Everybody has to start somewhere. I am sure we all agree that as business owners we have studied or done our homework on the craft we are offering our target market. The question is, how do we show our prospective and current clients that we are the best solution to their problem?
There are actually a number of ways to make that happen.
I want to first share a little story about a member of our Cornall Business Network Group who spoke about his business at one of our meetings. The presentation was to be about 10 min. but it actually lasted 1/2 hour and the engagement was truly amazing given the topic. His business is water, more specifically the filtration of water, both on the outskirsts of town where people are on a well systems or in the city for those who aren't happy with the city's handling of the water supply. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of his knowledge and the engagement he got from his presentation. Who knew we all felt that passionately about water.
All to say, know your business and then share the knowledge.
1. Find out where your target market hangs out (on and off line) and answer questions. (facebook, community boards etc.)
2. Hang out on line where your fellow peeps are and answer questions, give advice, offer service. (linkedin)
3. Write an ebook
4. Make a video
5. Help local non profit organizations.
These are just a few things that you can do to make yourself known as an authority.
I must say that I left out blogging. It is the single most important way to create credibility. Give people the knowledge they need to succeed and you will succeed as well.
Think of the information you would like to know.
Let me know if this helps and if you have any questions just ask. You can't know unless you ask.
Many, many years ago I served a group called toastmasters when I worked as a waitress at the National Press Club in Ottawa, the nation's capital in Canada. I had no idea what the group was all about. Actually, I thought it strange that people would gather to toast, whatever that was. Since they met on a regular basis, I soon learned the purpose of the group and the seed was planted in my brain that one day I would like to join. I really did not believe I had much need for this type of coaching in my current position so I did not think of it again till last year when a colleague mentioned he was a member.
If ever I needed a reason to join it was now. I had started a business and like a dear caught in headlights had a fear of doing presentations, approaching potential clients, basically all things I needed to be doing to market my business. I thought about it for a few months and finally decided to take the plunge and join the group. I have absolutely no regrets.
They wasted no time in getting me up there front and center but in such a non threatening environment that half the battle was already won. I have since done 2 of my required 10 speeches and I survived, lol. I am not quite ready to run for office but every meeting requires active participation which builds on my confidence.
If you have never heard of Toastmasters International, they are the world leaders in communication and leadership development. They have been around since 1924 and their learning model is a workshop without a specific instructor but rather member guided with specific goals to be reached as you progress through a very specific set of guidelines. To learn more about the organization you can visit: http://www.toastmasters.org/MainMenuCategories/TheWhatWhyandHowofToastmasters.aspx
I have also found benefits that I had not expected, specifically content creation. As a virtual assistant and social media manager, it is important to write professional, value based content that engages people through a blog, newsletter or social media network. Having to create speeches to achieve toastmaster goals has already begun to help me gain confidence in writing content. There is a long way to go but practice makes perfect and with toastmasters helping to guide me, I have no doubt it will come sooner than later.
So if you want to improve your confidence, become a leader and be the best that you can be personally and professionally do yourself a favor in 2013 aned join a local chapter of toastmaster.
Leave a comment and share any toastmaster experiences you have had or if this is your first time hearing about it.
We make our own opportunities and I want to see you succeed in 2013.
Shari Larkin is an Online business strategist and social media manager helping entrepreneurs and small business owners utilize the internet as a tool to grow and administrate their businesses online. You can learn more at www.sharilarkin.weebly.com
Did you know that according to google, its local search index contains more than 50 million business pages worldwide, yet only 4 million have been claimed. Wow, if the world's largest search engine gives you a page for free you should really be taking advantage of it.
If you are a brick and mortar business with a listed address and phone number, most likely, a page awaits there for you. So have you claimed your page yet?
If your wondering why this is important for your business, you really need to get acquainted with how people are searching for businesses in this day and age. Yellow pages are all but obsolete unless it's the online version and "google me" is the norm. The mobile revolution solidifies this trend further especially for local businesses. 1/3 of all local searches are on mobile devices and there is strong evidence that the use of mobile devices will surpass the pc by 2014. Need I say more.
Your not too late though as the point above states, only 4 million pages have been claimed as of yet, so if you get on it today it will be too late for your competition.
Now I could show you how to do it and re invent the wheel but I think these folks show you how to make that happen in a very comprehensive and easy to follow way. So head on over to: http://www.jm-seo.org/serious-humor/google+local-seo.html
The symbol to the left is called a QR Code, but to me it is a powerful mobile marketing tool for any business but especially for local business. If you scan this code you will be directed to my facebook page (that you are free to like, lol). You can direct this code to your website, a coupon, a special offer, your contact information, a squeeze page and the list goes on.
The benefits of this is that people on the go can get your information whether you are open or closed, they can get your information without having to spend tons of time punching the information in, they can get an instant coupon which will entice them into your store right there and then. There are many, many fun and interesting ways to use this tool to market your business and I had posted a great article from the 60 Second Marketer on my facebook page a little while back. You can read it at: https://www.facebook.com/BZB.PA/posts/499701260050844
Here's how you can get started using this fantastic tool today
1. Create your qr code - You will need a code generator to do this. There are quite a few of them but I will keep this simple and send you to: http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ where I created the code above. It is very self explanatory to create. The difficult part is figuring out what you want people to do, ie contact you, get a coupon, like your facebook page etc. Do some thinking about this before you create your code.
2. Get a qr code reader - This is important so you can test out your code. You can get one right from the Kaywa page above. Again, super simple.
3. Let 'er rip - Put this code everywhere. Store signage, business cards, email signatures, website, facebook, twitter just to name a few.
So there you have it. You are now equiped to use mobile marketing to promote your business and all it took was some of your time. I would love to hear if you found this useful and especially how you used this great little tool.