Internet Marketing For Small Business Owners – Use A Lead Follow Up System To Get More Customers

If you are new to the topic of internet marketing for small business strategies, you may not understand why it is a good idea to use email lead follow up systems to get more customers and grow your local business. The results of many surveys have shown that online business marketers have received most of their sales from the members of their business email lists. So if you are wanting to get more local business online consider setting up an email lead follow up system with an autoresponder service.

Make sure that you have an opt in form on every page of your website so that where ever your visitors go, they have the opportunity to join your business email list. Offer them something of real benefit that will entice them to join your list in order to get access to it. After they have joined, you must continue to follow them up by sending out emails at regular intervals so that your local business is kept constantly in their minds. I have heard many internet marketing experts say that it can take up to seven points of contact with a subscriber before they take the decision to make a purchase.

It is also a fact that we as consumers are much more likely to make a purchase from someone we know something about and have come to trust. If a sales person appears at your door and tries to sell something to you, you are not likely to buy it, even if the product is a good one – mainly because you don’t know them and perhaps could not trust them either. The same process occurs online.

However, you can build a relationship by creating a lead follow up system in which you email your prospects regularly with information that presells your services. Tell them about special promotions that you have on offer, send out a newsletter, refer them to an article or blog post in which you educate them about some area relevant to your business niche. When you send out lead follow up emails always make sure that you highlight the benefits to them as the customer. In other words what is in it for them?

A lead follow up system with an autoresponder service can also be used to remind your business email list subscribers that you are available to assist them with their needs. You can also use this lead follow up system to receive feedback on your products and services by sending out an email which asks them directly. Research has also shown that if you share a little about your story with your prospects, you can very quickly build up a rapport with the target market that you serve in the local community. By sharing your life experiences and story in these emails you will find your customers are more able to trust you as they get to know you more.

Internet marketing for small business strategies is all about creating relationships with the people who need your services to the point where they know and trust you enough to do business with you. You can build this relationship with an email lead follow up system using an autoresponder service.

Small Business Management – 2 Tips for Effectively Leading Employees

In today’s Lean Start Up culture of small business, the major thought among many owners and operators is the need to output products and services at an optimal quality and high level of productivity that satisfies market demand. Naturally, the adherence to these principles increases the probability of the business to experience robust revenue and profit growth in addition to increasing market share. For the most part, these outcomes are desired highly by small business owners, but they also pose a considerable business risk in the form of employee mismanagement.

The labor component of any business easily can account for at least 30% of the total cost structure depending on the business model utilized (i.e. manufacturing, retail, service). Thus, management prioritizes its monitoring and oversight of this cost component to ensure proper balance and alignment with production output and ultimately market demand. In doing this, though, employees are often treated as components of a business’s production cycle instead of human beings. The tendency of management to treat and manage employees as objects rather than people can have a negative impact on the business both in the short and long-term.

Owners of small businesses can and should learn to “lead” and not manage their employees. Webster’s Dictionary Online defines management as “the act or process of deciding how to use something”. Since most small businesses consist of no more than 5 employees including the owner, there’s a close camaraderie among employees and owners that helps in making the production process more flexible and agile in regards to changes in market demand. The downside to this strength is that management fails to learn how to lead their staff. As a result, employees are not empowered to think in creative ways to enhance the business’s competitive advantage for the long-term. Instead, they are relegated to menial and automated tasks similar to a machine. We are not discounting or understating the value of an employee that performs menial and automated tasks, but it’s management’s responsibility to ensure that each and every employee’s ability is maximized for the business’s success.

Two key small business management tips for “leading” employees are:

Tip One: Reward and Recognize Employees Early and Often
The implementation of this first tip is easy and straightforward. The power of getting results with this tip is from a commitment to consistency. Small business owners should set up a personnel reward and recognition system that incentives their staff for taking calculated risk within their scope of work to think creatively in enhancing the long-term competitive advantage of the business. Examples include gift cards, certificates, novelty items, etc. The goal here is to reinforce behavior that adds value to the business and these come from leading them to think creatively of ways to do their jobs better and more efficiently.

Tip Two: Delegate Effectively
This second tip focuses on empowering your employees rather than micro managing them. Effective managers know that the line between empowerment and micro managing is slim, but with experience and foresight, managers can implement this tip with ease as well. Empowering employees is all about clearly communicating expectations and vesting authority in them to accomplish the desired goal. Delegating effectively holds amazing value for owners of small businesses because it’s a way for them to replicate themselves exponentially.

Intro To Viral Video Marketing For Small Businesses and Solo-Entrepreneurs

Video is currently one of the fastest growing marketing strategies for small businesses. Why? Video marketing is one of the most powerful methods for rapid lead generation. Adding video to market your business can help you:

  • Generate Leads
  • Raise awareness
  • Generate viral social proof
  • Improve search rankings
  • Increase sales
  • Personalize your brand

If you are currently not maximizing video marketing, this article will show you the simple strategies you can use to create powerful online videos to grow your small business and brand.

Step 1: Pique Interest

The first step in building your brand and generating leads through video is to get people’s attention. You must trigger curiosity and to do that you must do something unexpected. We need to give your viewer a jolt, something that they will remember long after they have finished watching your video.

Quick tip: Use Theme Music – Having a signature theme song, tagline or phrase that you kick off every one of your videos with makes you memorable. Memorable equals Money. Music is universal and it creates an emotional response. You want to create that same response every single time someone watches one of your videos.

Step 2: Switch Up The Scene

When you are able to take your viewers on a visual journey you are able to hold their attention much longer. Instead of shooting your videos inside your office or behind your desk, explore different locations. Shoot your videos anywhere there is a great view. Go outside, go to the park, or to a local beach or restaurant. Switch up the scene and your viewers will not only want to watch the rest of your video but you’ll keep them wondering where you are going to be next!

Step 3: Rediscover Unpredictable

When you can keep things moving, infusing your videos with unexpected angles, scene changes or even walking or driving while you keep the viewer engaged. It is easy for viewers to get bored when they see the same static format everyone else is using. When you can change the background, the lightening, the color schemes throughout your videos, you keep your viewers interest.

Step 4: Elevate Credibility

You want to be seen as an expert, so how do you do this? By sharing your knowledge and the valuable information that relates specifically to your niche.

The more your viewers can relate to you the greater your results. Video is a great way to highlight what makes you or your company unique and different. There is nobody in the world just like you, there is no company just like yours and you should not be afraid to share your unique personality, style, character or company culture. This is what helps you make a connection and cultivate relationships with your viewers.

Step 5: Bountiful Benefits

There are many options for potential customers to choose from online and with so much information out there for your viewers to tap in to, you must find a way to separate yourself from the masses. You must find a way to hold their attention so they don’t tune you out or turn you off.

Just like a show premiere, you may only have one chance to capture someone’s attention so that they want to tune in for the rest of the season.

So you have to start off with a bang! The best way to make sure your audience doesn’t take you off of their playlist is to consistently provide them with benefits, pure solutions and high value content and information.

Any time we make a decision to engage in something or take action we do so because it is going to satisfy a need we have or benefit us in some way. Before you shoot any video you want to put yourself in your prospects’ shoes and ask the question how will they benefit from this? So make sure you know exactly what it is that your target market wants and create your videos with the intent to do just that. Provide them the solutions they are looking for, make sure the benefits to the viewer are bountiful and they will keep coming back for more.

Step 6: Teaser Time

At the beginning of each video you must give your viewer a reason to want to continue watching. You have about 7 seconds to make a good impression so you have to make it count. At the beginning of each video it is crucial that you let the viewer know your intent and the purpose of the video. Let them know what they are in store for?

You can say something similar to this: “In today’s video we will show you…” or “The reason I am shooting this video is…” or “Have you ever wanted to know how to”. You are telling them exactly what they are going to learn. Remember to be brief, clear and to the point.

Step 7: Reveal The Problem

When you can expose the problem your target prospect is dealing with or may face if they fail to do the right things, you help them realize that YES, I do need a solution to get over that obstacle.

For example, you may be doing a video promoting a service you provide. Your target prospect may think that your product is only for college kids, that you have to be computer savvy, that it is time consuming, etc.

Your goal is to be able to discuss your potential prospects concerns in a friendly, non-threatening way, where they feel comfortable about receiving help, just as if you where talking with a friend about something over lunch, just hanging out having conversation.

Step 8: Insightful Education

Educating your viewers and providing them with insightful solutions is ultimately what’s going to have them seeking you out time and time again.

So how do you teach in a way that makes it easy for your viewers to apply the information immediately.

The best way to do this is to outline a step-by-step blueprint, technique, a method, a formula. It may be a 3 step formula to article marketing or 15 steps for organizing your new home. It’s all about show and tell. You must be able to show and tell them the steps they need to take and what type of results they can expect in a simple and fun way that is easy to understand.

Step 9: Stepping Into Action

Your call to action is one of the most important steps to high converting videos that attract more traffic, generate more leads and make you more money. You have to tell your viewers exactly what to do next, give them instructions like, click this link at the bottom of this video now, sign up now, get instant access by clicking here now, buy it now…Get it? If you don’t do this you are leaving money on the table.

Do not assume that your prospects know what to do next. Hold their hand and tell them what to do next.

Now you may think it unnatural to ask your viewers to take action, but believe me it is perfectly ok. I know you’ve heard the phrase, “Ask and you shall receive” – well it applies to your business as well and if you want to make money you have to ask for it. Do not leave it to chance or hope they will figure out what to do next.

It can be as simple as “If you got value out of this video please visit my blog at yourwebsite.com for more helpful tips” or “if you enjoyed this video please leave me a comment below and let me know what you thought”. You can even throw in an added incentive to get them to take action. “If you buy today you will receive…”.

Effective video marketing is about showcasing your company’s personality, providing solid solutions to your viewers while inspiring them to take action on whatever it is that you are selling.

When you create and share your videos, you create a subconscious bond with your viewer’s lives. The secret is in your ability to provide helpful solutions to the problems your target audience have. There is no need to sell your product, service or business opportunity when you can provide solutions.

Solutions equal sales.

11 MONSTROUS Small Business Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Increase your profit potential by identifying – and avoiding – these 11 marketing mistakes.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 1: Sinking a Fortune Into an Unproven Product

Is your business idea built on market research or a hunch?

Entrepreneurs often fall in love with their products or services before they determine if there’s a real market, and they throw fistfuls of money into the venture. If you, your spouse, your uncle, and your neighbor think you’ve got a winning idea, that’s simply not enough qualified input to run to the bank and drain your savings account!

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Conducting your detective work (research).
  • Testing your business idea with the real marketplace.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 2: Believing That “If You Build It, They Will Come”

Do you think you have a product or service that will practically sell itself?

Trust me – you don’t.

There is a misconception among small business owners that, with the right product or service, your customers will simply “find” you when you open your doors for business. Whether you have a physical storefront on a corner lot in the busiest part of downtown, or a graphically pleasing online storefront offering easy access to your hot products and services, your customers will not find you if you do not market to them.

The day you open for business is the day you put on your “marketer’s hat” and never take it off. You must consistently move product, or schedule service time.

To stay in business you must profit.

To profit you must sell.

To sell you must market.

The good news is that, with a marketing strategy, you take the control out of your potential customers’ hands and put it into your own. If you have a product that will “practically sell itself,” then your marketing job will be easy. Just remember that the job must still be done.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Defining your niche market and USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that differentiates you from your competition.
  • Developing a marketing action plan and strategy to reach your niche market with your USP message.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 3: Trying to Reinvent the Wheel

Marketing is an age-old practice with some very basic principles. Yet, I’m sure you’ve read many marketing information products that stress the importance of being innovative and creative with your marketing efforts. It’s easy to get caught up in the innovation process and forget that the REAL focus should be on results.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Emulating success instead of trying to create something completely new. Please note that I am not saying, “copy” what others are doing. Look at the basic structure of a tactic, campaign, advertisement, or event and use the same formula as a basis for developing your own tactics.
  • Realizing great marketing ideas are used over and over again with just the right twist to make them fit a specific business. Focus on results, and choose imitation over innovation to create your own twist on a proven, winning technique.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 4: Over-Preparing and Doing Nothing

The fear of failure can be powerful. So powerful that we do everything we can think of to prevent it. Yet, there is a point at which we are so busy preparing, organizing, and researching to prevent failure that we never get around to the actual marketing of the business. Here are two things to remember:

  1. Activity is not productivity.
  2. In order to sell a million of something, you have to sell the first ONE.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Doing something! If you believe in your business and have done your detective work, it’s time to dive into the marketing pool. Start small, track results and build from there.
  • Not being afraid to make a mistake. Mistakes are the entry to success. At the very least, a failed promotion means you have SUCCESSFULLY determined what promotion does not work. And, to learn what does NOT work is a valuable tool in getting you closer to discovering what WILL work.

So, go ahead. Fail a little. It will make your eventual successes even sweeter.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 5: Boredom

When I was working for an ad agency many years ago, I had one client that was running an extremely successful ad campaign. After about six months, I received a phone call from the client. He wanted to develop an entirely new campaign. When I asked, “why?” he simply said, “I’m bored with the one we have.”

What?

That client may have had the money to spend on a new campaign due to “boredom” but you and I usually don’t. Yet, I’ve often seen my small business clients switch promotions for the same reason. This is detrimental to your business!

“Losing money” is a reason.

“Boredom” is not.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Remembering that, what is old to you, is new to an untapped target market. If you have a promotion that is consistently getting you results, stick with it until results show you its time for change.
  • Testing new promotions without abandoning the current one. Then track results. Never swap a current promotion with a new one that hasn’t been tested.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 6: Relying on Networking to Generate Sales Leads

Joining the Chamber of Commerce and schmoozing at association meetings can put you in contact with vendors and possible joint venture partners, and will be invaluable exposure for you as a community supporter – but it will rarely generate substantial sales leads.

Everyone else who attends these “meet and greet” assemblies is there to do the same thing you are. You may be able to make some valuable contacts for future ventures and promotions, but one-on-one networking is time-consuming and results are unpredictable.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Treating networking opportunities the same as any other marketing tactic. Track results by determining your costs and measuring your payback.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 7: Doing What Your Competitors Do

It’s important to be aware of what your competitors are offering, but do not let it dictate the strategy you use for your own business.

If your competitor wants to be the low price leader, let him. Don’t try to become the “lower price” leader. Chances are this will lead you to financial problems because it will thrust you into an ugly price war.

If your competitor wants to tout low prices, then you focus on value. Bargain hunters don’t necessarily want the lowest price. They want the best VALUE. Make what you have to offer something of value.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Finding an unmet need or want of your target market, and fill it to differentiate your products and services from your competitors.
  • Giving customers a reason to choose you over your competitors. Define your USP, and identify your niche market.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 8: Not Targeting a Specific Market

If you believe your market is “everybody,” you will struggle to attract people who will buy from you. The value of target (niche) marketing is one of the toughest sells I make to my clients. They understand the logic of it, but the “fear of losing a potential customer” gets the best of them.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Viewing the practice of niche marketing as inclusive, not exclusive.

Think of your business as part of a person’s support group. It’s logical to say, “Everybody needs a support group so my business should attract everyone.” But, will it? People – your customers – want to go to a support business that understands their specific concerns, needs, and wants. Make sure you ARE that business by targeting a niche market.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 9: Targeting a Market You Can’t Reach or One That Can’t Afford You

Targeting a niche market is the smartest way to market. Yet, targeting a market that is too specific will limit your ability to succeed long term. For example, a market that might be too specific would be: female pilots under the age of 35 who fly ONLY New York to London flights. That’s a pretty narrow market to sustain your business in the long term unless you can capture the ENTIRE market with a product or service that has a high profit point and customers need to use or replace it often.

In that same vein, a market that is begging for the service or product you have but cannot afford it will also be a business impossible to sustain. Never compete for someone’s rent money. Your target market must have the means to buy your products and services.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Creating your customer profile to identify characteristics of your potential buyers,
  • Identifying a niche market,
  • Examining the long term potential for new and repeat sales.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 10: Focusing On Acquiring New Customers Instead of Promoting to Current or Previous Customers

When you first start a business you have little choice but to focus on gaining new customers. The cost of finding those new customers can be expensive, which is one reason it is so important to really target a specific niche. However, once you’ve made just one sale, you’re ready to start looking at other marketing options.

Wouldn’t you like to:

… slash your marketing costs by half or more?

… reach proven buyers for your service or products?

That little goldmine of proven buyers available to you “on the cheap” is already yours in the form of current and previous customers.

Any respected marketing guru, past or present, online or offline, will tell you that the biggest asset your company has is your customer base.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Realizing that, when a sale is finalized, it is the beginning of your relationship with that customer, not the end.
  • Offering additional products or services to current customers. If you don’t have your own to offer them, then develop a referral, joint venture or product bundling program so you can reap profits from your already-interested (and buying) customers.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 11: Not Systematically Following Up on Leads

The least expensive part of business is making the sale. The most expensive is generating leads – finding the people who are interested in what you have.

Once you find people who express an interest in what you have to offer – whether they buy from you or not – you MUST develop a follow up system that will keep marketing to those interested prospects. A person who has expressed interest in your products and services is far more likely to eventually buy from you than someone who did not respond at all!

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Curbing the tendency to become obsessed with generating more leads until you have exhausted the ones you already have.
  • Developing an easy, systematic follow up for leads, designed to convert a “maybe” into a “yes.”