Los Angeles is known as the city of dreams. The glitz and glamour of Hollywood are often assumed to be the only attraction of the town of sunny climes. This, however, is not the truth. New York, London, Berlin, and Seattle have all been outranked by Los Angeles, and the city has been deemed as a high-ranking startup ecosystem extensive research published by Startup Genome.
The Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv alone have been rated higher for optimum characteristics required for the successful launch of businesses. The aspects of easy access to capital, the broad market size and expanding talent pool are few things to mention. LA has become the space-center for launching trailblazing startups such as Hulu and Maker Studios, LegalZoom, and Beach Mint.
These success stories arouse curiosity and attraction about the city. Here is our take on the reasons behind the glory of Los Angeles.
Accessibility of dreams
One can’t doubt the fact that LA is the American city where no desires are beyond grasp. It is the land where the big ideas are seen, hear, and if handed to the right people, could become a groundbreaking reality.
The Hollywood vibe of living in a glossy-paged magazine and the high-end life of spas and business mergers add up to the LA spirit. The unbelievable access to the entertainment industry, presence of luxury brands, and living along with the abundance of distribution companies, equipment, and production teams all make the city surreal enough to be one’s imagination. When entertainment channels such as the Machinima are centered in a town, the success of startups could only follow suit.
For those who do not know Machinima, it is an entertainment channel for the age bracket of 18-34, it is the Hollywood dream encapsulated in a view. The channel has over 200 million gamers in association and viewing their 17.5 billion videos. Such gigantic figures could cause a ruckus in the earlier days.
From Kim Kardashian West’s ShoeDazzle to Jessica Alba’s Honest Co; LA has all the residents that would blowup tabloids and boost any new business. In a city where any publicity is good publicity, any company would kill to have Idris Elba or Chris Hemsworth on at the table instead of a Paypal billionaire or a team of learned engineers from a university as Stanford. The association of Thor would bring far more financial support due to the celebrity-endorsed publicity. The success of Kylie Jenner’s cosmetic line is definite proof of how a celebrity face could amass millions. Alternatively, a closer inspection of ShoeDazzle is another prime example of the case of celebrity endorsement boosting business.
ShoeDazzle is a subscription-based ecommerce venture that brings the luxury of Beverly Hills to the kingdom of sweatpants and baggy tee shirts. The brand has appointed Kim Kardashian West as a chief fashion stylist. Everything else is right in front of you.
The Real Shark Tank
Los Angeles has a long list of angel investors like Mike Jones (the former CEO of Myspace) at Science, Troy Carter (Lady Gaga’s manager), Chris Sacca at Lowercase are all people with thick wallets who are looking for audacious and ardent talents. Brian Lee is another attorney turned entrepreneur that invest in up and coming businesses and helps them cash up. The former CIO from Google, Douglas Merrill decided to relocate to Los Angeles and made over $73 billion from the LA-based partners for his startup, ZestCash.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Los Angeles is the city of many, multi-star teams such as UCLA, USC, JPL, and Caltech that are geek fish in the pond of high investment startups. Digital LA’s Kevin Winston has created the most extensive organization network for the digital entertainment industry.
The addition to co-working and hackerspaces along with consulting firms, events for startup capital and also monthly breakfast series all add up to create an interactive hive of ideas that boom. LA digital marketing is another world of its own. The use of SEO and Social Media has brought many Los Angeles based startups to light.
The sunny climes and sandy beaches
There is no denial in the beauty of Los Angeles’ weather. The sun, palm trees, and sea breeze make L.A the optimal location for anyone sick of the grey winters or muggy heat of June. The weather plays an integral part in celebrity settlements in the city. Why do you think would Jared Leto settle in the warm town of beaches, beers, and business?
At present, Los Angeles is the ideal place for any startup, regardless of entertainment or ecommerce. The city has easy access to capital, multiple avenues to pitch your ideas, and an abundance of celebrities from silver screen to social media. All you need is to immerse yourself into the dreamy LA spirit, and you are all good to go!d!
About the Author:
Alma Causey is a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. She writes about tech education and health related issues. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover.
Lead generation takes advantage of a potential customer’s interest in your business. It’s more effective than cold-calling or cold-contacting since leads have shown their curiosity about what your product or service is about in some way or form.
You can make it your business to provide companies with prospects who have a higher chance of converting into a paying customer rather than merely selling data on people who may not be interested in your clients’ merchandise. Digital marketing has vastly improved advertising and catching your target audience. There are also a lot of niches that you can choose to focus on.
Why Is Lead Generation Lucrative?
Consumers nowadays are wiser. They know that each brand they see online is trying to sell them something. With lead generation, you can sift through millions of Internet users and find the ones who have shown organic interest in your clients’ business. This way, the transition from curious window-shopper to paying customer becomes more natural.
Lead generation technically falls within the second phase of the inbound marketing process. It happens once you have established an audience, so they’re no longer strangers to you or your client’s brand, and those followers are ready to be sales-qualified leads.
What You Should Do To Start Your Own Lead Generation Business
As with other types of ventures, you need to learn more about lead generation before you can go ahead and build your business. There are lots of valuable resources online like blog posts from HubSpot and training courses fromJournal Review to give you in-depth knowledge on this aspect of digital marketing.
After you’ve gained the necessary information about the technical processes involved with a lead generation business, start your company by following these tips:
1. Choose A Niche
It’s crucial that you choose a niche that’s popular but not overly-saturated with lead generation companies. You must find the balance between a product and service that’s always in demand, but not with too much supply. Some of the best industries are insurance, medical, legal, and real estate because they provide high lifetime customer value with massive potential for development.
2. Pick A Platform
The most common platform is creating a blog where you can post articles about the niche you’ve chosen. However, social media is another channel that’s gaining traction because of how easy it is to promote your posts and build brand awareness by reaching your target audience.
Here’s an in-depth look at popular lead generation platforms:
Facebook – The social networking giant has a feature that allows administrators to add a simple call-to-action (CTA) button on top of your brand’s page, which can direct your followers to your website. There’s also the Lead Ads function, which allows users to stay on their website to give their information and get your offer.
Twitter – The microblogging site has Twitter Lead Gen Cards, which provide the name, email address, and Twitter username of potential customers, which are automatically generated for those who interacted with your promoted tweet.
Instagram – Instagram is a fantastic platform to promote your client’s brand or your blog. You can add a link in your bio that directs prospects to a landing page. To supplement your lead-generating link, you can drive traffic to it through your posts or stories.
LinkedIn – The professional networking website created Lead Gen Forms that auto-populate a user’s information when they click on your CTA. This makes data collection straightforward.
Blogs – If you already have a blog, you can monetize your content by getting your readers to give their contact information to you and share that with your clients.
3. Price Your Leads
Research diligently on how much leads cost in the industry you’ve chosen. The price varies among niches and even within the same trade, so it’s best to get a holistic idea of the amount you should charge for the data you have.
One way to do this process is to get the minimum and maximum selling price for leads. Another method depends on the lead’s age, whether you have acquired in-depth information from the prospect, and, as mentioned above, the industry that you’re in.
Take into consideration the guarantee as well. This means that you may need to refund your clients for bad leads. Make sure that you address this in your contract by having policies and procedures for lead returns written in black and white.
What You Can Do To Maximize Lead Generation For Your Clients
As you can see, anyone can start their own lead generation business. However, there are things that you can do to ensure that you get the highest converting leads for your clients. When they see that most of the people you’re sending their way are converting into paying customers, they’ll continue to ask for your services because of its positive impact on their business.
Here are lead generation tips to help you get the most out of your leads:
1. Know The Right Tools To Use
You must know the right lead generation tools to use for each metric you’re trying to measure. There’s software for separating leads from non-leads, communicating with prospects, and reaching your target audience through marketing tactics.
Some valuable lead generation tools include:
Leadformly - Forms are crucial to capturing leads, so you need to optimize each one in your website to entice prospects to give their contact information to you. The program allows you to create high-converting lead generation forms.
Hunter - This email lookup service is ideal for finding people who mistyped their emails in your forms or those whom you connected with during in-person networking activities but weren’t able to get their email address. With this, you can type in the person’s name and get a hold of their contact information.
Boomerang - If cold email outreach is part of your lead generation strategy, this Gmail extension lets you schedule emails. Moreover, you have the option of bringing emails back to your inbox if you don’t get a reply from the recipient to help you keep track of follow-ups.
HubSpot Sales - HubSpot Sales is a section of the digital marketing company’s platform that gives you the power to track email opens and updates you when the prospect reads your message. It also has a Gmail extension. Overall, HubSpot is one of the best tools for automating digital marketing from managing your contacts to publishing posts to your blog and gathering new leads.
Unbounce - This tool is for building custom landing pages that, as the name suggests, will facilitate conversion completion and avoid people from abandoning your form. It has a drag-and-drop builder and pre-built templates that you can personalize for your brand.
IFTTT - If This Then That is a platform for automating a series of actions when a specific scenario happens. For instance, if you use Craigslist to find leads, the software can automatically send you an email when someone from your industry posts in a particular category on the website.
Intercom - This live chat app provides visitors on your site to reach someone in your team, which helps increase conversions if they have questions about your content or the products you’re endorsing. Its features include conversation management, targeted messaging, and automated content publishing.
Vyper - Contests are an excellent way to reach your target audience. Vyper lets participants garner additional entries by completing more actions like answering a form on your blog, referring a friend, or following you on all social media platforms.
2. Construct A Grading Structure For Prospects
Not all leads are equal. Some may be ready to leap from stranger to customer while others may have expressed interest or curiosity about your client’s products or services but could still need more time and persuasion to warm up to the brand. You ought to define a criteria to separate the leads that are high-converting to the ones who needs more work.
By differentiating the levels of interest for your prospects, you can implement marketing strategies that are appropriate for them in the hopes of having all your leads become paying customers of your clients. Nurture and educate each potential buyer using relevant content.
3. Value Quality Over Quantity
The grading structure also ensures that you direct the highest-converting prospects to your clients. Sending several leads doesn’t always assure you that a sale will happen. With most lead generation arrangements, you only get paid if your referral buys something from the company.
That’s why you should only provide the contact information of those who are fully interested with what your client is selling to avoid wasting you and your customer’s time, effort, and resources. You’ll also gain a reputation of being trustworthy and effective if you practice this quality over quantity principle.
A lead generation business is beneficial for both consumers and companies since you direct potential buyers to reliable sellers, where they can purchase the products or services they want or need. Learn more about this particular industry, especially about the tools that you should use by reading online materials and signing up for training programs that will give you in-depth knowledge about its processes.
Inbound Marketing or Lead Magnet, literally "magnet to prospect", are new concepts that we hear more and more about in the marketing world, more specifically in web marketing, that is, say online marketing. First, to understand these two notions, we must begin by noting that the Lead Magnet is simply a practical method of Inbound Marketing. But, what exactly is a Lead Magnet in Inbound Marketing?
INBOUND MARKETING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Traditionally or generally speaking, when it comes to marketing, the company that wants to sell its products or services goes to the customer, raises awareness and promotes its products often through advertising spots, media, etc.
This method of approaching the customer is called Outbound Marketing or Outbound Marketing. But outbound marketing by its main method sometimes seems "a little embarrassing" for customers because it requires too much publicity.
Innovative companies then adopted a new approach to marketing management: Inbound Marketing. She wants to be the opposite of outbound marketing because unlike going to the customer, his main method is to attract the attention of the customer who will then come to it.
Inbound Marketing can be explained as the marketing technique that consists in capturing the prospect's attention (potential future client) by publishing on its website or through social networks, quality content, visuals, newsletters so that it is highly identifiable. As stated above, in the traditional forms, it is better to pick the customer. The goal is to convert visitors into prospects and prospects into customers.
Inbound marketing, which is mostly a form of online marketing, has emerged because of other forms of marketing work less and less. The consumer sometimes feels overwhelmed by a large number of advertisements or too much-published content.
There is too much information to consult. He ends up not paying any attention to it or to bring himself an advertising blocker to prevent the visualization of any supposedly uninteresting information.
According to the website The newspaper of the Net "Inbound marketing" is a huge success today because advertising has invaded the media and the non-media, leading the public to a natural saturation.
Inbound Marketing has one main goal: to build customer loyalty and turn it into a brand ambassador. Thus, it helps to work on the brand image of the company and win new customers.
INBOUND MARKETING: HOW IT WORKS
The company broadcasts quality content through social networks or its site to attract the attention of the user who is still a stranger.
This is the purpose of creating the first contact. The latter has judged the relevant content, will consult the site of the company to learn about benefits.
By consulting the site, the user will find the coordinates and contacts of the company that will take into account its requirements and motivations to offer the desired product: it is the conversion of the site visitor Lead (commercial contact) go through what will be called Lead Magnets (often digital downloadable content).
After registering the Lead in a database (in a CRM for example), it will be provided with quality information. This is the engagement process that consists of better informing prospects (potential future customers) in order to transform them into customers.
We can later, through the habits of the prospect, determine if he can buy or buy on the site. The effectiveness of the site can then be deduced after data analysis of all its visitors.
Here for the short topo on Inbound Marketing, I have personally described the methodology of Inbound Marketing on my blog.
Since we can not talk about it without referring to the Leads Magnet, let's see how a lead magnet looks.
LEAD MAGNET: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
To achieve a good return on investment, the company's Inbound Marketing needs to be effective in its Magnet leads. A Lead Magnet is then a crucial tool in inbound marketing.
It can attract web visitor and encourage the prospect to buy. It is defined as web content offered to a future customer in return for contact information.
A perfect Lead Magnet can increase the number of visitors to a corporate website, but not necessarily the number of Leads. The lead magnet, proposed by the Web Entrepreneurs is simply to encourage the visitor to a personal information exchange, which will later facilitate its conversion into a customer.
HOW LEAD MAGNET WORKS?
A lead magnet can take many forms ... it is often a high added value content for the user. This may be :
A Report: This will provide useful information in the form of tables, graphics, etc. This may be a study or even an infographic. This data can be valuable to a decision maker.
A white paper: The white paper is a document, not commercial in the sense that it will not present your products, but of reference. It provides neutral and objective information, detailed answers to specific problems.
A checklist: A checklist or checklist is a document allowing you to remember the steps of a procedure to follow. It must allow accompanying the future customer in the resolution of a problem or a task.
A template: It will be a document like a calendar, a form template or a mail that will allow prospects to save time.
Here are some tips to make your Lead Magnet a success:
It is essential to adapt your magnets leads to the expectations of your customers to maximize its success:
Make proposals for solutions to a problem that a prospect may encounter;
The lead magnet must reach the customer easily and quickly while trying to meet his expectations;
Ensure protection. That is, lead magnets should not appear directly in the search engines.
We can say in conclusion that the success of a company on the web necessarily passes today through the adoption of Inbound marketing strategy, which will also depend heavily on its first image given to potential future customers through the Lead Magnet.
Warning! We must avoid confusing Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing which are two different approaches. Inbound Marketing aims to generate incoming leads.
So you’ve made the break and finally set up the business you always wanted to run. Alternatively, you were looking for a new approach and have acquired a new business but want to revamp the approach. Whatever the situation, startups, or small businesses in general, can really maximize returns with a smart approach to marketing.
The great news is that with a savvy content marketing strategy, your business can generate the traffic, engagements and conversions to escalate the business into a viable operation more quickly than you expected. You just need to take the time to figure out your approach. The other great piece of news is that it need not cost the earth either – for from it.
These six tactics to content marketing can go a long way to seriously enhancing the value of your business.
Why Are You Doing This, And How Are You Going To Do It?
To grow your business, right? Wrong. What you need to understand very well before you commence any marketing approach is why you are doing this. What are you hoping to achieve? More engagements? Better brand awareness? To increase brand loyalty? More sales?
First of all, sit down and think long and hard about why you are creating a marketing strategy, and once you have the answer to this question, you can commence planning and executing your strategy.
“And yet it’s not enough to only know what it is that you want to achieve, you must also know how it is you plan to arrive at your destination,” warns Tatiana Rushkov, a business blogger at LastMinuteWriting and Writinity.
So as well as understanding where it is that you want to get to, you have to have a very good idea of how you plan to get there. How else can you formulate and execute a great content marketing strategy if you have no idea where you want to take it. Even better, plan small-step goals that act as rungs up the ladder to that final objective.
Understand Your Target Audience
So you’ve thought about what you want to achieve, and how you plan to get there: with this information you can have the bones of a content marketing plan, but without understanding in detail who your perspective audience is, then you cannot begin to start fleshing out that plan.
Knowing your audience has been a critical theme to running a business since year zero, and it hasn’t changed now that the marketing and sales approach has moved into the ether. In fact, with so much noise in the space, knowing who your audience is and what they react to is even more important than it has ever been.
So, it all starts with the research: you may think you know who you engages with you, and who you want to engage with you, but without measurement you will never truly now. Fortunately, we now have the means of doing this is minute details, so there is no reason not to.
So, start by using analytics to understand who is already engaging with your business, and from here you can start to understand core details such as demographics. With these demographics you can then not only tailor your content, you can specifically target the channels that you know your demographic interacts with. For example, if your core audience is the teenage market, then the raw data tells us that Instagram may be a better means of reaching out than Facebook, say.
Then by understanding the way in which your audience engages with you, you can start to understand what is known in the business as the psychographics: the elements of your audience that are less tangible. Examples of these elements may be their belief system, or how they relate to a brand. Of course this information is harder to gather, but it is eminently possible.
See how your demographic interacts on social media. What other brands are they interested in and how do they interact with their market? What are your competitors already doing and how can you seek to improve upon this? These are all critical idea, and from here you must start to build the persona of your typical audience member.
Think about this approach carefully. The aim is certainly not to create content that you think people want to see, but to create content that your exact, specific audience is demanding, and there is a fundamental difference in that approach.
Build Your Content Pillars
Content pillars are an essential element to an effective marketing strategy, as Jean Deguyen, a tech editor at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK explains. “Your objective here is to create content that is evergreen. The nature of SEO is that is can be constantly evolving, and that is frustrating for marketing teams as it means they may be having to continuously update their approach to stay in line with what search engines are doing through their algorithms.
The point is, if you get down to basics and think very carefully about what is it you are doing and the value that it adds to your customers, you can use this to create core content that will stand you out as a expert in the eyes of the engines.”
In short, a content pillar needs to be a long-form article or web page that spells out in micro-detail what it is that you do with your product and service and in every way how it enhances the user’s experience. This attention to detail will work wonders for your SEO as long as you build in all your content around it, and everything interacts together though links. This is the concept behind creating content that won’t just work for a week, it will see you permanently atop those all-important rankings.
Plan Your Content
The steps as previously discussed are core, but it is here where the fun truly begins as you can start to get creative with the type of content you are putting out there.
But here is the vital consideration: never move away from what you are trying to achieve and who your audience are. If you are using your content to guide towards your content pillars, then this is a great way of ensuring that you are not losing focus.
The creativity aspect here is great because there really are so many ways by which you can interact with your audience these days, from blog and social media posts to video content, infographics and interactive games to quizzes, special offers and podcasts. But never take your eye from the prize of what you are trying to achieve and where you are trying to take your audience.
Pick Your Social Media Approach
We have already touched upon this – intimate knowledge of your audience should make this an easy decision to make. And now you have created your content pillars, it is just a case of interacting with your audience on the social media platform of choice to draw attention to your content pillars. From here you can seek to actively engage your audience based on the content that you already know they are looking for.
Use Paid-for Channels
Once you have completed all the steps above, you really can start to generate the kind of organic traffic you have been looking for. However, if you want to give your content a little boost, why not supplement your approach with a few paid-for ads just to give everything a little kickstart.
But before you worry about the potential costs involved, fear not. Because for the bare minimum you can run some tests just to see what kind of interaction you get with this approach. If it works, then it’s paid for itself (as this stream really should), but if it doesn’t, then little is lost, and you have still set up everything accordingly to get the organic hits you are looking for.
So start by setting up all the necessary analytics that you will need to measure the success of any ad that you run on the likes of Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Secondly you need to target your ad, meaning that you need to identify who will see it and where. The main ways in which you should set about doing this are via your audience persons, which you established a long time before, via retargeting, which basically interacts with those who have already been to your site or who have engaged with you previously, or finally through competitor analysis and copycatting.
Next up is design, and be sure that the ad itself stays true to your content pillars, and appeals to your intended demographic. Now you are ready to run with it, and for as little as $5 you can see how everything works out. If it goes great, scale up, if not, what have you lost?
So there you have it, 6 steps to setting up an effective content marketing strategy for your startup. It won’t cost the earth, you need not involve any expensive specialist, and the time you invest will committed to long-term goals. Get it right and your business will never look back.
Content editor Harry Conley can be found at Gum Essays and LuckyAssignments where he is involved in the development of training and work flow activities to enhance the ability of writers, always seeking to unlock potential along the way. Another string to his bow is his interest in the provision of supplementary materials and instructional support for contributors.
As of 2019, Digital marketing is changing rapidly, as technology, techniques and strategies are being used to better manage campaign performance outcome. One of the oldest and most effective forms of online marketing is PPC or pay-per-click. With PPC model, you simply pay for the clicks that drive target traffic to your website based on your campaign settings and strategy.
Here are some stats that will blow your mind, courtesy of SERPWatch.
Marketing technologies continuously evolve, so don’t get caught off guard. In addition to reducing your effectiveness, using obsolete tactics can damage your reputation as an innovative marketer. So, to keep up, make sure you embrace the following hot marketing trends.
Smart home devices and mobile devices have brought voice technology to the forefront of society. Businesses increasingly want to include voice in their marketing strategy. For this reason, you need to learn the nuances of this technology, including how to get your clients heard in voice-search results.
Already, Google has reduced the number of search results from which mobile users can choose. Voice searches further restrict the number of available search results. In other words, voice search trend is challenging your SEO capabilities. Start mastering voice search now, If you do, you won't fall behind in the future.
Regardless of what you think about chatbots, they’re here to stay. These smart AI-powered bots will continue to grow in popularity among business owners and marketers because they increase customer engagement without increasing payroll expenses. As these products gain new capabilities, they’re becoming essential for every business.
Look for new ways to implement chatbots in your business. For example, you could usechatbots as part of your marketing strategy. Use them to present upselling and cross-selling opportunities to your online shoppers. Soon, your chatbots could handle most of your business’ customer service and tech support tasks.
Internet users continue to prefer video to other types of content. As new high-speed mobile networks come online, expect this trend to accelerate. As you review your content strategy, brainstorm new ways to use video to promote your business. From video advertising to live streaming special events and sales, you have unlimited opportunities.
Always remember the dynamic nature of customer preferences. The traditional “how-to” videos that gain traction now may fizzle in the future. For this reason, you should always look for creative ways to usevideo in your marketing plan. Also, stay alert for new popular video channels and styles so you can engage them as soon as they emerge.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Not long ago, the tech world was buzzing over VR and AR technology. Although some of that excitement has subsided, don’t think that VR has become irrelevant. It hasn’t. Developers have continually been developing exciting new applications. Also, new technologies such as 5G are setting the stage for aVR and AR explosion.
Some large companies have already rolled-out VR shopping apps that allow people to try products such as furniture as part of the customer experience. Although you might not have the budget for such a production right now, you can create AR displays in your store. Shoppers can enhance their experience simply by pointing their phone’s camera at a product.
New sensor technologies are giving marketers the ability to promote their products and brands. Consider geofencing, location beacons, and motion sensors that can send shoppers contextual messages such as special discounts, based on their physical activity. Also, don’t make the mistake of using these tactics only to supplement the in-store experience that your business provides.
You can use the physical behavior patterns of your customers to help personalize their online encounters with your brand. Generally, you should look for ways to expand the number and personalization of data points your business collects so you can use it to increase the precision with which you target your online and offline audiences.
By staying well informed and imaginative, you can use your leadership position to maintain a competitive and profitable posture despite changing technologies and customer expectations.
Starting a small business can be incredibly intimidating but with the right tools and mindset you can be successful. It may seem impossible to compete with large companies, however, there are many advantages for small businesses.
These advantages include higher efficiency, easier communication to your target market and better flexibility. On the other hand, there are disadvantages including lack of brand awareness, loyalty, and budgets. As long as a small business knows how to effectively utilize its advantages, the brand awareness, loyalty and budget will build throughout its journey.
Since budgets are often the biggest barrier for new small businesses, this article will give useful advice on how they can stay resilient in the market regardless of their financial situation. It is unrealistic to expect your new small business to jump into the market and be at the same level as businesses that have already been established. It takes time and money to build your business so keep reading to learn how a small business can quickly stand out amongst its competitors
Stay in your own lane
It is human nature to compare what we are doing or where we are at with others. It can be easy to want to replicate your competitor’s strategy, especially if you see them doing well.
However, it is important to focus on your business because what works for your competitors most likely will not work the same for you. Each business builds their reputation throughout their journey and being the small business that gets the reputation as a follower is not going to be beneficial.
Creativity is essential when it comes to remaining competitive in the market without stepping on the toes of others. Competitors should have influence on why you are doing the things you do, but not how you do them. So how does staying in your own lane make your small business stand out? When two companies are essentially the same, consumers are likely to choose one – usually the more established one with the better reputation.
Staying in your own lane allows consumers to see your brand individually for what it is and what it brings to the table and it lowers the chances of being outshined by competitors.
After you stay in your own lane, how do you stand out enough to become profitable? Start small and dive deep into a niche market. These markets are small business gold because established businesses are often focusing on the more obvious broad market leaving consumers’ specific needs in the niche markets unmet.
To some it may seem limiting to target only one or two unique groups, but what will actually limit your business is not having a clear focus. A niche market will allow you to truly know your audience instead of targeting multiple groups and spreading your business too thin from the beginning.
Niche markets can also be a good way to connect with consumers to get feedback and support while building loyalty and awareness. The beautiful thing about starting small is there is always room to expand because there is no logical reason a new small business should have the same breadth as their more established competitors.
As a small business you automatically have the upper hand when it comes to customer experience. A lot of factors go into the idea of customer experience because it is the entire relationship a customer has with a brand. This is an advantage because small businesses have the ability to directly build their relationship with their customers unlike large bureaucratic companies.
Consumers value a great experience and it is an easy way for small businesses to stand out, gain loyal customers and generate word of mouth marketing. One of the most obvious ways to enhance your customer’s experience is through exceptional customer service.
Companies that are known for their awesome customer service are typically also very successful, coincidence? Consumers want to buy from responsive companies because if something goes wrong, they have a question or a complaint a responsive company is more likely to give them the answers they are looking for. Besides customer service, here are some of the best ways to provide an excellent customer experience.
Make it easy
Whether your small business is online only, a storefront, or both, there needs to be as few steps involved in the purchase process as possible. There is a good chance one of your competitors could be Amazon with their 1-click checkout.
My advice for any small businesses is: don’t make it harder than it has to be. If a 10 year old would have trouble navigating around your store or website, make it easier. If there are more than two steps involved in the checkout process, make it easier. If there is no obvious way to get in contact with your store, make it easier. Simplicity is key and customers will appreciate it.
If a customer feels appreciated by your small business they are more likely to shop with you than a competitor, and loyal customers oftentimes share their satisfaction with those in their network. Simple gestures like handwritten ‘thank you’ notes in packages or timely responses to emails can make huge impacts for small businesses.
When you treat your customers well and on a personal level, it will build the trust between them and your business. Not only will the authenticity of your business build long term relationships but it will also help build your reputation.
The best way to improve your small business and stand out further is by asking for feedback from your customers. Send an email to those who have purchased from you and ask them about their experience and then capitalize on their input.
This is an amazing way to directly reach those in your target market and make sure their needs are being met. Lucky for you, small businesses often have a quicker reaction time than that of a big, bureaucratic organization. If there is consistent feedback to change something, small businesses can leverage their quicker adaptability to meet their customers’ needs more effectively.
All aspects of your small business need creativity to compete and stand out against other businesses. It is not always about being the first to create a brand new product as many creative companies usually put a fresh twist on something that is already established.
For example, Apple was not the first company to produce a computer yet it has turned into one of the most innovative companies to ever exist. Being able to take a different approach towards something already in the market will give your business the fresh angle and perceived value it needs to become attractive to consumers. There are also many areas where a company can be creative that have nothing to do with the product itself.
Emphasize your uniqueness
What are you doing or what can you do that your competitors can’t? Truth be told, differentiating your brand is one of the best ways to remain competitive and if you can’t find differences, that is where you need to start. Once you have differentiated your brand, inform your target market on how your points of difference can improve their life in a way competitors aren’t.
This can be done through stories, testimonials or by hitting their pain points. Likewise, if your company is eco-friendly, make it known because that could easily be the reason someone shops with your small business over your competitors. Consumers value companies whose values align with theirs and emphasizing your differences can make a huge impact in gaining market share. How can you show your business in a different light that makes it irresistible to your target market?
Add value where you can
Besides writing thank you notes to show your customers you care about them, there are several ways to add value to your customers. No matter the industry you are in, its likely consumers will choose your company over others if they feel they are getting more from their purchase.
Some ways companies have been successful with this approach is through offering things like free stickers, appealing packaging, loyalty programs, special deals, etc. At grocery stores and some other retail locations reusable bags are a big trend right now and are valuable to both consumers and businesses.
Not only can your customers use this bag for groceries or their lunch, but your business will get free marketing when they use it. A lot factors into the purchase process for consumers but without a doubt they will notice and appreciate the small details that other businesses forget to include.
Utilize marketing tools
A marketing budget for small businesses will probably not be as large as their bigger competitors but there are many ways to effectively reach your target market without breaking the bank. Getting established on social media is more important now than ever and it can be as simple as connecting with social media influencers to endorse your company.
Many influencers will promote your company to their followers in exchange for a free product or service. There are also many free versions of apps available that can keep track of your social media engagement and posting schedule to ensure your presence is strong. Social media is a powerful tool and should not be an afterthought for your business. Create a concrete plan early on with creative content to effectively stand out to your target market.
About the author
Kim Phillipi is President and owner of Building Science Academy, LLC. This startup formed in 2009 and operates Greenfit Homes, a construction business, and JobFLEX, an app development company.
When used properly, Instagram is an extremely effective marketing tool that can be used to promote your products and services.
If you’re like most other businesses, you want to use Instagram in order to:
Build a network of loyal customers
Increase brand awareness
Stay up to date with consumer trends
There are a whole host of ways to constructively use Instagram to generate growth for your brand. However, one method that is often overlooked is utilizing Instagram engagement groups aka Instagram pods.
It might not be the instant answer to increasing your sales, however it will greatly enhance your brand’s reputation and help you build social proof on the platform. After all, having a following of a few thousand looks significantly more credible than a following below 100.
This isn’t a long-term answer to increasing your following on Instagram but it will help you in your first few weeks on the platform.
What are engagement groups?
Engagement groups are essentially the platform’s latest trend, which helps small fish on Instagram use the company’s algorithm to their advantage.
These pods consist of a group of people that commit to consistently engaging with one another’s content in order to increase the impact of their posts.
When you join one of these groups the expectation is that you consistently engage with whatever they are posting. This is reciprocated and should result in a fast flood of comments, likes and follows.
Ultimately, pods help increase the number of likes and comments each post gets. They increase the organic reach of in the Instagram feed plus they increase the possibility of your post ending up in the Discover section. Finally, they are a great way to forge new connections, which could result in opportunities for brand partnerships.
Sounding good so far? Here’s how to make the above happen.
#1 Find your tribe
To find an engagement group that is going to be a great fit for your account, ask around other accounts in your niche.
Alternatively, you could look for the right group on Facebook. Have a search for groups that are social media or Instagram related. Many of these groups have weekly threads which are used to form engagement groups or pods. Keep your eyes peeled for someone in your niche and join theirs - or post in a group to create your own pod.
To engage in the ‘rounds’ method, in which users post at specific times of day for a round of 30 minutes, head to Telegram.
Telegram is a chatting app, which is similar to WhatsApp and depending on the group, there could be hundreds of members.
Look out for pods by:
Joining Instagram related groups on Facebook
Searching Twitter for mentions of engagement groups
Checking the Instagram sub-reddit
Messaging accounts in your niche
And if all else fails? Google it. You’re certain to find a pod that will work for you.
#2 Play by the rules
Every group has its own rules. It could be a comment only group, a like only group or it could be a group that is attached to Instagram stories over posts.
The groups often also tend to post at the same time of the day. Group members will all drop their posts at around the same time to ensure that it gets plenty of likes and comments in the first few hours of posting. This is one of the most important indicators to Instagram that your content should be ranked higher on your followers feeds.
A round of posting lasts around 30 minutes. To be involved a user will drop their username and then they usually also let the group know when they have finished participating.
Some groups are a bit more free-wheeling and you can participate at any time. Members can drop posts in whenever they want and have more freedom with liking and commenting. Be sure to pick a group whose rules you are happy to play by - repeat offenders who don’t participate fairly are quickly kicked out of a group.
#3 Operate smart
When you join a group, make sure that you are tracking your growth. This way you will know which groups are working.
Look for groups that have a similar follower count to you and also groups that are sharing similar content. This will ensure maximum impact for your account. If you don’t do this you might end up with lots of engagement with very small accounts that have absolutely nothing to do with your niche.
That said, broad pods are much easier to access. So if you’re having trouble finding a niche pod, they can be a good place to start.
Remember, when you’re operating in a pod the most important thing is to be careful that you don’t come across as spammy on Instagram. The site actively limits users that appear to be messing with their algorithm. One way to do this is if you’re commenting, to keep those comments diverse.
For maximum impact, invest your time into multiple pods. This will result in explosive engagement on your account and increase the visibility of your business on Instagram.
Finally, you should make sure that you send your post into a pod within the first fifteen minutes of posting it. This will result in the biggest amount of organic growth for each particular post.
While it may be a short term way to increase followers as opposed to a long term marketing strategy, using Instagram engagement groups is an effective way to kick-start your business on Instagram. Follow the above tips and you’ll be well on your way to four and five digit followings.
The Cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity around the world, and with the success of bitcoin, many other coins are emerging into the markets. Considering the enormous success and value of bitcoin, entrepreneurs are trying their luck by launching new digital currencies.
Other coins like ethereum and Altcoins are also becoming extremely popular. Despite the high risk involved in the cryptocurrency business, many entrepreneurs want to try their luck in this field. Entrepreneurs looking to start a business in cryptocurrency, need to consider these steps.
Identifying a problem
The first step to start a business is to identify an existing problem and finding a solution for the same. There are many entrepreneurs in this business, and most of them are only after money. Although money is a part of business, it is essential to use your start-up as a means to solve an existing problem.
Creating a business model
The first step in starting a cryptocurrency business is to create a business model that is to decide that you want to trade in Cryptocurrencies or create your coins. Usually, people start the cryptocurrency business in these two ways, either buy/sell existing digital currencies, mine digital coins, or they create new coins. Some entrepreneurs have also come up with cryptocurrency ATMs and vending machines.
Knowing what you want is an essential step to start a new business. You need to check whether your idea is feasible in the present and future. Whether people will be ready to work on it or invest in it? Is there any demand for the currency that you are thinking to create? Will creating a new cryptocurrency solve an existing problem?
Analyze the competition
There are many other entrepreneurs in the cryptocurrency business. Your start-up is going to compete with them. So, it makes perfect sense to analyze the competition before beginning your startup in this field. Check the services your competitors are offering and the solutions they are providing for the problems.
Funding for your business
If you have a good concept, you can start looking for funding for your business. Many VC funding and angel investors are ready to invest in new cryptocurrency start-ups. Moreover, bootstrapping is another popular funding option for new companies. Crypto businesses in the United States need more funding to overcome the legal trouble they are facing. Bootstrapping is a great funding option for decentralized and offshore companies in the field of cryptocurrency.
Understanding the regulations
The United States is trying to create rules for the crypto world. However, many countries follow their own rules regarding cryptocurrency businesses. The non-existence of transparent laws and regulations is one of the reasons for the instability in this field. However, in the US, there are strict laws for these types of start-ups without which it is not possible to start a business in cryptocurrency.
Hiring the right people
You need to hire the right people to kick start your cryptocurrency start-up. It might be challenging to hire people for this kind of start-ups, but there are many people out there who believe in working with such businesses. It takes time to find the right people to work in a cryptocurrency company, but the time you spend with the worth the value you get in the end.
You should hire only the people who believe in that Cryptocurrencies can be successful and also they should agree to your ideas. The right people will help you to achieve what you want from your start-up. It is tough to find people for such businesses, but there are many people ready to help you achieve your dreams.
More than bitcoins
With the rise of bitcoin among the Cryptocurrencies, more and more investors and entrepreneurs want to invest in bitcoin. However, Cryptocurrencies are not limited to bitcoins, as there are new options for success. With the ethereum, litecoin and altcoin prices seeing stable growth, entrepreneurs are looking to create start-ups around these coins.
You can start a business in cryptocurrency in any country where digital currencies are legal. However, as the prices of digital currencies are volatile, it is good to have insurance for your start-up. In some states, insurance for business is a legal requirement, and it can save you in case of market crashes or losses. Following these steps can help young entrepreneurs to create their business in the crypto world.
Content marketing is a method of reaching prospective clients and spreading information about products and services a business offers. There are different techniques of content marketing followed by content marketers. Social media, Blogging, Influencer marketing, Newsletters, White Papers, and Case Studies are some of the most popular mediums of marketing content. Come to the age of smartphones and enter new methods of content marketing such as video marketing, messaging, artificial intelligence, and many others.
Content Marketing methods will keep evolving but do content marketers evolve or grow with these changing methods? The crux here is what is growth? Well, I believe learning from mistakes helps us all evolve. The same applies to content marketing and content marketers. They must learn from their mistakes and also from their fellow marketers and introduce changes in the way they work. Here, we present the top mistakes committed by content marketers so that you, if you have anything to do with content, can also steer clear of them and EVOLVE!
1. Not Using High-Quality Content: Many businesses fail to understand the importance of quality content. They save on the content creation cost by using average quality content for their websites and blogs. They fail to realize that quality comes at a cost. By hiring average quality writers, they upload ineffective content which ultimately brings down their readership.
This is a costly proposition as it will impact your business in the long term and take your website away from the first page of Google search results. Do you want this to happen to your website? Of course not! There are businesses who were able to establish their brand name based on just a slogan. Taking an example from your businesses, organizations should hire high-quality content writers who can deliver impactful copies.
2. Underestimating the Importance of Proof-Reading: No matter how much occupied you are with content requirements, it doesn’t mean you upload content filled with typo-errors. In this age of informal blogging styles of writing, it is very easy to wink-at grammar and punctuation rules. However, the key is to present content in a style that is easily comprehensible for your readers.
Though you may not follow all the grammar rules to the letter, you have to ensure that you at least follow the basic tense rules which ensure that your readers understand your point without getting confused. After all, grammatical rules were set with certain outcomes in mind and following them is no harm.
To ensure that your copy is free of typo or glaring grammar errors it is important to proofread before publishing anything on your website or blog. Even if it is a one-liner, you should go through it to not only ensure that it is error-free but also easily makes sense to the readers.
3. Using Large Chunks of Content Don’t use too large blocks of text in your blog posts. Make it convenient for your readers to flow with the content. Reading large paragraphs is often tiring and disinterests the reader at a single glance. Though your article or write-up may be an interesting and engaging one, the thought of going through long content can make the reader abandon your article.
Keep your paragraphs up to 4-5 lines. Using short paragraphs makes the user feel that your write-up is very brief though the user may have to scroll and scroll to complete reading your article. Many writers don’t let a paragraph exceed 2-3 lines if their article is around 2000 words. This keeps the readers hooked to your article.
4. Not Including Highlights in Your Article The content you write should include highlights to emphasize certain points. By highlights, I mean you should include side headings, different font sizes, font colors, font types, etc. to highlight certain points so that readers can easily skim through your content. Sometimes, readers may feel interested in reading your content but they may not have sufficient time to go through the entire write-up. In such cases, highlights can be very helpful so that the reader can get a gist of what you are trying to convey.
Including italicized text also catches the attention of the reader. You can use different ways to help the reader just browse through your content instead of intimidating him or her with just paragraphs.
5. Framing Content as It Is Even for The New Format
Many websites reuse the content in various formats to make the optimum utilization of the available content. For instance, they wrap up an article in the form of PPT and present it to their readers with a different title. However, when a reader is viewing a PPT then he or she is expecting to read bullet points rather than huge paragraphs.
So, when you are transforming that article into a PowerPoint presentation ensure that you use headings, bullet points and present your ideas as succinctly as possible. Reframe content as per the new format you are going to rather than just change the envelope and present it to the reader.
6. Keyword-Stuffing All content marketers are cognizant that keyword stuffing is no longer going to work with the new changes Google algorithm has introduced. However, there is a propensity to do that with long-form content. Many content marketers use keywords randomly without the sentence making any sense. This is a glaring content marketing mistake which will only make Google penalize your web page and bring it down on the Google Search Results page.
Fit keywords in a way that the sentences don’t sound awkward. They must naturally fit in your content and the reader should not be able to point them out. Even if, in rarest of rare cases, Google may not be able to point them out, readers can clearly differentiate between a meaningful and keyword-stuffed content.
7. Publishing for The Sake of Publishing:
Many organizations fail to understand the importance of social media content calendar. They post randomly on various platforms whether it is blog or social media. They miss posting on certain important occasions and this is the surefire way to put your content marketing campaign in jeopardy. Content marketing should always be done in a planned way and should have specific goals and targets.
There should be a plan on the type of content you want to generate for your readers and the type of audience you are targeting to bring to your website. This will help you in carrying out a result-oriented content marketing drive with solid goals and fruitful outcomes.
8. Considering Social Media as an Advertising Platform:
Many organizations consider all social media platforms as a channel to advertise and expect specific returns after a period of time.
However, it must be understood by business owners or managers that all social media platforms serve as a tool for engaging and connecting with the customers at a higher and a deeper level. It helps them reflect the organizational values and culture.
9. Failing to Deliver Value:
Some content marketers generate content for the sake of generating or keeping their blog updated with new content. However, they fail to realize that every content they post on their blog or social media platform should deliver some value to the audience. It must add to their knowledge or make implementation of existing knowledge easier for them.
There must be some 'take-away' in any content that you post on any platform representing your company. Forgetting to deliver value and just keeping on promoting your business through content is a major content marketing mistake to avoid at all costs.
10. Taking Audience for Granted
One blunder which companies sometimes make while delivering content through blog, email, or social media is taking the audiences for granted. Whenever there is a hiatus in posting, they never come up with an apology or an explanation for doing so. This makes readers feel that they are not being given importance and are regarded as someone who can be approached at any time.
Many times organizations stop posting on the blog or sending content through mailers for a period of time. Later, without any explanation, they restart sending or posting content. This leaves audiences lost and some left.
This is also a big content marketing mistake. It is not wrong to stop posting for a while due to any reason but you should inform your audiences if you have a plan to do so and also give them an estimated time when you will be back.
All in all, it can be said that the above content marketing mistakes must definitely be avoided if you want your content marketing campaign to be successful. The take-home point is that if your content lacks quality no matter how effective your content marketing strategy, it cannot pull your content up or help your business gain popularity.
About the Author
Ankit Patel is a Marketing/Project Manager at XongoLabTechnologies LLP and PeppyOcean, which are offering top-notch mobile app development solutions globally. As a hobby, he loves to write about new & upcoming technology, mobile & web, business & marketing, and more. His articles seen on some of the great platforms like TechTarget, SmallBizDaily, JaxEnter, Social-Hire, TorqueMag and more.