Archive for the ‘Business’ category

Mind The Marketing Gaps

July 24, 2014

Guest Contribution By Bob The Teacher

It’s easy as an entrepreneur to focus your attention on the cutting edge of new technologies, marketing strategies, and the latest tools. I know that doing so keeps me on my toes and I love to share new things with others. But in that focus there’s a danger of missing the obvious ways to generate more revenue and profit in your business.

These are the marketing gaps that show up more and more in any business that continues to grow. The truth is there are always going to be new ways to make money in your business, new tools to learn, and new technologies to test out.

But forgetting the basics, overlooking the holes that get wider, and neglecting the golden goose: these are all ways that we are missing out (and that includes me!).

I challenge you to find the holes in your marketing and fill them.

Not with new ways of doing things, but the solid, proven things you already know how to do but have either forgotten that you know them, or simply have been putting them off for way too long.

This week, let’s talk about those gaps and how to fill them. I’m going to show you what gaps exist in my business, how I’m finding them, and what I’m doing over the next few weeks to patch up those holes.

These will be simple tweaks, but with powerful results that combine together to regain lost revenue and solidify long term profits.

Join the Mind The Gap Free Training


Sneak Peek: 7 Ways To Mind Your Marketing Gaps

Here are 7 ways you can mind your marketing gaps (these are what I’m focusing on, too):

    • Discover where traffic on your website is going that is not actually working (i.e., 404 error traffic)


  • Determine popular pages on your website that aren’t monetized at all, or could be monetized better



  • See which videos on YouTube are getting attention, but aren’t effectively monetized



  • Examining sidebar bloat



  • Replacing out of date websites with related but current marketing funnels



  • Optimize follow up sequences in Aweber by tweaking older messages



  • Add new messages to lists where the bulk of subscribers are at the end


These are just 7 examples that I’ll be diving deeper into in the upcoming training. Join me for those and many more in Mind The Marketing Gaps!

Bob The Teacher

p.s. What gaps in your marketing do you already know you want to fill? Post them below with a comment!

Getting Started With MailChimp’s Email Designer

April 5, 2014

by 18 Mar 2014 mailchimp freddie wink

MailChimp is an email marketing tool that helps you design email newsletters, distribute them through managed lists, share them on social networks, integrate them with third-party services, and track email performance.

Assuming you are familiar with the basic steps to create and set up a campaign on MailChimp, this tutorial will show you the steps for using the MailChimp Email Designer tool specifically in order to help you build clean and mobile-friendly newsletters.

If you need more info on the basic steps, take a look at Mailchimp’s How can I create a campaign using the Campaign Builder? for further instructions.

Get Started

Either from your Dashboard or Campaigns tab, click the Create Campaign drop-down menu in the upper-right hand corner of your screen and select Regular Ol’ Campaign.

To read the rest of the tutorial click here

How to Prepare Your Business for Being Discovered By New Customers

March 27, 2014

How to Prepare Your Business for Being Discovered By New Customers
By Sydni Craig-Hart

These days, you never know how a new customer will hear about your business.

It can be in at a crowded industry event with 2,000 people, or it can be in a small café during a conversation between friends. It can also happen online — whether that’s through a post on Facebook, a question on Twitter, or a photo shared on Instagram.

Oftentimes, people won’t be searching for your business name when they find you.

Think about how you actually search for products and services online. You might type something into your browser like this:

Mexican restaurants in Berkeley, CA
Dog walker in Chicago, IL
Interior designer in Washington, DC
Landscaper in Los Angeles, CA
Kid’s Photographer in Atlanta, GA

Each time a search like this is performed, the prospective client is likely to discover a new business that they would have never known about without the convenience of the Internet.!

How you show up in the search engines is even more important if you have a “local” based business such as a restaurant, a boutique or any other kind of “brick and mortar” business.

One recent survey of smartphone users found that 75 percent have used a mobile device to get real-time location-based information.

This presents an exciting opportunity for you to attract new customers and do more business. But, it also means you need to be prepared so that you can keep them coming back!

Here are five things you can do to make sure you’re ready:

1. Make it easy for people to find your business.

Three areas you’ll want to focus on are: your website, social media, and listings.

If you’re unfamiliar with how any of these tools help you get discovered, these resources will provide the information you need:

5 Easy Ways to Turn Your Website Into An ATM
Step-by-Step Social Media for Smart Entrepreneurs
Making an Inventory of All the Places Customers Find You Online

2. Make sure the information they find is up-to-date.

When people do find your business online, you need to make sure the information they discover is accurate and up-to-date.

Your phone number and email address need to be accurate and current. Have your contact information available on every page of your site. Be sure to list your mailing address (or your physical address if you’re a brick and mortar business). Have your current service menu, price list and testimonials.

Make sure your site is always reflecting the latest and greatest in your business!

3. Provide a WOW experience that gets people talking.

When prospective clients arrive at your website or come through your door, you need to make sure you’re providing a memorable experience.

At every interaction your prospect should feel heard, understood and appreciated. Follow-up in a timely manner. Answer their questions. Be generous in sharing your expertise. Give them options for products and services that speak to their problems and are easy to say yes to.

Providing a WOW experience will turn first time customers into repeat customers and loyal advocates for your business.

4. Make it easy for your prospects to stay connected.

This could be as simple as sharing the links to your social media profiles on your website, or providing a sign-up form on your counter for people to join your email list.

Give them an incentive to share their contact information – offer a free gift, a discount, a sample – anything that is relevant and valuable to them.

Capturing their contact information and staying in touch will allow you to develop a trusted relationship, that will likely lead to a sale and ongoing business!

5. Follow up.

Once people have connected with you, it’s your responsibility to keep the conversation going.

Remember, it’s not their job to remember that you are in business to serve their needs.

Make sure you’re actually participating on social media, not just posting when you have something to promote. If you’re telling customers they’ll be receiving an email newsletter once a month, make sure you’re following through. Look for ways to bring them back into your store with a special offer or in-person event.

You need to build credibility and your audience needs to know you are serious and committed to your business.

Don’t wait to get started.

People are discovering your business every day.

If you want to turn those potential customers into repeat visitors and loyal advocates for your business, you need to be prepared!


Sydni Craig-Hart, The Smart Simple Marketing Coach, is founder of Known for her easy, strategic and results-focused approach to marketing, she also has the unique ability to find untapped profit centers in her client’s businesses so they can create money NOW. Visit for your FREE training course, “5 Simple Steps to More Clients, More Visibility and More Freedom” and apply for a FREE “Profit Breakthrough” session with Sydni!

Network Your Way to a More Profitable Business

March 15, 2014

people networkingNetworking. Love it or not, when done correctly, it’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to attract ideal clients and increase your revenue.

Entrepreneurs who don’t enjoy networking often feel that way because they have convinced themselves that they aren’t good at it. Another common reason for resisting in-person networking is that some haven’t enjoyed the results they expected.

Being effective at networking is certainly an acquirable skill. If it’s not one you currently possess, rest assured you can learn it with ease. If you happen to be great at networking, you’ll be happy to know that with a bit of ongoing effort you’ll continue to connect with ideal prospects and close more business.

So how does one go about using networking opportunities to create opportunities and attract ideal clients?  Following are seven simple tips that will put you on the fast track to success:

1. Understand what networking is REALLY all about – My friend Devora Zack, the author of Networking for People Who Hate Networking, defines the activity as “the art of building and maintaining connections for shared positive outcomes. That means that networking is about making connections with the people you meet. It is NOT about selling. Keep this in mind as you head into your next networking opportunity.
2. Don’t network just for the sake of doing so – Have a purpose and a goal! Choose where you spend your networking time wisely. Commit to ONLY attending events where you can connect with large groups of prospective clients or prospective referral partners. If neither of these groups will be in attendance, neither should you. Also, decide – before you even register – what your specific goals are for attending the event and set the intention that you will create the opportunities you are looking for.
3. Research who else is already gathering your ideal clients en-masse – Then, join that organization / association / club and start attending events. Get to know the group leaders and make yourself available as a resource. Volunteering is a great way to meet the members of the group and create visibility for your business. Also, remember to take full advantage of all of the benefits of your investment in the organization or the event. You’ll ONLY get out of it what you put into it!
4. Leverage your natural style when networking – This is an important point that I learned from Devora.  Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you can be successful when networking. You will make it more difficult on yourself if you try to be something or someone you’re not.If you’re an introvert and feel like you have to “work the room,” you’re going to be completely uncomfortable and undermine your efforts to connect with others. If you are an extrovert and attempt to work against your natural tendencies, you may come off as “rehearsed,” which is not so attractive. So, learn to use your natural style to your advantage. Show up as your authentic self and be who you are. You’ll feel much more comfortable and enjoy far better results from your networking efforts.
5. Follow-up on ALL interest within 48 hours – This is imperative, and it’s where so many drop the ball! If you’re not going to follow-up with the folks you meet, there is no point to investing time, energy and money into networking in the first place. 99.9% of the time, turning a networking opportunity into closed business requires a follow-up meeting, phone call or email. If you don’t follow up you are absolutely leaving money on the table and missing out on valuable opportunities. Learn my proven 7-step system for effective follow-up so you can take full advantage of the connections you make when networking!
6. Present yourself as knowledgeable, but be sure to project warmth and sincerity. The right attitude, the right posture, and an engaging smile will go a long way to attracting ideal clients, before you even open your mouth! Your demeanor must be one that is approachable. You may know a lot – but no one likes a ‘know-it-all.’
7. Put your knowledge to work for you by offering to assist others. You will be appreciated for generously sharing what you know and what you do, giving others just one more reason to recommend you to those who are in need of the service your business provides.

The lifeblood of a profitable business is strong, healthy, and mutually beneficial relationships. Successful entrepreneurs know that it takes more than just a handshake and a couple of drinks to build a business. Profitable relationships, formed between like-minded visionaries, are built on trust, and developed over time. So remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Whether it is online or in person, networking is vital to attracting ideal clients and keeping your cash flow consistent. The more successful you are at networking, the more successful you will be in your business.

Which of the strategies shared can you implement in your business next week? Share your thoughts and your plan here on my blog!

Your Action Plan For This Week:

1. Practice networking. Find a local event to attend that specifically targets your ideal client, determine how it can benefit you and prepare to attend with the purpose of creating the opportunities you are looking for.
2. Schedule time on your calendar to follow-up on all recent connections and make appointments with prospects to continue the conversation you started.
3. Start looking for opportunities to connect others in your network! Pay close attention to the needs of friends, family members, colleagues and clients.  Refer them to professionals in your network who can assist them in overcoming their challenges. This highlights your generous spirit and gives you another reason to contact individuals without asking for anything in return.

Start looking for opportunities to connect others in your network! Pay close attention to the needs of friends, family members, colleagues and clients. Refer them to professionals in your network who can assist them in overcoming their challenges. This highlights your generous spirit and gives you another reason to contact individuals without asking for anything in return.

Sydni Craig-Hart, The Smart Simple Marketing Mentor, is founder of Known for her easy, strategic and results-focused approach to marketing, she also has the unique ability to find untapped profit centers in her client’s businesses so they can create money NOW.

Visit for your FREE kit, “5 Simple Steps to More Clients, More Visibility and More Freedom” and schedule your FREE “Profit Breakthrough” session with Sydni!

Build Your Business With a Tech Virtual Assistant

February 20, 2014

ninja virtual assistantDepending on the size of your business it can be difficult to do everything your self. Here are some tips why you should get help with your business:

Experts – Technical Virtual Assistants have training in several areas.  They can help you with organization, productivity and the technical aspects of building your online business..

Saves Money – Hiring a Technical Virtual Assistant is less expensive than hiring a new employee. You only pay for the hours worked. No insurance, vacation/sick time or other benefits that you have to pay. You get the valuable assistance you need.

Saves Time – You are stretched in a million different directions when trying to do it all yourself. Delegate tasks to your Techie VA and know they are being accomplished. No more feeling overwhelmed, now you can make the most of your time and business.   

If this sounds like something you want to try, contact me to see about working together.

See ya next time!



Do You Have Your New Marketing Plan for 2014

December 20, 2013

marketing plan road signLet me ask you a question. Do You Have your Marketing Plan for 2014? Marketing is the real back bone of your business. Don’t you think that it is important enough to need a plan, completely separate from your basic business plan?

After all with out a plan how will you know where you are going? I’ve taken the time to plan mine out for the next 3 months. I know if I didn’t I wouldn’t get much done. So, let’s go over the basic information that your marketing plan should include.

First you need a marketing strategy and a budget. It is a good idea to get the basics of your marketing plan written down, so that you can see exactly what you are aiming for.

Start the process by making lists. List of all the advertising you plan to do. Include websites, newspapers, radio, flyers, the yellow pages etc.

For each form of advertising you should assign an estimated cost. Determine how many customers you expect to reach. This will allow you to work out your cost of per customer, which is how much of you budget you need to spend on advertising to bring in one customer.

Next make a list all of the pricing policies you plan to have, as well as any special offers that you think will be good. Don’t worry you can make price changes and new offers later, The idea here is to have some basic long term plans.

Another good idea is to have a list of other businesses in your area that could be considered to be competitors. See what they are doing to market themselves. You need to know who you are up against and a good plan to differentiate yourself from them.

This is just a basic outline for starting your marketing plan. Remember, when in doubt seek out help. Do a quick search for sample marketing plans online or visit your local library for more information.

“Simple Ways to Protect Your Intellectual Property”

August 2, 2013

Network cables with lock on themWith so much free content out there on the web, it couldn’t be a better time to do an assessment of your business, and make sure you are protecting your intellectual property, and not infringing on anyone else’s!

Let’s define the legal ways that you may protect your creativity:

1. Copyright.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO), a copyright “protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed.” In the United States, copyright is secured automatically when the work is created. Use © on your website, your articles, and elsewhere. Some use the free product Copyscape to help ward off plagiarists who might “borrow” your website content.

2. Trademark/Registered Trademark. The USPTO’s short definition for trademark is, “a brand name.” Use ® if the trademark has been registered, and ™ if it has not. For example, whenever I develop a new product and I want to protect the brand, we add the ™ symbol. You do establish rights by using the trademark symbol, but in some cases, you may want to take it a step further by conducting a trademark search using TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System) at the USPTO website. (Check out their Small Business section here.) After determining that your trademark is available, the next possible step is registering it.

3. Patent. Did you know that you can’t patent an idea? The USPTO grants patents for inventions for 20 years, effective only in the United States. Your invention must be “new, useful, and non-obvious.” Patents are more complicated than copyrights or trademarks, and you’ll probably want to involve an attorney with this. You can get more information here.

4. Now that you have some of the intellectual property terminology down, what other ways can you protect yours?

– Use Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). Many workplaces require that you sign an NDA, and it’s smart. You may have already signed one yourself some time, so why not use one to protect your ideas? You can pick one up at a legal publishing company in your state or check out online legal forms on websites like Legal Zoom. Don’t reveal your ideas until you’re protected.

– Tweet carefully. When you tweet on Twitter, anyone can read it, so it becomes part of the public domain. So tweet with care, and don’t share your business ideas there before protecting them.

– Register domains for the long run. More than one big company has been embarrassed by forgetting to renew their domain name and been greeted with a blank webpage one morning. Don’t let that be you! Consider registering your domains for several years and creating a system for keeping the administration information current.

– Defend what you protect. Once you go to the trouble and expense of protecting your intellectual property, you will need to defend against people who encroach on your ideas. This takes time and money, so weigh the pros and cons of doing this. Sometimes a “cease and desist” letter from your attorney is all that it takes to make someone stop, especially if someone is ignorant of the law. Just make sure that you don’t spend more time defending what you’ve done in the past than innovating for the future.

– Consult an attorney. As your small business hits the big time, you’ll need to involve attorneys for a variety of important tasks. Do you homework and know what others in your industry are doing, and bring up your concerns with your attorney to determine your best approach.

– Avoid Copyright Infringement. Even though corporations and the U.S. government are still battling over how to stop online piracy, YOU as a business owner can make sure you aren’t contributing to the problem. If you pull quotes, statistics, and information for an article on your site, then make sure you give credit where it’s due. A simple, “According to…”  to open up a statistic, or “(Source: LINK TO THE SOURCE)” following your quote should suffice.

– Also, be weary about posting copyrighted music and images on your site or using them in your information products, logos, etc. Your best bet is to stick with royalty-free sites to grab images, music clips, etc. Wikipedia defines royalty-free as, “the right to use copyrighted material or intellectual property without the need to pay royalties for each use or per volume sold, or some time period of use or sales.”

– The Open Directory Project offers a very comprehensive list of nearly 50 websites where you can find music, many royalty-free. Here’s just a sampling:

AKM MusicCopyright free, Royalty free music and sound effects for television, video production and multimedia soundtracks.

All Music Library – Royalty-free, buyout, and production music tracks available as CDs or instant downloads. – Royalty free drum loops, music loops and sound effects, for use only in corporate media.


© 2013 Ali International, LLC

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