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Online Marketing Strategy – Is Yours Ready?

I am seeing a lot of people who relied on in-person marketing starting to panic as social interactions decline. So now is the time to take a look at your online marketing strategy, are you ready to go digital? I feel a lot of products are better sold in person (including mine) but if you don’t have that chance you better have a solid backup plan until things settle back into normal. So quit panicking and strategize.Online Marketing Strategy - Is Yours Ready_

Content Marketing

It’s a long game but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start now since you can still get short term results. Content Marketing is about providing value to people and showing you are worthy of their trust (and business). I still am waiting for an industry that shouldn’t be doing Content Marketing on some level. A lot of the things on this list are part of an overall Content Marketing strategy but could be used alone as well. If you are not doing Content Marketing you really should ask yourself “why”? If the reason is not extremely compelling, you should get started.

Email Marketing

If you are in business and you aren’t collecting emails you are doing it wrong. Email marketing can bring big returns if you do it right. No need to overwhelm your audience with spam, have good information or timely and valuable deals and you will maintain a loyal following. Be consistent on when you send out emails, keep it relevant to the interests of your audience.

Social Media

If done right social media posts can bring a big return. Lead with your offer or your value proposition. Make the post valuable and not just another generic “buy me” ad. It is also a great place to spread your Content Marketing if you have that plan in place. Join groups and interact rather than just advertise (though some groups that is all they are for, ads). Keep your business page active, engaging and useful. Make sure the social media platform you are on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) matches your target demographic.

Paid Ads

It’s just a fact that every platform is trying to get you to pay them to put your ads in front of people. The only way around this is Content Marketing, but it isn’t all bad. The reason people pay to put ads out is that it works. They wouldn’t be able to sell ad space if no one clicked through and bought products. The good news is you can spend just a little money to find out if it is right for you. If you don’t have a strong marketing strategy I would recommend getting in touch with a professional first because it is easy to waste money on paid marketing and get nothing in return. Start with less expensive platforms and move on to the more expensive ones once you learn how the whole system works and you have a value proposition that pulls in sales.

SEO

Probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of online marketing. Basically, your SEO determines how close to the top of the search results you are. It takes in a lot of factors and is almost constantly shifting. There are some basics you can do to increase your SEO like having robust content on your page, a relevant URL, and a fast and mobile-friendly page. You might have to bring in an expert on this one but looking up SEO essentials articles will give you some other ideas you can use to bring your ranking up.

Blogging

The cornerstone of Content Marketing, a blog is so much more than just a place to put down thoughts. It can be the centerpiece of your online efforts. A well written 1200 word article produces at least 7 pieces of content for your other platforms. If an article you write trends higher and gets more engagement then that subject might be your next idea for your value proposition ads. Besides bringing in leads on its own, a blog makes the rest of your online marketing better and easier to maintain.

Tactics

Beyond strategy, there are hundreds of online tactics to increase readership, engagement and online sales. Discounts, contests, auctions, live events are all examples of ways to get more eyes on your products and services and get more selling done. Watch for future articles on tactics to use in the online world.

If you need help with any of this then give me a call or send a message. I have over 28 years of experience in sales and marketing and am an expert on Content Marketing and maintaining an online presence. Let’s craft your online strategy while everyone else is still figuring out what to do about the shifting sales landscape.

Jason@Jasonmporter.com (435) 554-8209

The Myth of the Comfort Zone

I have heard it said many ways, that you cannot grow unless you leave your Comfort Zone. I call BS once and for all. I know for a fact you can grow and develop while staying quite snug and safe in your Comfort Zone. I think it can be damaging to some people to be forced out of their comfort zone for the sake of growth and short-sighted to believe those who stay in their comfort zone can’t grow. So let’s explore this a little deeper.The Myth of the _Comfort Zone_

What is a “Comfort Zone”?

It’s a place, situation or state of being where you feel safe, at ease and not stressed. This is typified by the image of sitting at home, in your favorite chair snuggled in a warm soft blanket. Everyone is different and people can feel safe in many types of situations. Some love to be surrounded by people, others prefer to be alone. It really depends on your own life experiences as to where you feel the safest. In the business world the comfort zone generally is described as the work and tasks you feel most comfortable with and you have the most skill at. Whenever you are at ease while working is your comfort zone.

So why does everyone say no growth occurs inside your comfort zone?

Doing new things can be scary and usually it is a learning experience. When we are in the comfort zone we are rarely trying new things and therefore it is assumed we aren’t learning. The thinking goes that change and growth must accompany risk and risk is being outside our comfort zone.

It’s a Myth!

I say it’s a myth, that we can grow inside our comfort zone. Are you comfortable reading? Reading creates growth and even reading new things is rarely outside our comfort zone. If we are going to try new things, read about them first, that reduces the stress and anxiety new things can cause. If it’s still scary, read more. Keep exploring the subject until you are an expert before you even try it for the first time. You have permission to be comfortable trying new things. This may not work for everything but it can work for most of the things we do in the business world. It’s slower, maybe even less efficient but it keeps us in our comfort zone as we explore new things. We can also make changes incrementally, changes so small that they don’t cause us stress. If we keep making those changes we will eventually get to where we want to be. Manufacturers use this all the time. They can’t afford a big change so they make hundreds of small changes over time until the same result is achieved.

Why is growth within our comfort zone important?

For some of us, running around outside our comfort zone is fine. We exist on the edge and love taking chances. Others hate going outside the comfort zone and just the thought of it paralyzes them. So that’s the main reason. Small changes within the comfort zone are better than no changes because of fear. Even those who love being outside the comfort zone need a break but they refuse to quit improving. Growing inside the comfort zone is a great option for them as well. Moving forward and giving yourself a break at the same time.

So there you have it. Don’t let the myth of the comfort zone hold you back. Grow, change and improve inside or outside your comfort zone, what ever way suits you best.

Business Development: Deciding What Business to Pursue.

Sometimes you see opportunities to go into business for yourself. Sometimes those opportunities come out of the woodworks and you are overwhelmed. Maybe you have 100 ideas about a new business to start and don’t know which one to pursue. When that starts to happen I recommend you conduct a personal SWOT analysis. SWOT is an analytic tool to determine strengths and weaknesses, usually, your business versus your competitors. In this case, it’s just you so the SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Talents (as opposed to threats in the original SWOT). We will go step by step through a personal SWOT analysis and get you on the road to figuring out what business you should be going after. Remember, this isn’t the only step, if you decide on a business you still need to do a Market Analysis to determine if it’s a viable business.Copy of DSS SWOT

Strengths

You are going to examine what advantages you have that others may not. What education have you received, what certifications? Are there skills you have that you do better than other people? What have you accomplished that sets you apart? What kind of a network have you built?

Weaknesses

This is examining your weak points. Failure to understand where we need help can sink us fast, so be honest with yourself. What don’t you like doing or aren’t very good at doing so you avoid it? What skills do you still need to work on? Where are your education gaps? What are your negative work habits? Are there personality traits that limit you?

Opportunities

Looking at the business and personal opening that might be available to you. In what industries are you connected? How extensive is your network? How is your network constructed, as in what types of people? What equipment do you own or have easy access to? What are your capital resources?

Talents

These are your inherent abilities rather than trained or learned skills. What are you naturally good at? What do you do that feels good? What kind of tasks give you a sense of accomplishment? What do you get compliments on that isn’t something you learned?

Once you have all of these written down a better picture of what business you should be involved in will come to light. The more strengths, talents, and opportunities that align the better your chances of sticking to it and making something a viable business. Get a couple of ideas together then start your market analysis to see where your efforts should go. Keep in mind you don’t have to start at the top, get a minimally viable product and start from there.

 

Defining Success

Defining Success

When you have your own business there is no one who can define success but you. In a regular job, you have metrics you are measured by, above this number is good, below it is bad. When you are the boss those numbers don’t come from an outside source. Some numbers have a bearing, for example, above this many sales and we can pay all our bills and below we can’t, but those don’t necessarily define success, they just define reality. So, what does success mean to you? I have run businesses where success wasn’t measured with money or other standard business metrics, it was measured by how much I learned and grew. Others were more practical, I make a certain amount of money and keep expenses below a certain percent and I was successful. Currently, it is more complex with a monetary component and an educational one.  I have a goal for the number of people I want to teach but still provide a reasonable living for my family.

Above all make sure your success is internally defined and not externally. If you look to outside sources to define your success for you or try to keep up with someone else, your chances of success diminish significantly. It’s ok to use outside info to make your definition, for example figuring out costs for maintaining a lifestyle, but the motivation and the drive for success has to come from within. When your definition comes from an internal source you are motivated and driven to achieve that success and it will be easier to drive toward. Make sure you write it down so that once you get there you can celebrate that success and maintain it. Without that definition in writing it is easier to lose focus and remember why you are doing what you do.

Business Development: What is Your Why?

Starting your own business and going the path of an entrepreneur can be daunting. The security of a 9 to 5 job is appealing as well as the allure of a steady paycheck. It’s a wonder anyone even makes an attempt with so much uncertainty.Untitled design (12)

One way to get through the initial doubt is to firmly fix in your mind the reasons you decided to strike out on your own. Rember your why. It’s important to write these reasons down and keep them in a place you see often as they will help when times are difficult (and they will be). Your reasons why you are going on this journey can shift so keep the list updated.

Keep revisiting this list to keep you motivated and on track for growing your business.

Is Your Content Marketing On Track For 2020?

We are almost through the first quarter of 2020 so you should have enough information to know if you are on track for hitting your goals this year. If Content Marketing is still in your strategy (and it should be) then take a look at this infographic for a little help.

Remember, one long-form blog post can generate 7 different pieces of content so it is an efficient use of time. Longer blogs also convert better and give your potential clients the reassurance that you are the authority in your field they want to work with. Aim for a couple long-form blog posts a month for maximum impact (or more if you can afford it).

If you need help formulating your Content Marketing strategy feel free to reach out.

Jason@jasonmporter.com
Is Your Content Marketing Plan on Track for 2017_

Do You Have a Plan?

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson

Every business will eventually get “Punched in the mouth” and needs to know what the plan is for when that happens. Sometimes that plan goes right out the window, as Mike Tyson explained, and sometimes it’s followed to the letter, though not often. Having a plan in place gives your business a fighting chance when things go wrong. Succession planning, crisis planning, disaster planning, it all needs to be done because it can happen to any business any time. As Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” Sometimes the plans don’t hold up but since the resources are gathered and ready you can adapt the plan to suit the situation. If you have no plan you not only don’t know what to do, but you have no resources to do anything about it. My tip? Look at the worst-case scenario and be ready for it, just be glad when it never comes. _Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth._

How to Market Your Business with Zero Budget

How to Market Your Business With Zero BudgetLet’s talk about how to market your business on little or no budget. One truth I have found in marketing is that when you spend less money you must spend more time, it’s a tradeoff. It is truly astonishing how many ways there are to market without spending money if you are willing to spend the time. When you feel you shouldn’t spend money on marketing your business ask yourself what your own time is worth. Depending on how valuable your time is it might be more expensive in the long run not to hire someone. Of course, you can learn to do it all yourself, just make sure that’s the best thing for your business.

So how do you market without a budget? The answer is by simply spending time on your marketing. The less money you spend on marketing the more time you will have to spend on getting your message out there. For example, Content Marketing is a great method for establishing your brand voice, gaining credibility and getting your message out to your target audience. Personally, networking has done the most for my business in terms of time spent to dollars earned. Each industry is different, but I am of the opinion you can’t go wrong with networking as you explore the methods that work best for you.

When some businesses say they want free marketing it means they want someone else to do it for free. They just need to remember that everyone’s time is valuable and in general, people do not like working for free. One method to reduce your marketing spending is to consider a trade, consider what you can do for them. If you find a way to compensate others even when you are cash-strapped, you will find people are more willing to help you. Doing it yourself is the intent of this article on marketing without a budget but if you can get help, go for it.

So, what methods do I recommend to market on zero budget?

Email Marketing

According to Imaginepub, email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders. No matter what business you are in you should always be building your email marketing list. You can have a sign-up list at the front counter or use gated content to build your list, but you should always be generating more names for your email campaigns. Email marketing has one of the Highest ROI and conversion rates, in fact for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38.  Use a free email service to get you started and upgrade when the email list becomes profitable. To keep people subscribed make sure your email campaigns provide value. People leave lists that don’t provide them something they feel is valuable to them.

Blogging

Blogging is the cornerstone of Content Marketing. Research conducted by Demand Gen Report in 2016 found 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. HubSpot found that marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not so the number tell us it is worth the investment in time if used right. There are many blogging sites you can use for free and others that have a reasonable fee structure. Make sure you take a look at the user agreements regarding monetizing your blog if that is a direction you eventually want to go. If you create your own unique content and publish it yourself, you won’t have to spend a dime unless you want a specific domain or program features for your blog. Couple that with a program to create your own graphics and it makes it easier to brand your business online in a uniform way.

Social Media

Using social media platforms to reach your potential audience can be cost-effective and powerful. Sprout Social found that 80% of social marketers said that their key strategy is to increase engagement across social channels. You don’t have to buy paid ads to talk directly to your audience you just need to speak about things they want to hear. The same company found that 73% of consumers want to see posts about discounts and sales, 60% want to see posts that showcase new products and services and 59% want to see posts that teach something. Between preexisting groups and growing your own following, there are many channels to get the word out about your business. Use only the Social Media channels that make sense for your business and the ones your target audience uses. Don’t waste time on Social Media Channels that don’t make sense. Using a graphics program will also help gain more exposure as visual content does well on all social media platforms.

Networking

The number one way to get the word out about your business is Networking. Forbes conducted a survey and found around 9 in 10 people claiming that small meetings are their favorite communication method. Networking reaches fewer people but has the potential to create a richer client list and more impact than any other method. The biggest impact is that the close rate for in-person meetings is 40%. No social network or online ad has a close rate anywhere near that high. Also, if you network properly you aren’t just finding new clients by yourself, but you are creating an army of advocates who will feed you warm leads and more business. The most powerful part of networking as a marketing tool is that people buy from people they trust and networking builds trust.

 

Conclusion

You may want to spend zero dollars and do all the marketing yourself, but it could be worth bringing in outside help. Regardless of which direction, or combination of directions, you go you now have more of an idea of what is possible with a little time and determination. Stuart labs found that 90% of searchers haven’t made their mind up about a brand before starting their search so marketing is more important than ever in the modern world. Make sure you have a plan and know which parts you are willing to do yourself.

Small Business Marketing With No Budget

5 Things Marketers Can Learn From Magicians

It’s amazing how many things Magicians and Marketers have in common. They both need to get their audiences full attention and usually have a very small window to do so. Missing that golden window can cost them dearly so they develop techniques to draw in a crowd and keep them paying attention. Because of these similarities, they can both can teach the other new and different ways to hone their craft. Here are a few ideas on what Marketers can learn from Magicians.

Look at the End Result, Then Figure Out How to Get There.

Professional magicians start with the end in mind. They look at what the desired outcome is and what the restrictions and working conditions they will have to deal with are before they set up a plan. This planning stage can take up the bulk of the time. There may be some trial and testing, but planning is the most essential part of it. Look at the end result you want, list the pros and cons of each method to get there, find a way to make it happen that fits the parameters.

Think Outside the Box.

I hear this phrase a lot but what does it really mean? For both the magician and the marketer I believe it means to explore new ways to get to your goal despite the limitations. Placing limits on your resources inspires creativity and outside the box thinking. People get stuck thinking about what they can’t do or what resources they don’t have and forget to look at what they do have. For example, if you have no money find ways to counteract that. Propose a trade. Do it yourself.  Collaborate with someone who can help with the project. There is almost always a way around your limitations if you put enough time into figuring it out.

“Sometimes, magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.” Teller

Focus on the Feelings You Want to Create.

As it’s been said, people don’t remember what you do they remember how they feel. Use this emotional memory to make a real connection with your audience. Magicians exploit this human tendency in many ways, through script, audience participation, music, or a host of other methods. Use your marketing to bring out emotions whenever you are able, through music, pictures, well-written copy, or any other method you can come up with. Keep the message consistent as you evoke the emotions, going for what your core message is trying to be and getting people to feel it rather than think it.

“Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.” Teller

 

Learn the Basics, Then Combine Them to Fit Your Style.

Magicians have certain move the must learn even if they find better ways to do the magic later. There is no getting around the grind of learning the basics in magic or in marketing. Take classes, watch videos, read blogs, but most of all, learn! As you can produce consistent results you can start to adapt the basics to fit your style and ultimately the style of your brand. Hard hitting and journalistic or lighthearted and fun? They both have their core in the fundamentals. Don’t neglect the basics once you have them figured out. Almost every marketing campaign that fails can trace the bad results to ignoring the basics.

“You have to be creative. It’s the basics. You can’t be Picasso unless you know how to draw a real face; then you can turn it upside down.” Diane English

Clip the Script.

This one is easy. Don’t say 25 words when 5 will do. Even in long form blog or video content make sure each sentence adds to the whole and there are no fillers. The best magicians in the world make sure every word is in the show for a specific impact it has on the audience. The same is true for the best marketers. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point for maximum impact.

“Most of the scripts performed needed a great deal of editing. Sometimes for grammar and sentence construction but always for length. Too many words! Too many words before something happens and, especially, too many words after the magic has happened.” – Eugene Burger

 

There you have it. Some tips and tricks you can steal from magicians to make your marketing better and create a more lasting impact on your audience. Add in a little showmanship and a surprise and you will have a marketing campaign that is truly magical. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. http://www.MyBusinessAdviser.com

The Holiday Season is Done. Now What?

The holidays are over and it’s time to review your sales data and look over how your business did this season. Reviewing how the season went will reveal how you can improve your performance next year. Keeping track year to year will help improve performance and increase your gains. Here is a process to make the most of the data you have collected.

Review your sales data

Look over your profit and loss statement for your holiday sales. The numbers will show you which products performed best, how your customers spent their money and how sales compared to other times of the year. There is a lot of data to comb through but here are some of the things you might want to pay attention to.

  • Holiday season sales
  • Peak days
  • Best-selling items
  • Worst-selling items
  • Average transaction amount
  • Most common billing and shipping ZIP codes
  • If you offered holiday deals, the percentage of transactions that used them

These numbers will help show you which items and promotions did the best. It also will allow you to compare the season to the rest of the year.

Calculate seasonal costs

You are looking for the difference between the normal operating costs and the higher seasonal costs. Include any additional marketing you paid for. Remember to include to add in any part-time help you hired, any additional shipping supplies you had to purchase, and any extra payment processing costs. If you had extra holiday-seasonal advertising, be sure to include it as well.

Review customer feedback

Look at reviews and comments left on social media and review sites. See where you excelled and where you can improve. Sort out any unresolved issues that can damage your reputation. Also examine where you did well, where you can improve, and what the most common questions were.

Evaluate your time

How did you spend your time? How much was on profit-boosting activities? Were there time-consuming activities you could outsource? Did you have enough time to conduct all the normal activities of your business as well as the added time needed for the season? Did you hire enough help to keep up with everything? The solution might be as simple as streamlining your processes or it may be that you need to hire more help during the holiday peaks.

Evaluate the season

What went well? What can be improved? Did you make a profit? Why or why not? How can you make more sales and better margins? Did you have enough help? Look at the big picture.

If you made a profit during the season and had great reviews from your customers, and you had time to manage your business during the rush, congratulations! You won the small business holiday trifecta.

If you were overworked, you can start planning to get more help for next year. If your reviews weren’t so good, you can plan for delivering better customer service.

What if your time management, sales numbers, and customer service were good but you still didn’t make as much of a profit as you’d hoped? Then it’s time to review pricing and costs to see where you can make adjustments.

The good news about making adjustments is that you have plenty of time to refine them before Black Friday next year. Consider the other holidays an early test run for improvements to your business.

Post Holiday Sales Checklist