The Ultimate Automation Strategy? Systemize Your Business!

The Ultimate Automation Strategy?

Systemize Your Business!  

How much time do you spend managing the day to day operations of your business?

When I ask this question to most business owners they tell me, “just a few hours a day.”

Then I ask them, “How much time do you spend working on growing your business? How much time do you spend developing new marketing strategies or reviewing new innovations in your industry?”

You know what they always tell me?

“I don’t have time for that! I am way too busy running the day to day operations of my business.”

Do you see the catch 22 here?

Today I am going to show you exactly how you can systemize your business so that you can put growth back into your organization’s priority while reducing company overhead. You’ll learn the 4 key steps to systemizing your business as well as 18 of the best tips for practical systemization.

Now let’s get started!

Step 1 

Map out the main departments and revenue generating tasks of your business.

This is akin to building an organization chart.  Below are some examples;

If you’re a startup, you and your staff may be wearing multiple hats. That’s okay! You get to figure out exactly how everything SHOULD be run without having to redo someone else’s previous system.

Step 2

Further map departments into essential tasks and responsibilities

Look at each department of your business and think through all of the different high priority tasks that need to be completed, as well as their frequency.

Let’s use the finance department as an example. The hierarchy might look like this:

  1. Finance

1.1. Accounts Receivable (Daily)

1.2. Accounts Payable (Weekly)

1.3. Payroll (Bi-weekly)

1.4. End of Month close (Monthly)

1.5. End of Year close (Yearly)

 

Give priority to preparation

Take some time on this step. Eventually you will be creating significant rules for everyone to follow so it’s imperative that the planning stages are thoroughly thought through. Think of this process as establishing the foundation to your business. Remember, nothing grows big without a strong foundation.

You should consider interviewing your employees and gathering data about their day-to-day activities.

Most people are not natural systematic thinkers. In fact, many employees are too focused on the next thing they need to do to consider systematic task organization. As a quality, it is commonly found in executive programmers, project managers and operations professionals but it’s not common among creatives, certainly less so within marketing and sales. Consider getting assistance from people within your organization who exhibit these qualities.  

How to interview your employees to participate in systemization

Prior to your interview with the employees send out an email and excel template requesting that employees list their top 10 highest priority tasks and ask them to order the tasks by degree of importance. Later, when you sit down to your meeting, gather their input into which tasks they feel could be better streamlined for efficiency. When you are done, you should have a succinct list of main priorities to focus on systemizing. This is also a good time to check-in with employees and get a good measure for how happy they are in their current role.  

Now, sit down in 1:1 meetings with each of your key employees and together, work on the outline of activities that will break down into tasks. Keep your eyes open as there may be many hidden opportunities to add automations to the tasks that will boost your employees efficiency and productivity!

Here’s a sample table of how a Social Media Manager’s priority task list might look like:

Step 3

Determine which systems and procedures currently exist and assign the ones that do not.

To better understand what resources are currently available you can review assets that are on employee computers. You can note the software they are currently using and any online subscriptions that they need. Be sure to inform your employees of this review and enlist them to provide you with assistance to reduce the time you have to search.

As an aside, If your team members have documents in Word that are not in the cloud, invest in a cloud storage service like Dropbox or a Google Drive account. Sharepoint is also common but has a higher learning curve. Consider investing in G Suite – Google apps for your business.

This next part takes a little bit of project management skills. Look at what is left on your list of things that are not yet systematized, and assign an owner to each one.

Each process or system should take about 30-60 minutes to document and create. Make sure you don’t assign more than 20-40 processes to any one team member. 

For example, our social media manager may have a systemized task list like this:

 
Maintain Posting Schedule for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

  • Review content management Gant
  • Check Hhootsuite posting line-up
  • Write creative status updates
  • Check projected audience for boosted posts


Remember you want to keep your workforce agile so don’t go overboard with systemization, this is especially important if you are a start-up. Systemization can stifle creativity so make sure you strike a balance between procedure and creative work.

Step 4 

Build the missing systems.

This is where most people will tell you to take it slow. They will tell you to have your employees create 1-2 systems each week over the course of a year and by the end of the year, your business will be systemized.  

This never works.  

Your employees are always busy. There is always a bigger priority.

To truly knuckle down, bite the bullet and have a systems week.  

Systems week is the week where everyone works intensely on creating as many systems as they can in one week.

Yes, you will have to push pause on all of your other projects.  But what you will have at the end of a week will enable you to grow and scale your business in a way you could never have otherwise.

If you take a whole year to systemize your business, you are literally putting your growth on hold for another year.

Still, if you truly can’t take a whole week off, take 1 day per week for the next 5-6 weeks until you are done.  Make a game out of it and reward your employees to further incentivize the process. Consider pairing employees as you will undoubtable have some employees that are better at systemizing than others. 

It will take an organized effort to successfully systemize your business, but with careful planning, patience, and lots of review you too can get your business operating like a well oiled machine.

If you think this blog post was a help to you, leave me a comment below!

How LinkedIn Posts Can Change Your Business

Is LinkedIn part of your social media marketing strategy? It should be.

“But LinkedIn is for posting resumes and looking for jobs,” you may say. Once upon a time that was the case, but that time has passed. The executives at LinkedIn are broadening their horizons, and that’s good news for you.

blogging for business

For a few months now, LinkedIn has been rolling out a new feature on its site to all of its users: the ability to post content. It started with people who qualified as “Influencers” but has recently been expanding, and will continue to expand, to include all users.

So what?

How does that affect you?

It means you have another opportunity to showcase your expertise in your industry by posting educational information that can point traffic to your website. (You may remember from my previous post that traffic is more important than links. If somebody visits your website based on a post you wrote on LinkedIn, you’ve got a potential lead!)

If you’re a consultant, you can flex your business savvy. If you’re an author, you can showcase your talent. If you’re a business owner, you can share your knowledge of the industry. In each case, you have the opportunity to present yourself as an expert and potentially reach new connections on a new platform.

How does that affect your social media marketing?

The ability to post on LinkedIn affects a few aspects of your social media marketing. First of all, it changes the utility of LinkedIn from a primarily networking and recruiting platform to a marketing platform. It will remain a place online to learn more about applicants, but in order to make the most of it, you’ll need to visit the site more often and write unique posts with marketing in mind.

Secondly, it makes all of your employees marketers. If they have a profile that shows they work for your company, then their posts can be marketing tools to point traffic to your company website. Employees have long been a reflection of the companies they work for, now even more so.

Thirdly, it means there is another site that needs unique content for marketing. If you’re keeping tally at home, here are all the social media sites that need to have content created for them:

  • Company blog
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Podcast
  • LinkedIn

Before you throw your hands up in the air in frustration, keep this in mind. Each of these sites has a unique audience with different leads who could turn into customers. That should help to keep you motivated and nudge you to write your first LinkedIn post.

How does posting on LinkedIn benefit your business? 

write blog postWe’ve already talked about how LinkedIn has a new audience for you to wow with industry insights and about how it can point traffic to your business website. Those are fantastic benefits in and of themselves. But there’s more, too.

In the past, when someone viewed your profile on LinkedIn, they would see your background experience first. Now, your posts appear at the top of the profile. That means your industry insights are seen before your resume is. It’s more relatable and valuable in the long run. Just because somebody holds a certain title does not mean they are good at what they do. By providing first-hand industry knowledge, your posts give you the opportunity to show people how your business and expertise can help them.

For example, if you’re a consultant who specializes in employee relations, a resume that shows your years in human resources at a hospital will be less helpful for your business than a post about successfully dealing with conflict in the workplace.

Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn automatically shows you the publishing metrics for your posts. In other words, the site tells you how many people looked at your post. Knowing what people want to read is incredibly helpful as you plan what to write in the future.

7 Tips for posting on LinkedIn 

tips

  1. Use an image at the beginning of the post. An image captures attention at a glance and makes the reader want to know more… or least read to title to see if they want to know more.
  2. Beware of duplicate content. If you’re already thinking to yourself, “I’ll just post stuff I’ve written on my blog to my LinkedIn profile” you’ll need to come up with a new plan. Duplicate content like that actually hurts your website when it comes to search engine rankings. Unique content is your best bet.
  3. LinkedIn has explicitly stated that no sales oriented content will be allowed. Just like search engines want to provide the best results, LinkedIn wants to provide the best reader experience. That, and they want to make the most of paid advertising opportunities.
  4. Include calls to action. You can’t post sales content, but you can tell readers to check out your company website where they’ll learn all about your products and services. The call to action can also be to encourage readers to read a specific blog post on your company site. Remember: the goal is qualified traffic that will become leads.
  5. Business hours are the best time to publish. Unlike other social media sites that tend to focus more on entertainment, LinkedIn’s focus is business. As a result, your posts are more likely to be read if they’re posted during business hours.
  6. Keep your audience in mind while you write. LinkedIn has a different audience than Twitter or YouTube. Focus on industry insights rather than pop culture gossip.
  7. Keep your profile up to date. Even though your posts are at the top of the profile, inquiring minds will want to know more about the author of the post. Make sure your information is current.

Don’t think of LinkedIn as another item on your to-do list; think of it as another opportunity to find leads. If you need some help, let us know.

Is Your Online Marketing Strategy Stale?

Things online change quickly. Two years ago, Google changed its search engine algorithm and left businesses scrambling to regain their place in search results. More recently, SERP stopped showing author photos and videos. Why? Because they stopped standing out distinctly from other search results. Everybody caught on and implemented the same strategy. And LinkedIn now allows users to post blogs on their profile. (If it hasn’t rolled out to you yet, it will. Hold tight!)

online marketing strategy
If your online marketing strategy doesn’t stay current, your company will be left behind, missing traffic and losing business. Here are four ways to update your online marketing to keep up with the times.

Traffic > Links

linkbuilding

Gone are the days when search engine optimization was based on the number of links to your site. Why? Because Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines strive to provide the best search results possible. Links from article directories, blog comments, link wheels and foreign links just aren’t natural.

In the past links were king, but let’s be honest. You don’t really care about links; you want traffic to your website. Traffic is what brings leads that convert into customers! The only people who read article directories were other people using article directories to get links. Those links didn’t provide traffic. You want real, natural links not manufactured ones.

So how do you go about getting natural links? I’ll tell you. You produce high quality content that people will want to like, share and comment on. Then you market that content in newsletters, on social media and in other strategic places that will bring traffic.

A great way to get traffic is to be quoted or cited on another site. Sites like HARO, PitchRate and ReporterConnect give you the opportunity to share your expertise in exchange for a link back to your site. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.

Focus on educating potential clients about why they need your product or services rather than on acquiring links. Traffic is better than links.

Podcasts: Voice Your Expertise

podcastYour website is optimized. You have a blog that’s updated regularly with high quality content. You’re active on social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. You focus on getting traffic rather than links to your website. Think you’ve maximized your online marketing opportunities? Think again.

If you’re not doing a podcast, you’re missing out on an entirely different audience of potential customers. Just like there are some people who prefer talk radio to hip-hop or jazz, there are some Internet users who prefer podcasts to social media. You don’t want to leave them for your competitor to find. Set up regular podcasts.

Because podcasts are a different medium than blog posts or video, you can use the same content on your podcast that you used on your video. No sense reinventing the wheel. (I’ll talk more about this content creation strategy in a future post. Be on the lookout!)

Email Laws: Don’t Be an Accidental Spammer

You know those opt-in forms you use on your website to obtain email addresses for your list? (If you don’t have them, you should!) They’re a great marketing tool and help significantly with automation. However, laws in places like Canada require explicit permission to send emails. That doesn’t mean you can’t use the opt-in forms, but it does mean you need to add another step in your automation process to ask permission before putting those folks on your email list.

Nobody likes spammers. Don’t be one. Stay current with Internet laws anywhere you may have customers.

Mobile Marketing

mobile marketing

Quick survey. How many of you are reading this on your phone or tablet right now? Statistically speaking that number is pretty high. Is your website designed to be seen on mobile devices? If people can’t see the entire width of the page without scrolling, they’ll get frustrated and leave. When they leave, you’ve lost a potential customer.

There is a difference between being mobile friendly (like a blog) and mobile designed. For example, is your website designed so that a visitor can click to call? If you’re a local business, is there map integration to help customers find you on the go?

As smartphones get smarter and smarter, your website will need to change to accommodate the number of mobile visitors. Choosing not to change or adapt will be detrimental to your business in the long run, if not the short run.

Need Help?

Not sure how to implement the necessary updates to your online marketing? Can’t seem to keep up with all the latest changes? Let us help with web design, content creation or traffic. The ROI and time saved will make you glad you did.

Branding Essentials: Why Unique Selling Proposition Is a Must-Have Sales Tool

Standing out among the crowd in the vast business world needs all the help you can give it. You have to make your business unique to your demographics in order to be found. One way to do that is with your unique selling proposition (USP) which basically means having a unique place in your market niche.

Your USP is what convinces customers of the value of your company, its products or services. It’s what sets you apart from your competition. Using it throughout all your marketing campaigns is what will, in the long run, make them successful.

unique selling proposition

Many of your prospective customers may have trouble determining which company deserves their money, time and trust. It can be daunting for those customers who aren’t experienced in knowing what separates the different competitors in an industry.

That’s why your company needs to help them by having a unique selling proposition that is different, obvious and easy to remember.

You want to be able to show them your unique value and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

As Theodore Levitt, author and professor at Harvard Business School, says:

“Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage.”

One way to tell what a good USP is to look at some from other businesses. Some examples of USP’s you might recognize include:

“When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight.” FedEx 

“The nighttime, coughing, achy, sniffling, stuffy head, fever, so you can rest medicine.” Nyquil

“We Try Harder” Avis Rent a Car

“Finger lickin’ good.” Kentucky Fried Chicken

Your USP is not necessarily your slogan. They can and often are different. Your USP tells what makes your company unique and the benefits it offers its customers.

branding

A slogan is usually a quick, easy to remember phrase used for branding.

Think of McDonald’s slogan: I’m lovin’ it.

That doesn’t’ tell you what the company is about.

A solid unique selling proposition lets you stand out from your competitors. It allows you to focus your time and resources on creating things that specifically cater to your ideal customers.

Finding your USP

Finding your unique selling position and the value you add to your customers might come easy for you or you might need some help. There are several ways you can do this. One way is to ask yourself certain questions. Another is to make a list. Either method will help you come up with ideas of the value you can offer.

It might take you some time to develop a good USP and it may even involve more than one person. Discuss it with your partners or other people whose feedback you value. Don’t forget to include your customers.

Questions you should ask yourself:

questions

Basic questions:

1. What products or services are you selling?

2. Who is your target audience?

3. What does your business do well?

4. What is your most important customer-focused business goal?

In depth questions:

1. What are you or your products unique strengths? Its weaknesses? Its unique benefits?

2. What is lacking in your market?

3. What does your market want?

4. What about your solution to your market’s problem is better than or different from your competitions?

5. What specific emotional needs are being met by your service?

6. What aspects of your product make it difficult for your competitors to duplicate or imitate?

7. How can you answer your customer’s primary concern: “What’s in it for me?”?

8. What pain or discomfort does your product or service alleviate or take care of?

9. What does your product do better than your competition? Are you faster, more thorough, or more knowledgeable? Are you more reliable or have better terms?

10. Do you offer a better or longer or more comprehensive warranty than is normal in your industry?

11. Does your company make it easier for the customer than your competition? How? What about in these areas:

– More customer education and teaching?

– Free consultations?

– Bonuses?

– Incentives?

– Better customer service and follow-up?

– Preferred treatment for preferred customers such as frequent buyer’s clubs, etc.?

value

Find Your True Value …

There are different angles you can take as well. The one you take depends on your strengths, your market and your interests. Here are a few idea starters to get you thinking creatively:

The Information Provider: Are you someone who provides a wide variety of information to your market? You might publish a lot of articles on a variety of topics within your niche.

The “Exposer”: Are you working in a market with a lot of misinformation and people spreading this information for their own agenda? While you may not want to be out to pick fights, you might be the “exposer” who shows your readers the truth and their options.

The Example: Are you living what you’re teaching? Have you lost 50 pounds or have you helped a lot of clients get free publicity? If you’re living what you do, you can pass on your knowledge through example.

The Analyst: Do many people in your market skim over the details, but you like to take the time to analyze and explain them?

The Step-by-Step Teacher: Does a segment of the market crave step-by-step help…a map laid out for them? Do you have a knack for explaining things in logical steps and process? Do you like to create step-by-step tutorials, videos and other help?

The Cheerleader: Does your market need encouragement and is this something you like to do? Do you like to interact and give your readers that extra push to accomplish their goals?

The Knowledgeable Service Provider: Are you a service provider who can offer additional information that is useful to your clients? Perhaps you work as a bookkeeper, but provide tips on better managing money, working with a bookkeeper, etc.

The questions might be hard to answer and might even seem daunting, but remember that’s the kind of reaction your customer’s might be feeling when choosing who they want to work with or buy from as well.

Take your time to do some soul searching and drill down how you can benefit those you serve when trying to come up with your USP.

How to Write a Sales Page

sales page

Sales pages in theory cannot be interactive. You don’t want to imbed links and send your prospect to another website and you don’t want them to be distracted by activities.  But you can use tools like video, allow social sharing and other interactive elements. You want your sales page to engage your reader and compel them to purchase.  Sales pages, regardless of the type, have the same goals – to generate a sale.

  • You need to have a compelling headline
  • You need to stress benefits instead of features
  • You need to establish credibility
  • You need a call to action

As users become more savvy, the standard “but wait, there’s more” kind of copy won’t work.  They don’t have time or patience for long drawn out sales pitches.  They want their benefits bulleted, organized by quick and compelling subheads, and stressed early in the copy.  They want the headline to make a promise and provide a benefit.

They want to know exactly what they’re reading and what they’re expected to do.

This means that your copy must be tight and not ‘look’ like a sales page.  Copy that converts readers into buyers provides a benefit right in the copy.  Copy that sells online in today’s market informs.

Assuming that you’re selling a software product that creates sales pages, here’s a quick example.  “How to Write Copy That Converts The Savviest of Online Shoppers – Use Our Simple Blueprint and Increase Profits Today.”  The headline makes a promise “Increase Profits Today.”  It also offers a benefit “Learn how to write copy that converts savvy shoppers.”

Your goal for the rest of the article/sales page is to educate your consumer, giving them a few simple tips about how to convert savvy shoppers.  This way you’re offering your readers a benefit right in your sales page.  You’re educating them and establishing your credibility.

The main difference between today’s sales page and an old fashioned sales page is that you acknowledge the intelligence of your consumer.  Your sales page is quick and to the point, it uses bullet points and easy to follow formatting, it offers information upfront that provides a benefit, and it tells your prospects exactly what they need to do to buy.

How Your Competitors Get Ahead of You…

You’re a smart person.

You have a business.  You have a successful business.  You have overcome challenges and learned what works and what does not.

Now is not the time to stop. Now is not the time to get comfortable.

Every day your competitors are advancing and if you do nothing, your business will left behind.

consistency road sign illustration design  

1. Constant, strategic change.

It is not the greatest, the smartest, the biggest company that is the most successful.  It is the fastest to implement. Money loves speed.  There are a million great ideas out there.  What matters is who is the fastest to market.

2. Consistent, strategic presence.

According to Business Daily News the average American spends 8 hours per week checking their email, 7 hours a week on Facebook, and 5 hours a week on Youtube.  This does not include searching for things on Google, reading the news, or any of the other myriad of activities done online.  When your prospects are online, whose ads do they see? Whose videos do they watch? Whose press releases do they read? Whose emails are they getting in their inbox each week? Your competitors are everywhere online.  Are you?

3. Compelling, strategic plan.

Your competitors have a plan.  They have a specific strategy on how to grow their business each year.  They have laid out what it takes to increase their market share each quarter.  What this means is that unless you too have a compelling strategic plan that you put into action, your competitors are going to be stealing away your clients each year. strategy2  

5 ways to keep up with the competition!

1. Study your Competitors and look for disruptions in the marketplace.

A disruption in the marketplace is an event such as a change in leadership, quarterly profit loss, or other significant event that could affect your competitors ability to service their clients effectively.  If you can identify a disruption, then that is your opportunity! One easy way to study your competitor is by setting a Google Alert on your competitors.  With a Google Alert you can always be notified immediately when your competitor publishes ANYTHING on the web.  Did they just submit a press release to launch a new product or service? You can know about it instantaneously! Step1-5competitors

2. Improve your online presence.

One way to stay ahead of your competitors is to make sure your company is everywhere your prospect is.  Content creation and content marketing is essential to make sure your competitors don’t leave you behind.  When working with clients of ours at StartRankingNow.com, I use a step-by-step process to figure out where clients should start with their content marketing strategy.  Basically if they have not passed “a”, they cannot go on to “b”.  Some of the things I look at are:
  • Blog and Social Media – Posting to your blog at least 2-4 times per week if not more and posting daily to the main social networks.
  • Email Marketing – Capturing emails and following up with the leads strategically by sending out 3-5 sales emails to new subscribers.
  • Content Marketing – Publishing new content such as Press Releases, infographics, guest blog posts, podcasts, interviews, ebooks, pictures, and much much more.  Create and publish 1-4 new high quality pieces of content each month.
strategy

3. Create a strategic plan.

It is not enough to just DO.  There must be a reason and purpose and plan behind everything you put into action online.  For example let’s say you have 4 core products that you want to promote throughout the year.  It is not enough to promote your business.  You need to promote each of the products strategically.  You need to create a plan.  A marketing funnel that will drive traffic, capture leads, and convert sales. make-things-happen There is a saying that goes: If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time. This is what goes on in a lot of businesses.  The business owner is so involved in just trying to get through the day to day stuff. They are busy working in their businesses not realizing that every day their competition is gaining new territory.  Before they know it, the phone stops ringing and it is only then that they decide to take a look at marketing. Don’t let the phone stop ringing. Are you ready to create a strategic plan for your business?  Isn’t it about time your brand was the one showing up all over the internet, and not your competitors?
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Stop Wasting Your Money Mindlessly with These 3 Facebook Marketing Tips!

My son is a reader.

I don’t mean an occasional reader. I mean a reader.

Here he is reading at the table during lunch:

Japheth-Reading-and-Eating

He reads in the car… he also carries his books with him everywhere just in case he has an extra 5 minutes!

I absolutely love that he is a reader but….

…have you ever tried to keep up with purchasing books for a kid that can read a whole novel in less than 3 days.  Yeah.  I need a second job just to pay for his Kindle purchases! 🙂

IMG_02062014_132027

 

Every now and then I look on my shelf for books I think he might be interested in and a few days ago I came across a book my mom gave me when I was about his age.

Maybe you have heard of it.  It is called “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.  🙂

SRN - How to Win Friends and Influence People

When I presented the book to my son I told him a story.

I told him how when my mom gave me the book when I was about 11 or 12 that the title put me off.  I thought my mom was trying to tell me that I was a “loser” because only a “loser” would need to read a book about how to make friends! 🙂 I told him that it took me 2 years to read the book and when I finally did I was ready to kick myself.

I realized that the author was an amazing storyteller and had great advice for anyone in any walk of life.  I told him that as soon as I read it I realized I had made a mistake and wished I had read it earlier.

(He is currently reading the book and is already on chapter three and has told me he really likes it!)

So what has this got to do with anything?  Well over the last few weeks I have been taking a class by Amy Porterfield called “Facebook Marketing Profits” and all I can say is, “wow”.

Header1280x720-2-280x158

When Amy and I met briefly at Infusioncon last year I was a little too proud.  I thought … “well I already know all that stuff about Lead Magnets and Marketing Funnels.  What is she going to teach me?” I figured I was only going to learn about 20% of new information from the course so I did not want to “waste” my time or money.

(After-all, as an Infusionsoft Certified Partner I help clients set-up Marketing Funnels all day long!)

I made the same mistake most business owners make.  I got so focused on working IN my business… I forgot how important it is to always be learning and working ON my business!

I also forgot the golden rule of growth!  It is not about how much a course “costs”, but how much you can leverage the information in the course to grow your business.

Waste-time-money

Lesson learned. 🙂

Although I can’t share with you all of the insider tips I am learning as a VIP member with Amy, I do want to share with you three things that I have learned from Amy Porterfields’s class Facebook Marketing Profits.

First, don’t do FB Ads for Likes.

There are two types of Facebook accounts.  A personal profile and a fan page for businesses.

blog-image

The personal profile is primarily used by individuals to connect with families and friends.  Most of the time what you post on your personal profile is shown to only people you have accepted as friends.

The Fan page is meant for businesses.  Fan pages are different in that anyone can “like” the fan page to stay up to date with the posts on that page.  In the past, having a lot of people “like” your fan page meant that you could reach more people with your news and promotions.  For example, a page that had 1,000 likes might reach 400-500 of their fans with each of their posts.  Recently Facebook changed the algorithm they use to display updates to fans.  Now if you have 1,000 fans, your post might only reach 50-80 people if that.

FB reach

In other words, it used to be a benefit to have a lot of fans because it was like free advertising.  The fan page was free, likes were free, and posting updates that got delivered to your fans was free.  This is no longer the case.

There are still benefits to having your clients and prospects like your page… but the benefit is not so huge as to be worthy of a great advertising investment.

So what do we do?  Instead of running Facebook ads for Likes… run the ads to OFFERS where you can capture the name and email address of your prospects so you can continue to market to them through email marketing!

What kinds of offers? There are many!  When you offer something for free in exchange for the person’s contact information, this offer is called a “Lead Magnet”.  You are “drawing” the lead to you!  The offer is your magnet that draws leads to you!

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  • Custom Report
  • Many, many more!

Once you have decided on your Lead Magnet, the next step is to create a Landing Page to send people to.  A landing page is different than a regular page on your site in that it usually only has ONE option.  Well two.  The visitor can submit their name and email or leave!

The landing page usually has a webform where you can capture their name and email.  This webform connects to your email autoresponder so that you can now send out follow-up emails to pre-sell them on your products or services!

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You can of course use Facebook ads to send people directly to your sales page with an offer to purchase as well!  This works depending on the price point and how well your audience is already connected to you.

For example, in Facebook Ads, you can also create Custom Audiences that target only people that you import from an excel file.  So for example, if you have a list of customers, you can upload that list to Facebook, create a custom audience, and send only those specific people directly to your sales page!

One final note here. After someone opts in by putting their name and email into your webform on your landing page, the page that they are re-directed to is called the “Thank-You” page.  This is the page where you not only have an opportunity to say “thank-you” for opting in to my list or thank-you for requesting this pdf or for registering for this webinar… but a place where you can show them what to expect next.

Here are some things you can put on your thank-you page!

  • Video of you introducing yourself and thanking them
  • Screenshots of email that they are about to receive
  • Ask them to like your Page on Facebook or Share a Tweet on Twitter to get a bonus product.

Second, don’t Boost posts.

I have fallen into this trap so many times.  When I post an important message on my page that I want to get more eyes on, the easiest thing to do is to hit “boost this post”.  It is easy to justify as it is only $5-7 to get thousands of eyes on an offer!  The problem with this is that the people you are advertising to is NOT targeted.  You are letting Facebook decide who to show the ad to.  It is always a much better strategy to setup a targeted Facebook marketing campaign so you can send out ads to exactly who you want to target!

FB boost

Instead of boosting posts that target random people that Facebook chooses, you can create ads to promote your posts to specific audiences.  But again, this goes back to the first point!  Unless the post is to an offer or you have another strategic reason, it might be better to refrain!

Third, I need to rewrite my new subscriber email sequences… yesterday!

It was on one of the webinars in the course that Amy just casually mentioned that she probably rewrites and tweaks her email sequences about 20 times a year.

When I heard that I paused the video, took a deep breath and listened to that again.  20 times.  Twenty.  Not ten or fifteen.  Twenty.  Success is not by accident.  It is by hard-work, determination, and testing and tweaking to try to get things right.

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Writing email sequences has always been one of my least favorite jobs as a marketer! More than once I have paid out good money to have a copywriter write my emails for me.  One time I paid $700 for a series of 7 emails to a copywriter that came very highly recommended.  It resulted in 0 sales. ZERO!  There are just some things that you cannot outsource easily.  Maybe if I had invested in a copywriter at the rate of $3,000 or so I would have gotten better results but I don’t think so.

What your audience wants is YOU.  They want to hear YOUR stories.  YOUR voice.  They signed on to your list because they felt a connection to you.  You just can’t give them that close relationship when you outsource your copywriting!

Copywriting does not come easy but it is a skill you can learn!

If you are struggling with copywriting here are some suggestions:

  • Create a separate gmail account and optin to many offers of your favorite marketers
  • Study their optin sequences, nurture sequences, and sales sequences
  • Pinpoint what resonates with you.  Find out which marketers you connect with most in regards to writing style and then identify what it is that you like about it!
  • Tell stories.  The best salespeople always tell stories.  If you have stories in your writing it is also more difficult for others to copy you!
  • Study your target market with intention.  Intentionally try to find out what keeps them up at night.  What are their fears or motivations?  The more specifically you can address the needs of your target market, the more successful you will be!

Finally, here is a bonus tip for you!

Tip: Don’t ever stop learning!

I should have taken the class a long time ago.

Just like how I put off reading the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People for two years… I should have taken Amy’s class 2 years ago.  A lot of what I have learned about lead magnets, marketing funnels, and setting up email sales sequences I have pieced together myself over the last few years.  I could have learned it all in less than 6 weeks if I had just taken this course 2 years ago.  (Facepalm) 🙂

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So that is my story.  What is yours?  What have you been putting off?

  • Just send us a quick email to nicole@startrankingnow.com and put “My Story for Nicole” in the subject line!  Tell me what you are working on and what your biggest roadblock is right now to truly being successful!
  • Next, jump on over to Facebook, connect with me, and share this with your friends!  If this has been helpful to you, help me help others!
  • And finally let me know you read this by leaving a comment!

Let’s make 2014 a super successful year!

 

7 Benefits of Podcasting for Small Businesses

 

Listening

If you’re not familiar with the term “Podcasting,” it is the use of audio or video to broadcast a message.  Though experts disagree on where the term came from (some say it came from a combination of the Apple iPod and the term “broadcast,” while others say it comes from “Public on Demand” + “Cast”), the medium is growing exponentially as a tool businesses use to communicate with customers and potential customers.

Think of it as an audio blog or an audio e-newsletter.  Like both of those tools, podcasts are an excellent and cost effective way to reach your target market in a personal and informative way.  Additionally, podcasts can be distributed through RSS format, which is a subscription service that announces and delivers the podcast to your subscribers like a blog or a newsletter.

One of the reasons for the popularity of podcasts is that users, your customers and your target market, are able to easily access the information and listen to it on their computer, phone, tablet or just about anywhere.

 

How you benefit from podcasting or adding audio/video to your website:

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1. Podcasts increase your marketing reach and online visibility.  You will expand your target market because different people prefer different mediums. Some customers like to read company information, others prefer videos or live communication and still others like to download your information and listen to it when they have time.  Many podcast users listen to downloaded podcasts on their way to work or while they’re working out.

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2. Podcasts can improve your sales and conversion rates.  Podcasts are yet another way to reach your customers, and the one-on-one communication provides the kind of personal touch that customers crave.  People are more likely to buy from someone that they feel they have communicated with directly, and podcasts enable you to do just that.

email marketing

3. Podcasts provide a consistent line of communication with subscribed listeners.  It has been proven that regular communication with your customers improves both your overall relationship with them and their buying frequency.  A regularly distributed podcast can strengthen your relationship with your buyers and help to build a community with your customers.

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4. Podcasts provide beneficial and value added content, which increases customer loyalty.  Podcasts can offer a different kind of content to what you can provide with a blog or an e-newsletter.  This kind of content can be extremely beneficial to your customers.

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5. Podcasts allow you to distribute industry news and trends, which sets you apart from your competition and establishes you as a respected leader in your niche or industry.  One of the best ways to get repeat purchases and loyal customers is to become the “expert” in your industry.  Once your business is established as the place to go for quality information, services or products, your profits will grow.

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6Podcasting, or adding audio or video to your website and email messages, enables customers and prospects to access information in a more personal way.  You can add video or audio testimonials, quick “how to” segments, and even a special promotional message.  Adding audio or video is a unique way to add a personal touch to your website.

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7A podcast or an audio file can be used as a giveaway to build your opt-in list.  Consider recording either an interview with an industry expert or a seminar or workshop, and then offering the audio file as a free download.  In return, you get their email address for future mailings.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Why Pursue a Niche Market?

niche marketing

Every product has a market.  It may not be a big market but there is someone who will buy what you are offering.  Niche marketing determines where those markets reside.  Most advertising campaigns are drawn in broad strokes for greater appeal.  With niche marketing, your advertising can be more focused and directed since you know that everyone in your audience will be interested in the product.

Everything you do has a customer in mind.  The feel is more personal for the customer as if you are talking directly to them and know their needs.  Every customer wants to be appreciated for their business and with niche marketing this is possible.

Fewer dollars are wasted to draw business in.  If your target group doesn’t read the newspaper, there’s no reason to advertise there.  If they don’t redeem online coupons, there’s no sense in wasting energy to create and send them.  Use those extra dollars to offer added perks to your loyal customers.  Also improve your website with varied media like podcasts and streaming video.

Niches offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in untapped market opportunity that goes unclaimed.  This money could be in your pocket.  Bigger corporations aren’t going to waste their manpower on smaller markets that want specialty items.

In business, everyone is clamoring for position.  With a niche market, you can be the first and set the pace for others to follow.  Besides, you are satisfying a need that others have failed to meet.  You can feel good about that.

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Finding your niche in society is to find a place where you belong and can grow and thrive.  To find a niche in business is to find a market that needs something you want to be able to provide.  Niche marketing helps you to find smaller pictures within a larger one.

And, once you tap into a market, expand your business to increase profits.  There is enough room to move around amongst niches that everyone can make some money.

How to Join the Brand Boosting Blogging Challenge

blogging challenge

Blogs create a face to your business that your customers can identify with and participate along.  It has become a valuable part of today’s consumer-generated media, giving consumers a platform to engage actively and participate in dialogs with key personnel within a company.

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Companies like General Motors, IBM, Boeing, and Microsoft have set up blogs to market their services or products because it is such a cost-effective way of communicating quickly with their prospects and customers.  By providing a blog for their customers to talk about their product, a company can easily find out what their customers really want and tailor their products accordingly.  The open-dialog between company and customer has dramatically cut costs and boosted revenue because companies are getting first-hand research information for next-to-nothing! It is the perfect instant feedback mechanism.

The ease in publishing a blog makes it a perfect marketing vehicle for any type of business.  Whether you work from home or are the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, blogs will make an ideal addition to your marketing strategy.

blog

Setting up a blog can take as little as five minutes (and that’s if you’re unsure of what you’re doing) and you are ready to publish your content.  It is that easy.  If you can send an e-mail, you are more than ready to start blogging. The real beauty of blogs lies in its simplicity.  It negates the tedious process of learning HTML, Web design or coding, otherwise needed to operate a functional website.   You can update a blog via any Internet connection, even updating it using a cell phone.

blog

Use the blog to:

  Provide value-added content

  Build a relationship with your readers

  Establish trust with your customers while gaining credibility

  Create awareness about your product offerings

 → Test ideas and research your market by getting your readers and customers to participate in discussions

If you discover that you enjoy blogging, then take the next step and try the 30-Day Blogging Challenge.