How a Local Insurance Agency Took Control of Their Market

CTInsurance.org, run by SMJ Insurance LLC in Enfield CT, set a goal to help condominium owners properly insure their property. To do this, they crafted a campaign targeting people looking for condo insurance in Connecticut, where the insurer is licensed.

One challenge for the insurer was to educate the market on the differences between condo insurance and homeowners insurance. The latter insurance covers the land, inside the home and the home’s exterior. This makes sense because owning a standalone, traditional home means you own and are responsible for the entire property.

With a condominium, the condo owner owns basically only the inside of the condominium unit. The exterior and land is “common property”, owned and managed by the association, who incidentally must carry insurance for all buildings exteriors, all roofs, and all common areas.

Knowing that distinction, carrying traditional homeowners insurance for a condominium does not make sense. That is why there is a specific product called condo insurance.

The first step SMJ Insurance took was to create a new website, CTInsurance.org, which includes the target page about condominium insurance. On this page, they provide basic information about insurance specific to condos, including a totally free, no sign-up, no-email-needed condo insurance worksheet.

The goal is to have visitors request a free condo quote where a friendly local agent can follow-up and educate the customer on the differences between the two types of insurance and how to avoid duplicating coverage with the association.

The final piece of the puzzle was to run ads. The agency decided to use Google Search Ads to capture in-market customers in the state of Connecticut, landing them on this condo insurance page on their new website.

They also initiated a re-marketing component in Google Ads and have seen a 300% increase in website traffic, and a 100% increase in conversions, specified by a Quote Request Form submission.

Word-of-Mouth referrals are great, but why not invest and super-charge your growth opportunities?


Challenges Of Starting A Business

Starting A Business Can Be Scary but Rewarding

Opening a new business can prove beneficial in both personal and financial terms in the long run. But in its initial phase, you will face a lot of challenges, especially in the set up phase. It will demand a greater deal of your time and efforts and a huge source of cash to give it a kick-start in the market. However formidable these challenges may seem, know that they can be easily tackled with careful and intelligent planning. If they are anticipated early on, then you can prepare yourself for them in advance and you will be untroubled by any surprises later on.

Uncertainty
Nearly all of the entrepreneurs are discomforted by uncertainty about their policies’ results. The present conditions of global debt crisis and economic struggles everywhere have further heightened up the problem. It has been mainly observed that new businesses shy away from uncertain situations and keep their business risk-free. However, the golden rule of business is that “with greater risk come greater benefits”. So pragmatically, it is preferable to keep a balance between risk and safe choices. This will mitigate any unfavorable results that can be caused by your risky policy and you will also be able to reap the benefits if your gamble pays off.

Cash Procurement
In the aftermath of global crisis, there have been a number of global policies that are focused on helping the new businesses set up and boost the developing economy. True, the process has become more meticulous but it is worth taking the time. However, the amount borrowed from financial institutions will be enough to set up the business but not adequate to pay off the running costs of your company, particularly when any unforeseen problems arise. For this, you will need to approach your relatives, friends or use your own personal savings. It will be a good use of finances but you will have to be careful that you do not run out of investments in the long run.

Time Management
New entrepreneurs are very passionate about making their plan work in the least amount of time possible and they are fairly untrustworthy of others in regards of their darling business. This leads to them usually perform most of the tiresome work themselves. It demands a great deal of their time, time which they do not have enough practice of spending. A healthy way to tackle this problem is to prioritize the work and concentrate on most important tasks that you absolutely have to take on personally, the rest you should outsource to your employees. This way you can focus on other important business functions.

Maintaining A Balance Between Personal Life And Business Success
For most, health and personal life becomes a secondary thing as they indulge into the demanding corporate world. During the early phase of their business, they get so focused on making sure it is a success that they neglect other important areas of life. Their health deteriorates due to stress, lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits. Their personal relationships become neglected causing them to be deprived of their most important assets in life. When starting a new business, you need to make sure that you give ample time to yourself and your relationships so that you have good people around you when you later need their support.

Get over startup fears


Business Advocates are Empowered Employees

Empowering employees to be advocates of the business

Empowered Employees and Business AdvocatesFor a business, there can be a lot of ways to market your product or create influence for your brand. Although the majority of current managerial studies are focused on just the advertising aspect of marketing but there can also be other ways through you can subtly create a persuading image in the minds of your customers.

The vastness of global market has created a unique saturation of products and services. The idea of product distinction has largely been made an “ideal” not “applied” as many of your competitors will be making the same product. The companies thus started to compete of other variables of sales; post-sale services, convenience of the customers, availability etc. but one major area that was overlooked was the concept of employee advocacy of the brand.

Think about the impression it would create in the minds of iPhone user who observes an apple employee using a Samsung device. Would he ever prefer iPhone over its competitor again? Most probably not. Your employees have the ability to add to your company’s reputation and can also cause destruction to it if they are not catered well. Employees need to develop a sense of belonging to the organization’s goals and its vision.

Employees committed to the organization’s goals are one feature that is hard to adopt by your competitor. In some cases, they can prove to be your most vital assets. So how will you go about creating these highly motivated and unique marketers for your company?

The first obvious step is simply to make them happy. But this is not just on the managerial ground, this also means that you should employee friendliness on the policy making level. The companies that are most successful in employee engagement are those who include them in their company’s vision and mission statements and function according to them. Then you need to make sure that your employees feel involved in the company’s operations; their opinions are included in your decisions and you give them as much space as possible to innovate and make the right decisions themselves without being forced to by the administration.

After an employee is happy and committed to fulfilling the company’s goals, you need to inculcate a sense of pride in them. They need to know themselves and should be able to show others that the job they do is important. This especially becomes important in the current period where the competition also consist of CSR and promotion of CSR. When your employee is sure of his function’s importance in bringing about greater good, he is bound to work more efficiently and be proud of himself.

On managerial levels, you need to make sure that the work of all the employees gets recognized. A good way to make them proud is by celebrating their success through social media, so that they can see that the company is doing efforts to recognize their efforts.

Having your own employees as advocates can be the most efficient, cost friendly and distinguished tool you can have for presentation. You need to have proper and recognizable scales to weigh the employees’ job performance and have rewards for efficiency and innovation. Through proper methods, you can provide the most influential P.R. force in the market.


Listing a Business Online for SEO

Online Business Listings is a Minimum Requirement for Small Businesses Today

Business Profile on WinWinUSALike Google business, there are many other online web directories which provide listing and categorizing services for businesses, mainly for the purpose of convenience of the customers. For an entrepreneur, this is a whole new horizon for discovery by potential clients and building professional business relationships.

As the internet accessibility is rising with on the go web devices, using online avenues for business marketing and product advertising have become much more effective than other media platforms. The online marketing activities provide both customers and suppliers a reliable source of detailed research by providing statistics and direct information for them.

In the later 90s fast tracking a website’s growth by listing it on as many engines as possible became a very famous strategy create relevance for search sites. As a result, local business directories began popping up by a huge number. The directories are now even categorized in relevance to regions and industries. Therefore it is imperative that you register yourself on a directory that is relevant to your trade and your locality.

As the online directories are mainly for the accessibility of the customers, when they use it for looking up products or services they want, they actually have an idea of what they are going to purchase and are merely looking for the most convenient, reliable and relevant to their needs service provider they can get. Also, the huge amount of reviews available on internet for a specific product influences their purchase decisions, which again pronounces the importance of listing on relevant directories.

Other than that, the presence of your business in online directories increases the exposure in local markets and around the country. The more visible you are, more people will be able to find you. And that is not just limited to customers but it also fits for other businesses that are looking for appropriate partners.

Specifically for startups and small businesses, this gives a huge edge against their non-listed competitors. As your visibility increases, you will be able to generate more revenue and acquire more clienteles. You can beat the competition easily by using a cost effective and more dispersed method to reach towards new customers.

Once you are listed on enough places, the next most important thing to do is to continually upgrade your description with time. As you gain new experience and your business engages in new trades and gets new associations, your customers shall become more interested in you and your reliability will also increase. Therefore you should include business listing maintenance in your work schedule to ensure that you are showcasing your feats to potential clients.

Besides the direct effect on revenue growth, the social factor of local SEO is becoming more and more relevant with the passage of time. The customers are preferring businesses that participate in social spaces and interact with public. Many platforms also give businesses the opportunity to interact with reviewers and respond to their positive or negative reviews, and the importance of a happy reviewer is quite self-explanatory for any business.

As the world evolves and becomes more and more reliant on technology, SEO experts will be searching for newer shortcuts for business promotion. The best thing you can do in this situation is to make convince the top search engines that you are a relevant site and you can do so by getting more on significant directories instead of wasting precious resources on countless worthless ones.


Image Source: Blog.WinWinUSA.com – Used with permission.


B2B Online Sales of Goods and Services

Online B2B Sales for New Opportunities

business-to-business salesInternet has completely transformed the way customers interact with their service providers. Now the consumer is able to make smart decisions due to the plethora of information available online. They have many choices in front of them and can judge on a variety of basis including candid reviews of past customers of the same business. Further, the online shopping spree has made trade very convenient as anything ranging from hockey tickets to hunting gear can be purchased by a click of the mouse. The concept of local markets has been very effectively replaced by virtual global market.

It has also made a tremendous difference to the e-commerce between businesses. The process of business-to-business dealings has been completely altered. Many companies are now converting their managerial processes from physical to online. It has been accepted by research that companies that perform buying and selling on the internet are potentially more effective in managing their inventory. Their goods can get to the market faster, their paperwork costs reduce tremendously and they can get much lower prices on several supplies.

Although the media is focused on the retail sales through e-commerce, however, the majority of profits earned through it are based on increased B2B sales. An illustration of it can be seen in the proportionate online sales which were $26.5 billion in 2004, among them the B2B sales were 75%, about $19.8 billion.

Still for many, it seems rather unlikely that companies can sell their products to each other online but that is complete contrary to the actual case. It is becoming an increasingly accepted business process all over the world. Big online shopping brands like Alibaba are now venturing into the arena of business-to-business sales and are experiencing a great increase in profits in the process.

Rather than doing business through traditional methods, the online B2B transactions make the processes much faster, cost friendly and efficient. Now the openness of online markets has caused a downfall to monopoly and legacy building of local businesses. Internet platforms have triggered a rapid growth in manufacturers and other service providers as the B2B models work on the convenience of both the buyer and the seller. In fact the retail segment of the online B2B market has been predicted to reach double the size of online Business to consumer market by 2020. Currently, US and China lead the online B2B market with predicted revenue of 25 trillion USD and 1.2 billion USD respectively by 2020.

As the cross industry online public platforms become popular across the world, the B2B online interactions are expected to shift from a one-to-many to a many-to-many business model. The difference it will make is that in the former model, the companies have to invest and build an online platform to facilitate its customers and suppliers, not the focus will shift towards finding a platform which provides solutions for anybody who wants to integrate the e-procurement system and ease the process of buying and selling online.

To experience a b2b marketplace targeted to one country, go to WinWinUSA.com, where their B2B Exchange is pioneering b2b sales in America.  An overview of their b2b community is available on their blog in the article titled, “More Than a Business Listing and Business Networking Site“.


B2B Networking

Generate More Revenue with Business Networking

Increase revenue with b2b networking

September 14, 2015 – For an efficient entrepreneur, everyone is a potential customer or a prospective partner. Business networking generates more revenues than any other tool in corporate management. The most fundamental lesson in business management is that it is imperative to meet people and talk about your business. The more people you meet, more resourceful you get and increase the opportunity of selling your products or services to a larger market.

Who Knows You
The most important thing to remember here is that it is not important how much people you know, what is more substantial is how many people know you and your trade. So you should not just meet people, you should also explain what you and your business can do at every opening you get. Carry a business card with you at all times. Even rehearse describing your business properly in front of people, make sure that you all the points which can generate new opportunities for you.

Referrals
Through business networking you can get referrals. By reaching out to business professionals, you are actually building a professional relationship with them which can very easily be translated to commercial association. As the people you talk to will also be networking with others, if your business is relevant, it is bound to come in their conversations. As a result, you will be consequently connected to hundreds, maybe thousands of people you did not approach by yourself. Through word of mouth these people can become aware of your potential and if you have made a significant mark on your connections, you might also get a recommendation which will increase the probability of you getting new clients.

Professional Advice
When you start a business, you need to admit that you don’t have enough experience to run it perfectly. To acquire that efficiency, you need to talk to people who have already been in that trade for some time and know the ins and outs of its corporate structure. Also, not all people have same experiences; the more professionals you talk to, the broader your perception will get. In result, problem solving will become much easier for you.

Friendship Assurance
If we go towards non-financial aspects of business networking, the concept of friendship benefits comes in extreme focus. In all our times, we need to be sure that someone has our back in the time of crisis. You need to have not just professional contacts but friendship in powerful circles who can get you out of any tricky situations.

Relationship Benefits
Think what your friends used to do for you. And in return what you used to do for them? Friends in a social circle help each other without the thought of personal gain. Similarly, in corporate culture, if you have made such strong relationships with corporate heads, they can also take care of your needs. You can get promotion through recommendations, boost in traffic or sales etc., they can create necessary links for you and also introduce you to people who can be vital to your business.

Business networking is the most important tool you can use to grow your business and increase your profits. Whether by helping you increase your contacts or simply giving you a good reputation by just being associated with a reputable corporate name, networking can do wonders for your new business. The more people you know the more opportunities you discover.


More on b2b networking may be read on WinWinUSA’s blog article, “Business Networking – The Real Life Connect the Dots


B2B Collaboration

It’s Time for Businesses to Jump on the Collaboration Bandwagon

Time to jump on the business collaboration bandwagonSeptember 12, 2015 – B2B collaboration on a mass level has begun since the late 1980s. Various industrial segments of manufacturing, retail, healthcare and financial services adopted integration solutions to boost their business. However, the advent of information technology and the development of World Wide Web has amalgamated the global market in such a way that it has now become imperative for the businesses to collaborate in order to deliver the best service to their customers. The companies that still focused on a non-cooperation agenda were left behind by their newer competitors and were then forced to change their stance on collaboration.

The inter-connectivity has made most of the target markets of the world technologically and geographically diverse and very susceptible to change. It constantly shifts patterns, which makes it harder for a single business to oversee the fluctuating needs of people. The business environment has touched such a huge level of complexity and uncertainty that has been unparalleled in history.

What happened is that that the customer has become more informed of the qualities of the product, the choices are always in front of him and he can compare different brands based on the assessments of their past customers. To deal with such a massively challenging audience, businesses have started joined projects, which ultimately provide mutual benefit for both of them. There are many successful examples of collaborative marketing campaigns, which have catered the specific local audiences towards which some multinationals could not have access.

Since on social media, you do not have to spend much time and efforts on creating exposure, it has created a tremendous opportunity for supplier and vendor firms because they now have more space to showcase their distinguished services. Further, the freeness of discussion on social media enables businesses to engage directly with suppliers and assess the best fit for their business. This phenomenon has caused rapid growth in collaboration in supply chain function of different businesses.

According to Gregory Hedges, M.D. Provity, Menlo Park, “The conversations about social media are happening all the time. We’ve seen it on the business to consumer side and you see it even on the business-to-business side. And leveraging it is a strategic choice that supply chain executives consider all the time.”

Perhaps the utmost advantage of online business-to-business collaboration is the ease in accessing the data stored by a firm. Through data mining, different companies can access and assess their combined data and formulate strategic reports, which can forecast market fluctuations for mutual gain.

Up till now, B2B collaboration has spread to the extent that according to a survey by Aberdeen group, 83% of the industry giants have implemented it as a business process. 18% of those 83% have been using online technologies to sustain B2B for over a year while nearly half have been using it for over two years. Its significance is disastrous to ignore for an organization of this era if it wants to grow and remain competitive in the coming years. B2B collaboration pervades into every aspect of business transactions and has become a must-have, instead of being an option.


Editor’s Note: b2b collaboration has been embraced by the business-social media innovator, WinWinUSA. Visit and sign-up your business to explore this growing segment.


Understanding SEO Basics

SEO is a Business’s Friend

September 2, 2015 – Dallas, TX

Understanding SEO BasicsWhat happens when a new business starts up? Are the people going to know its name? Are they going to associate it with some positive image which will compel them to engage in business with them? No. It is all so novel that very few people will be able to find it by its name and even those who can, will not do so because they will have a much better alternative that’s already established name they can relate with a something positive.

So what can businesses do in such situations? They can launch extensive marketing campaigns before even launching their business so that they can get people acquainted with their trade. But most new small businesses don’t have that luxury. For them, there is a very effective and cost friendly method of SEO based marketing.

Online marketing is always more effective as it can reach huge audiences spread over a huge distance. Social media platforms have created tremendous business for companies that have the acumen to handle the virtual medium efficiently. SEO based marketing is one step ahead of social media marketing in its reach and its greater probability of approach.

To put the concept of SEO in simple words, there are two broad approaches to it:

  1. To have your site ranked high in search engine listings, and
  2. To compel a user to click on your link in the search results.

Both of these have different methodologies related to them and both have difference values. But their effect is much more enhanced if they are focused upon as relative to each other. The first step is always to make sure that the major search engines have a link to your website and have it on their first page.

The next step is more meticulous in nature. Now that you are on the search engine, how will you make sure that its user will click on the link to your website? You do that by giving him what he wants, that means advice that links him to your business.

So to start this whole process, you do not need to worry. The online B2B platform of WinWinUSA offers its members this service too. Any organization who created a free profile on its business social networking community enjoy a free SEO boost because WinWin created search engine enhanced and accessible pages based on member profiles that are enhanced for search engine optimization.

So basically you do not need to worry about getting SEO optimized and getting a marketing boost anymore. All you need to do now is to register yourself on WinWin and let the site does the rest for you. It all also comes with the benefits of being on a B2B platform as WinWin offers its users, services like verification, showcase etc, which can help them in growth of their business. You will be interacting with one of the biggest corporate markets in the world and getting all those great services for free too.


The Case for B2B Networking

B2B Networking is Here to Stay

September 1, 2015 – Chicago, IL

The records of business dealings go back to the very ancient of civilizations. There has always been the need to evolve channels of communication to increase the pace of business activity. Flashing forward to modern times, mankind’s World Wide Web brought the world together as a global village. The advent of modern communication methods completely revolutionized the business processes. This age became known as the communication age. It became the basic necessity of businesses to have an efficient communication network between its employees and a vast information dissemination network to reach vast multitudes of market.

The Case for B2B NetworkingIn the last decade, social media has become the main focus of campaigns of brands and services that have realized its potential in becoming the new major source of information and discussion. Hence it is the face of contemporary networking and outreach. The campaigns ran through social media platforms see a much bigger and much more interested response from customers. It substantiates the place that social media holds in shaping up a good perception in the minds of people. The ease of communication from social media and it’s on the go nature has made it a preferred choice in communication channels.

After the world saw how effective virtual platforms can be, they begin to realize the potential to have a purely business to business social network which can cater to the specific needs of businesses without getting them worried about improper dissemination of information among their customers.

Although there is an abundance of social media communities centered on individuals, there is an under-served market in the social media space that focuses on businesses being the contact points for collaboration. And the need for such a market is dire because the need for networking is becoming more and more important for businesses. The interconnected nature of the world markets gives a major advantage to those who can have their presence where it is needed and, more importantly, when it is needed.

Among a few emerging B2B virtual platforms, comes WinWinUSA which endeavors perform exactly these functions for businesses. It also identifies the issues which will arise with having a huge community in front of you and confines itself to some limitations. It hosts a community exclusively for businesses and non-profits who are based in the US. This limitation allows businesses to look for possible alliances and associations near to their target markets, on the other hand ensuring that they get the benefit of material resources as well.

WinWinUSA provides the businesses with opportunity to effectively deal with the problems of business to business deals. Being a social media platform, it makes possible all the positive aspects that come along with the social media. The companies are not only able to portray their functionality but they are also able to discuss with the prospective partner and answer any concerns that they might have.

B2B networking is the new era of corporate markets. The approaches to it are totally novel and the need for it is becoming more and more critical with each passing year. Businesses now need to have themselves appeared whenever they are needed, not just for customers but for corporate alliances as well and WinWinUSA, with its professional services, proves to be just the right choice for them.


Startup Business–A Challenging Endeavor

Business Networking – A Necessity

August 31, 2015 – New York, NY

When an entrepreneur decides to set up his business, he is faced by a whole lot of questions which he has no experience of answering. Everything is new at this point. You begin to create a completely different perspective of the world around you. There are of course a lot of risks involved so you are afraid of doing anything wrong as you are uncertain about your future.

This obliges companies to form a network, the first thing they do. In forming a network you establish important momentum and further help you in forming healthy relationships with your preferred choice of alliances that will mutually benefit you and your partner. Constant communication with the target industry and having a powerful presence in its entrepreneurial ecosystem helps it gain a productive

The answer to all these problems comes in networking. Let’s say there is a person who has to start something novel and he does not possess all the skills and the resources required. What will he do? For services, he will enlist help of anyone else to do his work for him and in return he will pay him a small fee or do something in return, similarly for resources; he will find sponsors who can finance his project.

Organizations work in exactly the same way. When a business starts, it does not have the relevant expertise or material resources required to perform all its functions efficiently, therefore it becomes vital for its survival to seek help from the best sources around. And by best sources, we mean the most cost friendly one.

This obliges companies to form a network, the first thing they do. In forming a network you establish important alliances that will mutually benefit you and your partner. Constant communication with the target industry and having powerful presence in its entrepreneurial ecosystem helps it gain a productive momentum and further help you in forming healthy relationships with your preferred choice of allies.

WinWinUSA. realizes that with all the challenges a startup faces, it can use all the help available. Engaging with a business community is an important step. WinWinUSA understands how businesses, especially startups, can benefit by working collaboratively together, which is a fundamental reason why they created their business social network.

Through a B2B platform, the startup businesses are able to follow progress of previous likewise businesses and learn how they have managed to have continuous growth. They can directly take help from expertise of various players of this sector provided that they also have to offer something back in return.

Being in front of all the corporate world, it can showcase its development and interest prospective corporate clients and if they are showing tremendous potential then some big names can also approach them, and with big names comes a plethora of quality benefits along with a marketing boom when the business has associated itself with a well reputed name of the corporate world.

Bottom line is that starting up a business is a very tough job. For a man alone, it is nearly an impossible job especially if you are planning to have a broad clientele. You need expertise, you need resources, you need services, but the good thing is that among the large number of presences on a B2B platform, you are bound to find companies that have exactly what you need and whom you can easily barter for services. So this almost impossible job becomes easier, you just need to have a good acumen and a knack for healthy communication.

You may read about WinWinUSA’s CEO’s perspective in his article on their blog.

Startup Business – A Challenging Endeavor

Image courtesy of WinWinUSA