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:

online marketing

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.

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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]

How to Make a Niche Marketing Profitable

After you have identified your product and your target audience, you have to bring the two together. People can’t buy what you are selling if they don’t know where to find you.

Website content

website Give your target audience a reason to return to your site. Interesting and engaging website content that answers common questions and explains the usefulness of your products will increase sales. Some niche marketers neglect content in favor of other strategies. Creating content is easy (if you are a writer). If you don’t write, you can buy PLR content to add to your site or hire a ghostwriter. Group the content according to subject. If one page is dedicated to mountain climbing technique, use a new webpage for content on choosing the best gear. Each page will be ranked separately and you won’t miss customers looking for gear information. Also optimize webpage headlines.

Email campaign

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Stay in contact with your customers. You don’t want a one-time only customer. With niche marketing, you are establishing a relationship with your customers. Staying in tune with their needs means communicating with them on a regular basis to be sure you are still getting it right. Loyal happy customers will recommend you to others.

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Offer coupon discounts, contest giveaways, updates on new products you offer, and surveys to customers via their email. Autoresponder messages can be set up to send a certain message to your customer contacts at intervals to let them know you haven’t forgotten and appreciate their business. Email can also be used to send links to newsletters and other new features of your site as you add them.

Direct Sales

Niche marketing strategies can reach customers outside of the Internet. A niche business that operates on and offline still needs the same research done to produce a target market. You can buy lists of names according to pertinent demographic information obtained from your local Chamber of Commerce. Send out mailings to the people most likely to visit your store or website for your products. Even with direct sale mailings like this, you can still operate through your website to deliver the products to local customers.

What is a Niche Market?

niche market

The world of business has changed and evolved over the years as technology has created new ways for advertisements to reach customers.  The end result is hopefully increased profits for the business owner, since the main goal of business hasn’t changed.

Marketing strategies have grown more sophisticated as well.  Every business is in search of the right customer for their product.  Large companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year developing new products and conducting market research.

Small businesses also need to know where to market their products or services.  With considerably less money than a big corporation, successful marketing strategies can mean the difference between staying afloat and taking a nose dive.

One tool in the marketing arsenal is niche marketing.  The principle strategies of this tool make niche marketing adaptable to the small business owner looking to turn a profit and the larger corporation that wants to increase their market share.  Every customer is looking for something and the trick is to find out what that is and provide the product or service for them.  In today’s economy, no one wants to waste their money.  But, they will spend money for the items they want and need.

What is a Niche Market?

whatHave you ever perused a store looking for something to solve a problem?  It could have been a stubborn stain in your carpet or a bothersome cold.  You know what you need but have a hard time finding it.  Sometimes you simply wish someone would create exactly what you are looking for.  You’d even invent it yourself if you could.  That is where niche marketing can be of great help to the customer.  What if someone were to provide what you needed?

A niche market is a smaller group of individuals that have a specific need for a product or service that hasn’t been met.  To take advantage of the opportunity to reach this specialized group of customers is the goal of niche marketing.  But, you must identify what the group needs before you can strive to provide it.

While there are many niches that remain untapped, all of them are not profitable.  You can promote a stain remover for stubborn carpet stains but if only 100 people need that remover, you won’t make much money.  So, simply identifying the niche is not the end, but the beginning.  Studying its viability is also important.

This group of individuals can be linked in many ways.  How they are linked is the key to discovering a new niche market.  The want of the product is not the niche but social class, race, economic level, background, gender and religion to name a few.

customer

Once you have found the customers, it is your job to provide a quality product or service to them.  Meet their expectations and you’ll begin building a solid customer base.  What any business wants are customers who will stick with them through thick and thin.  A loyal customer is a customer for life.

Why do niche markets go untapped?  Part of the reason has to do with perception.  Niche markets are small and well defined.  When most business owners think of small they envision shrinking profits and that is not the way they want to go.

The thought here is akin to how old fashioned fishing boats would cast their nets.  If you cast a large net over a wide enough space, you have the opportunity to catch more fish.  A product that appeals to a broad market is more feasible than putting time and effort into pinpointing the exact location of one school of fish.  Do you get the idea?

A larger business might not see the logic of going after a more specialized market.  That is great news for you as a small business owner because what falls through the net is free for the taking.  A small business owner could do quite nicely on a million in sales from a newly discovered niche market.

How to Set Up a Sales Funnel Checklist

Creating an effective sales funnel and supporting marketing system helps you earn profits around the clock. Use this handy checklist with ten key steps to help you identify and complete the essential tasks of a profitable sales funnel.

sales-funnel

#1 Have you made a list of all the products and services you will be offering, including the price points and promotional price points? Have you created a system to organize your products/services and relevant prices. You can use the following to improve the process:

  • Spreadsheets
  • Mind map
  • Flowchart
  • Notebook 

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#2 You need to identify:

  • the problem that needs a solution
  • the target audience
  • the benefit each product or service provides. 

#3 You need to create a content plan that is used to drive traffic and enter the prospects into your sales funnel. It includes:

  • Social media posts
  • Blog posts
  • Guest blog posts
  • Free reports/case studies
  • Videos
  • Interviews 

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#4 Next, you will need to create an opt-in offer and squeeze page to build the email list. Your opt-in offer is a:

  • Report
  • Newsletter
  • Video series
  • Tutorial
  • Ebook

#5 You need to create automated email messages that follow up with new subscribers with a thank you page and follow up messages to transition them to the first product in your sales funnel.

  • Establish a timeline that takes into consideration the most effective time to deliver each message.
  • Identify the format, goal, and call to action for each message. 

#6 Create and schedule the email messages using an autoresponder technology. For example, Infusionsoft.

content funnels

#7 Look at your product/service list. Have you identified opportunities to:

  • Up-sell – When, during your sales and marketing process can you offer the next higher priced product to your customer?
  • Cross sell – When, within the body of your sales funnel can you offer complimentary or supplementary products to your customer?
  • Create special promotions – Where in your sales process and funnel can you introduce special promotions to your customers to help them move through your funnel?

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#8 Create sales page for each offer. It should include:

  • Attention grabbing headline
  • Compelling benefit driven copy
  • Proof
  • Motivation to act now, for example a limited number, or a limited time offer
  • Call to action 

#9 Test all elements of the sales funnel process including email links, sales page links, and how each element appears on various browsers. The shopping cart system is integrated into the sales material and emails and everything is working perfectly.

analytics

#10  You should implement a system of analytics and evaluation –  create systems to collect data about:

  • Email messages click through rates
  • Links and calls to action on sales pages
  • Email open rate
  • Squeeze page conversions
  • Sales and profits for each customer and offer

and

  • Schedule a time each week/month/quarter to review the analytics and make any necessary tweaks or changes to your existing sales funnel.

How to Use LinkedIn to Increase Your Leads

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If you are still on the fence about how LinkedIn can help you expand and grow your influence, it’s time to jump in. One of the strategies for generating leads online is to be everywhere your potential customers are. But even with a presence in a variety of places, sales and leads aren’t guaranteed, your company’s brand, your services and products do gain visibility. The social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn are the most popular of these platforms.

LinkedIn, as the social network focused on professionals, can increase your leads if used in the right way.

10-visitor-lead-conversionAccording to an internal study of Hubspots customers, they found that LinkedIn connections generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%, higher than both Twitter and Facebook. To get those leads you have to promote your business and share links to the landing pages of your services and offers in your Status Updates, in the Answers and Groups and of course the Products and Services sections.

So how do you get lead generations? There are many ways to attract leads on LinkedIn. Here are a few you can implement right away.

  1. Ask for connections. It’s hard to believe but you can just ask for leads. When someone views your profile, you want to be able to capture them with a call to action and good content. In your summary or in a video, let the prospect know you would love to have their connection on LinkedIn. Connect with everyone who asks to connect with you as well. You never know when one of those connections can lead to a big sale.
  1. Respond to and answer questions. Give the most informative answers you can and add a lot of value by being a resource for the person asking the question. Follow up on the replies with private messages letting them know how you can be of more assistance.
  2. Showcase your credibility. Recommend others. Give others a good recommendation when you find someone with a great product or service. In turn ask others you have worked with to give you recommendations. Having good recommendations increases your credibility which leads to sales.
  3. Join 10 of LinkedIn’s Groups. Even with a free account you can join up to 50 groups. Sign up for at least 10 of them in the beginning. Just make sure they are a good fit for your goals. Research them to find the most active ones and are filled with your target customers.
  4. Get rid of the resume profile. Your profile should be more results-based and customer centered. You want your profile to represent you in the best way for those checking you out.

LinkedIn is one of the fastest and most powerful professional oriented social media platforms online. In the hands of the B2B marketer, LinkedIn, along with other social media sites, should be a part of your marketing strategy. By leveraging the many tools and built-in services LinkedIn has to offer you can generate leads and make lasting and profitable connections.