How Small Businesses Can Benefit from Push Notifications

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Push notifications have re-surfaced as a cost-effective way to increase and maintain customer engagement since its first launch in 2009 by Apple, and Google in 2010. Some of the reasons points to the recent explosion in the mobile markets and greater internet access. With consistent growth in mobile users, it’s only a matter of time before mobile becomes the new standard in customer acquisition and customer engagement.

Customers Have Gone Mobile

We bet, most, if not all of your customers are mobile users. Small businesses have been increasingly aware of this fact. According to Global Digital 2019 reports, 5.112 billion or two-thirds of the world’s population are mobile users. This, coupled with the rapid growth of social media makes mobile marketing not only useful, but a necessity for every small business.

Tech-savvy business owners are no stranger to email and social media marketing, yet many small businesses still haven’t seen the potential or shy away from push notifications. They work extremely well when combined with sales and marketing automation and, when it comes to real-time customer engagement, no method comes close to having a well-designed and well-executed push notification mobile marketing strategy.

How Push Notifications Work

One of the defining characteristics of push notifications is its ability to be seen through the user’s “heads up display,” which gives it a distinct advantage over email, SMS, and social media. These very short messages, typically 1 or 2 lines of text or around 80 characters, have been contextualized for the individual user. They can also be time-sensitive and thus relevant for a specific time only.

One example would be, “Hey Sarah, we have added 50 credits in your wallet for today’s year-end Sale. Shop now.”

There are several approaches to using push notifications as a mobile strategy for business in addition to email and social media marketing. Small Business Dream has created an app that is perfect for networking events. It allows you to push a button which will send the recipient a vcard with all your information while letting you collect some important data about that person. You never know where this connection will go or if this person will become a client, a partner, or a supplier.

Users on the customer’s side need to download and use the app in order to get notified via Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) or Apple Push Notification Service (APNS). They may or may not have the option to get notified upon install. Conversely, users may uninstall the app if they don’t want to be notified again. Use caution so as not to annoy your recipients and cause a lot of uninstalls.

Simple Push Notification Strategies You can Use

Before going on with the specific examples, be sure to observe the following when designing your push messages. They should be:

  • segmented
  • relevant
  • catchy
  • compelling
  • concise

Here’s some uses for push notifications for your small business:

1. Seasonal goods and services. Your messages can be tailored based on what’s currently in season. For instance, you can send push notification during hot summer days like, “Love the sun today? Stay cool and fresh with our stunning hats and sunglasses at 10% off.” This applies to special days as well, like Father’s day or Thanksgiving.

2. Markdowns on selected items. Your old inventory could be taking valuable space and you want to get rid of them as fast as possible to maintain your cash flow. You can get help by sending push messages to a specific category about a price drop. Your message can go something like, “Hey Mark, as a Nike fan, you can get 20% on selected items when you drop by at ABC Store today.”

3. Reminders for inactive app users. The nice thing about using a push notification service is it enables you to check on who uses your app more often and those who don’t (the app interacts with the app server and GCM or APNS with each launch). You can then use the data to send an automated push notification message such as, “Jeff, you have 50 unused credits in your wallet. And we’re adding 50 more because it’s Season End Sale. So hurry. Shop now.”

4. User feedback. Customer survey is an excellent tool for improving customer engagement, allowing you to segment your contacts further and be more relevant to your users. Know their preferences and ask about their experience using the product or service. Something like, “Hi Dennis, your experience matters to us. Tell us how you feel so we can better improve our service.” Insert a link below that says, “Take Survey Now” to take them to your survey page.

5. Geofencing. A bit more advanced, but if your app can pull this off, geofencing can work miracles for brick and mortar stores.  By default, Google tracks your customer’s location, and you can use this feature to trigger a push notification message, say when a customer enters your store 5 times. Depending on which category they fall into, you can send a push message like, “Bet you’d like our men’s apparel on sale at 10% off.”


Push notification can work wonders for your business if handled well. Regardless of marketing technology, be it sales and marketing automation, or marketing strategies like email and social media marketing, your creativity and sensitivity to customers’ needs will set you apart from other businesses. It’s all about planning and execution. For small businesses that are struggling or want to increase their sales, download mobile apps like Small Business Dream that combines the power of sales and marketing automation and push notifications, enabling businesses to engage with customers on multiple touchpoints.

How Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of Boxing Day Sales

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Sales and discounts are everywhere this time of the year as businesses gear up for the shopping spree. For many small businesses, this could be their chance at getting more customers, boosting sales, and reigniting old customers. Customers who missed out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday would certainly be scrambling for Boxing Day sales, so take the time prepping up for the holiday frenzy.

Gear up for the Occasion

As a small business owner, this could be your chance to reengage customers who haven’t bought from you in a long time. What better chance than to entice them back with a nice juicy Boxing Day Sale?

Try to be competitive with your pricing. Finding the sweet spot is a fine balancing act which requires some knowledge in marketing and managing your cash flow. However, since every store in the city will be dropping prices as much as 25 to 50 percent, you might want to consider a sale if nothing more than to stay competitive with your competition. Think of price cuts (also known as “loss leader”) as part of your marketing expenses.

Freeing up your store from old inventory and putting them on sale is also a good way to beat the competition. Make sure they’re still in good condition, though, to avoid hurting your reputation.

Maximize Customer Engagement: Online and Offline Sales

Small businesses don’t usually end up having “blockbuster deals” like you see in big chain stores because they can’t beat them on price so don’t even try to compete with them. Instead, the more successful small businesses have their own signature product, speciality goods, or service not found at any other place.

You might have the perfect several items sitting on your store for some time. A Boxing Day sale is the perfect time to mark them down to attract sales volume.

Having an e-commerce site or a Facebook Page for your business can also help maximize customer engagement if done correctly. Alternatively, you can set an email autoresponder to notify your customers a day ahead when they subscribe to your newsletter. Small Business Dream suite of tools can vastly improve shopping experience by engaging with customers on multiple channels such as phone, SMS, social media, email, landing page, sales funnel, and so on, whichever method they prefer.

Follow up on Your New Customers on Boxing Day

Aside from being a great way to maintain customer loyalty, one of the great things about the holiday season is the amount of information you’ll get from new customers. You’ll need a tool such as CRM to collect customer information (online or in-store visits and purchases), manage your customer database, and maintain customers’ interest through customer communication (email autoresponders and newsletters subscriptions) long after the shopping frenzy is over.

Shoppers are in the holiday spirit so they are more likely to sign up for newsletters to be notified for the latest deals to make sure they never miss out on anything. They want to know which products will be on sale and when. CRM makes this all possible for you, at little or no expense to your business.

You should also collect new customer information even before Boxing Day starts by using CRM to conduct customer surveys or newsletter subscriptions via social media. Small Business Dream puts all the information from your Survey Page or Sales Funnel straight to your customer database, segment your customers right off the bat and send them on to your email autoresponders.

You can do it the old way and let Small Business Dream take it from there. Have your in-store customers fill up a short survey or ask for their business card and quickly add them to your database using Small Business Dream’s Card Scan feature, or you can do it yourself on your spare time.


Take this opportunity to grow your business and get noticed this holiday season. Use technology and your creative flair to your advantage, but most importantly to bring joy and satisfaction to your valued customers. So go ahead and make this Boxing Day an unforgettable shopping experience!

Learn more on how you can successfully build your small business through sales and marketing automation. Visit and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

Creating an Email Strategy for Your Small Business

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We’re all familiar with email marketing. It’s how we get our coupons, discounts, and newsletters from businesses all over the internet. Many of these emails are considered spam. So how do small companies without a big marketing budget do email marketing correctly to engage their audience and drive more people to their websites or into their stores?

We’ll answer the question with a proven strategy using sales and marketing automation.  Here’s why you should consider creating an email strategy for your small business:

Half of the world’s population are email users. Estimates show around 3.8 billion email users by the end of 2018. Gmail users alone account for 1 billion email accounts, 75% of whom access them through their mobile devices. In fact, every mobile user has at least one email account for signing up on Google Play or accessing their social media account through Facebook Mobile or Twitter. One in two of your potential clients and customers are email users (give or take, depending on where you live), and by being able to connect with them, you could potentially increase your income by as much as 50%.

Stay on top of user engagement. Besides email, the internet has plenty of other platforms for connecting with other people around the world. But despite the popularity of social media, email still ranks as the best and the most preferred method of communication, particularly on anything business-related. One of the key advantages of having an email list is that, unlike Facebook or Twitter, you have more control over how your message is delivered to your target audience. You could spend hours creating great content for them, but it could quickly vanish from Facebook newsfeed or buried underneath by dozens of other posts within minutes.

Automate routine tasks more easily. Small business owners don’t have much time on their hands responding to every email. Fact is, they don’t have to. Some of the best sales and marketing automation have mailing lists, email templates, and auto-responders taking care of most of the work so they can focus more on things that matter. It might take some work initially getting more acquainted with the ins and outs and creating an email strategy. As you gain more experience, you’ll be spending less time with it, and begin to reap the benefits of using this sales and marketing feature for your small business.

Steps in Building your Email List Using Sales and Marketing Automation 

Step 1:

Choose a sales and marketing automtion software with an auto-responder feature. If you’re just starting out with email marketing, you don’t need an expensive CRM like Salesforce, Hupspot, or NetSuite. There are plenty of options for business owners from email subscription service and lead-generation software. Small Business Dream offers service packages for small businesses who want to accelerate growth using this feature. Just remember to stay within the bounds on the proper use of this tool.

Step 2:

Set up an opt-in page or survey form. You can start with a very simple and straightforward landing page or survey form and add your bells and whistles as you get better. Small Business Dream can help you set up your first landing page and survey form. Share the link through your Facebook Page, WordPress, or your company website. Or you can have it the old way and add the contact yourself (be sure to get their email addresses). Another method is to put QR codes in conspicuous places to get your walk-in prospects and customers to your landing page or online survey. Offer freebies or discounts for taking the time.

Step 3:

Wait for confirmation from your subscribers. Double opt-ins is the preferred method of choice for email subscriptions because it accomplishes two things at once. First, it filters out low-quality leads, and second, it helps verify real users. This might seem tedious compared to single opt-ins, but you’ll have better chances of making more conversions over the long haul for getting high-quality leads. It consists of a few lines asking your recipients to confirm they’ve opted in to your mailing list by clicking a link, etc., hence a “double” opt-in.

Step 4:

Segment your prospects and customers. You may start with just a few categories at first. Later, you can add more details to your customer data to make it more granular. Small Business Dream allows you to segment your prospects and customers from your initial survey. For instance, you can include a list of brands, companies, or products on the survey form and Small Business Dream will categorize each contact based on which box your visitors have checked. The same applies for setting priority to every customer. You can update their category by giving out surveys periodically in order to stay relevant to them.

Step 5:

Create a simple email follow-up series. Take some time reading through the templates to see how each customer engagement progress seamlessly to the next, and so on. It usually takes some practice and experimenting to make sure it won’t sound robotic. As much as possible, we want to avoid the impression that they’re dealing with a robot secretary instead of a real person, by a adding a human touch to every conversation.


Having a mailing list for your small business is more of a necessity these days, now that our target audience is moving towards mobile. Take some time learning the ropes and start making your own email strategy.

Learn more on how you can successfully build your business through sales and marketing automation. Visit and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

What is A/B Split Testing and Why Is It Important?

All too often, marketing plans look good on paper until they come in contact with real-life users and customers. The only way to determine its effectiveness is to test it on real-life subjects.

A/B or Split Testing is one of the more scientific and objective way of dealing with sales and marketing strategy by experimenting with different variables that can affect customer behavior.

How well a certain page, email, or call to action (CTA)  is at acquiring and converting leads depends on how prospects respond to your message.


The Relevance of A/B Testing in Marketing

Split testing is a quantifiable way of determining the effectiveness of a marketing tool by implementing two slightly different versions (A and B) and testing it on the market.

Depending on which version gains more widespread acceptance, the more effective version will be adopted for large-scale and long-term marketing goals. Even if one does prove to be extremely successful, you should continue to A/B test because you can always hone your marketing message.

Rather than waiting and hoping for a landing page, website or email to get views and responses over extended periods of time, split testing allows us to measure the performance of each marketing tool at a given time frame or with a specific number of test subjects as in the case of email, social media, landing page and others.

This method not only reduces the amount of guesswork, but over time the information gathered on how customers react to a certain feature or characteristic can be used to better improve marketing efforts in the future.

Thus, we are able to continuously develop a very solid marketing plan and at the same time keep our businesses attuned to our customer’s ever-changing needs.


Factors That Can Affect Response Rate

Why does one version get more response than the other? In some occasions, there is very little difference that can be correlated to a particular element or feature. Nobody knows with absolute certainty if a certain color is better or a button should be on the left-hand or right-hand side.

Split testing is not entirely error-free when it comes to drawing conclusions. It’s more about consensus and knowing what really speaks to the audience based on response rate.

  • User experience – the first 3 to 8 seconds are critical in eliciting positive response from the audience. Changes in a website’s or landing page’s look and feel will impact the way customers react and base their judgment on how quickly and easily they can navigate through the page and the feeling that it conveys (e.g. bright themed vs. dark themed pages).
  • Text color, style, and length – reading use up more time than any other activity on a given page (not including viewing or listening to a video or audio clip). Depending on the purpose or intent of your readers, they might respond more differently, say reading a copy or reading a long-form article, blog, or newsletter. Readability, amongst other things, is vital when trying to get a positive response from the audience.
  • Call to Action (CTA) – these features will trigger a response from your audience. Even as simple as changing the size, shape, color, or CTA phrase (e.g., “Subscribe” vs. “Learn more”) can already make a big difference. This, of course, goes hand in hand with an effective content marketing strategy and proper use of words and phrases.
  • Timing and Frequency – Different posting times and email frequency may also affect the number of responses from a given audience. People tune in at certain days in a week or at a particular time of the day.

Results from these tests could vary from one type of page to another. It is much more felt in social media or newsfeed where activity is mostly high but not very much with stationary or static web pages.

As with mailing frequency, it would depend on which stage of the sales funnel your target audience is currently in. Same applies to email marketing during the latter phase of customer engagement.


Small Business Dream helps business startups to keep track of their marketing efforts through its sales funnel which integrates analysis tools to help make the right business decisions.

The Importance of Follow-up in Converting Leads to Sales

I just wanted to share some thoughts I had the other day about the importance of follow-up as I was going through Small Business Dream and doing all my follow up calls for my software company. I started to think about follow-up and how important it is. I had a customer come on board that has been on my drip follow-up for 12 years!

He bought every other kind of solution he could, while avoiding the main thing we sell. He had every excuse in the book to not be ready every time I called. That’s right. I called and called without any judgement; I just called if he came up on my call list in Small Business Dream. In addition, my email autoresponders kept dripping on him with high quality information about his software problems and how we could help.

I reached out probably twice a year because my Small Business Dream told me to and I talked to him by voice. Yep, you got it — BY VOICE! I helped him with his issues. I counselled him.

When he finally bought, he said, “Dennis, I wouldn’t even consider looking at anyone else because you’ve been there for 12 years giving me free information, helping me along my way and never getting the sale. Well, now you got the sale. If you’re that good before you got money, I can’t even imagine how great it’s going to be to work with you.”

Twelve years of follow-up got me a sale. It wasn’t hard, I simply let Small Business Dream remind me when to call or drip out pre-written helpful content. Eighty percent was purely educational while 20% was more about my software company and how we can help.

I started to wonder how many people follow-up for 12 years. How many people have a system that allows them to know, when they get a new customer, the first contact was made 12 years ago? This is the kind of thing Small Business Dream can do for anybody.

If you have everything working together seamlessly — email autoresponders, semi-automated follow-up through social media, phone call logs — you can become a follow-up pro and significantly increase your productivity.

I waited 12 years. But this was a $30,000 sale. Was it worth waiting 12 years? Hey, I would have loved if it only took 2, but on the other hand, 12 years later, there’s a $30,000 sale because Small Business Dream kept me on top of my follow-up and I didn’t pre-judge and I didn’t say, “Oh he’s never gonna buy, I’m going to stop following up.”

I doubt if I’d spent 1 hour of time per year following up by phone call for 12 years. I probably spent 4 hours in the first year, so a total of 15 hours of work? If a salesperson had made this sale for me, just how happy would they be… 12% commission on $30,000 = $3600. Divide that by 15 hours… $240/hour. Hmmmm. Not bad… Annualize that… $499,200/year. Nice!

I just followed the process until he either bought or said no. He always told me, you know maybe someday… we’re just not ready… maybe someday… we’re just not ready… we’re gonna try this… we’re gonna try that… I don’t think we’re ready… I don’t think we’re ready… He never said, no I’m not interested. I kept following up because my system reminded me. I did it without much thought, without any kind of hesitation or reservation. I don’t prejudge and made $30,000.

Anybody can do this with Small Business Dream. All it takes is following the system and trusting that it works.