Bookkeeping and Invoicing

Nothing can eat up the time of a small business owner quite like keeping the books, crunching the numbers, and invoicing.

Chances are you started your business because you had a talent or passion for your product or service. Unless that passion was accounting, hand the books to someone else.

As you grow, keeping the books will only become more complicated and time consuming. Instead of letting record keeping eat up a huge percentage of the time you could be putting into pulling the big levers on your business, outsource the task to a CPA. If you need help with the day-to-day numbers, tracking, and invoicing, you can easily find and train an employee or intern to do this for you.

Graphic Design and Your Website

If there’s one area where small business and solo entrepreneurs make a huge mistake it’s in doing their own graphic design and website building.

  • Learning a “little about SEO and websites” will give your business a site that looks terrible, is extremely time consuming to build, generates no sales, and projects a very unprofessional image.
  • Free site creators give you a website that looks like it was made for free.

Doing your own HTML or CSS usually looks like an amateur did the site… at best. Remember that designers and developers go to college for 4+ years to learn coding. This is not something you can become an expert in by reading a For Dummies book over the weekend.


Doing your own graphic design in Photoshop or Paint will take time and give your ads, brochures, and other marketing materials an unpolished, unprofessional look.

We’ve all seen these pieces. Someone is trying to sell us a high-end product (like a new car) and their flyer features a blurry, askew image, hovering above a mass of text set in huge block letters in all caps (and in multiple colors).

  • Do you want your clients and customers to see your business as being a two-bit amateur operation? If you sell services or quality products, hire someone to do your site and your graphic design.

And no, getting your nephew who “knows all that computer stuff” to do your site is not the answer.

Your business website is part of your physical business. It’s no different than building a brick-and-mortar property. Would you hire someone to build a structure simply because they know how to use a shovel?

  • You can find amazingly high quality designers overseas through outsource sites like Upwork and Elance. They work cheap, they’re fast, they’re incredibly effective.

And, using their services allows you to keep a designer “on staff” without having to pay a full-time employee.

You’ll need to do some research and try different designers before bringing one on to do a big project like your website.

  • Ask for their portfolio and references
  • Give them a small task to start (a logo, label for a new product, a one-sheet flyer)
  • Then, find a back-up designer. Having two designers at your disposal is always a good idea for emergency situations (you have to present something to a new client by tomorrow morning and you just found out about it). If one isn’t available, you have your back up read to roll.

Reception and Appointment Setting

IF you are selling products, you may be able to hire a virtual assistant to hire your phone calls and email responses.

Same goes for appointment setting.


Do you want to have to find the leads, set them yourself, then go sell them?

Do you want to be on the phone all day because your customer’s delivery arrived at 5:15pm when the tracking told them it’d get there at 5:00?

If you’re uncomfortable going virtual, hire someone to do this for you. You may even be ablet o score an intern. There are a lot of talented people looking for work. Put in some effort to find someone competent to handle your appointments, customer service calls, and general reception. This will not only free you up to do more important tasks, but it projects a highly professional image for your business.



If you’ve never heard of web scraping, you’re in for a treat. Website scraping is one of the oldest growth hacking techniques there is – before growth hacking was a “thing”. So what is it and why do you need to it? Read on for the answers.

What Is It?

Web scraping is when you extract data from a website for a specific reason. For example, you can use it build up a sales pipeline in order to find out what your competitors pricing is. It may be an “age-old” process, but it’s a great way to grow a business.

This practice is widely used in digital campaigns but it has a rocky past. If you’re using bots to scan pages or copy important data, you may be taking information that you shouldn’t be. There was a famous case between eBay and Bidder’s Edge that put the legalities of web scraping in the limelight.

Bidder’s Edge was a “data aggregator for auction sites” and eBay was one of its main pricing sources. But, it eventually got to the point where Bidder’s Edge was using so much data that it caused eBay’s servers to crash. Although the actual website scraping itself was okay, Bidder’s Edge was liable since it disrupted eBay’s servers.

Now, though, there are some rules in place for this practice. Some things to watch out for are copyrights, violating privacy laws or terms of use, and hindering the host’s server.

How To Use Website Scraping

The most common form of website scraping is setting up a robot.txt file. A robot.txt file tells a web crawler what to look for on a specific page. For example, if you are an electronics resellers and a new iPhone was just released, you can tell the file to go to other stores (like Best Buy or eBay) and tell it to search for the term “iPhone” or “new iPhone” to collect the prices.

While it may sound like you need years of coding experience, setting up a robot.txt file doesn’t even require learning to code.

For one, there are certain platforms that allow you to set up the file. Parehub, for example, allows you open an web page and get the data you need all in one place. The free version is a great way to get introduced to the world of world scraping.

The more you can familiar with web scraping, the more you can use it to your advantage. Website scraping is a simple, old-age trick to gain an edge on the competition – and who doesn’t want that?

Looking to take your business to the next level? Let Retaliate1st help you. We’re a full-service marketing and growth team here with services like social media, performance marketing, and more. Learn more about our services here.



No small business or large company wants to have bad customer service. And yet, there are countless businesses that aren’t at the top of their customer service game.

Even if you are a business with impeccable customer service, you are bound to get at least one customer complaint at some point. While it can be a total downer, there is a way to handle it correctly without launching into a sea of self-doubt.

Here’s how.

Look Past the Negativity

If you’re just starting your business, it can be scary! You’ve invested so much time, effort, and money into an uncertain venture. So when a customer complaint comes in, you may take it personally – like you have failed. But, complaints are quite the opposite.

Customer complaints are actually a way to improve your business.

While not every customer can articulate a complaint in an artful way, take any complaint with a grain of salt. These customers are providing information on how you can improve your business as well as your customer service tactics.

Rather than view complaints as a sign of failure, view them as an opportunity.

Try meeting with your team and listing every complaint you’ve received. That way, you can figure out ways to either address those problems in the future or come up with ways to respectfully resolve the issues.

Having a tried and true customer service plan in place will reduce the number of chances you or a team member feels totally lost or upset while dealing with a complaint.

Find a Balance

Most likely, your positive comments will far outweigh your negative comments. While we tend to focus and harp on negative reviews, don’t pass over the positive ones.

Not every happy customer will post a comment, especially if they are completely satisfied with the product or service. So when you do receive a glowing review, don’t ignore it!

Most companies try their hardest to please every customer but that’s just not possible. Your service or product will not be for everyone and that’s okay. While you should always try to provide your customer with the best possible experience, not every customer will be happy.

A common mistake businesses make is showing every single customer complaint to the entire team. Constantly focusing on negative comments or reviews will decrease morale – especially if they are shown as failures.

Since you don’t want your team to transfer negativity from past complaints to future customer interactions, always use customer complaints as a learning opportunity. Empower your team and train them to handle complaints the smart way so the issues are resolved the first time.

Don’t ignore customer complaints – study them and embrace them. When you begin to see the same complaints over and over, try getting to the root of the problem so you don’t receive those complaints anymore. Or, put specific procedures in place to handle specific situations.

And don’t forget about the positive reviews and comments! Celebrate them and use them to fuel new ideas and grow your business.

Speaking of growing your business, let Retaliate1st help you. We’re a full-service marketing and growth team that provides services such as performance marketing, business strategy, and more. Learn more about our services here.



Marketing is ever-changing. But one thing will never change, we live in a customer-based world. Consumers have their choice and it’s up to brands to ensure their business stays ahead of the curve. Successful brands are those that tailor to their customers – and one way to do that is by utilizing marketing strategies that keep you ahead of the game. Here are five of them.

Keep it Personalized and Look at the Data

With all the competition out there, brands need a way to stay out. Since customers want to know you actually care about them, creating a personalized experience can help you stand out. In fact, personalized calls to action convert 42 percent more than non-personalized ones.

Gathering and studying data is a great way to find topics that matter to your audience. You can track their spending habits, follow their journey, and learn their general interests. Utilize personal data to see how they enter your site, where they go after your site, and when they actually become a customer.

Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Agents

Technological and customer demands are quickly outperforming human marketers. The amount of data may reach 40,000 exabytes by 2020 but the human brain can only hold about 1 million gigabytes. Today’s technology can help uncover information about user behavior but the key to using that information will be artificial intelligence.

Although AI can never take the place of marketers – and their human creativity – it can help optimize and streamline the process. AI will make it easier for brands to create digital strategies and analyzing data.

Find areas where AI can help – like triggering e-mail campaigns – but don’t use it too much or it will turn customers off.

SEO and Content Convergence

Content and SEO go hand in hand. They need to work together in order to boost rankings and be seen. To utilize this to get you ahead of the curve, make sure to remember that customers recall experiences more than words. Use specific SEO insights – like trending topics or keywords – to find relevant topics. Then, create amazing content based around that.

Analyze your customers and watch how they interact with your material, including what they read it on. And, be consistent! Regularly posting outstanding SEO content will help your brand stand out.

Utilize Native Advertisements

Native advertising is already extremely popular and it’s not slowing down. Native advertising fits better into the user experience. Rather than customers having to respond to pop-ups or other ads, they’re able to see ads specifically tailored to them. And, these ads are often seamlessly integrated into their social feeds.

To use native advertisements successfully, make sure to research your audience and target site’s content to select the platform that best aligns with your target audience. Make sure you create content that attracts readers and makes a strong impression. Since you have a better ability to target a particular audience, you’re able to not only track what content works best but also what platform works best.

Connected Devices: The New King

It’s no secret mobile is dominating search. And while many brands have already optimized everything for mobile, there are new devices on the rise, like fitness trackers and smart watches. Customers use these to get information – often on the go – so brands need to make sure their content is optimized for those devices.

Although digital marketing is constantly changing, use these tips to help you get stay ahead of the curve and gain an edge over the competition.

Get ahead of the marketing game even quicker with Retaliate1st. We are a full service marketing team that specializes in everything from content marketing to social media to search engine optimization. Learn more about our services here.



Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that email marketing is a necessity when it comes to connecting with your audience and keeping them in the loop. But not all businesses are successful when it comes to email marketing. So, we’ve rounded up seven tips to help you make the most of your email marketing.

Treat Your Customers Like Friends

How do you greet your friends and family in an e-mail? You probably personally acknowledge them or give them a warm greeting. Well, why not treat your customers like that? Customers don’t want to be just another face in the crowd – they want to be seen as human beings. Simply including personalization in your e-mails – and rather than send out one mass e-mail, set up segments based on feedback or customer preferences.

Follow Their Journey

Similar to segmenting based on customer preferences, following their journey is just as important. Customer’s behavior will tell you what they’re looking for. For example, do they open particular e-mails more than others? Do they click through to your website on certain e-mails? Combine this with demographics and you can customize a sales funnel based on your customer type.

Always Optimize

Never let your e-mail campaigns get stagnant. Always split test your campaigns to see how efficiently they’re running and what you can do better. You can constantly tweak and refine future campaigns to ensure they are working for your business, not against it.

Give Them Space

While it’s true that if customers sign up for your e-mail list they probably want to hear from you – but that doesn’t necessarily mean all the time. Just because you ran a successful campaign doesn’t mean you should immediate follow with another campaign. Allow time between campaigns to give your customers a break. They don’t want to be hounded by promotional e-mails all the time.

Based on customer feedback, define a schedule and stick to it. If you said you’ll only e-mail your customers once a week, don’t e-mail them four times a week or you’ll risk losing subscribers.

Keep An Eye On Automation

Although email automation is essential for an effective email campaign, it shouldn’t be relied on. Use it to eliminate tedious processes but it shouldn’t replace you.

Offer ‘Opt Down’ Not ‘Opt Out’

It’s becoming increasingly easier to opt out of email campaigns. Rather than only offer an unsubscribe option why not offer them a “break”. Offer an ‘opt down’ option as a way for customers to choose to receive fewer e-mails from you. That way, they’re still your subscribers, they just won’t receives as many e-mails.

Get Mobile Ready

Now more than ever customers are using their mobiles for, well, everything. Making sure your e-mails are mobile friendly will go a long way when it comes to click-through rates and engagement.

Though not necessarily “groundbreaking”, these tips will help you create – and keep – and effective email marketing campaign.

And if you’re feeling stuck, let Retailiate1st help. We’re a full service marketing team that offer services such as business strategy, performance marketing, social media, and more. Learn more about our services here.



Have you ever heard that a personal brand is just as important as a company brand? Well, it’s true. Having a personal brand is just as – if not more – important than having a company one. They help you attract customers by simply being yourself – but it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work, time, and few tips and tricks – but when done correctly, it can benefit your company immensely.

Build A Blog And Find Your Voice

These days, it’s nearly impossible to have a personal brand without a blog. Creating a blog allows customers to see the person behind the business and gives a glimpse into your own life – making your company more trustworthy. It’s not always easy to blog consistently, but if you commit to blogging even just once a week, it’ll help you fine-tune your voice, and help grow your business.

Create Valuable Content

Taking it a step further from blogging, creating other valuable content will help attract customers and grow your business. An infographic – a visual aid that is easily digestible and delivers a message or a podcast – is a highly popular form of content that allows audiences to listen to you on the go. Or, you can create a vlog – also known as a short video. Vlogs allow you to become the (literal) face of the brand and is a fun way to get in front of your audience. An eBook is also a great way to entice new customers. You can offer them a free eBook as a thank you for signing up for your e-mail list, for example.

Utilize SEO

Similar to optimizing content for your company, optimizing content for your personal brand is just as important. If your company specializes in digital marketing consulting in California, use that as a keyword to help brand yourself as a digital marketing consultant in California. Make sure all your blog posts are SEO optimized and your content is relevant to your market.

Build A Following

Social media is the king when it comes to building an audience and following. You can use Instagram, for example, to give users a behind-the-scenes look at your life or you can use Twitter to offer short bits of information. Regardless, consistency is key when it comes to social media. Post often and post regularly in order to build a loyal following. And don’t just post any old content – make sure it’s relevant to your personal (and company’s) brand.

Use these tips to help create and establish a successful personal brand – for both yourself and your company!

If you have no clue how to start your personal brand, let Retaliate1st help. We specialize in services like content management, social media, search engine optimization, creative, and business strategy to help you create the best personal brand you can. Learn more about our services here.



Are you feeling like it’s time to rebrand? Maybe your current brand isn’t bringing in the results you’d like or you just think it’s time for a revamp. Either way, rebranding is not easy. Here are some tips and tricks for launching a success one.

A New Name Doesn’t Fix Everything

Changing the name of your business doesn’t mean everything will automatically be fixed – it’s only one component. You don’t necessarily need to change your business name to rebrand, but if you do, be prepared for an initial loss in customers and organic traffic.

Make sure you know your overall rebranding strategy inside and out – use customer insight along with concrete data. Redefine your target audience and find a look and feel of a website that fits that consumer. It may take longer than expected, but it’ll worth it.

Make Sure Your Team Has As Much Information As Possible

When you are ready to share the news with your team, arm them with as much as information as you can. Make sure they know why you are rebranding – and the sooner the better. You’ll want to make sure everyone is prepared!

You’ll Never Be 100 Percent Ready

As with most things in life, nothing is ever 100 percent ready – or perfect. There will always be new bumps in the road and constant need for improvements and changes. But don’t let that stop you and don’t let it drag out your rebrand. You can even try setting a firm date to launch by – even if you aren’t 100 percent ready.

Consider Partnering Up With Someone Recognizable

If you are planning to hire a creative director or brand strategist, partnering with someone of influence can help establish brand recognition. It’s beneficial to both you and the person you are working with. They’ll be able to say they helped you rebrand and in turn, people will trust you.

Less Can Be More

Some brand owners have to tendency to think more is better when it comes to be rebranding, but that often isn’t true. Sometimes less is more, especially when it comes to websites and logos.

Let It Take You In Unexpected Directions

Brands often get an idea of what they think the rebrand should look like, but it’s important to be open to other concepts. For example, you may want a bright, vibrant logo but your target audience prefers clean and simple. A creative director or branding firm can help by providing different options you might otherwise not have expected.

And Finally – Celebrate!

Once you finally rebranded, it’s time to celebrate! Rebranding is no easy task and it is not a quick fix. It takes time, a ton of strategy, and a lot of trial and errors – so when that time comes, celebrate it! Celebrate as a team and publicly and take pride in the fact that you just rebranded!

Looking to revamp and rebrand? Why not Retaliate1st help? We offer services such as business strategy, performance marketing, social media, website & mobile development, content marketing and more. Check out our full list of services here.



If you’re like most online shoppers, you’ve probably read at least one review before clicking that “add to cart” button. While product descriptions are great for telling you what the item is and what it does, reviews tell what it actually is and what is actually does. If you aren’t already utilizing reviews on your website, now is the time to start – and we’re here to tell you why.

Whether you are a service-based or product-based business, reviews are critical and help provide shoppers with the security they need to make a purchase. And while it’s no fun to get a negative review, both negative and positive reviews give your website instant credibility.

The Facts

According to a recent study, nearly 75 percent of shoppers trusted a local business more if they read positive reviews. And, 90 percent of consumers said that positive online influenced their decision to purchase – and nearly 90 percent weren’t discouraged by a past negative review.

Helping Your Business

While reviews are beneficial to customers, they also help online retailers or businesses. With all the information out there on the internet, your brand must stand out. Visual reviews – such as those that feature stars and colors – are more eye catching than plain ones.

Feedback from customers also help retailers and brand owners’ insight into how their products or services are working. Maybe the stitching is off on an article of clothing or a product isn’t working within a service package. Take that feedback into account – even negative feedback – and use them to constantly improve your product.

Enlist the Help of Experts

While feedback from customers is a great way to influencer potential customers’ decisions, reviews from experts will also help. Feedback from experts helps give consumers another perspective and will certainly boost trust. Try using a mixture from both customers and experts for the perfect blend.

Engage With Customers

If you get a negative review, take it with a grain of salt – unless it has to do with the quality of your product or service – and focus on the positive ones! Respond to customers questions and say thank you if they give you a compliment. You’ll show other potential customers you are in tune with and respect your audience!

Even though feedback isn’t always positive, it’s crucial for the success of your business. They are an integral part of any online business – whether service-based or product-based. Make sure your reviews can be found easily on your site – they don’t have to be front and center, but they do have to easily accessible – and watch your business grow!

If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, let Retaliate1st help. We are a full-service marketing company and can help with everything from website and mobile development to business strategy. Learn more about our services here.

Retaining existing customers is almost always more profitable for a business than acquiring a new one. This is because the efforts and costs involved in gaining new clients is exponentially greater than retaining the existing one. Enter the need for a CRM.

If you want to retain more of your current customers, you should invest in a  Customer Relationship Management system (CRM).

A CRM system is a valuable asset for your business because it keeps control of all your customers and contacts; and is an effective way to build and maintain good business relationships with all your existing and potential customers.


Why Invest in a CRM?

  1. A CRM helps you track your customers’ needs, questions, complaints, issues and interactions in a simple way. This helps your customer service team deal with problems (and potential cross-sales, upsells, and referrals) fast, and without complicated spreadsheets or multiple mailing lists. Responding to customer queries quickly helps your customers bond with you, which increases your customer retention rate.

2. A good CRM system will also analyze your customers’ behaviors and help the sales team to find out customers’ needs. These needs can then be converted into business leads and sales opportunities because these provide excellent data and market research. And, satisfying your customers’ wants is going to lead to in increase in referrals. Similarly, historic data of purchases can be used to predict customers’ behaviors or purchasing patterns.

3. A CRM allows you to collaborate with your team, and your customers using a single tool. The days of maintaining customer lists in notebooks, excel sheets, and word documents, then mass emailing your client list are over. You can manage and reach everyone with one tool, from one place, and any of your employees can join the effort even if they’re out of the office.


4. Because the workflow is automated through a CRM system, it helps in reducing the operational cost, which increases your company’s profits. And, through analysis of current customer behavior data, you can make forecasts for future profitability.

5. It retains your most valuable data in one safe, secure location. You can choose which employees have access to this data. This prevents lead theft and client poaching by employees that leave your company. Simply alter the password, and their access is cut off.

bounce rate

Your business devotes a good chunk of your advertising budget to pay per click ads. You put in a ton of effort on your site’s SEO.

Don’t waste time and money by losing visitors after they hit your site. If your bounce rate is high, you could be throwing money away.

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of single visits where your potential customer leaves your webpage without navigating further. Search engines like Google calculate and report the bounce rate of your website under Audience overview tab of Google analytics section. You can check on your site’s stats there.

According to a study published by Rocketfuel, bounce rate for most of the websites ranges between 26% to 70%.

If you fall in this range, it’s time to lower your bounce rate.

What makes people leave your site quickly?


Slow Page Loading

Google wants to give a positive experience to your visitors. A slow loading page is not a positive experience. It’s frustrating and makes users reach for the BACK button quickly.

Fixing the loading speed is a continuous journey for webmasters and SEO specialists. As your site grows, it can slow down. More content = more “loading” when someone visits your page. However, you can stay on top of this by continually working to lower page load speed as your site grows.

You can review your webpage speed through different tools like Pingdom, Google PageSpeed Insights & GTMetrix. These tools also provide insights specific to your page e.g. reducing third-party scripts, compressing the image size/quality, reducing browser caching etc.

Misleading Meta Description or Title Keywords

Always make sure that your website’s content is relevant (preferably it will match perfectly) to the title tag and meta description. If not, your customers will become frustrated and leave.

If you had a brick-and-mortar store and the sign outside said “Fresh Baked Bread,” but your customers walk in and see you selling T-shirts, they’ll bounce. Treat your meta descriptions and titles the same way you would a side-walk sign.


A Few Bad Pages

If your site’s content, in general, has a low bounce rate, but your website is still seeing a lot of people bounce quickly, then you may have some pages which are contributing disproportionately. Check which pages aren’t pulling their weight. Either add content to them, or give them the ax.

Blank Pages

Check for any blank pages or pages with technical errors like 404 on your websites because such errors can drop your page from search engine results. You can also search for these problems from Google’s perspective by going to Crawl > Crawl Errors in Google Webmaster Tools.

Obnoxious UX and Ads

Don’t bombard your customers with Pop-ups for surveys, opt-in forms, and banner ads.

You can have an exit pop-up, and web forms in-page. But, if you are hitting your customers with “Sign Up NOW” pop-ups the second they land on the page, you can be sure that many of them are bouncing away in anger.



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