Twenty Five Business Tips From Experts in the United States

Experts Sharing Business Tips

Top 25 Small Business Tips from Leading Industry Experts in the U.S.A.

Could you use a handful of helpful small business tips to grow your company?

I’m sure you can, and what better way to help small business owners like you then to share some of my favorite tips from our country’s top industry experts in their respective fields.

Below you will find a personal collection of some of my favorite golden nuggets from the country’s brightest minds in the areas of start-ups, small business, corporate finance, credit, internet marketing, social media marketing, blogging, working online, selling online, branding, and much more.

Now, without further ado, here they are:

1. Lisa Barone of outspokenmedia.com. “If you want people to talk about you, you got to listen to something nine-time Grammy-winner Bonnie Raitt told us way back in 1991. People want to talk and you gotta give ’em something to talk about.”

2. Chris Brogan of chrisbrogan.com. “I continue to believe that affiliate marketing is the best possible method of extending your salesforce on the web. I think that finding passionate people with applicable communities and audiences and then enabling their ability to profit from selling a product they support into their community is the gold standard of marketing on the web.”

3. Tim Berry of timberry.bplans.com. “Remember that your business plan should be only as big as what you need to run your business. While everybody should have planning to help run a business, not everyone needs to develop a complete formal business plan suitable for submitting to a potential investor, or bank, or venture contest.”

4. Jim Blasingame of smallbusinessadvocate.com. “We sometimes get so wrapped up in our business that we risk losing our grip on the things that really matter: health, happiness and those who love us. Life is short! Enjoy every sandwich!”

5. Anita Campbell of smallbiztrends.com. “When competition is tough as it is today, you have to have more arrows in your quiver. What’s the answer? Today it’s 2 things. Search is one. I would add social media as the other. If you don’t at least know the basics of SEO and social media, you’ll have a harder time growing your website and your business.”

6. Marco Carbajo of businesscreditblogger.com. “Avoid putting your personal credit and personal assets at risk and start establishing business credit under your corporate entity. By doing so you will have the ability to obtain 10 to 100 times greater credit capacity.”

7. Brian Clark of copyblogger.com. “People want compelling content, so compelling content is your advertising. And using the right words in the right persuasive way determines not only how well your site converts visitors into sales, but also how much traffic you get and how well you rank in search engines.”

8. Gerri Detweiler of ultimatecredit.com. “If you actually do own a business, keeping your business and personal purchases separate can be crucial for tax purposes.”

9. Melinda Emerson of succeedasyourownboss.com. “You must do something every day to tell the world you are open for business. Even if you just make one sales call a day, send out one helpful tweet a day, write one article to promote your expertise, or send one follow-up email a day.”

10. Tim Ferris of fourhourworkweek.com. “One of the most valuable exercises an entrepreneur can perform is to take a step back, not looking at what’s popular, not consider what everyone is doing or what people are expected to do, and really ask what rules you need to set for your own business, from a process standpoint and a cash flow standpoint, so that it can be successful.”

11. Seth Godin of sethgodin.com. “You have to go where the other guys can’t. Take advantage of what you have so you can beat the competition with what they don’t.”

12. Brian Halligan of hubspot.com. “Change the mode of your web site from a one-way sales message to a collaborative, living, breathing hub for your marketplace.”

13. John Jantsch of johnjantsch.com. “Craft a strategy that compels customers and partners to voluntarily participate in your marketing, to create positive buzz about your products and services to friends, neighbors, and colleagues.”

14. Guy Kawasaki of guykawasaki.com. “Don’t wait to develop the perfect product or service. Good enough is good enough. There will be plenty of time for refinement later. It’s not how great you start; it’s how great you end up.”

15. Diane Kennedy of usataxaid.com. “Each product and product line must stand on its own merit. There is no room for dogs in a company that is bootstrapping.”

16. Rieva Lesonsky of smallbizlady.com. “Whether your business is just starting out, or whether you’re a seasoned veteran, marketing is a must. And during an economic downturn, marketing matters more than ever. Smart marketing can give you the edge you need to succeed in any economy.”

17. Joel Libava of thefranchiseking.com. “The entire business world is learning that transparency is really the way to do business. Not many industries will be able to escape this fact in the near future.”

18. Mike Michalowicz of thetoiletpaperentrepreneur.com. “Success is not determined by your background or your cash on hand. It is exclusively dictated by your beliefs. If you truly, emphatically believe you will succeed, you will. If you don’t, you won’t.”

19. Barry Moltz of barrymoltz.com. “Investors put their money in people not a business. The better team you have, the more money you will be able to attract. Get people on your team that have industry expertise and that have been there before. Investors want track records.”

20. Darren Rowse of problogger.net. “Aim to be unique, remarkable, compelling, and most of all, useful, and your blog will have success long after many other bloggers have all given up.”

21. David Meerman Scott of davidmeermanscott.com. “On the web you are what you publish.”

22. Brian Solis of briansolis.com. “Create a space in the online ecosystem that truly represents your business and cultivates your customers’ loyalty and trust.”

23. Steve Strauss of mrallbiz.com. “Often untapped sources of funding are your own suppliers, wholesalers, and distributors. These are large businesses that want your business and may be willing to lend you some money or inventory, provided they believe in your vision and plan.”

24. John Warrillow of builttosell.com. “So how do you know if you have a scalable business? Here are the three criteria: Teachable, valuable and repeatable – that’s your valuation trifecta.”

25. Ken Yancey of score.org. “Test your marketing message on a mentor, adviser, coach or someone who you believe represents your customer base. Ask them specific questions about whether or not the message gets across.”

One last tip worth mentioning even though it’s so simple yet so powerful is from none other than Pete Cashmore of mashable.com which is “Do what you love.”

So there you have it: 25 of my favorite small business tips from our country’s leading industry experts, all sharing their invaluable insights on how you can succeed in business today.

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Need to analyze your website traffic

Analyze Your Website Traffic

Analyzing and inspecting your website traffic statistics can be a very helpful tool for a variety of reasons. However, before you take advantage of this particular tool, you must understand how you can interpret the information.

The majority of web hosting companies provides you with basic website traffic information that you simply then need to interpret and make pertinent usage of. Nevertheless, the information you obtain from your host company may be too much to handle unless you learn how to put it to use for your particular business and website.

Let us begin by examining the most basic information – the average website visitors on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

These figures would be the most precise measure of the activity of your website. At first glance, it appears that the more traffic you see that is registered, the better you are able to presume your website is performing, however it is deemed an inaccurate perception.

In addition, you need to consider the behaviour of your website visitors once they come to your website in order to accurately measure the effectiveness of your site.

Generally there is usually a great false impression about what is popularly known as “hits” and what is genuinely effective, quality traffic to your website. Hits only denotes the amount of information requests received by the server.

If you believe about the fact that the hit can merely equate to the amount of graphics per web page, you will definitely get a solid idea of exactly how overblown the idea of hits can be. For instance, if your homepage has fifteen graphics on it, the server records this as fifteen hits, when in actuality we are referring to just one visitor looking at a single page on your website. As you can tell, hits are certainly not beneficial in analyzing your website traffic.

The more visitors that come to your website, the more precise your interpretation can become. The greater the traffic is to your website, the more accurate your analysis is going to be regarding the overall trends in visitor behavior. The smaller the amount of visitors, the anomalous can more easily distort the analysis.

The goal is to use the website traffic statistics to find out exactly how effectively or how badly your site is working for your visitors.

A good way to know for sure is to discover the length of time on average your visitors spend on your site. In the event the time spent is pretty quick, it typically signifies an underlying problem.

Then the challenge will be to find out exactly what that problem is.

Maybe your keywords and phrases tend to be directing the wrong type of visitors to your website, or perhaps your graphics are perplexing or daunting, causing the visitors to leave quickly.

Make use of the knowledge of the amount of time visitors are spending on your website to figure out specific problems, and as soon as you resolve those problems, continue using the time spent as a gauge of how successful your resolve has been.

In addition, website traffic statistics can assist you in determining the effective and ineffective areas of your website. If you have a webpage that you consider is very important, yet visitors tend to leave it quickly, that web page requires attention.

You may, for instance, take into account in improve the link to this page by making the link much more visible and enticing, or you could enhance the appearance of the actual web page or the ease that your visitors can easily gain access to the necessary information on that web page.

In case, on the other hand, you observe that website visitors tend to be spending considerable time on pages that you feel are much less important, you might take into account moving some of your sales copy and marketing concentration to that particular web page.

As you have seen, these statistics will certainly uncover vital information about the effectiveness of individual web pages, and visitor behavior and motivation. This is vital information to just about any successful Internet marketing campaign.

Your website without doubt has exit web pages, for instance a final order or contact page. This is the page from which you could expect your visitor to leave quickly. However, don’t assume that all visitors to your website will find precisely what he or she is searching for, therefore statistics may show you a variety of exit pages. In the event that a substantial percentage of visitors are leaving your website on a page not created for that purpose, you have to look closely at that specific web page in order to discover exactly what the problem is.

As soon as you figure out probable weak points on that web page, minimal modifications in content or graphic may have a tremendous effect on keeping visitors moving through your website as opposed to leaving at the wrong web page.

Once you have analyzed your visitor statistics, you are ready to turn to your keywords and phrases. Observe if there are specific keywords that leads a specific type of visitor to your site. The more targeted the visitor – which means that they come across what they are trying to find on your site, and even better, fill out your contact form or buy something – the more beneficial that keyword is.

Nevertheless, if you discover numerous visitors are now being directed – or should i point our misdirected – to your website by a specific keyword or phrase, that keyword calls for adjustment. Keywords and phrases are essential in delivering high quality visitors to your website who will be ready to do business with you. Close analysis of the keywords and phrases that your visitors are utilizing to locate your site will give you an important understanding of the needs and motivations of your visitors.

Last but not least, if you see that users are discovering your website by simply typing in your company name, break open the champagne! It indicates you have attained a significant level of brand reputation, and it is a positive indication of burgeoning accomplishment.

Full Article/Author:  http://guaranteedtrafficgeneration.com/

How to Draft Powerful Press Releases For Online Publishing

Press releases can help drive targeted traffic to your website almost instantaneously. But you need to know how to use them correctly. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time and resources. Here is how you can maximize the results of your press releases.

A good press release, when properly drafted, can help attract the right target audience. Here are some tips on how you can create an effective press release.

Tip 1: Use keyword based headlines for your press releases.

Traditional press releases don’t care about keywords. That is because the releases are meant for the print medium. In a newspaper, a news agent would be more concerned about the news angle.

Press releases on the Internet are quite different. Sure, a headline with a great news angle will help attract more eyeballs. But on the Internet, having a news angle just isn’t enough. Your headlines must contain popular keywords that you know your target visitors will use.

For example, let’s say you want to issue a press release about a new piece of treadmill equipment. This new treadmill has got a new motor that is so quiet that you won’t even notice that it’s running. Unfortunately, the new motor has got a name that nobody knows about (yet). It’s called “kazoom motor”.

Since no one has heard about “kazoom motor” yet, it’s unlikely that they will use these words when searching for information on treadmill motors.

Here are two headline options:

(A) New Kazoom Motor – Quietest Motor in the Market

(B) Quietest Treadmill Motor Tested to Run Silently in Home Treadmills

Which headline do you think is a better headline? Option (B) would be the better headline because your press release will be more likely to show up when visitors use keywords such as “quietest treadmill”, “silent treadmills” or “quiet home treadmills”.

Your primary goal is to attract targeted traffic. You achieve that by using keyword based headlines. If your press release doesn’t show up in the search results for those keywords, it doesn’t matter how you write the press release. Nobody is going to read it.

Tip 2: Use a brief but powerful summary for your press release.

This is of utmost importance – never attempt to write a lengthy summary for your press release. On the Internet, most readers just scan the content. If you have a lengthy summary, you end up chasing away the readers.

The best summary has at most two to three short sentences. Here is the difficult part. Within those two to three sentences, you must sum up what your press release is about. One way to do that is to just focus on one issue.

For instance, your press release body may contain three or four important points. Of those points, pick the most important one and use that as your key message. The job of the summary is simple – to get the key message across. If it fails to accomplish that, you may have just lost a potential customer.

Tip 3: Keep your press release body short.

Sometimes, in the course of my work, I encounter clients asking for lengthy press releases. I try my best to give them what they want, but I also try to give them the correct advice.

My advice to them is that having a lengthy press release may not be the best thing to do. Figures from my web stats software tell me that most visitors spend less than a minute on a web page. In other words, 90% of your readers won’t read the entire press release. You are much better off with a short and concise press release. The ideal word count is about five hundred words, which takes about a minute to read. Anything more than that, your press release is too lengthy.
I know that it’s kind of counterintuitive. After all, how can shorter be better? But it’s true. You want your press releases to be effective. That means you are shooting for measurable results. The results have, time and again, proven that a shorter press release works better.

Five hundred words will allow you to explore just three to four ideas within the press release body. So pick your ideas very carefully. To make sure that you convey your messages clearly, you may wish to employ sub-headers. Bold the sub-headers for a clearer presentation style. When visitors scan your press release, the bold texts will be more likely to catch their attention.

Tip 4: Remember those anchor texts!

A press release can get you valuable back links from many well respected authority sites. These are websites that have been around for years, and many of them have high page rank.

Sure, you may be after the initial traffic rush, which will last for about two weeks or so. But what happens after the initial surge of traffic? Well, you can always rely on organic search traffic.

Like articles, press releases also remain online indefinitely. Since you are allowed to choose your desired anchor texts when you issue paid press releases, why not do some off-site SEO in the process?

Choose your anchor texts wisely and reap the SEO benefits that come with the back links. The links will help boost your search engine rankings. When that happens, you will be receiving organic search traffic. Organic search traffic will become your source of long term traffic.

As you can see, drafting a press release for online publishing can be very different from drafting a release for print publishing. That is because the Internet is a completely different medium, so it requires a very different approach. Keep the above tips in mind and profit from your next press release!

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Nine Tips For Effective Website Content

Web-site-Content-is-KingWeb readers may be a difficult bunch, they may take a while to digest information and they may need convincing of every single point you deliver but they are essential. They can become long term, loyal customers, as long as you give them what they want.

Writing for the Internet is a different skill to writing for paper print or paper publications. Website readers digest smaller amounts of information in less time when compared to reading from paper.

This means that website content needs to be very well organised, concise, well formatted, and appealing. Throw in the proper use of search engine keywords, a powerful Call To Action (CTA), your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and the natural scepticism of web users and it’s easy to see why many website owners use professional content writers.

1. Use An Inverted Pyramid Style Of Writing

The inverted pyramid style of writing means getting your point across early in the text. Web readers are an impatient bunch and they need to know that the page they’re reading is relevant. Include a summary or conclusion of the page’s main points at the beginning of the text and then elaborate on this as you progress.

2. Make It Concise

As well as being impatient, web readers aren’t able to digest and process information as well on a computer screen as they are on paper. There are masses of studies and numerous sets of data giving statistics on this, but the general point is that basic pages need to be between a third and a half of the length they would be on paper. Try to aim for 300-500 words for web pages, with longer pages for technical articles, newsletters, and other web based publications.

3. Use Headers And Sub-Headers

Headers and sub-headers not only enable you, as the writer, to properly structure the page; they also enable the reader to scan through and find the information that is most pertinent to them. Don’t try anything too clever with your headers and do ensure that they are relevant and informational.

4. Use Bullets And Lists

Bullets and lists are another method of enabling readers to quickly navigate around a page and grab the most important information. Many readers will simply scroll down a page and if no information jumps out at them then they won’t read anything. Prevent these readers from clicking away from your website by offering bite sized chunks of information.

5. Use Simple Language

Another area where statistics and figures differ is in the comprehension level of website readers. No matter which figures you listen to, though, one point is clear – we simply can’t process information as well when reading from a computer. Use simple language, avoid jargon that isn’t necessary or clearly defined, and engage your readers using language that everybody can understand.

6. Use Short Paragraphs And Shorter Sentences

A paragraph should contain text relating to a single, simple idea. When you reach the conclusion of that idea, you should also reach the end of that paragraph. Paragraphs should contain no more than 70-80 words where possible. If a paragraph requires fewer words then make it shorter. The same goes for sentences.

7. Make It Easy To Scan

Shorter paragraphs, more concise pages, and good headers make a page easy to scan. So too do bullets and lists. Add formatting such as bold and italicised text, quotes, and even hyperlinked text to make the page easier to scan. Remember to use a degree of caution, however, because a page that consists of different formatting techniques will be very difficult to read and understand. Many readers will simply close your page and move on.

8. Write Objectively

We’ve already discussed how Internet users are impatient and find it difficult to digest information; they’re also a highly skeptical bunch that will take convincing of virtually anything you have to say. Use objective language and avoid the use of too much marketing fluff. Avoid exaggerated claims such telling readers that yours is the best product in the world and instead show them why – convince them to come to that conclusion on their own and you will enjoy better results for your effort.

9. One Idea Per Paragraph, One Subject Per Page

A single paragraph should contain a single idea and a single page should cover one topic. If a page is becoming too wordy because it includes information on other subjects, then break it down and hyperlink to those other pages. For longer pages remember the bookmark function and use it wisely to help readers navigate their way around your site and take in all of the information that you have to offer.

Giving Visitors What They Want

Web readers may be a difficult bunch, they may take a while to digest information and they may need convincing of every single point you deliver but they are essential. They can become long term, loyal customers, as long as you give them what they want and that’s why we love them so much. If you don’t have the time or the resource to write your own compelling and effective website content then consider using professional copywriters.


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Six Characteristics of Great Logo Design

great-logo-design

We wanted to do a post that served as a bit of a heads-up to the n00bs and a bit of an important reminder for those of us who have been in the game for a few. Knowing that it never hurts to reiterate the basics from time to time, we derived a look at logos that acts to identify some of the more crucial characteristics that take your logo design to the next level of greatness. Like the degrees of separation, we went with the number six when compiling our list of logo must haves, finding these six to play the most pivotal roles in the construction of a great logo.

1. Scalability

One major element to pay particular attention to when designing a logo is scalability. You can be as creative as you want to be in your construction, but if it does not scale well, it is over. A great logo will be able to be re-sized with ease, all the while maintaining its recognizable form and expressive imagery.

In the interests of scalability, you will want to make a habit of using vectors to create your logos. If you are not as adept with the vectors as you would need to be to make this happen, then you need to see to that. Vectors tend to provide for maximum scalability, putting the rest of the re-sizing capabilities on your design. Remember, you want your logo to look great at any size, from billboards to ink pens.

2. Looks good in Black and White

Another thing to keep in mind when designing a logo, is that no matter how you design and present it, you will not always be in control of how the logo is displayed once it is out of your hands. The client’s needs for the design are going to end up being multifaceted and possibly bounce between the web and print arenas. This means you will need to keep things fairly flexible on your end.

You can do this by making sure that the logo you design always shines in both form and function no matter how it is rendered. Be it in full color, gray-scale or even in pure black and white. This means that you will have to remain imaginative and yet keep things simple enough for the logo’s idea to transfer despite any less than flattering displays it may find itself in. You should never rely on color to get the message of your design across.

3. Make it Timeless

Another area to keep focused on while fine tuning your logo design is dating. And no we are not talking about the designer needing to cut loose and get out on the town, we are talking about keeping your design timeless. You want your design to always feel fresh and relevant, and you certainly don’t want anyone looking at it and being able to pinpoint the era in which it was created. The logo should always be without age.

This may be one of the most daunting tasks you will face throughout the process of building the logo, but you cannot let that deter you from making sure that you achieve the desired results in this area. Make sure that you steer clear of any of the current logo design themes that are circulating, and instead take the time to find the right design that will never go out of style. Remember that the logo should be just as effective 50 years down the road as it is today.

4. It is Memorable

One more may to separate your logos from the more mediocre stock would be make sure that you keep it memorable. This is not a Bob Hope moment, the memories are important but you can thank us later. You want the design to stick out, and basically just stick overall, because you want it to also stick with them.

What good is taking all the time to research the client and meticulously pour over the details as you work out the perfect logo, only to have people forget it mere moments after they have taken it in. A great logo will remain memorable enough that a person who has only seen the logo once should still be able to recall it enough to describe the logo to someone else. This is not the easiest of qualities to impart, but it is certainly a high ranking one so make sure your designs stays in their minds.

5. Originality

As with any design, you always want to keep originality in the forefront of your mind as you make your logos…or the backfront, or in whatever area of the brain controls that kind of stuff really. Make sure that the design you have created does not just blend in with masses of others that we are inundated with on the daily, failing to have the original qualities necessary to stand out.

Now being original is something that hopefully comes naturally to you as a designer, or just as a creative individual, but you never know. Furthermore, to that end, it should go without saying, but do not use any kind of clip art or stock images in your logos. Remember that the logo should be something created solely for the individual client and their business, and should reflect that individuality. Copy-catting is not the way to achieve that.

6. Clean and Clear

Finally, the last characteristics that we want to mention here that help to establish the great from the good are make the logo clean and clear. We figure if it works for skin care then it must be true of logos. Kidding. But once again, consider the point of making the design in the first place, to represent and embody the client’s business. If your design does not cleanly and clearly convey that to the viewer then it hasn’t been the biggest of successes, now has it?

For all of the above reasons, the best logos tend to be those that are the most simple. So take care not to overload and overwork the design by adding in too many elements to muddle up the message and ideas it needs to transfer to the audience. Abstract is good in art, but for the logo the best way to go, is concise and straightforward.

Wrap-up

That concludes our look at logos and the characteristics to keep an eye on as you embark down the logo design road. What are some important ideas that you would make sure to keep in mind as you make your way through the process? Hit us up in the comments and let us know.


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1. Scalability
One major element to pay particular attention to when designing a logo is scalability. You can be as creative as you want to be in your construction, but if it does not scale well, it is over. A great logo will be able to be re-sized with ease, all the while maintaining its recognizable form and expressive imagery.
In the interests of scalability, you will want to make a habit of using vectors to create your logos. If you are not as adept with the vectors as you would need to be to make this happen, then you need to see to that. Vectors tend to provide for maximum scalability, putting the rest of the re-sizing capabilities on your design. Remember, you want your logo to look great at any size, from billboards to ink pens.
2. Looks good in Black and White
Another thing to keep in mind when designing a logo, is that no matter how you design and present it, you will not always be in control of how the logo is displayed once it is out of your hands. The client’s needs for the design are going to end up being multifaceted and possibly bounce between the web and print arenas. This means you will need to keep things fairly flexible on your end.
You can do this by making sure that the logo you design always shines in both form and function no matter how it is rendered. Be it in full color, gray-scale or even in pure black and white. This means that you will have to remain imaginative and yet keep things simple enough for the logo’s idea to transfer despite any less than flattering displays it may find itself in. You should never rely on color to get the message of your design across.
3. Make it Timeless
Another area to keep focused on while fine tuning your logo design is dating. And no we are not talking about the designer needing to cut loose and get out on the town, we are talking about keeping your design timeless. You want your design to always feel fresh and relevant, and you certainly don’t want anyone looking at it and being able to pinpoint the era in which it was created. The logo should always be without age.
This may be one of the most daunting tasks you will face throughout the process of building the logo, but you cannot let that deter you from making sure that you achieve the desired results in this area. Make sure that you steer clear of any of the current logo design themes that are circulating, and instead take the time to find the right design that will never go out of style. Remember that the logo should be just as effective 50 years down the road as it is today.
4. It is Memorable
One more may to separate your logos from the more mediocre stock would be make sure that you keep it memorable. This is not a Bob Hope moment, the memories are important but you can thank us later. You want the design to stick out, and basically just stick overall, because you want it to also stick with them.
What good is taking all the time to research the client and meticulously pour over the details as you work out the perfect logo, only to have people forget it mere moments after they have taken it in. A great logo will remain memorable enough that a person who has only seen the logo once should still be able to recall it enough to describe the logo to someone else. This is not the easiest of qualities to impart, but it is certainly a high ranking one so make sure your designs stays in their minds.
5. Originality
As with any design, you always want to keep originality in the forefront of your mind as you make your logos…or the backfront, or in whatever area of the brain controls that kind of stuff really. Make sure that the design you have created does not just blend in with masses of others that we are inundated with on the daily, failing to have the original qualities necessary to stand out.
Now being original is something that hopefully comes naturally to you as a designer, or just as a creative individual, but you never know. Furthermore, to that end, it should go without saying, but do not use any kind of clip art or stock images in your logos. Remember that the logo should be something created solely for the individual client and their business, and should reflect that individuality. Copy-catting is not the way to achieve that.
6. Clean and Clear
Finally, the last characteristics that we want to mention here that help to establish the great from the good are make the logo clean and clear. We figure if it works for skin care then it must be true of logos. Kidding. But once again, consider the point of making the design in the first place, to represent and embody the client’s business. If your design does not cleanly and clearly convey that to the viewer then it hasn’t been the biggest of successes, now has it?
For all of the above reasons, the best logos tend to be those that are the most simple. So take care not to overload and overwork the design by adding in too many elements to muddle up the message and ideas it needs to transfer to the audience. Abstract is good in art, but for the logo the best way to go, is concise and straightforward.
7. Wrap-up
That concludes our look at logos and the characteristics to keep an eye on as you embark down the logo design road. What are some important ideas that you would make sure to keep in mind as you make your way through the process? Hit us up in the comments and let us know.

Identifying a Marketing Message that Works

In your consulting business, chances are you have spent a lot of time thinking about the specific services you can provide to clients. You’ve probably spent a great deal of time and effort working on processes, so that when clients come to you you’re able to provide them real solutions.

Unfortunately, many solo professionals don’t put the same kind of time and thought into their marketing message. They put up a website, perhaps, that goes into great detail about how it is they can solve their clients’ problems. Then, they can’t understand why no one is buying.

It’s because they haven’t developed a core marketing message. What, exactly, is your core marketing message? It’s the message you want to get across to your potential customers. It’s the thing that will convince potential customers that you have the answer to their problem. The success of your business will, ultimately, depend greatly on how clear and effective your core marketing message is.

Introducing Yourself

One of the reasons you’re marketing your business is so that people will choose to hire you. That sound’s rather basic, but it can be overlooked. Your marketing message needs to say who you are. Making sure your name, or your business name, is included in your marketing efforts will help insure that, even if the potential client doesn’t hire you right away, they’ll remember you for when they are ready to buy.

In the process of introducing yourself, don’t get carried away. Talking about yourself can distract your potential customers and, in many cases, push them away. They’re not interested as much in who you are as they are in what you can do for them.

In some niches, it can be useful to provide some biographical information. For example, you might say, “I am Dr. Rogers, and I am a physician at State Hospital” or “I am Jan Smith, a certified clinical psychologist.” If your niche has recognized certifications or associations, you can certainly include this information in your marketing. As a general rule, however, brevity is best.

Identifying Problems

The next thing you need to focus on in your core marketing message is a problem that needs to be solved. People buy things, and they pay consultants and coaches, to solve problems. This is true for just about any consulting business. If you’re a writing coach, your clients have a problem with their writing ability (or with selling their writing, perhaps.). If you’re a weíght loss coach, your clients probably have a weight problem. If you’re a back pain coach, your clients have back pain.

It seems basic, but identifying the specific problems that your coaching solves is integral to your core marketing message. You want to reach people that have a need, and then say, “Hey! You there! I can fix that!” That is how you get clients’ attention. That’s how your potential clients know you’re talking to them, and how they know you have something that they just might want to listen to. Think about some of the most effective commercials and marketing campaigns you’ve seen.

Acne medications don’t start out their advertisements by talking about ingredients. Instead, they say, “Are you tired of not looking your best?

They identify a problem right away: with acne, you don’t look your best. Your core marketing message should address a problem or problems of your target market. Make a list of the top problems in your target market – perhaps three to five problems – and decide which ones you can solve. Focus your marketing efforts on these.

Offering Outcomes

The natural thing to do, once you’ve identified a problem, is talk about solutions and processes. However, when it comes to your core marketing message, solutions and processes need to take a back seat.

You see, people out there who have a problem aren’t looking for methods. They aren’t looking for a process. They aren’t even looking for solutions.

What they want are outcomes.

The person with back pain doesn’t want medicine. They don’t want exercise, physical therapy or coaching. They want to be free from back pain. The person with acne doesn’t want hydrocortisone creams or UV treatments. They want to get rid of their acne. It’s not enough to identify problems; potential customers know they have problems. Identifying problems is just how you get their attention. You need to tell those potential customers exactly why they need you. You have to be able to identify specific outcomes. You need to know what your potential clients want to get out of the situation, decide if you can provide it, and then give it to them.

As the next step in the process of developing your core marketing message, you need to consider each of those problems you identified previously. For each problem, ask yourself, “What is the ideal outcome your potential customers are hoping for?” Once you’ve identified those outcomes, they become an impressive tool in your marketing efforts.

A Note About Process

Just because the process of solving problems shouldn’t be included in your marketing message doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it. Before you attach a given outcome to a problem, you’d better be sure you have a process in place that will solve the problem and provide the desired outcome. If you can’t create the outcome, you have to strike it from your marketing message.

Putting it All Together

So, now that you have identified the various components of your core marketing message, it’s time to actually formulate and articulate that message. Your core marketing message says something along these lines: “I am _____. I work with _____ who have this problem_____. I help them to _____.”

So, you might say, “I am John Williams. I work with older men and women who have lower back pain. I help them to manage their pain effectively and lead normal, productive lives.

Establishing a coherent core marketing message that identifies who you are, identifies the problem you can solve and gives the potential customer a look at what life looks like after their problem is solved is key to success in your consulting business.

[Tips] Attract Clients and Partners using Twitter as well…

twitter2According to Mashable.com, a leading authority on social media, there are currently over 12 million users on Twitter. Another resource called istrategylabs.com reports that 46% of Twitter users are college grads, and another 17% have post graduate degrees. Furthermore, 47% are between age 18 and 34, and another 31% are between 35 and 49. Males and females are evenly ranked, with women accounting for 53% of users and men 47%. If your target market falls within these demographics, actively participating on Twitter is probably worth your while.

Twitter is simply a micro blogging service. What does that mean? It means that you write short updates (140 characters maximum) called “tweets” and send them out to your followers. And it is a marketer’s dream come true – it’s an easy way to stay in front of your target market and showcase your authority for free.

The myth around Twitter is that Twitter users (called tweeple or tweeps) tweet about useless information such as what kind of coffee they had with breakfast. Yes, some of that exists and it is actually important as you’ll see below, but once you understand the power of connecting on Twitter, you may become a Twitter convert, just like me.

So, if you’re on Twitter or considering starting, the question becomes, “what do I tweet about that will make this a useful tool for me?” Here are some categories you can consider for your tweets. There are others but these will get you started:

Industry Tips

This is a big one. You are on Twitter to showcase your expertise, so industry tips act as your credibility builders. Here’s how to do it: Create a list of high value tips (remember – no more than 140 characters long) and send one or two out every day. If you don’t want to have to manually do this yourself every day, consider a free tool called TweetLater.com to set up your tweets in advance. If your tweets are really good, others will send them out to their lists as well. This is called a “re-tweet,” and it’s a super way to quickly build your list of targeted followers.

Here is one of my recent tweets that had a great response:

Connect Others: Be willing to connect others even if it has nothing to do with your business. What goes around, comes around.

About Your Business

Use this category sparingly. In other words, if you use Twitter as a place to advertise your products and services too much, people will stop following you. This is not what Twitter is about. It is really about raising awareness of you and your business and impacting others. Use the 80/20 rule here. For every eight tweets about things other than your business, you can post two things about your business.

Here is an example:

Hey Columbus: I’ll be on Fox tomorrow at 7:45 where you can see me interviewed about my new book, Flourish!

Re-Tweets

When someone re-tweets you, they are giving you the highest compliment you can get on Twitter! It means that the person who re-tweeted you thinks that what you said is worth sharing with their own list of followers. This is like having someone ask you to a meeting so they can introduce you their entire list of contacts. When you get a re-tweet, send them a short tweet thanking them! Re-tweet others who are tweeting things that you agree with or want your followers to read.

If you are not familiar with Twitter, the example below probably won’t make a lot of sense because of all of the abbreviations, but they are necessary given that you only have 140 characters. Abbreviations are outside the scope of this article, but just know that it’s really not as scary as it looks!

RT @getgreatcopy: New blog post: The Sixth Habit of Highly Effective Communicators http://bit.ly/ 175XGS Gr8 stuff Jan, as usual.

Quotes

Tweeps seem to love quotes. If you are also a fan of quotes, compile a list and send one or two out every day. Again, you can use TweetLater.com to set these up in advance so you don’t have to manually enter them every day. Simply set up these tweets for a month and then watch your re-tweets happen!

Here’s an example of one that I recently posted:

“The pursuit of pleasure must be the goal of every rational person.” Voltaire

Invitations

Invite tweeps to your free events. No-cost events like teleseminars are great to tweet about because people love to share high-value, low-cost information with their lists. When you provide something without a cost – a workshop, teleseminar or report, your tweets about it are likely to get re-tweeted, which provides you with greater exposure to your target market.

Here’s an example of one of my recent posts:

How 2 write your book in a weekend – free telesemimar w/ @donnakozik. http://bit.ly/127GtU

Personal

twitter1Include some personal things that are going on with your life. What you choose to include is entirely up to you; however, be sure to be relatable. You don’t have to share your deepest inner thoughts or too much detail about your family, but sharing something about what you did over the weekend makes you more relatatable. Remember, Twitter is about connecting with people. Other people on Twitter want to connect with people – not stale businesses. People often connect on a personal level over food, pets or hobbies. This is why these seemingly unimportant tweets are actually very fruitful. These are pretty safe personal topics. General things about kids are another hot topic under this category. Just be aware that anything you say is out there for the world to read.

Here’s an example I tweeted recently:

Interesting pop culture moment: Told a story to my sister, who lives in Vietnam & realized she doesn’t know who Sara Jessica Parker is!

As you can see, Twitter is simply an online forum for connecting with others in 140 characters or less. Big and small brands are using Twitter to connect and impact their target markets and locate joint ventures. Can you, too?

Cheers…

Anitha
anitha.parthasarathy@silex.co.in

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