If you offer a service that you sell online, you might be thinking about offering a course or a portfolio of courses. These courses can help you sell your other products and services, as well as offer a somewhat passive source of incremental income. There is a lot of upfront work that goes into creating your course. However, once you do that work, your course should only need to be updated when some piece of information changes or if your want to introduce a new concept or module.
When business is slow, it's important to take note of what may have changed recently (analyzing trends) and what was going on in your business last year at this time (year over year comparisons). Looking at the data can help you realize whether your slow down is a result of the natural progression of your business or the result of changes to your business or the overall market. If you're unsure about changes that you've made recently or about something going on in the market, ask your customers how they feel about those new services or the restructured pricing that you implemented.
Your customers and potential customers are a fantastic source of information about your business. Your customer surveys can help you measure customer satisfaction and learn how your clients and customers feel about your business and the experiences they have with you and your team. If you take the time to ask them, they will provide you with valuable feedback that you can use to make improvements to your entire business, from product and offerings to customer service and after-sales care.
Your customer should be at the center of your business and your marketing messages. If you take the time to identify your customer and create a customer profile (also called an avatar) that embodies your ideal customers or clients, you can create more directed messages that speak to that specific customer group.
This month, I closed up shop on my ready-to-build arts and crafts business, Twined. I truly enjoyed the work that I did on Twined, but ultimately, I could not keep up with the demands of running two companies. The decision to close my business was incredibly difficult and it took months before I was finally ready to let it go.
It took almost eight months from the time I decided to close the business until I finally took down the website. It was a lengthy process, but I was determined to leave our stakeholders with the best possible impression of the company in the closing process. I've watched other companies close and leave open questions, outstanding bills, and pending orders. I wanted Twined to go out on the best note possible and leave our customers with the understanding that we valued their business and cared about them personally.
At Silver Shade Group, we help our clients with all different kinds of marketing solutions. Sometimes we edit or create print collateral, sometimes we write digital content, and sometimes we create brand or product launch strategies. In every case, the work comes down to the same basic concepts and questions. Who is my customer? What do they want to buy? How can I get my products in front of them at the right time? How do I price my products and services so that those customers will make a purchase? If you can answer these questions, you're on the path to a successful product launch, brand refresh, website update, or strategy session.
When you start a business, it’s important to choose a name that will allow you to select a domain name that pertains to your business or brand and is easy for your customers to remember. Obviously, if you have the option to get your brand name as your domain name, that is the best possible choice for your domain name. However, every single word .com domain name in the English language is taken. That means if your business name is a single word in English, you probably cannot get that .com domain unless you’re willing to pay more that the standard $10-$12 to get it. Many two word combinations are also taken, which limits your options even further.
Nowadays, everyone is online. Whether you do business online or not, your customers are looking (searching) for you there. They want to know as much about you and their potential experience as possible before they walk in your door or pick up the phone. They want to interact with you via social media or email or another platform. Your customers are also looking for information, sometimes even from the front door or parking lot of your shop. If you don't provide that information, it will come from either generic search results or your competitor.
If you create a strong website that provides information about your business and your industry at large, you'll gain greater access to your audience and the ability to communicate with them directly. Your website should educate your clients about the experience they will have with you and the products and services that you offer. Whether you sell online or not, a website is always an opportunity for education.
Your About page is probably the second most visited page on your website. Unfortunately, many professionals and entrepreneurs struggle to write their About page. Even product-based businesses need an About page that describes the roots of the company and the reason for being. No matter what kind of business you operate, you can follow a basic formula to write a better About page.
Your About page should feature the best features and qualification of your business. Why do you perform your services or sell your products? What was your best moment in business? Did you have a turning point that put you on the path to success that you're on today? We'll call those your highlights. Create a list of those company highlights that you want your customers and clients to know. The list can be as long as you want. You can pare it down as you write the content for the page and you can even create a timeline if it gets too long.
Choosing a name for your business can seem like a daunting task. However, if you plan ahead and choose a name for the future of your business, you can save yourself time and effort. One of the most difficult decisions that creative entrepreneurs struggle with when choosing a name is whether to name their company or brand after themselves. Before you name your company, think about your long-term goals for the business. Your long-term goals should help you determine how you name your brand. Do you want to be a small one-man shop? Do you want to be a multi-national corporation? Most business owners want to be somewhere in the middle.
Throughout the course of doing business, you'll be faced with many difficult decisions and sometimes have to turn down opportunities, marketing, and even potential clients because they do not align with your business or your goals for your company. It's important that you learn how to say 'no' when it's appropriate for your business. It's also important to be gracious when making a rejection of any kind.
A niche is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted."
A lot of people talk about finding a niche for your small business, but it can be difficult to do. Narrowing your business scope to deliver one great product or service line to one specific group of core customers can be scary.
My yoga studio sent me an email this morning about the importance of a re-boot. The email both resonated with and inspired me, so I decided to write a blog post about it this week.
I'm convinced that inspiration for your business can be found nearly anywhere, but you have to take the time to look around and find it. Often, we're so busy 'hustling' that we forget to stop for a second and smell the figurative (or literal) roses.
Inevitably, some customer contracts come to an end. Sometimes customers or clients are not the right fit for your brand, product, or service. The best thing to do for your brand is to find out why. I like to use a very simple, three-question exit survey for all of my Twined customers that cancel their subscription. We process cancellations one at a time and email the survey link in batches.
Customers are at the heart of your business. Without them, you have no sales, which means you have nothing at all. Identifying your core customers will help you grow your business.
Your core customers are the base of your customer group and the people for whom you should write your marketing messages. Your core customers are the people who value your products and services most.
Are you struggling to name your business or your brand? Do you want to pick the perfect name?
I have named hundreds of items between products, brands and companies (my own and others). Today, I use a basic formula that is easy to follow and helps me determine a name every time. It takes about a few days, but the time invested is worthwhile.
Perhaps as a marketer I am biased, but I think the most important thing to know when you are launching your business is your customer. Without a solid understanding of your customer, your business probably will not survive. With a good understanding of your customer, you can meet and even exceed their expectations at every touch point.