Back when I was building up my business, I had a part-time job working in a Chiropractic/Acupuncturist’s office. When people would inquire if their certain ailment could be dealt with using acupuncture, he told me to always tell them yes. At the time, I just thought, “Wow, that is a bold move. What if you don’t know? Then what are you going to do?” But honestly, his advice has gotten me very far in my business.
The answer is always yes – then you figure out how to do it.
What I have come to learn is not only did he get new clients in the door (smart), but he also furthered his own education at the same time. He pushed the envelope of his knowledge every day. He loved what he did and he wanted to share it with the world, as well as help people. So if they called asking if acupuncture could help with their situation, he always said yes – and then he figured out how to make it happen.
That is what entrepreneurialism is all about. The answer is always yes, even if you don’t know how, and then you find a way to do it. So what if you do not know how to do something right now. You will learn. You will figure it out, and then you will know for next time. You may even discover a new offering you did not think of before. This my friends is called INNOVATION, and a lot of products we use today are because someone said yes – and then figured it out.
So let’s think about some of the things that will help with figuring out a way to say YES.
Are you using all the methods of technology possible to make this task happen? My husband and I have had an IT business for the last 18 years, and we have definitely seen technology evolve. For example, when we first started out he physically had to be on location at all times to deal with the problem. Now there is software he uses to remote in to your machine and take care of it. Faster for the locals, yes, but now he can help people virtually anywhere in the world. My point is to look for various software applications or programs that may help you accomplish what your clients are asking you to do for them.
Tapping In To Your Network
Sometimes, it does indeed take a village. Maybe what you are trying to do entails some knowledge that is not your specialty. But you know who can help you with that piece. So reach out to them! Every entrepreneur should have a network of professionals surrounding them. If you are a smart entrepreneur, you are constantly networking to get the word out, but you should also be meeting other people that can potentially help you someday. So comb through your list of contacts and see if there is someone who can help you and then brainstorm a way to package it!
Maybe you plain just don’t know how to do it and no one else does either. Fine. Then find a class or webinar and learn it yourself. There is a webinar for everything these days. Further your education by mastering a new skill. I will use my husband as an example again. When he is setting up WordPress websites for people, we are constantly being asked if their site can do a particular task. And guess what – there usually is a plugin already out there that will handle the job. And if there isn’t, we will learn how to make it ourselves. Because that is what you do to get the job done. And in the end, you just furthered your knowledge as well as made your client happy – just like my chiropractic friend. That is a win win in my opinion.
Necessity is the mother of all invention. A wise saying, but that is why we have entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are the ones that continuously come up with products or services that will fill the needs of their clients or customers. This should be you. What is the last thing someone asked you for and you told them no? I realize there may be very specific circumstances where you cannot say yes, but those are becoming less frequent. The world is evolving and technology is helping. So I challenge you to make a mindset shift and start saying YES instead of no. That yes could be the next stream of income you never knew you had.
So tell me, when have you recently said no? What were the circumstances? Post in the comments and let’s all help figure out a way to say YES!
Lately I have noticed a growing number of people practicing very bad social media etiquette. While it is bad enough coming from individuals, it is worse when coming from professionals or business owners. Maybe it is just me, maybe it is a full moon, or maybe everyone just needs reminding, but I think it is time for a refresher in social media etiquette and permission marketing.
Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.
So let’s take a look at some of these social media faux pas and on which platforms they are being committed.
Tagging people without permission. And I mean A LOT of people at once. It is one thing to tag someone to bring their attention to something you saw, but tagging a lot of people is going to do nothing but blow up their phone with Facebook notifications as soon as people start commenting. Maybe they are not interested! But now all of the sudden they are getting all these notifications and have no idea what is going on. They must stop whatever they were doing to find out why they are getting so many interruptions. Whatever it was you tagged them in will be looked at negatively and similarly their opinion of you just dropped a little.
A recent article called The New Rules of Social Media Etiquette states: “Now that de-tagging is an accepted practice — and Facebook allows users to review everything that goes on their timelines, should they choose to — failing to tag a person in a group shot is the bigger faux pas. Tag everyone; they will de-tag if they don’t like it.”
I COMPLETELY disagree. Especially coming from businesses. What if I am not in a position to de-tag myself and my phone is pinging me like crazy? I don’t care that it is accepted practice in some people’s eyes. If you don’t ask first, you don’t have permission. Without permission you destroy credibility. Plain and simple.
Adding people to groups without their permission. I am very happy for you that you have started another business on the side and wish to include me on what is going on with that, but don’t add me to the group without my permission! This particular indiscretion happens a lot. The correct thing to do is to send me a private message asking if it is okay to add me to the group. That will get my respect and attention.
Hashtag abuse. Yes, hashtags are getting out of hand. I realize they are a valuable marketing tool and when properly used are great, but I think a lot of people are bordering on becoming a Jimmy Fallon hashtag skit. You don’t need to hashtag your heart out on every single post. Excessive numbers of hashtags simply become online noise. Make them relevant on your business posts. #moderation
Connecting with Strangers. Requesting connections with people you don’t know, have never met, and give no explanation as to why you want to connect with them is one of my biggest pet peeves. Nearly every day I get a request to connect with someone on LinkedIn without any clue who they are or why they want to connect with me. Why would I connect with people I don’t even know? It is a RARE occurrence that I get someone sending me a private message on LinkedIn saying how they found me and why they want to connect. I will connect with them every time and engage in conversation. If you send me the canned “let’s connect” message, that is a one way ticket to the trash box on my email. Take the time to start conversations with these people and you will get a lot farther with them.
Rude Comments. When did it become okay to post rude comments on people’s blogs? I know the online world gives people a sense of anonymity, but that does not give you an excuse to be downright mean. I found a great quote in an article from American Express Open Forum that states: “Be respectful of everyone’s blog. It’s like their house. Would you want someone coming into you your house stomping and telling you how ugly it looks?” This is so true. It is okay to disagree and engage in a healthy dialogue, but don’t be a jerk about it.
Spam Texts. I Just got my first spam message. All I can say here is – don’t do it! And yes, I am attaching a photo of it and calling out this Ben character. Our phones are nagging us with enough noise. Ask permission first to text people! I am big fan of text notifications – when asked! As you can see, when I am not, my response is less than favorable.
Please, be Considerate!
I know the world of social media makes it easy to just go ahead and assume everyone wants to hear what you have to say, but basic etiquette, respect and common sense should still apply. When in doubt, always stick with the golden rule: treat others and you would like to be treated.
School is out. The pool is open. It is a beautiful day. But you have to still run your business. You still have to make money. I find the summer time distractions are the hardest ones to overcome as an entrepreneur. What is a girl to do when all you want to do is sit poolside with your fruity beverage? How do you stay focused? So I came up with a list of tips that I find help me – and I hope they help you too.
1. Adjust Your Schedule
One of the main reasons most of us became our own boss is to have the ability to make our own schedule. When I coach clients however, I often see them still adhering to the 9-5 that they left. I, myself, have fallen victim to the guilt if I am not pulling the eight hour day during a specific time. Let me let you in on a little secret: you can work during hours other than 9-5. Shhh…..
Seriously though. Maybe you get up earlier in the day and work a few hours, take breaks for the kids, and then work some more. Maybe you work in the morning and the evening, but take the afternoon off. What I typically do is put the summer schedule into the calendar, and then book my appointments and times I need to be in the office around it. There are more hours in the day than just 9-5, so use them!
2. Make A To-Do List
I am a HUGE fan of lists. Lists help me stay focused on my tasks. They help me remember every detail. They hold me accountable to the things I know I HAVE to get done. There is something about seeing it on the list that really motivates me to get it done so I can do the best part: CROSSING IT OFF! I know we have a lot of ways to keep lists, but there is something so empowering about physically crossing off an item on your list. I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I do it. It also serves as a reward! I got everything pertinent on the list done, now I can be poolside!
3. Take A Look At Your Technology
So you want to take a break but you are still waiting on that ever important email. With all of the technology available to us today, you can make your office mobile any time you wish. But you have to have the right technology in place to do it. Take a look at your smart phone, is it up to the task? If not, now would be a great time to upgrade.
How are you saving your documents? Do you utilize cloud based services like Dropbox to access your documents from anywhere? Cloud based systems are often free or low cost so you don’t have to be beholden to your desktop or laptop. Just access them from your smart phone or iPad and move on.
Verify/beef up your wireless network to make sure you can reach it outside your house to where you want to be. If you need to, hire a technology expert to come set up your home office so you can be anywhere on your property and still have the ability to get online without any issues. Then you can be poolside without worry. Trust me, it is worth it.
4. Take A Class
Sometimes, a little knowledge will go a long way. I find that taking an online class or webinar that will teach me something renews my goals and helps me focus on my vision. Clients definitely will be thrilled that you are staying current with your craft. Knowledge is power. Another reason this one works well is that a lot of entrepreneurs experience a slow down in business due to clients being out of town. So take advantage of the time and sign up for a class and learn something new. It will motivate you to stay on target, and who knows? Whatever it is you learn will help you make additions to your current offerings which equals more money! Who wouldn’t want to make more money?
5. Happy Hour At Sonic
Don’t underestimate the ability to just take a moment and enjoy what life has to offer. Just today my kids asked me if I would take them to Happy Hour at Sonic (for those of you that don’t know what that is, think car hop, burgers and ice cream, etc.) Happy Hour means drinks and slushes on sale. Happy Hour means if I get my work done, I can have a reward. Happy Hour means a well deserved break, even if I just can’t make poolside happen today. Happy Hour means everyone is…. happy!
I would love to hear some of your tips. What gets you motivated in the summer? What helps you stay on task so you can take some time off and enjoy the weather? Post your thoughts in the comments below! Happy Summer everyone!
I am currently taking an email marketing course. It is called “Rock The Inbox” and I highly recommend it. Definitely a higher level though, not really for beginners. But I am just getting started and already I am faced with a conundrum:
Should I use a pop-up form to increase my email subscribers?
I am not a fan of pop-up forms or boxes for any reason. I personally find them incredibly annoying. The worst thing in the world to me is to finally find an article that has the information I am looking for, start reading, and then have an incredibly annoying box scream at me to give out my email address or to “click here” for some freebie.
Now I am not going to lie. I have done my research and I am fully aware that pop-up boxes will typically make your opt-in rates soar. There is no question. But to me it seems like it might be stacking the deck a bit. Like having a pop up box will get someone’s email at first, but are they truly interested in joining your list or do they just feel compelled since there is a flashy box in the way of the content they want to read?
I think that it is truly up to you as the website owner what type of experience you want your reader/follower to have. Pop-ups have the potential to be fraught with peril. Not only are they annoying, but there is increased potential for a glitch. This will give your reader a horrible experience. Now they are annoyed, they cannot read the content, and they will probably leave and never come back. Not good.
But you cannot ignore the need for some sort of opt-in alternative that may suit your needs, so what is a gal to do? So I started doing some research and here are some suggestions I have found:
1. Use a well placed, prominent sign up box. The best real estate out there is the top right hand corner. However, I am also seeing a lot more of them at the footer of each and every posts. This to me is the best option. They have just finished reading all of your article, and that is the perfect time to grab them. If they read to the end, the must have liked it, right? Chances of you gaining their email so they can learn more from you are VERY high at this point. (**hint hint – check out my fancy new sign up at the end.)
2. Consider adding some spice to your free offer. Obviously people are not going to just give up their email for nothing. You have to dangle a carrot. You have to give them something of value so they will give something that is valuable to them. What about a great free e-book or downloadable pdf? Tip sheets and free services with links are always a good one as well. I have gotten some of the best free eBooks on topics I wanted to learn more about because there was a great offer in exchange for my email address.
3. Delay the opt-in. This suggestion came from my husband, the WordPress Wiz. If you insist on using the pop-up box, there are a lot of plugins now for WordPress that will assist you in delaying the timing. That way, your reader can get through most of the article without being annoyed and hounded for their email. Some he would suggest are:
Of course, you can always just keep your focus on what you are writing about too. As long as you continue to produce great content that is valuable to your target market, you will organically accumulate more readers.
So what are your thoughts? Do you use a pop-up box on your blog or website? Post your comments!
According to a recent blog post from Google, starting April 21st they will begin giving higher rankings to websites that are mobile friendly. Google states:
“This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
It is no secret that Google is always changing their algorithms in order to give the end user the most up to date information when they come to do a search. The never ending game that we as marketers play is how to optimize our content in order to get the best organic rankings that we can in order to get placed higher. Reminds me of a joke I saw last week: Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? The 2nd page of Google!
Based on my experience running Google Ad campaigns for my clients, I can tell you without hesitation when I look at the stats from the ad that tell me where people are coming from, over 80% consistently in the last YEAR have been searching on a mobile device. So I am not surprised Google is moving forward. This is not something to be taken lightly or brushed aside.
An article from Forbes Magazine states,
“According to information we’ve been able to gather so far, it appears that this update will be as significant as Google Panda and Google Penguin, two previous significantly impactful algorithm changes, perhaps even more so. It’s also going to evaluate on a yes-no basis, which means it’s either going to see your site as “mobile friendly” or “not mobile friendly.”
Let’s face it, eCommerce is not going anywhere and if your site is not mobile friendly, chances are you are missing out on sales to businesses that have a mobile friendly, easy to use website and keep in touch strategy. So what is a business owner to do?
First: Optimize your website so that it will be mobile friendly. If you have been dragging your feet on this, the time is now to get it taken care of. Start by running your website through Google’s Mobile-Friendly test. This will tell you where you need to begin. Here, Google will talk to you about some more common mistakes such as proper coding of image files, not using flash for video – or anything else, and cross-linking inappropriately.
It is not entirely clear how SEO is going to be affected, but rest assured if your site is not mobile friendly your ranking will definitely take a hit.
A lot of this can seem overwhelming unless you know what you are doing with your website, so I recommend not re-inventing the wheel and hiring a professional to take a look at your site and make sure it is mobile friendly. If you are lucky enough to have WordPress as your platform, you should be able to select a different theme that is more mobile friendly.
Second: Look at your email marketing. Almost everyone checks their email primarily through a mobile device while they are on the go. Most business owners that I know that are smart and taking the time to send email newsletters use various companies to put together a sharp email that shares their content and represents their brand, but when is the last time you updated your newsletter to a more mobile friendly version?
Constant Contact and Mailchimp both have mobile friendly templates that will allow you to see what it would look on on a desktop, as well as a mobile device, before you send it out. Nothing is worse than checking your email on your phone and not being able to read it because you are trying to find a way to get the whole thing on your screen. Most people I know would give up – and that is obviously not good. So make sure your email is readable from mobile devices as well.
Third: Don’t give up on social media. With all the platforms to choose from I understand it can be an overwhelming task to keep up with. But with the increase in mobile devices, the primary way people stay in touch is via their mobile device and their favorite social media platform. If you are struggling with keeping up with it all and cannot afford to hire someone like me to help you, then I recommend choosing one platform – and being great at it. Find the platform that your target market is hanging out in and give that platform all of your attention and time. Be amazing at Facebook. Excel at Twitter. Have the world’s most beautiful set of boards on Pinterest. Do one thing, and do it well, and your business will be noticed online. Use tools such as Pagemodo or Hootsuite to help you organize your thoughts and plan your time online successfully.
Making all of your online efforts more seamless and intuitive for the end user are what is going to set your business apart in the coming months and years. Paying attention to the trends and acting accordingly should be the priority in when connecting with your audience online. Questions? Contact me, I would love to chat about it with you.
Have you ever considered using video in your online marketing strategy? I use video a lot with my clients, especially when they are trying to show you something they do that is not easily understood with text. It is also a great way to get to know you more.
A lot of people are afraid of video, but trust me – once you get started it is a walk in the park! Just remember, you are not going for the Oscar here. Just be yourself, give quality information to your viewers, and then sit back and relax!
Below I discuss some reasons why you want to use video, as well as what to do with it once you shoot it. Questions? Just contact me!
Recently, I heard a commercial on the radio promoting a jewelry store saying how it could help any man find the perfect gift for his love interest by checking out her Pinterest page and discovering what she liked. I must say it was very clever. Pinterest is very public and you can see what other people like and find interesting. I thought to myself, what an ingenious marketing technique. Why don’t more people take advantage of this?
The answer is: as much fun and popular as Pinterest is, I still don’t think businesses are using it to its full capability for promotional purposes. Why? Mostly because they either A) don’t know how or B) are used to the old ways of marketing and don’t think Pinterest is for their company.
Pinterest is for everyone. I recently received an email from the Pinterest For Business Email Newsletter stating that they are now seeing more male followers than ever, so you can’t blame it on the “it’s only for women” mentality. Like any other method of marketing, it’s all about how you approach it. What is it you want from Pinterest? I am going to assume for purposes of this conversation that you want more clients. So give the clients what they want! Make them want to follow your boards. Give them a reason to keep coming back with great content! Here are a few tips I would like to share that will help you:
Convert your Pinterest Personal Page Into a Business Page
You and the end user may not be able to tell the difference, but business pages will provide you with helpful inside information and analytics that a personal page will not. Take the time to convert your page. This will give you information like unique users, repins, visits to your site and more. This information will prove to be vital to keeping track of where your new clients are coming from.
Have Boards That Represent Your Brand
People do business with those they know, like and trust. Start creating a visual “get to know me” section where your clients/customers learn all about the way you tick. If they feel closer to you, they will buy from you. It doesn’t hurt to put your name in some of the board titles as well – it goes a long way with branding. While we are on the subject…
Name Your Boards Something Catchy Or With Phrases People Would Use To Search
We have all seen the boards simply titled “Recipes” or “Marketing”. Go a step further and name them something fun that will stand out and represent not only what pins they will find on that board, but more about the person behind them. People love to follow a catchy-titled board. This is the time to not be ordinary. It also goes a long way with SEO. Make sure you are titling your boards with key phrases that people are searching for. It will help tremendously when they are searching Pinterest for what they are looking for. (Yes, people do searches directly inside Pinterest.)
Engage With Pinners That Leave Comments (a/k/a Your Audience)
Everyone wants to be heard. So make sure you answer comments or questions from fellow pinners by responding like you would on Twitter. Example: @janedoe – thank you for your comment and question, how can I help you? Remember that Pinterest is SOCIAL media. So be social and interact and engage with the people who are taking the time to leave comments.
Make Use Of Images You Own
This is especially true if you take pictures of what you represent and put them on your website. People are more likely to respond to images than words. Images provoke feelings, good or bad, and compel them to act. This is why food commercials have been so popular for so many years. Think about it: who hasn’t been sitting on their couch, minding their own business, and suddenly want to go get ice cream because Dairy Queen came on TV? It’s the same with Pinterest. I am totally guilty of pursuing my feed and then accidentally finding lovely images of what is currently coming out of the oven from my local bakery. Guess who suddenly needed a cookie? You get the point. Make sure you fill up boards with your images, and then link them back to your website where your customers can BUY! This works for the images that you associate with your blog as well. The image should reflect what you are writing about, which leads them to your blog, which leads them to contacting and hiring YOU!
Promote Your Boards On Other Platforms
New to the game and afraid you will not be reaching your already established social media audiences? Simply post all your new boards and/or pins on your Facebook and Twitter feeds, or wherever you currently hang out. Draw the people that already know, like, and trust you over to another platform where they literally get to see a lot more of what you have to offer. One way this gets easier is to use an application called Pinvolve. It installs on Facebook to display images from your Pinterest boards right onto your Facebook page. Less work for you! There are many other programs you can search for on Google that will help automate this process. Let technology do the work for you!
Move Your Boards Around
This is especially true if your business is seasonal. No one wants to come to a candy shop’s boards on Valentine’s Day and see all the boards in the top row are from Christmas specials. Make sure you keep that row, the first five boards, timely and relevant to what is going on in the world. The top row should always have a board that will link them back to your website where they can purchase from you.
Let Pinterest Tell You What Is Going On
Several of my comments and suggestions come straight from the creators. I read every email I get from their newsletter, as well as what they themselves are currently pinning on their Pinterest For Business page. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel! Let the masters give you some tips, and then more importantly, follow them!
I want to hear from you! What best practices can you share after creating a Pinterest Page for your business?
They say change is good – and especially for a new year! So, for the first time ever on my blog, I am featuring a guest blogger. Ivan Serrano is a very savvy online marketer and has some great suggestions that he shares below on why you should start paying attention to Google+ and their +Post Ads. With all the changes in the social media space going on right now, it is necessary to stay up to date on what is available to you, the entrepreneur. I feel it is my job to arm you with as much information as I can to help you decide what is right for your budget and your business. While many marketers think Google+ is a social media platform of the past, it’s actually a very powerful tool for your business. In fact, Google+ is changing the way brands interact with their customers online through advertisements.
In 2014, Google launched +Post Ads, a Google+ content advertising tool. This feature enables brands with at least 1,000 followers to advertise their Google+ content. Google+ Post Ads utilize the Google Display Network and enables brands to advertise their Google+ posts, videos, and hangouts throughout the Internet.
So, you’re probably wondering why Google+ Post Ads are important for your brand, right? Well, it gives you the opportunity to reach more customers and build more awareness for your brand. In fact, brands who have advertised their Google+ content have experienced 50 percent more engagement than traditional advertising tactics!
Getting started with +Post Ads is quite simple. All you need is a Google+ page with at least 1,000 followers and valuable content to share with your target audience. Once you accomplish these two things, you’ll be able to launch your first +Post Ad campaign.
Creating a +Post Ad campaign is very easy. First, you’ll create a new AdWords campaign with Google. Next, you’ll create your ad and select an ad group. When you create your ad, make sure you choose the best image size for your post and select the best demographics for your target audience. Finally, you’ll save your advertisement and prepare to respond to engagement. As you can tell, creating a +Post Ad campaign is very simple!
Google is changing the way brands advertise their business online. Instead of focusing on product promotion, +Post Ads focus on content promotion. To learn more about +Post Ads and how to create one, check out the infographic below:
So this has been a very interesting year in social media. It seems that no matter how much we try, we are never able to keep up with all the changes and how to’s. Believe me. I do this for a living and it is a lot to take in many days. So I thought I would stop the crazy train and offer some advice to my fellow entrepreneurs based on what I have personally seen on my own accounts, as well as the accounts I manage for my clients. Keep in mind, my thoughts here are based on what I have observed with the testing and measuring I have been doing this year.
1. Facebook – you now have to pay to play, so quit whining.
I know, I know. A lot of people are really ticked off that their organic engagement is down. But in their efforts to provide your wall with content that YOU want to see, they are constantly playing with their algorithm. Facebook was free, and still is, but the days of great engagement stats being free are over. That being said, there are many low cost options available to you that are very beneficial when done correctly. For instance, I HIGHLY recommend boosting your posts. You can do this as cheap as $5.00 for one day if you want. The key to this working effectively is to boost a post that leads your target back to your website. So for example, let’s say you are putting out a holiday gift buying guide. You would put that on your blog or website, write a post about it on Facebook with the link to that blog attached, and then boost that post. You can spend any amount you want and choose to run it for one day or three days. This is very effective when you are trying to draw attention to your blog and website – which should ALWAYS be your goal. Why? Because you don’t own Facebook. You don’t own any platform. But you do own your website and email database. So utilize social media for what it is. A social website. Educate and interact with your followers and lead them back to your website.
2. Should you use a third party posting system, like Hootsuite?
In my opinion, yes. Anything that you can do to be able to post to multiple environments to save time is a good thing. There has been some talk over the years that Facebook does not give as much reach to posts that come from 3rd party apps, but I show no evidence of this being the case. I personally have been testing this theory recently with my posts, as well as my clients. Engagement and the amount of people that have seen the posts are the same. I even checked this out with some industry leaders in Social Media – and they have confirmed this information as well. Hootsuite Pro is really nice because they give you detailed reports on how all your accounts are doing on a weekly basis, and have a very helpful staff. The Pro account is not free, but the cost is very minimal.
3. Pictures – they will always steal the show.
So the big questions is always, what should I post? What will get shared the most? My answer is to think about what you personally would share with others. Everyone loves fun pictures. Pictures that make us laugh, pictures that inspire us with great images or uplifting quotes, these are the types of things that get shared. Once again I will state: social media is meant to be SOCIAL. So filling up your wall with too much “buy from me” posts or posts that are very educational and relevant, but boring, will not help your message get spread. You HAVE to sprinkle in the humor. I know a lot of you have trouble with this since you want your page to look professional. Trust me – you can be professional and funny at the same time. The key is knowing your audience. Really study what people are liking and commenting on. Tech tip on photos: I have heard a rumor that pictures shared in the .png format are often shown by Facebook more. Still researching if this is true, but feel free to try it and let me know how it works for you! Also – make your own quotes by using a free service called PicMonkey.com. Own your thoughts before you put them out there!
4. Is social media really necessary?
Absolutely. The key is knowing which platform your target market is using. It is safe to say that most people use Facebook, but if you are targeting the younger generation they are typically found on Twitter and Instagram. So spend the time doing the research and surveying your target market. Where do they hang out? Where do they like to get their information? And if you are overwhelmed with it all, you basically have two options in my opinion.
1: Pick one platform and rock at it. Really put a lot of time and effort into that platform and utilize it to its fullest extent. Don’t worry about being plastered everywhere. If you are choosing the platform your target frequents the most, and using that platform to lead them back to your website, then you are doing the right thing. Remember, always lead them back to where you have the control.
2. Hire some help. I know the thought of hiring someone to do this for you can be scary, but having a professional help you is worth its weight in gold. This person should be using social media, your website and blog, and your email newsletters together to send out your clear and concise message. All of these things should be working together to market your business and produce a professional image online. It is necessary and if you cannot keep up with it yourself, then it is time to pony up. (That is a direct quote from a fellow entrepreneur I know.)
I am always on the lookout for more tips to share. When I come across some more, I will be sure to let you know, so follow me on my Facebook page or Twitter account. I also invite your questions in the comments below. Let’s make 2015 a great year!
As the end of the year approaches, every business owner starts the daunting task of reflection. You start to assess what you have accomplished and what you have not, what made you money and what did not, what expenses are no longer necessary and so on. It can also be an exciting time as you look back and relive your accomplishments and big wins. But now is the best time to re-establish your goals and make some new ones.
But first – you need finish up the current year. Before you go making a lot of changes and getting caught up in the magic of the promises of a new beginning, let’s bring this year to its proper fairy tale ending by really looking at what your business accomplishments were, and what can be improved upon.
I have put together a list of the top ten things an entrepreneur should ask themselves as they wrap up the year and prepare to start a new one.
1. What was your revenue and how did it compare to the year before?
It is no secret that a successful business comes down to the dollars. But to truly know your dollars, are you keeping track of not only income, but expenses? Revenue numbers being high are a beautiful thing but sometimes outrageous expenses can kill that excitement. Take the time to get your numbers in order on a monthly basis so you are not cramming it in at the end of the year. That being said, were you able to provide enough products and services to increase your revenue? If numbers are staying the same year after year without much growth it is time to start looking at the reason why and deal with it.
2. What could be delegated and what do I need to keep doing myself?
I wrote about this earlier in the year. Most entrepreneurs feel like they need to take on all the roles of the business themselves in order to save money, when in fact they can be doing something else that makes the money while they delegate a task that is boring to them or takes them A LOT longer to do than a professional. Sit down and do the math to see if continuing to do certain tasks is actually costing you more money than just delegating them to someone else.
3. Which marketing method worked the best for me?
When I coach my clients, I train them on the six core promotion strategies that you incorporate into marketing your business. Which one of these strategies brought in the most clients? If a particular method is successful and bringing in the clients that turn into sales, consider doing it on a semi-regular basis. Always re-evaluate at the end of each strategy. Also consider: what is fun? Let’s face it, when it comes to marketing most entrepreneurs start to groan – unless it is something they LIKE to do. For example, I LOVE to network. It is how I got my name, Queen Bee. I love going to events and learning about what others do, sharing who I know, what I know, and how I can either help them myself or direct them to someone who can. I love the community and magic that comes with networking. Others see networking as a total nightmare and prefer to blog. Whatever your method – run with it as long as it makes you money!
4. What was your biggest struggle and why?
Taking a look at the end of the year for reflection will always bring up discussions of what DID NOT work. Perhaps it was a good idea that was just executed poorly. Maybe you did not have enough time to plan and if given the opportunity to do it again you would make some changes. Maybe your struggles were not with bringing in money, but dealing with employees or some other issue. Take a look at what was eating up your time and why – then you can make a plan so it is not a struggle in the new year.
5. What type of client brings in the most money?
This one should be easy to identify – but can you identify what brings in that specific client in the first place? If you can properly assess the needs and desires of your clients, then you can communicate the #1 biggest result they get from working with you. Follow that up by outlining the deep rooted benefits they will receive when they work with you, and then articulate it regularly so they keep coming back for more.
6. Do you have multiple ways in which clients can do business with you?
I call this your Sales Cycle. The amount of money clients will spend with you is in direct proportion to the amount of trust you have earned. If you have their interest, but they are not completely sold and still need to hear more, than you need to have an offering that is at a lower price point to give you the opportunity to win their trust. Do you have multiple levels of financial commitment in which to do business with you? Do you have various programs at various time commitments? If not, it is time to make them.
7. How often do you stay in touch with your current clients?
Keeping in touch is a NECESSARY step for every entrepreneur. It is a lot easier to do business with people that already know, like, and trust you than to win over strangers. Are you using social media, email marketing (yes newsletters are still important), or some other method to regularly reach out? Seth Godin once said, if you could never have a new client, how differently would you treat your current clients? Very profound. Treat your current clients as if they were your only clients moving forward. They already love you and want to promote you if you are keeping in touch and taking care of them. So make it easy on them.
8. Are there improvements you can make with your technology to make your life easier?
Disclaimer: My husband and I run a technology company as well. But I have seen SO MANY entrepreneurs that still waste so much time taking on tasks that would be so much easier with the right technology. Contrary to what you may think: proper technology DOES NOT always mean more money. There are so many ways to use mobile devices and cloud based systems to make your life easier that will not break the bank. My advice: get a hold of a technology professional that is focused on entrepreneurs and how they do business.
9. Is there a product I can create that will create passive income for my company?
Who doesn’t want to make money while they sleep? Dumb question – but I bet there is an information product up your sleeve that will not only establish you as a category authority, but a product you can make that will be an inexpensive way to get in front of your target market and win their trust. Could be an eBook, regular book, webinar series, or video series. (See #6 above.)
10. Do you have an accountability partner?
This one is probably the most important. As entrepreneurs, we are the captain of the ship and have to prioritize and choose where we spend our time. Unfortunately, life can get in the way and all the things I listed above can get put on the back burner. Which is why EVERYONE needs to be held accountable to someone. Find an accountability partner or coach that will meet with you on a REGULAR basis. Here and there is a waste of time. If you want to accomplish your goals, have someone hold your feet to the fire and you will.
Comments? What questions would you ask yourself at the end of the year that you feel is super important that did not make the list? I would love to hear from you!