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September 15, 2017 at 9:00 AM

What is Brand Awareness, Anyway? (Knowing Makes it Easier to Hit Your Goals)

It’s one of those terms you hear all the time: brand awareness. It seems pretty straightforward at first, but what are we really talking about when we say “awareness?” And how do you measure it or translate it into something meaningful you can act on with your marketing strategy?

Brand awareness is characterized by consumers’ recognition of your company or product name, and it includes consumers’ thoughts about the quality of your products or services. It can also include awareness of your particular brand mission, a cause your brand is aligned with, or values your brand stands for.

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August 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM

5 Reasons It’s Great to Be a Chicago Business Owner

Chicago is known for many things. There’s Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs, for starters, and while you’re enjoying the food, you can listen to Chicago blues, jazz, or soul. Chicago’s sports fans are the most loyal anywhere, and there’s no mistaking Cloud Gate, better known as “The Bean” at Millennium Park.

Here’s one thing you might not know about Chicago. It’s one of the best places in the nation for small business!

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August 22, 2017 at 9:00 AM

5 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs a Website

In a December 2016 press release, Capital One published a small business study tracking indicators of growth for 2017. Only 56% of small business owners reported that they have a company website. That means that nearly half of small businesses are missing out on a significant tool for generating leads and growing sales.

In fact, market research firm Clutch noted in a recent article that many customers rely solely on web research to help them find a business, adding that a company’s website “can be one of the most reliable lead-generators available.”

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August 10, 2017 at 9:00 AM

6 SEO Tips for Small Businesses

If you’re a small business owner, it’s safe to assume that you’ve read or heard about SEO. It’s a term that’s difficult to avoid in the world of digital marketing. But what exactly is SEO?

Briefly, SEO stands for search engine optimization, and SEO efforts are all about boosting organic traffic to your website, or visitors coming from a search engine like Google or Bing. Where your website ranks in organic search results is vital for getting your business noticed.

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August 3, 2017 at 9:00 AM

The Social Media Marketing Checklist for Small Business Owners

Most small business owners understand the importance of social media marketing for building brand awareness and engaging with customers. What you may not know is how important it is to make your social media strategy an integrated part of your overall marketing strategy, with goals that are measurable and achievable and a commitment to consistency.  

In this post, we’ve put together a social media marketing checklist to help guide small business owners in developing a social media management plan. Follow the steps to get started or, if you’re already set up on social media, keep them in mind as you revisit and refine your plan.

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July 25, 2017 at 9:00 AM

10 Tips Small Business Owners Should Know Before Responding to Negative Online Reviews

Today’s consumers are more connected than ever, and if there was a digital equivalent of a megaphone for word-of-mouth, it would be online review forums. Customers are going to leave reviews whether you ask them to or not, perhaps on your own website or more likely on social review sites like Yelp.

Unfortunately, negative reviews are common if not inevitable, depending on your industry. After all, no matter how solid your business model, high-quality your products, or exceptional your customer service experience, you can’t always please everyone.

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July 7, 2017 at 9:00 AM

The Do's and Don'ts of Customer Service for Marketing ROI

Marketing can take your business only so far. The customer experience is an extension of your brand, and a fundamental element of customer experience is the customer service experience. Expectations for customer service are higher than ever, and it can make or break your marketing ROI. Consider these sobering statistics published by MarTech on the effects of poor customer service:

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