I have a lady who will be taking over my clients during the 4-6 months i am having off, what should i be putting in place to ensure everything is how it should be when i return?
Erin Kilpatrick, Managing Director at Impact Marketing Services (AU/NZ)
Hi Nitty, preparation is key in this situation. Make sure you invest time in creating comprehensive hand-over documents before you go, covering everything to do with the client accounts, your systems and processes, client communication expectations and service delivery standards, along with the general admin and record keeping you need for your own business. If you have any specific requirements, make sure you include templates in your hand-over documents so they are easy to refer to. It might seem like a bit of overkill, however I'd recommend a "more is more" approach, and not assume that your lady will "know" what to do if a situation arises, and by having it all in one easy manual/folder, your lady will be able to refer to it while you are away and not have to rely solely on remembering what you told her in the hand-over meeting. Also, the most important but easily overlooked piece of information to include is a master sheet of contact details for your clients, along with a master file of passwords for any software you use in your business - make sure you include these also.
Externally, it would be good to introduce your clients to the lady taking over, and explain the transition before you go, as this will put the client's mind at ease, knowing they will have a go-to person in your absence.
All the best. Erin
Content writing is always going to be important, but simply creating content isn't enough. As we move into the new year, what areas are you focusing on most to get more out of your content creation? Answers to this question should be focused more on content promotion and audience targeting, versus just content creation tips.
Karen Bowness, Marketing Consultant at Demand Generator
Understanding what content and topic will engage your audience is key. In order to build an audience, content creators need to deliver information that will help the reader not just promote their business. Once you have content that has performed well in terms of engagement and shares, then promote that content. To get the best value from paid promotion I always suggest targetting your advertisements and post boosts to your target market.
Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown
Something I've used several times is what appears to be a generic survey. Actually, most of the questions have a "perferred answer" known only to me. Any user that chooses answers other than the perferred are not followed up on because they simply don't fit my target users and personas.
I've also partnered / aligned with other brands that share a similar audience and we've talked about what was working and what didn't seem to be working with connecting to our audience. Remember, anyone who shares your audience but isn't your direct competitor is usually willing to help and give advice.
Running a business requires sheer willpower, grit and also the ability to multitask. As business owners, we all have our list of go-to apps that make our life easier. I personally use Asana, Google Calendar and Gmail on a daily if not hourly basis. Google Drive and Evernote are great too. Flipboard and Podcast Addict are fantastic on the commute. What are your list of apps that you'd gladly pay money for?
I love MS OneNote, also Accelo is great. Google Keep is super simple and useful and I love Pocket (get pocket ) to manage all the pieces of content from all over the web I want to keep and share out through my social media channels and I use Buffer and Hootsuite for that.
And Finally I use Active Campaign for all my automated marketing
Greg Rogers, Founder and CEO at REthink HQ
Great question and perfect timing, I am actually in between sessions of a workshop on that exact thing.
How to boost your productivity in 7 simple apps
I have approached it from the point of view that most SME's have to juggle numerous roles, so what apps across different discplines of business can help.
Most important, they start of free, yes most have paid versions as well but entry level is free!
This is what I presented.
Canva - for simple, beautiful designs and documents.
Co Schedule Headline Analyzer - awesome tool to perfect that attention grabbing headline.
Team viewer - the aboslute easiest way to gain remote control access to any computer, anywhere.
Agile CRM - yes there are thousands of them but Agile is as good as any.
Dropbox - Again, many different variations but for true cloud storage and access across multiple devices and platforms, Dropbox is a good choice.
Zoom - my choice for online meetings, conferences, web classes.
Bitly (or TIny URL) - never have a corrupt link again.
Messenger - of all the IM platforms still one of the simplest to use with a multitude of business applications.
Square - mobile POS
Trello - the project management, to-do, task list, software program of choice.
Mailchimp - An oldie but still a goodie. Email marketing automation made simple.
Love to hear more from others.
To your business growth.
Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown
I would say reach out to other entrepreneurs that have raised money from investors in your geographic area. Also do some research online. You want to target your venture at investors that are already interested in your industry or the type of product, service or technology your business will offer. It is better to look for aligned investors than any investor.
Do your homework on the investors once you've found information on them. What were the last 3-5 ventures they funded? How much funding did they provide? How much equity did they want in exchange for the money? Have they mentored or assisted the companies they've funded or just given them money? These are the types of answers you need to find (if possible) before ever trying to talk with an aligned investor. Doing so shows that you have taken the time and effort to familiarize yourself with them instead of just expecting a check.
Also, try to only focus on aligned investors, unless you are just trying to practice your pitch in front of qualified investors to get feedback and refine how you talk about your business. Chances are if the investor only finances hardware startups and you are launching a new food product - they may not be interested. But if you are just looking to refine your craft and get feedback pitching to any set of investors could be helpful.
How often do you review all of your vendors your business uses? I think reviewing things annually makes a lot of sense, but perhaps in some industries that is not often enough.
I'm guest curious here. Typically I see the most engagement on static text posts (with relevant hashtags) and with video. However, depending on the topic, my posts with links to blog articles perform reliably as well.
So, what performs best for you?
If you use anything not in the list, I'd also be interested to know what up and coming types of sharing people are doing.
Disha Dinesh, Content Writer at Godot Media
Posts with most clicks for me are usually ones with pictures AND links to other content. Surprisingly infographics haven't increased clicks for me.
Like you, we get most engagement from social media from blog post updates, either by linking to the blog post on Twitter, etc, or in some cases by re-publishing the post in full (like here for example). Relevant images definitely help with engagement we have found, but internal or external links don't seem to have too much effect.
We haven't tried embedding videos or audio much, but I have heard from others that it does improve engagement. Definitely worth a try at some stage, I would say.
Asked this question - Entrepreneurship
I've read that some businesses actually lose money due to heavy discounts and people don't come back. Have you had any positive experience? Or bad experience? Does it help a small new business?
Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown
I also have heard many small to medium sized businesses lost money by participating in these social deal sites. I think many bank on the fact that these "new" guests will return several or many more times in the future, but that doesn't always happen.
One issues is that people that try these deal sites may always be looking for the "next deal" and hop to a competing business the next time.
Another potential issue is that you need to prepare your staff for these promotions so they know what to expect (be it a coupon or a code or something). Also, you really need to ensure that youre staff is following their training (good customer service matters here in trying to retain new guests - if they have a bad experience, they aren't coming back).
Also, you must weigh whether this will create the best retun on your investment compared to other marketing and advertising activities.If it isn't the best use of your time and money, apply that effort in another area of your venture.
If you are still pumped to give social deal sites a try, I suggest you form an actual game plan to retain as many new customers as possible. This could be giving the new guest a percent (%) off their next purchase, give them a loyalty card with several of the punches already started so they feel clsoer to getting a complimentary item. The main goal is staying engaged with customers long-term. Be creative and if you pursue using this type of deal remember it is part of a larger picture.
Greg Rogers, Founder and CEO at REthink HQ
Good responses from Jef.
For me the single biggest challenge with this is, congruency.
You do the deal.
Are you going to attract from your niche?
Are you simply cutting margin and setting a price point mentality.
Are you sacrificing quality of service/product/staff/systems
Sure, there are benefits to be had, don't get me wrong but too often I don't see this as the game plan from the get go.
As Jef says above, what is the strategy (and benefits) from participating?
If you are sacrifcing margin and service (and believe me, more often than not you will), what's the strategy to slowly peel that back.
You have to turn a percentage of those 'new' customers (people who buy from you once) into clients (repeat sales).
If you are using it as a branding/awareness exercise what are you going to do to then position your business back to where you want it to be?
In most instances you actually don't want to be seen as the high volume, low price point, shove 'em through the system type of business in your market segment.
As always, have the end goal in mind. How are you going to use this legitimate, but oh so dangerous, marketing and sales strategy to best advantage.
To your business growth.
Mine is probably blogger since it's the easiest to use. In terms of functionality it probably isn't as rich as a wordpress that's installed on your server, but you don't have to deal with complicated templates and version updates. Another bonus is that I can use the same login as my google login and my blog is linked to my google profile - that's one less account password to remember.
What is your fave or what are you using right now?
I love Wordpress but I think that's a matter of branding for me. I dislike the look of Blogger so I spent time to learn Wordpress. I think once you do, it's hard to use anything else. Wordpress has the best features, most updates, most plugins and is fairly simple for someone like me to SEO so you can get found.
While it isn't usually considered a traditional "blogging" platform, I love the flexibility of a Joomla installation and if configured correctly - it can be a seamless, secure, simple platform to blog with. My greatest concern with Wordpress is the increase in hacked websites through its security holes. It's at the point where a bot can hack a Wordpress site and set it up as a spam point.
With Joomla configured using it's base settings with categories, articles, and users - it's one of the more secure platforms to use. With it's expanse of plugins it can be easy for someone with little web knowledge to power-up their website, and for developers ----- sky's the limit.
After talking to many members, I've found that this is a common problems for SMEs. After spending money on ads and marketing, how do you get visitors who land on your website to sign up, buy, hire or show interest? What's been your biggest lead converter for your site?
This is a common problem. Firstly you need to have a strong idea as to who is your ideal customer.
"Everyone" is not your customer. Who is your target market? Creating persona's and understanding who is your ideal customer is one of the most important things to understand in marketing your business.
Once you know who you are targeting you can then position your Call to Action (CTA) directly to that target audience.
You need to hone in on why your "target audience" wants or needs your product or service.
Many websites just have a few links to their contact us page, there is no sense of urgency or a reason why they should contact you.
You should craft your call to action and give them a strong reason to contact you or buy from you.
Eg; Buy this today and receive free shipping on your next order or contact us today for a free quote/consultation.
I recently saw a great website for a home improvement product that had a free quote form on all the pages that talked about this particular product, so it was quick and easy to get a quote, I didn't need to hunt for the contact us page.
Adding trust is also important. Testimonials from previous customers are great and give prospective customers a sense of trust about your business products or service.
In my previous business, my website sold men's gifts, my target market wasn't men, it was women buying for men and I even found that my main target age group was women with kids. So I made sure the website was women and kid friendly, so kids looking over mums shoulder (helping mum buy for dad) didnt see anything offensive or distasteful. I offered free shipping over a certain dollar amount and indicated if items were in stock and would be dispatched within 24hours.
This is the everyday question for every SMEs. They spend money on advertisements, get targeted traffic but at times fails to get a lead or conversion. We had tested this and got success depending on various types of traffic and niche.
We recommend creating a specific landing page based on a different segment of advertisements. For example, if you are an eCommerce store selling different types of dresses and say that you have categorised your dresses according to the colour, then you should target or lead your prospects to specific colour targeted pages. You also need to create colour based advertisements. So consider this as an example that if a person is searching for a white fancy dress and he comes across your advert promoting white dresses, clicks on it and lands on a white dresses category page then his synchronisation was smooth and his chances of getting converted are much higher than just directing that visitor to the homepage.
If you are selling specific services then do not send users directly to the service or product page, instead create a lead page and capture their email address first before directing them to the main product/service page. This way you can at least get a lead which you can then nurture and drive to become a customer. Now the question arises here is how do I capture a lead out of the lead capture page. In this context, I will ask you to provide something free to the visitor in turn for him/her to provide you with their email address and then direct them to the main page OR you can ask few questions related to the product and know their intention before letting them go to the main page. There are tons of examples and ways to get this done. It's just that we have to become more creative and unique.
If you have a specific niche and wants me to guide you in a specific direction then feel free to message me.