Put a Premium on Marketing and Social Media

If you’re in the insurance business, then you already know how much competition there is out there. Luckily, with the right amount of marketing and a little social media thrown in the mix, you can improve your customer outreach.

When it comes to taking the competition out of the equation, here are just a few reasons why your insurance company should put a premium on marketing:

communicateYour Message is Your Beacon

Although everyone needs insurance assistance, just because your business is needed doesn’t mean customers will automatically go to you. In other words, you need a beacon in the sea of insurance businesses, which is something marketing and social media can provide.

By sending your message out among the online masses, you can let your consumer base know exactly what sets your insurance company apart from the others.

Whether it’s your loyalty or customer service, your business has something to say, so say it with the right socially fueled marketing message.

Importance of Social Media

Marketing simply isn’t marketing nowadays without the influence of social media. By taking a social media angle with your insurance business’s marketing practices, you are reaching a larger, more diverse consumer base.

This marketing diversity is what helps your business succeed in today’s competitive insurance climate. By devoting part of your marketing endeavors solely to boosting your social profile, your business will find customers and niche audiences you didn’t even know where interested in your insurance brand.

Helpful Social Marketing Tips

Using your social avenues to market your insurance business takes a bit of finesse. The “Insurance Agents: How to run your business more efficiently” article states that by building a brand online, you’ll have an easier time marketing your business on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Giving your business a unique voice and look is just one helpful tip when it comes to social marketing. You’ll also want to make your business open and available for social questions and discussions.

Keeping up with your social presence means posting regularly and responding to your followers in a timely manner.

What Not to Market

Sharing news and updates about your business and the insurance practice is a perfectly acceptable marketing approach to take. However, because your business deals with money matters, you should never make outright suggestions as to what insurance methods consumers should use.

Every customer is different, which means they need specific instruction and care. By making broad statements about what kinds of insurance the general public should purchase might get you in hot water.

Advice is fine, but when it comes to absolutes, ask that your customers and social followers consult your business directly.

Should You Hire a Marketing Manager?

The answer is maybe. If your marketing is reaching customers and giving your business results, than a marketing manager might not be necessary.

On the other hand, if you aren’t landing any new customers and your social presence is ghost-like, then hiring a marketing manager with a social media background is probably a wise move.

If you’re ready to really spread the word about your insurance business, then it’s time to prioritize your marketing.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including social media and online marketing.


What Franchise Opportunity is Best for You?

With the wave of firings and layoffs in recent years nationwide, many Americans have had to make tough choices. Do they find whatever kind of work is out there (even if the money barely supports them) or do they settle for temporary unemployment and/or a life of wondering how they will make it from month to month?

In other instances, some individuals are opting to land a franchise, be it a one-person show or even employing others. Either way, selecting the right franchise opportunity is what it all comes down to.

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Making the Right Move

In order to choose the best franchise, don’t just stick your finger in the air to see which way the wind blows.

By using professionals that analyze business trends and have a feel for what franchises work and what don’t, you stand a much better chance of finding the right business venture for years to come instead of trying various things out, something that can cost you a ton of money over time.

There are different franchise providers out there such as Franchise Expo that can get you headed down the right tracks.

So that you can select the right franchise provider the first time around, look for one that will make it simple and timely for you to obtain the necessary information, most notably, the right franchise for sale that you could ultimately own.

Your franchise provider should connect you directly with those franchise systems you have an interest in. You can scour over franchisor details, obtain information in a short amount of time, and even have a live chat with franchisors.

By selecting the right franchise provider, you can partner with industry experts that can offer you tales of successful franchisees, current news in the franchise industry, and interviews with some of the top franchise CEOs.

Making the Right Call

Even with all the assistance you receive in selecting a franchise, keep in mind that you ultimately have to make the final call. One of the biggest choices you have to make is whether to go with a small business investment that is essentially being started from the ground up or an existing franchise.

Despite a shaky stock market and other signs indicating the economic recovery is slow, other indicators point to an improving economy. If consumer spending does in fact increase, it does not necessarily mean many will invest in a business, therefore meaning various franchise opportunities await the right people.

Among the reasons you’d want to invest in a franchise opportunity in 2014 and beyond:

  • Work for yourself – This option appeals to many Americans, especially in cases where one has lost a corporate job or two. While being a franchise owner is a demanding career, knowing that one is in charge of their fate certainly attracts many business people;
  • Make the decisions – While some people are not cut out to be the decision makers, many others are. Running a franchise allows one to have the final call on a variety of aspects;
  • Support is available – Finally, walking into a franchise deal allows you to work with others who have a history in running franchises. That experience will help make the transition for you easier.

If owning a franchise tempts you, make it your business to find the right one.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as human resources and running a small business.


Is a Bankruptcy a Killer for a Small Biz Loan?

Although you may think the idea of bankruptcy would send lenders running in the other direction, there are still ways to acquire another loan for your next small business venture. Filing for bankruptcy isn’t the end of your financial world as long as you know which steps to take.

Interest & Risk Resize

Here are just a few ways to secure a small business loan after filing for bankruptcy with your last business….

Bankruptcy and U.S. Businesses

When you’re ready to obtain your next small business loan with bankruptcy in your past, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Bankruptcy happens to businesses of all sizes and lenders are aware of this.

In fact, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, there were 47,806 U.S. businesses that filed for bankruptcy in 2011 alone. Bankruptcy isn’t something to be proud of, but knowing your small business isn’t the first to file for it will give you confidence when heading into your next business venture.

With that said, there are some tips for acquiring your next small business loan after bankruptcy.

Be Patient

Time heals all wounds and such is the case with bankruptcy. In general, your credit report will reflect your bankruptcy for a minimum of seven years and a maximum of ten.

Nobody expects you to wait this amount of time to start your next business, but a little time in between your bankruptcy and your next business loan application helps.

Waiting the full amount of time will wipe your slate clean, but many lenders are willing to give you a loan if you wait for at least two years after your bankruptcy.

Have a Solid Business Plan

Whether you have a bankruptcy in your history or not, lenders love entrepreneurs with a well thought-out business plan.

According to the following article, Bankruptcy and your credit, have everything to do with obtaining vehicle loans and getting approved for equipment and office space leases for your business.

By coming to the table with a business plan that accounts for every aspect of your new business, lenders will be more willing to fund your business.

If you’re passionate and confident with your new business venture, then the business plan should come easy. However, consulting a professional business planner is always helpful.

Keep a Steady Income

Actions speak louder than word, especially when you’re trying to rebuild your credit and your finances. One of the best ways to impress lenders is to prove to them that you’re financially responsible in your personal life.

Keeping a steady income with little to no debt is a great way to put your bankruptcy behind you and go into your next business financially prepared.

Explain Your Case

Sometimes explaining your case can make all the difference in the world to lenders. Whether your bankruptcy was caused by illness, divorce, or a catastrophic event, you can prepare a factual explanation that goes along with your credit report.

This statement is read by lenders during the business loan application process and can help you plead your case from the start.

By keeping in mind the tips above, you’ll take your bankruptcy out of the equation when applying for your next small business loan.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including small business and finance.


Your Sales Team and Approach are Critical

Your sales team plays a vital role in your business’ ability to achieve a high level of profitability and competitiveness. However, it may not be able to produce satisfactory results if it does not have a good sales strategy at its disposal.

salesIf you want to achieve and maintain strong sales, you have to make sure that you have a solid sales team and an effective sales approach.

Benefits of Having a Good Sales Team

The members of your sales team have their own audiences, contacts and web traffic. Whether they are network or affiliate marketers, or direct team members, they can make your brand visible to a wider audience.

Boost Your Sales

There are actually many people out there who need your products or services, but they may not buy from you if you do not approach them. If you have a sales team to help you approach, engage and convert your potential customers, you will most likely see an increase in your sales.

Increase Traffic to Your Website

When you have a group of people trying to drive traffic to your website, you can expect to get more visitors. Depending on the size and competence of your sales team, your website traffic may even double or triple over time.

As your website traffic increases, you can charge higher advertising fees, make more money from pay-per-click campaigns and sell more products or services.

Enhance Your Credibility

A bigger sales team brings bigger benefits. A large sales force does not only help you get more customers and increase sales; it can also make your company look more credible and trustworthy. This can result in easier conversions and greater customer loyalty.

Importance of an Effective Sales Strategy

Different salespersons may prefer to use different sales techniques, and some of these techniques may or may not be suitable for selling your products or services. Implementing a sales strategy is one way to ensure that all the members of your sales team will use the right techniques to sell your products.

According to an article “Best Practices for Sustaining Sales and Service Behavior,” businesses need to create sales and service standards, and communicate their expectations to their salespersons in order to build a good sales team.

Your salespersons do not understand your products or services and target consumers better than you do, and they need to learn many things from you in order to convince people to patronize your business. Among these items is who they should approach, how to keep their audiences engaged, which aspects of your products they should emphasize and what they should or should not say.

With a well-developed sales strategy, your salespersons will generally use the same effective methods to sell your products. This can lead to better sales results and help your company project a consistent professional image.

Building an effective sales team and strategy is not an easy task, but it can bring you great rewards if it is done right.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media to sales.


Careers, Babies, and Deciding which is More Important

According to Pew Research, the number of stay-at-home moms is at 29 percent, up from a historically low 23 percent back in 1999. Pew also found that stay-at-home moms tend to be younger, less likely to be educated and more likely to live in poverty than their working counterparts.

Of course, there are still some stay-at-home moms that fit the image of “stay-at-home mom,” meaning they are married with a working husband, but it only accounts for 20 percent of all moms.

workingmomWhile some moms have the option of staying home or going back to work, many do not. Moms may be single, they may have a partner or husband who isn’t working or they may simply need the additional income that working provides. It’s not always a matter of which is more important, it’s a matter of what needs to happen in order to survive.

I fall somewhere in the middle as a work-from-home mom.

I’m able to take my kids to the park, feed them lunch and play with them, but bring in an income during the early hours of the morning, the all-too-precious nap times and late into the evenings.

Studies show that one in five new grads will be freelance workers by 2020. Freelancing and working from home are on the rise – and many see why.

It provides you the benefits of earning an income while allowing you not to miss any time with your kids. It’s the best of both worlds (for me, that is).

Perhaps you had a child and decided to put him or her up for adoption.

As the following article shows, “Reuniting with the baby you put up for adoption” will be a crucial time in your life and you will need to learn balance.

Find the Right Balance

Whether you decide to work from home, return to the office or reunite with your adopted child, balance will be a big part of your life.

You can’t devote 60 plus hours per week to your job like you may have done in your pre-baby days, but it also may not be realistic for you to spend all of your waking hours with your kids, either.

Life is all about balance – and when juggling a career and a baby – you’ve got to learn to master it.

Among the ways:

  1. Think quality not quantity – Time with your kids is precious, no matter how much or how little of it you have. Make your time together count. Laugh with your kids, tell stories, hold them, go for a leisurely walk or make ice cream sundaes. Fill your kids up with memories and love when you’re with them, then when you’re at work, focus on working. Which leads to the next point …
  1. Avoid multitasking – Work on one task at a time and whatever task that is, only do that. Trying to answer emails while your kids want your attention or checking in at work while at the park will only lead to accomplishing everything half-way.
  1. Prioritize your time – Set a schedule each week and try to stick to it. A friend of mine is an accountant and she leaves the office every day no later than 5 pm. Dinner is eaten by 6 pm, her husband does the dishes while she bathes the kids, and then they play – completely disconnected from technology, chores and the worries of the day. Downtime is scheduled once the kids are in bed.

Even if you have to return to work for financial reasons, it still can be incredibly hard to return knowing you have a little baby that needs you. Instead of dreading the inevitable, find a way to make it work.

Balance your time and your priorities, learn to say no and cherish each and every moment you have with your new bundle of joy.

About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ. She writes on working moms, personal finance and adoption.


Transforming Big Data to Improve Your Business Model

The financial services industry is one of the sectors that can benefit greatly from big data analytics. Financial companies do not have to manufacture or sell physical products, but they need to rely a lot on their data. While they usually do not have to analyze highly complex data, they do need a data solution that can help them analyze large quantities of data quickly.

data_mgmtBig data analytics has changed the way financial services companies utilize their data, allowing them to extract critical data that was previously unattainable, improve their business intelligence and make better decisions.

Here is a look at how you can use big data to take your financial company to the next level….

More Accurate Predictions

Financial companies generate enormous amounts of data. Every financial transaction has to be logged and added to their immense data pools.

In order to remain competitive, many financial companies have adopted big data analytics to make more accurate predictions, such as which corporations will be making a profit and which commodities will be popular among investors. Big data also enables them to monitor and respond to fluctuations in financial markets quickly, so that they can help their investors and shareholders make more profits.

Greater Customer Satisfaction

An increasing number of banks are using big data analytics to provide a better customer experience. They are tapping into their unstructured data to uncover a wide range of information about their customers, such as lifestyles, social media activities, feedback and requests.

Such information can help them provide personalized customer service and achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction.

Fraud Prevention

Another important benefit of big data is that it can help financial companies detect and prevent fraud. With big data analytics, they can analyze data patterns to find out where fraud will most likely occur, so that they can take the appropriate measures to prevent it.

However, according to an article entitled “How Big Data Can Transform Consumer Finance“, increased use of big data analytics to detect fraud may affect consumers in certain ways.

Big Data Analytics to Improve Your Business Model

There are many ways that big data analytics can contribute to the success and growth of your financial company. By implementing a big data system, you can use sentiment analysis tools to obtain customer feedback. These tools can capture feedback from customer service interactions, social media and other platforms on a real-time basis, enabling you to make the right decisions to meet customer needs efficiently and effectively.

Additionally, big data can help you develop models based on the spending behavior of your customers and product usage, so that you can determine which products are most useful to your customers and develop better products in the future.

As more and more financial companies are embracing big data analytics, it is becoming increasingly important for you to join the big data bandwagon.

Implementing a big data solution earlier will give you a significant edge over your competitors.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.


Tackle Some NFL Marketing Tips for Your Business

If your company’s marketing team is struggling to find the end zone, then it’s time to take some play-by-play tips from the National Football League. That’s right, despite all the negative press lately, the NFL is still a marketing powerhouse when it comes to promoting team-themed products.

footballIn order to help boost your marketing department’s success rate, here are a few pointers you can take from the NFL playbook:

Spending Money to Make Money

Your marketing department has probably heard the phrase “you have to spend money to make money,” but the NFL is really putting the phrase to good use. The National Football League spends nearly 2 billion dollars annually on advertising and marketing and gets almost 10 billion in revenue each season.

Although your company probably doesn’t have this kind of money to spend, the point still remains: you have to spend it to make it. By maintaining a reasonable marketing budget, your company can receive a healthy return on its marketing endeavors. This of course requires an effective marketing approach that rivals the NFL’s.

Football Season Advertising

The NFL has impeccable timing when it comes to advertising campaigns, which is something your company can learn from. It’s no coincidence that football commercials start gearing up in late August. The NFL begins their heavy advertising at the beginning of the season, then lets the football games take care of the rest.

Your business may not break down into seasons, but you can still learn a thing or two from the NFL’s advertisement timing. Whether you run a CPA business or you’re in retail, timing is important. Reaching out to customers at the optimal time will fuel results.

So, figure out your primetime, whether it’s bi-annually or bi-monthly, and unleash your advertising campaigns accordingly.

Merchandising and Branding

Merchandising is the key to marketing success and the NFL does it best. As the following article shows, from team jerseys to “custom floor mats for the NFL fanatic”, the National Football League has made itself a household name. Your company’s marketing department can use the NFL as a merchandising example by adopting its branding practices.

Sure, your company isn’t going to sell jerseys and hats with the company logo plastered all over them. However, by creating a solid brand with a straightforward logo and clear message, your company can become just as recognizable as your favorite NFL team.

You can even throw in a few logo branded pens and refrigerator magnets while you’re at it.

Targeting the Right Audience

The NFL would never unleash a Steelers marketing campaign to Ravens fans. In other words, targeting the right audience is the pathway to marketing success. By knowing your target audience, your company’s customer outreach and marketing will result in a 10 billion dollar return on its 2 billion dollar investment – or thereabouts.

Reaching the right audience means you’ll have to analyze your current customers’ wants and needs and apply those elements to your future marketing approach. Who is your audience? What’s the best way to reach them? Are there niche audiences within you consumer base? Asking your marketing team these questions will help your company hone the right marketing strategy.

When it comes to making an advertising touchdown, use the pointers above and take an NFL approach to marketing.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including marketing strategies and business branding.


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