it's-the-little-things-blog

When meeting with business owners for the first time, I always look for the little things we can implement immediately to start seeing progress (translated increased revenue) in their business. It’s rarely a big thing that is causing them to lose business or plateau in their business.

I found a great example of this while enjoying a meal at a local restaurant. After finishing our meal and getting ready to pay the check, I realized our server never mentioned appetizers before the meal and did not ask if we wanted dessert after we finished our meal. Then I started thinking about the money this restaurant was loosing as a result of not asking for dessert.

So here is the math. If a server asks everyone who comes in the restaurant if they want dessert and sells only 4 per day, that could increase the bottom line by $20. The average price of dessert in this restaurant is $5.00. So 4 times $5.00 gives us the $20.00 per day. Multiply that $20 by 365 days and you get $7300. Still not a large amount. This particular restaurant has 2200 stores nationwide. So multiply 2200 by $7300. What do you get? An astounding number – $16,060.000. Yes, that is sixteen million dollars. And from only one server. Most of these restaurants have 4 or more servers working the floor. You can do the math from here. They are losing, at least, 16 million dollars per year from not properly training their staff.

Maybe your business can’t make another 16 million per year. But what if you could make another $5000 or $20,000 per year. Would that make a difference in your business?

So back to my initial point. It is almost always a little thing that can have a big impact on your profits and bottom line. I challenge you to take an hour this week, sit down with a pad and paper, and do a little brainstorming. Find the little thing in your business that you can implement or change immediately to take your business up a notch. It could be an upsell to a current customer, a new service you could add to your business, another product offering. There are probably a couple of little things you could implement today.

I would love to hear your comments on what you found in your business that will have a huge impact. So post a comment and let me know what you will be implementing this week to grow your business.

29-marketing-strategies-blog

Do you have missing pieces in your marketing? Do you know how many marketing strategies you need to have in place to market your business effectively? You need 15 – 20 if you are serious about increasing revenue and having a successful business. And that may mean hiring someone to manage certain aspects of your marketing. You do have a budget for marketing your business … right?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is depending on Facebook, your website, and other online media for all of your marketing. That does not mean you don’t use Facebook, your website, email marketing, and all the other digital marketing strategies. These are tools you must be using in today’s marketplace. You should be taking advantage of everything. But that can’t be all you do to market your business (or nonprofit).

Consider what your competition is doing to market their business? Almost every business has a website and a Facebook Page. What can you do that your competition is not doing? You have to be willing to do what your competition is not willing to do to be effective in your marketing. Implementing on additional strategy could mean the difference between having another mediocre year and one of your best years ever. Every business owner (and nonprofit) should be a student of learning.

Need a few ideas? Here is a list of 29 strategies you can implement for little to no cost. And these are in no particular order of importance. You may find a few strategies you can start implementing today.

  1. Send a monthly email newsletter. This is one of the best strategies you can implement! Great for list building.
  2. Work on your 15-second introduction.
  3. Place warm calls and follow up with prospects.
  4. Ask for referrals (at least one per week).
  5. Attend networking events.
  6. Launch a direct mail campaign.
  7. Post to your blog at least 2 times per month.
  8. Create a podcast.
  9. Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram).
  10. Take advantage of real time video sharing (Periscope, Blab).
  11. Write an article and post to ezinearticles.com.
  12. Run a Facebook contest.
  13. Cold calling (yes, pick up the phone and call someone).
  14. Handwritten thank you card.
  15. Speaking/Events.
  16. Write a 10-page eBook containing valuable information for your audience.
  17. Set up a series of autoresponders for followup.
  18. PPC Advertising (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads).
  19. Billboard (in the right location at the right price).
  20. Radio & TV ads.
  21. Business cards.
  22. Market niche definition.
  23. Connect with former clients.
  24. Develop your copywriting skills.
  25. Create a one-minute video to share your knowledge.
  26. Create an email signature to use in all your emails.
  27. Website (less than half of all businesses have a website).
  28. Create a special offer for your current clients (and prospects).
  29. Send a survey to learn what your audience really needs.

In future blog posts, I will be going into more detail on how to implement a few of these. Can you think of a more ways to market your business that are not included on this list?

control your time

The fallacy of “time management” is something business owners have been pursuing since the beginning of time. But it’s really difficult to manage your time. So you have to reframe your view of time.

You’ve probably heard the money management and budgeting phrase – “you’ve got to tell your money where to go”. The same thing applies to time. You have to tell your time where to go.

How do you do this?

Step one is to have a plan for the following day or following week. What do you want to accomplish? What are the steps you need to take tomorrow to move your business forward? And you have to be honest with yourself. You have to understand yourself well enough to know what you actually WILL do … not what you think you SHOULD do. Tony Robbins is famous for the quote “shoulding all over yourself”. The premise of this is that you should focus on what you will do, not what you should do. Otherwise, you end up shoulding all over yourself.

The second step, after creating your plan for the next day, is to assign each task to a specific time. For example, you will make cold calls between 9:00 am and 10:00 am. From 10:00 am to 11:00 am, you will follow up with prospects. From 11:00 to 12:00, you will work on a marketing piece for your business. From 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, you will return any missed calls. You get the idea. Tell your time where to go for each hour of the day.

The third step is to turn off your cell phone when you are working on a task to avoid interruptions. This is a hard one for most people. But it is actually a courtesy to anyone who calls. By having a set time every day for returning phone calls, you can give whoever is calling your undivided attention without distractions when you return their call. Click here to check out a related article in Fast Company magazine about task switching.

Also, consider this … if you are working on Project A and you take a call concerning Project B, it takes time to get your mind focused on Project A again. So you lose that time. Over a period of a full 10-hour day, that could mean another hour or more of unproductive time that you can’t get back. And as I mentioned earlier, you can give your prospect or client your undivided attention when you return their call.

Oh and one more thing. Avoid falling into a “digital hole”. We’ve all done this. You are working on a task that requires you to do some research online. You open your browser and there is a news story you are interested in. You click the link for a quick read and then before you know it, you are reading another related article, then another. An hour later, you are asking yourself where your time went. This is what I mean by falling into the “digital hole”.

I hope you will consider the steps above to take control of your time. Think about it this way. If you lose an hour a day fielding calls during a 5 day workweek and allowing people to interrupt your day, it could add up to five hours per week or 260 hours per year. That is 6.5 weeks. This is over a month and a half of wasted, unproductive time.

Almost everyone struggles with having enough time. Think about what you could do with an extra month per year.

 

 

mike-coleman-blog-post-image

We are in the first week of the New Year. How did 2015 end for you? Did you accomplish all you set out to do or did you fall short … again?

What can you do to change the outcome for 2016? Here are a few steps you can take to make sure this year ends on a high note.

The first step is to imagine how you will feel at the end of the year after accomplishing all of your goals. Really think about this and give yourself a few minutes to meditate on it to experience how you will actually feel. I can assure you, it will be a much better feeling than you will experience if you do not accomplish what you set out to do. Take a five minutes out of each day for this meditation exercise.

The next step is to spend some time on Friday afternoon to write down three things you want to accomplish for the following week. And they need to be tasks that push you a little and take you out of your comfort zone. And each task needs to be something that will propel your business one step closer to your ultimate goal for yourself and your business. Do the math. That adds up to 156 very focused tasks that will build and grow your business. Do you think that will have an impact? Don’t let time get away from you again and end the year wondering what happened.

The third step you want to take is to learn how to implement anything you learn as quickly as possible. Most people know everything they need to know to grow and build their business. The problem, most of the time, is in the implementation of what they know. Taking fast action and implementing what you learn is the key to building a business. Don’t wait for that one more piece of information, for the timing to be “right”, or to get things perfect before moving forward. Done is better than perfect. Just move! You can fix it as you go along.

don't-let-your-web-designer-hold-you-hostage-blog

Every week, without exception, I run across someone who is being held hostage by their web designer. And this is what I mean by “being held hostage”.

Let’s say, for example, you become dissatisfied with your web designer. They are not returning your phone calls, not doing the work as quickly as you would like, or whatever the case may be. And you want someone else to take over the site.

Do you have access to all your usernames, passwords, and all your other online collateral so you can do this? Or do you have to go through your web designer?

Unfortunately, what usually happens is you have to go through your web designer, and they will not let you have your stuff. If that is the case, your only option is to start from scratch with a new web designer, which can cost more money and more time.

Be wary of any web designer who says, “Oh, I’ll take care of that for you” or “You own everything”. If you do not have access to usernames and passwords for everything, you do not truly own everything.

Here is how you can lay a solid foundation for your online marketing strategy and avoid being held hostage.

1. Register your domain name through GoDaddy. Create your own GoDaddy account. Do not use the web designer’s account.Go to my GoDaddy affiliate link at mikecolemanwebservices.com to set up an account with GoDaddy.

2. Set up a hosting account on GoDaddy. Same applies here. Create your own hosting account. Do not use the web designer’s hosting account. Go to my GoDaddy affiliate link at mikecolemanwebservices.com to set up an account with GoDaddy.

3. Use WordPress to create your site. You have much more flexibility and there are WordPress web designers everywhere.

4. Use Constant Contact or AWeber for your newsletter campaign. Click Here to go to my Constant Contact affiliate link and set up a trial account.

5. Set up your Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and any other social media profiles.

6. One other bit of information you will need is FTP info. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and allows you to access your files online. You use FTP to upload or download files. If they refuse to give you this info, find someone else to do your website.

7. Your web designer should give you a sheet with the following information: usernames and passwords for everything (domain name, hosting, social media, WordPress, etc.) and FTP information.

Take responsibility for your business early in the process to avoid pain and heartache later. It doesn’t take that much time to be aware of what’s going on in your business.

There is no excuse for not doing the things I outlined above. You do not need to be a “techie”. You just have to be aware of what’s going on in your business and obtain all the information listed above.

And if you are unsure about what you should do, turn to a trusted advisor who can point you in the right direction before spending your hard-earned dollars. If you do steps 1 thru 7 above, you will never be held hostage again.

seo getting found online mike coleman blog

Getting found online is key to your success if you are depending on your website, social media, and other online collateral to help market your business. Unfortunately, when it comes to creating a web presence that is search engine friendly, it can seem like you are trying to hit a moving target.

But if you follow a few simple rules, you can hit your target and win the game of SEO. Here are seven for your consideration:

1.  Create great content on your website. Google is always looking for “relevant” content, and a lot of it, so when someone searches on a keyword phrase, your site is found to be more relevant than your competition. This will also decrease your bounce rate, which is another key factor in your ranking. Change your content periodically and have a blog on your website that you update on a regular basis.

2.  Create profiles on the main social media channels – Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest. Make sure you place your domain name in each of your profiles.

3.  Place short (less than one minute) how-to, instructional, or informational videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Place your URL as the first thing in your video description and write a good description using your keywords. Also, use your keywords in the title of your video.

4.  Use your keywords in your domain name and in the title of your blog posts.

5.  Optimize your images. Use image editing software, such as Photoshop Elements or Gimp, to decrease the size of your images. This will also decrease the load times of your web pages.
Make use of and populate the “ALT=” tag on your images.

6.  Promote your website, both online and offline, on all your materials – business cards, store signage, networking events, direct mail, your social media channels, etc. Something as simple as driving more people to your site can improve your SEO.

7.  Use Google Analytics and Google  Webmaster Tools to track your progress and monitor your results.

Doing the things listed above will not “guarantee” your success, but doing all of them will increase your chances of being on the first page of the major search engines when someone searches for your business.

There are many other elements to developing a good SEO strategy for your website, such as link-building, but the steps listed above are a great place to start.

Remember, it does take time to develop an SEO strategy, so don’t get discouraged if in a couple of months you are still not on the first page of Google or Bing. There are a lot of factors involved, and it takes consistent, ongoing effort to make it work.

mike coleman nashville online marketing

One of the big mistakes many people make with their email and social media is trying to say everything. Remember, less is more when it comes to email and social media marketing. Your emails and social media are not for telling people everything that you do. Thats what your website is for.

Consider offering one thing at a time and remained focused on one topic at a time when it comes to crafting your blog post, article, newsletter, or social media post. By doing this you accomplish a couple of things:

1. You make it easier for your audience to digest the information you are sharing with them.

2. It takes the pressure off you to write a lot of content. And one more thing about content. You don’t have to be “original” and have something profound to say every time, but you do need to be delivering content that is helpful and applicable to the audience you are trying to reach.

3. It’s much easier to track your results. Anything is your online marketing strategy, just like your offline marketing strategy, should be measurable. You want people who read your blog post, article, or social media post to take some type of physical action. That physical action could be a click, a download, a phone call to your business, signing up for your services, or any number of other things.

mike-coleman-call-to-action-image

When it comes to writing sales copy, there is nothing more powerful than a strong call to action. Anytime you send an email or direct mail piece, the most important part of your communications is your call-to-action.

This is NOT a strong call to action: Call BR549

This is a strong call to action: Call BR549 before 10:00 a.m. Tuesday morning to receive 15% off our services.

You’ve told your audience what to do, when to do it, and why they should take action. If you have these three things, you have a strong call to action. If you are missing one component, then it will not work.

I would like to hear from you. Send me a few of your calls to action you have used in the past.

 

social-media

How do I find the time to implement a social media strategy? The short answer is have a plan and make a schedule. Like any other aspect of your marketing, it’s important that you know your audience and post content that is interesting to your audience so they want to comment, share, retweet, etc.

Have a plan and a schedule for what you will post on a daily basis. This saves you time trying to figure out what you are going to post. Here is an example and you are welcome to modify it to suit your needs:

Monday: Link to an article

Tuesday: Quote

Wednesday:  Tip of the week or a short recipe.

Thursday: Promotion

Friday: Link to a video

Saturday:  Comment on someone else’s post or retweet something. Join a group discussion and share your knowledge.

Sunday: Post a photo with a comment.

You can also use Hootsuite to schedule posts to go out at certain times of the day.

The goal is to strike a balance so you are not posting 10 times a day, but you are posting enough to be considered active. That means 3 – 4 times per week. Find what works for you. I have just given you a basic blueprint for planning and scheduling your social media interaction. You can tweak it to fit your needs. And you may not want to post every day. That’s okay, but you still need a schedule so you know what you are posting on any given day.

What is your social media posting strategy?

clock-time-management

Anytime I speak to someone about marketing, social media, etc., their response is always … “How do I find the time?”  Here is a fact – no matter how busy you are, you have to carve out time every day to market your business – or you will fail. It’s that simple. And just like your money, you have to tell your time where to go. It’s about setting priorities, understanding what’s important in your business for both the short term and the long term, and planning.

Here are a few recommendations for getting more out of your day.

1.  Keep a journal of how you are spending your time for 30 days. Review it at the end of each week to find areas for improvement.

2.  Get rid of any tasks or strategies that are not moving your business forward.

3.  Learn how to say NO! to anything or anyone who wants to waste your time.

4.  If it takes less than 2 minutes to do, do it now. DO NOT put it on your to do list.

5.  Use time blocking. For example, block 30 minutes to make follow-up phone calls, 1 hour to put together a direct mail piece, 10 minutes to post to your social media, etc.

6.  Develop better filters. (related to step 3) Get rid of bad clients and don’t waste time on “prospects” who will never buy from you. And if you care more about your client’s business than they do, let them go.

It really doesn’t take a lot of time to do what’s really important to grow your business. It just takes doing it. For example, if you are spending 15 minutes a day 3 times a week on social media, you are doing more than the majority of business owners. So by dedicating 3 hours a month to social media, you are leading the pack.

Not having the time is never a reason for not getting something done … it’s an excuse. All you have to do is tell your time where to go, be aware of how you are spending your time, and set boundaries. You will see a significant difference in what you accomplish over the next 30 days, if you follow these basic guidelines.