Bootstrap Marketing – Time Not Money

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We all have a budget. Marketing is one of those things that can eat into your budget in seconds. More so if you are throwing money into the campaign after campaign – boosting posts on the suggestion of Facebook, and then following up with some Pinterest pins. It is essential that you know why you are spending what you are spending, and if it is actually going to do you any good. 

It is easy to throw money at a problem and feel like you have done your job, but marketing in this day and age doesn’t need to cost the earth. 

We are lucky that we have access to tools and software that make the journey quick, productive with access to the numbers that are going to make a difference. Here are some tips on how you can tackle your marketing without spending anything.

Renew

If you are posting content on your blog or website, then chances are you have years worth all stacked up. Quality posts that have relevant links and great information. However, they aren’t getting the eyes on them that you had hoped and the chances are you didn’t do much with them the first time around. This is your chance to revamp and reshare. Go back through the content that you would consider high-value, and edit it. Add images and more supporting data. Update the links and reshare it. However, don’t just share it once, add it to your schedule (which we will get to in a moment). You can even create eBooks and other download content for you readers to pick up – email gated, naturally. 

Infographics

If you are pressed for research and writing time, but you need to be producing content that will get people engaged in a conversation and sharing, then take a look at infographics. You can make free infographics with something like Canva. They have a range of templates that you can utilize. Try only to create infographics that you have fast access to the data for, and that you have supporting links for. Moreover, always remember your branding. Without it, the infographic won’t be selling your brand in the way that you really should be aiming for. 

You can make a range of infographics, some for clients and customers, and some for people and businesses in the same field as you. 

Branding

Your branding is going to have to be on everything. And you can create your own logo, website, social media images, and so much more. Again this just takes time and probably a few tutorials. However, once you have the images that you feel suits what you do, you can then get it printed (yes, this costs) on things like your business cards, flyers, promotional materials. However, if you want only to put money where it matters, then put it into your packaging. People wish to receive something that is an indicator that the company cares about them, and looks good. Branded wrapped paper, stickers, and a note inside are great touches. Find custom shipping tape to really take it there. 

Email Marketing 

Email marketing is a powerful tool that so many companies just aren’t using to their full power. It doesn’t take more than a few days to create a beautiful funnel taking people from the sign up to purchase links over the space of a few weeks. There are many email marketing funnels tools that are free to use. You will have to try a few out to see what you like the most, but for the most part, you are going to really enjoy seeing it automatically being sent out. Turning cold leads into engaged readers and buyers is a great feeling. Neil Patel has some great advice on how to really amp up your email marketing. 

Content 

We have mentioned writing for your blog or website above. Now we should look at what you should be doing when you have written a piece of content. Unless you have a lot of traffic naturally, because your SEO is great and you are appearing for all of your keywords, then you’re going to need to keep producing fresh content. Not only that but your supporting links need to be of good value too. Those will help Google every further put your content where it should be in search results. All you are going to need to do for content creation is to write it. Of course, if you are writing in an area that you are an expert, it will come more naturally to you. You will need to find your tone, and also the research might take some time – but in general this is free and more than worth the time spent. 

Social Media

Every company has a platform that they are performing better on. Instagram works for images; it is a visual platform; LinkedIn works better for text pieces as does Twitter – Facebook is a bit of both. You have access to all of the analytics you’re going to need to see where you should be putting your time and effort. We have the tools now that allow us to create months of automated content. Meaning that you can have a hands-off approach to your social media, and spend time once a month inputting, a 30 minutes a day responding and engaging. This is a huge time saver. There are paid options for social media, but you aren’t likely to need them in the early days, and you can use a combination of the free options to cover all of your basis. 

When it comes to business, you can do a lot yourself with time, some tools and a few tutorials. It is essential that you always write your goals when you are doing anything to do with social media and content. Having a clear direction will mean that you always know what is coming up and what is next. Spend time, not money – and you’ll see a more significant profit in the end.

Essential Marketing On A Budget

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As a small business taking those first crucial steps into the industry, one of the hardest things for you to do is pull in a real audience who will want to engage with your brand and who will want to spread the word about you. Marketing for a small a business is always a challenge for you to achieve and today we are going to take a look at some of the free and low cost ways you can do this this year.

Create a website

The first step to creating a great marketing plan for your newly launched business is to create a website which people can visit which will tell them about who you are and what you provide. A website is like the window to the soul of your business and it can be a great tool for you to have. With website creators such as Wix you are able to create your site for free and this will allow you to gain recognition online without spending a penny.

Make flyers

Marketing seems to be becoming more and more complex every single day, but sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is being it back to basics and keep things old school. Big marketing agencies will still create flyers and brochures to email and post to their customers, and although this will cost a little bit of money, the overall cost of creating flyers for a postal drop is much less than it would cost to advertise yourself on a billboard or a bus stop. It can be the best decision you make for your business because you will be able to make an impression with local customers.

Use social media

Social media is the number one free tool you should be taking advantage of as a business, and to really find a loyal audience you need to be active online in a professional and a social way. Interacting with customers online through social media can be a brilliant way to show off your personality and this will make people want to choose you over your competition. Think for example about sharing posts to promote your products, posts which celebrate certain holidays and even the release of films. As a social media marketer you can go beyond your professional mask and really interact as a human, and this can be exactly what you need.

Get recording

If you want to make a big impression on your customers and you are unsure where you begin, one of the things you can consider is creating videos. Recording a video on your phone or a camera costs nothing and you can share tips and tricks, recipes, stories and other things. Sharing these online with the right people will earn you a loyal following and this is a real way to grow without spending a ton on marketing.

Email email email

If you want to keep it classic and simple there is nothing better than an email. Emails cost nothing to make; they are effective and you can stay in contact with many people at once.

Expansion Tools For Start-Up Founders

Technology has created tools that can do more than we can imagine. Every entrepreneur needs these tools. But startup founders need them most.

Even though there are lots of premium and expensive tools, start-up founders might not afford them. For this reason, we combined a list of tools that are free or affordable.

From research, companies that used data-analytics tools experienced over four times growth of revenues within one year. Is it possible for startups to be part of the success stories within a year?

Use these tools to expand your online business.

1. Google Analytics: Surprisingly, there have been complains about poor user interface of Google products. Analytics is one of them. For you to make good use from this platform, you have to forget about the interface. And learn to use the tool.

In many cases, it’s not about the platform, but how you use the platform. Google analytics is a tool that helps you understand your customers. So you can analyze data, and do data-driven marketing. With data, small tweaks can make a huge difference. Let’s say you are doing keyword research. You might suspect that your customers are using certain keywords. But you may be wrong. Analytics will reveal the search volume of each keyword. So you can get keywords with low competition and high search volume.

2. Social Media.

From Facebook, Twitter, to Instagram, social media is rapidly shaping the way we do things today. With facebook, advertisers have a cheaper option of running cheaper Ads. Since social media has over 1 Billion active users, businesses have access to a global audience.

There are two primary functions of social media. First, listening to your customers. And then advertising through social media marketing.

If you have are running a B2C business, chances are that customers will use social media to inquire about your products. It can be through direct messages, tweets, or posts that tag you. Startup founders need social media managers to respond to every query. Additionally, you need to write Ads that convert, and target your specific audience. While today’s business operations are done digitally, it’s still a good idea to keep some well designed company letterhead in stock for the old fashion way of customer communications.

3. Email: email marketing is one of the most convenient ways a businesses can use to close deals. Startup founders need to understand the buyer’s  journey. Startups should have a website. Usually a niche website or an ecommerce website. Be sure to use a website you can monetize. The website will have a blog section that keeps the customer aware about your product, and how it solves their problem. You can then make lead magnets to capture emails and other important information about your prospects. From there, you’ll have permission to ask your customers whether you should send them promotional emails. That’s where email marketing begins. If you have a list of 30,000 prospects and a $500 product, you can make $300,000. That works if you meet the average conversion rate of 2.78%. And this can be done over a period of one year.

Infusionsoft: Infusionsoft is a software that allows one to personalize their marketing campaigns. The software has automated workflows, payment integrations like Paypal and credit cards. Startup founders can use Infusionsoft for businesses.

For you to expand, you need to know the power of FREE. So infusionsoft allows you to influence a customer by giving a free product. It can be a webinar, guide, report, or a book. Thereafter, you’ll have the customer’s information. And with this information, you can do marketing segmentation. Just grouping your email list based on certain metrics.

Asana: What was the last time you worked in a team? How were the results? Asana is a project management platform that allows one to assign tasks to team members. One can follow on deadlines, get reminders, and even attach relevant files. Begin by planning, prioritizing, and setting reasonable deadlines.

To-Do lists work. And Asana will definitely help you do that.  Start-ups can find their desired plans from it’s main website.

Salesforce.

Startups can also expand by maintaining their customer relationships. Salesforce is a dynamic platform that will assist you to do that. Salesforce offers training to people who can be administrators, developers and consultants. One can make ecommerce apps on the cloud platform.

Woocommerce: WordPress ecommerce allows startups to sell products online. Startups can do drop shipping using the Woocommerce plugin on wordpress. It’s affordable and scalable. Startups won’t worry about the availability of stock. So besides selling your products through Woocommerce, you can use leverage to expand your business.

Here are a few factors to consider when selecting the tools you use. Because not all tools work for all types of businesses.

  • Your budget. Make sure that the tool you are paying for is affordable, and only takes a small fraction of your profits.
  • When using project management tools, make sure you hit deadlines. Also, do not forget to track results.
  • Type of business. For instance, Woocommerce only works for businesses that sell products. So it helps startups sell products online.

Over 53% of businesses use these tools to expand their businesses. And they can’t be wrong. Startup founders should consider using any of these to expand their businesses.

How To Make Sure Your Marketing Emails Don’t End Up in The Spam Folder

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Email marketing is known as being one of the most essential ways to communicate with customers today, in fact having a professional email address and automated backend email system is one of the most effective ways to make your home business appear more professional.
Yet, despite your best efforts, it can be notoriously difficult to get through to customers using email marketing, as often commercial emails end up in their spam folder due to ever sophisticated spam filters being put in place by all email providers.
With the application of a few simple yet effective business strategies you are able to find legitimate and ethical ways to mitigate the risk of your emails ending up in a spam filter, for example, email validation can vastly increase the amount of emails that make it through to the intended recipient and don’t get caught in spam filters.
In this article we’re going to look at four ways to do just that.
1. Avoid Purchased Lists
Purchase lists, as you might already know, are when people buy a list of target leads for a ludicrously small amount of money that is testament to the low value these lists provide.  For instance, you will often see adverts for these on social media, or perhaps, spammers will email you via your website email – which they get from looking into your domain ownership details.
Essentially, you want to avoid purchase lists at all costs as they will be full of email addresses which either do no exist or they will be sent to people who will immediately unsubscribe; demonstrating to the email provider that you are sending unsolicited emails that will put you on a blacklist.
2. Use A Reliable ESP
Email Service Providers (ESP) tend to use the sender’s IP address to evaluate their reputation in terms of trustworthiness, akin to that of a credit score.
3. Consider Your “From” Field
You need to avoid using email addresses that seem suspicious, for instance noreply@domain.com and opt for more trustworthy email addresses that feature words like contact@ and support@ or even newsletter@ rather than noreply, or much worse would be a combination of random letters and numbers.
The name will asser the fact it’s a trustworthy and legitimate account that is sending the emails.  Yahoo! Mail seem to pay particular attention to who has sent the email, and as many consumers use these addresses, it’s imperative you send your email from an email address that sounds credible rather than suspicious.
4. Stay In Touch!
Of course, you don’t want to bombard people with regular emails, to the point they start unsubscribing, but sending emails every couple of months, for instance, can be just as detrimental as sending daily emails.
The reason behind this is that your subscribers might fail to recognize who you are and therefore delete your message – thus it’s better to maintain a steady flow of regular emails to your subscribers rather than sending out emails that are few and far between.

4 Tasks You Should be Automating in Your Ecommerce Store

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Ecommerce is massive. From sites like Amazon and eBay, right down to sole retailers selling their own products online, ecommerce is becoming an enormous business as online sales grow all of the time. For years, ecommerce has been slowly eating into brick and mortar stores sale, and this is only set to continue going forward. Ecommerce stores can offer fabulous customer experience, a straightforward and convenient way to shop and a vast choice of products and styles. The structure of ecommerce can also mean that traders are able to offer quick, free delivery, better prices and wonderful seasonal deals. It’s a growing industry, and it’s easy to see why.

More and more of us are setting up our own ecommerce stores from home. Either selling our own products and services or selling on goods that we have bought at wholesale. It’s a great way to make money and gives you a very real opportunity to create a meaningful business for yourself, out of nothing.

While setting up and running an ecommerce store is easier than ever, it’s still a lot harder than many people expect. Growing an ecommerce business, making sales and doing everything that you need to is hard work. Many ecommerce store owners work far more than full-time hours, putting everything that they have into their business. But, it doesn’t need to be like this. Automation can be a lifesaver. Here’s a look at 4 of the things you should be automation to save time and your sanity.

Reporting

Are you spending hours at the end of every week compiling reports, looking at data and finding ways to make your business better? Looking through data can be time-consuming and confusing. The benefits of automated reporting are clear. It saves you time, it helps you to avoid mistakes, and it gives you the information that you need when you need it.

Social Media

Social media is a huge part of modern business. Especially online business. It’s a fantastic way to grow your audience, attract new customers and promote loyalty. But, it’s time-consuming. Social media moves so quickly that you need to be online all of the time to make any real impact and get noticed. Use a scheduling tool to set posts up to go out when you want them to, without you needing to be online all of the time.

Emails

Emails are a brilliant way to speak to your customers. They are more personal than social media posts and give you a chance to pass on information while making a one on one connection. But, imagine sending an email to every one of your customers? It would take forever. Use an email provider to send regular updates, setting up templates to make sending emails fast and easy.

Stock Counting

Stock counting is one of the things that small business owners hate the most. It takes a lot of time, and it’s easy to make mistakes. But, stocktaking is essential. It gives you a way to monitor your stock, keep track on how much you are selling and what stock you are holding, and helps you to get your ordering right. So, don’t. Use an automated stock counting system to give you real-time synchronization between your sales and your stock holding.