Simplicity Marketing, LLC https://simplicitymarketingllc.com Internet Marketing Consulting and Training Mon, 16 Nov 2020 16:46:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 23738711 SEO Maintenance Tips https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/seo-maintenance-tips/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=seo-maintenance-tips https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/seo-maintenance-tips/#comments_reply Wed, 18 Nov 2020 16:45:32 +0000 https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/?p=2163 Intro Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a necessary aspect of website maintenance. If you are not regularly performing SEO on your website, you are falling behind the competition. While the process may sound complex, there are many simple things that…

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Intro

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a necessary aspect of website maintenance. If you are not regularly performing SEO on your website, you are falling behind the competition. While the process may sound complex, there are many simple things that you can do to ensure that your content is completely search engine optimized. In fact, there are dozens of simple tasks, changes, and evaluations that can grow your search results and put your website on top of the search engine rankings.

SEO Plugins

The easiest place to start with SEO is via plugins. Hosting websites such as WordPress offer dozens of plug-in options. These plug-ins are simple extensions of your website that perform many SEO tasks for you automatically. In addition, they help identify areas in which you can improve or modify your content for maximum search engine results. SEO Plugins should be your first step in identifying problem areas in your website and improving your content for Search Engine algorithms.

Permalinks

Permalinks are a lot like URLs. However, the difference is that permalinks are permanent, hence the “Perma”. These are linked URLs that directly link to content within your website. If your website is redesigned and URLs change, your content remains linked via Permalinks. This means that links won’t become askew due to website changes and restructuring. This also means that Search Engine algorithms have permanent links on your website with which to draw results from.

URLs

URLs are the actual web address of a page on your website. The primary portion of the URL, www.yourwebsite.com/ won’t change much. However, the portion of the URL after the “/” is what directs users to a specific page or destination. It is important to remember to keep your specific URLs simple. Often only the title of an article is needed. Don’t overcomplicate what users need to search for by adding additional information.

Keywording

Keywords are targeted words that your content focuses on in order to stand out. Appropriate keywords should target topics that are both relevant to your content and to what other users are searching for on the internet. Keywords should be short, but specific. If you are targeted keywords that are too general, search engines will have a difficult time connecting your content to the appropriate users.

Keyword Research

In order to choose the keywords that will yield the greatest results, you need to do thorough keyword research. The best places to look are search engines, followed by your competitors and/or affiliates. Research specific keywords with tools such as Google Analytics or simply by performing searches of your own. Choose words related to your business and perform sample searches with them in order to see what kind of results pop-up. If you find businesses similar to your own, then these keywords can most likely be worked into your future content to optimize SEO and increase your traffic results.

Primary Keyword

The primary, or focus, keyword is the main theme of your content. Whether it’s an article, a page, or a menu, the primary keyword should summarize the overall gist of your content. Primary keywords can be emphasized over other keywords and should appear with greater frequency than the other keywords as well. Perform keyword research, choose the keyword that applies best and center your content around it.

Keyword Placement

As important as keyword research and choice are, they are worthless without proper keyword placement. Don’t overload your content with keywords. Contrary to popular belief, the amount of times a keyword appears does not correlate with the quality of search results. Rather, your keywords should be used organically throughout your content. Find opportunities to place keywords naturally, but make sure that your primary keyword appears at least once in every paragraph.

Tags

Tagging works similarly to keywording. However, tags are used to help categorize your content both within your website and on the internet at large. Tags are not used to target selected search terms but to help define what content you are producing and what topics are expressed. Often times tags and keywords can be the same word or phrase, but the purpose differs between the two tools. Tag your content appropriately to assist users in navigating your website and finding the information they need to know.

Categories/Threads

Categories and threads are another way of categorizing your content. This works especially well when you produce content that approaches the same topic from different angles or differing viewpoints. Categories help users better navigate chunks of content rather than having to sift through one article or page at a time. While categories/threads do not directly impact your search results, they improve the user experience and website performance, therefore optimizing your website.

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions or meta tags can be thought of almost as invisible keywords. These descriptions are rarely seen by the user but are used to assist search engines in classifying and ranking your content. An appropriate meta description includes a relevant overview of your content as well as primary keywords to better help search engine algorithms process and place your content. Help the search engines by keeping your meta descriptions up to date and the search engines will understand your content much more efficiently, yielding greater search results.

Headers

Headers are an effective way to break up long chains of text. Particularly in articles, headers help the reader differentiate between topics and find relevant information at a faster rate. The faster the user finds what they are looking for, the likelier they are to be satisfied with your website. Utilize headers to break up topics and to speed up the user’s comprehension of your content.

Image Alt Text

Image Alt Text helps identify your images whenever an image loads improperly or is in the process of loading. Alt Text is a simple description of the image file and/or file name. Always apply alternate text to your images in the event that the image file becomes inaccessible or if the user simply does not have the correct software capabilities to view the image with. Alt Text also helps search engines to identify images and rank them in conjunction with your written content. Alt Images Texts are a simple step towards maximum search engine optimization.

Image Titles

Title your images. Specifically, title images to match with or include the primary keyword. When images are titled appropriately, both search engines and users have an easier means of identifying their relevancy to the content as a whole. Make sure to include the keyword, but do not limit every image under a particular keyword to the same title. I.E. don’t name every image “Keyword” but find ways to include said keyword in the image title.

Content Length

At what point does content become “long enough”? When is content too long? The unfortunate answer is that there is no real answer to these questions. However, longer content, especially when concerning articles, often tends to yield greater results. However, it is important not to drone on and become repetitive just for the sake of extending an article. Find a length that works for your overall website style and your content creators and stay consistent with that length. Use length as a way of establishing your business brand personality.

Content Quality

Quality is key when it comes to your content. Whether you are producing videos, articles, or images, you need to ensure that the final product meets both your personal standards and the standards of the general public. Grainy video, grammatically incorrect articles, and poorly photoshopped images won’t do. Both search engines and users evaluate content quality, though their standards may vary. Make sure that you are satisfied with what you are putting out and don’t be afraid to refine it when necessary.

Internal Links

A key step in improving the SEO quality of your website is internal linking. These are links that tie together your content among your website. You can backlink to articles of your own that touch on similar topics or help better illustrate a point. This allows the user to find more useful information on your website and for the search engine to better process the themes and topics your website excels in. Utilize internal links to keep the user engaged and to optimize your existing content for Search Engine standards.

Authoritative Links

Authoritative links are external links that lead to a credible or well recognized site. This is different than linking within your own website or a business of a similar scale. Authoritative links help lend credibility to your website by allowing users to verify your information via an outside source and by drawing a comparison between the content on your website and that on a well-recognized website that both user and search engine are familiar with.

Collaborative Linking

Collaborative linking occurs when you link to a website and they link back to you. This establishes a mutual recognition that search engines use to verify content relevancy and accuracy. This also allows the two websites to lend credibility to one another, optimizing both for greater search results. Find collaborating or affiliate websites to link with and better each other’s search performance.

Speed

If your website is slow, visitors will lose interest. A slow website is an ineffective website, doubly slow if the speeds are significantly below your competitors. Keep your plugins and software up to date to ensure that users can access your quality content in a speedy manner. Don’t let search engines dock you for being out of date, keep your website and your search results up to date.

Navigation

Utilize menus, tags, and categories to help organize your content. Well organized content is easier for users to navigate quickly and makes it easier for search engine algorithms to access what your website is really all about. Faster navigation also improves speed which means you rank higher both in the mind of the user and within search engine standards.

SEO Auditing

Perform a regular SEO audit to ensure that you are not falling behind. Utilize plugins available on hosting sites such as WordPress to access the ways in which your website and content may not be properly optimized. In addition, perform self-evaluations by monitoring load times and navigation through your own website. If you cannot access your content in a timely manner, then there is hardly a chance that previously unexposed users will be able to do the same.

Mobile Websites

Prioritize the mobile version of your website, search engines do. Mobile device usage has long outpaced Desktop usage. Don’t fall behind the times but maintain a functional and efficient mobile website in order to appeal to the majority of potentially new customers. Make sure your website is optimized for the smaller screen and limited hardware of mobile devices.

Problems with Your Website SEO

If you see problems with how your website is being optimized for search engines, address them immediately. Don’t shrug off slow speeds or missing graphics, because your users and search engines will not.

Stagnant Website

If you are not consistently keeping your website update and working on improvements, you are falling behind. When your competitors are keeping their websites updated and continuously adapting them to changing user and search engine standards, they are moving ahead. So, even if your website is not actively falling behind the current standard, it is being outpaced by your competitors. Be wary of stagnant optimization efforts, always keep an eye out for ways you can improve your website and surpass the competition.

Changing Algorithms

Search Engine Algorithms are never dormant or stagnant. Companies such as Google invest millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man hours each year into further refining their algorithms. Make sure that you are actively listening for algorithm updates and adapting your website to meet those changes head on.

Conclusion

Search Engine Optimization is an essential part of owning a business and managing a website. If you are not constantly meeting the standards that users and search engines set, then you are steering your website towards failure. Use the above tips to keep your website running smoothly and garnering the best search results possible.

 

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Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/geralt-9301/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3007472″>Gerd Altmann</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3007472″>Pixabay</a>

 

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Improve Your Hiring Process https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/improve-your-hiring-process/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=improve-your-hiring-process https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/improve-your-hiring-process/#comments_reply Wed, 11 Nov 2020 16:45:48 +0000 https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/?p=2155 Introduction Hiring a new employee can be a hassle. Hiring your first employee can feel like a nightmare. The hiring process can seem both infinitely frightening and infinitely complicated as you approach it from the role of employer for the…

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Introduction

Hiring a new employee can be a hassle. Hiring your first employee can feel like a nightmare. The hiring process can seem both infinitely frightening and infinitely complicated as you approach it from the role of employer for the first time. You’ve been in the hot seat before, but you might never have been in the position where you had to make the ultimate choice. This article is here to help you navigate the ins and outs of the hiring process. From creating your want ad to finding candidates and ways to help you sharpen your interviews and the overall hiring process. This can help you find the right candidate without having to invest great amounts of your precious time and money in doing so.

Is it Time to Hire?

The first question is often the most difficult for the soon to be employer to make. When is your business ready to hire its first (or at least a new) employee? Even more difficult of a question to answer for many entrepreneurs is, “Is my business ready to take on a new employee?”.

Taking on a new employee can mean exponential growth for your business, but it is also a huge responsibility. They are not just responsible for their work on your behalf, you are responsible for contributing to their livelihood. If your business isn’t ready for the financial commitment that employees cost, both in salary and insurance, don’t take the risk. The last thing you want to do is compromise not only that person’s livelihood down the road but also the credibility of your business.

Put Your Brand Out There

So, your business can support a new employee and you are ready to hire. What comes first? Do you write ad copy? Do you start contacting people out of your virtual Rolodex?

The best thing you can do to help jumpstart your hiring process should start to take place long before you’re ready to expand your employee team. Your brand is your best recruitment tool. If you can establish a brand name, even if it’s just a sizeable social media presence and a website to back it up, you will do wonders when it comes to attracting new candidates. A recognizable and reliable brand will let potential candidates know that your company is one to work for, even if you aren’t ready or able to take on new employees at that point in time.

Be Descriptive

Like most things in life, you need to know what you want. Not just a relative picture of who you’re looking for in a candidate, but an exact request. Just like you order your burgers, put out your order for a new employee with all of the topics, seasonings, and rarity you’re looking for. The less specific your ad is, the less likely you are to attract candidates that meet the qualifications, skills, and personality that you are looking for and your business is in need of. You don’t need to write a twelve-page manifesto, but make sure that you’re asking for what you want in as exact detail as possible. This will save you time and headaches when it comes time to sift through resumes and conduct interviews later.

Where is Your Want Ad?

As important as it is to know what you are looking for in a candidate, it is equally important for you to know where you are looking for a candidate. Is your want ad physical, like would be found in the morning newspaper? Is it a social media post? Are you running a targeted ad? Are you advertising over the radio?

Different want ad locations will yield different results. It is important for you to know the general demographic you are targeting, specifically when it comes to age and desired skills. People of different backgrounds and generations will seek out jobs in different ways. Make sure that you have an understanding of where your desired candidates are likeliest to be looking out for new jobs and place your call for employment there.

Be Adaptable

The odds are that the candidate you have imagined in your head doesn’t actually exist. Maybe they meet all of your educational criteria, but their personality just feels off. Perhaps they have a dynamite personality, but they are missing a few qualifications. Maybe they’re an inside hire who doesn’t meet the professional experience, but whom you know you can trust.

Adaptability is a necessary skill for any employer. You need to be willing to adopt the position to your actual candidates as much as you need to be willing to adapt your imaged ideal candidate to figure out what you are really looking for in a new hire.

Practice Interviewing

You, as the employer, need just as much experience leading interviews as the potential employee needs practice being interviewed. A bad interview, on your part, can prevent you from really asking the questions necessary to determine the potential of a new hire and can lead to costly mistakes down the road if you hire the wrong person-or, even worse, if you don’t hire the right person and they get another offer.

Make sure that your interview process is refined, and that you’ve spent time developing your questions and determining which responses you and your company are looking for. The more practiced and comfortable you are, the more comfortable your interviewees will be, and the smoother the process will go.

Commitment Issues?

How long is your candidate going to be with your company? How long do you think you’ll need this employee based on your current workload? If things slow down, how are you going to keep them around?

Commitment is a two-way street. If either party feels like the other doesn’t have the mind for a long-term commitment, it may scare them away. You need to take a careful look at your candidate’s employment history to get a good understanding of how long they usually stick around. You also need to make sure that they have the incentive to stick around. Are there ways that they can advance within your company? If not, you might find yourself frequently refilling this position as employees seek out taller ladders to climb.

How Well Do They Adapt?

As much as you must be willing to adapt your standards to the candidate, you need to make sure that they are willing to adapt as well. Has this candidate only served in one type of role? What different skills do they possess that doesn’t necessarily correlate directly with the position they have now? Are there other ways that they can be used in your company, both in the short and long-term?

You need to be asking these questions of your candidate and of their references. An employee that can engage with other parts of the company is not only likelier to stick around longer and be more satisfied but will be a greater asset to your business in the long-run.

Do They Mesh with Your Culture?

Culture is not a fundamental part of business operation, but when it comes to employee satisfaction and longevity, it is a quintessential part of your organization. You don’t want your employees to be carbon copies of one another, but you do want them to be able to organically engage with each other. You want an office culture that employees look forward to. Your business needs to be a place where people can converse, engage, and know that they are working with people who care about them. If a candidate meets your technical qualifications but doesn’t mesh with your culture, they are not a good fit for you nor are you for them. Period.

Make Long-Term Investments

How long are planning on being invested in this employee position? How long are you planning on being invested in whomever you hire? You need to have a good idea of how long you want to commit to this relationship because your potential employees will have already thought long and hard about these questions. You need to be prepared to commit, not only does this honor the employee by not pulling the rug out from under him or her down the road, but it greatly benefits your company. Keeping an existing employee is much easier and much more beneficial to your company than it is trying to bring in a new one. Make long-term investments and receive long-term results.

Set the Tone

How do you interview? Are you wearing a suit or sportcoat? Are you expecting the employee to do the same? What room do you interview them in?

The way that you present yourself during the interview process says a lot about what kind of company you represent and how your interview process will go. Make sure that you present yourself according to the position and the company culture. If nobody wears suits around the office, don’t expect your interviewee to show up in one. If your office culture is laid back, then let your interview be as well. The interview is the appetizer for what it is like to work at your company, make sure it is an accurate one.

Be Sociable

The interview process does not need to be overwhelmingly formal. It is okay to crack jokes and lighten the mood. It’s okay to ask potential hires questions that aren’t specifically about job skills and ability. In fact, it can be very beneficial to let your interviewees talk about themselves, and for you to open up about yourself. Look for common ground with your interviewee such as hobbies, favorite foods, sports teams, etc. This not only makes the interviewee more comfortable, but it helps you find common ground and gives them a broader idea of who they would be working with.

Watch Them in the Wild

A good way to ascertain whether a potential employee would be a good fit for your office is to see how they interact with other people. Step out of the room for a second and introduce them to someone else. Take them on a tour of the building and let them meet other employees. Bring them into group conversations. Give them the opportunity to organically engage with the people around them and see if they are a good fit. The entirety of the interview process does not need to be formal one-on-one. Sometimes the best tells that a potential hire has can be seen in how they engage informally.

Pull the Trigger

When you’ve found a candidate, who fits your professional criteria, who has the necessary experience and skills, and who meshes well with other employees and the overall office culture, do not be afraid to commit. Pull the trigger and offer them the job.

You can sit around and wait if the next candidate might be the best one yet, you can nitpick and wonder if you’ll find someone who has just a year or two more experience. You can do any of these things, but your ideal candidate might get away from you in the process. Do not be afraid to offer the job to someone when you find the right someone. You never know what other offers they might have waiting in the wings.

Analyze Your Own Process

So, you’ve hired your new employee and your hiring process is over? No, it’s not. After you’ve made your hire, you need to go back and access the process. What went wrong? What went right? Did you feel like you interviewed too few candidates? Were there far too many applications and resumes for you to manage? Did you forget to ask that one question during the second round of interviews?

Odds are, you’ll find a mistake or two- things that you could have done just a little bit better. That’s okay, make a note of these and figure out what you can do differently next time. The best way to improve your hiring process is to follow and see what works for you and what doesn’t.

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Healthy Habits to Grow You and Your Small Business https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/healthy-habits-to-grow-you-and-your-small-business/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=healthy-habits-to-grow-you-and-your-small-business https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/healthy-habits-to-grow-you-and-your-small-business/#comments_reply Wed, 28 Oct 2020 15:45:07 +0000 https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/?p=2151 Introduction How do you know if you are an effective entrepreneur or small business owner? What are you doing to make yourself and your business run as efficiently as possible? Who or what are you measuring yourself against? Sometimes it’s…

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Introduction

How do you know if you are an effective entrepreneur or small business owner? What are you doing to make yourself and your business run as efficiently as possible? Who or what are you measuring yourself against?

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether or not you are doing enough for your small business. It can be even harder to see when you are doing too much, or what actions are a part of your routine when they needn’t be. We’ve compiled this list of the habits of successful entrepreneurs and small business owners to help you keep yourself and your business in tip-top shape.

Wake Up

It seems simple, but one of the most under-thought parts of your daily routine can be your wakeup time. Are you getting up with just enough time to grab a coffee and sprint out the door? Are you getting up with enough time to hit the gym before work? What needs are you satisfying before the day really begins?

Precisely when and how you begin your day can have a massive impact on the yield of the rest of the day’s work. It is important that you put some thought into your wake-up time. Make sure that you wake up with enough time to be fully awake by the time you sit down at your desk for the day. Try waking up an extra hour early and taking a jog, or spending some time praying, or just sitting still and thinking. This extra hour can make all the difference.

Have a routine

Consistency is key. Routines not only help your day run smoother, but they help you get into focus easier and approach the day with more clarity from the get-go. Routines also help you take care of yourself and your own needs, in a timely and healthy manner. They help you lock down your schedule often approach multiple tasks faster than you could without a plan in place. Make sure that you find a routine that works for and that serves your own interests. Make a plan and stick to it.

Stay Inspired

What gets you out of bed in the morning? You have coffee to help shock your body into gear, but what are you doing to get your mind going? It may not seem like a necessity but making sure that you have something to engage your imagination first thing in the morning is a habit strongly encouraged by many leading entrepreneurs and self-help advocates such as Tony Robbins. Getting inspired gives you something to look forward to, and also helps to refine your goals. Specifically, this helps you dream up end-goals or big picture items that you aspire towards. So whether you read a quote akin to something from a fortune cookie, you watch a Ted Talk, or you just stare at your dream board- take some time each morning to get and stay inspired.

Set Daily Personal Goals

What do you hope to accomplish at the end of the day outside of your business? It can be something simple, such as only having one cup of coffee or having abstained from sugary drinks. It can be something a little more difficult such as having gone down a few pounds or made X-number of new connections. Maybe it’s something more abstract, such as cutting down on negative self-talk or spending less time caught in anxious thoughts. Make sure that at the end of each day you have something to look back on and be proud of. Or, make sure that you can look back and figure out what went wrong and how to change that for tomorrow. Your personal growth is just as important as the growth within your business.

Set Daily Business Goals

What did you do to advance your business today? What did your team accomplish? Does this meet expectations or fall short of them? As important as it is to have personal goals, you need to be setting goals for yourself as an entrepreneur, your team, and your business as a whole. You should also encourage your team to be setting daily goals for themselves. The best way to advance is to make steady progress forwards. Push your business to achieve its daily goals and when those become commonplace, set new ones. Make sure to reward yourself and your business for meeting daily goals and targets, and when those metrics aren’t met, make sure to access and figure out how you need to either refine the goal or how you can improve the process for your team as they attempt to reach it.

De-clutter

Clutter is not conducive to a healthy routine or for a productive day’s work. However, you need to start thinking about the clutter in two different ways. Most people can easily spot physical clutter such as a messy desk or a garbage can in need of being taken out, but it is easy to ignore or overlook mental clutter. Where are you overloading your brain and headspace? A big component of clutter is social media. It’s common for most people to roll over and check their messages, emails, and feeds right after they wake up. But how long are you doing this for? Checking Facebook is one thing, but also checking Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn can quickly add up to a half-hour gone from your day. Start your mind and body off with a clear workspace. Declutter your mind as well as your desk and start working more efficiently today.

Keep an itinerary

When you arrive at your desk each morning, do you know exactly what you will be doing and when? What time are you taking your lunch? When will you finish your first task? Your second? An easy way to hold yourself accountable is by setting and keeping, an itinerary. You know how long certain things should take. You know where the bulk of your time can best be dedicated. Set an hourly schedule for yourself and see where you are and aren’t staying ahead of your itinerary. Where is time being wasted? Where are you not spending enough time, and on what activities? Not only does this help you access the successes and failures of your day, but it also helps you to keep with a routine and to be able to track your progress from day’s beginning to day’s end.

Knock the Hard Tasks Out First

What is the hardest part of your day today? When do you plan on taking on that task? For many people, they put the hardest thing off until the end of the day. The problem is, this then becomes a drain on the entire rest of your day. All morning and afternoon you are dreading what lies ahead of you. So, your day becomes significantly less productive because you are putting this task ahead of you. But what if you spent the majority of your day with this task behind you?

When you put your hardest task at the beginning of your day, you remove that cloud from above your head much sooner. So not only is your largest or most difficult task done early, but you no longer have it hanging over you throughout the day and all of your other tasks now go smoother as well.

Analyze your Success

How do you know if you have had a successful day or not? What went wrong and what went right? If you aren’t taking the time to analyze these questions, or if you don’t have any means of tracking them in place, to begin with, you are doing yourself zero favors. It is important to build some time into your day for reflection and analysis. Take some time to think about how your routine helped you, or what parts of it need to be reworked. Take the time to measure yourself up against your goals and see how you can refine your process tomorrow.

Make Connections

Who did you talk to today? Was it formal? Jovial? Did you speak face to face? Over the phone? Over texts? How did you make real, human connections today? You don’t need to be hunting for a new best friend each morning, but you need to be making and growing both your personal and your business connections. This not only helps boost your personal mood, but it helps maintain friendships both within and without the office, improving morale for you and your team.

Keep Your Priorities Straight

Is there anything in your daily or weekly routine that doesn’t need to be? Are you spending too much time on smaller items and missing the big picture?

Don’t get so caught up in sticking to your routine that you let important things slip by or lose the attention they require. Make sure that your priorities are straight and that you are focused as much on your end goals as you are on your day to day items.

Be Inquisitive

It is okay to ask questions. It’s even more okay not to have an answer to everything. The greatest tool at your disposal is the ability to seek out new answers and to learn new things. Inquisitiveness is not a weakness; it is one of your greatest strengths. Make sure that you are always questioning. Question the process. Seek out its flaws and search for new improvements. Question things you think you already know. Especially question what you don’t already know and find the answer.

Seek out Opportunity

The same old same old is a recipe for stagnation. If you want to achieve and reach loftier goals, you need to continually seek out new opportunities. Who can you talk to that you haven’t spoken to before? What can you learn that you aren’t currently an expert in? Where can your business seek out new streams of revenue?

Find new ways to grow both personally and professionally, don’t get so caught up in what’s typical that your business becomes stagnant and outmoded. Make sure that you are pushing yourself and your team as much as you did when you had no clients and no revenues coming in.

Baby Steps

If you are only focused on the endgame, big picture goals, you are going to fail. The baby steps are just as important as the leaps and bounds because baby steps are what leaps and bounds are comprised of. A steady plan to reach your destination is far better than a quick scheme to cut the corners and hope for a shortcut. Make sure that you are continually moving forward, even if it is just inch by inch each day.

Fail Often

Failure is okay. You are not going to win all of the time. And if you are only coming away with victories, odds are that you aren’t pushing yourself or your business enough. Don’t go easy on your business because your competition sure won’t. Make sure that you are reaching for new heights and attempting new processes. They might not turn out to be a good fit for your business, but that drive that takes you to new opportunities and the wisdom you’ll gain from finding out what doesn’t work will do more for your business than just repeating the same routine and playing it safe.

Delegate

Utilize your team. Your coworkers, employees, and even higher-ups are there to help you as much as you are there to help them. Collaboration is integral to any successful business. Believe it or not, the people under you are probably clamoring for more action just as much as you are. Don’t be afraid to bring them into the loop when things challenge you, or to unload some of your plate onto theirs when necessary.

Conclusion

There is no ultimate secret to success or surefire path to becoming a successful entrepreneur or small business owner. However, committing to the right habits can set you and your business straight and make success both a much more discernable and much more achievable goal.

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Investing in Yourself https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/investing-in-yourself/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=investing-in-yourself https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/investing-in-yourself/#comments_reply Wed, 21 Oct 2020 17:30:43 +0000 https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/?p=2146 Introduction Are you investing in yourself? As an entrepreneur and business owner, it is vitally important that you take the time to invest in yourself. You are your most valuable asset, and if you aren’t finding ways to improve the…

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Introduction

Are you investing in yourself? As an entrepreneur and business owner, it is vitally important that you take the time to invest in yourself. You are your most valuable asset, and if you aren’t finding ways to improve the life and value of yourself as an asset, then you are simply selling yourself short. 

Investing in yourself is a long-term commitment. How long do you want to run your business? 10 years? 20 years? 50? Will your skills and acumen stay cutting edge that long? Are you in a healthy enough physical shape to commit to that kind of longevity? These are serious questions that you need to take into consideration. If you can answer “yes” to both, then congratulations. But how do you plan to stay that way? If you answered “no” to either of them, then how can you get yourself into comfortable enough mental and physical shape to say “yes”? 

The key is, you need to learn to invest in yourself. Your mind and body need time, money, and attention in the same way that your business, your products, and your services need investment. You are, and will always be your most valuable asset. Don’t let that asset depreciate. 

Why?

The idea of investing in yourself is foreign to many people. They agree with it in thought but they hardly take the initiative to agree with it in person. For most first-time entrepreneurs and startups, they simply cannot look past the idea of investing in themselves personally vs directly into their business as an exchange. They see self-investment as something that takes away from the capacity of their business instead of something that ads to it. 

It doesn’t have to be an either-or scenario. Investing in yourself is investing in your business, but it is also so much more. Investing in yourself often takes you back to the reasons why you decided to strike out on your own in the first place. What is the point of having the freedom to choose what to do with your time if you never take advantage of it? How are you growing as a person outside of the office? What would an extra day off do for your spirit? What new ideas would you come back with after a week off? What new skills could you bring to the table after attending a conference? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself and these are the investments you need to be considering. Take care of your business by taking care of yourself. 

Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

How do you take care of yourself on a daily basis? How about on a weekly basis? Monthly? Yearly? 

These don’t need to be grand, extravagant instances of taking care of yourself. They can be something as simple as treating yourself to a diet Coke every Friday. They can be a consistent part of your routine, like going to the gym each morning or reading for 20min each night. 

A healthy, satisfactory routine is one of the simplest and most effective ways of taking care of yourself. Are you creating and supporting habits that keep you mentally and physically in your happiest, most-efficient state? If not, what can you alter about your routine to increase efficiency and satisfaction? 

You may not realize it immediately, but when you do not take care of yourself you are not taking care of your business as well as you could be. If you are running on 30%, then you are only bringing 30% of your best efforts to the table. By failing to invest in yourself, not only are you failing to invest in your business, but you are actively detracting from its overall potential. 

Commutative Development

How well do you remember your high school math class? Do you remember the commutative property? It states simply that A+B=B+A or AB=BA. Whichever way you arrange the variables, the end result is the same. On the topic of development, this mathematical principle also stands. If you are investing in yourself, you are investing in your business. As your business’ most valuable asset, the time and energy you put into making yourself the most capable, most qualified, and most enthused person you can be is reciprocated into your business. 

So it may seem like taking the time to learn a new language is more for you than it is your business, but think of how you can apply those language skills on behalf of your business. The skills that you develop, the wisdom that you gain, and the mindset that you enter into the day with are what makes the difference between your business succeeding and your business failing. If you are investing in you, you are investing in your business for the long haul. The better the shape that you are in, the more capable you are as a leader of your business. 

Conferences

When was the last time you sent yourself to a conference? What did you learn? How did it help you to grow personally and professionally? Conferences are a great way to develop yourself in a large variety of ways. However, many people don’t see them as a necessary step towards self-investment. Even further, many people see conferences as only a way to grow professionally. While it is true that there are many business conferences out there that can help teach you to market more effectively, to understand a new type of currency, or just to meet other like-minded individuals, there are also many conferences out there geared to help you grow personally, without any over business incentives. 

When was the last time you went to a marriage conference? Have you ever been to a conference that teaches you how to communicate more effectively? What about a conference that helped you to grow deeper in your faith and personal beliefs. These might not pour directly into your business, but think about how you could apply those skills or the benefits you gain from attending those conferences to your business. How much more confident would you be in your business knowing that your marriage was solid? How could better communication skills help you when pitching your business to others? How could the strength of your convictions boost your confidence in the business world? 

New Skills

When was the last time you learned a new skill? What did you learn? How did you learn it? 

The demands of running a business, whatever market you are in, are constantly evolving. The skillset that you acquired in your first five years on the job is vastly different from the skill set that will be required of you for the last five years of your job. A key aspect of investing in yourself is the act of investing the time and effort it takes to learn and master new skills. Going back to the “most valuable asset” metaphor, it is important to make sure that your value does not depreciate. Investing in the time and effort to learn new skills means that you, as an asset, are growing in value. You are learning new things that can help you not only to be a more versatile entrepreneur, but that can make the difference between success and just getting by for your business. 

Continued Education

Education needs to be treated like your skillset. Education is a quickly depreciating asset in the technology-driven, hustle and bustle world of the 21st Century. The things you learned in college or at your previous jobs lose their value more and more with each passing year. This doesn’t mean that the education you received was worthless, but it does mean that it has become outdated. Industry and technology are incessantly moving forward, there will always be new tools, new strategies, and quite simply newer and better ways of doing things. 

The greatest lesson you can learn in education is that you should never cease to be a student. If your commitment to education ends at graduation, your potential for continued success will quickly be in freefall. A commitment to education, whether self-taught or through traditional instructor-student means, will make the difference between the Forbes 500 and Chapter 11 for your business. You are your greatest asset, so why wouldn’t you want to continually add to and improve what you, as an asset, know and are capable of doing? 

Reading

One of, if not the most, effective way of continuing and sustaining your commitment to education is reading. There is no better way to gain specific, expert given insight on a topic than through the pages of a book. Any topic, any question, any field- there’s a book on it with the answers and information that you seek. All you have to do is take the initiative to seek it out and invest in yourself by investing time into your reading. However, this advice is easier taken for some than it is followed through on. 

It’s been estimated that over 25% of adults in the United States haven’t read a book within at least the last year. With a 1 in 4 chance, that could easily describe you. That’s okay, but part of investing in yourself means branching out and adding things to your routine that don’t come easily and don’t automatically excite you.  It may be difficult, it may be time-consuming, but it is the easiest and one of the most effective ways to learn and grow without having to shell over a fortune. Start by adding a 20min reading break into your daily routine. Get comfortable with it, read-only what piques your interest. Use audiobooks if you need to, just make sure that you are sharpening yourself through the pages made available to you. 

R & R

One of the most essential aspects of investing in yourself is often treated as the least essential and most overlooked. Rest and Relaxation are the cornerstone of a satisfied and productive life. If you aren’t taking the time to do what you enjoy or just to sit back and do nothing with no expectations, then what is the point of working for yourself in the first place? R & R helps you to recharge, to destress, and to clear your head. 

However, with the near-constant demands of running a small or new business, it can be easy to forget to take time for yourself. You are a valuable asset to your business, but you are not your business. Make sure that you, as an individual, are receiving as much care and attention as you give to your business. If you are constantly tired, easily frustrated, and personally drained, you are of little to no use to your business, your co-workers, or your employee. Make sure that you are making yourself an investment priority. Clear your mind, chill out for a minute, and don’t forget to take time for yourself. 

Conclusion

Investing in yourself should be a priority for you and your business. You are your business’ most valuable asset. If you are not at your sharpest and most satisfied, and most effective, you are not bringing your A-game to your daily operations. You need to make sure that you are making yourself a priority. It is as simple as that. Take the time to develop your personal skills, take the time to develop your professional skills. Attend conferences, take time off, make time for yourself. Invest in yourself and you’ll find that the time and money put in results in exponentially greater results.

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Debunking Small Business Myths https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/debunking-small-business-myths/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=debunking-small-business-myths https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/debunking-small-business-myths/#comments_reply Wed, 30 Sep 2020 15:00:26 +0000 https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/?p=2136 Introduction Nobody is infallible, and no business is free from mistakes. Thst’s okay. What matters is that your business is prepared to assess itself when mistakes are made and to take appropriate steps in correcting those mistakes. But, what happens…

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Introduction

Nobody is infallible, and no business is free from mistakes. Thst’s okay. What matters is that your business is prepared to assess itself when mistakes are made and to take appropriate steps in correcting those mistakes. But, what happens when your business is making mistakes that you don’t know about? What if those mistakes are believed to be wise steps? This article is here to help address some common fallacies among small businesses and small business owners. We’ll take a look at these misbeliefs and address both where they come from and how to keep yourself and your business from falling into their often costly trap.

Spend Money to Make Money

It’s not just businesses that fall for this age old moniker, there are many many people who genuinely believe that their best method for financial success is to spend as much cash as possible on equipment, tools, and resources. What makes this fallacy so appealing is the fact that there is some truth to it. You cannot expect your business to become a success without first making a commitment to put resources into it. However, most people fall into the trap of misinterpretation, understanding this to mean that money in= money out. The truth is that your time is one of your greatest investment tools. Money won’t magically make more money, but your time can supercharge your business and make all the difference when it comes time to count revenues.

It’s all about Clicks

Clicks are very important, there is no doubt about it. But how many clicks are enough? Can I have too many? These questions might seem a little odd, but they are very prescient. When you know what your goals are for clicks, you can better manage and maintain not only your ad campaigns, but your website as well. Contrary to popular opinion, clicks are not the most important part of your business. Rather, the exchange of goods or services between you and your clients- the part that leaves both parties satisfied and fulfilled- that’s the most important part of your business. Too many clicks without corresponding sales might mean that you’re targeting too far outside of your market, not enough means the net you cast may not be wide enough. Remember that clicks are only a metric, a way of measuring the health of your marketing, they are not the final answer.

 

More Content

“If I could just put out as much content as Company A, then I could compete.”

There will always be competitors with more resources. There will always be larger teams, higher word counts, and longer videos. Always. But Company A doesn’t succeed because it creates more content on a daily basis, Company A puts out more content on a daily basis because it succeeds. And for every Company A, there are a dozen Company B’s that pump out as much content as they can in the hopes that more posts will equate to more engagement. But at the end of the day, higher quality content will always engage larger audiences and rank higher on searches. Words that are more thought out will always beat more words. Teams that put more thought and originality into their work will always beat teams that crank out as many half-baked ideas as they can. Short videos that people want to watch will always earn more views than videos that are simply longer.

Quality> Quantity

This is not to contradict what is stated above. Rather, this is to round out that sentiment with practical advice. Quality is vastly important to the content that your website puts out. However, there can be no quality if your site never puts out content. It is important to put out a regular stream of content, or your audience will quickly lose touch with your business. Even worse, social media platforms will dock your page for inactivity and your content will appear less and less on your followers’ feeds. Make sure that you have the team and resources to put out quality content on a regular basis. Not every article needs to be an A+, but don’t be afraid to share or write articles of your own that are shorter and more generalized to keep your audience engaged. Repeated engagement on your part leads to repeated engagement on the part of your customers.

Internet Marketing is a Pyramid Scheme

Many people shy away from Internet and Network Marketing because they’ve heard the horror stories. Perhaps they have a friend who just needed to invite two more friends who’d also invite two more friends, and then they’d all start making money. These stories send chills down people’s spines and give Internet Marketing a bad name. The truth is that there are predatory pyramid schemes out there, but they are more indicative of predatory business owners than they are of a predatory business model. Internet Marketing is no different from the age old traditions of physical marketing. The only difference is that not only is your audience now much wider, but that the internet gives you the tools to reach them quicker and more efficiently than ever.

There Aren’t Any More Revenue Streams

One of the most dangerous myths that you can believe about your business is that you’ve already tapped into all of your available revenue streams. It may be true that you’ve reached certain capacities within your business, but there is no concrete end to the number of revenue streams you could be bringing in. So while it may be true that you have reached as many customers as your company has capacity for, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t additional services or products that you may be able to offer them. There are always means of furthering your customer relationships, and providing them with additional benefits while providing yourself with a little more cash in the bank.

My Competition is Way Behind

When your business is doing well, it can be easy to slip into the mindset that you’re the only one doing so. It can be even easier to believe that your business is much further ahead of the competition. While it may not be untrue that you are ahead of the competition in your marketing and with the competitiveness of your products and services, you should never allow yourself to believe that you are so far ahead of the competition that they can’t catch up. Comfortability is the enemy of profitability, and if you allow your business and your marketing strategies to become complacent, you will quickly find your competition catching up to you and even beginning to outpace you. Stay ahead of the curve and keep pushing your strategies forward.

I Can’t Compete with Larger Companies

In opposition to the above myth, many businesses find themselves taking on the role of the little guy. They make the mistake of thinking that because they have fewer resources, they have fewer opportunities. It may be true that the big chain competition has the advantage, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for your business to thrive as well.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because your are technologically behind or ill-equipped compared to the competition’s manpower and resources, that your business cannot succeed.

I Don’t Need a Facebook Page

If you don’t have a Facebook Page for your business, you are making a huge mistake. There is no getting around it. Facebook provides your business with access to over one billion users worldwide, and it is quickly becoming a favored resource for discovering new products and businesses. People trust the information and feedback that they find on Facebook. If you are not taking advantage of the leads that Facebook can generate for your business, you are missing out on customers. It is as simple as that. Facebook is a great way to target customers based on their likes and interests, to roll out strong ad-campaigns with real-time metrics, and to generate quality leads for your business.

My Customers Don’t Use Social Media

This myth tends to be more popular among older business owners and/or blue-collar businesses. The assumption is that social media is for millennials and people with too much time on their hands at the office. This is incorrect. Social Media is popular amongst all demographics. Regardless of age, gender, income, or occupation, your potential customers are on social media. If you are basing your lack of a social media presence on this belief, you are setting your business up for failure. If you aren’t tapping into the leads that social media can generate for your business, you are doing yourself and your bank account a disservice.

My Mobile Site Can Wait

A desktop website is important, make no mistake. However, it is no longer the dominant form of digital interaction that customers will have with your business. For the latter half of the previous decade onwards, mobile web-traffic has greatly outpaced desktop web-traffic. Your customers are likelier to view your website, subscribe to lists, and buy your products from their cellphone than they are to do so from their desktop PCs, if they even have one anymore. You need to be prioritizing your mobile-friendly website or application. Not only does this make it easier and more accessible for visitors on your site, but it also greatly helps your search engine rankings. Google is prioritizing mobile websites, it’s time your business did too.

Cast the Widest Net Possible

A common mistake that novice self-employed business owners make is to try to cast as wide a net as possible with their ad campaigns and click builders. If you’re reaching the most people, you’re likelier to bring in the most results, right?

While this sounds great logically, it is far from the truth. The widest net possible will often cause many of your customers to slip passed unnoticed. Worse yet, it may cause your business to feel non-specific or desperate for customers. Worst of all, you could be spending your hard-earned money trying to appeal to customers that couldn’t be further from your target demographic. When creating your ad campaigns, remember that the width of the net is quite as important as the quality of the bait. In other words, make sure you’re appealing to the customers that are likeliest to be interested in what you have to offer. Don’t shy away from running specific, targeted ad campaigns to reach the exact specifications you have for your target market.

My Social Media Should Always Be About My Products

It’s okay for your social media presence to be about something other than the hard sell. Many businesses make the mistake of being hyper-serious and salesman-like without ceasing on their social media pages, but they are missing the point. Most Facebook or Twitter users don’t like to be bombarded with sales and “Buy Now” opportunities. They use social media to be social, and your business should do the same.  It’s okay for your social media page to share memes, offer advice, or even take users on a video tour of your factory. The endgame for your social media presence should be to drive engagement, and constant ads don’t frequently do that. Make sure that your business is participating in the social aspect of social media and watch both your engagement and click rates soar.

Conclusion

There is a lot of misinformation out there. It’s unfortunate, but it is your responsibility to make sure that you are informed properly. Hopefully this article will help you keep your business on track and well-informed. Make sure that you are taking full advantage of the tools that the internet puts at your disposal and not shying away because of something you saw in a headline.

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Managing Your Small Business On the Go https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/managing-your-small-business-on-the-go/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=managing-your-small-business-on-the-go https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/managing-your-small-business-on-the-go/#comments_reply Wed, 23 Sep 2020 16:45:37 +0000 https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/?p=2095 Introduction There is more computing power in your pocket than there was in your desktop PC fifteen years ago. Your smart phone is an astounding tool that not enough people take full advantage of. If you find yourself currently making…

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Introduction

There is more computing power in your pocket than there was in your desktop PC fifteen years ago. Your smart phone is an astounding tool that not enough people take full advantage of. If you find yourself currently making this mistake, know that it is not a mistake you can afford to keep making. Your smart phone is not only your most accessible business tools, but it is also your most versatile. This blog is here to help clue you in on some common, and not so common, apps that you need to be taking full advantage of. These apps will help you manage your time, customers, social media presence, and daily tasks like a pro, with maximum efficiency.

Buffer

To many small business owners, especially those who didn’t grow up with an abundance of technology, social media can be a beast. The truth is that there is a lot to manage, and sometimes its difficult to find the time to keep up with your social media presence while also knocking out your in-office tasks for the day. Buffer is here to help you by integrating a variety of social media accounts within one hub. You can schedule content, prepare customizable messages, and refine your feeds all from one easy to access hub. Let Buffer speed up your social media management and free you up to focus on making your small business the best that it can be.

Facebook

Told you there would be some common apps listed here. Many people think of the Facebook app as a personal tool. Perhaps you browse it while eating breakfast or when taking a brain break. However, the app is useful far beyond just browsing baby pictures and saying, “Happy Birthday”. The Facebook App is a powerful tool for business owners. It lets you view your feed, track the success of your ad campaigns, interact with potential leads, and continually engage your existing audience. This app is a powerful way to manage the most popular social media platform in the world and to tap into its potential for bringing new customers to your business.

Instagram

Instagram may be owned and operated by Facebook, but that does not make them the same. The strategies you use for Facebook can often benefit your Instagram, but they each need their own strategies and attention. However, the Instagram app takes full advantage of the service’s connection to Facebook and provides you with powerful, Facebook worthy tools that can help track, manage, and grow your Instagram audience. Instagram lets you view post reach, engagement, and more with the speed and reliability of Facebook’s analytic programs and services.

Twitter

Going hand in hand with what I said about Facebook, the Twitter app is an equally important application to have downloaded on your phone. Twitter provides fantastic analytics from their app that allow you to view engagement, impressions, and reactions on individual tweets and ads within seconds. They provide additional advertising and analytical support as well, all from the device in your pocket.

Twitter is also a great place for quick conversations and fast replies, the Twitter app is the best way to quickly interact with your audience, to provide feedback, and to take care of any issues within seconds of their being posted online.

Email

Never underestimate the power of e-mail. Just because it has been around for nearly as long as the personal computer, does not mean that it is outdated. Particularly if you are working with people middle-aged or older, email is how things get done. The only difference is that email now moves at a much faster pace. Your competitors and your clients have the ability to read and respond to an email within seconds, and they’ll expect you to be able to do the same. This doesn’t mean that you’ll need to be married to your phone, but it does mean that you need to make sure you’re taking advantage of the ease of access to your email that a smartphone provides. So, whether you use Gmail, Outlook, or a departmental email server, make sure that you are keeping up with your emails even when on the go.

Bitly

Have you ever tried to memorize a long website link? Doesn’t work very well, does it? Bitly is here to save you and your customers from this annoying problem. This app lets you take your long links and shorten them, as well as brand them, to decrease space, increase appeal, and grow your click-rate. Best of all, Bitly works directly from your cell phone. Bitly also lets you track data, read metrics, and discover how best to engage your audience. Best of all, Bitly connects with most social media platforms and lets you work from one main hub. This app is a gamechanger for adapting your marketing strategy on the go.

Google Analytics

When it comes to search engine rankings, Google is your greatest chance of success. As the world’s largest and most popular search engine, there isn’t much web traffic that doesn’t go through them. Your rankings on the Google search page matter a great deal to the success of your business online presence. The Google Analytics app lets you view search engine rankings, key data, and advertising options for the largest search engine service, all from one easy-to-use app. The Google Analytics app provides real-time data and real-time feedback. See how you perform against your competitors and against your previous results, and get practical tips and tools meant to help you boost your rankings and generate leads like a professional.

Yelp

Yelp isn’t just for posting restaurant reviews. Yelp is for businesses just as much as it is a platform for customers. The Yelp for Business App lets you manage your Yelp page with inside data and analytics. Yelp lets the rest of the world know what real customers think of your business, but it also gives you the tools to reach larger audiences that may not even be looking for you. It also lets you hold your reputation, one rated and commented on by real customers, out in front of you. Yelp for Business lets you track what customers are saying about you, how they’re engaging, and what aspects of your business are standing out to them. Get the inside scoop and put that information to work in your favor by using the Yelp for Business app.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the personal-branding and marketing Nexus of the Business World of the 21st Century. The LinkedIn app is a terrific space to market not only your business, but yourself as well. LinkedIn lets you socialize, network, and connect with professionals both within your industry and without. Make new connections and grow yourself alongside your business. You never know which LinkedIn friends may be able to assist you down the road, or which friends your business may be a need for as well.

Canva

Social Media is a content driven service, and there is a constant need for high-quality visuals. Images, videos, and custom graphics are in constant demand by nearly every business. Many small business owners find themselves overwhelmed. They don’t have the money for a staff photographer or expensive photo packages, but grainy images and low-resolution graphics just don’t cut it. Canva provides you with the creative tools you need to sell your business and stand out visually. With thousands of pictures, design options, and editing tools, Canva prepares even the most novice of graphic designers to release unique, high quality content on their social media pages.

Mention

Not sure if your social media followers or customers are talking about you? Mention is here to help. This app, as its name suggests, lets you know when your business has been mentioned on social media. If someone has something to say about your business, good or bad, Mention will let you know. It keeps you up to date on what’s being said without requiring you to spend hours browsing your social media feed. Respond to questions, engage with criticisms, and solve problems quickly and effectively with this powerful app.

Clover

Remember when you’d go to your local sub shop and pull out a punch card right before you made your purchase? You kept going back because they incentivized you with something for free. Clover works to help bring that punch card concept into the digital age. Clover helps your customers to earn rewards by using your business. It provides them with tracking features to show them how close they are to your goal, and it easily allows you to incentivize your business.

QuickBooks

If you are self-employed, you’re probably looking for any and every way to deduct from your taxes and keep money in your pocket where it belongs. QuickBooks has you covered, with automatic expense and mileage tracking options, QuickBooks Mobile can let you deduct money on the go, and to manage your business expenses on your own time. Best of all, QuickBooks offers real-time support in a variety of options, allowing you to get expert advice without having to pay the expert price. Keep your business’ hard-earned profits where they belong and start tracking with QuickBooks today.

Wave

QuickBooks is a phenomenal tool for anyone self-employed, but it may not be the only accounting tool you need. The larger your team is, and the more employees you have, the larger and more difficult your accounting will seem. Wave is here to help small businesses manage their small teams. It lets you track sales and expenses, draft accounting reports, and manage your finances in fiscally responsible ways. Wave helps you keep on top of your team without having to dole out for professional accountants and services.

Slack

Tired of having to sift through dozens of text chains? Forget to include an employee’s new number in the conversation? Slack helps you organize, manage, and communicate with your entire team. The messaging app lets you create private and public channels that people can easily be added to or removed from. It also makes it easy to share files en masse without having to rely on an outside service. The best part is, you can add and organize your team with no limit to your business’ plan.

Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams

In the Post-Covid world, the importance of virtual methods of mass communication and conferencing have become extremely pressing. Odds are, you’ve already had to find new ways to communicate with your team and engage in meaningful discussion without being able to meet face-to-face. No doubt, you’ve already used some of the services listed above on your computer. However, they are just as easy to use, and much more accessible, from your phone as well. In these uncertain times, it’s important to be able to effectively communicate on the go. Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams are all fantastic audio and video conferencing apps that will help you engage with your team, both inside and outside the workplace, as easily and effectively as possible.

Omnifocus

Ever feel overwhelmed by your to-do list for the day? Sometimes the pressures of being a small business owner can seem insurmountable. It can be difficult to keep track of projects and tasks on your own, and sometimes some tasks may get pushed off too long or simply forgotten. Omnifocus is here to help keep you organized, on-task, and getting things done. It lets you create project and task lists that are easily organized into practical to-do lists for you to track and complete. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Get focused and knock your daily work out of the park.

Conclusion

Your smartphone is an extremely powerful tool. Make sure you are getting the most out of it by keeping up to date with new apps that can help organize your business tools and get the most out of your resources. Save time and money by taking advantage of these services, many of which are already at your disposal. Take your small business to new heights with the device you’re already using wherever you go.

 

Featured Image:
Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/Peggy_Marco-1553824/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=1013616″>Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=1013616″>Pixabay</a>

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Strategize Like a Professional https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/strategize-like-a-professional/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=strategize-like-a-professional https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/strategize-like-a-professional/#comments_reply Wed, 16 Sep 2020 14:30:00 +0000 https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/?p=2090 Introduction Starting a business is difficult, continuing to run a business is exponentially harder. Unless your company is Staples, there is no easy button. If you wish to keep your doors open and the lights on for another year, your…

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Introduction

Starting a business is difficult, continuing to run a business is exponentially harder. Unless your company is Staples, there is no easy button. If you wish to keep your doors open and the lights on for another year, your business has to consistently meet it sales, revenue, and customer/client goals. Without effective marketing strategies in place, this is near impossible. Marketing is an essential element of any business, regardless of industry, age, or intent. While Marketing may seem daunting to a first-time business owner, there are discernible steps that any business owner can readily take regardless of experience or success.

Have a Plan

Step one is having a plan. Quite simply, if you do not have a plan in place, you will not succeed. You need to strategize before you can monetize. Without discernable and measurable goals in place, you have no concrete idea of success or how to measure it. However, it is important to remember that plans do change. Just because you didn’t complete the entirety of the plan doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. Part of the fun, and often pain, of running a business is realizing that you’re actually better suited to run in a different direction and aim for different targets. This doesn’t mean that you can throw a plan out just because you didn’t complete it, but that you should always be open to adapting your plan as it grows alongside your business. Your year ten goals shouldn’t be the same as your year one goals. Your business should look much different that far down the line than it does from your business at the start. Plans should grow commensurately to your business, allowing both your achievements and your financial dreams to evolve.

Who are you targeting?

Who is going to be reached with each marketing step taken in your plan?

If you don’t have a crystal-clear idea of who your business sells to, you won’t be capable of selling with much efficiency. Every plan needs to have goals, and every marketing plan needs to have a target market or target audience. You may have multiple target audiences in mind, and that’s okay.  You might even find that there are elements of your plan to target Audience A that would work for Audience B, but a good rule of thumb is to develop specific plans for each target audience. However, don’t think you can lean solely on one plan. The best marketing strategies target the individuality of your audiences and cater to them uniquely. Keep your target audience in mind as you draft your plan and look for unique ways you can adjust your content and your pitch to fit their needs.

Research

How does one figure out how to best reach a target audience?

Research. Without taking time to perform thorough research, analysis, and reflection you will quickly find that you are in over your head when strategizing. The good news is that research is easier than ever thanks to the tools available via the internet and social media. Research can also be easily done by simply Googling your competitors or similar businesses and taking note of what strategies they have in place. Check out the competitions’ ads. What colors do they use? What are their messages? Are they wordy? Lots of images? Odds are, if you see a recurring strategy among these businesses, it is working. You can then begin to implement those strategies into your own brand and your marketing plan.

Goal Setting

Goals are a priority. If your marketing strategies have no achievable ends to them, they are pointless. In addition, it is hard to gauge the success of a marketing strategy if there are no measurable outcomes attached to them. Make sure to set goals in a variety of areas. For example, set a specific goal for clicks on your ads or visits to your website from social media posts. Set a goal to post a certain number of times per week or day on social media and your website. Set financial goals as well. What dollar amount do you want to see come out of your marketing plan per dollar put in? When these goals are in place, they not only give you something to work towards, but to measure your successes or failures in following through on your goals.

Social Media Strategies

Social Media is one of the greatest free assets available to the modern business owner. In just a decade social media has become one of the largest, most accessible, and most effective tools for any marketing strategy. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and more all offer their own unique capabilities for your business. Whether you are seeking to promote your brand, advertise a specific product, or just generate a follower base, social media is a must for your business. When creating a marketing strategy for your business, find the right social media platforms for your demographic and focus your content creation efforts through those platforms.

Business Page

Your business needs a profile page. Regardless of your platform of choice, your social media presence succeeds when a profile page is put together cohesively and updated regularly. While it may seem like your business can be run from a personal account, this is not a wise idea. Your business needs a page of its own where users can quickly access business information, redirect to your website, and engage with posts put out on your business’ behalf. Building a following may take time, but if you consistently update your page with relevant content, your audience can snowball quickly. Remember your target audience and continually adjust content to meet the criteria they are searching for.

Advertising

In addition to the “free” options available, such as creating a page and posting content to it, social media platforms also offer comprehensive tools for advertising. A paid ad campaign can do wonders for a business struggling to grow its audience. Facebook, in particular, can help you target specific demographics by only presenting your ad to users it (and you) deem relevant to your campaign. This means that you aren’t paying for your ad to appear before users outside of your target marketing, but that you can directly reach the people who are searching for what you have to offer.

Content Creation

A successful marketing strategy lets your business stand out. Part of what helps your social media profile and website stand out is your created content. Not all of your content needs to be original, particularly when it comes to social media, but you must be capable of consistently creating your own content. Your content is what establishes your brand. That brand is a valuable tool when marketing. If your content is merely a watered-down version or a share of another page’s content, your page becomes a middleman. The only thing your social media page should be a middleman for is your website, not someone else’s.

Written

Written content is accessible across your website and your social media pages. It can take many forms, and it is often beneficial to produce written content in a variety of styles. Blog posts, articles, and social media posts are all different styles of written content. What is important is to remember who you are targeting with the content your produce and to tailor the style of your written content to fit their needs. If your research is done properly, you will have read the written content of your competitors and seen what styles are most common and most effective. Written content is most effective when your audience is already hooked, and it is crucial that your written content is the most unique, and self-created, content on your website or profile. Sharing a meme from another page is one thing, but if you have nothing to add to someone else’s dialogue, your visitors will quickly leave you for the source.

Visual

Visual content works across almost every medium. Visual content is unique because it can be still photos, computer created images, or even video. Visual content is also the preference when it comes to social media. Users don’t necessarily want to read a lengthy post, but a funny image or a helpful video can quickly grab their attention and direct them to your business. Utilize memes, informational images, and applicable video to hook potential customers and direct them to your more in-depth written content. Think of visuals as the bait, they grab attention, but they can’t hold it for long.

Audible

Audible content isn’t always the most reliable, however, that does not mean that it isn’t useful. The key here is to understand when audible content should be introduced and how to utilize it. For example, attaching audio with video can be very beneficial. It may also be beneficial to attach audible versions of your written content to make it more accessible for people to engage with when in a hurry or on the go. Just be aware that because social media is a visual medium, audio should be used wisely and sparingly.

Make Connections

Social Media isn’t a solo endeavor, and your marketing strategy should not be one either. With the plethora of resources available to your business with a few strokes of a keyboard, only a fool would create a marketing strategy that relied entirely on a few of them. Marketing is a collaboration between the business owner, partners in business, and the users. Social Media Marketing, especially, relies on direct connection and interaction between individuals for its success. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and engage with users and even other businesses when marketing via social media.

Lead Generation

Part of the connection making process should be geared towards lead generation. When you create content on social media or queue for a search term on Google, you are taking the first step in the lead generation process. Unfortunately, it is up to the user to decide whether or not to take the next step. When a follower on your Facebook page or a user keying in a search term on Google clicks on your link and views your website, a lead has been generated. This isn’t the only method of lead generation, but it is what you will most commonly use when following through on your marketing strategy.

Sales Funnel

A generated lead is not a sale, but it is a solid first step in the sales process. This is where the importance of a sales funnel comes into play. Once a lead has been generated and the user has engaged with your website or business to the point of visiting your website, they enter into your sales funnel. This funnel can take many different forms, but the priorities are constant. You need to introduce the user to the product, stoke their interest, introduce the idea of the sale, get them to consider the costs and benefits to them, and then finally push for the sale. These steps won’t always happen, and they won’t always happen in that order, but the key here is that the funnel is in place so that customers can follow easily along that path towards a purchase.

Email is Still Applicable

Sales funnels have changed, the same way that marketing strategies and social media platforms have changed. However, many people make the mistake in thinking that just because one platform has eclipsed another, the previous platform becomes irrelevant. Because of this, many have forgotten the importance of email. Email is not an outdated form, especially in terms of the sales funnel and sales process. In fact, email lists are a great way to keep users interested and exposed to the sales funnel without constantly pushing the sale on them.

The Hard Sell

Speaking of pushing the sale, it is important not to push the sale too hard or too soon. The sales funnel is a process in which the sell gradually becomes more of the focus. The Hard Sell should not be a constant on your social media pages or of your content. Your social media posts and content can display and contain the products and services you sell but remember that your marketing should funnel into the sale, your marketing should not be the sale. Don’t lose customers early on by appearing to focused on what you can get out of the exchange (money), appease them by relaying what they can get out of it.

Rinse and Repeat

So, you’ve set some goals and met them, what’s next? The first step is to evaluate how well your marketing strategy worked. Did you stick to the plan? Did sticking to the plan produce the expected results? If your answer to either question is no, then you must assess what went wrong with the plan. Did you set unrealistic expectations for yourself or your results?

If the plan did produce the intended results, then congratulations. It may be time to expand your plan and grow your business with loftier goals. Or, it may be that your plan needs to be implemented the same way for a little while longer. Marketing is not like math; the rules and results do often change. However, once you have stuck with a plan and put it into action, you can begin to assess its patterns. From here you can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to continue to adapt the plan and take your business to further successes.

 

Featured Image:

Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/mangomatter-14931421/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=4775799″>Mango Matter</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=4775799″>Pixabay</a>

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Costly SEO Mistakes You May Be Making https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/costly-seo-mistakes-you-may-be-making/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=costly-seo-mistakes-you-may-be-making https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/costly-seo-mistakes-you-may-be-making/#comments_reply Wed, 09 Sep 2020 15:57:34 +0000 https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/?p=2083 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial part of maintaining your website. However, just because you are performing SEO doesn’t mean that you are performing it correctly. In fact, many people make major SEO mistakes when attempting to optimize their…

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial part of maintaining your website. However, just because you are performing SEO doesn’t mean that you are performing it correctly. In fact, many people make major SEO mistakes when attempting to optimize their websites. There are poor ways to perform SEO, and this article is here to help you avoid some common and damaging mistakes. Don’t let your website be held back by over eagerness on your part and use this list to help assess how your “SEO Experts” are really performing for your business. Make sure your SEO is top notch and your website is reaching its greatest potential.

Keyword Bloating

Keywording is the backbone of SEO. Keywords help introduce new topics, tie thoughts together and form the overall connective tissue for a blog post or web page. Keywords also help you collect sources, link to additional pages or information, and even introduce the soft sell. Keywords help quickly reinforce the purpose of your content for both users and search engines. They are a highly useful tool for editing and content creation. However, they can be easily misused. It is important to make sure that you select your keywords carefully and that you sprinkle them properly throughout your blog post or web page.

Consider the following example:

Your keyword for an article is “local business

Now consider the following statement written two different ways.

“Marketing tips to help your local business. Local business profits stay within the community at a higher percentage than chain businesses. Keep enriching your community by growing your local business today.”

OR

Local business marketing tips to help your local business. Local business profits stay within the local business community at a higher rate than chain businesses. Keep enriching your local business community by growing your local business and your local business market today.”

Which of the above examples is likelier to yield greater results? The first example.

The second example is bloated and bogged down with keyword occurrences. Search Engines dock this kind of behavior as it is often used to pander to keyword searches by cramming content with the given keyword(s), and often lacking in quality content. When placing keywords, always choose quality over quantity. Keyword cramming makes your content more difficult and more frustrating to read.

Don’t bog your content down with unnecessary extra keyword occurrences, make the keyword clear but spread lightly throughout its associated content.

General Content

When creating content for your website and business, it is important to attract the proper audience. You don’t want to isolate potential customers and clients by focusing only on niche aspects of the business. It is important to make sure that content has a broad appeal. However, content needs to remain focused and should never drift into undefined territory. This might sound like a conundrum, but the balance can be found. As you get more and more experience writing your own content, you’ll start to better understand what niche topics your audience gravitates to and what broad topics help bring in new viewers.

If your content is too general and isn’t targeted specifically to your business or the needs of your potential customers, then it most likely doesn’t belong on your site. For instance, if you operate a small, family owned business, odds are that info such as stock rates and bond prices aren’t pertinent to your business or the people potentially looking into your business. Make sure that content is created and curated specifically to fit the needs of your business so that Search Engines don’t mark it as irrelevant.

Don’t feel like your content needs to be about one single industry or topic either. Feel free to talk about anything related to your business or what it has to offer, so long as it retains a connection to you and/or what you do.

Improper Titles and Descriptions

Content on a website may have various intentions, but each article, page, and post should be geared towards bringing in new customers and clients for your business. Content, particularly articles and posts in this example, needs to be focused and appealing. If you don’t know why you’re writing something, then do not write it.

Content can be varied, but all content needs to share in a common theme or purpose. Part of keeping one piece of content in line with another is by appropriately titling and describing content. This includes meta descriptions and titles as well. If titles are long and rambling or inaccurate to the content produced, this misleads users and is seen negatively by search engines. Titles are similar to keywords in the sense that they need to be relevant and should refrain from being bloated. You may want to mention your title within your content blocks, but much like keywords, you need to be careful not to over do it.

Descriptions are also an easy way to hook users on your website or business. Descriptions should be brief but to the point. They need to encapsulate the premise of your article and what users will gain from reading your content. This is also a quick and easy way to stand out from the competition, as descriptions often appear on search engine pages.

Incorrect Keyword Choice

Whether the keyword is being selected for a title or for the article itself, it needs to be chosen carefully. Keywords not only help determine the focus of an article, but they are the term most likely to be searched for by a user in a search engine. Keywords need to be relevant, but not overused. For example, “Marketing” wouldn’t be a very successful prime keyword for a small business’s website article. Why?

Marketing is a very broad term, and one that is not likely to apply specifically to your business or to your target market. However, if you want this to be included in the keyword search of your article, you can easily string it together with more relevant terms. Try phrases such as “local marketing business” or “small business marketing help” or variations of the two that might appeal to local businesses looking for your help.

Make sure that keywords are specific and relevant, but that you are not reusing or overusing certain keywords as search engines tend to dock websites for their repetition. Your articles should use a variety of keywords, with old keywords being rotated out and new ones sprinkled in as you continue to write.

Plagiarism

This may sound like an obvious tactic to avoid, but many people plagiarize content without realizing that they are doing so. Most people know to avoid copy and pasting another website or business’ direct content, but many will also directly copy the ideas and core content of another site in an attempt to replicate shared ideas and beliefs.

This can happen frequently when creating self-help or instructional articles. An important part of informing your audience is ensuring that you yourself are informed over the subject you are attempting to instruct on. The easiest way to instruct yourself is by researching the topic and learning from what others have already put out. There is nothing wrong about learning from other sources, or from putting that knowledge gained into your own content. However, there is an issue when covering the same exact topics and subtopics. Search Engines see when the main beats of one article are directly copied from another, even when different word choices are used. Make sure that your original content is a blend of what you have learned, not bits and pieces of information from other sources.

Poor External Linking Quality

Another key aspect of ranking your site properly via Search Engine Optimization is placing links to external sources throughout your content. These links can act as reputable sources, direct quotes, or even examples of what your content is discussing. It is important to keep these links layered throughout your content to not only increase the credibility of what you are saying, but to help build results via Search Engines. Again, refrain from overloading your content with links. It’s also important to use a variety of links to a variety of different sites.

When choosing your external links, it is important not to do so half-hazardly. External, or out bound links, need to be chosen with two primary objectives in mind. First, that the links are relative to your content and can either validate or enhance what you are saying on your own website. Second, that the links themselves are from reputable, credible, and popular sources. In this case, choose websites that are better known. You can link to smaller websites from time to time, but the external linking focus should remain on larger and more reaching websites.

Poor Internal Linking Quality

Internal linking does not achieve the same purpose as external linking, but it is equally important. Internal linking allows for greater circulation of your own website and helps weave your content together. Internal linking is the best way to guide users to other articles, posts, and pages on your website. This way users can jump from one article to another and can see a greater picture of what your business or website is.

It is important to follow a similar strategy for internal linking as the one followed for external linking. Make sure that links are pertinent to one another, but don’t be afraid to add a sentence or two that ties the concepts together. Don’t overload a page with either kind of linking either. Users and Search Engines can quickly be turned off when a webpage is unnecessarily cluttered with links. This is a sign of desperation and cheap attempts to rank slightly higher within the search engines. Let your links feel natural and both you and your audience will get the most out of them.

Desktop Vs Mobile Support

Mobile Phones are the future of internet usage. For the past several years, Search Engines have been utilized in a greater capacity for mobile searches than they have been for desktop searches. In order to accommodate this, Search Engines such as Google have begun to prioritize the quality of a mobile site over that of the desktop sight. The SEO mistake that many websites continue to make is prioritizing the Desktop Site above the Mobile Site.

The world is moving to mobile. If your business does not have a quality mobile app and/or website, then it has already fallen behind. Search Engines are prioritizing mobile sites, which means that even perfect desktop sites will be docked for not competing across mobile platforms. If you don’t want to be docked for the same, make sure that your mobile site loads quickly, is up to date, and is easy to navigate. Remember to layout mobile site content in a sharp and decluttered manner so as to accommodate the smaller screens of mobile devices.

Corner Cutting

A common SEO mistake shared among many small businesses is the act of cutting corners. Most often these corners aren’t cut maliciously or with ill intent, but to save time and money. Perhaps you have a relative who works on websites in their spare time or a friend who promises a “quick fix” to a software issue. While these options may seem financially appealing at first, they can often create further headaches down the road. This doesn’t disqualify friends and family from being able to help with your website, but it means that you need to vet their credentials the same way you’d vet any service professional.

Make sure that only qualified individuals are performing maintenance and design for your website. This extends to your content too. While cheaper options may seem like a better route at times, make sure that the work these routes perform for you is on par with more expensive and more qualified services. Don’t sell yourself, your website, and your clients short by cutting corners. Take the time and money to deliver the best to your potential customers and watch the returns grow.

Lack of Self-Examination

The most potentially damaging, common SEO mistake that a business owner can make is not self-examining their website. Self-Examination is the best way to ascertain what your website has to offer. When you take the time to legitimately analyze your website from the viewpoint of a user, you can better notice what works and what doesn’t work.

When self-examining your website, take the time to examine each area of your website. Is the Home Page easy to understand and navigate? Is the central purpose of your business clearly communicated? Are there any aspects of your website that don’t fit in line with the central purpose? Are articles relevant to what your business offers and what customers might be searching for? Take the time to ask these questions and modify your website accordingly, the results can improve your search results greatly.

Recap

Search Engine Optimization is a crucial aspect of managing any website. It is important to perform SEO on a regular basis, and it is especially important not to commit any of these common SEO mistakes. Continue to refine your content to yield better search results and you will watch your web traffic increase exponentially. Make sure that your needs, the needs of the search engines, and the needs of the users are all being met satisfactorily.

Featured Image:

Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/mohamed_hassan-5229782/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3085712″>mohamed Hassan</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3085712″>Pixabay</a>

 

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Do You Need a Mentor? https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/do-you-need-a-mentor/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=do-you-need-a-mentor https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/do-you-need-a-mentor/#comments_reply Wed, 26 Aug 2020 19:10:27 +0000 https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/?p=2074 Are books and classes no longer pushing you? Do you need a partnership that helps guide you and to grow? You might be in the market for a mentor. For some people, that word is a turnoff. They see long…

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Are books and classes no longer pushing you? Do you need a partnership that helps guide you and to grow? You might be in the market for a mentor. For some people, that word is a turnoff. They see long commitments and the painful mentorship “first-dates”. But being a mentor is more than just about finding someone to compare business notes with, it’s about creating a dynamic partnership that is committed to your growth.

Navigating the world of business is a near impossible task if one isn’t equipped with the right team, the right tools, and the right knowledge. Fortunately, there are thousands, if not millions, of people that have successfully navigated the terrain of business to varying degrees of success. Whatever field or specialization you find yourself in, there are always experts out there with knowledge that may be crucial to your continued and burgeoning successes in the field of business.

Who, or What, is a Mentor?

Often the role of a mentor is one that is misunderstood, and frequently overlooked by young and enterprising professionals. What kind of person does it take to be a mentor? Who should this person be within my organization? Should this person be an outsider from my organization? Is there an age requirement for someone to be qualified as a mentor? These questions and more come up frequently in the search for a mentor. There is no concrete process with which to find or even a mentor. However, there are certain traits and roles that mentors have in common.

Experience

All mentors have experience of some kind. Typically, the more experience an individual has, the greater their capacity for mentorship. This can be personal experience in a company or an industry. It can be hands on experience with a practice, product, or system. Experience can take nearly limitless forms, each one playing a different role in their life and their career. Most often experience can be identified by levels of success. Has the potential mentor been in their field long? Do they have a credible series of projects and or developments to reflect their time? Does this potential mentor have a series of promotions that reflect their acquired skills and merit? Do they have rewards or other acknowledgements of what they’ve done? Have they connected with other high profile or high achieving individuals? If they can answer any of these questions to your satisfaction, then they may have the kind of verifiable experience that you are in search of learning from. One of the tremendous benefits of a having a mentor in business is having access to their recollection and compilation of experience. By hearing from someone who’s been there and done that, the “what?” of their accomplishments can be assessed and learned from.

Expertise

What is expertise? Is expertise similar to experience? Do the two concepts go hand in hand? For a dictionary definition of the word, expertise is defined as, exceptional knowledge and/or in a particular field. Expertise is not directly tied to experience, but the two often go hand in hand. Expertise is more of the “book smarts” compared to the “street smarts” of experience. Expertise is what most people are searching for when they think of having a mentor. People want to know the “how?” of the accomplishments, achievements, and goals of those they look up to. For example, one may look at a business expert such as Jeff Bezos and wonder, “How did he get to be the richest man in the world?”. While the answer to that question certainly isn’t one that can be put simply and straight forward, the simplified version of that answer would come from the acquired expertise of Bezos and the experience he gained from putting that expertise into practice. Expertise is another one of the major benefits of having a mentor in business, as you gain access to a mental library of knowledge with often endless application to your own life.

Personal Connection

If experience is the “what” and expertise is the “how” of mentorship, then personal connection is the “why”. Why is this person seeking to mentor you? Why are you seeking to be mentored by them specifically? More often than not from the mentor’s side, the why is simple. They seek to pass on what they have learned, to continue to foster those that need help, and to make the world a better and more knowledgeable place. On the side of the mentee, the chosen mentor is often selected because of their merit or position of admiration and respect. Perhaps it’s a relative with expertise and experience in your field. Perhaps it’s a boss whom you’ve taken a liking to. Whatever the reason, it is important to make sure that both parties can clearly define their “why” and that a personal connection is established to make the mentorship concrete and as deep as it should be.

What Kind of Mentor Do I Need?

What kind of person does it take to be a mentor? If you are a child, then most adults in your life take some role as a “mentor”. However, as you get older, you are forced to narrow these “mentor” figures down to find those who align somewhat directly with your views, expertise, and values. Now, take this example one step further. In high school, the field of business is often treated as a broad one, with little focus given to different fields such as accounting, marketing, finance, etc. In college, the broad field of business is broken down into these more diverse fields of business such as those listed above. After college, and in the business world, these fields are broken down even further into jobs with specific roles, such as supply chain management, human resources, public relations, etc. No matter what stage of life you begin your interest in business in, you require a different specification and qualification of mentor.

In high school, a business teacher or local business owner will suffice. At the high school stage of life, the basics need to be understood and fully mastered before moving on to the more advanced topics. Even if you have graduated and are much older, a mentor along these lines is a great resource for mastering or even reviewing the basics. Concepts such as the 4P’s of Marketing, Simple Supply and Demand, and the concept of balancing a checkbook can be learned from these resources. The benefit of utilizing a mentor versus a teacher or a course is that the mentor can walk or run with you at your own pace and can often answer more obscure questions while covering ground at a generally faster pace.

In college, or a similar intermediate stage of business acumen, the basic knowledge and expertise of a high school business teacher or small business owner may no longer suffice. This isn’t to discredit the mentors from earlier stages in development, but it is important to remember that they may not have as much experience or expertise with deeper concepts, as they view business from a much smaller scale than a large retailer, college professor, or corporate executive. So, an intermediate learner in the workings of business would search a few rungs higher on the corporate ladder for a mentor. Perhaps a professor or credible expert in their intended field of business would suffice as a mentor. Taking the example of the small business owner a step forward, the regional manager of a chain or department head of a corporation’s local office may suffice. These examples won’t have the acumen of a Warren Buffer, per say, but will have more hands on and in-depth knowledge than someone who deals with business on a smaller scale, such as the aforementioned teacher and small-business owner.

For an advanced student of business, someone who has mastered the basics and moved into the business world professionally, a more involved and experienced mentorship is needed. The college professor and the mid-level manager may no longer suffice. Again, this isn’t to discredit their knowledge or ability, but is relative to the experience they have with the “big picture”. This may also begin to be a question of identifying where you, as someone seeking a mentor, are hoping to find yourself 5, 10, 15+ years down the line. The advanced stage of understanding is where expert mentors really come into a play. For the beginning and intermediate stages of understanding and growth, the knowledge is less circumstantial, and a less-credible mentor may yield the same results as an experienced and truly knowledgeable one. However, in the advanced stage, it becomes absolutely crucial to select a mentor who is not only experienced, but one who is credibly so. This is where achievements and goals come into play, and why it was stated earlier that it is important for some of those goals and ambitions to match up.

What are the Benefits of Having a Mentor in Business?

We’ve covered what to look for in a mentor and why someone is qualified to be a mentor, but how does having a mentor benefit the mentee? The primary benefit of having a mentor is quite simply having someone to regularly talk things through with. Life if complicated and confusion, with many different paths and doorways converging and diverging at various intervals. A mentor is someone that often acts as a sounding board for all of the options, opportunities, and setbacks that life presents you with. The mentor relationship because it creates an individual has both an insider and an outsider view on the situations going on.

For example, imagine that you are employed at Company A as a data analyst. This isn’t your dream career; but as an entry level employee straight out of college, it is a solid stepping stone towards your dream career. You are offered a position at another company, it isn’t in the direction that’d you’d like to go, but it comes with a sizeable increase in pay and benefits. What do you do?

This is where the mentor comes into place. Having already climbed the ladder a substantial amount of the way and bringing with them into the conversation several decades of experience, they understand where you are coming from. The mentor knows you and knows your goals, they also know the relative direction in which each choice would lead. They can by no means make the decision for you, but they can share what they know, and that is often the most asset that an up and coming individual can have. The mentor can see what is going on in the shoes of the mentee, but also sees the situation as someone from the outside would. They can process what they know about you and the choice that lay ahead, while comparing and compiling it with what they know and have seen.

Conclusion

While mentor relationships are recommended to people in almost every field, it is up to the mentee to determine whether or not they would benefit from having a mentor in their life. Remember to ask yourself, what are the benefits of having a mentor in business? Are there mentors in your field? Are there people you could be learning from? Growing from? If you are seeking a mentor, remember to check them against the criteria for what makes a mentor. Find individuals that have experience in your field, or at least one similar to it. Find individuals who have expertise over your subject matter, people who know what they are talking about. Think of individuals who you already share a personal connection with. Who in your life is already serving as a mentor that you think you could benefit from further interaction with?

Seek out individuals that have been through what you are going through. Search for people that have answers to your questions. Every mentor relationship is different, it is up to you to find the relationship that works for you.

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Can You Learn Marketing Online? https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/can-you-learn-marketing-online/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=can-you-learn-marketing-online https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/can-you-learn-marketing-online/#comments_reply Wed, 19 Aug 2020 20:11:59 +0000 https://simplicitymarketingllc.com/?p=2069 Where’s Your Classroom Many people believe that a brick and mortar classroom is the only place to learn. While that environment certainly can be a fantastic place to sharpen your skills or even begin your knowledge, it isn’t your only…

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Where’s Your Classroom

Many people believe that a brick and mortar classroom is the only place to learn. While that environment certainly can be a fantastic place to sharpen your skills or even begin your knowledge, it isn’t your only option. You don’t need to pay tuition and fees in order to develop this instrumental business skill. In fact, there’s more affordable access to marketing training than you may realize. This article is here to help you learn how to find the best marketing training online and to get you jump-started on your journey towards becoming a marketing pro.

What is Marketing?

Online Marketing can only be defined by first defining marketing in general. Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”      So, it stands to reason that online marketing would be the internet applications of the above-defined aspects of marketing.

Marketing takes numerous forms and has existed throughout the history of mankind. As long as people have had products and services to offer, and as long as others have had money to trade for said products, marketing has been a key component of human trade and purchase. Marketing hasn’t changed much in principle, but the systems and operations behind the marketing continue to grow more and more complex as time has gone on. In Ancient times; marketing was as simple as arranging your fruits so that the freshest products were on top. In modern times; that idea is still the same, but there are systems in place to ensure that the freshest products get the most attention. Not only do grocery stores continue to arrange the freshest fruits on top of the rest of the product, but those fruits are advertised over television, print, and even the internet. There are also systems in place to ensure that those fruits are advertised heavily to the people most likely to buy them.

Data collection is a major component of marketing that has become easier to analyze and utilize in the advent of the internet age. Not only are products arranged to increase visual appeal, but the market and purchase data are available to both buyers and sellers for a wide array of analytics and management. Customers can be tracked, demographics identified, and patters defined. In the past, these were metrics that could only be managed and tracked by merchants and their storefronts. However, thanks to the advent of the internet, this type of information and analysis is available to the masses. Due to its availability and the increasing ease of which it can be analyzed, online marketing is a great tool for any business.

What is Online Marketing?

But what is online marketing? How can it be utilized? What makes it different and either inferior or superior to traditional marketing?

To answer the first question, online marketing isn’t so different from traditional marketing. The fact that the process is done online doesn’t lead to any deviation from the same basic rules and principles. The traditional four P’s of marketing; product, price, place, and promotion don’t change.

  • Product
    • Is it tangible or intangible? This is often the difference between a digital product, a service, or a physical product as to be found in store.
    • The seller/marketer must have a clear understanding of what the product is, what it does, and what niche it fills.
  • Price
    • Now that the product’s role is determined, what is its nominal value? Profit margins, supply vs demand, and other environmental factors come into play.
    • Price needs to be determined accurately and adequately when deciding on the details of the next two P’s.
  • Place
    • “Location, location, location” is the oft-repeated mantra. Where can this product or service best be utilized?
    • “Place” can determine a physical location for a store or vendor, a website name, style, and design, or even where a product is located in a store or on a site.
  • Promotion
    • How are potential customers going to hear about this product/service? What about this product/service is going to grab customer’s intentions?
    • This is where key marketing aspects such as advertising, social media, viral marketing, and public relations come into play.

Online Marketing is utilized in a similar fashion to how traditional marketing methods are utilized. The added benefit of online marketing is that content can be created and distributed at a much faster rate and can be delivered to more narrowly targeted groups. This applies particularly to place and promotion, as products can be placed both in stores and online. As far as promotion is concerned, products/services can be uniquely targeted to fit the needs of each price point, place, and customer.

Why does Online Marketing Matter?

  • Why does a company or individual need marketing?
  • Why does a company or individual need online marketing?

Businesses exist to make a profit. Yes, most businesses have larger goals as to why and how they make that profit, but profit is the unifying bottom line. Regardless of whether a business wants to generate revenues for the sake of donating it to charity or using it to inflate a trust fund, profit is the bottom line.

Companies accomplish this generation of profit in many different ways. A company such as Apple builds computers and cellphones and develops software and then sells those developments for profit. Uber sends a driver and a car to pick any number of individuals up and drop them off at their destination, this is a service that Uber offers in exchange for profit. eBay doesn’t sell a product and it doesn’t send a service, but it offers a space on its platform for others to sell products, and in addition to taking a small share of the profits of each sale, it sells additional space on the website for advertisers. Again, Ebay’s bottom line is to generate revenue and take in a profit.

The best way to generate revenue is by selling products or services. In order to do so, the company or individuals wishing to generate revenue must put their products and services in front of potential customers. How does a business know which potential customers to put their product in front of? How does a business know what to say to each of these potential customers both as individuals and as a group? The answer is, it doesn’t, at least until it performs the proper market research and in turn, markets its products to the appropriate people in the appropriate ways.

Marketing keeps the wheels spinning and what brings new customers in the door, while also retaining older customers and ensuring that they continue to return. A company needs marketing because it needs to ensure that its bases are covered and that the products and services that it offers are reaching its full and appropriate audience. An individual needs marketing for the same reason that businesses do, but with greater stress on maintaining their personal brand and connection. Marketing, besides being a great way to deliver products, is also a great way to develop and maintain both personal and company brands.

Why Does (Online) Marketing Matter to You?

This is a question that you have to ask yourself personally? What is your role, and how does marketing apply to it? Are you an entrepreneurial individual seeking to build or grow a business? Are you a member of a larger organization or business seeking ways to refine the group that you represent? Are you an individual seeking an audience for your works, products, or services? Whatever your reasons, please reflect on them going forwards, and as you learn how to market online, make sure you do it with the intention of reaching whatever the goal that you’ve set it.

What is the Best Way to Learn Marketing Online?

There are many different sources to learn marketing online. These options vary in scale, style, size, and stages of development. There is no “one size fits all” method of learning marketing online. Rather there are a variety of options, and it is up to the individual to determine which method works best for them.

Online Courses

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to learn online marketing is via the use of online courses. Online Marketing courses are often tailored to specific platforms and feature detailed information about both how those programs work and how you as the user can utilize those programs or sites to best fit your marketing needs. These courses are especially helpful because they are often “pick and choose”, not requiring you to have extensive knowledge of overall online marketing platforms when you are opting to focus primarily on social media marketing.

When selecting a course, it is important to remember to keep your needs in focus. In other words, remember why you are seeking more knowledge and information on how to market. Are you building a brand? Then you should probably seek training focused on social media. Are you an established brand looking into increasing awareness about an exciting new product? Viral Marketing might be the best way for you to utilize your already existing platform and promote the new product.

Video Training

YouTube, or other video platforms such as Vimeo, are another great way to learn online marketing. With the accessibility of video and social platforms, video training is often the most affordable option. However, this may inhibit quality as the source of these videos can often lack credibility or expertise.

However, many businesses and credible professionals will offer marketing and other professional training from their video platforms. These videos are a perfect option for people just starting out or seeking training when on a tight budget.

Marketing Classroom

There are hybrid platforms with which to learn marketing online as well. One such example is the Marketing Classroom. This website acts as a series of online courses in the form of videos. If you are seeking information on how to market online, or how to do so more efficiently, then the Marketing Classroom may be the place for you. There is a wide variety of topics available for both businesses and individuals.

The Marketing Classroom is designed to be a premier service to help any enterprising individual in their pursuit of building a greater audience and/or reaching more potential customers.

Social Media

There are hundreds of thousands of experts and industry leaders delivering content and instruction via their social media platforms. Many businesses post daily or weekly blogs aimed at helping those who read them to learn and grow. If you are aspiring to the same levels of success as these companies or individuals, then it can be helpful to study the means by which they created their success.

Seminars

Seminars are a terrific way to learn online marketing skills but via a more personal and individualized touch. Seminars are a great way to meet industry experts and leaders, as well as to ask them questions and pick their brains. If you prefer the individual attention and mentorship that can only be had in person, then seminars are a terrific way to learn marketing online.

Conclusion

What is YOUR best way to learn marketing online? Are you a hands-on learner seeking the attention and expertise of a specific individual? Try a seminar. Are you an individual strapped for time, hoping to learn at their own pace? Then social media blogs and videos may be for you. The importance of the matter is that you seek out what methods of education are best for you.

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