18 November 2017
Failing to plan is essentially planning to fail… at least that was the way Benjamin Franklin put it. Every business, whether it is a startup or it is already profitable, should have a business plan in place. Your business plan is an essential component to applying for a business loan, enrolling in an IDA program or seeking investors. More importantly, it should serve as a roadmap to success. It should be a document you refer to often. Here are the critical elements of the active business plan: Executive summary. An executive summary is a one-to-two page summary of the plan. Most people write this section last. Be sure not to write it as an outline, a list, or as a table of contents to the business plan. It should avoid restating parts of the business plan, but it should summarize what was written in a fresh language. Business description. In your business description, you’ll need to include your business model. This is where you will define how you plan to earn revenue. Aside from that, you will need the following information: Your company name – The official name of your business as registered. Type of business structure – Do you own a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership or corporation? Owners and managers – Who are the key people and what are their positions within your company? Location – Where is your business located? Company history – What year did you start your business? What is your unique story? What problem does your company solve? Mission Statement – What is the purpose of your company? Products and services. What products or services are you offering to your prospective clients? You will also describe your unique selling proposition. Please also include: A description of each product or service. Compare them to similar products or services already in the market. Include your prices. Describe how orders will be fulfilled. Share future products or services offerings. Sales and Marketing. In your marketing plan, you share the state of the market, general costs, and how customers are found. You will also share your advertising budget, your target market, and your pricing strategy. Key questions to answer: What is your budget for advertising? How will you measure the success of your marketing efforts? What are your goals? Can you set up public relations activities to help market your business? Operations. This section will provide details of the administrative side of your business. It should include how you operate, vital processes, overhead, and other expenses. It should also include legal relationships, your network of suppliers and credit policies. Also, share how you ensure quality control. Pro Tip: The best graphic to include in this plan is the lifecycle of the customer. Design and Development Section. Innovation is required to stay relevant in your industry. This section is where you think for the future, and you are encouraged to think big. Development is a necessary part of the business to remain competitive, so be sure to spend a significant amount of time when writing this part of your plan. Where do you want to be in six months, one year, and three years regarding your product and service? How will you grow? Financial Summary. Don’t let the financial summary overwhelm you. Break it down into sections. Start with your narrative. It should include the amount of investment you have already made, the profits you have already made, and the type and amount of funding you are seeking. Next, add your expense budget. Share both your fixed and variable costs. The next page should be your break-even analysis. Investors want to know how you will break even. The final document should be your 12-month sale projections.
26 October 2017
What Is “Giving Tuesday”? “Giving Tuesday” is a global day of giving that happens via social media. Through a strong campaign that amplifies your mission, vision, and programming, you should be able to compel others to join your organization by sharing their time, talent, and treasure. In 2016, organizations raised 168M dollars on “Giving Tuesday.” The average gift given is usually $107.00.(Blackbaud) Although “Giving Tuesday” is celebrated annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, it isn’t just about one day. It should kick off the charitable aspect of the holiday season, as this is when people start to focus on their end-of-the-year giving. How Can “Giving Tuesday” Help Your Organization? “Giving Tuesday” was designed to maximize the potential of social media and the generosity of people wanting to bring about real change in their communities. This Tuesday provides a platform that encourages everyone to make a direct impact on local challenges. Honestly, this is one of the easiest ways to bring in unrestricted funds and other vital resources into your organization. 5 Tips For Creating A Successful “Giving Tuesday” Campaign 1. Create an email funnel for “Giving Tuesday.” Start the week of Thanksgiving. Let people know what you plan to do and how they can be involved. 2. Be sure that you have “thank you” gifts for your givers. We all want to do our part to give, but we all love to feel appreciated. I suggest a tiered approach. 3. Follow up with your givers by sharing your win. Lots of organizations forget to follow up with donors. However, it is essential to show people what your team has accomplished thanks to their participation. 4. Be sure a part of your campaign amplifies the mission and vision of your organization. While “Giving Tuesday” is about giving, don’t forget it is also about visibility. 5. Don’t just focus on money. Every organization will be asking for money, and you should ask too. However, don’t forget the power of volunteers. Also, ask community members to share their time and talents as well. Do you need help getting ready for “Giving Tuesday”? If you are a non-profit organization decision maker or you are working on a community project and want to talk about “Giving Tuesday,” email me at Aisha@AishaAdamsMedia.com for a link to my calendar.
01 October 2017
What is bounce rate? The Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that come to your website, but leave the site after viewing only one page. It can be paired with other metrics to determine the success of your site. Never base the success of your site on one component analytics. Where do I find the bounce rate? You can find the bounce rate within in your Google Analytics. The more pages your viewers read per session, the lower your bounce rate will be. What is the perfect bounce rate? There is no perfect bounce rate. Goals should be made by marketing teams that fit the overall mission and vision of the website’s strategic plan. For example, a search engine would want a higher bounce rate than a blogger. A search engine-style website would pride itself on meeting your needs on the first-page click. A blogger would want you to look at several of his or her articles in one session to establish a relationship. Why does a high or low bounce rate mean? The quality of the content on the page is not good. Nothing is inviting or engaging for the people who visit the site. 2. Your visitors did not find what they are looking for, and therefore they immediately left your website. Your visitors find exactly what they were looking for, but since it was only a little information. They quickly leave your site. How to use your bounce rate? You could use the bounce rate to measure your audience’s favorite pages. You can determine this by which pages have a high and low bounce rates? By comparing the two, you will learn what your audience likes the most. Using this data can help you grow your audience and add more engaging content to for your faithful fans. How your bounce rate affects your SEO? Google does factor your Google Analytics’ data in their search algorithm. However, it is important to make sure people who come to your site via a search engine, don’t bounce back to the search results, since that kind of bouncing will affect your search engine ranking.
20 September 2017
Instagram has slowly become one of my favorite social media platforms. The best Instagrammer’ s pictures are worth 1,000 words. I currently only have about 1,300+ Instagram followers. That isn’t very much, I know. However, I decided to publish this article because I know that a lot of small business owners are, for the most part, a lot like me. We are everyday people who are trying to build and engage a real audience. Step: 1 The first thing I had to do is decide what my Instagram account was going to be about and what kind of people I wanted to attract to my page. One thing I noticed was that the people with the largest following have a niche and that they usually have a blog that supports that niche. When you are a lifestyle blogger, it can be hard to narrow your blog down to a niche. So for my Instagram page, I decided to focus on my vegan diet. First, I felt like a large portion of my blog audience would be interested in seeing what kind of stuff I like to eat. Secondly, it allowed me to show off of my plating skills. Third, when people go to my blog from Instagram there are tons of vegan resources, but they also get to learn about all the other parts of my lifestyle too. I’ve determined the best followers would either admire, aspire to, or share my vegan lifestyle. This would make them more likely to like, comment, or ask questions on my pictures, and visit the vegan section of my blog. This step is critical when you are attempting to create an account that people find themselves coming back to over and over again. Step 2: I used my Facebook account, but you can use this strategy for LinkedIn & Google Plus, and it should still work well since they all have communities or groups. Groups can be a great asset to your business if you are the right ones. Just be sure that the group admins are cool with you posting your content, and the people in your group are interested in what you have to share. I can’t tell you how many times a day I am solicited with what appears to be spam because it has nothing to do with me, my business or my life. You need to make sure your business, blog, and your general content is a good fit for the group. To me, a good fit means that the people in your group will either be entertained, educated, or inspired by what you post on Instagram. If not, why should they follow you? Step 3: From your content find a picture that best represents what you have to share on your page. This is the picture I chose. If you go to Instagram, you will notice this picture is a good representation of what you expect to find on my page. Click here to visit my Instagram Page Step 4: Caption your picture and share it with the group. The secret is in your caption. I went into some vegan, vegetarian, and weight loss groups. Each caption was different. For example, my vegan group caption: Hey, Vegan Friends. I finally feel like I have a handle on eating raw “most” days. If you are looking for inspiration, check out my Instagram page. NOTE: This caption offers inspiration, but it doesn’t over do it. The Caption is everything so choose your words carefully. Engagement: Within seconds, people started following me. I try to go to all my new followers’ pages. I make sure to like 3-5 of their pictures and leave a comment or two. This generally will send them back to my page to check it out. Here is a snap shot of my activity log I used this strategy in three groups and gained 360 real and engaged subscribers in 72 hours. Caution: I have only tried this in groups I am active in, and I have permission to post in. I hope you can customize this tip to fit your business or blog. Let me know how it works for you. If you need assistance, please reach out for a consultation. There are tons of strategies out there for growing your Instagram, but this one is my favorite.
20 September 2017
Many small business owners seem to think that because they have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts integrated within their website they have their online marketing campaign all figured out. So many dream of being Google page-rank rock stars and having thousands of friends, fans and followers that their real marketing plans fall flat. A targeted, captivating and trackable marketing plan is the heartbeat of any successful business, online or off. Each individual brand needs to determine the goals of their specific marketing endeavors and plan accordingly. However, if the goal of your company is to increase engagement, to increase brand awareness, or to increase sales, advertorials should be a part of your strategy. An advertorial is an editorial style advertisement that allows you to engage on another brand’s platform with editorial power. An advertorial on television is called an infomercial. Commercials contain basic company information and calls to action, the advertorial (like the infomercial) seeks to go further. Advertorials will allow you to educate your potential consumer and promote your product simultaneously. Why should your brand use advertorials? 1. Advertorials are cost-effective For small business owners and soloprenuers, television and radio commercials prove to be too costly. However, you can still take advantage of advertorials. You can run advertorials on 3-5 blogs for the cost of a 30-second commercial on your local radio station. The cost of an advertorial will vary depending on the blog, the services you need, and the reach each blog has. 2. Advertorials can help you reach your target market. I recommend starting with blogs whose brands and target markets fit well with your brand. You want to be sure the traffic you gain will be interested in your product or service. For example, if you sell television sets a video game blog, a celebrity gossip blog, or a home decor blog could all be good choices. It also depends on the blog’s audience, overall reach, and theme. 3. Stay in control Unlike traditional forms of advertising, when you purchase advertorial space you have complete editorial control over what is published. Most bloggers will accept prepackaged advertorials as long as they fit within certain parameters. Others bloggers will want to partner and collaborate. Choose what works best for you. However, at the end of the day you are paying for the space so you get the final say so. Bloggers who create graphics, edit, or provide content may charge more. 4. Your advertorial will be seen Advertorials are considered non-intrusive advertising. Many advanced online consumers use Ad-blockers, and side bar advertisements don’t always show up on mobile and other handheld versions of websites. Advertorials will not be blocked or get lost in the mobile version of your website. Your post is integrated with the rest of the primary content on the blog. Successful advertorials are personal, multimedia, and have calls to action. 5. Advertorials are recyclable content Advertorials are generally not time sensitive. They provide a narrative for your brand that you can use over and over again. It gives your brand a personal touch that other popular advertising methods cannot. This saves the business owners time and money. A written advertorial can easily be converted to audio for radio later. 6. Advertorials are track-able If you negotiate a return-on-investment report from your blog partner, they will share the reach and engagement the post receives. Plus, you can measure your own click-through rate in your own analytics. This type of data will prove valuable in other parts of your integrated marketing plan. In conclusion, you can use advertorials to help you climb the Google ladder, to fill your social media with sharable content, and to expand your business digital footprint. Have you heard of advertorials before now? Do you feel they will be beneficial to your business? Advertorial Tips If you think an advertorial will add substance to your integrated marketing plan, here are some important things to consider Who: Who is the blogger talking to? Ask for a media page or an analytic report from the blogger. Don’t be alarmed if the blogger’s analytics of choice isn’t Google. There are lots of ways to track blog statics out there. You should also check the comments section of the blog and the social media comments for engagement. Sometimes these even lead back to social media profiles. This is a great way to learn more about the blog’s audience. What: Does the content on the site resonate with your ideal client or customer? Content is king! Good content is what makes readers flock to blogs. Not only should the blogger’s content be good, but so should your advertorial. You want to make sure that your product or service will entice the blog’s readers. For example: if the blogger does a lot of thrifting posts, a luxury brand may not be a good fit for the blog. The readers come to this influencer (the blog) to learn about saving money. A high fashion blog would be a more natural fit. When: When is the advertorial going to be published? When will it be taken down? When can you expect a return on investment report? In other words, make sure that you are clear on the agreement between you and your blog partner. Get all the details. Some bloggers may charge extra for ROI reports. However, the extra money is worth the information. Most ROIs include reach, shares, views, and other useful statistics. Where: Where will your advertorial be posted and promoted? Make sure you are in agreement with the section of the blog that your post will be featured in. Additionally, be sure to find out where the post will be promoted. This way, you will have an understanding of the marketing strategy. Bloggers generally post on consistent days. You want to do your part by sharing, liking, following, etc… Your current friends, fans, and followers might end up becoming repeat customers.
09 August 2017