When entrepreneurs and small businesses are starting out, they’re relying almost completely on the quality of their product and word of mouth. In the beginning, most people simply don’t have the monetary backing to bring in massive, scalable social media and search PPC campaigns. For some, this is discouraging. For others, however, this tiny, tiny scale is actually their greatest strength.
Today’s let’s take a look at how you can scale using, well, the unscalable. Specifically, the strategies that aren’t practical when your audience or customer base reaches into the tens of thousands are exactly the types of tasks that can help you reach that volume. Let’s take a closer look:
If you ordered something from a website online, say, a competitor to Amazon but who had a certain product you wanted that Amazon didn’t, you’d probably expect that that interaction ended when you pressed the confirmation button. You expect to receive a package with your item in it, and then, aside from perhaps a marketing communication or two, you’ll likely never hear from that company again.
Imagine for a second, however, that two weeks after receiving your item and having some time to use it, you get a letter in the mail with the same return address. It’s from the company you previously bought from, and it’s a handwritten card. In it, the CEO personally has written you a note saying how much it means that you ordered from them, and asking that you get in touch any time if you need help with your order, or have any questions, free of charge.
Doesn’t that make some impression? If you had to order something similar again, don’t you think at that point you’d know exactly where you were going to order it from? Might you even tell a friend or two about the experience?
These types of above and beyond actions may not be standard, but the companies who end up getting ahead often understand the value of ‘scaling the unscalable’. In your own business, whether it’s with 4 employees, 40 employees, or just you, make sure you are taking so-called unscalable tasks to their breaking point. The average person will get lazy, which means outsourcing a task as soon as they’re able to, or automating a process that used to be done manually and in a personal fashion. The brands that people truly remember, however, will work longer hours and put in the extra mile until there is literally not enough time in the day before they give up on an action that puts a smile on customers’ faces and turns them into brand ambassadors.
You don’t have to handwrite thank you cards, you don’t have to mail anything at all, but find your own special unscalable actions and make them a part of your routine. while everyone else if trying to offload tasks and take the easy way out as soon as they have the cash to do so, be the one who makes so much of an effort that working with you or buying from you simply becomes a given for your customers.
People wanting to integrate a more productive and fulfilling work schedule into their daily lives have long been searching for ways to reduce the influence of common distractions. What are the most well-known distractions, though, and more importantly, how can we counter them as efficiently as possible?
Sources of Distraction
Although outside noises, family visits and other “regular” and often unavoidable interruptions can account for many types of distractions, recent research shows that the most prevalent distractions these days come from electronic and mobile gadgets.
Leaving on your TV, computer, phone or tablet can often account for interruptions that may set you back more than an hour on your schedule.
Also, one particular study has proven that you can waste up to 20 minutes while working just by answering a simple phone call, and industry studies clearly indicate how employees are regularly interrupted about once every 15-20 minutes by calls or social media notifications.
Tips on How to Effectively Deal with Distractions
Although distractions of every type have literally become a part of our daily life, and some might say that they are unavoidable, studies have shown that some coping and avoidance methods geared to help you deal with certain types of distractions have proven to be quite effective in improving productivity, both at the workplace and when it comes to household chores or home projects.
Based on the details regarding the above mentioned distractions, here is a small set of guidelines on how to prepare for a productive work session and keep it productive in spite of all distractions:
- First of all, before sitting down to start work, make sure your phone and any other mobile devices, as well as your social media pages or any other electronic means of communication are turned off.
- Begin by organizing your tasks into a clear step-by-step process that you can refer to whenever you get interrupted.
- When organizing your workflow, set similar tasks closer together. That way, you won’t have to interrupt your work in order to get acquainted with new types of tasks that often.
- You can use some relaxing (yet invigorating) music to block out unwanted sounds such as outside traffic noises.
- Avoid interrupting the workflow for trivial tasks by taking care of all of them before sitting down at your desk.
- If you’re working from home and you need to keep close track of your phone calls and messages, ask family member to manage them for a couple of hours while you’re taking care of your project.
The Bottom Line
Of course, coping with distractions can be a very valuable skill. However, an even better method of eliminating distractions from your day-to-day lives completely is to simply choose a work area that’s already calm and peaceful and a timeframe when disturbing noises or unexpected interruptions are less likely to be a problem.
Also, people who have taken the time to research the impact of distractions on a busy work schedule and managed to follow some of the tips presented here have found that they not only gained an extra couple of hours to account for their productivity, but have also been able to finish their work with far more diminished levels of stress or anxiety.
Content marketing, it’s everywhere. The term has become ubiquitous in today’s marketing world which is a little bit ironic given how few people seem to understand it, or at least put that understanding into tangible action. One of the fundamental reasons that people don’t go all in on their content marketing is that they don’t fully understand its value or why it comes across so effectively. Today, that misunderstanding gets corrected, as we explore just what makes content marketing so appealing to consumers in the modern world.
It’s higher value.
Let’s face it, for years we as advertisers and marketers have been in the business of getting people to pay attention to things they don’t really want to pay attention too. Advertisements have been breaks in continuity that take people out of the experience that they’re currently in. Do you know what people do now when a commercial comes on TV or when they can’t skip a Youtube ad? They pull out their phones and pay zero attention to the ads because they only bring value to the advertiser, they don’t actually tell the consumer anything useful.
Content marketing done correctly is actual interesting, engaging, and something that people want to read or watch, which instantly sets it apart from your traditional banner and newsfeed ads.
It gives your target market a chance to engage.
People aren’t satisfied with one way communication anymore. If you think that you can get away with creating content that offers no room for response, critique, or even simple agreeable engagement, you’re in for a rude awakening.
This could be in the form of a comments section, or on a social media platform that allows you to create other types of content in response to the original. Those who do content marketing correctly also will likely respond to every response – response-ception! – that they get in order o make sure their customers or viewers know their interaction is appreciated.
It builds a brand, not just a product.
The absolute best brands in the content marketing game have done something drastically different than those that are trying to replicate their success and fail miserably. That one thing is that they are creating a brand that’s less about selling its own product, on the surface anyways, and more about becoming a hub for content that their target market would find interesting. For example, if you sell shoes, your social media posts and video content should be less about the shoe you just released, and more about stories that sneakerheads and other relevant audiences would find interesting.
Think about how you yourself choose which pages to follow on Facebook: You don’t like a brand page because they bombard you with sales pitches, you like pages that constantly share content you laugh at, can agree with, can debate, can share with friends, etc.
This is the real advantage of content marketing: You can build a behemoth of a brand whose reputation and clever content moves volume for you, in spite of it not being your primary focus, and that’s pretty neat.
Today we’ll cover some habits for working more effectively:
Slash Your To-Do List
Most of us note down every little task that might need to get done throughout a day and then scramble through in a mad sprint to get them all done. Instead, consider slashing your to-do list down to only the most important tasks to growing your business so that you can actually give those things the attention they deserve.
Say Yes Less
While it’s always important to make sure you’re delivering top quality to your customers, there are situations in which you can get yourself into trouble. For example, software as a service (SaaS) startups often make the mistake of charging their first few large companies to use the product, but not for any kind of priority support. In the end, these companies end up wasting thousands of dollars worth of work hours guiding companies through simple software steps over the phone, helping them fix errors, and playing personal coach.
If you’re not getting paid for something, consider politely declining and letting the asker know that you just have too much on your plate right now. This can free up a surprising amount of time for many freelancers and independent business owners.
Use your mornings you ‘you’ time.
Let’s face it, many of us get up in the morning and jump right into our work – the earlier you start, the earlier you can finish, right? When looking at the lives of highly efficient and successful people across any number of fields, it becomes quickly apparent that morning routines are important to an alarming number of them!
When you get up in the morning, start out in a way that physically and mentally stimulates you and gets you ready for the day. It could be a quick jog and a read through the morning news, a small creative task that gets the juices flowing, whatever works!
The most important thing here is consistency.
Bring others in earlier than later.
Remember those tasks you took off of your to-do list? They may not be high ROI, but many of them may still need doing. To help with this, consider bringing on others to help you with the tasks you don’t deem a great use of your time. For many online marketers, the first step ends up being to hire a virtual assistant who can help you with time consuming but low-skill requirement tasks to free up your own time.
As you grow, you may consider growing your team further in similar fashion, or may decide that the right move for you is to become a registered business and start ramping up your workforce in a big way. In any event, most people wait way too long to start delegating the tasks that eat up so much of their time – don’t be ‘most people’!
Lose the guesswork.
Finally, start backing up every move you make with data. Intuition is great, but can you really say your sales page needs a new headline before testing? Can you really say that your product or service needs a complete makeover if you haven’t confirmed this through discussions with your customers or target market?
Too often, we confirm our own assumptions with our own thoughts, rather than hard evidence, and that can be a death sentence!
Just a few short years ago, many online marketers were still going down the road of blogging and creating websites, courses, and sales funnels in order to promote products or services as an affiliate or owner. While there are still many people working off of this or a similar model today. There’s also another offshoot of entrepreneurship, and that is the ‘startup.’
The definition of a startup is different depending on who you ask, but most people have some sort of mental image. It’s the tech company who believes they have the next Facebook. It’s the idea that people think is so good they throw money at it before it’s ever turned a profit based on pure potential alone.
If you find yourself ever making the move from a lone online marketing wolf to starting a small company off your own, especially in the startup space, here’s what you should know:
– People will depend on you. For many, their employees will be the first one’s they’ve ever had, and you need to be prepared to help manage not just your own goals and deadlines, but those of your workers as well.
– Things will get hectic. You will have to do more than you ever have before, and the legal hoops you may have to jump through might not be ones you had encountered when working on your own. It’s important to know that you will likely spend many more hours on admin duties than before.
– You’ll need to stem disorganization. In the midst of having to deal with the most you’ve ever dealt with before, you will need to also make sure that you don’t fall victim to the startup syndrome in which you have no systems in place for accountability, collaboration among the team, etc.
– You’ll need to provide fun. Yeah, this is an odd one. But you need to make sure you are teambuilding and fostering a positive environment. In the startup world, people are used to taking a hit on the salary their experience would normally command, but they also expect an enjoyable experience in which hard work can yield high rewards.
– Speaking of salaries… try to find people who are experienced by want something new, instead of just assuming you can only take super young and inexperienced employees because that’s what you think you’ll be able to pay for. You’d be surprised at the seasoned veterans you might find willing to work partially for equity.
– You have to play the long game. Even if you think that your idea has the possibility of absolutely explosiveness, you will likely need to need to wait quite some time to see a return. Make sure that you’re able to financially and mentally ride out the storm!
– Investment isn’t everything. Early on, there’s a cycle of hunting for funding to survive until the next time you need to hunt for funding. Instead, try and work on using your sales skills to get self-sustainable as soon as possible.
Finally, there are no guarantees in the startup world, so make sure that you’re ready to bend even these pointers to make them work for you!
So you’ve written a new blog post or created a piece of content that you think could really make a splash, or at least generate some traffic and business around your website. You hit publish, run through your usual share sites, but the needle doesn’t seem to move. In fact, a week later, your post is far from going viral. You think, alright, but I’ve quoted some experts in here, and this other company has a similar market that might enjoy what I’ve created, maybe I’ll ask if they can share it too!
But they probably get bombarded daily with tens or even hundreds of requests – so how can you stand out?! Well, here are a few ideas:
Have multiple targets. The fact of the matter is, even the best of pitches can fall on deaf ears, so it’s in your best interests to play a numbers game. If your goal is to have 3 influencers share your content, then you’re much more likely to meet your goal if you approach 15 influencers than just 3. Everybody wants to bad 1.000, but that’s just not how this play works.
Engage them first in a more helpful way. Do you know how much more likely most people would be to give their change to a homeless person on the street if they stopped and talked with them for a bit, found some common ground, and began to empathize? We naturally have better opinions and perceptions of trustworthiness of those we know better, so use this bit of psychology to your advantage! Never ask an influencer for a share straight up. Instead, share their content first, let them know in a tweet how much you like it, ask if you can help them with something they’re working on. In this way, you’ll warm them up before going for an ask, and be much more likely to get the answer you’re looking for.
Follow-up without the nag. This is a tough balance to strike. Sometimes, however, people just don’t have time when they receive it to open your mail and it gets lost in the bottom of their inbox. Or perhaps they don’t really use email and another form of communication is way more likely to get their attention. Make sure that you have a follow-up plan for those who don’t respond to your messages the first time around, a sequence of 2 or 3 messages that you can try on different platforms, just to see if you can get a response. Funny enough, the “breakup email” (alright, I won’t message you anymore you clearly aren’t interested!) is the one that generally gets the highest response rate!
Be thankful. If someone is so kind as to share what you have to offer, make you thank them and ask what you can do for them in return. For every relationship you build here, you’ll have one less ‘random’ person you have to ask next time around.
Remember, even the most popular of people are just people, so being nice and treating them as such will go a long way in influencer marketing.