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Struggling To Improve Your Business’s Finances?

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As any entrepreneur knows, the world of business is dominated by money. Even if your primary motivation for setting up your business was because you genuinely wanted to help someone by offering a service, the truth is that you can’t afford to ignore the central role that money plays in the way that business will play out. If you are struggling with your business’ finances, it can sometimes seem that there is no end to the concern. But as long as you do a few essential things, your financial position should be much improved. In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the key things that you can do to improve your business’ financial standing.

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Start With Your Personal Finances

Often, businesses fail in the money department for a simple but often undetected reason: the personal finances of the owner are in a bad place. It doesn’t matter what your business is doing out in the world, if your personal finances are not in a good position then it is unlikely that you will experience much joy with your business. One tends to reflect the other, and you will build up much more confidence with your business’ finances if you first ensure that your personal finances are in a good order. Ideally, you should do this long before the business even gets off the ground, but if it has to be later that is no real problem. Just make sure that you keep an eye on your personal finances at all times, as it has a direct impact on your business.

Get To Know Accounting

Of course, the more you know individually, the more likely it is that you can steer your company in the right direction at all times. With that in mind, it might be worth going out of your way to try and learn about accounting. There is a great deal that can be learned with regards to accountancy, and the more you know the more likely it is that you can lead your business on to greater things. Why not consider taking an online mba in accounting to brush up on your finance skills? You might be pleasantly surprised at what a huge difference this can make to your business’ financial concerns. What’s more, if you get good enough you could even save money on hiring out an external accountant too.

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Remember Your Assets

Something that first-time business owners often mistakenly do is forget about the assets the business might have. It’s important to remember about these, because sometimes it means that your business is in a much better position than it actually appears to be. There are two main types of assets which your business probably has: tangible and intangible. Tangible are those which you might call ‘real’, physically real, such as the building, the money, equipment, things like that. Intangible assets are no less important: this is things such as intellectual property and copyrights or trademarks. Bear in mind that these are all worth money, and try your hardest to make the most of them.

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Navigating The Marketing Maze In 2017

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When you start a new company, you will have a lot of decisions to make. One of the most important is choosing how you are going to promote and market this new business idea. There are a lot of options to consider here. For instance, you might decide to market your business entirely offline. A choice that might be attractive if you have no interest in a global market. If you are focusing instead on local customers, there’s no real reason to get lost in the online world of promotion. That said online marketing can still be useful for offline companies. It can help you gain new support and also create a voice for your business online. But what are some of the other possibilities when marketing your company.

Social Media Marketing

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There are two ways social media can be used to market your business online. Social media is an option if you want to connect with customers directly, interact and engage. Using social media, you can ask them questions, promote ideas and request feedback that will help you decide which direction you should take your business. You can also use social media to promote content. By promoting content on social media, you can encourage shares. Shares, in turn, will boost the search ranking of your site and that will mean an increase in traffic and support. As such, it is an idea that is certainly worth considering. Indeed, many businesses now invest in the services of a full marketing manager that includes someone to direct social media.

SEO

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You might have already noticed that social media marketing is a part of SEO. You’ll find that when setting up your marketing campaign, all the little pieces connect and collide in some way. But when we’re talking about SEO we mean actually changing your site to boost the ranking. It’s become a little outdated this idea, mainly due to Google penalties. Penalties have made it more difficult to naturally optimize your site without being broken hit and hit hard. That said, SEO techniques can still be useful, particularly if you invest in a great service.

Paid SEO

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Of course, you can also think about paying directly for SEO. This means that you guarantee you get a sponsored position on the SERPs. As such, you can guarantee that customers will see your site. Whether or not they will click or buy a product once they enter is another matter entirely. An example of paid SEO is PPC. PPC Management: Do You Really Need It? This Will Help You Decide! Generally speaking, PPC can be incredibly useful if you know that once customers get to your site, they will buy or stick around. Essentially, if you can rely on your site design, you can use PPC and other paid methods of SEO.

Content Marketing

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That said, the most powerful form of marketing right now is content. Content allows you to create and formulate an idea around your business. The concept that you create can help you sell a product or a service. It can change your brand and boost customer interest. It is a unique and crucial form of marketing that you need to start using right now.

But which one wins out? Ideally, you should be using all these forms of marketing. But, if you have to pick one, content would be where your main focus should be in 2017.

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Why Investing in Yourself Is the Best Decision you’ll Ever Make

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Acquiring more education and learning new skills is more important today than ever before. The days of gaining one skill set and then falling into a comfortable job for the next forty years are long gone.

In this new era of employment, flexibility and a willingness to retrain are the attributes that will keep you in high demand and give you the most control over your future.

Regularly upgrading your skills can sometimes seem like a burden though, so it’s best to focus on the positives. Instead of thinking of the time that you’ll need to spend, and the money that you’ll have to lay out in the short-term, fix your sights on the long-term benefits that your new skill set will bring you.

You’ll Stand Out from the Competition

The more education that you acquire in addition to your work experience, the more attractive you will be to a prospective employer. If you’re a chartered accountant, for example, you’ll be limited in the roles that you can apply for. But if you’re a chartered account with an MBA and a marketing degree, your options are wide open. Plus you’ll be more valuable to employers that don’t have dedicated departments overseeing all of the different aspects of their business.

You’ll Be Ready to Take Advantage of New opportunities

Once you have a position with an employer, you’ll be among the first to learn of new openings. If you already have the relevant education and a good track record in the company, your chances of securing a better position are very high.

Your position will be much more stable if you have other skills that a business needs. For example, accounting work is reported to be among the professions most under threat from automation. If your accounting degree is all that you have, then you could end up without work and without a path to new employment. But if you already hold other qualifications, then you could slot into other positions within the same organization when they downsize the department. You’ll also stand a better chance of being hired by a new employer when you’re competing against all of those other out of work accountants.

You Can Earn More Money

If you don’t feel as though you’re earning as much as you should, then a sure fire way to move up a rung or two on the income ladder is to get better qualifications so that you can secure more lucrative work. One way to do this while you remain in your current job is by taking advantage of online education.

You can easily obtain an online MBA or marketing degree, or you could even study for something like computer science, criminal justice, or civil engineering online.

Your extra qualifications also open up the possibility of becoming self employed as a consultant, which gives you even more scope for earning a higher income.

Take some time to work out which new skills or qualifications it would be in your best interest to obtain, and then investigate the best way to achieve your goal. You may find that for the same cost as a new car, you could earn a masters degree in civil engineering that will provide much needed job security and triple your earnings for many years to come.

 

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Breaking the Barriers to Success

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There are plenty of challenges to overcome when you’re starting a new business. Aside from finding the right market and developing a product that suits your target consumers, you also need to develop a solid team that will work well under different situations. As a new business, you actually have complete freedom on how you want to organize your business for maximum efficiency. According to the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Masters in Business Administration program, there are a few management models that you can adopt to meet the challenges of the market.

The most classic model is where managers are leading the change. While this is a more conventional approach, it is still an effective model to implement, especially when you’re running a relatively large business. With managers on the leading edge of change, it is also much easier to adapt and innovate.

You can learn more about other ways to break the barriers to success by reading the Top Business Management Models infographic.

This infographic was created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

udemy The-Top-Management-Models-That-Are-Changing-How-Business-Operates-v2-01-4 Set 40 26th Jan

 

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Thumb Candy: Tips For Marketing Your App

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Due to the sheer amount of money they can generate, or simply their strength as a marketing tool, more and more business owners are making plans to develop their own apps and take them to market. You may have a killer idea for a mobile app, but it’s important to remember it won’t get anywhere without great delivery. Here are my best tips on marketing your mobile app.

Have a Great Design

The greatest minds in marketing won’t be able to save you if your app doesn’t actually offer any value to your target market. The standards of app design are exceptionally high these days, and you need to make sure yours is up to scratch. You probably already know how old and tech savvy your ideal customer is. Next, you need to pin down a design that appeals to them perfectly. Do your research on similar apps that have enjoyed a lot of success. Then, get the whiteboard out, and set out some clear ideas about how you’re going to structure the whole thing, the features and imagery you’ll include, and so on. This will give you a good framework which you can then discuss with developers like www.wondermentapps.com .

Give it an Online Presence

Just like any other product, your app will need a dedicated online presence if you want to promote it as effectively as possible. If the app is intended as a revenue-generating product or service, you may even have to give it its own website. Usually, however, you’ll only want a section of your primary business site to showcase it with. It will need a landing page, including links to the App Store and Google Play where your customers can download it, or QR codes if appropriate. Regular blog posts, particularly in the run-up to the big launch, can also be a great auxiliary to the app. Keep it focussed on specific features you’re going to include, or even tutorials on how to do certain things if they’re needed. Promotional, clickable banners are also a good idea in that initial period where you’re trying to get everyone talking about your app. Exactly how much you do will depend heavily on the nature of the app, but make sure it has some online presence.

Listen to your Customers

Although there are some incredible apps on the market, as a whole it’s still a very young technology. Your first app is likely to have one or two bugs or issues that need to be ironed out if you want it to milk it for all it’s worth. When you first release your app, have someone checking on its relevant pages regularly, and paying close attention to customer feedback. This not only goes for Google Play and the App Store. You should set up a feedback form on the app itself, and somewhere on your website. Pay attention to any complaints which seem to pop up again and again, and make sure that these take priority whenever you’re tweaking things.

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How to Become a Better Business Leader

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Do you consider yourself a business owner or a business leader? The most successful companies in the world are run by people who are business leaders and you should have the same aspirations. If you take this approach to your business life, your business will become more competitive, attract better people, and will continue to grow. Below are some of the most effective ways you can become a business leader in your industry.

Keep Updating Your Business Knowledge and Skills

To develop into a leading business person in your industry, you need to keep learning and updating your business and communication skills. It’s not easy for a business owner to find the time to attend lectures at a college or university. However, there is an alternative because a wide range of online business courses are available, like the MBA degree online program. MBA students who complete a course like this learn new business skills and find ways to make their organization a much more successful venture.

Learn from the Best

The leaders in any industry leave a trail, so you should always look at what the trail blazers in your industry and other industries are doing to stay ahead of the pack. If possible, try to build some kind of relationship with these people. You can do this by buying their courses, going to their seminars or by reaching out to these people online on forums, social media websites and blogs.

You Should Always Be Willing to Take Advice from Other People

The leaders in your industry are not the only people you should listen to. You should also be willing to listen to your employees, customers and any other people or businesses that are associated with your organization. Hiring a mentor or business coach is also another option you should consider, because these people have seen it all before and may be able to advise you about business mistakes or issues you are not aware of.

Keep Up-to-date with the Latest Industry News and Developments

We are living in the information age, so it’s vital to keep up-to-date with the latest news and developments in your industry. If you do this on a regular basis, you put yourself in a position where you can take advantage of business opportunities that could benefit your business in the future. You will also be in a position to avoid any possible problems or issues that could affect businesses in your industry.

Invest in Your Employees

The people who work in your business often determine how successful and profitable it becomes. It’s vital to treat these people with the respect they deserve and ensure that they have favorable working terms and conditions. This will allow you to retain more high quality staff and avoid a high turnover of staff in your business.

You should aim to become a business leader rather than just another business owner, but becoming a business leader takes time and effort. However, if you follow the steps above you will become a business leader people trust, admire, and want to deal with.

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Making Money Via Paid Surveys – Top Tips To Maximize Earnings

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Studying abroad is not all rainbows and sunshine, most of the time it is about dealing with jam-packed schedules, and making compromises. Only getting into your dream university is not enough, you also have to think about the practical aspects of living in a foreign country and managing your expenses. Because let’s face it, without money life would be as easy as finding water in the desert! Moreover, juggling between several part-time jobs can take quite a toll on your physical and mental health. What if we tell you that you were looking for earning opportunities in all the wrong places?

The deal with paid online surveys

Ever wondered how companies know exactly what the consumer wants? Online surveys and questionnaires are a major part of any brand’s marketing strategy that helps them understand the changing trends and demand patterns of the market. You get both paid and unpaid surveys online that offer a reasonable sum of money just for answering a few simple questions. However, filling out these surveys is in no way a full-time job or permanent income replacement. It is more of a part time earning method, a temporary income opportunity. It does not require much skill, time or research.  Just ensure that the company you are filling out forms for is a legitimate one. Discussed below are some other technical aspects and intricacies on how to monetize online surveys:

How to go about it?

Deciding what kind of survey to go for can be quite tricky, especially when you get so many choices online. Also, remember you will not be making truckloads of money just by filling out a few random forms. Most surveys pay on an hourly basis and might add up to a very nominal amount. Of course, there are high-roll surveys and big brand offers that pay well, but it is not a regular occurrence. Try hitting different organizations by completing the screener surveys that ask for your demographic location and other general information. The enterprises would then send you surveys that match the data you provided. CashRate and FusionCash are two portals where you can find both paid and unpaid listings.

The eligibility criteria

Every survey targets a particular aspect of the market and therefore requires its specific bunch of consumers. For instance, a 25-year-old male is not suitable to answer questions about the tastes and preferences of the senior citizens. Similarly, a 60-year-old grandmother is not the obvious choice for filling out surveys concerning the latest fashion trends in the market. You are not qualified to take every survey that you find online. This is why every company asks users to submit a screening form concerning the location, gender, and other general information about you.

Find authentic survey options online

Imagine getting paid to express an opinion! Online reviews are an integral part of any company’s brand promotion strategy, from locating the suitable market type to deciding the advertising policy, your opinion matters everywhere. However, the job has its fair share of pitfalls, i.e., many scammers and hackers are lurking out there preying on gullible users. It is imperative that you learn to filter out the legitimate sites. For starters, open a separate email account to receive all the company offers and listing messages. Also, go through the FAQs, testimonials, and policies to understand the terms and conditions thoroughly before you make any decision.

Key points to remember:

Browse through some key points that every user must keep in mind when applying for these online surveys.

  • Never apply for sites where you have to pay some money for registration or application

  • Check for any age restriction or geographical limitations before you apply

  • Go for companies that offer a minimum fixed wage (most sites do not pay until you have reached a certain limit or have completed a set period)

  • Understand the company’s privacy policy thoroughly before you apply. You can usually find it at the bottom of the page.

Online surveys are a great way to make some extra cash in your free time, all you have to do is answer some questions.

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Top Benefits That A Call Centre Lends To Your Business

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Starting a business is no child’s play; it requires careful planning, extensive research, and in-depth analysis. Moreover, as the organization grows so does the workload, so much so that the phone almost never stops ringing! With the growing competition, it becomes increasingly difficult to match up to the growing trends of the market. A growing business has no dearth of things to do and more often you do not have enough workers to handle the work. Call centres help you deal with this increasing work pressure by taking some load off your shoulders.

Call centers offer lucrative opportunities to undergrad students living overseas who want to earn a few extra bucks working part time. Excellent pay package, flexible working hours and growth opportunities make call centers an attractive career choice among the youth. Let us look into the perks offered by call centers and how it contributes to the success of your business:

Improved customer feedback services

Business expansion is not just about opening different outlets and maximizing your sales; it also involves establishing solid customer relationships. Marketing and customer relation management services have now become prominent segments in the service industry. Moreover, as an entrepreneur, it is important that you realize the significance of outsourcing workload. This is where call centers come into the picture. Known for their specialized services, the call center workers are trained to catch leads and convert them into current sales. Call back function also minimizes the pressure on the agent who can now concentrate on one issue at a time. Hire a call center to handle the customer support and promotion, and you never have to miss a call ever.

Skilled workers and specialized services

Some clients prefer other channels of communication other than phone calls. Call centers are not just about taking phone calls; it also involves responding to emails, social media chats, and video calls. By offering a compelling callback and follow up service, call centers boost your company’s credibility. The potential customer is now much more comfortable sharing his information over his chosen medium. Call center employees have the required training and technical expertise to navigate between the various communication channels swiftly. This smooth multi-channel transition enables your business to catch better leads and maximize their profit opportunities.

Increased efficiency and customer support

For a growing business, the biggest threat is an unsatisfied customer. The ever increasing work pressure sometimes takes a toll on the effectiveness of the services you offer. No matter how hard you try, you cannot make everyone happy. Some customer issues are very complicated and require much time to resolve; this leaves the other calls on hold. Call centers help bridge the gap between you and the consumer. With their team of well-trained professionals, call centers offer quick and efficient customer support services. Establishing a great callback system the call center reduces the handling time. The agents can procure information and resolve it faster, while the most complex ones are sent to the higher executives.

Cost efficient and time-saving

Putting a customer on hold is not only bad for your company’s credibility, but also puts the agent on the spot highlighting his inefficiency to deal with the problem at hand. It is also a huge blow to the company resources as most of the cell lines (both toll-free and paid) are charged on a per minute basis. Therefore, keeping a person on hold can massively cost your business. Call centers solve this issue by giving their agents the option to call back the customer. This solution not only cuts on cost but also saves much time that was otherwise unnecessarily wasted. By hiring call centers to deal with their clients you can also remove your communication channels, it frees up the phone lines reducing the cost of trunk calls considerably.

The bottom line

Thanks to call centers you do not have to worry about missing out on customers due to excessive work pressure and lack of time. With their efficient customer support system and specialized services call centers have made life so much easier. Moreover call centers boost the economy of the nation by creating employment opportunities for students and fresh graduates.

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Making Sure You’re Creating A Quality Product

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A good design isn’t all that matters to a quality product. The way that product is actually created is going to have the biggest say of all. But if you’re unused to manufacturing or you just consider losses as part of the package, you might not think too hard about just how much quality could be improved. However, by reducing the number of defects and the amount of variance in the end product, you could stand to make a lot more money. Here are some of the measures you need to put in place.

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Understand your market

Market research is vital for making sure your product reaches the intended audience. But it’s good for more than viability. It helps you spot the qualitative problems that you need to tackle first. Creating as high quality a product as you can is an aim you should strive for no matter what market you’re going into. However, understanding your market and what, specifically, they want from a product is a good way to know their priorities. Those priorities are what helps you to separate the big problems with your products from the smaller ones.

Test, test and test again

You’re likely to have some kind of quality control necessary once you get the operation start. Beforehand, however, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by spending more time with prototypes and testing. For instance, you can use 3D printing to create quick prototypes that can help you identify the real dimensions of your product and figure out the best logistics methods for them. When building your production line, slow production is what you should start with. Test every process and every piece of equipment to see how it affects the overall quality of the product at the end. Thorough testing not only helps you spot room for improvement in quality but in the materials and equipment you use, their costs and reliability.

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Start recording data now

To get a real idea of how much quality you’re losing in every batch of products, you need to start recording the figures right now. You want to measure not only the number of losses through production but you want to spot sources of product variance and reduce it as much as possible. The sooner you start recording the input and output of each process, the easier it is to find those elements where losses and variance is at its greatest. Perhaps more importantly, you can use these methods to calculate the costs of improving or replacing systems against the amount of products lost due to variance or damage. Cost effectiveness is just as important as quality if you want the business to survive.

Continuous improvement

The right data can help you make big upgrades and solve big problems, but there are a lot of little problems that pop due to time and wear and tear on your equipment. You should arrange for more than just scheduled maintenance every now and then. You need to designate a portion of your workforce to the task of continuous improvement measures on the whole. For instance, make sure you have team members focused on Total Productive Maintenance, focusing on the upkeep of the machinery, detecting errors, and emphasizing proactive maintenance rather than reactive maintenance. An Equipment Improvement Team should be assigned to create and improve machine standards, as well. They can even be assigned to find the cost and effectiveness of upgrades of current equipment.

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Clean all the time

It’s an unfortunate truth that there are still a lot of businesses that will send products with imperfections to the market. Most will identify faulty products before they get too far down the line and find a way to eliminate those losses. But if you really want quality products, then you have to take an even closer look at what you’re doing. For instance, you need to consider the dirt and debris that might possibly build up from one manufacturing process to another. Those imperfections can affect the whole product if they’re not caught before finishing processes like applying powdered paint or glazing metal. That’s why it’s a good idea to look at chemical pretreatment between the most important parts of the production process. Reliant Finishing Systems has the details on how that can work for you. Naturally, cleaning the rest of the production line should be a regular part of maintenance too.

Consider automating

Though we want to trust in our workforce, we can’t deny that human error will always play a large role in faults in manufacturing. Automating more of your processes means standardizing production without having to teach that standardization to employees and expecting them to remember everything they have to. Some human interaction is going to be essential for most automated practices, but the more you can reduce it, the more you can reduce the losses and variance in your products. With automated system alarming, you can also be alerted to faulty processes a lot quicker than you might be while relying wholly on human operators. More than that, it can free up your labor, which means they can be used in more quality focused roles.

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Create a more competent workforce

One of the ways you can ensure that is by giving them the proper training they need. No-one who operates machinery on the production line should be operating without understanding fully what they’re working with. If you treat them as cogs only good for assisting production, they will be little help when there are problems in production. Instead, by training them to know more about the equipment and materials they use, they can be quicker in solving those problems. They can be part of your approach to Total Productive Maintenance. This is known as autonomous maintenance, meaning fewer hands have to get involved in ensuring the quality of the production process.

 Smarter machines and smarter people are the two more reliable tools for ensuring quality in your products. But don’t forget you need to have the underlying data of where quality issues are appearing to make accurate fixes.

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Why Your Business is Failing to Bring in New Customers

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Whether you’ve been in business for 20 years or are just getting started, it’s not uncommon to have difficulty getting customers. You know how great your product or service is, but the message just isn’t getting through to potential buyers.

Take a look at some of the most common reasons that businesses fail to bring in customers and start making some changes to increase your profits.

You’re Targeting the Wrong Customer

The person you think is your ideal buyer simply may not see the value of your product. In a famous example of this, the PT Cruiser was originally intended to appeal to young buyers, but instead attracted Baby Boomers. The company went with that, and sales took off. It may be time to go back to the drawing board when it comes your buyer personas. Write down all the different types of people who could be potential customers and work off of that list. This might result in completely changing your advertising campaigns, but it can make a big difference to your business.

Your Message Doesn’t Hit Pain Points

People buy products when they know that the product will fulfil a certain need. If no one is buying your product, it might be because your advertising message is off.  Take a good look at your prospective buyer and try to figure out what their problems are. For instance, if you’re a clothing maker, your target customer may struggle with finding clothes that are both comfortable and fashionable. Highlight how your fashion line solves both problems.

You’re Using Outdated Advertising Methods

Many companies stick to tried-and-tested advertising methods like direct mail, print advertisements, and directory listings. These things may still bring in some business, but many consumers now turn to the internet when they need a new product or service provider. Your website needs to show up in the search results, and your business should have a content marketing plan that builds you up as a leader in your field. Depending on the target customer, this might mean having a blog on your site, publishing white papers and case studies, or having a YouTube channel demonstrating different ideas for using your product.

You’re Skipping Business Exhibitions

Business exhibitions might seem expensive and time-consuming, but having a stand design that’s custom built at a trade show professionally portrays your company and product in front of customers who are more likely to buy. It allows people to try out your product and speak in-depth with your sales reps to get answers to their specific questions. This personal touch can go a long way toward getting new customers.

You’re Not Engaging Current Customers

People who really like a particular product are likely to recommend it to their friends. Spend time engaging with your current customers. Find out what they like and don’t like about your product to get ideas for the future. Set up a referral program to encourage them to refer their friends. You can even think about ways that you might get even more sales from current customers. Increasing profits doesn’t always have to be about increasing your customer base.

You’re Not Following Up

Opinions might differ on exactly how many times a potential customer needs to see your advertisement before they buy, but it’s a safe bet to say that few people make a purchase without spending a bit of time thinking about it. They might see your ad a few times before going to your website. They might visit your site as they’re comparing different companies. You need to capture the potential customer’s contact information and follow up with them. Many businesses do this with email lists. You start by offering the site visitor a bonus for entering their email address – a special report or a subscriber-only coupon deal – then start marketing to them by email.

If you’re not getting all the customers you want, it’s time to shake things up a bit. Spend time looking into your advertising methods and the problems your customers face. This should give you a better idea of where to focus your attention.

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