Creating a Competitive Marketing Strategy

How has digital marketing changed within this year?

Any form of marketing progresses with time, but digital marketing has seen swift advances within the last year. It is crucial that you understand these changed changes in order to stay relevant and competitive with your marketing strategy.  

 

“Mobilfication”

This has become a popular buzzword in the marketing industry. Consumers use their cell phones for a variety of reasons, but when selling a product it is essential to have an aesthetically pleasing ad or website. You can do this by creating a mobile strategy that encourages a potential customer to engage with your website. This can include a text message, a follow on your business’s social media account, or an email opt in. These messages can include discount codes in order to create a new customer. Mobile is a field that is ever-increasing and it will continue to be a top priority for markets for years to come.

 

Video Marketing

If you are not using Facebook Live as a digital marketing resource, you should begin going Live as soon as possible. Many studies have been conducted and have concluded that videos are more effective in comparison with texts. I want to encourage you to create a goal, this varies for each person, but creating 5 live videos per month is a sufficient place to start. Begin to establish a habit of producing quality videos in order to connect with your potential customers. If you commit to your success you will see the results!

 

Creating a Chatbot

Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular and an effective tool for organizations. This strategy can be used to create engagement, customer service response, and answer general questions about your business. The power of this engine is the instant gratification of an answer to your question. Additionally, it is very hard to tell whether it is a live person or a bot when created correctly. The open rates for chatbots are incredibly high, which is why this method is increasingly powerful and should be adapted in your digital marketing plan.

Keep pressing forward to success!

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What is the difference between working on your business vs in your business?

Let’s face it.  You started your business because you love what you do, and you’re extremely passionate about it. Therefore, it can be extremely easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business. You may want your hands on every part of it. So much so, that it can consume a lot of your time.

While it is important to focus on your daily tasks, especially in the beginning, it is also crucial that you plan for the future. As an entrepreneur, you are the visionary of your business. You must keep your eye on the prize, your dreams within sight, and your goals written down.  If you don’t, growth will be a bit more challenging.

Ask yourself: what made you want to get into this business to begin with? Why do you continue to go to work?  If there were no obstacles like money, time, or personnel, what would your business look like next year – in 5 years – in 15 years?

Of course, it is important to be driven and feel like you have a purpose at work. But, the line between purpose and daily tasks can become blurred over time if you lose sight of your goals and dreams for your business and life.

In order to truly live out our purpose and calling, we need to feel fulfilled and well-rounded in both business and personal life. At first, this can feel awkward, even stressful to begin. With practice and discipline, you will become more and more proficient at outsourcing and finding great people to come alongside you so that you can spend more time in your zone of genius.  

So what is the difference between working ON your business and IN your business?  Working IN your business tends to be busy-work that do not necessarily require your gifts and talents. This could be things such as invoicing, scheduling, answering customer service, etc.  Working ON your business involves vision-casting, goal setting, automating processes, etc. Both are required. All is needed. However, you cannot do it all. Nor should you.

When you take time for yourself, you are able to reflect on what has gone well in your life and business, what areas need time and improvement, and come up with new ideas. When you dive into dreams you begin to see how you can make those dreams become your reality. When you are constantly working on the daily tasks, you constrain yourself and could potentially stunt the growth of your business.

Most people want to own their own business to be their own boss and have more freedom. While this is true that you become your own boss, if you’re not careful, you can also spend that freedom doing more work than you need to do.  

You and your business are both a work in progress, therefore, create time in your schedule to refresh!  

Selling Your Expertise

Each one of us has the ability to sell our expertise, but how do we do this? Throughout our lives, different events have occurred that shape us into the individuals that we are today. These experiences make us become more knowledgeable in a variety of topics.

Think of one topic that you excel in; this means that you know something that not everyone does. You have ability to teach and inspire others, best of all you can create your income while doing it!

You have untapped knowledge in your brain, you have the ability to vocalize your thoughts, now all you need is an audience. It is easy to get run down by pitching your amazing product to anyone that will listen if you’re constantly being rejected. Yes, you may get lucky and find someone that is willing to buy your product but, at what cost? Most speakers are pitching to the wrong audience.

Let’s think about this more…

If you are selling a self help motivational service, you would think you should pitch your service to struggling individuals that are not prospering financially. The reasoning behind this would be that your product will help encourage the individuals to make their goals become a reality. If you are thinking this way, you need to alter your way of thinking. You need to pitch to the wealthy and successful individuals. They have already made it, and they became successful by learning from others.

They made the decision to invest in themselves. The successful individuals will be more likely to buy your product because they have seen it work before in their lives. They are already convinced that self help is a good investment, and if you simply show them how your service will get them past the plateau they’re in so that they can up level their business, the sale is simple. You’re providing a solution who already values what you have to offer.

It is important that we change our way of thinking; we need to think logically on who will PURCHASE your product instead of who NEEDS your product. If you do your research and pitch to the right group of people you will begin to see your sales increase!

Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Open Rate

1. Create an Engaging Subject Line: When looking at your open rate, the subject line means everything. It is important that you intrigue your potential customer’s eye with a short phrase that makes them want to open your email. Companies have been using email marketing for years, but in some ways, they have failed to progress with the times. In your subject line, it is very important that you do not use all capital letters. This makes it more likely that your email will be sent to spam. A way to combat low open rates is by create interesting subject lines. This can be done in countless ways! You will have to use trial and error to find out what works best for your email list. A few ways to increase your open rate is to start a conversation within the subject, making the email look more personable. You can follow that conversation throughout the entirety of the email. Use a deadline alluding to urgency and instilling the fear of missing out. You can create a funny pun or joke, but make sure it does not go over the reader’s head. Lastly, people are drawn to numbers, so including numbers in the subject the email is a great way to make your email more likely to be opened.

2. Optimize Your Timing: Timing has a very large effect on your open rate. Studies have shown that Tuesdays are a popular day to send and open emails. You should try to avoid emails during the weekend. Individuals want to rest on the weekends and your emails may be seen as an annoyance. Timing for every organization will be different so it is important to perform split tests. Throughout other studies that have been conducted, it was concluded that the best time to send an email is late morning to early afternoon!

3. Make Your Emails Personable: When writing an email, it is important that you are seen as a friendly face and not a corporate boss. People are more likely to read emails that are personable. This can be done by customizing your greeting and signature. Additionally, do not speak over your audience – use a vocabulary that your reader can understand.

Keep in mind, most people do not look forward to reading emails. They usually push off reading emails, which is why it is important to create amazing content that your customer will look forward to reading. It is important to be consistent when writing emails so that your customer continues to want to learn more.

At times, it can be discouraging to see a low open rate, but it is important to keep your head up and continue to create more enticing emails! You can bring value to people’s lives through emails, all you have to do is get opened!

 

What’s the Buzz with Facebook Retargeting?

Facebook retargeting is instrumental to your success because it is EFFECTIVE!

A large amount of time and money is spent on Facebook growth. Facebook is an amazing platform where you can grow your business and social following. It is very important that you create compelling ads that attract future customers, but you also need to target the correct individuals. Unfortunately, some businesses are marketing to all Facebook users, instead of segmenting their customers and retargeting them with similar offers.

Let’s think about this…

You wake up in the morning and you open up Facebook. You begin to scroll through your feed which is filled with your sister’s birthday photos, your best friend from college moved into a new house, and then you see a comfy red sweatshirt. You click on the image and look at the sales page. The sweatshirt is only $20 dollars, so you put it in your cart. You think to yourself that you could use another sweatshirt and comfort is key!

You look at the clock and see that you are late, you were unable to check out and buy the sweatshirt, but it is still sitting in your cart. This isn’t a problem because you probably didn’t need the sweatshirt to begin with.

The next day, you are scrolling Facebook again during your lunch break and you see the same sweatshirt with slightly different copy.

This is retargeting! You have already showed your potential customer this item before. Therefore, you bypass the initial step of exposure. Then you give the potential customer a limited time coupon code. This makes the customer more likely to purchase your item and then projects your product further into their minds. There you go, you have just made a sale because of retargeting!

This is the importance of retargeting, you have the ability to expand your company’s business and service with Facebook. If you continue to show the same offer to the same group of people your exposure and sales will increase!

 

Facebook: Behind the Curtain

In recent weeks Facebook has drawn back the curtains regarding their business platform. Facebook is known as the world’s top social media platform, many of us are guilty of spending countless hours scrolling through our feed, but Facebook has progressed into something greater than just that. No longer is Facebook only known as a place to share with friends; it has become a place of transparency and community between businesses and customers!

It comes as no surprise that Facebook has a vast amount of powerful tools for businesses to expand and advance by reaching more potential customers. Businesses do this by running paid ads, creating groups, going live, engaging their audience, and much more. Before this update, businesses could run paid advertisement without the potential customer seeing the “behind the scenes” web of ads that coax them into buying. This means that companies must develop a greater relationship with their customer, and establish deeper trust. Why? Because it’s harder to sell to someone who knows they are being sold.

Businesses aren’t only exposed to the eyes of their potential customers, but their competition as well. Now, the secret ingredients of a business’ marketing are “on the label” for all to see. Though this will no doubt increase competition, it will also create a better user experience on facebook. Facebook advertising has always been about causing the least amount of disruption to the user. Hopefully, when everyone can see what works, ads on the platform will become more seamless and easier to interact with.

When reflecting on the controversy of whether this is helping or hurting businesses here are some things to consider…

Pro

  • Facebook is becoming more transparent and proactive. Therefore, people feel more comfortable to use this platform.
  • Human nature is to find flaws, this is one less hole within Facebook’s story.
  • Facebook encourages connection and being open continues to shows that they want to build community.
  • You can see what is working for others by doing research, because of this less personal resources are spent with experimenting.  

Con

  • People that market on Facebook with paid advertisement may look more vulnerable.
  • Everyone can see what your sequence is to success and failure so others can use your tools for their own benefit.
  • Unable to leverage ones business to competitors.

No matter where you stand within this debate, Facebook has changed people’s lives and they will continue to merge the gap between business and personal life.

By: Sophia LaMore

Why Honesty is the Most Important Intangible in Your Success


Honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur.
– Zig Ziglar

Have you ever noticed that being honest to others seems like a no-brainer, but we can justify being dishonest with ourselves without hesitation?  Honest about your knowledge of a certain subject, realistic about your competency with a particular job, or transparent enough to admit your mistakes.

Being honest exposes ourselves to the reality of what is going on around us.  It’s where the phrase “calling it like it is” comes from, and those who can be real with themselves and their business on a daily basis are bound for success. 

Here are some examples of why transparency is so valuable:

Develop Accountability

First and foremost, being honest with yourself and your business will develop personal accountability.  Personal accountability is the intangible you need to build your business from the inside out: if you pull all the strings of your business, then you have all the power to make it succeed. 

Zig Ziglar said, “You must manage yourself before you can lead someone else.” 

It strikes at the heart of what transparency brings to the table for your business.  Once you develop accountability within yourself you can begin encouraging the same standard in others.  Soon enough, your team will be full of honest and hard-working employees who call it like it is. 

You Learn About Yourself

Another great attribute of transparency is that you can learn how you react in stressful situations, when the chips are down and someone needs to take accountability.  Is it going to be you?  Maybe it should be in certain situations, but it could also be someone else who needs to step forward. 

Being open and honest makes it easier for you to see where things went wrong, and furthermore, what you can do to prevent it from happening again.  It also helps you get an idea of how much actual work it takes to execute a given project.

What about when things are going well? 

Success should be greeted with the same kind of ruthless honesty at play when times are tough.  A successful sales campaign deserves plenty of a rewards, congratulations, and analysis.  Part of being transparent is acknowledging the success of others, giving them the plaudits they deserve, and learning from others. 

All too often businesses see accountability as a way to explain away their mistakes.  It should be the other way around.  A culture of accountability within your business will strengthen teamwork, and teams need to stick together in the good times and the bad.

Gives You a Chance to Improve

Nothing helps you with personal self-development as much as making mistakes.  Everyone makes them, but it’s those who can learn from them that flourish in the world of business.  When you are honest about what you did (or did not) do, you have just taught yourself how to avoid making the same mistake in the future. 

It might be hiring someone without calling all of their references, or giving someone more responsibility because you don’t have the time.  If these decisions lead to problems down the road, at least you can rectify them and strengthen your operating procedure going forward.

Psychological Growth Will Produce Business Success

A lot of people start out in the business world with some naivety.  They may think they have what it takes to make a million in the first year of their business – but does it happen?  Usually not.

A vast majority of success stories come from people that have failed over and over again before finding a niche that works for them and succeeding.  Do these success stories look back in anger on their failed business ventures?  Absolutely not. 

Ask anyone in business about the trials and tribulations they faced in the early days and they will say it was the adversity they needed to learn about themselves and develop the character required to make a business that succeeds in the long-term.

Understanding ‘Big Data’ and How it Can Help Your Business

If you’re like me, the term ‘big data’ sounds like a catch-all phrase.

To help explain it better, I found a great piece by IBM (an industry leader in analytics) describing the four dimensions their data scientists use to interpret big data.

Volume. There is more data being produced now than ever before. One of the most fascinating stats
brought up by IBM is that “40 zettabytes of data will be created by 2020, an increase of 300 times from
2015.”

Variety. The kinds of data being retrieved is also expanding exponentially. Social content, video
content, engagement data – business operations in all industries have become more focused since
digital analytics has taken hold, and big data will make it easier to collect and synthesize more different
kinds of data.

Velocity. The analysis of streaming data is where it gets really interesting. Big data operates through a
network of nodes and sensors within a large framework, all connected to a central hub. These nodes
and sensors can be designed to track any kind of information you want. For example, cars are now
made with nearly 100 sensors that maintenance issues in the vehicle (fuel level, tire pressure, etc.).

Veracity. This refers to the uncertainty of data. A lot of business leaders are still lacking trust in the
legitimacy of the data generated by big data analytics. There is no easy solution here, and two things
need to happen: Real improvements to the functionality of big data software need to be made, and
business leaders need to put some of the data they generate to work and see how it fares.

So, let’s say you are a mid-sized business and are not sure how, or even if, big data can be of use.

As Barbara Weltman puts it, small businesses already have the data sets required to make use of big
data – they just need to know how.

Here are some ways it can help, no matter the size of your business:
1. Customer Insights. The volume of data is certainly there when it comes to customer social
media content and search history.

2. Predict Trends. Looking at the macro-level searches and trends will help your business stay one
step ahead of the pack.

3. Efficiency. There are a lot of software programs available to synthesis all internal
communications and operations (including supply chain issues).

Are numbers important?
In short, yes. Like Zig Ziglar said, “The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does
exist.” In order to fix an issue, it is helpful to know where the problem is stemming from. Measuring
your business metrics and data are very useful tools.

How to Use Solitude to Your Advantage

The world of business moves much faster than the world of farming (to give just one example).  Mergers, acquisitions, quarterly reports, conferences, meetings, and tight accounting practices are just some of the monthly responsibilities you may have on your plate if you engage in business. 

It’s exhilarating to be such a mover and shaker, and the excitement of a new development keeps us going. 

However, in such a frenetic environment it is difficult to take a moment of pause.  It’s challenging to disconnect every week and find some solitude for you and your thoughts.

But is solitude worth it?

Yes.  Much like the oft-overlooked benefits of sleep, the scientific community is in practically universal agreement on the benefits of solitude.

One study by the University of London found our IQ drops 15 points when we multitask. 

This is backed up in the research conducted by Clifford Nass, who has concluded that distractions prevent the brain from adequately filtering out irrelevant information.

So clearly there is enough evidence to back up the claim that distractions harm productivity. 

You probably already knew that, but it helps to have numbers to back it up.  The funny thing about distractions is that they can emerge just as often from internal sources (fatigue, stress) as external (social media messaging, texting while talking, etc.).  Harnessing the value of solitude is a great reliever of distraction no matter it’s source. 

What Is a Good Way to Integrate Solitude into My Schedule?

It all revolves around effective time management.  You can start by taking 15 minutes at the beginning of each day to close your eyes and reflect.  This simple practice will help dispel anxieties about the upcoming day that would otherwise build up.  It might sound cheesy – but it works. 

Another great tactic is to schedule a half an hour block every day in which you do some activity on your own.  It might be a walk around the blog, a trip to a local gallery or museum … anything that will take your mind of work for a short time.  Personally, I take Jiu Jitsu classes. That time is on my calendar several times per week.

How Can Solitude Help My Business?

There are tons of ways solitude has material benefits to your business.  However, to get to the material benefits you need to first improve your own mental and physical health. 

Solitude Improves Mental Health

Tips for ensuring strong mental health are not shared enough amongst the business community.  Why is it that we cannot support each other in taking breaks and slowly down for a minute? Symptoms of weak mental health include: feeling overwhelmed, stressed, general uncertainty, lacking hunger, not sleeping very well.  The best cure is taking some time out for yourself.  You will become a happier and more productive worker if you do!

Solitude Can Make You a Stronger Leader

Taking time for solitude will make you a better leader because it will help you form a stronger understanding of your own identity.  What does that mean, exactly?  It means that you have taken the time to reflect deeply on issues affecting you and your team, and in those moments developed potential solutions.  That’s what leaders do: they tackle the big issues with originality and think through problems affecting everyone. 

Gives You Time for Brainstorming

Creativity in business is of vital importance, but it notoriously difficult to harness.  When you are overworked and stressed there is no time for finding creative solutions to your business.  Taking 30 minutes a day to let your mind wander will provide an opportunity for creative solutions to just pop into your head.

Do your best to integrate solitude into your weekly schedule, and if you’re like me, it will become self-evident that taking time away for yourself will make your business life more enjoyable and productive. 

The Rise of Influencer Marketing and how it can help your business

Does that athlete or supermodel REALLY use the product they’re promoting?
Probably not.
Most celeb-endorsements are done because of Influencer Marketing. 

Everyone understands the power of connectivity social media provides.  It’s a fantastic revolution in human communication that allows us to stay connected with people across the world, in real time. 

And, those of us who are entrepreneurial-minded, also know something about social media that most users do not: in every communication platform there is an opportunity for profit.  The source of profit comes from interpreting and leveraging this inter-connectivity to a brand’s advantage, and one of the best ways to do this is via influencer marketing.    

What is Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is basically collaborating with individuals and business leaders who are active and interested in what you offer, and daily interactions can make your brand stand out with sought-after trusted sources in your niche.

It’s basically the practice of finding key industry players that have influence in your niche and approaching them with a proposal to try your product, guest blog on your site, or cultivate some other form of professional relationship that can be seen online. 


Cross-promotions can create win-wins in the right environment.

Though it might sound simple, there is actually a very specific process involved in generating an influencer relationship… 

Step 1: Engagement

You should never approach an influencer out of the blue with a proposal to review your new product.  Without a personal bond of any sort, the influencer is almost certainly going to ignore you. 

The solution?  Engage with their social profiles.  Read their posts, comment on them in an informed way, and generally make it clear that you respect their opinion. 

Step 2: Discussion

After a bit of engagement, which can take weeks or even months, you may begin to discuss the potential of a guest blog post or a featured article.  You will want to keep it informal to gather information about how the influencer prefers to work – because they may do it for free if they find value in the relationship you’ve created – or, when they know, like, and trust you.

Step 3: Proposal

Make a proposal to the influencer once you have a strong working relationship.  The proposal can be as simple as mentioning a new product and asking what they think of it, or it could be more direct such as offering a paid placement campaign of your brand on their channels. 

Will Influencer Marketing Help My Business?

There is no question that influencer marketing will help your business.  To go back to the question of leveraging: you want to get as much positive press as possible, always, while spending as little money as possible.  You can leverage your industry connections and expand your market simply through a recommendation from an influential voice. 

Here are a few interesting stats, taken from digital media studies, to highlight the effectiveness of influencer marketing on your bottom line:

  • 74% of people believe that social media is a trusted source in guiding them to buy a product
  • 49% of people rely on influencers to make buying decisions
  • 47% of people use ad-blocking technology (and I wager this is actually higher across the board)

What Does the Rise of Influencer Marketing Illustrate About Digital Marketing?

It shows that in addition to conventional ad channels, consumers will always place higher value on recommendations from those that they know, like, and trust.

It shows that small business owners can save tons of money in marketing spend by forming strategic relationships with key industry voices. 

It shows that consumers see through major advertising initiatives to the core of the product on offer.  If the product does not appear to have “social proof”, then it’s a much harder sell.