“Build it and they will come” works well for some well-known brands, but for others it can be a blind leap of faith. While faith in the future is a great attitude to bring to the table, faith without action is a recipe for disaster. It takes work to get the word out about any business endeavor. Even for businesses that have been around for a while, marketing challenges will create upheaval for you and your business.
Lack of Visibility. Does anyone know you’re open for business? Are you engaging social media channels and connecting with your target audience? There are many ways to get your business noticed. From billboards and print ads to social media marketing strategies, the options are many. Your online presence and your local visibility are equally important. But even worse than a lack of visibility is poor visibility. How people see your brand represented matters immensely. Establish your brand with quality marketing efforts and your target audience will want to remember who you are. Be seen!
It’s great knowing you have thousands of people following your Facebook business page. But are they translating to sales? If you’re not converting your followers to customers, here are a few tips to help you benefit from your presence on social media channels.
1 – Know your target audience. The shotgun approach helps you to connect with a few people most of the time, but if your target audience is women between the ages of 20 and 45, it doesn’t help you if your marketing appeals more to men between 40 and 60. Knowing who you want to reach will determine your messaging.
By now anyone with an Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook account or on any other social media channel has seen someone use a hashtag. Often hashtags are used to participate in a trending topic such as a political debate on Twitter (#electionresults2018) or on Instagram to to categorize your images so that they are discoverable by people with similar interests (#weightloss). On Facebook, the use of hashtags is being utilized by businesses to promote their brand (#pepsisweepstakes) or by individuals promoting a cause (#curecancer) or something just ridiculously funny (#vegancat). You’ll often see hashtags with a tone of sarcasm, because who doesn’t want to make a point about something insane on the internet? (#thestruggleisreal).
As a marketing tool, hashtags can either be your be a great opportunity…or just a waste of time. Hashtags are intended to do one of 2 things: 1) drive people to your content and brand, or 2) call people to action (which ultimately drives people to your content and brand).
New Year’s resolutions have become a way of life for Americans. Each year we set some goals and hope we keep some — if not all of them. But like any form of goal setting, what we demand of ourselves needs to be achievable. Resolutions can be challenging — which is why so many of us break them! — but shouldn’t be impossible to see become reality.
The same is true for business owners. While every business plan needs to include achievable goals, some of these goals need to stretch you a bit outside of what is comfortable. Success in any business demands effort and changing or improving the results of your work may mean doing something a bit different.
Web design businesses will often work to sell you on the “custom” website because your business will better stand out among your competitors. “Custom is better” they say, because it will be a design exclusive to you. Sounds reasonable but will always come with a massive price tag. (more…)
When you start a business you expect to be successful, so you need a plan. A business plan is really a rational strategy that will help you meet your short and long term goals. It includes a few key areas including: business goals, mission statement, target market, competitive analysis, pricing strategy, promotional plan, marketing budget, action list, and a way to determine if you have met your goals. Key to this plan is your unique selling proposition. In other words, what sets you apart from your competition? What makes your product or service the best available to your target market?
Start formulating your unique selling proposition by answering these four questions:
- What is my product? (i.e. “skin care cream”)
- Who is my audience? (i.e. “women over 40”)
- What do I do well? (i.e. “demonstrating the skin improvements in past and current customers”)
- What is the problem my customer needs solved? (i.e. “aging skin”)
Answering these four questions will lead inevitably to your unique selling proposition. What is it that differentiates my business and my product from my competitors? What makes my product unique? (i.e. “my product is demonstrably effective for women over 40”)
If you’re not entirely sure that your product is unique, that your service isn’t distinguishable from that of your competition, you likely need to revisit your preliminary questions. Take a few minutes to answer these questions for yourself and see if you need to make any changes to your overall business plan or if you’re on the right track!
Hero images have become quite popular in the world of web design. We are an image-driven culture and connect with our customers through the use of the visual. But the use of these large-scale images on websites has taken away from the necessary focus on the written content. Once you’ve gotten their attention with images, visitors will probably continue to read, but sometimes your visitors are just looking for information, and some bells and whistles become more of a distraction than an appeal.
The appeal of content “above the fold” in the newspaper industry is that readers would likely see whatever is placed in that area of the paper first, before they visit any other page in the paper, or even before they look at what is “below the fold.” The same concept applies to web design. If on every page of your website, the content that is seen “above the fold” is stock photography or content that simply does not meet the visitor’s need for information gathering, something needs to change.
While imagery definitely speaks to the masses, the masses also want to easily find the information they were seeking when they came to your website in the first place. They don’t want to scroll into infinity looking for your menu or click out of all kinds of pop-ups just to see what time you open. When you plan the appearance of your website, keep in mind that ultimately you’re trying to make a sale or find agreement over a cause. Whatever your business or organization’s mission, don/t let the great visual design elements of web design hinder your visitor’s pursuit for the information they are seeking.
Within my coaching relationships, there are certain patterns of thinking that I find are most common. It’s definitely the case that leaders of businesses and organizations often know what it is they want to accomplish, but in the process of getting there, they fail to recognize road blocks—many of which they place in front of themselves. (more…)
Business consultants and coaches often overlap in their mission, to guide their client to meaningful decision-making toward the present and future of their business. Typically a consultant helps you work through business planning and strategy, marketing, project planning, website planning and the overall direction of a business. A coach will help you uncover obstacles from lack of focus, poor vision and self-sabotage and guide you toward clarity, purpose, and structure. (more…)
We’re all aware of the importance of first impressions because more than likely you’ve encountered someone who’s made a not-so-good first impression with you. Sometimes it’s as basic as a personality quirk or social awkwardness that leaves you wondering about your new acquaintance. They’re loud, they cuss in professional circles, or they might even be gossips with their foot in their mouth on a regular basis. Not a pretty sight or sound; a lot like television static or fingernails on a chalk board. Just plain annoying. (more…)