You don't have to be a best selling novelist or advertising specialist to create an engaging and compelling FaceBook ad.
Let your TRUE personality shine through your ad. Are you a "shoot-from-the-hip" type? A comedian? Story teller? Just the facts?Be yourself and be consistent throughout your campaigns and your audience will be drawn to you.
What should you do when your online sales are stagnating? If you have been having difficulty attracting new customers or generating new sales leads, a web funnel could be the solution you are looking for. Funnels include a combination of landing pages, online offers, and email auto-responders to “funnel” your potential customers towards the purchase of a product or service.
Learn more about these funnels and how you can use them to increase your online sales.
Even if you do not realize it, technology is a major part of any modern business. The use of office automation software and technology has completely changed the way many tasks are handled.
The most commonly used office automation technology is financial software for automating payroll, invoicing, and other finances. Though, there are many other ways that you can use technology to automate tasks. With the right software, you can improve productivity and streamline your daily business operations.
To explore the many ways that technology can free up time and save you money, you will need to evaluate your current business operations. Consider each department within your company and ask yourself, “which repetitive tasks eat up the most time?”
Look for ways that you can incorporate office automation software to handle common tasks. This could include automating targeted email campaigns or even inventory management.
Almost any task that you complete on the computer on a regular basis can be automated using special software or web-based applications. These applications can free up manpower, save costs, and eliminate the risk of human error. Here are a few examples of tasks that can easily be outsourced to your computer:
CRM, or customer relationship management, refers to tasks and procedures for keeping track of customers. This includes contact information, sending out newsletters or updates to customers, responding to customer inquiries, and automated responders. These are tasks that you may commonly perform in order to keep up with your customers and meet their demands. Using a CRM office automation application, you can automate the majority of your customer relationship tasks.
Record keeping is another area where office automation is useful. From inventory management to payroll, all of your bookkeeping should be handled electronically. You can save time handling payroll, quarterly taxes, and all of your business finances.
Along with office automation software for record keeping, with an automated backup service, you can ensure you always have duplicates of any invoices or other records. You will never have to worry about losing an important document, receipt, or other file.
While streamlining finances and customer relations are great reasons to use office automation technology to improve your business, one of the greatest examples of office automation in action is using software for your marketing strategies.
Targeted email campaigns, social media posting, and other marketing tasks can be automated with easy-to-use office automation software. When you are dealing with hundreds of emails, in a targeted email campaign, you need some type of software to manage contact lists, subscribers, and the sending of mass emails. Set an automated schedule to send out newsletters, sales information, and social media posts.
Using office automation for marketing also provides you with analytics. Track the success of your marketing efforts, examine the statistics about your email campaigns or the number of people that have interacted with your social media postings.
Technology is everywhere, there is no getting around it. If you want to cut down on marketing costs, consider using some form of office automation software. Examine your current business practices and evaluate which tasks could be completed, or at least streamlined, by using available technology. Consider the amount of time that you or your employees spend on different tasks and then find the right office automation software.
Look into different software that is designed to provide specific office automation services, including marketing solutions, bookkeeping, and any other business operations.
Many of these office automation services or applications have a monthly fee or a larger one-time fee. When you consider the number of hours that you can free up, office automation is almost always a good idea.
Using technology for business office automation is not a new concept. With every new development in technology, businesses look for ways to cut costs, free up manpower, and reduce the risk of human error. We may even get to the point where 99% percent of your business is automated using computers, but for now – make an effort to find office automation software for your most time-consuming tasks.
Reaching more consumers does not automatically increase your sales. You can attract a thousand visitors to your website, but only a fraction of those individuals may be interested in what you have to offer. If you are receiving a steady flow of visitors to your website and it is not reflected in your sales, you may need to re-examine your market research.
By narrowing your focus to a niche demographic, you can make better use of your marketing resources and even compete with much larger companies.
Some business owners avoid focusing their market research on a niche demographic, out of fear that they will exclude other groups of consumers. This could not be further from the truth. Instead of excluding anyone, you are simply using your market research more efficiently.
When your marketing efforts are too general, you run the risk of not making any impact on potential customers. With niche marketing, you are reaching a smaller market, but these customers are more likely to make a purchase or hire your services. If this sounds like a good idea to you, learn how to perform basic market research on your niche demographic.
You will first need to perform some market research on your niche demographics. This process may seem complicated at first, but the payoff is tremendous. By looking at where and how you reach your customers, you can better focus your marketing efforts.
The process for performing market research on a niche demographic includes the following steps:
Start by looking at your existing customers. Try to find characteristics that link your customers. Where are they located? What are they buying from you? What input or feedback have they provided you?
If you have more detailed information, such as their background, income level, interests, or other personal details, make a list of these characteristics. They will be used when determining your niche demographics and making personality profiles.
Next, look at your competition. You do not want to target the exact same market. This could help you choose your niche demographics. For example, if your competitors are selling similar products or services to large businesses, you may want to focus your attention on smaller business – if they are targeting customers with families, you may want to target single people.
You are getting closer to figuring your niche demographics, but you are not quite there. You now need to analyze your products or services. Create a list of benefits to using your products or services. Why would someone want to buy your products or hire your services? Use this list to start thinking about the type of people that would benefit most from what you are offering.
You can now start figuring out whom you want to target. Think about who your existing customers are, whom your competition is targeting, and who would benefit most from your products or services.
Some of the demographics that you could consider include:
You do not need to decide on a niche area using all of the demographics listed. Try to choose at least one or two demographics to make the focus of your targeted marketing. For example – if you are selling a video game, you may want to target single people in their twenties, if you are selling a luxury item, you may want to target wealthy individuals aged 50 to 60.
Remember to consider who is going to benefit most from your products or services and who is most likely to make that purchase.
After deciding on your niche demographics, it is time to create personality profiles. Think of this as creating a short description of your target customer.
Close your eyes and imagine the customer that is making a purchase. What are they like? What are their interests, hobbies, attitudes? Write down anything that comes to mind, including the demographics that you decided on in the previous step.
Find out which social media platforms your niche demographics use most. Determine their average spending habits. Look into whether they are more likely to shop impulsively or cautiously. Are they likely to use coupons? How much time do they spend on the internet? Do they prefer to shop from their desktop computer or a mobile phone?
These personality profiles can be very useful for targeting a niche demographic. You will use them whenever creating a marketing strategy, writing a social media post, or sending out targeted emails.
How will this help you? The process is simple. Instead of writing an email or a social media post intended to promote your product or service, imagine that you are writing directly to the person that you created in your personality profile. If it helps – give them a name.
Whenever you create marketing content, imagine that you are speaking directly to “Fred’ or “Wilma”. You know Fred and Wilma and you know why they want your products or services.
You can now focus on a specific niche demographic whenever performing market research. When you use marketing tools, such as Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, or any pay-per-click advertising, you can narrow down your focus and try to reach a specific group of people.
Instead of trying to reach everyone, focus on your pals Fred and Wilma.
For most businesses, a major part of success comes from the connection that they can make with their customers. This includes the building of your online brand. When you are able to expand your online branding, customers can easily identify what it is that you are offering and why they should choose your products or services.
The term online branding gets tossed around a lot, but what exactly does it mean? Online branding simply refers to how your business entity is perceived by customers online. At the simplest level – your brand is your business or your primary products and services.
Online branding is a large factor, when it comes to increasing your online presence. Sure, you can spend money on pay-per-click advertising, targeted email campaigns, and other forms of online marketing, but those methods only bring the customers to your doorstep.
Why should they step inside and look at what you have to offer? If you have a clear, direct message, customers will know what to expect and will become more likely to explore your website and browse your products or services.
With effective online branding, you can reach more potential customers and drive more traffic to your website. To ensure you are going about the process of building your online brand correctly, look over these 5 key components for effective online branding.
The first step to take is researching your audience. If you want to build your brand, you need to know who your audience is. Learn more about what they are looking for. Determine who your key demographic is. Create a standard customer profile and include the typical age, gender, occupation, income, region, and interests of your core customers.
Obviously, you may not have a just one type of customer that you are targeting, but focusing on a specific demographic can help you learn how to effectively target your customers. By narrowing down your attention to a single customer profile, you can develop your marketing skills and begin building your online brand. Eventually, you will be able to take these same steps to target other demographics.
After researching your core audience, decide on the message that you want to deliver. What is it about your products or services that you would like your customers to know about? Focus on creating a voice for your brand. Remain consistent with the way that you deliver your message. This includes the tone that you use in your marketing, blog articles, and product descriptions.
Keep this tone in mind, whenever you engage in any form of marketing. Speak to your audience, converse with them, but do not throw content at them.
You should never fully rely on one method of marketing. Try to include multiple marketing efforts, including social media postings, blog articles, targeted email campaigns, and provide them with relevant content. In fact – the majority of the content that you deliver to your audience should be useful, relevant information that they can actually use.
As you explore different channels for reaching your audience, again, remember to focus on sticking to your original message and tone. Consistently use the same techniques to build your online brand. Inconsistency will drive them away or even confuse your audience.
As mentioned, social media posting should be a part of your marketing efforts. It is a great way to reach your audience and actively engage them in conversation. People can easily comment on your posting and ask you direct questions. They can share the information that you provide, building more backlinks for your website and increasing social media chatter.
If you have no idea what type of content you should be offering your audience, take a look at your competitors. You should never try to emulate your competition, but looking at their efforts, their branding, can help point you in the right direction. See if they are more active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google Plus.
Using multiple marketing methods and including social media integration is all part of the overall goal – increasing your online exposure. Start building your online reputation and getting your name out there.
One way to increase your exposure is to network more with your peers. Increase your reputation as a voice of authority in your industry. Your peers will recognize your value and even share your posts and blog articles with their own customers.
Combining these concepts and putting it all together, you can begin promoting your online brand and expanding your market base. Always start with a solid profile of your core audience. Learn more about their interests. Use this information to decide on what type of message you need to deliver and the tone that you should use for your online brand.
Make sure that you employ a variety of marketing methods, with a large focus on social media integration. Interact with your customers and respond to their comments on social media or on your blog articles. Combine all of these methods to increase your online exposure and promote your brand.
Following these steps is not overly complicated, but if you need help – there are plenty of resources available, including a variety of webinars that will walk you through the process setting up your website, your social media profiles, and using online marketing to reach your customers. Learn more about the Web Presence Institute, in order to expand your online brand and increase your web presence.
An entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. If you have a dream of becoming an entrepreneur and running your own business, you need to have a purpose. Defining your purpose allows you to better serve your clients and to provide a clearer focus as to where your business is headed. It is one of the crucial components of any business, and should be made a top consideration during the initial stages of compiling a business plan.
When you feel that you have a good grasp of your purpose, ask yourself these four questions:
These are the types of questions that you need to ask yourself, truthfully, to ensure you are placing your focus where it needs to be – on the future and longevity of your business.
The very first question that you should ask yourself is – who are you serving? What is your main niche market that you are targeting? Having a target audience in mind helps you reach a specific demographic. Start thinking about who is going to benefit most from what you have to offer.
Focusing in on a niche area of your given industry is a great way to improve your marketing strategies and connect with customers. Narrowing your market base to a smaller demographic allows you to easily understand the nuances of targeted marketing.
You need to have a clear vision of the problem that you are solving. What problem does your product or service solve? Think about your niche market. What are the problems that your core demographic often deals with? Decide early on what problem your clients will be able to overcome by purchasing your items.
Next, you should think about how you are able to solve problems for your clients. Make sure that you can easily explain how using your product or service is the right solution for a specific need or problem. Refer back to the problem you decided on and how your solution will help.
Your first reaction to the question, “why are you doing this,” should not be, “take make lots of money.” Sure, money is great, but when all of your energy is wrapped up in the financial side of running a business, your entire business is driven by fear. This leads to poor decisions, inferior products or services, and less interest in the needs of your clients.
For a business to succeed, your reasons should be reward based. If you are focusing on providing a superior product or service and truly aim to help people, you will benefit.
When you have a clear picture of the purpose and function of a product or service, you can begin delivering purpose driven content. During direct forms of marketing, your efforts should be centered on promoting the purpose your products or service provides.
As you create advertising campaigns, social media posts, blog articles, targeted emails, and other marketing methods – go back to the questions, “what problem does it solve?” and “how does it solve that problem?”
Instead of saying to consumers, “buy this now,” you explain how they can overcome a specific problem or otherwise benefit from the item that you are promoting.
Find a business that you love and that you would do, whether or not there is money involved. This will make it easier to stay focused on your purpose. Always be moving forwards towards your goals. Reaching these goals is simpler when your business, your products, or your services have a clearly defined purpose.
The center of your purpose is serving your clients. You are looking at which of their problems you can solve and what solutions you have to offer. Create a quality product or service and consumers will recognize the advantages it provides.
Whenever you feel that your business is steering off course, go back to these four questions – remind yourself of the initial ideas and motivations that were driving your business.
In this day and age, as a business owner, you cannot ignore the power of the internet. The simple truth is that if you want more people to know about your products and services then you need an active online marketing strategy.
For those that are unfamiliar with running a business online, don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through the main steps towards building an effective online marketing strategy. This is a mostly painless process and you will come out the other side better equipped to market your business.
Before you can truly start marketing your business online, you will need a solid website. The steps you take towards attracting customers are geared towards getting people to visit your site. Get a website up and running that looks and functions in a way that reflects your business and makes a strong impression on your visitors; though, it can’t be all bells and whistles – you need informative content. Content is King! It is the main reason your customers have for coming back to your site. Your customers are also more likely to share helpful content with their friends, family, and co-workers or recommend your site and services.
The goal of an effective marketing strategy is to drive traffic to your website, however, if the content on your site is of little value – your audience will not come back for more, your traffic will not grow and your business could receive negative word-of-mouth. So you need to have an easy to navigate website full of helpful information that your customers will benefit from and share with others.
Some business owners shy away from email marketing, even scoff at the idea of sending out mass emails, but that is the wrong mindset to have. An opt in email list is not spam! It is a list of people that have CHOSEN to subscribe to your mailing list because you offered them a gift with real value that pertains to their interests and your business.An opt in email list is not spam! Click To Tweet
I’ll give you a quick example – my business revolves around helping online start-ups increase their web traffic. So I set up a landing page with a video entitled “5 Ways to Double Your Traffic in One Month”. In order to view the helpful video, all they have to do is submit their email address.
That’s just one example of how to start building an opt in email list. You are creating the gift of value for your targeted audience; reaching out to potential customers with relevant information that they will benefit from. Your audience is getting something out of it and you are getting something out of it. It may take some time to build your targeted email list, but never make the mistake of buying an email list. Those promotions are often a scam and you could end up shooting yourself in the foot – creating a bad reputation for your business, getting added to spam filters, and losing the trust of potential customers.
It seems that just about everyone, from Grandma to school kids, is using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks. In fact, a large portion of daily internet usage is devoted to these websites. Research shows that in 2014, 71% of adults used Facebook*, while 23% of adults have a Twitter account. Overall, 74% of all internet users are part of at least one social media network. As of March 2015, Facebook has over 1.4 billion users and Twitter had reached 288 million active users. Ignoring that market base could be detrimental to your success.As of March 2015, Facebook has over 1.4 billion users and Twitter had reached 288 million active users. Click To Tweet [su_frame align=”center”][/su_frame]
*stats courtesy of https://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/[su_frame align=”right”][/su_frame]Once you get your website up, get your business’s Facebook page and Twitter account set up. They provide a great opportunity for reaching more people. Use social media to drive traffic to a mailing list landing page on your website. Tell engaging stories with relevant information that people can actually use. Link back to specific pages on your website. Starting a discussion or posting interactive forms are a couple of useful methods of getting feedback from your audience. Learn from their comments, listen to what they have to say about the information you provide. Answer any questions that come up and honestly engage your target audience.
Social media advertising is another option to consider. Facebook paid advertising can get your message to hundreds of thousands of people at very little cost – great bang for the buck! Even Twitter is getting involved in advertising and now offers affordable ways to promote your tweets to Twitter users.
Using Social media to drive appropriate traffic to your mailing list landing page, telling stories relevant to your business with links to specific pages, posting interactive forms that ask questions so you can get valuable feedback about the types of problems you should be solving for your audience.Facebook paid advertising can get your message to hundreds of thousands of people at very little cost - great bang for the buck! Click To Tweet
One of the most under-utilized forms of marketing online is video, yet it has been shown to be the most effective. You don’t need a large production budget to put together a quality video that provides your potential customers with helpful, relevant information about your services or products. Use high traffic environments, such as YouTube, to post informative videos. Link back to a specific page or article on your website or include opt-in subscription buttons.
Everyone likes free stuff. Create giveaways that have a real value to your customers. Whether you offer discounts on services or free products, your first step is decide what your goal is. Do you want to gain more subscribers for your mailing list or maybe sell a specific product? Determine your goal, choose what you are giving away, and decide how long you want the giveaway to last. Come up with the details of the giveaway, including rules and restrictions, and then set up a landing page where details are provided. When you are ready to start running your promotion, tweet about and share the info on Facebook to get the word out. If your giveaway has real value, it will attract your target audience.If your giveaway has real value, it will attract your target audience. Click To Tweet
Each of the individual strategies discussed so far can go a long way towards increasing your online presence and attracting customers, but they are much more effective when they work together. Above all else, the content you deliver on your website should be a primary concern. Your overall goal is to drive traffic to the informative content on your website – so remember that content is king. Use your site to create relevant blog articles and then share these stories on social media. Engage people on social media and get a discussion going, link back from your videos to specific landing pages on your site, and create giveaways to gather subscribers.
The whole process has a trickle-down effect, with the end result being more traffic for your site and a stronger connection with your customers. Before moving forward, understand that this can take some time – be patient, develop your strategies, and continue learning from your mistakes and successes. If you want to have a successful business, there is no easy, quick magic bullet. You are going to have to put in some hard work. Study, learn, and research – fail forward, pick up the pieces, and keep on moving towards your goals.
You know that feeling you get when you see a clown? You feel that you should turn and run, but something inside says that the right thing to do is stay and pretend to be entertained. That’s how I feel whenever I sense that I’m being sold something. Of course, this serves no one. It’s just a waste of time and is frustrating for both the seller and the consumer.
I’ve been running a freelance web development business since 2004. Throughout that period, my philosophy revolved around anti-marketing and non-selling. In groups, I rarely spoke about my business, assuming no one was interested – the last thing I wanted was to appear pushy or “salesy” (I’m pretty sure I made that word up, but it fits the situation). I didn’t advertise; heavens no, not that! I felt that any product or service of any real value should be able to stand on its own. A good business shouldn’t have to sell or market. People who need and want my products should magically find me; like stumbling upon a golden unicorn in a dense forest. It was my client’s responsibility to find me, not MY responsibility to let them know what I was doing. I judged sales people as dishonest, shady, uncaring, self-interested, pushy – the list goes on. I certainly didn’t want to be on the end of that kind of judgment.
Let me underscore that this was my perception; not my reality, it’s what I had made up. In truth, I had personal relationships with many decent, loving, warm people in the sale and marketing industry.
So, how successful was my anti-marketed, non-sell business? Not good! I mean, I did good work and my clients all loved me; however, word of mouth and referrals was my only source of new projects. Thankfully, I had other income streams. So bills got paid, children got fed, and the wife got taken out to dinner. It was enough to exist, but that wasn’t who I was – just existing, just getting by. That’s not OK. My family deserved better and I deserved better. Why was this not working?
Discovering podcasts led to an epiphany, especially discovering Troy Dean’s WPElevation podcast. I listened to person after person share their experience with WordPress and what really impressed me was how many people are running successful businesses on a WordPress foundation. So I started meditating on the difference between my old freelance business model (or lack thereof) and what I was hearing from all these successful online entrepreneurs. A new hybrid marketing model gradually materialized from these meditations.
I figured that since I have something important to offer and since many people need my particular set of skills – it is my responsibility to INFORM the world about what I do and ASSIST them in finding me. My new marketing strategy was beginning to take shape:
My new marketing strategy revolves around these key points – inform, assist, help, and serve the business community. I don’t want to push people into buying something they don’t need – I let them know what I do. If they need the services that I offer, then great, let’s get started. If they don’t need what I offer, maybe I can help them connect with someone that does have what they need. You may call this networking, but I choose to call it COMMUNITY. On this foundation, I decided to restructure my business.
So here are my new principles regarding selling, advertising, and marketing. Don’t sell to customers, inform them. Don’t market to customers, assist them. Don’t form a network – form a community. I am committed to making sure that as many people as I can reach have a crystal clear understanding of what I do. I will use whatever resources are at my disposal to tell my “story”. I will be honest and clear about what I can do, what I can’t do; along with what I’m willing to do and what I’m not willing to do.
I will continue to listen to my potential client’s needs so that I can be well informed, in order to help them find a solution to their needs. It may turn out that my area of expertise is not what they need – in those situations, perhaps I know someone who does possess the expertise they need and I can facilitate an introduction. The focus should not be about closing a sale – it should be about forming relationships in which we can all help each other. This is not a new thought process, but ancient wisdom. This is actually how our ancestors lived thousands of years ago.The focus should not be about closing a sale - it should be about forming relationships. Click To Tweet
Instead of focusing on our own agendas, we should be working together as a community to inform, assist, help, and serve in whatever capacity possible.