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Monday, February 13, 2017
Update by Reagan Reeve,
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SMB Businesses Turn to No-coding-required DIY Website Tools to Grow Online

Over 40% of websites built using DIY options are for business, according to survey

 There are a lot of options to help you build a website. Website builders, like Wix, SquareSpace, and Weebly, offer a DIY (do-it-yourself) functionality that allows you to build a website without coding expertise. With website building now easier than ever, a new survey by Clutch, a research and reviews platform for business services, finds that many website builder users are using these DIY tools to create sites for business use.

Out of 307 respondents who built a website using DIY web builders, 42% indicated that their website was built for business purposes such as having an online business presence, increasing online sales, or facilitating e-commerce. 48% say that they built their site for personal use such as for a photo gallery, creative display, portfolio, or a blog.

Clutch's findings illustrate that creating a website is more accessible and popular for individuals and small businesses than it's ever been before. Of those surveyed, 63% say they have an "intermediate" familiarity with website builders, a level that indicates they have set up a website, including advanced features, without assistance.

"Website builders have come a long way from a decade ago when a blogger or personal user would dabble with a website builder just to get their presence online," says Evan Brown, Marketing Manager at Designmantic.com, a web design company. "Today, many of these tools offer features like hosted services, domain registration, search engine optimization capabilities, responsive web design, and e-commerce integration, making it easy for businesses to hop online in no time."

Clutch's survey also found that DIY websites built for business purposes are more complex than any other type, and that individuals who create a website for business are looking to use that site in a more advanced way – by generating interactions and conversions.

For a website to be complex, it must include five or more integrations, according to Clutch's analysis. The most popular web builder integrations are social media (64%), customer reviews (55%), and calendar/scheduling tools (45%).

The data reveals that out of the respondents who built a website for business, 46% integrated five or more tools. Comparatively, only 27% of respondents with a personal website integrated the same amount of tools.

The complexity of business websites may impact the ability of DIY web builders to serve business needs. Although DIY web builders have made the features and integrations they offer more advanced in recent years, these tools still may not be enough for a small business seeking significant online growth.

For SMBs who want to establish a strong online presence for their business, Clutch recommends considering solutions beyond DIY web builders. For example, small businesses may see increased success in generating online leads and conversions by transferring their website to a content management system (CMS), or hiring a design expert.

With these alternative solutions, small businesses will be able to benefit from the guidance of a professional, instilling confidence that they are building custom, flexible, and successful websites that serve their advanced needs.

Find the report here: https://clutch.co/resources/web-builders-survey

Clutch also used customer feedback to rate the top 10+ website builders. You can find the full research and reviews here: https://clutch.co/website-builders.

Clutch's 2017 Website Builder Survey included 307 full-time SMB employees and users of DIY website builders. 30% of respondent companies have an annual revenue of less than $1 million. Data was collected throughout December 2016.

 

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Thursday, December 29, 2016
Update by Reagan Reeve,
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9 Social Media Tips for SMBs Planning Events

The field of event planning is competitive, and most event planners use social media to bolster their events. That means if you want to keep your SMB up in the event planning market, you need a plan for social media usage. You can start off by identifying what resources you have available, i.e. company Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts.

Once you've established what your small and medium business has at its disposal, read through these nine tips on how to use social media before, during, and after your events to make them successful :

 

1. Gather data from previous events. Data which you should look for includes target group demographics and competitor analysis. Looking at this data will give you the information needed to give you ideas that will help you form your own social media campaign.

2. Release hashtag information for your event in advance. Aim to release info at least six months in advance. Content about your upcoming event, images, and info from previous events will all help gain attention and publicity for your event. When publishing content about your upcoming event, be sure to include information regarding deadlines, speakers, receptions, and include recaps on information from events from the previous year. It is vital that while you are doing all of this, that you are posting at regular weekly rates. The more new content you create the better. Once your event is over, plan a contest that involves a prize for your social media audience in which the best social interactor gets rewarded once the event is over. This will give your audience a great incentive to get involved through social media, and further help your event and social media campaign.

3. At least two weeks before your event,  your event speakers can really help you promote. If there is video available, try to include a video with the keynote speaker and or other speakers. If you want to maximize the amount of publicity gained from your speakers, you should encourage your event speakers to use their own social media accounts to promote the event through multiple platforms.

4. Social media posts should include countdowns to the event with hashtags. If any attendees are posting and tweeting, make sure to acknowledge them with either a direct message or retweet/share.

5. During the event, assign someone to keep track of posts relating to your event and respond to comments, compliments and complaints. The quicker your person can respond, the better. If you help your attendees, speakers, and exhibitors quickly through social media, they are often very thankful, and other attendees will be happy when they see others being treated well.

6. Get a video wall rental or a floor-standing, large screen display rental. You can use both of these event technologies to display photos, tweets, and other posts relating to your event from your attendees in a spectacular fashion.

 

7. Once your conference kicks off, remind your attendees regularly to post on social media using your hashtags, and inform them of the contest which will give the best social media interactor a prize some period after the event is over.

8. After the event, follow up and thank everyone who made posts on social media relating to your event. Even something as simple as a post saying "Glad you attended #EventName, hope you had a great time!", shows that you care about the experience of your attendees.

9. Follow up on the prize promise. Give the best social media interactor of your event a small prize, and be sure that you capture this interaction on social media in some way. People enjoy seeing other people win things.

 

The majority of these suggestions should be easy for any SMB to follow, and these suggestions can greatly increase the enjoyment of event attendees, exhibitors, and speakers. Hopefully these tips have helped you plan your next event's social media campaign! Have a happy New Year!

 

 
 

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Thursday, December 08, 2016
Update by Reagan Reeve,
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Paradise City: Brewer Turns to the American Public to Plan Its First BrewPub Locations

Irreverent Scottish craft brewer BrewDog, who will launch its American facility in Ohio in 2017, announced today that it plans to open a BrewDog BrewPub in any American city where at least 500 people invest in its Equity For Punks USA crowdfunding offering. By launching one of its world-famous bars in each city that provides such investor support for the smb craft beer brewery, BrewDog's nationwide U.S. expansion will create local jobs and continue its mission to promote other local craft breweries across the United States.

 

 

BrewDog's bar division has been a huge success worldwide, with popular locations ranging from Tokyo to Sao Paulo, London to Barcelona and Hong Kong to Rome. Every BrewDog bar, including the first U.S. location at the soon-to-open 110,000 square foot brewery in Columbus, Ohio, are places where beer and food lovers can indulge in everything that is great about craft beer. With knowledgeable staff that are passionately evangelical about the world of craft beer, "Beer Schools" to educate customers about beery nuances, and great food paired perfectly to the wide selection of beers they offer, BrewDog bars are craft beer cathedrals for locals and tourists alike, acting as outposts for the brewery's overarching mission across the planet.

 

James Watt, CEO of BrewDog USA Inc. says,

 

"Our BrewDog bars are beer meccas, hop temples and cathedrals of malt. We strive to spread the word about awesome craft beer in our bars, embracing the local beer scene and providing a platform for the world's best beers to be enjoyed in an inimitable setting."

 

Every investor in BrewDog USA Inc. (with a minimum investment of only $95) receives equity shares in the company, owns part of the Columbus brewery and the U.S. distribution of BrewDog beer, and receives the numerous perks of being an Equity Punk including a 20% lifetime discount in the BrewDog USA online shop, a 5% discount in any BrewDog bar worldwide, and in invite to BrewDog's notorious U.S. AGM (annual general meeting) where beer and bands collide in a day-long shareholder meeting like no other. In addition, for each city where 500 people invest in BrewDog USA Inc., when BrewDog opens its local BrewPub, investors from the area have the opportunity to notch up the following perks:

 

  • $10 in BrewDog "Beer Bucks" for the first 500 investors in each eligible city,

  • The first 100 investors in each city will have their name permanently emblazoned on the "Wall of Punks" in their local BrewDog bar, and

  • The first 500 investors in each city will gain access to exclusive previews of new offers and launches at their local bar before anyone else.

 

 

Watt is particularly excited about being able to brew small batches of unique craft beer in each U.S. BrewDog pub:

 

"With on-site brewing in each U.S. BrewPub, we can take our bar concept to another level as we brew the beer on site as well as serve brews from like-minded breweries – the beer we offer will be as fresh as possible every single time. We're already experimenting with some awesome recipes before we've even set our sights on specific cities, and this is your chance to help shape those decisions for yourself."

 

 

Founded in 2007 by two humans and one dog with a passion for craft beer, BrewDog has grown into an international sensation by turning traditional business finance on its head with its Equity For Punks crowdfunding initiatives in the U.K., Europe and now the U.S.  BrewDog has recruited an army of 50,000 Equity Punks who have invested in its craft beer revolution, and have helped BrewDog to secure distribution into more than 60 countries, and grow a business that now employs more than 600 people worldwide. To help finance its U.S. expansion, in August 2016, BrewDog started its Equity For Punks USA crowdfunding offering, which received an overwhelming $1 million in the first three days of launch. Equity for Punks USA will be open until February 2017, and prospective investors can visit EquityForPunksUSA.com to find out more and buy shares in BrewDog's U.S. enterprise.

 

More information on BrewDog can be found at https://www.brewdog.com/lowdown/press-hub/paradise-city-brewdog-brewpubs

 

About BrewDog

Since 2007 BrewDog has been on a mission to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are. From the Headliner series, which includes bold, uncompromising pack leaders like the flagship Punk IPA, to the Amplified range (beer, but turned up to 11), BrewDog creates beer that blows people's minds and has kick-started a revolution.

 

Cofounders James Watt and Martin Dickie shook up the business world in 2010 with the launch of pioneering crowdfunding offering Equity for Punks, an initiative that has seen the company raise $35 million worldwide, taking more money through equity crowdfunding than any other company on record. The funds, and the army of punk shareholders (50,000) enabled the Scottish craft brewery to scale up without selling out.

 

With more than 45+ global bar launches, export into 60 countries, and a brand new brewery in Ohio opening in 2017, BrewDog continues to take the craft beer revolution stratospheric, whilst continuing to push the boundaries, invest in people, put the beer first, and champion other smb breweries in its venues.


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Tuesday, December 06, 2016
Update by Reagan Reeve,
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Cosmos IT Solutions, Inc. Recognized as High-Performing SMB Subcontractor

Cosmos IT Solutions, Inc. announced today that it was recognized by General Dynamics Information Technology as a high-performing smb subcontractor for their technical effort and performance during the past year. The General Dynamics Information Technology Quality Service Provider (QSP) Program uses an established quality rating system and an annual evaluation process to identify the highest-quality smb providers based on quality of work, timeliness, responsiveness, cost effectiveness and standards of conduct.

Cosmos IT Solutions, Inc. was recognized at an award ceremony held on November 30, 2016, at General Dynamics Information Technology headquarters in Fairfax, VA. The award was presented by Dan Johnson, President of General Dynamics Information Technology.

Cosmos IT Solutions, Inc. is a Topeka based IT consulting company that provides quality IT staffing for Fortune 500 companies like GDIT, HP, and serves government clients like USPS and State of Kansas. If you are employer, looking for quality services for all your IT staffing needs, or if you are an employee searching for IT jobs, Cosmos IT Solutions, Inc. can be reached at 136618@email4pr.com or call Uday Jadhav at 785-554-9565.


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