bookmark_borderImprove Business Skills With NLP

  1. Communication with fellow workers. NLP helps in improving communication skills and hence assists in getting your message through exactly the way you want it to be projected. Improved communication skills amongst employees will boost the performance of everyone. NLP also teaches you how to tune your senses fine and be more sensitive to the feeling of your workmates.
  2. Self-confidence and presence. NLP, when implemented with the right technique, can boost confidence immensely. A person with high confidence can be clear as to what he or she wants and what matters.
  3. Leadership. A good communicator can take command of things. With good communication skills, a person can make people around them feel more at ease and happy. Good communication can make people feel valued hence motivating them and boosting their productivity.
  4. Sales and negotiations. A person who has mastered the technique, has the ability to convince and win the trust of a particular client he/she is doing business with. This is because good communication skills can help in putting your vision, objectives, demands and plan of action to your business partner.
  5. Presentations and Public Speaking. The practitioners have high levels of confidence and great communication skills-Two of the most important traits required while delivering a presentation or speech. The quality and the impact of a presentation is greatly improved with the right body language and appropriate use of words.
  6. Self-Motivation. An NLP trained person always concentrates on getting the job done. Procrastination is not a word in their dictionary. Neuro-Linguistic Programming has the ability to inculcate the sense of self-motivation in a person; Motivation is contagious, and hence a self-motivated person has the ability to motivate his/her co-workers thus boosting the efficiency of the whole unit.

Though NLP Training has been discredited by science, it is pretty clear that people with NLP skills perform better at work than those who do not possess these skills. Thus, if a person is looking for a different approach to work, NLP must be something to be considered and practiced by him/her.

bookmark_borderReasons Why Business Plans Will Never Disappear

Is the Business Opportunity Valid?

Too many times I’ve had the unfortunate privilege of talking about entrepreneurial opportunities with aspiring business owners with the only goal being the desire to make money. Don’t get me wrong, making money is great provided the motivation is right. Making money for the sake of having it only is a dead-end plan.

The business plan motivates one to give critical thought and time to a viable market opportunity that truly provides a solution to either a pain or need in the market. What judges whether a market opportunity is valid or not depends on the ability of the business owner to prove market demand. The best method of proving market demand is to disclose actual sales. The only way to prove a business’s ability to maintain for the long-term is to disclose a sustainable sales track record.

Where is the Business Going?

In addition to being able to prove the business idea viability by having sustainable actual sales, the business owner needs to have an objective for operating the business. No one just starts and operates a business for the kicks and giggles of it. Either as a way to build and extract personal wealth or as a manifestation of a life long calling, the business represents a vehicle for one to achieve an ideal goal.

The business plan provides a framework for one to disclose to investors, employees, and other important components of the business why it exists and where it’s going. I’ve learned that the business plan is a moving document in that it’s always in a state of revision. As the business continues to operate, it will achieve and overcome its initial goals. As time progresses and the market changes, the business will revise and updates its reason for existence.

bookmark_borderB2B Versus B2C Marketing

Embracing your target audience
When it comes to a content marketing strategy (any content marketing strategy), you need to identify and embrace your target audience before you can put any strategy in place and before you can create goals and milestones for your business. There is actually a preliminary step that you should take before you do anything else, which is that you need to determine and create the persona for your ideal target audience member.

It is important to understand exactly what a B2B and B2C business are all about and what they need.

B2B: The B2B customer is interested in acquiring a product and/or service that will enhance what that particular business is already offering. It is critical that the choice of product and/or service is an appropriate one. After all, the reputation of that business rests on that particular decision (and similar decisions like that one).

B2C: The B2C customer is looking for products and/or services that will affect that individual positively. The potential consequences of a bad choice are not far-reaching in that case. The only person who will be affected by the choice will be the person who has bought the product and/or service.

What results are you hoping to achieve from your content marketing?
Before you develop any content marketing strategy, you should define exactly what you hope to get from your efforts. You may be hoping to get more leads based on your content marketing. If you have a B2C business, you will need to make sure that everyone is aware of your brand.

You will need to make your best effort to engage those people (or, at least, a large percentage of them). After all, you not only want those people to understand how amazing and valuable your offerings are but you also want them to tell other people about your brand so that they can also become loyal to your brand as well.

Getting into the head of your customer
If you are able to figure out not that the other person wants to buy your products and/or services but also why that person wants to buy your products and/or services, you will be one step ahead. One really effective way to achieve this is with the right keywords and key phrases. If you aren’t sure what those are, you can pinpoint them (or at least get a better sense of them) by looking at what your competitors are writing.

If you have a B2B business, identifying issues that are plaguing your target audience is critical to your success. In fact, not only is identifying the issues important but coming up with a solution to the problems is even more critical to your relationship with the other person. In a B2C situation, you will need to figure out exactly what invokes an emotional reaction in the other person (or business owner).

Identifying your unique selling proposition (USP)

Every business must have a USP. It is what makes other people choose to engage with you and to eventually do business with you and to buy what you are selling. It makes other people understand clearly why they should buy from you instead of other business people. After you have identified your USP, you will want to engage people with it.

If you have a B2B business, you will need to present your solution to the problem to demonstrate to the other person why you are who he or she should buy from. If you have a B2C business, it is important for you to keep in mind that that the other person is not merely interested in valuable, educational information. He or she is also (and probably most) interested in getting something from you that will change his or her life for the better in some way.

Figuring out exactly where you are going to share your content marketing materials
Determining exactly where you are going to post your content marketing materials is as important as the quality of your content. If you have a B2B business, your content will be most effective in the form of blogs on your website, as well as syndicating the content to social media channels such as LinkedIn, SlideShare, and YouTube. If you have a B2C business, the popular social networks will probably work most effectively.

bookmark_borderCut Expenses And Manage Business

Change Your Plastic Options

If you own a small web site that doesn’t do tons of online business, then chances are you don’t need a merchant account. These can be costly, and probably won’t pay for itself unless you do a robust business. But instead of losing business by not accepting credit cards, you can use one of the other options such as Paypal or Clickbank. 2checkout.com is another good option for the few countries not accepted by clickbank.

With these types of payment systems, clients can use their credit cards, and once the transaction is complete, the money is instantly deposited in your online account. Then you will simply need to transfer it to your bank account. You can even run your own affiliate programme with these services.

They are good and not expensive. You pay per sale rather than annoying monthly charges.

You will need to do some comparisons before switching services. Make sure that the transaction fees won’t cost more than the fees you are currently paying.

Change Your Calling Options

What are you paying for long distance phone calls? Depending on the company, it’s possible that you could save hundreds per year if you switched to another. Because of stiff competition, you should be able to go online and find the perfect rate for your needs.

And if you hold a lot of business meetings on the phone, don’t forget to check into teleconferencing or web conferencing as a less expensive solution!

Change Your Internet Options

The days are gone when you have to pay a fortune for an ISP server. In addition to the big boys, there are a great many smaller ISPs that will just as good of a job–if not better–for your business.

The key is negotiation and research.

Start by looking online by typing in search terms as “affordable ISP,” and “cheap Internet Service.” Once you’ve found a few, begin to compare rates and services.

Now, if you already pay twice as much with one of the larger companies, call them up and tell them that unless they can lower your rate, you’ll have no option than to switch to another company.

Many times, they will compensate you in the form of free months, or downright lower your fee. If they won’t budge, then you’ve already researched your other options, so make the move!

Can you see by just taking some time and looking at these areas how you can feasibly save hundreds of dollars per year in your small business? Get creative and figure out other ways to save.

bookmark_borderSecret Digital Marketing Weapon for Your Business

It seems paradoxical the more you give away, the more people are willing to pay for your services but it’s true. This exact approach has worked quickly and effectively for me for years. The key is that it’s got to be good and of high relevance to your target audience. This builds people’s confidence that you consistently know your stuff and that you can be counted on for long-term value. People soon realize that if you’re willing to give away such valuable expertise, think how great the solutions they pay for will be!

So how do you share your expertise with your target audience? Through writing and speaking. And it starts with being able to get your core ideas down on paper in a way that catches your audience’s attention and compels them to action.

If the idea of writing an article or giving a speech feels overwhelming, stay with me. I’m going to show you how easy it can be if you follow a basic formula that works every time.

Brainstorm a short list of things that your clients struggle with. What problems drive them to you? Why are they willing to pay good money for your services? Remember, it’s not about you it’s about them, their pain, and their needs. This is now your list of topics for articles and talks.

Pick one topic and answer the following questions:

  • What’s the problem?
  • What’s the lost opportunity?
  • Why is this important to address?
  • What will happen if it’s ignored?
  • What’s your solution?
  • What tips do you have for implementing your solution?
  • What example can you use to illustrate your point?

Formula for Digital Marketing Success:

Attitude: Be enthusiastic and passionate about your value proposition to the marketplace. You know that what you offer can make a difference and have an impact on your clients. When it comes to your own marketing, if you feel good about yourself and you have self-confidence because you are doing everything for the benefit of your clients, you’ll become more attractive to prospective clients.

Belief: You don’t have to have a degree in marketing to get great marketing results. But you do have to believe in yourself and your actions. I call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that can’t do something, you’re right – you won’t do it. On the other hand, if you believe that you can learn what it takes to get better marketing results you will.

If you’re persistent in pursuing your business and your small business marketing with a positive attitude and belief that you can, sooner or later you’ll find what works for you. You’ll discover the marketing strategies and tactics that allow you to begin attracting attention and bringing in new clients consistently! I know because it’s happening for me.

bookmark_borderMistakes People Make Using Roller Banner Stands

Design Them Ineffectively

If you are not highly skilled in design, its best to leave it to a professional, an ineffectively designed roller banner will not have your desired effect. Here are some design points worth check listing:

Don’t clutter your banner with information, too much text will stop people being able to grasp your message in time, so you should aim to make them as simple as possible. It’s also important to ensure the text you do include is big enough to be easily read. Also make sure you don’t include any spelling mistakes, so double check all text and ask someone else to proofread in case you missed anything.

It is very important you include your logo on your roller banner! Your logo and core message should both be at the top of the banner as it is where most people first look.

Using colour is important to ensure your banner stand attracts attention, but using too many colours will create confusion and won’t represent your brand, instead keep to your brand colours and be mindful of background colours to make sure text is easily readable.

Include a tag line or slogan as this will help you to build brand identity and gives your roller banner a core message.

Contact details also need to be included at the bottom in big and bold text to ensure your customers can easily read and write down your details if you are unable to talk at the exhibition. Brand colours and fonts should remain consistent and your social media channels should be included as a way customers can instantly connect with you and offers them an alternative way of them contacting you.

Position them incorrectly

For your roller banner to be successful, you must position it correctly, not only to ensure its visibility is not reduced, but also to give maximum effectiveness. Banner stands are effective at entrances, to attract visitors and display useful information such as signalling the entrance and giving directions at exhibitions and events. Roller banners are also useful to display information beside promoted products. Another important aspect to think about is where do visitors tend to spend time and wait? For example, you could position your banner where queues are frequent such as along checkouts, or where people sit.

Using poor quality images

Another mistake some make is using poor quality images on their roller banners. Perhaps because they don’t have any suitable pictures of their own or don’t want to spend money on using stock images.

It is well worth it to have a photographer take pictures of your business and products/services so that you have a professional representation of your business and a source of images you can use for all types of media. Paying for stock images are also a great option if you don’t want to pay for a photographer or hire a studio, many websites offer royalty free images and provide you with thousands of professional photographs.

Also when using images off the internet they may not be the right resolution, resulting in a pixelated blurry print. This will give an unprofessional appearance of your business and the message on the roller banner will lose credibility.

Another issue here is using irrelevant images, often that relate to the business but not the core message of the roller banner perhaps in order to fill empty space. It’s best to check you need every image that you have used and that they support your core message, dealing with any extras it is most effective for them to be taken off.

bookmark_borderFacing Fears as an Entrepreneur

Fear is such a huge issue in people going out on their own. I have heard from the CEO of a real-estate based network marketing company that even though he has people packing out company seminars, that maybe 2-5% of people will actually go out and apply the knowledge by putting offers on real estate. He is convinced that the rest are paralyzed by fear.

Here are some of the techniques I have used as I learned them from the successful people I know:

Think about what you do want. When you find yourself spinning the wheels in your mind over and again about your worst case scenario, turn it around and focus on what you DO want. Visualize yourself getting what you do want. See the new house. See yourself talking to the interested person as they become a part of your business. You get what you focus on.

Change the voice. When you hear yourself telling you that you’re not good enough – you’re going to fail. Just change the voice from yours to that of Mickey Mouse or Jim Cary or something that would hold little weight with you anyway! Who cares if Mickey Mouse thinks you’re not good enough?

Voice them to a trusted friend or associate. Hopefully you have been able to find some level of support in your enterprise. Ideally, you have a significant other that supports you. If not, then you should have some kind of support network from your team, upline, or corporate that you can talk to. Some people may tell you that it is silly you could even believe that you’re not good enough. For me, my wife has been a constant source of support. However, don’t go looking for support to all those people who doubted you and told you it was crazy to go out on your own.

Have a personal development library. I draw tremendous support from my library. It is not just filled with how to resources, but also stories of others who conquered their fears. I couldn’t begin to list the many sources I have, but if you email me I can recommend something based on your own description of your circumstances.

Go ahead and do it. Sometimes just making the smallest step will help get you going enough that the fear of not doing something can go away. An example would be neglecting to write an article such as this one out of fear of failure. Just starting it can create enough momentum to see it through.

bookmark_borderContent Marketing

Enter the experts

The short answer is, if you’ve done something successfully a number of times, you can claim the title of expert. However, there is also the axiom “Those who can do and those who can’t, teach.” There are many so-called experts who generate lots of content, but they’ve not had a project assignment in quite some time.

Noise makers

Everybody with access to a keyboard or a camera is doing some level of content marketing, even if it’s only for themselves and their Twitter friends. Everybody’s pulling out a cell phone to snap pictures of something—the first snowfall, the first crocuses, their dog grabbing a burger off the kitchen table.

Those photos become content posted to social media and join the digital noise that competes with content that Solopreneur consultants and other business leaders upload and post with the goal of appealing to potential customers. Launching and sustaining a content marketing campaign is an uphill battle for small operators with limited budgets.

Branding is not personal

A certain group of raven-haired sisters (and their mother) in L.A. County have done remarkably well with the personal branding concept, but that doesn’t hold for the rest of us. Unless you were lucky enough to have held a job that allowed you to publicly build a reputation amongst prospective customers, or you descend from a prominent or celebrity family, the differences that you (and I) emphasize to prospective customers are often perceived as minor and not distinctive competitive advantages. We are all the same, only different.

bookmark_borderCustomer Journey Planning

Tools that can help you optimise your customer journey

In today’s world your customers have never lived with such a short attention span. It is a noisy eCommerce world and time has never been a more precious commodity to the savvy shopper.

It is commonly stated that you have 5 seconds in which to first grab your potential customers’ attention when they first get to your site.

Then if you succeed at that and you sell what they want they need to be able to navigate to the checkout in just 3 clicks.

Any more on either of these and your chances of losing them to your competitors increase dramatically.

They key to being able to stop those high bounce rates is data, or more specifically knowledge.

You need to know what your customers are doing and more importantly what they struggle with.

The good news is that there are so many tools available to you as a business owner now that have made collecting relevant data easier than ever.

Google Analytics for example is a fantastic free tool which will show you a fantastic breakdown of traffic on your site, including pages which have the highest drop out rate for your visitors.

Optimizely is another fantastic tool which enables you to run A/B tests on your site to take away guesswork on a number of areas on your website, leaving you with the true numbers of actual customer behaviour.

The most neglected aspect of your customer journey

There are obviously multiple elements to consider in the customer journey from when they first discover your brand to when they are repeat customers of yours.

The eCommerce average for customers dropping out on the cart page however is 68.81% as reported by the Baymard Institute.

For this reason I strongly believe that the shopping cart is often the most neglected element of the customer journey and if optimised would result in the largest increase in revenue for your business.

The 3 questions you need to ask when it comes to your checkout are:

  1. Have you been clear with you customers up to this point? (Do not surprise them at the checkout with any hidden fees, taxes or charges. The price they see should be the price they pay)
  2. Is your checkout simple? (One page if possible)
  3. Can a customer trust your checkout? (Do you have an SSL certificate in place along with payment card logos and the appropriate payment security badges)

Interestingly all three of these points above can be fixed or addressed very quickly and simply with some design changes or by purchasing an SSL certificate.

So these are my top 3 tips to ensure that your checkout is starting with the best chance of converting your potential customers.

Of course there are other areas you can optimise but these are the best places to get started.

How to get the advantage on your competition

As mentioned throughout the article, you are not alone if you are guilty of neglecting the customer journey.

The good news is I guarantee the majority of your competitors are doing it too.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with BarclayCard about this very subject and as they are the market leaders when it comes to innovation and they genuinely see the potential in eCommerce businesses.

We worked together on an article to help you better plan your customers’ journey.

Utilising the information we have provided you should be able to safely say that you now have a plan for your customer journey, and you have put tools and best practices in place to retain a larger number of your customers right up to the point of completing the sale.

 

bookmark_borderAnalytics Marketing

Google Analytics is one of the best tools you can utilise and keeps track of many things for you and even supplies live reports and traffic intake whenever you need. You simply cannot be successful without measuring your market data, as you risk only guessing the habits of your audience, and not knowing exactly what they’re looking for. In this article, we will be going through a number of ways you can boost your analytical expertise, improving your content marketing by margins.

  1. Keep track habitually – Make it your top priority to check your analytics every single day. This includes checking your reports daily. Doing this ensures you are easily keeping track of what your audience is interested in, as these reports show all your top pages and numbers them into a top ten. Listing these pages allows you to see what number of traffic is leading where, and if you do this multiple times throughout the day, you can market accordingly to where your traffic is entering.
  2. Understand your audience – One of the main, and best reasons, to invest in a data driven marketing strategy is to keep track of exactly who is interested in what. A well-thought marketing campaign can solidify your company or product and bring your audience closer to your brand. Using an analytical program can help you understand a number of things, such as how your audience reacts to your existing content, their favourite types of content, and their preferred method of receiving said content.
  3. Aim towards non-targeted audience – This entry may seem odd, but you will understand exactly what I’m getting at if you’ve been reading thus far. We’ve stated that it’s important to understand the customer, but it is also important to understand those who aren’t interested in your product. By understanding those who aren’t interested in your product, you can tweak your campaigns to include them in your demographic, further increasing your traffic and customers.
  4. Test outside of analytics – Despite this tip going against the article itself, it is still a useful and helpful method that even major companies use today. Statistics and facts can give an abundance of information on any subject, which is exactly where analytics programs come into play. But utilising other methods can be just as helpful. It can pay off to conduct surveys, or group testing towards an audience due to the fact that there can be more information put in by them. In turn, this can result in an emotional response, giving you more information than a simple analytical report could.
  5. Link social engagements – Using social media can be an extremely helpful tool to use to your advantage. Facebook and Twitter are the two biggest social platforms in the industry, and if you use these to your best advantage, then your traffic will boost by massive margins. Linking the social engagements to your analytics program will allow you to keep track of all your social media posts, giving you traffic information for them as well. Using this tool to your leisure will allow you to see what is popular with your social media audience, giving you an even bigger opportunity to market to an entire different audience.