Internet marketing isn’t always the easiest thing to do. However there is one key to effective internet marketing that far too many people overlook. So, what is it that they don’t do? They don’t make a plan. To be fair, a lot of internet marketers think they have a plan, but saying “I’m going to make some money” is not a plan.
Perhaps that’s one of the primary reasons why franchises are so popular. They present a very detailed plan for just about every aspect of running a business. But we are talking about internet marketing, not a traditional bricks and mortar business. So, what you really need for effective internet marketing is a business plan.
Let’s be blunt, creating a business plan is going to take time and effort. Without one, however, you will be wandering aimlessly through your business and bringing in money in a way that’s too hit or miss. You may do okay without one, but you won’t see your full profit potential unless you have a business plan in place. Think of it as the difference between having a hobby and having a real business that makes you money. If you want it to be a hobby, then that’s up to you; maybe you don’t really need a plan.
Your plan is a sort of road map to help you define and reach your goals. A good way to start your business plan is to think of where you want to end up, then start working backwards from there. What steps will you have to take? How much will you make? How will you make it? How much will you invest? What marketing methods will you use to promote your online business? Answering questions like these will help you make a good plan.
The questions you ask are important. Try to think of as many aspects of your business as you can. And when answering, be as detailed and specific as you can. In fact, if you find you are giving vague answers, take that as a sign that you need to give your business plan for effective internet marketing more thought.
Once you have asked and answered the necessary questions, it’s time to start organizing your plan. Try to arrange things in a logical way so they make more sense. Be as linear as possible. You should also divide your plan into short, medium and long term goals. This will help you to stay on track as your business grows.
You should be ready to make revisions to your plan as needed, but don’t make those changes lightly. However, your business is going to grow, and you won’t be able to predict how things turn out with 100% accuracy. So you need to be able alter your plan if the situation warrants it. Remember, your business plan isn’t written in stone and is there to work for you, not against you.
As you can see, one of the keys to effective internet marketing is to have a business plan. IT could be argued that if you don’t have such a plan, then you don’t really have a business. If you are just doing this for a hobby, that’s fine, but if you want to make money like a real business, then you need to treat it like one.
The ability to connect with people is essential to success in any business. Professional networking events present opportunities to interact with others on a personal level and to develop profitable relationships. These occasions are critical for anyone who wants to grow a business or promote a career.
Many people are simply not comfortable walking into a room full of strangers and striking up conversations. Here are five common stumbling blocks that you may face and tips to help you overcome them.
A RELUCTANCE TO TALK TO STRANGERS. You were taught at an early age not to speak to people you don’t know. It’s not safe. In certain situations today this is still good advice. In business, however, talking to strangers is a way to generate interest and support for your products and services. If you only talk to the people you already know, you will miss out on opportunities to make new connections and establish valuable contacts.
To get past your discomfort in talking to strangers, set a goal for yourself before you attend any networking event. Decide how many new contacts you want to make or how many strangers you want to meet. In some cases, you may specifically target individuals whom you’d like to know.
Next come up with some icebreakers or conversation starters. Have questions prepared that you can ask anyone you meet at the event. You may want to inquire about other people’s business, their connection to the sponsoring organization or their opinion of the venue.
LACK OF A FORMAL INTRODUCTION. It’s much easier to make a new contact when there is someone else to handle the introduction and pave the way. If you wait for another person to make the move you may not meet anyone. At networking events, the goal is to meet as many people as possible.
This is the time to take the bull by the horns, walk up to people you don’t know, introduce yourself and start a conversation. You can do this if you have prepared your self-introduction in advance.
You will not introduce yourself the same way on every occasion. Perhaps it is your first time to attend an association meeting. In that case, you might want to say that as part of your introduction. Let people know who you are, why you are there and give them a reason to ask more abut you.
FEAR OF BEING SEEN AS PUSHY. You may think that you will turn people off if you are assertive and that if they want to talk to you, they will make the first move. If this is your line of thinking you will find yourself spending your time alone at the reception or meeting function and leaving without a single new connection. Being open, friendly and interested does not turn people off.
You will not come across as overly aggressive if you seek out the “approachable” people. These are the ones who are standing alone or who are speaking in groups of three or more. Two people talking to each other are not approachable because they may be having a private conversation and you would be interrupting.
THINKING THAT OTHER PEOPLE MAY NOT LIKE YOU. There is always the risk that the other person is not interested in you and doesn’t want to meet or talk to you. It happens. If that is the case, don’t take it personally. Nothing ventured is nothing gained. When you get a cold shoulder, smile, move on and say to yourself, “Next?”
HAVING YOUR INTENTIONS MISUNDERSTOOD. Approaching someone of the opposite sex to begin a conversation may seem more like flirting than networking. This is more of an issue for women than men. Women have an equal place in the work arena and need to make professional connections the same as men do. Women in business can no longer afford to hold back when there is opportunity at hand.
Neither men nor women will have their motives misinterpreted if they present themselves professionally in their attire and if they keep the conversation focused on business issues or topics that are not personal or private.
Whatever your stumbling blocks, face them before the next networking event and devise a personal plan for getting past them. Once you do, you will find yourself connecting with confidence and courtesy on every occasion and the results will be reflected in your bottom line.
The market is wide open and the demand for working from home is getting more and more popular. With many people suddenly finding themselves unemployed because of changes in their work place, many more are also looking at the idea of working from home. This article will offer some suggestions in choosing a home based business opportunity.
Here are five things that will help you decide.
Write Down Some Ideas
Here is where you can be wild and creative. Make three separate lists. First, think about (and write down) everything you ever wanted to do, from home, as your own business. Now list everything that you know you have both interests and talents in. Make a third list of the talents that you have that others might have a need for (marketable).
Do Some Research
After you have that list, go to the internet, and begin to look up various sites that deal with home based businesses. Some of these sites will give you lists of many ideas. Find some of them, and then, using the list that you already made, get more ideas to either add to it, or refine some of your ideas into more specific categories. For instance, say that you have a desire to write. You will find a number of ideas for writers that are home based. You may find resume writer, copywriter, content writer for web articles, and maybe copyediting. You might add in some similar things that you will also see, like website design, or virtual assistant.
Select One Or Two Possibilities
From this list you should now be able to reduce your ideas to one or two that stand out and spark your interests. Do a little more research to do two things: get some ideas about what it will take to get started in that type of business; and, find out how much you might expect to realistically make from that kind of business.
Determine Your Budget
This will help you to see whether or not you should pursue that kind of business, and also what you have to work with for a budget. Some money should be kept aside in the event that things do not go as expected. Plainly speaking, not every home based business is a success.
Get Ready To “Open The Doors”
Once your business is selected, and you know what is needed, then preparation needs to be started. Of course you want to do it right, so, with your budget in mind, start getting ready to open those doors for business. Don’t forget your website, and also the advertising.
In order to start a little more efficiently, much information can be found online about how to start you home based business.
In finding the best home based business for someone who dreams of being an entrepreneur, there is no hard and fast list of “bests.” One entrepreneur’s best home based business idea is another entrepreneur’s worst. So much depends on what that business owner-hopeful enjoys doing, knows how to do, and has some of the resources already in place for. Other considerations in determining the best home based business are what the desired market will bear – what the competition is, and how saturated the market is.
The best way for someone who wants a home based business to start is to determine what she or he loves – what she looks forward to doing, what makes the time fly by for him, what she would gladly spend many hours of every day accomplishing. The next step is for the owner-to-be to assess his or her training, skills and knowledge of various industries. Putting the dream list with the skills list should indicate some crossover. Those things that end up on both lists are great indicators of the best home based business type for this business owner to-be. If, for example, a veterinarian’s assistant is tired of making very little money working for someone else, braving the 30 minute crawl along the highway commute, but really loves those horses that her employer cares for. She might well be a great candidate for a riding school proprietorship, a horse farm, or a grooming facility.
Once the industry and anything more specific in the way of products or services has been determined for the best home based business idea, the work is not done. The business owner has to determine that the business will make money. Questions the entrepreneur has to ask himself are “Who will be my customers? Why will they choose my service? How often will they need my services – what will make them repeat customers? Who is the competition? How can I vary my services from the competition – i.e., what might be my niche? And, what should I charge for my services (based on what others are charging in the market area)?
Part of determining what to charge is determining expenses that must be paid to stay in business. Once the entrepreneur determines the price that will be competitive she or he must find out if that asking price will bring in a profit. If the price that must be placed on the product to make a profit after expenses is too high to be competitive in the market the choices are to change the market or change the product. If it doesn’t make the company money, it’s not the best home based business.
PS: This is the ultimate advice at the end of my articles: seeking residual income is the best way to start a work from home business:
Earn Residual Income.
So, you’ve decided to start a home based business. Congratulations! and welcome to the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship. While there is a lot to learn, your effort will be worth it. The thrill of growing your business, the freedom and flexibility to set your own hours, and the possibilities of ever-increasing financial rewards are all wonderful reasons to start your home based business.
Now that you’ve decided to start your business, you might be wondering “How can I get it off to the strongest possible start?” These seven tips will help:
1) Set up a separate working space in your home. It doesn’t matter if this is a small bedroom, one part of the garage, or a corner of the living room. The important thing is to have some space that you can designate as your working area. This will give you the space and room you need to craft your dream.
2) Stock your working space with materials. This sounds basic, perhaps, but one underlying element of success is that you have easy access to the tools, materials, and other resources you need. Gathering everything close by also keeps you from wasting time searching for it, so this step can be considered a time management strategy, too.
3) Speaking of time management, your third step is to define the parameters of your business. What days and hours will you work? When will you market? When will you provide services or products to clients? How will you keep all of this straight?
4) Balance action with planning. One of the most common pitfalls to successful entrepreneurship is getting too caught up in action without enough planning. Stated another way, this means that you confuse “being busy” with “working on important projects.” The best approach is to plan your next couple of goals and then work backwards to create step by step action plans to reach them. Once you have the plan, then it’s time to take the action.
5) Network like crazy. One of the fastest ways to grow any business is to make connections with other people. Be sure to share your passion and enthusiasm with others at every opportunity. Let people know who you are and what you offer. Remember, people can’t buy if they don’t know you’re selling.
6) Present a professional image. If you want to be treated professionally, present a professional image. Set up a separate bank account for your business. Install a separate phone and fax line. Create professional marketing materials. Be courteous and pleasant in all your customer facing interactions. Basically, be someone people want to do business with.
7) Automate your business as much as possible. Granted, you are just one person (right now) and might have a lot of extra time to take care of all the details. This might work for now, but won’t work into the future as you get busier and busier. It’s best to set up automatic systems and processes right from the start to free up your time to concentrate on the most profitable activities.
These seven tips will get your home business started (and growing) in the right direction.
Email marketing is an extremely efficient and effective method of increasing your sales and your customer base, but as with so many other marketing tools, if you don’t know what you’re doing it can actually cause more harm than good. Don’t ever forget that you are marketing to other companies and not individuals so your messages need to be tailored to your actual audience. When your company is trying to establish a business to business email marketing strategy, there are significant differences in your approach then if you were working on a business to consumer campaign.
Here are a few of the major points you need to consider in order to create a more effective and profitable email marketing campaign:
1. Keep it simple. If you were to meet with a prospect in person you would make sure that your pitch were straight to the point. When sending B2B emails you want to achieve the same no nonsense tone. Their time is valuable and you want to prove to them that you appreciate that fact by getting right down to business in your email, just as you would if you were talking to them in person.
2. Don’t forget the “WIIFM” (what’s in it for me) approach to your email messages. Make sure that you clearly articulate what advantages your company can provide to their company and why it just makes sense for them to do business with you. You have to structure your email message in such as way as to set yourself apart from the competition.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask them for their business. If you don’t have a clear call to action such as ‘click here now’, for example, they may not do anything. It’s one of the most common mistakes marketers make, they don’t ask the prospect to actually take action, they fail to ask for the sale. Don’t make this mistake.
4. To optimize the effectiveness of your email campaign make sure you take the time to learn more about your prospects business and what you can do to help them. This information can prove extremely helpful when you are composing your email message. By being able to add specific points to your email that would only apply to their particular business you are letting them know that you’ve taken the time to learn about their company and their needs which will help you build trust with them.
5. Remember, this is a business that has their own marketing campaigns and they are familiar with all the tricks. Don’t try too hard to ‘sell’ them. Keep your message short and on point and then follow up with a firm and clear call to action.
6. Track your results. You want to keep track of open rates as well as an increase in sales and/ or customers. It’s important for you to know which campaigns work and which ones didn’t. This information will allow you to tweak the ones that work and reuse them and start from scratch on some of the less effective campaigns.
Email marketing can be a huge benefit to any business building strategy. Take the time to research your market before you implement your business to business email marketing plan. This added step will allow you to make more money and increase your customer base for a very small investment.
Using videos to market your product or service is a fairly new trend, and given it’s popularity it’s safe to say that it’s a trend that’s here to stay. If you don’t want to get left behind, you’ll want to embrace video marketing for yourself, the only issue is should you do it yourself or should you hire video marketing services to help you out?
Making a good quality video is fairly easy with the inexpensive equipment you can get. It won’t cost a lot and it can be done by pretty much anyone. It’s not like a t.v. commercial, it doesn’t have to have some great acting or effects, it just needs to be clear, easy to understand and offer something of value.
“How to” videos are very popular for that reason. People will view your video more often if you show them how to do something. If you’re in the dog training niche you could show them how to do something with their dog, if you’re in the internet marketing niche, you could show them how to do something online.
Again, it’s all about offering them some helpful information that will make it easier for them to do something for themselves. You don’t have to worry about a lot of flashy graphics and effects, just make sure you talk slowly, clearly and you provide good information with some visual aids.
Of course, if you hire a service they can take care of all that for you.
Once you’ve got your video made, you will need to distribute it all over the web. Of course, most will start with YouTube, which is a great place to start, but there are thousands of sites online that will allow you to upload your video, most of them are free, so it can take some time to find them all and submit your video.
Again, you can hire a service that will take the tedium out of the process for you and do all the work. If you are considering hiring a service you have to be very careful. Make sure that you get a signed agreement with them that not only spells out what they will do (create the video, how many sites will they distribute it to?) but also get references.
Look over their portfolio of work. Look a the quality of the videos. Do they guarantee in writing that you will get a certain number of visitors based on the videos? Since they are doing all the work, and targeting the sites to upload the videos to as well as doing the keyword research and creating the videos, they should be able to give you some sort of an idea.
Take a close look at their references and testimonials. Did they deliver on the promised traffic? And don’t forget to have the price for their services all spelled out so there are no surprises.
Using video marketing services can be a great way to jump start the traffic to your site, but it will be expensive. Any reputable company that can really deliver can pretty much charge whatever they want. If you have deep enough pockets and do your due diligence so you know just what you’re going to get, I say go for it!