How Much Does Multitasking Cost Your Business?

Apparently multitasking takes a toll on the global economy, sapping it of $450 billion annually. That statistic comes from a report by Realization that provided source material for the infographic below. For small businesses, multitasking may seem inevitable, but outsourcing projects can lessen the need to multitask. How does your business compare with the benchmarks below?
The High Cost of Multitasking

by kikikarpus.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


7 Ways To Improve Your Marketing On Pinterest

Free consultation on how to grow your business. ticular - strategies for success.Over the past week, we’ve seen a flurry of articles and blog posts about how to market one’s brand on Pinterest. They all seem to validate what we’ve been recommending over the past couple of months: The fastest-growing social network is a viable medium for marketing.

In the short term, Pinterest seems to be better for marketing to women, since they account for about 70 percent of the site’s users. However, we suspect that gender on the site could balance out somewhat over time as more people are drawn by the fact that Pinterest’s growing so quickly.

But here’s another reason why creating content for Pinterest might be good for marketing targets other than women only: content created for for Pinterest also works well on Facebook, where there’s a more even balance of genders.

Facebook data continues to demonstrate that images get more clickthroughs, likes and comments than any other type of content that goes up on the site. So those images created for posting on Pinterest would do well on Facebook too.

That said, here’s some more advice about creating visual marketing materials for social media, based on the recent bounty of articles and posts on the topics.

1. Show, don’t tell. This may be obvious, but images speak louder than words on the pinboard site, although infographics that include imagery fare better than plain text.

2. Pin photos and illustrations depicting your brand, products, customers or employees. This is easier to accomplish if your business is consumer facing than business-to-business, but the latter isn’t impossible to present on Pinterest.

3. Add captions to your pins to make them Twitter friendly — click the box labeled “post to Twitter” for that.

4. Uploading images that you’ve saved to your own machine gives you more control over a message than simply copying web addresses for pinning to the site.

5. Attribute all of your source material either within each graphic or in the caption. Not only does this keep you in line with copyright laws, but showing integrity can only boost people’s trust in your brand.

6. After you’ve uploaded an image, click on “edit” above the image and you can add a URL leading to your brand’s website or page on another social media network.

7. Test whether including contact information at the bottom of your images helps you get sales from things you pin. If you put such data in the captions, then you might want to reconsider whether to uncheck the box labeled “post to Twitter,” simply because of space limitations for Tweets.

Now, it’s your turn: What other tactics have you had success with in posting branded content to Pinterest?

Consumers Prefer Email Marketing, But Retailers Don’t Use It Enough

Free Consultation: ticular - strategies for successEmail still outperforms all other methods of direct marketing, in the eyes of consumers. But it’s also underutilized by retailers.

Nearly 7 out of every 10 consumers have made a purchase based on an email marketing message, according to an ExactTarget survey of nearly 1,500 consumers.

However, more than half of the 100 fastest growing retailers don’t connect email or other technologies to offline experiences with customers, according to another study by ExactTarget.

The opportunity for email marketing is ripe for the taking. Do you use this method of promotion? Free Consultation: ticular - strategies for success

20 Ways to Jack Up Your Productivity

Even the slightest increase in productivity can have a very noticeable effect on a small business’ bottom line. Here’s where technology vendors have your best interests at heart — this category of software continues to explode, to the point that it can seem like there are too many of these tools to choose from.

You can narrow down your selection by checking out the infographic below, which lists 20 of the best applications for improving your organization and keeping you on task. Readers, please let us know what you think of this list by posting your opinions in the comments section below.

Turn Your Marketing Into a Profit Center

Small business marketers recognize that they need to change the structure of their marketing organizations over the next three to five years — taking on more responsibility for customer engagement and revenue generation. That’s the gist of a survey of 478 small business marketing executives conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, as commissioned by Marketo. More details appear in the infographic below — please let us know in the comments section whether these findings jibe with what you’re seeing.

Turn your small business marketing into a profit center -- email



5 Great Ways to Get More for Less

ticular can help you increase cost efficienciesStart-ups need fiscal discipline in order to survive. Simply spending less can backfire if it’s not coupled with maximizing value.

What at first appears to be the cheapest option can turn into the most costly from an opportunity standpoint. Frequent repairs or early replacements cannibalize the savings, often to the point of making the entire exercise more expensive than even the highest-priced option. You’re better off striving for the biggest return on investment — finding the perfect ratio of maximum value to minimum expenditure.

You don’t need to be a math genius to succeed at cutting costs without being cheap. Here are some easy ways to do exactly that.

Pay Now

It’s all too tempting to borrow up a storm when you’re staring out. But paying for anything on an installment plan or any form of payment that levies interest will quickly make something cost up to twice as much as the original amount, depending on how long you carry the balance. Vow to pay for things immediately, and you’ll save a bundle. Pay with cash or the equivalent — no-interest credit, debit cards, check, PayPal, Bitcoin, and the like — and you come out ahead.

Go Virtual

A big expense for many businesses is rent, but employees increasingly want to work from home. Let them do that, and get rid of the physical office. Even if you spring for them all to have videoconferencing software on their computers, and pay for an annual retreat that puts everyone in the same place for a few days, you’ll still come out ahead of what you would have paid for year-round real estate.

Join the Club

Join organizations that give members discounts on products and services your business uses — from office supplies to health insurance. The savings more than cover the cost of any dues you might have to pay to join the group — and it will give you an opportunity to network.

freeconsultation@ticular.comCompare Three Bids

Set a goal of comparing at least three competing bids for services, or three different brands of products, before deciding which one to buy. Make it more than three if you’re in the market for anything that is marketed with free trial periods. Don’t just opt for the lowest-priced choice, but rather look for the best value: the most for the least. When in doubt, postpone the purchase until you have certainty.

Don’t Buy

Look for opportunities to share or lease resources rather than buying them outright. Partnering with companies that have different resources than yours can give you a chance to use one another’s infrastructure without incurring any extra costs on either side. If you can’t find good partnerships, lease whatever you can. This frees you from having to worry about maintenance and depreciation of assets, while enabling you to upgrade to the latest and greatest. While you’re at it, consider selling things you are no longer using.

There is some truth to the adage “You get what you pay for.” If your penny pinching gets excessive, customers and business partners can tell and possibly be put off by it. Instead, strive to maximize value, and it’s a win-win for all.

Make YouTube Part of Your Growth Plan

YouTube has become more popular than cable television among U.S. adults between 18 and 34. That trend makes the video website a dramatically cheaper alternative to TV commercials. Actually, the site is cheap even if you’re trying to reach people in other demographics.

And here’s why it makes sense to incorporate YouTube into your company’s growth marketing plan: Posting content to the video site can boost your website’s ranking in Google search results and can also amplify the effectiveness of a Google AdWords campaign, should you choose to go that route.

It’s never too late to get started. And no matter where you are on the YouTube learning curve, ample guidance is available for free on the video site’s how-to section, linked here. In case you still need convincing, here are some highlights from YouTube’s own statistics page:

  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 80 percent of YouTube traffic comes from outside the U.S.
  • YouTube is localized in 61 countries and across 61 languages
  • Mobile makes up almost 40 percent of YouTube’s global watch time
  • YouTube is available on hundreds of millions of devices

Hopefully those number have whetted your appetite for more information about YouTube, including pointers on how to use the video site to promote your business. Advice on how to do that appears in the graphicsbelow. Let us know what you think of them in the comments section beneath this

How Does Social Responsibility Boost Your Brand?

freeconsultation@ticular.comBefore, it was called corporate citizenship, but it confused people. It sounded like a contradiction, while also coming off as legalese, like a tax strategy or something that shareholders demand. Now that it’s called social responsibility, we can tell you that it’s good for your brand.

Find a logical way to connect your brand with some form of community service and you can attract customers who feel strongly about the issue in question. The practice has the added benefit of making your company look larger than it really is, which can actually help you grow. However, if you let on that your motive for social responsibility is in any way driven by capitalistic objectives, the whole thing could backfire.

That said, social media has made it easier than ever to associate your brand with social responsibility. An excellent tactic: raise money for a charity via your online profiles. And even if you are unable to contribute any of your own money to the cause, surely you and your staff could give some time instead.

The infographic below does a good job of explaining why people are so receptive to social responsibility on social media. Please let us know what you think of the topic in the comments section.

Advice on how to embrace corporate citizenship to appeal to customers -

Marketing to People Who Don’t Go Online (Much)

freeconsultation@ticular.comWhile the Internet has made marketing so much more efficient and cost effective, it’s not the only game in town, and for some it might not even be an option: What do you do if your target market happens to be offline?

Offline might be your only option for marketing if your target market is over 65, as 44 percent of people in that age bracket don’t go online, according to Pew Internet Research.

Overall,15 percent of American adults don’t use the Internet and another 9 percent only access it outside their homes. About a third of those who aren’t online told Pew they don’t find the Internet easy to use, and another third simply don’t find it relevant to them.

Reaching these people requires old-fashioned face time. That means scheduling lots of appointments, ideally involving refreshments of some sort. But it also requires going to lots of events, including conferences and trade fairs. You could even organize your own social gatherings. It could be as simple as a wine and cheese party at your own place or a more elaborate reception in a hotel ballroom, depending on how many people you can invite and the size of your budget.

When talking face to face with people, learning their hobbies and interests will help you find ways to connect what you’re selling with things that appeal to them. Offering to help them find whatever they are looking for in any capacity can also create a bridge between your business offering and what they need.

Look for interests of theirs that would give you an opportunity to chat about what you provide. For instance, if you learn that someone’s hobbies include opera and golf, you might have more of an opportunity to talk between putting than you would in a theater.

Certainly, all of this requires more footwork — in the literal sense — than any kind of online marketing does. But you’d get to step outside and enjoy the world, which could make the exercise all the more fun.

Why You Should Never Cross-Post the Exact Same Thing Everywhere

freeconsultation@ticular.comEver feel tempted to save time on social media posts by simply cross-posting the same exact thing to multiple sites? It’s a mistake. Just because numerous social publishing tools like HootSuite make it easy to do doesn’t mean this tactic is truly beneficial.

Any kind of autoposting functionality might free up a few minutes for you to do other things, but in most cases it’s counterproductive.

If autoposting is counterproductive, does that mean advance scheduling posts is also bad? Nope. This tactic is ideal for promoting events that have a set time. Additionally, if you have identified a peak traffic window for your website or social media profiles, using the scheduling features can ensure that you feed the most content to your audience when their appetites are biggest.

Back to the topic of why it’s a bad idea to cross-post identical content to multiple sites, we should clarify that we are not advocating that every single thing you publish be 100 percent unique. We wholeheartedly recommend repurposing content. In other words, start with the same material and reword or reformat it to take advantage of different networks’ features and user demographics.

Let’s use the article you’re reading right now as an example. We wrote the paragraphs above it on Tuesday afternoon and scheduled it to publish at 8 am Wednesday. After the blog post went up, we promoted it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest, using different formats for each. We used HootSuite for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ but posted directly on Facebook and Pinterest.

As you can see above, we actually Tweeted the post twice, using different formatting but spacing the two posts just an hour apart. We may well do another Tweet later on. Twitter is the only social network where repeating yourself works to your advantage, helping you get noticed. Notice that the second tweet links to our Pinterest pin of the lead photo in the blog post, which includes a link to the blog post.

On Facebook, we asked a question — which is ideal for that site but usually doesn’t work on the other social networks, albeit for different reasons. Additionally, we used a full-length web address because people regard them as more genuine. Since this does not apply to other social networks, we shortened the URL everywhere else we posted (and used different shorteners too). Then we switched from using Facebook as a page to a personal profile and shared the page post to the profile, a tactic intended to get subscribers to the profile to like the page.


The only cross-posting in this whole exercise occurred on LinkedIn and Google+. Yes, we used HootSuite to send the same exact post to two different social networks, but they were the only identical postings, and actually differed from all the other posts we’d put up. While both LinkedIn and Google+ both have hundreds of millions of users, they don’t remain on the respective sites anywhere near as long as people do on the other social networks. Cross-posting to just these two covers our bases. In fact, all we did was post a shortened URL to both of them. Doing this aims for search engine optimization more than anything else.

All of this might sound like more work than you want to do. If you would like help managing multiple social media accounts, consider outsourcing this work to a company like ticular.