This guy at work is trying to convince me to go in with him on an idea he found on the web. They call it an 7 figure cycle review and I read about it as much as I could without paying them for the information.It is not so difficult an idea, but I have been trying to figure out how to make it work for me. You find a product and then you buy it, after that your part in the thing is all but over. You would not really do that much else in fact. Instead of getting the product yourself, you would have it sent to a place called a fulfillment center. Amazon and a lot of other similar web based e commerce sites are running these things. They have a simple purpose. You would sell the stuff on a part of Amazon’s web page called the Amazon Market Place. Continue reading “This Guy Wants Me to Go in on This”
Social media doesn’t always drive sales
“Does social media help you engage with your customers? Maybe. Does it drive sales? Probably not.”
So says James Hammersley, CEO of Good Growth, a UK consultancy offering a range of services, including help with digital marketing and customer relationship management. New research carried out by the company finds that while investment in social media marketing is continuing to rise, there is actually very little evidence to show that this most trendy and current of marketing channels delivers a big enough return on investment to justify the time, energy and money spent on mounting campaigns.
Hammersley is particularly concerned that entrepreneurs and SME managers might be putting too much faith in power of social media. For founders who have come of age in the digital age, social media marketing is often seen as a way to engage with customers, spread the word about new products and ultimately drive sales, without having to spend significant sums on print or broadcast advertising. So in theory at least, social media is a great leveler. Those who understand it can use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the rest build an army of loyal customers who eagerly consume every tweet and post. The ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ of those core followers, in turn, create a ripple effect that engages a much wider community of friends and family.
But does it actually work. According to Good Growth, 50% of marketers plan to increase their spend on social media, but 67% say they have no way of measuring ROI and only a relatively small number (33%) are tracking sales.
This is perhaps not a big problem for large companies with budgets to burn, but an SME that is relying on social media to deliver sales may be disappointed.
As Hammersley explains, the Good Growth research covered all aspects of social media activity, including advertising and posts. “What we found was that whatever the activity, social media does succeed in driving engagement,” he says. “The assumption made by marketers is that this engagement ultimately drives sales. But the relationship between engagement and sales is nuanced.”
The Benefits of Social Media
Hammersley stresses that he is not dismissing social media as a marketing tool and he stresses that for startup or an SME launching a new product or expanding into a new market, it can play an important intelligence gathering role. “One thing that it can help you do is to understand your market," he says. For instance by posting online, engaging with customers and listening to their responses, a business can find out what potential consumers are looking for and what they like and dislike about a product.
However, if an SME is investing in social media specifically to drive sales, he advises that the business should focus on measuring the results. “If a business is marketing using, say, e-mail of advertising, there will be clear KPIs,” he says.
So when you begin to use social media what you can do is test things. Set up comparisons based on weekly or monthly spend. Over those periods look at the results. Has traffic to the website gone up? Have conversions gone up.
At the same time it is important to make comparisons between spending and results on social media and the return generated by other channels, such as mail.
Equally, Hammersley says it is important to test different social media platforms. Good Growth itself found that Linkedin was particularly useful in generating leads. Further testing is then required to establish what works best in terms of headlines and content.
“You should also take a look what your competitors are doing to attract customers to their websites,” he adds.
Social media is a powerful tool but it is not a panacea. Blogs, posts and even games all provide a means to engage with customers but the depth engagement will depend on the skill with which you deploy content on the various available platforms and – to be honest – your understanding of social media itself and how consumers use it.
But let’s assume that a millennial entrepreneur is indeed fully conversant with social media and succeeds in building an army of followers who dutifully share and like. That in itself will not guarantee sales or leads. The key is to experiment to find out what works and what doesn’t, make comparisons between channels and measure results.
Any business must promote itself in order to bring in clients. Even if a business might be the best in its industry, if it does not spend time to market what it offers, no one will know about it. There are many approaches to marketing. Here are a few of the different methods.
Print marketing is one of the oldest methods. This includes publishing an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper. It can also include mailing out flyers to the target audience. Print marketing can involve placing the company name and logo on giveaways in order to increase brand recognition in the public eye.
Ever since society embraced the Internet, businesses have been directing their attention to digital marketing. Sending out promotional emails is one way. An email sent to a lead can reinforce the company’s message and call the recipient to action. A thank you email sent to a customer who has just purchased something online can build up good customer relationships. An email that announces an upcoming sale and which contains a coupon code can give recipients incentive to purchase again, thus reinforcing customer loyalty.
Another type of digital marketing is through the use of social media. By attracting followers with an interesting post, a compelling message, or a special deal, the business can encourage their followers to share the message with their friends and family, thus spreading the word about the company and increasing the company’s brand exposure.
A marketing strategy that is executed effectively can bring in more customers and increase company sales. It can help a company retain its customers and promote customer loyalty. Marketing is a way for a company to reach out and communicate with their target audience. It is essential to the success of any business.
You’ll need to consider and control many factors if you want your digital marketing strategy to be successful. Your branding efforts, the types of campaigns you choose, the amount you invest, and how you stitch those campaigns together all matter—but you may not realize how much the advancement of your tech plays a role in your success.
Of course, you’re already using tech in your digital marketing strategy, otherwise it wouldn’t be “digital.” You’re likely relying on portable devices, cloud management platforms, and communications technology every day. But you may be missing some of the most important ways that tech can—and does—influence your digital marketing campaigns.
Newer technology is simply more efficient. With faster processors, higher connection speeds, and new features, your employees will be able to get more done in less time. Even a few seconds of reduced lag per task, over the course of hundreds of tasks per day and dozens of employees, can amount to substantially reduced man-hours invested in trivial tasks. That enables your marketing team to focus their efforts where they belong—on marketing.
New tech tools also tend to open new doors in terms of how many people you can reach (and how cost efficiently you can do it). Access to more data, access to new communications platforms, and more integrated platforms all mean you can accomplish more for less money. This is one of the main reasons I created both my companies Due and Calendar. Both are there to help business owners like yourself improve efficiency within your business.
Improving Employee Morale
New technology may also be able to boost employee morale, if for no other reason than the fact that it causes fewer headaches with slow processing or malfunctioning. Purchasing new computers, phones, or other devices for your marketing team helps them feel more confident walking into a presentation, and gives them better tools to do what they do best. The higher their morale is, the better they’re going to perform, and the more loyal they’re going to be to the brand.
One of the most important reasons to keep your technology upgraded is to keep your data (and your customers’ data) safe. Up to 43 percent of all cyberattacks target small businesses specifically, and one of the easiest methods of attack relies on exploiting security holes in old devices or old pieces of software. The newer your technology is, and the more reliable the manufacturer or developer, the more secure it’s going to be.
Combined with best practices for ongoing security (such as secure, regular password changes), you’ll stay far better protected.
Making a Better Impression
The technology you use and how you use it will have a significant impact on your clients’ perceptions of your brand, especially once your campaign moves beyond the “exposure” phase and you start trying to close deals.
For example, if you show up to a meeting with a full desktop computer that requires a physical cable to connect to the internet, you’ll look foolishly behind the times. Showing up with some of the latest technology available shows that you have the funds to invest in quality materials, and you understand the latest technology trends. By 2021, more than half of US households will be using IoT—so if you want to make a better impression (especially with new clients), your marketing and sales staff should be using similarly advanced tech.
Staying Cost Effective
If you had unlimited funds to invest in your business, you’d probably spring for best-in-class technology for your organization on all fronts. Unfortunately, most startups and small businesses don’t have much wiggle room in their budgets, meaning you’ll need to be mindful of costs in addition to benefits if you want to succeed.
These are some tips that can help you do that:
Sell your old devices. When you’re upgrading to a new generation of devices, don’t simply throw your old ones away. It’s bad for the environment, and represents a waste of money. Instead, wipe your hard drives and either resell them to someone new or sell them in bulk to an e-waste recycler. Centralize your platforms. Having too many management platforms is unwieldy, even for the savviest Instead, try to consolidate your functionality to one platform—or as few platforms as possible. Reduce redundancy. If you have two platforms that do the same thing, get rid of one. Redundancy is a waste. Consider buying used. You don’t need to have your staff on the latest model of phone the week it comes out; instead, wait a few months, and buy a used or refurbished model. It could easily save you several hundred dollars on every device.
Your tech has an even bigger impact on your digital marketing success than you might have realized. Consider these factors carefully if you want to help your team see better results.
Marketers from around the globe convened to listen to top marketers share insight and advice at the recent Marketing United conference. What follows are some of the best quotes from the conference.
“Advertising doesn’t fix a bad or broken product.” Tom Webster, Edison Research “Whether you are a global brand or a smaller brand that’s just getting started, the rules still apply: you have to make me feel something.” Matthew Luhn, Pixar “Marketers who use manipulative tactics are the problem…not the technology.” Oli Gardner, Unbounce “Marketing is all about creativity, humanity, and authenticity.” Jay Baer, Convince & Convert “We tend to think marketing is everything, but really, it’s all about changing my mind or making me do something.” Scott Stratten, Unmarketing “It’s about crafting a story that moves you—a story that inspires emotion and causes you to change the way that you live your life.” Mike Nagel, Evertrue “You can pay for views, but you can’t pay for shares.” Jenny Leahy, Microsoft “At this point, there’s no excuse for any brand not to be plugged into the voice of the consumer.” Curtis Midkiff, Southwest Airlines “Email proves time and time again to be one of the most valuable marketing channels a brand can use.” Justine Jordan, Litmus “Most people are scared to change the way they do business. Find someone in your organization who isn’t—they’re going to challenge your process like no one else can.” Mitch Lowe, Netflix “Map your user journey, then make sure you’re constantly removing barriers that prevent users from hitting goals.” Ben Jabbewy, Privy “If you try to write for everyone, you’ll end up connecting with no one.” John Lane, Centerline Digital “Go narrow, not broad: We have a tendency to think ‘if I go broad, I’ll capture more people.’ But the more tightly you define yourself, the easier it is for your people to find you.” Tamsen Webster, Speaker
The Marketing United conference was hosted byEmma, a provider of email marketing software and services. The objective of the conference was to bring digital marketers around the world together to learn, network, and get inspired by some of the smartest minds in the industry. Marketers do their best work when they are all sharing ideas and learning from one another.
Join the discussion: @KimWhitler
Internet marketing, also referred to as online marketing, generally refers to marketing and advertising efforts that utilize the Internet and email to help drive sales through electronic commerce (e-commerce). Internet marketing and advertising online are generally used in conjunction with advertising efforts that are more traditional like magazines, radio, television and newspaper.
There are several different Internet marketing models that marketers and companies can use to provide more value to their prospects and customers.
As technology becomes more advanced, so do the ways that marketers and companies can interact with their leads and customers. After downloading your app on their electronic device, your leads and customers can learn more about products and services. Apps also allow them to be more engaged. The more engaged you are with your customers, the more you and your company can build credibility.
Technology has also been responsible for the increase in online shopping. This is a business model that is very straight forward. You simply sell your goods and/or services through an online marketplace for a profit.
Although this is a simple idea in theory, in reality, to make money with this model unless you are consistent in promotion and engagement.
This is another online model for Internet marketing. It is very popular because it is relatively inexpensive to get started. In fact, you can start using this model by using a free blogging platform.
The purpose of starting a blog for business is to create valuable content related to your niche. However, there are two stumbling blocks that can interfere with a marketer’s success. One stumbling block is the technical aspects, and the other is the difficulty some marketers have with creating valuable content on a regular basis.
These are some of the business models you can use to increase your online marketing efforts. With persistence and hard work, you can see increase sales and customer engagement from your efforts.
The vast majority of new companies fail over the long haul.
I’m not trying to bum you out or anything.
But you need to know what you’re up against.
One study says the failure rate is around 50% after five years but can reach as high as 75%, too.
Again: Don’t be discouraged. I’ve had my own million dollar mistake.
The important point is to learn from your missteps so that you can figure out what went wrong and never repeat them again.
In this article, I’ll share my experiences from successfully growing multiple million-dollar companies so that you can learn from my previous mistakes without repeating them.
We’re going to talk a lot about successfully getting your name into the marketplace because most new companies simply don’t do enough to break through obscurity.
But first, you need to make sure you’re entering the right marketplace for your business. Here’s why.
1. Get your positioning right first, then worry about distribution
Many companies fail before they even get off the ground.
Here’s what I mean.
People in software always talk about “solving their own problems” when they create something new.
But you don’t pay yourself. Your customers do!
In other words, solving your own problems is fine. But until you start solving the problems of other people, you’ll never make enough money to last.
That means you go out into the marketplace to see if the same problems or pain points resonate with what you’re thinking.
For example, I used to watch The Daily Show all the time with Jon Stewart. Now I don’t any longer.
It turns out, I’m not alone. Nearly 40% of Jon’s previous audience demographic has stopped watching, too.
It’s not that the new host is bad. He’s just different. And he wasn’t the right fit for this old, existing audience.
So before we can even talk about using strategies and tactics to scale your business, you need to make sure you’re in the right market first.
You have to be ready and primed for growth before it’s going to happen. Here’s one way to figure that out.
The first trick is to look for ‘echo chambers’ online that already have big, engaged communities. For example, just start by looking for popular blogs (because these are going to be your promotion partners later).
I just picked a random idea off the top of my head to try this out.
I literally Googled “Gluten free blog” half a second ago and here’s what popped up.
There are two awesome things to note here already. The first is the market size: 15,800,000 results!
And these are just blogs with content creators. So think about how many people are reading these sites.
The next thing is that BeyondCeliac.org is already helping to feature the biggest gluten-free bloggers.
That means there’s a big market here, there’s an ‘infrastructure’ of leading organizations supporting it, and you already have a list of new potential promotion partners.
Now you know there’s already a market for what you have. The next trick is to figure out how you’re going to make your product or service stand out in this crowded space.
Marty Neumeier wrote a book called Zag: The Number One Strategy for High-Performance Brands in which he talks about “creating a category of one.”
Basically, the idea is to ask yourself a few key questions to make sure that you’re not going to be competing against a ton of other people with the same basic commodity (otherwise your risk of failure skyrockets).
So ask yourself:
Is the value of your product or service easy to understand (and implement for the end user)? How are you going to change features, pricing, and other factors to be the only person who takes your unique spin on this problem? And are you supported by a trend where the market’s growing? (See that ‘echo chamber’ above.)
The Lean Canvas is one of the best ways to help figure this out.
In the early days, your ideal solution or product would evolve over time. You might think it’s going to be one thing, but it might change as you get real feedback from customers (who pay the bills).
And that’s OK.
For example, Cirque Du Soleil has become one of the biggest entertainment acts in the world over the last decade.
You can’t walk into a Las Vegas hotel without seeing one of their shows.
But when they started, they had to iterate a little to find the right formula. They obviously knew there was a huge market for live shows and a circus-like experience.
However, their innovation came in recognizing what was broken about the traditional circus and how they could change the rules of the game for themselves.
So they didn’t even bother with animals, for example, while at the same time, they added new elements like a show theme and a more refined venue.
The result was some weird cross between a circus and theater, but it worked.
There’s never a single moment that says you’ve figured it all out.
Instead, it’s a constant process during which you tweak your strategy based on feedback to continue moving in the right direction.
That helps you avoid making the same mistakes that often sink companies. They’re too stubborn to change or evolve over time, but you won’t fall into that trap.
Once you’re on the right path, you can start thinking about going for growth.
2. Start ‘piggybacking’ on other people’s platform
Moving too slowly is usually what kills new companies.
Nobody knows who you are, which means they don’t trust you yet, and they definitely aren’t searching for you by name.
So the best strategy in the early days was to simply piggyback on other people’s platforms.
Here’s what I mean.
Airbnb also started as a nobody. However, they embraced that and instead looked for places where their customers already were.
Back in those days, people still used Craigslist to find people in cities where they wanted to travel (or to offer up their own couch).
So Airbnb started by going after the people who were listing properties on Craigslist first.
They did that through a set of simple tools that would easily allow these people to also cross-post their property listings on Airbnb’s platform.
This worked well, but they still needed more. The only way to get the young company off the ground was to put their foot on the gas pedal to get more listings.
So what they did was both clever and borderline shady.
Airbnb created scrapped Craigslist contact information and then sent out mass emails to people, like this one:
The good news is that you don’t always have to do something spammy or technical to get the same results.
For example, Unbounce was a brand new company only a few years ago. They were also self-funded, so they didn’t necessarily have the same resources that some software companies have to ‘make a big splash’ when they launched.
Instead, they had to create their own news.
Co-founder Oli Gardner spent countless hours creating The Noob Guide to Online Marketing.
It contains a 15-million-pixel infographic that shows 60 different tasks in detail, along with a six-month course to help you figure out how to put all of that information into practice.
That’s pretty impressive, right?!
With something this big, your first natural inclination would be to put it on your own site so that you can receive all of the benefits.
However, that’s not what Unbounce did.
Instead, the company posted the entire thing on the Moz blog for free.
The reason was simple.
Unbounce needed attention and customers. Moz had those things.
So it was a match made in heaven.
You can replicate this same strategy almost anywhere you look.
For example, software companies will also help each other run cross-promotions or partnerships when there’s an overlap in their users.
Treehouse teaches people to code. Many of those people will freelance at some point. So Freshbooks is a perfect fit.
These can be ‘back-scratching’ relationships where no other value is traded hands. Or you could incentivize the bigger partner by giving them a cut of all the revenue that you generate through the partnership.
You can even form these same types of partnerships or platform plays and take things offline.
3. Piggyback on other people’s news, too
Almost everyone made fun of the new GAP logo when it was originally announced.
Seriously, everyone hated it:
Scrappy startup 99designs saw an opportunity and quickly took advantage.
99designs helps people crowdsource new logo designs. That way, you can get tons of different direction options as well as feedback to avoid making the same mistake as the Gap.
So it was a perfect fit!
The company created a competition on its own platform to basically help Gap design a better logo.
The competition raised a ton of awareness because they were piggybacking on something that was already in the news.
All they did was capitalize on a trending topic that led to them getting written up in tons of different places (all positive) based on some other big brand’s miscalculation.
4. Attend, organize, and volunteer at events
People like doing business in person.
It’s infinitely easier to gain someone’s trust and have a fruitful discussion around your ever-evolving positioning.
In the early days, the founders from Hakka Labs would attend local meetups to find out more about what the engineering community was interested in.
The discussions were excellent, but there was never any record of them afterward. In other words, the information and insight exchanged vanished after the event was over.
So they started recording the talks and making the audio available for users on their website.
The file would be shared with the organizers, who would then happily help share the information with all the group members.
You can then scale this approach by inviting more people to attend more events and repeat as necessary.
This approach proved so successful that they eventually expanded into hosting their own meetups. Before long, they’d built an entire conference for the same communities they were reaching.
This early traction then helped them pick up a $500k angel (after bootstrapping this entire time).
It’s the same basic platform piggybacking strategy, but you take it offline and meet people in person.
This type of strategy also helps you stick out, too.
Think about it: Everyone is sending out cold emails to get noticed.
But those are terrible! The response rate is abysmal, so why waste your effort?
Instead, do something different, like meeting people at events or sending new prospects something in the mail to get noticed.
It takes more effort, but it also helps you actually stand out and get noticed.
5. Turn early customers into word-of-mouth referrals
Did you ever have a Hotmail account?
I know I did. Almost everyone did!
That’s because Hotmail came out with the first completely free email service decades ago.
Each email you sent, however, contained a simple text link that encouraged the recipient of your email to get his or her own free account with Hotmail.
This strategy was incredibly simple, but it helped the company gain millions of users in no time.
Now, can you think of another more recent company who did something similar?
This simple little trick was single-handedly responsible for driving Dropbox’s early growth (way more than PR, SEO, or advertising did).
The best news is that there are pre-built options to help you add this same feature for almost any kind of business.
For example, ReferralCandy works with e-commerce companies to do something similar.
Every time someone helps bring in a new customer, they’ll get rewarded with a new little bonus.
I love this simple tactic because it doesn’t cost you anything.
The only time you ‘pay’ is when someone spends more money with you first.
That helps you avoid spending a ton of cash on advertising or other channels instead of reinvesting it back into hiring people, purchasing more products, and other growth-oriented expenses.
And that helps you avoid negative cash flow. Now business wants to find itself in that position.
6. Find an influencer (or become one yourself) to help increase your brand’s visibility
Influencers also have the big, pre-built audiences you need access to.
What they don’t always have, however, is money.
So tons of influencer marketplaces, like Tribe, have been popping up to help connect brands and influencers in an easy, DIY, mutually-beneficial relationship.
For example, you can go on many of these platforms and simply list your products or describe your initial campaign idea.
Then you’ll either search for the influencer or get matched with those who have a perfect audience fit.
A few hundred bucks can help you instantly get access to hundreds of thousands of followers (leading to more traffic, leads, customers, and more).
The co-founders behind Luxy Hair had the same end goal, but it simply decided to pick up a video camera and start rolling instead.
Over the course of five years (and tons of video segments), it has been able to rack up over three million subscribers.
A simple B2B example is either guest posting or even conducting a webinar for a larger brand’s audience.
For example, Kissmetrics hosts new webinars every month. So it’s constantly on the lookout for new experts who can step up and deliver excellent content.
Sure, it might require some time to prepare the content.
But otherwise, you get new brand awareness, traffic back to your own site, and new potential leads or customers.
The extra side benefit is that this also gives you credibility. Kissmetrics, in this case, is an established brand in the marketplace.
People have come to know and trust it.
So you’re also going to get the benefit of the doubt by associating your brand with theirs.
In the early days, you’re constantly short on cash. So putting out some effort and elbow grease to get attention is one of the easiest possible alternatives.
The trick with all of these strategies, though, is that you’re not asking these people for help.
Instead, you’re helping them first.
Give each of these big brands, partners, or platforms what they want or need. And you’ll get what you need, too.
Your success is going to come from other people in the early days.
Nobody knows who you are, why you exist, or why they would ever want what you have.
So the very first thing you need to do, before promotion, is to actually figure out what people want!
That sounds trite and simplistic, but it saves a lot of headaches and hassles down the road.
You need to make sure there’s a viable market out there before you launch your business because, down the road, many of those same people will also be your springboard to success.
You’re going to need to piggyback off of their platforms to ‘borrow’ some of the same attention they already have.
There’s no shortage of techniques to try here. But the important thing is that you figure out how to help your potential partners first.
Then they’ll be much more inclined to give you access to their eyeballs, which might result in your first few customers.
What’s your favorite example of a strategy that a big company used to become successful?