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10 Marketing Questions

10 Marketing Questions

10 Marketing Questions

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Every business should be in-tune with their unique marketing needs. This article was shared privately so there’s no link, but I sure hope you enjoy the content. And remember if you need help with your marketing, your online presence, accounting, or other services; keep our Online Business Management and Virtual Assistant Network in mind. At The Write Hand, LLC we strive to be your one-stop for all your business needs.

10 Marketing Questions

Here are 10 questions to consider before writing a marketing plan. Even if you have a marketing plan it is a good idea to review these questions on a regular basis. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make time to at least consider the questions, or better yet write the answers down. This week engage your employees and others (not necessarily customers) who know your business well. Take particular note of differences of others’ responses to your own.

We’ll take a look at 10 more questions next week.

1. Describe your business in 30 words or less.
Listen for: Other adjectives that you didn’t think of and specific skills/abilities that may make you unique.

2. SWOT Analysis – Outline your business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Listen for: Contradictions or misconceptions from your own perspective. An outsider’s view can be very helpful.

3. What is your mission statement/vision?
Listen for: Your employees to either mimic or say the opposite of your vision. This is an opportunity to get the staff on the same page.

4. Where was the business 10 years ago and where do you envision it 5, 10 and 20 years from now?
Listen for: No one can predict the future. What are your managers and personal contacts thinking?

5. Who is your clientele?
Listen for: Again, another point of view. Maybe your counter staff sees your typical customer very differently than you do.

6. What was is the best thing you have heard a customer say about your business?
Listen for: Something you’ve never heard before.

7. How about the worst thing you have heard?
Listen for: The thing you don’t want to hear.

8. How have you obtained most of your business?
Listen for: The unexpected. Unless you have been proactive in tracking new customers, you may be surprised.

9. How frequently do you communicate with your current customers and how?
Listen for: The comment that you don’t communicate enough and through the right channels.

10. Who are your competitors?
Listen for: Another surprise. It may not be the drycleaner down the street. It may be that there are consumers out there that don’t understand the benefit of using a professional clothing care specialist.

 

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1st Virtual Chapter of DPWN

1st Virtual Chapter of DPWN

I’m very excited to be a part of the first Virtual Chapter in our Dynamic Professional Women’s Network. Our LAUNCH is Wed., Jan. 20th at 11:15 AM CT. Come join us for this empowering new chapter of our story. http://www.ourdpwn.com/chapter/59

 

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Posted by on January 13, 2016 in Marketing and SEO

 
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10 Financial Mistakes Rich People Never Make

10 Financial Mistakes Rich People Never Make

As a business owner it takes a lot of guts to reach for the stars and accomplish your dreams. And we’ve all heard it before, anything worth doing, is worth doing right. So when you are building your dream of business ownership, be smart and invest in yourself.

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10 Financial Mistakes Rich People Don’t Make… shared by your custom shirts resource

I hear people giving financial advice all the time. Most of them aren’t rich.

Those who are rich would disagree with what many charlatans preach. The other day, I came across an article proclaiming, “Skip your lunch, don’t buy expensive coffee, cut your hair less often.” This is a horrendous way to live your life and it promotes poverty. It’s smart to be thrifty, but you don’t want to be cheap. You should never do anything that will deprive you from your joy.

I promote prosperity–and taking away these simple pleasures will not make you rich. It will drive you to be more frustrated from these unrealistic disciplines. Most of these hypocrites who profess these antics haven’t even made it financially. They just sit at a keyboard in a delusional manner, waiting for a payday that often never happens.

Financial advice is freely given by most people, but most of it is horrible. Conversely, the words you are currently reading are written by someone who is a self-made millionaire. Therefore, watch whom you learn from, for it is in your best interest (pun intended).

If you’re naturally a hard worker with a great career and have been diligent in all your affairs, you can have prosperity now. However, you might be asking, “Why haven’t I made it yet?” The answer to this question is in the way you think, feel, and act toward your money. Making better choices with your money can turn your life around.

There are certain financial mistakes that rich people never make. The journey in becoming rich will require you to make a few mental changes in your behaviors. Once you make these adjustments, you will begin to see the progress as your create more positive results in your life. Acquiring wealth is a great goal, but who you become in the process is even more worthwhile.

Here are 10 financial mistakes rich people never make:

1. Not Investing in Yourself
America’s first millionaire, Benjamin Franklin, was known for saying, “An investment in yourself pays the best interest.” Often, people depend on their employers to buy them books, send them to seminars, or provide them with coaching. However, you must take your education into your own hands if you want to prosper. Invest in yourself.

2. Over-Entertainment
Yesterday, I popped into a local Dave and Buster’s to see the grand opening. It was crowded with hundreds of young adults (ages 21-35) who were wasting precious time and money. Most people spend 30-50 percent of their paychecks on entertainment, while they temporarily escape the realities of life. Instead, rich people use that time and money to fund their dreams.

3. Buying on Credit
Many people purchase objects they can’t afford with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like. This tragedy decimates many people, leaving them with a hopeless feeling when they repay their high-interest loans. If a person hopes to become rich, they will use their credit cards for growing and promoting their business, not funding personal expenditures.

custom shirts4. Hiding From Your Spouse
Millions of married couples don’t talk about money. It makes them uncomfortable, which sometimes leads to arguments. However, you cannot get rich unless you disclose your financial precepts with your spouse. Money is only multiplied when love is in the mix and both members of the household have a clear understanding about their finances.

5. Mortgaging a Home
Some “rich” people mortgage their homes, but they aren’t really rich. Mortgaging your home leads to an endless battle of re-financing, bill-paying, and inflation. When you mortgage a home, you’re likely to pay twice as much asthe original price! Rich people rent until they can buy their house with straight cash, like I did.

6. Traditional Retirements
Our retirement system is a joke that must be evaded by those who want to become rich. If you’re depending on mutual funds, 401(k), and certain life-insurance policies, you’ll do better boarding the Titanic. Plus, if you’re saving money to enjoy it for your sixties, that’s like saving up sex for retirement! Instead, build your fortune while you are young.

7. Buying Inferior Goods
Price shoppers and coupon clippers will hate this, but when you buy shoddy goods, you get shoddy results. If you live by the price, you die by the price. Instead of buying what is “cheap,” buy the best goods that are available. Rich people know that buying a $40 shirt which will last for four years is better than buying a $10 shirt that must be replaced every year.

8. Lack of Enjoyment
Consumerism is funny. During 50 weeks at work, people think about vacations and when they finally get their two weeks, they only think about work. The truth about becoming rich is that you must enjoy the money that you already have, whether it’s $10 or $100. Your money will only expand if you appreciate it and think about how you can enjoy it more. You’ll always get more of what you enjoy.

9. Not Saving
Most people blow their money on miscellaneous goods. When they see ‘X’ amount in their bank account, they automatically think of what they “need” and purchase it immediately. However, this impulsive behavior must be eliminated. Rich people save at least 10 percent of what they earn and rarely take out personal loans for themselves, even if they think they need it. Save.

10. Working For Money
The majority of people in this world work for money, but rich people let money work for them. They know that their money will be a byproduct of the service that they render to the marketplace. Rich people also acknowledge the fact that their material wealth is the sum total of their entire contribution to society. That’s why they never work for money.

Making these mental shifts can dramatically alter your life. When you start changing your financial habits and avoiding these mistakes, you will be on your path to be rich. Remember, it’s not what you acquire that makes you rich, but who you become in the journey. And of course, I hope to be your neighbor one day; maybe I’ll invite you to my home!

Original Article by Daniel Ally on Entreprenuer.com

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Marketing and SEO

 

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The Brand Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn shared by your Virtual Assistant resource

Being a Virtual Assistant, I do all my marketing online using various social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others. As part of my professional membership on LinkedIn, I belong to a group called “LinkedIn Marketing Solutions”. I get a lot of helping information from this group and this one in particular I found useful and thought I’d share.

The Brand Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn shared by your Virtual Assistant resource

Your prospects are doing more research online and they control when and where they engage with your brand.

If you want to help shape the outcome of the purchase decision, you’ve got to keep your company top of mind—always. We can help.

Discover how you can use the newly expanded LinkedIn Marketing Solutions platform to:

  • Get in front of the right people early and often
  • Reach and influence business professionals in the right context
  • Educate your audience with the relevant content they crave
  • Use awareness and engagement to drive bottom-funnel conversions
  • Measure the impact of your branding efforts every step of the way

Download your free Brand Marketer’s Guide to learn how you can leverage the power of LinkedIn to position your brand for success.

The Brand Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Marketing and SEO

 

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How to make Email Marketing Campaigns Successful…

How to make Email Marketing Campaigns Successful…

Email iconWith internet / email marketing clearly being a huge play for businesses it’s critical that your messages are crafted in such a way that you get maximum open rates and does not bring about violations that can be costly. So how do you ensure your business stays on task in reaching your target audience? It’s rather simple but first evaluate what goes into an email marketing campaign.

Email marketing usually involves using email to send ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness. Email marketing can be done to either sold lists or a current customer database. Broadly, the term is usually used to refer to sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business, acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately. Madison Logic posted global data in April 2014 that claimed 122 billion emails are sent every hour.

Email marketing can be carried out through different types of emails:

Transactional emails are usually triggered based on a customer’s action with a company. To be qualified as transactional or relationship messages, these communications’ primary purpose must be “to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transactions that the recipient has previously agreed to enter into with the sender”, along with a few other narrow definitions of transactional messaging.

Triggered transactional messages include dropped basket messages, password reset emails, purchase or order confirmation emails, order status emails, reorder emails and email receipts. The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to its high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are an opportunity to engage customers: to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers, to anticipate and answer questions or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.

Many email newsletter software vendors offer transactional email support, which gives companies the ability to include promotional messages within the body of transactional emails. There are also software vendors that offer specialized transactional email marketing services, which include providing targeted and personalized transactional email messages and running specific marketing campaigns (such as customer referral programs).

Direct email or interruption based marketing involves sending an email solely to communicate a promotional message (for example, an announcement of a special offer or a catalog of products). Companies usually collect a list of customer or prospect email addresses to send direct promotional messages to, or they can also rent a list of email addresses from service companies, but safe mail marketing is also used.

Email marketing is popular with companies for several reasons:

An exact return on investment can be tracked and has proven to be high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic. Email marketing is significantly cheaper and faster than traditional mail, mainly because of high cost and time required in a traditional mail campaign for producing the artwork, printing, addressing and mailing. Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of email subscribers who have opted in (i.e., consented) to receive email communications on subjects of interest to them.

Disadvantages that companies find in their email marketing:

A report issued by the email services company Return Path, as of mid-2008 email deliverability is still an issue for legitimate marketers. According to the report, legitimate email servers averaged a delivery rate of 56%; twenty percent of the messages were rejected, and eight percent were filtered. Companies considering the use of an email marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws and if they are not familiar, inadvertent violations may occur.

So now, how do you do it right so that your business puts out a successful marketing campaign? By employing a knowledgeable resource that uses a trust worthy and respectable marketing platform you help eliminate the risk of violations. Further to that, you want to be sure that your resource is knowledgeable in the means of crafting your message and the very first words your client (or potential client) will see is your subject line. You have to start at the beginning and a solid foundation with your resource is your ticket to successful email marketing campaigns. Many small to medium businesses already have a database of clients that they simply are not utilizing. Keeping your business name on your clients’ radar is key to repeat business. A top-quality virtual assistant can help your business produce these successes.

At The Write Hand, LLC we use a reputable email marketing platform that is in full compliance with CAN-SPAM. We have the knowledge and expertise in crafting successful messages that engage your clients and result in high open rates. Contact us at: the_write_hand@yahoo.com for a free consultation and we can help you get your email marketing campaign up and running swiftly.

So many Options... Let's Get Started Now!!

So many Options… Let’s Get Started Now!!

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2015 in Marketing and SEO

 

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Invest in Your Success: Strategic Planning for Small Business

I found yet another great article that provided me some fresh insight for my small business at The Write Hand, LLC and reminded me of a few things I need to never forget. If you are a small business owner, I think you will like this article by Clate Mask from Small Business Trends online

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Running a small business can be chaotic. It’s easy to get sucked into the day-to-day operations required to keep things running smoothly and profitably. By taking the time to invest in a strategic planning process, you’re saying, “I am ready to take this business to the next stage of success.”

I’d like to share the best practices I’ve used to grow Infusionsoft from a start-up with a handful of employees to a thriving, venture-backed organization with 450 employees. They are rooted in the philosophies of experts like Jim Collins, Verne Harnish and Tyler Norton and vetted over 10 years of real-world application. I believe in this process and its power to help small businesses achieve success, and I know it can help you too. So let’s get started.

Strategic Planning for Small Business

1. Articulate Your Vision—Your Purpose, Mission & Core Values

Creating, articulating and sticking to your vision is the single most important job you have as a leader. A clear vision is needed to guide and influence your strategic planning process. Have you ever asked yourself, “What is the purpose of my business?” If not, sit down right now and figure it out. Our purpose at Infusionsoft is quite simply, “To help small businesses succeed.”

Once you’ve clearly articulated why your business exists, it’s time to identify the concrete “what” behind it—the three to five-year Mission you’re embarking on. Your Mission should be bold, inspirational and compelling and just gutsy enough to give you butterflies in your stomach. Think of President Kennedy’s Mission to put a man on the moon and return him safely home within a decade. Our Mission is, “To create and dominate the market of all-in-one sales and marketing software for small businesses, with 100,000 customers worldwide.”

With your Purpose and Mission in place, the last piece you need is Core Values. This is the “how” of your business. Core Values should articulate what is already true about your business and culture, not describe how you want it to be:

  • How do you go about your work?
  • What do you value in yourself and your employees?
  • What characteristics do you want your customers to experience?

These are your Core Values.

Once you have your Purpose, Mission and Core Values in place, it’s your job to hire, train and also fire employees that don’t align to it. It sounds like extra work, but you’ll actually discover that finding good people is much easier when you’ve clearly articulated your Vision. At Infusionsoft, we’ve found that our Purpose, Mission and Core Values attract the right candidates and repel the wrong ones.

2. Understand How Strategy Drives the Plan

When you take the time to define the why, what and how of your business, you’re ready to identify strategies to achieve your Mission. To determine what those strategies should be, examine the company strengths that you can employ to achieve a strong return on your investments. Look for resources and capabilities you can leverage for maximum gain. To develop a competitive advantage that is sustainable, I recommend focusing on no more than three to five core strengths.

I firmly believe that strategy is an exercise in saying “no.” Focus is an incredible thing. Just think about the power that’s achieved when you focus a magnifying glass on a very small area. By focusing your resources on a few core areas, you maximize your chances of success.

Remember: Identify three to five strategies that are borne out of your greatest strengths, all highly focused on achieving your Mission.

3. Link Your Vision to the Annual and Quarterly Priorities

It can sometimes be a challenge to bridge the gap between your long-term vision and the daily operations. The structure we use to bridge this gap is called our “Strategy Planning Methodology.” It breaks down our current Mission into the annual and quarterly priorities we need to complete in order to achieve our Mission. The work of the quarterly priorities then gets broken down into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound) objectives that are owned by employees and have deliverables.

Here’s a closer look at the structure of our Strategy Planning Methodology:

  • Mission: This is typically achievable in three to five years. It should be bold and exciting.
  • Strengths to Leverage: Three to five key strengths you will need to use to achieve your Mission.
  • Strengths to Develop: Three to five strengths you will need to develop to achieve your Mission.
  • Annual Priorities: Three to five priorities you will focus on this year to leverage your current strengths or develop new strengths to get closer to reaching your Mission. It important to remember that the annual priorities must: Support the current mission, be set annually by the leaders and not become individualized by department or employee.
  • Quarterly Priorities or Tactical Operating Priorities: Three to five priorities that support the annual priorities.
  • SMART Objectives: Projects and/or tasks that are required to accomplish the quarterly priorities.

Using this Strategy Planning Methodology makes it possible to connect your Mission to the annual, quarterly and even daily operations of the business.

4. Establish A Rhythm for Success

Strategic planning isn’t a one-time event. Once you’ve laid out your strategy, it’s crucial to stay focused over the long-term. I’ve found that it’s vital to schedule a steady rhythm of productive meetings—annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily. During these meetings, evaluate the plan, what’s working and what needs to be adjusted. You may be tempted to skip these meetings, but don’t do it. You’ll waste a lot more time throughout the week, month and quarter if you’re not clear on your goals. Make this investment in regular meetings and you’ll get the best thing to help you succeed—confidence.

As an entrepreneur, I’ve always believed in measuring performance to help people and companies make steady progress toward their goals. One of my favorite quotes is:

“Where performance is measured, performance improves. Where performance is reported, performance improves dramatically. Where performance is reported publicly, performance improves exponentially.”

At the end of every quarter, each department goes through what we call a SWOT + exercise. During this time we do a SWOT analysis where we analyze our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We take it a step further by evaluating the accomplishments, lessons learned and strategic issues from the quarter. (How do we achieve X outcome, given Y situation?)

By doing this, we are able to make informed decisions about what the next quarterly priorities should be.

Effective strategic planning is the linchpin for your long-term business success. Grounded in your Purpose, Mission and Core Values, a solid strategy can help you develop a plan of action and maximize your likelihood of success in achieving your vision.

Full article and credits can be viewed here.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Marketing and SEO

 

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Why Every Business Should be Blogging…

Great article from Kristin. Give consideration for your business and if you need help setting up a blog, creating posts, and maximizing your SEO; hit me up and I can help you grow your business. Cheers, Ursula

Blog for Business

Why Every Business Should be Blogging

January 8, 2015 — Posted By Kristin Hovde

Why Every Business Should be Blogging
Thanks to modern technology, all it takes to gain the attention of your target audience is a few clicks of the mouse on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, just to name a few. With a majority of people using their social networking sites throughout the day, it makes sense to get on the bandwagon and follow what the crowd is doing. Social media is also one of the most cost efficient marketing mediums available, making it a necessity for small businesses or small budgets.

One often-overlooked, yet critical piece to any good social media marketing campaign is blogging. It allows you to keep your audience posted on the latest news with your company, industry or products. As important as this blogging point is, there are many more reasons why you need to take the plunge and start a blog for yourself.

1. Brings Traffic to Your Website
Having the blog directly connected to your website will bring plenty of new traffic, as long as the content is well-written and useful to your audience. If the blog is not connected to the site, include a link to your homepage in a visible location on the left or right menu bars. After each blog post, take time to post a link to the article on all of your social media sites in order to attract more attention to it.

2. Shows You Are an Expert in Your Industry
One of the best things about writing blogs is it gives you a chance to shine in your industry. Writing about topics that your readers will find helpful and that you have a great knowledge of will help build your reputation as an expert in your field. This is an excellent way to gain the trust and loyalty of customers and prospects.

3. Can be Used to Connect with Customers
Respond to each comment or question left on your blog as a way to show your customers that you hear them and are available to help them. Also, if one commenter has a question, there’s a good chance other people will have the same question. Consider writing an article dedicated to this question as a way to educate your audience on a subject that has been brought to your attention by other readers.

Everyone likes to know they are listened to and by responding to comments or writing blogs based on questions or concerns will leave customers with a positive and lasting impression on your company.

4. Builds Brands
Every social media or blog post you put out there will increase your online presence. The reason for this is because, as long as keywords are also being placed in the articles, potential customers will have a much easier time finding your company when they search for one of those keywords. Also, the more someone sees your company’s name, the more it will be remembered.

5. SEO Purposes
This somewhat ties into building your brand in tip #4. Consistently putting articles online will help your search engine rankings and will leverage your brand. Another important SEO reason to start a blog is because the search engines love new content.

When there is new, quality content that isn’t overly stuffed with keywords, it shows search engines, such as Google, that your website is active and up-to-date.

All of these reasons should be enough for you to stop procrastinating and finally take charge of starting a blog. As I previously mentioned, make sure to stay consistent and write quality content that your customers would want to read. Happy blogging!

Why Every Business Should be Blogging – Full Article Here

 

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