If Your Businesses Needed A Sale By Tomorrow, What Would You Do?

One of the most practical, helpful exercises to many would-be entrepreneurs is to force themselves into a fight or die scenario in which they’re forced to find the first customer(s) for their product.

If perhaps you’re beyond this stage, you probably still wouldn’t mind growing quicker, which necessitates you to get creative and perhaps further develop some of the same skillsets.

So, if you had to make a sale tomorrow, or had to make 10 sales tomorrow, how would you do it? Here are just a few of the ways you may (or may not) think to utilize to grab attention and conversations.

The cold email. Cold emailing is a lost art. That might have seemed like a humorous thing to say when the technology was just emerging 20 years ago, but email marketing has been overused to the point where spam filters can barely even keep up anymore.

Today, effective cold emailing requires research and prospecting to make sure that you can tell a relevant story, and can do so to a large number of people. That said, it’s a numbers game that most people realistically just don’t want to put the effort into. If you email 100 people with a personalized outreach, you will make a sale. But that takes time, and work.

The Instagram approach. Thought Instagram was just for fitness gurus and underwear selfies? Guess again! Instagram is a hotbed for influencers because of the ease with which people can follow each other and interact.

This creates a massive opportunity to find the perfect influencer in your market and give them a small sum of money in order to recommend your product in their posts. The recommendation from a known idol is worth its weight in gold, and you’d be surprised how quickly this method can pay off with a few quick sales from as little as one post on the platform.

The local face to face. There’s no better way to sell to someone that face to face. It’s why door-to-door salesman still exist, and it’s why physical stores still outsell online retailers in America (or, at least, part of the reason!). If you need to make a sale today, the best thing you can do is head to local acquaintances, businesses, and venues where you can find a relevant audience, and start talking to them. It’s harder to say no in person, and you get invaluable insight into how people react to different phrases and propositions that are lost when someone simply reads a line of copy on a website and bounces away.

Sometimes, it can help to remember what you need to do to survive, even if the need isn’t yet pressing, in order to make sure you never come up against the feeling for real.

The Real Reason Every Company Wants An App

Back in 2008, Apple released its first iPhone. It was far from the first smartphone to hit the market, but it would likely be the one that made the biggest splash in modern history. As time went on, terms like “apps” entered our everyday lexicon, and ‘smartphone’ has all but just become “phone” or “mobile” these days.

As time has gone on, the buzz surrounding the new world of connectivity first spurred on by the internet and now taken to infinite lengths by modern day phones has grown to a deafening roar. Companies themselves are now founded – and funded – entirely on ideas for apps alone.

It’s all we can do to not open 13 different apps per day, and use them for everything under the sun. Dating? Check. Communication? Of course.  Ordering food? Every day. As is exemplified with many from older generations, it’s difficult not to become a bit disenchanted with the way in which every aspect of the life of the modern human seems to be facilitating partially or wholly by a device clutched ever tighter in the palms of our hands.

But, from a marketing perspective, it’s important to remember one thing: Smartphones and apps and everything that comes along with them all matter, and it’s because they have our attention. Time after time, what becomes the cutting edge marketer’s greatest tool is not a static platform, but an ever-evolving shift in where the general attention of a market is.
First it was print, then it was the radio, then it was TV, and then came computers and the internet, and now we’re got our phones.

To be dismissive of each new platform as it came along was to die a slow and painful death, clutching to things that just weren’t worth their cost anymore. This reason and this reason alone should be motivation enough for you to make mobile a priority if you haven’t yet. On the off chance that this is serving as a kind of wakeup call, here are just a couple of smart ways to start accounting for the ways in which people use their phones today:

– Shopping should be seamless: Fingerprint scanning, as a verification option over pin codes will delight customers.

– Apps that let them pay directly through the App Store instead of through their mobile browser.

– Websites that look even better on mobile than they do on desktop – don’t make the mistake of thinking that mobile is something you just optimize as an afterthought.

– Always being available on the platforms where people want to reach you most. Don’t be stubborn and neglect various social platforms just because you don’t ‘get them’ yet – your customers are there and will appreciate the effort you make to meet them where they are.

Above, be vigilant of where the near future will sweep us away to next. Virtual reality may still be a ways out from consumer widespread adoption, but pretending it won’t come is a folly. Whatever comes after that, the early movers will, once again, find the reward they deserve, will you be one of them?

Formula For Approaching Social Influencers

Compared to even just a few years ago, the concept of asking niche influencers to help promote products in exchange for money or for free products/services from a company is a relatively new concept. Celebrity endorsements were once reserved for, well, celebrities!

Now, however, many people gain followings of increasing impressiveness in whatever their areas of passion are, and eventually look for a way to monetize that audience. Here, marketers have a golden opportunity to get a recommendation from someone with genuine influence and authority over their target market, but the approach has to be good, and it has to be sincere.

Step 1) Start as a fan

This is a step that many online marketers and business owners often skip right over, without giving any real thought to. In doing this, they immediately change the position from which they approach the influencer, and drastically reduce their chances of a positive response, especially if they’re reaching out to someone who is fairly new to this type of business interaction.

The best thing you can do is to engage with that person as an audience member first. Like and leave thoughtful comments on their Instagram posts, reply to them on twitter, religiously comment on every blog post they put out for a month and a half.

Step 2) Approach with a value proposition in mind

Many influencers get hit up for ‘freebies’ all the time, so a great way to stand out is to be clear that you will benefit, but that you want to make it worth their time as well. This often means having an idea of your budget in mind from the start and also being able to explain why your product or service might be genuinely useful and of interest to their audience. People work hard for their reputations, and they aren’t keen on throwing them away just because you want to pay them a few extra dollars.

Let them know that you like their work, have interacted with them consistently, and have determined that they’re a good fit for your brand, this makes it seem less like you’re insincerely hitting up everyone you can find for promotion (even if you sort of are!).

Step 3) Follow through

Even if it isn’t part of your original deal, it’s highly recommended that you continue to interact with your influencer after the promotion, and maybe even give them something extra/unexpected after the fact.

The idea here is to stand out and be gracious. Many of these influencers who start to get some traction have tons of people asking them to promote their things, and most will:

– Haggle/try to lowball them

– Be annoyingly picky about how the sponsored content/posts look

– Not say a word of thanks or keep in touch after the fact.

If you’re the only one who works with them and avoids doing all of these things, you’re going to have a great ally in your niche.

Influencer isn’t hard, but that doesn’t stop people from getting it wrong; hopefully, with these steps, you won’t have to ‘do it wrong’ ever again!

Tips For When Stressed Entrepreneurs Need An Evening Off

As with most things we hold dear and have a passion for, it is quite easy to get swept up in our entrepreneurship to the point that it takes over, demanding every moment of our emotional, mental, and sometimes even physical existence. We wake up early each morning and go to bed late each night, all in the pursuit of escaping the 9-5 grind.

Ironically, it’s a life that usually sentences us to much longer hours than just 8 per day, but we happily oblige, all the same.

Having said that, it’s quite common that we can become consumed to the point of over-stressing and while this pace can be sustained for some time, it’s healthy to people to take an evening off when you need it.

Instead of checking your phone until 2am only to drift off for a few hours of sleep, wake up at 6 and do it all over again, here are a few tips to help you catch a few hours of uninterrupted bliss.

1) Be ok with ignoring people. One of the biggest things that catch us is a late night email or text coming through that seems like it just can’t wait.

The reality is, it can. Learn to be OK with leaving your inbox sitting there waiting for you until the morning (because it will still be waiting there!).

Set an out of office type reply, if even just for one evening, if you really think delaying your responses for a few hours is going to cause anyone to panic.

2) Turn off read receipts! One of the ways we pressure ourselves into replying is via the nifty-yet-annoying feature on many messaging apps that let someone know when you’ve ready their message. At this point, we cave to the social pressure to respond and the cycle continues. Many apps allow you to actually dig into their settings and turn off this feature completely, leaving you free to reply on your own time without having to feel like you’ve been rude.

3) Do something entirely unrelated. Watch a movie that has nothing to do with the business world, play a video game, write a funny song on guitar for the evening. You’ll quickly find that an intentional diversion becomes something you don’t have to think about, and eats up a few hours that give your mind a much, much needed rest.

4) Spend time in the company of those who have nothing to do with your job. Even at an after-work or social event with anyone you work with, the conversation inevitably tables a familiar turn. Instead, turn to your family or friends for socializing that won’t have to end up pertaining to what you already spend so much of your time on.

Nights off can be rare, whether once per week, once per month, or once every 2-3 months is the ratio that works for you, just make sure you’re dedicated to the cause when you finally take them.

Another tip is to try to consolidate the tools you use in your internet marketing business so you have less tools to learn and keep track of which can really lower your stress level at work which makes your days more enjoyable so you hopefully need less breaks and days off.

Social Media Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2017

You’re on social media, right? Of course you are. Everyone is, and with good reason. Imagine, for a second however, that you would have been among the first people to start creating great content for a certain platform: What if you’d taken it upon yourself to create some of the best early art of Instagram? What if you’d been one of the first to curate memes and funny images into a 1,000,000-strong Facebook page community?

There would be some serious leverage there, right? Of course there would be. So maybe the ship has sailed, so to speak, on things like Instagram and Facebook pages – but where else might you be able to shine in 2017? While the individual apps that make it big (and those who don’t) are hard to precisely predict, some of the technologies we might see gaining popularity can be determined with slightly more accuracy.

Let’s take a look at some of the social trends that are likely to continue to grow in 2017, and that you can take advantage of as an early mover.

Live Video – In 2016, live video saw an interesting evolution. Near the beginning of the year, the world was abuzz with talk of Meerkat and Periscope, two competitors in the space, going at it for marketshare.

Then, around the middle of the year, it seemed that Periscope had won out. A few months later, most people didn’t seem to care that much about either of them.

Fast forward even a bit more, and it seemed that anyone who was still interested in Live Streaming to their audience was probably just using Facebook Live – Facebook’s version previously reserved for celebrities – and that was that. Make no mistake, however, the format has been fully taken advantage of, and people are going to find very clever ways of making streaming an exciting and engaging community touchpoint in the coming year.

VR – Virtual reality may not be everywhere yet, but we all know it’s coming. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before a massive multiplayer online game and/or social media VR platform break out in a big way. We might be a few years off, but people who figure out how to captivate an audience within those things when they come are going to be set up very, very well.

Voice Messages – While companies like Anchor (which has often been referred to as “voice twitter”) have had some trouble finding their footing and cementing a longterm userbase, eyes – or rather ears – have been opened to the world of voice and how having this inflection, even in our short and off the cuff narrations of everyday life – can add something special to our social interactions. If you’re involved in a market where music, poetry, or spoken lessons make sense as content, these platforms could be exactly what you need.

But surely there are more platforms and technologies coming here that we can’t even foresee yet – what do you think they’ll be?