March 31, 2014
You’re a successful business owner by anyone’s standards: you’ve been around a few years and at one point had all the business you wanted. You hired a staff, your sales pipeline was full, and the phone was ringing off the hook! Maybe you even felt overwhelmed at times, but felt excited about expanding.
Marketing didn’t even feel like marketing: you either got lucky and business boomed with no marketing plan at all or you joined a few networking groups, bought a yellow pages ad, and the business just flooded in. You didn’t need any so-called ‘experts’, you did it all – and were pretty damn good at it too! Or so you thought…
And then it all changed. Suddenly the phone stopped ringing, the pipeline was empty, and you practically had to beg, borrow, and steal to get your next client.
Marketing was easy when there was an abundance of money and credit. Getting clients was a breeze for well established companies with great reputations. But almost overnight the game changed. While the national economy was spiraling into a black hole, distressed consumers were becoming more prudent about how and where they spend their hard earned cash.
Today, social media allows consumers to shop, share experiences, and compare products like never before. They’re armed with the power of knowledge and small business owners are still scratching their heads trying to figure out what happened, asking:
- What do you mean you don’t look in the yellow pages anymore? (Check out my blog, “Does Your Advertising Make You Look Cheap?” for more info about advertising)
- My competitors do ‘what’? How am I supposed to compete with ‘that’?
- What do customers want from me??? (Read, “Good Customer Service Isn’t Enough” for more info!)
In denial, many thwarted their businesses by asking for marketing advice from their accountant or hairdresser – or even worse – from the sales reps who make a commission off selling yellow pages ads and advertising. Frustrated and confused, many small business owners just quit marketing all together.
NO Marketing = NO Business
Giving up on marketing is not the answer. The answer is simple: if consumers are smarter, YOU have to be smarter. And the first step in becoming smarter is realizing and accepting what you don’t know. You started a business because you are a great dentist, attorney, CPA, or other service professional but chances are you’re not a marketing expert.
Hiring a Marketing Consultant can help you STOP guessing and wasting money on marketing that doesn’t work. A good marketing consultant will help you attract the right clients (the ones with money) and stand apart from your competition which will result in an increase in revenue – and profits!
A Marketing Consultant will also:
- Help you set goals, giving you and your company direction
- Develop, plan, and execute a strategic marketing plan
- Add much-needed marketing experience, expertise, and objectivity to your business
- Bring a network of specialists to make your marketing more effective!
A marketing consultant can be a valuable addition to your team, freeing you up to focus on building your business and doing what you do best! Be sure to choose a professional with experience who can challenge you and help you achieve your business goals! If you would like to learn more about how Fortune Marketing Company can help you grow your business, click here.
March 6, 2014
At first glance, Pinterest can befuddle. To the new user it appears to be nothing but a screen of random photos. The experienced, however, see it as an elegantly designed photo-sharing site optimized for planning and inspiration.
Pinterest is a powerful social media tool for small businesses, increasing brand recognition, website traffic, and sales.
- By 2011, Pinterest drove more traffic to retailers than LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+
- 81% of U.S. women who spend time online trust Pinterest for information and advice
- 70% of those on Pinterest use it for purchasing inspiration
- The average Pinterest user has a household income of over $100,000
Pinterest is undeniably a muscular business tool. But, how do you apply it?
Four Steps to Leverage Pinterest for Your Business:
1. Make Your Business Visual
Document your products, services, and staff with your smart-phone camera, or hire a professional photographer or videographer. Then use those images to promote your business on Pinterest.
Create boards to showcase your company’s before and after photos, how-to information, case studies, and reviews.
Develop a special offer just for your Pinterest followers, like a coupon or free report.
2. Know Your Target Market
Pinning photos and videos about your services and products is just the beginning of leveraging Pinterest for your business. The next step is to create boards highlighting your target market’s other interests.
If you’re representing a flooring company, as an example, begin with boards that feature hardwood, tile, and carpet. Next, create boards on dream homes, remodeling, design ideas, house cleaning tips, organization, recipes, or whatever will draw your target market to your site.
3. Drive Traffic to Your Website
Write content for your website on the topics you have chosen. This can be blogs, articles, reports, FAQ’s, or videos. After you post that content on your site, upload the featured image to Pinterest. Even better, include the name of your content on the image, like this example:
Make sure you include keywords, descriptions, and hashtags in your board titles. Verify your website with your Pinterest account by going to your Pinterest Settings page and clicking on the Verify Website button. This will increase your Pinterest’s profile credibility and trust with your followers.
4. Remember, Pinterest is Social
Pin consistently and pin during peak times. Just as with all marketing platforms, to be effective, you must use Pinterest consistently. Scheduling software such as Sendible.com is a convenient way to schedule your pins in advance. Because most people suggest pinning 3 to 10 images a day, pre-scheduling pins allows you to consolidate your marketing time.
Pinterest users are most active in the evenings and on weekends. Schedule the majority of your pins for those times.
Putting the power of Pinterest to work for you is an amazing way to build your business. Remember, though, that advertising yourself 24/7 gets tiresome for your followers. Therefore, when you pin, blend content from both your own site and other business sites.
Social media is social – engage with your followers. Share pins from their boards, comment on their pins, and thank them for sharing yours.
Posting your business on Pinterest is a great way to increase your brand recognition, website traffic, and sales. In four steps, you can be successful on Pinterest: be visual, know your target market, create content on your website, and be social.
Gail Nott is the co-founder of Nott Ltd Solutions, which builds communities of loyal customers for influential business owners through social media. Gail combines her 17 years experience in web development, referral marketing, and social media to turn her clients’ business goals into actionable plans and marketing strategies that pay off into 6 & 7 figure businesses. Learn how to leverage Facebook for your business in 10 minutes a day with her free webinar. <link: http://gailnott.com/social-media-resources/free-webinar/
By the way, if you liked this post, I’d really appreciate your Retweet!!! Thank you.
January 2, 2014
We’ve all done it: taken on that client we knew we should walk away from. But whatever the reason, we took their money, did the work, and regretted every second of it. We constantly felt like we weren’t doing enough, our resources were stretched, and our profit margins eroded to practically nothing.
For many of us, we only did this once. For others, we do it again and again. Why? I think it’s important to dig deep and ask ourselves this important question. However, if you’re faced with a new project or client and your gut is doing a yes-no push and pull, I’ve created a checklist to help you out.
- Their values don’t match your company’s values. If you’re faced with an opportunity to work with a company or a person who embodies everything you stand against, you might want to reconsider taking the job. Are you going to be able to sleep at night? Are you going to feel like you’re selling out? I say it’s best to work with people and companies whose values align with yours to avoid any internal conflicts or employee morale issues that could lead to stress and doubt.
- They treat you like a vendor and not a partner: They’re always late, they cancel, come unprepared, or don’t bother to show up for meetings. These things are signs that they don’t respect you or your time. If they don’t respect you now, they’ll certainly not respect you once they start paying you.
- They don’t appreciate your value. They’re nickel and diming you to death over the contract or sale price or they keep asking for you to throw things in for free. If they don’t understand your value now, they probably never will and you’ll constantly feel like you have to justify your fees.
- The work isn’t really what you do. It’s a great contract worth a lot of money, but it’s not really what you do, so you won’t’ be as effective as when working with the right partner/project. It’ll take extra time and resources to make it work and you and your staff will end up feeling ineffective and frustrated. Do everyone a favor and walk away.
- You’re feeling desperate. Every business owner has been there! The bank account’s looking a little low and the pipeline is pretty empty so you’re willing to take on anything just to get paid! But that nightmare job staring you in the face is not the answer!!! Walk away!!! NOW! This one requires a good honest gut check and a little faith. But trust me, giving up the wrong client and waiting for the right one is always the right thing to do. For one thing, if you’re spinning in circles trying to make the wrong client happy, you’re probably missing out on opportunities with the right prospects!
The bottom line is, like anything else in life, if it just doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! Walk away! If you follow these guidelines, I promise you’ll be happier, your employees will be happier, your good customers who value will be happier, and your profits will soar!
Do you have any other signs that it’s time to walk away? If so, please share them with us!