Do you think this latest change will affect you business? If so, in a positive or negative way?
Facebook has unveiled it's new timeline in New Zealand and it remains to be seen how this will affect businesses.
Do you think this latest change will affect you business? If so, in a positive or negative way?
A brand we all recognize
Branding is an essential element in creating a successful business. Whether you brand only your business or you brand yourself (or both) depends exactly on what type of business you have and who your target audience is. But, there are some serious downsides to focusing a brand only on a person rather than the business unless the entire business is you.
If you are the business, meaning your main source of income is being a public figure of some sort -- like a speaker, an actor, an author, a life coach, or any position that requires your voice and face to be in the picture and the business will end if you die or quit, then you do want to brand yourself. Other than that small niche, you really want to brand your business instead of yourself.
Sit down and decide if your business can be sold if you die, or decide to sell and retire. If not, then you want to brand yourself along with your business. If you can sell or pass on your business to others, then work on branding the business only as a separate entity from yourself. Granted, many people do both especially people who have both a business that they could sell, and also engage in public speaking, writing, teaching and coaching. So, sometimes its not an either or proposition but it i important to look closely at your business to ensure that you're not missing out on an important opportunity to brand your business separate from yourself. This ensures longevity past your own lifetime or career.
Is Richard Branson bigger than his company brand?
Branding a business properly delivers the message you want to deliver, provides credibility, motivates the right buyers, and creates loyalty among customers. But it also creates value outside of the current state of your books. It can also create value for when you're gone. You may be gone through death or because you decide to sell the business and move on to other opportunities. Many of the most wealthy people today created a business, then sold at the height of its popularity to earn millions. They were able to do that because the business had a brand separate from themselves in which enabled them to sell to someone else who could continue the brand without them.
Therefore if you have a product or service based business that someone else could easily run without you, brand the business. If you have a product that IS you, brand yourself. But, the best thing would be to find a way to do both. Find a way to separate the parts of the business that are just you, and the parts of the business that someone else could do if you sold it to them or hired them to do it. It can be a difficult decision for most of us. We treat our businesses like extensions of ourselves and surely they are, but when it comes to future value of your business, branding the business separate from ourselves is essential for longevity.
Email lists are a tried and true way of marketing your products and services to many people at once. It's an easy way to get the word out about a sale, an event, product updates, etc.. to as many people at one time as possible. Essentially, it's a database of your clients', potential clients', and interested parties' email addresses.
In order to build up a large number of people on your email list it is important to do some marketing that is focused on building up the list. There are a lot of ways to do this such as:
· Pay per click marketing -- This is also referred to as PCP marketing. You bid on keywords to promote your advertisement and when someone clicks on it, they click through to a special landing page that you made for them in which they then, hopefully sign up for your email list.
· Online contests -- You play a game in which a prize or prizes are given to winners of the game. To play the game, participants must enter their email address, which signs them up for your email list.
· Freebies and giveaways -- You offer a free eBook or eReport in exchange for the target's email address, which signs them up for your email list.
· Making a sale -- By making a sale, everyone who buys is and should be automatically entered into your email database as a current customer.
Now that you know the various ways to build your list, why should you do it? The fact is, email marketing, no matter the strides social media has taken the last few years, is still the very best way in which to market your services. Not only that, if you ever want to sell your business, having a large and responsive email list is a huge component in being able to demand a higher price!
By having an email list you'll be able to sell your products and services to your audience. This is not SPAM. So many people worry that having an email list, and then sending them emails is the same thing as SPAM but it's not. If you sign up to received something, technically it is not SPAM. If you sign up to receive something, and you get something awesome, then you're going to be more likely to purchase from them than the next unknown entity. Therefore, you want to build your email list so you can show them how awesome you are, and make lots of sales.
The great thing about an email list is that pretty much any time you want to, you can give yourself a raise. You can promote a product or service via your email list, and if you've done the work to build your list full of your target audience, you'll make sales. Maybe you want to use your email list to ask something else of your audience, guess what you, you can do that too. You have a huge audience that you can activate at a moment's notice.
Another awesome fact about having a solid email list is that it will also increase your website stats if you promote each new blog post or podcast to your audience. We all need reminders, and by using the email list as a way to remind your readers about your new post, you'll get more readers, more commenters, and if each post you make has a call to action, more action. If you want more traffic and more sales, the email list is the best way to do it.
Consider having an online contest today to promote email list sign ups. You won't be sorry that you did it.
Most business owners are now well aware of the fact that Facebook is actually a fantastic marketing tool that can generate more awareness of a brand in a relatively short period of time. The only problem is that businesses do not make full use of the different features available and they tend to ignore both the timeline function as well as their cover page. The result of this is that they are missing out on getting more traffic to check out their website and being aware of their existence. The following five tips should manage to change all of this in next to no time.
1. Update your cover photo regularly.
By simply updating your cover photo on a regular basis, it immediately lets people know that your profile is active as it not only appears on your timeline, but also on their own newsfeed. It puts your business name right in front of your clients and prospects. What this does, is it encourages people to click on your profile to see what has been changed. When you continually keep doing this, and getting onto their newsfeed, then they will check out what you are doing and learn more about the services or products that you offer.
2. Take advantage of the "pin to top" feature.
One thing you should really look at doing is pinning your favorite post each day using the "pin to top" feature. The reason why this is important is because people are going to look there first. This is the ideal place to mention events or special offers because every visitor to your page is going to see the top pin. This will then make it more likely that they will consider spending money with you.
3. Use images to your advantage.
It is important to share images on a regular basis because it is a well known fact that people are drawn more to images than they are to plain text. Look at designing an image to promote something about your business and services. Consider uploading some interesting shots from elsewhere to keep your page moving as this encourages people to check out your page on a regular basis.
4. Do not ignore your historical timeline.
It is a good idea to add some events to your historical timeline every now and then as this is an action that will show up on the newsfeeds of all your clients and prospects. The key here is to do one thing at a time and then leave it for a bit. Otherwise you will flood your clients and prospects with updates and all this will do is annoy them. This raises the possibility of them no longer following you and that is the last thing that you want to happen.
5. Do not use third-party publishing platforms.
These third-party publishing platforms claim that they make everything a lot easier for you, but the problem is that they often omit the share option and this is an option that you need to have in order to increase the chances of a post going viral. The idea of uploading things automatically does sound attractive, but to get the most out of Facebook it does pay you to update manually instead.
These are the five tips on how to really make the most of your Facebook page and in particular the timeline option. There really is nothing complex about it, but there is no doubt that these tips can increase the traffic to not only your Facebook page, but also your website and hopefully your business bank account as well.
*timeline image used under creative commons usage from shadowmario.deviantart.com
If you don't already have a Twitter account to help you promote your business then it's time you get one. But, maybe you aren't sure how to best go about it. Well, this article will give you step-by-step instructions on how to get started using a Twitter account for your local small business marketing needs.
1. Design considerations-- You'll want a specialized header, and background and logo to use on your Twitter account that considers the sizes. You'll need to actually check at Twitter.com about this criteria because it changes periodically. Today you can have a background, and a header, as well as a profile picture. Your colors, and the feel of your Twitter should resemble what you already use to maintain the same brand identity that you already have.
2. Create a great bio -- Under settings, look for Profile and fill in the various options. Currently you can have a photo, a header, your name, location, website, and a short bio. If you also have a business Facebook account you can connect to Facebook and use that profile picture. There are only 160 characters allowed, so be concise.
3. Use a headshot -- It's tempting to use your logo for your photo but it's better to use a headshot that shows your face. People want to buy from people they know, like and trust, and they're going to trust you more if they see a person behind the business. Long gone are the days of Internet anonymity.
4. Follow strategically -- Don't just go crazy following everyone you can, instead follow people who follow you, who seem to be a member of your target audience. Then search for people who are in your target audience via twitter search and follow relevant people and organizations. You can easily find people to follow who are near you.
5. Be relevant -- Once you start your Twitter account it's important that you are relevant and remain relevant. Send out informative tweets with awesome headlines that make the most use of the 140 character limit. Stay in the minds of your followers without becoming a nuisance. Even if you are a used car sales man don't be a stereotype.
6. Use apps -- There are many different types of apps available for use on Twitter. There are poll apps, coupon apps, picture apps and more. Using these apps makes using Twitter in a variety of ways easier and more fun. Conducting a poll on Twitter can be a very easy way to get answers to questions and conduct research on your market.
7. Clean up -- Every now and then clean up you followers and those you follow. If people don't Tweet don't follow them. There are apps to help you with this, of course. If they don't use Twitter for six months, they're just not going to, so it's a waste of time and space to even follow them or have them following you. The best tool for this is untweeps.
8. Interact -- Use polls, coupons, questions and more to interact with your followers. You can offer specials to only people who are following you on Twitter. Remember, most people Tweet from their mobile devices, so let's say you have a restaurant and tweet a Twitter only savings such as a buy one get one right before dinnertime. It's likely you'll get at least one response if you keep doing this in a regular basis.
Keep your planning simple.
You've started a new business or looking for direction in your established business. What do you need? Definitely a Business Plan!
So what is this plan and what can it do for you? A document that sets your business out in great detail from the ground up is referred to as a business plan. Among others, it describes:
Below are 10 ways in which your online business stands to gain from having a business plan
1. Verifies your idea
While it costs relatively little to write, it can save you the agony of investing in a business that will never be profitable. By laying out your ideas on paper, you are in a better position to determine their viability.
2. Expounds your thoughts
By putting your ideas on paper in a neat and orderly fashion, you eliminate any ambiguities that you may have. A list of what you intend to do and a methodology of how you intend to achieve it will lend credence to the clarity of your thoughts to yourself as well as a would-be investor/financier.
3. Plugs information gaps
Undoubtedly, the deeper you delve into your business plan, the more likely you are to identify gaps in the process. For instance, you may realize that the service you seek to sell is time consuming and the clients are also not willing to pay much for it. Identifying possible constraints early on will help you reach a decision on whether to persevere with your endeavor or abandon it all together.
4. Provides a framework for operations
A business plan not only identifies what needs to be done and why it is being done, but it also sets about detailing how it is to be done. For an online business this could range from identifying appropriate software as well as possible future contractors you. Being ready with such pertinent information prior to commencing your business give you a solid foundation on your road to success.
5. Sets business goals
By writing a business plan, you are already getting into the specifics of how you intend to realize your goals. For instance, if you plan on making a million dollars during your first year of operations, then you have to set out exactly how you intend to achieve this. If you are in the business of selling widgets, then you should have exact figures on how many you would have to sell so as to realize a one million dollar profit.
6. Helps to identify a target market
In business, the more knowledgeable you are about your target market, the higher your chances of success. After having settled on a product or service, a business plan will aid in identifying the key demographics of your market. Variants such as sex, age, income, fears, and desires are all likely to contribute to how fast your product or service moves in the marketplace.
7. Helps in highlighting weaknesses
As you develop your plan, you are likely to encounter areas where you cannot provide an intended service on your own. For instance, you may be adept at computer graphic design but are deficient in technical aspects such as coding. Therefore, you cannot purport to be a website developer without identifying who will undertake the coding. Once weaknesses have been identified, you can then set about figuring ways of eradicating them.
8. Aids in identifying competitors
As you develop your business idea, you are likely to weigh it against what is already out there i.e. the competition. To provide a better product or service, it is important to find out who you are in direct competition with and analyze their methods. This will enable you to pinpoint areas where you can improve or be different.
9. Tests the validity of an idea
This is, arguably, the most important benefit of a business plan. By laying out specific details of your proposed business, it may occur to you that the capital needed to start the venture may be too high compared to expected returns. This is likely to save you a lot of time and effort, which immediately saves you money, that would have otherwise been lost had you jumped in without carrying out due diligence.
10. Provides base metrics for the business
Having a business plan ensures that you have a reference point in terms of expected figures during your initial weeks of operation. These base metrics are crucial in knowing whether your ideas are bearing fruit or not.
A business plan should not be cast in stone.
As your business gathers steam, it is bound to grow and change. Eventually it should become the guiding document that transforms your business from a start up to a fully fledged venture.
If you are looking for ready-made templates to build your plan, click here to check out Business Plan Made Easy.