Showing posts with label small business marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label small business marketing. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Business of Writing


Writing is a business. If you are a writer, what kind of business background do you need?

I have a college degree, but I took only two business classes. Decades later, I am a college student once again. I am not pursuing a degree, but a certificate. There are a number of business classes I have taken or still need to take. Some of them are: business taxes, accounting, Microsoft Office 2013, management and marketing. I am halfway to being “finished” but I plan to continue enrolling in classes. There are other related programs to pursue, and enough to keep me busy for at least the next few years.

Of course, I have also enrolled in writing classes, but those are through other entities. I need to learn more about how to write better and I enjoy learning from other writers.

What business classes have you invested in? How did they help you? What other classes would you enjoy or find useful?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Debbie A. Byrne has a B.S. in Mass Communication with a minor in History. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is working on her first children’s book.

 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Small Business Marketing - Know Your Customer’s Online Behavior

By Karen Cioffi

Part 3 of a 3 part series.

You’ve done your research and created a product or service to sell to others. And, you’ve researched your target market. Everything is in place to attract potential customers to your site.

But, once you get the prospect to your site, then what?

The purpose of bringing visitors to your site is the have them buy what you’re selling – this is called conversion. The ratio of the number of visitors to the number of buyers is your conversion rate.

Knowing your customer’s online behavior will help you enhance your site’s conversion rate.

According to a webinar presented by Marketing Experiments, How to Increase Conversion in 2012, for every action or step you want a visitor to take, it must be worth his time and money – it must be worth the opportunity cost.

In other words, the buyer must feel that choosing your product or service is of greater benefit compared to spending that money and time on another product or service. And, each step in the buying process must equate to a perceived benefit. The perceived value must outweigh the perceived cost, including time and effort.

The webinar offered four factors or key principles to small business marketing that will help guide the potential customer to the desired online behavior:

1. Appeal – Is your product desired enough by the prospect? Have you made your product and promo copy effective and enticing enough?

2. Exclusivity – Can the prospect find your product or service elsewhere online or is your offer unique and exclusive?

3. Credibility – Are your promo copy claims believable enough for the prospect to take action?

4. Clarity – Can the prospect quickly and easily understand what your site and offer is about? And, are the steps needed to purchase what you’re offering easy to follow and minimal? Having an effective heading that conveys the value of the offer, is essential to this element.

These four key principles are necessary to your small business internet marketing strategy – they’re needed to effectively lead a customer through the steps of buying.

Testing and research demonstrate that you must have “an unbroken chain of Yeses” in order to get the conversion. Along with this you must reduce buyer anxiety that usually appears during an involved buying process.

This means you must simplify the buying experience for the customer to allow for a smooth flow that maintains “cognitive momentum.”

Steps you can take to simplify the customer’s buying experience include:

•    Have an effective image on your site – studies show that images increase clicks
•    Have a clean and uncluttered page – clutter causes distraction, which breaks the “yes” chain
•    Make the shopping cart steps as minimal as possible – keep it short and simple

In its simplest form, your 'customer value proposition' needs to answer the question of ‘why should that customer buy from you, rather than from your competitor.’ And, you must convey that answer quickly, simply, and effectively in order to drive desired online behavior.

What strategies do you use to determine your customer's online behavior and how to persuade him to say YES to your call-to-action?

To read Part 1 of this Small Business Marketing series, go to:
Small Business Marketing – Meet Your Customer’s Wants

To read Part 2, go to:
Small Business Marketing – Know What Customers Buy

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MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING

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 P.S. To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelancer/Ghostwriter, Author/Writer Online Platform Instructor
Build an Online Platform That Works

For your writing needs: Karen Cioffi Professional Writing Services

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Small Business Marketing - Know What Consumers Buy

By Karen Cioffi

This is Part 2 of a 3 part series.

Key Marketing Principle One – Know Your Prospect’s Motives

You’ve finally done it. You created a great product to sell. But, could it be that the product you think is ‘great’ is not something many others are interested in?

For small business marketing to be effective, you need to know if there is a customer base for your product or service. This is why it’s important to determine what people are buying. And, it’s important to know this prior to creating your product, if possible. If you already have a product or service available, this information will help you tweak it to be more relevant and attractive to potential customers.

How to Find out What Consumers Buy

You might be wondering how you learn about your prospect and his buying habits. Fortunately, the Web has made this easy to do. One way to find this information is to do keyword searches. Knowing what people are searching for gives insight into what they want and what they’re buying.

As an example of small business marketing and keywords, let’s use ‘alternative health options’ as a search word.

If you do a search for that particular keyword through Yahoo, you’ll realize the target market is broad. In fact, there are over 50,000 in the search results.

You can also do a Google Adwords search. Using ‘alternative health options,’ Google will provide you with an assortment of keywords related to your query and let you know their weight – meaning how many searches there are for each. For the keyword ‘natural health,’ there are 246,000 global searches.

The purpose of these keyword search tools is to provide you with information, such as:

•    What consumers buy - the types of products and/or services people are searching for, which shows what they want
•    The specific keyword or phrases people are searching under
•    Less competitive long-tail keywords that will narrow your target market
•    Product and name ideas

But, to see which keywords are actually relating to your sales, you should use Amazon, which by the way is an excellent keyword search tool. Simply type in the beginning of your query. We’ll stick with ‘alternative health options’ from above. So, type “alternati,” in the query box and Amazon will automatically list its most popular keywords for that beginning query.

This is valuable information for the marketer. These are the keywords that people are using to buy books and other products. And, since Amazon makes money when products are sold, they provide the most effective keywords.

After doing the research, the effective keyword you come up with will be the foundation of your product’s name and/or your website’s name. This is what the people you’re targeting are looking for, this is what they want. And, this is what you’ll provide.

Other Marketing Strategies to Determine What Consumers Buy

Join groups that deal with the subject matter you are thinking of creating a product around. Follow relevant keywords on Twitter and take note of what’s going on in the tweets. And, follow through on links provided in the tweets. The same goes for Facebook, Linkedin, GooglePlus, active blogs and newsletters. Read, read, read.

The information garnered through these strategies will help you create an effective name for your product, or if you already have an existing product, as mentioned above, it can help you tweak your marketing strategies in regard to its name, its appearance, and its promotional content. The same goes for your website.

The information you learn will also help you craft articles and content to establish yourself as an authority on the subject matter and draw traffic to your site.

Knowing what consumers buy is an important element in your small business marketing strategy.

If you missed Part 1, please visit: 
http://www.writersonthemove.com/2013/10/small-business-marketing-meet-your.html

Stay tuned for Part 3, scheduled for December 1st.

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MORE ON MARKETING

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Authors Need Discoverability More Than Findability
6 Book Marketing Tips that are Sure to Increase Your Visibility

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P.S. To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelancer/Ghostwriter, Author/Writer Online Platform Instructor
Build an Online Platform That Works

Karen Cioffi Professional Writing Services

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Small Business Marketing – Meet Your Customers’ Wants


By Karen Cioffi

 This is Part 1 of a 3 Part Series.

You just started your own business and you’re creating a small business marketing plan. You may already have created a great product. At least you think it’s a great product. But, is there a customer base for it? Or, is your product name effective? Do you know what your target market’s ‘wants’ are?

Marketing studies are showing that in order to sell effectively, you need to know what’s motivating your potential customer to make the choices he does. This means you need to know what your potential customer wants.
   
People buy what they need, want, or desire. But, ‘when push comes to shove,’ people buy what they want, rather than what they need.

So, you need to determine what it is your potential customer wants and craft your small business marketing strategy around that.

Suppose you’re selling a book on ‘alternative health.’

Many people may know they should look into alternative health options, maybe find an acupuncturist or naturopathic doctor, but if you don’t promote your product to their ‘want’ it won’t motivate the prospect to buy. 

So, what does it mean to promote to a customer’s want, rather than his need.

Well, instead of promoting your alternative health book by explaining that Western medicine may not meet their health needs and that it’s important to address the underlying causes, rather than just the symptoms of illnesses, tell the potential customer that alternative options will allow him to regain his health and vitality. Tell him how this product will actually alleviate his problem.

Do you see the difference?

Please be aware though that the above example is just that, an example. In your small business marketing you must always be honest and never, ever make guarantees in regard to someone’s health. Your product or service must to be of value and it must fulfill your marketing claims.

As the example demonstrates, people buy based on feelings: Will the product or service make me feel, look, or smell better? Will it help me learn something, or earn more money? Will it get rid of my pain?  Will it make me a better golfer? And, it’s your job to answer the relevant questions effectively.

Watch just about any TV commercial. The marketers are selling an image. They’re selling to the viewer’s wants. Think of clothing commercials. Some don’t even have words; you simple watch a beautiful or handsome model wearing the product. You want to look like the model in those clothes, whether consciously or subconsciously. This motivates you to buy those clothes. The ad is addressing a ‘want.’

Just as a chef prepares a meal for both the taste and visual appeal of a dish, so must a marketer present his product or service in a manner that will be appealing on all fronts to the target market.

Your small business marketing must address your potential customer’s ‘what’s in it for me’ (WIIFM) question appealingly and effectively.

What strategies do you use to find out what your customers' wants are and to meet them?

Stay tuned for Part 2 on November 1st!

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter/ rewriter. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move and author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

If you need help with your author platform, check out Karen's e-classes through WOW:
http://www.articlewritingdoctor.com/content-marketing-tools/


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