There are a lot of reasons to create a marketing plan. You might be looking for outside financing to grow and expand your business — many banks and investors ask for a marketing plan as part of a larger business plan. Maybe you’re expanding your marketing team and want to give them a blueprint for how you want to grow. Or maybe you’re growing quickly and want to write down how you got here and how to keep the momentum going.
The good news is that a marketing plan isn’t nearly as complicated as many people think. While there’s no “right” way to create a marketing plan; our simple template makes the process easy.
The goal of any marketing plan is to answer some basic questions:
A good marketing plan will take your answers to these questions and put them into a simple framework that makes it easy for readers to understand. It will also make it much easier for you and your team to follow the plan.
This guide will cover why a marketing plan is important and walk you through the steps of creating your own marketing planCrucial steps of creating a marketing plan
The words “marketing plan” are enough to strike fear into the hearts of even seasoned marketers. You may have a lot of great ideas, but the thought of putting them on paper can be intimidating. Don’t worry! This guide will take you step by step through the process of creating a marketing plan.
So what is a marketing plan? Basically, it’s a document that tells readers who your customers are and outlines how you’re going to get more of them. It also covers who your competitors are, what they’re doing, and how you plan on out-selling them. Finally, a marketing plan helps you lay out how much your activities will cost and put together a general budget.Why have a marketing plan? You’re trying to secure funding
Whether you’re looking at a traditional bank loan or raising an investment round, most financiers will want to see a plan for how you’re going to grow your business. That usually means a business plan, of which a marketing plan is an important component. Investors will look for signs that you know your business inside and out, and have a clear vision for expansion.
It’s understandable that investors might have some tough questions, since you’re asking them to trust you with a lot of their money. Being able to show that you understand your market can go a long way to winning that trust. The more specific you can get when talking about your audience and your competitors, the more likely investors will believe you’re a good bet.
However, keep in mind that a business plan and a marketing plan are not the same thing. The former covers all aspects of your business, from how you create your product to who you’ll be hiring for key roles in your company. It’s a comprehensive document that outlines operations, support, company structure, and other details. A marketing plan, on the other hand, deals specifically with how you plan on getting your product in front of (and in the hands of) your customers.You want to expand your marketing team
When you’re trying to get a business off the ground all by yourself, or with a small team, a marketing plan seems unnecessary. After all, you know what you need to do to market your product or service. But as you grow, you’ll need to hire a marketing team, and they may not know your market, your brand, and your company as well as you do.
Putting together a comprehensive marketing plan for a new marketing team goes a long way toward making sure everyone is working to meet the same goal. It lets marketers know what they need to be doing, and gives you peace of mind because you know that your vision is being maintained.
On the other side of things, if you’re an early marketing hire, putting together a marketing plan will help you make sure that you’re on the same page as your boss. Either way, a marketing plan is essential to make sure an expanding marketing team stays aligned with the goals of the organization.You want to collect your thoughts
Up to now, we’ve only talked about external reasons why a marketing plan is important. But the truth is that the most important reason to create a marketing plan is for yourself. Many entrepreneurs and marketers spend a lot of time working on coffee and instinct. When there’s too much to do and not enough hands to do it, a marketing plan can be the least of your worries.
But as your company continues to grow, it may be a good idea to put your thoughts down in a more formal way than you have in the past. The exercise of thinking through a marketing plan can help you refocus. It can also help you figure out exactly what has and hasn’t worked to get you where you are. That kind of insight can be critical in helping you plan your next move — making sure you do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t, or finding new business opportunities.What’s the format of a marketing plan?
As we mentioned before, there isn’t one single correct structure for a marketing plan. In fact, it’s safe to say that there are as many marketing plan formats as there are marketing plan writers. Still, the process of writing one is a lot easier with a template that gives some structure to your thoughts, especially if this is your first marketing plan.
A good marketing format for beginners looks something like this:
The good news is that if you’re considering creating a marketing plan, chances are you’re already past the hard part. You know what you want to sell, who you want to sell it to, how you’re going to produce it, and what your business model is. Compared to that, writing a marketing plan is a piece of cake.
In fact, all you need to do to start is jot down your thoughts about what you sell, who you sell it to, why people should buy from you, and how you think you can reach those people.
Don’t worry about arranging them in any specific order — we’ll help you take care of that as you work through the rest of this guide on writing a marketing plan.Writing an executive summary
The executive summary may be the most important but poorly understood document in the business world. Everyone agrees that writing a good one is critical to success, but most people can’t agree on what should go in one.
This is especially true for a marketing plan executive summary.
There is an old saying in the marketing world: “The only time anyone will read your marketing plan is while you’re writing it.” That might be a bit of a cynical exaggeration from a career famous for its exaggerating cynics, but the principle is sound.
A marketing plan can be a very large, very dense document. In the spirit of hoping for the best and planning for the worst, you should expect that the only thing people will read is your executive summary.What isn’t a marketing plan executive summary?
Before we get too far into how to write a marketing plan executive summary, it’s important to clear up a common misconception. An executive summary is not just a summary of your marketing plan. Nor is it an intro to or explanation of your plan.
An executive summary doesn’t just exist to provide a quick overview of things you’re going to be covering later. Instead, your executive summary should be a pointed document that recommends a course of action. Even though it comes at the beginning, you should think of the executive summary as the conclusion of your marketing plan.
Earlier, we called it your elevator pitch. Like any good elevator pitch, it isn’t complete without a very specific ask. What you ask for might vary depending on the purpose of your marketing plan. It’s entirely possible that you may need to write several different marketing plan executive summaries for the same exact marketing plan. We’ll talk about the kinds of things you can ask for later in this section.When should you write your marketing plan executive summary?
This is another hot topic, full of disagreements and conflicting advice. Some people say you should write your marketing executive summary first, as a kind of guide to what you’ll include in your marketing plan. We fall in the opposite camp: The marketing plan executive summary should be the last thing you write.
Partly, that’s because it’s going to change depending on who’s reading it. And to some extent, it’s because you’ll need to reference specific information in the summary, and that’s more difficult if the information doesn’t exist yet.
Mostly, it’s because we believe that your conclusions should be guided by whatever you find in your research, not the other way around. Saving it for last lets you use what you put together to find the best course of action, rather than picking your direction first and then trying to justify it.What should your marketing plan executive summary include? Why this information is important
Before you describe what you do, who you are, or where you plan to go, you need to capture the reader’s attention. The best way to make a big impact is to start by describing the problem that you’re trying to solve with your marketing plan.
Your problem should be clear, simply written, supported by evidence, and immediately obvious as a problem. For example, “Continuing with our current marketing efforts will result in missing our yearly revenue goal by 50 percent” is a great opening problem statement. So is “Our research shows that 80 percent of our ideal customers still haven’t heard of our product.”
On the other hand, “This marketing plan will radically change the way people think about the future of our industry” is not only a bad problem statement, but it also doesn’t clearly explain what the challenge is and how the marketing plan will solve it.
Starting out with a concrete and easy-to-understand problem statement immediately informs the reader what you’re trying to address and why they should care. If you can get a reader to care about your marketing plan, you’re 50 percent of the way to accomplishing your goals.What if you solved that problem?
The next section sets you up as the hero in this story. What if your company solves the problem you set up in the first section? The point of section two is to paint a picture of what the world looks like with the problem out of the way in as simple and straightforward a way as possible. Think of this as the result of your marketing plan working flawlessly.
Keep this section as brief as possible. You can get into who you are, what you do, and how you plan to solve the problem later. For now, it would be enough to say something like “Capturing an additional 10 percent of market share would result in new revenues of over $10,000,000.” That’s it!Who are you, and how do you plan to solve your problem?
This is the meat of your marketing plan executive summary. In this section, explain what your company or marketing department does and what makes you different. As before, be clear, simple, and direct. This is not the time for marketing messages and bravado. Instead, focus on the things that make you different than the competition — things that make you stand out.
You can also use this section to briefly outline some of the competitor and market research you did when putting together the marketing plan. You don’t need to go into detail, because you’re going to do that later in the report.
Instead, use broad strokes to talk about the state of the market — what percentage of all available customers know about your company and buy from you? Who are your biggest competitors? What makes you stand out from them? Do the same for your target market — you want readers to see that you understand who you want to sell to, without getting overwhelmed.
When it comes time to present your solution, remember that you’re the hero. The solution needs to be something that only you and your marketing plan can do. Touch on the strengths and differentiators you highlighted in the previous paragraph, and make it clear that only you can successfully execute this solution. Use references to the information contained in the report, and arrange the solution in order of what happens first, what happens next, etc.
Spend a paragraph outlining potential risks and setbacks, and how you plan to overcome or avoid them. Be straightforward and honest — don’t try to minimize challenges, and don’t try to avoid talking about them. Instead, focus on how the strength of your marketing plan and your company makes these risks avoidable.What do you want?
Finally, get to the point of what you would like from the reader. We talked in section one about some of the reasons you may want to write a marketing plan. The ask in your marketing executive summary should be tailored to these purposes.
For example, if your goal is to raise money, you’ll want to allocate some for the marketing budget here. If you’re writing a plan for your team, a good ask is setting specific marketing goals and objectives for them. If you’re writing a marketing business plan as a thought exercise, your ask of yourself may be a commitment to marketing time and resources.
Whatever your ask, be as specific as possible about what exactly you hope to get. Put a number on the budget, use real measurable goals, and specify the resources you’ll need. And remember that you won’t get what you didn’t ask for.Additional notes for your marketing plan executive summary Make it complete
Remember that there’s a chance readers will never make it past your marketing plan executive summary. Make sure that it stands on its own and accurately tells your story.Use the rest of the report as a reference
Rather than expecting readers to go through your marketing plan page by page, think of the bulk of your plan as a supporting reference guide for your marketing executive summary. Use footnotes and references to your plan to support the statements you make.Avoid jargon and business-speak
Even if you know who the intended audience for your marketing plan is, don’t take the chance that they won’t recognize industry jargon. Even more important, you want to engage readers. Make sure your writing is plain, clear, and to the point.Keep it positive without going overboard
Remember that this is a story about your business solving a problem. Keep the report positive and upbeat. Focus on the upside, and reframe challenges as opportunities for you to take advantage of. But don’t go overboard. Respect your audience, and they will respect you.
While you should wait until the end of the process to write your marketing plan executive summary, it’s never too early to start thinking about it. Before you even start the marketing plan, think about the problems you want to solve and how you may be positioned to solve them. Jot down some notes on challenges you’ve faced and might face in the future.
While going through the rest of this guide, look for data that supports some of your initial notes. Also look for data that disproves them, and don’t be afraid to revise your problem, solution, or risks as you go along. In fact, the more you revise and boil down what you learn, the stronger your marketing executive summary will be.Identifying your target audience
If you could pick any customer to walk through your door (or visit your website or give you a call), what would they look like? How old would they be? What kind of work would they do? What would their income be? If you sell to businesses, how big a business would they represent? These are some of the essential questions you’ll need to answer when figuring out your target audience.
So what is a target audience, why do you need one, and how do you go about identifying yours? That’s what we’re going to discuss in this section.What is a target audience?
We started this section with a simple question: If you could pick anyone to be your customer, who would they be? This is the basic premise of your target audience. What does your best customer look like?
Your target audience is going to vary based on what kind of product you sell. For public-facing or consumer-oriented companies (often abbreviated as B2C for business-to-consumer) the target audience is most likely going to be an individual or group with specific characteristics or demographics. These often include
Keep in mind that this is just a place to get started, not a complete list. There are countless characteristics you can sort groups of people by, and some of them will be more important to you than others. We’ll discuss how to pick the best ones later on in this section.
On the other hand, if you sell products or services to other businesses (business-to-business, or B2B) you’ll be much more interested in characteristics that describe the types of companies you sell to. For B2B companies, that might include
Again, this is just a place to get started, not a complete list. The characteristics that matter to your business aren’t necessarily going to be the ones that are important to other businesses.Why do you need to know your target audience?
Many business owners are conscious of how much money they spend on generating new business. It’s easy to put a price on a new ad campaign, hiring marketing staff, or hosting a promotion. It’s a lot harder to put a price on the time you spend getting new customers, but it definitely has a cost.
These two costs — time and money — are the main reasons why it’s important to identify your target audience. You have a limited supply of both, and you need to spend them both in the most effective way possible.
Knowing who your ideal customer is will help you spend your marketing and advertising dollars in the most efficient way possible. Even more important, it will keep you from wasting time on prospects who aren’t likely to buy from you.
So the short answer is, you need to identify your target audience for the same reason you need to set other business goals and objectives: It’s hard to hit a target you can’t see.How do you define your target audience?
Now that you know what a target audience is and why you need one, it’s time to start figuring out your target audience. This process is going to be slightly different depending on whether you’re already in business or just starting out, so we’ll break the steps down based on that criterion.If you’re already in business
The bad news is that you’re going to have to do more work than a brand-new or as-yet-unstarted business. The good news is that you probably already have a treasure trove of information on your target audience and, therefore, have a much better picture of who you want to sell to.
The first step is to go through your customer records. If you don’t keep detailed records, don’t worry — you can do your best to take down notes from what you remember. Once you have your records, or notes, it’s time to do some detective work.
Start by identifying the customers who have spent the most money with you. It’s important to note that there are two ways of looking at which customers are the most valuable. The first one is customer lifetime value, or CLV, the total amount that an individual customer spends with you — just go through and add up all of their individual orders. The second is the average order amount. Add up all of the money an individual customer has spent with you and divide by the number of orders.
There is a good reason why you want to look at both values. You may have customers who have great customer lifetime value, but who do it over a lot of small purchases. On one hand, you don’t want to miss out on great customers just because they place a lot of smaller orders and don’t register as “whales.” On the other hand, if servicing those customers requires significantly more time and resources, they may be less ideal than customers who make fewer but larger purchases.
Once you have a list of your top customers, it’s time to do a little detective work. Figure out what all of your best customers have in common. Start with the most obvious characteristics, which will vary depending on whether you’re a B2B or B2C business.
There’s no right number of characteristics to have. Keep going down your list of best customers and finding common threads, but don’t force it. And be careful that you don’t inadvertently throw off results with preconceptions. It’s easy to think of your favorite customers rather than your best. Make sure that you’re following what your data tells you.
After finishing with your customer list, it’s time to move from your own records to the broader market. At this point, you should follow the process for new businesses in the next section.If your business is new
If you don’t have any customer data yet, or you’ve already finished going through your customer list, it’s now time to look at the market as a whole.
Your first stop is to look at what your competitors are doing. Of course, they probably won’t be too eager to share their customer research with you, but you can piece things together from how they market themselves. What kind of actors do they use in their marketing images? What kind of language do they use? Where do they advertise? What other products do they sell? Write down who you think your competitors are selling to. If you have your own customer data, compare the two descriptions and see if there’s any overlap or if you missed out on something.
Next, look at your products or services. What do you sell, and what benefits do you provide to your customers? Who can make the most use of your benefits? Sometimes it’s pretty obvious — if you sell plumbing equipment, chances are your customers are plumbers. Other times, it can be more difficult — if you sell a common product that is beneficial to anyone, it can be hard to pick just a handful of target audiences. You don’t have to narrow your list down from product information alone. Compare the list of benefits to the lists you made earlier and see if anything obvious pops out.How do you refine your target audience definition?
By now, you should have a rough idea of the kinds of people that would benefit most from your product or service, a list of who your competitors are marketing to, a list of who benefits the most from your products, and maybe even a list of your best customers.
Go through your lists, and once again look for shared characteristics. Keep in mind that you may have more than one ideal target audience. For example, if you sell clothes for teenagers, you may find that you need to market to 15–19 year olds and to their mothers.
Now it’s time to put it all together and validate your target audience or audiences. The easiest way to make sense of all the information you have collected so far is to build something marketers call a “persona.” A persona is a profile of what a typical customer in one of your target audiences looks like. It’s often helpful to create a character that fits an audience — give them a name, find a stock photo of what they would look like, and give them a short backstory to help you think about who they are and what motivates them.
Then start compiling the information you put together into a set of demographics — statistical information about your persona, like age, income, education level, etc. — and their psychographics — the personal characteristics that describe what they do and why they do it, such as their values, hobbies, attitudes, and beliefs. The final persona should tell a story about your target audience and why they might be interested in buying your product or service.
To figure out if your personas make sense as target audiences, you need to ask yourself some questions and do some research:
If you can answer yes to all of those questions, congratulations. You now have at least one target audience to pursue. If you answer no to any of them, it might be worth it to go back to the beginning and do a second pass to see if you missed anything.
When you add your target audience to your marketing plan, include the personas you put together and any background research you may have done to validate them. Make sure you have an estimate of how many people make up each audience, how much they typically spend on products similar to yours, and how much they have spent with your business if you have that information.
Having all of this target audience information will help you develop the rest of your marketing plan and will allow you to more accurately determine which customers you should pursue and how to reach them. It will also help you with the next section, writing a competitive analysis.Writing a competitive analysis
If you have an idea who your target audience is, you’ll be ahead of many companies, but it’s still just the first step in putting together a strong marketing plan. Once you know who you’re selling to, it’s important to figure out who else might have their attention. This is where the competitive analysis comes in.
A competitive market analysis is a critical piece of your marketing plan. It can help you better understand who you’re going up against for customers, help you determine which marketing strategies to use, and can even give you insight about ways you can improve your own products and services — or create new ones — to gain a competitive advantage.
If you’re putting together a marketing plan for outside readers, a thorough competitor analysis will help to validate your market — or prove that there’s room in the market for you. It will also help demonstrate that you have a full and thorough understanding of the business you’re in.
On its face, a competitive analysis seems like the most straightforward part of a marketing plan. Most business owners have a pretty good idea who their competitors are and what they do. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re already informally performing many of the pieces of a good competitive marketing analysis: checking out competitors’ websites, looking at their marketing materials, maybe even visiting them in person or “secret shopping” them. However, there are some key differences between a full competitive analysis and these informal activities.Types of competitors in a competitive market analysis
For a formal analysis, you’ll want to look at a few different types of competition:
Say you own a pet grooming salon that specializes in high-end dog haircuts. Another groomer that operates a block away would be a direct competitor for you. A chain pet store that also offers grooming services is an indirect competitor — they offer similar services but likely don’t have too many overlapping customers.
A gourmet dog food boutique would be a peripheral competitor, since they don’t offer the same services, but if one of your customers overspends on fancy dog chow, they may cut back on the number of appointments they schedule with you. Finally, a potential competitor might be an app-based mobile grooming service that comes to pet owners’ homes to provide doggy haircuts — Uber for Poodles.
Some businesses might not seem like they have many, or any, competitors. This is especially true for new business models that simply didn’t exist before. In these cases, it’s important to focus on the last three categories.
As an example, think about being the first iPhone repair shop to open when the iPhone first came out. Indirect competitors who don’t do exactly what you do can suddenly start selling your product — a watch or stereo repair shop might suddenly start fixing phones. Peripheral competitors can still offer alternatives to your product — a rival phone company might be offering discounts on new phones for anyone that brings in a broken iPhone. And there’s always the possibility that someone can open up a new business to compete with you.How to start a competitive analysis Finding competitors
The easiest way to begin a competitive market analysis is to create a list with four columns: direct competitors, indirect competitors, tertiary competitors, and potential competitors. Then start listing companies that you think compete with you — either selling the same products or taking enough of your target audience’s money and attention that they can cut into your business. As you think of names, sort them into one of the four columns based on the kind of competition they represent.
Once you’ve listed all the competitors you can think of, it’s time to do some research. In the past, this would have involved sorting through local newspapers and phone books. These days, the internet has made things much easier.
A great place to start is by searching for your exact product, paired with local keywords if you have a limited operating area. Something like “dog grooming omaha” would give you a great idea of who you’re competing with. Additionally, look through review services like Yelp and Google Local, and classified ad sites like Craigslist. And if you don’t have a service area, do the same thing, but without the local keywords.Picking your competitors
If you tried to profile and analyze all of your competitors, your competitive analysis would probably be hundreds of pages long. In the interest of saving yourself and your readers some time, it’s important to cut your competitors down to just the most important ones, which leads to the next question: How do you decide which competitors to focus on?
When narrowing down your list, remember that not all competitors are created equal. Focus primarily on your direct competitors. These are going to be the most immediate challenges you face, so they should make up the bulk of your final list.
Your indirect competitors are important but not nearly as much. You can cut this list down to just one or two key companies that have the biggest chance of stealing your customers or turning into direct competitors.
For peripheral competitors, it’s often enough to focus on a few broad product categories rather than calling out specific companies. In our dog salon example, rather than listing several high-end dog food boutiques, you could combine them all together under the heading “high-end dog food boutiques.” This is enough to help you and your readers understand the threat without spending time on individual competitors.
Likewise, for potential competitors, it’s more important to paint a picture of where future competition might come from in broad strokes rather than focus on any specific competitor — especially since most of these competitors don’t exist yet.
Narrowing down your direct competitors is a little bit more challenging but not much more if you think strategically. A good rule is to think in groups of four: biggest, best, closest, and catching up.
Go through your list of direct competitors and pick out one for each category. These companies will be the focus of your competitive analysis.How to write a competitive analysis
Now that you have a good list of competitors, it’s time to actually do the analysis and put it all down in a structured way. There are hundreds of ways to do this, but the one that combines the most information with the most straightforward package is something called a SWOT analysis.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s an incredibly powerful tool for quickly and efficiently assessing businesses, both your own and those of competitors. You should perform one for each of the competitors you selected earlier.
The SWOT analysis is often broken down into a grid, or matrix, along two major categories. Strengths and weaknesses represent internal factors — characteristics of a specific business. Threats and opportunities are external factors — characteristics of the business environment.Strengths
What is your competitor really good at? Do they have a reputation for any specific thing or things? This can be products, services, location, or the way they conduct business. Maybe one of your competitors has a fantastic store on a busy shopping street, or they are well known for their professionalism and timeliness.
Strengths can also be resources that a competitor has or strategic differences that make them stand out. If a competitor has a patent on a product similar to yours, that is a strength. Or perhaps they just received a large investment so they have capital to improve, expand, or spend on marketing.
Finally, pay especially close attention to their marketing strengths. Do they have a fantastic blog or an incredibly engaging Facebook page? Maybe they’re geniuses at coming up with Instagram or Twitter hashtags.Weaknesses
What are your competitors’ weaknesses? Just like strengths above, this can be anything about their business that represents an area where they are weak or perform poorly.
A great place to look for weaknesses is to look at reviews and customer feedback. Are there any particular negatives that customers bring up again and again? Do they have poor service or limited selection? Do they have limited hours or an inconvenient location?Opportunities
What environmental factors related to your competitor represent the biggest opportunities for you? For example, maybe you’ve noticed a particular breed of dog becoming popular in your area that your competitor doesn’t work with. Or maybe your competitor doesn’t have an Instagram account, which is where most of your customers find you.
Think about specific ways that you can take advantage of your competitors’ weaknesses, and make notes about tactics and strategies that you can use to exploit those weaknesses in this section.Threats
This section is like opportunities but in reverse. What specific threats does your competitor represent for you? Think about how your competitor can use their strengths to threaten your business, and come up with strategies to counteract them.
If they have more money to spend on marketing, for example, think of ways that you can reach more people while spending less. Or if they offer products and services you don’t, consider whether you can start offering some of those products and/or services.
A SWOT analysis is a good way to organize a lot of different ideas about a business in one easy-to-read and -present manner. It can serve as the bulk of your competitive analysis. Before you finish looking at each one, make sure you’ve answered at least these basic questions:
If you have an answer for each of these for all of your selected competitors, then your work is largely done. You now have a competitive analysis and better understand the competitive landscape where you will be doing business.
Remember that this isn’t a one-time process. You’ll need to revisit your competitive analysis frequently to make sure that nothing has changed. You might also want to run a SWOT analysis whenever you notice a new competitor pop up, just to be on the safe side.Setting your marketing goals
There’s an old saying: You miss 100 percent of the targets you don’t aim for. This is especially true for marketing goals and objectives. Without setting some specific goals, objectives, and targets, it will be hard to figure out just how well your marketing plan actually performed. That, in turn, will make it hard to know whether you need to change it or keep it the same.
You may have noticed that we talk about goals, objectives, and targets as three separate things above. That’s because while they may be interchangeable in casual English, in business and marketing, they have three distinct definitions.
These terms should help you decide what kinds of marketing goals and objectives you need to set in your marketing plan. Keeping track of the different terms can be confusing, but just remember that goals are made up of objectives, and both are a kind of target.The SMART framework for goals and objectives
Whether you’re setting goals, objectives, or targets, they should be SMART. The SMART framework allows you to set smarter, more meaningful goals and objectives for your marketing.
We need to expand business to compete.
The sales team needs to close more business.
rather thanWe will become the most well-known doggy groomer in the country by the end of the year.
rather thanSmall Doggy Grooming will have the most Instagram followers of any dog grooming salon.
Small Doggy Grooming will grow by 100 percent.
Bad goals are almost as bad for a business as no goals at all. The SMART goal framework will help you make sure that the marketing goals and objectives you set actually help your business and help you constantly improve your marketing.Setting marketing goals
As we mentioned, goals are broad, long-term targets. When we say long-term, we mean something that takes longer than a year to accomplish. Typically, marketing objectives will be set for one year out, three years out, and five years out. Particularly ambitious planners can shoot for longer than five years, but we don’t recommend it. Five years is a very long time in the life of an organization, and being specific about something that far away can be difficult, which would mean you can’t set SMART goals.
Remember that goals are the highest level of target, so you don’t want to get too bogged down in the fine details. You should set marketing goals that significantly affect the operations of your business — things like overall sales, market share, and expansion plans.Setting marketing objectives
Marketing objectives, on the other hand, are short- to medium-term targets. These are things that you can accomplish in the next quarter to the next year. They are a much lower level than your marketing goals, and in fact it’s a good idea to tie specific objectives to specific goals.
Marketing goals are great for setting targets for specific strategies, tactics, or channels. If one of your strategies is to grow your social media presence, some great objectives would be the number of new customers you want to reach on each specific channel every quarter. Or if one of your goals is to expand to more locations, you can have objectives for identifying new space and preparing for the opening.Formatting your marketing goals and objectives
There isn’t one standard format for presenting goals and objectives in your marketing plan, as the best way to format them depends on the specifics of each goal or objective. If you’re talking about sales or profit, for example, a bar or line chart might be the right way to show where you are and where you want to be. If you’re expanding, a map with expansion plans could be the best way.
One standard tip for formatting your marketing goals and objectives, though, is to group objectives underneath a specific goal and write out the goals and objectives clearly and concisely.
You should also try to tie your goals and objectives to the competitive analysis and target audience selection you did in earlier sections.Marketing goals and objectives example
Goal: After analyzing our competition, Small Doggy Groomer has learned that we have a large potential customer base that is not currently being served in Fancy Suburb of Small Town, USA. The demographics for Fancy Suburb are a perfect match for our target audience, and our biggest competitor, Large Doggy Groomer, is not located within easy driving distance.
To take advantage of this opportunity, Small Doggy Groomer will open a new location on Main Street of Fancy Suburb by the end of the year and a second location on Large Boulevard by the end of next year. Within three years, we will expand to four locations, with the final location to be determined in year two.
Goal: Social media is clearly an important way for our customers to share images of their dogs and find cute dogs to look at. However, our competitors are not active on social media, and we see a tremendous opportunity to win new business through this channel. By the end of this fiscal year, we will grow the number of customers who find us on social media to 50 per month.
These goals are great because they use the research you put together in the previous sections and are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Each goal and objective answers the questions who, what, when, and why. All that’s left now is the how, which we will cover in the next section on creating a marketing strategy.Creating a marketing strategy
You’ve done the research on your customers and your competitors. You’ve planned and written out some marketing goals. At this point you should have a pretty good idea where you want to go, what kind of obstacles you’ll need to overcome to get there, and who you’ll need to attract along the way. Now it’s time to plan how you’ll actually accomplish your goals.
Quite simply, a marketing strategy is the “how” of growing your business. It provides information about what makes your business stand out in the marketplace and how you’ll use those strengths to win new business. The plan also lists the marketing activities you’ll be performing to grow your business.
Having a marketing strategy is important for the same reason that having marketing goals is important. Without a clear idea of what you plan to do, it will be impossible to evaluate how effective your marketing plan actually is. Writing down the actual activities you or your marketing team will be performing allows you to regularly review how well those actions are working, and it gives you a base from which to expand or change your marketing strategy in a systematic way.
A marketing strategy will also allow you to figure out the financial needs of your marketing plan. Writing out each activity and putting a rough dollar amount next to each is the simplest way to start your marketing plan budget — something we’ll discuss more in the next section.
A complete marketing strategy consists of four parts:
Your market positioning tells the world who you are, what you do, who you serve, and why you are better at it than anyone else. It’s usually summed up in a single statement, the positioning statement. Use all of the insights you gained while researching for earlier sections to come up with a short “elevator pitch”-type statement that sums up your company.
A good place to start is this template from Cornell University:
For [insert Target Market], the [insert Brand] is the [insert Point of Differentiation] among all [insert Frame of Reference] because [insert Reason to Believe].
The point of differentiation should clearly highlight how you’re different and better than competitors. The frame of reference is your market — for example, “airlines” or “small town” or “USA pet groomers.” And the reason to believe is a piece of supporting evidence that drives the point home.
Getting your positioning statement just right can seem like an impossible task. Even long-term marketers often require quite a few rounds of revision before they’re happy with it. The most important thing is that you have one and that it’s good enough to convey the meat of who you are and what you do. You can always refine your positioning later, but it’s important to have a strong focus.Major marketing campaigns
A marketing campaign is an organized, ongoing, medium- to long-term set of marketing activities focused on a common theme. Think Geico’s “So Easy a Caveman Could Do It” or Hotels.com’s “Captain Obvious.” The idea of a campaign is to create a memorable experience around your brand by repeating the same messaging over a significant period of time.
Campaigns can be linked by characters or themes, or they can be linked by goals. That is, you can have a campaign like “Captain Obvious” where different sales messages are linked by a common story. Or you can have different stories and messaging linked around a common marketing goal — like a campaign that uses different messages to drive product demos.
There’s no “right” length of time to run a campaign, and no “right” number of campaigns to run over the course of a year. A good rule, though, is to have a separate campaign for every one of your major marketing objectives, plus additional campaigns as needed for any major events like new products, location openings, or major holidays.Marketing tactics
Tactics are the smallest unit of a marketing strategy. They tell readers of your marketing plan what specific things you’ll be doing on a daily basis. Tactics can include things like posting on social media, sending out emails, advertising in the local newspaper, or other “marketing things you do.”
You don’t need to get too detailed about the tactics you present. For example, if you plan to focus on social media marketing, you don’t need a full breakdown of how often you’re going to post on Instagram. Instead, think about each of the tactics you plan on using as a percentage of your total marketing time. As an example, you can say you’ll spend 25 percent of your time on social media, 15 percent on direct mail, 15 percent on email marketing, 10 percent on web design, and 35 percent on campaigns and live events. Alternatively, instead of thinking in terms of time, you can think in terms of budget.
What you do want to get detailed with is the review of what each tactic will consist of. While developing your marketing strategy, remember that not everyone who reads your marketing plan will be an expert marketer. If you say you’ll be using social media as a tactic, explain which platforms you’ll use, what kinds of content you’ll post, whether you’ll use free posts or pay for promotion, and what you hope to accomplish with your posts.
That last piece is an especially important part of developing your marketing strategy. Every tactic you add needs to be tied to a specific goal, with specific measurable outcomes you hope to accomplish (look back at our section on setting goals if you need help). As we mentioned earlier, one of the most important reasons for developing a marketing strategy is to be able to evaluate how well your marketing is working. Without tangible, measurable goals, you can’t do that.Marketing calendar
Finally, you’ll need to know when your campaigns and tactics will run, so you can properly plan for them. This is where the marketing calendar comes in. Depending on the business you’re in, it can be as exact as a daily calendar or as broad as a quarterly plan. For most companies, however, breaking things down to the month will be enough.
Figure out which months which activities will take place, and show them visually on a calendar. In addition, make sure that you include any major holidays that impact your business, as well as major business events like conferences, store openings, or even the birthdays of major clients.How to develop a marketing strategy
Now that you know what a marketing strategy is, it’s time to put one together. You’re going to be relying heavily on your goals and objectives as well as your competitive analysis and target audience. You’re going to put together everything you’ve gathered so far to predict the future.
The first place to start is with your marketing goals and objectives. Ask yourself what smaller goals you need to accomplish in order to hit your larger goals. You should have already done some of this when building out your goals and objectives section, but this is your chance to get really granular. If your goal is to increase internet orders by 50 percent, and you think that a good chunk of that should come from social, you need to figure out how many social visits you need to support that growth and how many of those visits need to turn into customers.
For inspiration, look to what your competitors are doing. Focus on what they’re doing best and what they’re doing worst. The former category should act as inspiration — figure out what your best competitors are doing well and see if that could be applied to your business. The latter category, your competitors’ biggest weaknesses, are your opportunities — what do your competitors do poorly that you think you can do really well?
As in other sections, the best place to begin creating a marketing strategy is to start putting some thoughts down on paper. Once you have a good list of campaigns, tactics, and thoughts about your positioning, put on your customer goggles. Look at your ideas from the perspective of someone in your target audience, and ask, “Would this reach me? Would I be swayed by this?”
Collect your thoughts into groups based on shared themes and shared objectives. This is how you’ll build your marketing strategy — as groups of tactics compiled into campaigns, backed up with goals and objectives that are tied to each individual group and to your high-level marketing objectives.Setting a marketing budget
Congratulations — you’re almost done putting together your marketing plan, so you’re done with the hard part. You’ve identified your target audience, analyzed your competition, set goals and objectives, and written a marketing strategy. All that’s left to complete your marketing plan is setting a marketing budget.
Creating a marketing budget is nothing more than looking at your marketing strategy and adding prices to all of the activities. Some of these will be very straightforward, and some less so.How much should your marketing budget be?
The first step in creating your marketing budget is figuring out how much you want to spend on all of your marketing for the year. The best approach is to start with a standard percentage of your revenue. For businesses under $5 million a year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends about 7–8 percent of your gross revenue. For larger businesses, 10–15 percent, or sometimes even higher, might be the norm, but starting with the lower percentage is a safer bet if this is your first marketing budget.
It’s great to say you should be spending 7–8 percent of your revenue on marketing, but there’s a big gap between theory and reality. In reality, many businesses have different needs that can change this number. B2B companies might have different needs than B2C companies. Larger businesses might have more cash on hand than smaller ones. You need to evaluate your specific business needs and adjust the number until it makes sense in the context of your business.Marketing budget breakdown
Once you have a number for your overall budget, you need to break it down further to make sense of how much you’ll be spending where. A good marketing budget template will give readers enough details so that they know where your marketing budget will be going but not so much that you overwhelm them with information.
Before you do that, however, it’s important to remember that a marketing budget isn’t just the money you spend on advertising campaigns and conferences. Your marketing budget should also include
Once you list those items in separate categories, it’s time to actually create your budget. The most common way to write out a budget is to break it down into months and by buckets of activities. These can vary from business to business, but typically include
Under each category, you should have a few subcategories to present a better view. For paid advertising, for example, you might have
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what category to put a sub-category in. The most important part of creating a marketing budget is understanding where your marketing dollars are being spent, not making sure you have everything categorized perfectly.
Fill out the budget with the amounts you plan to spend by month, and refer back to your marketing calendar to make sure that you’re allocating enough resources at every point of the year. Remember that the point is not to spread the money out evenly across the whole year. The point is to spend your marketing budget wisely, in the right place at the right time.
It’s often helpful to keep a second spreadsheet of how much you actually spend, broken down by the same categories as your projected budget. That way, at the end of the year you can review and make adjustments for the following year if you budgeted too much some months and not enough others.
Remember to also keep a master column that keeps track of your total spending for the year, both projected and actual. It’s OK to go over your budget, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize your business, but you want to know when you go over and by how much.
And that’s it. With your marketing budget finished, you’re now done putting together a marketing plan. If you saved your executive summary for last, now is where you go back through your plan, gather your thoughts, and knock it out of the park. If you did the executive summary earlier in the process, you’re home free and can kick your feet up and relax. Congratulations — you now have a fantastic marketing plan, or at least all of the tools you’ll need to make one.
Launching a nonprofit organization can be exciting. But the excitement often goes hand in hand with a lot of hard work and challenges in figuring out the best way to achieve your goals.
On the surface, things may seem simple. You’ve probably already identified some sort of need; that’s what often motivates people to start a nonprofit in the first place.
You also may have some experience working to meet that need in various volunteer roles, which feeds into your passion and gives you some idea of what the work looks like. Now, all you have to do is secure funding, formalize your work processes, and start operating as a nonprofit.
Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. There’s a lot of bureaucracy and red tape involved in launching a nonprofit. You’ll also have to deal with competition. You may not be the only one trying to meet a key need, and that’ll leave you chasing after grants, funding, and volunteer attention with other nonprofits in your region.
In practice, starting a nonprofit begins with building a strong vision for what the organization will do and how it will accomplish it. From there, you can move into formal matters of incorporation and building your organization. Of course, it’s important to understand what a nonprofit is.What is a nonprofit organization?
A nonprofit is an organization that operates to meet a specific need or further the goals of its members as opposed to generating revenue. There are nuances in terms of the types of nonprofits, which we’ll get into later.
Don’t let the complexity of launching a nonprofit dissuade you from the work you want to do. In many ways, all the boxes you have to check to start your organization can help you refine and define your vision, giving you a stronger foundation to grow over time. The key is to be prepared for the work that’s on the horizon.
That’s what this guide is all about: giving you a deep look at what you’ll need to do to not only get your nonprofit off the ground, but also to create a foundation that will allow for consistent, sustainable progress.Read on to learn about how to start a nonprofit organization
There’s a lot to think about, but don’t let that hold you back. Do your homework, and you’ll be prepared to start your nonprofit and transform your community.
Finding success as a nonprofit begins with having a strong identity. Chances are you’ll hear a lot of good, interesting ideas about what you can do at any given time. But how do you determine which ideas are best?
This is where defining your identity is critical. When you have a strong mission and vision, you can test ideas against your core goals and more easily determine the best ways to move forward.
Of course, there’s more to this than the ability to determine the best ideas. A strong idea of what the organization stands for echoes across everything from marketing and fundraising to hiring strategies and incorporation. At the start, you’ll need to determine whether to operate as a nonprofit or a not-for-profit organization.Nonprofit vs Not-for-profit
These two terms are often used interchangeably. In practice, the difference between nonprofit and not-for-profit is fairly small, but it is integral to how an organization operates.
A nonprofit is generally an organization that doesn’t use any of its fundraised income to pay its staff. That doesn’t mean you can’t pay employees or offer perks to volunteers; you just need to use alternative funding sources so fundraised money is used entirely for the goal of the nonprofit. Not-for-profit entities can use excess fundraised money to pay their staff. Beyond this major point of distinction, the two organization types are extremely similar.
Determining how you want to operate is key at the early stages of the business. This guide focuses on nonprofits, but much of the guidance is valuable to both types of organizations.
In practice, the distinction often boils down to a simple concept: Nonprofit organizations tend to serve either their members or their communities. Not-for-profit status is used for a wider range of purposes. Nonprofits can receive some special tax exemptions if they are religious, charitable, or educational entities. We’ll provide more details on tax status later on.
For more information on the differences between nonprofits and not-for-profits, check out this BizFluent article. Assuming you’ve decided to function as a nonprofit, here are some key issues you’ll want to consider to refine your identity as an organization.Identify mission, vision, and values
Why are you starting this nonprofit? Your answer to that question may seem like enough to get your organization started, and sometimes it is.
But over time, you’re going to be faced with a variety of difficult decisions about how you want to move forward. Taking the time to craft a mission statement, develop a vision for the organization’s future, and determine your core values can serve as a guiding force as your nonprofit grows and evolves.
Before developing your mission, vision, and values, you should do some serious market research and analysis. You’re probably starting this nonprofit for a specific reason. Maybe you’ve noticed a need in the community or have a cause you’re particularly passionate about. This research lets you gather data and develop concrete ideas that take your initial goals and build them into a basis for your nonprofit.
To analyze your market effectively, you should
Doing this type of deep market research that blends big-picture industry analysis with local relationship building can help you identify both short- and long-term needs that your nonprofit can help with. Once you’ve done your research, you can use that knowledge to
It can be tempting to skip some of this work, thinking that your initial ideas are enough to drive you through the startup phase. But doing so can introduce considerable risk because you’ll need to make many important decisions that have a long-term impact on your organization.
If you don’t have a clear understanding of your mission, vision, and values, you could end up making choices you’ll regret later. What’s more, having a strong idea serves as a great starting point for a nonprofit, but putting yourself in the best position for success depends on refining that idea to fit the needs of your community. You can’t do that until you’ve completed the background work that goes into determining your identity.Analyze demographics
You will complete some of this work as you perform market research, but this stage of developing your business is a natural time to do a deep dive into your local demographics. For example, if you’re opening a museum with exhibits that you believe will attract children, you’ll want to answer the following questions:
These are just a few examples of demographic data you’ll want for such a museum. This guidance applies to any sort of nonprofit. It’s vital to ensure there will be an adequate audience for your services to sustain operations.
If you’re trying to start a new trend, you’ll need a critical mass of excited people to champion the idea. If you’re trying to meet a key need, you’ll need to ensure your organization is sized appropriately to serve the population you’re reaching.
Demographic research is vital in refining your mission, vision, and values, but it’s also important in making practical decisions about staffing, facility size, and how to recruit volunteers in the most effective ways possible.Develop your brand identity
Up to this point, most of this advice has been internally focused — how are you defining your organization relative to what’s happening in your community and the demographics you’re serving? But all of this work should evolve to inform how others see you.
This is where branding comes into play. When you have your mission, vision, and values, you’ll need to develop strategies that communicate those goals to the community.
Effective branding can
Successful branding is about more than creating a logo and some guidelines for your visual and writing style. Those things are important, but they’re the outward result of branding.
Internally, you want to make sure all stakeholders in your nonprofit have a clear understanding of what you stand for and why. They should all be on the same page about your goals and priorities so they can portray a consistent brand identity to those they interact with.
In practice, branding is both an exercise in building awareness and in crafting a narrative around your nonprofit. When you start with a strong mission, vision, and values, you can use that information to craft a brand identity that ensures people understand what your organization stands for.
For a deep dive into how to execute a branding strategy as a nonprofit, check out this article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
At this point, you know what you want your nonprofit to be and the values that will guide it. That’s a great starting point to move into exploring the types of nonprofits and formalizing your organization.
Formal incorporation is just the beginning of this process; you’ll also need to think about everything from tax exemption to creating a board and dealing with licenses. Here’s a rundown of what you need to deal with in establishing your nonprofit as a formal organization.Getting incorporated
Achieving incorporation can be fairly straightforward, but there are a few complexities to consider along the way. In the U.S., incorporation is a six-step process in which you choose a name for your organization, appoint a board, determine your legal structure, file incorporation paperwork, apply for tax exemption, and get the required licenses.
Some of these steps are simple enough. Choosing a name is just a matter of preference, but you may also need to comply with some state laws for naming. Filing paperwork is a clerical act you’ll need to complete before incorporation.
But even for these straightforward steps, it’s a good general rule to connect with whatever government agency oversees nonprofits in your state early on to ensure you’re complying with best practices. While federal issues do come up in incorporation, particularly when it comes to taxation, many of the more nuanced issues are handled by the state.
Let’s explore some of the more complex issues that come up during incorporation.Creating a board
Who will have decision-making authority for your nonprofit? Your board will ultimately be responsible for regulatory compliance, strategic decision-making, supporting everyday operations, making hires, and a wide range of similar tasks. In some cases, you may be able to do much of that work yourself or with one or two employees while your board takes on more of an advisory role. It’s up to you to determine which you’d prefer.
And that’s one of the first decisions you should make: Do you need a board to be a hands-on supporting group that guides your business, or do you want the board to consult, advise, and provide some leadership while you work with employees to handle the majority of operations?
Answering this question is a key first step because you can’t really recruit effectively until you have the answer. Anyone you ask to be part of the board will need to know what’s expected from the start, so you should begin by identifying the role you want your board to play in the nonprofit. Once you have a strong vision, there are many places you can look for board members. A few options include
These are just a few sources you can turn to for board members, but regardless of where you find leaders to work with, there are a few skill sets that you’ll inevitably depend on. You should look for board members who can
You probably won’t be able to find one person who can do all of these things, but networking and strategic recruiting for your board can put you in a strong position to create the board you need.Determining your legal structure
There are various types of nonprofits. A nonprofit can operate as a trust, a corporation, or an association. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service defines these terms as follows:
A trust is typically used when one person owns a certain property and is responsible for using it to benefit someone else. For example, someone who inherits a large amount of money may turn those funds into a trust to give scholarships to at-risk youth. A nonprofit trust would then have a board responsible for managing the scholarship process, determining how to distribute funds, and tackling related tasks.
A corporation is an organization that has chosen to operate under a set of articles, usually defined in a charter and filed with the state. This is a common format for a nonprofit.
The term “association” is typically used to denote an organization built around a group that has decided to work together in a formal way. The group needs to sign articles of association that define what the group is. A group of manufacturers that come together to determine industry standards and best practices, for example, could operate as a nonprofit association devoted to bettering the sector.
Defining whether you operate as a trust, corporation, or association can be a simple decision. Chances are, you naturally fit in one category or another.
The greater challenge is in figuring out precisely what to formalize as you declare your nonprofit in a given category. Typically, state law will provide specific guidelines as to what is necessary for each designation. For example, a state may require that, to become a nonprofit corporation, you need to provide your bylaws, formally define your board structure, and declare your tax-exempt status. Make sure you explore state regulations to get your legal structure right.Defining bylaws
Your bylaws are the rules under which your organization will operate. Common issues covered in bylaws include
This is just a sampling of what bylaws can cover. There is a great deal of freedom in what you determine to be a bylaw versus what you set as a best practice. However, once you have bylaws in place, you are required to comply with them or face potential risk. Bylaws are typically filed with the state and are a requirement in maintaining your status as a nonprofit.Handling tax exemption
Nonprofits can typically become exempt from certain taxes as a way to funnel more funds to the causes they support. Most nonprofits fall under the 501(c)(3) designation, but there are a few other common options to consider.
501(c)(3): According to the IRS, the 501(c)(3) label can be applied to a wide range of charitable groups, varying from religious and educational organizations to public safety or amateur sports competition bodies. In general, the 501(c)(3) label is applied to charitable bodies, but organizations with this exemption are limited in how much lobbying they can engage in and are prohibited from functioning for the benefit of private interests. No portion of earnings can be used to benefit a private shareholder.
Other 501(c) designations: The IRS provides provisions for a variety of 501(c)-type organizations, each with slightly different requirements. A 501(c)(4) typically applies to social welfare organizations, with 501(c)(5) being used for labor and agricultural organizations, and 501(c)(6) status attributed to business leagues. These are a few of the more common 501(c) designations; you may want to connect with an accountant or lawyer who has tax expertise to figure out the best option for your nonprofit.
527: The 527 exemption status is used for political organizations. These entities must provide a notice of their incorporation, offer periodic reports on funding, and file income tax returns and formalized information returns. In practice, these nonprofits face significant scrutiny to maintain their tax-exempt status.
It’s vital that you not only obtain tax exemption to control costs, but also to maintain your status over time. It’s a good idea to read up on what the IRS requires from organizations with your tax status so you know what to expect moving forward.Dealing with licenses and permits
Licensing and permit requirements vary so much depending on the location of your nonprofit, the purpose of the organization, and the way you intend to function that we won’t get into the details here.
Instead, we’ll keep things simple: Licensing and permit requirements can exist at the local, state, and national level. Once you’ve defined the type of nonprofit you want to be and how you plan to function, do some research on permit requirements that may come up and consider visiting your local town or city hall to check in on permit requirements. You may need permits for anything from building a facility to holding large gatherings in public spaces.Remembering one rule
Incorporation can seem intimidating. There is a great deal to think about and many formal processes that rely on one another. If there’s one piece of advice that we’d put above the rest, it’s that you should connect with state and local government agencies that interact with nonprofits.
Each state has its own requirements for incorporation, and they can vary significantly. Local government bodies can provide vital insight into what the state expects and any regional quirks you may have to deal with. You’ll eventually need to get involved with federal agencies as you figure out tax exemption and the like, but state and local bodies are likely to be the most influential as you formalize your nonprofit.Getting to work
The good news is that if you’ve done all of the things we’ve just discussed, you’re just about ready to get to work on making your nonprofit function. Keep reading to learn about the more tactical aspects of determining your organization’s structure and getting everything running.
In the previous section, we went into detail on various nonprofit designations used by state and federal bodies. For the most part, which designation and type of nonprofit you choose is fairly straightforward based on your goals.
If you’ve been given control of a large fund that you hope to use to meet a need in your community, such as for scholarships, then you’ll want to set your nonprofit up as a trust. If you represent a group of experts in your industry and want to further some sort of goal for your sector, such as establishing standard guidelines for development of a new technology, then you’ll want to establish an association.
Most nonprofits end up being a simple corporation, and how they operate is defined by a charter they file with the state. Incorporation provides more flexibility than the other two options as it allows you to define many elements of how you operate and gives you more freedom when it comes to hiring and funding.
Besides your primary designation as a nonprofit entity, you’ll also need to consider how the specifics of your structure will impact your tax status. This is largely an issue of compliance. When different types of nonprofits file for tax exemption, they need to ensure that the way they operate aligns with the tax designation they receive.
We went over some of the most common options in section two of this guide, and it’s vital to consider what tax exemption status you hope to achieve as you determine the specifics of how you want your nonprofit to function.
Settling on a formal designation for your structure and tax status can be fairly straightforward, but the wiggle room offered in some areas, particularly in terms of incorporation, makes it essential that you understand the specifics of how you design your organization. Connecting with state and local government officials can be especially important here, as doing so can provide insights into the specific regulations that’ll impact your organization and help you understand exactly what’s expected of you.Establishing a leadership team
We covered how to craft your board in the previous section, and that is one key component of building a leadership team. However, your day-to-day leaders may not be a part of your board. For example, if you bring a few community leaders with specific high-level skills onto your board, they may not have the time for or interest in leading your organization on a day-to-day basis. Besides the consulting and overarching management support offered by your board, you’ll also need leaders to help you when it comes time to get work done.
To recruit these leaders, first analyze your skill set and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Having leaders that can reinforce some of your strengths and shore up your weaknesses can be invaluable in helping your nonprofit run successfully. A few key leadership roles you may want to prioritize, regardless of your strengths, include
If you’re just starting a nonprofit, chances are you can do all three of these things. Filling out your leadership team with individuals who can complement your skills and step in when you aren’t available can go a long way in strengthening your nonprofit and ensuring strong leadership at all times.Assessing options for staff and volunteers
Regardless of the type of nonprofit, once you have your core leadership team in place, you’re ready to consider how you’ll build out the staff and volunteer teams needed to keep everything running smoothly. There are a lot of things to consider when developing your plan. Below are some questions you should ask yourself:
Asking these questions can lay the groundwork for successful staffing, giving you the people you need to run your nonprofit effectively and sustain operations. Now that you have a structure and the right people in place, you’re ready to start considering how to manage operations and set a path toward growth.
With a structure, leadership team, and board, you’re ready to start moving on to everyday operations and nonprofit management. You probably already have some ideas about how you want to work. After all, you’re starting this nonprofit for a reason.
This is a good time to revisit your goals and values so you can ensure you don’t lose sight of your core identity as you start thinking about operations. With those ideals in mind, let’s explore key issues you’ll want to consider as you start to launch into day-to-day work.Developing your marketing strategy
Effective marketing is integral to gaining visibility in the market you hope to serve. Awareness is essential for nonprofits, and a strong marketing strategy is key to creating a strong brand narrative.
How you are perceived is critical — you need a clear, consistent set of messages that communicate what you do and why you do it. This messaging is the primary element of your nonprofit brand, and establishing that brand identity should be a priority.
It can be tempting to let your identity develop organically, but doing so presents more problems than benefits. If you don’t have a strong brand narrative early on in developing your nonprofit, you can find yourself constantly dealing with new challenges, including
Bringing your board and leaders together to talk about branding your nonprofit is critical to setting a foundation for marketing and fundraising down the line. In practice, your brand identity can be a public-facing method for communicating your mission, vision, and values to those who may be interested in your nonprofit. Once you’ve crafted those messages, you can start thinking about
Different marketing methods will be better for various types of nonprofits. You’ll want to align your brand identity with the needs of your target demographics to get your marketing efforts off to a good start.Putting your staffing plans into action
At this point, you’ve probably spent a great deal of time thinking about what kind of staff you’ll need to make your nonprofit business plan work. Now you’re ready to start hiring and onboarding your employees. To start, you’ll need to
This issue comes down to a simple question: How do you plan on generating income to support your day-to-day operations?
As you established your nonprofit business plan, you probably used personal money or initial fundraising to get off the ground. Now you need to evaluate your opportunities for consistent revenue generation while aligning with the values and goals of your organization.
Building a revenue plan is a matter of knowing your budget along with proper nonprofit management, understanding how donors in your industry prefer to give, and being realistic about your reach. A few questions to ask yourself include
Do you need a physical facility for your nonprofit, or are you better served by an exclusively digital presence?
In all likelihood, you’ll need to have some form of physical presence in the form of an office space or service area where volunteers can work. At the very least, you’ll need a P.O. box so you can receive mail somewhere other than your home address. When looking for a facility, you’ll need to be realistic about your budget and how your facility will impact public perception.
Creating an online presence to compliment this space is particularly critical, as your web and social media sites can go a long way in promoting brand awareness.
Over time, you’ll want to develop a physical and digital presence for your nonprofit, but you’ll likely need to devote resources more heavily toward one at first depending on your priorities and overall business plan.Look for partnership opportunities
Partnerships are often valuable for nonprofits as you can use them to access resources you can’t get on your own. Whether it’s a government agency that can help you identify grants, a local nonprofit with similar values that may be up for sharing facility space with you, or a business that wants to partner to offer funding or pro-bono services, the value potential is huge.
Don’t get so distracted with running your nonprofit that you neglect networking and outreach to other organizations in your area. The right partnership can drive early success and sustain your nonprofit’s growth.
These initial operational tasks can go a long way toward getting your nonprofit running. There are a lot of details to think about in all the issues we’ve discussed, but starting with this high-level guidance can help you dig deeper and get into the specifics you’ll need to get off the ground successfully.
Sustaining your operations as a nonprofit requires effective systems and staff. You need staff and/or volunteers because you can’t do everything on your own, and you need support systems that enable you and your team to work effectively. Here’s a look at a few of the most critical issues you’ll need to consider.Getting technology systems in order
If you’re planning to run a relatively small nonprofit, chances are you don’t need to go too deep into technology investments. However, regardless of your size, you’re going to need
The typical nonprofit will frequently need to gather data from various stakeholders or file paperwork with government agencies. Being able to create and manage those forms easily can be invaluable, and JotForm makes the technology accessible by offering discounts for qualifying nonprofits.
Cloud subscriptions can be invaluable in giving you access to powerful technologies that you can’t afford from a capital perspective, but it can be easy to end up spending heavily for tech you don’t use. Make sure you keep subscriptions manageable to avoid unexpectedly high costs.
This isn’t an exhaustive look at technologies, but it covers the core elements of what any nonprofit will need. You’ll also want to explore any industry-specific solutions that could benefit your nonprofit.Maintaining compliance
Regulatory compliance is essential for nonprofits. You must comply with internal regulations, such as your bylaws, to ensure that you maintain your nonprofit status. You also need to align with external regulations that impact your industry. If you handle personal health data, you’ll need to consider HIPAA compliance, and if you process payments with credit or debit cards, you’ll need to think about PCI compliance.
The good news is that many technology providers build compliance into their solutions. Online donor tools can often secure payment card data for you. Databases and supporting systems built for healthcare are frequently designed to comply with HIPAA.
The right technology can simplify many regulatory processes, but there are still a few key best practices to keep in mind:
Maintaining regulatory compliance often boils down to proper documentation and storage of data. Getting organized from the start can make it easier to sustain compliance over time.Handling payments and donations
We’ve already touched on many of the issues that come up with payments and donations. You’ll need a website that can accept payments and some POS solutions to help you accept funds in diverse ways. You never want to be in a situation where someone wants to give you money and you don’t have a way to accept it.
Beyond having effective technology in place, you’ll also want to create a precedent about how to ask for donations online. Do you want to invest in marketing resources to get donors, helping you reach a larger audience, but creating expenses? Do you want to go the route that brands like Wikipedia have done, having one or two major donation drives per year? Do you think your target demographics are more likely to lead to small, frequent donations?
Think about what the donation process will look like and make sure you have the right tools to support your goals.Keeping board members engaged
Your board is instrumental to supporting your nonprofit, but chances are they won’t have time to constantly check in on operations. Here are a few ways you can keep them informed and engaged so they’re ready to help when you need them:
These are just a few tips to get you started. The key issue here is to never let the board slip too far into the background. Finding the right balance between keeping the board involved and not asking too much from them is essential.
With so many everyday issues dealt with, you’re ready to consider your path toward growth and long-term operations.
Launching a nonprofit is a great feat, but it won’t mean much if you can’t sustain the initial momentum you gain and use it to drive long-term success. But growth rarely happens without a great deal of careful planning and hard work.
Nothing can guarantee growth, but creating a realistic, sustainable roadmap with clear, measurable goals can position you to expand your efforts in a reasonable manner. And, of course, you’ll also need to consider how nonprofits make money. Ultimately, your financial health plays a critical role in determining how you can expand. Here are a few areas where growth roadmaps are particularly important.
Look at the future in intervals. One year from now, what will you likely need to sustain operations? To answer this question, think about
Your one-year staffing roadmap will likely focus on filling key needs that you aren’t fully prepared to handle when you launch. Once you’ve thought about the next year, consider five years from launch. At that point, what do you want the nonprofit to look like, and how will your staffing needs shift to achieve that vision?
Set annual goals that will help you reach your five-year benchmark. Those benchmarks can be anything from adding staff to filling key leadership roles with full-time workers or volunteers willing to do some heavy lifting. The key is to have a plan and strategies to measure your ability to execute that plan.Fundraising roadmap
In many ways, this will be similar to your staffing roadmap. Develop both immediate one-year plans and forward-thinking five-year benchmarks so you can balance immediate needs with your future demands. The key difference is that there’s more data to gather here and a greater dependence on using that information to make your choices.
Be sure you’re digging deep into information on your donors. Why do they donate? Do they have connections they might be able to refer you to? How often are they likely to donate? Answering these questions can help you develop cohesive strategies to sustain initial fundraising success and gradually expand your pool of resources.
You’ll also want to do some research on grants, government programs, and any political or economic trends that could impact the availability of funding. You won’t be able to predict everything, but it’s helpful to stay on top of relevant news so you’re aware of impending changes in advance.Mission/vision roadmap
Your mission and vision may need to shift over time. As you get comfortable with your new nonprofit, take some time to revisit your mission and vision statements to assess how well you are living up to them and what may need to change so they better align with your goals.
From there, intentionally set aside time each year to analyze your mission and vision to ensure you’re on track or identify new directions you need to go. Don’t get so caught up running your nonprofit that you lose sight of your core values.Scaling roadmap
What are reasonable expectations for you to scale your nonprofit? It’s important to take some time to think about concrete growth goals after you’ve operated for a bit and have a better feel for what it means to run your nonprofit. You’ll want to think about
Scaling your nonprofit requires a careful balance between identifying the extent of the needs for your services and ensuring you have the resources necessary to expand those services.Considering the aftermath
Starting a nonprofit requires a great deal of personal time and effort. You’ll likely put a great deal of yourself into your nonprofit, but making major sacrifices or single handedly running an organization likely isn’t sustainable over time.
What’s more, maintaining your operations requires consistent activities that can be both time-consuming and costly. Getting strategic help and taking care of the essentials is key to sustaining operations once you’ve gotten off the ground. Key issues you’ll need to consider include
This is just a snapshot of some of the issues you’ll need to handle each year, but as you do, you’ll know that you’ve moved from launching your nonprofit to sustaining it over time.
It takes a lot of work to get a nonprofit off the ground, but the right tools can simplify and streamline the process. As you work to get everything running, you’ll need strategic tools to make everyday life easier. JotForm is one such tool.
From volunteer signups to donations, you’ll need a wide range of forms to establish your operations and keep everything running smoothly. Building all of these forms in a word processor or publisher can be time-consuming and leave you with a wide range of files to manage stored across diverse locations.
A solution like JotForm can simplify form creation and management, letting you handle everything from surveys to employee onboarding with ease.
Check out some of our nonprofit customer stories:
Our customers use JotForm to handle registrations, collect signatures, manage files, and process payments. All told, JotForm is a full-scale productivity tool that you can leverage to support a wide range of operations.
Want to learn more about how JotForm can help you launch your nonprofit? Sign up for free and experiment with our platform to see how you can use it. Check it out today to learn more.
Web Page Designers are the Backbone of the eCommerce Industry.
The development of eCommerce marketing strategies requires not just the development of your product, but also your ability to showcase it through an online space. One of the many advantages that eCommerce has provided for both startups and customers alike is the convenience of shopping wherever they may be. Because of this, retailers need to prioritize their efforts to make their online presence attractive to potential buyers. Combined with people’s dependence on mobile devices, the online market is one that’s full of competition and opportunity.
Econsultancy and Adobe’s survey of companies and suppliers show that over 84% believe that design-driven businesses have a better standing compared to their competitors. Now more than ever, industries require the assistance of eCommerce designers to put them ahead of the competition.
Developing an effective product page for your customers is far from being a walk in the park. The development of a full-blown online retailer page takes about two months for conceptualization and execution, with commission rates of eCommerce designers ranging from a measly $500 to over $32,000 depending on what you want to appear on your page. With such a high expense, mistakes are bound to make for a regretful and costly decision especially if you’re unaware of what not to do with your page.
Here are five key mistakes that designers fail to prioritize in developing an effective product page. We’ve also included online store conversion tips that can solve these said mistakes.Mistake #1. Introducing a Product Instead of a Lifestyle Image credit: Sebastian Voortman from Pexels
Designing the ideal eCommerce product page requires knowing who your target audience is and what they actively look for. Having just a stream of assorted products isn’t an attractive sell to your clients. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to emphasize through your design elements why you’re the better choice compared to other online retailers by selling not just your products, but also your service.
One of the more effective ways to improve your online shop’s personality is by showing your individuality. Hobby and craft stores usually include their stories and background with their products. Homemade fashion brands make their clothing lines more accessible by featuring relatable faces wearing their products instead of models to show who their target audience really is.
Developing a social media strategy that includes the engagement of your customers either by leaving feedback and reviews on your products or having an open line of communication with them for help desk concerns can improve your products’ visibility while promoting good relations with your brand’s credibility.Mistake #2. Using the Wrong Product Alignment https://kristindigitalrhetoric1102.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/design-principles-alignment-and-contrast/
One of the many design elements that’s integral to your pages is how your product is presented. Not knowing how to align your products could lead to losing your potential customers in the process of navigating your pages. Though creatives make use of asymmetry as a stylistic choice, it could work to your disadvantage if it’s not incorporated properly into your design.Solution: Know the Direction’s Purpose
Surveys conducted on user experience show that vertical alignment is more connected with different categories of products from top to bottom while horizontal alignment is attributed to more similar products from left to right. Know how to utilize your customers’ alignment preferences to work to your advantage in developing an easy-to-use product page.Mistake #3. Too much Text and Too Little Visuals (and Vice-Versa) https://www.slideshare.net/SherlockInk/12-top-mistakes-in-sustainability-communications
One of the many reasons why eCommerce businesses fail is because they fail to utilize the design elements of their page to their advantage. A poorly-designed user interface (UI) often leads to instances of online shopping cart abandonment. Being bombarded by too much or too little information such as block texts of unnecessary information or visually weak navigation buttons in your pages can lead to your potential customers losing interest with your product.Solution: Prioritize Faster Loading Times https://www.webalive.com.au/web-design-statistics/
Statistics for eCommerce store performances show that users access a site that takes too long to load are more prone to leaving it then and here, with over 32% of individuals losing interest if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. Using less bandwidth on your pages can be seen as doing more especially if you know how to manage your empty spaces. Optimize your product pages to be effective not just in desktop but also on mobile devices so that you may test the effectivity of restricting your design elements for faster loading speeds.
Poorly designed product pages often have too little or too much information on your pages. Poor scan-ability is the result of underutilizing white spaces and neglecting to include information that’s important to your customers such as:
Assessing your eCommerce store’s poor performance is best done by testing your product pages with your customers. Know how to build trust with your customers by allowing them to give authentic feedback on both your pages and your products. People who aren’t actively looking for known mistakes or bugs can give you a broader insight into what you need to improve on your pages.
The best way to lose your customers is by literally making them unaware of where they are on your pages. The importance of product page navigation design is critical as it will eventually lead to more sales. Your customers need to know how they can efficiently move back and forth from adding products to their cart or changing their payment options.Solution: Keep your Customers in the Loop
Have micro notifications that allow your users to conveniently move to and from your pages by giving pop-up notifications on what customer inputs they’ve left unfilled or by providing essential information such as shipping costs, similar products, and delivery times.
Beyond text and images, you should also utilize videos in your product pages. Product demos make it easier for customers to visualize and understand how to use what you’re selling by seeing it in action instead of using an essay to describe it. Make sure that your videos can be viewed even on mute by integrating subtitles or typography on it to make it more accessible for your customers wherever they may be.
Contrary to popular belief, most of the mistakes that occur on this list aren’t the fault of the product page designers. Unless you’re hiring a relatively new team of creatives to design your page, most of the blame can be pointed at your own requests and decisions. It can be difficult as a brand owner to admit that you’re not as equipped to deal with making creative choices, but being close-minded can lead to disastrous and costly mistakes.
The same can be said in reverse. If you simply keep agreeing with your designer without providing your own input, then the creative direction of your brand might be sidetracked to their preference and not yours. It’s important to keep an open dialogue with regards to the creative choices that are integral to the development of your brand. If you end up only looking for what you want, you might not be open to discovering what your brand needs. Make sure that you can put your full trust on your team, your vision, and your research’s data to develop the best design for your eCommerce website.
What did you think about our list? Did our top five items match with your own pet peeves? Leave a comment in the article below to share your thoughts on your own design tips and concerns.
It is a fact that the trend of B2B platforms is at its prime in the present era. B2B platforms currently are mostly seen participating in wholesale trades.
As with time, the business to business portals is also evolving greatly with the integration of advanced technologies changing the functionalities to be better compatible and more convenient for its users.
B2B wholesale platforms have proven to be incredibly useful in providing additional digital trading and branding features. As by these mediums, the outreach method to connect the seller with the targeted audiences have become relatively much for effective and efficient as well. B2B wholesalers have assisted numerous businesses around the globe to excel larger by reaching out to the local and international clients via a single platform.
There are a few major aspects of these B2B wholesale platforms that have strengthened startup businesses to grow and contribute to better stability for businesses. By offering these traits to them that are:-
Due to the market’s obsession to get acquainted with the finest B2B platforms so that they can use it to their advantage. That is to help them boost their business’s presence around the world. Highlighting every aspect of these platforms so that it is easier for everyone to consider which platform will prove to be of better assistance when associated with. The list in no specific order will comprise of the top global B2B platforms.
Here are the 5 fastest growing B2B platforms in alphabetical order:Alibaba
Alibaba is considerably one of the largest online markets that are residing. As a leading B2B Wholesale website Alibaba has been found to have a huge inventory consisting of every possible goods and product that may be required by a consumer. For quite a few years it was reckoned to be one of the largest marketplaces but with the ongoing competition and rise of the B2B industry, there have been competitors who could match up to Alibaba’s inventory but yet hasn’t been able to overtake it though.
Alibaba originated, in the year 1999. Since its initiation, it has been able to secure a vast international market by attaining customers from around the globe. Alibaba over a decade has been able to grasp customer, even more, to expand its horizons by providing qualitative and standard base services. It has grown to such extent by valuing and keeping the needs in mind of its customers such as providing multiple languages in customer support to international clients.
Alibaba is a B2B platform that presents versatile services. It was able to secure the highest calculated sales in the year 2019 while still having over 35 million users. Alibaba has been seen to distribute goods to numerous and various industries around the world. As it reserves a huge inventory with mostly wholesale products/ goods and they amazingly present them through striking seasonal discounts that trigger to the audience commendable well.
Amazon is an entity that nearly every person has heard of that’s how widespread this B2B platform is. Amazon is relatively quite different from the other platforms as it has a certain difference in it such as in its operations and marketing strategies. One of the prime reasons it has been able to dominate the wholesale online marketplace is due to its ability to provide premium delivery services with utmost customer satisfaction.
Since a very long all that one could speak of when spoken of B2B platforms like Amazon or eBay. Making them each other’s biggest rivals for years. The only distinguishing point that could be seen amongst them was their selling process which differed from each other. Amazon catered to its selling process to the best extends as it could rather than having adapted eBay’s unique auctioning selling procedure.
Amazon has strengthened its features to the highest possible reach out as it could. Since it is a B2B platform that doesn’t has auctioning of goods but certainly has a higher amount of wholesale goods and used items available for purchase for its users. Amazon is considered as one of the best platform used to sell bulk wholesale items and used goods.
eBay is one of the very first B2B platforms residing. It is an e-commerce platform which has surely been able to secure its spot in the competitive B2B wholesale platform. As it most certainly has had a long run for its money in regards to all the competition and advancements that have been encountered since the demand has simple grown ever since the trend of convenient wholesale bulk purchases via these platforms.
eBay has been able to maintain its compatibility against its growing competitions over the years by making the best of its better and innovative market strategies that assist in securing its position and adds up to its expansion. Even though most purchases made on eBay are generalized daily items such as clothing, jewelry, etc. but they also provide and consist of a much larger inventory comprising of a diverse range of goods and products.
The most unique and wholesale aspect of eBay is its distinctive style to auction goods. There this distinctive tactic is a key reason for their success and highly driven customer attraction. With daily consuming products and a wider range of goods such as gadgets and exclusive products eBay also offers wholesale based goods that help extend their inventory while attracting new and larger audiences.eWorldTrade
eWorldTrade has proven to be truly amazing indeed when spoken of how much it has accomplished over its relative short spam since initiated. It has attained a large market worth due to its extensive growth in regards to the wide-ranging product, service, and demand from customers. This all has added up to its reputation over the years. eWorldTrade has widespread out operations that are distributed all around the world even though it is based in the USA.
A crucial reason why eWorldTrade has been able to drive its sales to such remarkable heights is by presenting the most reasonable wholesale prices which have influenced the audience’s attraction towards it. eWorldTrade has mastered the art to provide its customers with convenient bulk services while not jeopardizing the quality of any of the purchases made. Being the only platform that can cater to every order placed no matter of how quantitative the order is and even then eWorldTrade ensures to deliver as committed during the initial correspondence.
B2B wholesale platforms are known to have a wide range and huge inventory but delivering the goods as promised while maintaining the quality is something the only eWorldTrade has been able to secure with the highest customer satisfaction rate. eWorldTrade has the latest most tech advancements as assistance that allows it to deliver the fastest most delivery services in the industry.Global Source
Global Source which is also referred to as GSOL. It is privileged enough to be one of the very first B2B platforms to be listed in NASDAQ. Global Source is most recognized for having a wide range of wholesale suppliers who are available from all across every industry. To this point, it is famously found to be of assistance to a business that suppliers are found paying minimal amounts to be presented as a verified supplier over the platform to attract higher consumers.
Global Source has a huge residing presence of suppliers available from which the most suitable according to requirement can be selected from. It consists of an entire dictionary that possesses various manufacturers and suppliers that are mostly based from china and are reputable B2B suppliers. Global Source has achieved numerous global acclamations and awards for its incredible services.
The evolution of technology today occurs at an alarmingly fast rate. Just within the last ten years, technology has grown, transformed, and is almost unrecognizable to what it was before.
Many would attribute that growth to the boom in the business, a technological gold rush if you will. With more and more tech startups on the market, more entrepreneurs are vying for their slice of the pie. Indeed, running a tech startup involves innovation and keeping your business a cut above the rest.
Entrepreneurs looking to build or even grow their tech startup are likely to come across challenges on the road to success. Managing a business often means juggling marketing, sales, and just about everything else at the same time. A lack of understanding on how to handle issues as they arise can send your startup to an early grave. Here are five challenges that tech entrepreneurs could face and how to overcome them.
Trends shift rapidly, especially in the world of technology. If your startup isn’t able to reach its objectives in time, you can lose out on a lot of profit. In a tech startup, the best thing to do is get back on your feet and try, try again.
“A faulty first step can cause entrepreneurs to remain idle too long or stop work altogether because they took that loss far too seriously. Doing this may only exacerbate the already negative situation. Therefore, entrepreneurs should know how to learn from their mistakes, adapt their business to the new circumstances, and move forward.” — Jeremy Pendercki, Marketing Specialist at WoWGrade writing service.
Solution: The only way to recover from a faulty first step is to be tenacious. You must continue to try and not throw in the towel until your business succeeds. Consider startups like Google and Facebook that failed and then restarted again after which the company finally took off. Know how to recover from failure and don’t give up.
When your startup finally takes off and starts to grow, it will all happen so quickly that you might get whiplash. To ensure the long-term success of your startup, you need to create a stable ecosystem for everyone to thrive within. That ecosystem includes infrastructure management, the company culture, employee requirements, and executive decision-making.
“Tech entrepreneurs should have well-defined goals for their startup and a clearly outlined company culture. They should also have a way to measure employee performance, as well as a plan to maximize and optimize employee skills.” — Maria Hernandez, Marketing Strategist at Supreme Dissertations.
Solution: Managing a startup’s ecosystem can be one of the biggest issues for an entrepreneur. One of the best solutions would be to find a mentor or partner who can guide the way. Entrepreneurs should also create a business and governance plan that addresses goals, company culture, decision-making procedures, and expectations of employee performance.
For your product or service to succeed, there needs to be a place for it in the market. Fortune listed the top reason for startups failing is that they developed products no one wanted. Tech startups will often struggle to incorporate their product into the market when it lacks tangibility. Consider that tech developments such as voice control and artificial intelligence still only have a minimal impact on the market. While they have plenty of investment and development, they aren’t entirely tangible yet, and that stunts their advancement.
Solution: Ensure that your product or service can incorporate itself well into the market. Conduct plenty of research and then conduct more research after that. Guarantee your product’s success by highlighting a need for it in the market. Avoid the intangible technology limbo by providing a product or service that people need and can use now.
Don’t think that it won’t happen to your startup, because bad money management runs rampant in the tech world. Perhaps you’re finally starting to see some profit from your product or service, the market looks good, and then all of the sudden crash. Starting strong in the marketplace doesn’t assure that your startup is in the clear. As income increases, expenses do, too. Tech entrepreneurs looking to stay in the black should keep an eagle eye on their money before it’s too late.
Solution: Avoid your startup going kaput by carefully managing your finances. Keep track of your profits and losses, don’t ignore your taxes, and always have a backup plan. If you aren’t confident in your ability to manage your finances alone, hire a financial consulting firm. Great ideas won’t save you from a loss of funding or bankruptcy.Finding Talent
In a startup, finding the right candidate for a job can be quite an obstacle. With all of the competition out there and the globalized nature of tech, hiring isn’t always easy. The reality is that finding the right personnel for the job helps the startup deliver on their promise.
Talent also helps with innovation, which is vital to the product and the startup’s overall success. More and more businesses are learning that sometimes the best person for the job is on the other side of the country or globe.
It is also imperative to identify the right situations to delegate projects such as content creation and marketing materials, rather that hiring an entire in-house team. There are now many products and services like Studicus and Grammarly that can assist you with writing and editing your marketing material.
Solution: Define your hiring process to ensure that your candidates can meet expectations and uphold the company culture. Don’t ignore what other tech startups are offering. Provide a competitive offer to any prospective employees. Last but not least, embrace the idea of working with a remote team. Startups that have a strong company culture and effective remote teams are more likely to succeed.
Tech entrepreneurs should also know how valuable writing and marketing is for their startup. Whether you’re writing a letter to possible investors or typing up a job listing, good writing makes a world of difference. Here are a few tools that can help you with the task at hand.
This editor app goes beyond spellchecker to check your style. With Hemingway you can organize your thoughts better and get your idea across more clearly and efficiently. Ensure that your writing is readable and easy to follow with the Hemingway app. While the desktop version costs $19.99, you can snag the app version for free.
If you’re a solo entrepreneur, this marketing app will be valuable to you. This app helps define your market niche, analyze competitors, find your target market, and explore advertising options. Marketing Plan App takes all of your information and creates a comprehensive, executive summary that you can digitally exportBack To You
There are plenty of possible pitfalls that come with the territory of being an entrepreneur. Although being aware and prepared for them can help you solve the problem when it arises. Even though startup success statistics are relatively gloomy, that doesn’t mean that your startup can’t be the exception to the rule.
Email marketing, as you’ll know, is such a big part of modern-day business.
Mistakes and bumps occur frequently – this can be due to not copy checking, missing links, and various other editing bloopers.
Fails are frustrating for both ends of the emails – even if we all appreciate that, as humans, we all make errors sometimes.
Mistakes and errors are great ways to learn – allowing you to overcome obstacles and create (nearly) perfect emails in the future.
Below, we’ve listed the top fails that every email marketing company endures – and how they can overcome them.Dear First Name
There’s really nothing quite as personal as receiving an email that says, “Dear </FirstName>.”
Not only does this tell the user that they’re just a small tool in your marketing machine, but it’s also highly unprofessional.
Email marketing is supposed to revolve around, making meaningful relationships with customers or clients. Sending out an email like this will push your audience away, making them feel like, well, a name on a list.
The best way to stop issues like this happening is by sending out test emails. This way you can make sure that your HTML all works fine.
Also, when you’re asking people to sign up to your mailing list, are you making it essential for them to give their names? Make sure there’s little margin for error or embarrassment.Spelling errors
This is an inevitable part of any company that works with writing copy. Of course, certain typos and grammar mistakes are inescapable, especially if you’re sending out multiple emails a week.
Double-check over your email copy, and make sure grammar is all up to standard. For example, an email from San Antonio read:
“Help Kids Enjoy FREE beer” – one little comma changes the entire message that this email is trying to depict. Always check your emails, use tools like Grammarly to make sure you’re sending out an email that won’t become a viral tweet.
Spell check might not always be your friend, too – autocorrect can make some embarrassing changes, so make sure it’s not changed anything without you noticing.
Read over your email a few times before sending it out. That’s the key to a faultless campaign.
If you aren’t ready to hire an in-house team of writers and editors, you can always take advantage of the available services and tools like Trust My Paper, Best Essay.Education, Grammarly, and Hemingway.Segmenting your audience
If you have a large mailing list, make sure that you’re segmenting your audience to an impeccable degree.
You may remember when Amazon sent out a baby registry email to thousands of people with no babies or no babies on the way. That was a big blunder that caused a little bit of laughter.
However, segmenting your audience wrongly can lead to some disasters. Certain audiences don’t want to receive certain emails, and it may push them to unsubscribe.
In fact, the National Client Email Report from the DMA in 2015, stated that 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns.
Make sure that customers or clients are updating their preferences, to stop them from clicking the unsubscribe button.The images don’t follow the rules
Certain emails just don’t look the way you want them to, once you’ve sent them out.
Various buttons and images will completely go rouge, and make your email look so strange.
This actually has cataclysmic consequences – if your customer opens up the email, and sees a jumble of images and buttons, they won’t stay on it for long.
Again, this can be solved with a simple test email being sent out to multiple different browsers and devices. This way, you can ensure that it all works the way you want it to.Don’t try to hide the unsubscribe button
As an email marketing company, the unsubscribe button might feel like your worst enemy – but you should never try to hide the button.
Every form of an electronic message is required to have an unsubscribe option, and it’s only fair.
Firstly, you could end up getting in a lot of trouble, which is never desirable and doesn’t reflect well on your company.
Secondly, if they can’t find your unsubscribe button, they might just choose to report your email for spam. When multiple people do this, it causes real problems.
Just make sure it’s nice and obvious. If people want to unsubscribe, for whatever reason, they should be able to without any issues.Fonts not displaying correctly
Email clients are very restrictive when it comes to what they may (or may not) render.
It’s frustrating because there’s a wide range of beautiful fonts out there, but you can’t use them all with emails. Sometimes, it just isn’t worth the risk too.
It all depends on the contact’s own device. This means it’s best if you stick to standard web fonts, so you can ensure they’re accessible to everybody.
If the font you have used isn’t on the recipient’s device, it will fall back to a web standard font anyway. This can cause your design to look strange for some people. You don’t have any control over what this backup version looks like, unfortunately.
“I strongly recommend that you always play it safe with fonts. The standard web fonts can make great emails, anyway. Don’t be disheartened if some obscure font you really like can’t be integrated or displayed in various email clients.” — Amanda Muller, an email marketing specialist at Grab My Essay.Ineffective subject lines
Did you know an average business worker receives and sends upwards of 121 emails every single day?
There’s very little chance that they will open and read every single one. They will, however, see all the subject lines.
If you have a cliché or boring subject line, they’ll delete without even opening.
Writing headlines and subject lines is a tricky art to master. It’s absolutely essential, though. The subject line is the difference between an email that’s engaged with, and one that isn’t.
Plan your subject lines carefully, and always make sure that you’re targeting the audience that you want to.
Emojis are a great way to communicate in business, believe it or not. This is especially true if you’re targeting younger generations.
Remember; what’s the problem you’re trying to solve or the main selling point?Offering no value
On the same note, with so many emails being sent out every single day – you have to provide your audience with value.
To begin, you have to build a relationship and create a level of trust with your subscribers. This will ensure that they will open your emails.
For example, if you’re a travel website – make sure that you provide your audience with a mixture of valuable information and promotions. Top 10 travel tips, The best rucksacks for backpackers, and the cheapest hostels in Bali are all great pieces of information, that can all be used as selling points.
Don’t give too much information, though. People don’t have the time or attention span to read through paragraphs of information. Make it short and sweet – with snappy, appealing links, and headlines. Give the power to the reader.Conclusion
With all these common mistakes and fails, it should all be seen as a learning curve.
There are multiple ways that an email campaign can go wrong – but avoiding these top mistakes will ensure that it happens much less often.
Failure doesn’t mean that you should give up. It simply means that you should keep climbing and learning. It’s a necessary part of creating the most successful email campaigns.
What mistakes have you learned from?
Storytelling has long been a standard tool in guiding UX design thinking.
While virtually every major software company has its own examples of story-driven UX, the most famous probably comes from Airbnb, where founder Brian Chesky used Disney’s Snow White to help figure out how to explain his entire product journey.
There’s no shortage of visual storytelling techniques & paradigms to include in the agile UX process – most, however, I find to be quite shallow.
A better approach than throwing “fiction 101” principles at a UX planning board is to consider one of the most fundamental modalities in storytelling: the Hero’s Journey.
Coined initially by an anthropologist in the 1800s, the Hero’s Journey describes a vague series of steps which typically define a great story. Or rather, the experience of a hero in a great story.
In cliff notes, the protagonist of a good story typically goes through something like this:
This is a bit of an abridgement, but this same pattern repeats itself in the biographies of all legendary fictional protagonists – typically sending the hero through several cycles of the hero’s journey.
Interestingly, the Hero’s Journey maps very conveniently as a design thinking tool with a product’s user journey. After all, the goal of UX designer is to take a user through the journey in the best way possible – what better way to learn how to do this from ancient literature?
The start of the journey – this typically happens outside of your product via some marketing channel.
This is the least involved part for a UX architect, but still requires some thought: how do you inspire that call to adventure?
What would have happened to Cinderella if she didn’t bother to hop in the carriage at all?
The greatest value a UX person adds to this step of the hero’s journey is in persona building – the more you understand your customer, the more you recognize what motivates him/her. That background isn’t just helpful for the entire UX journey, it inspires context in the rest of the product organization as well – starting with helping your outbound teams.
Once a visitor first engages with your product (which, in most cases, means visiting your website for the first time), the next step is actively choosing to explore it as a solution to their problem. This is where UX kicks in – it’s the designer’s job to be Gandalf, kicking Samwise through the door.
(Or, some less geeky example)
When a visitor comes to your website, you have a good 10-20 seconds to convince them two things:
Poor messaging, high friction & weak brand presence will all send the hero scuppering back to the safety of step 1.
You’ve convinced the user their adventure is worth embarking upon, so now the question is: what’s stopped them so far?
The next step once a user has decided their problem is worth solving is to explore your product as a solution. Before you can convince your users of that, you need to understand what their current unconquerable obstacle is?
In any UX dilemma, this pattern applies – your user has an obstacle they can’t solve, and it’s up to you to convince them you can give them the tools to solve it.
In less fancy terminology, this step of the journey is usually referred to as “onboarding”. At this point, the user is eagerly exploring your product as a means to solving their big obstacle, and it’s up to you to guide them through it.
This step, ultimately, is where strong User Experience is the most important. Your role as a designer is to play Mickey Goldmill for any warm leads entering your funnel and guide them through to getting the skills to beat the obstacle – a poor onboarding experience is entirely a UX problem.
In the hero’s journey, the hero abandons this step if the steps required to beat the obstacles are too difficult to make it worth it. Sound familiar? Keep your onboarding smart, tight & efficient.
Congratulations: you have an active user. Your hero has gone through the journey and beaten their first obstacle on the path to conquering their adventure.
Here’s the final kicker: the Hero’s Journey is a cycle. Every experience you build your product on will require every single one of your users to go on a journey to reach the end state – whatever you define that end state as (typically an “active user”).
Breaking every experience down into the Hero’s Journey offers a convenient way to see your user experience holistically. It often helps in realising what the current hitches in your user journey are.
For more help with your user’s hero journey into your product and becoming a success story, talk to Galaxy Weblinks UX experts.
The quality of your sales presentation directly affects the volume of sales you make. The more time, thought, and money you invest in creating a perfect presentation, the more conversions you achieve.
Sales presentations require a creative approach mixed with elements of surprise, personalization, high-quality content, and a bit of humor. Whether you’ve worked on sales presentations before or are tackling the task for the first time, you need some pointers.
We’ve collected the most useful methods of creating a successful sales presentation in this short article. Read on!1. Pay Special Attention To Relevance
Generic sales presentations are highly ineffective. Don’t make the same mistake your competitors often do. Make sure you focus on the subjects relevant to your potential clients. In order to do that, you have to invest time and money into extensive research.
Your marketing department has probably done part of the work for you defining the parameters of your target audience. Dig a little deeper to answer questions they may have and offer solutions they require.
Since not all your listeners are created equal, you may need to divide the presentation into parts to cater to all of their needs. Your pitch may be generic, but subheadings could be modified to fit each particular group of customers.
According to experts at PresentationGeeks, PowerPoint slides should contain focal points to convey the message to your audience. Stick to one point per slide.2. Get to the Point Quickly
The attention span of an average consumer today is about eight seconds. Your target audience is likely to be too occupied to listen to lengthy introductions. If you don’t manage to catch their attention quickly, your entire presentation efforts may be in vain.
Identify the key points of your presentation and get to them as quickly as possible. Make sure your listeners understand that you are here to solve their problems rather than overwhelm them with information.
Meanwhile, a strong introduction should exist. It’s an attention catcher, which should make the audience interested in what you are saying next. In fact, the first couple of sentences are one of the most important parts of your sales presentation.
It would be smart to invest a formidable amount of time in them.3. Know When to Stop
Knowing when to stop talking is extremely important to the success of your sales presentation. At some point, your audience is ready to buy your products. If you continue talking, you may scare them off. Too much information is never too good. So once points are made and questions are answered, hurry to end the presentation.
Your goal is to say on top of your game. Any extra information can push you off the hill. The overall point is to keep the presentation as short as possible. Try to stuff as much useful information as you can into as few words as you can.
You can start by drafting a large sales presentation. Allow your inspiration to work and pour words out. Then start compressing them into shorter sentences and throwing out unnecessary stuff. When you feel that you can’t make the presentation any shorter, cut it in half.4. Add Q&A Section After Each Point
Many presentations end with a Q&A section. For a sales presentation, you should add such sections after making each point. If you are addressing different problems, which can be solved by your products, failing to answer questions timely could spell disaster.
You can convert a client with the first part of the presentation, but one thing keeping him or her from making a purchase could be a simple question. Hardly anyone is ready to wait for the entire presentation to end to ask something. Most likely, the impulsive wish to buy will disappear. That’s why you have to make sure all questions are answered as soon as they arise.
Always listen to what the customer has to say. Don’t rush to the next point. A client who asks questions is interested in your product. Don’t let such prospective buyers off the hook. Never interrupt the listener or argue with the audience. You should have several phrases in your arsenal to get the presentation back on track.5. Make It Fun and Energetic
As the attention span decreases so is the desire to listen to something boring. Audiences may be willing to concentrate on information that could bring it money. But when you are trying to get them to spend money, it’s another story.
You have to keep trying to make your presentation fun. Which means you have to dilute your industry-specific information with jokes, images, animation, and the like. Look for relevant media to insert in your presentation. Some companies invest in custom-made videos for promotional purposes. You could borrow a couple of short ones from your marketing team.
Don’t stick to text and voice. Add some diversity to the presentation.
Meanwhile, you should train your voice to sound energetic and full of enthusiasm. Any monotonous presentation is doomed for failure. Run your presentation by friends and family to find out how you sound. Or record it with your smartphone to hear yourself speak.6. Believe in What You Are Selling
You may be surprised but audiences can feel falsity a mile away. You must believe that what you are selling can solve a problem. You should be ecstatic about your chance to share your products or services with other people.
Be genuine about your desire to help people. With such energy, you can sell virtually anything even if your presentation is not perfect.
To understand whether you are doing a good job convincing clients of your enthusiasm, ask someone who is not in your industry, to listen to you speak.
Meanwhile, make sure your speech doesn’t include “eh”, “ah”, “hmm” and the like. These interjections act as mood killers for the audience. Have several phrases ready to use when you are at a loss of what to say (for example, in a Q&A section).7. Pay Special Attention to the Format
No matter how amazing your sales presentation sounds, it should also look good as well. That’s why you need to follow several formatting rules.
A sales presentation should be catchy. Try to avoid too many words or too much text. Your goal is to grab the listeners’ attention and make a conversion. For that, you have to be enthusiastic about the product you sell while following formatting tips.
Creating an efficient marketing strategy always requires using all sources of profit. Integrating support into this strategy is somewhat difficult at first glance.
On the other hand, what place is better for building a positive brand perception? In 2018, 62% of customers contacted support. It is usually what people do the moment they need help. And providing some right away is certainly going to affect your marketing strategy positively.Image source: statista
No matter how much effort you put into writing amazing blog posts, recording engaging podcasts, or publishing awesome Instagram photos; if your support fails to deliver the expected, it’s all in vain.
So, how do you exactly integrate customer service into your marketing strategy? There are some professionally proven tips.Use Customer Support Automation
Personalization is always the best. However, as the numbers of your customers start growing, you’ll notice the lack of time for demos and calls. For example, being a startup with only 10 people, it’s hard to communicate with every single subscriber.
Just to be clear, we support the idea of customer support being as human as possible. It’s just that if you are not able to keep things that way, automation is a game-changer.
You can craft a long tutorial video and split it into one-minute parts. Then send it to all of your email subscribers once a week. This simple move will help you educate customers and save your support team from the hustle of explaining the same things over and over.As for marketing benefits, customer support automation is perfect. Take the described example of short tutorials. You can create text versions of those and insert calls-to-action (CTA) there. According to Campaign Monitor, a CTA button can help you get 28% more conversion rates. Regarding tutorials, this can mean more large-payment subscriptions.Image source: semrush
How hard is it to make a regular subscriber your brand advocate? The answer certainly lies somewhere in the follow-up and customer education phase. As we have mentioned in the previous paragraph, educating your clients helps save time for the support team and increase the number of paid subscriptions.
If your client asks something specific, answer that question immediately. And then send a concise article regarding the issue in a follow-up email. In this way, you will both educate your customers more and show them that you care. In the 21st century, people expect top-notch support and personalized approach.
The most important thing in this regard is planning all those actions and implementing them in your marketing strategy. Content creation, social media posting, and even live events should be deeply integrated into customer service activities. How is it done? Let’s dig deeper!Use Your Email Campaign the Most
With all the growing numbers of Instagram and TikTok users, people still prefer email communication the most. It is a simple yet boundless way to communicate and share any kind of information. Marketing strategy does involve the usage of the email channel. However, how often does a support team use it to promote the brand?
Customer service is directly involved in email communication. All the support tickets, payment confirmations, or any other kind of messages are sent via email. So, instead of writing plain text, let your support representatives apply more creativity.Use email templates
In terms of brand awareness promotion, consistency is the key. Thus, create email templates for all the situations. Include your company logo, brand colors, and social media links to it. Make sure your support team always uses these templates. It adds up to your professionalism and increases trust.Use email signatures
Email signature in modern marketing is much more than simple ‘Best regards.’Image source: newoldstamp
HTML allows adding any type of content to your email footer. So, use it for your best. Make sure your customer support team uses similar email signatures that contain the following.
Of course, it would take a lot of time coding all these with HTML yourself. Even if you have a developers team. One could argue that you can make an email signature with a simple visual editor. But it might make your emails get spam flags, as images are often treated like one.
If you want to make corporate email signatures that look the same and take little time to create/install, use an online email signature generator, like Newoldstamp. It has a simple editor and a powerful dashboard. These allow you to create a master signature with all the described elements (using ready templates from a gallery) and send it to your employees just for inputting their names.
In addition, the Departments feature allows creating different signatures for different teams. Marketers may want to advertise the recent blog post, and your customer team is better to include a demo scheduling banner in their signatures.
So, make sure your support team uses email signatures that clearly represent your brand and let people contact your company ASAP.Setup live chats
As you should make contacting your support as easy as possible, don’t forget about a live chat on your website. If your visitor finds something on a website difficult, being able to reach out for help from this very page is certainly going to increase customer satisfaction.Bottom Line
Customer service is the last link between positive brand awareness and clients’ satisfaction. If you set it up wisely, people will love addressing your support team. And your representatives will have an opportunity to promote your company (directly and indirectly). The trick is keeping things comfortable and simple for customers. This is our essential advice. If you follow it, you will be able to use customer service for marketing purposes.
Whatever your motivation for starting a website may be, chances are that one of your primary goals is to attract potential customers and ultimately – keep in touch with them and convert them into customers. In the marketing world, we call this process of obtaining data from an interested prospect lead capturing.
As a cornerstone of sales and growth, leads are the secret sauce to growing your customer base and increasing your business profit. Simply put, leads are potential customers that could be interested in your product or service. There are multiple ways in which you can generate and capture leads, and they are a crucial part of the sales funnel. Therefore, it’s no wonder that lead pages require extra attention and that each detail is a piece of a bigger puzzle.
With lead pages resulting in conversions and increased customer base, the interest in setting up a lead page vs a home page has skyrocketed, too. After lead pages have shown significantly better results than home pages in terms of capturing leads, many marketers have now switched to devising lead sites almost exclusively.
Most website owners set up intricate ways of generating leads once their website is up. However, what many seem to forget is that you can start capturing leads even before the launch! In this article, we will present some of the techniques that you can use to kickstart your lead generating process even while you don’t have a page ready yet.
The trick to capturing leads without an actual lead page is in developing a “Coming Soon” page that will ignite the interest of visitors and provide you with highly qualified leads.
While you’re working on making your website spectacular, you can set up a coming soon page that will let your visitors know that you’re working on something, even if you have just reset your site.
This can be a great transition period between the start of your development and the actual launch of your homepage. A Coming Soon page also has many other potential benefits that will help to establish trust between you and your early visitors and spark an interest in your brand in early stages of development.
With the Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode plugin, you can set any of the templates so that your website continues to work wonders for your marketing even when it’s not up yet.Set up lead-capturing forms
If your goal is to collect data from persons and businesses that might benefit from your services, a call-to-action form to sign up is the best way to start.
Make sure you include how the user will benefit if they share their personal data. This can be in the form of a discount for email subscribers, for example.
On a Coming Soon page, you can choose from some of the templates that contain a lead-capturing form. You won’t need any specific technical knowledge to do this and you will be able to quickly transfer your leads to whichever CRM platform you’re using.
A Coming Soon page is a great way to test out the performance of a call-to-action page or a lead page, without burdening your brand and reputation with too much experiments and uncertainty.
Just like with all things related to website performance, the number 1 thing to do to know that you’re going in the right direction is to perform A/B or multivariate testing of different form options. You can do this by using Google’s Optimize tool and see what option works best with your visitors.
After one of the 2 or more options proves to be more successful, you can automatically clone it to your new lead-capturing page.
Most website owners tend to rely on email newsletter sign up forms as the safest bet for hot leads. However, there are many other unique and fresh ways that you can come into contact with your visitors and customers and turn them into qualified leads.
Some of the most popular ones include:
Remember to be unique, hard to forget and thought-provoking: this is the best recipe for capturing the highest number of leads!
Being productive doesn’t have to be rocket science. However, if you’re not using tools that empower your team, you could be creating more work for yourselves.
The key is a collaboration, and unfortunately, a lot of classic workplace software doesn’t lend itself to this.
I speak from experience: I’ve been in workplaces where we were all siloed in our own apps and workflows, and having traditional email and document tools only compounded the problems.
In this guide, we will go over some collaboration-based tools that can help teams in any industry, with any project management style, work more efficiently.
If you need to organize a lot of tasks, share files, or plan projects, spreadsheets might not be the first thing to come to mind. However, Airtable offers a fresh and modern approach to the classic spreadsheet. In Airtable, each piece of data becomes a “record” that you can expand and interact with, and team members can easily access, comment on, or even upload files to a record.
Airtable allows you to assign records to collaborators as tasks, so it doubles as a project management system. I’ve worked in places where Airtable was a hub for editing copy, sharing photos, and planning assignments. Airtable integrates with Box for document sharing.Pros:
Distraction is the number-one killer of productivity, but it’s more likely to happen if you’re having to check multiple apps for project files. Brief solves this problem by keeping messages, files, and tasks all in one place.
Brief allows team members to organize around activity hubs, rather than forcing them to keep track of project files in multiple places.Pros:
If you find that all your time is being taken up by drafting messages, Chanty is a good solution for you. It uses AI to help you communicate with your team and stores all your messages for easy access.
Chanty also offers voice calls and integrations with other apps so that it can become a central communication hub.Pros:
Although its name suggests that it’s simply a file sharing service, Dropbox offers easy, reliable storage solutions. Even better, it enables collaboration by allowing team members to comment on files. One of its tools, Paper, allows cloud-based document creation and management.
Dropbox is available across platforms and devices, so you’re never far from your work. It’s essential to people in communications- or design-oriented offices.
Evernote started its career as a notes app, but its collaborative power lies in its lesser known features, such as its “work chat” that allows team members to quickly share notes or files. Evernote permits you to attach PDFs, Word docs, tasks, and reminders to any note, so it can be used as a project management system. I’ve used it to work on drafts with editors, create shared to-do list, and share meeting notes with team members.
Evernote offers desktop, mobile, and web-based apps so that your work is always synced and ready to go.Pros:
Flock is primarily a messaging tool, but allows collaborators to organize chats by channels that can be tied to certain projects or teams. It also offers video calls and screen sharing to help facilitate remote collaboration or communicate with clients.
Flock also offers tasks, notes, and reminders, and so it can double as a project management app.Pros:
For programmers, few apps are as useful as GitHub. It allows collaborators to comment on code, create “forks” into new versions, and propose or roll back changes.
GitHub is also a robust project management system that allows tasks to be assigned and files to be shared among teams. The GitHub community includes a knowledge base and forum to help collaborators grow their skills.Pros:
I’ve worked on a lot of teams where video projects were common, and it was always a pain to share super-large files. Hightail is a great way to get the latest footage or draft to your collaborators because it also allows you to gather feedback.
Even better, you don’t have to download space-hogging files to your hard drive; Hightail allows you to review them right in your browser.Pros:
Teams is Microsoft’s solution for collaborators tired of swapping Word documents or PowerPoints through email. This comprehensive app combines work chat, video conferencing, and file sharing to help streamline the collaborative process.
Even better, Microsoft Teams allows people outside your team to join virtual meetings, which makes it a great way to communicate with clients.Pros:
Slack is a communication app with a twist: it allows you to form channels to help organize messages, but it also uses bots to send you notifications, automate communications, and create polls. The Slack App Directory provides bots to help transform Slack into a project management system. Slack also integrates with a variety of third-party apps.
Most importantly, Slack allows you to break out your messages into threads and share large files. I’ve been amazed by how quickly Slack can share even video files that are several minutes long!Pros:
Trello is a task management system at its core, but it facilitates collaboration by allowing commenting and file sharing. Its large directory of “power ups” allows you to integrate third-party apps such as Evernote or Dropbox and expand the functionality of its “cards.” In my experience, Trello is great for Kanban project management but also for mood boarding and digital content management.
To help keep your team on track, Trello allows you to set due dates for any card and set up email reminders.Pros:
If you’ve got remote team members or clients, face-to-face meetings can be challenging. WebEx offers fast, high-quality video conferencing and screen sharing to help you all stay on the same page.
The tool also includes chat and file sharing options.Pros:
At first glance, Wunderlist seems like a simple to-do app. However, I’ve discovered that it offers a remarkable way to collaborate: it allows tasks to be assigned to team members, and you can attach images, documents, and notes to any task. You can set due dates, recurring tasks, and reminders.
You can create unlimited shared lists, and you can add hashtags to any to-do to provide yet another way to organize them. For example, I have shared lists for different teams, but if I want to see all graphic design-related tasks, I simply click on the #graphicdesign hashtag.
Zoho includes a huge number of apps for any business. Its core functionality includes its email, which integrates with its task management system. It’s great for team collaboration because it allows you to share emails by simply tagging team members. You can also annotate emails or turn them into tasks.
Zoho also includes video conferencing, code collaboration, and client management tools.Pros:
These tools blend different technologies and methodologies to offer your team a seamless experience that can facilitate collaboration. Most are cloud-based or offer cross-platform or web apps so that your team and clients can be on board no matter what device they’re using. And best of all, they all enable quick file sharing, messaging or commenting, and synchronization to give you peace of mind.
Over 2 billion people use Facebook and 1.5 billion checks in with their feed every day.
So, if you’re looking for a big pool of potential customers, this global social media powerhouse has you covered.
Not only is Facebook one of the top online sales channels, but success on social media also feeds online success overall. And businesses know it.
A solid Facebook presence boosts your online authority, which top pundits believe to be one of the most important search engine ranking factors. The higher your authority, the better your business will rank in search results. So, how can you harness the power of Facebook ads? In this post, I’ll show you how.
What is the online authority?
You can think of online authority like the internet’s version of ‘word-of-mouth’. The more people are talking about you, interacting with you and sharing what you have to say, the more ‘authority’ search engines assume you have in your area. Meaning, they’ll bump website, articles and other media with your name on up the SERPs.
Put simply, authority-building is part of brand-building. The stronger your online presence, the more recognition, and association you build for your brand.Types of Facebook ads
If you want to take advantage of Facebook’s advertising power, you need to understand the available options. Facebook offers a truly dizzying array of ad types, so here is a selection of the most applicable to authority-building. These ads work because they do one of the following:
These simple ads promote your website and direct traffic to your chosen landing pages. They’re used to drive sales, subscriptions and other conversions. But you can use them to direct your Facebook followers to your best content and promote backlink opportunities.Video ads and multi-product ads
Video ads and image carousels (multi-product ads) take advantage of people’s strong preference for multi-media content. You can add links to landing pages (see above) or back to your Facebook page to bring in more likes.
You can boost any of your Facebook posts. Boosting promotes your content to specific audiences, which you can choose down a person’s job title. Facebook places the word ‘sponsored’ on the post, which is visible when it appears on your target’s wall. These ads are best at encouraging page likes and shares.
Facebook places these ads using dynamic algorithms ads based on people’s past engagements with your website or page. They’re great at directing people from your Facebook page to your website.
Page like ads are pretty self-explanatory. If you want to increase the number of pages likes you have, use these to target the audiences you think are most likely to ‘like’ you.Define your audience
To get the most out of advertising, it needs to be targeted. Using the ‘custom’ function in Facebook’s Audience Insights tool, you can work out what kind of people are most likely to interact with your ads.
The simplest method is to search for people who ‘like’ one of your main competitors and view a summary of their statistics. For example, are they mostly female, ages 25-34 and follow a lot of pages about famous internet cats? Or, are they 55-70-year-old retired campervan owners?
Using Facebook’s audience insights feature, you can find out what devices your audience use, what countries they are in and how often they log into the platform.Target influencers
To build your online authority fast, you need to generate backlinks from industry influencers. According to search engine logic, if the big guns are talking about you, you must know what you’re doing.
If you want influencers to link to your content, you need to get it seen by them. To do this you could:
Boost your popular posts
There’s no point paying to advertise something half-baked. Facebook’s ‘boost post’ ads allow you to build your following and get more traction from well-performing content.
Target fresh eyes and new audiences with Facebook’s Page Insights function, which identifies your most popular post and give them a boost. Alternatively, use the Insights function included with most good website builders to find your most popular on-site content and post/boost this through Facebook.
When boosting posts, make sure you:
Start a conversation
You might think your role ends once you’ve picked and paid for the right ad type. Not so! Interaction builds authority. It’s rarely enough to push out a post and let it lie. Always interact with commenters on your posts and on the website landing pages you’ve directed to from your content.
People are more likely to follow links, convert and interact with future posts if you show that you care whether they get involved.
To sum things up….
Much to the disappointment of many a small business owner, there’s no quick fix for successful authority building. But luckily, getting your business noticed with Facebook ads will give it a big shove in the right direction. By following these simple tips, you’ll start climbing up the ranks and rein in the SEO benefit in no time.
The whole world is passionate about productivity. All of us are looking for tricks to get work done effortlessly.
You must be a busy person! In spite of having the ability to get dozens of mobile apps, you merely wish to install the best one. The issue is you aren’t confident which one is the best. Several online blogs showcase similar applications, and at the time you install a few of them, you discover yourself messing your mobile phone with mobile apps you never use.
Now, you may be thinking about the solution, aren’t you? Thanks to the App Development Companies out there who are continuously working on bringing dynamic apps. Yes, to fight against all these problems, you should install only those apps that are going to aid you to become more productive.
The reality is no application single-handedly is going to assist you in becoming dynamic. If you actually want to succeed, you need to develop the precise approach and grow to be determined with your objectives.
Today, in this blog, I am going to give you a list of some of the incredible apps that can help to make your business prolific. So, let’s not just waste any time further and get started.Boost to Your Business Productivity Now! GoCo
For small organizations, HR could be an unexplained thing. It’s multifaceted, complicated to navigate, and quite often packed with formalities. If you are working in a startup, you may face difficulty in dedicating the headspace, as well as personnel, which are mandatory to execute a grand work. Here, the good thing is the availability of all-in-one platforms to aid you to fulfill your organization’s your requirements.
GoCo.io is a tool that shifts human resources, along with the advantages to the cloud, reorganizing employee offboarding and onboarding, advantages administration, compliance, performance management, and document management.Gusto
Previously famous as ZenPayroll, this tool has the aptitude for turning your tiny business’s benefits, payroll, and tax process simplified. Gusto app is useful in taking care of the entire onboarding paperwork. Moreover, it even manages the report that you need to carry out while you create a new hire. The tool is a one-stop solution that takes care of the centralized, local, and state tax filings; mails paystubs to the employees; and formulates subtractions for advantages and workers’ compensation in an automatic way.Goodhire
For expanding your small business or startup, it is quite paramount to add the right and efficient people in your team. The trouble is that there is much that can move into that procedure: from reference & employment verification to pre-hire talent examinations, there is a lot, which you perhaps would like to know about somebody before you choose to carry them on your group. This app assists you to find it all through simple a few taps on your system and gets the whole thing back to you within 24 hours.Freshbooks
While you will discuss the matter of payments, relying on your organization model, there could be substantial official procedure amid the time you get the work done and when you really get salaried for it. Tracking and managing invoices could be a big order; however, luckily, Freshbooks can help you out in this. It is possible to create the smooth and official invoices effortlessly, accept credit cards on your phones and set up persistent invoices for your customers through this productivity application. Moreover, it features profit and loss statements, investment-tracking and business report creation to aid you to reside on the peak of all you necessitate for remaining your commerce running efficiently.Intercom
The reality related to the user service is that wherever and whenever they have an excellent experience, it turns out to be their current baseline anticipation for the way they’ll be handled elsewhere. Astonishingly delightful and positive communication with users is progressively becoming a unique point for businesses.
Intercom makes use of an amalgamation of live chat, education, and more to build it simpler for your small business to connect and communicate with your users. As a result, you can keep your focus on resolving issues before they begin and ensure that your organization is changing users into fans.SalesLoft
You must agree with me when I say that your business relies on your aptitude to figure out and triumph more users. The app, SalesLoft can aid, with tools developed to boost the efficiency and competence of your sales. Moreover, you can build robust associations and get a better insight into the requirements of customers. This innovation is designed to aid your sales team in providing higher value and earn clients for life.Trello
With a team, no matter how big or small it is, which you can lean on assists you to get more work done in a restricted time. However, that’s not all! You have to devote more time in handling people, as well as keeping projects and deadlines systemized. In case you are messed up between slack, emails, and tracking files, it is tough to comprehend where to move for the precise image of what requires to get done at what time. In such situations, you can use Trello, which is a team, as well as task management, platform. It helps in keeping track of jobs as straightforward as feasible. Structure projects, centralize interactions and get works verified like never before.Pushover
If you want more than one system to access your organization, Pushover can prove to be a gamechanger for you. It is competent to keep all your moving sections coordinated and connected. It combines all your push texts for your every device into a single space, allowing you to get a hand on everything, which is occurring with your commerce at once.RescueTime
Have you ever felt that a day simply got away from you? There is an important task that you need to complete; nonetheless, you require to handle all your morning emails, edit the project that you have delivered the previous day, and before you get an idea how to do it, it gets afternoon.
RescueTime be capable of helping you to get a grip on where the entire of your time is going away with the help of following where you expend it, forwarding you comprehensive information and facts to provide you a complete depiction of the way you used up your day. Don’t forget that you can’t make evolution on a thing till you begin calculating it, thus proffer it a chance.KinHR
KinHR is an excellent application for competently organizing all the HR everyday jobs and duties that are going to appear as you go on expanding your organization. It is useful for companies to enhance employees’ retention, as well as the well-being in the workplace. Besides, the tool is easy to set up and available to organizations of any size.
Procrastination, distractions and mishandled time all are acting like a big hurdle into our capability of being productive. Regardless of your work ethic or traits, you may face some of the other issues. These are some of the great and must-have productivity apps that can give your small business or startup a new life. Consider them as gracious fragments of expertise that can noticeably perk up your aptitude to work proficiently.
In short, productivity applications are utilities that not merely impact your work’s excellence, but the period you expend from work. After all, in this competitive world, who doesn’t wish for spending less time in mulling over to be more fruitful?
I hope this blog will help you out! Also, what do you think what other applications or tools should be included in this list? Mention your suggestion in the comment section below.
Instagram has become a hotbed for brand marketing, and it’s easy to see why.
It boasts of massive engagement rates compared to its competitors Facebook and Twitter. While those may have 0.5 to 1% engagement, Instagram’s is 4.21%—no other social media platform currently comes close. With 500 million users on the platform daily, this can translate to millions of people seeing your content and interacting with it.
However, with Instagram’s updated algorithm focusing on user activity first and foremost, organic reach among brands took a nosedive. As it stands today, an audience that doesn’t interact and doesn’t engage with your brand is a marketing no-go. You’ll be relegated to the bottom of their feeds if you can’t get people to participate. Likes, comments, views, and clicks—these are the metrics you want to increase.
This is actually something of a blessing in disguise. You might have a smaller audience than the big brands, but a committed userbase that actively wants to connect with you on a regular basis is much better than a large, passive audience.
When you have people actually coming to you and becoming involved with your content, you’ve got something most companies can only dream of: brand loyalty.
Motivating people to become loyal to your brand doesn’t come easy, but it also doesn’t need to be expensive. Before you take out your checkbook and spend capital on a big marketing push, there are a ton of ways you can increase your Instagram engagement right now—you just have to work at it. Today we’re going to show you just how to come up with content that plays to the algorithm’s strengths and grows your Instagram followers.Optimal Hashtags will give you optimal results
We’ve all seen them—posts where the caption is filled to the brim with hashtags. Sure, some accounts will try to hide the captions with a ton of spacing, but users have become savvy to these kinds of tricks.
Yes, it’s true that posts with hashtags receive greater engagement. When you decide what to include, you’ll want to be broad enough that you reach a decently sized audience. But there are caveats to this. A shotgun method to get your content on to as many pages as possible simply doesn’t work in our experience. Instagram engagement doesn’t grow by random chance.
On the other hand, if you create an entirely new hashtag that nobody even follows and hope that people pick up on it, the likelihood of your audience increasing basically drops to nil.
Striking a good balance between wide reach and relevance is a tricky job, but it’s definitely doable. The most successful brands on Instagram are able to do it on a regular basis.
The key? Don’t go overboard with the hashtags. Engagement is at its highest when brands add nine hashtags to their posts, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Making sure that each hashtag is relevant and targeted is the other.
There are tons of lists of the “top” hashtags to use, but do you really need to add #love or #coffee to every post? Unless you’re actually in the coffee business, you probably don’t. It’s fine to have a niche and to use that limited audience to the best of your ability.
Instagram already makes it easy to find out the reach of any hashtag through the search function, as well as any related hashtags. Use this feature wisely and you’ll not only have a better chance of actual activity from these feeds, your post will appear much more professional.
Users are incredibly sensitive to brands that try too hard, so the less spammy your posts feel, the better. Give them content that’s actually relevant to the hashtags they follow, and they’ll easily reward you with likes and comments.Your need to step up your Instagram story game
We all know just how big of a hit Instagram stories are. According to Instagram, stories aren’t affected by their algorithm, so posting more will get your content seen by the most people.
But there are some drawbacks to this approach. We’ve seen brands almost completely forego posting to their normal Instagram feed, which in itself is a losing game. Ephemeral content is great, but it’s just that—ephemeral.
There needs to be content that a user can peruse at their own leisure. So, the question is, what do you post more of? Stories or traditional posts?
We think there’s no reason to choose between the two. In fact, you can use your stories to boost Instagram engagement on your normal posts. Share a story when you’ve put up a new post, and try to get some of that audience on to your traditional feed.
One other thing you need to do is to start using Instagram stories stickers.
With a minimal amount of effort, you can get people participating in your feed. Our favorite is the quiz sticker for increasing Instagram engagement. But the hashtag stickers (just make them relevant, as we said before), location stickers, mention stickers, question stickers, etc. are all great as well. Just don’t go overboard and try to keep a visual aesthetic that’s consistent with your branding.
The best part is that by asking for users to actively engage with you instead of just presenting content, you open the possibility for future engagement. Someone browsing your stories and answering questions is much more likely to like and comment on your traditional posts.Captions can be the beginning of a real conversation with your audience
While it’s true that Instagram is primarily a visual platform, that doesn’t mean you can completely forego meaningful captions or quotes with each post. All too often you’ll see text that’s either simply a description of what’s in the image, or no caption at all.
Why is this such a big deal? Because one of the key factors that Instagram’s algorithm takes into account is how long people spend looking at each post. That’s not to say you need to take up the whole 2,200 character limit for captions, nor should you waste people’s time in an effort to bump up your numbers.
What it means is that opening a conversation in your comments section is one of the best ways to get Instagram users to stick around, and gives Instagram a reason to put you at the top of user feeds.
Doing that with a meaningful caption and a message that users will feel compelled to think about is one of the best ways to do that.
However, there are some things to remember before you produce your copy. The caption can’t be too long, as Instagram isn’t made for long-form content. It also can’t be just an endless sales pitch, because your audience is sensitive to that. It needs to be relevant to both the image in the post, and to your overall Instagram marketing strategy. Lastly, it has to give your followers a chance to respond with their own opinions and ideas.
Ask yourself: what are we trying to say with this post, and what kind of story are we trying to tell?
It seems like a tough job to keep all that in mind when writing each post, and it is. One way to simplify it is with a call to action. A good call to action will give your audience a reason to interact with you and with the community you’re trying to foster.
A call to action doesn’t have to be complicated. Asking users to tag others who might be interested in your posts, or even just asking them their opinion should be enough.
One last thing—reply to as many of the comments as you can. This is the nuts and bolts of engagement! Each reply will make users feel like you’re really listening to them and really care about what they have to say. Don’t pass up that opportunity to make an impact and build brand loyalty.Be consistent with your visual aesthetic
Instagram is, first and foremost, a visual platform. Studies have shown that the best-performing brands on Instagram use consistent filters for their posts. That makes sense, as it’s the brands with the strongest visual aesthetic and the best sense of what they’re trying to achieve that meet success.
So, can you just choose a random filter from Instagram’s offerings, slap it on every post, and call it a day? Of course not. We’ll have to be a bit more judicious than that.
The first step is identifying your brand’s message and figuring out what visual style will go best with it. Once you know that (it’s really the hardest part of all this), you can choose a set of three to four filters that fit each mood you’re trying to create in your posts.
If the premade filters available on Instagram don’t work for you, then you can easily choose powerful third-party photo and video editing apps such as Instasize, which allow you much more control.
The key takeaway here is that consistency—from brand message to Instagram filter—will reward you with increased engagement. People will like sticking around on your profile if your feed looks good!Let your audience see the human side of your brand
When was the last time you followed a brand that was nothing but product shots? Maybe in the infancy of Instagram that would’ve worked for brands, but nowadays users are expecting much more in terms of the content that you produce. Your account won’t grow Instagram followers if all you are is a glorified shop page.
Letting your audience peek behind the curtain, so to speak, is a great way of humanizing your brand and getting people to relate to you.
Behind the scenes videos, employee features, and even Q&A sessions are all easily doable through either posts or Instagram stories.
The question sticker on Instagram stories is one of the best ways to do this, as it allows you to not only answer questions from your followers, it also allows you to share their answers. This is great for building a community, as your followers can see that there are other people like them who are interested in your brand.
The only caveat here is that you need a social media team that is good at running these events and can really connect with your audience. They also need to be able to thread the line between professional and personal—as too formal a voice when conversing in the comment section can seem aloof and can turn off people from commenting. But if you can form and manage a team that can do that, It’s a small price to pay for real engagement.
Instagram engagement isn’t something that happens by chance—it takes hard work, consistency, and a willingness to communicate with your audience. People aren’t satisfied being passive consumers of content anymore, but you still have to give them a reason to reach out. Implement our tips today and we believe you’ll reap the rewards almost immediately.
It isn’t uncommon for designers and developers at agencies to clash when building a website — that is, if their collaboration process isn’t streamlined.
As the designers crystalize the look of the site’s front end, they could overlook the functionalities that the developers are hard coding on the backend of the site, causing conflict between the site’s functionality and design. And as the developers code the prototypes that designers have mocked up, they might misunderstand what the creatives had in mind for the way elements interact or resize at different screen dimensions, frustrating designers.
Sure, the convergence of software for prototyping and coding has made these dynamics less contentious than they once were, but software alone won’t solve all your problems. The potential for tensions still lurks, and conflict can escalate rapidly. This can lead to all sorts of problems for the agency manager, such as quarrels in the office, client complaints, missed deadlines, or subpar work.
When all is said and done, it all boils down to your team getting frustrated, your agency losing revenue, and your brand reputation getting smeared.
It’s precisely because of this that you need to streamline how your designers and developers collaborate. And to make that happen, you need to have a clear set of expectations – and the tools to implement them. Here’s the process we recommend.1. Set up SLAs and Project Wikis.
In the context of this discussion, an SLA (or Service-Level Agreement) is basically the commitment/agreement between your development and design departments. While there are several types of SLAs, we’re going to zoom in on internal SLAs, since we’re talking about improving how two of your organization’s teams collaborate.
The agreement contains what each party commits to deliver to the other and expects to receive from the other. It covers several components like the output that will be provided, the desired measurable quality of the output, the responsibility of each party, the repercussions if the service is not provided, etc.
SLAs are great, since they help ensure everyone’s expectations are aligned. The first step to creating an SLA is to have a meeting with both parties so they can hammer out the expectations and requirements. These can refer to technical requirements, such as file formats and specifications, or they can focus more on workflow and division of labor issues, such as turnaround lag times for various phases of projects.
With an SLA in place, both your designers and web development teams can operate with a level of autonomy, since they know what is expected of them, even without consulting the other department.
Now that we have the SLA bit cleared up, it’s time for you to set up your project wikis. Basically, project wikis are like central filing cabinets with truckloads of important resources that your team members can access any time. This is where you store your SLAs, standards, policies and project assets.
Whenever your designers or web developers are uncertain about something, they can revert to the relevant wiki to make sure that what they’re doing is well within the standards they established, and the output they’re producing is acceptable to the other department.
To help you put together your project wikis, you can use a documentation collaboration tool like Notion. The platform offers a free tier and it’s very easy to use. Notion has several templates your team can use for wikis associated with website build projects.
You can store your documents here so everyone can access them at any time. You can also set permissions for who can view, comment, or edit your files.
By establishing SLAs and using a tool like Notion to set up your project wikis and improve your collaboration, your design and development teams will have all the terms spelled out for collaborating more cohesively.2. All parties should work together from the get-go.
In most cases, designers have the first crack at creating websites for clients. They are the ones who do research into UX trends in the client’s industry, who create thumbnails and wireframes, deliver mockups, and refine these concepts with the client.
Once designers have finalized how the client’s website to look and function, only then do they hand over the details to the developers, and that’s when tech feasibility assessments and coding processes begin.
But the default workflow described above can be a big mistake.
The thing is, the plan that the designers came up with might have been awesome, but from the developers’ point of view, it’d be impossible to pull off. If not impossible, it’d be too time-consuming or costly, when pegged against the allocated budget or manpower hours for the website.
It’s because of situations like these that designers and developers should be collaborating from the get-go.
As the designer conceptualizes, the developer should also be there validating if the designer’s idea is feasible or not. That way, everyone is on the same page and everyone knows with certainty that the concept the designer came up with is doable – as part of the client-facing planning process.3. Use a teamwork-friendly production platform.
The same thing happens, no matter what. It doesn’t matter whether your team uses some kind of WordPress sandboxing solution, a prototype-to-production tool, or a dedicated multisite design platform to build out websites. At some point (hopefully quickly), the client will approve your plans, the prototyping phase will be complete, and it will be time to actually build the site.
Is the software you use for this optimized for efficient building of user interfaces and functionalities? Is its purpose primarily to convert file formats and hand off assets from designers to developers, so as to minimize the need for custom coding? Or is it more than that, a solution made for maximizing stakeholder visibility and scaling production processes over time?
Teamwork, after all, is an absolute must for building a successful agency. With a reliable website builder platform that allows for a more streamlined team collaboration, you’ll experience far fewer hiccups during your website creation process.
Duda is a web design platform for agencies bent on scaling business. It has a wide array of features for building websites, managing clients, and team collaboration. To improve how your team works together, Duda has an instant messaging feature that allows clients, marketers, designers, and developers to chat about the project from within pre-launch versions of the site.
Duda also makes it easy to customize page layouts, widgets, and even full website templates, all of which you can save to shared libraries so that your team won’t have to build things from scratch every time a new project starts.4. Hire a competent project manager.
Sometimes, the reason why your web designers and developers don’t get along is simply that they are managed poorly. Either the project manager is slacking off, or he/she just doesn’t know the psychology behind empowering people and building a cohesive team.
It’s important for your agency to have PMs who wield interpersonal influence over your designers and developers. This allows them to establish meaningful relationships with both parties, and even build bridges to help collaborations between the two-run smoother.
And so the question becomes, where are you supposed to find a reliable project manager? One who can gel your designers and developers together? While it’s primarily used for one-off gig work, Upwork could be a great place to find your ideal project manager.
The platform features literally millions of freelancers who can help you with varying tasks like writing, social media marketing, web design, web development, and… you guessed it, project management.
There are freelancers on Upwork who are tried and tested to produce exceptional work.
Just by looking at their job success rates and the amounts they’ve earned, you’ll have an idea of how seasoned and reliable the freelancer is. You can also view the feedback/reviews the freelancer has received from prior clients.
With a robust freelance marketplace platform like Upwork, it’ll only take you minutes to shortlist competent PMs.What’s next?
While it might be challenging to run a team of web developers and designers, it is not at all impossible. With the help of the right strategies and tools, you can pull it off swimmingly and be on your way to scale your agency to greater heights.
These days, video streaming has become an essential part of our daily lives.
According to a recent survey, the average viewer watches about 1.5 hours of video content on a typical day. 15% of people who responded to the same survey said that they actually watched at least three hours, often more. In fact, by 2020, video-on-demand is expected to make up more than 80% of all internet traffic.
Based on that, it should come as no surprise that 81% of businesses said that they were actively investing in video marketing— a number that was up from just 63% a year ago.
One of the great things about video — both as a communications medium and as a marketing tool — is that it’s malleable. It can be adjusted and shaped in a practically infinite number of ways depending on the marketing and business goals you’ve laid out for yourself. Online video can be an extremely powerful tool for businesses of all types to increase sales, brand awareness, reduce support queries and even increase customer retention and loyalty- all at the same time.
Forbes reported that 90% of customers say video helps them make buying decisions, and 64% say that a high-quality video makes them more likely to make a purchase sooner rather than later. Many people use video as their primary research tool before they make a purchase, or to learn more information about how to get the most out of a product or service once they’ve already invested in it.
According to another recent study, more video content is uploaded in just 30 days than all the major TV networks in the United States have created in the past 30 years. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why. Plus, you need to remember that we’re only talking about the marketing side of the conversation. Once you open things up to a discussion of creative, narrative fiction content, it’s crystal clear that video isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
But at the same time, all of this practically demands the question: if this is how far online video has come, how much does it still have left to conquer? We’re living in a time when it’s practically ubiquitous — people watch more online videos on their TVs via an OTT service, on their smartphones and their tablets than they do almost anything else. Is there still room for growth via a technique that proved itself more than “ready for prime time” ages ago?
The answer, as it turns out, is “yes.” There’s still quite a bit of ground to cover, actually.
All of this stems from the fact that video, as we know it, is still changing — and the advent of a new VOD platform on a regular basis was only just the start of it. People still want to watch the content they crave, whenever they want, from any device. The “why” of it all is as firm as it ever was — it’s the “how” that is breaking new ground right before our very eyes.
We’re quickly approaching a time when not just video but live video becomes the new norm. 360-degree videos, augmented reality and even virtual reality content will change the immersive nature of this platform, for the better and for all time. All of this means very good things for the ways that you’re able to connect with your target audience and, more critically, the return on investment you’re getting for the money you’re spending, to begin with.
In fact, there are ten powerful trends currently streaming across the online video landscape that you need to be aware of moving forward. Taken together, they paint a very vivid picture of the shape that the next decade or so of online video consumption will take.
Ecommerce is growing fast. In 2017, USA e-commerce sales grew by 16%, reaching $453 billion in sales (SaleCycle). From here, it is expected that it will grow to up to $4.5 trillion by the year 2020 (Shopify Plus) and by 2040, 95% of shopping will be facilitated by e-commerce (Nasdaq).
However, you cannot become successful in e-commerce just because you have an online store. You also need some marketing strategies to grow your store at a faster rate. In this article, you’ll learn some marketing strategies that can massively grow your eCommerce business.
It is important to understand e-commerce marketing before you employ any marketing strategy to your business. You need to know how it works so that you’ll know how each approach can help you succeed. Plunging in without any knowledge of e-commerce marketing will inevitably result in information overload.
You see, e-commerce marketing is different because you are selling on a digital platform. Unlike the old days where you have a brick and mortar store and customers go to your store to buy from you. E-commerce stores are situated in website hosts online, and people can buy from you with a single click of a mouse button. But there is more to e-commerce marketing than getting them to click. It is about facilitating user behavior so that they trust you enough to buy from you again and again.
With this, it is essential to start small. Look for a small group of people who will be interested in your products. Then, market your products to them. Once you get some traction, you should build your brand. You can do this through content marketing or by providing commendable customer service. From here, you should make a list of subscribers. These are potential buyers that can purchase from your online store repetitively.
What makes e-commerce unique is convenience. It is not only convenient for the customer, but it is also very convenient for the seller. While the buyer is able to buy products from the comfort of his home, the seller is able to facilitate orders without a warehouse and accept orders without a physical store. This revolutionizes the idea of selling, resulting in the fastest growing industry on the Internet.
In this article, you’ll learn more than just marketing methods. You’ll also learn how to prepare a brand new e-commerce website for selling. Hopefully, this will help you in promoting your brand and getting more traffic and sales to your online store.
STRATEGY #1: Get to Know Your Target Customers
Creating a successful e-commerce website starts with your customers. If your customers like your products and like your brand enough to buy from you, you will succeed. Ultimately, it is up to the customers to determine if they will trust you or not.
With all of the e-commerce websites online, it is important to know how to stand out. You need to give your prospects a solid reason on why they should buy from you. This is where branding comes in. For you to do this, you should get to know your customers first.
This is where creating a persona comes in. A persona is an imaginary entity that has the characteristics of the person that you plan to sell to. Aside from the primary motivations for purchasing, this persona also has demographic attributes like age, sex, location, and salary. Apart from this, the persona also has specific interests and hobbies. This fuels their goals and problems which you can come in and solve.
It may seem complex at first, but it is not that difficult. Think of it as creating an identification card for your customers. You have their names and their pictures as well as some details about them. But more than the basic details, you also know their behaviors and motivations and you use this to design your sales funnel.
How can you get to know your audience? You can approach this in two ways.
1 – Deduction
The first method is a deduction. This is for a brand new e-commerce website that doesn’t have any customer data. In this approach, you look at similar brands and look at their target market. You can see this through the website testimonials and mentions. From here, you can create a similar persona for your own brand.
2 – Observation
The next method is observation. In this method, you need to have some traffic and sales into your website. You will then use existing data to create your customer’s persona. You can get this data from existing customers, subscribers and social media followers. You can also observe them through their behavior and comments. This will give you a clue on their interests, hobbies and needs. You can then create a persona for your brand from this.
PRO TIP: Want to leverage user personas easily? You need to know how to trigger emotions. Most online purchases are done subconsciously with emotion as a major driving factor. If you can move a prospects’ emotion, you can get them to buy.
STRATEGY #2: Learn The Keywords That Your Customers Use to Find You
Keywords are not just for SEO. They are also for fully understanding your target market. Aside from this, it can also help you drive more traffic to your site through paid ads. So it is essential to know the exact keywords that your prospects use to find you.
One of the tools that I love to use for this purpose is Ahrefs. I am not affiliated with them but they have the best tool when it comes to analyzing keywords. It also helps in idea generation for it can give you more keywords from a seed keyword. Just ensure that you are using a keyword that has 2-3 words. This way, you’ll get even longer keywords.
PRO TIP: Ahrefs has an option to uncover medium and long-tail keywords that have 3-4 words per keyword. Be sure to select that option when you are searching.
From here, you can then look at Shopping Results in Google. These are the keywords that Google display products in. You’ll want to use these keywords so that your products will show up in the search engine results.
ANOTHER PRO TIP: Did you know that promoting an e-commerce or Shopify store through Google Adwords has a higher conversion than Facebook ads? It is because of user intention. While Facebook specializes in discovery, Google is specializing in bringing you customers who are on the verge of buying.
STRATEGY #3: Create Only Content That Gets Conversions
It is easy to get lost amidst all the marketing tips online. One website will tell you to create a blog and have tons of content while another will tell you to focus on creating a few for maximum search engine optimization results. No one is right or wrong. What matters is to create the type of content that your prospect loves. Every niche has a different target market. In some niches, having tons of content works better. In others, having less content is desirable. Aside from that, you should also consider the content formats. There are certain content formats that get maximum conversions and that’s what you will learn in this section.
PRO TIP: You have gathered some keywords from the previous strategy. You can use that in your content for search engine optimization. Just be sure to incorporate keywords naturally so that it can also aid you in getting better search engine rankings.
How do you know the content formats that will work for your business? It all depends on the shareable topics in your niche. For this, you will need to look at highly shared topics in your niche. Fortunately, there are some tools that you can use for this. There is BuzzSumo. This allows you to search for highly shared topics for any keyword.
The first thing you must do is look at the content formats. There are different types of content formats that get the highest shares. These are the in-depth guide, the list and the case study. It is important to not only look at these formats but also look at the other formats that are currently working in your niche.
From here, you should create your own content. It helps to look at top-performing content in your niche and ‘make it better’. So if there’s a list that’s performing quite well, you should create a longer and more detailed list. If there’s a curated guide, create a more in-depth guide. It is about creating content that provides more value to your prospects than the existing content. In Ahrefs, there is also an option to view the top content in a domain. You can use this to create a content marketing strategy for your business.
STRATEGY #4: Have a Referral Program
One of the fastest ways to grow an e-commerce site is to have a referral program. Brands like Uber, Airbnb, and Best Hunting Bow Labs did this with success. This is a system that allows website visitors and customers to refer family and friends to the website. Fortunately, creating one is easy. You can easily create one with referral marketing software. Thanks to the software, you can create a referral program without any knowledge of coding. Plus, you can manage all of your referrers and referrals in one convenient interface.
To create a referral program, you have to decide on a few things.
First, you must decide on who to reward. In every referral program, there are two actors. These are the referrer and the friend. The referrer is the person who promotes the program for you. He is in charge of getting as many people into the funnel as possible. The friend is the person that signs up as a result of the referrer’s promotion. This is usually a person who has a close relationship with the referrer.
The next thing that you must decide on is the reward. This can be a cash reward, a discount code or a freebie. Cash rewards work great if you want your prospects to take action. This is what PayPal used in generating millions of users for their platform. Discount rewards are more prevalent in e-commerce stores. This is because it doesn’t cost that much on the part of the website owner but it makes the prospects feel rewarded. Freebies are good if you have products in your extra inventory that you have to give away. You can give them out as a limited-time reward and give out freebies only while supplies last.
Once you have this, you can create the mechanics for your referral program. You can write this down and put it in your referral page. With referral software, you can set it up and it is ready to go. From here, you just need to inform your prospects that your referral program exists. You can do this by putting the details of your referral program in the announcement bar of your website or by emailing your subscribers.
BONUS STRATEGY: Influencer Marketing
Want an even faster way to grow your business? You can leverage the power of influencers. Getting influencers to promote your product is as easy as approaching them with free products and subtly asking for a review. You don’t need to pay them. You can just ask for honest feedback on your products.
PRO TIP: Is your brand becoming more popular? An influencer may have already purchased from you. It helps to follow up with an influencer who has recently purchased from your business to create a review for you. This is easier for they already took interest in your products before you even approach them.
Building an e-commerce brand is all about standing out amidst all the competing websites in the niche. The digital marketplace is open to everybody. It grants everyone easy access to an online audience who is capable of buying. However, it is not enough that you set up an e-commerce website. You should also know how to promote it. Promoting your website blindly will not do. You need a marketing strategy that works.
Need some inspiration? Take a look at our picks of the top digital marketing influencers to learn from in 2019.
When it comes to digital marketing, things are not as easy as they were before. In 2019, it does take hard work, unique ideas and a fair level of skill to be worthy of people’s attention whether it be online or in the real world. We compiled this list with the intention of inspiring and spreading these successful people’s advice. With that being said, here are our picks of the credible experts in the digital marketing field in alphabetical order.Here are 15+ digital marketing influencers
As a real pioneer for digital marketing as we know it, Ann Handley is easily one of the most prominent experts in this industry. She was recognized as one of the 7 people shaping modern marketing by IBM and is the first ever Chief Content Officer. She inspires people to be better content marketers by setting an example at MarketingProfs where she also manages content being written. ClickZ, one of the first digital marketing platforms was also founded by her. Aside from her work at Entrepreneur, Inc., Mashable, American Express and Wall Street Journal as a commentator; she is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of 2 books on writing amazing content which were translated into more than 15 languages.
Follow her on Twitter.
As the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable and the news editor at Search Engine Land, Barry Schwartz is the biggest search geek of them all. He founded RustyBrick, won the US Search Engine Personality of the Year Award in 2018 and Outstanding Community Services Award from Search Engine Land in 2019. During his career he has been the advisor for companies including Google, Yahoo! Search, Microsoft and many others. He participates in a number of search marketing conferences and expos like La Red Innova Madrid, Pubcon, Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo and many more as a moderator, coordinator or speaker. He also hosts the Search Marketing Expo of Israel.
Follow him on Twitter to keep up to date on what’s new in the search engine world.
Bill started in SEO in 1996 on an eCommerce site. He has since then worked on more than 100 major eCommerce brands. In 2006, he started the SEO channel at GSI Commerce (later bought by eBay) and is the founder and managing partner of Greenlane, an agency that specializes in SEO and PPC consulting and management. He also teaches at Jefferson University and writes all over the place.
He says if he’s unique, it’s because he has experience and has seen quite a bit.
“I would like to see a wider understanding that everything we do in search marketing needs to be considered an experiment. We have limited information from Google, in which most is open for interpretation. But what works for one site, may not work for another. So a culture of trial and error is important. Thus, a testing budget should always be included. I’ve yet to see a company in SEO who has been successful without welcoming the spirit of experimentation.”
Follow him on Twitter.
David Meerman Scott is a venerable business growth strategist, author, entrepreneur and public speaker. He spotted the real-time marketing revolution in its infancy and wrote five books about it including “The New Rules of Marketing and PR”, which has sold more than 400,000 copies in English and is available in 29 languages from Albanian to Vietnamese.
For 15 years, Fadhila is helping to grow brand awareness to large groups thanks to ultra-personalized support from public figures (executives, leaders, celebrities, and influencers).
Her mission is to accompany them to reveal their voice, to define a territory of singular expression, to re-enchant their social media presence and to harmonize all their speeches. (internal/external, physical and web)
Her activities have a twofold purpose: to spread the personal brand and that of their company or project to feed their respective reputations.
As a personal brander with a systemic approach and expertise in the support of change, she often proposes to her clients to create individualized courses according to the personality of the interested person including the stakeholders of the organization.
With Gareth’s knowledge in digital marketing and chatbots and constantly being innovative, Gareth has generated hundreds of qualified leads (400+) at the cost per acquisition of $1.98 via the use of Facebook Messenger chatbots. His other accomplishments include receiving personal press mentions in publications such as BBC News, Daily Express, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Reader’s Digest, Business Matters Magazine and many more which have skyrocketed social growth, brand presence and sales. He has generated a large following from sharing relevant content in the industry and his travels. With Gareth’s ever-growing knowledge in SEO, he’s grown various sites to thousands of unique users including his recent projects which received thousands of hits within the first months.Why do you think you’re unique?
“I’d say I’m very ambitious (working on my personal brand and earning money since I was 15) and always looking to improve my knowledge, but rather than just consuming media online such as articles, videos, podcasts – I go a step further and work on side projects to increase my knowledge and skill set. If there’s something I don’t know but think it’ll help me succeed, I’ll go and learn it, as I did with PR – self-teaching the keys to success. It’s worked as I’ve been featured in major publications.
For example, one project I’ve been working on is Revealing Britain – an online magazine that reveals Britain’s hidden gems and shares the latest trending and insightful content about travel, food and drink, entertainment etc within Great Britain. This is a side project to see how fast I can get an online magazine website out there generating a large audience and monetising via ads, partnerships and more. Within the first month, it had just under 1,000 unique users and within the second month, I’ve topped that and also had a successful partnership with Gatorade (Pepsi). I’m always keeping an eye out and looking for new ways to generate a larger audience, more sales and grow successfully.
My personal branding has definitely worked off as I was verified on Twitter 2 years ago when I was 20 which has opened up a lot more opportunities. There’s no stopping me.”
Jason Falls is a leading digital strategist, speaker, author and thinker in the digital and social media marketing industry. His strategies and ideas have touched iconic brands including GE Appliances, AT&T, Valvoline, Buffalo Trace, Humana, Rawlings, Maker’s Mark, Tempur-Pedic, Fireball Whisky, GM and more. Falls has been noted as a top influencer in the social technology and marketing space by Forbes, Entrepreneur, Advertising Age and others. He is the co-author of two books: No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing, and The Rebel’s Guide To Email Marketing.
Falls is also noted for founding SocialMediaExplorer.com, one of the industry’s most widely read blogs. He is a frequently featured digital marketing keynote speaker and has informed and entertained audiences on three continents and in eight countries. He has been behind national award-winning digital efforts for Jim Beam Bourbon (SAMMY Award) and the National Center for Families Learning (Its Wonderopolis was named one of Time magazine’s top 50 most important websites.) He currently leads digital and social strategy for Cornett, a full-service ad agency in Lexington, Ky. He loves the kick-ass state of Kentucky, sports and bourbon.What do you think makes you different?
“I’m a practitioner who focuses on driving results for clients all the time. A lot of the people on “top experts” and “top marketers” lists are speakers and authors and don’t really do hands-on work anymore. They’re personalities. And that’s fine. It’s not that they aren’t giving good advice. But I work at an agency. If I don’t deliver, I lose my job. Being a thought leader isn’t how I make my money, so I think that gives me a more practical, informed perspective than many others. That and I cut out a lot of bullshit.”
Jay Baer is one of the Hall of Fame keynote speakers, and motivates his audience like no other. With his current firm Convince & Convert, he offers marketing advice and counsel for some of the biggest companies in the world; since 1994 more than 700 companies consulted to his advisory. He has advised The United Nations, Caterpillar, Nike and 34 of the FORTUNE 500. Jay is also the author of 6 must-read books and has an awesome blog which is a must follow. He is the host of the Social Pros podcast, which had received the title of best marketing podcast in the Content Marketing Awards. Aside from these achievements, up to now, he had five different companies grown from scratch into multi-million dollar businesses.
Joe Pulizzi is the founder of Content Marketing Institute, one of the most renowned marketing education organizations. He’s the author of 6 epic marketing books including Killing Marketing and Content Inc. Joe has countless accomplishments in the industry and has been recognized as such on many occasions like the 2017 Cleveland American Advertising Federation’s Inaugural Industry Impact Award, Most Influential Content Strategist and Content Marketer of the Year by Lavacon, and the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award. He was the host of 2 podcasts and wrote for Entrepreneur and Inc. Now, he continues to present new speeches at various events also founded the Orange Effect Foundation with his wife, aiming to help kids with speech and communication disorders.
Larry Kim proved himself to be a leading expert in the industry as the founder of WordStream, one of the best tools for digital marketers especially for keyword search. He is also the founder and CEO of MobileMonkey, a tool for Facebook Messenger marketing. While millions read his blogs on marketing on a regular basis, he speaks at various events. Some of the awards he has won include Search Marketer of the Year from PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and the US Search Awards; and he has been voted the most influential PPC expert multiple times. He is also a columnist for CNBC, Inc. Magazine and Medium where he was ranked the #8 most popular author. An active social media user, he shares quality advice daily.
Leonard Kim is an author, marketing influencer and branding expert. He is the coauthor of “Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You for Greater Success” and has been named an expert in his area numerous times by Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur and AdWeek.What do you think makes you unique?
“What makes me unique is that when it comes to personal brand building, there are a lot of nuances that go along with marketing a person, such as cultural norms, stereotypes and perceptions from people that other experts often overlook when teaching their methods, due to most of them coming from a background of privilege. Being a minority and working with other people who can be considered minorities has helped me see the broader picture of how to integrate successful marketing campaigns where people stick out. Also, by having my clients lead with vulnerability and authenticity as opposed to touting themselves as the best, they are able to stand out and drive deep connections with their audiences.”
Mike Allton has been writing and teaching in the digital marketing space for over ten years, and has established a reputation as a prolific blogger. After serving as CMO for a number of years, he recently joined Agorapulse as their Brand Evangelist where he is responsible for managing relationships with dozens of key influencers and ambassadors.How are you different as a marketer?
“One thing that’s relatively unique about me is my focus on building relationships. For years I have been generous with my time and have striven to connect with and help other marketers without any preconceived notions or agenda. This has allowed me to create a wonderful network of friends and colleagues who, together, are willing to collaborate and work with me on any number of projects.”
Mike Schiemer is a frugal entrepreneur, digital marketer, social media influencer, and SEO consultant. He has contributed to content marketing and social media campaigns for dozens of multi-billion dollar companies and thousands of small businesses around the world. He has also bootstrapped several 6-figure businesses. He currently owns Bootstrap Business, Frugal Finance, Lean Startup Life, and 7 other profitable websites or blogs. He is the author of 2 books including “The $10 Digital Media Startup” with sales in 12 countries.What do you think makes you unique?
“I have a lot of actual experience in sales and management outside of the marketing industry. I’ve gotten excellent results for my clients due to my additional experiences working in the retail, non-profit, and fitness industries. That actual real-world experience helps when you are marketing real products and services aside from just software, online subscriptions, and unproven future technologies.
When I am marketing myself or another company I don’t just spend money carelessly. I am a strong believer in moving more cautiously and always maintaining profitability, which doesn’t seem to matter to a lot of marketers or companies these days.”
Neil Patel is the founder of Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, Hello Bar and QuickSprout, and probably the most visible figure in SEO education. He has been recognized by Barack Obama as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 30, and also as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by United Nations. He has helped many well-known brands such as Amazon, GM, HP and NBC with growing revenue. On his blog, you’ll find quality content about digital marketing with the motto “SEO made simple”, and he makes it easy for everyone to understand how it works. He also hosts Marketing School the podcast with more than a thousand episodes alongside Eric Siu. He makes videos on YouTube sharing advice about SEO, fully explained in detail with bonus tips.
Social media is Peg’s passion. And her job. She works day-to-day in the trenches of social media, marketing, and blogging with global brands and leaders in the social media sphere. She’s spearheaded successful social-media campaigns for Mercedes, Motorola, Audi, Canva, Google, and Virgin as well as having been a brand ambassador for Random House, Kimpton Hotels, Nestle, and Adobe Spark. Peg co-authored the best-selling book The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users with Silicon Valley OG Guy Kawasaki. Behind the scenes, Peg runs marketing and social media for a global brand putting all her skills into use while testing the latest strategies. In her spare time, she runs an award-winning social media blog at PegFitzpatrick.com, dreams and plans on Pinterest, and takes way too many photos for Instagram.How are you unique as a digital marketer?
“I actually manage social media for a brand vs many people who call themselves social media marketers but are really just posting for their own personal brands. There’s a big difference! Also, I work as a brand ambassador for brands like Random House and Kimpton Hotels so I know how the influencer piece of social media works.”
Best known as the co-founder of Moz and founder SparkToro, Rand Fishkin is easily one of the most visible experts in the SEO scene. He quit Moz (one of the most widely used SEO tools on the market), and is now active on SparkToro. Quality SEO advice can be found on his blog, videos and his book “Lost and Founder”. He also frequents marketing conferences and events all around the globe for a big fraction of the year. He has been featured in the Seattle Times, Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, BusinessWeek’s 30 Under 30; and Newsweek, The Next Web, the Inc has recognized him as an expert.
Ramon has started four companies and sold two of them. He’s a best seller author who has written four books, including “Celebrity CEO”, about personal branding for entrepreneurs. Ramon’s not only a global speaker, author and entrepreneur but has also interviewed President Obama in the President’s first live video chat and was with Ivanka Trump in India for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. As an in-demand thought leader, Ramon’s been quoted or featured in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Inc, and dozens of podcasts and radio interviews.How is Ramon unique?
Ramon’s specialty is that he knows how business owners can start and build their personal brand and become the Celebrity CEO to a niche market. It’s about being well known and having clients and customers wanting to work with you.https://www.ramonray.com/
Ryan Foland is a communication expert who is recognized by Inc. Magazine and Brand24 as a Top Digital Marketer and has been named a Top Personal Branding Expert by Entrepreneur Magazine. In his keynote speeches, online courses, and his new book Ditch the Act (published by McGraw-Hill), he helps business leaders learn how to market themselves by harnessing the power of vulnerability and authenticity to build better, more relatable, and more profitable personal brands. He is also known for his 3-1-3® Method, a discovery process whereby core marketing messaging begins as three sentences, condenses into one sentence and then boils down to three words. Learn more about Ryan at ryan.online.How is Ryan unique?
When it comes to digital marketing, Ryan Foland has a unique and slightly different approach, but that is why he showed up on our radar. His approach is based on the simplicity of messaging and of simply being you. A keynote speaker by trade, he has been recognized for his expertise in digital marketing when it comes to marketing people, which is most commonly known as “personal branding.” He believes that there is little difference between the online and offline worlds, arguing the utmost importance of being able to articulate the problem you solve, your solution, and your market, before setting off on any digital campaign. Ryan teaches companies how to empower their employees to learn how to market themselves as the experts they are (both online and offline). As a result, this increases the digital reach of the company through its employee’s social networks, which ultimately drives ROI. His work also spans from the corporate world to higher education. As the Communications Manager at the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at the University of California, Irvine, he is known for his work in successfully advancing the adoption of new forms of digital media across campus.
Sam’s been featured, linked to and/or cited as an influential figure on hundreds of websites including Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., and in Fast Company magazine. He’s worked with multiple renowned companies across the globe from the USA to France, and even as far as Israel — plus, Fortune 100 brands (Oracle, IBM) and also Adobe (within the Fortune 500). Sam went from unemployed, to working in marketing, to running his own business in the space of only 5 years; during that time, he progressed his career by obtaining greater positions each and every year before launching OPTIM-EYEZ and achieving the above accolades.What makes you unique?
“I’ve never advertised any of my services; I’ve always been dedicated to people and I prioritize relationships above all else.”
We hope that the advice and stories of the top players in the digital marketing game will benefit you in your digital marketing journey. We strongly believe that the inspiration from these successful people will give you the necessary boost towards your ultimate goal.
We’d also love to hear your suggestions and pieces of advice for all the others that are in need of some inspiration, feel free to leave your comment below!