Save Time By Automating Your Online Marketing

Digital marketing is vital to your business, but if you find yourself living your life in reaction to social media notifications or emails, like Pavlov’s Dogs, jumping to attention each time you hear a “ding” from a notification… it’s time to take a step back and put things on autopilot.

In an ideal world, perhaps you could do with a virtual assistant in order to lighten your load, but if that’s not financially viable there are a number of ways you can automate your online marketing processes to lighten your load and free your time up for the important things… such as living your life!

The digitally connected world we live in, can be incredibly harmful to living a balanced life.  One of the best ways to lighten your load is to create a network of automated process, systems, and apps to automatically take care of marketing tasks such as following up on emails, posting to facebook, and so on.

This will not only free up physical time, it will give you peace of mind, and a sense of certainty that things are being taken care of – without you having to always be in an alert state of reaction.  Essentially, it will allow you the time you need to be calm, focused, and responsive rather than reactive.

If we think about a bricks and mortar business for a moment, a type of business that is less able to automate their processes – even a traditional store or restaurant will make use of a point of sale system in order to automate their accounting processes, and save time with tasks such as stock taking.

The point is, no matter what your business, there are ways to automate processes so that tasks are more streamlined and require less of your time.  The less time you are working in the business (i.e. on functional tasks like an employee) the more time you will have to work on the business (i.e. at a strategic level like a business leader).

Tim Ferris in his New York Times Bestselling Book, The Four Hour Workweek talks about the importance of automation in our work lives so that we can focus on managing our business in the sense of working ‘on’ the business rather than working ‘in’ the business.  Whilst Tim, along with several other millennial productivity experts urge us to go one step further and outsource our tasks to a virtual assistant; ideally someone living in India or Asia on the basis of cost – this article looks at automation as it relates to technological systems.

In this article we’re going to look at automating a number of the most time consuming digital marketing tasks the majority of business owners contend with; things such as being inundated by emails, following up on sales leads, and managing our social media presence.

  1. EMAIL MARKETING

There are plenty of time-starved business owners frantically sending out an email to a customer thanking them for their order and letting them know when it will be shipped.  The key point with automation is that it frees your time to be working ‘on’ the business at a strategic level rather than ‘in’ the business where you are wasting your time doing the same job as a low-level employee.  You could use something like mailchimp in order to start automating your emails at very low cost.

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Managing your social media marketing campaigns can be extremely time consuming, particularly if you are personally responding to each comment, in order to keep the conversation alive.

Many business owners consider hiring a virtual assistant in order to manage this time consuming task though there there are several free apps such as hootsuite and buffer that can help you automate this task.

  1. MARKETING FUNNELS

Your marketing funnel is made up of several stages through which browsers (who will hopefully go on to become customers) move from initial awareness of your brand or website through to making a purchase.  They are often brought into the ‘funnel’ by a lead magnet (e.g. offer of a free trial, free course, or book giveaway) which leads to a specific landing page.

You can easily create landing pages using a drag and drop landing page builder which means you don’t need to fiddle with code – you can design everything visually and let the magical technology behind the scenes take care of functionality.

In summary, a marketing funnel is essentially the process of converting a visitor or browser into a paying customer; the sequence starts with an offer (lead magnet) that leads to a landing page or a squeeze page that gathers contact information – at which point, the user is automatically added to your email list and can receive targeted emails in perpetuity.

How To Protect Your Site From Hackers In 5 Steps

As an online business owner, you need to make safety one of your top priorities. Hackers are more likely to target small online businesses since these businesses cannot afford extensive cybersecurity solutions.

There are steps you can take to make your website safer, protect your customers’ data, and educate your visitors about online safety. This is especially important for customers who aren’t tech-savvy, such as senior citizens.

Set Up Best Practices And Stick To Them

You need to have a clearly defined safety policy that includes a set of best practices. These are some of the practices you should think about adopting:

  • Determine who needs to access sensitive data and where this data will be stored.
  • Enforce strong password policies for employees and visitors. Make sure passwords are changed regularly.
  • Think about using two-factor authentication.
  • Reset all passwords if you suspect that a security breach occurred.
  • Don’t use form auto-fill if you sell products online.

Updates

Updates typically become available when a flaw is found with a platform, a script, or an app. Some updates will be installed automatically, but you should regularly check for updates and install them.

Keep Your Backend Safe

There are a few things you can do to protect your backend from attacks:

  • Hackers often target admin directories. Make these directories hard to find and change the default passwords.
  • You can make your server safer with a Web application firewall.
  • There are other free or affordable security applications that you can install on your server.
  • Add a Content Security Policy to the headers of your pages. This element will tell browsers not to execute scripts from other domain names. Hackers might try to add malicious code to your pages to execute harmful scripts, but a CSP will tell browsers not to execute these scripts.

Use An SSL Certificate

You can easily obtain an SSL certificate and install it on your server. This certificate will encrypt all the data requested by visitors as well as the data shared with your server.

Once your SSL certificate is installed, visitors will see a padlock icon next to your URL. Depending on the certificate you install, there might also be a green section next to your site name.

An SSL certificate is an important feature since it prevents hackers from intercepting sensitive data when visitors fill out forms or make an online purchase. It also protects their privacy.

The padlock icon, HTTPS in the URL and the green section in your URLs are signs that Internet users know they should look for.

Transparency Is Important

Internet users care about security and particularly seniors need reassuring that they’re safe online. In fact, 85 percent of US Internet users said they wouldn’t visit a website if their browser told them it wasn’t secure. Some users will know they should look for a padlock icon, but others such as senior users won’t know what to look for. This is why you need to talk to your customers about the steps you are taking to protect their data.

If a breach occurs, you need to talk about what happened and the measures you took to prevent more incidents.

Security should be a priority if you own an online business. Take security in your own hands and remember that transparency is key to earning the trust of your customers.

 

Guest author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and aging, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

What Do You Need? A Blog. When Do You Need It? Now

Even today, with the power of Google neatly tucked into your pocket or handbag, people still don’t get why having a blog is a super-duper important part of running a business. Unfortunately, it is always the small business owners that find themselves wondering why it is important. We’re not saying they still think blogging is something teenagers do in the hope of becoming the next internet star and thus spend their lives taking selfies on red carpets instead of working, but they usually don’t quite get how it is worth the investment. And that’s what it is, right? Creating top-notch content on a weekly basis is a mega-investment of time and money and skill.

But it is totally worth it. A content publication strategy is one of the most valuable marketing approaches your little business can make and that’s because it will make a noticeable difference to things like where you show up on Google, the leads you get and the sales you make (spoiler alert: these are pretty important parts of business). Anyway, the best way to launch a content publication strategy is from a business blog. From there, well, you can use it as you like, from posting it to your LinkedIn page, to adding it to your email marketing campaign and even linking to it from social media.

Of course, we don’t expect this overview of a blurb to be the winning smile that sees you drop off the fence. After all, caution is a healthy part of being a business owner. That said, blogging is such an awesome tool to use, we have decided to pull together a list of the top benefits it can – and will – have on your business.

  1. Hello, Search Engine Traffic

Everyone that wants to be a success wants to be found at the top of search engines. That’s a fact. And it is also the reason why you need to have a blog. Think about it. The more content you have on your website the more chances you have of getting found. That’s because there will be more pages on your domain to be indexed (translation: great news for visibility). If you went fishing with one rod, and the person on the pontoon over from you has one-hundred rods, who do you think is going to land more fish? So, yeah, start yourself a blog and watch your organic traffic grow like crazy thanks to increased web traffic. Keep adding more fishing rods to your arsenal.

  1. I Wanna Be A Thought Leader

There is no better way to establish yourself as an expert in what you do than having a blog to back that up. It is your chance to show the world (read: your industry), that you know what you are doing and what you are talking about and even sharing industry related tidbits. Why is authority important? That’s simple: it gives people yet another reason to trust you and, in a world where everything is online, trust is like a warm, fuzzy hug (but one that converts people into clients and customers). It doesn’t matter what your niche is, having a blog gives you that extra bit of weight. It could be that you are a customer service specialist, in which case it is time to start a customer service blog. It could be that you run a content marketing agency that specialises in managing business blogs, in which case a content marketing blog of your own is super-duper important. There really is no niche too small.

  1. Time For Tighter Relationships

Having a regularly updated blog is a great way to connect with the people visiting your site in a way that you can’t otherwise. Before, people that came to your site could only read your generic “About Us” page and scroll through your “what we do” gallery, which is made up of stock photos. But having a blog gives them a better chance to connect, whether it is asking questions in the comment section under each post or by sharing what you’ve written on their own social media pages or simply using your opinion to start a conversation, whether that be in a forum or a wine bar. At first, it may seem a little deflating because (as Google analytics shows), only your mom, your sister and your mom’s boyfriend are reading it. But after a while, you’ll find you become the go-to resource in your market and that’s because your content is helpful, informative, engaging and trustworthy. It has built a rapport between you and potential-slash-new customers (#winning).

  1. Get Creative, Become Human

We mentioned your (probably) bland “About Us” page, which isn’t a dig because your about us page needs to tell people what you do, and tell them as clearly as possible. However, you don’t want to run the risk of sounding dull or robotic or boring. That’s where a blog flies in to save the day like some sort of neighborhood superhero. It gives you the chance to show the more personal side of your brand; make people smile and laugh and nod their head in empathy and feel like there is a warmth to you that your competitors are lacking. A blog gives you the opportunity to go beyond “look at these products we sell” and a) give people a reason to buy your products, b) touch on issues that your brand is concerned with, c) embrace a cause as part of your marketing and d) share information and opinions on the things you are passionate about. No matter how cleverly-written the rest of your content may be, your blog will always be the best voice you have and that is because it will have the most personality to it. Seriously, never underestimate the power of likeability.

  1. Social Media Boost

Here’s a quick plate full of food for thought: what is the point in having social media pages if you don’t have any great content to upload to them? (That was rhetorical by the way; the answer is there is no point!) Of course, you could get around this by sharing other people’s content but, at some point or another, your brain will go, “hang on a minute, why am I sending my leads elsewhere?” and that is where your blog posts will swoop in (yet again!) to save the day. It is just one of the best ways to use your social media following to boost your website traffic. Period. Fact. The end.

4 #Blogging Tips That Actually Work

If you’ve ever searched for blogging tips online, you’ve most probably come across at least a dozen of them advising you to post your content frequently, to share your content on social media, and to keep blogging no matter what. Although these are some valid points, they’re pretty straightforward and offer little to no real insight into the most important aspect of blogging, which is of course writing. In addition, the fact that you can find these tips literally anywhere and everywhere you look just goes to show how poor that advice actually is, as the same things are usually said over and over again, without any solid advice ever being given. This is why we’re going to focus on four concrete tips which will actually have an effect on your blogging and improve your content as well as your overall readership.

1. Find relevant content

First of all, you need to find what’s worth writing about. Certain niches are more popular than others, you need to find the ones that not only fit your style the most, but those which are also trending at the moment. Hence, keep an eye on Reddit, Quora, and various other social media platforms for current hot topics and ideas to write about. Moreover, who exactly are you writing for? Your content might be better suited for young, rather than old, people. Therefore, you need to target them and tailor your content accordingly. Don’t waste time trying to please everybody as it’s an impossible task. Instead, you should focus on finding your tribe in order to provide them with relevant and interesting content to their liking. This is how you establish a community of your own, and increase their loyalty. You want to build a relationship with your readers, it’s not just a one-off thing, you want them returning to check on your new content.

2. Guest blogging

Another thing, a lot of people make the mistake of only posting content on their own blogs, totally neglecting the concept of guest blogging. It’s not only an excellent way of sharing your content, but it’s also an amazing way of expanding your general readership. This is because, when you guest blog, you get someone else’s audience apart from your own, thus effectively doubling the amount of readers your content receives overall. There’s lots of ways you can find blogs where you can guest post, either by manually searching the web for blogging opportunities, visiting relevant forums and blogs, or by contacting bloggers that fit your particular niche. Yet, the most practical way of doing this is by simply using an advanced link prospecting tool to help you find sites to reach out to. Get better results and save valuable time in the process by sorting and filtering through different metrics in an automated manner and find the perfect blog for you to guest post on. Otherwise, you might end up on spammy websites that might hurt your general reputation.

3. Write quality content

Don’t get fooled, the internet is a vast place, the topics you’re posting aren’t as original as you may think. Especially so if a popular topic is in question. This is why you should always strive to create the best quality content you can, in order to stand out from the crowd. You achieve this by writing about the things you know well. Likewise, if you’re not so familiar with a certain topic, you need to do a lot of research beforehand to get all of your facts straight. Once you have the necessary info, you then need to present it in an interesting and meaningful manner. Try to be concise and to the point as much as possible, avoid filler content and don’t spin your points. Stay informative and offer sound advice to your readers, educate them about a particular product instead of just selling it to them. Back your facts up with concrete statistics or infographics instead of pulling them straight out of your head, this will give a lot of credibility to your claims. Furthermore, the most important thing is that you stay true to your voice, pretending will only get you so far.

4. Use eye-catching headlines

Finally, this is by far the most important thing you need to focus on while blogging. Yet, you might be wondering why I put the most important thing last? Well, this is because the title should always be the very last, and not the first, thing you write. The reason being that is, once you’ve finished your main text, you have a rough idea of what the article is about and therefore you can find a title that suits it. Let’s face it, people click on article titles and not on the articles themselves, and if they don’t grab their attention they won’t bother visiting your article in the first place. Hence, you should only employ article titles which spur your readers’ curiosity and encourage them to take a peek, such as how to-s and x ways to do titles.

In conclusion, remember to always do your research on hot topics and concrete facts before writing your articles. This way you’ll maintain top-notch quality whilst still being relevant to your target audience. Also, don’t be shy and give guest blogging a go, as it’s an outstanding way of increasing your overall viewer count.

 

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Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

Tech This Out: 10 Steps To Migrating Your Business Into The Digital Age

Whether your business is a new venture, or one that has been putting off the inevitable for some years, now is the time to take it into the digital arena. This opens up the door to quicker growth, increased profits, and greater stability. Frankly, that’s everything that any entrepreneur could shoot for.

If you’re going to make this transition, though, the migration needs to be smooth. It can be a daunting process, especially when you’re not a tech wizard. As long as you focus on each of the elements below, you should be just fine.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s turn your outdated venture into a modern business that’s set for years of success.

#1. Reaching Digital Audiences

The main incentive for transforming the business comes from the potential to sell products to a far larger customer base. With over 1.3 billion live websites on the internet, grabbing your fair share of the audience isn’t down to luck. You must know how to work for it.

Search engines are your greatest asset by far as most consumers will turn to Google when searching for a product. Meanwhile, a strong social media marketing strategy should stop the threat of customers scrolling on. Just remember that different demographics respond to varying ideas. Therefore, you must know your place in the market.

It’s also worth noting that the methods used for local marketing should vary from those aimed at reaching universal audiences. Show that you understand the needs of an online audience, and the migration will be far smoother.

#2. Handling Online Payments

Gaining interest from the online audiences is one thing, but converting it into a sale is another altogether. Due to the nature of digital business, obtaining their trust needs to be one of the top items on the agenda.

There are many contributing factors to consider. But ensuring that the clients are able to complete their purchases in a convenient manner is one that must be perfected instantly. The choice of ecommerce system is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Accepting as many payment types as possible is key.

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If the business plans to accept credit repayment plans, it must also run the necessary credit history checks. Letting money slip through the net due to bad debts is the last thing any entrepreneur needs. And if you do allow this to happen, you’ll only have yourself to blame.

#3. Using Modern Staffing Management

Moving into the modern business arena isn’t just about the way you interact with clients. The entire operational process can benefit from the introduction of advanced ideas. This is particularly evident when considering the recruitment and management of your team.

Every entrepreneur needs to be supported by productive employees. In today’s climate, it’s important to consider the benefits of outsourcing tasks to companies and freelancers. Or you can look to incorporate smarter recruitment methods when finding permanent on-site staff. The combination of those two ideas should work wonders.

Perhaps most importantly, communication and morale need to be maintained. Automated tracking and staff rewards should have a positive impact.

#4. Going Paperless

Turning your business into a digital operation allows you to bypass many problems. The ability to remove paperwork and physical filing systems is one of the most rewarding elements. This one step can save time, money, and space around the commercial properties.

First and foremost, you must look to improve the organization of anything related to the company’s finances. Investing in a new Accounts Payable system puts you in far better control of the firm’s accounts. However, you must learn to appreciate the importance of change management as well as the project management. After all, the human input is still central to the overall output.

Making the office spaces paperless isn’t just about the invoices and contract agreements. Your company handles many document types. Going digital enables quick access, even when you’re not in the office.

#5. Providing Digital Customer Care

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When thinking about the clients, your initial concerns revolve around the ability to gain their custom. In reality, as is the case with offline ventures, the key to sustained success comes from gaining their loyalty.

The lack of human interaction can encourage digital businesses to forget that consumers are still human. If anything, online interactions have an even greater need to be supported by great customer care. This can range from adding Live Chat to your website to providing telephone care and online FAQs. Either way, showing clients that your commitment doesn’t end with the sale is key.

It’s equally imperative to ensure that the company has established a fair returns policy. Removing any doubts can remove customer apprehensions. Crucially, it protects the company too.

#6. Protecting Your Assets

Avoiding the possibility of unnecessary returns is just the start of protecting assets on the digital platform. As part of the bid to provide a safe transaction, you should have invested in strong data protection. After all, one breach of data could bring long-lasting problems.

Once you become a digital business, intellectual theft becomes a far greater problem. The fact that you’ve reached a bigger audience means that your content could be seen by people that try to steal your ideas. Protecting your brand trademarks and innovative ideas is essential. Running a successful business is tough enough at the best of times. Allowing others to profit from your work is not an option.

There’s still a need to take care of physical assets, including your stock, particularly when you still run an offline store. Once again, though, digital tech and CCTV facilities are your greatest asset.

#7. Joining The Community

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The online community is simply massive, and your business needs to become a part of the conversation. Many entrepreneurs that are new to the digital arena assume that it’s them versus the world. While some companies are your direct competition, not everyone is an enemy.

It’s possible for two companies to share a similar audience without being in direct competition with each other. When this is the case, joint marketing ventures can pay dividends. Alternatively, sharing market insights can help both parties stay ahead of the crowd in their respective crowds. As a digital business, you must grab hold of every opportunity that comes your way. This is one of them.

On a separate note, you can embrace the community vibe by encouraging existing clients to spread the word. Testimonials, customer reviews, and referral schemes can all help the audience grow at a rapid rate. In most cases, this will be far more efficient than your marketing schemes too.

#8. Incorporating Time Savers

Time is the most valuable asset in any business venture. Embracing the digital arena to its full capabilities gives you the best chance of maximized efficiency. Investing in video conferencing systems can be a great starting point, as it removes the need for unnecessary travel.

It’s often worth choosing computerized systems to handle key business activities. From automated stock management to email marketing workflows, the time saved allows you to focus on other areas. If nothing else, reducing the threat of human error should provide a better customer experience.

Forms can also be used to save time during recruitment processes as well as customer interactions. Apart from saving time, it should make life a lot less stressful. In turn, this should promote greater clarity when making other crucial decisions.

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#9. Tailoring Your Operation

Every digital business is unique and should embrace its strengths to find the best route to success. However, it’s equally crucial to remember that those characteristics may need to be altered in some geographic locations. This is because cultural variances impact customer trends.

All customers need to feel comfortable. This is why you must understand the importance of presenting information in their natural language. Even if they can read English, many clients will prefer to use a website that’s easier to navigate. Besides, this step shows that you’ve actively thought about their needs.

With this in mind, many digital businesses find that hiring external help is the best way to branch out. Turn the company into a franchise, and the small profits in each new location will increase the overall takings without any extra work.

#10. Maintaining Offline Endeavors

Transforming your offline company into a digital one can take everything to the next level. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon the existing company model. If you’ve been making money from those traditional ideas, there’s nothing wrong with continuing them alongside the new ones.

In truth, the digital presence is likely to increase the company’s local presence. Still, printed marketing materials and promotional events can still play a positive role. If you make the transition to the digital playground without appreciating your old clients, they may feel alienated.

Besides, a company that achieves success on both platforms is sure to reach its goals far sooner. Given that this is the whole point of taking the venture online, this should all the incentive that you’ll ever need.

5 Rules That You Must Follow In Social Media Marketing

Social media is the widely used marketing platform by almost every brand and every industry. It is not about the products related to information technology only, but every brand from every industry uses social media for its marketing purposes now…

In fact we can openly make this statement that social media marketing is nearly out passing  the traditional marketing nowadays.

But…. there is something that this growing market still needs to learn and implement while operating.

You know what it is?

It is the way this new style of marketing is going about. It is about implementing the Rules of the today’s Social Media Marketing.

If you are looking at the increasing trend of social media marketing, it does not mean that everybody is doing it in the right way.

Yes, that is what I have focused over today.

This post is going to make it brilliantly easy for you to have a perfect use of your social media accounts. I bet that you will be simply slaying it from now on!

Because…

Here are the 5 Rules That You Must Follow In Social Media Marketing:

Rule #1 – Focusing

Focus should be your first and utmost important rule while handling your social media accounts. You see, every brand does have an account but not every brand knows how to run it in a perfect manner. It is an Art in itself.

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Now… what I mean by focus is that you got to have a complete idea of what kind of platform are you currently operating at. You see, every social media platform has a different set of rules and regulations… and you simply cannot apply them all at every place.

Twitter is a much more engaging medium as compared to Facebook, because people can tweet at every other second but they simply cannot update statuses on facebook on this fast pace. The number of posts, the writing styles and the kind of audience, everything varies from forum to forum. And you got to know about all of them and have a focused strategy.

Check out this great post: Different social media platforms: how do they vary and what does it mean to you?

Along with the platforms, you also need to keep YOUR PRODUCT TYPE in mind.  Because it is a fact that Different brands need to be marketed differently as well.

Rule #2 – Compounding

The second best rule is to have compounding post all over your social media. You must be thinking on what these compounding posts are… right?

The compounding posts have these qualities in common:

  • They have appealing headlines
  • They cover the latest topics or latest customer queries
  • They have interesting and compelling content inside

Now you have to make sure that you are either creating compounding blog posts or sharing compounding posts at your social media platforms.

In a research conducted by Hubspot, the Hubspot team found out that compounding post did pretty well all over their blog and the social media sites as well.

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Rule #3 – Following

 Another rule is to follow the right people. When on social media as a brand, you got to follow the influencers in your industry, without that, you are doing it wrong.

Yes, we do trust your capabilities that you can create something really better than others, but you got to have a proper idea on how the other people are doing it in your domain. Sometimes you will end up knowing the trend and sometime you will end up knowing what the users demand the most.

So following other people will benefit you in some way or the other. You will build a Network of your own through keeping in touch with the relevant market and if you are taking the right steps then there is chance that you might become an Influencer in your niche.

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Read more on HOW TO BUILD YOUR NETWORK USING SOCIAL MEDIA.

Rule #4 – Benchmarking

Benchmarking the people in your industry or the other brands is a strategy too. I know there might be a question in your mind that why would you need to copy others. And why am I not focusing on creating your own thing.

But the point here is different… you see, you need to benchmark other to observe the trends that are in-demand. Sometimes in the race of being different, you end up losing your customer chunk. Because you did not follow what was in trend at that time and that is where you lagged behind.

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In fact benchmarking comes friendly in two aspects at social media, firstly for your Drafting Technique and secondly for doing better than your competitors.

Rule #5 – Patience

Now, this is the last and the most important rule which you got to abide by. As they say, patience is the key to success.

You would not be able to measure your social media marketing success instantly or measure how a single post did. But the only solution is to be patient and observe the results later on.

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Your social media Return on Investment or the performance of a certain social media ad campaign cannot be measured right after, there has to be an accumulative result which will give you a combined trend on how your campaign did.

Or if you go about that, you can even see the performance of each post… but it wouldn’t give a perfect picture. You will have to be patient in order to dig out what actually went wrong in your whole campaign.

Check what Gary Vaynerchuk , the Guru of Social Media Marketing, says about patience in this field:

“I’m patient. I’m real patient. I’m not looking for the ROI of just this minute or the next six months.”  

I am sure you must have came to know the importance of patience in social media by now.

Simply stated,

I have given you some simple and quick rules to follow. You will not find any detailed tips or tricks in this posts but some quick rules to follow which includes; focusing, compounding, following influencers, benchmarking and being patient.

These are some great rules to base your successful social media marketing campaigns ongoing. I know the rules might differ from brand to brand but these rules definitely bound you to know each social media platform in better way than before and then apply these rules accordingly.

I am sure they would come in handy from now on and I also hope that you would make the best use of these rules and gain the maximum success through your social media marketing!

BONUS: The 29 Most Common Social Media Rules: Which Ones Are Real? Which Ones Are Breakable?

Guest author, Hammad, is a tech entrepreneur with a passion for technology and online marketing. He’s currently focusing on a new startup TruConversion , a SaaS application in web/mobile analytics space. Check out his blog HammadAkbar.com.”

Financing a Management Buyout – 4 Key Strategies

Management buyouts are financial transactions in which businesses are purchased by their management teams. It’s an exciting concept for a lot of managers because it allows them to use the experience they have in running a business on a day to day basis and apply it as an entrepreneur.

It’s a complex process and there are a lot of factors to be considered. For instance, the management needs to be ready to take on the new role and to have a clear idea of what the company will be like after they take over it.

One of the main things a new leader needs to consider is how to finance the buyout. It’s a long-term investment which means it needs to cover the costs but also leave enough cash to work with and handle day to day expenses.

Seller financing

Seller financing is exactly what it sounds like. The sellers provide the financing for the managers to buy their business out. This isn’t exactly the best option for the sellers and it’s usually used when there are no other options available – mostly when there are no buyers out there.

The price that’s paid right away is usually nominal, but there are other ways for the owners to be compensated. There’s a timeframe (ranging from 3 to 7 years) in which the new leadership of the company needs to return the money. This could be either a very comfortable option for the new owners or a quite difficult one, depending on how profitable the company will be after the buyout.

A bank loan

The most straightforward strategy for financing a buyout is the management taking out a bank loan and purchasing the company right away. It sounds simple but it also presents the biggest burden for the managers who will then be tied in with a loan for years to come.

It’s also important to note that acquisition loans work a bit differently than ordinary loans taken by individuals or even companies with a different purpose in mind. The buyers need to have excellent credit rating and provide proof that they’ve been paying taxes for years.

These loans are also sometimes backed by the government, especially if you’re buying a small company or one in an industry that’s supported by public funds (like green energy).

Private equity

In some cases, the management can use the services of a private equity fund to raise the capital needed for purchasing the company. It’s not suited to all businesses, because equity funding focuses on large transactions. However, it’s a straightforward transaction in which everyone knows why they are getting into it.

The equity funds are looking for a fast return on investment like with any other loan or stock purchase. These goals need to coincide with the goals and plans of the buyers. There’s usually a time frame within which the business needs to financially stabilize, and it’s rarely more than 5 years.

The business plan the managers create for their new company must reflect these deals as well. That way the new ownership can plan their obligations ahead of time and have a productive relationship with the private equity fund.

Assumption of debt

This strategy is only available to certain businesses and it’s usually combined with other funding sources. It can only work if the company has a significant amount of debt that it can’t repay. The new company, meaning its owners, will then assume a part of this debt when purchasing the company.

It usually isn’t the only way used to buy a business out, since no one wants to buy a business that owes more than it’s worth. Most of the time the managers buy a portion of the company using some of the aforementioned financing methods and the debts get deducted from that investment.

In these cases, the new owners need to have a detailed plan for the future of the company. There is usually some sort of pivot in terms of the products offered or the clients pursued, because the company needs to change the ways that have created the debt in the first place.

Financing day to day activities

Purchasing a company and running it on a day to day basis are two completely different things. It isn’t enough for the management to obtain the funds to buy the company out, they also need to run it and cover the expenses for the employees and contractors.

It’s best to get a line of credit for these expenses. With a credit line, a business has a certain amount of funds available, but they can borrow and pay interest on the amounts they need at any particular time.

There are different ways of approaching a management buyout. The main goal is to choose the financing strategy that’s best suited to the business at hand and the plans you have for it.

 

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.