Had 'Mondayitis', 'Humpday' or said 'ThankGodIt'sFriday' then read on...
Working for someone else has it's benefits, stable pay, regular holidays and you can leave the stress at the office. But...you don't have one thing that matters most. Control of your time.
Are you able to...
- Leave the office when you feel like it?
- Work with people who lift you up and inspire you?
- Do the type of work that fulfils you and makes you jump out of bed each day?
If the answer is no, perhaps it's time to consider a change.
Change is scary, but let's face the facts. The days of secure and long-term employment are behind us.
Over 50% of the workforce in the USA is contingent, (contracted not employed), and the trend is escalating in Australia. You are only one restructure away from being retrenched or 'downsized'. Artificial Intelligence, robotics and outsoucing job overseas is increasing dramatically.
So what's the alternative?
Do you love to write, edit, proofread, and create amazing content to help individuals, business owners, and entreprenuers achieve their goals? Social Star is looking for a copywriting expert to join the team in-house to provide a variety of word-related tasks.
If you are over fifty in the modern economy and out of work, you may well be thinking why is this so hard.
With artificial intelligence and robots taking jobs faster than kids eating M&Ms, plus Gen Y and Millenials hot on your heels, it's harder than ever to secure quality employment once you hit the magic age of fifty.
Remember when fifty was the golden age or approaching retirement? Now with housing prices higher than your dad's pants line and people living until 100, you are expected to keep working indefinitely. Easier said than done in a digital-based economy.
The job market has changed. Companies don’t want to hire you as you are expensive and had to get rid of when their business dips. Therefore the future isn’t full-time work, it’s contingent or contract based work. In Australia, 30% of jobs are now contingent and it’s expected to grow to 40% by 2020.* In the USA it’s already 40% and forecast to be 50% by 2020. ^
This is a fantastic option if you have your house paid off, kids have finished school and you have a strong CV and network. You can relax and take a few jobs here and there, whilst smelling the Superannuation roses.
For those not fortunate enough to have those benefits, it’s tough. Just ask my 55 year old friend that has taken to Uber driving after been retrenched from his magazine editor job after twenty years of service. He started a blog as a new business, but there is no money in that. Hence, the Uber shifts. If you can’t cut it as an entrepreneur, work for one!
So what’s the answer? If you can’t beat them join them.
Get ahead of the curve and build your personal brand, network and consulting skills before you get retrenched. LinkedIn is your core asset, so start treating it with some respect and put some effort into your profile. Develop your digital skills as one day you might not have a team to do it for you.
If you do the work now, prepare and get skilled up, the transition from full time to contingent work can be liberating. No more office commutes on overcrowded trains set your own hours around your family time and choose whom you surround yourself with.
The choice is yours! Prepare for the oncoming tide of contingent work or not. As Master Yoda said “Do or not do, there is no try”.
Doing paid marketing, such as Google Adwords or Facebook ads, are not as effective as a referral. However, there is room for both in an effective marketing strategy for your small business so let’s review why referrals are better than paid marketing and how to use paid-marketing to make your brand more e-ttractive.
Why are referrals better than paid-marketing?
Most small businesses rely on referrals for their new business. If you do a good job you will get clients recommending you to others, and these referrals are the best marketing you can ever get. They convert from an inquiry at between 50-80% and cost nothing! However, the way referrals work has massively changed over the last few years and those that haven't caught onto this change are at risk of being overtaken by their competitors.
This was highlighted to me recently when I had a call from a potential new client. Let’s call this new potential client “James”. James has been running his family physio business and been losing business to competitors steadily over the last few years. In fact, it was so bad, James was considering retiring after 25 years in the same location. When I looked “James’s business” up on Google, I saw many competitors within 1km of their location, some of which were my current clients, but I couldn't find James. It turns out James didn't have a website, social media or any digital presence! Wow. So even with a great reputation, 25 years’ experience in the same area and a shop front, James couldn't get enough new clients. James was losing business to competitors who had a stronger digital presence.
This makes sense for some of us, as it's an extreme example having no digital at all. Most small business will have a website and at least a Facebook page. The first step for James to fix his business is build his digital presence and then stimulate his referrals. But while he is doing this and waiting for it to take effect, digital advertising can fill the gap in his marketing.
Paid marketing mistakes
After working in digital marketing for 15 years I have seen some massive waste of money from companies, big and small, in paid marketing. One crazy very large IT company used to spend all its Google search engine marketing (SEM) budget on buying ads for their product names. Every code number and product - there were hundreds. The issue with this strategy is they were already getting the organic SEO link right under the ad. Therefore, the person searching was getting the paid link and the organic link, and if they click the paid link it costs the company money which they could have been getting for free.
Therefore, the first lesson is not to spend money on links you would get for free. Focus instead on what “term” or “type of information” your prospect would search for before they know your name or product. For instance, don’t purchase ads with your company name in the search words, as if people are searching on your company name, you would already get that organically. Test your product names to see if you get the organic link and if you do, there is no need to advertise against this search.
The better strategy is to choose one category for your product and own that with organic SEO. That means your website and social media is optimised for this search. Write blogs, make videos, create images and useful content around this one area and you will get a presence on Google. Then use paid advertising to market your other products.
We hope you have enjoyed these 10 tips to build a more e-ttractive online brand.
Once a prospect enters your digital ecosystem and gives you their email address, what's next?
Do you have a plan to build a relationship with them? Many businesses, when they first start out, don't have an email plan to nurture prospects through the buying process and beyond. The first step is to segment your buyers into personas and have different email lists.
An email address is a sign of trust and should be treated with respect and consideration. What did you promise the prospect to get the email address with your call to actions (CTA)? If it was advice on a specific topic, ensure you provide that value to them. The fastest way to get them to move along the buying journey is to give them them useful information to solve their problem. Not easy when you don't know them yet!
Email segmentation process
The first step is to create buyer personas for each of the groups you are targeting. These personas are attributes that make these prospects different from other people but similar enough to be grouped together. It could be demographic (age, income, location etc), or psychographic (beliefs and behaviours) depending on your business. Once you have these attributes, think of your perfect client in this group. Give them a name and specifically define what their problem is, what solutions they are looking for and what would make them buy from you. Then when writing and planning your marketing content, visualise this person in your mind and ensure it would be useful and motivational for them.
Next, we create the content to catch their attention and drive them to our website to progress their buyer's journey with our effective CTAs. Once they have submitted their email address on our website, where does it take them? You will need an email program to capture the content and send out your communications from.
Segment your email list into groups will increase your open and conversion rates. The goal is to send the right, related and useful information to the right person at the right time. Easier said than done!
Start with a list for prospects for each product you are selling. This list you will digitally nurture them with useful information about their problem to help them take the next step in the buying process. If your products all relate to the one client problem this can be one list.
The second list is for clients that are in the consideration phase of the buying cycle. These clients have opted into your sales process and want to know more, so give it to them! Invite them to your events, offer them a free phone consultation, invite them to get a copy of your book etc
The next list is the client list. These are active clients that you are working with and want to keep up to date with your business developments. New products, functions, changes of staff and useful updates to their products etc
The final list is the completed clients. They have finished the buying process and can be great referrals for new business. Depending on your situation, you might want to keep them up to date with your business and product offerings, or delight them with surprises and special offers from time to time.
By segmenting your database into different groups, you will be closer to making your mass communications more personal and relevant to your prospects.
When a prospect visits your website or social media, what do you want them to do?
Is it clear to them what the next step in the process is? Does it help them or just you? A great call to action (CTA) should be clear, logical and help the right people move forward in your sales process because it’s of value to them. This applies equally for small businesses as it does for job seekers.
For example if you are a graphic designer and are looking for a job, LinkedIn will be the first place a recruiter or hiring manager will check you out. We have already discussed the importance of LinkedIn to demonstrate your expertise. However, with a visual or creative industry you will be expected to show examples of your work. It will be useful to direct them to either your personal website, Pinterest or Instagram. Do this with discrete CTAs in your profile summary, work history and also in the blogs you write, you can gently direct them to learn more about you and impress them with your work.
Different types of CTAs
CTA’s come in many shapes and sizes to suit different circumstances. The type of CTA you use will depend on who you are targeting, your clients’ needs and your sales process. It also varies on where the CTA is featured such as email, websites, blogs, social media and so forth. We will explore some of the different usage situations, and give a few recommendations, but remember there is no perfect solution. Your CTA should feel natural to you and your client, don’t force them down a direction. Guide them and let them buy.
Examples of CTAs:
- Blogs: if you are a blogger there are many great ways to create effective CTAs. The most common one is at the bottom of the blog, where you insert a clearly labelled button with the next step such as ‘join us’ referring to an email subscription or whatever is the next step or desired action in your process. (See example here) You can also embed hotlinks to your website when you reference your company or experience. The other popular CTA is at the end of the blog, after the salutation, in the P.S. section. This feels like a special message just for the reader and receives more clicks than any other links!
- Social Posts: Lovers of Facebook and Instagram will be producing regular posts containing pictures, hashtags and messages to grab attention. But where are you sending them? It’s great to get them to your page, but even better to offer links to your landing pages or your website for more quality information. Often people do all the hard work to get the attention and interest, but lack the crucial step of getting the prospect to the next stage in the buying process with a CTA.
- Websites: The goal of a website is to take an interested client to the next step in the buying process towards a sale. That could be a phone call, collect an email address or fill in a qualification form. To do that you have to insert effective CTA buttons and links that are tempting for the prospect to click on. Think about what the client needs in the interest stage of the buying process. Would an eBook, a video or checklist be helpful? All of these can be offered as value in return for collecting an email address or to build engagement in your CTA.
Effective CTAs are an essential part of the marketing process for your business or job search. It helps people to know what the next step in the process is and provides them useful information to build your relationship with your prospects.