Why Do Small Businesses Fail?

Businesses

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), in 2016, the U.S. was home to 30.7 million small businesses. Those businesses employed 59.9 million people, accounting for 47.3% of the workforce. And yet, small businesses fail.

Whether it’s a one-person show or a small company with fewer than 500 employees – you’ve got a small business. These are the lifeblood of the American economy… and yet, many small businesses don’t even make it past their first year. About half of them fail within the first five years, and only 1/3 of them make it to the 10-year mark.

Why do small businesses fail? Many factors influence small business success, including financing, marketing, product and service offering, and target market. If one of these things is off, it can create a difficult situation for business owners.

Reasons Small Businesses Fail

Not everyone who dreams of owning their own business has the knowledge and skill it takes. But even seasoned entrepreneurs aren’t guaranteed a win.

No Clear Business Plan

When you get excited about something, it’s easy to want to dive right in and get started. It isn’t simple to answer the question of why small businesses fail. Unfortunately, that motivation and enthusiasm about your new business idea will only get you so far. Business owners who do not plan adequately before launching to the public will undoubtedly suffer. And that poor planning may not come back to bite you right away – but it could spell the end of your business much sooner than you’d planned.

Before you even start becoming a legal small business owner, you should first develop a business plan. No clue where to start? There are plenty of templates available to help.

Your business plan should include:

  • A description of the business and value proposition – the clearer, the better.
  • An overview of your capital needs, including operating capital, projected cash flow, revenue stream, budgets, etc.
  • Current and future staffing needs, including management
  • Market research and competitor analysis
  • Marketing needs and initiatives
  • Broader market opportunities and threats

Make sure you have a solid grasp of your industry and competition. For the greatest chance of success, establish a sound business model and company infrastructure before building out a single product or service.

Small business owners who do not address business needs with a plan before operations start will create unnecessary challenges. Those challenges may be overcome or they could directly cause business failure.

That said, small businesses should also take the time to regularly review the initial plan and make adjustments for the future based on changing conditions.

small business coach

Lack of Funding Can be why small businesses fail

The biggest reason for business failure comes down to money. If you don’t have enough cash flow to support your business during the growth phases, you’ll eventually have to close shop.

Funding for startup companies takes many forms – from a small business loan to crowdfunding and venture capital investments. If you plan on approaching a bank to get funding for your journey as an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t skimp on business planning. Banks want to know they’ll be able to recoup their investment – and if you can’t prove how and when you’ll make money, banks won’t give it to you.

All businesses need a certain amount of cash reserves to fall back on to keep operations running while you wait for accounts receivable to come in. This won’t change as you grow. But, with the right investments and growth strategies, you’ll be able to keep enough money in the bank to keep things moving even if you hit a sales slump.

Small business owners may harm themselves with pricing. If entering a saturated market, it may be tempting to price everything low to capture the market. Doing so may get you customers, but if it means you don’t have enough revenue to generate a profit – you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Marketing Efforts Fall Short

All too often, business owners underestimate the importance of marketing initiatives. They may target the wrong customer base. They may need a bigger marketing budget to execute their marketing campaigns.

One of the most effective marketing efforts you can focus on is getting more Google My Business reviews. Data shows 97% use online media to shop locally. That means most people research your business before ever engaging with you. Your Google My Business presence works much like word of mouth. It will help your search engine optimization efforts, too.

Besides your business plan, spend some time developing a full marketing plan. Outline what you need to do and how you’ll do it. Include the money you’ll spend. Consider hiring a research firm to help ensure you’re targeting the right customers.

Inadequate Management

Another reason companies falter within the first year is that many times, the business owner is the only management staff. A business owner may have the skills to create a product or service, but could easily lack the required management skills to appropriately manage a team.

Without adequate management in place, it’s easy to mismanage crucial parts of the business – from hiring staff to marketing, or finances. A smart business owner recognizes their weaknesses and outsources those areas. Be it because they don’t have the knowledge to handle a task well or just don’t have the time to handle it correctly, effective business owners know a strong leadership team is critical to long-term business success.

Other Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail

These, of course, aren’t the only reasons a business may not make it. No one can plan for every scenario, but the more you’re aware of from the beginning, the better. Other causes include:

  • Unsustainable growth
  • Lack of data
  • Refusal to pivot when it makes sense (did you know that Nintendo and Twitter are only successful today because of the choice to pivot?)
  • Lack of understanding around today’s consumer behavior
  • Inventory mismanagement.

Protecting Your Small Business During its Vulnerable Time

Don’t let the fact that only 20% of businesses survive their first year scare you. It’s okay to start small and scale up. Focus more time and effort on the research and planning phases. Spend money wisely. Work with a small team of freelancers on a project basis, rather than hiring hourly employees and offering benefits from the start.

Where are you on your small business journey? What advice do you have for brand new entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments.

 

Author Bio:

Lucinda Honeycutt is the Head of Content for Orbit Local. She has 13 years of experience in content creation, WordPress, and SEO. When she’s not writing, she can be found binge-watching true crime TV or listening to an audiobook.small business coach

SHORT TERM GOALS WITH 37 SHORT TERM GOALS EXAMPLES

short term goals examples

Bonus Material: Learn Elon Musk’s Top 4 Short-Term Goals Before He Started Tesla.

Today I’m going to show you 1) why short-term goals are more important than you thought, 2) four tips for setting short-term goals, 3) techniques to achieve your short-term goals, 4) how to prioritize your short-term goals, and 5) thirty seven examples of short-term goals.
(Grab my write-up about how Elon Musk used four clear short-term goals to take Tesla from $0 to $30 Billion in just 7 years below.)

Then read on for help on how to set clear and effective short-term goals for your business.

Short term goals form an integral part of success in whatever you do, be it business, career, education, health, etc. They focus on goals that can be achieved within a short amount of time, usually less than a year. They are often the broken-down steps and shorter actionable tasks drawn from long-term goals.

Last week we wrote an article about long term goals. Once you think about the future and create long term goals, you want to move into the near present and create short term goals.

That said, developing and implementing short term goals effectively will bridge the time void created by long-term goals and make their achievement incredibly feasible. In this article, we will explore short term goals, what they are, why you should have them, some tips for setting and prioritizing your short term goals, as well as some short term goals examples.

What are short term goals?

As the name implies, a short term goal has to do with a short time, sooner than long-term goals. A short term goal is a statement of something you want to achieve soon. The near future can be today, this week, month, or even year. Short term goals are goals that you want to achieve soon, and the small timeline of accomplishment is the fundamental characteristic of short term goals. When the timeline of execution becomes longer, like multiple years, it becomes a long-term goal.

Goals of this nature also tend to keep your focus on the present, what you can do right now to meet your ultimate long-term goals. Short term goals help you manage your time well, and even though they might seem like small and minute steps, they steadily set you on the path of success and accomplishment of your life, career, business, etc., goals.

The distance between where you currently are and where you intend to be is bridged by short term goals. They are primarily small, short tasks, to-do’s that need to be accomplished within a short amount of time, usually not more than a year. They are made to be short intentionally, as walking steps that add up to long-term achievement.

Short term goals help to achieve bigger long-term goals. They help you set your focus and pay attention to where you’re heading, recognizing the next course of action to take and assess your progress if you’re headed in the right direction.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar for help setting effective short-term goals for your business. I’ve started every single one of my 12 businesses with a clear set of short-term goals, and everyday I help other business owners set short-term goals and create a plan of action to achieve them, regardless of what stage of growth they’re in.

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

Why are short term goals important?

Short term goals have a unique benefit to an individual and businesses.

  1. They help create effective strategies

For example, suppose you want to increase your company revenue by 30% before the end of the year. With this short term goal, there are several strategies you can implement to achieve this goal, like, invest in marketing, make decrements to price unit costs, implement seasonal promotions and discounts, etc.

Short term goals provide the platform on which to create an effective strategy for its realization. Such broken down steps and strategies are essential if you want to achieve your short term goals as it makes the process of achievement much more effortless.

  1. They help to provide quick feedback

Getting feedback is vital towards achieving your objectives, as they serve as motivation to your set short term goals. Whether positive or negative, feedback is essential, and short term goals provide the chance to get it.

By definition, short term goals require a shorter time of achievement than much broader long-term goals, and that means milestones are much easily assessed and tracked. Short term milestones help you to align your other tasks to the bigger picture. By doing so, you’ll be able to have quicker feedback in a relatively short amount of time, and this positively impacts your progress towards your long-term goals.

For example, suppose you have a short term goal to expand your customer base to 10,000 within four months, you’ll develop a viable road plan showing clear actions you’ll take to achieve your goal. Then after, say, a month, you’ll be able to tell if your plan is working or not and if you need to adopt other strategies to make it work.

Short term goals give you clear feedback within a shorter time to adjust and make improvements where necessary to achieve your set goals.

  1. They help mitigate procrastination

When you’re plagued with the evil that is procrastination, one way to beat it is to use short term goals coupled with some determination. Short term goals are, by definition, executable within a short amount of time, accurate, clear, and specific. These characteristics of short term goals significantly reduce the effort needed to achieve them compared to long-term goals. Reduced effort to achieve them lessens the need to procrastinate constantly.

This goes to increase the chances of you procrastinating. When your goals ate big, they will take up more effort to accomplish them, and that means it’ll take more for you to see their accomplishment and be motivated to accomplish them right away. So, don’t make a goal-achieving path vague; it’ll easily overwhelm you. Instead, break down your goals and reduce the chances of procrastination.

  1. They keep you focused

Achieving a long-term goal can sometimes seem unrealistic or impossible. There is also the risk you can lose focus as you work towards achieving it. You can also easily have many detours, distractions, and you may need to backtrack and refocus on the right path again. However, when you have clearly defined short term goals that are measurable, realistic, and specific, you will automatically be more focused on achieving them.

Those you know today who pull in massive income streams to their businesses didn’t achieve such feats by just focusing on the big picture (long-term goals). They pen down a clear and achievable roadmap for reaching their ultimate long-term goals and keep track of these small achievements. Achieving these short term goals will add up to reach their ultimate goal. No matter how great your long-term goals are, if you don’t know where to start and what baby steps you can set to get you there, you’ll quickly get lost in time.

Having a list of short term goals, complete with the small actions you need to take to reach those goals, helps keep you focused on your effort and attention. You’ll also not be wasting time on activities that do not foster the realization of your goals which will be a waste of time and energy. Without short term goals, it is pretty easy to get distracted and waste months of your life marking time on the same spot with little or no progress. But when you have clear goals, your eyes are kept on the prize, and you’re less likely to lose sight of what matters.

Tips for setting short term goals

When it comes to setting short term goals, there are many strategies you can use. Here are some quick tips you can use to help you set short term goals for personal or professional advancement:

Use visualization techniques

By visualization, we mean creating mental images of what you desire to achieve and be like, say in 6 months from now. With the short term goal fully visualized, you can then work backward to determine what daily steps you should take and the goals you should set to get to where you want to be. Creating these visual images will also help you fully internalize what you want and what your desires specifically are regarding the future.

Make Sure Your Goals are SMART

In writing your goals, similar to long term goals, you should ensure they align to the SMART model for better focused and more attainable short term goals:

S – Specific: be specific as you state your goal and define precisely what you want to achieve — be as specific as you possibly can.

M – Measurable: you should ensure you have a straightforward way to measure and keep track of your progress, and you move towards attaining your action items.

A – Achievable: Your goals should be attainable. What you desire should be realistically achievable, and you should carefully assess whether or not you can achieve every aspect of your short term goal.

R – Relevant: Is what you’re shooting for necessary? Is it worth working towards the goal now? How does it align with other goals you may want to achieve?

T – Time-Sensitive: for every short term goal, there should be a deadline for accomplishment, and the key is being achievable within a short amount of time, say five months. This helps you to hold yourself accountable. Whether it be a few weeks or months, if the plan is realistic, you’d surely achieve it.

Consider writing your SMART goals down to keep track of your progress. With the SMART methodology, you’ll have a clear path to realizing those short term goals in the not-so-distant future.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar for help setting effective short-term goals for your business. I’ve started every single one of my 12 businesses with a clear set of short-term goals, and everyday I help other business owners set short-term goals and create a plan of action to achieve them, regardless of what stage of growth they’re in.

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

Be specific

Drawing from the SMART methodology, including specific details, can help you define the results you want to achieve, as well as the necessary steps you need to take. Let’s take an example: suppose your short term goal is to expand your business’s customer base to 2000 in 3 weeks. You can add specific details to your near term goal, such as publishing social media ads about your product twice daily. These small actions serve as blocks that add up to birth success in your short term goals.

Make goals measurable

Let us also highlight one aspect of the SMART methodology – measurability. Measurability is the quality of your short term goals that allow you to measure and keep track of your progress. This will also help you define the results you want to achieve. Let us take the example of expanding the customer base for your business to 2000 in 3 weeks. To make this goal measurable, you can schedule a check-in where you assess the number of online customers of your products every day, as well as the number of in-person purchases made. That way, you can determine whether you’re on track with your goal or you’d need to adjust your deadline. You’ll also assess how effective the strategy you’re implementing is and where you need to focus your energies for maximum results.

Make your goals achievable

If you set unrealistic goals that you cannot attain, your lack of progress will negatively affect your confidence and motivation. Your goals must be achievable and feasibly possible, as they’d keep you motivated to work towards attaining them.

But there’s a catch; just because your goals are attainable doesn’t mean they are straightforward. Your short term goals may be challenging, but once they are possible to attain, even after hard work, then you can encourage yourself to push through the pain to develop that new skill or meet that business expectation, etc., and boost your confidence even further.

Identify challenges

There’s no achievement without challenges that come along. As such, you should carefully identify and factor in any challenges you may encounter as you pursue your goals. As you identify and understand these challenges before time, you can begin to draw up plans and strategies to overcome or avoid them. This will help maintain your progress because if these same challenges arose unexpectedly, they could throw you off track and even set in discouragement.

Technique to Achieve Your Short term Goal

Having developed your goals, there is the matter of actually achieving them. Here are some tips you can apply to ensure your goals don’t end up as written-down facts but are attained.

Write down your goals.

It is important to pen down your. Documenting them will serve as a reminder and allow you to track your progress. Many people make the mistake of keeping their goals in their brains, convincing themselves they won’t forget. The reality is, your goals don’t carry as much weight written down as they do in your mind. So, pen it down and have it as a reference to keep you focused on achieving them.

Focus on one short term goal

While it is ok to have multiple goals, you shouldn’t have many goals you focus on at a particular time. It is essential to focus on one short term goal or a group of similar short term goals at a time. After all, by definition, short term goals require a short amount of time to accomplish, so you can progressively move from one goal to another only upon completion or when they are similar and can be carried on concomitantly. By doing so, you’d achieve faster than toggling multiple short term goals at once, which can become distracting, and the result is your failure to achieve any. The solution may be $2,000 bad credit loans with guaranteed approval decisions that allow you to cover financial short-term goals when you have credit issues.

Develop a List of Milestones

You must identify any important milestones and benchmarks that can serve as indicators when you’re closer to success. Your milestones shouldn’t be so many and should take a relatively short amount of time than the short term goals you’ve set. They should, however, still require some effort to achieve.

Let’s take a short term goal example of incorporating and running social media marketing in 2 months. Here’s a sample list of milestones you can have:

Goal: Incorporating and running social media marketing in 2 months

Milestone #1: Setup suitable social media accounts for the business

Milestone #2: Create two ads daily for the business

Milestone #3: Develop a hashtag for your product

Milestone #4: Create conversation threads about your product on social media, etc.

Create Step-Wise Actions

Once you’ve set your milestones, you then need to break them down again into minimal baby steps you can take towards achieving your short term goals. And the good thing here is, it doesn’t need to be overly complex or a giant leap that’ll last hours daily. Your daily steps are more minor actions. These small steps or tasks can be as small as 10 minutes that sum up your short term goals.

Sticking with the example of incorporating and running social media marketing in 2 months, here are some possible small tasks steps to consider:

Milestone: Setup suitable social media accounts for the business

Daily Step #1: Choose the social media platform(s) to use

Daily Step #2: Research the most suitable type of account(s) to create

Daily Step #3: Create social media account(s)

Daily Step #4: Create a catchy backstory of your business for your social media page, etc.

You can also put the daily tasks into your calendar or to-do list to not miss any tasks.

Share your goals with others

One tip to achieving your short term goals is holding yourself accountable to others. You can share your goals with someone else, like a trusted friend, family member, or colleague. This will promote accountability and push you to be focused on achieving those goals, and you’ll have someone to answer to if you don’t.  Depending on your goals, these individuals may even be able to help you achieve them by providing opportunities, advice, encouragement, or support to keep you moving forward.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar for help setting effective short-term goals for your business. I’ve started every single one of my 12 businesses with a clear set of short-term goals, and everyday I help other business owners set short-term goals and create a plan of action to achieve them, regardless of what stage of growth they’re in.

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

short term goals examples

How to prioritize goals

Having multiple short term goals is commonplace, and to avoid unproductive multitasking, it is essential to prioritize your goals, choosing which to do first and which to do next.

Here are a few steps you can apply to prioritize your short term goals.

  1. List your goals

The first step is to list out all your short term goals. This will lay it all out for you to quickly choose which short term goals to start up with and identify any dependencies that may exist amongst goals.

  1. Tick the most important goals

Having listed out all your goals, the next step is to tick the goals you consider the most important to you. While the definition of “important” may vary from person to person, you generally want to select the most beneficial goals to your life at this point.

  1. Assess the timelines

Having selected the most important goals for your life at this time, the next step is to determine when you would like to achieve your goals. You may, for example, have a short term goal of learning about marketing trends in two weeks for your business. Determining the timeline to each goal will help you identify the goals you should start working on right away and the ones you can push forward to some later time. And as a pro tip, be sure to set realistic timelines for each short term goal so that you don’t set yourself on an impossible task.

  1. Choose which short term goals to focus on right away

Having selected the short term goals that are important to you and assigned realistic timelines to each, you can now use this information to prioritize your goals. For example, goals with a high degree of importance and short achievable timelines can have a greater priority.  And as a pro tip, try not to start working toward another goal on your list until you have completed the initial goal with the greater priority, except there is a dependency relationship. The completion of an earlier task requires the commencement or completion of a later task.

  1. Make changes as needed

Having prioritized your goals, it is vital to keep in mind that your priorities can change with time. So, don’t get rigid. Be flexible enough to make any necessary changes to your prioritized goals as needed. For example, you may have had a short term priority goal to improve business productivity within two months. But then, after assessing the reviews from customers and you discovered lapses in your customer service, you may then set a new priority towards improving your customer service within a month or so. Improving your business productivity would now matter less as you’d need to focus on your customer service to ensure you don’t lose your existing customers.

Short term Goals Examples

Business Short term Goals Examples

  •         Begin an “Employee of the Month” award program.
  •         Create a profile on a new social media channel.
  •         Create an employee incentive program
  •         Develop a new product
  •         Gain several new customers
  •         Hire three new marketing employees
  •         Host giveaway programs
  •         Implement monthly giveaways for customers on social media.
  •         Improve business productivity
  •         Improve your customer service
  •         Incorporate SMART goals
  •         Incorporate social media marketing
  •         Increase business revenue
  •         Increase product prices by 3%
  •         Increase social media posting to three times a week.
  •         Increase traffic on your company’s blog.
  •         Learn about market trends
  •         Reduce business overheads
  •         Select a charity to begin sponsoring.
  •         Setup television advertisements

Career Short term Goals Examples

  •         Attend networking events
  •         Develop confidence
  •         Focus on the next step
  •         Get a professional certification
  •         Get Early to Work
  •         Get feedback on your work
  •         Improve your communication skills
  •         Organize your workstation
  •         Remove Procrastination

Financial Short term Goals

  •         Create multiple income streams
  •         Eliminate Your Credit Card Debt
  •         Reduce your monthly expenses
  •         Track your monthly budget

Study Short term Goals

  •         Build your ability to take notes in lectures
  •         Know your professor
  •         Spend less time on TV
  •         Spend your free time in the library
  •         Submit your assignments a week before the deadline

Summary

So there you have it. Here’s the article on long-term goals.

Do you have any ideas that we overlooked? If so, comment below

Are You Ready To Set Your Short-Term Goals?

Have you lost site of what to do next in your business? Every business owner goes through it. Sometimes it’s helpful to take cues from the world’s best business builders and see that clear, simplified goals in alignment with your strategy and values can be the best place to start.

If you want to see how one of today’s most famous entrepreneurs used short-term goals to build a $30 billion in just seven years, click the button below:

Want Personal Help Setting Short-Term Goals For Your Business?

Every business owner hits a point of burn out or overwhelm where they lose site of how to get where they want to go.

But buckling down and working harder only gets you so far, because there are only 24 hours in a day.

I remember the moment – 8 years into my first business – when I was at my limit and didn’t know where to go next with my business. Then my partner and I discovered the way out – someone who could help us take a step back, analyze our business, and set and prioritize realistic goals.

Finding someone who could help us with goal-setting, planning, overall strategy and regular accountability allowed us to give ourselves raises in under a year.

The right coach can help you set goals, add more profit to your bottom line, free up time on your calendar, and systematize your business so your team performs the right way every time. 

SCHEDULE 30 MINUTES ON MY CALENDAR NOW

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

How to Hack The Way Towards Thriving Remotely

thriving remotely

Thriving remotely is becoming the norm for some companies. The COVID-19 pandemic birthed a lock down that forced everyone to stay indoors for their safety and the safety of the environment at large. To prevent the spread of the virus, everyone had to stay indoors, and since the virus did not give the world any warning, the lock down forced many companies to move from the conventional office setting to a remote environment.

Some workers were used to working from home; however, many people were not familiar with work remotely. The impromptu call for change did not allow companies to do proper planning or to give their staff adequate training. What this means is that workers have to change or adjust their habits to perform their official duties and since most people are not used to working remotely, it is germane that workers are educated on how to hack the way towards thriving remotely.

Here are five keys to thriving remotely

  • Have a Schedule:

As a remote worker, you need to set working hours for yourself. You do not have to work throughout the whole day. Have resumption and closing times like you did before you started working remotely. Be faithful to these times. Flexibility is one of the greatest strengths of any remote worker, this means that your resumption and closing times can change from time to time.

If you have a hard time staying faithful to your work hours because you are at home or in a co-working space, certain applications let you track the time that you spend using applications. These applications can also help you find out the time of the day when you are at your peak and you can schedule your work hours around that time so you can be productive.

  • Create a Trigger:

It is usually hard for some people to get into work mode. To help you overcome this, you should create something that will trigger the work mode in you. You must do this over time so that becomes more like a habit. It could be that you brew a cup of coffee and that will be what triggers the work mode in you. It could be that you begin work after a morning walk or after breakfast. Whichever activity you choose to do before work, repeat it daily so that you get used to it over time.

  • Talk to People Around You:

You need to talk to the people around you, that is, your family members if you are working from home or co-workers if you are working with other adults. You need to agree on what to and what not to do during your work hours. Setting ground rules will help you to avoid distractions from people that share the same space with you. If you have children, they need to know that while you are working, they cannot be making noise or playing around. You can make them read or give them something to do during this time. If you are working with another adult or other adults, you need to agree on how to share the space – when each person gets to use the chair and desks if they are limited.

small business coach

  • Schedule Breaks:

Just as it was when you were going to your office, you need to take breaks during your remote work hours. You can take the breaks the way you used to do it at work, or you can be flexible with it. If you are self-employed, give yourself time away from your computer and phone. If your work causes you to sit at your computer for a long while, you need to get up to take a walk at least once an hour. This will help blood circulate your body and also help you look away from the computer screen.

  • Make Requests:

Your company should provide support in making sure that you have all that you need to ensure that you are productive if the company supports that you should work from home. For this, make sure that you always ask when you need something. Since you are working remotely, you will need information or documents from other members of staff from time to time. The company can lecture staff on how to send large files so that they can always help each other out.

Many companies seek training, consulting, and coaching services such as ones offered by CareerStone Group in order to establish successful workplaces. If you see it necessary, you should ask your employer to utilize something similar so that you get more productive in the new work model.

Summary

Thriving remotely requires that you be disciplined and dedicated. Since you are at home, there is the tendency to feel comfortable and unmotivated to work. Also, you might have troubles with your work files getting mixed up with personal files in your system.

It will do you much good to teach your mind when it is time to work and when it is time for personal stuff. You can partition your hard drive into two for work and personal use. You can also dedicate a particular chair and table in the house for work so that whenever you are on the chair, your brain and body know that it is time to work. Check out this article on developing relationships remotely.

 

small business coach

How To Create a Brand

create a brand

Many business owners don’t know how to create a brand and don’t have money to hire a professional. But when setting foot in the world of marketing and business, the first thing you will encounter is the concept of the brand. A brand is essentially the identity and lifeblood of your business. It is what consumers will come to know you by. Without a brand, you will have a hard time putting your creation out into the world.

Through this step-by-step process, you will become familiar with how to form your brand. By utilizing these tips, your high-quality business will start seeing excellent results in a short amount of time. For a more in-depth look at each of these tips and more, check out Active Marketing’s information here.

Here are 10 Easy Tips to Create a Brand

Establish Where You Came From

Your establishment’s history plays a big part in defining who you are. Through defining the way that you got here, you can come to terms with who you are and what your company exists to do. Knowing this factor can help you to better serve any customers that come your way.

Some items that you should know include when you create a brand:

  • Information about the creation of the company, including how and why it was made
  • Content about the founders
  • Items that happened along the way that posed as steppingstones and hurdles
  • The status of the business

Once you have these, you have created a foundation for your business. From here, you can build up your brand with more information based on what your company is, does, and wants to be.

Find Your Vision

Your vision is a statement that tells everybody what your plans are for the company going forward. It should show where everyone should strive to be as you serve customers and employees.

Creating a vision statement might seem daunting, but it is not that difficult now that you’ve laid your foundation.  When writing, you can take into mind:

  • Both big and small picture goals
  • Your present situation and how you can get to a future goal
  • The successes you have had and plan to have
  • That it needs to be brief to get your point across
  • That you should declare, avoiding words that raise a question such as “desire”

Your vision statement will be a part of the brand you create as it grows. It lets customers and employees see the kind of brand that you have created and encourages them to stick around for what is to come.

Moreover, it is a statement of hope for even the newest of brands that you created.

Create a Brand that Aligns With Your Mission

Your mission might sound like your vision statement, but it is different in a few critical ways. Your mission statement lets the world know who you are. It tells them what you do and where you do it.

To create your mission statement, you should consider:

  • Your company’s purpose
  • The business ventures that you embark on
  • The values that you hold near and dear every single day

You can combine all these items into one powerful sentence to create your very own mission statement. It will help drive your values in the business that you conduct, and even increase morale among those that work for you.

Formulate Your Values

What are the values that your company holds at its core? Having a set of values will assist your company in making relationships with clients and employees alike. Values can set your company apart from others and help people to be clear on who and what you are.

When making up your values, you should consider:

  • The way that you want to be perceived
  • The needs of your clients or customers
  • The competition you have in your field
  • Unique services you may have those others lack

By taking into consideration all these items, you will be able to discover your values without issue. All it takes is knowing what you stand for as a company.

Shape Your Brand Personality

A personality is what will draw people to your brand. It gives a human voice to an otherwise faceless company, creating a way for your customers to react and relate to the products that you provide.

A brand personality can be something such as:

  • Trendy
  • Honest
  • Tough
  • Intelligent

It is up to you to pick a brand personality based on your clients, your product, and who you intend to attract. Don’t pick a personality that is the sole opposite of your values and what you stand for.

Define Your Voice of the Brand You Create

Your voice goes along with the personality of your brand. You want to find a way to speak to the customers you attract in a way that is genuine and personable. It should set you apart from those that are trying to compete with you.

Find your voice by answering basic questions in a way that you believe sounds right for your company. Decide whether you are formal or informal, funny or serious, bold or emotional. There’s a whole world of options that you can choose from to make your brand unique.

Take Note of Typography

Believe it or not, typography can impact the way that your brand is perceived. It often affects the subconscious of the viewer, pushing them to either take in the message that you are trying to give or convincing them to walk away.

The typography that you use should match your voice. Some of the most critical elements include:

  • The font styles
  • The size
  • The color
  • The capitalization used
  • Anything that is bolded or italicized

Take care to make sure that the typography you use matches the voice you have chosen. A mismatched set can confuse customers on what your brand voice is.

Remember the Colors

Colors can be a vital part of giving a brand to your company. The more attractive they are, the more likely a potential customer will investigate your company further. If you choose bad colors, they won’t be as intrigued to keep clicking or reading.

Like the typography, your colors should match your voice and tone. Look at an established brand to see how they incorporate emotion into their use of color to target their audience and make use of their company values.

Incorporate Good Photography

If you use photography for your company, you should make sure that it is of high quality. Nothing says unexperienced like grainy images on the front page of a website. For your brand to come off as professional, you should take the time to gather great images.

When picking them, you should examine:

  • The emotion that they produce
  • If they show what your company does
  • If they show your goods and services

If they fit all these criteria, they’re good for your brand. Pick photos in a similar style to give a sense of cohesion to the company you own.

Use a Memorable Logo

A logo is a critical part of your brand. It needs to be created in a way that is effective enough for people to recognize it instantly without any description. As your brand grows, the logo will gain more and more power in the marketing world.

A great logo should have a few important features. Some of these include:

  • Timelessness, so that your logo does not become outdated as time continues to press forward
  • Personification, as it should bring your brand to life with the personality it demonstrates
  • Versatility, as it should be able to be displayed in multiple formats
  • Simplicity, as this makes it easy to remember

The logo should come last so that you can incorporate your values and other items into its construction. The finished product should be a powerful image of your brand. Once you have that, you are set to put yourself out into the world. You know exactly who you and your company are. Here’s another post about questions to ask when you’re developing your brand.small business coach

COMMUNICATION STYLES

communication styles

Thinking about communication styles, communication forms the backbone of human interactions, and its mastery gives its master the keys to unlocking the doors to meaningful connections. To achieve this, it is important to understand communication styles and where best to apply them for effective communication.

In this article, we will be looking at communication styles, the four main types, and some tricks to becoming a better communicator.

But before we get into it, it’s essential to ask, who is an effective communicator anyway?

Who is an effective communicator?

An effective communicator can convey a message thoroughly and is concurrently responsive and receptive to other’s input.

Effective communicators speak clearly, directly, and with plain and easily understandable language. Effective communicators are usually open to the suggestions of others.

Some common characteristics of effective communicators include:

They contribute actively to their workplace

Effective communicators are mostly central to work operations as they know the company’s objectives and are equipped with new communication styles to function. They are also good listeners and know when to take direction from other’s suggestions.

Others trust them

Being effective communicators mean they speak honestly, listen attentively, and usually the go-to individuals for advice. They are great conversationalists because they value the input of others.

They express themselves freely

Individuals with effective communication skills have a good understanding of the necessity to be direct and honest in their ideas and opinions. And even when they disagree with others, they remain respectful of other team members.

They have their communication style

Effective communicators ensure their input is memorable, such that listeners are more likely to remember their ideas and opinions. To achieve this, they make use of communication styles that suit the situation. Communication styles include such aspects as inflections in speech, body posture, humor, etc.

They can make complex topics simple

The ability of effective communicators to make complex topics appear simple to enhance understanding in their listeners. Irrespective of the field of study, nature of the idea, or complexity of the concept, effective communicators know how to make it simple for the unlearned in that particular field to comprehend.

assertive communication

What are Communication Styles?

The various ways people communicate with others are termed communication styles, and there are four principal types of communication styles: passive, passive-aggressive, aggressive, and assertive communication styles.

Having a perfect understanding of the various communication styles can enable you to develop better relationships and improve existing ones. Your ability to connect with others will define your ability to navigate through difficult conversations.

Sometimes, our communication seems to work flawlessly and, at other times, may fail woefully. Communication breakdown happens as a result of patterns and habits stemmed from our communication that may get in the way. These habits are what we refer to as communication styles.

Now, suppose you’re working to be a better leader in exhibiting pristine leadership qualities. In that case, enhanced communication skills are topmost on your bucket list as they can shape the atmosphere in your work environment. Better communication also means a better cultural environment at home, the office, school, and the community.

So, what are the four primary communication styles? Read on to find out in this article.

The Relationship Between Communication styles and Connection

Our communication styles can help us build meaningful connections. Why are connections important? Because they are a crucial necessity for success at any venture in life. Some reasons why meaningful connections are essential include:

  • Our physical and mental health depends a great deal on the types of connections we have. Solid and stable connections will positively impact our well-being, while poor social connections will negatively imprint.
  • People with meaningful interpersonal connections with others are less likely to fall into depression and anxiety
  • People with strong and meaningful connections are more likely to live longer than those with more poor connections.
  • Our ability to communicate effectively and connect with others can positively affect career success and performance at work.
  • Our ability to connect with others creates a stable and healthy family environment.

Creating a connection requires sustained conversation, and sometimes conversations can go so south. We may say some things that suddenly push people away or changes the atmosphere from warm and loving to hostile or even awkward. At other times, the conversation can almost seem like you waved a magic wand. With everything going effortlessly well, with clear understanding and respect in the conversation, such instances are bound to create lasting connections.

Life is about connecting with others. As the saying goes, you can’t live out as an island. Meaningful connections, when rightly achieved, can make life brighter and more fulfilling.

group talking

Behavior Traits and How They Influence Communication Styles

As we interact with others, science fields like Social and Neuro-sciences have shed more light on what exactly goes on:

  • The behavior patterns people exhibit become more stable over time.
  • People develop impressions about others based on verbal and nonverbal behaviors.
  • Their perceptions of others determine the behavior patterns people exhibit towards others.
  • Assertiveness and responsiveness; are the most critical dimensions of human behavior.

Over time, our seemingly scattered behavioral patterns become habitual and may not always reflect our ever-evolving thoughts and emotions. As such, what we say may not always be exactly what we mean.

Our communication may sometimes give others a wrong impression about us or what we’re trying to communicate. These all impact how others perceive us and respond to our interactions.

Likewise, our interactions and habitual behaviors are sometimes misjudged by others who fail to understand what we’re trying to convey. This will always lead to misunderstandings, and it can be pretty frequent.

To solve this, we must understand the different communication skills and the best style suitable for specific scenarios.

The Four Main Types of Communication Styles

People develop behavioral patterns, verbal and nonverbal, which become habits that can influence how we communicate.

Generally, the main communication styles that people use are:

  • Passive
  • Aggressive
  • Passive-aggressive
  • Assertive

Passive Communication Style

Those who use the passive communication style usually have a hard time expressing themselves and often give in to others. Such lapses in communicating with others will often lead to misunderstandings, miscommunication, and built-up resentment.

The passive communication style has some characteristics that often give away its users:

  • Difficulty in making eye contact
  • Inability to refuse demands or requests, to say “no.”
  • Go with the flow type attitude
  • Poor posture

Passive communicators often use phrases like:

  • “It doesn’t matter that much.”
  • “It isn’t a big deal.”
  • “I just want everyone to get along.”

aggressive communication

Aggressive Communication Style

On the extreme polar end of the passive communication style is the aggressive communication style. Aggressive communicators usually tend to dominate conversations. They often are bossy, issuing commands and asking questions rudely while failing to listen to others.

Aggressive communication style users can be selfish, making things all about them. Those in authority using this communication style are more of bosses than leaders.

Aggressive communication style users have some traits in common:

  • They talk over others
  • Poor listeners frequently interrupt others.
  • Controlling or demanding
  • Point fingers often
  • They use intense stares and glares
  • They often frown
  • Criticize, intimidate or even threaten others

Some phrases associate with this type of communication style include:

  • “It’s my way or the highway.”
  • “I can’t be wrong. I’m right, and you’re wrong.”
  • “Because I said so.”
  • “I’m the boss.”

Passive-Aggressive Communication Style

A Passive-aggressive communication style blend that appears passive superficially but with underlying resentment expressed in more subtle and indirect ways is called the Passive-Aggressive communication style.

Here’s how you can identify the passive-aggressive communication style, as its users have the following characteristics:

  • They use frequent sarcasm
  • Their words don’t often align with actions
  • Facial expressions and spoken words are often a mismatch
  • They have difficulty acknowledging emotions

Some phrases that give away passive-aggressive communication style include:

  • “Fine, whatever.”
  • After saying something rude, sarcastic, or severely damaging, “I was only joking.”

Assertive Communication Style

The assertive communication style provides the most effective and healthy way to express yourself. This style is a proponent of open and honest dialogue, taking into consideration the needs of others.

The assertive communication style has some associated vital behaviors:

  • The ability to confidently express desires and needs
  • Encourages balance in conversations in which every participant has a chance to speak
  • The unashamed use of “I” statements (ex: I feel worried when others fail to respond to my messages.)
  • The ability to say “no.”
  • Healthy maintenance of good eye contact

You may recognize the assertive communication style through phrases like:

  • “I am responsible for my happiness.”
  • “I respect the opinions and expectations of others.”
  • “We all have the right to self-expression honestly and respectfully.”

So far, you can quickly tell why the passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive communication styles can cause problems when building genuine connections and interactions with others. The failure of the aggressive communication style to listen to others, the failure of the passive-aggressive communication style in shying away from any conflict, and the fear of expressing oneself as is the setback of the passive communication style greatly hinder communication and connection building with others.

Communication styles are fluid, and most often, more than one style can be applied by the same individual. You may rely on a passive communication style with family members and take up more aggressive approaches at work with colleagues. Communication styles can also change over time as we grow and learn from the experiences of life.

communicaton styles family

Which type of communication style to use

From all this, it is essential to point out that words may not always have the intended impact thereof, and it takes a great deal of skill and practice to have the desired impact. Such skills can be learned and improved upon.

The assertive communication style thrives in an atmosphere that requires both the listen and the speaker to express themselves respectively and openly. Such a communication style requires an open, honest and direct speech, without any aggression.

Here are some tricks to better your conversations with more assertive communication:

  • Express needs and wants with confidence
  • Be confident to use “I” statements
  • Sustain comfortable eye contact
  • Be apt to listen when the other person is speaking
  • Learn how to say “no.”

I’ll like to mention here that it helps to know the various communication styles to quickly recognize your dialogue partner’s communication style. This knowledge will enable you better decode what the person is trying to communicate, thus reducing the risks of misunderstanding in communication. Such knowledge will also enable you to know how to respond better.

Words often fail to describe our complex emotions and dynamic thought patterns accurately. Words often try to quantify abstract and intangible things. We ascribe meaning to the words, the sequence, and the timing to describe what stirs within us. But then, our inner feelings, perceptions, processing, attitudes, and others remain invisible.

Understanding these concepts is difficult, let alone trying to express them clearly. That’s why self-awareness is crucial. You must have an intimate knowledge of yourself before you can even begin to express what you think and feel to others. For this, various self-assessment and personality indicator tools like the DISC profile exist to help you know yourself.

DISC

The DISC Model

The first level of distinction with regards to determining your communication style is deciphering how you make decisions.  The DISC Model provides an unbiased personality assessment tool for assessing human behavioral patterns.

The DISC model consists of four quadrants:

  • Dominance/Driver: This quadrant emphasizes results and the bottom line.
  • Influence/Inspirational: This emphasizes relationships and one’s influence on others.
  • Steadiness: This quadrant emphasizes cooperation, honesty, and reliability.
  • Conscientiousness/Contemplative: This emphasizes competence, quality, and one’s expertise.

The DISC profile assessment tool unveils a great deal about yourself. Your social results reveal your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for greatness. This can help identify your biases, blind spots, and unfulfilled needs, often reflecting lousy behavior.

Communication style assessment tools help you develop self-awareness, an essential aspect of ineffective communication, and developing healthy connections.

DISC

The Relationship Between Communication Style and Success

Pristine communication and success go hand-in-hand.

When we think of a successful person, two fundamental characteristics quickly come to mind. First, successful people have a sense of comfort with themselves and a high degree of self-awareness. Such confidence also reflects in their sense of purpose in life.

Second, successful people have good communication skills. They have an effortless time relating with other people and can quickly connect, set other people at ease, and communicate in such openness, inspiring trust in the conversation.

Having understood the four primary communication styles, it is imperative to develop self-awareness and unveil your personal needs and behavioral tendencies. This will allow you to employ an assertive communication style with confidence.

Without communication, you can’t achieve your goals in life, be it in business, family, health, or finances. Until you learn to communicate effectively, you’d always fall short of your expectations. Effective communication doesn’t mean dominating in a conversation or being the loudest voice heard, having the last say, or avoiding conflicts. Effective communication is all about understanding your needs and how to effectively express those needs while simultaneously valuing the input of others.

How to be an effective communicator

  1. Know your purpose

There are different types of speech, like persuasive, informative, instructive, etc., knowing the purpose for communication helps to be effective. Having the intended purpose for communication goes a long way towards ensuring efficiency in communication.

  1. Identify your audience

Knowing who you’re addressing is the next step to stepping up your communication game to the level of effectiveness. You should know who you’re talking to choose the communication styles better to use. Communication hinges on several factors like age, social status of the audience, etc. As such, the type of audience would declare the communication approach to employ.

  1. Have a plan

If you intend to engage the audience as you communicate, it’s vital to have a plan. Anticipate any possible reactions from what you’re going to say and how you’d react thus comments. You should anticipate some reactions and prepare beforehand how to address those concerns.

  1. Listen actively

When you can listen attentively to what others are saying, you can better comment on what is being said. As such, it is essential to maintain proper posture in listening and eye contact and minimize movements. Also, you should periodically make gestures that indicate you’re following up on what is being said, including some verbal expressions.

  1. Be clear in your speech

Several factors go into being clear in your speech, such as your tone, volume, and pacing when it comes to effective communication. Ensure that your tone is appropriate for the audience; be formal when it calls for it and be casual when it’s appropriate. When it comes to volume, this depends on the number of people you’re addressing and the distance separating you from them. For a larger audience, a louder volume is expected than a few individuals in a room. Also, be sure to use a sufficient pace for the audience to understand what you’re saying.

  1. Use appropriate body language

Communication goes beyond the words we speak but encapsulates our body language. As such, it is crucial to regulate such aspects as body posture when standing or sitting. Also, maintain eye contact when communicating with a smaller group of persons and avoid any forms of distractions, especially from your phone, except in emergencies.

  1. Be approachable

Effective communicators don’t only keep up good skills in sustaining conversations but ate approachable for new conversational threads. Their ability to listen to others’ inputs makes them more open to conversation, encouraging their audience to step upo with new ideas, suggestions, and corrections, knowing such input would not be overlooked.

  1. Avoid uncontrolled emotion

Emotion can sometimes spill into communication, especially when, for example, you’re speaking about something you’re genuinely passionate about, and it’s easy for those emotions to affect your communication. Generally, it is safe to avoid such emotions as anger or frustration in your communication, especially in a formal setting. Be objective in presenting that viewpoint, as it would allow the audience to process your ideas objectively and find more appropriate ways to respond.

  1. Avoid Interrupting others

In conversation, there is an appropriate time to respond and an appropriate time to listen attentively. Effective communicators know when to respond and when to stay mute. It is imperative to allow others to air their minds before you present your viewpoint. This shows you’re respectful of the other’s opinions and are considering them.

 To wrap things up

Investing to better your communication can change your life. So, take conscious steps today to improve relationships and build trust as you create meaningful connections with others. Here’s a great blog post on using effective communication styles to run team meetings.

small business coach

 

Reading Minds: How to Boost Your Email Conversion Rate

email and analytics

Email and analytics are cornerstones of marketing, but, as is often the case with strategies considered “obsolete,” laypeople tend to overlook the strength of email marketing. As one of the first significant marketing trends in the digital age, email marketing gave rise to just about every other form of campaigning before the social media takeover.

Today, the numbers for email marketing continue to validate its value as a marketing method that can reach countless qualified leads.

  • 293.6 billion emails are received every day, with 52% of responders saying that email is their primary communication method.
  • Most professionals (86%) will give communications priority to email, and analytics show that the average open rate for emails was 22.5%, with a click-through rate of 3.43%.
  • 89% of marketers prefer this method of lead generation, and 47% of marketers find that this method is the most effective means of marketing to potential and existing customers.
  • Email marketing is so potent that it can deliver up to 4,200% ROI. It’s also 40% superior when it comes to bringing in conversions.
  • And most of all, customers are more loyal through email newsletters, with 37% of respondents saying that it’s effective in building brand loyalty, retention, and purchase influences.

How to Boost Email Conversion Rate Using Predictive Analytics

There are numerous ways to get utility out of email, and analytics data is one of them. From getting an IP lookup through email to gathering your audience’s demographics—there’s a lot to be gleaned from information in your email campaign.

But why is it crucial to be able to gather data from your campaign? It’s not just about analytics: it’s about getting the factors and data for predictive analytics. This makes all the difference when trying to determine interest in products and services. This includes the potential direction of your marketing campaign in its entirety.

Understanding the Power of Predictive Analytics

Marketers know that if they need customer data, they can get that information from the email. And analytics uses that data to create models for customer personas, see buying trends, and discover interests. This is referred to as predictive marketing, a more efficient way of selling to customers and improving conversions. Predictive analytics does all of this and more, utilizing the power of machine learning to make computations beyond human capability.

By strict definition, predictive analytics is the use of statistical algorithms on user data. With machine learning technology, the algorithms can predict future outcomes based on existing historical data. AI and machine learning can show marketers what trends are forthcoming and what customers are likely to be purchasing next. Essentially, it’s user information from email and analytics for predictive marketing but performed on an exponential scale.

The use of AI and machine learning for analytics has steadily been on the rise, but in recent times, more so in marketing. This is because marketers have a lot easier access to customer data in large quantities. Furthermore, what was once inaccessible technology is now more widely available in the form of automation tools. Algorithms have also become far more sophisticated. And finally, cloud computing has made it so that even marketers can access the greater computing power needed to make predictive analytics work.

Currently, there are five major predictive analytics applications used for marketing purposes:

Predictive Modeling for Customer Behavior

This one goes beyond just email and analytics. Predictive modeling is used by large “shopping mall” type of companies such as Amazon and eBay. Often, it’s a way to create predictive models about their customers and determine which customers are more likely to purchase specific items. This can even predict the likelihood that they’ll make a particular purchase.

Qualifying and Prioritizing Leads

Analytics can also enable marketers to “filter out” leads who are most likely to be interested and make a purchase (and therefore improve conversion). Through predictive scoring, identification models, and automated segmentation, marketers can prioritize the most qualified leads. They can approach them, for example, with a personalized email, and analytics proves that these leads will be the most responsive.

Introducing Products and Services

One of the great things about predictive analytics is that it can help companies reduce production costs and determine what customers are looking for. This allows companies to figure out which products and services to introduce to the market. It reduces the risk of losses, wasted resources and improves production chain management.

Timely Content

It’s not just products and services that become timely; the customers’ needs can be addressed at the right time. Customers gravitate towards a positive user experience, such as being alerted through email of a new product that they need. And analytics show that customers are more likely to make a purchase when alerted about it through personalized communication like this.

Successful Marketing Strategies

Through the use of predictive analytics, marketers gain valuable insight that helps them plan their upcoming strategies. Analytics use internal structured data, social media data, and behavior scoring in customer data. All these data are used to figure out if a marketing campaign would be successful in one platform or another or if it’s suitable to a specific demographic of the target audience (such as the predictive models mentioned previously).

There’s a reason that predictive analytics has recently gained steam among marketers: it lets them create more personalized and relevant campaigns and messages for their target audience. It gives them access to information that allows them to reach an even more comprehensive range of demographics. It produces better business decisions and metrics. And most of all, it ensures a better overall customer experience that leads to brand retention and customer loyalty.

And when you combine the power of email and analytics, things only get even better.

email and analytics

Give Your Email Campaigns a Big Boost Through Predictive Analytics

Email isn’t just a tool that marketers can use to gather data that powers predictive analytics. It’s also an instrument to put what predictive analytics has learned into action. Email is 40% more effective when it comes to getting new customers—that’s more than Facebook and Twitter combined. And when used with knowledge gleaned from predictive analytics, marketers can create better, more distinctly personalized, targeted campaigns to make emails even more effective.

Determine your potential customers’ purchase intent.

A great thing about analytics is that it uses AI and machine learning to determine how a customer will make a specific purchase. For example, predictive analytics can identify that one particular customer group is likely to be interested in a new product. Then, marketers can disburse a targeted campaign about that product through email. And analytics will show if these customers will make the purchase and convert with just a gentle nudge.

Narrow down a user’s preferred category.

Another use for predictive analytics is to study your customers’ purchase history. The algorithms take this information into account and look for purchasing trends and habits that indicate if they have a preferred category to shop in.

This sort of analysis is helpful for eCommerce sites that want to send tailored campaigns to their users. A specific user might often shop in the sports department and has a high purchase rate from the category—this opens the opportunity to send an email about a discount or free shipping for items in that section.

Upselling and cross-selling to customers.

For upselling and cross-selling purposes, email and analytics are a godsend. Using the analytics, marketers can now use email to cross-sell to them by recommending certain items that the AI suggests they are most likely to purchase.

For example, a customer makes a swimwear purchase on the website. The analytics may provide insight that they are likely to go on a trip and require other swimming items such as a snorkel, beach shoes, or goggles. It keeps marketers one step ahead of the apparent trends and actively anticipates customers’ needs.

Offering personalized content to users.

Customizing email and analytics aren’t just for selling to customers: it’s also great for improving their experience on your website. This is a method that sites like Netflix and Spotify use to cater to their customers’ interests. Based on what analytics have determined as their interests, a user might see different content on the site than others. Analytics can help you make sure that when your customers come to your website, they see content that they are interested in. It keeps them on the site longer and improves their user experience.

Build customer retention and keep them active.

Using email and analytics for customer retention involves tracking customer behavior as they interact with your website. Predictive analytics tell you how a customer thinks as they browse through the website. And you can use this knowledge for retention by sending an email to remind them if they’ve left anything in their cart. It also keeps them active by making them frequent buyers; if analytics say they have made a specific amount of purchases, you could send a marketing email to them that lets them know they get a loyalty reward such as a promo code.

Create follow-up emails.

To expand on the previous point: email and analytics go hand-in-hand when adapting to customers’ shifting moods. By collecting customer data on their past purchases, site movement, and interests, machine learning can also determine if they are losing interest or are likely to make a comeback with the right incentive.

The correct follow-up email urging them, for example, to check out through a discount can help you close the sale and improve conversion. Furthermore, custom emails with more items that might interest them, as shown by the analysis, may make them want to add more things to the cart, thus increasing sales.

Prompt them to re-engage through something new.

Another effective tactic in email and analytics is to bring back leads that may have been “lost.” If the data shows that the customer has lost interest or hasn’t made a purchase in a long time, predictive analytics can figure out what could bring them back.

Looking into previous browsing and purchase history, the team can introduce a product or a service that will appeal to their interest. It may solve the problem that the other items were not able to address. Not only will this allow you to manage the customer’s needs better, but it also anticipates them and reminds customers that you have something to offer for them. It makes them re-engage and renews their interest.

Final words

Predictive analytics, inherently, is not a new concept. In terms of marketing, people have been trying to use customer information to open up new opportunities since commerce began. Understanding and anticipating those needs gives a company the edge.

Therefore, by using the power of email in compelling users, coupled with the strength of data backed by predictive analytics, businesses can make more intelligent and better decisions. Customers get more of what they want when they want it and when they need it most. Timing is everything, and email and analytics keep you one step ahead of the competition every time.

Has your company been using predictive analytics for marketing campaigns? What have you learned about your customers? Let us know in the comments below.

 

small business coach

5 Great Tips for Writing Content That Skyrocket Sales

writing content

Looking for some writing tips to increase your sales and improve your writing content? Increasing sales is a never-ending mission. You always need to look for new tricks to market your products better and make them irresistible. But what if marketing isn’t the only sales-boosting tool you can employ? What if sales-oriented content can be your solution?

Composing selling text can help you convert consumers even when you are asleep. Compelling writing is an evergreen sales-enhancing tactic. Why not give it a try?

Quality content helps you present your brand, connect with your audience, gain their trust, and motivate them to take action. It rounds up the whole journey from introducing your brand to winning the consumers over. Companies such as Compose.ly believe that quality web content, achieved through effective blog writing, helps you present your brand effectively, connect with your audience, gain their trust, and motivate them to take action. It rounds up the journey from introducing your brand to winning over consumers.

5 Great Writing Tips for Content That Skyrocket Sales

Do you want to test the selling power of well-written content?

Keep reading and find the best writing tips for creating content that aims to sell.

1. Best Writing Tip: Present Your Product as a Solution

Direct your writing towards why your products or service can be life-changing. That’s what consumers want to know – and that’s what you should deliver.

Listing features of a product won’t help you sell. This may be enough to convince some of the buyers to make a purchase, but not the majority. You need to do more. Tell consumers directly why your product matters.

People search for products as a solution to a current problem. They might need a wardrobe update, so they look for new clothes. Or, they spend too much time on repetitive tasks, so they want automation software. In any case, proposing your product as a solution is what will grab their attention. So, if your target audience is content writers, you introduce them to automation software based on artificial intelligence. In this way, they will see how they can write faster, easier and more efficiently, compare files, find differences, errors and so on.

Start by outlining problems that your target audience has. Present their common pain points. Show them that you understand their pain points, Forefront AI will help you to find that pain points.

The next step is to specify why your product is the perfect solution. Paint the picture of a life-changing discovery that comes in the form of your brand. If you explain how you can make consumers’ lives easier, you’ll be worthy of their money. If you are writing about a software as a service, check out this SaaS content writing guide and see how you can get more leads and signups.”

2. Connect with the Audience by Using a Suitable Writing Style

Writing tone and style play essential roles in the content’s effect on the readers. If your content is generic and dull, you can’t evoke emotions, and you can’t interact with the audience.

What we know about emotions is that they trigger impulse purchases. So, provoking emotional reactions is beneficial for your brand.

The perfect example of a tailored writing style comes from Dollar Shave Club. Their humorous, raw, and sometimes sarcastic, explicit writing perfectly aligns with their target audience – men. Their shoppers can see a man just like them, with the same needs and wants, presenting that brand.

Content that aligns with your target audience will put you at an advantage. Your unique and personalized writing can help customers feel understood. Become one of them. Don’t be just another brand that wants to sell products.

3. Go Deep Into Research

Every high-quality writing content starts with extensive research. Whether you are writing a book, engaging in business writing, or a copy, information is the foundation for creating credible, empathetic, and targeted text.

To boost sales, your brand’s research should focus on:

  • Products in your niche
  • Competitors
  • Target audience

Gather information on what kind of products are offered on the market. What are the strongest and weakest points of those products? How do your products differ from others? Compare every feature and functionality.

You want to surface your competitors’ best and worst content strategies. Learn from their successes and misses. Also, observe what makes you superior to them. Is it your price? Or maybe your tradition? Find your unique value proposition.

Lastly, you want to learn everything you can about your audience. Go to forums and social media and read about their needs. Browse for product reviews in your niche and pay attention to the consumers’ demands and expectations.

Researching may not be the fun part of content creation, but it is necessary. When you have that kind of information on your hands, you can write content strategically.

If you need some help with collecting data and transforming them into targeted content, contact a freelance writer with research skills. For affordable writing help, you can hire Get Good Grade writing experts. Writing companies that specialize in academic papers have affordable prices as well as highly qualified and experienced writers.

Digging for information isn’t a one-time process. You should stay updated on ever-changing consumers’ needs, competitors’ new offers, and product innovations in your niche.

4. Tell Stories

Stories draw us in. They make us a part of something new and different. Applying storytelling in your content strategy helps you turn your brand from a stranger to a friend.

Joe Teo, an CEO at Hey Orca shared his professional view on the stories’ impact on consumers. “Storytelling, when done right, will pull a consumer into the world of a brand to see a different perspective, showing them the bigger picture. The story is an invitation for someone to participate in something bigger than themselves, something they believe in,” said Teo (reported by Sujan Patel).

Storytelling is the best and quickest way of connecting with the audience. As you present your brand, products, and new campaigns through stories, you give readers an insight into who you are. That familiarity is what brings people close to your brand and encourages them to pull out their wallets.

In the following example, you can see how SuperJam, a homemade jam company, embraced storytelling in their “About” page. After you read the text, you are no longer buying jam from a brand. You are buying jam from Fraser – the jam that his grandmother prepared for him with love.

The beauty of storytelling is its versatility. Use it for written content or video content creation. Also, attractive visuals are always a plus when sharing stories.

To craft a compelling story, you should include the following elements:

  • Relatable characters
  • Attention-grabbing introduction
  • Conflict
  • Resolution with a positive outcome

In terms of perspective, you have three choices:

  • First-person – The author is the main character. The first-person perspective is a good choice for sharing tips and personal experience as an industry expert.
  • Second-person – The reader is the main character. This is a common practice in marketing. You can use it for customer-centric content.
  • Third-person – “He”, “she”, or “they” are the main characters. It can be a story about a customer, client, employee, industry experts, etc. Since this is the least personal perspective, you should make the character charismatic and relatable.

5. Team Up Urgency and Inviting CTAs

Now or never – words that can encourage you to take action impulsively.

That’s what urgency does to people. It blocks out the outside world and leaves you with a pulsating sensation that you must grab this great opportunity.

Sprinkle some urgency across your content. It doesn’t need to be explicit like a countdown. The simple insinuation that you have something that your audience needs NOW will do.

Use words that highlight urgency such as:

  • Now
  • Today
  • Limited
  • New
  • Deadline
  • Expires
  • Hurry
  • Quick
  • Last chance
  • Running out
  • Fast
  • Final

Take Better Beauty as an example. You don’t need to become a member right away, but the fact that you can start enjoying the perks TODAY is enough to get you thinking.

Blog posts can also exude urgency even when the pressure isn’t real. Let’s say that your blog title is “How to Turn Your Prospects into Customers Today.” Nothing is pressuring the reader to make this change in an instant. However, the solution that the blog proposes triggers the urgency to take action.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) won’t stick with the consumers for a long time. You need to encourage them to react right away. How? Add clear and inviting call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

If you leave the consumers time to think, the FOMO can lessen. Streamline their journey by providing them with a quick path to a solution.

Wrapping Up

Writing content that sells is a skill that needs to be learned, practiced, and upgraded. Use these proven tips to strengthen your writing strategy and apply tactics that actually work.

Bear in mind that successful content is personalized content. Stay committed to writing valuable content for your audience. They are the ones you need to win over. Therefore, adapt your content writing to their preferences and motivate them to give your products a chance.

Helene Cue is a writer and copywriting expert with years of experience. Her work experience as an academic writer, editor, and proofreader has motivated her to also start writing reviews on essay writing services. Students can, therefore, read this review, and make informed decisions. Helene’s goal is to help businesses grow with the help of quality content.small business coach

Effortless Ways For Small Hotels To Maximize Revenue

hotels can maximize revenue

What are some effortless ways for small hotels to maximize their revenue? The hospitality industry can be rewarding and challenging at the same time. It is every hotelier’s dream to attain 100 % room occupancy at the best possible rates and thereby boost their revenue. However, many factors play a role in determining this. Here are a few valuable tips which shall help small hotel owners maximize their hotel revenues.

Effortless Ways For Small Hotels To Maximize Revenue

Here are 7 ways that small hotels can maximize their revenue.

  1. Attract Direct Bookings

With the internet revolution, the most significant impact has been seen in the hotel industry, with Online Travel Agents (OTAs) becoming the critical source of securing bookings for hoteliers. In order to secure an edge against OTAs and thereby save on the huge commissions that they are charge, hotel owners must invest significant time and energy in building good websites with powerful SEO. This will help your customers discover your property upfront and enable you to secure direct bookings, thus saving on huge commissions charged by OTAs.

  1. Create a Positive Impression Through Online Reviews

Most customers tend to rely on online reviews before selecting a particular property for vacation or work stays. If your property has positive reviews, it opens up the doors to new customers. And if you see any negative reviews, ensure that you respond to those in an empathetic and mature manner. Recognize the issue, apologize for your mistake and assure that you will not repeat the same. This will give new customers an impression that the negative review is an exceptional case and position you as a customer-centric hotelier.

  1. Dynamic Pricing – Technology That Helps Maximize Room Revenue

Dynamic pricing, or the technology that uses algorithms to tweak room rates based on demand and supply, seasonality, competitor prices, and more, is the most time-tested way to ensure that you get the right pricing for your rooms. It helps ensure that you don’t price your room too high and lose out on potential customers, and neither do you price your room too low and lose out on revenue.

  1. Keep A Watch On Your Competitors’ Rates

Various technology tools can help you keep a tab on your competitors’ rates. By doing so, you can set up dynamic pricing that will help you maximize your hotel bookings and earn the best rates for all bookings.

  1. Ensure A Great Virtual First-Impression

The hospitality industry is all about creating spectacular customer experiences. And the first step in the customer experience journey is your website. A website with beautiful photography creates a great virtual first impression that has the power to transform a lead into a conversion.

  1. Cultivate Community Partnerships and Local Tie-Ups

The hospitality industry is all about community spirit. As a small hotel owner, if you join hands with a big event happening in your locality, you may see many bookings that would not have taken place otherwise. Another way of fostering community spirit is by joining hands with local artisans, vendors, food spots, and more that can help promote local sightseeing and lifestyle experience for the customer.

  1. Get a Mobile-Friendly Website

Mobile technology has transformed the way in which we perceive the world around us. Companies, businesses and retailers who have built a reputable, mobile-friendly website online will see a massive surge in their online bookings. Moreover, Google algorithms automatically have a greater preference for ranking mobile-friendly websites better.

These few tips can be extremely useful to small hotel owners in maximizing their room bookings and revenues, thereby ensuring a successful business even in big sharks of the hospitality industry. For more ways to grow your business read this blog.

Author Bio:

Karan Iyer is an end-to-end digital marketer and blogger at Aiosell who inherently understands the hotel industry with his hospitality background. Karan knows how to convert the pain points and challenges of the hotel industry into business opportunities, and that’s what he writes about for his readers. He also shares industry trends, insights and news to help his readers stay up-to-date.

 

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My Top Ten Favorite Business Tools for Entrepreneurs

business tools

My Top Ten Favorite Business Tools (Updated to 21 Tools) for Entrepreneurs

As I’m working with my clients I’m frequently advising them about business tools that are useful for small business owners and those who are self-employed. Since I believe that marketing is one of the most important small business owner skills, several of my favorite tools fall under that category.

Just as important as marketing is self-development and included are a couple of those tools in my list. I’ve listed 3 tools that I use in coaching my clients and 2 that help with the financial areas of business..

  1. Hootsuite is a very helpful business tool with managing your social media posts. You can send one post to multiple social media sites with the push of a button, and you can schedule future posts so that your message broadcasts while you are on vacation or sleeping! Plans start as little as $19 per month.
  2. MailChimp is an email newsletter distribution platform. You can create your newsletter using their templates, add subscribers to your list and send out hundreds of email newsletters a month for free.
  3. Clickfunnels is an online business tool that helps you to build marketing campaigns without the help of a technical person. You can connect these campaigns to your website so that your visitors may view and buy your products or services online. The cost starts at less than $99 per month.
  4. WordPress. You may already be familiar with WordPress. This famous website platform boasts of providing 28% of all the websites on the globe. That’s a lot of sites! These websites are relatively easy to design, but many business owners hire a web designer to set everything up. Adding content and images is really easy; very similar to Microsoft Word. The cost can be as little as zero.
  5. Audible is a way for you to listen to all kinds of books on tape. I consider personal development to be essential for the small business owner. Zig Ziglar, the famous motivational person talked about the benefit of going to “automobile university,” that is to listen to audio recordings while driving your car. I frequently listen to personal development recordings while driving or working out. The cost is about $15 per month.
  6. Quickbooks.  Most everyone in business knows about Quickbooks; but did you know that this billing and invoicing tool can automate your payments from customers? Then you don’t have to manually create bills or chase customers for money. The payment shows up in your account so that you can spend more time with your customers. You can use it to pay your bills too! The cost is as little as $5 per month.
  7. Our 36 Coaching Module Assessment. This business tool is a self-assessment we provide to business owners and self-employed people who are looking to improve their business and take it to the next level. The tool examines your business in 36 areas in your business. We have found that every business owner wants to experience freedom in business. That’s why we decided to become our own boss; to be free from another boss! The cost is zero.
  8. Coaching Agenda. Our clients fill out a weekly coaching agenda prior to each session. Included on the agenda are Key Performance Indicators, Goals and Actions, Biggest Achievements, Challenges, Motivation level, and other important information. This tool tracks your business progress and results helps to achieve forward momentum and identifies obstacles to overcome. The cost for this business tool is included with all coaching packages.
  9. Strategic Plan. In my opinion, one of the most important business tools an entrepreneur can use is the Strategic Plan. Therefore that is one of the first things we provide for our clients. For us, this important document includes your personal vision, values, goals and bucket list. To that, we add your business vision, values, and mission, your business goals and objectives which form the “big picture” and your action plan which breaks everything down into small steps to achieve the plan. The cost is included with coaching packages.
  10. Canva. This simple and amazing content creation site will help you to create all kinds of images, presentations, posters, infographics, social media images and anything you can think of. There is a free version or you can pay $12.99 per month for the pro version.
  11. Promo. is an online video maker that gives you everything you need to make high-quality videos that will help your business grow. easily create videos from scratch or choose from our selection of video templates. No editing experience needed unlimited creative options inside. They have millions of templates for all kinds of business types and it fits all types of content. With Promo, you can also make video advertisements freely and easily. Promo helps you to promote your business or products, improves brand awareness, widen your reach, and engage your customers.

Top 10 Business Tools

  1. Flock. For small businesses, communication plays a very important role. It’s a means of synergizing the office environment so all the relevant divisions can work in harmony. There are several requirements for in-office messaging and video conferencing, which can be addressed with Flock. It is mostly available for free unless you need the advanced features available for a mere $4.50/ month for each user. Since Flock facilitates both messaging and video conferencing at a low cost, it is our personal favorite.
  2. Colorcinch is the cooler, down-to-earth stepchild of photo editing – always dependable, fabulously low-maintenance, and ready to prove their worth. They help you to “cartoonize” your images in a very cool way. Their price range from $3.99 per month to $5.99 per month.
  3. Titan. Another important form of communication for small businesses is email. Aside from interacting within the office environment, email is used to inform clients and customers about your business products and services. Titan allows you to create official email addresses with your business domain that adds to your professional capacity. After a 30-day free trial period, you can choose to continue using this highly professional business tool for only $1.50/ month for each user.
  4. Asana. Small businesses that require a level of symbiosis and planning when executing important projects. Asana is a project management tool for small and medium enterprises to keep employees focused on the step-by-step execution of the projects. You can create daily goals, assign deadlines, and allocate tasks to each member or team and watch as the tasks are completed with absolute effectiveness. Since Asana allows you to classify the project with short-term goals, it makes it easier to follow the progress of individual tasks. The basic project management tools in Asana are available for free. However, if you wish to use the advanced premium features, it’ll cost $11/ month for each user, and for business features, $25/ month for each user. Since Asana is a useful small business tool where you can view each project from different clients on one forum and keep tabs on the development, the cost seems meager as compared to its usefulness.
  5. TimeDoctor. To run a small business with efficiency, you have to take Time Management into account. It is not optional to create effective calendars and schedules for each project for different clients. Time management increases your efficiency in manifolds. Not only can you check the development of the projects, but you can also dock the exact amount of time that your employees dedicated to your business. It can be overtime or slacking that causes delays in your projects. TimeDoctor is an excellent small business tool that tracks productivity and Time Management for all your business functions. You can try it for free for 14 days to evaluate its suitability for your business. You can subscribe to the plan for only $10/ month for each user.
  6. Adobe Creative Cloud. For design-based small businesses, Adobe Creative Cloud is a blessing. It facilitates the use of multiple tools on desktop as well as mobile apps for all your design functions. It is an outstanding tool for creating attractive videos, adjusting features in photography, creating a web design, and programs to detect and track user experience. This small business tool is popular for its proficient design facilities and regarded quite highly among professionals. The plans for Adobe Creative Cloud vary based on how many people use it and for what purpose. For individual use, the price is as low as $10/ month. If you want to use it for business, then it costs $34/ month. Adobe Creative Cloud also offers separate packages for educational purposes, including small businesses that focus on training in design functions. For students and teachers, it costs $20/ month. For Universities, schools, and colleges, it costs as low as $15/ month.
  7. Wave. Small businesses are extremely reliant on regular billing and payments. Since the profits are limited, and there are multiple expenses that you need to consider, payment cycles must be systemized. Wave is a targeted software created to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs. It helps you design customized invoices with your business domain and feature the identity of your brand. You can create recurring invoices for billing and payments and track the income and expenses accordingly. The best part about Wave is it is mostly available free of cost. However, if you wish to associate billing and payments with credit cards, then you might incur additional charges.
  8. Turbo Tax. Maybe your business is a startup and you haven’t developed much complexity. You can do-it-yourself until you can afford a bookkeeper. Tax filing, especially for small businesses, can be really cumbersome. You have to consider all the previous year’s taxes, deductible business expenses, income, etc. That is why TurboTax comes in handy. You can synchronize TurboTax with QuickBooks to access all your income and expenses. It can also track the taxes from the previous year as well as deduct and business expenses associated with travel, advertising, materials, etc. The tool is available for $160 under federal jurisdiction and $50/ state. The cost of TurboTax may seem a little higher than usual, as compared to small business tools that perform other functions, but it is worth it when you get to save a considerable sum in tax deductions and returns.
  9. Dropbox Sign. Another primary requirement for small businesses is signing important documents. When you accept a contract or need signatures from clients, suppliers, partners, investors, or even employees, it is helpful to have the process digitized for efficiency. Dropbox Sign offers the means for you to request the signature from them. Once the process is completed, a copy of the acknowledged and signed document is sent to each signatory for posterity. It helps keep your business functions above-ground and transparent, facilitating trust-building and understanding among all parties. The cost incurred for this most-useful small business tool is a mere $13/ month for each user for the standard plan. You can also upgrade to the business plan, which costs $23/ month for each user.
  10. Paypal. It is a globally-accepted mode of payment for all small businesses. Therefore, you can provide local or overseas services and get paid via simple online transfers. The standard Paypal plan charges 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction. The Pro plan charges the same, with an additional $35/ month.
  11. Selzy. Is an emerging email marketing platform that is newbie-friendly and targets specifically small and medium-sized companies. The platform offers a forever free trial with up to 1,000 contacts in the list and 15,000 emails sent each month. It has a simple drag-and-drop email builder with 100+ free templates to create picture-perfect newsletters in the nick of time. Selzy also offers a massive amount of features like automated list hygiene, A/B testing, detailed but digestible analytics, and even some help from experienced email marketers depending on the plan.Explore Selzy now to optimize the cost of email marketing for your business.

Two more honorable mentions: Slack and Basecamp. These two tools provide similar services but Slack is more geared towards communication while Basecamp is for project management. Slack starts at $6.67 per month and Basecamp is $99.00 per month. Both are great tools!

I’ve brought to you some of the best business tools, apps, and technologies that can benefit your business. Try some of the tools in this list and watch your business grow!

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

or 

Enter your information below to start growing your revenues and profits today…

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11 Ways to Use Content Marketing in Every Stage of the Sales Funnel

video marketing

A content marketing strategy that effectively serves its purpose is one that guides people from awareness to conversion. However, achieving this aim is a multi-step process.

Research has shown that the average person consumes about 11 pieces of content before making a purchase. B2B buyers consume an average of 13 pieces of content before settling on a vendor.

The reason for the high levels of content consumption is that people must go on what is known as the “buyer’s journey.” This is the process wherein an individual moves from becoming aware of a product to ultimately purchasing that item.

Content is the tool that facilitates that journey.

A strong content marketing strategy successfully guides shoppers through the sales funnel and generates sales for eCommerce retailers. Therefore, understanding how to use content in each stage of the funnel is critical to the profitability of a content marketing program.

However, before diving into how to use content for each stage a consumer will move through, let’s examine those phases a bit closer.

The Sales Funnel Stages

In its most basic form, the sales funnel has three stages: awareness, evaluation and purchase.

Top of Funnel: Awareness

At the awareness stage of the sales funnel, consumers are attempting to meet a need, solve a problem or obtain an answer. Folks achieve this aim through seeking out educational content that will help to point them toward the solution they seek.

At this point, the value of the lead is low, as there is little promise that they will buy from any specific seller. That said, those who find a merchant’s content to help enlightening or enjoyable often find themselves moving on to the middle of the funnel.

Middle of Funnel: Evaluation

When an individual enters the middle of the funnel, it indicates that a retailer has successfully caught their attention. These people now have some understanding of how to resolve their problem or need and are now interested in the best solution possible.

At this point, sellers should begin to educate prospects as to why their solutions are the best option for the consumer. It is here where shoppers are likely to spend most of their time, as merchants will need to invest time in nurturing consumers, establishing trust and building a relationship.

Bottom of Funnel: Purchase

When consumers reach the bottom of the funnel, they are ready to make a decision on their purchase. In most cases, those at this stage will need one final nudge to get them to buy from a seller.

By presenting the right offer, incentive or call-to-action, merchants can successfully drive conversions for their eCommerce store.

With the broad strokes covered, it’s time to establish the various ways that sellers can use content marketing at each stage of the funnel.

Creating Content to Move Shoppers Through the Sales Funnel

Naturally, before beginning the content creation process, sellers will need to choose content marketing topics for maximum impact. However, this is outside of the scope of this piece.

Assuming that merchants understand the topics and subject matter that their audience is interested in consuming, here is how merchants can use content at each stage of the funnel.

Top of Funnel Content

Top of the funnel content is geared toward reaching the broadest range of prospective buyers possible.

Some of the best types of content for this stage include:

  • Blog posts: Many potential customers will turn to Google for answers to their problems. Crafting targeted, intent-based blog posts can be a powerful eCommerce SEO strategy that gets a brand in front of the right audiences at the right time. Moreover, by making these publications shareable, sellers can potentially increase their reach.

content marketing

  • Infographics: These images break down a subject in a visually appealing manner, thereby making them easy to understand and highly shareable.

Infographics

Videos

  • Podcasts: Podcasting is a prevalent form of content as podcasts are essentially the modern version of radio shows. Moreover, podcasts can be transcribed and used to create other types of content, such as blogs and infographics.

Podcasts

While there are other forms of top of the funnel content, these are some of the most popular and effective methods of drawing in potential buyers.

Middle of Funnel Content

Now that retailers have captured the attention of a consumer with some useful information, it is time to begin delivering more in-depth educational pieces that will help move them to the next stage of the funnel.

Here, sellers will want to capture an individual’s contact information so that they can be nurtured and cultivate a sense of trust toward the brand. Therefore, retailers will likely want to deploy a lead magnet as this is a useful tool in achieving the two previously mentioned aims.

Some of the lead magnets that sellers might opt to use include:

  1. Guides or eBooks: These tend to be “how-to” types pieces that help the audience to solve a problem. However, retailers should remember when creating a guide or eBook to go into detail about how their product or service can help to resolve the issue more quickly or efficiently.
  2. Worksheets: This is often a complementary lead magnet to a “how-to” piece that helps to guide and track the progress of an individual as they work through the problem.
  3. Case studies: This is a data-driven form of original research that produces unique insights and showcases how a product or service helped resolve the issue in question.
  4. White papers: This form of content is an authoritative, in-depth report on a specific subject that presents a problem and a solution as a means of educating the audience. A white paper is essentially an advanced problem-solving guide.

When developing lead magnets, the key is to create a piece that is unique, practical and actionable for consumers. These must provide tangible value that individuals can put to use in an immediate way.

Bottom of Funnel Content

As opposed to the broad, general top of the funnel content, this is where things get far more personal. Bottom of the funnel content should serve as the bridge between the free information provided thus far and the paid product sold by the store.

This type of content is frequently (though not always) delivered via email after potential buyers have been entered into an email nurture campaign. This type of sequence gradually builds on itself and helps to connect the dots for consumers, leading them from the original problem to the crescendo of the solution. Once this has all been outlined for them, retailers can then deliver:

  1. Product comparison charts: With this piece of content, sellers show customers exactly what they get when they purchase an item and how it stacks up against competitor products. This saves shoppers much of the energy they would invest in their decision-making efforts and lays out the benefits a particular product has over others in a clear and easily consumable format.
  2. User-generated content: This can be anything from Instagram images to product reviews, customer testimonials or other forms of user-generated content that highlight how much other buyers have enjoyed a product and found it to be worthy of their dollars.
  • Time-sensitive discount offer: Providing potential buyers with a limited-time discount code to use on their first purchase can be the motivating factor that gets the shopper off the fence and into the checkout process.
  • A strong content marketing strategy successfully guides shoppers through the sales funnel and generates sales for eCommerce retailers.

While retailers who engage the bottom of the funnel consumers with content are likely to earn a sale, it is essential to remember that this is just the beginning of the relationship. Therefore, sellers will have to follow through and continue to deliver content that cultivates loyalty.

Given the sheer amount of content that goes into each stage of the sales funnel and relationship thereafter, sellers might want to consider partnering with an eCommerce content marketing agency to ensure that each phase is handled in an effective and profitable manner.

To effectively move a consumer from awareness to purchase, sellers must approach their content production and promotion differently for each stage of the sales funnel. It is all about getting the right kind of content in front of users at the right time and in the right way.

However, no matter which stage of the funnel a consumer resides in, it is critical to understand whom a retailer is speaking to and providing them with the relevant information for where they are currently.

Utilize the content forms listed above to create a content marketing sales funnel that develops authority, traffic and sales.

Ronald Dod, Guest writer, CMO and co-founder at Visituresmall business coach