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Take control of your business to take back your life

Take control of your business to take back your life

You didn't start your business with dreams of working all the time doing stuff you hate and answering to a ton of bosses, better known as clients, who don't understand what you do but want to tell you how to do it anyway. (whew – run-on sentence!)

Unfortunately, most people who start a business end up in exactly that position, especially if it's a service business. I'll bet you have, too. It's just so easy to get stuck in a rut that it's hard to take a step back and think things through.

Nobody else has the knowledge and experience that you do, though. They may have similar, but they'll never have exactly the same. That's what makes you so valuable to the clients who are the best fit for you to work with and not valuable to those who aren't. And that's great! You only want to work with the ones who fit, right? Unless you're a masochist, I already know the answer is yes.

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Will a tech gap be your retirement trap? Improve the chances of selling your business

Will a tech gap be your retirement trap? Improve the chances of selling your business

Did you know that around 2/3 of small businesses never sell and are closed down when the owner retires?

And of those that do sell, the average sales price is about 1/2 of what the owner thinks it's worth?

Add to that the fact that most business owners have the vast majority of their financial assets tied up in their businesses, and the prospects for the average owner to ever retire comfortably are slim.

According to Christopher M. Snider, President and CEO of the Exit Planning Institute (EPI), 85-90% of the net worth of the average business owner is tied up in their business, yet "57% of respondents to their survey stated that lifestyle is not dependent on transfer of ownership of the business." That's called denial.

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Using Facebook Messenger chatbots for marketing and customer service

Using Facebook Messenger chatbots for marketing and customer service

Many small businesses sent out email blasts for marketing today that ended up in spam folders or buried in the sheer volume of email that people get now. Aside from the fact that email blasts are bad for business, offering Facebook Messenger as a delivery option is a sure-fire way to avoid the spam box and reach people where they are.

Chances are you're familiar with using Messenger to chat with friends, but I'll bet you had no idea you can use it to communicate with your clients and prospects, too. Well, now you do.

You can even automate customer service and other types of communications! That's called a chatbot.

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Getting Marketing and Sales to work together

Getting Marketing and Sales to work together

Modern cloud-based tools that encourage cooperation between Sales and Marketing instead of competition can help transform your results. They're also affordable and readily available.

Business owners and managers like to complain about their Marketing and Sales teams not working together, but what they don't recognize is that they've often set up the very circumstances that create the usual problems.

With most businesses, Marketing is evaluated based on the number of leads they send to Sales, and Sales is evaluated based on how many deals they close.

This creates inherent problems that damage the relationship between the two teams as well as the company as a whole.

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Why email blasts are bad for business

Why email blasts are bad for business

I got up this morning to find these emails in my inbox (on top of many others):

  • a dating site promo to find the man of my dreams
  • kids & teens tickets on sale for a festival (woohoo!)
  • why I need a penis enlargement

What do they have in common? (besides the fact that I never asked to be added to the senders' lists, but let's pretend I did) None of them are in any way applicable to me and my interests. I'm a happily married woman with no kids at home, so not one of those emails would be interesting to me, even if I had subscribed to the lists.

Every day businesses all over the US send irrelevant emails to people who HAVE asked to be added to their email lists. That's not only a waste, but a breach of the trust you had to earn to even get a person on your list.

Sending out email blasts is today's equivalent of throwing everything against the wall in the hopes that something sticks.

The sad thing is that it's so easy to send emails that people actually look forward to getting, netting you high open and click-through rates which help nurture your list.

It's crazy that marketers can't understand that simply sending information to the people who are interested in receiving it is the absolute best way to grow a business.

Email segmentation is the most effective tool in your toolbox. Consider data like:

  • Segmented email campaigns have a 14.32% higher open rate than non-segmented campaigns. (Mailchimp, 2016)
  • Triggered emails have a 624% higher conversion rate than “batch and blast” emails. This is driven by a 381% higher click rate, and an 180 percent higher post-click conversion rate. (Source: VentureBeat, 2016)

Don't get smug if you think you're already segmenting, though.

The report also shows that even though 75% of survey respondents claimed to segment their lists, most of them are only segmenting by demographics. That's much less successful than more advanced tactics like segmenting by purchase history, click-through rates, type and amount of purchase and online purchase history.

The problem is that most marketers are busy working on campaigns, and think they don’t have the time or resources to make regular email segmentation a reality.

The answer is automated email segmentation.

By using the right email marketing system, you can automate the entire list segmentation process.

Imagine being able to send highly targeted emails to the people who actually want to get that information, without you having to manually add and remove people from your segmented mailing lists. That would be marketing gold!

If you're using the right email marketing system, you can actually set up rules that automatically add to and remove contacts from specific lists based on actions they take. Things like downloading a PDF, filling out a form, or visiting a specific page on your website can automatically segment a person into a specific list.

Think about it in everyday terms. You could do things like automatically email:

  • everyone who signed up for a Model Home tour
  • everyone who didn't open a certain email
  • everyone who owns a car that's coming due for a service date.

The cool thing is that you don't have to email them all at once. The rules you set up can email a person when and if they meet the criteria.

An example of information the right people would love to get:

If you're a home health care company, you could send a series of emails to someone whose parent has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. As my mother's caregiver for 3 ½ years when she battled Alzheimer's, I would have been so grateful for any information that might have helped me better help her – or help me not feel like I was losing my own mind.

Even the little things are new for someone who's never been in a caregiving situation – how to get them to eat when they don't want to, what to say and not say when they don't know who you are, how to help other people understand the loved one's disease (this is a biggie and could save a lot of grief from family disagreements).

If you think about it, you can see where the right person would love to get the emails in this example.

There's plenty of information your own business can share, too, depending on the type of business you're in. It could be sales and promotions, helpful tips and reminders, current developments in your industry – whatever would be valuable and appreciated by the people in a particular segmented list.

The best way to get started? Just start brainstorming ways that you could break up your customer list into segments of people who have something in common. And we can set you up on our email marketing system if you don't already have a system that offers advanced automation (hint: few do).

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