March 2020’s infamous shutdown of businesses across the country has created a permanent alteration in the entrepreneurial landscape. Business operations have become increasingly digital, prioritizing e-commerce and online marketing over the traditional methods of brick-and-mortar stores and paper advertisements. Thanks to this digital shift, it’s easier than ever to start a business from the comfort of your own home--there’s no better time to reevaluate your career and become an entrepreneur.
It’s easier than you think--here’s why.
A hybrid lifestyle won’t go away.
Although businesses are reopening at full capacity, pre-pandemic life won’t be returning any time soon. Most companies are shifting towards hybrid work schedules, where employees spend some days working at the office and others working from home. Many large companies such as Ford and Target have already announced that they’ll be switching to a hybrid model for the foreseeable future. This hybrid schedule is advantageous for entrepreneurs because it yields the flexibility to pursue side projects such as running a business. Whereas a 9-5 job would’ve historically taken up one’s entire day, this new hybrid model cuts down commute time, thus providing individuals with more freedom to explore entrepreneurial endeavors.
Social media is expanding rapidly.
By utilizing social media platforms like TikTok, a short-form video app, companies can create viral content that engages thousands, if not millions, of users. Furthermore, by establishing presences on beta platforms such as Clubhouse, a drop-in audio chatting app, companies have avenues for rapid, meteoric growth. While older networks such as Instagram and Twitter have become overly saturated (although it’s entirely possible to cultivate a large following, the sheer amount of content on the apps makes it hard to get many eyes on your posts), newer platforms such as TikTok and Clubhouse provide ample opportunities for growth.
Not only do business owners have the opportunity to reach mass amounts of new customers, but they also have an avenue to showcase a behind-the-scenes look into their businesses, thus establishing a sense of rapport with their audiences by providing transparent content that makes their audiences feel like trusted friends rather than mere customers. Whereas apps such as Instagram and Facebook are typically used to create curated, picture-perfect photos, many business owners use newer platforms such as TikTok to showcase candid moments that highlight their businesses’ personalities. For instance, in late 2020, fast-food chain Arby’s gained massive attention after TikTok user John Casterline published a short video displaying a secondhand TV he purchased that only displayed the Arby’s menu, and Arby’s responded with a series of witty videos that gained millions of views. This exchange became so popular that it led to the launch of Arby’s “$5 Missing Menu Meal.” This new product stemmed from a simple series of TikTok videos, showcasing the power that social media marketing can have on a company’s customer base and product mix.
People are spending more money.
Since 2013, the United States’ Personal Savings Rate has hovered around 7%, indicating that people save, on average, about 7% of their disposable personal income. However, in April of 2020, that number surged to a record high of 33.7% and has remained higher than average ever since then. In March of 2021, the Personal Savings Rate was still abnormally high -- it was at 27.7%, the second-highest number on record. For the past year, people have been saving money at unprecedented rates, and as the world emerges from a long economic shutdown, people are eager to spend their extra cash, simply because they can. They now have the means to indulge in new products and services, including yours.
Thanks to permanent hybrid lifestyles, a shift toward digital marketing, and a greater rate of consumer spending, there is truly no better time than now to pursue the entrepreneurial lifestyle you’ve always wanted. You’ve waited long enough--go ahead and start today.
About the Author
Teri Villanueva is a franchise consultant with FranNet of San Antonio and Austin. Teri helps individuals discover the possibilities of entrepreneurship through a process that matches their passions. She’s passionate about business ownership opportunities and understands not only the risks, but the quality of life and financial independence benefits that many clients seek. Her main objective is to provide education on the franchise industry. Her complimentary services help clients understand the pros and cons of business ownership. Teri is involved in the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber, New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, ACG and National Association of Women Business Owners.
What’s the Difference?
The terms ‘Marketing’ and ‘Business Development’ are often used interchangeably in healthcare. In reality, they are distinct and unique entities that are most effective when working synergistically with one another. Marketing focuses on the awareness, visibility and affinity for a practice’s logo and brand to grow patient volume in a medical practice. Business Development takes a more comprehensive approach and focuses on all aspects of a practice including marketing, consumer and employee engagement, medicine, operations, relationships and strategy. Business Development helps a practice achieve a level of evolution that goes well beyond volume growth. Combine the two, and optimal business performance can be achieved.
Without a doubt, marketing is an essential piece of growing patient volume in a new or established practice. Brand awareness, market visibility, crafting the right messaging, reaching the right audience, frequency and online presence are all essential tactics. But spending a lot of time and resource on common marketing tactics without a strategy to back it up can be a waste.
What can result is a general feeling of dissatisfaction. Often, there is a period of stagnation where marketing is waiting for the practice to provide content and the practice is waiting for marketing to provide creative. So nothing is happening. Marketing without strategy is a little like treatment without diagnosis. What results is spending a lot of time, energy and money on tactics that may not result in increased patient volume. This is where incorporating Business Development can take the marketing investment to the next level.
A good Business Development strategy will dig deeper to assess the current state and maturation of a practice, then create strategies to help it improve and advance in the market. It is important to look at what is happening now and what opportunities may exist in the future. The practice exists in a marketplace and is competing with others for position.
Where to Start?
Begin by asking these questions:
Once these questions have been answered, it’s time to start developing a strategic plan. It should include short- and long-term tactics to achieve the vision of the practice. It should also address all of the key stakeholders – provider, staff, patients, referring physicians and consumers. Identify key metrics that can be measured and monitored to quantify the success of these tactics. Create a clear outline and revisit monthly and quarterly and make course changes as needed.
Who has the Time?
The prospect of developing and executing a Business Development strategy can seem daunting for a busy practice, especially when everyone is already wearing multiple hats. This is an era of decreasing reimbursements and increasing costs. Many physicians have a small office team and daily demands are increasing. Adding Business Development as another expectation of staff can be unrealistic. Outsourcing the Business Development function can achieve a savings of time, money and resource and allow the physician to focus on what they do best – caring for patients.
That doesn’t mean there doesn’t need to be investment on the part of the practice. Without buy-in, even the most experienced Business Development resource will not be successful.
Next, ask these questions:
Seek a professional that the practice connects with, that shares the same values and that understands the overall vision. And as with any strategy designed to create long-term change, the practice has to commit. Much like the tortoise and the hare, consistent activity over the long-term is going to yield the greatest results. Business Development is not something that comes in waves or that you can invest in short-term and expect long-term results. Lack of presence in the market is the quickest way to lose relevance.
What are the Common Mistakes?
Choosing the right Business Development strategy will help avoid common mistakes:
It isn’t necessary to have aspirations of becoming a multi-million dollar practice in order to build a Business Development strategy. Consistently executing tactics at every level is what will grow and optimize a practice over time.
When to Start?
There is no better time than now to begin finding a Business Development resource that fits the needs of your practice. The world is rebuilding and most industries are starting with a sanitized, masked and vaccinated slate. Practices that slowed down or stopped their Business Development activity when the pandemic started are the ones that have fared the worst. Patient connections and referral relationships can be created virtually almost as effectively as in-person. It’s not ideal, but the ability to get creative could be what sets you apart from your competitors. Now is the time to create your strategy for 2021. Take it one quarter at a time, set realistic goals and identify the tactics to achieve those goals.
Michal Waechter, MHA, FACHE
Founder and CEO
Waechter Consulting Group
Self-Reflection is a habit that most people overlook. We are usually taught to look at our lives in terms of what is happening to us instead of how we are happening to our lives.
I find that many leaders start with assessing the external circumstances, systems, and problems instead of taking the time to perform a self-assessment in order to pinpoint the ways in which their own thoughts, emotions, and actions have played a significant role in the present outcome. This style of leadership creates the tendency to blame, analyze, and control others in order to get results.
When you view your role as a leader as being an instrument of influence and growth, you can begin to look at your sphere of influence as highly affected by the way in which you respond to and navigate through the relationships and opportunities that may pose as challenges.
In our culture, we experience leaders who are looking for whom to blame rather than looking objectively and responsibly, and collectively to find solutions.
I encourage you to practice more self-reflection in your sphere of influence. This practice is not only to address problems, but it is more powerful when it becomes a consistent practice to help you to continually improve your leadership presence and communication.
Here are some questions that you can pose in your moments of self-reflection:
● What is going well in my life and why?
● What is my energy level?
● Am I creating “win-win” scenarios?
● Was my communication clear and impactful?
● Am I asking for feedback?
There are just a few questions that you can begin to start asking yourself in order to open up your sense of self-awareness and efficacy in your area of influence.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bonita is an Inspirational Speaker, Empowerment Coach, and Leadership Developer. As a result of working with her, clients have gained clarity about who they are, what they want, and the confidence to pursue those desires.
Bonita is able to help clients by her ability to “hear beyond the surface” of what the clients describe. Her intuitive ear and coaching style allow for her to connect with her clients as well as verbalize what they are feeling.
If you'd like a complimentary consultation on strategies to strengthen your self-leadership, click the link to schedule with me: https://www.bit.ly/TalkWithBonita
"What you've been dealt is not what you're entitled to live out!"
- Bonita Owens
The experts suggest if you spend enough money on pay-per-click ads and a new website, customers will find you. Add plenty of social media posts, and success should follow, right?
Common wisdom also says you should have time and money to spend on lots of digital marketing. Otherwise, there’s nothing you can do to get more clients and sell more products— it's just ‘Game Over.’
I can’t entirely agree. If you want to maximize your budget, the basics of marketing must be in place before you do anything else; this hasn’t changed. At least if you want to maximize your time and money invested.
Always Start With the Fundamentals
Clearly identify the unique value you provide. How do you differ from your competition? Why should your customers care? How does your unique difference benefit them?
These questions form the basis of what we call the Unique Value Proposition (UVP). This article by Solomon Thimothy, founder of Clickx, on the Inc. website, walks you through the steps to creating this essential business tool.
Once you’re able to specify how you meet your customer’s needs better than your competition, you’ll be two steps ahead of your competition, and ready to move on to the next phase.
Know Your Ideal Customer Better Than You Know Yourself
Who is this ideal customer? Consider the people you already serve—this is often a helpful place to start. When I’m developing a marketing plan, I create a Buyer Persona as an integral early step.
For instance, my clients are very busy and aren’t too interested in how marketing works. They just want solutions, and they’ll trust me to get the job done. They want a qualified and responsive agency, so they don’t have to think about their marketing. Another agency might work best with clients that are hands-on and want to be very involved. Either way, both of us need to know what our customers prefer so we can give them the experience they want.
Now that you understand your customer’s needs and exactly how your product or service helps them, you are ready to consider marketing. What will be the most effective use of your time and money?
Word-of-Mouth Marketing is Still the Most Powerful Referral Tool
The recommendation of an acquaintance is the oldest form of advertising. It’s just instinct to believe a friend over a stranger. This is why influencer marketing, reviews, and social proof are all so powerful. If there’s nobody familiar to ask for a referral, we look to other trusted names for recommendations.
In fact, 88% of consumers rely on personal recommendations before making a purchase. When we make major purchases, we trust the referral of a friend or family member even more.
Keep nurturing these long-term business relationships. It’s easy to neglect your most faithful clients, but these loyal fans are the ones most likely to refer you to their friends and colleagues. Tell them thank-you, and that you appreciate their business.
Consider developing an organized referral program. I love the story of Dropbox’s epic referral program that helped them double their user base every three months by giving customers storage space every time a friend joined the program. Genius.
The Best Marketing Depends on What Fits You and Your Business
My best clients come from personal connections, sometimes from many years ago. They remember the passion I have for marketing, and when they needed someone they trusted, they looked me up. It has surprised me when a C-level executive I’d barely spoken to called me years later because they remembered my enthusiasm and experience.
All of my clients come from referrals. I love getting out in the community, networking, and sharing what I do. If you don’t enjoy this kind of marketing, perhaps you like sharing advice on your own podcast or establishing expertise through written content.
You will always find the best customers where you are most comfortable. Be authentic, and create marketing systems around your strengths. This will always result in your best marketing strategy. Humans crave connection, and we trust people whose actions meet the values of their business. Use opportunities to get acquainted and find out more about your clients and what they need help with.
Marketing Needs a Plan That Meets Your Specific Goals
Are you allocating enough time and money to your marketing budget?Do you need more staff in the marketing department? A successful small business should spend a minimum of 7% of its gross sales on marketing to sustain growth.
This figure includes your website expense, networking group dues, and your time working on marketing. It’s easy to count only direct ad-spend, but all these items are marketing expenses.
Do you feel confident that your marketing investment is paying off now you have a big-picture idea of who’s on your team and what you’re spending? If not, take time and reassess.
Marketing is Not Just About Numbers, Ads, and Leads
Consumers want to spend money with businesses that show their care for the world, their customers, and their employees.
How can you weave your company purpose and passion into all that you do? When you demonstrate the Why of what you do, your message will resonate with your fans.
Business starts and ends with people. What people do you want to serve, and why? What are you best at? Use this information and build on it to create a business and a marketing strategy that is uniquely yours.
If you are a woman-owned small business, camaraderie with other business owners striving for the same goals is powerful. Search for mentors, colleagues, and educators who are in the same boat and willing to help you.
Faith Warren is the founder and owner of Kompaso, a marketing agency in Austin. She helps small businesses develop customized plans to target their best customers and create profitable businesses. Faith comes from three generations of business owners and knows first-hand the work that goes into building a successful company as well as the reward of seeing that business prosper. In addition to her marketing work, Faith advises new business owners as a mentor with SCORE in Austin where she also serves as the chair of the Marketing Committee.
As a business owner, you’re always thinking of what you need to do now. But you can’t forget about the future – yours and that of your business. So it may be a good idea to consider your personal retirement plan and business succession strategy.
Let’s start by looking at a few retirement plan possibilities:
• Solo 401(k) – This plan, which is also known as an Owner-only 401(k), is available to self-employed individuals and business owners with no full-time employees other than themselves or a spouse. A Solo 401(k) offers many of the same advantages of a traditional 401(k): a range of investment options, tax-deductible contributions and the opportunity for tax-deferred earnings growth. You may even be able to choose a Roth option, which allows you to make after-tax contributions that can grow tax-free. Your Solo 401(k) contributions consist of two parts: salary deferral and profit sharing. In 2020, you can defer up to $19,500 of income, or $26,000 if you’re 50 or older. Your profit-sharing contribution is based on your earnings. The sum of your salary deferral and profit sharing can’t exceed $57,000 (or $63,500 if you’re 50 or older). If your spouse is employed by your business, you each can contribute the maximum amount allowed.
• SEP IRA – If you have just a few employees or are self-employed with no employees, you may want to think about a SEP IRA. You’ll fund the plan with tax-deductible contributions, and you must cover all eligible employees. (Employees themselves cannot contribute.) You can generally contribute up to 25% of compensation, up to $57,000 annually. And you can fund your SEP IRA with virtually any type of investment.
• Solo defined benefit plan – Not many businesses still offer pension plans, also known as defined benefit plans, but you can set one up for yourself if you’re self-employed or own your own business. This plan has high contribution limits, which are determined by an actuarial calculation, and your contributions are typically tax-deductible.
A financial professional can help you choose the appropriate retirement plan. But you’ll still need to think about succession planning. Of course, you can always sell your business outright at any time you like. Or you could leave your business to your children in your will, but if you give it to them gradually during your lifetime, you can become more confident they’ll be able to manage the business on their own.
Another alternative might be to transfer the business with a buy-sell agreement, which allows you to determine when, to whom, and at what price you can sell it. Because you can establish the purchase price as your business’s taxable value, a buy-sell agreement is useful in estate planning. If you want to keep the business in your family, you might want to consider funding the buy-sell agreement with life insurance, so family members can use the death benefit proceeds to buy your ownership stake.
In any case, given the complexities and tax issues involved with succession planning, you’ll need to consult with your legal and tax advisors when creating a strategy. But don’t wait too long. You can’t predict the future, but by planning ahead, you can help achieve the outcomes you desire.
This article was provided by Elizabeth Olney, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones.
(210) 858-5880 / email@example.com
About the Author:
As an Edward Jones financial advisor, I believe it's important to invest my time to understand what you're working toward before you invest your money. It's also important to understand the level of risk you're comfortable accepting when investing so we can balance it with the steps necessary to reach your long-term goals.
Hail season is about to descend on Central and South Texas – every year there are storms that cause millions of dollars in damage to Texan homes. There are things that you should do before the storm comes to ensure that you are protected and ready, and they all have to do with your insurance policy. Homeowners need to know what type of policy they have, how much their deductible is, if they have code coverage upgrade, whether the policy waives cosmetic damage, and understanding what your policy does (and does not) cover.
What type of policy do I have? RCV versus ACV
There are two basic types of policy – Replacement Cost Value (RCV) and Actual Cash Value (ACV), and you want to make sure you have an RCV policy. While the premium on an ACV policy is likely less, which makes it tempting, the coverage can be almost non-existent, especially on older roofs. With and RCV policy, the insurance pays to replace that roof at current market value, less your deductible, of course. This is usually done through two payments – they will pay you the cash value of your damages (less your deductible), and when the work is completed, your depreciation. Depreciation is the portion of your roof that has already been used. On an ACV policy, your insurance company only pays you the cash value of your roof less your deductible – the depreciation is forfeited!
Here are two examples of a roof that has a 30-year shingle and is 20 years old.
ACV Amount less deductible
Total amount paid by insurance
Total out of pocket cost
How much is my deductible?
You should be able to check your policy to see what your deductible is. If you cannot find it, contact your agent. Most policies are 1% of your home value, but some policies are 2% - 5% of your home value – you for sure want to know! Again, sometimes people pick a higher deductible to lower their premium, but when need to use it, it can be shocking how little coverage you have. In the scenario above, if you had a 3% deductible it would be $7,200 – our average roof is $12,500, so that would mean your insurance company would only be covering $5,300 of your roof – not even half!
Another thing to look for is if your deductible is based on your home value, make sure that your home is value correctly in your policy. Even in a ridiculous example like your insurance added and extra zero to your home value by accident and shows its value at $2.4M. If your deductible is 1%, this equals $24,000. This means you would have no coverage for a $12,500 roof. It is more common for the home value to be off by a smaller amount like $30,000, but that still changes your out-of-pocket expense by $300. Even if the value is wrong and is an error, the policy amount will stand. The policy will be corrected after the fact, but it will not change your claim.
If a contracting company offers to pay your deductible, buyer beware! On September 1, 2019, HB (House Bill) 2102 was signed into law, which makes it illegal for a contractor to waive deductibles, and also illegal for a consumer to participate in any such transaction.
Code Upgrade Coverage
Sometimes an older roof does not meet code requirements, and it has been “grandfathered” in. When you install a new roof all applicable building codes must be followed. Most insurance policies cover code upgrades, but some do not. This mostly affects the drip edge (the strip of metal around the perimeter of your roof that keeps your fascia/trim from rotting out). This was coded in 2008, but not really followed until 2016. Many homes, especially prior to 2016, do not have drip edge. If your policy does not cover code upgrades, you may have to pay out of pocket to meet code. One municipality code I know of requires all roofs to have 5/8” decking (aka sheathing). If you are required to redeck your entire house out of pocket, it could cost you thousands of dollars. Check that your policy includes it.
Especially if you have a metal roof, you need to know if hail damage is considered cosmetic (unless it breaks the metal). Insurance companies give discounts off your premium for what they call a Class IV roof (impact resistant) – generally Class IV roofs are standing seam metal, but there are Class IV shingles as well. When you claim a Class IV roof, you are g basically signing a waiver that you agree your policy does not cover cosmetic damage. After a hail event, it may look like your roof has a case of the chicken pox, but it will not be covered. If it is damaged/broken, insurance would cover it, but it would not cover “pock marks.”
I generally do not recommend impact resistant shingles to my customers, and I caution anyone with any type of roof claiming that Class IV discount. If you do, just make sure you are clear on what they will and will not cover, and make sure that you can live with it.
Does my insurance cover all damages?
The quick answer is no, your insurance does not cover all damages. Some homeowners believe that just because it is time to replace their roof, their insurance will cover it, and that simply is not true. Insurance is meant to cover unforeseen, uncontrollable events – generally referred to as “Acts of God.” Whether or not you believe in God doesn’t change your coverage!
Insurance generally covers:
Your insurance does not cover:
Things your policy likely does not cover (check):
To read more on what your homeowner’s insurance policy may or may not cover, you can visit What Is and Isn’t Covered by Homeowners Insurance (investopedia.com).
Once the storm strikes, you cannot alter your insurance coverage, so it is very important that you ensure that you are properly protected. I know that insurance documents can seem boring and tedious, but it is well worth your time to investigate. Your insurance agent should easily be able to answer all these questions!
Ami Feller was born and raised in Marshalltown, Iowa. She graduated from Iowa State University in 1997 with a BS and a BA. While attending ISU, her brother started a roofing crew during the summers, and Ami went to work on the crew. She felt something lacking in corporate America after graduation, and returned to the roofing industry in 2012. In 2016, Ami split off on her own and opened Feller Roofing of New Braunfels. She is known around town and on YouTube as “The Roofer Chick.” Recently Ami started an entirely female roofing crew; she is actively working to change the stigma of women in the trades.
A philosophy in counseling states that until a person’s pain becomes great enough, only then will a change occur. Pain does make us stop walking when our knee hurts too much. A pain in our back makes us lay down and rest. Being in a job where we are miserable makes us search for a new beginning. But are you really ready for what comes next?
In the spirit of honesty, I’ve been there. I’ve loved 90% of my careers but I’ve had the one where I literally did not want to get out of bed. The thought of spending 9 hours in an environment that was not a good fit pushed me to make a change but only after the pain grew to where I couldn’t bear it. Let’s just say, my hubby was very supportive, and it led me to be happier than I had ever been in my life. But it was hard. It made me insecure and made me doubt my abilities. It made me question if I would ever be happy in my job.
The gift of owning Reeder Consulting is seeing my client base become almost 50% adults, as opposed to only working with young adults. It’s almost like I have two different practices because the conversation and interactions are completely different. My young adults drink up every drop of knowledge, learning who they are and what would fulfill them. Their stresses are different.
My adults are frustrated and craving a change. Any change. They need the change. But change is scary. I often wish I had a magic wand and could wave it with the power to immediately give answers to “what do I do next?” But for adults, the stakes are often higher. Whether it’s a divorce, a loss of a job, an illness that makes you need to change, a growing family to support or the desire to find that darn passion “everyone” talks about. The real question is “Are You REALLY Ready” to do the work?
What is the “work?”
1. It’s deciding to engage in the investment of career exploration.
It’s a huge step to pick up the phone and call to learn more. I get it! I truly do. You aren’t sure if you even want to engage. You must begin to tell your story. You are trying to decide if the person on the other end of the phone “feels right” to you. Huge decisions. But once you finish your research, the first step is to learn what you will gain from engaging in the experience. What are your goals? If it’s to learn more about yourself because you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, for whatever reason, that is a great decision. Are you wanting to go back to school because you feel you’ve lost your edge? Are you bored? Whatever the reason, it’s a financial commitment so although I fully support self-discovery, I personally and professionally, want to see actions taken.
2. Do it for yourself, not someone else.
This sounds simple, but the pressure from our loved ones who care deeply about us, can make us reach out to get others to stop asking. If you are doing it because you feel others expect it, don’t engage. It’s not worth it. You are not in a place to do anything with the information and it can be counterproductive. If anything, it can make matters worse. Being in the right “headspace” to begin the walk to what’s next should not be taken lightly. Although, I will say…I believe blessings come from doing something you initially did not want to do. Bottom line, do it because you are ready.
3. Don’t put the “folder of knowledge” in a drawer.
You’ve gained 90 pages of rich information about all of your natural gifts. You ROCK! But you celebrate your uniqueness then file it away. The power of assessments and aptitude testing results are living, working, documents. They should be reviewed at least once a year. It’s amazing what you forget. Use the language to enrich your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. It’s part of gaining language about what makes you unique.
4. Do Your Homework!
It kills me when people work with me through this extensive experience then don’t do their homework. It literally kills me. You’ve spent 6-8 hours engaging in the intake process, testing, meeting one-on-one with me and coming back for the following sessions. You’ve gained incredible insight into careers ideal for you, then homework isn’t completed. This is THE most important part of the process. Or clients skip homework, only doing online research not talking to individuals in potential career pathways or job shadowing. I can’t overemphasize how important out of the client counseling session homework plays in being confident about your next chapter.
5. Sometimes it’s not the right time for change.
Burn out and life stresses are real. There are many factors that go into wanting to make a change. But sometimes, just talking with someone and working through your experiences it’s determined that the change may be in the same field but on a different “team.” Responsibilities make it challenging to make a significant change but there’s no one “right” answer. It’s why career development is such a complicated conversation and experience. Changes don’t often come quickly or easily. Sometimes the right time is a year, two, or five years down the road. It’s also why it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
6. Trust the Expert!
I chuckle when I’m working with an individual who wants a new career or job but likes to challenge information that is valid in industry. An example is the power of LinkedIn. For the record, adults are not the only ones who fight me on this…many young adults decide this is where they want to draw the line on their “social media.” LinkedIn is not social. It’s professional. If you are using it for anything political or social, you are misunderstanding the purpose of LinkedIn.
Most importantly, when an individual decides to go to someone for guidance, trust in their recommendations. When I speak to groups, I tell the story about a Ph.D. level student who applied for 200 jobs with zero response. Zero! There was a reason. She wasn’t on LinkedIn. She wasn’t networking. She was from a different country where networking was not used to gain employment. And she wondered why she was so frustrated and defeated.
7. Finally, Trust Yourself!
Our inner voices are pretty powerful. One size approach does not fit everyone. It’s what I love so much about working with people across the US. Each one has a story that is uniquely personal to them. I heard a respected career professional state, “The clients know their stories” in determining how to fit pieces of the career exploration puzzle together. I love that because although career development individuals help give context, insight, and perspective to a conversation, YOU know your truth. Are you REALLY ready for a change? If you are, then be willing to get uncomfortable, but with someone who cares about your success.
I know I speak for many experienced career counselors when I say we are the experts. We live and breathe this industry 24/7. We do it because we truly love the field. We’ve obtained advanced degrees in counseling because the conversations are serious. We do it because our hearts want to help people. I hope you’re really ready.
About Dana Reeder
Dana Reeder created Reeder Consulting in 2015 recognizing formal career counseling focused on a holistic approach was not occurring. Now the #1 career counseling company in San Antonio specializing in aptitude testing throughout 35 states helping both young and seasoned adults find their ideal path. Dana brought Angst, a documentary on anxiety to San Antonio’s for the first with 31 different ISD’s attended and has led to continued viewings in schools. Dana’s passion for this topic was instrumental in continuing to bring the conversation of anxiety to the forefront, especially as it relates to the stress our youth are under as they try and select paths for their future. Read more.
As a B2B company, you may believe most of the digital marketing techniques that are popular right now only work for B2C businesses. This simply isn’t true. Your B2B brand can leverage every single digital marketing tactic B2C companies use to see big results.
Invest in a Quality Website
Seventy-five percent of all consumers, including B2B buyers, admit to judging a company by its website quality. You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars, but you should continually update styles and functions in order to engage potential buyers.
One important tool many businesses lack is a mobile-optimized site. This is absolutely crucial, because:
Unfortunately, only 42% of companies have a mobile-optimized website.
Your site should also have modern design and a thorough—but easy to use—navigation system. Take advantage of white space so your pages don’t appear crowded or disorganized. These design elements will give a great first impression, but don’t stop there.
Pay Attention to SEO
With good search engine optimization, your website becomes your most important marketing tool. Sixty-eight percent of online experiences begin with a search engine. With good SEO, your site will be found.
Keywords and relevant search phrases are the cornerstone of a good SEO strategy. Short phrases may be hard to rank with, as you’ll fight your competitors for top results. Long-tail search phrases will reach buyers who are closer to making a purchasing decision than those who are just starting their search with simple keywords—and you’re less likely to compete for them.
Keywords are important, but they’re not the only thing you need. Google expects fresh, quality content, and will often drive those results to the top of the rankings. Fresh content could be blogs, landing pages, or updated static pages. Daily changes get the best results. At least three updates per week is advisable.
Google also gives preference to faster sites, and so do buyers, so conduct speed tests often. In fact, even a 1 second delay in page response can result in 7% fewer conversions.
Other boosts to SEO can come from meta data, such as titles, meta descriptions on images and video, and a keyword-rich description on each page.
Your website content, blogs, social media posts, published articles, videos, and any other words you share—however you may share them—serve to educate your buyers so they know the exact benefits they receive from purchasing your products or services.
More than half of all B2B consumers read at least eight pieces of content during the purchase process, and 82% view at least five pieces of content before buying. If you don’t provide the information, your potential buyer will go somewhere else.
You need a plan. Sixty-nine percent of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. Map out the content your buyers need, how to deliver that content, and where your buyers will read it. Your content should be created with every stage of the buyer’s journey in mind to reach buyers at every stage of the decision-making process.
And remember, before you decide to just buy more ad space: 80% of business decision-makers prefer to read an article over viewing an ad.
On average, B2B researchers do twelve searches before engaging on a specific brand’s site. Organic keyword searches are great, but you can also give those results a boost by showing up very first in the promoted section of the results.
Remember, you’ll see an immediate increase in traffic, but the numbers may not match your expectations. Potential buyers will search an average of twelve times and click on your website several times before they make the decision to engage. A retargeting strategy can help you drive those buyers back to your page.
Social Media Advertising
PPC is a powerful tool, but it’s not your only paid advertising option. Eighty-four percent of B2B marketers use other paid distribution channels for content marketing — 65% of B2B companies have acquired a customer through LinkedIn paid ads.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter may not be the best for B2B social ads, but you can definitely increase awareness. Rather than giving the hard sell with these consumer-focused outlets, consider sharing fun content to gain exposure. When decision-makers see your ad on LinkedIn, they will recognize your brand.
With a focused digital marketing strategy, you can see incredible results for your B2B brand. If you’d like to know more, check out Your Marketing Road Map , a book specially written to help small busines owners and executives, understand in easy, simple concepts, graphs, and charts, what marketing is, its components, and the power it has to increase customers and accelerate sales.
About the author:
Liz Papagni is a leading brand and marketing strategist and CEO of Marketing Initiative Worx, Inc. As a marketing expert, she has launched and propelled brands for a range of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to small emerging businesses, developing killer brand strategies and marketing plans that take her clients' businesses to the next level. Liz serves as a Fractional CMO for companies that need the marketing strategy, planning, and execution a full-time Chief Marketing Officer and marketing team brings, but at a fraction of the cost. She is also a speaker on the topics of marketing and branding, and provides regular educational articles, tips, and how-to's on her Marketing Insights blog at marketingiw.com.
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