose “win-back lapsed customers”)

Set up the number of emails you’d like to send (I did 3) and the timing for each.

Design your emails using one of MailChimp’s templates or make your own

Confirm automation and begin workflow!

Could it be any easier? Don’t be intimidated by the idea of continually reaching out to your customer base – remember that the more engaged you keep your audience, the easier it is to create a customer base that supports your brand and helps you move towards full-time entrepreneurship.

 

Swipe My Copy for each of the 3 emails below:

Email #1

Email #2

Email #3

Tracking Pixel

Best Strategies To Promote Your Small Business

If you’re running a small business you already know that promotion is vital as it’s one of the keys to a successful operation. However, if you’re just starting out, navigating the different ways to successfully promote your brand can be a bit of a challenge since it involves so much time, effort, as well as money. Getting your business out there can be tough, but it’s essential to grow your customer base and establish a name for your product/services so what’s the best way to promote your small business? Read on and find the answer.

Promoting Your Small Business, Where To Start?

Before you go and promote your small business, you need to assess a few things. Like, how much is your budget? Who is your target audience? If you know nothing else about marketing, these aspects are the bare minimum details you have to nail down before you officially promote your business. Having a good grasp of the core of your business is also important – what it’s all about, your vision and mission, and business goals. Once you have all of this in place, then you’re ready to get started.

Best Strategies to Promote Your Small Business

In this post, we’re going to share with you the best strategies to promote your small business. Here are some of the tips you can try:

 

Word of Mouth

Promote your small business through word of mouth. Tell your family and friends and ask them to refer people to your business. If your business is local, it’s much easier to promote it through people. Give them excellent service, ask for referrals, and they will surely recommend you to other people.

 

Use Social Media

When you promote your small business, make sure to utilize social media. Create your Facebook Page, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to help get your business out there while reaching out to your customers/potential customers and offering real-time service and customer support.

 

Build An Online Store

Because of technology, every entrepreneur must have their online store/website. People nowadays consult the internet for any information they need from the best hair salons to local restaurants or shop. It’s also not as expensive as building a physical store, so it’s really ideal for small businesses that are bootstrapping their marketing plan.

 

Join Local Events

Join local trade shows, market or even school fairs if you have a physical product as you’ll be surprised to find a lot of leads in these kinds of events. It’s also a good way to let them know about your product/services – hand out flyers, free samples or business cards. Engage with people and tell them about your business/services you offer.

 

Local Listing Services

List your company in local listing services like Yelp, craigslist or google. Optimize your profile and fill out necessary information like address, contact person, contact number and your website. You can also attach a map if you have a physical location.

 

Start Blogging

Write articles related to your industry as good articles can serve as free promotion. If you’re a business coach, for example, you can write about how entrepreneurs can motivate themselves. The more specific the niche topic, the better it portrays you as an authority. (We can show you how to start a blog for your business here)

 

Focus on Branding

Know your brand strategy inside and out. Your branding is your identity so be consistent with your product in terms of quality, visual look, and vision. If you have a tangible product, you can look into making custom packaging for it to set yourself apart from competitors.

 

These are some of the ways to promote your small business. Apply these strategies, and you’ll surely get results in the future.

 

7 Ways To Revamp Your Content Strategy

Not every piece of your content you will publish will be a hit. Some will do better than the others while some of them of won’t. Which is why it’s essential to keep your strategy dynamic and test new ideas with your content strategy. Readers are also smarter with their choices, they want content that they can relate with. Businesses or entrepreneurs who adapt and evolve with trend are usually the ones who achieve content success. Why? Because they know how to execute strategies and adapt to what the readers want.

 

Why Revamp Your Content Strategy?

Has your stellar content strategy started to slack? You might want to change your content strategy a bit. Continuously trying out and applying new content strategies to your business is always good. As more B2B marketers are producing content, it’s everyone’s goal to create engaging content. Readers are also on the lookout for fresh content. Materials that will actually enrich and supplement their knowledge about a certain topic.

 

7 Ways to Revamp Your Content Strategy

If you’ve decided to revamp and refresh your content strategy, here are some tips on how you can reignite your content game:

 

Check Your Stats

The best marketers know how valuable data is, so make it a habit to regularly review your analytics. Which content is doing bad? If they’ve become irrelevant or obsolete to your audience or business goals, it may be time archive them on your blog or give the content a refresh to fit the current trends. If the content is not doing good, but you think it’s a quality piece, promote it on social to get new eyes on the post.

 

Audit Your Site

Check for broken links and fix them. Broken links and outdated content affect how you rank on search engine. Fixing these issues can also improve your visitor’s experience. Maintaining your website also sends a signal that you care about your brand/product.

 

Change Your Look

Sometimes all you need is a fresh look. When was the last time you updated your website or social media profiles? Consider redesigning or tweaking your website/profiles. Make sure user interface/experience is up to par. However, if your site is updated, consider creating fun graphics for your social media channels.

 

Use Infographics

Using infographics makes your content more digestible and engaging to your readers. It also helps when your reader is in a hurry, and they only want to know the important points of your post. So try adding infographics to your posts if necessary.

 

Update Your Most Valuable Materials

Pick your most popular or material on your website (ebook, pdf, course, article) and update them by adding more information and push them for re-promotion.

 

Try Something New

Don’t be afraid to try something new. Depending on your target audience – try out different formats and styles. For example, post memes, inject humor into your content, though, make sure it’s not offensive.

 

Adapt To Trend

Keep up with trends. Optimize your content for your audience as well as the current trend. This way, you’ll stay relevant, and your audience can better relate to your content. Adapting to a trend is also a sign that you’re aware of what’s happening in your niche.

 

And that’s how you revamp your content strategy. Are you doing some changes to your strategy? Share them below.

 

Using Pinterest for Your Business

Are you looking to use Pinterest for your business and apply it as one of your social media strategies? Like Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest is one of the go-to websites for shoppers to look for ideas/inspiration. In one of Millward Brown Digital’s research studies, they found out that the survey respondents who have actively used Pinterest in the past six months, 96% reported they use Pinterest to research and gather information. Ninety-three percent reported that they use Pinterest to plan for purchases, and another 87% reported Pinterest engagement has helped them decide what to purchase.

Pinterest For Your Business, Is It A Good Idea?

With people using Pinterest to plan for purchases, I think it’s safe to say that Pinterest is a platform that entrepreneurs should utilize. Using Pinterest for your business increases the chance of your brand or product’s exposure. Imagine this, when someone pins your latest post, and then five people repin it! It’s a domino effect which means increased awareness, more traffic, leads and even sales.

How To Use Pinterest For Your Business

Ready to use Pinterest as one of your strategies? Here are tips and strategies to get your Pinterest up and running:

Set Up Your Account

Open a Pinterest account if you haven’t. Add a profile picture, location, company description and a link to your website. Before you start pinning, make sure your profile’s optimized for Pinterest. This way, your audience will easily see your information.

 

Convert Your Personal to Business Account

If you have a personal Pinterest account, you might want to convert it to a business account. Using Pinterest for your business, figures and data are important as these provide valuable insights into your business. With a business account, you have a greater overview of how your pins are doing.

 

Start Pinning

After you’ve setup your account, start pinning! Promote your latest products, services or blog posts. You can add pins from a website, upload your own or install a Pinterest extension. Create visually appealing pins so that people are drawn to it and increase the chance of it getting re-pinned by individuals.

 

Create Boards

Separate your pins through a theme, category or products. This way, people can easily navigate and find products/posts that are in the same category. You can also add a widget on your website with your selected board.

 

Use Rich Pins

Rich Pins provide more context about an idea because they show extra information directly on a Pin. There are four types of Rich Pins: app, product, recipe, and article. App pins show “install button” for Android/iOS without leaving Pinterest, Product pin shows pricing, availability, & where to buy, Recipe pin has all the info you need to cook your food. Lastly, Article pin helps pinner easily save articles.

 

Optimize Your Website

When you’re using Pinterest for your business, the first thing you need to do is to optimize your website for Pinterest. Add a Pinterest button and a link to your Pinterest account on your website. Place a widget with a Pinterest board on your website.

 

Use Apps

There are a lot of apps that can help you with Pinterest, so use them. It will save you time and make your publishing schedule consistent. Board Booster is one of the top choices for pin scheduling. You can also try Tailwind – an automation, analytics tool for Pinterest.

 

These are some strategies on how you can use Pinterest for your business. If you want to intensify your marketing strategy, make sure to use various tricks and see which channel/platforms work and how you can make it better.

 

Starting Your Own Business: What You Should Know

Establishing a business is probably one of the most powerful and liberating ways to take control of your finances and life. Being an entrepreneur with your own business lets you pick how long you’re going to work, when and even where (if you’re location independent). Meeting new and interesting people is also one of the perks when running your own business. Despite all the advantages, some people are still skeptical about establishing their own business – which is totally understandable. It takes a lot of work and dedication but if you’re determined to set up your business, continue reading for tips on how to get started.

Starting Your Own Business: Are You Ready?

You’ve thought about creating your own business (great!), the question is: Are you ready? We all know that starting a business is not easy so for you to gauge your preparedness, ask these questions to yourself: Do I know what I’m getting into? Have I done enough research? What are things I need to do or know? Answering these questions will help you get an overview of your readiness.

What You Should Know About Starting Your Own Business

After you’ve assessed your readiness and still have a lot of questions about what to expect when you’re establishing your business, we’re here to help. We’ve listed a couple of points of what you should know with regards to getting your business up and running:

 

It Takes A Lot of Planning/Research

Starting a business involves a lot of planning and research. You need to allot time, effort and money to formulate new business ideas as well as researching your business plan, testing your service/product and planning the execution.

 

You Will Fail (But It’s Okay)

At some point in your you might or you will feel like you’re failing but don’t let it discourage you. Founder and CEO of Venture for America Andrew Yang said, “We have to let everyone know that it’s OK to try and to fail. It’s alright to struggle. It’s positive and human to express doubt, uncertainty, frustration, and a need for help. The sooner it becomes accepted to fail, the more genuine our conversations will become and the freer our young people will be to find their own definitions of success.”

 

Internet Is Where Your Clients Are

Because of the evolution of technology, there are more ways to reach potential customers. Social media and online stores/websites are a must and good medium to interact with customers, entrepreneurs and companies. So the earlier you build your social media base, the better – it will come in handy in your business.

 

All Original Ideas Are Taken

You might think of an idea and figured out it has already been done but don’t give up on that idea. Instead, think of a way of how you can better execute it or add more features. What if no one decided to improve the rotary phone, or the radio, or car safety? Make it better and continue developing it.

 

Business Is Unpredictable

Despite all your preparations, research, and planning, there are some things that you still won’t know. Whether it’s on the technical, legal or even dealing with clients – you won’t know everything. And as you go along your business, this is where you’ll learn and figure things out.

 

Apps Will Be Your Best Friend

Starting out small, it’s hard to do everything. This is why you need to take advantage of apps – productivity apps, accounting apps and everything you can imagine. Use them, and they will help you a lot and save you time. (Speaking of awesome apps, check out Fieldbook. It’s like Excel but much better.)

 

These are some of the things you need to know when you’re establishing your business. Remember, it may be hard, but if you persevere, good thing will come your way. What are the things you discovered when you’re starting your own business? Share them below!

 

5 Tips in Designing Your Custom Packaging

What comes to your mind when you see the color red? Rose? Apple? For me, I think about Coke. And you know what Coke is also known for? It’s packaging – the iconic curvaceous bottle. Years after they first produced Coke and its custom bottle, it’s still being used all over the world. This is how custom packaging affects a certain product. It creates an identity – identity that will last for years and make a particular product stand out.

What is Custom Packaging?

Custom packaging is essentially customized packaging for a product. As subscription business (i.e. Barkbox, Boxycharm, Birchbox ) becomes more proliferate, the demand for custom packaging has increased too. And rightfully so as your packaging represents your brand. It’s a visual storyboard that should evoke excitement and at the same time, benefit your business with calls to action for your customers.

 

In an article from Big Commerce, they talked about how “custom packaging extends beyond simply branding to creating custom box sizes and protective packaging for customer satisfaction. Only 11% of global customers are completely satisfied with packaging today, and 80% of customers say that wholesale bubble mailers and other generic packages rather than splurge on custom corrugated boxes.”

Crafting Your Custom Packaging

If you’re shipping a physical product to your customers, a custom packaging makes a great packaging. It draws attention to your product and if done correctly, can improve customer experience and even drive sales. With that said, here are some tips in designing your custom packaging:

 

Know The Types

While many people typically think about a “box” when they hear “subscription boxes,” there are actually a lot of types of custom packaging. Some of them come in: Bubble mailers, mailer boxes, custom mailer envelopes, rigid envelopes, and the most popular type, the box. Though the packaging you’ll use really depends on you and the product you’re selling. You can also use more than one type of packaging, a bubble mailer perhaps for small items and box for bigger or a few items.

 

Assess Your Budget

To tell you the truth, custom packaging is not cheap. It costs money. So, before you make any decision; look at your budget. Can you really afford the manufacturing cost of your custom packaging? On the other hand, if you don’t have sufficient budget for the mass production of your packaging, you can always start small. Or, you can also DIY your packaging, you just really have to exert some effort and let your creativity run wild.

 

DIY Your Custom Packaging

If you are really on a tight budget, you can actually DIY your packaging. All you need to do is buy unlabeled packaging and design it yourself. You can write on it, print out stickers or even stamp it. What matters is it has your touch; your “branding.”

 

Designing Your Box (or Mailers)

After you’ve chosen the sizes, you’ll use for your packaging; this is where the designing part comes in. The first thing you need to do is get the dimension of the box or any of the case you picked. Now, this is crucial since you have to adjust your design according to the dimension of your custom packaging. As for the design process, you’ll be most likely to use a design software like Adobe InDesign.

 

For the real gritty designing part, you’ll have to come up with your idea. Though, you have to keep in mind your “brand” – do you have a particular brand color? Use it. The same with the font. However, using various colors usually adds up to the cost so try to stick with one or two colors. Make the most of out your design and use call-to-actions on your packaging. Include your social media handles or website on your packaging.

 

Printing & Finding a Manufacturer

And we’re done with the design process. The next step is printing it out. For this part, you have to look for a manufacturer. Do a lot of research, compare prices and ask for discounts. Usually, printing companies will lower if the cost if the amount of to produce is high. You can also ask for test print to see how it looks. Sometimes colors can be an issue, so you have to take note of that.

 

There you have it. You can now create your own custom packaging. If you already have one, leave a picture in the comment section!

 

 

8 Best Ecommerce Platforms For Your Small Business

If you don’t know how to create a website, specifically a web shop, using an ecommerce platform is a big help.  It saves you tons of money, time and is much more manageable to maintain than a standard website. Over the years, web shops have become a staple for every entrepreneur and business. Because of this, there has been an increase in the need for ECommerce platforms.

 

What Is An ECommerce Platform?

BigCommerce defines it as, “An ecommerce platform is a software application that allows online businesses to manage their website, sales, and operations.” By having or using an ecommerce platform, it eliminates the need to actually create your shop from scratch (which you can do but may not be practical for small businesses.) Most platforms also add a layer of protection for your data and more depending on its features.

 

Choosing The Best Ecommerce Platform

There are a lot of ecommerce platforms available in the market which can make it hard to settle on one. But, don’t worry! We had a look at the eight best and commonly used platforms right now. Read on and see which one fits your business model.

 

Squarespace

Squarespace has to be one of the favorite and the go to ecommerce website for entrepreneurs, artists and people alike. It has a very flexible product arrangement and offers a variety of beautiful theme/templates you can use for your website or shop. Squarespace offers free 14 day-trial, their pricing ranges from $12-$18 for website and $26-$40 for online stores.

 

Shopify

For small entrepreneurs, Shopify is one of the best platforms. It is a full featured tool that powers a lot of small websites. You can also choose from its wide selection of themes and apps for your shop. Not to mention, it can be easily integrated with Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter which will enable you to sell directly from these sites. You can try Shopify for 30 days for FREE. Pricing ranges from $13 to $107 depending on the plan. FYI: Shopify is also the platform we use for Reserved Stock.

 

WooCommerce

Now if you want to build a store from WordPress, WooCommerce is one of the top choices. It is a plugin which turns your site or blog into a fully customizable store. If you’re used to WordPress, WooCommerce will be easier for you to navigate. Each extension costs about $49.

 

BigCommerce

If you are selling your products/services on an online marketplace and want to have your own ecommerce site, BigCommerce got you. Have your product listings in a few minutes on your BigCommerce site. You can also cross list your products from BigCommerce to marketplace like Amazon, eBay and others. Pricing starts from $29.95/month Standard plan to $50k/year in sales.

 

Big Cartel

Low on budget? Worry no more, Big Cartel is one of the most affordable sites to start your store. It is specially designed for smaller stores because of its pricing and its limited listings. But, even though it has limited features, it is still a good platform. Pricing starts from $9.99 to $29.99.

 

Wix

If you’re more into drag-and drop option, you can opt for Wix. Wix lets you design your shop Photoshop-style, it has a lot of elements similar to Photoshop such as grid, text and more. You can also add animations to each element. If you need more tools, you can just go to App Market. Pricing starts from $17 a month.

 

Weebly

Weebly is a lot like Wix. It also has the drag and drops feature. You can choose a stand alone website and add blog or store. With its new feature, you can calculate tax and shipping rates for orders automatically. Weebly costs from $8 + 3%/sale and above.

 

Magento

If you’re planning to scale for a bigger business in the future, Magento is the way to go. Furthermore, it’s more flexible than other platforms and is also open-source. Therefore, adding features is easier. While it is a fantastic ecommerce platform it may be intimidating for starters. However, if you’re willing to learn or have the resource to hire people then it’s a good choice. Pricing starts at $1,999/month to $3,399/month.

 

I hope after reading this, you feel better informed on which platform is the best for your business. What ecommerce platform are you using? Share them below.

 

Beginners SEO Guide: 5 Useful Sites

Whether you’re a small business owner or someone working in marketing you’ve probably heard about SEO over a thousand, maybe gazillion times. But what exactly is SEO and why is it important? SEO, especially for beginners may be confusing and quite overwhelming.

Beginners SEO Guide: Websites To Check

According to RedEvolution, Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the simple activity of ensuring a website can be found in search engines for words and phrases relevant to what the site is offering.

Now, I can tell you what I know about SEO but, there are far more thought leaders out there who know the ins and outs of it; and of course, we only want the best for you. You might be asking, “Where can I learn more about it?”. Say no more, today we round up the best five beginners SEO guide websites that will give you the most comprehensive information and know-hows about SEO.

1. Moz
A software as a service (SaaS) company started in 2004 as a SEO consulting agency, founded by Rand Fishkin and his mother, Gillian Muessig. They offer various free tools for link building, analysis, keyword research, and a lot more. Since they started, they’ve also built a community with more than one million (yes, that’s a million people all over the world) globally based digital marketers! See their beginners SEO guide here. You can also check out Moz Academy for more lessons about SEO, Inbound Marketing and a whole lot more.

2. Kissmetrics
Founded by Neil Patel and Hiten Shah, Kissmetrics is a customer analytics platform based out of San Francisco, California. They provide visualization tools on how users interact with their website, web apps, and mobile products. You can head over to their blog for more resources about analytics, marketing, and testing. See Kissmetrics’ beginners SEO guide – SEO: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners.

 

3. Backlinko
Backlinko was founded by Brian Dean, an internationally recognized entrepreneur, and SEO expert. He specializes in providing marketing professionals and entrepreneurs practical strategies that they can use to get more search engine traffic. Make sure to read their blog for the latest tips/tricks and tools for SEO. Brian also has a YouTube channel with excellent actionable SEO along with strategies that can help you build and develop your business.

 

4. Search Engine Journal
Launched in 2003, SEJ is unique in its community-based approach to search marketing content.
Real online marketing experts wrote almost all of their contributed articles – Joe Howard, Gillon Hunter, Larry Kim to name a few, whether independently or their own powerhouse authors. Expect the newest trends, news, strategies and even personalities from the field on their website. SEJ also provide a lot of free content which can help you improve and further your knowledge about SEO.

 

5. WPBeginner
This one’s particularly useful to people who are using WordPress and SEO plugins. WPBeginner’s story started way back in 2006 when founder Syed Balkhi was looking for a blogging platform and stumbled on WordPress. During that time, almost all the WordPress tutorials were written by developers (which may be a bit intimidating if you don’t know the technical terms and just starting out). Syed wanted a WordPress resource site suited for beginners and DIY users, so he launched the site in 2009. As a start, you can check out their Ultimate WordPress SEO Guide for Beginners (Step by Step).

Well, that’s it for today, these websites should give keep you going and help you with SEO. You can also check out AppSumo’s SE Ranking – an all-in-one SEO platform loaded with tools and features.

 

Do you have any website or resources you want to share? Leave a comment down below 🙂

 

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