Archive for Small Business Tips

What You Need to do to Jump-Start a Business Slump

Is your business slow? Has the phone stopped ringing? If you’re in a business slump, there are a few things you can do to jump-start it and attract new customers. Every business has it’s good times and bad times; feast or famine; flood or drought.

First, take a step back. To what can you attribute the slow-down?

  • The economy, the election, national news, a weather event? You can’t do much about those except wait. This is where that rainy-day fund comes in.
  • You’ve been relying on old-fashioned tactics like cold calling, telemarketing, Yellow Pages, etc.
  • Have you been avoiding online marketing like social media or content marketing because you find it overwhelming and confusing?
  • You haven’t updated your website since…. wait! You’ve never updated your website since it was created years ago.
  • If you have an updated website, you haven’t written a blog post in over a month… or is it over a year? Or does your site even have a blog?

Second, do you really understand your target market?

You need to clearly define and get to know your target market(s)….

  • What are their pain points (problems) that you, your product or service can alleviate?
  • Do you need to educate your target as to the benefits of using your product or service?
  • Do you know what your target market is going to enter in to the Google search box when they have the problem that you can solve?

What You Need to do to Jump-start a Business SlumpThird, is your online presence functioning as it should?

  • Are potential clients finding you? Where do you come up in Google search when someone searches for what it is that you do? Who does comes up on the first page? What are they doing that you’re not?
  • What are they doing when they land on your site? Do you have a call-to-action where you can capture their email address in exchange for an ebook or other giveaway?
  • Are you sending them a monthly newsletter to keep your name “top-of-mind”? Are you following up with marketing emails after they download the freebie?
  • Are your social media network profiles setup correctly and are they painting a positive image of you and your business?
  • Are you creating fresh content — blog posts, videos, graphics or podcasts — at least 3 times a week? Then are you sharing them on the social networks?
  • Are you actively engaging with potential clients and referral sources on the social media networks? Is your social media following growing steadily?
  • Do you have a strategic marketing plan to reach your target with today’s media?

“If you’re not adding new followers on social media, you’re not growing.” ~Mark Cuban

These are tough questions that need to be asked. Moreover, you need to come up with the right answers. If you have more “nos” or “I don’t knows” as answers, then you need to make some changes.

What You Need to do to Jump-Start Your Business

Never give up on a dream

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Get to Know Your Customers Using Free Social Media Tools

Whether you call them shoppers, consumers, buyers, clients or patients they are your customers. Whether your customer is a business (B2B) or an individual (B2C), they are still your customers. Get to know your customers day

Back in the day, if you owned a shop on main street, you knew your customers by name — even if they only came in once a year. You knew what they did, liked, disliked, their kids’ names, their spouse – just about everything.

You knew how to serve them so they would return and refer their friends to you.

That still holds true today. Nowadays, in our self-serve world, the gap between us, the business, and the customer grows wider. Moreover, it’s a well-known fact that customers will go elsewhere if we don’t take time to get to know them and serve them.

You can’t hide behind digital devices. People do business with people they know and trust.

The first Thursday of each quarter is Get to Know Your Customers Day. It’s unknown who started it, but I bet it was the an organization like the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Think about it. If we businesses paid more attention to the needs, likes and wants of our customers, there wouldn’t be a need for organizations like the BBB. Furthermore, businesses would be more successful.

Still, we have the challenge of how can we get to know our customers to better serve them. You have some work to do:

Free Download: Define Your Target Market WorkbookFirst of all, you have to identify your perfect customer(s). Yes, you can have more than one target market. In fact, most businesses do. Some are both B2B and B2C. If that’s the case, you must determine the percentage in order to divide your marketing efforts appropriately.

Second, determine what their pain points (problems) are and how you can alleviate them. Create content — blog posts, videos, podcasts, graphics — with tidbits of advice and educate your potential customers on what you have to offer. Now, if you’re selling a luxury item or service and you’re trying to reach an affluent market, the approach will be slightly different. Affluent people have pain points, too! You might need a little more finesse.  (That’s another blog post for the future.)

Third, use the free tools that the social media networks provide to get to know your customers. They are analytics and insights.

Analytics give you valuable data on your website visitors, how long they stayed, where they came from, what they clicked on and conversion rates. On social media, your analytics tell you how many people had the opportunity to see your posts (reach or impressions) and if they engaged with the content you posted (likes, comments, clicks and shares).

Insights provide information about your followers:

  • Demographics: age, gender, location — this is vital information! For example, you talk to someone under 40 differently than you would to someone over 40. Most importantly, if you’re a local business, you want the majority of your followers to be local!
  • What time of day they are on the networks — using this insight will guide you to post your content when it has the most potential to get the greatest exposure.
  • On Twitter and Pinterest you even get what other topics interest them.

The last one is crucial because you want to share other people’s related content. For instance, a chiropractor would share content from a health or weight loss blogger.

Can't Stop Smokin' BBQ pic from Google

I was notified by Google Maps that this picture I posted for one of my clients, 4 years ago, got over 5000 views! BTW, they’re in Chandler, AZ if you want some amazing BBQ!

If you provide content that’s helpful to, or desired by, your potential customers, you will….

  • Grow your following
  • Drive more traffic to your website
  • Get more conversions — and that’s the bottom line!

Social media analytics and insights are part of the networks’ advertising programs. However, they are available for any business to use them — for FREE!

Understanding your analytics and insights is rather simple when you know where to look and what to look for. The analytics class which is part of the the Social Savvy Solution training center lineup will help simplify them and make it easy for you to understand and interpret them.

What’s more, checking your analytics at the end of each month will help you plan for the next month.

In conclusion, the tools and methods of getting to know your customers are there for your use. How can you not take advantage of them?

"Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better." Jim Rohn

Never Stop Learning

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How to become known as an expert. It may get you on TV!

Disclaimer: there is no guarantee that as soon as you start blogging or being active in social media, that someone will call you from a news show to interview you for your expertise. However, it happened to me and I absolutely attribute it to my persistence in blogging, activity on social media and connecting with the right people. Becoming known as an expert in your field takes time and effort, but it can be done!

Last week I get a call, “Hi, this is Yetta with Channel 5…”

After I got over the shock, we spoke for a bit. She was pitching a segment on how people can get a grip on their social media usage. She wanted to know if everyone needed to jump on to every social network. I explained, that it depends on what they want or need; what their passions are; what they want to accomplish. And that each network has its own culture.   

The segment aired Thursday, June 30, 2016. In case you missed it, here it is:

KCTV5

When I asked Yetta how she found me, she said she did a specific search on Google. She was looking for a local, social media expert capable of explaining the social networks.

I asked a recent client how she found me and she said, “Google”.  In an elevator, a young man said to me, “You’re the social media lady!” At a networking event, “I’ve heard of you!” and “I’ve seen you on LinkedIn!”

Nuff said. It works.

So what’s my secret? There isn’t one. You just have to do it. Here are a few tips on how to become known as a expert:

  1. Have your website well structured for search engine optimization (SEO)
  2. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete and you’re an “All-Star”
  3. Blog 2-3 times a week, no less than weekly
  4. Be active in the major social networks — engage with people, especially influencers in your field
  5. Make sure your social network profile pages for you company are setup properly with quality graphics and complete information – it’s your online reputation!
  6. Write at least once a week for LinkedIn

Need help? Feel overwhelmed? Don’t know where to start?

Click here to schedule a free 30-minte phone consultation and analysis of your online marketing efforts.

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Don’t Dive in Without a Plan!

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

Ben Franklin said it first and it still holds true for every business. You cannot dive in with out a plan!

It’s like taking a road trip – having a plan to guide you makes sense.

11 years ago this week I embarked on a cross-country road trip to relocate from Florida to Arizona. I loaded myself, my stuff and 2 cats into my Kia Rio Cinco hatchback and hit the road. 1st day – Palm Bay, FL to New Orleans, LA; 2nd leg: New Orleans to San Antonio, TX; 3rd leg: San Antonio to Las Cruces, NM; Last leg: Las Cruces to Phoenix. I had to plan it out so I could find pet-friendly hotels, motels or B&Bs.

SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goalsMy goal was to get to Phoenix in 4 days. It was a SMART goal. And I made it. Had I not planned ahead, I would have wasted tons of time looking for a motel that had vacancy and accepted animals.

Well, in business, you must have a Business Plan!

And it can’t be just in your head! Writing it down makes it real.

Sure you can get templates for a Business Plan at organizations like SCORE, and that’s a good place to start. But it’s actually hard to do it all by yourself. You’re too attached to your idea or business. Part of the Business Plan is the Marketing plan and the Social Media Strategic and Tactical Plans are part of the overall Marketing Plan.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the bigger picture.

Especially the forecasting. If you’re looking to get funding from the SBA, a bank or an investor, you need a detailed plan. How are you going to sell your product or service? How are you going to make money? What are your start-up costs? How long before you are profitable?

If you’ve been in business for more than a year, you should review and update your business plan every year. Business models change. You get new product or service ideas. You want to expand. You need to hire more staff. All that needs to be written down.

Even just planning your social media marketing. If you try to do it without a plan you’ll be lost and you’ll say, “social media doesn’t work!” It works when you’ve got good strategic and tactical plans. And they need to be adjusted each month based on your data: analytics, insights, demographics, website statistics, etc. That will tell you what’s working and not working.

If you keep doing something that’s not working expecting different results — well, that’s definition of insanity.

So, get help! Take a class, get a mentor, hire a coach, hire an expert. It is a wise investment.

We’re here to help. Let us know how. Check our upcoming classes! We teach more than just social media!

Download the free Define Your Target Market Workbook – it’ll help you get started.

Click here to schedule a free 30-minute phone consult and analysis of your current marketing efforts.

 

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What Makes Your Business Different?

What makes your business different from the other guy, down the street, who does what you do?

What makes your business different? Before you can start marketing your business, you need to identify what your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is. What makes you unique, better, different than your competitor.

I recently gave a seminar on LinkedIn for the BBB and in a room of about 20 people, two air conditioning companies were represented. Both serve both residential and commercial.

Let’s take their industry for example. What could be the differentiating characteristics?

  • Location – here, the Phoenix Valley covers a huge area. For a local business, how far will you drive for a customer?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Are you BBB Accredited, what’s your rating? Awards? Reputation?

All of that is important. When someone’s a/c unit breaks, especially here in Phoenix, they are going to go online to find someone to fix it fast. What’s going to come up?

  • Your Webiste
  • Google+ Listing
  • Other Social Media Networks

What is someone going to find there? Good reviews? Testimonials? A nice selection of products? Fast service guarantee? Service area? Put yourself in the searchers shoes. Is what they see online about your business going to entice them to call or click on “Request a Quote”?

For many businesses, it’s not about a product, but the service you provide. If you’re willing to go the extra mile for a customer, that makes you different.

“A business can peg its USP on product characteristics, price structure, placement strategy (location and distribution) or promotional strategy. These are what marketers call the “four P’s” of marketing. They are manipulated to give a business a market position that sets it apart from the competition.” Entrepreneur

Other differentiating factors may be:

  • Pricing
  • Knowledge and expertise
  • Certain services that you offer that your competition doesn’t

Another key factor is your target market. Defining your target market will help you get to know them and you may be able to cater your products or service to their needs rather than a huge broad market.

Three tips from that Entrepreneur Magazine article I quoted above:

  • Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
  • Know what motivates your customers’ behavior and buying decisions.
  • Uncover the real reasons customers buy your product instead of a competitor’s.

I’ve put together the Define Your Target Market Workbook to help you do just that. No matter if you’re B2B or B2C, you still have get to know your target. This workbook will help. Click here to down load it.

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Customer Service and Social Media

cox_tweetCustomer service has gone real-time. With the increased use of social media, people are more likely to tweet a question or post a complaint on Facebook before picking up the phone. It’s up to the businesses to monitor their social media – either their brand, user name, or a hashtag.

A few months ago, I decided to switch from one Internet Service Provider (ISP) to another. I was calling Cox and I was on hold for 20 minutes. I expressed my frustration on my personal Facebook page which is connected to my personal Twitter account. I “tagged” Cox. That means I used their Twitter “handle” (username) in the post. They saw it. About a minute later, I got through. Still, this helped their “Customer Care” department see that they have a hold problem.

Customer service and social media go hand-in-hand.

Jay Baer, of Convince and Convert and author of “YouTility” did a short video:

If your social media pages are not monitored properly, a customer service request can go unnoticed for days and that’s bad. It’s crucial that you monitor activity daily on your social pages and respond in a timely and appropriate manner to customer service inquiries, issues and complaints. You need to diffuse the bad and highlight the good.

You can monitor and manage our social media in 30 minutes a day! I can show you how. Contact us for a free 30-minute phone consultation and analysis.

 

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