The Ever-Changing Face of Marketing

Technology has been a huge influence on how people have marketed their goods and services ever since people have had goods and services to sell. Whether it was the printing press, the radio, television or the proliferation of trains and cars that made traveling easier, something new has always come along to change how marketing is done. But nothing has ever been as noteworthy as the internet.

Consumers Are Smarter Than Ever

Because of the internet, consumers have a lot of information at the tip of their fingers that they never had before in the history of the world. Now they can look up information about you, and whether it’s right or wrong they’ll learn something about you and your products before buying. It’s up to you to make sure the right information is out there for them to find.

Social Media Is Ubiquitous

Before the internet, stores had to host huge events that were quite costly in order to stir up conversation and social interaction. Today, they simply need to start an active Instagram account or Facebook group or page. Everyone uses some form of social media today to gather information and learn about your business and offerings. In fact, more than 80 percent of the US population uses social media.

Your Audience Is Starving for Content

It’s important to put content everyplace your audience likes to be. If they like Facebook, you need to be on Facebook. If they like blog posts, you need to supply them with plenty of blog posts. If they like getting information through email, then you need to accommodate them. It can be difficult to keep up at times, but with help you can work smartly and efficiently by repurposing content as needed.

SEO Is Here to Stay but It’s Changing Too

Due to the advent of the net, pulling your audience to your information requires knowledge of search engine optimization. This can include on- and off-page optimization of a website and blog, but also of article titles, social media posts and more. It’s all about attracting the right audience to your information.

The Customer of One Is Now an Imperative

Due to the ability to automate and personalize using technology that has been created since the advent of the internet, business owners can make their customers feel special and unique. Even though customers are smart and know a lot of it is automation, they do appreciate it and it shows in purchasing habits.

Inbound Marketing Has Taken Over

Bringing your customers to you is now how marketing works best, as opposed to outbound marketing which was how marketing started. It was posters, magazine ads, commercials – these things all interrupted the consumer to give them the message. Now it’s less intrusive and all about bringing them to you with the right information.

Ecommerce Generates over 1.2 Million Dollars Every 30 Seconds

It seems like ecommerce has been around forever. In reality it has been around in a smaller way since the 60s, but it really came into being as it is today in the 90s when the first book was sold on Amazon in 1995. Nothing has ever been the same since, and it just grows and grows. Online shopping is bringing back grocery delivery even.

Augmented Reality Is Next

What you can look forward to is augmented reality. This will enable people to feel as if they’re in a store when they’re really online. Movies have depicted ideas of augmented reality, such as the Tom Cruise movie about virtual data called Minority Report in 2002. Now marketers are trying to figure out how they can work augmented reality into the everyday lives of consumers.

It’s imperative that you keep up with how marketing is changing in terms of the tools that are used. In many ways, the principles don’t change much. You have to find a way to educate your audience, inform them, engage them, and build relationships with them, so that they trust you enough to spend their money on your products or services.

Start-Up Tips for Women Entrepreneurs

Honestly, these tips work for both women and men. However, due to how our society perceives women versus men, it’s important for women to know when they’re falling into a stereotype of being quiet, asking permission, and otherwise seeking the approval of others to be successful. You don’t need to do that. Sixty-eight percent of new businesses are started by women. Women are successful business owners and have been for all of history. Here are some start-up tips to help.

* Do What You Love – Find a business that you are passionate about, instead of one that just makes money. Often times people get involved in something because of the money, and then realize how much they dislike it. But when you are doing something you love and that is also in demand, the money will come and it will also feel good.

* Know Where to Place Your Focus – Remember the 80/20 rule. This states that 20 percent of the work you do produces 80 percent of the results. Use metrics to identify what part of the work you’re doing is getting the results, and then do more of that and less of what is not producing results.

* Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses – It’s important to be honest about what you know and what you don’t know. You want to work from a position of strength. Do what you do very well and do a lot of it. When you do too much of the things you’re weak at doing, you will lose the joy of your business as well as suffer as a result.

* Shore Up Your Weaknesses – As you note your weaknesses, it’s also important to find a way to fill those gaps. You may use outsourcing help, technology, or even take a course if necessary to shore up your weaknesses so that they become strengths.

* Be Accountable to Yourself – Honesty is very important, including self-honesty. If you can’t tell yourself the truth, look yourself in the eye, and move forward with your goals, then you’ll fail at being a business owner.

* Set Realistic Goals – Learn about SMART goal setting, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound. This means that you want goals that are realistic within a particular timetable and deadline.

* Surround Yourself with the Right Team – The “right” team for you may not be what’s right for someone else. Learn to trust yourself as you choose a team to work with, whether employees or contractors. Skill matters, but so does personality. If you mesh with the people you work with, you’ll have a more pleasant and successful environment.

* Don’t Apologize – Men never apologize for success, and women should learn not to. You’re not bossy; you’re the boss. You’re not arrogant; you’re in charge. It’s okay to be successful; you don’t need to say “I’m sorry” about anything.

* Get Help When Needed – The most successful people know that they need to ask for help when it’s important. Consider that throughout history men have been successful in business – not alone, but with the help of their wives, mothers, and others around them.

Women make very successful entrepreneurs when they get it into their mind to start businesses. Once again, over sixty-eight percent of all new businesses are started by women, and many of them are very successful. If you keep in mind these tips for women entrepreneurs, you’ll be successful too.

Should You Consolidate Your Logins?

Consolidating logins by using social media sign-ins seems like a really good idea. For a start, it’s one less thing to have to remember. However, as a website owner you may be giving up some control over customer information by agreeing to do this. You’re going to have to decipher the pros and cons of consolidated logins based on your own business model to determine whether or not you should do it.

Is Your Site Controversial?

If you have a site that is controversial, it’s possible that your audience doesn’t want their family and friends to know what they’re doing. Even if you think your site isn’t controversial, perhaps they do.

For example, what if the site is about diet and exercise? Seems pretty uncontroversial, but to some it’s not and it’s private. They would be more likely to sign in using their own private information rather than social sign-ins where they think everyone is watching them.

Do You Need Member Emails?

When you use social sign-ins, you may not have access to your users’ email addresses and they may be reluctant to now give you the information, even in exchange for something else such as a freebie offer. If you want to build your email list, you might reconsider the use of social sign-ins for your website.

Is Your Website Fee Based?

If you have a fee-based site, you’re going to have to ask them for other information anyway. You may as well not use consolidated sign-ins because it will be just another step that your user has to take. When they have this much to do, they may think twice about signing up in the first place.

Does Your Typical User Use Social Media?

Some people don’t use or want to use social media. That may be hard to take, but it’s true. Some people find social media to be too much of a distraction and may choose not to use your website due to the requirement to sign in with social media.

Is It Worth It to Give More Choices?

It can bog down a consumer when they are asked to make a choice to sign in or not to your website. If you give them so many choices, they’ll be confused and they might not do anything. Simple is always best when it comes to signing in to a site.

Will It Harm Your Brand?

When you use a third party sign-in mechanism, it is allowing another business to use their branding on your site in a big way. It can even confuse the user and make them think you are part of Twitter or Google or Facebook by adding that requirement to sign in using that social account.

What If Your User Is Banned or Locked from Social?

If a user has to depend on social to sign in to your site, what if they’re banned or somehow locked out of their social sites? Then they can’t get on your site either. That is a problem for you that you cannot solve, because they’ll have to solve it with the social account first.

There is a lot to think about when it comes to offering consolidated sign-ins via social to your users. You’ll have to give it a lot of thought and consideration before you do it. But, if you answer these questions, you’ll likely come up with the right answer for your needs and your business.

Mind Your P’s and Q’s – How to Maintain Your Reputation Online

Whether you’ve been in your online business for a while, or even if you are new to building your online business, you will be aware that it can take years to build your reputation but only minutes to destroy it. It’s imperative that as business owners we do what it takes to maintain our good reputation. Thankfully, there are easy ways to make sure you know how to maintain your reputation online if you just… focus on it.

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                                                                                                                                   * Sensationalism Often Rules Online – Being an online business owner and part of the online business community is kind of like being in a reality show in some ways. Sensationalism and gossip seems to be the rule. But, if you realize this going in, you can avoid problems by not being party to the gossiping and always staying above the fray. Hey, just be honest, be yourself, and always strive to be helpful and add value.

* Perception Is Reality – It really is… so, until someone proves differently online, the perception people have of you is reality. Dr. Phil says this is the truth for everyone, online or not. How people perceive you is what’s real, so be you… try to ensure WYSIWYG and as close to reality as possible. That way it will be easy to maintain.

* Be Proactive… Everyone Has A Story – You can tell your story online by blogging, being part of online groups, by social network interaction and by being the one to tell your story. Tell your story every chance you get. When you are proactive with your story and information, that will be what people find, and relate to, when they search for information.

* Manage Security Issues – Set privacy settings on private social media; keep your information close to your vest so that no one can ever break into your private sources of information. This is because it can be used by competitors or scammers against you in a negative way to make you look bad.

* Stay on Top of Branding – The information that you put out about your company as far as branding is important. Like your story, it’s the identity and information your audience believes about you. Your branding is how your audience feels when they hear about you, and exemplifies not only your identity but what your business stands for.

* Establish Expertise – To really manage your online reputation, set out to show that you’re the expert in your niche. Become the “go to” person for that niche in a way that overwhelms the competition and firms up your reputation as a leader.

* Maintain Your Integrity – Always be honest to yourself and your Team. Even if you make a mistake, stand up and admit it, and publicly always seek to show your reliability and that you are who you say you are. That perception is all-important.

* Nothing Ever Disappears Online – Remember that nothing ever disappears online – like a digital tattoo. You can cover it up with good information, but it’s better to accept it if something is there out that you don’t really want out there. Once it’s there work to bury it, but also work to embrace it and turn it into a positive.

The single most important point about maintaining your reputation is to always be the one to tell your story, and keep that story at the forefront of your online persona. In addition, you should seek to be who you really are and not put on a façade. After all, the truth will always rise to the top and the last thing you want is to come across as if you’re trying to trick people by not being… the real you.

From the real me…

T EN

 

 

 

Trevor Tillotson

Online Courses You Can Take to Improve Your Business Skills

Taking online courses to help you improve your business skills is a great way to keep working your day job, or building your business, while also learning information that will help you become a huge success. You can do either accredited or non-accredited courses online, paid or free, from the comfort of your home or the local coffee shop. It’s up to you how you proceed, but know that there is nothing you can’t learn on your own if you look for it.

* OpenCulture.com – This website has over 100 courses you can take for business online for free. This is a wonderful way to learn what you need to learn in order to make your business even better.

Link – http://www.openculture.com/business_free_courses

* Study.com – This website has a list of ten places you can take business courses online for free. This is going to help you take your business to the next level. The fact is, they say it takes ten thousand hours to become an expert. If you just take one course at a time, you can work toward becoming that expert.

Link – http://study.com/articles/10_Places_to_Get_a_Free_Business_Education_Online.html

* Alison.com – You can take a free course in entrepreneurship and even earn a certificate at Alison.com. This course will provide insight and education into business management, marketing, and more that is involved with entrepreneurship.

Link – https://alison.com/courses/Diploma-in-Business-Management-Entrepreneurship

* The University of Alabama – While not free, this online degree in Business is one of the least expensive that you can go to in order to get a fully accredited Bachelor’s in Business from the comfort of your home, no matter where you live.

Link – http://bamabydistance.ua.edu/degrees/bs-in-cba-general-business-online/index.php

* FutureLearn.com – You can take numerous online business-related courses free here, about business management and even about income inequity. You can also earn certificates for successful completion of the courses.

Link – https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/categories/business-and-management

* MIT.edu – MIT offers open courseware that is free through the Sloan School of Management. You won’t get certification but you will learn what you need to learn in order to run any type of business.

Link – http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/sloan-school-of-management/15-834-marketing-strategy-spring-2003/

* Learn Accounting Free – One of the most important aspects of your future as an entrepreneur is learning about finances and accounting. You can learn all you need to learn using this website. It’s great for every aspect of accounting, both for business and personal finance. There are advanced courses that you can sign up for with a small fee.

Link – http://www.learnaccountingforfree.com/

* Academic Earth – There are courses of all types here, including accounting, marketing and other business-related courses, for free and for a fee. They are well laid out and will offer a lot of help as you keep learning.

Link – http://academicearth.org/accounting/

Learning online can be challenging but it can also be very effective. It doesn’t matter if you learn via a university or a book; you can learn the same things if you put your mind to it. When you do learn something, you can also test it out right away since you are a small online business owner. That’s what really sets learning in place: using it.