You've done it! Your company is taking off after mounds hard work, sweat, and probably some tears (both of joy and major stress). But don't let your efforts fall to pieces due to lack of awareness and interest from potential clients and customers. Advertisement and promotion of your company is a must, no matter its size, strength, or status.
If you're not in the market for shelling out thousands (or more) for advertising, that's no problem. There are many ways to put your company's name on the map and into the hearts and minds of those you want in the know. A lean budget always has some wiggle room to plug your business with pride and personality! Try any or all of these ideas and you'll see consumers knocking down your door in no time.
Get with Google
Be sure to show the world that your business has arrived with a Google My Business account. Display your address, hours, phone number, and what you're all about. And talk about lean… this is a free service! Clients and potential customers will be able to see positive reviews of your company and you can post photos to give an inside account of your unique qualities. Locals will see your company pop up with their search, but you will be searchable far and wide as well. Let the world get their goggles on your Google page! Log in and follow the clear-cut instructions. You'll be visible in no time.
Bring on the Blog
A great way to stir up interest is with an informative content section on your company's website. This is a useful way for readers to learn more about the industry you're in and know they can educate themselves thanks to the content your company provides without being sale-sy or pushy. The more the reader comes to trust your information, the more they'll be inclined to purchase from or use your services when the time is right. You can set up a blog relatively easily and cheaply, (with WordPress, for example) and as long as you hire dedicated and in-the-know writers, you're set. Plus, the 'comments' section will help you gain more readers and followers who will learn about your offerings. Your company can get started with WordPress for as low as $3.95/month. As you grow, you can expand to get more features and services, but a basic setup will get you moving in the right direction. Start with short posts to garner attention and see what resonates with readers to help you plan your future content. Then tie in with what you can offer.
Business Cards Mean Business
Be a live advertisement every time you walk into a room. When you meet someone and tell them about your business, leave them with a standout card so they can reach you if and when they need your company's goods or services. Make yours special with a unique design that coordinates with what your company does or stands for. Be sure all your employees have a nice stack of cards and to never leave home without some to shell out in pocket. Vistaprint can whip you up 500 cards for less than $10 bucks. Pretty good business!
Shine on Social Media
If your company doesn't have a page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., then you are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage. Nowadays, if you're not on social media, you may as well not exist. Folks of all ages tend to turn to social media to see if a company's up-to-date and relevant. You can hire a fresh-out-of-school social media-savvy employee or even an intelligent intern to manage your social media messaging. The more you post with relevancy and regularity, the more followers and fans you'll amass. Watch your presence peak and more and more people will become aware of and purchase your goods and services. Offer special social media-only deals and promos too for extra attention on your pages daily. Starting up a social media page is free and you can get more intricate as your company flourishes. Start small and let your fans help you grow.
The Need to Network
Get out there and talk the talk. Attend seminars, speeches, conventions, and the like related to your industry. Keep it local or travel – whatever your business is best suited for. You'll get your name out there and learn from those already in the field. Come prepared with information, handouts, and samples (when applicable) from your company and put a friendly face to your company's name. Eventually, you can request or be invited to speak on panels and lead discussions about your field. Be sure to post your experiences on your website and on your social media pages for added interest and input. Networking events have a range of fees, setup costs, and registration packages, so find the ones you can afford, then expand your reach as you get more customers and reach new heights.
There are a variety of platforms, such as Outmarket, where your company can send out your own press releases when there're something new or noteworthy to announce. Alternatively, you can invest in a PR pro to guide you through the experience of spreading positive messages about your company to the masses or those of importance to your business. With proper presence of press and publicity, your company will become recognized and well-regarded. Your PR rep will have your back and make sure your company is handled with class and character. PR pros and programs are available at all price points, so there's an option for any budget. Outmarket packages start at around $300 a month, which is a pretty good deal for what you'll get in return. When it comes to a personal PR pro, shop around, ask for references, and work with the person. The right fit will respect your budget and help you grow.
Engage with Email
Develop a strong database of customers via past purchasers, social media opt-ins, site sign-ups, and other inquiring minds in order to email company updates, new products or services, sales, promos, and even benevolent content to keep them interested, engaged, and eager for more. There are a variety of email management services that you can use on a trial or low-cost basis, such as MailChimp or Bronto, that guide you with every step of the email process – from design to messaging to frequency of send. Emailing will keep your customers informed and in-the-know and your name will be top-of-mind when they are ready to make a move – unless your excellent email inspired them to do it there and then! Start an account with a mail service provider and find the package that works within your budget. A customer service rep can tailor a program to suit your individual needs and keep things clean and lean.
It's time to advertise with knowledge and energy. Money may be tight, but your advertising is going to be all right! Get started now and see the customers and clients roll in and ready to purchase.
Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.
What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.
The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.
There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!
Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.
Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”
While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.
That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying
the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.
This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.
Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.
That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?
Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”
While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."
In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.
We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.
As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.
What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.
The rising trend of pet-friendly offices is part of the effort to incentivize employees to come back to work in person. Many companies completely embraced the remote-friendly convenience of WFH. Digital nomad culture emerged and “second cities” arose when people exited New York, San Francisco, and LA, and headed to Denver, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, and Raleigh.
But now, employees and employers have a choice to make. The question now is: to return or not to return to the office? This is no longer about forcing employees to commute. Post The Great Resignation, employees feel more empowered to leave in-person positions and seek out remote jobs. So if offices want people to return, they’ve got to do a ton to entice their employees.
Some huge companies with giant operating budgets are not worried. With major perks like shiny facilities and full-service food bars, they feel comfortable requiring in-office work days — even if it’s for a hybrid week. But the solution might be simpler: pet-friendly workplaces.
The Allure of Pet-Friendly Offices
According to the Washington Post, pet-friendly workplaces are becoming a common solution to improve employee morale and appease the rising number of pandemic pet owners. “As offices start reopening and thousands of workers are being called back for the first time in two years, some companies are allowing employees to bring their pets. About 23 million American households adopted a pet during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Many workers say they find pet-friendly environments an important perk for their new furry family members. A recent survey conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital, owned by Mars Inc., showed that 57 percent of the 1,500 pet owners polled said they would be happiest returning to a pet-friendly workplace. Half of the 500 top executives surveyed said they are planning to allow pets at the office. Tech companies including Google, Amazon, and Uber plan to continue to allow dogs at their offices, even with their flexible office policies.”
With so many people adopting and fostering since the pandemic, becoming a pet parent is a trend. And to welcome these new additions into people’s lives, it makes sense for some workplaces to welcome them into the office.
After spending unlimited amounts of time at home, many pets grew greatly attached to their “parents” — and pet-parents feel the same about their pets. Rather than keeping them locked in the house while their caretakers head off to work, this is a mutually beneficial solution to the current separation anxiety faced by pets.
Pets have also been shown to boost happiness in pet owners. According to heart.org, “Studies show that dogs reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; ease loneliness; encourage exercise and improve your overall health. For example, people with dogs tend to have lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease. Just playing with a dog has been shown to raise levels of the feel-good brain chemicals oxytocin and dopamine, creating positive feelings and bonding for both the person and their pet.” Most likely, this might have a similar effect on people who bond with animals at work that don’t even belong to them, lending an overall mood boost to the office.
The controversy behind pet-friendly workplaces
However, not everyone is as enthusiastic about the prospect. Some would rather keep the office separate from their personal lives. Some are allergic to pets. And some people simply don’t like animals.
Offices considering pet-friendly policies are weighing the pros and cons to keep everyone happy. According to the Washington Post, clear guidelines and communication can increase the chances of success.
“Before making the jump, pet experts say that leaders should first understand whether their employees have interest in, or strong feelings against, having a pet-friendly office. Doing an anonymous survey may allow employees to freely share thoughts on the matter.”
Overall, the key to a policy like this is flexibility. “Be ready to adjust: Above all, pet-friendly offices should be ready to listen and adjust their policies as they go. What works for one office may not work for another, but experts say proper planning can lessen much of the burden.”
Ensure your office is actually suited to the pets you want to welcome. “A well-developed pet-friendly office should be both safe and welcoming to pets. That means companies should consider blocking off areas that could be dangerous to pets as well as making sure pets have access to clean water, food, and places to rest.”
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