Liesha Petrovich – Tweak Your Biz https://tweakyourbiz.com Business, Marketing, Entrepreneur Articles. Tue, 17 Jul 2018 08:40:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 https://tweakyourbiz.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/cropped-tyb_trans-32x32.png Liesha Petrovich – Tweak Your Biz https://tweakyourbiz.com 32 32 3 Free SEO Tools to Uncover Where Your Niche is Hiding https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2018/03/23/3-free-seo-tools-to-uncover-where-your-niche-is-hiding https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2018/03/23/3-free-seo-tools-to-uncover-where-your-niche-is-hiding#respond Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:00:38 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=35695 It’s really tough when you don’t have an entire marketing department to uncover where your niche is hiding. That’s where free SEO tools become your best ally. Here are a few that can help.

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Your niche is out there, hiding in plain sight.

They are buying products every single day, but maybe not from your business. Maybe your competitor is dangling something shiny in front of them that they can’t resist. Or maybe you’ve simply been overlooked. Either way, it’s a problem.

Somewhere along the line, your connection with your niche isn’t working as well as you’d like. Maybe your sales funnel isn’t effective or maybe you’re not as engaging as you think. But the path a consumer follows from first contact to online checkout has two basic formulas:

Impulse Purchase

  • Buyer searches for something specific
  • Buyer stumbles on sales page
  • Buyer makes a purchase

The Long Game

  • Buyer sees something interesting, maybe signs up for a newsletter or starts following you on social media
  • Buyer reads info, reviews, maybe compares different offers
  • Buyer considers the available options….maybe waits for a sale
  • Finally, after many interactions, buyer makes a purchase

If you’re trying to grab impulse buyers than your SEO focuses on phrases like: “buy baby stroller” or “best baby strollers for twins”. But things get tricky when you start trying for The Long Game consumers. Large businesses have entire departments with huge budgets that determine the best way to get on your niche’s radar screen. And it’s really tough when you don’t have an entire marketing department to uncover where your niche is hiding.

That’s where free SEO tools become your best ally. Here are a few that can help:

#1. Get to Know Your Niche

Your target market isn’t one dimensional. They are all diverse people with multiple interests. Yet, many of those interest overlap and that’s where you can help guide them to your eCommerce offer. One way to uncover that information is by using a tool like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest, a free keyword suggestion and SEO optimization tool.

Let’s say my business developed a meditation app. A simple search using Ubersuggest highlighted the following keyword:

Anxiety relief apps are not exactly what my fictional app is about. Yet, it’s in the ballpark. People who search for anxiety relief apps are the same people that may love a meditation app. I can make some great blog and social media content using this keyword. Ubersuggest also shows how difficult it would be to outrank this keyword or outperform in a PPC campaign, and also shares info on competitors which would be essential information in a marketing campaign.

A tool like this is the perfect place to start your detective work. Not only will you be able to learn what your niche searches for, but where your business can slip in and take advantage of the competition.

#2. Learn How Your Niche Uses Social Media

There are actually many free tools that help uncover how people use social media. Moz’s Followerwonk has a free version that allows an incredibly detailed report for any Twitter user who has under 25k followers (the paid version allows reports for larger reports).

Again, I searched for something within my niche’s obvious interests: yoga.

Using Followerwonk’s free version, you can search Twitter bios, compare users, and analyze certain influence data. This allows me to see what types of things yoga enthusiasts say, where they are located, what times of day they are most active, and their inferred gender and ages.

A tool like this is an obvious asset for social media management, but it’s more than that. It’s a peek into your niche’s social media habits and you can create targeted content based on that information. Followerwonk shows that yoga is trending in London and Los Angeles. We could easily create SEO based content like The Top 10 Yoga Retreats in London that may attract users to our meditation app’s sales page.

#3. Track What Content is Trending

Google Trends is great at showing us what’s trending over time (and it’s also free!). But don’t discount other trackers that share different data like BuzzSumo’s Most Shared app. It’s more than just topics that are trending. It shows exactly what content has the most shares on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.

This time I searched using the phrase anxiety relief.

Who knew we’d get such a diverse set of results including, Donald Trump, magic mushrooms, and something called veggie caps! The idea is to see any opportunities to create similar (but better!) content that could be highly shareable. Cannabis is also a paired with anxiety relief in a number of articles, and that connection may be something our fictional meditation app developer never considered.

Remember, your ideal customer is a blend of many interests. It’s sort of like playing that game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to see how things are connected. But instead of people, you’re trying to uncover the topics (translated into keywords) that the majority of your niche searches for every day.

Win The Long Game Niche Using SEO Tools

We all know that finding the exact pathway to our niche is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It’s trial and error, and can have mixed results even if you have a skilled marketing department to do the work for you. It can seem impossible when you’re a struggling small business owner without the budget to hire marketing experts.

Yet, there are ways to leverage SEO tools to uncover a niche without spending your entire marketing budget. Boostrapping means coming up with the best alternatives that you can afford without sacrificing quality. In this case, it means gathering information from a variety of sources until you have a comprehensive view of your target market. This information can help you create a pathway for any customer to find you, whether they are an impulse buyer or take weeks to make a purchase.

I used a simple example to highlight how to find new pathways to your niche. And in the end, it doesn’t really matter if they take the short or long road to your sales page. It only matters that they eventually make a purchase.

And that’s how you win The Long Game.

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Sales in a Slump? 4 Simple Ways to Increase Sales in 2018 https://tweakyourbiz.com/sales/2018/01/04/sales-in-a-slump-4-simple-ways-to-increase-sales-in-2018 https://tweakyourbiz.com/sales/2018/01/04/sales-in-a-slump-4-simple-ways-to-increase-sales-in-2018#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 07:00:51 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/sales/?p=3210 Any kind of slump is bad. And when it’s slow sales, that can be the difference between success and not paying the bills.

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Baseball legend Yogi Berra once said:

“Slump? I ain’t in no slump … I just ain’t hitting”

Call it whatever you want, but if you’re not getting sales (or hits) you’re in a slump. Any kind of slump is bad. And when it’s slow sales, that can be the difference between success and not paying the bills.

There are many ways sales can go horribly wrong. It’s sort of trying to make a cake without knowing the recipe. Sure, you may get it right or it may end up being the worst thing you’ve ever tasted. The same goes for sales. You plan and strategize, come up with a fabulous tagline and copy and agonize over price. And all your hard work doesn’t make a difference. Your sales are still less than spectacular.

This doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. Rather, tweaking a few things may be enough to break your sales slump.

#1. Dig Into the Data

This may be the easiest tweak you can possibly do. You have a lot of answers sitting right inside your eCommerce analytics just waiting for you. You can easily see where you’re losing people and what marketing is driving traffic. All you need to do is to read the data.

In 56 Experts Uncover the 13 Quickest Ways to Increase Ecommerce Sales, Brita Turbyfill explains the power of data:

“Your return policy, your shipping rates, abandoned cart emails, referral programs, optimizing each pages to drive conversions… all these little things add up to more sales. Take full advantage of modern shopping features and meet consumer expectations — it will help your customers and therefore your business.”

All eCommerce platforms offer some kind of analytics. Here’s just a sample of the insightful reports available to BigCommerce users. It literally has everything you need to know at your fingertips. Just be sure you’re analyzing the data all the time – not just when you’re desperate to grow sales.

#2. Add Discounts & Coupons

If I know there’s possibly a coupon available, I’ll wait to buy something. Who doesn’t like savings?

In How to Promote a Product in 10 Different Ways, author Kristen Runvik explains:

“While offering discounts is controversial, they can work if you use them in a smart way and build them into your business strategy. If you want to build your email list because you want to share and sell your product, providing a discount code for opting in can be a great way to build your list and grow your bottom line.”

You have a few choices when it comes to coupons. You can send out discounts and coupon codes to your email list. You can also reach out to niche specific sites and ask if they are interested in a cross-promotion event. You can submit your discount to coupon websites like Groupon or RetailMeNot. Think about your overall strategy and how implementing a coupon or special discount could help you reach your sales goals.

#3. Change Your Boring Pictures

We’ve all heard that an image is worth a thousand words. And in the world of online sales, the right image can make all the difference.

Food blogging is incredibly popular and people love buying the latest recipes from their favorite cook. Let’s say you’re a foodie that creates amazing healthy snacks like hummus. Your hummus is awesome. It’s legendary. Everyone should buy your easy recipe on how to make the best hummus on the planet.

Except your recipe pics look like this:

This is a less than stellar picture of a tasty snack. And it’s probably not inspiring you to spend a few dollars to buy the recipe. On the other hand, this crazy treat is called “Winter Hummus”. It’s the kind of picture that makes you want to smell, taste and try this creation right this minute!

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

The right kind of product picture can make or break your sales. Sure, WalMart can sell a plain white t-shirt without a lot of fuss. But Walmart is a low-price store where no one is expecting any frills. Customers aren’t looking for anything amazing. They are only looking for a low-priced item and a plain picture doesn’t matter.

But selling from a small eCommerce site is different. You need to try to differentiate yourself from the millions of other sites out there. And having the right visuals will help you create a brand that people want to be a part of.

#4. Get Reviews & Testimonials

It’s important to create awesome content when you’re selling something from your site. It’s even more important to add the right kind of content. In fact, 85% of consumers read at least 10 reviews before buying a product.

And it’s easy to ask someone for a review. All you have to do is literally ask someone who bought your product. You can even ask trusted peers for an honest review or recommendation. But there’s more to this than simply asking.

According to Yotpo, you need to do more than just ask. In fact, it’s 33% more effective to encourage customers to write reviews on Mondays than on Saturdays. One-third of consumers is a huge number! So if you not getting the kind of reviews you want, consider not only how you ask, but when.

Breaking the Sales Slump

It’s not easy breaking out of any slump. And it’s a lot of pressure when it’s your business that you’re fighting for. Not to mention that you also have a million other responsibilities as a business owner. Sales is just one factor.

But turning your website into a thriving business means evolving as a professional. It means learning a new set of skills and taking different risks. eCommerce solutions make it very easy to sell anything from a site in only a few clicks. Add a widget on your sidebar or a plugin on a sales page – that’s the easy part. Learning how to sell is a completely different ballgame.

And learning how to break out of your sales slump is the first step.

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Lack Motivation? Start Learning Sales – Again https://tweakyourbiz.com/sales/2017/12/06/lack-motivation-start-learning-sales-again https://tweakyourbiz.com/sales/2017/12/06/lack-motivation-start-learning-sales-again#respond Wed, 06 Dec 2017 19:00:06 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/sales/?p=3192 Need a little motivation? Here’re a few thoughts about why learning sales is a necessary part of business today.

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Remember what it’s like to be new at your job?

You happily sucked up all the juicy information like a sponge. You attacked each day with one purpose: learn how to be amazing at your new job. It was exciting and you could see endless possibilities.

Fast forward a few years. Now, you are happy if you get the good parking space and don’t spill coffee on your shirt. Sure, you still want to do a good job but the entire thing has become routine. And that shows in your sales. You’re not doing badly as the same old things still work okay. But your sales aren’t growing.

It’s predictable that your sales are slow. Because you may be guilty of a horrible business crime: forgetting that learning is part of your job.

If you’re stuck and need a little motivation, here’re a few thoughts about why learning is a necessary part of business today.

Learning is Essential

Teachers are mandated with continuing credits. These are credits earned through courses (they often don’t need to be accredited) so that they keep updated

Teachers are mandated with continuing credits. These are credits earned through courses (they often don’t need to be accredited) so that they keep updated to new and effective teaching practices.

Some business professionals are also encouraged to attend the latest conference or watch important webinars. Yet, many would prefer to skip these events if given a choice. In Never Stop Learning How to Sell Online, Molly Corless explains:

“Even the most successful sellers never stop learning how to start selling online, and they are always looking for ways to improve. The internet is a constantly changing medium, and even if it were to freeze in its current state there would still be more information for online sellers to learn than a single person could ever possibly get through.”

We can’t just wing today’s technology. It’s changing at a lightning fast past and it’s hard to keep up. Especially in the realm of online sales and marketing. Overlook the newest tech and sales will simply pass you by. Rely on outdated tech and sales will slip through your fingers (or checkout system!).But It’s Exhausting and Overwhelming

But It’s Exhausting and Overwhelming

Trying to keep up with the latest strategies can be incredibly overwhelming. Especially if you’re not great at sifting through the nonsense and sticking to a steady diet of credible information.

This is us every day. So it’s not like we don’t see the right information. We may be getting too much of a good thing.

Clem Onojeghuo via Unsplash

We’re always on our phones or computers. That means looking at baby goat videos, but it also means sifting through hundreds of business newsletters, articles, and videos every day. No one has the ability to digest that much information. So it becomes white noise in the background and we glance and say something like:

“That’s interesting. I think I’ll Pin it for later…”

Do you know how many Pinned items I have for this amazing later? More than I’m comfortable sharing at this point. So the only way real learning works is with a plan.

Choose a Few Trusted Sources

Give up the notion that you’re going to learn how to increase your sales simply by reading the latest article you Google. You can certainly find good information but you’ll just sink in the sheer number of articles available on any business topic.

Instead, sign up to receive the most helpful articles a site offers. Follow the blogs of technology you use (like your marketing automation software) to keep up on the latest best practices. Stick to authors, sites, and platforms that you trust and have a proven track record of sharing information relevant to your business.

And don’t get stuck in print media. There are amazing marketing and sales podcasts out there. Try 16 Sales Podcasts Every Rep Should Check Out for inspiration.

Go Back to School

Happily, I’m not talking about actually going back to college. One of the most beautiful things that’s evolved on the internet is the access to great trainings. Unlike free posts and articles, the vast majority of these trainings are not free. There may be some free portions (to entice us to buy the product!) and prices vary from incredibly affordable to hundreds of dollars.

Again, stick to the courses that make the most sense for your business. There are lots of industry-specific classes, but if you’re looking for general business try one of these:

  • Digital Marketer
  • Mirasee
  • Owner Media

Let Statistics Lead Your Way

Everything can be measured. And while you may not have dreamed about becoming a data tzar, now’s the time to learn.

Data helps us answer complex challenges and offers solutions. For example, some businesses now offer rewards for completing a survey since 80% of customers only make it halfway through. But no one would have known an incentive was important without tracking the number of people who didn’t finish the survey.

Don’t think about data only in terms of marketing goals. Think about data in terms of what you need to learn about. Use every available tool (including analytics like Facebook and Google) to highlight exactly where you’re succeeding and failing. Some of this data may be difficult to see, but it’s easy to map out what we need to learn when we see in black and white what we don’t know.

Make Learning Part of Your Culture

You know you should be learning. Yet, it’s so hard to make learning a priority when you have a million other things going on. I know it’s hard when you’re scrambling to run a business and balance a busy life. And now I’m adding one more item on your to-do-list.

That’s why it’s time to learn from big business. Corporations are always running some kind of retreat, convention, or webinar. It’s part of their culture and they incorporate it into their business models. And you don’t have to do anything elaborate, but why not plan a retreat where you finally finish that sales course you’ve been eyeing for a year. Not only will you be able to focus on learning without distractions, you’ll also be able to plan how to incorporate what you learn into your sales and marketing strategy.

So make learning fun. Find a way, whatever works best for you, to make it a priority. Because if you want to grow, you have to make learning an essential part of your business culture.

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Change Tired Marketing Tactics Now to Reach Your 2017 Goals https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/10/26/change-tired-marketing-tactics-now-to-reach-your-2017-goals https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/10/26/change-tired-marketing-tactics-now-to-reach-your-2017-goals#respond Thu, 26 Oct 2017 06:00:02 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=34322 What if the reason you're not hitting your 2017 goals is because it’s easy to fall back on marketing tactics that you could do in your sleep? It’s not time to lower your expectations but mix it up and try some new ideas.

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You feel really optimistic in January.

This is your year! You are going to crush the competition! You are going to break sales records each month! It’s going to be amazing!

But then reality creeps in and you’re stuck in the same cycle. You try the same marketing tactics that you’ve used over and over again. And get the exact same results. Not necessarily failing, just not reaching your goals.

An old Confucius saying sums this dilemma up perfectly:

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”

What if the reason you’re not hitting your 2017 goals is because it’s easy to fall back on marketing tactics that you could do in your sleep? It’s not time to lower your expectations but mix it up and try some new ideas.

At this point in the year, what do you have to lose?

Try a Bold Gimmick

Sometimes you’re afraid to try something to gimmicky because you don’t want it to hurt your brand. You don’t want to seem desperate or use over the top sales tactics that drive away customers.

Yet, sometimes a bold gimmick works.

Diamond Candle used the old “Cracker Jack” routine and added a surprise gift in every candle. They knew their customers were mainly women, so they hid a ring valued at $10, $100, $1,000 or $5,000 inside each candle. Customers uncover the ring they’ve won by using the candle.

 

This is a gimmick that works. Customers love the expectation of winning a valuable ring, plus they actually like the candles. Maybe giving away jewelry isn’t for you. Just find a gimmick that complements your product in a new and fun way.

Boost Referrals By Rewarding Your Best Customers

People will happily refer their friends and family to businesses they love. And if you go out of your way to reward these customers, they will do your marketing for you.

In Top 10 Dental Marketing Ideas, Justin Morgan explains a few ways to reward customers:

“Be sure to offer a gift that is personal and unexpected. Marriage anniversary whitening is totally unexpected! It cost you very little to implement and won’t ever be forgotten. Sports fan memorabilia, unique to the likes of the patient. You can write a handwritten note, and that may be even better to some of your patients.”

This idea works on any business, regardless of industry. Offer customers a special low-cost service or product, or offer them an exclusive bonus. The ideas are endless, just make it personal and genuine. Thank them for being an amazing customer and watch as they share how awesome your business is with all of their friends.

Plan a Cyber Monday Bonanza (Even If You’re Not a Traditional Holiday Business)

Cyber Monday used to be just for Christmas gifts. Now it’s evolved into an anything-goes event that any business can use to increase sales. Remember, there is no rule that says you have to be a “gift” business to offer amazing doorbuster deals. And in the eCommerce industry, any business on the planet can join in on the Cyber Week action.

Currclick is a homeschool curriculum business that offers digital downloads and videos. It’s clearly not your traditional Cyber Monday business. Yet, that doesn’t stop them from using all the same tactics like deals that only last a few hours.

marketing tactics

In Start Planning Now! Top Marketing Automation Tools for Cyber Monday, I suggested a few tools and resources that can help any business plan for killer sales. It takes planning, just don’t be afraid to jump on the Cyber Monday bandwagon even if you don’t sell gifts.

Attack a New Niche

Did you know how much information Facebook gives you for free? Enough to choose a new niche that you may have never considered before.

Facebook gives great demographic info on our followers that we can use to see where we can focus a new marketing campaign. Under Insights is a section called People that will show who is the most engaged, where they live, and how old they are. Here’s an example from one of my pages. Don’t be fooled by the percentage of fans, which in this case is 64% male. Women actually make up 59% of overall engaged fans, so this would be a great niche to attack. We could offer specific specials aimed at our female customers or add new products designed for women. The idea is to dig into the data to see if there is a niche that you haven’t considered before.

Stage a Wacky Social Media Stunt

Brazilian company Volta Ferrorama discontinued a beloved toy train in 1989 and they wanted to know if a new generation may be interested in a relaunching of the product line. They came up with a crazy scheme to have a toy train travel over 12 miles on just 360 feet of track. The team had to keep moving the track ahead, through streets and parks, to ensure that the tiny train had a continuous trip.

This stunt gained Volta Ferrorama more than 600,000 YouTube views and was a top trending topic on Twitter three times! They ended up bringing the train out of retirement because their fans were so enthusiastic and excited.

This crazy event cost very little and engaged both old and new fans. You would obviously have to come up with something that fit your business, location and industry. But why not try something a little wacky? Think creative and engaging. And have some fun along the way.

You Still Have Time to Reach Your Goals

None of these suggestions are expensive or that challenging to pull off. They may just be things you haven’t tried yet because you were stuck doing the same tired marketing tactics over and over again.
Time is ticking but it’s probably not too late to reach your goals. You have to stop doing the same things that aren’t working anymore. You just have to be willing to try something different and take a chance.

You have nothing to lose and a successful 2017 to gain.

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5 Time Saving Tweaks for the Ambitious But Unfocused https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/08/29/5-time-saving-tweaks-for-the-ambitious-but-unfocused https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/08/29/5-time-saving-tweaks-for-the-ambitious-but-unfocused#respond Tue, 29 Aug 2017 06:00:38 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/?p=15235 The only way for you to reach your goals is to choose tools and habits that will help you get your daily tasks done faster and more effective.

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You would not be reading this if you didn’t have ambition.

You would be watching Hanna Hart over on My Drunk Kitchen and learning how to make whoopie pies. Instead, you’re reading about business and “doing the right thing”. Even though I know you want to check it out …

That’s how easy it is to become unfocused. One tiny mention of something interesting (odd, strange, controversial or unexpected) sends you down YouTube’s rabbit hole for the next three hours.

Although I’m half-joking about Drunk Kitchen, it’s a good point. It’s estimated that workers lose an average of two hours per day to distractions. But the only way for you to reach your goals is to choose tools and habits that will help you get your daily tasks done faster and more effective.

#1. Start Tracking Your Faults

Let’s say your goal is to create all new sales copy and upgrade your eCommerce system by the end of the year. That’s a huge goal and will take a lot of work and focus. I mentioned distractions as an issue, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There’s a lot that goes into a healthy and productive workday. And only you know your biggest faults. Perhaps you stay up too late watching Jimmy Fallon or you never finish reading business books on your must-read list. Achieving your goals is a balance between your personal and professional life and both matter. So take an honest look at a few of your bad habits and make a plan to improve them.

You can certainly try to wing it or you could start using an app like Strides. It’s a free app that has templates and customizable trackers. I track breaks and make sure I don’t sit at the computer for an hour without getting up. I don’t get headaches the way I used to and it helps me focus each chunk of time on one task. It’s a simple tweak that makes a big impact in the long run.

#2. Switch to All-in-One-Tools

Half the battle of reaching your goals is finding the right tool for the right job. In 10 Simple Habits to Transform Your Business in 2016, I shared the following:

“The internet is an amazing thing. It’s also challenging and overwhelming. Learning a new skill or trying something new can simply be a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be. Instead, choose tools that are easy to learn and utilize.”

Social media management would be easy if your business was only one one platform. Add a few different sites and it can be overwhelming. Plus, social media marketing only works if you post consistently and your users are engaged. That’s a ton of analytics to see and it’s time-consuming to jump from platform to platform.

Instead, use a service like Buffer, that does a lot more than schedule posts. You can also see analytics from every social media platform and see what’s working and what’s not. It’s easy, fast, and very simple to use.

#3. Choose Projects That Aren’t Time Suckers

Not all your business projects are created equal. Some are easy and don’t take much time or energy. And then there are the ones that suck up all your valuable time.

In his entrepreneur’s online course guide, marketing expert Neil Patel shares a story of how Len Smith creates (and makes crazy profits from!) his courses:

“When Smith started adding a little more time to promotion, his course income jumped to $6,500 a month. It takes Smith about 40 hours to make a course initially, but after that, he spends only ten hours a week on its maintenance and marketing.”

Some business owners tend to lose focus after a few months of time-intensive work, even if it’s something they like. If this sounds like you, start choosing projects that take a lot of time in the beginning but slow down considerably once they are launched.

#4. Turn Off Your Phone and Put It Away

Life is getting weird when a study showed that mobile separation anxiety is real and that:

“Smartphone users who were unable to answer their phones not only felt anxiety, but the ringing itself interfered with their ability to think and complete tasks.”

There’s even a new acronym called FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” Not only does FOMO create awkward dating moments, it also creates yet another unneeded distraction from your workday. It’s not even enough to turn off your phone – you have to put it where you can’t see it.

Perhaps this sounds drastic, but checking notifications all day long will certainly interfere with your goals. I’m not suggesting you ignore your phone all day. Just put it away long enough so you can get some goal-driven work done every single day.

#5. Find Quality (and cheap!) Outsourcing

One of the quickest ways to achieving your ambitious goals is to get help. And that doesn’t mean you need a partner or need to hire an entire team. Instead, figure out a way to outsource everything you’re not good at or don’t have time for.

No one has all the skills to do everything in their business. Sometimes we have to wing it because we have a DIY budget only. And that’s cool because we’re learning as we go and can use those skills in the future. But some stuff should only be outsourced because you’re never going to be good at everything.

For example, let’s say you need an infographic. There was a time when low-budget outsourcing was frowned upon. It was seen as exploitative with only low-quality work. Yet, sites like Fiverr have come a long way from the $5 gig economy. Fiverr sellers now offer premium services like this I Will Design Amazing Infographics For You option:

Ask yourself if a task is worth your time, effort (and maybe sanity!). If the answer is no, find someone else to do it for you.

Learn to Focus Or Forget It

You have a goal. There may be many paths towards achieving that goal, but it’s probably wasting time Pinning craft projects you’ll never do. Like beer bottle tiki torches.

We live in a world where everyone wants your focus. Spend five minutes online and you could be distracted by marketers, memes and must-have lists. These interruptions are not going to stop anytime soon so it’s up to you to create a plan that helps you get more work done and moves you towards your goals every single day.

Plus, creating discipline in your workday will give you more time to spend on whatever weird obsession keeps interrupting your valuable work day.

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3 Underutilized (and Easy!) Ways to Motivate and Energize Your Team https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/07/31/3-underutilized-and-easy-ways-to-motivate-and-energize-your-team https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/07/31/3-underutilized-and-easy-ways-to-motivate-and-energize-your-team#respond Mon, 31 Jul 2017 12:00:20 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/?p=15037 You can run your team like a dictator, be a cheerleader, or give them complete autonomy. It’s completely up to you how you motivate your team.

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Your goal is always sales.

Even if you have noble ambitions and a socially responsible mission it’s always – always – about money.

Your business goal is like a race where the finish line is a healthy profit. But the course is not a straight line on a main road. You get to travel any path you want to make it to the end of the race. You can run your team like a dictator, be a cheerleader, or give them complete autonomy. It’s completely up to you how you motivate your team.

If your leadership style is more Pete Carroll than Bill Belichick, here’re a few innovative and underutilized ways to energize your team.

Make Work Fun

And I don’t mean this:

Image source: Google Campus Dublin

Although I’m not opposed to Google’s company culture, there are not many of us who can afford to invest in this level of fun. When I say “make work fun,” I’m talking about real ideas that those of us outside Silicon Valley can dream up.

There’s an old saying that work is work. That’s true, but that doesn’t mean work can’t be enjoyable. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once said:

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

Depending on your company culture, industry, workforce location, and budget, you’ll need to figure out what kind of fun is appropriate for your business. Perhaps you can gamify an aspect of your business or create a competition in one department. Your salesforce is an obvious and easy choice, but there are other viable options as well.

For example, employee advocacy platform Smarp’s gamification feature allows colleagues to compete against each other on a leaderboard, so they can collect points that they can redeem for prizes or for donations to a good cause. Managers can customize scoring systems according to the types of social media activity that help the company most, such as sharing your latest blog posts on LinkedIn. The rewards are just the icing on the cake – sharing industry-relevant content helps position team members as thought leaders themselves as well.

Image source: Smarp

Perhaps you’re passionate about social causes like I am. Our business adopts endangered species and raises funds for our local animal shelter. Have a fun run, BBQ, or bottle drive to raise money for your cause. The key to making it enjoyable is to get your team members engaged in the process and let them decide what they want to do.

My team chose the rhino as our next adoptee on our Facebook page:

Start a softball team, have an ice cream social on Fridays, or let them listen to music while they are working. Every business is unique, so choose something they think is fun and it will ultimately lead to a better working environment.

Create a Healthy Environment

I knew my health wasn’t getting better. A few pounds here and a few more back pains as the years went by. Little did I know that sitting for hours straight, day after day, can be as deadly as smoking a pack of cigarettes each day. It’s what many people call “death by desk.”

Good health is more than a personal issue. It’s actually a work issue, and it can directly impact your bottom line. Employee wellness programs have been around for a long time, but it goes far beyond offering a Zumba class in the evening. It’s an overall incorporation of healthy practices into your team’s work day. In fact, good health is contributed to a 62% increase in productivity and a 60% increase in overall performance.

Your goal is to create a healthier environment and there are many innovative ways to do that. Start an office stretching program, a walking club or try something like the Pomodoro Technique. It’s where you focus on one task for 25 minutes without interruption, and then get up and take a break for at least five minutes. It discourages multitasking, but it also helps reduce eyestrain and gives time for walking, stretching or yoga. I’ve used this for years, and it’s worked wonders for me.

Image source: https://tomato-timer.com/

All you need is a cheap kitchen timer to get started, but there are plenty of apps that make it even easier, including the free TomatoTimer web app, which interrupts you with push notifications when it’s time to stop working on whatever you’re doing. More sophisticated tools can even integrate with your project management platform and time tracking platform of choice.

Ditch the Doughnuts

Are Twinkies from the vending machine your team’s preferred office snack? Instead of sugary, fatty options, offer healthier things to nibble on. No idea what kind of healthy snacks to offer? Try Snack Nation’s 121 Delicious Healthy Snacks For Every Type of Snacker:

Image source: Snack Nation

And don’t forget that the best way to create a healthy work environment is to lead by example. So that means you may need to trade your Fritos for a Fitbit.

Listen and Be Empathetic

This one may be the most underutilized idea in leadership, probably because it highlights the differences in generations and feels kind of like an “everyone gets a trophy” policy. But we can’t pretend that our business and personal lives are completely separate. The fact is, they are intertwined. We are all humans, and sometimes our “feelings” get mixed into our business days.

In 5 Reasons Empathy is Becoming the Number One Leadership Skill, Harvey Deutschendorf explains:

“Have you ever noticed that when someone close to you notices how you are feeling or tells you much they appreciate something you have done for them? You automatically have the urge to do more for them. In terms of employee engagement, it is known that when leadership demonstrates to employees that they care, the reciprocity reaction kicks in and they want to put in more effort.”

There are many ways to show that you care or that you appreciate someone’s work. It can be as simple as telling them or sending a quick “good job” email. You can take your team out for a celebratory lunch when they meet a goal on time or send someone flowers for a job well done.

Do what makes you most comfortable and fits into your team’s culture. Just remember that a kind work of appreciation can go a long way towards reaching your goals – and it’s a nice thing to do.

Your Path, Your Way

Going back to my analogy that your business goals are like a race on a course you create, it’s time to design the best way to motivate and energize your team.

And it’s probably not Friday pep talks or motivational memes.

But it is your race, and you get to design it any way you want. You can be any kind of leader and use any kind of motivational technique you want. And if that doesn’t work, you can always try something else.

Because in the end, the best leaders understand that you may need to try (and fail) a few times until you get to your finish line.

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Managing Your Business Through Uncertain Times https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/06/05/managing-your-business-through-uncertain-times https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/06/05/managing-your-business-through-uncertain-times#respond Mon, 05 Jun 2017 12:00:47 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/?p=14803 The only way for you to be successfully managing your business through any uncertain times is to be prepared.

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Uncertainty.

It’s a word that sends shivers down the back of any business owners. We like to plan, strategize and prepare for our next successful move. We don’t mind taking big risks. That’s what separates us from those who only dream of being a business owner. But we don’t walk into a new business venture blind. We make plans.

Yet, we are living in very uncertain times. Regardless of your politics, the past year has been rough. We’re facing huge uncertainty on many fronts, including regulations, taxes, health care, and changing climates.

These can all impact our business in huge ways. Ways we can’t even imagine. We don’t know what’s going to happen next, but you don’t have to wait for something major to happen. You can start planning now for the next what if.

Get Covered

Here’re a few of the various emergencies my business has faced over the past 20 years:

  • Our pipes burst in the middle of the weekend and flooded our entire business
  • We had a major ice storm that left our area without power for about a month (no power = no revenue)
  • We had an unexpected medical emergency and my husband couldn’t work for about 6 months

Having the right insurance is one of the only reasons we’ve survived this long. I can’t advise you on what to get, but there are credible insurance agents who can assess your unique business to see exactly what kind of coverage you need.

This is the first step towards protecting yourself from an uncertain future. If you don’t do anything else today, please call an insurance agent and at least have a conversation. They may be able to see holes in your coverage and that may be the difference that keeps you in business.

Keep Your Health Care, But Be Ready for Changes

This is the issue that keeps me up at night.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, may or may not be around much longer. Again, regardless of your political opinion, this has direct implications for our businesses.

Here’s how one insurance expert explains his thoughts about the ACA and pre-existing conditions:

“The ACA eliminated health questions and pre-existing condition limitations, which are valid but unpopular insurance company controls to measure risk. Instead, the ACA made coverage available during open enrollment periods for anyone, regardless of health risk.

The loss of these controls is a primary reason rates have increased so dramatically. Under the Republican Obamacare replacement plan, we probably won’t go back to health underwriting, but it is important to recognize the financial impact of this change.”

Whether you will be covered or not is a major issue for your business. Remember, being prepared for an emergency is one of your top priorities and keeping health care coverage is essential. And unless you can self-finance any medical crisis, this could have huge implications for your business.

If you have a pre-existing condition (for example, any injury, illness, or disease, whether physical, medical, or mental) than the amount you pay for health care may increase if you get put in a high-risk pool. This is just one of many implications health care has on your business. There are also tax issues, penalties and minimum employee coverage to consider.

Keep your existing coverage but be prepared for changes. Maybe you’ll pay less or maybe you’ll pay a lot more. And maybe, just maybe, there won’t be any changes at all. Regardless of what happens next, now is not the time to drop your existing coverage even if you believe it won’t be there next month.

Create an Emergency Contingency Plan

In Surviving Your First Business Crisis, I explained that every business will face a crisis. You have no idea what it may be, but every single business owner on the planet will face a major crisis that could end their business. That’s the very nature of owning a business.

“Both your personal and business situations are completely unique. No one knows what you need better than you. Your first business crisis could be anything and you can’t plan a contingency plan for every situation. But you can create a plan that would help guide you through the first steps of surviving whatever life throws your way …”

I don’t know if the next crisis will be financial, environmental or personal. And the next crisis will come out of nowhere and hit you in the gut. You can certainly wing it and maybe you’ll get lucky. But creating a plan will help you take those crucial first steps towards surviving whatever sucky
thing life is going to throw your way.

Create a notebook or a Google Doc that you can share with a trustworthy employee, partner or friend. Add emergency contacts, where you keep your insurance papers, important accounts (not the numbers, just basic information unless it’s kept in a secure location), and any other information that you would need in a crisis. Tailor everything to your specific business and make sure to keep it updated.

Cut Back, Streamline and Start Saving

Money can solve a lot of problems.

And while money can’t solve everything, it certainly helps. That’s why now is the time to cut back on extra expenses, streamline everything you can and start saving (if you haven’t already). My business was extremely lucky to survive the recession and we only did that because I cut our expenses to the bone.

Uncertainty comes in many forms. Maybe it’s an economic downturn that impacts the entire country. Or maybe it’s a failed product launch and you almost lose everything. Or maybe it’s a new law or regulation that turns the way you do business upside down.

Anything can happen. That’s why uncertainty is so scary.

It’s sad or maybe inevitable that many things come down to money. When the next crisis happens (and it will), having enough money to survive will alleviate a lot of stress. I know it’s not easy to think about, but you’ll be thankful you don’t have to worry where your next meal is coming from.

Be a Business Boyscout

The Scout’s motto is Be Prepared.

That’s the mindset that you need to survive whatever uncertainty happens next. It may be something that impacts you personally or maybe some new technology changes your entire industry. It could be a natural disaster that tears your community apart or a change in regulations that cuts your profit margin in half.

We simply don’t know. The only way for you to successfully manage your business through any uncertain times is to be prepared. It’s tough and stressful to think about facing an emergency situation. But suck it up and do it anyway. Plan for every disaster that you can. Think about troubling world events and how it can impact your business. Decide exactly what steps you would take in an emergency.

It may be the only reason your business survives whatever happens next.

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4 Chatbots That Make Marketers’ Lives Easier https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/05/30/4-chatbots-that-make-marketers-lives-easier https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/05/30/4-chatbots-that-make-marketers-lives-easier#respond Tue, 30 May 2017 18:00:12 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=32773 This post takes a look at the exciting enterprise chatbot space, and here are four chatbots you should know about.

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Today’s marketing professionals are inundated with data and expected to make informed decisions about new and ongoing initiatives on the fly. On top of this, our roles are constantly adapting amid a dynamic marketplace. We often wear multiple hats, which include – but are hardly limited to – data science, creative ideation, workflow execution, community building, relationship nurturing and report preparation.

Marketers also have to contend with constant distractions and demands on our attention. This has a very real impact on productivity, both actual and perceived. According to CNBC, nearly 20 percent of bosses believe that their employees put in less than five hours of work during the average day due to the sheer number of interruptions people experience. To make matters worse, it takes an average of four minutes to recover from interruptions and focus on the task at hand.

As if this wasn’t enough, marketers work with multiple services across multiple platforms every day. It’s no wonder that so many are turning to chatbots to help us keep on top of what is going on and coordinate as much as possible through the simple interfaces they provide.

I took a look at the exciting enterprise chatbot space, and here are four chatbots you should know about.

#1. Growthbot

Growthbot was developed by HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah, to scratch an itch he and his team had for a way to research great services, useful content, and companies operating in the tech business ecosystem.

The result is a bot that users interact with through Slack, Facebook Messenger and Twitter (through Direct Messages). It ties into a host of information sources and enables users to ask questions in plain language both about Growthbot itself and the sorts of issues marketers contend with on a daily basis, from discovering hot content to share and people’s email addresses, to providing information from Google Analytics and scraping other websites’ source code to identify the third-party services they use. It can even deliver cartoons when users have a little downtime.

It makes marketers’ lives easier by talking to the services you already use and becomes that single touchpoint for a veritable wealth of information and services. Marketers may find Growthbot to be especially useful as a lightweight research tool that doesn’t take them out of our primary messaging environments.

#2. Sisense BI Bots

Sisense’s BI Bots offer users a deceptively simple interface for a powerful data analytics solution using your preferred interface, whether that be voice using Amazon Echo or messaging apps such as Skype, Slack, Telegram and Facebook Messenger.

On the back-end, Sisense integrates with a large number of SaaS solutions including Salesforce, Zendesk, Google Analytics, Heroku Postgres and Amazon Redshift. It can also connect to a variety of popular database servers including MS SQL, MySQL, PostgresSQL, ERP and MongoDB. You can even add big data sources such as Hadoop Hive and Teradata. If all that isn’t enough, Sisense supports Excel spreadsheets, CSV files and MS Access files along with the ability to create custom integrations.

Sisense analyzes complex data and simplifies the process of deriving practical insights from the data, making it more readily accessible to teams across an organization. Business intelligence bots make access to that data even more convenient, because team members can literally tell the BI Bots what they want to know, using whichever interface they happen to be using, and receive actionable insights on the go.

Common marketing use cases for these BI Bots is requesting revenue data, running analyses on new revenue and even sending instructions to Sisense to deliver additional reports and insights.

#3. Baremetrics Bot

Baremetrics offers a data analytics and insights service that delivers a range of key metrics for sales and marketing teams. It promises “zero configuration” and a wide range of critical sales-related data. The company has developed a chatbot that offers “one-click access to hundreds of metrics and insights” through your subscription to the Baremetrics service. The Slack integration can deliver instant notifications as well as regular reports and graphs.

Baremetrics is a fairly specialized service that integrates with payment systems such as Stripe, Braintree, Recurly and through its API. Its chatbot is an easy way for users to call up reports and updates from Baremetrics through Slack. It relies on your existing subscription and service, integrations but it is a convenient way to quickly draw on analytics insights on the fly.

For marketers and sales teams constantly under pressure to achieve their targets, the Baremetrics chatbot is a lightweight option to keep on top of those important updates and insights without having to divert focus off of our Slack channels.

Common use cases include receiving alerts and checking net revenues over time and trends such as customer churn. The insights marketers receive through this chatbot enable us to adapt marketing campaigns for optimized engagement with prospects and customers.

#4. Statsbot

Statsbot is a Slack bot that integrates with Google Analytics, Mixpanel and Salesforce. The main benefit here is that it can deliver alerts, reports and insights from a variety of data collection platforms to you in your preferred Slack channel.

Once you have added Statsbot to your Slack channel and you’ve connected it to your Google Analytics, Mixpanel or Salesforce account, you’ll be able to access insights or receive alerts about unusual activity without leaving your Slack channel.

For example, some marketers use Statsbot to warn them about traffic spikes on their sites, so they can respond more efficiently with changes to their campaigns – or launch new campaigns to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Smarter Companions for More Productive Marketers

The sheer volume of complex data that contemporary marketers are forced to absorb, analyze and derive insights from demands simpler interfaces and tools to make it all manageable.

Chatbots are still an early-stage technology, but they are already proving their worth by simplifying access to critical data analytics using the messaging platforms marketers are already familiar with and prefer using.

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Surviving Your First Business Crisis https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/04/12/surviving-your-first-business-crisis https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/04/12/surviving-your-first-business-crisis#respond Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:00:57 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/?p=14542 Here are a few tips to outlive and outlast your first business crisis from someone who has been in the trenches and climbed back out.

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You think your business is doing great. You’re making money, networking and growing your business.

Then BAM!

You’re hit with a business crisis that knocks you flat on your back. The kind of crisis that could easily cripple your business.

And you would be delusional to believe that your business won’t have a crisis. Any business that survives past the first few years will inevitably have a crisis. You are not immune because it hasn’t happened yet.

My first major crisis was when a competitor broke into our business and stole our client files in an attempt to steal them away from us. So I understand challenges. We’ve also been audited (our accountant went to jail) and somehow survived the recession when our profits were cut in half (probably more than that but it stresses me out to think about it).

Scandals can turn your loyal customers into your worst critics, so how you manage a crisis matters. Here are a few tips to outlive and outlast your first business crisis from someone who has been in the trenches and climbed back out.

Own It

Henry Ford and Harvey Samuel Firestone started a business partnership over 100 years ago. But in 2000, their companies had a very public breakup brought on by 200 deaths and over 700 injuries from faulty Firestone tires on Ford vehicles. Squarebox author Peter Mackinnon describes the scandal like this:

“What ensued was the most uncomfortable game of corporate blame table tennis ever witnessed. It went something like this:

Ford executive: ‘Firestone did it.’

Firestone executive: ‘No, Ford did it.’

Ad infinitum.”

To this day, neither side has taken responsibility for what happened. Some of that is legal reasons, but the public damage from blame-shifting can be significant. The public fully understands spin (we hear it every day from politicians) and we know that companies fear

To this day, neither side has taken responsibility for what happened. Some of that is legal reasons, but the public damage from blame-shifting can be significant. The public fully understands spin (we hear it every day from politicians) and we know that companies fear backlash.

 

Unless you are under court orders to not publically admit your guilt (if your crisis involves a lawyer, this applies to you) tell the truth. Admit what you did wrong, and more importantly, explain what you’re going to do to fix the problem. People understand that mistakes happen and will appreciate your attempts to own up to whatever you did and your commitment to making things right.

Plan Ahead

In Can Your Business Survive Your Personal Life?, I shared the story of how crippling the loss of my niece was a few years ago. It wasn’t just my life that was shattered – it was my entire family’s.

Having been through other tragedies before, I already had an emergency plan in place. I knew what my next step was because I had already planned for a crisis like this:

“We all have days when we are horribly distracted, completely stressed out, and feel like we are drowning. No one can escape life’s challenges. Instead of hiding under the covers, create a crisis plan for your business. Maybe you’re not feeling this way today, but you never know what may happen tomorrow.”

Both your personal and business situations are completely unique. No one knows what you need better than you. Your first business crisis could be anything and you can’t plan a contingency plan for every situation. But you can create a plan that would help guide you through the first steps of surviving whatever life throws your way.

Here’re a few examples:

  • Get the right insurance (consult with a professional)
  • Know exactly who to call in cases of emergencies
  • Have a trusted advisor (for example, someone who knows how to handle crises on social media and can advise you on what you should and should not do)

You know where you’re most vulnerable and what kinds of crises could impact your business. Do everything you can now to prepare for any situation your business may face.

Think Before You Act

Once upon a time, there was a competing business that was trying to wipe us off the face of the earth.

On a personal level, I was angry and frustrated. I wanted to retaliate because it would have been very satisfying to fight back. On a business level, I knew that strategy wasn’t going to do us any good.

I had to take a step back and not go with my gut instinct (even though I really, really wanted to). Instead, I had to stop and think before I took any action. In the end, we fell on Michelle Obama’s now-famous phrase: “ When they go low, we go high”. The competitor closed not long after that because of their negative actions. Karma actually worked!

It’s very easy to make snap decisions when you’re in the middle of a crisis. Your emotions are swirling around which can impact your ability to make the right choices. Take a step back – breathe – before you make any major decision that could impact your business’s future.

And lean on your trusted advisor to be honest with you if you’re doing the right (or wrong) thing.

Surviving the Unsurvivable

It feels incredibly overwhelming to be in the middle of business chaos. It dominates both your professional and personal life. It can seem like everything is crumbling around you…

My business almost died during the recession. While many other businesses around us closed, we simply rolled up our sleeves and found new profit streams. We downsized, streamlined and adopted a minimalist business approach to everything.

Because a crisis can teach you new and important lessons that will help your company become stronger. It can open doors you never thought possible. Many businesses have overcome huge obstacles and gone on to exceed their wildest expectations.

And yours can too.

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4 B2B Marketing Mistakes that Can Instantly Kill Your Sales https://tweakyourbiz.com/sales/2017/03/03/4-b2b-marketing-mistakes-that-can-instantly-kill-your-sales https://tweakyourbiz.com/sales/2017/03/03/4-b2b-marketing-mistakes-that-can-instantly-kill-your-sales#comments Fri, 03 Mar 2017 19:00:06 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/sales/?p=3051 B2B marketing isn’t easy. It’s challenging and time-consuming, and the right way to connect with potential customers is always changing.

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“Finding new ways, more clever ways to interrupt people doesn’t work.”

– Seth Godin

Yet, that’s what marketers do all the time. We try to squirm out way into our customer’s day, in the hopes they will miraculously listen to us. And it’s very easy to tune B2B marketers out, especially since we constantly interrupt people when they are simply trying to do their jobs.

B2B marketing isn’t easy. It’s challenging and time-consuming, and the right way to

Here’re a few to watch out for:

#1. You’re Writing Generic Content

B2B decision makers don’t have a lot of time. Sending generic content is a waste of time, as it will never be read. It’s just spam.

Leads that are nurtured with targeted messaging can increase sales opportunity by 20%. Instead of sending out cookie-cutter email content to nurture your leads, take the time to personalize every message. This is true no matter what types of materials you’re sending out – from larger pieces of content, like links to white papers and podcasts, to simple, friendly notes just to keep in touch with prospects.

If your sales prospect is in the health industry, for example, then personalize your messaging to speak to needs that are specific to a health organization. Sure, it may take longer to write specific messages and find hyper-targeted third-party content to share, but your ROI will increase. This isn’t a waste of time – it’s spending your time wisely.

#2. You Still Use a “Brochure” Website

I started my business over 20 years ago. The internet was just a blip on our radar. The majority of our marketing was in print: newspaper ads, posters, coupon books, and brochures.

Here’s the exact advice I received from an “expert” marketer all those years ago: “No one reads brochures. But they think they will, so you have to make them.”

And it’s still true today. No one reads brochures! Not in print and not as a website.

You spend hours writing the exact right content to showcase your business and talents. Yet, that’s time you could be using to create engaging content. Try creating a resource-based website that lights up a clear “value path” for any B2B visitor. Include downloadable material, helpful how-to’s and guides, and specific calls to action.

Think about how you research a new B2B company. You were probably drawn in by an ad or stumbled upon an interesting article. Change the way you structure your website – make it a platform that’s designed to draw customers into your sales funnel. Not be put to sleep by your beautiful brochure pictures.

#3. You’re on the Wrong Social Media Platforms

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love connecting with customers and getting out our message. But I hate the perception that social media is the best thing to ever happen in the marketing industry.

I’m just not a true believer.

However, I’d be a fool to dismiss the power of social media altogether. It can be a powerhouse tool to draw in new B2B customers and showcase your brand. Yet, unless you’re on the right social media platforms for your particular market, you’re simply wasting your time.

Facebook is the king of social media, with 1.64 billion active users and an astounding 66% of users logging in every day. Every industry has its own unique characteristics, and every local town has its favorite social media platform (probably Facebook). But what works with one B2B business should never be assumed to work for another.

Do your homework. Find out where the decision makers in your specific B2B market spend their time online. And don’t make any assumptions about where you can find a large social following. For example, Intel has a strong following on Pinterest. In fact, Intel’s Pinterest strategy has increased their monthly engaged viewers by 48% and increased their average monthly views by an astonishing 364%!

#4. You Treat B2B Customers Like B2C Customers

Simply put, one of the biggest mistakes that kill B2B sales is treating prospects the same way you handle B2C audience members.

Neha Jewalikar from Demandbase, says: “Unlike B2C buyers, who can be driven to make a purchase by a promotional ad campaign in a short period of time, B2B buyers require engagement for an extended period of time.”

Major mistakes include launching short-term ad campaigns and trying to entice a B2B decision maker into making an impulse buy. Instead, choose to extend marketing campaigns with a focus on a longer sales funnel and growing personal connections.

B2C customers also make purchases from an emotional standpoint, while B2B consumers want the bottom line. It’s all about how your product can increase revenue, save time and money, and help them achieve their goals. If your marketing doesn’t quickly connect these dots, your product will simply be seen as irrelevant.

This may seem like a rookie mistake, but in the quest to stand out from competitors, many marketers take risks. What may seem edgy or provocative may not translate to the B2B market. Never lose focus on who your target market is and how to best communicate with them.

Break Away from the “Comfortable” Trap

As a long time business owner, I can tell you it’s very easy to fall into the comfortable trap. That’s when you’re doing okay. Okay is good, it’s comfortable. But okay isn’t where we want to be. We want to be great.

It’s easy to get complacent in our marketing efforts or do things the same way because that’s how it’s always been done. If you want to increase your B2B sales, start with taking a look at your marketing strategy.

Just making a few minor tweaks can be the difference between okay sales and amazing sales.

Image: Shutterstock

The post 4 B2B Marketing Mistakes that Can Instantly Kill Your Sales appeared first on Tweak Your Biz.

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