Email is a major time sink. We’re talking multiple hours per day for many busy individuals, and as much as half their workdays can be spent on email for those among us with high rates of communication with clients, contacts, and colleagues.
What’s worse, people often feel like they’re being way more productive than they actually are as well when they’re working out of their inboxes. Sure, you might be wheeling and dealing on your keyboard, but the effective hours of solid work achieved when constantly checking email starts to get diminished quickly.
And even still worse than that is the fact that it’s a necessity. Regardless of where you are or what you do, email is a near universally expected communication tool and those you work with will expect you to consistently check and respond to any incoming messages.
So, how can you make your email time more productive and stop it from leaking into your day? Here are a few tips for getting started:
1) Because email is not a live messenger (though some people use it like one!), it is OK if responses are generally put off a few hours. For this reason, email productivity experts often recommend that you set 3 times throughout the day to check your email, and then stick to those times, never checking in between.
2) During your designated email check-in times, respond to every message you’ve received, right when you read it. Often, we read something, think “that’s going to take a bit to fully address!”, and then mentally note that we’ll get back to it later when we have more time. However, this forces you to read such emails twice instead of one time, and the procrastinating generally serves no helpful purpose. When you read an email, decide if it requires a response. If the answer is yes, write it then, on the spot.
3) Use shortcuts. Many email productivity add-ons (Boomerang is a popular one right now, by the way), allow you to setup shortcuts that will automatically fill in words or sentences when you begin typing a certain key sequence. If you have an opening greeting you always use, or other information that doesn’t make sense to save as a standard email signature, you can use these shortcuts to save you time. Got a long company name you have to type out constantly? Set a shortcut so that you can trigger it by just hitting two letters in a row that normally wouldn’t follow each other. You get the idea.
4) Turn off push notifications. Of course, we receive email on much more than just our PC’s these days, and the constant buzzing of a phone or dinging of an iPad can pull you out of what you’re working on and cause you to lose focus and time, even if you just check your lock screen to see who or what it was. Instead, put these items in do not disturb mode or at least turn off email client notifications when you’re in between your designated email checking times.
Stick to these, and you’ll be well on your way to shaving off minutes or even hours from your workday!
The media through which we excel and sell out brand the best vary from person to person and organization to organization. The best way to get through to your customers becomes not only an exploration of their demographics and where they spend their time, but also of where you and your team can best come across in your content.
Are you comfortable in front of a camera? Well, you might want to brush up on your news anchor skills, or at least find someone who doesn’t mind getting in front of the lens and talking up a storm.
Why? Because while content is still and will continue to be absorbed in a number of different ways throughout society, consumers are more and more expecting brand content to create an experience (and a valuable one at that), and those who innovate the quickest are reaping the rewards.
For example, let’s take three different social media apps that have all created a stir in the tech community over the last year: Periscope, Blab, and Meerkat. What do they all have in common? If you’ve been following any of them, you’d have instantly answered, “Hey, they’re all apps that let you stream video from your phone!”
In fact, many of last year’s social media darlings (Snapchat included) have allowed for the easy creation and sharing of video content. Many businesses and entrepreneurs building a brand will continue the classic resistance habit: “Everyone has been fine just reading my blog for years, why would I start doing video instead? What’s the point?”
The point is that the way people like to consume things has evolved, those growing up in the golden era of television might have trouble imaging a generation who prefers to watch video on a 4 inch screen, but it sure as heck beats reading text on it.
Plus, creating interesting video content takes more effort, and it’s becoming more and more transparent which companies are putting in the work to make sure that the content they create is useful and helpful.
Plus, the realtime nature of live-streaming apps like Periscope means that people get a chance to send messages, questions, and replies to video content in realtime. Plus, much like its less visual content counterparts, video content can be created about virtually anything. In fact, in many cases it make topics that aren’t that fun to read about more compelling.
Make a plan to win with video right now by thinking about how you can translate your niche or market’s interest into video content. And if you think your business is too boring or not flashy enough for video, think again. There are landscapers getting hundreds to thousands of views on every video they put on their snapchat story where they just explain their plans for someone’s yard or talk about what kind of tools they will use to dig up soil – these show expertise to their target audience and can result in real sales.
Once you’ve got an idea, start executing. Opt for speed over perfect and you’ll quickly find what pulls in the attention of your target market.
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Ten years ago, and certainly 15, this discussion would have been laughable. It’s the ‘debate’ between building a business and just raising money. Of course, anyone raising money will tell you that they’re actually building a business, and much of the time it’s true, but there’s still an important distinction to be made.
These days, everyone has an idea. And, at least up until relatively recently, there were a plethora of investors with money who wanted to eagerly hand it over to any young person they thought had an idea that was going to be the next Facebook or the next Uber. Now, with several years of this madness behind it, purses are being tightened, and we’re face with the need for some evaluation as to what exactly entrepreneurship actually is.
Over the past few years, anyone developing an app has likely at least had the thought pass that they might seek out investment in order to help them grow quicker and build a company much more rapidly than they could do on their own (or at all). That said, there are many of these companies who were never going to reach a point of revenue generation, nor would reach the user volume critical mass that has kept giants like Snapchat alive right up until they finally started generating a few bucks after nearly four years of being on the market.
That kind of run time without making a cent from your company was unheard of just a couple short decades ago, but now it’s commonplace. The problem isn’t that that market dynamic exists, it’s that it’s all many young entrepreneurs are banking on. They want to make something that so many people use that they can make a well-compensated exit, without having to worry about such business-related inconveniences as actually making money.
Soon, however, people will start to realize that everyone’s grandson isn’t Zuckerberg, and we’ll probably see a regression to something a little bit hybrid between how things were and how they are now… what will happen to your business when that occurs?
Answering this question before you have a real, pressing need to do so might be a smart place to start. Much like politicians on their last term with no prospect of reelection, business owners who find themselves in the position of having built a meaningful business that’s bringing in profit in that you are no longer scrambling for the next round, the next investment.
Some of the best business advice now lies in books from the 80’s and 90’s that will go largely untouched for many young entrepreneurs whose mistake is thinking that just because the execution has change, the fundamentals have too. In reality, the people who work the hardest and can make real numbers work, incoming vs outgoing, are the ones who tend to win in the end. Unless of course you really do have the next Facebook under your hat, in which case you and only you can ignore everything here… but still.
But no mater if your business is profitable right now or not, you need to be focusing on building your email list NOW as that is a real asset for your business that can pay you for many years to come.
Do you need more customers?
Are you sick of people visiting your website or business and not buying?
Well keep reading as we will show you How To Attract Customers To Your Business Who Are Ready To Buy.
Much worse than having no visitors to your website or business premises is actually getting visitors, but no sales. That is so frustrating.
If that has happened to you, don’t despair. We have worked with a number of existing and start-up businesses and know a few tricks to help you attract not only new customers to your website but ones who are ready to buy from you.
Identify your target audience – don’t try to reach out to everybody
The first and most important step for any business is to identify your target customers. Do it right, and you will have a much easier time converting visitors into buyers. Do it wrong, and you risk creating a product/service that nobody (or not enough people) wants.
It is well known customers want to interact with brands they can connect with.
To do this, you need to know what kind of company and image you want to portray and then adapt your marketing to directly appeal to the ideal brand of customer you want to attract to your business. This is done by creating ideal buyer persona (an image or profile of your ideal customer) based on their buying habits and lifestyle.
So instead of searching for customers, help them to find you. Go to the sites and places they go to – put yourself in the places they want to be and invite them to come and see you. If you have a clear image of who you want to serve, you are going to be in a better position to give them what they want.
A lot of companies make the mistake of thinking that everybody is a potential customer. They are not! You need to focus on the dreams and desires of your top customers, then pay them special attention by treating them well.
Don’t try to rent your audience, build your own instead
Some businesses we have worked with have tried to take a short cut by renting eyeballs or clicks. They buy and rent email mailing lists in order to get extra customers. Sometimes the gamble can pay off but if you want customers who are looking for a business and services like yours, it is far more profitable to grow your own list instead.
This is not hard to do. For example, on your Facebook page you could provide shareable, inspirational and humorous content – images and quotes to encourage visitors to engage with you.
The people who enjoy the content on your site are generally the ones who will respond to your specific offers and products and you can quickly attract a lot of eager new fans and customers.
Word of mouth marketing
The best way to attract new customers to your site is by word of mouth, and social media marketing, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc, makes this easier to do than ever before. It is fast, free and easy.
Ditch the large scale marketing campaigns
What? Is this really a recommendation from a marketing company? Yes!
In the old days, marketing used to be large scale isolated advertising and media events but things have changed. Your customers don’t live on a campaign schedule. They are always on the move and are constantly being bombarded with new information and offers wherever they go. As a result they have become more discerning and advert aware.
So instead of investing a large amount of money on a big campaign it is better to drip feed your offers through continuous engagement with them.
Social media makes it easy to follow a customer from their first visit to your site, to the point that they become a lead and eventually through the sales process.
The relationship doesn’t end there as your constant engagement and relationship building with them continues long after the initial sale. You can easily get repeat business and referrals from them if you handle it right.
Copy your competition
Do a bit of research.
Find out how your competition is attracting customers:
Do they advertize on the Internet or is it mainly offline?
Do they buy advertizements in local media like newspapers and radio or do they have a large social media following online?
If they are doing something that clearly works for them and are getting customers (your potential customers), you need to try and adopt similar measures so that you don’t continue losing customers to them.
Attract new customers who are actively searching for your product or service
Purchasing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising using Google Adwords is a very effective way to instantly connect with new customers who are not only eager to buy but have got their credit card at the ready to buy there and then.
Unlike traditional forms of advertising, like the Yellow Pages or ads in a local newspaper, with PPC you are not handing over money and paying for an empty promise of perhaps getting new visitors to see your site. You are paying for an actual result, a click.
With PPC, you don’t pay if nobody sees your ad; you don’t even pay if someone does see it but doesn’t click. You only pay when someone literally clicks on your ad.
This is generally called buying clicks because that’s just what you are doing. You’re paying a PPC company each time someone clicks on the link that is pointing back to your Website.
These ads are highly targeted.
So, for example, when a person does a search for a Wedding Planner in your town or area, Google will bring up a list of targeted adverts that wedding planners and related companies have paid to advertize when a customer types those key words into the search engine. In most cases these are customers who are very eager to buy, and you can see how this works over the page.
This is basically how it works:
• You join a search engine’s PPC program (for example Adwords by Google) and add some funds to the account. You set a limit on the maximum amount you want to pay so you don’t go over budget.
• You create a small text ad (in some cases, PPC can include images).
• You specify exactly what words or phrases a customer should type into the search engine before they would even see your advertizement, which will ensure the ads are targeted.
• You specify how much you are willing to pay each time someone clicks on your ad.
• You are now ready. You wait for the next person to arrive at the search engine, enter one of the keywords or keyword phrases you specified, and click the Search button.
• The search engine finds the matching ads (including yours) and places them on the results page.
• If the searcher clicks the ad, he is taken to your Website, and you will be charged for that click.
• Once the budget limit you set for your advertising campaign has been reached, your ad will no longer be shown until you add more funds to your account. By this time you should have received some targeted customers who have bought from you.
Attend industry specific conferences and exhibitions
We are big fans of attending conferences, exhibitions and networking events. It is a great way to make new connections and spread the word about your business to new targeted clients.
People buy from people they have met, so if you are seen and active at events, people will be more inclined to buy from you.
This type of event is also perfect for showing potential clients how caring you are and that you strive to make your customers happy. Exceptional customer service plus excellent products or services will always ensure that you have a thriving business.
Use these events to get people to visit your website and join your mailing list so you can stay in constant contact with them using the engagement tips mentioned above.
By using some or all of these methods you will be able to attract brand new, eager to buy customers easily.
The internet has made it a level playing field for small to medium sized businesses. You can reach thousands of new customers every week from all around the world or locally, by having a well thought out online presence.
It is an exciting time for small businesses and you don’t want to miss out on the revolution that is happening at the moment. Old marketing methods no longer work. The way that consumers buy is changing and you need to change with them, knowing who they are, where they are and why they buy.