Thursday, March 29, 2012

Nain Steps to Find and Connect With Joint Venture Partners

Joint venture partnerships are a great way to expand your reach and build your list. This method is becoming more and more popular helping many business owners to increase their data base rapidly. But how can you find the right partners for your business and what do you say when you contact them?

Follow this step-by-step guide to find and connect with powerful joint venture partnerships easily.

1. Start to identify possible partners. Make a list of the kind of businesses who area already talking to your ideal clients. Think about services that have something in common with what you do, but are not exactly the same. You may address a different part of the same problem or serve the same group but solve separate issue.

2. Come up with keywords that are appropriate for these potential partners. This will help you come up with search terms to find prospective partners on the web.

3. Do a Google search for these businesses and read over their websites looking for possible partners. Look for companies that offer something you don't, provide a different angle on the same subject, or are complimentary in some way.

4. Also conduct a search on Facebook for additional partner options. This is a great opportunity to see how active their business page is and how many fans they have. Then check out their websites as well.

5. Make a list with the URLs, description of what they do, contact names and phone numbers if available.

6. Next - start contacting your JV prospects. Don't overwhelm yourself by contacting everyone at once. Pace yourself to see what kind of reaction and response you get. You will learn how to approach potential partners better with practice and discover what works to make the connection.

Maybe at first, you reach out to invite a couple to be a guest speaker on one of your teleclasses and promote them to your list. Or ask if they want to conduct a joint call. Say something like, "I have a list of XX individuals and would like to feature you on a teleclass. We share the same type of ideal client and my subscribers would be very interested in your expertise. Or, maybe we could do a call together and we'll both promote it to our lists."

7. Set up your first joint venture, plan it, promote it and enjoy the results!

8. Take stock of how things went. Review any feedback that you got from your list, what you learned and apply that to future programs.

9. Stay in touch with partners and cultivate long-term relationships. Sometimes you'll conduct a one-time program. Other times you find a partner that you can work with for years to come.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five Systems Must-Do's to Banish Marketing Confusion

I'm here today to tell you about a topic I can speak about for hours -one that can make your business or break it.
Something we resist putting into place, yet is the only way to be successful.
A subject that strikes fear into the heart of detail avoiders, like me.
That's right. That's why I can talk about it. Because I'm a reformed systems-avoider!
Systems can be the downfall of your business...
Or they can be the saving grace. It all depends on whether you implement them or not.
It was only when I discovered and implemented systems, that my work life changed in a big way for the better. And come to think of it systems changed my non-work life, too.
Basic systems you need for your business
You need a system to capture your potential clients, a system to communicate with them, a system to answer the same questions people ask. You need a system to make sure every element works between your website, email, Facebook and Twitter.
A system for billing. A system for knowing what to talk or write or tweet about to keep your readers engaged. A system to keep your schedule on track. Pretty much everything in your business needs to be in a system. If you begin to implement them one at a time, it won't seem so overwhelming.
Let's start with 5 basic systems.
1. Your List
Some people say this is the most valuable thing in your business. Why? Because your list is made up of the people who've literally raised their hand by physically signing up to hear from you.
They want to know what's up with you. They like you. And you have the means to send messages right into their email inbox. They've said they want you to tell them about what you're doing, what you're selling and what's upcoming.
Which is why I'm amazed whenever I speak to a room full of business owners and I ask "Who has a list here?" And fewer than half the people raise their hands. This happens most of the time.
If you want a healthy business, you need a list to send emails or ezines or some other kind of updates to keep your "peeps" in relationship with you. To let them know you care. You do care don't you? I hope so. Then be the one to keep in touch with them.
And if you ever want to sell your business, the money is in the list, not only in the sales you've made, but in the price someone will pay you for a business with a super list.
So get started on your list if you haven't already. Which means putting an opt-in box on your website (another system) and sending out a regular email to your list to keep in touch. To keep your relationship fresh. Yes, your email is another system.
2. Email management system
I'm going to tell it to you plain and simple. Just last week I told another business owner at my women's networking meeting that she would be in hot water if she did one particular thing.
See, she had just told us she was finally launching her blog. And I knew she was collecting names to put on her new email list. So I told her that if she sent all those names an email through her own email address or even a business email address, her email provider would shut her down. Pronto.
Plus her emails would never reach their intended audience. They would go right into the addressee's spam filter. And she could be banned from emailing ever again from her own email address.
There are very strict rules about not spamming people. Think about it-don't you hate it when you get an unsolicited email from someone who writes to you as though you're their best friend?
Spam is a huge problem.
And the blogosphere has reacted by putting stringent rules into place about spamming. So any activity-no matter how innocent on your part-that doesn't comply with the rules is suspicious. And the email providers usually work in the favor of the recipient.
The result of all this is some pretty strict spam-management.
When you send out an email from a regular email address and send it to a large number of people, you look like a spammer.
So the best way, the safest way, the surest way, the way that all legitimate businesses use to get their messages out to their list is by using an email contact manager.
These companies, like AWeber, constant contact, icontact, emma, and free ones like Mailchimp, all are recognized as legitimate businesses by email providers, so their email gets through. Some are better than others.
The cream of the crop, recommended by most in-the-know legitimate online marketers is AWeber. It costs some money per month, but it's one of those "must do" costs of running your business. It makes your business work correctly.
You can find out about it here:
3. FAQs
Frequently asked questions. This is a simple system you can put into action as you go. You'll soon begin to realize that people ask you some of the same questions over and over.
It's easy enough to create a separate file on your computer containing documents that you use over and over.
One might be, literally, "frequently asked questions." You can copy the answer to any FAQ and send out in an email or respond to someone on Facebook with one of them.
Of course you also want a section, probably under your "about" tab, actually called "frequently asked questions" that addresses a lot of them at once.
In addition, in your file, you'll want other frequently accessed documents-for example, your policies and procedures statement, a welcome letter for new sign-ups to your major product or program, a thank you for those same people.
Your most important numbers need to be in there, too-your tax ID number, your passwords for access to your website, your email content manager and the rest of the business passwords you need.
4. Editorial calendar
If you plan your ezine topics and your blog post topics ahead of time, you can cut down on your writing time by more than half.
It's much easier to sit down to write if you know what you're going to write about than it is to try to just sit and come up with something worthwhile on cue.
An editorial calendar will help your business if you plan your topics around your business offerings, too. Say you're offering a special in the first week of March, June, and September. You can write your content to address each of those promotions. Planning it out ahead of time will be a relief in the long run.
5. Google calendar
This is the easiest online calendar I've used. Access it here:
With Google calendar, you can layer on multiple calendars, for example, one for your business meetings only, one for your editorial calendar, one for our events, one for your personal appointments. And you can color-code the calendars, seeing all of them at once, one at a time, or any combination in-between.

Article Source:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

On-Line Marketing For Physical and Complementary Therapists

The complementary therapy industry is rising in popularity in most countries. However, this also means that more practitioners are starting up and an ever greater number of therapies are on offer. Therefore, customers not only have more therapists to choose from but also an ever greater range of therapy options.
Increased competition has brought about a need to follow an effective marketing strategy. As our lives have become more digitised, marketing has shifted from traditional forms of advertising such as magazines to the internet.
The need for an effective marketing strategy
It can be argued that marketing is the most important aspect of any business. It is unfortunate that marketing is not taught in any great depth in some therapy courses. Without effective marketing, it is very difficult to attract new clients. A less skilled therapist with an effective marketing strategy will usually be more profitable than a higher skilled therapist with a poorer marketing strategy.
The need for a business name and an unique selling point
The first step is to establish a business name and a unique selling point to separate you from the other therapists in your locality. You needn't spend vast sums of money on a marketing agency. However, spend some serious consideration to choosing a name that says what you are about, is 'snappy' and easy to remember.
Additionally, along with the choice of a name, you need a domain name which reflects your business name. If you find your chosen domain name taken then you need to seek an alternative name or modify the domain name by adding an additional word.
Generally it's best to use the domain name,.net or your local country suffix. Other suffixes are less common and if used, run the risk of becoming confusing to clients, who may just type in anyway.
Avoid using numerals, dashes and underscores in the domain name. Again this leads to confusion for clients who may miss them out or type them in wrong.
Consideration should also be given to your unique selling point - what makes you distinct and unique from your competitors. This should be clearly stated on your web site.
One of my early mistakes was to choose a very long and unmemorable business name. It was cumbersome to remember and to write down. I realised this after a year of practising and therefore had to change all my marketing literature and web site.
The need for an online presence.
The days of using paper phone books, catalogues and directories are disappearing fast. People search for information using PCs, tablet PCs and smart phones. To take advantage of this, you need an effective online presence.
An attractive web site.
Most people who click on to a web site make up their minds within 5 seconds whether to stay or click away. Your web site needn't look like a million dollars. However, if it looks amateurish, dull or badly laid out, people are going to click away and find someone else. Designing a poor web site is a false economy as you loose out on many potential clients who are attracted to seemingly more professional businesses.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

4 Steps to Designing a Market Research Study

When setting up a market research project there are four key steps to follow to ensure your study is robust and you get information that is relevant. These are; identifying your business objectives, defining your research objectives, planning your approach, and defining your sample. Once you have followed these steps you are ready to field your study and collect survey data.

Step One - Identify the Objective

Clearly defining the business objective - the reason why you need to carry out the market research, is the most important step in the research process. The business objective (s) clearly defines what questions you want answered, or what business or marketing decision you want to make based on the outcome of the research.

An example of the sorts of business decisions you may need to make based on market research outcomes are:

• How can we improve the satisfaction of our customers?
• Is there any demand for my product idea?
• Is my advertising working?
• What do we need to do to make the ad more appealing, or noticeable to our target market?

Once you have defined your business objectives you can refer back to it throughout the market research process to ensure you stay focused.

Next, find out what information already exists that may answer some or all of the questions. For example, in the case of a satisfaction study, have a chat to your sales staff to see if they have had any feedback from customers that suggest they are unhappy.

Step Two - Defining the Research Objectives

Once you have defined your business objectives you can clearly define the objectives of your research. For example if you want to understand how satisfied your customers are your research objectives may be to understand:

• What drives customer satisfaction?
• What do your customers feel are the most important service factors?
• How well are your performing on these factors?

Step 3 - Plan Your Approach

In planning your approach you need to think about what information you have and what is missing. Do you need to take a qualitative approach or a quantitative approach or both? Sometimes this will depend on the budget and expertise available. If for example you want to understand how satisfied your customers are with the service they have received, you may want to start with a qualitative study among some of your customers to understand factors drive satisfaction, then do a larger quantitative study to find out how well you perform on each of these factors.

Once you have decided on your approach you are ready to develop your quantitative questionnaire, or your qualitative discussion guide which I will show you how to do in future posts.

Step 4 - Define your target sample

When defining your sample you need to think about who your customers or potential customers are. In a satisfaction study you may want to talk to your customers and competitors customers. If you are just starting a new business or launching a new product, you need to think about who you are aiming your product or service at. Specifically, think about:

• How old are they?
• Where do they live?
• What channels do they buy through?

Once you have completed these four steps you are ready to collect your information or field your market research study.

I am a Market Research professional with over 12 years market research experience, in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia. My mission is to help small businesses better understand their customers, and their market by providing useful information to help small businesses design and conduct their own robust market research studies.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What Happened to a Call to Action in Advertising?

People like to be asked to do something. The trend seems to "assume" that people will do this or that after you have dazzled you with your creativity. Just give them this great concept along with a huge budget and "Bam" instant increase in sales. If they feel good about you, they will buy, seems to be the mantra.

I'm not saying that having people like your company doesn't help your marketing effort. As a small businessperson your sales are depended on positive relationships for sure. You need to show and prove to the public that your company is someone they want to do business with.

Then you need to politely ask for their business.

The importance of a call to action

When you give the public all the information about your company, tell your story, educate them as to why your product/service is better than your competitor, and show them the value added you then need to give a call to action that will inspire that potential customer to get off the couch, get into the car, drive to your store, and buy.

What is a Call for Action?

Simply put, a call for action is asking for the sale. It's just looking the customer in the eye, whether literally or figuratively, and saying, "May I have your business?" It can be done in many ways and in many forms. It can be said at the end of an advertisement that says, "come on down, and let's do business." Or it can be in the form of a coupon or giveaway that tells the customer that you want their business. It can be as simple as asking, "May I wrap that up for you?" Without it, there's no conclusion to your pitch. It's like saying, "We do this and this, we are better than our competitor, and we have a better price point, have a great day" and turning around and walking away. Doesn't work well does it.

A successful call for action turns no's into yes's

If it is carefully crafted, a good call for action will over come sales resistance. Most people want to say yes, but if they're never asked they never have the opportunity to say yes. By asking you are making them not only make a decision but also think. They will think about all the benefits and information you have shown them about your product/service. They will think about your price and how it compares to your competitors. They will think about how much they enjoy the buying experience you have created for them...then they will say yes. Why, because you have overcome any reason not to say yes and then asked them for the sale. How can they refuse?