Archives for March 2014

The Convenient Entrepreneur

Branding[Entrepreneur] according to Webster’s dictionary one who undertakes a business venture, taking both control and risk.

I would add to that – a commitment to one’s vision or dream. When you decide to put up that shingle, you’re making a promise to yourself and your customer to work in the best interest of both. In this world economy of ours many people found themselves out on the street for the first time in their careers through no fault of their own. Streamlining, down-sizing – whatever the cause has had a lot of people “re-inventing themselves.” You may have noticed a plethora of coaches, consultants, gurus, agents of change and what ever moniker these discarded individuals hoist upon their shoulders. Don’t get me wrong – there are a great many who are the genuine article and come with their guidance, a rich portfolio of wisdom. BUT, there there are many who lay claim to being something they’re not.

In your community, you see them everywhere. Individuals who love the idea of “entrepreneur” but lack the gumption and commitment to walk the walk. When they worked as an employee they may have envied the entrepreneur and even envied their “freedom” or perceived freedom. They answer to themselves (or so they thought). A true entrepreneur is the hardest working person in the room. They recognize that it’s not about who’s the boss. Their motivation is not simply the money but the satisfaction. They weather the risk and some even thrive in its uncertainty. An entrepreneur is a unique individual.

You see the cracks in psuedo-entrepreneurs very easily. They are the ones are looking for the short-term solutions. They are the ones who book meetings at their convenience. These are the people go into business and wait for the customer to somehow grace their door steps. They are the individuals who quit at 5:00pm, using (balance) as an excuse. The worst offence is these are the people who profess to love their business but secretly yearn that someone will come forth and offer them a full-time job with benefits. This is a dangerous individual. Companies that hire their ‘expertise’ are thrown to the curb at the first job offer. Instead of looking for opportunities to grow their businesses they try to play all the angles to minimize risk. The best way to minimize risk in business is to work harder and focus on your core competency. If that competency is being a great employee then focus on that and be the best employee there is. Businesses need great employees. They don’t need opportunists. They’re hard to rely on. Employees should do what they do best and that’s work for the visionaries. Be a great follower.

If you are the leader and are having a hard time with it – get out there more. Network – meet people who are making it happen . Talk to them, read about them. See what makes them get up in the morning. Try new things, put yourself in situations out of your comfort zones. Align yourself with individuals that you admire. Avoid negative people who will bring you down. Consciously try and stay positive and provide positive vibes to those around you. Start a mastermind group of brilliant business people who love the concept of sharing.

As Webster’s states – ‘…take control and risk.’ Stay true to yourself and you’ll end up where you ought to be. Pretending causing confusion and opportunities that should be yours avoid you until you are clear in your intentions.

Building an All-American Brand

Building An All American Brand

If you own a business, or do marketing for one, you likely are looking to sell your brand not only locally, but in the global marketplace. For better or for worse, taking your brand online gives it the potential for worldwide customers. And, in this day and age, just about every business in the U.S. has an online presence, even if it still exists as a true brick-and-mortar business.

Why construct a brand?

It’s crucial that you build a brand for your business. Your “brand” encompasses everything about how your business is perceived by its customers. It’s not just having a snappy-looking logo or catchy slogan. Your business’ brand is what promotes recognition and association, lets customers and potential customers understand what your business stands for, generates referrals, helps you and your staff stay focused on your business’ strategy and provides value.

Your brand is encompassed by each interaction a customer has with your business, from the moment that customer visits your business, views your website or calls on the phone to the conclusion of the transaction —  the goal, of course, is that the start-to-finish experience with your brand will have been so positive that the customer becomes a repeat customer, and also a source of referral to others.

The significance of patriotism in branding

It’s been established that consumers have national pride, and that pride is reflected in their buying decisions. Especially before and after the Olympics and around holidays like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Presidents Day and Columbus Day, brands capitalize on Americans’ nostalgia and U.S. pride by selling items with American flags or American flag-themed designs or using popular Olympic athletes to promote their merchandise.

In a recent Forbes story, the example is provided of the dollar bill as a brand. The Federal Reserve is the owner of the brand, which is known and valued worldwide. It carries testimony from the most recognizable American there is, George Washington, and it states the message “In God We Trust”, which tugs at the user’s loyalties. A dollar bill is more than just currency; it has value as a brand that represents the United States and it’s as ubiquitous as the American flag, itself.

Especially when the American economy is suffering and people feel the pain of unemployment either in their own lives, in the lives of people they know or simply from seeing stories about it on the news each day, Americans put a real value on knowing that what they buy was made by a company that is giving Americans jobs. Each time you see a product label that says “Made in the USA”, on some level you’re recognizing the fact that whatever company made this item is keeping people employed on our home soil. Studies have shown that if all else is equal, a majority of Americans will choose an American-manufactured item over one from overseas if they’re aware of the distinction.

How to “Americanize” your brand

So, you see the value in expressing patriotism in your brand and products, but if you’re not manufacturing American currency, American flags or George Washington-style wigs, how do you accomplish this? For one thing, you can not only demonstrate that your products are made in America, but tell consumers that your products are made here. That’s as simple as an “About Us” on your website or an insert in your packaging. Don’t assume that people are reading every label or that they are going to actively seek this information. Most of them aren’t and won’t. But, if it’s included as part of the product or company description, it’s an added incentive to purchase your product.

Also, don’t be shy about being specific in your marketing efforts. Roberto Torres, president of men’s clothing retailer Black & Denim, told Entrepreneur that his company’s support of American jobs through suppliers that make everything from zippers to patches is evident when he talks to retailers. He lets them know that his company is helping keep jobs in this country. “We … talk to our stores about the impact that one American job has on the economy,” he said. “We market [the fact that we’re helping job growth] in the hopes that [the retailers] can become advocates for our cause.”

Be creative. Does your packaging include an organic substance raised on a farm in Texas? Well, by all means, tell the consumer about it! Are you selling a product for which the idea was borne from a need of workers on oil derricks in North Dakota? These are things that you want to market to the best of your ability, because that’s what drives home the concept that your company, your brand, your product is patriotic. And that’s what the U.S. consumer wants to see.

The world is shrinking every day, but your brand doesn’t have to. Part of being a successful businessperson is taking what you have and using it to your best advantage; if you own an American-based business, regardless of size, not using that fact as part of your brand could be missing out on an opportunity. The next time you gaze out the window at an American flag flying high on its flag pole, consider what that means to you. Then remember that it means something to your customers, too, and work it into your brand in the strongest, most effective way possible.

5 Metrics to Make Your Digital Marketing Outperform

A confusing state that pre-occupies the mind of small business owners is whether to direct or not to direct their digital marketing strategy. As in most cases executives delegate it to the IT and marketing teams, but they do not like their way of handling.

5 Metrics to Make Your Digital Marketing Outperform

So, should we direct or should we delegate?

When you delegate every aspect of digital marketing to IT and marketing firms, then you have to depend on their vision. And that makes your business dependable on the data provided by the IT firms.

Beginning of every week, IT teams forward you a spreadsheet showing your progress. Quite neat and clean. However, talking of digital marketing, it is more like a distribution channel. Would you like people dictating what numbers you should be giving more attention and which you should not?

You are comfortable as you get the number in hands with no hassles since you have appointed someone to look after them. However, that does not reduce your responsibility to look after the digital impacts. It is a fundamental aspect of your business. It focuses on your growth.

  So what aspects you must look after?

  What are the metrics that you should concentrate to drive out more revenue?

So What Are The 5 Metrics to Make Your Digital Marketing Outperform

Ask your team to mention the signals that you need to watch. Challenge them to report referring to the five metrics mentioned here, then take up the lead to create the strategy behind your growth.

#1 Paying Attention to the Unique Users

There is a huge potential or a threat of distraction when you look at the Google Analytics. On a dashboard, you might find 80 reports, but many of them may not have a real impact on the marketing strategy of your business. Then, whom should you watch? For example, some visitors might start following your from Costa Rica using Firefox Browser, don’t ignore them. The number of unique visitors paying attention to your business is a clear indication that your business is expanding.

#2 Lead Conversion Rates

This is a metric that you must ask your IT or marketing department to report every Monday. The global standard of lead conversion is between 2% and 4%. If less than 2% of the users are visiting your websites or taking some action (subscribing to newsletters, email, or turning into leads), then there is a problem in content strategy. Look at the conversion rates, create unique contents to make the percent shoot 4% and higher.

#3 Size of Your Email List

Have you watched the overall size of your email list? If you see a decline in the list size, you will find a disconnection between the value proposition and the delivery of that value. Will you like a reduced email list affect your business?

#4 Conversion Rates Must Generate Revenue

Measure the conversion rate of the subscribers to revenue. It does not just apply to companies that have shopping carts, but rather it is important to follow the lead throughout the life cycle. You have to establish the client’s value generated digitally. As the date of the lead generation and date of purchase order stays mentioned this metric helps to evaluate with ease. Keep a watch on the average conversion value of every customer.

#5 Site Traffic and Revenue Generated with Keywords

Find out which content is reaping huge amount of visitor look up to the site traffic and the revenue produced by each keyword. Get rid of the content that does not perform well and dig deeper to the content that drives sales. If your IT and marketing team works up on these metrics, then you are at the helm of your digital strategy, you will effectively manage the business growth. Even you do not need to create the Facebook updates or learn codes. Start leading your team to establish a strong digital marketing strategy and generate strong revenue. Unplug these metrics to make your digital strategy outperform!

If you use digital marketing strategies for your brand, then agility, learning and modification are some of the key ingredients that ensure success. If you have not stressed on these three issues then we suggest putting it on the table during next budget discussions or convey it to your IT team to lay stress on them.

Making profitable sales through digital platform is the hottest trend in the market. To set buzzword for your brand give shot to these metrics and make your digital channels outperform.

How Small Businesses Can Use Press Releases to Generate Leads

When did you last use a  Press Release?

If you’re having trouble generating leads for your business, you want to make the most of every tool at your disposal. However, many businesses don’t consider using the age-old tactic of sending out press releases to bring readers in. This may be because many believe it to be old fashioned.

Press Releases

This may be true – press releases are positively ancient compared to some of the mediums we rely on these days – but it doesn’t make them any less viable for generating leads. Here’s how:

Online Exposure

 One thing many forget is that press releases aren’t just for newspapers and magazines. They get put on websites, blogs, and wherever else the media has a presence. They get tweeted out and re-blogged and put on Facebook and even emailed to friends and family. There is huge online life potential for every press release that gets written.

This is why releases give small businesses such a huge boost in today’s world. While big businesses can basically just throw money around to generate leads, small businesses have to be innovative and think outside the box. Since press releases can literally go around the world, they’re a wonderful lead generation tool.

Also, it’s not like those blog posts etc. just go away after initial interest dies down. They stick around, waiting for someone to search for the right thing on Google or Bing. It could be one, ten, or a hundred years from now, and someone can find the time you released your first product and wrote about it.

More Dynamic

Press releases have changed over the years. Releases printed in a newspaper are just articles that people read and potentially look up online later. However, online releases have a much longer shelf life, and can be much more dynamic in the way they’re used.

If you send your press releases to media outlets that are more adapted to the digital world, you can embed videos, pictures, graphics, and even music in your press releases. This creates a more visually and engaging experience for readers that also shows off how “modern” your company is. They also show off better what your company is all about rather than just a stagnant article in the newspaper, potentially bringing in more leads than ever before.

Re-purposing

The information in the press release doesn’t stop being interesting after it’s published in the publication you sent it to. No matter how many readers that particular publication has there are still a ton of people who didn’t see it. They still need a chance to enjoy the story of how your first product came out and blew your industry leaders away.

So why not re-purpose it? Turn the information into a series of blog posts, emails, or social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, whatever works) posts to generate even more leads. These can even be more direct as you can point them directly towards the product for sale on your website.

Have you had a very successful press release in the past?

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