Tuesday, October 17, 2017

How do you get people to buy your products and services and refer you?


News Flash - People Don’t Want to be Sold To


Think about it….Do you watch commercials on TV?  Do you read bill boards?  Do you read your junk mail?  Probably not.  You probably don’t even listen to commercials on the radio anymore because you’re listening to your own playlist or Pandora.
Then when people need a product or service, what do they do?  Probably like the rest of us, they go back to the person who has given them good service in the past or ask their best friends or neighbors for recommendations.  Or they may even ask on Social Media.
So as a business owner trying to market your business, how do you reach your target market?  For the purpose of this article, let’s talk about social media and your business Facebook page.
·        You must have an audience - How many people ‘Like’ your Facebook business page?  Did you know that only about 5% of the people who ‘Like’ your page see what you post?  So, say you have 100 people who like your page, only about 20 are going to see what you post.  So, you must build your audience.  Suggestions to get more ‘Likes’ to your page is to ask ALL your friends, family, neighbors, etc. to ‘Like’ your page.  Send them an invitation right from your business Facebook page. 
·        You need some champions.  Other ways to get more people to see what you post, is to get ‘Likes,’ ‘Shares,’ and comments on your posts.  Facebook sees that as ‘engagement’ and then will show the posts to more people.  So, you need to ask your best buds, employees, family, etc. to be your ‘Champions.’  Ask them to Like, share, and comment on your posts.  That way, their Facebook friends see what they are Liking, Sharing, and commenting on and it builds from there. 
·        Don’t Sell to People.  People don’t want to be sold to.  Read the first to paragraphs again.  It doesn’t matter if you have the best deal in town, if no one sees the offer.  If you haven’t built any trust, then you’re wasting your time.  So, what do you post you ask.  Social Media, particularly Facebook is just that - for socializing.  Think about the last party you went to.  What did you talk about?  Current events?  Your favorite team winning or losing?  Ask questions?  ‘Did you know……blah, blah,?’  You were socializing not trying to sell your products or service.  That’s what you do on social media. 
o   Let people get to know you.  Post about you, photos, likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests, etc.
o   Use current events.  What holiday is it?  I did 8 posts last Friday the 13th for 8 different small businesses and used the theme of Friday the 13th.  Everything from haunted ships, real estate numbers, to Friday the 13th reading list.
o   Provide information.  What type of service/product do you offer?  What makes it different from others that are out there?  Provide industry information.  Seasonal information.  For example, a realtor might provide information on fire safety since last week was fire safety week.  I call this ‘Infotainment.’  Provide information and entertain your followers.  Talk from your experience and point of view, i.e. your expertise and why you care.  As the saying goes – ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’
o   Don’t be so serious all the time.  Laugh at yourself.  Post a cartoon.  Tell about getting lost.  You’re human.  People can relate.  Let people get to know you. 
o   Are you involved in the community?  What is your favorite charity?  Again, this is a way to help people to get to know you.
·        Post videos.  Learn to use Facebook Live.  Show before and after photos and videos.  Videos are a great way to let people know you do a good job. 
·        Get Reviews.  When people brag on your work, ask them to write a review on your Facebook page and on Google (if you are listed on Google).
·        Learn what people like.  Check out the ‘Insights’ section of your Facebook page or look at the bottom of each post.  It will show you how many people the post reached.  The posts that reached the most people – is what you need to post more of.
·        Boost your posts.  This is another way to reach a larger audience, but there are a few things to know before you throw money at this one.
o   Get very specific as to who exactly is your target market, i.e. household income, zip codes, cities, age groups, etc.  Think about who are your best clients, what is their average household income (guesstimate), where do they live, what is their approximate age, etc.  You’ll come closer to getting some additional followers if you can figure this one out and target your boost.
o   Do this intermittently and not on a regular basis.  Yes, you want to post regularly and consistently on your Facebook page, but you don’t want to be regular and consistent on boosting your posts.  Why is this, you ask?  Again, Facebook is a social platform and even though Facebook is making money on your boosted posts, they see your boosted posts as ‘selling’ and won’t show them to the larger audience you seek, if you boost to often.
These are just a few tips for using Social Media to market your business.  You can search my blog site for more articles about Social Media.  If you’re still feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, contact us.  We can teach you how or do it for you.
Your comments and feedback are welcomed and appreciated.
Happy Posting,
Annette

Thursday, September 28, 2017

No Single Point of Failure

With the past few weeks of hurricanes and wildfires, I hope where ever you are that you made it through with minor to no damage and inconvenience.

These recent events remind me of my days as a Call Center Manager and having to have a plan in place so that there were no single points of failure.  Major disasters, like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and large-scale power outages, are rare. Smaller disasters, such as server failure, burst pipes and fires however happen every day. Companies often prepare for the worst but forget the everyday challenges, which can be just as crippling.   
As a small business owner, and perhaps the sole proprietor, are you prepared for everyday emergencies?   
For example:
- Do you have your computer backed up?  What about all the data, programs, client information you have on your system?  Is it backed up?  There are services like IDrive which can be set up to run a back up of your system and save your information and data so all of it can be restored once you're back up and running.  
- What about all those passwords?  Do you have them written down?  What if you lose your list?  There are password manager applications like LastPass, Dashlane, KeePass, etc. that store your passwords so that you don't have to worry about losing your list.
- What about your website?  Is it backed up?  WordPress has plugins like, Updraft, that will automatically back up your website and send a copy to your Dropbox or Google Docs account.
- Is your phone backed up?  Backing up your smart phone to the cloud  occasionally will save you countless hours if you lose your phone.
These are just a few things that can cause major headaches because  we depend on technology so much. To really think through and plan for a major disaster, here is a website to help with the planning process - www.preparemybusiness.org/planning 
 Your comments and feedback and welcomed and appreciated. You can provide feedback here or on our Facebook page.
Hope you never need to use a Disaster Plan.

Happy Planning,
Annette
'Helping You and Your Business Look Good'

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

How to Build Your Social Media Following

Oftentimes when I meet with clients and review their Social Media sites I discover they don’t have very many followers. In order to get your message out to your target market, you have to build a following. So how do you do that given the constraints and algorithms of social media, particularly Facebook and Facebook business pages.

First, we must understand why people are on Facebook. Why are you on Facebook? To connect with your friends, to be entertained, look for recommendations, sell stuff, get information? It’s different for everyone. So, if you have a business fan page, you need people to ‘Like’ your page, so that when you post on your business page, some percentage of those who ‘Like' your page will see your posts. And you also have to realize that not everyone who ‘Likes’ your page will see your posts. With that in mind, is it worth your time?  The answer is yes, if you’re willing to do the work to get a following.

Here’s some recommendations to help to build your following:
-        First make sure you have a complete
Facebook business page. Complete your about section and describe your business. There is a place for a short description and a place for a long description. Hours of operation. Complete all the sections.
-        Brand your business. Invest in a logo and corporate colors. Ensure your branding is consistent across all social media sites. When someone goes looking for you on their favorite social media site, you want to be easily recognizable.
-        Have a custom professional banner. If you want people to call you, make sure your phone # is in the banner. If you’re a plumber, no one wants to scroll down the page to find your phone # if their toilet is running over.
-        Set up a custom URL, i.e. www.facebook.com/nameofyourbusiness - not something that ends in a bunch of #s and funny characters.
-        Make sure your Facebook page is verified.
-        Start with your family, friends, employees, clients, and prospects. Invite them all to like and share your page.
-        Send an email or snail mail to all your clients and prospects and ask them to 'Like' your page.
-        If you have a brick and mortar place of business, post a sign in the window, at the counter, and print it on the client’s receipt - Like us on Facebook - Follow us on Twitter.
-        Make sure all your marketing material, website, business card, email signature line, etc. has your social media links on them.
-        As you start posting content on your page, ask your closest family, friends, and employees (if you have them) to ‘Like,’ Share, and Comment. The more ‘Likes’, Shares, and comments you get, the more Facebook with show your posts to others. It’s called engagement. The more interesting and engaging your material is, the more Facebook will show it.
-        Post images. Original interesting images. Original engaging content. Yes, you can find material on the internet to share, but Facebook likes originality best.
-        Videos are great. Again, original material. No more than 3 to 5 minutes. Also, go back and edit and caption your videos. Sometimes people are in places where they do not want to turn up the sound on videos, so if it isn’t captioned, they won’t watch.
-       For your content, don’t just post about your business, but post about yourself, your community involvement, a day in the life of, your story, your passion, demonstrations, before and after, etc. Think in terms of reality shows. Your Facebook Business page is your business reality show. People want to know about you, so don’t make it all about your business. Think ‘Infotainment.’
-        Feature some of you clients on your page.  Tag people in your posts.  People love recognition.
-        Post about current events, holidays - especially the ones that have something to do with your business. If you’re into healthy eating, Aug. 8th was ‘NATIONAL SNEAK SOME ZUCCHINI INTO YOUR NEIGHBOR’S PORCH DAY.’
-        Hashtag your posts, i.e. #hashtagyourposts #socialmedia
#morelikesandshares. Why? This makes your content searchable especially if it relates to some current event or trend.
-        Be consistent in your posting. A Facebook business page is not like a website. If there are no consistent posts, then Facebook, after a period of time, has the right to shut down the page. So be active. At least post a couple of times a week. You can schedule posts to a Facebook business page.
-        Link pages together when possible, i.e. link your Facebook business page to a Twitter business page, so that when you post on one site, it will appear on the other.
-        On LinkedIn you can post links to all your social media sites. 
-        Set up a YouTube channel. Link your Facebook page to your YouTube channel.
-        If you have a visual product like a florist, set up an Instagram account and a Pinterest Account.
-        Use an application like Hootsuite to manage your social media and to only have to post in one place. 
-        Study your ‘Insights,’ and your stats. See what gets more ‘Likes’, comments, and shares? Post more material like that. For instance, I have a travel agent that I post for, but when she posts about some of her personal travels, those posts get more ‘Likes,’ shares, and comments.
-        Follow those in the same industry as you to see what they do. Don’t copy them, but use it to learn better what to post for you.
-        Be social as your page - ‘Like,’ comment, and share other’s pages posts especially if it’s in the same general field as yours. This helps with your following because it’s not always about you. You have to give to get.  Hopefully they will return the favor. 
-        Join groups that relate to your business, local sites, Women In Business’ allows you to post links to your Facebook page, website, post specials, etc.
-        From time to time, boost a post. Spend $20 bucks from time to time (not all the time) and boost a post in order to gain a larger following.
-       Get Reviews.  Those clients that praise and rave about your product or service, ask them to write a review on your Facebook business page.  Be sure and thank them when they do.  The more positive reviews you have the more creditable you will appear to your followers.

What else have you found that helps to build your following? Your comments and feedback are welcomed and appreciated.
Here are some other articles I have written in the past. They have some of the same information, but also have additional tips not mentioned in this article.

- 'Social Media - It's about being social'
- 'How are you building your following on Social Media'
- 'Tips for Growing Your Business with Social Media'
Building a following is not rocket science, it just takes time, work, and a little creativity.

If you need a little help, let us know, that is what we do.  
We appreciate your comments and feedback.  Send us an email, or you can provide feedback on our Facebook page as well as our blog.
 
Oh and BTW - We would appreciate it if you would 'Like' our  Facebook page.

Happy Posting,
Annette
'Helping You and Your Business Look Good'

Monday, July 17, 2017

Are You a Hostage?

Do You Own Your Website and Domain Name?  Or are you a hostage?
   

This month's topic comes from conversations I have frequently with business owners wanting to get a new website or get their current website updated. 
  
Have you trusted all the aspects of your website to someone else?

In working with one of my clients recently, they wanted me to make some updates to their current website.  They provided me with the log in information, however it did not work.  They tried numerous times to get in touch with the company that built their site, but to no avail.  Now my client has learned the dreadful truth, they do not own their hosting or domain name, and they cannot get access to their site to make changes or updates.  This is a dilemma that many businesses have after having shelled out big bucks for a website, etc.

So what should a person/business do?

Here are my suggestions:

- Buy your own Hosting. So you own it and have access
- Buy your own Domain/URL names so that you own them
- Get all your log in/pass codes for all your accounts
- Keep up with your accounts to ensure they are up to date and renewed in a timely manner
- Make sure you deal with someone reputable and ethical
- Check their references
- Research their reviews on the internet
- Ask for references


If you do the above, you will protect yourself from an unethical Webmaster and/or one that goes out of business or retires. 

I work with many clients and I know they trust me, however every account that I set up, I provide all the log in credentials.  I jokingly tell them, that when I win the lottery and disappear, they will have access to all their accounts.  As a small business owner myself, I would be very upset if someone held me hostage.

We want to help the small business owner have a web presence for an affordable cost.  We provide  website services, domain names, hosting, etc.  So whether you want to learn to do it yourself or want someone to do it for you, we are here to help and we will provide you with ALL your account credentials. 

Here is a short video about choosing and purchasing Domain names - Click Here to watch
To purchase hosting and domain names we recommended - www.DomainsMadeEZ.com (Yes this is an affiliate link).
We appreciate your comments and feedback.   We would also appreciate it if you would 'Like' our  Facebook page.
Happy Connecting,
Annette
'Help You and Your Business Look Good'


 
  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Are You Easy To Do Business With?



My question comes from my recent two encounters with sales reps from almost opposite ends of the spectrum.  One that I couldn’t get enough information to make a purchase, to one I finally had to block their phone number to keep from getting their calls. 
So, comes my question of follow up and where is it not enough or too much.  I’ve used this graphic  
many times in regards to follow up, which many sales reps will admit they don’t follow up nearly enough.  But I believe with most prospects if we ask a few questions we can determine when and how often to follow up.

For Example:

  • Ensure we have answered all the prospects questions and provided them with all the information they need to make a buying decision. 
  • Ask when are they thinking of making a decision/purchase.    
  • Ask if there is anything else you can provide to help them with their buying decision.   
  • Also ask when would they like for you to follow up with them again. 

These questions give us an idea of when and how to follow up.
An effective way to keep in touch with clients is with email marketing and social media.  Email marketing and social media can be used to provide industry information and helpful hints to the client.  Most prospects and clients appreciate this type of marketing.  What most do not like is the daily bombardment of filling up their inbox with Buy, Buy, Buy – Now!  That type of tactics will have prospects and clients unsubscribing, un-liking, unfollowing, and disgruntled very quickly.  But good email marketing consists of providing helpful information about your industry with a sprinkling of special offers and sales, but the sales and offers should not be the main focus.  For most businesses, sending a monthly newsletter is a good way to remind your clients and prospects that you are there to service them when they are ready.
Here is my list of how to make yourself Easy to do business with:

  1. Answer questions and be honest with the prospect
  2. Provide the information they need to make a buying decision
  3. Ask questions to determine parameters for them making a buying decision
  4. Respect their time to do their due diligent
  5. Keep in touch with periodic newsletters, social media, etc. with helpful information
  6. Follow up depending on #3 and #4
  7. Don’t hit and run – A No may mean, no for now or I’m not ready to buy yet.  Refer back to #5
  8. Don’t be a pest with phone calls and emails especially if the prospect tells you they aren’t going to make a buying decision for 6 months to a year. 
  9. Make sure they have all your contact information.  It’s part of every email signature, newsletter, etc.  Giving or sending a promotional product with your contact info is also a clever way to ensure they have your contact info nearby
  10. And lastly – be truthful, reliable, and consistent in all your interactions.
What other advice would you add to this list?  Your comments and feedback are welcomed and appreciated.


Sincerely,
Annette
Painted Lady Enterprises
‘Helping My Clients and Their Business Look Good’

 

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