Archive for November, 2017

Leveraging the power of local networking

Posted November 30, 2017 By Callie

When was the last time you attended a networking event? They’ve changed a bit over the past few years. Now, networking groups regularly meet at pubs and restaurants. They connect on Meetup sites and work together to build strong relationships.

Today’s networking groups also have sponsors, hosts, and provide a wide variety of marketing opportunities for creative business owners. If you’re looking to connect with people in your community, you can leverage the power of local networking groups. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can make it happen.

Sponsor an Event

Many larger networking events have sponsors. Sponsorship can take many forms. You might pay for a portion of the event and help cover the costs. In some cases, sponsorship gives you the opportunity to set up a table and give things away.

For example, a marketing consultant might set up a table at a networking event and give away a free consultation, a free Chromebook, or maybe a goodie bag with marketing materials in it like pens and notebooks with your logo.

To truly leverage a networking event, ask for an opportunity to give a short talk. We’re talking about five minutes at the most. Use the time to introduce yourself, tell people the value of working with you or buying your products, and let them know where you’ll be so they can come and talk to you.

Host an Event

If you have local connections, for example your brother owns a coffee shop, then consider hosting a networking event. If you have the space to host one then you don’t need to ask your brother. Networking groups are always looking for new and interesting places to hold their meetings. It’s a good opportunity for local businesses to connect with professionals and consumers in their community.

As with any business relationship, the goal is to provide value and to connect with your audience. Align the networking group with your audience. A marketing consultant may sponsor an entrepreneurial networking group. A shoe retailer might sponsor a technology networking group or sales professionals. Networking groups are abundant and provide rich opportunities to connect. So do charities, and that’s what we’ll look at next time.

Building Your Integrity as a Potential Coach

Posted November 30, 2017 By Callie

If people are going to hire you as their coach, then they need to trust you. They need to feel like you are a true authority on the topic they are interested in.

Depending on how you view your authority and reach in the market right now, you may or may not need to do a little bit of work. I don’t think it will take a long time to get to the point where you need to be – a lot of this has to do with perception (how others perceive you as a coach as well as how you perceive yourself). You have to be strategic about building your integrity as a coach.

You should know your subject well. You don’t want to pretend anything as a coach. You want to actually be able to help people – not just take their money. If you’re just taking their money and you don’t know your stuff, then you’re not doing your job and what you are doing might be fraudulent. I’m not saying you’d ever do that, but it’s time to make sure.

You should also truly understand what people in your niche need and want. If you don’t understand them, then you might not be able to connect with them. Remember that just because you know your topic really well doesn’t mean that you will be an effective teacher. Some people know their subject without being able to teach it well at all.

Also, you should be willing to learn and grow over time. You don’t know everything there is to know right now, even if you’re offering coaching services. It’s okay to tell people you don’t know everything and that you are going to work to find the answer they need. No one expects you to be all-knowing. People do expect you to be knowledgeable and they do expect you to go out of your way to help them if there is a stumbling block.

Be prepared to go above and beyond to help people. There’s more to being a coach than just knowing your subject matter. You also have to understand human psychology and how you can get people to perform. People are coming to you for coaching because they feel like they can’t do it on their own. You have to give them a leg up in any way and in any form that comes.

Let’s talk about each of these things in turn and in more depth.

Do You Know Enough about Your Subject?

First, let’s talk about whether or not you know enough about your subject. I’m not saying that you have to have been studying your topic for decades. I’m a big fan of the notion that you can very quickly become an expert – much more quickly than you think. For some topics, you can become an expert in 10 hours or so. Sure, you’ll have a much better depth of knowledge over the span of decades, but there’s nothing stopping you from knowing your subject well enough right now.

Do you know your subject well enough to help someone who is newer than you? I believe that there are degrees of expertise. As long as you can absolutely help someone who is newer to the subject than you, then there should be nothing standing in your way as far as offering coaching.

If you don’t feel like you know enough, now’s the time to start studying. Start buying books and products about your topic. Live it and practice it. Turn yourself into a case study. Do what you can to get the knowledge you need. And you will continue learning and growing along the way.

Again, don’t let the idea that you need to know everything about your topic hold you back – ever. You’ll never know everything – no one does. You just have to know enough.

Study the People in Your Niche

Studying the people in your niche is one of the most important things you can do if you want to build up your integrity as a potential coach.

Really get to know them. See how they interact on social media, forums, and blogs.

What are their most common questions? What are they desperate for? What do they desire above all?

You should really have a picture in your mind of who these people are and how they live. If you become a coach or if you already are a coach, how can you best reach these people and how can you best help them?

What can you offer that is going to make them want to hand over their hard-won cash to hire you as a coach?

Immerse yourself in your niche. Constantly be present in your niche. Establish your authority in your niche. This is how you build integrity as a coach.

Never Stop Learning and Growing

This is an important point. Just because you’re a coach doesn’t mean you know it all. I’ve said it already, but I really want to emphasize that you should never stop learning and growing.

Keep reading the new books that come out. Read the books and products of competitors. Research on your own. Do case studies on your own. Do whatever you can to make sure you’re always learning and growing.

As a coach, you should be on the forefront of what is happening in your niche. You should know the latest news first. You are now a thought leader – act like one. People want to know your opinion and they will want to hear from you as soon as something important happens in your niche.

That’s one of the responsibilities you bear as a coach.

Go above and beyond to Help People

Another important thing is that you go above and beyond to really help the people that you’re going to coach. This means helping people that maybe haven’t even hired you yet.

You should become someone who is willing to fight for people. Again, people will hire you as a coach because they don’t feel like they can do it on their own. They need you and they want you to help them.

You should find information and materials that will help them. You should help them structure their day and follow through with their coaching. You should help to hold people accountable.

This doesn’t mean it will all be warm and fuzzy all the time – sometimes, you will need to display tough love and that’s okay. That’s what the people who hire you need.

Take your job as a coach really seriously. No, you aren’t going to be able to force everyone who hires you to follow through with your coaching and with what you teach. But you should fight for people who are willing to do the work.

Build Your Integrity as a Potential Coach

You want to be a great coach – these things will help you get a great start in that direction.

You instinctively know what it means to be a great coach, so make sure you’re in touch with those things. What would you want and need as a coach yourself? Be that for other people.

Stand above all the other coaches and teachers out there. Only you can offer what you have to offer. Let that sink in for a moment. Sure, people can hire others as a coach or learn from someone else… But they want to hear from you and they want to hire you. Build up your integrity as a coach and that will become even more apparent.

Since the creation of the internet and social media, hundreds of thousands of businesses have emerged. Of course, you want your business to stand out head and shoulders above the rest. How do you achieve that goal? There are several ways to make your business stand apart from the competition.

Evaluate Your Own Company

It is often very easy to compare your company to others. The tendency may be to think that they do something better than you. However, it is most important to start from within. Evaluating your own company is the place to begin.

Look at where you have been static – Take a good long look at where you have been static in your own company. Has your company become stale and outdated? Is there room for something new and innovative? Can you improve a product or service?

What can you reuse – Is there a sales letter that you can re-circulate or a product that you can enhance in order to gain new clients and customers?

What needs recreating? – Is there an area of your business such as reorganizing one of your departments? Perhaps management and assistant management need to put better communication policies and procedures into place.

Does your product or service live up to today’s standards? – Look and see if your product or service lives up today’s standards. Once you have evaluated this, take a look and see if your product or service is trending according to today’s standards.

Where do you stand with social media? – If your website does not incorporate social media, then it is time to include this all-important aspect into your business. Many times a customer will immediately leave a web page if he or she does not see social media buttons.

How can you reach more clients? – Investigate how you can reach more clients. Perhaps you need to set up a Facebook fan page if you do not already have one put in place. Check to see if you are responding to comments that visitors leave on your webpage if you have one. Engaging with clients is a sure-fire way to bring them closer to you rather than alienate them. Reach out to other businesses and blogs to create a sharing opportunity on each other’s web sites through guest blogging or blog rolls.

Today’s business is extremely fast paced and moves at a rapid speed through change. Keeping up with those changes is the only way to stay ahead of the competition.

Taking a look at all these things in your own company is the foundation of a company that is capable of standing out from the competition.

How to Make Money from Your Podcasts

Posted November 28, 2017 By Callie

Many people publish their podcasts for free, and that is good for marketing purposes so you can get your name and brand in front of a wider audience and sell more products and services. But there are also a number of ways to make money directly from your podcasts.

1. Affiliate marketing

Sell products for others in exchange for a commission. Make sure they are all related to the niche you are working in. Incorporate each item into the podcast with a short review as well if you wish. It will help keep your podcast fresh and new, with interesting content on a regular basis, while helping your audience and making money all at the same time.

2. Write a book and publish it

Write a book related to your niche and publish it on Amazon as a Kindle electronic book and through their CreateSpace service as a paperback book. Give your listeners little samples of what you talk about in the book and instructions on how to buy it. This should get sales for the book and prestige for you as an expert in your niche.

3. Podcast ads

Set a price for a 30-second to one-minute ad on your podcast. The price can be based on how many subscribers you have to your channel, such as a penny per subscriber per show. Consider giving them even more of a mention or taking content if they are willing to buy ads regularly (such as a month at a time).

4. Podcast sponsorships

Find companies associated with your niche who might be willing to sponsor you; that is, pay for the running costs of the program. They might get a mention at the start and end and a detailed two- to five-minute spotlight on all they have to offer their customers. Consider doing an even better deal of having them on for interview, or even giving them a regular spot if they are willing to sponsor your program for a month or more.

5. Build your mailing list and sell products to them

Increase the number of subscribers to your email marketing list, and offer a range of affiliate and homemade products to them.

6. Create products for your audience

It is easy to create digital and even tangible products for your niche once you have your finger on the pulse of what their problems are and what they are willing to pay to solve them. Show that YOU have the solution they are looking for, and they will buy online via the internet and your emails. Create the product, launch it on your podcast and in other online venues, and see how many sales you can make.

7. Create services for your audience

Membership sites, coaching program and consulting packages can also meet the needs of your target audience and relieve their pain points. Monthly memberships each month can help you steadily earn a predictable income rather than just have the “boom and bust” of launching a product and then watching sales dwindle after the fuss has died down.

Coaching programs are becoming increasingly popular as a means of learning essential skills from the comfort of the student’s own home or office. As long as you are a few steps ahead of complete beginners in your niche, you can set up a coaching program.

Consulting varies from person to person, but it usually involves focusing on a certain trouble spot in their business and offering a range of solutions. Some consultants are very hands-on and will implement the solution themselves. Others will offer an outline and suggestions for free and paid solutions that will work.

Now that you know how to make money from your podcasts, try at least one of these methods and see how much money you can earn.

Building your list is a very vital part of growing a thriving business online. Your list is the number one key thing you should focus on to grow your business– period. It doesn’t matter which business or niche you’re in specifically, every business can benefit from having a list. This is something you should start building from your very first day as an online marketer.

For one thing, having a list is Google proof… and every-other-site–proof as well. It doesn’t matter if Google goes poof tomorrow, or the same thing happens to Facebook and Twitter. You will still have your list – something you own.

You are going to use proven traffic sources, such as Google and social media sites, as ways to drive traffic to your list. Your list is your top goal and it’s what’s going to help you earn a great deal of money in your business.

Having a list allows you to build deep relationships with your prospects. They’ll get to know you over time. If they know, like, and trust you, you’ll get more sales. Building a list and interacting with your list members can be a lot of fun… and also extremely lucrative.
Having a List Gives You Leverage

Having a list also gives you leverage. If you have a very responsive list, you really have it made online. Notice I didn’t say the “biggest” list – I said the most responsive. That’s because your goal isn’t to have the biggest list.

Having a responsive, high-converting list is all about building real relationships with your target audience. A highly responsive list will outperform a larger list every time. There are many marketers out there who use some underhanded techniques to build their lists and hardly interact with them in the “churn and burn” style… but that’s not what you’re going to do. You’re going to build a real business with a super responsive list other marketers will envy. This will give you a huge leg up on the competition.

How List Building Helps Your Branding

You’re going to brand yourself as a go-to expert in your niche. You are striving to become known as having a particular specialty and area of expertise in your niche.

All the activities you do to build your list will help when it comes to branding. You’ll drive traffic from social media and search sites and leverage the traffic of others, and so on. Great branding equals a great list.
Getting Started with Your List

There are some things you should think about as you start to build your list. I promise that list building is not as difficult as many people make it out to be. In fact, it’s quite a simple process. Where many people fall short is in not following through with the steps and not focusing on it every day.

List building can happen quickly, depending on the method you use. But your list will certainly grow over time and you shouldn’t give up even if it looks difficult at first.

One of the first things you need to do is choose an autoresponder company. AWeber and GetResponse are both very popular choices. There are other options, even cheaper, but beware of the cheaper ones, as they come with drawbacks, such as not allowing you to market using affiliate links.

Go ahead and look at the pricing and options available for each of those and sign up for whichever one suits you best. You can even get a free trial, but this is a vital step no matter what. Sign up and get started.

Both of those autoresponder companies are fairly simple to use. However, if you’re brand-new to list building, then it can look a bit intimidating. Spend some time with the relevant site’s help documents and contact their help desk if you’re having any trouble at all – I don’t suspect that you will.

After you look at their help documents, go ahead and create your first list. This is the list you will have people sign up for with their email addresses. This list should be named after your brand. Although, you can very quickly create additional lists and segment them or join them together at a later date. For now, just create one.

Then, go ahead and create your first opt in form. At this point, you should have your blog or website up and running. Experiment with getting your opt in form (your autoresponder company will give you the script or code after you create it) on your blog. If you’re using a WordPress blog, there are plug-ins that can help you and are available for free from the plug-in directory. There are also a number of paid tools that often have additional functionality.

Right now, it’s all about playing around with the more technical aspects of list building. You might have some ups and downs as you figure this process out if you’ve never done it before. Know that you can always turn to YouTube videos if you do need help and need to see someone performing actions in person.

Don’t worry about “breaking” anything at this point, since you haven’t actually put anyone onto your email list yet, and before you do, you’ll be able to test using your own email address in order to make sure that you have the mechanics right.
Give People a Reason to Sign up For Your List

You really want people to sign up for your list once you do have all the pieces ready to go. But they aren’t going to sign up just because you ask them to do so. That’s why I highly recommend you create a free gift to give them.

When people see a great free gift available that they otherwise would have paid for, they will readily hand over their email address. That’s why you should spend some time figuring out what the people of your niche really need and want. You can definitely deliver something that will be very exciting for them and will decrease resistance to getting people to sign up to your list.

Really, it’s not that difficult. You can simply write a report that is really exciting to your prospects – the report only needs to be between 2,000 and 5,000 words or so. Of course, you don’t have to write it from scratch if you’re short on time because there are plenty of other options available.

For example, many marketers go to sites like EzineArticles.com, where you can freely use the articles that are present. Find ones that are relevant to your niche. You have to keep the resource box intact, but otherwise you are free to combine articles and gather them up to put in your downloadable report.

You can also take a paid product that you used to offer for sale and offer it now for free. This is a great way to dust off previous products of yours that already have a built in value and reputation, if you’ve been in the product creation game in the past.

Additionally, you can hire someone to write or create a report for you. There are plenty of writers out there who specialize in product creation and will know what it takes to create a great free offer for you.

But really, it does not take that long to create a free report and you can really be done with that part of things today. Hopefully, you’ve done enough research in your niche that you know exactly what these people need and want… make them salivate over the thought of getting their hands on your free report. Make sure you’re giving them something of great value. In fact, providing value should be your focus for everything you do online. This will help you build your list and it’s definitely worth it.
Create a Squeeze Page

A squeeze page is the page you’ll send traffic to. Its only purpose is to get people to sign up for your list. This should be a clean, sparse page that doesn’t have any distractions. It typically includes a headline, some bullet points, a call to action, and an optin form.

Take a look at the squeeze pages of some of your favorite marketers to get an idea for what you might want to use. There’s no “right” answer, as long as you adhere to the tips I provided above. These are very simple pages designed to be really enticing to your audience and get them to sign up for your list. Really talk up your free offer and make them crave it.

There are great themes and plug-ins for WordPress that can easily help you create a squeeze page, by the way. Don’t stress about it for now– just create a page you think is nice and then you can test conversions and tweak it over time.

Your squeeze page will not look like a typical blog post page, at least not usually. But you should also include an opt-in form in the sidebar of your blog so that it shows up on every page, in addition to your squeeze page. The more visible your freebie offer and your opt-in form are, the more likely people are to sign up. They might see it a few times before they finally go for it.

Additionally, you can experiment with different exit pop-up plug-ins. That way, after people read an article or start to click away from your page, they will see your freebie offer. This can increase the sign-up conversions since it interrupts the flow. There’s certainly a right and a wrong (annoying) way to do this, so you may want to wait until you’re comfortable with testing different strategies.

You can also choose to put an opt-in form beneath each of your blog posts. Remember that it’s all about visibility and getting as many people to sign up as possible. Often, having an opt-in form with a freebie offer is more appealing than having ads all over your blog. It builds value for people from the start. Not to mention, building your list builds relationships and helps to establish your brand.

Build your brand, build your list, and give people a reason to sign up! That’s a winning formula right there. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned marketer, this is what you need.

One of the most important issues to address in your business life is identifying your target audience and ideal customer. Without honing in on a specific target audience, you run the risk of missing the mark. There are several easy steps to identify your target audience and ideal customer.

Set Your Goals and Keep Your Goals

One of the best ways to identify your target audience is by setting goals for your business. Once you have set identifiable goals, your ideal customer will present him or herself.

Keeping true to those goals will ensure that your target audience and ideal customer will return time and again.

Measure Your Goals

Once you have established what your goals are, it is important to revisit those goals and measure them on a regular basis.

A great way to measure your goals to see if they are up-to-date is to utilize social media. Have your customers or clients take a survey or enter a contest to see whether or not your company is meeting and exceeding their needs.

Make sure to communicate with customers on social media. Respond to their comments, and communicate via Twitter. See what the competition is doing and what trends are trending. Follow those trends.

Choose a Niche

Once you have set your goals and have established ways to measure those goals, make certain that you stick within your niche. Often times, business owners tend to waiver outside their niche. Sometimes creative ideas just seem to flow and flow; however, you must be true to your niche at all times. This is how you will be able to identify your target audience and your ideal customer.

Create a Sub-Niche

Once you have created a niche, see if you can break it down further and create a sub-niche. A niche would be something like divorced women and a sub-niche would be divorced women with small children. Perhaps your business is a life coaching business that empowers divorced women with smaller children to educate themselves so that they can provide for themselves and their families.

Once you start your new business, you will begin to notice who is responding and who is not responding. In this way, you can measure your target audience a little better and hone in on your ideal customer.

For example, you may notice that divorced women with older children may be in a better position to use your products and services as compared to divorced women with younger children. Your target audience may present itself a little bit differently than you had planned.

Stay flexible, keep an open mind, but once you have established your ideal customer, make certain to keep it there and dedicate all your time and effort to that target audience and its ideal customer.

How to Ask for a Review Copy of a Product

Posted November 26, 2017 By Callie

If you are interested in reviewing products on your site or creating a review site in its entirety, there are different ways to go about asking for a review copy of a product.

The main thing is to take a look at your own website or blog. The quality and content of these will indicate whether a company is inclined to honor your request. Work hard to make your quality and content as good as can be before you start asking for products to review.

One of the first things a company will want to do is to review your site. If your site appears credible, organized, and is something you seem passionate and knowledgeable about, chances are the company will honor your request.

When you are ready to make your request, there are a few things you need to include in it. For starters, it is always best to be sincere and authentic. Perhaps you could follow a particular business or company and comment on the blog posts on that blog. In this manner, you are not coming out of the woodwork and making a random request.

Make yourself known – comment on posts, be a follower, link, connect through social media, and let your voice be heard. This will give you a foot in the door so to speak when it comes time to make your request.

Use your real name as well. Companies appreciate those who are not afraid to be known and step out from behind the curtain. Also, it does not hurt to start your request out with a simple but sincere compliment.

Make a complimentary comment on a recent blog post of theirs – perhaps one that was somewhat controversial. State how you applaud their courage to speak their mind and then from there go on to make your request.

Keep your request short, simple, and sincere. These three words will gain you the most success.

Next, let the company know who you are, your area of expertise, and a small bit about your passion relating to your blog or site.

Follow up with some information on where, when, and how you intend to promote the product.

These are the basics for asking for a review copy of a product to promote. Start out small and then as you gain more credibility, you can move forward.

Set Up Blogs for Local Businesses

Posted November 26, 2017 By Callie

Smart businesses know that it’s important for them to have blog content out in the world these days. They know that their customers expect this of them. Many of them also know that having great content is another way to be found in the search engines. This helps visibility and every other aspect of their business.

The problem is that very few businesses know how to set up their own blogs. And even if they do know how to set up a blog and maybe even how to get started posting on that blog, very few of them know how to optimize it in the right way and how to transform that blog into a real asset.

That’s what makes this such a great opportunity for you. You’re someone who knows something about Internet marketing. You know what it takes to succeed online. And now you can lend your talents and skills to local businesses that need your help.

You Can Set Up Blogs for Local Businesses as a Service

The great thing is that, depending on where you live, there may not be anyone else offering this service. Even today when Internet marketing is more essential than ever before, there are so many businesses that have yet to take advantage of it at all.

There are very few or no offline consultants (which is what you’ll soon become) in some of the smaller areas. And even in some of the big cities, the field is wide open to help businesses stand out.

What You Have To Understand about Local Business

One thing you have to understand about local businesses is that they are often used to spending a lot of money for their advertising. If you can make the case that having a great and active blog is fantastic and much-needed advertising, then you can make some great money.

What you can also help local businesses understand is that they really need to have an email list that they grow by using their blog. What many of them don’t do, even when they do have a blog, is pay attention to email marketing.

You already know that having a blog and building an email list are among the most important things you can do whether you have a local business or are a web marketer. Now you can get this going for local businesses as your own business.

You also have to understand that local businesses are very busy. Even if they do understand how to get their blog up and running, they just don’t have time to maintain it, optimize it, and pay attention to it in the way that it deserves.

The need is there—you might be able to land a client pretty much right away. It might be the case that they’ve been waiting for someone like you or have needed someone like you but just haven’t known where to look.

What You Can Do As an Offline Consultant

You’re looking for a way to make some great money with offline marketing. Local businesses are looking for someone who can help them develop their web presence. When the two of those things combine, magic can happen.

There are some options here. They can hire you to set up a blog to their exact specifications. Or, they might trust you to set it up your way.

You might do some research into similar blogs of their competitors. You might present this research to your client so you can make decisions about their blog along with them.

Or, they might just want you to do your thing based on your research so you can make their new blog as successful as possible.

They might hire you to write for the blog or they might want to do the posting on their own. Or, they might hire you to set the blog up and to maintain it month after month. This can lead to a lucrative long-term income for you.

You might optimize the blog for them, set up a lead capture system for them, write the blog posts for them, or do whatever it is they need you to do.

Another Way to Run This Business…

Those aren’t the only ways you can run this business. What you might do is target a popular type of business instead of going after a specific business.

So, let’s say you target dentists in your local area. What you can do is set up a website that features local dentist keywords within the domain name and content. You can start a blog with a lead capture system set up. This will be a generic blog and system—for now.

You’ll get this blog up and start using it to capture leads. Then, you can present it to different local dentists and market it until one of them buys it from you.

The beauty of this is that you are already getting traffic and leads for the eventual buyer. If one dentist, or whatever type of business you’re targeting, doesn’t want it, then another one might.

You might spend less time with this business model because you aren’t building blogs to specific specifications and you can build multiples of them at one time. This is a good way to scale your business up.

Do the work upfront your way and systematize the process. Make it an attractive, ready-to-go blog that businesses can snap up and keep away from competitors.

And, if a business does buy the blog you set up and started capturing leads with, you can upsell them on customization and maintenance of that blog. This is another great way to earn more money from what you’re doing.

Get Started Setting up Blogs for Local Businesses

This can be a fun and exciting business. Again, sometimes all you have to do is start visiting local businesses and presenting your offer.

First, though, you have to decide what you’re doing, exactly. Are you building completely custom blogs? Are you getting a blog set up and then handing it over to them? Are you offering monthly maintenance and blogging packages?

Or, are you starting a general blog and capturing leads that you can later hand over to a buyer?

The choice is completely yours. This is very exciting because you can build up to a full-time income setting up blogs for local businesses.

You just have to let people know that you’re open for business. Make sure you’re providing a high quality experience and that you show them how this can help them get more customers. If they know what’s in it for them, then the service you provide can end up being less expensive than some of their other advertising avenues. You should be able to get some great, happy buyers and clients right away.

How Important Is Market Research to Your Business?

Posted November 25, 2017 By Callie

It really cannot be overstated that market research is imperative to the success of your business. Understanding your market will ensure that you are providing the right products and services to your audience – products that they need and want. Plus, that you’re pricing them in the most accurate manner at an amount they will gladly pay.

Without researching your market, you’re just shooting in the dark. With the right type of market research, you’re shining a bright light on your target so you’ll be a lot more likely to be successful.

* Helps You Focus on What’s Most Important – When you conduct market research, it will help you focus on what’s most important to your audience and therefore to you. You cannot make assumptions about your market without confirming them by researching the situation. You might find out that your ideas are wrong or you might find out they’re correct.

* Helps You Learn More about Your Audience – You might think that you can wing it, but if you don’t know everything about your audience that you can, you may make a mistake. For instance, one time Coke thought it was a good idea to come out with “New Coke” without really learning about what their audience would think about that. It was a colossal failure.

* Helps You Know Which Path Is the Most Profitable – When you learn more about your market, you’ll be able to create even better products and services that your audience really wants. In fact, they will think that you’re able to read minds and will clamor to buy what you’re selling.

* Helps Your Business Adapt to the Present – Even when you are marketing to the same general demographic, the morals, views, thoughts, and ideals of a demographic changes over time. That’s why companies that have been around for ages have to change their marketing plans and advertising periodically, because people change.

* Helps Improve Decision-Making Processes – Having the right information in front of you will help you make a lot better choices for your business and your audience. After all, decisions made with no information, the wrong information, or assumptions will almost always be wrong. Having the right information is going to make your choices so much better.

* Helps Reduce Your Risks – When you know what your market is doing and what they want, you lower your risk of mistakes and failure when pushing out new products and services. Why waste time and money with shooting in the dark when you can shine the light on your work and hit your target every time?

* Helps You Develop New Strategies – The right marketing research will help you create new approaches for everything you do in your business. With market research done properly, the new things you do for your business will be more likely to work out.

* Helps Minimize Risks – The more information that you have and gather through the market research that you do, the less risk you will face as you conduct product development and marketing to your ideal audience.

Don’t just do market research once; consider it an ongoing need in order to stay competitive in your business. You’ll identify future problems faster, which will enable you to create products and services even faster too.

Do’s and Don’ts for Business Branding

Posted November 24, 2017 By Callie

One of the most important things you’re going to do as a business owner is create your brand. Your brand is a way to represent what your audience thinks, says, and feels about your products and/or services. Often, this has to be developed over time and is encompassed in not only the physical representation of your business, but also the feeling that develops in people over time when talking about or thinking about your business.

There are some do’s and don’ts you should consider when seeking to better brand your business. If you can remember that your brand is really all about your audience, and how you want them to feel than about you, it’ll be a lot easier. Branding is a long-term strategy that you’ll need to work on.

Do’s

* Create a Plan of Action – You cannot properly brand your business without giving it a lot of thought in advance. While it may be something that is developed over time, it’s not done willy-nilly without a plan.

* Build Up Your Online Presence – Everything you do online represents your brand, from the colors you choose for your logo to the words you put on social media. In order to do that right, you have to set up a branding guide to help you and others remember what you want to represent.

* Build Up Your Offline Presence – While your business may be an “online business” today, it’s becoming more important to market your business offline too. If you truly want to be a brand people remember, don’t trap yourself into only being online. As the tools to get your products and/or services delivered to your audience change, you want to be ready.

* Watch Your Competition – You may be a step or two ahead of your competition, but you may not be. Checking up on how they’re doing things is essential to keeping yourself on track too. You want to do a little better than your competition and stay ahead of the game.

* Push Your Comfort Zone – It can be frightening to get your name out there, but you need to. Post articles, guest blog posts, and do interviews. Host webinars and teleseminars, and even publish a book. The more you can do to push your brand, the more people will start knowing who you are.

* Make Connections – Make connections that matter, both online and offline. Follow up with people you meet. Find creative ways to maintain the connections you make both online and offline. Consider sending a card in the mail, or a copy of an article you think they’ll enjoy.

Don’ts

* Blow Smoke – Don’t confuse branding with advertising. In advertising, a certain amount of smoke blowing is acceptable and legal. But, when it comes to branding, you don’t want to do that. You want to tell it like it is.

* Be Crazy on Social Media – You tell your kids that social media is dangerous, and one wrong picture will follow you forever; it’s true. Don’t post pictures of you living it up at that wedding, or hanging from the chandeliers at the bachelorette party. Keep your social media G-rated and appropriate for business.

* Lie – You need to be yourself and don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Lying about how much money you make, or about your experience, or about how well your business is doing is wrong (whether online or offline), and has no place in business.

* Avoid Offline Activities – It can be easy to get used to doing everything online if you have an online business. But, you have to remember that tools change. What used to seem like an anonymous adventure is now bringing people together in real life more than ever.

* Forget Your Call to Action – If you don’t ask people to take action, they won’t. Most people need to be told what to do next to make that next step.

Following these do’s and don’ts will help you with your business branding experience. The main take-away is to be yourself, realize it’s about your audience, not you, and that branding is a process that takes some time and will not happen overnight.