4 Ways to Build Subscriber Lists for Your New Business

If you have a new business, then you need to have the right approach to increase sales and customer engagement. There is no better way to do that other than building a subscriber list with email. However, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, if you follow the four tips below you can have a solid list in no time:

In-Store Calls to Action

When people walk into your store, they are seeing everything for the first time. They might notice a new product, your design, the layout, or something else. However, if you have a call to action to get on your list, then you are going to increase your chances of converting them in the store without having to say a word. Don’t miss out on the money you could make by getting people signed up from a simple logo or banner.

Text Messages

The reality is that sms services for small business can help you build your list. When you think about it, everyone has a cell phone today. This is different than a few decades ago.

People are checking their phones constantly. No one lets their text messages go unchecked. Eventually, they are going to look down and check their texts. When they see something from your business, you have a chance to convert them. You can use a number of enticing angles and offers to get them to sign up. Either way, having an email list is much easier when you manage them with texts.

Website Opt-ins

Do not just put up a website and hope people will come. You need to do much more than that if you want to get people on your list. You need to have some kind of offer. For instance, you can offer a free service or a discount when they sign up.

Social Media Posts

Underestimating the power and scale of social media is a big mistake. With a small budget, you can get a lot of results with social media. The key is to understand which platform your users are going to be on and then execute.

Getting more out of your business means building a list in today’s world. However, without a strategy you can execute, it is going to be difficult. So make sure you give yourself and advantage and use the tips above. That way, you are ensuring your list will grow by the day and put your business in a great position.

Emma is a business strategist-turned blogger. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand. Emma is a  passionate traveler and yoga aficionado. She is in love with coffee, interior design, books, and good vibes. 🙂 

10 Networking Tips for Your Next Business Conference

Conferences are one of the best places for networking. You’re surrounded by people with similar interests, including many who can help you advance your career. There’s plenty of opportunity for the taking at conferences. You can learn a lot from your fellow attendees and may even land yourself a new position, since 46 percent of jobs get filled through traditional networking. Here are 10 networking tips to use for your next conference.

1. Have a Plan

Attending a conference can be overwhelming, especially if it’s a large one with a lot of people and events. Do yourself a favor and schedule your time beforehand. In addition to deciding which presentations to go to, build some time into your schedule for networking. You can also plan some of the specifics of your networking. Before the conference, research who’s going to be there and decide who you want to talk to.

2. Start Early

You don’t have to wait until the conference to start networking. Connect with other attendees on social media beforehand and post about the event on your feeds. Send fellow attendees a message saying you hope to see them there and ask them which sessions they plan on attending. You can also reach out to presenters and tell them you’re looking forward to their talks. That way you’ll have the foundations of a relationship already in place when you get to the conference.

3. Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a tried and true networking tip. Your pitch should be about 60 to 90 seconds long, or between 150 and 250 words. Keep it to the point while still showing a bit of your expertise, passion and personality. You can memorize it and practice before you go, but do your best to keep it genuine and natural-sounding too.

4. Look Approachable

Networking has two main purposes — maintaining relationships you’ve already started and meeting new people. To increase the number of people you meet, look approachable whenever you can. Only look at your phone or laptop when you have to. A lot of people look at their devices when they’re bored or uncomfortable, but situations in which you’re waiting around are often some of the best opportunities for networking. Other attendees are probably looking for something to do at these times too.

5. Ask Questions

Conferences are excellent opportunities to tell other people about yourself, but of course, you also want to get to know others. When talking to people at your conference, be sure to show interest in them, engage with what they’re saying and ask questions. Try to think of some things to ask before you go. Often, people lead with basic questions like “what do you do?” and “where are you from?” You can also try asking people what their favorite presentation or session of the conference was so far.

6. Reach Out Right Away

Often, after a conference, people come home with a stack of business cards that ends up gathering dust. They put off reaching out to the people who gave them cards, and the connections end up getting lost. Instead, reach out as soon as someone gives you a card. Send them an email with your information and a reminder of who you are to get the conversation started and help them remember you. This strategy can help keep your networking efforts from going to waste.

7. Take Notes

At conferences, you typically meet lots of different people, so it’s easy to forget details about some of them. To help you remember your connections, write a few notes about each person on their business card, on a notepad or on your phone. Jot down something you talked about, what they were wearing, a funny joke they told you or anything else that will help you remember them.

8. Just Go for It

Networking can feel awkward, especially at first. It’s natural to worry about how someone might react if you walk up to them and introduce yourself. One of the great things about conferences is that it’s acceptable — and even expected — that people will come up to you and start conversations. If you see someone you want to meet and they don’t look overly busy, just go for it. Don’t miss out on the networking opportunity your conference offers.

9. Supplement With Social Media

While you want to focus on face-to-face interactions, you can also use social media to your advantage. Post about the conference and use event hashtags. Tag presenters when you tweet about their talks. Ask questions. Doing so can garner online interactions and may have even lead to face-to-face meetups.

10. Follow Up

Just as you want to start your networking before the event, you should also continue it once it ends. Post on social media or your company blog about the conference and reach out to the people you met. This will help keep the relationships alive following the event itself and help you make the most of your conference experience.

Do what you can to make the most of your conference experience, and you will likely come away with lots of contacts, business leads or even a possible new job.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

Getting Your Name Out There: 3 Tips for Business Promotion

One study showed that one-third of businesses lacked significant marketing resources. While some business owners may let that stop them, we already know that you’re a true entrepreneur. But the question still stands: how can I market my business when I don’t have a lot of money for advertising? 

The answer? There’s a lot you can do with limited marketing resources, especially if you decide to get creative and resourceful. Here you’ll learn three ways that you can promote your business. You will get a much better idea of what you can do to put your name out there to your ideal customers. 

Go Social 

A set of researchers from the Pew Research Center found that over 75 percent of adults now use some sort of social media network. This number multiplied by ten from 2005, the last time the study was done. 

Don’t just jump on several social media channels and then quit all of them a week later. All the social media channels have their own etiquette and rules of engagement, so pick one or two and really try to make them work. But if you put in the effort, you could find that you’ll get fans of your business to engage with you.

Create Viral Content 

Your ideal customers want valuable content that they will want to share with their loved ones. Search engines such as Google want you to do the exact same thing. You can do such activities as creating infographics, making videos, blogging, hosting a podcast, and writing guest posts for authoritative websites. You won’t just become an expert in your niche, but you’ll also get web traffic. Other ways you can establish your expert status is appearing on podcasts in your niche and becoming a guest blogger on blogs in your space. 

Don’t want to sit at your laptop for hours crafting the perfect guest post for your favorite blog? You can hire freelancers and agencies to help you create high quality content. Find companies that specialize in strategic communications and promoting businesses in your industry for the best results. 

Guerilla Marketing Works 

Guerilla marketing can work if you work it. Many small businesses use this type of advertising to compete with their larger competitors. You can plenty of tactics to advertise your business. Hire an artist to draw a mural on the sidewalk in front of your coffee shop. Get a flash mob to bring people into your clothing boutique. You’re only limited by your creativity. 

Don’t let a lack of funds keep you from fighting the good fight. If you’re going to be in business, you have to weather a lot of bumps in the road. Getting your name out there in any way you can could give you great results if you stay the course.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

5 Big Mistakes No Successful Entrepreneur Will Make Again

It may seem like some of the biggest companies out there are being run by people who know everything about the business world. While they may know a lot about it, it doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. In fact, almost every entrepreneur has made at least one mistake in their career. There’s nothing wrong with making a mistake as long as you learn something from it. And if you don’t want to learn from your own mistakes but you’d rather learn from other entrepreneur’s experiences, make sure you read on.

Not using social media

There’s no need to say that social media is huge right now. Just in New Zealand, there are 3.5 million active social media users and we can expect this number to grow in the future. However, some entrepreneurs believe using social media is a waste of time and decide not to create social media presence for their business. This is definitely something you don’t want to do, especially because people now often turn to social media search when looking for a product or service. In order to make sure everyone can reach you, you need to create pages on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and use them on a daily basis to communicate with your customers directly.

Forgetting to pay themselves

Many rookie entrepreneurs get so excited about running their own business that they completely forget about paying themselves. Even if they do remember to do so, they often decide not to do it in order to leave more money for their company to work with. This can seem like an amazing idea at first but it can seriously hurt both your personal and business finances. If you don’t pay yourself, you’ll soon find yourself with no money on your bank account. Also, you won’t get a clear picture of how well your business is doing and doing your taxes will be more difficult. Those who decided not to pay themselves have learned the hard way that they deserve to receive a paycheck for all their hard work.

Not being formal enough

Running a business is a serious task and only those who take it that way will be able to succeed. That being said, you should try to be formal whenever you get the chance. Let’s say you’re responding to a negative comment from a customer. Instead of arguing with them, you should try to be as formal and polite as possible. This will show your customers that you care about what they have to say, which can be a big plus for your company. When meeting a business partner, renting a vehicle from companies such as Avis Car Rental is a good idea as it makes you look more professional and helps you bring your A-game to the meeting.

Setting unattainable goals

Running your own business sure is great and just like most entrepreneurs out there, you dream of conquering it all. While dreaming big is an important part of success, you can’t just expect your business to do exceptionally well from day one. Many entrepreneurs end up setting unattainable goals for their business right from the start which ends up affecting their operations. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, you need to be extra careful when setting goals for your business. It’s important to start small and adjust your goals as your business grows. We recommend putting your goals in writing so that you could review them every once in a while and make any necessary adjustments.

Taking everyone’s advice

The business world is full of “gurus” who believe they’re the next Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Ellison. Those people will often give you advice in order to help you grow your business. Taking everything they say seriously is a good idea and it could help you take your business to the next level. However, this doesn’t mean you need to do everything they advise you to do. Instead, you need to rely on your own knowledge and instincts. Therefore, every time you need to make an important business decision, you should think about what you want to do and only then listen to what other people have to say. Many of those who’ve taken every piece of advice they’ve got ended up failing even before they got a chance to show what they can do.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Make sure you don’t make these 5 mistakes and you’ll have nothing to worry about. Even when something goes wrong, fix it as quickly as possible and try to learn something from it.

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in latest business news and new social media trends. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

Defending Your Reputation When The Knives Come Out For You

When you own a business of your very own, your reputation is everything. It’s what makes your clientele choose you over your nearest competitor. It’s what engenders a sense of trust in the brand you have created and in you; the guiding hand behind it. Thus, when the knives come out for you and others seek to besmirch your good name it can have disastrous consequences for your brand and your business. You must defend your good name with every ounce of might you can muster. This is a battle on several fronts. You must not only be reactive and deal with threats to your reputation as and when they appear, you must also lay a firm foundation to limit your liability and protect your reputation from damage. Here are just a few of the measures you can take…

Hire a lawyer with a sterling reputation

No matter the size of your operation, it behoves you to find a sterling legal team. If someone accuses you or your business of malpractice, the outcome in court is more than likely to spill over into the court of public opinion (which can be notoriously unforgiving). A good legal team will mount an aggressive defense on your behalf and ensure that the truth comes to light. See Brian Zeiger for more information. Of course, prevention is always the best cure, which brings us to…

Make sure that you have the right insurance

If you have a physical place of business, it goes without saying that you need some form of public liability insurance to protect you if a customer or client injures themselves on your business.However, businesses are increasingly investing in reputation insurance to insulate you against a wide range of risks to your reputation and to help employ potent damage control measures. While entrepreneurs can be gun shy when it comes to the prospect of more overhead costs, the right insurance is absolutely essential in protecting your operation and your reputation.

Deal quickly and decisively with social media complaints

Every customer service policy should have a comprehensive and effective customer complaints policy at its core. However, in the social media age, people are much more likely to air their grievances in the public forum of social media than submit an official complaint.

The longer a complaint is left undealt with on social media, the more potential damage it can cause to your reputation. It’sup to you to deal with these types of complaint quickly and decisively. Set up a Google alert to help you to respond quickly. Address the complaint publicly. Be sure to apologize and demonstrate your willingness to make amends.

Know the needs of your target market

While you may enjoy the regular custom of your target demographic now, make no mistake, they will turn on you if they feel that their needs are being neglected. Lose focus and you may find yourself the focus of negative buzz which will almost certainly result in a loss of sales.

Take the steps to guard your reputation and you will not be pushed off the path to prosperity.

5 Actionable Tips for Scaling Your Small Business

Do you know how to scale your business? Starting your business took a lot of hard work. Now that you’re ready for expansion, you will likely face an entirely new set of challenges.

Already, as part of your routine, you must serve customers, supervise your staff, keep the books and fill other administrative roles. With so much to do, scaling your business might seem impossible. Where do you start? How do you find the time?

Use the following actionable tips for scaling your small business to do the job without becoming overwhelmed or busting your budget.

Embrace Success

Already, you’ve overcome the odds by building a successful small business. You know what failure looks like and you probably don’t like it. So, as you scale your business, think big and approach everything you do with a “success” mentality.

You can probably find thousands of fantastic ideas that can help you scale. Prepare yourself right now to say “no” to most of them. You have limited amounts of time and money, so stay focused on the things that matter the most.

Always keep the big picture in mind. Make every decision with an eye for the future. If you don’t, you could incur unnecessary expenses. For example, if you skimp on your data network or software applications, you may have to replace them if they can’t grow with you.

So, when you invest in systems, make sure they can scale with your business. Take a similar approach while assembling your team.

Get Help

Find someone who can serve as your mentor and advisor. Such a person could be anyone with experience either in your industry or your type of business. An investor, business owner, or someone with similar experience can fill this role.

In addition to getting advice from peers, you should learn to depend on your team. Rather than trying to do everything yourself, try delegating responsibilities. By letting other people share the load, you can have more time to plan and execute your growth strategy.

Of course, as your business grows, you will need to expand your team. Avoid the temptation to take shortcuts with your team. You need well-qualified people who can deliver a high level of performance. To do this, you’ll need to offer competitive wages, perks, educational opportunities, and other benefits.

Use Technology

As you scale, look for ways to work smarter rather than harder. Here, technology can play a vital role. For instance, you can use a cloud-based collaboration app to unify remote workers with your traditional employees.

When done right, your entire team can work together on documents, share files, and hold group brainstorming sessions. Tools that support instant messaging, live chat, video conferencing, and virtual whiteboards can also help your staff become more productive.

Automation offers you additional ways to scale your business. Thanks to technology, you can eliminate redundant data entry and automate many routine tasks. In the end, you can substantially improve productivity while eliminating opportunities for making errors.

Other opportunities for improving your business’ performance include analytics tools. These can collect and analyze multiple data points from your organization and provide insights into its performance.

Get Online

Your website and social networks are assets that you shouldn’t ignore. Spend time assessing their current state and then develop a plan for moving forward. Remember that a fresh and active online presence can grow your sales.

Now is a fantastic time to refresh your market research. First, identify the type of customers that need what you offer. Next, learn about the problems and challenges they face. You should also learn about their desires and aspirations.

Based on your research, create a persona that represents your ideal customer. As you create content, keep this person in mind. Create value by addressing the real-world issues that your persona faces.

Most of all, be consistent. On social media, share your brand’s personality. Socialize with your followers and share content. Do more than pitch sales. Become part of the community.

Encourage Feedback

In your quest for growth, never forget about your current customers. For starters, you can dramatically reduce your selling costs by closing repeat sales. In other words, by expanding your base, you can boost your profitability.

Your customers can also provide you with feedback that can support your ongoing success. They can provide you with answers to important questions:

â—Ź What new products and features should you sell?
â—Ź How can you create a better customer experience?
â—Ź What factors limit their frequency and volume of sales?
â—Ź How can you deliver more value to the marketplace?

Consider sending customers a survey after every sale. This gives them a chance to express their level of satisfaction and share their opinions. To encourage participation, keep your surveys short and simple. Additionally, offer an incentive such as a discount on a future purchase.

In conclusion, rest assured that you can successfully scale your business. However, to avoid the mistakes that have doomed other business, you should apply the above tips. Start by thinking big. your winning attitude will help you overcome failures and mistakes.

As you make progress, avoid distractions, get the help you need, leverage technology, and build your online presence. In the end, scaling your business requires a lot of work and some risk. What do you think about this topic? Share your comments or experiences that may help small business owners rise to the next level.

Joe Peters

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters

Unique Marketing: 5 Ways to Increase Sale for Your Business

Gone are the days when you could drum up business just by putting an ad in the paper. Today’s consumers expect a lot more flash and bang than the kind offered by old-school advertising. Here are just five ways to give it to them. 

Host a Challenge

Let your customers choose your new mascot by submitting pictures, videos and drawings. Ask them to snap selfies of themselves using your products or employing your services. See who can create the best hashtag for an annual event. Challenges are a fun way to engage your customers with your brand, and in addition to boosting your sales, they can also bring positive media attention to your company if they go viral. 

Participate in Social Media Trends 

Speaking of viral, you never know when that #ThrowbackThursday photo will get thousands of retweets. Don’t be afraid to hop on the bandwagon of whatever is currently trending. Businesses have gotten a lot of press from things like Gangnam Style parody videos, and the more that you put yourself out there, the more likely it is that you’ll strike a chord with the public someday. 

Hire Promotional Models 

You don’t have to run a clothing line to employ models for your brand. Promotional modeling can be a benefit in many different industries, and it’s something found at expos, conferences, trade shows and launch parties around the world. These men and women can do everything from promoting a specific product to bringing general attention to your brand. 

Offer Freebies 

Everyone loves a freebie, especially when it’s something valuable and not just a pen or key chain with your company’s logo on it. Think about offering doorbusters at your next big sale, or hand out high-quality gifts with the purchase of certain products. You might also choose to distribute prizes and rewards to completely random customers. Intermittent reinforcement is a powerful psychological tool. 

Consider Local Collaborations 

Sponsor a youth soccer league. Pair up with a non-competitor to offer mutual discounts on your services. You’ll find more customers by expanding your reach, and you’ll also establish yourself as a local, trusted brand by becoming a regular part of the community. People will think favorably of your business because they see your name every time that Junior hits a home run. 

Say goodbye to traditional marketing campaigns. Today’s businesses need to have innovative, forward-thinking ads that can capture hearts and minds despite the increasingly short attention span of society. Think outside of the box with your marketing efforts to ensure that people still notice you within the noise.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley