Leveraging Augmented Reality for Your Business

Using technology in your business and marketing efforts has countless advantages. Augmented reality offers one such technology with huge benefits for your company.

As a new technology, augmented reality (AR) has gained notable recognition within recent years. It provides a live view of something in the real world, augmented by some form of computer-generated overlay. This overlay is seen through a digital device, such as a camera on a smartphone or tablet, special glasses or a headset, and can be anything from an image or video, to data or an audio track. AR blends the real world and virtual reality to modify the viewer’s perception of his or her surroundings.

Technology sounds great, but how can it benefit your business? Turns out, in a lot of ways. Check out these ways you can leverage augmented reality to grow in 2017.

Augmented reality gives viewers real-time information.
Not only does augmentation transport viewers to another reality, but it can also be used to present up-to-date information in an innovative way. AR occurs in real time, therefore your business has the option to update its augmented reality experience as it goes, for viewers to learn current facts and figures about your products or services.

Augmented reality has fun while being serious.
Of course, the greatest perk of augmentation is it shows your funny side, while still seriously marketing the company. Your business has the option to be creative with its augmented reality—the more interactive, the better. This gets consumers involved in a fun way, while showing everything your business has to offer them.

When your business stays up-to-date on the latest technology, it demonstrates adaptivity. Consumers are more likely to trust business they identify with, and augmentation literally reaches out to them through their screens and creates a fun, memorable connection.

How does it work?
On a widescale basis, augmented reality works through individuals’ personal electronic devices. Many businesses reach out to these devices through their company’s app. For example, the latest Pokémon Go craze used an app players could download to see the virtual pokémon living among them. If your business already has an app or aspires to build one, augmented reality offers one route to go.

How can your business get started?
Do you want to get started with augmented reality? The first step is simple: think of consumers’ needs or wants and how they relate to augmented reality. What goal do you have for your business, and how can augmented reality help you towards it? Consider the uses augmented reality has for your business and how they can be applied to current marketing efforts.

Second, if your business isn’t ready to create its own app or start using augmented reality right now, that’s okay. Set yourself up for the future of technology by preparing data and content to embrace the upcoming opportunity.

Many experts predict that within a few years consumers will expect information about real and virtual objects in their environment to be readily available on their phones, smart glasses or earpieces. By preparing your business materials today for convergence, you will set yourself up for future success.

With augmented reality, you can create a virtual 3D experience for consumers to engage in from wherever they are, further promoting your brand. Help your business get involved in the technology craze this year through exploring the mixed world of augmented reality. By embracing the virtual world, you can continue to grow in the real world.

5 Suggestions to Stay Relevant in 2017

2016 is coming to an end, and before we know it 2017 will be here, new and shiny. But what does the new year mean for your business? For some, it can be difficult to keep up with the new trends and stay current on consumers’ minds. For others, the new year means new opportunities, new products and new growth.

What do you plan to do to keep up with the trends of 2017? If you’re feeling unsure, check out these five suggestions for your business to stay relevant in the new year.

1. Take your SEO to the next level.
2017 is sure to be the year of search engine optimization. Recently, Google has updated their search engine algorithms to focus more heavily on responsive websites and sites which are heavily optimized for search engine rankings.

If your business wants to stay up-to-date and current with consumers in 2017, focus your efforts on being search engine friendly. Potential customers will then be able to find you and easily engage with your business.

2. Get in on the video frenzy.
According to a recent Forbes study, 80% of executives said they were watching more online video today than they were a year ago. Sixty-five percent said they have even visited a vendor’s website directly after watching one of their videos.

With the coming updates of technology, experts expect 2017 to explode as the year of the video. Make sure your business is in on the action by using video media to market, inform and promote your products or services.

3. Focus on intersectionality.
If 2016 could be summed up in one word, it would probably be diversity—lack thereof and promotion for. With 2017 just around the corner, diversity and how different issues intersect in the workplace is only going to continue to grow.

Your business can use this new year as an opportunity to focus its efforts on current issues related to class, race, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, xenophobia and transphobia, and what impact your product or brand has on this community intersectionality.

4. Garner sustainable practices.
Climate impact has been a huge topic of conversation for businesses in 2016, and chances are it’s not going away anytime soon in 2017. Your company can stay on the forefront of consumers’ minds by investing now in sustainable practices for your business.

Promote your brand as a force for good in the world, and give employees and customers something to look forward to and rally around. When it comes to making a difference, even the smallest changes can help your business get closer to a net-zero environmental impact.

5. Be more flexible.
The relationship in the United States between work and home life is changing rapidly, as the line between the two begins to blur. The average 9-5 work day has started to become a thing of the past, as more and more employees create careers of their own design—through freelancing, job sharing or double gigs.

For your business, this means recognizing the upcoming workplace changes and being flexible in how you treat both employees and customers. Consider letting employees build their work to fit their home lives; understand that customers may not always be working the average 9-5. In 2017, flexibility means frugality for your business.

Keep your company current for the upcoming year by taking advantage of these five suggestions. Because when your business is relevant in 2017, your business will grow in 2017.

‘Tis the Season: How Giving Leads to Growing

‘Tis the season of giving, but for your small business, that might be easier said than done. After all, if you’re intent on growing your business, you need to save all the money you can, right? Actually, in some cases, this may not be the best maneuver.

Turns out, being philanthropic with your business can actually lend itself quite nicely to promoting your brand and growing your consumer base. And how? Check out these quick tips on how giving back this holiday season can actually grow your business later on.

Giving showcases your brand.
First and foremost, giving to local charities in your community showcases your business brand in a positive light. Whether it’s sponsoring a local sporting event, donating to a nonprofit organization or volunteering your time, giving allows your business to give back while showing off… just a little.

When your business is out and involved in the community in a positive way, it draws consumers to your image, and shows them you’re a company that cares. Consider giving as a significant return on investment. Your business invests in helping others, and you get free publicity in return. Sounds like a great deal to grow your brand name.

Giving is tax deductible.
That’s right, supporting a charity is often a tax deductible endeavor for your business. Donations which are often tax deductible include sponsorships of local charities or events, inventory or services donations and of course, cash donations.

Generally, your business can benefit from deductions on charitable donations of up to 50% of your Adjusted Gross Income. Of course, before jumping into the giving season, be sure to check on what is tax deductible in your community and how this would fit into your business tax plan.

Giving motivates employees.
If your business wants to boost employee morale and encourage involvement, try giving back to the community. In the last few years, employee perks have escalated to new heights, and community involvement is often something the most qualified employees look for in their company search.

By offering volunteering opportunities and encouraging giving as part of your business mission statement, your company will be able to attract the right employees who not only work hard, but have giving hearts. Gain and retain more employees by giving back in your community.

Giving gains customers.
Most importantly, customers are more attracted to companies who show they care for the community. Your business can do some research in the local community to find what causes are most attractive to the population, then show your involvement by giving back. Not only will customers like your philanthropic side, but they’ll feel more comfortable trusting an organization they’ve already seen in the community. Giving not only builds stronger relationships with current customers, but it helps attract new customers as well.

This holiday season, get your business in on the action by giving back to charitable efforts in your community. Plant the seed for your small business now and watch as it grows your company even more later on.

Mobile Marketing: 2017 Business Trends

When it comes to marketing for your small business, it pays to be ahead of the curve. 2016 is coming to a close, and 2017 is just around the corner. The holiday season will soon be here and gone, and you need to be prepared for the next step in your marketing campaign.

How can your company get a jump start on the New Year? Check out these mobile marketing trends for 2017 that your small business can take advantage of today.

Responsive is where it’s at.
The greatest marketing trend of 2017: a responsive website design. Responsiveness means a site automatically adjusts its viewing options to fit the screen it’s on; for example, a computer screen versus a cell phone screen. A responsive website will shrink down its content automatically to easily be viewed and managed on whatever source it’s being viewed on.

For your small business moving in to 2017, be sure your website and online marketing materials are all responsive and mobile-friendly. Now more than ever consumers are viewing, researching and purchasing materials from their cellular devices.

In addition, the search platform Google is implementing favorable searches geared towards those websites with responsive design; meaning, if your website is responsive, the more likely you are to show up at the top of a search engine list. Keep your small business at the top of consumers’ lists by going responsive.

Pay online and skip the line.
With an online responsive design comes integrated online payments for your small business website. More than ever, consumers are feeling more comfortable using online payment options. For your marketing efforts, an integral part is ensuring customers don’t have to leave your site to purchase any of your services or products. With an integrated online payment system, consumers will be able to access it directly from their mobile phone, lending to a more user-friendly experience, and increasing the likelihood of a returning customer.

There’s an app for that.
If your business really wants to get ahead of the curve for 2017 marketing trends, consider investing in an app for your company. Customers will be able to download the app to their mobile devices and access your business quickly and easily, without having to navigate the Internet. An app lends itself nicely to an even more direct line between you and potential clients. A business app increases engagement with your audience, provides important customer data and grows awareness for your brand.

Don’t forget to text.
While you’re creating an app for your small business, why not consider reaching out to customers directly via text? Create a database of potential or current clients and their phone numbers that are willing to be reached. Then, reach out to them personally by sending text promotions, current business news or special deals. Texting shows personal engagement with your customers and is an easy way to promote your brand directly to specific audience members.

This holiday season, set your small business up for success in the New Year. Get ahead of the curve by checking out these successful marketing trends for 2017, then watch as your business goes from the giving season to the growing season.

4 Happy Holiday Marketing Tips

It’s no secret that the holiday season is the greatest spending time of the year, and for many businesses—both large and small—it’s a time with the most financial growth. However, customers don’t often just walk into a store out of chance.

More often than not, they come pre-decided on what they need and what they want to look for… all based on how your business reached out to them. This holiday season, don’t let your business miss out on the biggest spending time of the year. Stand out from the crowd by trying these four happy holiday marketing tips.

1. Start now and start quickly.
The best thing to do for your holiday marketing campaign is to start now and start quickly. If your business doesn’t have a plan in place yet, put one in place as soon as possible—the sooner the better. That way, you’re ready to launch whenever the time is right for shoppers.

Your goals can always be adjusted later on, but organizing for the holidays earlier sets up an outline your business can easily follow and adhere to when promoting its brand. Even though Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, your company can still continue to share its product or service throughout the rest of the holiday season.

2. Get creative.
Let’s be honest, holiday ads tend to be a little… repetitive. Ad fatigue happens when consumers have been exposed to the same type of message too many times and no longer “see” the ad. But that doesn’t have to be the case for your business! Avoid the holiday fatigue this season by putting some creativity into your marketing and advertising efforts.

Update your public promotions with new messages, colors, borders, images or buttons. If necessary, try hiring outside work to help get the creative juices flowing for your business. When you stand out amid the crowd, consumers won’t feel exposed to ad fatigue, and will be much more likely to engage with your company.

3. Be social this season.
One of the greatest marketing tools your business should take advantage of this season (and every season, for that matter): social networking platforms! Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are no longer just about brand awareness—they drive real, measurable sales right up to your doorstep.

Take advantage this holiday season by sharing your promotions and holiday sales through your social networking platforms. Engage with audience members through challenges, hashtags and surveys. Be careful though; if your small business doesn’t yet have social media, don’t use this time as a trial run. Only take advantage of social networking if you truly plan on continuing use of it post-holiday season.

4. Share some sales.
Finally, don’t forget to host and share all your promotions or sales this holiday season. Get in the spirit of giving by offering deals customers can take advantage of, then promote those through local advertisements, social media and targeted marketing. Take advantage of personalized messages through email marketing, or go old-school with direct-mail postcards and flyers.

Advertise your sales on a consistent basis so consumers are exposed throughout the holiday season; don’t drench your audience with advertisements all at one time, only to be left with a weak marketing campaign later on. Outline your marketing and advertising campaign to have a clearly organized message of your sales during the season.

This holiday season, be sure your small business stays on the forefront of consumers’ minds by following these four sage marketing tips. Not only will your business succeed for the holidays, but you can continue that growth on into the New Year.