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Business and Marketing tips for Entrepreneurs



Last Build Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:07:54 +0000

 



How to increase brand loyalty with a unique brand story

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 07:52:34 +0000

You’ve heard it all before – in order to increase revenue and decrease acquisition costs, you will need to increase brand loyalty. Simple. And yet… easier said than done. What do you have to do in order to increase your clients’ loyalty to your brand? Or in other words, how can you make your clients see your brand as a friend?   Make the client your friend A friend is someone you know. Someone you share history with. Someone you like. Someone you care about. That’s what you’re aiming for. When your clients feel that way about you, you’re right where you should be. Some companies are great at this. That’s why some people will only drink Coca Cola, and others won’t touch anything but Pepsi. They feel a connection with the brand, and wouldn’t want to betray someone they consider a friend (or close thereto). That’s human nature.   Stand out from the crowd What makes Coca Cola and Pepsi stand out? They each have a unique story, and a unique personality. They stick to their core values, and elaborate a story based on those. Coca-Cola focuses heavily on family and tradition, while Pepsi goes for young and trendy [...]



Marketing basics – on features and benefits

Tue, 13 Mar 2012 07:53:23 +0000

Your clients couldn’t care less about what you offer them. A bold statement. None the less, it’s true. They care about how they can benefit from what you have to offer them. See the difference?   Benefits and features are two different things Far too many companies focus inwards, that is, they have a focus on what they have to offer. People don’t care about that. People care about themselves. How they can benefit. They can benefit by taking advantage of what you offer, true, but focusing exclusively on what that offer is doesn’t cut it. What’s the difference?   Features are properties A feature is a property your product or service has. It lets clients know exactly what to expect from what is bought. Let’s take the example of a mobile phone. 3G would be a feature. A 4” touchscreen would be a feature. Weight of only a 100 grams would be a feature. Features are important. Features are not enough.   Benefits are benefits A benefit can be described as what a product or service can do for you. A benefit is not physical. Let’s again take the example of a mobile phone. While having 3G is a [...]



The first million is the hardest

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 07:47:17 +0000

They say the first million is the hardest to get, and that after that it will be smooth sailing. There just might be some truth to that. How come? Here are 3 reasons.   You need to eat While in the process of starting a business and making it a success, you still need to eat. What that means is that you need an income. Unless that income comes from your family or the government (or you’re rich) you need a job. A job takes time and energy. Time and energy you could have spent on designing your business proposal and working towards making it a success. Don’t quit your day job just yet though. You still need to put food on the table. And in fact to pay for the table. Working full time will make the process of starting a business take more time.   You don’t have a clue If you have never started a business previously, your experience is limited. You may have the perfect business idea and all the skills needed to do what you want to do. But do you know all the organizational and legal requirements? Odds are this will take quite some [...]



Success is a train ride away

Thu, 01 Mar 2012 11:30:27 +0000

Would you like to know how to become the leader of your market? How to get clients that are loyal and keeps coming back? How about how to increase your earnings? Or how to get the edge on your competitors? Luck is not a part of it. Neither is genius. Both can help, but what will significantly impact your business is performing a market analysis.   A market analysis benefits you Imagine going with the train. There are two ways of doing it. 1. You go to the station with a vague idea of where you want to get to and jump on the next train that seems to be going in that general direction. 2. You decide where you want to go beforehand, you check schedules and possible connections, you get to the station on time, you find the right track and you board the correct train. Which would you prefer? It’s the same in business. You could open up a business with no more than a general idea of what you would like to do and where you would like to go. And who knows – it might just end up great. On the other hand, careful preparation [...]



Marketing basics – Move or Melt

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 12:00:13 +0000

Movement, adaptation, innovation, action. The snowball effect. Back when I was a kid, one of my favorite pastimes was making stuff from snow. Whether a snowman, snow fortress or anything else, the process was always the same. Start packing the snow together by hand, put it on the ground and start rolling. The more the ball rolled, the bigger it grew. Stop rolling though… Best case scenario, if the weather was cold enough, it would stay the same size. A little bit of wind and sun however, and the ball quickly shrunk. What in the world does this have to do with marketing?   Movement creates growth Any market is constantly shifting. The products that were all the rage a few years back are now used for nothing more than collecting dust. (Tape, VHS and CRT screens anyone?) The more globalized we become, the faster trends change. For some markets more than others. Fashion, technology and anything IT-related may be the worst. (The mobile phone I got for free with the subscription today is more powerful than the computer I bought for two months’ salary 5 years ago.) The companies that are making money in these markets are the ones [...]



7 steps to write like a pro

Tue, 21 Feb 2012 13:40:09 +0000

Regardless of what business you’re in, writing is – with very few exceptions – essential. Although technically just letters on a paper or a screen, effective writing has the power to capture attention, engage readers and inspire an action – in short: sell your stuff. Not limited to marketing texts and advertisements, effective writing will also improve communication with clients via mail, blogs, newsletters etc as well. The following seven tips will help you write better.   1. Write correctly It should go without saying, but before sending a mail, publishing a blog post or sending an advertisement to print, read through it! Eliminate typos and common mistakes. If in doubt, ask a friend. Sloppy writing signalizes that you simply don’t care about the writing, which easily leads to a dangerous question arising in the minds of your clients. Do you care about the rest of your business?   2. Write like a person Today’s society is overloaded with information. Wherever you look there’s someone or something competing for your attention. You need to engage your audience. Grab their attention, and once gotten, keep it. How to do that? Write like a person. As speech is significantly easier to follow [...]



Marketing tools: Complaining clients

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 14:45:23 +0000

Some years ago I made a, for me, rather substantial investment – a relatively high-end notebook. I was a student at the time, which meant I needed financing for the purchase as the price of the machine was more or less what I made in three months. The frustration was quite big when the notebook broke down some time later. Frustrated mails were sent to the manufacturer’s service department, who repaired the machine within a week – far quicker than I expected. When the machine broke down again, the repair was even quicker, with most of the parts swapped out. My experience with the brand went from good to irritated to very good. To the point where I was telling friends and family to only buy the brand (some actually did). Why? Because the brand took my case seriously. After all…   It’s personal For your client the most important person in his universe is himself. What that means is that whenever a service issue happens to someone else, it’s understandable. The service department is probably busy. Wait a couple of more days and it will be in order. When it happens to your client though, it’s different. It’s personal. [...]



2 marketing strategies to escape the most common business trap of all

Thu, 09 Feb 2012 15:51:56 +0000

Something extremely common for small businesses is wanting to be the best on everything – to have the best product, with the best quality and the best service at the lowest price. There are two problems with that. 1. Unless you have your own manufacturer or patents on a state of the art cost saving manufacturing process, odds are your costs will be very similar, if not higher, than those of your competitors. Hence, it will not be commercially viable to sink resources into being the best at everything. Fact is that someone else will be able to be better than you at something. If not, you will go bankrupt due to high costs. 2. There is a perception among people that expensive means high quality, while inexpensive means the opposite. There’s a reason behind the expression “you get what you pay for”. How to avoid this trap? That’s what you’ll be able to do in a bit.   Two primary marketing strategies As mentioned in a previous article, there are two primary marketing strategies that are commercially sound.     1. The low-price strategy     2. The be-different strategy Keep reading for more details.   The low-price strategy This strategy [...]



Marketing lessons from a coffee place

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 13:27:47 +0000

As any decent B-person, I consume high amounts of coffee in the morning. Luckily there are a bunch of cafes close to where I work. Even so, I always go to the same one. Every morning. It’s not the one with the tastiest coffee (although it’s pretty good). It’s not the one with the nicest atmosphere (although it’s all right). Neither is it the one with the lowest prices (although they’re not expensive either). The service is not the fastest, but neither the slowest around. Why then do I always end up at the same place? Because the employees at this place make me feel like I matter to them. They remember what I order. They appear genuinely interested in their clients. And they always smile. It’s the place that has managed to establish a human connection with me. If you can manage to do the same in your business, establish that connection with your clients, they will keep coming back. Not only that, but they will bring their friends as well. How can you achieve that?   Remember that clients are people Your clients are not only clients. They are people. Real human beings with hopes and dreams. Families [...]



How to keep your blog alive: The art of crafting smart headlines

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 13:21:43 +0000

You have this idea in your head that’s been marinating for some time. You finally sit down, ready to write the content that will change your business. You’re on fire! Your pulse is racing and your fingers are flying over the keyboard like ballerinas lightly dancing across the stage. You edit, reedit, bite your nails, edit again, look it over, finished. It’s perfect! There’s just one more thing you need to put in. The headline. You make it as descriptive and generic as possible and stuff it full of keywords. After all, that’s what Google is after, right? You hit publish, share on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and whatever else and go to bed. You get up next morning expecting the visitor count, retweets, comments and feedback to be through the roof. You open up your post to check for comments. Nothing. Twitter mentions? Nada. Facebook Likes? Nope. Google Analytics? Flatlined. Mails? The only change is in the spam folder. There should have been at least some response, right?   It’s all in the headline The quality of your headline heavily impacts the traffic it will generate. As Copyblogger’s Brian Clark talks about in his post about how to write headlines [...]