The Only Brainstorming / Mind Mapping Tools You Need in 2018 (Free)

The Only Brainstorming / Mind Mapping Tools You Need in 2018 (Free)

Mind mapping is a method of brainstorming ideas using visual outlines by demonstrating the connections between thoughts or data.  Whether you are brainstorming ideas for your next game-changing marketing campaign, planning an important project, or even just trying to gather your thoughts on a subject, mind mapping can help you get it together.

A few of these free mind mapping tools allow for more than simply brainstorming your thoughts.  With some, you can actually present your ideas in a visually-appealing way that will help your audience understand where you are coming from and how the various concepts relate with one another.  This is particularly important for putting together a marketing strategy to increase sales.

I’ve assembled this list of the top free brainstorming and mind mapping tools which will be more than enough to get you through the remainder of 2017 without having to stay up all night Googling around for ‘free mind mapping tools’ or ‘free brainstorming software.’

If you know others who may need some assistance with getting their thoughts organized or for planning upcoming projects, please feel free to share.  We use several of these mind mapping tools to create strategies for generating mortgage leads, business development gameplans, and more.

 

MindMup 2 – Create and Share Amazing MindMaps

Capture ideas at the speed of thought – using a mind map maker designed to help you focus on your ideas and remove all the distractions while mind mapping.

Create unlimited mind maps for free, and store them in the cloud. Your mind maps are available everywhere, instantly, from any device.

Brainstorm, create presentations and document outlines with mind maps and publish your ideas online and to social networks.

Coggle – The Clear Way To Share Complex Information


Coggle is an online tool for creating and sharing mindmaps. It works online in your browser: there’s nothing to download or install.

Whether you’re taking notes, brainstorming, planning, or doing something awesomely creative, it is super simple to visualize your ideas with Coggle. Share with as many friends or colleagues as you like. Changes you make will show up instantly in their browser, wherever they are in the world.

FreeMind – Free MindMapping Software

FreeMind is a premier free mind-mapping software written in Java. The recent development has hopefully turned it into high productivity tool. We are proud that the operation and navigation of FreeMind is faster than that of MindManager because of one-click “fold / unfold” and “follow link” operations.

So you want to write a completely new metaphysics? Why don’t you use FreeMind? You have a tool at hand that remarkably resembles the tray slips of Robert Pirsig, described in his sequel to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance called Lila. Do you want to refactor your essays in a similar way you would refactor software? Or do you want to keep personal knowledge base, which is easy to manage? Why don’t you try FreeMind? Do you want to prioritize, know where you are, where you’ve been and where you are heading, as Stephen Covey would advise you? Have you tried FreeMind to keep track of all the things that are needed for that?

Canva Mind Map – Organize your thoughts and present your big idea, beautifully.

Product-Launch-Mind-Map-tb-662x0

Color code your thoughts and ideas

Mind Maps can leap from topic to topic so keep your thoughts organized by color coding your design. Change a branch or text box color according to the topic they’re assigned to so you can easily find and connect interrelated ideas. Use Canvas color palette tool to choose any color in the spectrum or type in a specific hex code.

Use images, illustrations, and icons

Adding visual elements like images and illustrations can help you concentrate more because they speak to your brain’s natural language of imagery. In fact, it’s encouraged that you use an image for your central idea. Browse through Canva’s amazing media library of icons, photos, and illustrations to use on your mind map. Search from over a million stock photos and add it to your design by dragging and dropping it into the editor.

Collaborate with partners

Brainstorm with your team anywhere in the world by getting your team’s input on your Mind Map design. It’s as easy as sharing a link to an editable version of your design. Now your team can access your Mind Map and add their own edits, thoughts and ideas any time and from any desktop, laptop, iPhone or iPad device. When you’re all done you can simply download your design as a JPEG, PNG or PDF file, share it on your social media, or email it directly to someone.

Bubbl.us – Present Your Big Idea

This is a Bubbl.us mind map. A mind map is a graphical representation of ideas and concepts. It’s a visual thinking tool for structuring information, helping you to better understand, remember and generate new ideas.

To see how easy and fun it is to edit a mind map, try one of their free examples!

Top 8 Untapped Marketing Tactics | Increase Sales and Get Clients

Top 8 Untapped Marketing Tactics | Increase Sales and Get Clients

Whether you own a restaurant, a law firm, or an eCommerce business, utilizing under-saturated marketing strategies to maximize your sales revenue and optimize your client acquisition is crucial stuff.
But I can just put up some targeted Facebook ads and the customers will just start rolling in, right?  New customers will book reservations, fill out my contact forms, and call in immediately after seeing my ads, right?  Whether your objective is to create a mortgage lead generation system, to open a movie theater, or to grow your vape shop. you should always keep your eyes open for marketing opportunities which have not yet become saturated.
Doubt it.
If you’re not utilizing well-strategized online marketing to get noticed, followed, and consumed, it’s highly unlikely that you are going to get much out of running advertising.  Landing pages, ad copy, proper ad placement, keyword research, and having a proper keyword strategy are just a few additional considerations when it comes to generating business online.
After all, creating a powerful guerrilla marketing campaign would be an even better use of your time, but when you run out of viral marketing ideas, these tactics will come in handy.

Answer niche-specific questions on Quora showcase your expertise and generate specialized traffic.

Quora is one of my personal favorite websites.  Their self-proclaimed motto is righteously  ‘Answers to the Best Questions’ and after browsing for a few minutes you may find yourself sucked in.
The key to Quora is to utilize your experience and expertise to answer questions. In addition to having a standard Bio Section for your profile, which allows links to your websites, the site allows you to add your credentials to any question you’re answering.
The top answers are voted four by Quora users and the top answer becomes the main answer displayed under every question. After spending some time browsing some of the most popular answers you will see that users generally vote based on an answer’s entertainment value in addition to the quality of the information provided in the answer.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it is worth taking note of if you intend to get traffic from your Quora efforts.
The idea is to find the questions your target customers are asking and provide the best answers to those questions.  People will naturally start to follow you and read your profile / bio.
If you’re brand new to Quora, a good place to start might be “Why do people answer questions on Quora?

Reach the right customer with the right message and increase sales revenue with Google Adwords’ Similar Audiences for Search and Shopping. 

You may have heard. There is an old advertising rule of thumb called the rule of seven which is based on the idea that potential customers need to be exposed to your brand seven times before they make a purchase.  There may still be some validity to this concept in certain cases, but the truth is that if somebody is in the market to buy what you are offering, there is no reason that conversions cannot be made after 1-2 exposures to your marketing message.
Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is an Adwords feature which allows you to reach out to recent visitors who have already visited your website but did not purchase.
Similar audiences for search and shopping takes this another step further, allowing you to target other people who behave similarly to the way your best customers behave, in terms of their search and shopping tendencies. Google recommends using similar audiences combined with RLSA for the best return on your advertising investment.
It is important to keep in mind that simply running advertisements is not enough in itself.  Landing pages, quality copy, legitimate offers, site speed, etc.. are all taken into consideration as Google prices and ranks your ads.  Lower quality = lower ranking and higher ad costs.
Discover how this could apply specifically to your business by contacting me.  I am certified in both Google Adwords and Google Analytics and I can help you determine the best way to implement this into your business.
Mitch_Smith_Google_Adwords_Search_Advertising_Certification
Google_Analytics_Certification_Mitch_Smith

Encourage your customers to drive more traffic to your local business by creating customized Snapchat geofilters.

This may come across as a particularly confusing marketing avenue, especially if you are not a Snapchat user.  Essentially, geofilters are graphic enhancements which can be added to an image which is taken within a specified geographic area.
For example, most major cities already have geofilters available to anybody taking and sharing an image or video via Snapchat.  In July 2017, the ability was given for anybody to create and establish their own geofilter which, once approved, becomes available to anybody within your set geographic area.  Some suggested applications for geofilters are for weddings, special events, business promotions, etc….  And with Snapchat’s user base estimated at 200 million back in 2015, there are enough people using the platform to give it some serious consideration.

Generate inexpensive search traffic by advertising on the Bing search network.  

Fewer people use Bing so fewer people advertise on it and the ads are simply cheaper.  But that may be changing.
If you have ever tried looking for specific information or answering a specific question on being, you likely know why there’s less search volume compared to Google. Research results just don’t compare, but that’s probably just because we are spoiled and have gotten used to Google’s AI search technology.
Fewer searches doesn’t necessarily equate to insignificance, however. As Bing’s number of daily searches per day approaches 1 billion, advertising on the Bing network is only becoming more expensive. Depending on your niche, you may still be able to find being advertising for only a few cents per click.
If you’re not advertising on Bing, now is a great time to look into it while the traffic is still relatively inexpensive (or, ask nicely and I might do it for you).

Discover the latest marketing tools and sales generation technology with ProductHunt.com.

Producthunt.com gathers awesome technology tools, apps and websites and showcases them all in one place. From productivity optimization tools to communication and artificial intelligence resources, producthunt.com has it all.
I recently found this website and discovered some pretty awesome eCommerce chat plugins that allow site managers to video chat with their visitors (maybe a little creepy but it’s coming), tools to quickly design virtual reality items, and some interesting productivity apps I had never seen before.
Pro tip: Save this website visit for a time when you don’t have anything pressing on your schedule or at least visit when you have an idea of what kind of technology you are looking for. Otherwise, you may find yourself lost in the abyss of amazingness.

Stay up to date with industry news, sales opportunities, and more with Google Alerts.

There are many potential uses for this tool and frankly, there’s no reason not to use it. Google Alerts allows you to get instant, daily, or weekly emails containing newly created internet content using the words you specify.
At a bare minimum, you should track your brand mentions for reputation management and backlinks opportunity purposes.

Increase sales and new clients by encouraging social media influencers to promote your product or service.

Instagram is the perfect platform to utilize influencers to promote your product or service and there are many great opportunities to find influencers who can give your brand the boost it needs, at the right price.
For a detailed step by step breakdown of how the process works, check out the guide to social influencer targeting from Kissmetrics.

Keep your customers in the loop and drive new business by keeping your business fresh on the new Google My Business post feature.

Google explains best:
With 82% of people turning to search engines to find local information,1 your Google listing is the ideal place to showcase what is unique about your business. Even when customers know exactly what they’re looking for, they still want to get to know the business and see what it has to offer. That’s why Google My Business is bringing Posts to local businesses — an easy way to help attract new customers and build relationships with the customers you already have.With 82% of people turning to search engines to find local information,1 your Google listing is the ideal place to showcase what is unique about your business. Even when customers know exactly what they’re looking for, they still want to get to know the business and see what it has to offer. That’s why Google My Business is bringing Posts to local businesses — an easy way to help attract new customers and build relationships with the customers you already have.
Posting on Google gives you new ways to engage with your customers:
  • Share daily specials or current promotions that encourage new and existing customers to take advantage of your offers.
  • Promote events and tell customers about upcoming happenings at your location.
  • Showcase your top products and highlight new arrivals.
  • Choose one of the available options to connect with your customers directly from your Google listing: give them a one-click path to make a reservation, sign up for a newsletter, learn more about latest offers, or even buy a specific product from your website.

Seventy percent of people look at multiple businesses before making a final choice.2 With Posts, you can share timely, relevant updates right on Google Search and Maps to help your business stand out to potential customers. And by including custom calls-to-action directly on your business listing, you can choose how to connect with your customers.

Top 7 Advantages & (Potential) Disadvantages of Online Marketing in 2016

Top 7 Advantages & (Potential) Disadvantages of Online Marketing in 2016

With 80% (or more) of adults in the United States having at least one social media profile, the exposure advantages of online marketing may be self-evident.  However, if you are just now considering internet marketing for your business, you are likely one of the few who has also taken note of the inherent disadvantages of internet marketing.

Yes, disadvantages.  You may be asking, “What is this wizardry you speak of?”.

If that’s the case, you may be surprised to find out that, even in 2016, there are still some situations which may potentially deem online marketing as a disadvantage practice. If these situations apply to you, they should likely be equally considered as you evaluate the pros and cons of marketing your business on the internet.  On a side note, if your objective is mortgage/real estate lead generation, there are not many disadvantages involved in online marketing.  Its actually essential.

social networking usage over years

Among American adults, the percentage who use social networking sites, by age. Courtesy of Pew Research Center.

Advantages of Online Marketing

  1. One of the greatest advantages is in regards to the sheer population of internet users in the United States.  With approximately 86.5% of the US population (or 286,942,362 people) using the internet, it’s wise to consider the possible ways to get your business in front these folks.
  2. The internet provides a considerably more cost-effective means of reaching out to potential customers than direct mail campaigns, going door-to-door, or outsourced telemarketing.  Postage is expensive, even with a mail permit.  And even if you take care of telemarketing and door knocking upon yourself (or your sales department), your contact may be unwelcome – or even illegal – in some cases.  Most social media profiles are free to create.  Web sites can be (relatively) very inexpensive.
  3. Your ability to reach out to an interested audience is dramatically improved online.  Social media, search engine optimization and utilizing an effective web design are all means in which you can reach out to an audience specifically interested in your products or services.
  4. An effective internet presence will provide your brand with geographic flexibility, allowing you to reach more of your local market or expand your products or services to a wider, national or international audience (whichever floats your goat).  Social media marketing, online advertising, and geotargeted marketing are all means in which the internet will allow you to target audiences in specific areas of the world.
  5. Your ability to quickly deliver information to potential or existing customers is greatly improved online.  No more flipping through hard copies of the Yellowpages or waiting for brochures to arrive in the mail.  By marketing on the internet, you are able to deliver information to your customers whenever they want it, wherever they are, regardless of the mobile device, tablet, or laptop they may be using.
  6. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.  The internet allows companies to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns very quickly, allowing them to eliminate or optimize ineffective marketing without draining their bank accounts.  Direct mail, offline advertising, and most kinds of offline marketing in general, can all be very difficult to analyze without spending significant amounts of money.
  7. Small businesses and large corporations are essentially reduced to an even playing field online. As a result, the number of competitors is naturally much greater.  Increased competition always benefits the consumer.  In addition to the fact we all want the world to be a better place, we are also all consumers in one regard or another.  Plus, a very small portion of the population are owners of large corporations.  More than likely, a level playing field is an advantage to you.

(Potential) Disadvantages of Online Marketing

Although there are many advantages to online marketing, there are some situations where it might be a less attractive consideration.

BTW, the examples provided are strictly hypothetical examples- not suggestions.  I highly discourage taking advantage of people or pursuing illegal activities and, therefore, am not responsible for your life decisions.

That said, internet marketing might be disadvantageous if:

  1. You’re Amish, a member of The Exclusive Brethren, or any other community or religion which might shun you for using the internet.  I previously managed Amish construction crews in Northeast Ohio and am quite familiar with the situation there.  Although many Amish communities have accepted the use of mobile devices (hidden out in the woods) for the members of the community which rely on the devices to maintain an operable business, online marketing is likely to be a different story (as of yet, anyway).   It’s unlikely that this applies to you if you’re reading this, however.
  2. Your business only works if you go door-to-door or hold ‘parties’ to sell your products on the spot.  If this is the case, allowing your prospective customers to do online research (or shop) is likely a great disadvantage to your sales strategy.
  3. You sell Facebook profiles, Gmail accounts, or any other online services which would otherwise be easy and free to establish if your customers only knew. Maybe your target market is recently-released convicts.
  4. You resell copies of the Yellowpages or other hard copy directories which would be free if your customers only knew where to find them (and happen to be in the 13.5% of the US population which does not use the internet, of course).
  5. You make money by taking advantage of people or by prowling on their lack of knowledge or ability to access it.
  6. You operate a black market business.
  7. Your business is top secret, classified, or does not exist.

Summary

There are many reasons to establish an effective internet presence for your business online and only a small fraction of the population which this may not be applicable.

As a general rule of thumb, internet marketing is a great investment of your time and resources to maximize your exposure.  If you are looking for an effective method of generating qualified mortgage leads, for instance, you will likely need to take advantage of online marketing resources.

As a small to medium size business owner, exposure is everything.   If you are going to capture the attention of the millions of people in the US who live their daily lives with their eyes glued to the front of their mobile devices, you have to catch their attention where it counts.

If you need help establishing an effective, mobile-friendly internet presence for your business, feel free to contact us anytime.

TTFN

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How To Use Behalf Financing for Web Design and Online Marketing

How To Use Behalf Financing for Web Design and Online Marketing

As a business owner in today’s world, having a professionally designed website and an effective online marketing strategy is as (if not more) important than having a phone number.  Considering a well-implemented online marketing strategy and business website will provide a return on your investment for years to come (as long as it is well maintained), there are some distinct advantages in using Behalf’s term payment program rather than paying cash out of your pocket.

Although this is not a topic I am asked about on a regular basis, I did receive a question about it recently and knew there were others in similar situations. I found there to be somewhat limited third-party information about this topic available – outside of using a credit card – which will generally be a much more expensive route than the method I am sharing here.

Maybe you have recently launched a new startup and have limited working capital or possibly found yourself in a difficult cash flow  situation and realized the importance of optimizing your brand’s visibility online.  Or maybe you can afford it but the low-cost of using the service is attractive to you, and you like the idea of boosting your business’ credit rating while taking care of your company’s web presence.

In either case, this process may allow you to get the ball rolling towards having an effective online web presence in place, working for your business around the clock.  An effective web presence has the potential to be much more effective than even your top sales person, yet ‘working’ 24/7/365 rather than only during normal business hours.

There are actually some distinct advantages of financing your web design and online marketing, even if you do have cash to cover the investment.

Luckily, for those who don’t, there still may be an opportunity to obtain financing on your web design and/or online marketing with Behalf Financing, even if you have some credit scuffs from the past.

Discovering A Need for Behalf (via the Liberation of Vapor Devices)

Through April 2015 I was involved in the business development and sales management of a wholesale vapor distribution company which strictly sold to retail businesses which offered vapor / electronic cigarette devices to the 18+ public.  During that time I ran into several situations where my customers came to the warehouse to pick up their orders, agreeing to  ‘send us a check later.’ Some just never came through on their end of the deal.

My customers, on at least three occasions over the year and a half I was in that position, intentionally stiffed the company for the product I ultimately let them walk away with. Although I may never understand or make an attempt to justify this type of behavior, I truly believe (really hope for their sake, anyway) that they wouldn’t have done that if they were not in dire personal financial situations.

While ‘liberating’ our vapor hardware was one way to finance their product, Behalf Financing turned out to be a much more attractive option.

Behalf Financing – The Cash Flow Savior

Having previously held a sales management position with the insulating concrete form manufacturer, BuildBlock Building Systems, the B2B sales and marketing world was not foreign to me, however, the vapor industry was indeed.

I took every opportunity to learn marketing and business growth strategies from our top producing clients, not only because I was truly interested in understanding their approach, but also because my experience at BuildBlock taught me that my role in that position would ultimately prove to be most effective once I was able to help our

I took every opportunity to learn marketing and business growth strategies from our top producing clients, not only because I was truly interested in understanding their approach, but also because my experience at BuildBlock taught me that my role in that position would ultimately prove to be most effective once I was able to help our clients by providing them with specific means in which they could each grown their businesses.

One day I ran into a situation with a client who had just placed a large order directly from a manufacturer  in China. Typically on these orders, pricing is greatly dictated by the quantity of product being purchased. In this particular situation, my client saved nearly 20% by ordering in bulk, which was significant enough for them to take the risk at that time. The problem, however, was that sometimes these orders could take 5 – 7 weeks to arrive, particularly when the weight and/or volume of the order made shipping by air a fairly expensive consideration.

Needless to say, this delay in receiving the product they needed not only left their bank account below their comfort level but it also put them in a situation where they did not have the product in stock they needed to run their business or a credit card to use to purhcase more product.

Mistakes like these often were made at the expense of losing customers as, in many cases, the retail e-cig buyers would become impatient and either go somewhere else or order their devices online.

The customer called to discuss their situation but since we did not offer any financing terms on purchases, I opted to research other possibilities and came across a company called Behalf which offered term payment solutions to businesses, for business purchases.

I called the company and had a long talk with one of their reps but since I did not have prior experience actually working with the company, I proceeded with caution as I pointed our customer in their direction.  The and I set up our business account which enabled us to receive payments from our clients who used their services.

As I discussed their services with more people over the  following days, I discovered that there were surprisingly more people who used their service than I anticipated. In fact, I found we were actually losing business by not having an account with them as many of our customers just went to another vendor when they were in a situation where it made more sense to use Behalf financing services.

I heard many stories of how Behalf financing had saved my customers when they were in tight cash flow situations and needed additional inventory, computers, and other products and services to run their businesses.  Not only that, but my clients found it made a lot of sense to use on purchases which had a longer return on investment.Behalf was the cash flow savior.

Behalf was the cash flow savior.

Behalf Financing

How Much Does Behalf Financing Cost?

This part was somewhat surprising and had me asking, “So, what is the catch?” a few times before I fully understood the company’s business model.

The founder of the company started the organization as a means of providing affordable financing to business owners who had found themselves in a bit of a tough situation financially, in order to purchase products or services for their business.

Behalf financing generally costs $10 – $30 / month per $1,000 borrowed. The company offers 90 – 180-day payment terms and allows customers to pay off their balance early without acquiring any additional fees or expenses.

Not only is this much less than what most credit cards would charge, this also makes considering the use of Behalf to cover expenses such as your company’s website design or online marketing.

This is due to the basic economics of the situation.

Hypothetical situation.  Let’s say you are shopping outsource web design companies (vs hiring an employee to design and manage).

One of the options you found costs $500 and the other is $1,000. You know the $1,000 option will ultimately drive more business because it is more comprehensive, but you are not comfortable making that investment out of pocket. $500 is a more comfortable investment but you have a feeling you may not get as much out of the finished product as you would with the alternative option.

Rather than going the ‘more comfortable’ yet less effective route, you consider the costs of using Behalf Financing to spread the $1,000 investment over the next three months. On the higher end of the spectrum, that might cost $90 in fees to Behalf and the additional $500 for the investment itself makes the higher-end option run $590 more to pursue.

What is the Return on Investment for Using a More Comprehensive Digital Marketing & Web Design Service?

The true answer to this will depend greatly on the nature of the business you are involved in.   In the example above, using Behalf Financing in addition to a more comprehensive digital marketing and web design service was $590 more than the alternative option.  vast majority of businesses will have a much greater than $590 return if the more costly option is even slightly more effective than the $500 option.

The vast majority of businesses will have a much greater than $590 return if the more costly option is even slightly more effective than the $500 option.

Plus, considering you will continue reaping the rewards of a well-established web presence long after it has been set up (as long as you provide it with necessary upkeep) it actually makes more sense to compare the two options on a several year time frame.

Extending the investment over a longer period of time likely makes more sense if you are able to do so affordably, especially if you are ultimately getting even a few more customers out of it than the lower-investment route.

For a custom home builder or contractor of any kind, just one additional customer would more than justify the difference. For a vape shop or restaurant, for instance, one new customer every couple weeks would likely more than justify the additional expense.

The profit per customer & per transaction with ultimately change how the return on investment works but the overall advantages to using Behalf Financing are essentially the same.

How Do I Go About Using Behalf Financing for my Web Design & Online Marketing?

The Behalf financing approval process has improved greatly over the past couple years and today it is even easier than it was before to use their services.

  1. Visit the Behalf website here and fill in your details to begin creating your account. Continue going through that process until you receive a notification regarding your pre-approval status. Behalf uses a proprietary method of obtaining a pre-approval without the need for your social security number. This means pulling your pre-approval will not affect your credit score as they are not reporting this to any credit agencies. They will, however, report your successful payments, which will help your business credit.
  2. Once pre-approved, either contact me or request your free digital marketing evaluation. This will give me the opportunity to review your current situation and create a customized online marketing game plan specifically for your business. The more information you provide up-front, the more effective this process will be.
  3. After we have come to a game plan to pursue in establishing an effective web presence for your business, you will go back to the Behalf website and enter my vendor details and the total investment we have decided to be most comfortable and appropriate based upon your current situation and overall objective, Behalf will arrange the funding of your project based upon the payment terms you established with them.
  4. You continue making on-time payments to your Behalf account and they report positively to credit agencies as a result.  Your account with Behalf works as a revolving credit line so as long as you continue to make your payments on time, you can continue using the account for many other businesses to business transactions.

If you have further questions you may feel free to contact me anytime or you may contact Behalf if your questions are directly related to their services .

If you have questions regarding FogPusher’s work or hearing about what my clients have to say about my work, feel free to view our portfolio and/or testimonials, where you will find real client feedback from real customers.  You are welcome to contact any of them as references (please just be respectful of their time / time of day).

TTFN

Fill in the Form Below Now to Learn More About How Our Web Design & Marketing Services Can Help You (Specifically)

 

Free Vape Shop Marketing Resources (2018 List)

Free Vape Shop Marketing Resources (2018 List)

August 2018 Update: Most of the information in this article still applies today but Google My Business has now added on more features, so there is actually more to pay attention to.

I have had great success helping my clients drive additional business to their vape shops and I am open to discuss doing this for your business as well. I have one client in particular, that owns 13 vape shops. He attributes the doubling of his client base over the past year mostly due to my work on his Google listings.

This service is $1,250 for 1 location. There is a bulk discount available for multiple locations.

Simply fill out the form on the Contact page for more information or to arrange a discussion.

—————————————————————————————————————————–As a vapor industry business owner, maintaining an effective online presence is likely one of the most important things to prioritize in order to ensure the success of your business (outside of finding good employees and maintaining an inventory of quality product, of course).

Below you will find a fairly comprehensive list of the free vape shop marketing resources available.  Some will also be effective for marketing a vapor wholesale business or eLiquid brand, however,  this list is specifically geared towards optimizing your vape shop’s brand visibility.

In reviewing and utilizing these resources, please understand that one of the most important aspects of optimizing your vape shop’s presence online (or any ‘brick and mortar’ business, for that matter) is directly dependent upon your ability to portray a welcoming experience for prospective customers and the consistent distribution your business name, address, and phone number (at minimum).

 In order to ensure your business is receiving all of the traffic it needs (or is capable of acquiring) you want to make sure your business is listed in every relevant local directory as well as industry relevant directory possible – with the exact same name, address, and phone number (NAP).  I have made it a point to include most of the important resources to utilize below but each market will have slightly different resources, which can be discovered by utilizing the process described below.

Is having an actual website absolutely necessary in order to establish or maintain a successful vape shop?

Quite simply, yes.  Some will disagree and give examples of vape shops which have done well without an official website and I am aware of some of these examples, however, these businesses are an exception to the rule.

Some will disagree and give examples of vape shops which have done well without an official website and I am aware of some of these examples, however, these businesses are an exception to the rule.

Failing to implement an effective, professionally designed and search engine optimized website with on-page and off-page SEO in place, is shooting yourself in the foot before you even open your doors.

How do you know?

I managed business development for a vapor hardware distribution company and today vape shop owners make up a good portion of my web design and digital marketing clients.  I have seen many vape shops succeed and I have also seen many go out of business in their first six months.  

There are distinct differences which can usually be identified that make the difference.  In fact, it’s almost predictable, to a certain extent.  

While failure to have an effective vape shop website is likely not the most common reason for vape shop failure, I would say it is likely a close second place to hiring ineffective, lazy or conceited employees (or the owner coming across as this type of person) and/or choosing a bad location.

These things are absolutely certain to kill your shop but failure to implement an effective web presence will do the same.  It might just take a bit longer and will not likely be as easy to identify as the problem (until now, anyway).

I say this because the effectiveness and ultimately the results you get from listing your shop on these sites may rely a great deal on having a website in place for them to link back to.

That said, running a vape shop without a website makes it that much more important to take advantage of all of the resources available.


Vapor Industry Resources

Vape Shop Directories (Free)

These directories are specifically for vape shops  and vapor stores and they allow users to find local shops in their area.  Keep in mind that is not the only purpose of utilizing directories.

The customers may not even use these websites but having links to your website, including your name, address, and phone number, will make your vape shop more attractive and indexable to search engines since they are industry specific and are not spam sites.

FogPusher Local:  Find Your Favorite Premium eLiquid Brands Nearby

FogPusher Local is the newest addition to the vape shop directory list.  This is actually a project I designed myself to allow vape shop customers to search for their favorite eLiquid brands online.

The project came about because I was looking for a vape shop that carried a particular eLiquid I was interested in and the process of doing so came out to be a little more time consuming than I had hoped or anticipated.

The project is designed to index vape shops by the brands of eLiquid they carry, allowing customers to find them searching for these brands.

Vape shop listings are free on FogPusher Local.

VapeStores.com:VapeStores.com 

Vape Shop Directory with Deals and Coupons and News

CigBuyer.com 

eCig Reviews, Deals, Information & More

VapeAbout.com

Vape Store Finder and Vape Shop Locator

E-Cigarette Web Directory

(AlternateSmoking.com) Web Directory for Vape Shops.

Vapor Shop Local

Find your Local Vapor Shop local e-cig store finder. Find a Vape shop e-cig store near You. Have a Vape Shop? List your Vape Shop Ecig Store in our Directory.

iVapeLocal

iVape local can provide a suite of business services to help you grow your e-cigarette business. We provide cutting edge web design, powerful SEO, and a variety of other marketing services.

E-Cigarette Store Reviews

Find Vape Stores … E-Cigarette and Vapor store directory providing store locations, reviews, and ratings. The ultimate resource for finding E-Cigarette and Vapor stores near you.

Vapor Shop Finder

Vape shop directory and online retail store for vape goods.

Additional Vape Shop Directories Worth Considering (Not Free)

VaporSearchUSA: Helping You Find Your Local Vape Shop since 2009

This is one of the original vape shop directories and still manages to rank very well on Google.  While listings are not free, the $20-25 / year investment is a wise choice to make due to the website’s search engine rank and overall visibility.

I have also seen Vapor Search USA at some of the industry trade shows.  They have an active presence in the industry, unlike many of the other vape shop resources listed.


Local Business Directories

This list includes a list of free business directories which are worth listing your vape shop online.  These resources include vape shops in their directories / profile listings but are more specific to local businesses in general than they are vapor industry specific.  All of the following sites are worth creating listings for your business, and some are absolutely necessary.

All of the following sites are worth creating listings for your business, and some are absolutely necessary.

Google Business 

Google business is by far one of the most important listings you can create as a vape shop owner.  Most people conduct their online searches for local businesses using their cell phones so you are missing out on a tremendous amount of the market by not having this listing in place.  

When you create the account, they are going to mail you a PIN number to verify your listing online.  Look out for that in your mail, typically in the first 3-7 days after submitting your listing.

Bing Places

Bing is a growing player in the search engine world and you definitely want to set your shop up with a listing on their local business site.  They will also mail you a PIN number which you will need to verify.

Foursquare

Foursquare is another local business resource which allows users to ‘check in’ at the places they visit.  This has been around for a while and there are a lot of people that use the service.  It is definitely worth taking the time to set up for your shop.  They will also mail you a PIN number.

YP

YP.com has become one of the leaders in the business directory world.  They also now have a vape shop listing section, specifically geared towards listing vape shops.  While they also have paid listing services, you will, at least, cover the basics by utilizing the free business listing they have available.  Don’t be surprised when they call you to sell you advertising.  In fact, you can count on them doing that.

Don’t be surprised when they call you to sell you advertising.  In fact, you can count on them doing that.

Yelp

‘People use Yelp to search for everything from the city’s tastiest burger to the most renowned cardiologist.’  Yelp is a review website which allows people who enjoy reviewing things to go on their and share a piece of their mind.  Unfortunately, many of the times that people feel motivated to post a listing are when they are extremely upset with an organization about something, however, you will find in browsing their site that this is not always the case.

Unfortunately, many of the times that people feel motivated to post a listing are when they are extremely upset with an organization about something, however, you will find in browsing their site that this is not always the case.

It is always important to be consistent with your attitude and honest with customers with things and you will not have to worry about negative reviews.  Actually, I can pretty much guarantee you that as long as you are nice to people when they come in and you maintain at least a basic inventory of products that people want, and are honest with them when they ask for things they don’t want, that most likely nobody is going to make any negative reviews.  There are always exceptions where people are just rude and are having a bad day but I would say more likely than not, people will not go out of their way to curse you unless you set some kind of expectation which you were unable to meet.

There are always exceptions where people are just rude and are having a bad day but I would say more likely than not, people will not go out of their way to curse you unless you set some kind of expectation which you were unable to meet.

There are always exceptions where people are just rude and are having a bad day but I would say more likely than not, people will not go out of their way to curse you unless you set some kind of expectation which you were unable to meet.

There are MANY more than these… read on to learn about how to find them.


How to Find the Most Important Directories to List Your Shop (Other Than Mentioned)

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To find additional vape shop directories relevant to your specific area, conduct a Google search for ‘find a vape shop (your city)’ and locate the directory listings which appear on the first couple pages of the search.   For example, if you live in Oklahoma City you might search for finding a vape shop Oklahoma City (shown below), and your results would look something similar to the images below.

Notice some of the listings will be for actual vape shops which have ranked well or that you have recently visited online  and others will be actual directories. First, you will likely see the local search results.

 

<hr class="shortcode hr "#e5e5e5"" style="width:"90%";border-width:"2px";" />

Above you will see the local search results, which appear first when conducting a Google Search for a local business. If you do not see your business listed and are interested in being in the top three show, or at least on the first page, be sure to contact us to find out how we can help. With our services, we guarantee your vape shop being  listed on the first page at very least.

 

Next, you will see the actual web search results.  I have highlighted the directories and the actual shops to better explain how to go about identifying which are directories and which are local businesses which have just ranked well for the search terms you used.   If you are in doubt about which, just visit the sites and see what they are about.  

You should do this for each key word you want to rank for, scanning and noting the first 2-3 pages of the search results.  These are the most relevant for your particular area

After you do this you might try the same with ‘vapor store (your city)’, ‘pigs (your city)’, etc….  You want to make sure all of your bases are covered in terms of potential search terms used to locate your shop.
Free Vape Shop Marketing Resources: Find Free Directories

 


If you have any questions or would prefer to just have somebody do this for you, I am also available for taking care of your online business listings.  Please contact me to inquire.

Be sure to check out my web design and digital marketing portfolio to see examples of my completed projects.

I specialize in vape shop web design, SEO, and digital marketing services for local businesses (physical address local, not close to me necessarily) and have been involved primarily in the vapor industry for the past couple years.   In addition to vape shop websites, I can help you market or design a website for an eLiquid brand you manufacture or distribute or for your vapor wholesale business.

 

Other Recommendations

Expand your product offering!  You have a vape shop – your customers want to get healthy….  Carry supplements!  Use coupon code SAVE6 to Save 6% at BulkSupplements.com.

Brainstorm other products to supplement your customer’s desire and lifestyle.

TTFN

 

[/emaillocker]

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Guerrilla Marketing Ideas & Creative Marketing Tactics to Boost Your Business

Guerrilla Marketing Ideas & Creative Marketing Tactics to Boost Your Business

Chances are, when you first hear the words guerrilla marketing ,one of two things come to mind:

– A large King Kongish primate who has made himself available to hire for promotional purposes (nope, not gorilla marketing) or…
 – A communist military activist armed with automated weapons and camouflage bandannas, but only on the weekends.  During the week maybe he too, offers marketing services.

Fortunately, however, guerrilla marketing is far more likely than either of those things to bring a great benefit to your life and business.  It’s also possibly less dangerous (particularly if your objective is mortgage lead generation).

What is guerrilla marketing?

The concept of guerrilla marketing is interesting because its definition and context seems to change dramatically from one resource to another.  For example, Entrepreneur.com’s definition focuses on the low cost, practical sense of the term and further explains that telephone and email marketing are the most effective forms.  In looking deeper into the subject, I discovered that these are examples but they are not comprehensive in the sense of maximizing brand exposure.

You will find in the ideas shown below that maximum exposure is more likely to be obtained with a little creativity and thinking outside of the box.  This is not to say that email marketing, digital marketing and good old fashioned phone calls are not effective and necessary, because they definitely are – likely more-so than some of the examples shown below.  The most comprehensive definition I have found actually comes from Google:

guer·ril·la mar·ket·ing
noun
innovative, unconventional, and low-cost marketing techniques aimed at obtaining maximum exposure for a product.

How are the most effective guerrilla marketing ideas created?

 In order to create the most effective guerrilla marketing ideas, pay close attention to your immediate resources  as well as the various objectives of the products or services you are promoting.  There is no ‘set in stone’ method of creating highly effective guerrilla marketing ideas, and that is what makes the concept special.  

Whether you are a business owner or a marketing professional, take some time to evaluate each of the concepts presented.  From vape shop marketing concepts to bar marketing ideas, the guerrilla marketing ideas mentioned here can definitely be useful as a guide to creating your own.  Pay attention to the actual thought process which took place in the creation of the ideas – from the standpoint of the person who created the campaign.   You will begin to recognize the overall thought process involved in creating these campaigns has some consistency in each different application.   Once you have become familiar with that thought process, it will be easier for you to identify real world opportunities in which these concepts can help you grow your business.

As you will see below, there are many ways of going about maximizing a brand’s exposure.  The common theme among most of them however, is that of staying outside of the box (literally, in many cases) to provide a new perspective on something which is found in every day life.   The most effective guerrilla marketing techniques are those which blur the lines between advertising and reality for the audience and transform advertising efforts which are typically seen as an annoyance to the public, into humorous, enjoyable experiences .  

In making your target market feel as if they have entered an alternate dimension, you are creating an unforgettable experience which will naturally be shared across social media outlets and with the friends and family of those who get to experience the advertising first hand.  For marketing professionals, this viral effect is the goal of all marketing efforts and guerrilla marketing can be the answer. I have compiled the examples below as a means of giving you some idea and inspiration in creating your next big guerrilla marketing campaign.   Be sure to pay close attention to the thought processes behind these ideas as they may help you formulate concepts for your business. 

Flyers

The flyers below are awesome examples of low cost (relatively speaking), highly effective guerilla marketing.  It is nice to get some inspiration from these examples which remind us that standard flyers do not have to annoy people in the process of seeing or finding them. Creating humor and originality are essential aspects of the guerilla’s flyer creation strategy.

guerilla-marketing-flyer-car

Awesome example of taking the annoying ‘flyer in the windshield’ concept to an entirely new level.

guerilla-marketing-ballet-flyer

Ballet classes, anybody?


Sticker Bombs

Sticker bombs are likely one of the most common, cost effective guerrilla marketing ideas out there but as Golden Ale and Lay’s show us below, sticker bombing does not always have to come across as trashy or annoying.  The humor and surprise factor bring a new dimension to sticker bombing which is much more effective than putting a logo on sticky paper and littering the city.

golden-ale-sticker-marketing

I had personally never heard of Golden Ale before but now I have. That is how you know this broken urinal campaign worked exceptionally well. If you are looking into doing your own sticker bomb campaign, be sure to comply with your local laws and/or establishment rules and be mindful of the environment in the process. Failure to do this will make your brand look highly unfavorable.

guerilla-marketing-with-stickers-lays

This concept for Lay’s potato chips was definitely ‘outside of the box.’ This is a very clever example of surrealism mixed with absolute awesome creativity.

Street & Sidewalk Brilliance

Finding ways to create new meanings and purpose to every day fixtures on the sidewalk or even in the road can be an excellent place to start in creating a guerrilla marketing campaign.  Some of these concepts are still even a little easier on the budget than some of the ideas included further below.

folgers-coffee-guerilla-marketing

How could you possibly not want a cup of Folgers after you see a city full of steaming Folgers manhole covers around the city?Another awesome example of creating a new perspective around an every day item in the name of highly effective branding.

street-ads-durex-knobs

Street Knobs… Durex Knobs.

amnesty-international-guerilla-marketing

“Let me out of here!”
Amnesty International did a great job of getting their point across by re-creating the purpose of this street drain.  Is that a real person in there?!

Jeep Parking Spot


It’s true though! Jeeps can park anywhere. Might as well show people a few examples around the city.

Surrealism

As you can see, a guerrilla’s primary objective in creating a highly effective guerrilla marketing tactic should be to blur the lines of reality for the targeted audience.  Any time you can alter the audience’s life experience or give them a new perspective as a result of them seeing your campaign, you know you are on the right track and have created something which has potential to be highly effective.  The campaigns are not only effective because of the people who will directly see them but also because of how many people will voluntarily share the images on their social media pages, Reddit, etc…

Billboard Designs

Somebody at Coops Paints deserves two thumbs up for this spilled paint bucket with paint coming out of the 2D image. This is particularly effective due to how it created a 3D effect coming from the 2D image. Covering the vehicles was also a nice touch.

Honda Cereal Box Campaign

The Honda Cereal Box Campaign… How much better would a Cracker Jack’s surprise be if a Honda came out?

False Imprisonment

You can never go wrong having an amazing artist on hand to make it look like there is a person stuck somewhere in the ground, especially if you are promoting a product or service which gets people ‘un-stuck’ our ‘out of a hole’ literally or metaphorically.

Lait Carton Surrealism

Lait… It does a body good. As long as it’s giant sized carton doesn’t spill on your head while you’re waiting at the bus stop.

MiniUSA Airport Surrealism

Nice work, Mini-Coop. Not everybody will have the resources to convert the airports conveyor belt into an advertisement but when you make a large investment in the banner space above, I am sure the airport becomes negotiable.

Neglected Children

“Somebody get that neglected child out from behind that…. Oh wait, nevermind.  Dangit.” Above is another great example of creating the illusion that a person in in a very inconvenient situation, to effectively get a point across. People always tend to recognize humans in situations so any time you can create concepts which involve a human figure or realistic artist replica, you may be on to something special.

Display and Billboard Advertising

Some of the ideas below overlap with the surrealism category but continue to provide more examples of highly effective guerrilla marketing strategies which surely achieved the goals they were created to achieve.  The key again here is changing the audience’s reality or their perspective on an item in order to create something amazing (and in many cases hilarious, like the free air guitars).

Free Air Guitars

I find 96.3 Rock Radio’s Free Air Guitar advertisement to still be one of the most clever guerilla marketing ideas I have seen. This is not only because the concept works well with the rock radio station but also because the low cost involved. This advertisement also reminds us that the more clever the guerilla marketing idea, the less likely you will have resistance in anybody insisting that it gets taken down.

Mondo Pasta

The marketing brain behind Mondo Pasta’s rope to noodle perspective transformation was on his or her A-Game when this idea came about. Creating these face displays for the sides of the boats was likely not cheap but you can be sure that everybody who sees these boats will not forget about Mondo Pasta’s awesome guerrilla tactics. I am sure Mondo Pasta found the investment to create an extraordinary ROI.

The Economist BillBoard Ad

The Economist’s motion sensor activated light-bulb is an excellent example of a very simple, yet highly effective guerrilla marketing concept. The lit bulb indirectly portrays the notion that people who read the Economist have their light bulb turned on, but they did it in a way that did not require any words other than The Economist.

NYC Taxi - Raise Your Hand - FogPusher

Creating a new perspective for everyday objects is one thing but this bus stop ad for NYC Taxi goes to show how creating a new meaning to an every day gesture such as raising a hand can also be effective. This is another great example of a very clever, cost effective guerrilla marketing idea.

‘Mapvertisements’ and Wide Area Ground Displays

This is where the expense and resource availability may start to become a hurdle for many guerrillas looking to create new ideas for their businesses or their client’s.  Creating advertisements which can only be seen from airplanes are cool to look at pictures of and possible for the rare occasion you catch a glimpse of one from an airplane or on Google earth, but other than that, I assume there is not a significant amount of visibility compared to the other forms of guerrilla marketing mentioned.  Not to say that you shouldn’t pursue this type of advertising, but I can only imagine that they are actually viewed by significantly less people and require a fairly significant marketing budget.

On the other hand, the  Frontline display shown below, which makes people seem to be the fleas on the dog, is purely genius.

CocaCola Ad Only Seen From Air

This coca cola ad was carved into the side of this dirt hill and will likely be seen by far less people than many of the other ads discussed so far. This does not mean this type of advertising is ineffective for Coca-Cola, however. The objective of guerrilla marketing is to keep the brand on your audience’s mind and by doing indiscreet things like this they are actually doing this very effectively, but almost in a more subliminal manner which the intended audience will likely not consciously even think about.

Frontline Arial Mall Advertisement - Guerilla Marketing - FogPusher

Frontline did an excellent job in implementing this highly effective creative marketing tactic in what appears to be a shopping mall. Creating the appearance that humans are fleas is a funny and also effective strategy which has been properly executed here.

 

 

 

Papa Johns Arial Advertisement Crop Circle

Papa John’s went all-out with this mapvertisement display which can only be seen from an airplane or satellite. It is pretty awesome to think about the planning which this type of project involved however, it must also be difficult to measure the effectiveness of the advertisement. I honestly think somebody just did it for fun however, I am sharing it so it is definitely serving its purpose.

 

 

KFC Google Maps - FogPusher Guerilla Marketing

The mapvertisement above, from KFC and shown on a Google Earth image, is another example of a method which a food company has used to reach out to the public. Again, I don’t know that these are the most effective ideas for making the best use of a creative marketing budget however, when you have the resources that Coca-Cola, Papa John’s and KFC have – you might as well!

 

 

SwissAir Crop Circle Ad

Food services are somewhat questionable in terms of their potential to benefit from mapvertisements however, airlines are a different store. In the mapvertisement image shown above a SwissAir advertisement is available in plain sight. I can see this being tremendously effective if it were placed in an area with high air traffic (such as close to an international airport). I can imagine that keeping up with this mapvertisement is a full time job but I am sure they know what they are doing or possibly this was just a temporary setup for photographs.

When in Doubt, Prank Somebody and Make a Commercial Out of It

Not everybody will have the resources to create a retractable floor or a faux news station to broadcast in the airport but these ideas are still valid for entertainment’s sake, if nothing else. In diving into the hilarious world of practical joke guerrilla marketing campaigns, you will notice a non-US trend involved, especially in the more effective campaigns such as the examples shown below.   One can assume this is likely because of the tendency for everybody in the US to feel the need to immediately file lawsuits because of the permanent emotional distress which was violently inflicted upon them as a result of the practical jokes involved.  Then again, I’m sure the examples shown below are easier to watch than they would be as the target.

North Face Korea – ‘Never Stop Exploring’ Campaign

In this guerilla marketing campaign, a retractable floor was built into the new North Face building and set up to retract into the walls as customers were shopping.  The results are hilarious and the budget was obviously not much of an issue for this.  Then again, it does help when you just happen to be building a rock climbing facility inside of your newly constructed building.

Nivea Airport Prank – Stress Test Commercial

For the new Nivea Stress Protect Deodorant brand, the company went through some pretty amazing hoops to take over the airport news broadcast and to produce fake newspaper articles in an effort to stress out the victims of  the prank.

LG TV 84 – Asteroid Prank

This one is pretty awesome and definitely clarifies the concept of why these companies go through the great lengths that they do in executing these guerilla marketing tactics on non-US soil.  “LOL.”


Hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration to create guerrilla marketing tactics which can be used to grow your own business, or at least gave you some laughter.   If you are looking for marketing ideas for your own business be sure to contact me, request a free digital marketing report and/or learn more about me.  The digital marketing report provides me with the opportunity to evaluate your business and situation, allowing me to create and ultimately propose solutions to maximize your business exposure, streamline your workflow and/or simplify your life.  Whether you are looking for a web designer, digital marketing solutions specialist or email marketing services, I can help create powerful campaigns to grow your business and online visibility.  

TTFN