Podcasting is one of the fastest growing yet often overlooked ways to do content marketing. The key to good content marketing is educating potential clients and the main reason people listen to podcasts is to learn something new. Three out of four podcast listeners tune in to learn and be inspired.
Another good reason to be podcasting is that people who listen to podcasts are more likely to buy products advertised than other forms of content marketing. They are interested in the podcast and if the products being sold are relevant to the audience they are very likely to at least take a look at the website.
Being a guest on a podcast builds credibility as well. Just talking about what you know and how you can help people will drive traffic to your website if you are speaking to the right audience. Conversion rates are also higher, in fact 4 times higher than regular brand advertising.
So get out there and podcast, or find the right podcast to be a guest on. Most podcasts (including ours) are looking for guests to help create great content and talk to their listeners. Get podcasting!
LinkedIn is a little different than other social media platforms because it is more formal. If you treat it like Facebook or Twitter you won’t get good results and my end up standing out in a bad way. Here are some tips and tricks to successfully navigate the world of LinkedIn.
1) Complete your profile Personally, I would hope this goes without saying, but fill out your profile as completely as possible. There should be very few things on your profile that are blank. It’s not always possible to fill everything out, but you should make the effort. • List all the jobs or positions you’ve held, along with descriptions of your roles. • Have 5 or more skills on your profile. • Write a summary about yourself. • Fill out your industry and postal code. • Add where you went to school.
2) Add an updated profile picture Profiles without pictures seem sketchy. Even when it’s someone I know I am very cautious about connecting if there is no picture. Also, make sure your picture is up to date or within a few years. It is unsettling and unprofessional to have pictures on Linkedin that don’t look like you.
3) Network. Network. Network. This is the key to making Linkedin work for you. There are two strategies here. Connect with everyone or connect with only the people you actually know. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
4) Personalize connection requests. Don’t send the standard Linkedin connection request. Personalize the request to the person you are sending it to. It is more professional and it shows you care about connecting professionally with that person.
5) Grab your name Courtesy: Ken Krogue, Forbes Writer. Did you know you can get your own name as your linked in profile instead of the alphabet soup you were randomly assigned? This makes it look more professional on your emails and resumes. It also makes your Linkedin page easier to remember. Go to the profile edit page and an edit button is available at the end of your Linkedin URL.
6) Never SPAM! Another no brainer. It is possible to spam and get one or two leads, but at the cost of potential relationships. No one likes being spammed. Just don’t do it.
7) Edit or Remove Endorsements. Your endorsement section is out there for everyone to see. Sometimes we are endorsed in ways we don’t want. Sometimes we are endorsed and it looks biased. You can remove endorsements on your profile edit page. Trim up your endorsement to keep your best foot forward.
8) Freely give and receive recommendations. Someone asks for a recommendation, give it. Don’t have a recommendation, ask. This is a way to let others know what to expect from you. People like a second opinion.
9) Join industry and local LinkedIn Groups. Groups are a great way to learn information about subjects that interest you professionally. Many industry leaders post in these professional groups. If you have some insight, post it. It gets your voice out there and could lead to some great connections.
10) Vet a group before you join. Groups are great in general, but some are just ads in disguise. Pay attention to who the members are and what topics they are discussing.
11) Use 3×3 analysis when connecting with people. Courtesy: Steve Richard of Vorsight Meeting someone you can find on Linkedin? Spend 3 minutes and learn 3 things about them you can use as talking points. It shows professionalism and attention to detail. People like talking about themselves so it helps you build rapport quickly.
12) Use InMail strategically. Don’t use Inmail like your regular email. A good practice is to only use it for business that is being facilitated on Linkedin. An example would be asking for an introduction to another Linkedin connection. Use your email for normal correspondence and Inmail for Linked in business.
13) Use Follow effectively. Follow industry leaders. Follow businesses that interest you within your industry or related industries. This will get your profile more exposure and you can meet interesting people in your field.
14) Use “Tags” to categorize your connections. This is especially useful when you have a lot of connections. You can keep track of where you met each person and how you know them.
15) Ask for referrals through LinkedIn. Looking for a new job? Looking to connect to a company? Find out who you know and ask for a referral. Make sure you follow good business etiquette so Linkedin remains a great place to get your referrals.
16) Browse LinkedIn privately. If you are looking at a lot of peoples profiles and businesses, browse privately. This way you don’t seem like a stalker. It is the polite thing to do.
17) Add media. Put up your blog posts. Link articles. Post videos. In general, get yourself on the Linkedin feed. This can create top of mind exposure and help with your other Linkedin business.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool to use in the B2B (business to business) world. It can be used for networking, sales, research, and getting answers to your business questions. LinkedIn isn’t Facebook so you can’t use the same tactics to get noticed, you have to think a little different. Here are 5 ways to get noticed on the worlds #1 B2B platform.
Put a head shot in your profile. This should be a no brainer but I see a ton of profiles without a head shot or even worse with an unprofessional head shot. A profile with a professional head shot gets 21 times more profiles views and also makes it 36 times more likely you will receive a message. Make sure it’s just you, not you and your team or you and your significant other. Business attire is preferred but depending on your industry you could get away with a work uniform. This is your first impression so make it a good one.
Add your skills. Get noticed by adding your skill set to LinkedIn. If you add your skill set your profile views increase 13 times. That’s a big jump for such an easy thing to do. If you list 5 or more skill that jumps to 17 times more views. This is the place to let people know what you do, it’s what LinkedIn is about. It’s even better when you can get colleagues to endorse your skills. The best way to make that happen is to ask.
Talk about what you know Get noticed by posting content, unique content is best. The LinkedIn algorithm loves unique content and content written specifically for its users. Influencers average 130,000 post views when they write on LinkedIn and you don’t have to be an influencer to get going and take advantage of this. You should write about things you know so people understand you can help them when the time comes. Get your posts out with proper tags and people will start to follow you for more information.
Join groups Do a little research and find the groups relevant to your interests or that contain the people you want to talk to. Ask questions, provide answers and be useful in the groups you join don’t just look for the sale. Hard selling tactics backfire on LinkedIn, you should be trying to show expertise without pushing for customers..
Personalize your connection requests Tell people why you want to connect with them or where you met in person so they know who you are and why they should click yes. A personalized invite makes you stand out. Most people will connect with you on LinkedIn and even more will connect if they know why you sent the request.
Pro tip: Don’t connect with someone then start selling, it is a good way to loose a valuable contact. Even if they don’t disconnect with you they will remember that first interaction and decrease the chances they will help you or buy from you in the future.
LinkedIn is a great tool especially when your target is other businesses. Besides Facebook, it’s the other social media platform I believe every business and business person should be on. It has its own culture and ways of doing things so don’t use Facebook tactics over on LinkedIn. I will help you figure out if you should be spending time on LinkedIn and if so what you should be doing. Some businesses just need a presence there as it denotes legitimacy and confidence in your business. Other businesses should be more active on LinkedIn than on Facebook.
First, let’s look at the statistics of LinkedIn and why it is important. What do you want to know about using LinkedIn to increase your business? Your question could be the inspiration for the next infographic!
How Can Your Business Survive the Covid 19 Economic Crisis? We are at the beginning of the economic impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic. Business is going to get worse before it gets better but agile and innovative entrepreneurs can survive if they have a strategy to get through the crisis. Keeping your business open is crucial since 75% of businesses that close in an economic crisis never reopen.
In an economic crisis, entrepreneurs tend to bear the brunt of the negative impact but if they keep their eyes open and prepare to take advantage of opportunities that open up, they can not only survive but thrive. They can take market share from less agile competitors and become more profitable as they become leaner to fit the economic environment.
It’s difficult, but entrepreneurs must spot opportunities and be aggressive in capturing them. Look to the future and see how your business can take advantage of the new business landscape.
Here are 13 specific recommendations to get your business through the downturn.
Keep a close eye on your cash flow. Conduct monthly forecasts and daily checks to make sure you have the operating cash to see you through. You should project where your business will be in 3 months as well as daily, weekly and monthly milestones. Negotiate with suppliers, landlords, and contractors to get a better price. They are feeling the pinch as well and might cut you a deal to keep cash flowing into their pockets. Look at bartering for goods and services you need. Take advantage of discounts for prompt payment and don’t pay other invoices until they are due. If cash flow is already a problem, talk to your creditors about payment extensions and don’t wait until the last minute.
Get aggressive with collections (you don’t have to be mean to be aggressive). If a payment is due in 30 days, try and get it paid in 25 or 20. The cash is better in your pocket than theirs. Make sure your payment terms fit your business model and cash flow needs.
Keep your inventory in check. A lot of cash can be tied up in unneeded inventory. Look at what inventory can be reduced, liquidated or sent back. It takes time and money to store products you don’t need right now. Keep enough on hand to keep orders fulfilled but try to switch to a just on time model for greater efficiency and less overhead.
Build up your capital reserves. Become closer to your best customers and see how they are doing. This helps keep competitors at bay, keeps you informed if they can pay or not and puts you in a position to see opportunities. Set up calls and video conferences with as many customers as you can so you can win back customers who are unhappy and sell more to the ones who already love your services. Get as many long-term contracts as you are able and offer early payment discounts to get the money in the door sooner.
Take a good long look at any capital spending. Delay long term projects and high-ticket items until the economic climate shifts. Tying up your resources now could spell our doom.
Maintain a good relationship with your bank. Keep them informed of how you are doing. Banks like knowing where things stand so they can prepare. During economic times it isn’t advisable to get more credit. Increasing your debt load can put an undue burden on your business.
Eliminate nonessential expenses as much as possible. Before spending any money ask if it is really needed. Do the same with your personal budget. Keep it simple and inexpensive.
Try and reduce the cost of rented space. If you have too much room consider subletting the part that you don’t need at the moment. This reduces overhead and generates a little income as well as potentially helping another business out that needs space. Extra space that you rent takes away from your bottom line.
Now is the time to reevaluate staffing, but don’t skimp. Service quality can suffer and your competition could earn business away from you. You may even consider hiring new sales staff during this time. If you are smart you can be aggressive in going after new business and expand while others contract. If you absolutely have to cut staffing do it early and cut deep. If you cut once then have to cut again (or suggest you may have to) then your staff will be worried about their job and not about doing their job. Put your company on stable footing so your employees aren’t worried and can concentrate on getting you more business.
Concentrate on customer service to entice your current customers to spend more with you. As your customers buying power and interest in spending decrease, your customer service should increase to keep them coming back. Customer service is primarily viewed as a time issue by customers. Waiting time to get service, delivery time and how long it takes to help them all play a part in how they perceive they have been treated. People will abandon purchases if they believe the time it took to get help or get a delivery was unreasonably long. Look at your system and eliminate flaws that create time delays.
A related issue is training. Sometimes the slow down is the perfect time to conduct training. Costs go down and there is more time between money-generating activities. Look at what skills will give you the advantage during the downturn and get the proper training for your staff.
Make policy decisions alongside your employees. They are impacted by this downturn as well an being involved not only gives them ownership, it gives you a large pool of knowledge to draw from. “None of us is as smart as all of us” -Ken Blanchard. If workforce reductions are needed they can help figure out how to reduce hours and increase efficiency without having to go through the pain of layoffs. Meet with staff regularly to talk about how to reduce cost, increase production and get through this lean time. When times get tough, get the team together and put your collective minds to work.
When a financial crisis hits most businesses decrease their advertising spend and that can be a mistake. Studies have shown that keeping the same advertising budget or even increasing your budget during a downturn will get your company in a position to outsell your competition. Good marketers can boost sales numbers and market share even when your industry is in decline. Usually, they concentrate on short term tactics like promotions and sales and using marketing targeted at the uneasy situation.
Here are some key guidelines to marketing during a downturn:
Keep track of your competitor’s advertising. When they cut back may be the time to increase and get a bigger market share.
Don’t use gimmicky advertising. Use your benefits and advantages to drive your advertising. Clear solid statements rather than appealing to emotions.
Direct-response advertising is important. Simple and clear language with impactful copy and a crystal-clear call to action. The other advantage of direct-response is you will see the results (or not see them) quickly.
Try to avoid regular looking ads. Position your ads as important messages offering them great value.
Present value and dependability. In a downturn, people want the most bang for their buck. Avoid clichés by showing the value rather than telling about the value.
Perception is key in a downturn. If people think things are bad financially, they will act like things are bad. Present your product or service as a smart investment.
Be ready to pivot and take advantage of the economic opportunities presented to you and your business will survive the economic crisis just fine. Keep your eye on the bottom line but not to the detriment of growth activities. Take advantage of your competition’s missteps and bring your whole team along with you. Together you can succeed, if you do it alone you won’t. Today’s difficulty is tomorrow’s triumph.
If you need help or guidance putting together your survival strategy I am just a phone call or message away. (435)554-8209 Jason@Jasonmporter.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
“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.
Let’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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.