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5 Steps to Make Money With a Small Online Following

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Your business doesn’t need millions of followers and weekly viral videos to make money online.

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It’s a myth that you need weekly viral videos and millions of followers to make money online or succeed in business. To succeed in business, you need a community of fans that you can nurture to a sale. You need to get your future customers to know, like and trust you.

Sure, having millions of followers is nice. Every athlete, TV star and beauty influencer on Instagram has that. But you don’t need it. You can be successful without a large following.

Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s not how large your email list or Instagram follower count is. It’s how in tune you are with your customers and how well you serve their needs.

Related: 7 Tips to Knock Your Online Customer Support Out of the Park

Here’s how to make money even if you don’t have a lot of followers.

Focus on your best customer

Instead of focusing on how many followers you have, first focus on who your best customer is.

What does he or she look like? As you write your next email newsletter, your next blog post or do your next Instagram video, do it with that customer in mind. Every time you create content, consider who your best customer is and serve him or her. 

There’s power in being very focused on your ideal customer. You become extremely aware of his or her needs. You become an expert in how he or she buys, thinks and wishes to be served. 

Another benefit? Similar customer types can often be found in similar business groups and communities. They’ll begin to spread the word about you.

Related: It’s All About the Customer Service

Educate first

Before you ask people for their money, use your content to educate them. As you’re educating them, you start to build trust. As you build trust, you build a relationship.

Your future customers see you as the “go-to source” for information to solve their problems. You then have earned the right to ask for the “sale.” It’s a knee-jerk reaction to ask for a sale first. Don’t do that. First educate. Ask for a smile before you ask for a sale.

If you’re the leader in educating your future and current customers, you’ll remain top of mind. There’s power in having a strong personal brand. By staying top of mind to the customers and future customers who need you, you’re the “Celebrity CEO” of your industry. Maybe you’re not as famous as Beyonce or Jeff Bezos, but you’re very well known to the potential customers who need your products and services.

Related: 7 Essentials of Great Customer Service

Capture contact information

Social media is a great way to get attention for your business. But it’s not enough.

Once you capture someone’s attention, you want that person to share his or her contact information with you so you can follow up. This follow-up should include a clear “call to action” to move the future customer further along the sales funnel to eventually buy from you.

Some marketing-automation tools you can consider to help you include Mailchimp, Keap, Aweber, Active Campaign, Kajabi and Ontraport.

Wow your customer

After you’ve made the sale. Don’t stop there. Now, keep educating the customer. Follow up with the customer and ask how he or she liked (or didn’t like) your product or service. See what you can do to wow the customer and ensure he or she has a great customer experience.

If you focus on customers as much after the sale as you have before the sale, they’ll be customers for life, and it’s much cheaper to have an existing customer buy from you than for you to have to get a new customer.

Be the right kind of celebrity

Most of us will never be a globally famous celebrity like Michael Jackson, Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey.

However, we can all be celebrities to our customers. We can all get more known in the niche industries and marketplaces that matter. The only stage that matters is the stage, or community, where your best customers reside.

Make sure you’re well known there.

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How I Got Myself on 75 Podcasts in the Past Year

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This is how to leverage podcasting as a low-budget marketing tool.

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I have been on over 75 podcasts in the past year, sharing my story about MASAMI, the clean premium haircare brand I co-founded in February 2020. That’s right, 75 and counting!

While being a guest on podcasts may seem difficult and intimidating, I’m here to tell you that it’s actually quite easy. There are a lot of advantages to incorporating podcasts in your marketing plan. First, podcasts are a great way to tell a holistic brand story (much harder to do with digital ads and our short attention span).

Good podcasts are like binge-worthy Netflix shows  once you stumble on one you love, you’re likely to listen to all of the previous episodes. The beauty of podcasts is that they are evergreen, so they are discoverable long after you record the episodes. 

Additionally, podcasts can give people a sense of the people behind the business — transparency has become a mandate these days as people want to understand the founders, their values and their story. Podcasts are also a great source of content. You’ll get long-form content that you can use on your social channels (and if the podcast is also video, you can post it on YouTube). You can also take snippets and soundbites to push out across Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Finally, the search engines will love the content  which helps your SEO.

Related: Top 25 Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs

How to find opportunities to be on a podcast

So, how do you go about being a guest? The first step to being a guest is understanding what you can comfortably (and expertly) have a conversation about. For me, topics include launching a business, brand positioning, juggling kids and work, clean beauty, haircare, wellness, female empowerment, marketing tips, leadership advice and career pivots. Luckily, there are loads of podcasts on all of these topics and the numbers keep growing. In fact, nearly 900,000 podcasts launched globally in 2020. 

Next, you need to pitch yourself to podcast hosts. Fortunately, this isn’t as hard as it seems. Many podcasts have websites where you can submit an application to be a guest. Lots of podcasts also rely on networking and communities such as Facebook groups to find guest. Poddit has a “Find a guest, Be a guest” Facebook group you can join. You’ll see the “asks” by podcasts hosts for guests to speak about specific topics. You are sure to find ones that are relevant to you. You can also submit your “Be a guest” profile and see who is interested in having you on their podcast.

Related: Podcast Advertising: Is Programmatic the Next Big Thing?

How to prepare for your podcast interview

You just got accepted to your first podcast. Congrats! Here are a few tips to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Be conversational. Have fun. Remember that if you say something you wish you hadn’t, or you are fumbling for words, most podcast hosts can edit it out. A lot of hosts will do a pre-podcast call to go over the interview format, the questions or just get to know each other. You can always offer up specific questions for the host to ask too. Overall, it’s really about making sure you’re comfortable so you can have a natural and organic conversation.
  •  Know your material and be prepared to share examples and details. While high-level advice can be helpful, I’ve found that the more granular the suggestions, the more people find them useful. Don’t be afraid to share tools, brands and partners that have worked for you. Chances are they will work for someone else too.
  •  Get the tech stuff right. If you don’t have a quality mic and headphones, now is the time to invest. Make sure your lighting is good if you are being videotaped as well. Don’t forget to find somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed (as charming as your dog may be, it’s not great to hear him or her on your podcast). And don’t forget to turn off computer or phone notifications.

That’s it! See, it’s really not so hard. You’ll find that it gets easier and easier the more you do. The key is to just get started. You’ll be happy that you’ve unlocked an entirely new storytelling channel for your business.

Related: How to Create Your Own Successful Podcast | PCMag

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Why Every Entrepreneur Should Build Their Own Marketing Agency

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Marketing does more than just boost a company’s sales and entice customers to buy products or services. Through marketing, a business can build and maintain its reputation while also creating a connection with its customers since it provides updates and other information to keep the public interested in the brand. 

Marketing also provides insight about a business, what works or what doesn’t, thus allowing the team to make informed decisions to help improve the business according to the data collected. 

These are only some of the reasons why marketing is an important aspect to have and develop in any business. And these benefits and responsibilities are why many people are looking to start venturing into the marketing industry and create their own brand. 

Entrepreneurs should also start considering building a marketing agency, especially now when things are starting to move into the digital space. Below are some reasons why.  

Related: 3 Reasons Marketing Is The New Sales

Providing a niche service 

Creating a product or service is one of the common routes that entrepreneurs take. But with an oversaturated market and fluctuating demands, several businesses have to worry about whether or not their customers will move on to the next big thing. 

With a marketing agency, entrepreneurs can be sure that they entered an industry where their services are always needed from companies, brands and even individuals who want to increase their presence. 

Since marketing agencies usually cater to almost every industry, entrepreneurs can choose to focus on a specific service or trade depending on their expertise. This way, people won’t have much trouble distinguishing them from the other agencies in the market. 

For instance, they can choose to promote artists, celebrities or even small business owners — all according to the agency’s expertise. 

Creating an asset

Not many realize it, but the marketing agency is an asset in itself. This is because a well-established agency has several factors that help boost its efficiency and credibility, making it a profitable option in the future. 

It takes time and effort to build an agency with a large reach and caliber. Its people need to have the right skills and mindset to secure the agency’s success. Developing the right systems and processes is also required so that clients will see how capable the team they’re working with is. 

Over time, a marketing agency with the right team, a credible reputation and loyal clients will have increased in value. And like an asset, entrepreneurs can sell their marketing agency when needed. They might even end up selling to a prospective entrepreneur who doesn’t want to start an agency from scratch and could benefit from the leverage that the marketing agency has already created. 

Related: 3 Fundamentals of Marketing You Must Understand to Reach the Hearts and Minds of Your Customers

Providing jobs for people

In the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a shift in the way people work. Some workers even lost their jobs due to being isolated in their homes to prevent contracting and spreading the virus. With a marketing agency, entrepreneurs can help provide a source of livelihood to people who have the right skills. 

This is far more productive than just simply hiring freelancers since entrepreneurs can create their own team and delegate the tasks accordingly so that things will move more efficiently. 

Entrepreneurs will also be working with different workers to find the right role for them so that their talents will be put to good use for the agency and everyone involved. 

Safeguarding income 

One reason why entrepreneurs venture into starting their own brand or business is that they want to earn an income that’s not subject to working in a regular 9:00 to 5:00 career. With a marketing agency, not only can you make a significant amount of money, but you can also have a safety net for profits. 

There’s a possibility that an agency is handling several clients during a period of time, securing different streams of revenue that aren’t likely to stop needing the agency’s services all at the same time. As time passes, the agency can get more clients and gain a consistent source of income, securing their business in times of crisis. 

As a result, entrepreneurs and their teams can rely on a stable monthly income from their marketing agency and their clients, as long as they get the job done accordingly. 

With their own marketing agency, entrepreneurs can create more opportunities for people and create different streams of revenue with their clients. The agency itself is an asset as it continues to build a reputation and credibility over time.

It will take a long time and a lot of work before a marketing agency can fully take off, but to the entrepreneur behind it, this just signifies the start of better days ahead as long as they keep their head in the game. 

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Attention-Getting Product Listings #Etsy #EntrepreneurBooks

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The following excerpt is from the Staff at Entrepreneur Media Inc. and Jason R. Rich’s book Start Your Own Etsy Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code SIDEHUSTLE2021 through 6/20/21.

One of the core steps in establishing your Etsy shop is adding the product listings for the items you plan to sell. You compose and create product listings one at a time, using Etsy’s “Add a New Listing” tool, which walks you through the process of composing and publishing, and then organizing, each listing. As you’re about to discover, Etsy divides this process into five steps.

Related: 3 Things You Must Know Before You Start Your Etsy Business

Step 1: product photography

The first step in creating a product listing involves uploading between one and five digital photos for each listing. Be sure to choose photos that best showcase your products from different angles or perspectives. Mix and match traditional product shots with lifestyle shots.

A product shot should depict just your item in the photo, typically with a white or solid color (or very simple) background. The primary focus should be on the product and should show as much product detail as possible. A lifestyle shot captures your product being worn or used in the real world. For example, if you sell necklaces, a lifestyle shot could show a model wearing the necklace in conjunction with different outfits.

Step 2: listing details

One of the very first things visitors see when they view your products is the product listing’s title. This title must be short, descriptive, attention-getting, accurate and contain keywords you believe customers will use to search for your items. As always, target it specifically to your core audience.

The “About This Listing” section includes three separate pull-down menus: “Who Made It?,” “What Is It?” and “When Was It Made?” For each listing, select the most appropriate option based on what you’re selling.

You’ll also need to choose an applicable category for the product and fill in the price. The price should be pre-calculated to take into account your cost of materials, time/labor, business overhead expenses and marketing/advertising expenses, as well as the profit you want to earn. It shouldn’t include shipping and handling fees or sales tax.

The “Description“ field is where you can describe your product using your own words. Use as many relevant search words or phrases as you can because this text will be searchable by your potential customers.

Related: This Teen Paid for College by Selling on Etsy. Here Are 5 Ways She Did It.

Finally, if you’re selling multiple items that fit into clearly definable categories, such as specific types of products, products priced similarly or products best for certain holidays, consider using sections to sort your items and make them easier to find within your shop.

Step 3: variations

On Etsy, a single product listing for an individual item can have multiple (optional) variations. For example, the “Handmade Wool Sweater” you’re selling could have one listing, and using the “Add a Variation” tool, the listing could offer the sweater in multiple colors and/or sizes that you choose to offer.

The Variation option(s) that the customer selects will be displayed on your Sold Orders, Receipts and Transaction emails, so you’ll know exactly what item(s) to send based on the customer’s choices.

Once you select a variation, customize what options your customers will be given based on the type of variation you select. With each variation you select, you have the option of adding a separate price and displaying whether that particular variation option is currently in stock.

Step 4: shipping details

This section requires you to provide details about the size and weight of your item and where it will be shipping from; select the shipping options you want to offer to your customers; and disclose the processing time needed to fill each order. You’ll also need to provide the origin zip code for the location you’ll be shipping your orders from.

As a general rule, offer the fastest processing time possible. You should also select which countries you’ll ship to.

Based on the shipping option(s) you choose and the option the customer selects when placing an order, Etsy will calculate the shipping/postage fee based on current rates. In addition to shipping charges, you can add a handling fee, which will be automatically added to the customer’s shipping total and won’t be listed separately. If you choose to add one, keep it low and be able to justify it.

Next, provide the item weight for the item after it’s been packaged as well as the length, width and height of the package. Based on the various shipping options you’ve selected, in the Preview Shipping Costs field, Etsy will display what your customers will be charged for shipping and handling when placing an order.

Step 5: add search terms

The final step in the product listing process is a list of words you add to the Tags field to help customers find your shop and product listing when searching. These tags should accurately describe your item in the most detailed way possible.

Related: 12 Ways to Increase Online Sales

The Materials field is another optional tool you can use to provide a collection of search words you think potential customers might use. For example, if you’re selling a handmade sweater, your materials list might include words such as “wool,” “yarn,” “all-natural,” “organic,” “died,” “handspun,” “synthetic,” “Scottish,” “Merino,” “sheep,” “alpaca,” “cashmere” and/or “natural.”

Once you’ve completed a product listing, click the Preview button and carefully review each listing. Fix any mistakes, then click the Save and continue button to store and publish the listing in your shop.

Did you enjoy your book preview? Click here to grab a copy today—now 60% off when you use code SIDEHUSTLE2021 through 6/20/21.

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7 Ways You Can Use LinkedIn To Blow Up Your Brand

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Use these seven strategies to get your company’s brand to stand above the rest.

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Over the last three years, LinkedIn’s active user base grew by a staggering 27 percent, from 500 million in 2018 to 740 million in 2021. Business owners and entrepreneurs can leverage the platform to grow their brand, generate new leads, establish partnerships and make connections.

The following seven ways can help you utilize LinkedIn to grow your brand and gain a competitive edge over your competition.

1. Optimize your company profile and connect with people

If you haven’t worked on your LinkedIn profile, please take some time and perfect it. Make sure it provides all the essential details about your company’s products and services. Put more emphasis on the headline and summary to ensure that it’s compelling, engaging, interesting and professional. Furthermore, optimize it for more B2B and B2C lead generation.

Within no time, you will start seeing the “Someone has viewed your profile” notification. Don’t just view their profile back. Instead, track the individuals who viewed your business’s profile. If they are an ideal prospect, invite them to connect. An individual who views your company profile is most likely finding out more about your brand. There could be a chance they are also interested in your products or services.

Related: The Biggest Mistakes You’re Making On LinkedIn And What You Should Do Instead

2. Post valuable content on LinkedIn publisher

You can use LinkedIn Publisher to publish blog posts that users can engage with and share. With more shares of your blogs, the higher the impact it has on growing your brand. The post can also get prospects interested in your products, triggering an open door for more partnerships.

Make it a habit to publish content on LinkedIn consistently — but remember quality is key. It can build a community of loyal followers who admire your brand. Through them, you have ambassadors who can create a good reputation out there about your business. When users see the value and insights in your content, it gives them the conviction to check out more about your company. It’s one of the most straightforward and subtle ways of promoting your brand on LinkedIn without being pushy.

3. Follow other companies

Don’t forget to follow other businesses within your industry, including those you have partnered with and those who can be potential partners. This way, you have a chance to learn about them and what they offer. Still, don’t limit yourself from poking around as it might be an eye-opener to some techniques other companies use to get more leads. Also, the more you position yourself out there, the higher your chances of getting more returns.

4. Join LinkedIn groups where your target clients gather

The right groups can be a very powerful tool in growing your brand. By using advanced search, you can locate practitioners within your sector and your firm. Group conversations can give you vital insights into your industry. You can also learn about emerging industry pains and the options you can use to solve these issues.

While in the group, learn about the rules to know if content sharing is allowed. If so, create your credibility by sharing relevant content that capture potential prospects. It can include links to articles about your brand, relevant blog posts, event notices for webinars and posts that quote your business. However, make sure the materials you post are a helpful source and avoid dominating the conversation.

Related: Five Ways To Use LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting Through Social Selling

5. Utilize plugins

LinkedIn can be an even more powerful lead generation tool by itself when you utilize the complementary add-ons. Tap into the following plugins:

  • LinkedIn Connection Revealer: The LinkedIn Connection Revealer shows you the following that your connections have. By pinpointing the users who travel in big circles, you can engage with them to leverage their platform and promote your brand.
  • LinMailPro: It’s a Chrome extension that gives you the capability to automatically find and invite individuals who have recently viewed your profile. You can also send personalized messages to them about your brand or deliver marketing messages.
  • Headlinr: You may have sponsored a great story, uploaded ads or put up posts, but without a great headline, your potential targets might not click on them. When you use Headlinr, a chrome paid plugin, it automatically generates multiple headline combinations with the keyword you specify depending on your industry. You will get compelling titles that lure users into clicking through your ads and stories.
  • Rapportive: If you are a Gmail user browsing in Chrome or Firefox, Rapportive can be a handy tool in getting more leads. It enables you to get LinkedIn profiles that have email addresses in your contacts. You can then send them personalized invites to their inbox to help you grow your network.  

6. Create a sponsored InMail campaign

By utilizing sponsored InMail campaigns, you have an easier route to cut through the clutter and reach inboxes of individuals who matter to your business. You can send your target prospects compelling offers and rich content.

7. Ask your employees to post your business’s content

In most cases, entrepreneurs search for powerful brand advocates who can share their brand case studies and blogs. Yet, you can also do it through your employees. Research shows that about 50% of employees are already posting on social media platforms about their employers. Ask them to post blog content and other pieces relating to your brand to generate more traffic and leads. In fact, some organizations allow their marketers to pick company-approved content that their employees can share on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn can be a goldmine in attracting new clients and growing your brand, but correct execution is critical. Take your time to create your LinkedIn strategy, get clear about how you can offer prospective clients value first — then implement like crazy!

Related: Five Ways To Build Your Business Through Blogging

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