Niche Marketing Impacts Time

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niche marketingLast week we talked about the 8-second attention span and I got lots of great feedback on that post. Now, this week I want to talk in more detail about niche marketing and why it’s so crucial in our busy and over-connected world. However, in this post I’m going to take a little bit of a different approach and talk about the big picture.

What’s the one thing that we can’t seem to get enough of?

I’ll give you a hint – it’s something that even though it’s very expensive, it never seems to be properly valued by its owner.

Okay, I will tell you.

The answer is TIME. Our time is very expensive.

Here’s a question for you, do you know what your time costs? I know what mine costs and it’s a factor that I use to make my decisions every day. So what does time have to do with niche marketing? Everything!

One of the things that holds back a new entrepreneur is not knowing exactly what to do and spending time on the wrong things. They typically know what they want the outcome to be (independent wealth :-)). However, they just don’t know how to get there. What stumps them is a few different things. First off, if they’re bootstrapping, they’re not investing any real money in the business which means they have to do a lot of the runt work themselves – which slows growth and profitability. Secondly, they tend to run a business without any sort of real plan of action, which consequently, also slows growth. Then you have the impact of making bad decisions which costs money and also, once again, delays growth.

However

If an experienced and really smart person told them step-by-step exactly what to do, as long as they did it, they could eliminate some costly mistakes and make the gap between start up and profitability much smaller.

Niche Marketing works the same way.

The longer you’re not focused and taking action, the more money you’re losing. Tweet this!

How Niche Marketing Impacts Time

When it takes less time to get a new customer that saves money. If you want to get new customers faster choose a lane. Pick an area of expertise and absolutely kill it. Determine a client or customer profile, then live and breath them. Know what their needs are, their habits, their obstacles, what keeps them up at night, and everything in between. Then align your expertise or product with that client profile. The next step is to become a very valuable resource and a leader.

Stay very focused on your target market and your vision. The mindset is, instead of chasing prospects down, they’re drawn to you. Let me tell you, this works. I have built a very profitable practice with this strategy. I love this quote by Tony Hsieh of Zappos, “Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” Tweet this!

The hang up is we think hmmm…… if we focus over here, what are we missing over there? People are so afraid that they’re going to miss an opportunity that they try to be everything to everybody.

Meanwhile, they’re on the hamster wheel, robbing-peter-to pay-paul, being the jack-of-all-trades. Guess what? They’re wasting time. Time that they could have been profitable if they just would have chosen something, mastered it, and rode it for the long haul.

Are you selling to everyone? How’s that working out for you?

If you need some help picking a niche market I just launched a new training product that’s absolutely free! Click here to check it out.

Hey, if you don’t mind would you give my free training a tweet out? I would love it!  Give it a Tweet shout out! 

 

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Entrepreneur Education – Your Website is a Spider Web

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Entrepreneur EducationHow do you use your website? Years ago the world wide web sprung up and business owners started taking their stake in the online world. When you had your own piece of the Internet real estate it meant you had a real business, it was like a business card, only better and much more expensive.

It’s a little more complicated than that now. A website has become more than a credibility piece – it’s a major hub for business, in fact many businesses thrive solely with an online presence.

Entrepreneur Education –  Spin Your Web

A spider builds it’s web near a light where bugs fly around – waiting for one to fly near. One little touch to the sticky web and the bug is trapped – the spider gets a meal.

I want you to think of your website as a spider web – a place for you to “trap” your prospect so to speak. Only your prospect won’t reach their demise, instead they’re going to be pulled into a web of information, solutions to their problems, and/or great things to purchase.

What I love about spiders is they understand their target. They know where they hang out and that’s where they build their web. They know what the downfalls or weaknesses of their target is- they leverage that information for survival.

What I don’t love about spiders is they wait. They wait for their target market to come to them, which is a little too passive for my liking. Instead of waiting for my target to just stumble upon me, I prefer to attract them to me, more purposefully.

Entrepreneur Education – Your Website is a Tool, Use It

Use your website as a spider web to attract your target market to you, what you want to capture however, is their email address. Email addresses are the new currency. Collect email addresses of people that are interested in connecting with you or learning more about what you sell. If you grow your list, you grow your sales, grow your sales, you grow your business. Your list is the key to growth. Yet so many businesses fail to capitalize on it.

When your target gets to your website do they immediately see what they need? Does your website speak their language or yours? Is there a place on your website right upfront for them to sign up for your list? How are you attracting them to sign up?

Entrepreneur Education – Attract Your Prey

It’s incredibly crucial that you choose an ideal client. You can’t market to everyone successfully. When you choose to market to everyone, your efforts have to be very generic. 

niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing. The market niche defines the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact. 

Generic marketing is like trying to have a conversation at a very loud party with someone that’s standing all the way on the other side of the room. They can’t hear you – there’s just too much noise.

When you know your target market, what their needs are, and what your role is in filling them – you’re empowered. You’re empowered with an incredible tool called niche marketing. Your room of people is much smaller which means you can be heard better. It also means you can stand out better. After all, this world is noisy. Very noisy! People have information slung at them left and right, how can you get through that? You use niche marketing as a filter. 

When you choose a niche market you can build a website that speaks directly to your target. A website should never be about what you want to say. Instead, it should be about what your target market needs to hear.

People blame a sluggish economy for so much. Truth is, your hardship is a little more complicated than that. The way we communicate has significantly changed. If the way you do business has stayed the same – of course there’s struggle.

I challenge you to take a real look at your website. How is it serving your business? Is it just an over-priced brochure? It’s suppose to create leads for your business. Does it speak to your target market? How are you using it to grow your list?

What’s your plan of action?

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Entrepreneur Education – How to Build a List

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How to Build a ListI made a ton of mistakes in the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.

As a matter of fact in my book Yanking Bootstraps – Bootstrap Your Business to Success, I dedicated a whole chapter to them! Many of those mistakes I’m actually glad I made due to the lessons learned. However, there  a few that absolutely no good came from and I deeply regret. The mistake at the top of the heap is not focusing and growing my list from hello. I didn’t know how to build a list and I didn’t know how crucial it was. Then, when I did find out – I put it on the bottom of my priorities. This costed me a lot of money. Building a list is something that takes a ton of time, you don’t just snap your fingers and have one. That’s why delaying it – is literally delaying profits. I’m not lonely in this regret, virtually every entrepreneur I’ve ever worked with shares it with me.

How to Build a List – The Money Left on the Table

Your list is the core of profitability in your business. You need to have a list of customers that have already done business with you and a list of prospective customers that at some point, given the right circumstances, will buy from you.

A Golden Rule of Selling: Selling is about timing – your customer’s timing – not yours. We never know when that time is going to be. That’s why we should always be in front of prospective customers, reminding them of what we can do for them once the time is right. 

Right away from the beginning start compiling the list and make sure you put it in a very safe place – in a database and an email platform. If you say, “Tammy, my business is tiny and I don’t really have anyone to put on the list.” This is the best time to start the process of building your list! Set up an email platform and start collecting those names and emails!

When I start working with a business one of the first steps is securing the customers/clients they already have. I’ve been involved in projects whereas the business was several years old and they never kept a good record of their list. It’s very tedious, time-consuming, and sometimes painful to have to go back through everything and build their list. So do it now! I will also tell you if you’re one of those that have waited so long that the work it will take is too hard – every customer that I put through this exercise created revenue from the endeavor. It’s worth the pain. Also, let’s face it, business can be a little tough these days, can you really afford to leave revenue on the table just because you don’t want to face the task?

How to Build a List – Retail – Shiny Bauble Business

If you sell handbags, shoes, jewelry or anything like that – I refer to those businesses as a shiny bauble business. You have more of a wow-factor going for you when it comes to marketing. If you have a brick and mortar or even an Internet-based business, you’ll get tremendous value with email marketing which is why it’s crucial to stay on top of your list building. Make sure you’re constantly growing it. There should be a place on your website that’s one of the first things a visitor sees that says “join our email list for special offers” or something to that effect. Every time someone buys from you or just comes to browse, you need to get their email address. It’s a great idea to make sure that you make special offers that are for your email list only. This not only creates an incentive for someone to sign up for your list but it also creates a sense of urgency to buy. If used correctly, a great email marketing strategy WILL bring traffic and revenue to your store. I personally guarantee it! If you’re not doing this – you’re literally passing up revenue.

How to Build a List – Retail – Business to Consumer

In this scenario you’re targeting the consumer but your business may be more of a need purchase instead of a want. I have a client that owns a handyman business so we’ll use them in this example. Once they do business with someone they should stay in touch because there will always be more repairs that need to be done to their home. Thing is, as I pointed out we don’t know when that time will be. So they have to constantly stay in touch with their list so when they do need their service – they’re top of mind.

How to Build a List – Business to Business

In this scenario your business model will greatly determine the strategy you’ll use to get someone to sign up for your list. Your business model will also determine how you’ll use email marketing. For a B to B business you may not necessarily have the advantage of offering a sale of the day – but that’s okay because you have another objective. You’re building a pipeline. You should be generating great content that serves as solutions to your target market’s problems. In addition you should create an incentive to get your ideal clients to sign up for your list. Perhaps a free EBook for example?

When you send out email marketing to your target list you’re able to generate tracking reports. These reports tell you who opened your newsletter and how many times. This report of proven engagement is a great tool for prospecting.

Next week’s Marketing Pie will be about Email Marketing and how to use it strategically to grow your business.

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Entrepreneur Education – Accounting 101

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I’m so thrilled about this weeks Marketing Pie! Recently I had the opportunity to have a Google Hangout/Interview with Tina White of Panoramic Business Solutions. Tina is an accountant – but she’s so much more than that. She’s a financial expert and an amazing resource for entrepreneurs.

I gave a lot of consideration to the questions I asked her in this segment. They were questions I get asked myself quite often from entrepreneurs that I mentor. I wanted to make sure this segment was educational, very valuable and relevant. That’s exactly what we accomplished. Also, Tina provided a wonderful FREE download that is further learning – Tax Deductions 101 – click the title to download it. 

By the way, I strongly encourage you to watch the video even if you have to watch it in segments. There were a few great tidbits that I didn’t include in this written edition of the interview. 

About Tina:

Tina White is the owner of Panoramic Business Solutions. She has more than 20 years of experience helping small businesses streamline operations with the help of tricks, technology and training classes.

entrepreneur educationEntrepreneur Education – Let’s Talk Accounting with Tina White

Question 1. I’ve hired contractors during the year from Odesk (for example) to do website and administrative work. How do I show that expense and get a deduction on my tax return?

Tina: The first thing to think about is, the minute you spend money in your business make sure that you’re properly tracking the expense. As you spend money throughout the year and those expenses pile up, you’re not going to remember exactly what you spent the money on. Perhaps start tracking your expenses for example in an excel spreadsheet and be very specific. So if you’re hiring a virtual assistant for example and you do that on a regular basis than perhaps set up a category just for that expense to keep yourself well-organized.

Keep in mind, during the year anyone you hire and pay $600 or more you’re required to issue a 10-99 form to them.

One of the benefits of Odesk is they eliminate the task of sending out 10-99′s. Most of the individuals that work for Odesk are employees of corporations and are exempt from that filing process. They are the ones paying their freelancers so they deal with the paperwork on their end. So this is a great way for you to find resources for your business and not have extra steps of tax preparation at the end of the year.

So at the end of the year the amount you paid to Odesk (for example) you’ll claim that entire deduction on your business tax return. I’m going to assume that you’re preparing a schedule C, in part two of this form it lists all the different categories for expenses. You’ll want to find the appropriate category for your deduction and record it there. Or you may choose to get really specific, in part five of the form there’s a place for you to actually list each item individually (ex: website design $2500) and the amount you spent.

Question 2. Can I claim a tax deduction for the money that I spend on my business?

Tina: Absolutely! Let’s first review what the definition of a tax deduction is. The IRS considers an expense to be the cost of operating a business with the intent of making a profit.

The IRS considers an expense to be the cost of operating a business with the intent of making a profit.

The expense needs to meet their requirements of being ordinary and necessary to your business. However, the IRS doesn’t get really specific on what that really is because in so many industries ordinary and necessary could mean different things. So if you hire a consultant to help you grow your business, a web developer to build a website for you, take out Facebook ads to advertise your business, buy business cards, and even travel expenses, those are all expenses that are necessary to run your business.

Also if you go to dinner, lunch or have drinks with a business associate or client that’s considered a business expense – however meals and entertainment are limited to an exemption of 50% of what you spent.

Just make sure that you keep ALL of  your receipts so first of all you don’t forget anything and secondly, that if questions arise you have something to back up that deduction.

Keep in mind you can go too far with a business deduction and cause yourself to get red-flagged. For example, let’s say you had to take a business trip and decided to charter a jet instead of flying with a commercial airline. That would be very expensive and something the IRS may not consider “necessary”. However, let’s just say that you had a team of 8 employees and when you weighed the cost of 8 plane tickets and the consideration of time, it was actually cost effective to charter a jet that would then be considered a necessary business expense.

Question 3. What’s the difference between regular expenses and start-up expenses?

Tina: Before you actually begin your business and you’re preparing to open up , start-up deductions are expenses that occur within that time. Start-up expenses are limited to $15,000 during the first year.  So anything you spend over that amount would have to be amortized over time for 15 years. So for example if you spent $30,000 in start-up expenses you would take a $15,000 exemption that first year and then $1,000 every year for 15 years.

This is why it’s important to be operating as soon as possible that way anything you spend is considered an operating expense (full exemption) versus a start-up expense. My own business for example was operational from the beginning and that’s how many businesses (especially home-based businesses) are started. (Tammy: “Yes, mine was operational at inception as well.”)

Question 4. What do I need to save to support my tax deductions?

Tina: The easiest thing to do is keep every single receipt that passes through your hands. One of the biggest misconceptions is just keeping your credit card statements is all the tracking you need. That’s not the case! The IRS wants to see every receipt that’s tied to that credit card statement. So make sure you keep your credit card statement AND your receipts to ensure that you have adequate support for the expense you’re claiming.

___________

Hope you got a lot from this article! I also hope you actually watched the video because once again we talked about quite a few things that I didn’t transcribe here.

Please visit Tina’s website for great information on how to be better at managing your taxes and finances. You can find her at Panoramic Business Solutions (just click on her business name it will take you there). Also go pick up a free download Tina prepared, Tax Deductions 101. It’s a very valuable resource for even further learning!

If you enjoyed this please share!

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Get Customers NOW With PPC – Pay Per Click

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We absolutely HAVE to actively market our business these days. The Internet has increased competition by over 5000% for many business models.

However on the contrary it’s also increased opportunity by that much as well! (Or More!!) I have an Internet based business and make a great living working from home – sometimes in my pjs! Without the Internet this wouldn’t be possible.

The Internet brings so many amazing tools to grow your business. Not embracing and learning about the Internet is costing you money in lost opportunities.

If you aren’t investing money and time in – 1) Staying in front of existing customers. 2) Developing and growing new customers, your business will either suffer or not reach its full potential. Let’s just say you’re leaving some money on the table.

Let’s Talk About Print Advertising

In the old days you would place an advertisement in a newspaper or magazine and wait for your phone to ring. I used to sell print advertising and what we told our customers was that someone needed to see your ad 9 to 11 times before they would actually act on it and call. Your ad could be a pretty large investment considering where you placed it. Sometimes you got your investment out of it – sometimes you didn’t.

I made a very good living as an executive that sold print advertising for almost 9 years. So I understand that world very well. Of course that was over 4 years ago.

I’m not against print – not at all. I feel that for some business models and in some markets it’s still relevant.

So it’s not that I’m saying I don’t like print – what I am saying however is there’s a better way to get way more results with less investment and much faster.

Now if you have a huge marketing budget by all means hit every medium. BUT if you’re marketing dollars are limited, let me tell you how to get more for your money.

Let’s Talk About Pay Per Click Advertising

I want to start out by saying that if you have a business to consumer model this is absolutely a no-brainer for you so take notice.

entrepreneur educationFirst let’s talk about Facebook advertising which I absolutely love. It’s the one medium that I can spend very little and pull out a lot. Facebook is amazing because you can super target by zip code, educational background, age, and so many other factors…I can go on and on.

Let me paint a scenario for you. Compare spending $3000 in print ads that run once a week for 4 weeks to a Facebook ad of which the objective is to get people to like your page.  For the Facebook ad however we’re going to set a budget of only $300 at $10 per day for 30 days. (You control your budget and decide how much of it to allocate per day.)

For every dollar you spend on average you could get 1 to 2 likes depending on your campaign. With a budget of $10 per day, the outcome could potentially be 10 (or more) new likes per day. I have personally received this outcome (and better) many times.

10 likes per day x 30 days = 300 new likes

So even if you don’t make a sale off those 300 new people right off the bat that just liked your Facebook page guess what? They’ve become a part of YOUR captive audience – and some WILL buy eventually. So for that same $300 you grew your reach and you can market to them as much as you want. Get the picture? It’s a much smaller investment for a much larger return.

The idea is to grow your audience and grow your list. Over time that brings more sales and guess what? Yes, you grow your business. So keep making that Facebook ad investment until the reward starts rolling in and your reach gets bigger and bigger.

So see, you don’t even know if anyone saw the print ad or not if they don’t call. But you can SEE your Facebook page growing every day. I love me some tangible ROI! 

ROI = Return On Investment

Side note: If you want to really dive in and learn about the AMAZING marketing value of Facebook I strongly encourage that you follow Amy Porterfield, click here to visit her website. She is awesome and has a great straight-forward approach. Everything I’ve learned about Facebook came from her and I’ve personally benefited from it and so have my clients.

Let’s Talk Google Advertising

As someone that focuses so hard on organic search results I have to admit that I was a bit of a skeptic at first. I brought a new client into my business that used the medium and said it worked for him so I had to dive in and learn the science. I was shocked. I then introduced a couple of other clients to it. We started out slowly and worked our way into it. Guess what? I was witnessing them getting calls from it thus new customers.

One of my clients after just a mere $100 investment per month actually got a couple of customers that was worth more than 10 times that amount! Yes! Now THAT’s ROI!

The cool thing about Google ads is the call feature.

Now, let’s face it – over 50% of people are searching the Internet with their handheld.

The cool thing is your Google ad can come with a “call” feature that people can just tap-to-call. Awesome huh? This is convenient to the searcher – therefore the owner of this ad will get their business.

Now, how about you?

What are YOU doing to actively market your business? Are you growing your customer base? Growing your list? Don’t leave money on the table!

Embrace the Internet – there’s money here with your name on it!

Cheers!

Tammy

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