Digital Marketing Consultant. Entrepreneur. Storyteller. Investor.
With experience in marketing, technology, non-profit, and corporate, I help businesses bring their vision, dreams, and passions into reality.
As a small business owner, you may often find yourself debating the subject of marketing yourself vs. using a marketing agency. In order to hire an agency, you must be willing to set aside some budget for them to work with. Nothing is more frustrating for you or the agency than to, after a series of meetings, come to the conclusion that they are being asked to get paid for their work and results and you are not willing to pay it.
A few thousand dollars a month can do you a world of good when taking advantage of an agency’s expertise, but that budget line can sting when you’ve never committed those kinds of funds to your marketing before. You could continue to make use of that college intern for practically no dollars, but are you really getting anything out of it? Are the marketing tactics you are currently utilizing on your own still the best tactics in today’s ever changing world? Consider the points below to see if marketing yourself vs us a marketing agency still makes sense for your business.
There has been some buzz eluding to the death of email marketing. Regardless of where these rumors have started, let’s put an end to them. Here are some solid email marketing data you should know which will put this notion to rest. 99% of over 4 billion email users check their email daily. This is a ginormous captive audience that is primed and ready to see your company’s name on a regular basis. Even if they immediately delete the email, you are at the very least remaining top of mind.
Your email marketing should be thoughtful in its timing, personalized, ideally based on previous purchases or viewed content, and visually intriguing. Curate thoughtful subject lines and copy, and don’t send too many. You risk people resentfully unsubscribing when the timing is pushed. Pay attention to who your audience is. You want to keep people engaged, so remember that different content should be created for different market segments. Email marketing is an extremely effective tool that is certainly alive and well. Check out the data points to see just how much.
Have you ever wished you had an instruction manual for life? While, tragically, this does not exist, a few helpful “essays” have been published. Here is a very helpful leader’s guide to motivate people at work. 30% of managers believe motivating their team is the most difficult part of their job. Everyone knows that if you crack the code on employee engagement, your company is saved countless dollars and headaches of turnover and wasted productivity. So how do you do it? What is the secret sauce that spices up work life and keeps people going? As usual, a lot of it boils down to value – valuing each individual and nurturing each individual’s aspirations. I’m not saying you need to coddle each of your employees, but there is plenty of research out there showing a variety of small, intentional actions can make all the difference in an employee’s attitude toward their job. Take a look below to find what you can do to make sure your team is happy and motivated.
Some people and companies have not come to the understanding that they can use a LinkedIn profile to generate leads. LinkedIn isn’t just a social platform. It is a tool. If you manage to craft your profile and content correctly, LinkedIn can be a powerful sales tool, but you have to do it right. With over 575 million profiles on the platform, you want to be sure you stand out – in the right ways. This can be done by following a few simple rules. Be clear and concise. Make others aware of what you can do for them. What value props can you provide? Don’t use 7 words when 3 will do. State your abilities succinctly and humbly and don’t babble on and on. Short and sweet as they say. You want people to be able to glance at your profile, quickly comprehend who you are, who you work for, and what you can do. Be professional. This is the first impression you make, so don’t be too casual about it. Take a look at the graphic below to get your LinkedIn profile to generate leads and boost your sales and network numbers.
Does your branding need a bit of a refresh? The simplest way that makes an extraordinary difference is updating your font. Did you know 90% of design is in typography? The font not only communicates the basic, cold hard facts and information of your business, but it also expresses the feeling or personality of your business – or can – if done properly. Think of Coca-Cola with its flowing old-time script depicting its history and old reliable essence or Google with its colorful simple script communicating a simplistic yet creative understanding. There is more to typography than meets the eye. It meets the heart – if used properly. Never forget how much it can communicate or forget that people, more and more, choose brands they personally connect with. Choose wisely. Be intentional. Tell your story.
Fear can be paralyzing. Entrepreneurship is inherently risky, and there’s no guarantee that your business will be successful. However, you can overcome fear by reducing some of the risk with these tips.
1. Test Your Business Idea
Before betting everything on your business, try to test your business ideaby starting it as a side hustle. This way, you can test the waters without quitting your day job.
There are a few steps you can take before starting a side hustle:
Create a business plan. A business plan helps you validate your idea and figure out the logistics of starting your business. Write down your business goals, target market, and how you plan to make money. This will give you a roadmap to follow as you start your business.
Outline a marketing plan. Marketing is essential for any business, and you need to figure out how you’ll reach your target market. Write down the marketing channels you’ll use, what kind of content you’ll create, and how you’ll measure your success.
Set up a sales funnel. A sales funnel is the process that your business uses to convert leads into customers. Adding a payment system, such as Paypal or Stripe, to your business website makes it easy to accept payments online.
Start small and grow organically. Finally, doing too much too soon is a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re still working a 9-to-5. Start with a small group of customers and then scale as you gain more traction.
2. Register Your Business
Another way to mitigate the fear of starting a business is by taking the necessary legal steps to protect yourself. Registering your business gives you a level of legitimacy.
If you’re starting a business in the United States, you need to register it with the federal government and your state government. There are four main types of business structures in the US: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so choose the one that’s right for your business.
3. Invest in Marketing
In the digital age, there are a number of ways to market your business online, but some of the most effective are search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, multichannel and social media marketing.
When it comes to digital marketing, the most important thing is to focus on your audience. Who are you trying to reach? What do they want? Once you know the answers to these questions, you can create content that resonates with them and gets them to take action.
4. Stay on Top of Your Finances
As a new business owner, you’ll likely have an eagle eye on everything you spend. However, over time, it’s easy to become lax with this. Unfortunately, a lack of financial knowhow can be one of the main reasons for a business’s downfall; don’t let this happen to you.
The best way to maintain a strong grasp of your financials is to implement accounting software that makes it simple to manage the financial aspects. Look for a product that automatically tracks your income, expenses and job costs, as well as invoicing, inventory management and tax filing.
Take the First Step
The hardest part of starting a business is often taking that first step. Once you’ve done your research and made a plan, it’s time to take action. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be on your way to success.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start building your dream business.
Team leaders and managers have a hard job. While many people enjoy the simplicity of answering to one direct report, team leaders answer to many people. Upper management expects good leadership, team management, project reports, and revenue reports while on the other end of the spectrum, that same team leader has many people who look to them for guidance, encouragement, and development. That’s a lot of plates to have spinning at once. Some thrive while others falter. How do some managers make it look so easy and find such success in this challenging role? They are usually a very proactive sort. They have plans and goals for their team. They are skilled in bringing people together and getting the best of their abilities. Check out the infographic for the 7 step guide to deliver results and thrive as a team leader.
The original content for this blog can be found here.
Ever heard of the Hunter and Farmer Sales Model? It’s the idea that when you decide to add a salesman to your team, you have two general directions you can go. Hunters are more of your classic style sales guys. They are eager and hungry, willing to cold call, never discouraged to receive 9 “No’s” knowing that one “Yes” is sure to land, and because they know that hard, persevering work will reward them with that plump, motivating payout. These guys are often self-motivated and independent while able to connect and build rapport quickly with strangers. Farmers on the other hand have a different approach. While hunters move in for a quick and decisive kill, farmers play the long game, cultivating relationships over time. Instead of the numbers game, they prefer the people game. This style usually lends itself better to Account Executive positions as opposed to Field Sales. Farmers genuinely desire to learn and build deep and lasting relationships with their clients with the mindset of partnership instead of a quid pro quo. So if you’re looking to add a new sales team member, think about your goals and your culture. Ask the right questions when interviewing candidates to make sure you get the best fit for your team.
The original content for this blog can be found here.
AI or Artificial Intelligence can still make some business owners uneasy. Fearing this newer technological advancement for rumored job loss or simply general distrust of technology in place of a real human being, AI really isn’t that scary. More importantly, there are endless options when it comes to how the tech can be utilized and implemented. Some companies use incredibly complex, extensive systems while others utilize a simple piece of programming to help streamline busy work. Employees can then spend their time doing more important tasks which helps take the company further faster. So if you aren’t sure about AI, take a look at the infographic below to see 3 reasons marketing leaders rely on AI.
The original content for this blog can be found here.
This guest blog has been provided by Jeremy Zielie of straightnorth.com. Thank you Jeremy for your insight.
Recurring revenue streams can help strengthen customer loyalty and increase profit at your business. A report found that all new software entrants and 80% of historical vendors are offering a subscription-based pricing model. While some industries may be better suited toward recurring revenue like SaaS, there are still ways to create a recurring revenue model for physical products. For example, organizations can offer a membership-based program for exclusive products or create a subscription box for loyal customers. If you are interested in learning a few more recurring revenue ideas, check out the accompanying resource below.