Small Business Marketing: 4 Things You Can Learn from Summer Blockbusters

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‘Tis the season. No, not THAT season. We’re talking the season of summer blockbusters, a time when small business owners can learn a lot in terms of marketing, advertising, and promotions.

Take a lesson from Tinsel Town and pay attention to these four strategies.
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Feeling Rusty? 3 Awesome Trainings to Boost Your Marketing Power

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Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by marketing jargon? Do you wish you had an easy way to learn all the things you need to know to promote your small business effectively? Are you in charge of “content creation,” but you find yourself feeling lost or uninspired?

Well, guess what? Here are three low-cost and free training opportunities (two online and one in person) that can give you the knowledge you need to market your business with more confidence.
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Employee Management: Dealing with the Office “Chatty Kathy”

Humor in MarketingWe’ve probably all encountered the office “chatty Kathy” before at some point in our careers—you know, that person who talks seemingly nonstop or who gossips, distracts, and disrupts our workday.

What can you do if you have someone like this in your office? Here are some strategies for managing it.

An important note before we get started: We’ve labeled the offender as “Kathy,” but this person could also be a “Chatty Charles.” Chattiness does not discriminate!
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Mobile Commerce Trends & Why Small Businesses Should Care

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Seven and a half years ago, Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone. Since then, smartphone adoption has grown exponentially and doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, Smart Business Trends reports that smartphone subscriptions worldwide will reach 5.6 billion by 2019. As of January 2014, the PewResearch Internet Project reported that 90% of American adults own a cell phone and 58% have a smartphone.

These mobile phone owners use their phones for many of their day-to-day tasks as well, including email, social media, and—yes—shopping (at the exclusion of other devices such as desktop computers). According to Business Insider, on Black Friday 2013, “sales on mobile devices accounted for more than 20% of U.S. e-commerce spending. Traffic from mobile was even bigger, accounting for almost 40% of total online shopping visits that day.”

Need more evidence that mobile is where it’s at? Smartphone owners are redeeming coupons received on their phones (and doing so faster than expected). More email is read on mobile devices than on desktops. And mobile payments are being heralded as THE way of the future (a future that’s already started for many). According to Merchant Warehouse, “Mobile-based transactions in the U.S. have grown 118% per year on average for the last five years.”

So what do all these mobile commerce trends mean for the small business owner? Here’s what you should keep in mind.
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Summer Reading List: Business Book Recommendations

Tips for Brainstorming by the Pool
We asked small business owners to share some of their favorite business books, magazines, and blogs. The response was overwhelming! Business people from a wide range of industries and backgrounds weighed in with their favorite titles and spoke quite passionately about how certain books changed their perspectives and ultimately their businesses for the better.

As we reviewed people’s responses, we saw themes emerge. People mentioned certain titles, like The Pumpkin Plan, A LOT. Another theme involved the amount of time people dedicate to reading. The one thing that all successful business owners seem to have in common is that they read. We’re not talking an hour here or there, but many hours a week, treating it like a part-time job in some cases.

If you’re thinking about checking out some new titles this summer, bookmark this list and consider adding some of the books, blogs, and magazines to your tote bag or tablet when you’re heading to the beach. Who says you can’t mix business with pleasure, right?

Happy reading!
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Hydrate in Style: Promotional Drinkware That Sizzles

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We’ll soon be heading into “it’s a scorcher out there” weather, which is why you should stock up on some stylish promotional drinkware to hand out to customers, prospects, and employees alike. Because what better way is there to get your name out at the beach, BBQs, and backyard fiestas?

Here are seven custom drinkware options that are sure to sizzle in the sun.
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6 Ways to Tell if Your Website Navigation Is Hurting Your Site

What the Heck is Content Marketing?
At first blush, it’s easy to look at our own websites and “get” where we’re supposed to go and what we’re supposed to do next. But what about that person who’s landing on your site for the first time? What will his or her experience be like?

Here are six ways to tell if your website navigation is working the way it should be.
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